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Shift - Chapter 48 - Running Wild

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Everyone was drawn in easily by the illusion and the surprisingly real sensations that it gave them. The thought of whether it was possible or not was left ignored by most of them. It was now and that was all that mattered. Time eased on by at a quick pace making it easy to forget what they were doing. A few hesitant moments from Yuki washed away for even him as he was taken in by landscape. Not until Ha entered into the fields did anyone question anything further.

She approached in from behind Yuki, Saki, Yumi and Katsumi, who were sitting back in the grass. Ha crossed her arms turning narrow in face before she spoke to them, still unannounced or aware of her presence. “Wow for teenagers you’ve got a pretty lame imagination…thought at least the nerd would find something interesting.” The four students quickly turned towards to the voice not quite insulted by her attitude, but rather off balanced and agape.

Chapter 48 – Running Wild

Hiroshi came up from behind Ha dropping his hand on her head, not so much grabbing her nor resting his hand. “We’re just testing it out first…kid…” He gave her a wide grin that was hiding his annoyed expression from being mouthed off by a little girl.

The little girl pushed away his hand while getting out from under him and quickly placing distance from him. “Watch yourself! Kid!” After her gladly opening hostilities with Hiroshi the two leaned in at each other exchanging electric glares that set everyone back. However, Kaede came up from behind the little girl grabbing her up and hugging her tightly, in her attempt to calm the anger and she found the kimono that she wore quite adorable on her despite the attitude. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing, girl!”

“Aww, you shouldn’t be getting so upset. Hiroshi isn’t worth the energy.” She was holding on to Ha through the tantrum she was throwing to get free, but it proved to be a fruitless effort for Ha. “Just go back to the sweet little girl!”

“Stupid girls should be quiet!”

Kaede was not stopping and Hiroshi seemed to be enjoying the shift turning him back to his usual self. The noise had started to bring the rest back in as Ha fought Kaede. They continued with their struggle as Yumi tried to separate her friend from the girl with Katsumi half heartedly helping. It was not until Hana stepped in behind everyone with surprisingly unintentional stealth. “Oh hey Ha! Having fun with the customers? Can I join?”

Using everyone’s momentary stunned reactions to her advantage, Ha slipped out of Kaede’s grasp. “Did it look like I was enjoying myself? You stupid airhead!” Ha leapt up with tremendous height to whack Hana in the back of the head.

“But you were gone for so long, sis. I thought you were checking to see if they wanted something to eat?”

“I was until that stupid cow and her boyfriend started grabbing me!”

“Cow?! Boyfriend?!” Kaede shouted making her way over to Ha very quickly while point her hand back at Hiroshi.

“We are not!” Hiroshi and Kaede said together making some of the others laugh shortly behind amused smiles.

Kazuhiko joined the group stepping with a very blunt question. “What’s with the rough attitude towards paying customers?”

“I’ll show you rough!” Ha said before Hana grabbed her keeping her from doing anything, but running in place swinging her arms.

Hana was lightly laughing in embarrassment trying to keep Ha’s tempter under control. Then in a swift motion she lifted up Ha by her obi holding her off the ground. Her free hand raised up by her mouth as a distant, not quite vacant, look appeared as she was trying to think (very hard). “As big sister Hanabira explained it there is one type of little girl. The…what was it…stereotype! Yeah, the stereotype of a little girl is sweet and innocent. But she also said…” It was clear on Hana’s face that she was struggling to remember something incredibly complex for her. The twisted and confused look in her eyes was quickly shifting as she moved through her words. “…that cultural…trends had shown that a new stereotype was becoming popular…the blunt rough mature sounding little girl that is supposed to play…in contrast to the typical running stereotype. However…its uh a stereotype too…so uh…its falls into uh…”

Everyone listening to Hana’s explanation could not help but sweat as she tried to describe it to them only becoming confused by herself. It also left them with further shock listening to an analytical reasoning of child stereotypes in pop culture. No one knew what to make of what they were talking about.

Ha had had enough of Hana and broke free from her hold dropping back down to the ground. “Stupid girl, you aren’t supposed to explain the plan to them!”

“Plan?” Saki said questioningly stepping out from the rest.

The little girl curtly crossed her arms staring at them. “Simply put you get two clichés, a sweet innocent little girl and the brat that contradicts the other cliché.”

“What?! You can’t be serious!”

“Hey, this is a business of fulfilling fantasies and we get a lot of those weird anime otaku types.”

