|Couldn't find any "appropriate" pics but I like this one. L-R: Nemu, Reki, Kana,|
Hikari, Kuu, and Rakka with the bread. Artist: Naotan54 on Deviantart.
Somewhere ... Over the Wall
C V Ford
It was in the middle of a particularly harsh winter, the town of Guri/Glie was hit by a brief rise in temperature. More than enough to leave an unusually thick blanket of fog covering everything within the wall. The sun set, the mist held. Soon after, the dogs picked up their communal howl.
Starting small, within minutes turning big. First one dog then another, gradually building up until all the canines in Gurie had joined in. Their cries filling the white shrouded winter skies above. For other than the fog, something else was in the air that night.
Kana gripped the railing below the clock towers' face as she peered out into the whispy murk. Though way past quitting time, she wanted one last look over the town before heading home. If she COULD look that is. It was thicker than the cafes' proverbial pea soup. Though thinner up where she was, no more than fifty feet distant could be clearly seen before the cottony mass obscured.
The scene before her had the feel of being in a cloud drifting over the world below, the haunting ethereal beauty, breathtaking. The serene quality being totally ruined by the baying of what seemed all the dogs in the world. The fairy tale ambiance more like the scary stories Kana would frighten Kuu with so long ago, with moonlight vainly trying to pierce through.
Blinking hard, she then rubbed her eyes. A faint coalesence at first, she passed it off as a trick on the eyes, a cause of the cottony chaos swirling about. Materializing more definite, solid, the young Haibane knew it not an illusion. Something was swiftly, silently coming close to the clock tower. Huge ... Enormous ...
Kana backed away from the railing into the wall beneath the clock face. Letting out a frightened gasp as the ... thing ... loomed over the towers' very top. Though still only a shadow, it bespoke a more than tangible danger in its' drifting closer.
Though not usually one to fear anything, she frantically grasped for the balconys' door to her left as she stumbled and fell, certain whatever it was had deadly intent.
As quickly as it had come, the apparition vanished in the gray dark towards the direction of the temple, just missing the tower by only a few scant feet.
Dashing to the end of the platform, Kana could only catch a glimpse of colossal shadow disappearing completely into the nights' heavy gloom.
Rushing inside, more than eager to tell ANYONE left in the shop below. Her disappointment great when no one would believe her.
To say the last two days had not been good for the professor would be an understatement. The journey had begun disastrously. The young lady who was to accompany him in the hopes of getting back to her home, abruptly left the basket moments before take-off. An unholy gust of wind jerked the balloon out from the great city he once ruled, up thousands of feet within minutes. The overpowering westerly currents carried him far, over two sleepless days without let-up. Helpless, he could only go along with being carried to only God knew. The fantastic speeds the winds moved the vehicle made descent a perilous proposition.
The only course was to wait it out.
At the beginning, he was, as he told some new found friends only a few days before in regard to a related incident ... petrified. A reasonably strong heart can get used to anything after prolonged exposure and about an hour or so out, his fears were replaced with a fatalistic determination to see it through.
At the suns' setting on the second day, the wind subsided. Tired and numb, he decided to set down for a well deserved rest and try to get his bearings.
Then to find himself descending in this unusually thick bank of fog.
Not knowing how fast the descent or what the balloon would run into, he started dumping ballast, hoping to regain altitude. It was only by sheer chance he barely missed collision with that clock tower.
The tower, at least, indicated the howling from beneath were town dogs and not an unusually large pack of wolves lying in wait in a wilderness below. Meaning ... Civilization! Rest, food and a chance of getting a sense of direction. If he could further avoid crashing into something and find a place to land ...
As if by miracle, the fog suddenly lightened into a brief break, revealing ...
Before him, the cliff loomed, at first threatening, though he could see he was about to clear it.
To his right, a strange cylindrical structure built two thirds up the crag. In front, a mist shrouded waterfall with footbridge before. At his left, a small figure could be seen trudging along a narrow trail between cliff and mist filled gorge.
