Kito sat on his knees is the cold, metal boat, holding up a small lantern in attempt to see through the thick fog. But there was nothing but murky water and a grayness ahead of him, as far as he could see. He set the lantern down, and began to paddle. Hopefully, any other boats on the water would see the light of the lantern, but it was unlikely that anyone was out here this early, it was barely dawn. Kito liked to come out to the lake on days when he was not in school, he found it relaxing.
Kito saw something drifting slowly into view, something he hadn’t seen before; an island. Out of the many times Kito had been out on the lake, he had never ever remembered seeing an island. The island was covered mainly by pine forest, and had a small sandy shore. As he approached the island, he noticed something even stranger: a girl standing on the shore, her green eyes seeming to settle directly on him and the boat. Kito noticed something even stranger about the girl: a tail, a fox tail. A black fox tail to match her long, straight, black hair and green eyes. He continued rowing towards the island, and the girl did not move.
When the boat reached the shore, Kito got out and pulled it up onto land. He was tall for is age, 15. With short, black hair, and ice blue eyes, he looked alot like the typical japanese teenager. He looked back at the girl, but only saw her tail disappear into the forest.
“Wait!” He called, grabbing the lantern. He raced after her. She had stopped in front of an opening in the dense forest, between two hedges.
“My name is You.” Kito heard the voice in his head, but assumed the girl had said it.
“Are you saying you’re just a part of my imagination?” He asked.
“No, I am real. I must show you something. Follow.” The voice spoke again. The girl- You, dashed off though the opening, and behind the left hedge. Kito struggled to keep up, You was much faster and swifter than he was. He barely made it through, following You by her disappearing tail. He continued running, his heart racing and his lungs burning with the quickness of his breath. His arms got tired of holding the lantern, and he didn’t really need it, now that the gray dawn was fading into a brighter pink. He threw it down into a hedge and kept running. Something clicked in his head, and Kito realized that he was making many quick turns in succession, and that the whole time he was surrounded by the same, hedge wall. It struck him that Kito was chasing You blindly through a maze.
“Left turn, right turn, another right turn, keep running forward, right turn.” Kito repeated the directions in his head. Kito slowed as they approached the center of the maze, You halted once again, as still as Kito had seen her on the shore. He realized that You didn’t just have one black fox tail, but two. And she had black, fox like ears, sprouting out of the top of her head!
In front of them was a steep tunnel, descending into darkness.
“Oh no, please don’t go running through there!” Kito begged.
“I will slow my pace, but you still must follow.” You spoke. Kito opened his mouth to speak, but You had already dashed into the tunnels. Kito had to follow You, or he would be trapped in the maze. He walked quickly down the dark path, listening for You’s footsteps echoing around the tunnel.
“What are you trying to show me anyway?” Kito asked, a small hint of anger growing in his voice. He could no longer see where he was going, it was too far underground for any light to reach, and he had to rely on the sound of You’s echoing footsteps. Suddenly, his foot slipped, and he fell. But just in time, he grabbed on to where he had slipped.
“You! You, help me!” Kito yelled. His voice echoed below.
“Let go.” He heard You say.
“Are you crazy? I’ll break my legs!” He shouted back. Suddenly, Kito’s hands slipped, and he began falling, down, down, down, into the darkness below. Then- Splash! Kito’s plummet was abruptly ended as he splashed into an underground pool. He saw You standing at the waters edge, and swam towards her.
“We’re almost there.” You said. Kito climbed out of the pool, and shook the water out of his hair, like a dog. It was cold and damp in the tunnels. You began trotting off again, her two black tails swishing behind her. Kito began to notice that it was getting brighter in the tunnels, as they turned a corner he realized that there was a light coming from the end of the tunnel. Kito raced ahead of You, anxious for the warm sunlight, however, he forced himself to wait for You at the end of the tunnel. When You had caught up to him, he walked out of the tunnel, and into the warm bright sunlight.
It took a moment for his eye’s to adjust to the late morning sun, but when Kito could see clearly, he gasped in awe. he was in the middle of a small hollow, with soft, green grass underfoot, and few clouds above. It was beautiful, but that was not what shocked him. Around him, stood hundreds of foxes, lining the hollow, unique in color and size, but sharing one, strange, similar feature: Not a single fox had just one tail.