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“No, stop! Don’t go!” she screamed in desperation.
“I’m sorry. Truly I am. But I need to.”
“But why!”
“I can’t tell you. But I’ll come back… someday. I promise we can see each other again.”
“NO!” The doors closed forming a barrier between us, and the train left. I was grateful; I don’t think I could have held back my tears any longer.


I never saw that girl again. I can’t help but wonder how, despite thinking about her every day, she’s doing now. Is she as messed up as I am even five years later? Does she cry at night? Maybe. She doesn’t have anything to feel guilty about though. She didn’t break any promises. Not like me. She has to deal with the loss and betrayal. If only I could apologize, maybe that would make things better. But I couldn’t. I was confined to this bed for the small amount of time I had left. Maybe it would be best to just let this end. The constant pain, the fatigue, the nausea, all of it. I heard a door open and close, felt somebody approach.
“Bella.”
“Hey mom.” I turned to look her. The sight pained me; she looked ten years older than she did two months ago, after I was admitted. After I started treatment.
“I brought you some food.” She handed me a metal lunchbox.
“Thanks mom.” I ate in silence for a while, forcing the food down.
“You don’t have to eat it.”
“No, it’s delicious. I want to.” Mom’s eyes shone, her lip trembled.
“We’re going to get through this, okay? You’re going to get better.”
“No I’m not.”
“You are. I know it.” We were quiet for a while longer. Then the door opened and the doctor ushered my mother out of the room.
“It’s time for your treatment.” He said, looking at his clipboard.
“I don’t want to.”
“Excuse me?”
“I don’t want to. I want to stop treatment.”
“Do you realize what this means?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Are you sure you want to stop?”
“Yes.”
“Very well. I will inform your parents.”
“No. Don’t”
“Excuse me?” The doctor looked at me, confused.
“I don’t want my mom to know. I don’t want her to see me again. I don’t want her to see me die”
I wonder how my mom will react. Will she freak out, try to come see me, to convince me to change my decision? Or will she accept that I will never get better and that I’m better off dying from disease rather than radiation? Probably the former. There’s no way she’ll ever see the logic behind my choice. I just hope she’ll accept it and let me die the way I want to. She’ll get over me. She got over dad after all. I reached up and touched my head. I wish I could have my hair back. It was almost funny compared to all my other regrets, but I wish I could have died with my hair. It was smooth and beautiful like silk. I was always so proud of my hair, so fond of the way it looked and felt. I always used to play with it when I was nervous. For just a second I almost regretted my decision to stop treatment. What if I really did get better? But then I remembered the months of torture I’d been going through. I’m sure mom would understand if she knew. Someone knocked on the door to my hospital room, desperate to get in. Mom most likely. My heart hurt thinking about what I was doing to her. Stay strong. You can do this.
“Goodbye mom.” I whispered. A tear rolled down my cheek.

“I’m sorry.”
A thing I wrote for Creative Writing...
Yeah, so this happened. Feel free to laugh.
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1 day earlier, the morning after Nori’s death

Yuki was awakened by the loud beeping of her alarm clock. She gasped and her eyes flew open. It was a dream. It was just a dream. Her dad was gone. She was not in the Bad House. She was in the house of the good people, her “other parents” as she called them. She was safe. She got out from under the covers and took off her pajamas. They were drenched with sweat, as were her sheets. After she’d showered and changed into her school uniform with a long-sleeve shirt underneath, she went down to the kitchen to eat breakfast. The smells coming from the kitchen were heavenly. The Other Mommy was making bacon today. Her actual name was Aoi-san, but Other Mother just fit her better. After all, that’s what she was to Yuki, had been for the past three years. She continued to relish the smell of cooking bacon as she entered the kitchen. She’d never smelled anything like this at her old house. Her old house had always smelled like stale cigarette smoke and beer and unwashed bodies. She pushed the memory away. That was then. She’d escaped that. No need to keep reminding herself of it. Still… there were some memories you can never forget, some experiences you will never get over.

“Good morning dear” said the other mother, the affection in her voice making a happy bubble grow inside Yuki’s chest.
“Good morning” she said, unable to contain the smile spreading across her face. “It smells amazing. What is it?” Of course, Yuki already knew what it was (Omurice with bacon on the side), but she wanted to hear her other mother say it.
“It’s your favorite: Omurice with crispy bacon on the side. Eat up. You need to leave in 15 minutes.” Yuki’s smile became even wider. “Itadakimasu!”

