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Kaz Aikyo was fast asleep under the shade of a cherry blossom, the sunlight shimmering through the waving leaves and coming to rest on his freckled face. A discarded sodapop bottle was tipped over beside the boy’s hands, and the sticky pink liquid soaked one side of his shirt. Res beamed as she noticed; her personal recommendation. It was her absolute favourite flavour, and she had known he would love it as well, Kaz loved anything fizzy, he was so easy to shop for. Res giggled. She stepped closer and picked up the glass bottle. Smiling, she pulled of the label and pressed it against his cheek. Kaz sat up and rubbed his eyes. He leaned against the hard bark of the blossom, drowsily, and his eyelids fell closed again.
“Hey sleepy-head, ranchi is almost ready, your Ma told me to come get you.”
Kaz’s head jerked up, looking for the source of the sound. Their eyes locked suddenly, and Res could feel the hotness rising in her cheeks.
“Kon'nichiwa!” Kaz beamed, jumping to his feet. Res couldn’t help grinning, his smile was contagious after all. Everyone said that, even Enyo. Enyo. Res’ smile disappeared, her brother was a mess. Bile rose in her throat. She swallowed, and pushed him out of her mind.
Kaz frowned, stepping closer to Res, leaves crunching beneath his feet, he took her hand in his. “Do? shimashita ka Esy?”
Res blushed, she loved his nickname for her. When they were both little he couldn’t pronounce her name properly, and it stuck. She could never think of a nikkune?mu to call him though, and it frustrated her to no end.
“Just thinking about how I had to do all your chores because you lazed around here all day” She pulled her hand out of his, and playfully jabbed him in the stomach.
Kaz stuck his tongue out at her, giggled and tousled his hair. His smile faded when Res didn’t laugh with him.
“You’re joking right, my Oya didn’t really make yo-”
Res laughed, “You have them all to do when you get home, don’t worry your cute little head.” Kaz grinned and fell back on the grass, motioning Res to lay down as well. The tree he picked
had a perfect view of the sunset, and the golden beams sparkled through the clouds.
The pair began talking about this and that, school and home, and everything in between.
“You were so late today, probably just slept in as usual.” Res teased
Kaz smirked, “Kuku ran off with my knapsack again, we really need to train that dog.”
Res smiled, Kuku had been a present from her family to his for Kaz’s 15th birthday. Kaz picked up the empty pop bottle and wiped the sticky soda off of the edge of the glass. He held it up to his lips and blew, creating a melodious sound that rang clear and true. Res recognized the song, their song. She smiled and took the glass, Res played the harmony to Kaz’s melody, figuratively as well as literally. Kaz beamed as she played. When the uta stopped, and the two applauded each other, they leaped into eachothers arms. “That was amazing Re-” Kaz was cut off by the sound of the forest creaking and groaning in the wind. They could feel the ground shaking and Kaz’s blossom collapsed, hitting the soil with a deafening crack. The suddenly violent zephyrs knocked Res away from him. Kaz paled as he glanced towards home. Thick fog smothered the city, and only the tops of the tallest skyscrapers were untouched.
Res noticed too, and the pair began running in the direction of their homes, hand in hand.
Blood pounded in Kaz’s ears, his heartbeat so loud he was sure Res coE?e could hear the crack of the broken glass against his shoes. Kaz burst the door, casting aside his bag he sprinted through the different rooms and corridors yelling and screaming for his family. The only answer was his echo. Kaz sunk to his knees, weeping and shrieking. He howled into the heavens and cursed directly to God. Res tentatively took a step towards him, the uneven floorboards creaking as she did so.
She put her arms around his neck and whispered. Kaz turned around. He looked her in the eyes and the oceans seemed to be crying.
Res bit her lip, drawing blood. With the metallic taste in her mouth, she understood. Kaz shuffled towards him and Aro’s bedroom door, too heartbroken to muster the energy to lift his feet above the ground. He twisted the knob and pushed. The familiar scent of incense and pop wafted towards him, and a small tear ran down his face. Res’ eyes widened, she thrust her hand over Kaz’s mouth. Kaz heard it too. The muffled sobbing. Kaz broke free of Res’ grasp and walked towards his closet. Huddled on the dirty floor and wrapped in a wrinkled shawl was Aro. Kaz hugged him, and the brothers wept together, wept for their parents and their sister. Aro stood up, his hood falling to the floor in a muddled lump. The brothers embraced and Aro leaned his head against Kaz’s chest.
“I’m so sorry Ro, I should have been back sooner.” Kaz whispered.
Res put her arm around the two of them. Kaz broke free and, with a gasp.
Kaz looked his girlfriend dead in her amber eyes, and calmly asked, “Res, what about your family, are they alright? You don’t seem worried at all.”
Res sighed, and bit her lip. “The truth is, they called me a while ago, right as we were leaving the park. They took our jet and they’re still in the air.”
Kaz breathed a sigh of relief. “Okay good.”
The trio decided to spend the night at Kaz’s house, away from the howling winds and chilling zephyrs that wrecked the city outside.
Kaz offered Res his bed, and took his turn on watch, just to make sure looters didn’t force their way through the ramshackle barricade they made. Leaning against the stone wall of his house, thinking about his broken family, a boy fell fast asleep.
She woke up next to her new family, Res and Ro. She swung her feet over the side of her bed, bumping them on the splinter jutting out from the frame. Kaz’s slender feet sunk into the muddy carpet, and she dragged herself over to her bedroom door. Her arm shook as she reached for the doorknob. She didn’t want it to be real. She wanted to walk into the kitchen, jump into her parent’s loving arms, kiss her Mom on the cheek and step outside into the chilling autumn air wrapped in her favorite cornflower blue scarf. She wanted to link arms with Res and accidentally on purpose be late for school because they were too busy talking about everything over the sun. She twisted the dented brass doorknob. Bit her lip, and the door swung open. Res was sitting at the breakfast table with a tablet in her hand. A tall glass of orenji juice in her hand. Res saw her, and quickly stood up. Kaz stepped forward, and flung her arms around Res, Res smiled, and kissed her on the cheek. Blushing, Kaz waved good-morning to her girlfriend.
Aro shouted from upstairs, “Hey Res, is she up yet?” Kaz beamed, he had realized. “Yup! Right here Ro.”
Kaz her the loud footsteps of Aro running down the rickety stairs, dust falling down the sides as the matted carpet lining was pounded down.
“Ne?!” Aro shouted. “Hey” Kaz said to him, smiling.
The trio, now reunited after a good night’s rest, discussed the terrible tragedy that cursed all of them.
Res’ job was too scourange the news for anything related to the hurricane, Kaz’s job was to venture into the wreckage outside, and try to piece together what happened to her parents. Aro was to man the house, and try to gather supplies and food in case they had to wait it out for longer. Kaz kissed them both good-bye, and opened the front door. Suddenly blasted with frigid winds, Kaz’s foot sank through the muddy soil. Waving to her new family, she began knocking on house’s, looking for survivors of the deadly storm. Res and Aro watched her venture farther and farther out, until she disappeared completely from view. She would never return. Next to Res, a sodapop bottle burst open, and the sticky liquid leaked down the broken sides.