Author's Note:

Hello, I was formally known as M Mellow. I originally deleted this story due to personal issues. A reader, couple years back, asked that I bring this story back. It was on my mind but I never got around to it.

Also, I will post the latest chapter to this story before I dropped this. So new content! AND! I will post small plot ideas at the end of the story for those that are interested in that sort of thing - for those that wanted to know where I was going with this story. I will upload the story bits and pieces at a time as I need to reformat the chapters to upload it back on FF.

This story will remain unedited.

Thank you.

Published Date: June 12, 2016

Last Updated Date: July 6, 2017.


Chapter 1: Jade


I've always believed that everyone had one life. Everyone had that one life to work hard for their dreams, their ambitions, or their goals. If you decided to waste away that one golden opportunity, then like hell Life would be generous to give you another!

The simple fact of life?

You die. You rot. You're forgotten.

Reincarnation? I've always scoffed at the idea. I've always thought that people who believed in such a convenient notion were just scared of their inescapable mortality.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter was that you only got that one life and that one chance. Thinking about my life like this strangely felt comforting. I'm 32 years old; I graduated from some no-name college with a general arts degree.

Ah… what was my dream again? What did I once aspire to be again?

Stifling a laugh, I thank God that I only need to live once. Let's just get this over with. I want this play that we call Life to be over. Let the puppeteer rest their hands, and let the main character be forgotten.

"Jade! What did I tell you about upselling?" a shrill voice shattered my thoughts. I looked to see my supervisor crinkling her well-groomed thin eyebrows with a big frown plastered on her lips.

I looked up at our promotional poster. Buy one, get one free! The sign practically screamed at me with its' bold, thick font coloured in clashing red and yellow.

Looking back at the small brunette supervisor, I laughed sheepishly to poorly placate the situation. "I'm sorry. I will definitely remember to inform the next customer about our promotion."

The young supervisor gave me a scrutinizing look before she gave out a heavy sigh.

"Alright. Try your best."

Ah. That condescending little bitch. I had been working at this video rental store for three years and counting, and yet I was still a grunt worker. She's been here for, what? Six months and they promoted her to a supervisor. Didn't I deserve some respect?

But the small voice inside of me tauntingly replied you've never tried your best in ANYTHING. You've always tried to take the easy way out.

I heaved a deep sigh. Pointless.

I glanced at the computer monitor, and the time read 8:55 pm. Five more minutes until I could finally go home.

Time, run quicker so I can be done with this lousy life.


I finally left my workplace. There was a sudden rush of customers coming in that I had to stay an extra 30 minutes! Ugh, my precious time!

Precious time? You never used your time wisely. You're just wasting away. What've another 30 minutes gone by to you? My skeptical side gushed out.

I packed up my bag and waved a lazy farewell to my supervisor. I caught a minute scowl from her, but she quickly replaced it with a perfect plastic smile. I grinned in amusement, seriously what image was she trying to protect? I already knew how much she detested me. But if we didn't pretend, and if we didn't hide our ugly feelings, we would just be ostracized by the very society we grew up in. What a fickle world we live in.

The parking lot was quiet, but not in an eerie way. It was peaceful, a welcomed silence from the usual traffic of people and cars. I looked up to the sky, and there was a full moon peeking out of the dull gray clouds. Ah, I'm hungry.

I walked the same path to my apartment for the past three years. There was always a tax office, a sketchy nail salon, and a Chinese restaurant with a broken OPEN sign light. Only the letter "O" was brightly lit, it had been three years, and they haven't changed a bit. My stomach grumbled quietly, and I looked at the rundown Chinese restaurant once more. Maybe I should just order some take out and watch Netflix till I pass out.

Sounds perfect.

Ten minutes later, I was back on the road with a bag of takeout food in hand. I slowly trekked towards my one-room apartment, the smell of heavily deep-fried food wafted in the air. It was 15 minutes walk, but if I sped up, I could probably be there in 10 minutes. I fished out my cell phone out of pure habit. I looked down at the black screen to see my reflection staring right back at me. I turned on my phone, no new messages. I could feel a small uncomfortable prick in my chest. My thumb hovered over the message icon. A momentarily lapse of silence passed before I clicked my tongue and shove the phone back in my pocket. Whatever. It didn't matter.

I think Life had a funny way of deciding who would die and who could live on in this pointless existence. Life probably played darts to determine who was the next to go.

My neighbourhood wasn't exactly a bad neighbourhood. It was pretty nice. The socioeconomic class was medium-low, so I wouldn't exactly call it a slum.