It took until now, as the shiny fantasy began to peel away, that Tatsuya poked Hiroshi to get him confirm what he was noticing. It made the two of them nearly break into tears collapsing to the grass. Hiroshi looked up over to Hana and Ha with a regretful question. “You don’t have a fourth sister do you?”

The question confused everyone, apart from Ha, making them all look over at them trying to understand what was wrong with them. Yuki ran over to their side trying to get them to speak to him, but it seemed that they were gone to the point of stuttering sounds. However, Ha spoke up for them knowing exactly what they had finally realized. “The two drooling morons are talking about this!” She held up her hands holding something that Yuki did not recognized, but the girls quickly picked up on.

Ayumi and Saki looked down and back up at Hana following by a double take that took in everyone. “Pads?!” Katsumi said before anyone else was able to say it. “Why she wearing those?!”

“Because saying that Hana’s got an ‘A cup’ would be generous and you can’t have a flat-chested airhead cliché without a rack that’ll make guys drool.” The bluntness that was delivered made everyone sweat and nearly fall over. Everything was falling apart it seemed leaving everyone unease about staying.

“I’m not so sure we should stay…” Tatsuya cautiously said.

Katsumi nodded in agreement with him. “It’s a little too weird…”

“Yeah, I want this to end!” said Hiroshi sorrowfully still partially out of it. While the voice was low it seemed to trigger an effect in the room. An electronic beep sounded out followed by an explosion of light that drained away from sight. Revealed behind it was the room that they had been in before with everyone returned to the places that they had been. Ken and Jun were returned as well, though obviously confused by the sudden change in environment.

“Hey! Where’d the grass go? We were playing!” Ken said with Jun asserting a firm nod of his head towards the others to back up his brother. They both went over to Yuki to plead to him. Ken took his left and Jun his right holding on the ends of his school uniform trying to beg with soft eyes. “We want to play more!”

Yuki was made equally uneasy by everything with his thoughts starting to make him question once more if the machine could possibly exist. He tried to look away from them towards his friends, but that only seemed to make them even noisier.

Hana took to their complaints and started walking over to the door. The suspicious emotions in the air were going by obliviously being ignored by her. It was simply her task to serve and keep the customers happy. She approached the computer panel in the wall starting to type before everyone realized what she was doing. “I know something fun for everyone! It’s highly requested!”




Tatsuya, Kaede and Saki rushed over to Hana trying to reach her before she did something. The entire room fell into darkness again as Hana’s speed typing finished the request before they were able to even get close to her. “There!” Seconds passed by as everything was beginning to be processed before revealing a sandy beach next to a water park.

“Oh this looks awesome!” Ken said running out into the water as the waves broke against the shore. Jun followed along with his brother splashing water everywhere he went. The rest of the students all took in the moment before Ayumi was taken in by the moment heading to the water. It was then they realized she was wearing a bright pink and white bathing suit. They all looked around at each other noticing that everyone was wearing swimwear making Hiroshi and Tatsuya grin and the girls embarrassed. Yumi was most especially embarrassed knowing that she was wearing bikini in front of Yuki. She balled up to the ground trying to cover herself up.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?!” Saki shouted over to Hana, still in her kimono smiling like everything was good and right in the world. Ha was standing next to her older sister with a wicked grin on her face also enjoying the scene, but for completely different reasons.

Yuki was not really thinking and went over to Yumi who looked like she was lonely, according to Yuki. “Come on Yumi! Let’s go!” He offered her a hand up in addition to a warm smile.

“Yuki?! Don’t encourage them!”

“…but I’m in…ah…a…b-b-b-b…” Yumi’s red face and embarrassed feeling of being exposed ran a total collapse on her ability to speak. She could almost feel how close Yuki was to her. It was making her heart pound in her chest and body sweat. His warm body and bare chest was making her face turn five shades of red.

The clues were not enough for Yuki to get the correct message and taking it in a different direction he let out a short laugh. “It’s alright, Yumi! You need a swimsuit if you’re going to go swimming. So let’s go!” He reached out taking her hand leading her a little to get her up to her feet. It was surprisingly easily to coax her legs to move before she was running with Yuki to join his brothers and Ayumi. Kaede and Katsumi were not about to let Yuki have his way with Yumi and sprinted after them. Hiroshi looked between Kazuhiro and Tatsuya nodding in agreement charging into the water as well leaving Saki the odd one out.

