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Eclipse: Chapter 5

by RealSadhours296


Warning: This work has been rated 18+.

General Content Rating: 18+

Story Content Warnings: Heavy Swearing, Blood and Gore, Death, Racism, Sexism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Exorsexism, Child Abuse, Underage Shenanigans (Drinking, Smoking, etc.), Suicide

Current Chapter Content Warnings: None

Viewer Discretion is Advised

#5: Don’t Think About it

Notes: A sentence written in English that is italicized in dialogue means that a language other than English is being spoken, and has been 'translated' by the omnipotent narrator for your convenience.

Noriko ran, and ran, and ran.

Never had she felt so terrified and helpless before.

At a certain point, she realized that nothing was chasing her. She wanted to stop running by then; her legs were starting to ache so much it felt like they were on fire.

But she couldn’t stop running.

A tree was coming up directly in front of her. She slammed her hand against the bark, forcing herself to stop. The pain in her palm was stinging.

There she gasped for breath, trying to calm her beating heart.

Focus Noriko, focus! That was a tiger, right? In a taiga? That can only mean they’re somewhere in Russia, that could have only been a Siberian tiger just from the habitat.

Good, good. She knows where they are. Now, she needs to study her surroundings.

And so she did. She scanned the trees surrounding her, the barely observable night sky, and the dark green grass. There was nothing to note. It looked just as similar to where she was before.

…The others!

She smacked her fist against her head multiple times. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! What was she thinking?! Running away from a tiger only provokes its hunting instincts! Now everyone’s separated, and who knows which of the three the tiger got to first…!

Not to mention since pretty much everywhere in this taiga looks exactly the same, how on earth is she even going to find the others?

…Where even is she? Did she run north? East? South? West?

She had no idea. She was alone. Alone with nothing to do. Alone with nothing to distract her of this situation she’d been thrust into.

She could feel her heart race faster and faster. Slowly she breathed in and out. No. Don’t think about it. Don’t. Think rationally. think logically.

The best thing she could do right now is wander for a bit. Maybe she’ll find a foot print, or a discarded shoe, or just anything that could lead her to someone else. It’d be better than standing here, letting herself become an easy target for predators.

She picked a random direction, and began walking.

The fresh air the forest provided felt like it was slowly suffocating her. Her surroundings were…confusing. Was she going in a circle?

No. Don’t think about it. Think about it logically. She was already lost. She can’t get even more lost at this point, so don’t worry about it. There’s no need to be scared.

The silence made Noriko so uncomfortable and restless that she couldn’t help but clap her hands repeatedly to make noise. Her logic was telling her this was a bad idea, as the noise could alert predators, but her under-stimulation was so bad that she couldn’t stop.

At least no one else was here to see her do this. She didn’t have to worry about distracting or annoying anyone.

The stimming helped her calm herself a little bit, but various thoughts and questions she had pushed aside while focused on the others were beginning to surface; they bombarded her mind at every step.

Who is she?

Don’t think about it.

Why is she here?

Don’t think about it.

How did she even get here?

Don’t think about it.

How did she lose her arm?

Don’t think about it.

…She’s scared.

Don’t think about it.

Clapping her hands wasn’t helping anymore. She smacked her ears; biting her lip in frustration. The noise was obnoxiously loud; but drowning out to that noise distracted her for a while longer. She needs to find them. She won’t be hit with these intrusive thoughts as long as she has them to worry about.

But are they safe?

Don’t think about it.

Are they hurt?

Don’t think about it.

Are they dead?

Stop.

She’s alone.

Just stop!

Alone in a forest with no one to hear her scream.

Don’t!

No one would bat an eye if she was killed right now. No one knows she’s here.

Stop it!

What if she does find the others? Is there even a river nearby?

Don’t think about that!

Are they all going to die regardless? Is she going to die regardless?

Just stop it!

Noriko collapsed onto her knees. Leaning her shaking body against a nearby tree. she curled herself up into a ball and began to rock back and forth; clutching onto her armless sleeve as tears threatened to escape her eyes.

Don’t you dare cry!

It hurts so bad!

You’re better than this!

She’s so scared!

You have to be better than this!

Everything hurts!

This is a waste of time!

She doesn’t want to die!

Stop!

Noriko shed her first tear. As she sobbed out her frustrations and fears, she felt more than pathetic. She’d rather be dead than break down like this.

‘God, what are we doing. There’s no way we’re going to find her…’

‘We can’t just give up! We have to keep searching; at least until morning…’

…?