"Is that you Kitty?" I heard a gruff voice behind me. Of course, there was the annoying occasion of having sketchy people coming up to you and talking to you. The best thing to do was just ignore the person and walk on; normally they would follow you for maybe a couple of steps before the prison of their mind distracts them.

Normally that should have happened tonight.

Normally that's what these people do.

Normally. Normally.

But tonight was different. Tonight took a different path. A break in this idle time that we live our lives in, that we seek comfort in.

"Kitty?" the hoarse voice called out again. Just walk faster, don't look back, and just keep walking. My hand was clutching my phone in my pocket.

"Wait! Kitty!" The voice was louder, and I was ready to break into a sprint. But before I took another step forward, I felt my ponytail being pulled back harshly.

"Ack!" I squawked out before I collapsed on my butt. My left wrist throbbed in pain; I instinctively tried to cushion my fall with my hands, what a mistake that was.

"It is you! Kitty! Kitty! My sweet dear Kitty!"

I looked up to the man who pulled me down. My breath hitched. A scruffy-looking man, with wire-like white hair, was grinning down at me. His teeth were yellow and crooked.

"Uh…" My voice got caught in my throat. I looked down at his shirt that was once white, but unknown stains tie-dyed his shirt to greens, yellows, and browns.

"Kitty!" His hands shot out to grip my shoulder tightly. His arms were filled with open red sores, and some had pus leaking out.

My lips trembled, my body has frozen.

Run! Run! My head was urging my body to move.

I caught a whiff of sweat and urine from him.

Yes. I hated my life.

Yes. I thought my life was pointless.

Yes. I thought I was just taking up precious space and resources.

But I was a liar. A hypocrite. I fantasized about what life would be like if I ended my life, but not like this. I didn't want to die like this.

No matter how crude my viewpoint of life could be, no matter how depressive my state of being was now – I didn't want to die.

"Kitty…" the man croaked once more. His face was getting closer and closer.

"G-get away!" I managed to choke out. My hands pushed his chest away from my face. He stumbled and fell on his back. Hastily, I got back up and grabbed my phone ready to call 911. But as soon as I was about to run, I felt a tight grasp on my ankle, and I fell face forward. I looked down to see the same yellow teeth flashing dangerously at me.

"Let go! Let go!" I squirmed and kicked with my other foot. No matter how much I kicked, he wouldn't let go of me. I looked to see my phone that flew out of my hand just barely out of my reach. My phone was lit up with three big numbers: 911. I just need to click the call button. I just need to-!

"Kitty…" The man slowly straddled me.

Help. A small pathetic voice mewed inside my head. I need to reach my phone. Just a bit. Please! Please! I begged.

"Ki-Kitty. I've been trying to meet you."

Help. So close. My hand was touching the corner of my phone's case. Help.

"But you never returned my call. Why? Why? I love you so much."

My lips finally splutter a small cry. "HELP!"

The world was so quiet today. No traffic of people and cars.

Tears started to blur my vision; the phone was slowly turning into a fuzzy block. No. No! "Help!" I tried again, my arms stretched, and stretched. My fingers stretched and stretched. "He—" My voice cut off and I felt a painful squeeze around my trachea.

Why can't I breathe?

"Look at me! Kitty! Look at me!"

My neck twisted away from my phone, and I was forced to look at the man. His saliva was oozing out of his mouth, and droplets fell on my face mingling with my own sweat and tears.

"Gah…"

My hands were grabbing this stranger's hands. Air. Air. It hurts.

Help me…

"Gah…" Let go! Let go!

I can't breathe. Oh God. I can't breathe. God, I need air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air. Air.

I WANT TO BREATHE. IT HURTS. HURTS. BURNS. BURNING. PAIN. PAIN.

My eyes rolled upwards away from the man, away from the moon, away and into the darkness.

"..."

The books and the movies lied you know. You didn't think about your memories or the people you cared for. You didn't analyze the individual who was slowly killing you. The only thing in your mind was fear and this raw, primitive urge to fight for your life.

I guess death wasn't so romantic after all.

"…"

"…"

Ah. So this is how I die. Haha… hahaha.


I didn't believe in second chances.

I didn't believe in reincarnation.

I didn't believe in a higher calling.

You die. You rot. You are forgotten.

But Fate seemed to have other plans for me, Fate probably just wanted to prove me wrong and watch me struggle to comprehend the situation. Fate should probably find a better hobby.