Digging into one of his voluminous pockets, the professor withdrew a collapsible spyglass. Extending it, he focused on the slow moving pedestrian.
He let out a startled gasp. Though he spent years in the fantastic place he once ruled, marvels never ceased to amaze. He could plainly see the small wings flexing on the hikers' back. And on the ... her ... head ... A halo? Other details showed the walker to be otherwise quite human and not one of the winged minions of a now deceased adversary he recently contended with.
Reaching back, he grabbed a conical tin megaphone. Directing it in the figures' direction, he called out.
After a long day of cleaning plaques and the gathering of light leaves, Rakka was eager to make her way back to Old Home for supper with friends. On setting out, she would not let the fog deter her.
The howling of the town dogs distant, picked up as she was half-way across the foot bridge, giving her second and third thoughts about moving on. As it was, she decided to finish what she started, now hugging close to the cliff wall. She shuddered, knowing only a few scant feet away, a sheer drop to the water below.
A feeling of relief swept over her on the sudden lift in fog. The trails' edge didn't seem so close now as she picked up speed though still hugging the cliff. The howling had also stopped, giving a more optimistic feel to her situation as she made her way along. It was then she noticed a new sound replaced that of the hounds. Someone calling out ... to her?
The Washi? No. Though it did come from the temples' general direction, it sounded more from above. Turning quickly, seeing nothing directly behind, she altered her gaze upward, gasping in amazement.
A ... balloon? Yes. But not like any she had seen the vendor in the town square selling. This one was absolutely ... HUGE! A purple and orange color pattern, ropes starting halfway down suspending a ... large basket? Within the basket, calling down to her ... a ... man?
"Helloooo! You! ... Down there!"
Raka could only stare up, dumfounded. Out of reflexive politeness, she started to wave.
"Yes! ... YOU! ... You on the trail!"
She waved even more.
"Am in need of direction and assistance. I seem to be lost! Could you be so kind as to tell me where I am and what place this is?"
The last sentance shook her out of her daze. The language, though strange to her, she knew deep down she had heard it before. From her previous life, before her rebirth within the wall? It may not have been her primary one then, but she was sure she encountered its' use long ago. And that curious lettering halfway up the side ...
Knowing she could do nothing but observe, she continued doing so, taking in every detail her mind would let her.
A thought struck her. Reaching into a jacket pocket, she withdrew her paybook and pencil and started scrawling what she could, paying particular attention to the lettering.
The professor sighed as the fog started closing back in. A foreign land, it was too much to expect a local to understand let alone reply. At least he knew he was near civilization and better yet, was going to clear the cliff and wall before setting down.
Still peering up into the regathering gloom, Rakka pocketed book and pencil. Someone had to be told ... someone ...
"It is gone child."
With a start, Rakka spun to her left, seeing the Washi and an accompanying touga.
"Did you ... ?"
"Yes. We saw it drifting by."
"Was it from ... ?"
"Outside? Yes child, it was. As you know, in winter, the wall diminishes in power. Though it isn't often things other than birds get in even then."
The Washi extended his hand, palm up. Without any urging, Rakka knew what was wanted, handing over her paybook. The old man neatly tore the section out.
"I ... didn't mean to ... "
"Fear not. No rules broken on your part child. They do not foresee things extraordinary as this. In your desire to help and inform, you did what you could under the circumstances ... Nevertheless ... "
Rakka stiffened, possibility of penalty foremost in thought.
Handing the book back the old man concluded the matter.
"This occurrence ... What you have seen ... Must be treated and handled the same way any matters and duties you have within both temple and wall."
Solemnly nodding she replied, "yes ... I understand."
The Washi gestured toward the tall, silent, masked figure present.
"This touga will escort you back to Old Home. In your haste to leave, you gave us quite a start little one. It can be dangerous enough here in daylight if one is not careful."
