A Drastic Change (Part I, Chapter 1)


Chapter 1

“Chi-kun!! Give me that back! Right now!”
“Hehe, come and get it! Yuuka no BAKA!”
“Help! Help! Dangerous earth. Help! Help! The earth cries.”
“Ai-chan, stop singing and help me choose the dress for this kawaii doll!!”
“Sayuumin, you already changed five dresses for her…”
“But they’re soo kawaiiii!”
“Oh please, not this again!”
“I agree with JunJun. Let’s go to sleep or eat some cookies.”
“LinLin, you know we can’t go to the kitchen without Yuko-sensei’s permission.”
“Kana-kun, don’t be such a goody-shoes.”
“Unlike you, Yusei, I like our sensei a lot.”

This happens every day. And every day when Yuko comes to the resting room in Haro!Puro kindergarten, they stop arguing, run to their sensei and happily ask when they are going to go to the park. Yuko loves these kids. Too much to leave this job, though the payment is little. But these kids are everything….that she has at the moment.
“We missed you!”
“Are we going to the park today?”
“Is Maeda-san coming also?”
Yuko smiled warmly at them.
“I was away just for fifteen minutes, and you already miss me?” she let a warm laugh escape her lips. “Yes, we’re going to the park. So let’s clean up this mess you made, dress up and then let’s go.”
It’s like a fairy godmother came to the Cinderella, or like the rain fell on withered flowers after a year with no rain. Yuko’s presence brought happiness, coziness, tidiness, astonishment, and, most importantly, compliance and peace between kids. Her dimples, squirrel-like features, shoulder-length wavy hair made such an impact to these kids, that she had no problems dealing with them. She never needed to shout, to become nervous, angry or mad. She smiled, talked with them cheerfully, and that was all what kids needed. She was a second mother, a teacher, a friend, a role model… Everything in one person.This kindergarten was one of the most poor ones, but it still spread the warmth the kids and teachers had in their hearts. It was seen on the pastel walls, where creative drawings of kids were hung, or on the colorful rugs, where lots of different styles of toys were scattered around at day time. But near the evening all the toys were placed in very amusing wooden boxes, that had funny cute fluffy characters hand-drawn on them. Also the furniture was that of light wood, the dishes had animal ornaments on them, and the bedding was also that for the kids to have – flowers, clouds, bears, and other cute or calming things. The staff was not very big, but also there were not that many kids attending the kindergarten. The principal, secretary, book-keeper, few cooks and three teachers. There were just two classes. This class was the one Yuko was teaching, Haro, and other one was Puro, who had another teacher. At night, or on holidays of Yuko and the other teacher, the third teacher was looking after the kids. Yes, the kids were staying the night, because they were from poor families, so they were visiting home just on weekends and holidays. But even though these kids were poor, they had their hearts warm, and their dreams big. And they had Yuko, who was the brightest and the best thing in their lives.

After dressing up, they all headed to the nearby park. It was a park with tall swinging trees, chirping birds, blooming flowers. It had a water fountain, lots of benches all over the park, a small lake in the middle of the park, with swans swimming and Sakura Trees blossoming around it. There also was a bicycle path, and, most importantly, the Children’s Playground. When they all came to the park, there were some people just relaxing there, or hurrying somewhere through. And also, again, most importantly, Maeda Atsuko, a good friend of Yuko, was already sitting at their favorite spot under Sakura Tree near the Playground. She had shoulder length black hair, a nice figure, a warm smile with a wrinkle on her nose, and by her side, on the bench, there was a bag full of melon pans and milk tea for kids. Children cheerily ran to her, started talking one over the other, telling all the happenings of today and yesterday. She just listened to them attentively, and, while listening, gave each of them one melon pan and one bottle of warm milk tea.

When the kids ate the pans and drank their tea, they headed to the playground to play. At first Maeda and Oshima were just observing them, but then they turned to each other and smiled.
“So, how’s your work?” asked Yuko.
“Well, the patients are like always, crazy. But other than that me and doctor had a calm time. You know, we are already used to them being in their ‘normal’ state. And how are you?”
“Me? I’m fine. Being with these kids everyday really makes my life more enjoyable, as they and you are all I have.” she smiled sadly, dimples showing on her face.
“Hey, remember my friend, Shinoda Mariko?”
“That model with short hair?”
“Un. She’s modeling for her company again, and they are having a fashion show on Friday. Mariko said she can get me and you VIP tickets. Wanna come?”
“I don’t know… Usually, it’s hard on Fridays, because kids don’t wanna go home with their parents to their poor, cold home, so it’s a tearful day. I feel all squeezed out, and I all I want after those tearful hours is to lay in my bed with some manga in my hands.”
“But this fashion show might be refreshing. You know, all sorts of colorful clothes, different people, light music. I’m not that interested actually, but because it’s Marichan, and because you need a break, that’s why I decided I wanna go.”

Suddenly Atsuko’s phone rang.
“Yes? Wha…? Yes. Yes. I’ll be right back. Please inform the doctor.” she hung up. “Sorry, the usual patient escaped again. I have to go. Think about what I said, okay?”
“Un. Nee, Acchan, call me after things calm down, okay?”
“Un. Bye, Yuko.”
Yuko watched as Acchan said goodbye to the kids and hurriedly went to catch the taxi. She was puzzled why her friend, who loved driving, came here not by the car. She noticed a bit curled back of her friend’s, and understood, that the hard time is awaiting for her. She sighed and concentrated her eyes on the kids, though her mind was full of thoughts about the upcoming fashion show. Should she go?