The next time I opened my eyes; I saw unfamiliar faces. I tried forming words, but my mouth felt loose and foreign. I tried to push these faces that were way too close for comfort away from me, but my arms were bound tightly with some soft material. There was a woman with black ebony hair and the clearest blue eyes I have ever seen. She looked at me with so much… gentleness.

She cooed at me, and kept repeating the word "Harumi." It was weird seeing her mouth upturned into such a big smile but at the same time, her eyes filled with tears.

I wanted to say, "Who the hell are you? What are you saying? Where am I?" But instead, I was gurgling strings of high pitch "gaga's" to my utter horror. Oh God, was that my voice?

I was stuck in a baby's body. Being held by an unknown woman. Surrounded by unknown people. That was my last thought before darkness enveloped me once more.


My physical age was three now. The first three years moved incredibly slow for me. My mental age was 32, so I had three years to experience at least 50 different emotions related to confusion and dread. I was also being taught this country's native language. At first, I was scared to be labelled as academically challenged that couldn't grasp their apparent first language quickly. But surprisingly, my brain absorbed the information swiftly. Also, the human brain had a weird way of accepting and adapting to a stressful and unknown situation quite readily.

I suppose it helped that I had a pretty comfortable childhood. I was always fed till my stomach was full – though I didn't want to remember having my mouth full of another woman's nipple. I slept on a comfy cot. My "parents" constantly had a positive interaction with me as well as my relatives who babysat me and "played" with me. Well, they tried to play with me. I just jeered at their pathetic attempt to make me smile.

One by one, my relatives all gave up. They would just make sure I didn't get hurt, and they didn't try to "play" with me anymore. That was all right by me. There was no need to get to know them. I was all right alone. In fact, I welcomed it. I had a much bigger crisis that needed my immediate attention rather than trying to get to know my "family." Hello? I was stuck in a foreign body, and I was in a whole different era here!

Being in denial for the first two years helped me out from breaking down, but in my third year, I just gave up and sat there with a blank stare every time someone tried to talk to me. I was trying to gauge if they were real or if they were just a figment of my imagination. I was going to be an outcast within my "family," but I didn't care. After all, they weren't my real family. I fancied the idea that this was just a weird dream and I was probably stuck in a comatose state. But somewhere along the way, when did I stop believing that I would just wake up?

For the lack of a better way to describe my situation and feelings: I was just confused. Like all the time confused. I felt pretty unsure about everything, and I trod very carefully with how I approached my "family." I was trying to observe my surroundings and gather as much information I could about my state of being. But to them, I must've looked like a socially awkward meek child.

"Harumi-chan!" A soft melodious voice called me out from my room. I was reading some fairy tales about ninjas saving princesses. It was...stupid. But entertaining since I've never read a fairy tale about magical ninjas that could control the elements. Typically ninjas just used a method of misdirection, threw some weapons, and… oh! They also wore all black.

I lifted my body up from the floor. I developed my motor skills pretty quickly in my three years of living with them so far, and my "father" would often praise me saying that I would be a great ninja. Yah, ninja. Alright.

Haha.

What a weird thing to say to a child.

This world didn't have wi-fi, and my "family" didn't own a phone or television. The house was a bungalow, and the flooring was all made of wood. We had a beautiful garden, so I guess that was pretty cool. Also, no one wore jeans in my household. We all wore some fancy yukatas, which was a decorative robe to put it quite simply. I wasn't complaining! It was really comfortable. Breezy too. Plus, it looked cute on me, which was a bonus.

I was also going to assume that I was born in a family with a pretty high social status considering the size of this bungalow. Maybe I travelled back in time? Ugh, it was exhausting trying to make heads or tails of my situation. The only thing I had was speculation.

"Yes?" I never called them "mother" or "father" unless they forced me to. It still felt unnatural for me.

"Do you want to help Kaa-san with dinner?"

"Okay."

For a split second, I saw her mouth twitch downwards. This was my conversation with them. Curt.

I don't want to know them. I don't want to form bonds with them. That was my mantra for the last three years.

I saw my "mother" cutting up some vegetables. The knife looked sharp and shiny. I couldn't help my morbid thought of if I killed myself would I leave this place? It wasn't like I was having a horrid time here, in fact, it was probably better than my old life. But at the end of the day, there was a nagging feeling inside of me that screamed, "I don't belong here."

I never knew how important a sense of belonging was to me.

