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            “Look over there, isn’t that Gon Haiiro?”

            “You mean the dude who wrote Under the Skies? No way, man, isn’t he like, retired or something?”

            “I heard that he quit after his girlfriend jumped in front of a subway train.”

            Voices. Just voices in a faceless crowd. It didn’t matter that Gon saw their faces, for they would soon be gone in one second, completely gone out of his head. The world no longer looked real, the colors simulating the ones displayed by an old TV. Bland, tasteless, no longer jumping out in bright and style.

            The autumn wind brushed through his dark short hair, as the summer slowly lost its control over the town of Lestfield. Gon walked among the falling leaves, the breeze carrying around the scent of sleeping trees and perishing flowers, the sun covering itself up in the cold damp air. The grass in the park were slowly dying away, shivering as they prepared themselves for the winter’s coming. The park no longer looked alive.

            Although Lestfield was about an hour north of New York City, it still seemed to share the cold climate that the Big Apple had suffered during its notorious life. Yet Lestfield was peaceful, unlike New York. Lestfield was just an average little town with its small police force and volunteer firefighters. A town where nothing seemed to happen, yet nothing made it boring. It reminded Gon very much of his own hometown, Putama City, for Lestfield’s row of houses looked the same as Putama’s, in their small sizes and orange-brown roofs, with floors no higher than two. Except that Putama was warmer than this little town. Putama felt warmer than this little town.

            “If I’m able to jump above your height, will you go out with me?”

            “Huh?” Gon remembered saying then, when he had first met Kara, under the orange lights of the setting sun. “What did you say?” The race tracks of the field seemed red at this time of the afternoon, the school’s shadow covering the parking lots and streets that were in front of the building.

            “I said, if I’m able to jump above your height, will you go out with me?” She had repeated, smiling innocently, as her loose T-shirt fluttered gently in the whispering winds. The colors had still looked so bright then, as her blue eyes reflected the sleeping sun.

            Gon didn’t even know why he had said yes then, as she set up the bar at exactly his height. Her face looked set, as she prepared herself for the coming jump. Gon had watched as she sprinted herself into a run, sweat, felt tense as she jumped…


            The sounds of a subway train rang inside Gon’s head again, proclaiming the end of a future way. Her face always smiled in his mind, as she walked into the lights of the train, her figure seen no more.

            Gon rubbed his eyelids now, as if by doing so his memories would be erased away. He dug into his pockets until he found the cold metal of his keys. “Gon!” He almost dropped his keys as he heard the familiar whiny voice. “Gon, over here!”

            He pretended not to hear it. He pretended that the voice was not there. He quickly pushed the key into the lock of his dark green door, hoping to get inside his sanctuary, hoping to let the golden locks deal with the unexpected visitor. Too late though, as he felt the sweaty palms of the fat man grab his shoulders, talking into his ears. “Hey, Gon. How are you, my man?”

            “Tired.” Gon responded as he turned the key, the door giving way to the master of the house. He knew that the man was following him in, for his presence was just too strong to be ignored. “Come on in, Danny, make yourself at home.”

“Thanks, Gon.” Danny looked around the place, nodding as he followed Gon into the living room. “Nice place you got here.” Danny was Gon’s agent, who also owned a book-publishing company of his own. Danny was infamous for signing authors as an agent, and then making them write exclusively for his publishing company, even if other companies were offering higher prices for the author’s work. Of course, this didn’t bother writers like Gon, who wrote only because they wanted to write, not because they wanted to make a fortune out of it. Yet this was the main reason why most authors avoided Danny at all costs, leaving him now with less and less clients by the year, and his company with less and less new books.

            “The only reason I got it, was because it was in a walking distance to the campus.”

            “Oh, really? Well, it’s still pretty nice.”

            “Thanks.” Gon let Danny sit down on the couch, considering that Danny’s older body might appreciate the cushioning that the couch gave. “How’s the company doing?”

            “Oh, real good.” Danny had one of those fake smiles on, a big pearl of sweat hanging on the side of his cheek. “We reprinted most of your materials, and most of them got into the top five best-selling lists.”

            “Great.” Gon nodded, sitting on a chair opposite Danny’s. “So, how are the new authors doing?”

            “They’re…” The smile faded from Danny’s face, as worry seemed to surface in his dull brown eyes. “They’re doing fine…” Danny shifted his huge body on the gray couch, his elephant hands coming together, his arms now resting on the brown pants covering his legs. “Gon…” He started, as his eyes turned up to look at Gon’s motionless figure. “Have you considered to start writing again?”

            “I told you before, Danny, I have no intentions of writing anything again.”

