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          A beautiful day.

          A beautiful day, in the middle of, well, wherever. To her, the setting didn't matter.

          She was walking, walking home from nowhere.

          She blinked a bit, pushing her glasses back up to meet her eyes as she continued walking along with no clear destination in mind. There wasn't a goal; at least, that was how she felt, but she knew where she was going well.

          For a good moment she stopped to survey the world around her, just to take a deep breath and not let anything actually get to her, find what beauty there was left in anything. At the tail end of the autumn, as was to be expected, the leaves were flaking from the trees; leaving empty branches and scattered all around beneath them were the red, yellow, brown. To stall for time, she stopped, sitting down next to the dead tree at the forefront of the woods around them, making certain not to situate herself on the individual leaves themselves, as she began to count each one around her. She realised how odd this behaviour was, but she didn't care either. She just didn't want to go home. That was all. 

          However, after not too much time, she was back up on her feet, continuing her trek on the way home.

          The world around her seemed cold, bland, consistently distant.

          She blocked it all out as she walked in circles around the block, which was empty. In fact, she hadn't seen anybody as she was walking around like this, which she found odd. Usually she'd see some people walking along the same route that she did, but today, nothing. Nobody. Silence, other than the occasional light sound of the trees swaying in the wind, her slow breathing, and the footsteps beneath her feet. 

          She didn't even know why she was stalling out on these sidewalks like she was doing. She knew it was inevitable that she'd have to go back. Something told her, though, that today was odd. A lot of things seemed to be alluding to that. 

          Such as her own uncontrollable odd mannerisms that she displayed here.

          Or maybe even this.

          "You okay there?" said an unrecognisable voice. "You look... uh... a bit spaced out," said he, with his unmistakably clear English accent. She hadn't heard anyone that sounded like this before, and in a way, that terrified her.

          Rei was paralysed by the voice.

          It just wasn't everyday that someone would speak to her with such strange care in their tone.

          She slowly turned around to face whoever it was and, lo and behold, as expected, there stood a boy. Probably around her age, maybe a bit younger than her.

          "...Y-Yeah," she said quietly. "I'm fine. Thanks for asking, I guess," she said quietly as she turned to walk away and finally just get on with what she needed to do.

          "I don't believe you," he said immediately. There was something too off about her behaviour.

          "I said I'm fine," replied quickly the young girl.

          Just didn't really want conversation. Maybe that was acceptable. Maybe not.

          "Alright, no need to be so hostile," he replied.

          Although, she had to admit, there was something very off about him. He didn't really seem to be like anyone else she knew. She'd never seen him before in her life, which was surprising enough. In a way, she expected him to be cast among the same group she was in by his appearance. Lengthy, dirty blonde hair (which was what confused her the most considering that most of whom she knew seemed much more "neat" or looked more like an upholding member of society; although she'd seen people similar), glasses holding hazel coloured eyes, but in stark contrast to the others she'd seen like him, he wore in place of oversized, dark clothing rather more upbeat stuff. Flannel, jeans that weren't ripped for once, and the normal running shoes. 

          He sighed a bit, turning away; he was going to walk.

          "...Hey, wait, actually, I- ...I'm sorry, I shouldn't have been as rash. Walk with me, would you?" she said, taking a certain curiosity as to what was up with this character. Something seemed to be, even at just this simple glance. 

          He found this a bit curious, as well. She'd had a sudden change of heart, but because of this it only found him even more curious as to what was with that look, what was with her rather hostile personality.

          So, he opted to follow, silently at first.

          "So, why did you call me out, anyways? What was so... interesting, that you had to say anything? Did you have a reason?" she asked.

          "I was... concerned? I don't know how you didn't see me. I'd been sitting there," he said before pausing, turning around and pointing a ways away, to a grassy plain between a few of the relatively drab homes in the neighbourhood, then continuing. "And I saw you walking and didn't think anything of it until I saw you walking around this way again and again. That was my reasoning," he finished. 

          "Hmm. Who are you, anyways? I haven't exactly seen you around before," she asked once more, continuing with her queries into this strange character. Not like this was a common occurrence, exactly; everyone here knew each other, Hell, even she knew most people. 

          "Oh, yes. I haven't even introduced myself, how... rude of me. I'm Lazarus Para. It's nice to meet you," he said, unable to keep much in terms of eye contact. There was an air of unease.

          "...Okay, guess I should too... I'm Rei," she replied quickly. "It's nice to meet you too, I guess."

