Several Years Later…
The doors swung open on a dark and ugly looking building, with a sign above the door identifying it as an orphanage. An old, angry looking woman comes out, followed by an eighteen year old Trunks, who is now dressed in handed down, ragged looking clothes.
As they approach the orphanage gates, Trunks turns around and waves to the smaller boys and girls who are looking out the various windows of the building and waving back. Turning to face the old woman who is still walking forward and ranting, the purple haired young man begins miming along to every word that leaves the woman’s mouth, only succeeding in being yelled at some more.
“How is it that you can remember every word I say, yet you can’t remember a thing from before you were brought here?”
“I don’t know, the only clue I have is this,” Trunks pulled out his silver necklace to stare at it once again.
“Ah yes, together in Paris, you think that if you go someone will tell you who you are? Ha!”
Trunks narrowed his eyes at the woman’s back as she mocked his belief, tucking the chain back in his top where it wouldn’t be seen and waited as she opened the gates.
“You need to start living in the real world, now to get to the fish factory…”
“I know, keep going down the road until I reach the fork in it then turn left,” Trunks sighed.
“Yes, now go! You can’t afford to be late!” The old woman slammed the gate and walked off back into the building, leaving Trunks to wander off on his own in the cold winter morning.
Before leaving, he glanced around and saw one of the orphanage bikes around the side of the building, hidden in the bushes away from the eyes of any possible thieves. Pulling it out, he hopped onto it and began cycling down the road, going as fast as he was able to without slipping while humming to himself, feeling glad to be out of that nasty building, even if it was for a day.
Before long, he reached the fork in the road with one sign facing left with the words “Fish Factory” unceremoniously printed on it, while the sign for the right fork read “St. Petersburg”.
“OK, so do I really want to go to the fish factory? If I do the rest of my life is written out, but if I go to the city, least I know it will turn out a lot more interesting.”
Not thinking anymore about it, Trunks resumed humming and took off towards the city, feeling an unmistakeable high at the decision he had just made and the possibility of finding out whom he was.
Cycling down the road, a single car passed him, spraying him with a small wave of snow before departing into the distance ahead of him. Stopping his bike, he wiped the show from his face and sleeves, removing his hat for a moment; he swiped all the show from that too before placing it back on his head with a pout.
“I hope there’s no snow in Paris…”
Continuing his ride, Trunks began singing quietly to himself to lift his spirits even higher, noting that no one was around to hear him and so breaking into song loud enough for his voice to be carried on the quiet air of the countryside.
By about dinnertime, the city loomed into view, startling Trunks into falling off his bike into another mound of snow as he gawped at the sight of the palace and all the surrounding buildings from his vantage point on the hill.
Staring for a few more seconds, he jumped back onto his bike and took off towards the city, feeling re-energised now that he had arrived.
As the countryside began to give way to city and the road gave way to streets, Trunks looked around in wide-eyed and wide-mouthed wonder, captivated by all the activity around him.
Trunks was so entranced by his surroundings that he didn’t notice a small grey and white dog as it ran past him with a large bone in it’s mouth, providing a comedic cartoon look, but was soon followed by a pack of larger and much more vicious looking dogs as they chased him into an alleyway. On reflex, Trunks threw the bike to the ground and ran into the alley after them, leaping into the middle of the circle that the pack had formed, startling them but not scaring them off.
Slowly beginning to stalk towards the pair, the pack of dogs began to bear their teeth in preparation of an attack, leaving Trunks at a loss for what to do for a moment until a strange idea sprung to mind. Baring his teeth as best he could, he took a step forward and tried to make himself look as ferocious as possible, intimidating a few of the dogs to back off and making the small puppy become braver as he stepped forward and began growling as well.
Sharing one more confused look, the pack of dogs began to slowly advance towards Trunks and the small dog. Realising that just growling wouldn’t work, he leapt forward, growling louder, scaring off a few of the dogs while the others backed away quizzically before leaving as well.
Turning to look at the little dog, which in turn was looking at him gratefully, wagging his tail until Trunks picked up the bone and put it back in his mouth.
“You need to be more careful about who you invite for dinner!”
The little dog let out a small ‘yap’ around the bone as the young man patted him on the head and returned to his bike, which was remarkably still where he had left it.
Riding down the street and continuing to gawp at all the people around him, Trunks didn’t notice the small dog running like a mini maniac on speed behind him. Approaching a stern looking building with a sign above the door that read ‘The People’s Bureau of Bureaucracy’, Trunks jumped off his bike and left it against the wall before bounding up the stairs, not noticing the small dog following behind and almost reaching him before a heavy door slams in his face.
Entering the building, Trunks stopped and stared when he saw the lines that went on for what seemed to be forever, walking down the side of one line trying to figure out what line he was supposed to stand in. As he walked, he searched around for the nicest looking in the nearest vicinity.
“Could you help me…?”
“Back of the line!” one peasant replied.
“Which line?” Trunks asked.
“Any line,” another replied.
“All lines are good lines,” another peasant replied.
“In out beloved country!” All three peasants replied together, causing Trunks to life an eyebrow as they turned towards one of the guards and smile sweetly, hoping that he heard their flattery.
Trunks watched as the man said something to himself and jotted some notes down with a small smile on his face.
He waited for a while, standing and idly humming to himself, eventually turning to the person behind him.
“Is this the right line to get papers to travel?”
“Travel? Travel to where?”
“To Paris. I have to get to Paris,” he replied.
Another peasant joined in the conversation upon hearing this.
“Paris?! What do they have in Paris that they don’t have here?”
Someone else joined in.
This person was immediately carted off by two armed guards for his blasphemy against the state, bringing another person into the conversation as they left.
“Nobody leaves this country,” he whispered, joined by other peasants who repeat variations of this one sentence as trunks finally reached the window.
“Is this where I get travelling papers?”
“It would be if we let you travel, which we don’t so it isn’t!”
Trunks opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off as the clerk continued in a louder voice so that everyone could hear.
“Our country is the people’s paradise!” To further this statement, he slams his window shut, immediately opening it a crack to speak to the purple haired youth.
“See Gohan. He can help.”
He closed the window, only to open it again immediately.
“But you didn’t hear it from me.”
This time he slammed the window shut for his break.
Trunks arched an eyebrow again, not too sure what just happened and decided that leaving the building may be a better option.
Wandering outside and still not noticing the dog following him around, he grumbled to himself as he looked around at everyone standing in lines for everything available. Finally becoming annoyed enough, he approached two people who were waiting in line in front of a café.
“Excuse me, do you know Gohan…?”
The first peasant responded first, echoed by the second, before whispering simultaneously.
“I know nothing!”
“Try the tavern or library.”
Trunks just nodded and wandered off, wondering how many taverns were contained within the city but before he could get too far, both men called after him.
“But we didn’t tell you!”
Trunks rolled his eyes and walked off growling to himself, still not noticing the dog trying his best to follow him around.
“I wish they’d all stop telling me they didn’t tell me! Gah!”
Giving a small bark of agreement, Trunks looks down and finally sees him.
”What are you doing here puppy? Following me around?” Trunks picked up the dog and bundled him under one arm, walking along aimlessly for a while and then approaching a street artist, who was currently sketching a large woman while her tiny husband looked over his shoulder.
“Excuse me? I’m looking for a man named Gohan…”
The artist quickly scribbled something on his pad and handed it to him without turning around.
“But I didn’t write it.”
Trunks looked down at the piece of paper and looked at the words, which read ‘St. Petersburg Art Theatre – 99 Pushkin Street’.