            “But, Gon… You’re just twenty-five, and there’s still so much ahead of you… Don’t you think it’s time to put your past behind, and get back to what you loved best? I mean, readers are still waiting for your comeback, and your stories have always easily reached number one…”

            “I can’t, Danny. I’m sorry.”

            Danny let out a sigh, as he slowly pushed himself off the couch. “All right, kiddo,” he said sadly, as he headed toward the exit. “But as your agent, Gon, I gotta tell you to start being mature, and start putting your life together again.”

            Gon just sat on his seat, motionless, as he heard the front door open and close. “A writer can’t mature,” he said to himself, as the darkness of the evening slowly enclosed the room. “Or else he’ll lose the imagination and daydreams that fuel his stories, and become nothing more than a normal shell in the sea of a thousand faces.”

            He remembered the time when he had first said this to Kara, under the falling petals of a cherry blossom tree. His head had rested on Kara’s legs then, as they looked out at the sun in the end of its working schedule, the stars excited in being released for their nightly play. Her long blonde hair had seemed so mystical then, dancing in the rhythm of the sunlit winds. “I guess that’s what makes us writers so special, for we die when we stop writing the tales of our dreams. If not physically, then mentally…”

            Is that the reason why I stopped writing? Gon thought as he tried to solve the chemistry problems on his notebook, his mind not clear anymore as his pen touched the surface of the paper. His college freshmen year seemed to be too easy for him to be interested in, and the classes offered no challenges at all.

            His parents had suggested for him to enroll into the University of Lestfield, a highly known private college in the world, and maybe get a medical degree while in it, as opposed to just lying in bed day after day, staring blankly at the grainy white ceiling in his room. Gon had agreed to it, for maybe the classes could distract him from the memories of Kara, maybe the textbooks could erase her temporarily her smile from his mind. He had stayed mourning in his room for a year then, it was time to start learning how to live again.

He felt tired now, as he took out another notebook, opened it onto a clean surface, and tried to solve the math problems that his other book posed for him. Is that the reason why I stopped writing? Gon thought again, as his chin rested on the waxed surface of his desk, his hands trying as hard as possible to hold the black pen, his eyelids heavy without remorse. He fell asleep after only five seconds.

            He dreamed of the time when he was invited to some publisher’s party, a memory from so long ago that he did not want to remember. It was about the time when he became hugely famous, a little after the release of his fifth novel. He was only twenty-one then. “I’m sure Rex would be furiously mad if he learned that your most famous success comes from his murders and trials.”

            Gon remembered hearing Kara say that, as they danced slowly in the mildly crowded room, the band playing a soft symphony in the course of the night. “Why do you say that?” he had asked then, as he playfully kissed her neck.

            She laughed, as if tickled by his lips. “Stop that, Gon, we’re in a public place.”

            He did, lifting his dark eyes to her, obeying the request to stop, as they once again twirled under the crystal chandeliers. “It’s not like I made Rex’s character terrifying in order to sell books,” he said as his forehead touched hers, their eyes looking deeply into each other’s souls. “It’s just the character that made him do all these bad things. If he were a different character, with a different past and life, then he wouldn’t have done the horrible things that his character does.”

            “Then why did you make his character the way he is?”

            “Because I needed a reason for the character to kill a lot of people.” Gon smiled as he said this. “Besides, it’s one of the rules for being a good writer that made me do this.”

            “And which one would that be? No normal person can be a psycho killer?”

            They both laughed as she said this, drunk in the atmosphere of the night. “No, the rule that no character can die without a reason.”

            “And so, Rex is your reason?”

            “You can’t think of a better one, can you?” Gon kissed her as he said this, tasting the elixir that was inside of her mouth.

A sharp scream woke Gon up then, the sunlight stinging his eyes as he opened them. He looked around in confusion until he found the crying alarm clock, screeching madly, as if enjoying the annoyance it was giving to Gon. The room went silent as soon as he hit the snooze button. Gon groaned as he walked back to his desk, needing to seat himself for a while until he could compose himself. He realized that he still held his black pen, as he looked at it for a second, before letting it hang in his right hand once again. He wondered how he was able to hold the pen throughout the long night.

Just then, he heard the rustling noises as he walked toward the desk, the papers yelling out as he stepped carelessly onto them. He looked down at them, and felt the shock completely overcome him. He felt the black pen slip out of his hands, as it fell soundlessly onto the carpeted floor, now littered with pages and pages of his handwritten papers.

            He stared at them for a long minute before he decided to pick some of them up. The papers had numbers on the right lower corners of each of them, and none of the backs were written on at all. Before he knew it, he was picking them up, sorting them, slowly, his hands trembling as he gathered them all, the last page half-filled, still not torn out of his notebook. Gon blinked as he read the last sentence, trembling still in the morning sunlight. “The Heavens and Hells are full, now the stories are the spirits only refuge.”


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