Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Common ❯ Part I: Summer Mockingbird: Chapter Eight: Aoi's Home at Hell ( Chapter 8 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Eight: Aoi's Home at Hell:
Aoi never wanted to go home. Kelly and Atticus wondered why. The boy was the first to ask.
“Aoi,” he said in the park one day.
“Hm?” she asked.
“Why don't you want to go home?” Atticus asked. Aoi gripped the chains holding the swing that she was sitting on.
“I just don't,” she said. She had her eyes lowered. Atticus tilted his head.
“But why?” he asked.
“I don't,” she said, growling. Her friend about jumped at her tone. He was used to her being so soft-spoken. Aoi turned her head.
“I'm so sorry,” she mumbled. Atticus shook his head.
“No, I'm sorry,” he said. The boy figured that the direct way wasn't the right way to get to the truth.
However, Kelly used her eyes to put the truth together. Long skirts couldn't hid the bruises on Aoi's skinny little legs. The little girl would flinch if someone tried to touch her. Plus, Aoi appeared nervous and trembling all the time.
“Listen,” Kelly said at dinner one evening. “If you want to talk, I am here to listen.” Aoi kept her eyes to her plate. Atticus kept his gaze on his friend.
One evening, Atticus noticed that his friend left her favorite stuffed doll in her spot at Kelly's table.
“This is Aoi-chan's,” he said to himself. Atticus looked towards the kitchen. Kelly was still on the phone. He looked down at the doll dressed in a little red cotton dress. How could Mr. Opportunity fall into his lap so easily? Atticus grabbed the doll and ran out the door.
The sun was still setting. He would have to hurry before it got dark. Unlike his mother, his grandmother would be asking about his whereabouts if he came home too late. Atticus looked at all of the houses on the block. It donned on him that he didn't know anything else about his friend. He knew her name, what she liked, and what she didn't like. But nothing else. Atticus guessed that Aoi lived in the neighborhood. But which house?
Atticus clutched the doll at his side and started walking. His eyes shifted left and right. He began to picture what Aoi's house looked like. His mind saw a dollhouse brought to life. Maybe a little garden of red flowers and a white fence. The pathway would be smooth with pebbles. He could feel the warmth coming from the dollhouse.
Atticus came to reality when he spotted Aoi standing at the end of the pathway just outside of the neighborhood. She bit on her little hand as she frantically looked around. Atticus raised his eyebrow as he walked up to her.
“Aoi… -chan?” he asked. When she saw him, her little eyes widened.
“What are you doing here?!” the little girl asked in a hushed tone. “You aren't supposed to be here!” Atticus opened his mouth.
“Aoi!” a man's angry voice yelled. The little girl shivered.
“Is that your dad?” Atticus asked. Aoi tried to cover his mouth before grabbing his hand and running away. A man dressed in messy clothes walked out of the house. He held an empty beer bottle in his hand.
“Aoi!” he shouted. “Get back here!” The children took off running.
“I don't understand,” Atticus said. “What's going on? Why are we running?” Aoi didn't answer him. The kids ran down the road and turned the corner.
“Aoi!” the man yelled. “Aoi!” He picked up his pace. His daughter led Atticus down to a local sweet shop. The children ran to the back alley. Aoi let go of Atticus' hand.
“Atticus-kun,” she said in a trembling voice.
“Yeah?” Atticus asked.
“Can you pray at the shrine?” she asked. The little girl walked up to a small shrine hidden among carboard boxes. She sank to her knees in front of it. Atticus walked over and joined her. The children closed their eyes.
“Please turn me invisible. Please turn me invisible. Please turn me invisible,” Aoi prayed. “Please turn me invisible.” Atticus joined in with her prayers.
Aoi didn't turn invisible. But, child welfare came and took her and sisters away from their father. They ended up living with their grandmother in another neighborhood. Every night, Aoi would ride her bike to Atticus' house. Her friend didn't understand it at the time. He assumed it was because of the dog at her grandmother's house. Atticus was happy to have her sleeping in his bed with him at nights.
“Good night,” Aoi whispered before going to sleep. Maybe the summer will get better.