Meanwhile, Acchan was catching a taxi and rapidly informing the driver to hurry to the clinic whose address she gave. Her mind was already at the clinic, wondering about the situation. That patient was trying to escape the fourth time already this month. It was driving her crazy, how persistent the patient was. The facility was really tightly secured, so the patient had no luck escaping, but that patient still tried. Atsuko shook her head. The tranquilizer is not helping. Not to that patient nor to the other patient. The both shared the room for a certain reason, and that reason must be the cause of tranquilizer not working on those two.

While Maeda was rushing to the clinic, a certain patient was laughing with a smirk on her face, her white robe full of dirt and blood. Her very dark, nearly black hair were let loose, her hands holding a knife, blood dripping from it. She was surrounded by the large group of trained soldiers, who didn’t want to hurt the patient, so tried to capture her by surrounding her. But even though they were protected by armor, two soldiers were already lying on the ground, blood running from the wounds made on their body parts which had no armor on them. They growl and cry in pain, those once strong men, now defeated by the insane patient of this facility, so called rehab for the insane ones.
The patient laughed chilly and suddenly dropped down her knife, and surrendered herself, while laughing with the smirk still on her face. Her eyes mocking the soldiers, who tangled her with shackles, though it was not needed, as she was not trying to escape them, she actually happily skipped to the rehab, making the soldiers dumbfounded and loosing the grip on her. But that just made things more fun to the patient, who already went straight ahead to the elevator and pushed her level’s number with her elbow. She smiled to herself, humming something silently. Then she remembered her headphones, and slumped on the floor, grin showing on her face not soon after the elevator doors opened. She stood up and headed to her cell, where the guards opened the doors for her and took off her shackles. She happily skipped to the bunk, where her roommate was giggling, while laying on the bed. The said roommate was bitting her nails and smiling sheepishly. Then they both looked at each other and laughed loud, the laughing echoing through all the level of the facility.

Atsuko rushed into the rehab and straight into the head doctor’s office.
“Doctor, is she caught?”
“Yes, nurse Maeda, don’t worry. Actually, she did what she does always. Injured exactly two soldiers with a knife, then surrendered, and again all the soldiers were dumbfounded, and then she skipped to elevator by herself and went to her cell.”
“I wonder, how come the tranquilizer is not working on them, doctor.”
“I wonder too. Anyway, I checked with the schedule, and on Friday you can be free from 1p.m., so you can plan things on that day, if you need.”
“Why am I free? Don’t I have work?”
“The nun is coming to pray for the patients, so we’ll have the helping nurse to assist her. As you have no experience with such things, you will have the half of the day off.”
“Ah, okay. By the way, doctor, what are we going to do further on? Are we still going to use the tranquilizer on them, even though it’s not working?”
“No. I think we will just keep them locked, and give them food through the window. No more walks in the garden for them They injured too many patients.. Even the shackles are not restricting them..”
Atsuko sighed and nodded. “Okay, then I’m going to my office, if you don’t need me now, doctor Matsui.”
“Yes, you can go.” waved his hand doctor and concentrated on the papers in his hands. It was two files of those two patients, which had Matsui written on both of them. “Sharing the same name as me, and being totally different… I’m glad we’re not related…” shivered doctor Matsui and closed his eyes, letting the past run through his head, making the small tear escape his left eye’s corner.

Acchan smiled sadly at the doctor and went to her office. She dialed Yuko’s number and heard her cheerful voice along with the noise in the background. She assumed the kids were having a fun lesson.
“Hey, Acchan, they’re painting on me, so be quick.” giggled Yuko. “How are things there?”
“Glad to hear you laughing. The patient came back to her cell as always… Doctor Matsui is still mourning his diseased sisters… You know, if I were in his place, seeing his sisters exploding in a car right in front of his eyes… I would really be broken… He’s doing this job for their sake. He hopes they are safe in heaven. I suspect those two patients are giving him a headache, and if he had not seen the death of his sisters, I would say those two patients are those two. But… They are too crazy, and their features do not resemble our doctor that much… Argh, I don’t know what to think anymore. And the tranquilizer is not working on those two. But why am I troubling you with my work? Have you decided already, if you’re going to the fashion show? Because I am free on Friday since 1p.m.”
“That doctor is too good for you. And don’t worry. I’m glad you’re telling me your troubles. Anyway, yes, I decided to go. We both need to rest and clear our heads with something cheerful and colorful. Ah, you know, this squirrel you’re talking with, is now like a masterpiece, colored in various colors. I think I need a shower. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay, Yuko. Have fun.” chuckled Maeda and hung up. Yes, she had an awesome friend, and she was really glad to have her. “Now I just need to call Marichan and inform her that me and Yuko are going to the fashion show.

She dialed Mariko’s number.
“Ah, hai Marichan. So we decided to go. Yes. Yes. Un. Okay, I’ll inform her tomorrow. Yes, I’m waiting for it. I was a bit reluctant if I should go or not, but I and Yuko, we both convinced ourselves that we need a distraction in our lives. Un. Yes. Well, like always, dealing with patients, visiting Yuko and the kids, again dealing with patients. And how was your day? Oh, good then. Then see you around. Bye.” She hung up for the nth time today and looked around her office. She needed a drink, because worrying about these patients made her head spin. At least her friends occupied her thoughts a bit. But now… She went to the drawer and opened it. There was a bottle of an old good red wine. She smiled, took a glass from the shelf, and poured some wine into it. She smelled its delicious fragrance, widely grinned and sipped a small sip, letting herself savor this bitter, cherry filled taste in her mouth. She closed her eyes and sat in her chair. “I wish Friday would come faster…


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