Saki looked around the empty beach agape that she was left behind and that no one else was feeling invaded like she was. She glared over as the hostess siblings and then walked off seeing that she was alone. As she stormed into the water she caught a mouth and faceful of salt water that was intended for Yumi behind her from Yuki. Everyone froze as the water slowly dripped down her shocked face. The frustrated expression behind the wide eyes transitioned into smirk that delivered a heavy retaliatory attack back at Yuki that covered him in enough water to blur out his features.

Once again time was forgotten in the playful expression of everyone. All of the stress that they had all been holding was finally allowed to be let free washed away. They could act like children without a care or worry in the world. It was a moment in time that they could smile freely dropping their guards to enjoy the moment.

Kaede and Katsumi were taking a break away from everyone resting on the beach. In the background Ken and Jun were enjoying the water slide that spun and spiraled before entering the ocean water. Kaede looked over at Katsumi, who was keeping an eye on Yumi. “Looks like she’s finally herself, Katsumi.”

“Yeah…it’s been a while since I’ve seen that smile when it’s not about her brother.”

“Maybe…you think?”


“He’s not so bad…”

“…maybe…” Katsumi smiled looking on at Yuki and Yumi. Once she had gotten into the water she had not been shy or distant from anyone. She was even keeping her face from getting red as well being around Yuki. Katsumi caught a look of Yuki as he was coming up from the water with water trailing off of him providing an unusually attractive view of him. “Hey, Kaede…”


“Yuki…was he always that muscular?”

“You noticed too? I thought he was just a nerd, but he actually looks like he works out.”

Katsumi leaned forward resting her head on her hand staring out. “Maybe there’s more to him than what we see in class…”

The time that they had was coming to end soon as there was an announcement by the machine’s voice once more informing them of their time left. “Ten minutes remaining… Ten minutes remaining… If you wish to purchase more time please visit the front desk. Thank you!” Everyone looked around at each other feeling a little disappointed that they had already used up all of their time.

Jun looked up at Yuki grabbing his attention. “What, Jun? You want to try it out? There’s only ten minutes though, Jun.” Jun reached out his hand grabbing Yuki’s swim trunks giving him a serious expression through his eyes. “Alright. If you want this to end.” It was at that moment that the entire world melted away returning everyone back to the room with their clothes and completely dry hair and bodies. Yuki walked over to the computer with Jun looking down at him. “Just tell me what you want and I’ll put it in for you.” Jun tightened his hand on his school uniform making it clear enough to Yuki. “Alright…”

Yuki knelt down picking up his brother allowing him the height to reach the keyboard. Jun insisted on not letting Yuki see it or anyone else. It only seemed to take a minute and Jun was done with the computer accepting the input. Yuki stared down at his little brother trying to figure out what it was that he wanted to keep a secret from him. The entire room went dark once more for a few seconds.

Suddenly, the light exploded from the top as the sun beamed down on them revealing a seemingly generic looking neighborhood in Japan. It was not just any neighborhood though as Saki and Yuki quickly realized. “Jun why did you want to make our neighborhood?” said Yuki looking down at his brother once more.

Out from the distance there was a woman’s voice that seemed to clearly carrying through the air. Jun was quick to turn and dart off towards the voice, but Yuki froze in his body. ‘That voice…it sounds so familiar…’

Saki looked over at Yuki seeing the reaction on his face not knowing what was wrong with him. “Yuki?”

Another voice this time a man’s voice broke through the street they were standing in. This time the words were heard by Yuki. “Hey, Jun! How’s my big man doing?”

Yuki’s body knew the voice, but his mind had not put it together yet. It was making his heart pound and sweat crawl over his skin. ‘Is it?’ The thumping grew to echo in his ears as he was unable to control his own body as it reacted.

“Yuki?” Yumi and Ayumi said confused by his reaction from seeing the two adults with Jun. They did not know what was going on along with the rest of his friends.

Saki was finally pulled away from Yuki recognizing the voices and looked up at the house seeing the man and woman as they greeted Ken running up the sidewalk to them. Her eyes widened sharply as she immediately knew who they were. She stepped back having difficulty believing what she was seeing. “It can’t be!”

The woman looked out from Jun and Ken quickly catching her eye on someone in the crowd. She stepped down from the house with Jun holding at her side. She stepped towards them standing before Yuki, still paralyzed, looking down at him with such a gentle and warm smile. “There you are, Yuki!”

Yuki’s eyes widen in shock knowing who it was as he slowly turning still not believing it. Even when he stared up at her face he had to reach out his hand to touch her just to know it was real. Before any words could come out of his mouth tears fell down his cheeks. “…mother…”

To be continued…

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