The rest of the journey was uneventful. Before Rakka could even thank the humanoid "wraith", he (It?) had already vanished into the dark. Turning in, she entered through the kitchen and into the dining area.
"I tell ya'!" Exclaimed Kana to all and sundry. "It was absolutely huge! Like a balloon or ... something ... BUT BIGGER! ... Lots bigger!"
At the tables, the young feathers oooed and aaahed as Kana recited her tale for the umpteenth time.
Nemu, Hikari and the house mother looked on, shaking heads.
Noting their doubt, also for the umpteenth time, Kana sighed.
"Still not gonna' believe me, are you?" Frowning in frustration.
"I'm sorry Kana," Hikari replied, slight smile. "It's just too fantastic to believe. I'm sure you saw SOMETHING. As for what it was ... And you're the only one who saw it. No one else to-"
"I believe you Kana!" Hana exclaimed.
Kana patted the young feather on the head.
"Aw ... You have to hon. You're my 'petite souer'."
"Don't know what that means ... Just popped into my head."
Kana espied Rakka entering in.
"Wait! Rakka!" Kana exclaimed. "You might have seen something. It was heading your way at the time."
"What was ... seen?" Rakka, nervous, tried to look convincingly confused.
"You know ... The balloon ... or ... Whatever it was."
"Ball ... oon?"
The other three adults sighed as Kana went into her story for the ump-umpteenth time. The kids just as spellbound as before. For her part, Rakka knowing EXACTLY what the tomboy was talking about, listened carefully for any details she herself might have missed. As it was, compared to what she had seen, Kanas' description was meager at best."
"But," Kana concluded, "all I could make out was a huge shadow. Seemed solid enough. Looked like a humoungus ... uh ... balloon ... You sure you didn't see ANYTHING? I KNOW it was going in the direction of the temple."
"No," answered Rakka. "Fog was too thick. So much so, the Communicator had one of the Touga escort me here."
"Hmmmph!" Kana waved about the dining area indicating the young feathers, "Other than my LOYAL following, no one seems to believe me."
Kanas' hands hit her sides with an audible slap.
"I have to freshen up," Rakka excused herself. "Be right back."
She noted the skeptical look on Kanas' face as she left.
In her room, the young Haibane quickly rewrote her observations, complete with a hasty drawing, on paper separate from her journal. Her work within the wall trained her memory well. She copied word for word from what the Washi confiscated and then some.
She pondered the balloons' strange lettering. The "script", like the mans' speech, seemed somewhat familiar. They had to be related to her previous life in some way. It was unlikely she would ever be able to read it. And if she did, it was even more unlikely she would know the meaning of STATE FAIR OMAHA.
Before re-entering the dining area, Rakka paused to check herself and survey the scene. Kana, now seated between Nemu and Hana, seemed calm, eating and talking about other things, everyone else joining in.
Taking a place between two young ones, Rakka felt the warmth. Not of only the place itself and the food but also of the atmosphere of those around her.
Yes. Times such as these. With friends ... Friends? ... Family actually. Who could they be anything but? Family yes, most definitely. Where there is family, there is home.
And there's no place like home.
Storyline (only) copyright © 1-3-14 C V Ford
My other Haibane Renmei fanfics:
Uncle Wolf here.
An Offer She Might Refuse here.
An Exception In Gurie here.
Washi With the Mask Off here.
His Mother Was the Lightning, His Taker, the Light here.
You Devil You here.
Wikipedia article on the film, The Wizard of Oz here.
My profile page and my fanfics of other anime on fanfiction.net here.
Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here.
Disclaimer: The preceding is a NON-PROFIT work of fan fiction for entertainment purposes only. I make no claim to ownership of the COPYRIGHTED names/characters, places, & events mentioned in this work. They are the sole properties of their respective owners. Please, by all means support the owners of such properties in the purchase & enjoyment of their works.