Three years it had been since Maiko made her vow.
“I’m going. I’m leaving. No more waiting, no more excuses.”
Maiko had convinced herself she’d outgrown her school, and outgrown the monotonous routine which swept her from one place to another with such relentless regularity that it had become organic.
Maiko’s cynicism belied her age, and it is why she rejected the flowery sentiments of her elders as they extolled the virtues of the school:
“Spare me…what about Conformity?”
She had decided to finally break free. She would do it this time.
She hadn’t revealed her intentions of course. The school was famously suspicious of non-conformity and of those labelled ‘Free Thinkers’. Kai was a ‘Free Thinker’. He was sceptical, outspoken, uncouth and rebellious. He was accused of ‘swimming against the tide’. Kai was gone.
The mysterious object which regularly appeared glinting in the distance was her salvation, and lunchtime was the perfect opportunity to escape. While the rest of the school descended en-masse to engorge themselves on their daily sustenance, Maiko quietly slipped away and was soon separated from her peers. Her absence would be noted, but not until she had put sufficient distance between herself and the school.
A magnetic force lured Maiko to the mystical object and she floated towards it involuntarily. The temptation and promise of liberation drew her further and further from the school, and feelings of freedom overwhelmed her. She let herself drown in the intoxication of heightened alertness and unparalleled awareness, and thoughts of safety and belonging washed joyously from her consciousness.
The intriguing entity loomed larger and Maiko was able to make out some of its finer details. She drank in its kaleidoscopic facade and the sensual wondrous beauty which so captivated her that its very existence justified her bold escape.
Maiko was also very afraid. She knew intuitively that once she made contact with this object she could never go back; could never return to the school. This is what she wanted, what she’d dreamt of and longed for. But it had taken her three years to seize this moment.
Maiko drowned her fears and approached the enchanting object with a heady mixture of terror and excitement. She marvelled at the clash of colours which enveloped its shape, as well as its provocative swaying.
Just at the moment of contact, a wild thrashing of pulsating, animalistic energy rushed past Maiko and launched itself at the wondrous object with such force that the apparition was entirely unidentifiable. Maiko reeled in shock and remained transfixed as the frenzied being latched onto her prize and wrestled it savagely.
“Nooooooooo,” cried Maiko in utter despair. “My salvation???????????”
The thrashing subsided. Slowly the body fell limp. The being revealed itself.
A look of unbridled fear shot from Kai’s eyes and speared into Maiko’s soul. Kai disappeared skywards. He was gone: forever.
Hungry, chastised and humbled, Maiko swam back to the school.