          "Do you go to sch-school around here, or something?" he asked, rather intrigued with the other himself. "I'm not exactly... not exactly from around here," he said, looking back at her.

          "Oh, yeah, I do! I just don't, uh, don't get the chance to talk to people very often, we'll say," she said with a sigh. "That's probably why I got so angry with you at first. I'm actually really sorry about that."

          "Don't worry too much, I didn't really take any offence," he replied.

          He didn't apologise. That said a bit about his personality. Eh, she didn't want to be too judgemental, but she doubted she'd ever see this boy again. She should just probably enjoy what was happening while it lasted, she thought. "Where are you from?" 

          "I'm... around, really. Sorry if I seem like I'm trying to be 'mysterious' or something. No, it just really isn't important," he said.

          "What brought you here?" she inquired further.

          "I don't have much of a reason, actually; I just go where I please," he replied yet again.

          "Uh... yeah," she said.

          "Why are you asking me all of this, anyways?" he asked.

          "Oh, I'm just, uh, just curious. I don't actually get a chance to greet people often," she said.

          "I see," he said once again in reply, drinking in everything she had to say, much in the same way she was going about this conversation. "I want to know more about you as a person, really. There isn't much to tell about me. I'm just a traveler," he laughed, prompting a small chuckle from her. 

          "Uh, well, I live around here. On this block, in fact. I go to the school, but you can probably already tell that. Next year I'm going to graduate. I work as a cashier at a fast food restaurant in town too. I'd like to think I'm pretty ambitious, but I don't exactly mean to be self-righteous in saying that, either," she finished, feeling a bit more easy than she did upon first meeting Lazarus. 

          "I actually don't have a job, so, uh, consider yourself lucky," he said, stretching as they went along, continuing in his speech still. "I'm seventeen, but frankly, I don't care much for being employed yet... although I should probably be supporting myself by this point." 

          "I can understand that," she said. "I just want to get out of here, honestly."

          "Why's that?" he questioned.

          She let out a tiny laugh. "Nevermind, you don't need to know. Nothing important. Nothing to be concerned about,” she elaborated, still laughing under her breath a tad bit with a nervous tinge to the aforementioned laughter.

          "Eh. Be secretive," he mused. "That is, if you'd like. You don't have any obligation to tell me anyways."

          "There isn't anything wrong in my life, you know? I'm pretty happy with things the way they are. Yeah, nothing to be worried about!"

          "You're not fooling anyone," he coughed a bit, coming back with yet another statement. "But I respect your privacy, nonetheless."

          Rei sighed, sort of resenting her body language for showing those signs of inner conflict. She didn't like the fact that a total stranger was able to completely figure out one of her weak points with just the exchange of a few words, but now Lazarus probably thought she was just some goth chick with no specific abnormal talents (although that probably wasn't far from the truth, and even she realised that); some pretentious, relatively childish character that he shouldn't speak to under any circumstance. At least, that was what she believed, now that she had indirectly revealed that something was wrong. Despite her newfound beliefs, she found that deep down, there was something telling her that this wasn't exactly the case with him and he'd likely continue to behave as he had been, as if he were a guest in her house and, dear God, did he not need to see what situations would unfold under that roof. Everything at home was awful, plain and simple and he didn't need to see that... didn't need. Didn't need to see into her life, didn't n-- 

          "Are you quite alright?" he pondered aloud to her in specific, now standing before her, staring with obvious concern. 

          "...Huh? Oh, yeah, y-yeah, I'm fine," she muttered, realising she had come to a stop when he said everything he had about her privacy without knowing it.

          "I think you should probably go home."

          "I said I'm fine. I'd rather walk with you than go home," she said, coughing a bit from the cold air.

          "Whatever you say, then."

          "I--" she cut herself off, realising that she needed to keep talking if she didn't want him to walk away at that very moment. "Where were you born?"

          "A small town in Surrey. Nothing too special," he replied.

          "A-and what town was that?"

          "It's nothing too important. I'm still very curious about you, though, frankly — what is with you, might I ask? I can tell that you have something that you want to say, it seems, so I am quite intrigued. Not to say that I can tell exactly either, though. It's quite grand if you know what you're looking for," he remarked. 

          "I, I, um, I'm pretty normal! That's nothing really that off about me. I told you everything intere--"

          "What's your 'ambition', eh?"

          "I... I'm an artist," she spoke.

          "In what context? A visual artist? Musician?"