‘I hope Noriko’s okay. Maybe she’s already found the flowers I’ve left behind!’

…What?

She lifted her head up from her lap; wide-eyed and concerned. She’s clearly lost it if she’s hearing Brian, Diantha, and Aden’s voices.

Directly in front of her was a picked, fully bloomed wild rose, illuminated by a faint purple glow. Trailing her hand towards her forehead, she noted the way the light morphed its shape has she moved her fingers around the gem on her forehead.

…Was…this her strange quirk? If Brian’s gem glowed when he destroyed the alter…are the voices she’s hearing real? Is she reading the other’s minds right now? Telepathy perhaps?

She placed her hand on the tree behind her and pushed herself up. It’s a long shot, but if that’s the case, then the others can’t be too far…Aden said he left flowers behind, and that’s a flower right there, so…are there more?

Sure enough — upon studying the ground — a trail of picked flowers led forwards. Sprinting, she followed the trail; the more she followed it, the clearer and louder the voices in her head became.

Halfway through she stopped, took a moment to regain some air, and then wiped her eyes with her dangling sleeve. She knew it’d be pretty obvious she had just cried her eyes out. She at least wanted to make it a little less obvious.

After that, she resumed following the trail. Eventually she saw Diantha, Brian, and Aden in the distance. Although the trees blocked a lot of the view, Aden’s yellow rain poncho was very distinctly seen along with Diantha’s entire outfit.

Brian raised his hand up and halted the three’s journey. He turned to Noriko, and Diantha and Aden followed suit. She couldn’t tell what their expressions were exactly, but it was clear they noticed her.

Strange, she was really far away, so it was unlikely Brian could have heard her?

Aden dashed towards Noriko; the two met halfway. He tackled her — almost knocking her to the ground — and hugged her tightly before separating from her and jumping in excitement. “You are fine! You are fine!” He shouted in elation. He twirled to Diantha and Brian, who were catching up. “Look! Noriko is fine! Noriko is fine!”

Diantha almost embraced Noriko the moment she got close enough. Observing Noriko’s stiffness and slightly shocked, uncomfortable expression; she backed away at the last second. “Thank god you’re alright. We were worried we’d never see you again!” She let out a relieved sigh.

Brian himself only nodded of agreement, although you could tell he as well was relieved from his small smile.

“…Are you ok? Your eyes are kinda puffy…” Diantha leaned closer to Noriko, scanning her friend’s face.

“I’m fine.” Noriko quickly replied; rubbing her hand against her left cheek. “I suppose I just passed by a plant I was mildly allergic too. Nothing to worry about.” She’d never tell them she broke down crying, admitting that would be so…shameful.

“You look sad. Did you cry?”

Noriko glanced at Aden, at a face filled with curiosity and just a bit of concern. Diantha and Brian now stared at her with that same concerning gaze as well.

“…No, I didn’t. I’m fine, just a bit…drained from the running.” She gave another excuse, keeping a calm façade.

Diantha frowned Noriko, worry still apparent on her face. “…Noriko-“

“Anyways.” Noriko changed the subject, raising her voice in an addressing tone. “Since all of us are reunited, we should resume our previous goal: searching for a river.” Brushing the dust off her black skirt; she glanced between the three of them. “We don’t necessarily have an idea as to where a river is, but the least we can do is keep wandering until we find one.”

“…Noriko…I’m exhausted.” small bags crept under Brian’s eyes.

Diantha moaned in agreement. “Yeah, I’m pretty tired too. Can’t we turn in for the night?”

Noriko considered Diantha and Brian’s energy-less expressions, and Aden’s sleepy, yet somehow lively eyes. “After the tiger incident, who knows what else is out there. If we stopped somewhere, we’d be a prime target for an attack…Not only that but if it started snowing while we were sleeping…” She glared at the ground for a moment, thinking of all the dangers they could face in this taiga.

…However, noting her own exhaustion, she let out a sigh, and nodded in acceptance. “But we can just take turns keeping watch. Yes, If you all want to stop for the night, I won’t object.”

Brian let out a small sigh of relief, Diantha fist-pumped in triumph, and Aden let out a small yawn; a tired smile on his face.

“Alright then! So does anyone know how to start a campfire?” Diantha asked after the short-lived celebration.

A long, awkward silence ensued. No one spoke up.


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The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch somebody else doing it wrong, without comment.
— T. H. White