        As Yuki left for school, the depression started to come back. She was mad at herself for being so happy about Aoi-san cooking for her. She knew that she was a burden, just another thing in the house that needed to be dealt with. The only reason she said otherwise was to avoid hurting Yuki’s feelings. But she couldn’t trick Yuki. No matter what she said, what reasons she gave, she’d never fool Yuki into thinking she really wanted her. Yuki bent her head and stared at the ground, thinking of all the times she’d been a burden, an inconvenience, a problem. Yes, Aoi-san would be better off without her. Were Yuki to die, more than grief Aoi would probably just feel a sense of relief. Maybe she should just…
“Yuki!” She looked up. She knew that voice. It was the voice of a boy who brought both happiness and indescribable pain. Rin was standing at the corner, waiting for her the way he did almost every day. He was smiling and waving to her. Yuki could feel her heart beat a little faster, could feel her spirits rise a little higher. She loved him. She was sure of that at this point. After four years of knowing him, she was now certain of her feelings. She’d do anything for him. It was because of him she’d dyed her hair purple. She’d overheard him telling Sakura how he wanted her to dye her hair. Rin was like the sun, bringing light into her otherwise dark world.
“Good morning Rin.” She smiled at him, although the smile was tired and looked a little forced.
“Good morning Yuki.”
They walked to school together, just like every day. To outsiders, they probably looked like two close friends. That was how Rin saw them too. Yuki could never admit her feelings to him. After all, he was already dating Sakura. And besides, a boy named Nori wanted to meet her after school to talk about something. Even Yuki knew what that meant. So they continued walking, nothing more than two close friends enjoying their walk to school together. Nothing more, and nothing less.                  
Rin stopped so suddenly, Yuki walked right past him. She turned to face him.
“What’s wrong”, she asked.
“Your arm.” Yuki glanced down. Her smile, which had become an expression of legitimate happiness at this point, died. Despair began to close in, crushing the small amount of said happiness she’d managed this morning. The sleeve of her long-sleeved shirt had gotten pushed up a little bit revealing several long cuts.
“You did it again?” he asked. Now his smile was gone too. She hesitated and then looked away and pulled her sleeve up all the way. A lattice of scars covered her entire lower arm, crisscrossing again and again, creating a crude, diamond-like pattern all along the length of her arm before leveling off at her wrist. It was almost beautiful, like a work of art carved into the flesh of the artist. There were half-healed wounds on her wrist where she’d cut them last night, as well as four more, slightly deeper cuts just above her elbow. These too looked recent. Ashamed, Yuki averted her eyes. Looking at Rin right now required more courage than she possessed.
Rin had found out about her cutting a few days ago. She was sure he would get mad at her or tease her like everybody else. But he didn’t. He didn’t judge her like other people did, which was one of the many reasons she loved him so. However, that didn’t change the shame she felt when other people saw what she did to herself.
He sighed. “Yuki, you said you’d stop.”
“I know…” She said. She wanted to curl up and die right there on the sidewalk. “I’m trying to but it’s just…”
“Yuki…”
“I know. I’m trying, I really am.” Curling up was seeming more and more attractive.
“Listen…”
“I’m fucking trying!” she shouted. She felt a burning sensation in her eyes. She shouldn’t have shouted at Rin. He’d done nothing wrong. Now he would hate her for sure…
Rin stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, drawing her into a tight embrace.
“I know.” He said. She heard his voice shake ever so slightly. “I know. I wish I could say I knew how hard it was, but I don’t. I can’t tell you I understand, because I don’t. And I can’t do anything to make you stop. All I can do is support you and encourage you and offer comfort when you need it, but it’s up to you to help yourself. I can’t do this for you; this is your decision to make, and yours alone. So please. Don’t give up.” He was really crying now.
He went on.
“Sometimes, there are things you just can’t carry on your own, emotions that refuse to be buried. Pain and sadness, guilt and shame, all of these are examples of what I’m talking about. Hiding your pain only makes it hurt more when you need to finally face it. And I think you know that. And I think that’s the reason you’re cutting yourself like this. You think it makes the pain hurt less, and in a way that’s true. It’s how you have learned to deal with all the hurt you’ve experienced; it makes you feel better. But it isn’t a good way to deal with things. All you’re doing is making yourself suffer more. It’s at times like these that you need to rely on other people.” He stopped and took a deep breath and continued.
“When my mother died, I seriously considered killing myself. I had said some terrible things to her before she died. I told her I hated her, that I wished she wasn’t my mother. I told her I would be happy if she died.” Yuki’s eyes widened. This was the first time she’d heard this story.
“I never was never able to apologize to her. She was murdered before I got the chance to. The hurt look in her eyes was the last thing I saw of her. The hurtful words I flung at her were the last things she heard from me.
“Sometimes I wonder if there’s such a thing as a second life, a life after death. If there’s a place where people’s souls go once the body is dead, and if my mom made her way there. And if, by the grace of God, I manage to get there, will she be waiting for me? Will I be blessed have another chance?”
“Rin…” It was beyond a whisper, almost nothing more than an exhalation of air. He continued.
“After her death, I became deeply depressed. I managed to convince myself that people would be happy if I died. And so I decided to kill myself. It wasn’t until Nori found out that I realized I’d be missed. He told me that he wouldn’t know what to do if I died, that I was the only friend he really, truly cared about. I’d been so completely obsessed with myself that I hadn’t thought at all about how my actions could affect the other people around me. Nori was the one who helped me out of my depression. He gave me a reason to live.
“The point of this story is to tell you that you need to find someone you can talk to. Find a person you trust enough to tell them about what it is that’s hurting so much. I’m not asking you to tell me. If you’re not comfortable telling me, then don’t. But find someone. Talking about it almost always makes you feel better. But whatever you do, please don’t hurt yourself. It doesn’t just hurt you. By hurting yourself, you’re hurting everyone who loves you. Cutting yourself might make you feel better, but it hurts everyone else. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?” Yuki nodded and said, “Yes, I do. Thank you, Rin.”
He let her go and smiled. She relaxed. His smile always made her feel better.
“We better get going.” He said, “or else we’ll be late”. Yuki nodded gave him one last hug before they started walking again.