The pot boiling shook me out of my thoughts. I should probably move that away from the heat before it boiled over.

Sometimes it was weird how I didn't account for the fact how weak and small this body was. I waddled my way towards the opened flame stove. I reached towards the handle.

I wondered why my 32-year-old brain didn't rationalize the fact that I was too short to reach the boiling pot of death comfortably?

The pot careened toward me. My eyes immediately widened in realization.

"Haru-chan!"

I closed my eyes, and I heard a loud metallic clang. I didn't feel any burn, but I was enveloped by comfortable warmth instead. The first thing I saw was my mother clenching her bared teeth, and her eyebrows furrowed.

The second thing I saw was an angry red mark tattooed across my mother's forearm and hand.

My mother was hurting.

It was my fault.

I didn't mean to hurt her.

I didn't mean to…

How strange. I was 32 years old. I was an adult. Yet, at this moment, I regressed to a stupid, confused three years old.

"Kaa-san! Kaa-san! Kaa-san!" My voice was thick with grief. That looked so painful.

"Harumi-chan, I'm alright." With her free hand, she assessed my non-existent injury.

My eyes burned with tears. Why? Why did she care about me so much? I shunned her. I caused her so much pain. There were days where I could hear my mother tearfully crying to my father about how much I seemed to hate them.

I gritted my teeth. That wasn't it mother. I don't hate you. You have shown me nothing but love and care. I…felt happy.

She was blaming herself for being an unfit mother.

No… You're a wonderful mother. I'm just scared. I'm just confused. I don't know who I am.

My father was comforting my mother telling her that I was just different, but they shouldn't give up on me.

I couldn't help but laugh bitterly at that. It would've been so much easier just to give up on me. I was a useless daughter you know? I only knew how to run away.

Whenever they said, "Good Night. Good Morning. How are you? Are you hungry? Want me to read with you?"

Suffocation. That was what I was feeling. Why was I fighting their love again? Every time I rejected them, I saw how I was chipping away their strong front to act as if every rejection wasn't causing them harm.

There were days I wanted to burst out and pitifully embrace them and cry about problems they could never understand.

There were days I wanted to give in, and respond happily, pretending that my other life never existed… that Jade never existed.

Whenever they said, "I love you."

It killed me.

Once upon a time, my mother… my first mother said that to me.

It wasn't their fault. They didn't ask to give birth to someone like me. I just couldn't handle the fact that they were trying to act like my "real" parents. Deep inside, I was constantly trying to tell myself that if I accepted them as my real parents, then I was selfish. I didn't deserve to have loving parents. The fact that I walked away from my first parents showed that I didn't deserve this family. I couldn't accept them. What if I forgot my real family? This was my punishment. This constant torment of wanting to give in was gradually eating me alive.

Remember what I said about second chances? I didn't believe in them.

So…Why was it that she kept on trying? Why? Why? Why?

Stop hurting me. Stop trying to take away my identity! Stop taunting me with what I threw away!

"…"

A sudden realization hit me. It was a simple one. So simple, that it was pretty laughable.

It was because, in her eyes, I was her Harumi. I was her beloved daughter. Jade Hallington didn't exist in this world. Jade was gone. Killed by a delusional junkie.

It was weird how my instincts and my thoughts sometimes get disjointed. Struggling to disconnect with my other self – as Harumi – seemed almost futile. I was Jade, but at the same time, I was Harumi.

Despite my rebellious thought of wanting to be left alone in this new world. Despite my need to punish myself for further abandoning my first parents. I finally gave into the loving embrace of a mother who protected this stupid, selfish, girl.

"Kaa-san. I'm sorry. Kaa-san!" My voice was thick with tears. My nose started to drip of mucus. At that moment, I forgot about my first mother. At that moment, the woman who I was clinging desperately to was my one and only mother, the only one who I learned to love first in this new world. Would she know? That my apology was actually for all those times, I have hurt her. "I- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry…"

If being strong meant not caring, then I wanted to be weak. If being prideful meant I had to pretend to not care about my family or my boyfriend that I had once abandoned, then I didn't need pride. I was not capable of feeling jaded for the rest of my life.

Was it okay to live this life to the fullest? Was it okay to take on a new identity and be happy? Was it okay to form new relationships and learn to love once more?

Jade made so many mistakes and had so many regrets. I didn't want Harumi to walk the same foolish path Jade walked.

Goodbye, Jade. Goodbye, the once lonely and stubborn girl who thought so little of her first life.

Goodbye, Jade Hallington.