          "I draw more so, but I have some experience as a musician, you could say. I'm a pianist," she further elaborated.

          "Hmm. I take a particular interest in musicians. I'm not very talented myself in terms of art, but I'm a bit curious about them. My cousin... is a guitarist. Yeah, he's a guitarist. Pretty okay, I'd think, but how exactly would I know? I don't know good from bad because I don't do any music things myself." 

          "I'm actually really bad at playing. That's why I usually stick to just drawing things."

          "If you aren't confident in your ability to perform, then you should invest more time in practicing for that skill. That goes without saying."

          "I really do need to, though... I just don't get much of a chance to, ever, so-- oh, God, speaking of which, I need to get home. I have a lot I have to work on for school."

          "...Understandably," he muttered, staring at her again. "I'm not exactly the most interesti--"

          "No, no, it's not that! Don't jump to conclusions."

          "Whatever you say. I'm pretty indifferent. We'll meet again, right?"

          "Yeah, of course!"

          "Are you sure?"

          "I'm certain."

          Upon reaching the house, the two were silent; Lazarus had yet to actually know where her home was, although he had seen it multiple times on the rather repetitive walk around the block. She lightly rapped on the door and, upon receiving no response, opened the door. Unsurprisingly, the interior of the home remained unchanged from its normal form. This was just another day in the life, it'd seem. 

          From the exterior he would have guessed it a rather alright household, but the interior told a different story. The place looked like Hell, no sugarcoating it. It appeared to be completely rundown. There were random objects strewn all about the floorboards, occasional stains on the walls meeting his eyes as he turned them about, garbage bags all around stacking at some points. It was a wonder Rei could even live here to him. A grimace crossed his face as she turned to look at him once more. "I know. I'm sorry." 

          "It's not exactly an issue so long as you're not being affected," said Lazarus.

          "...You should probably get out of here before something happens. I'll talk to you when I can, I guess," she said, sighing a bit.

          "Goodbye, then."

          "Bye," she mirrored his statement as she shut the door. She was thinking about how strange that was when, as she was shutting it, her eyes flicked to the side of his presence. A shadow stood. She closed the door before she could visibly react, but afterwards, began to question what it was she saw, exactly.


          Rei: So, everyone, I met this weird guy earlier. He said he wasn't from around here, but he was polite enough. I want to talk about it. I think it's interesting.

          Emma: tell us about it. :3

          Mary: Yee tell us lol

          Brian: listening

          Rei: His name is Lazarus Paira? It might be spelled Para, I'm not completely sure. I thought the name was especially strange because, I mean, who names their kid Lazarus? Well, I suppose I shouldn't judge. I have a weird name too. It could even be a fake name.

          Rei: He showed up somewhere around my house, and I really didn't want to go home so I just kept walking around the block. He asked me if I was alright, we walked for a while, and he told me he just went whatever he wanted to. He really got to me, though. He's a year younger than me, I think, and he says he's from a small town in Surrey. I didn't know where Surrey is, and I'd never heard of it in my life before. I did a Google search for it, and apparently, it's a county in England, which makes me wonder how he got from there to here in Canada. Whatever, I guess. If he shows up again, I'll be sure to ask him.

          Emma: ooo someone like you mary. xD

          Mary: Lol

          Rei: Anyway, he was a lot like Brian, being all mysterious and stuff. It sorta reminded me of his pretentiousness.

          Brian: shut up would you

          Rei: No offense. ;)

          Rei: He said his cousin is a guitarist or something too, I believe. I'm curious as to why he would even bring that up.

          Rei: There was a part that really scared me, though. When he was walking me home and he was standing outside of my door, and I was shutting it, I looked over to the left and, across the street, I could see this blurry silhouette. It shouldn't have been that dark, either. The thing was entirely cloaked in darkness even with the overcast weather, and it freaked me out a lot. I've been scared to go outside since I saw that.

          Mary: That actually does sound pretty scary

          Mary: I don't think you should go outside

          Emma: yeah dont do that. i love you lots and id be really fucked up if you died or something.

          Brian: youre being ridiculous rei

          Brian: shit doesnt work like that

          Brian: you were probably just hallucinating or something

          Rei: You're probably right, Brian. I just don't want to go outside in case it was real.

          Emma: maybe you should get some rest.

          Mary: Yeah

          Brian: yeah

          Rei: You're right. I should.

          Rei: Goodnight.

          Brian: night

          Emma: goodnight!

          Mary: Night Rei

This is part of the narrative of Nowhere in Forever

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