        They barely managed to make it in time for homeroom. Rin sat down in his usual seat: second to the back next to the window. Yuki slid into the desk behind him. Rin looked at the empty seat next to his. That’s where Nori used to sit.
Midway through class, the announcement came calling Takashi Yamada down to the office. Other than that, class proceeded as usual. No mention of the dead kids. No questions about why we were five students short. It was as if people didn’t notice the empty desks where their classmates used to sit. The bell rang and classes changed. Everything was the same as usual. Except it wasn’t. There was an atmosphere in the room that Rin couldn’t quite describe. People were quieter, more serious. They still socialized with friends, but it was more subdued than usual. Maybe it was just Rin’s imagination. Maybe he was just perceiving it this way, and everyone really was just acting normally.
When the lunch bell rang, Sakura came and sat next to him. She opened her lunch and handed him one of her onigiri.
“Here, eat this. You can’t stop eating just because some kids died.” Rin smiled at her and gratefully took the food from her. She was trying to cheer him up in her own way despite her rather blunt choice of words. “Come one, let’s go to the roof.” She smiled at him.

She sat next to him while he ate, her head resting against his shoulder. Rin felt a little better. Sakura had that effect on him. Whenever he was sad or unhappy, just her presence next to him was enough to cheer him up. Her eyes were closed her face peaceful, as though sleeping.
“You know where Nori is, don’t you?” Rin was silent for a moment before answering.
“Yes, I do.”
“Where?”
“Dead.”
“Oh.” She didn’t act surprised.
“He was supposed to confess to Yuki after school today. He was looking forward to it so much. But now he’s dead.” Rin didn’t cry. He’d run out of tears. All that was left was hollowness.
“Mmmm.” Sakura moved to put her arms around him. “I’m sorry. I’m not… I don’t know what to say.” She hugged him, snuggling her face into the side of his neck.
“There’s nothing to say. No words can bring him back. No matter what you say, no matter what anyone says, he will never again be anything more than a bittersweet memory, preserved in the minds of those who loved him.”
“Shouldn’t you tell Yuki?” She asks.
“I can’t bring myself to do it. She’s so fragile. I don’t want to hurt her.”
“Don’t you think it would hurt her even more when she goes to wait for Nori and he never shows up? She’ll find out eventually. Better to hear it from you.”
“Maybe.”
“She really likes you. It’d be better for her to hear it from you.”
“But she’ll still be hurt by it.”
“That’s okay. It’s okay to be sad when your friend dies. It shows how much you cared about them. I think that if having them die doesn’t make you sad, then you never really liked them in the first place. If someone dies and you don’t shed a tear, what do you think that says about your relationship?”’
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. You’re just trying to avoid the question.”
Rin smiled. “You can always see right through me. I suppose you’re right. I do know. It says you didn’t care about that person.”
“Exactly. Yuki will be hurt no matter what because she cared about Nori. As her friend, it’s your job to help her through the grief and to try to lessen that hurt. That’s why you need to be the one to tell her. Okay?”
“Okay.”
“I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.”
“I love you.”
“Me too.”

