Written by Rae-Chan
The following is a short excerpt from a longer work of fiction entitled “The Boy in Crystal”. Earlier in the story Lily discovered a man locked away in an underground science facility, he was kept preserved in a tank which was encased with pale blue crystals as part of “Project Future”, and Lily manages to rescue him.
Lily and the man sat outside under the copious blossom trees. He stared up into the branches, seemingly amazed by the little pink and white flowers.
Lily watched him silently, taking in his pale skin and large, hetero-chromatic eyes. He looked like he hadn’t seen sunlight in a long time. His skin had an ugly greyish tinge to it and his hair, though tied into a braid, looked greasy and unwashed. Just how long had been in that tank, Lily wondered. Although he seemed fit and healthy, the lack of sunlight in that dark basement room made him look drained and ill.
‘What are these called?’ the man asked, awestruck.
‘Blossoms,’ Lily informed him. ‘Haven’t you ever seen them before?’
‘I don’t think so. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like them. They’re so pretty.’
Lily smiled and looked up at the flowers. She had to agree with him, they did look beautiful.
‘They only bloom in the spring,’ she said to him. ‘Bees and other insects are attracted to the flowers and pollinate the trees. Once that happens, the blossoms aren’t needed anymore so they die. Then in the summer, the trees are covered in leaves and fruit and stuff like that.’
The two sat in silence for a good ten minutes or so, looking up at the blossoms.
‘Lily?’ the man asked suddenly, pulling his gaze from the blossoms to look at her.
‘… Nothing,’ the man shook his head and looked down at the ground, a sad look crossing his face. ‘Doesn’t matter.’
Lily offered him a smile and said, ‘Don’t be shy, you can talk to me.’
‘… Are the doctors mad at you?’
‘I think so,’ Lily said, smiling a little.
‘… I’m sorry. It’s because of me.’
‘It’s not your fault. I disobeyed orders.’
‘I wasn’t supposed to go into your room.’
The man looked confused but said nothing else. After a few minutes of sitting in silence together, Lily spoke again.
‘So, what’s your name?’ she asked.
‘Yeah. I mean, you know my name, so I should probably know yours too, if I’m going to be looking after you.’
‘… I don’t think I have one.’
‘You don’t have a name?’
‘The doctors never gave me one.’
‘Well, that won’t do. Everyone needs a name. We’ll just have to come up with one for you. Let’s see…’
The man watched Lily as she thought of a suitable name for him. She looked up into the branches of the blossom trees, thinking.
‘I’ve got it!’
‘Yes?’ the man asked, eagerly.
‘Yeah. I found you today, and today it’s spring.’
He nodded slowly, seeming to agree with her logic.
‘So what do you think? How about Haru?’
The man considered it for a few moments before smiling, suddenly looking happier than Lily would have thought possible, his face lifting and brightening in such a way that he almost looked healthy.
‘Haru,’ he said.
‘Haru,’ Lily repeated, laughing. ‘That’s settled then.’
Haru looked delighted, like a child who had just received the greatest gift he could have imagined. And, Lily supposed, having a name – particularly to Haru – was the greatest gift he could imagine.
‘Thank you, Lily,’ he said quietly, suddenly looking close to tears, the whole thing seemed to be, quite understandably, overwhelming for him.
‘Hey, it’s all right,’ Lily said, quickly putting an arm around Haru and giving his shoulders a reassuring squeeze. He leaned his head against her chest, closing his eyes and letting her pull him into a soothing embrace.
Lily rubbed his back comfortingly, like she used to with her little cousin whenever he got upset while she was babysitting him.
‘It’s all right now, Haru,’ she said, soothingly. ‘Everything’s going to be all right.’
A beautiful story excerpt written by Rae-Chan was certainly meant for publication this month. In Japanese, the meaning of the name Haru speaks of sunshine, spring and light – perfect for August’s sunshine theme. As alluded to above, the excerpt is part of a larger work of fiction named “The Boy in Crystal” and is well worth a read. Our author is still revisiting parts of the tale and restructuring, but if you did enjoy Rae-Chan’s work here, please see her other superb work including, the “Prologue from Aes: The Blaze” and “Remembering War”.
Featured Image CC // Walter