        Takashi Yamada was a model student. He got good grades; he paid attention in class, and always turned in his homework on time. If a test were coming up, he’d study until he knew everything by heart. He’d never gotten below a 95% throughout all of high school. All the teachers loved him and praised him as being one of the best students they’d ever had the pleasure of teaching in all their years at Chikako High. He’d never gotten a detention or broken a rule. Which was why he wasn’t at all worried when his name had been called over the intercom. He thought that one of the teachers probably had a request for him. Maybe he’d forgotten something at home and his father had come to drop it off (although this hadn’t happened in a long time, Yamada was never one to rule out any possibilities). This was also why he was surprised to see a police officer waiting for him in the office with a grim look on his face.
“Are you Yamada-san?” He asked. His voice was low and gruff, like the voice of the hardened detectives from movies and anime.
“Yes.” Rikka Ikari, who had so kindly escorted him down here, answered for him.
“You are…”
“Ikari. Rikka Ikari.”
“Okay then. Ikari-san, you may return to class. Yamada-san, come with me. I need to talk to you alone.” Yamada felt a faint flicker of fear inside his stomach. Surely he wasn’t in trouble. He couldn’t be in trouble. He was perfect. The police officer led him into an unused room, closed the door, and locked it.
“Good morning Yamada-san. I am Inspector Hiroshitsu from the police. We’d like to ask you a few questions…”

        Yuki was out the door as soon as the bell rang. She must be really excited thought Rin. He felt awful for not telling her about Nori yet, but he just hadn’t had the time. He managed to catch up with her at her shoe locker. “Yuki!” He had to shout in order to be heard over the indistinct rumbling of 600 high school students all talking at once. She looked up.
“Oh, Rin. Hey, I wanted to ask you. Have you seen Nori? I didn’t see him at all today during school.”
“Nori’s dead,” He said bluntly. He’d been thinking all day and decided that it was best to just tell her outright. He could explain later.
“What?” Disbelief and confusion were written all over her face. “Rin what are you…”
“Come with me. I’ll explain it, but I don’t think right here is the best spot. He grabbed a hold of her hand so he wouldn’t lose her in the crowd of people all trying to get home, or go to clubs, or whatever else they were doing after school.
They wove through the crowd, finally managing to get outside. Rin took her behind the school so nobody would hear them.
“Sorry,” he said. “I just didn’t want to talk about it in front of the whole school” She nodded
“I understand. So tell me, what on earth were you talking about back there?”
“Nori is dead. He was murdered yesterday after school along with four other students.” He was surprised by how easily the words were coming now that he was finally talking to her.
“But… I… oh my god…” She was at a loss for words. Wow, this is turning out exactly the opposite of how I imagined it.
“Rin, that’s terrible. I’m not sure what to say.” She had wrapped her arms around herself as though she was cold and leaned against the wall, shaking.
“That’s okay.” Rin realized as he was saying it that he and Sakura had had almost the exact same conversation on the room just a few hours earlier.
“I’m so sorry Rin.”
“Don't’ apologize. It isn’t your fault.”
“I know, but still…”
“I want to tell you something in his place. The reason he called you out here today.
“Wasn’t it to confess to me?”
“Yes, but there are things he told me that I think you should know.”
“What are they?”
“He told me that you were the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He said that the moment he saw you he knew that you were the one he wanted to spend his life with. He said that the time he spent with you were the best moments of his life. When you agreed to meet with him today, he immediately came to me to tell me how happy he was. You were his whole world. He loved you so much. Anyways, I thought I should tell you.” Yuki’s eyes were shining. At that moment, Rin could see it: he saw the beauty that Nori had described. The wide, a deep blue with flecks of lighter color, shining with tears. The short, purple hair blowing in the slight breeze. It perfectly complemented her eyes. Long, thin fingers extended from beautifully shaped hands. Her breasts were big enough to be noticeable, but small enough to fit her tiny body. Her skin looked smooth and babyish. It was as though he was suddenly seeing her through the eyes of his best friend, seeing her the way he saw her, and it made him feel even more sad. How had he not noticed before the natural beauty this girl possessed? And why was it that she, of all people, had to be so broken.
“God…” She whispered. Rin held his arms and she immediately fell into them, burying her face into his shirt and weeping.
“I had no idea that there was someone out there who loved me that much.” She said. Rin looked down at her and stroked her hair.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “Your parents love you don’t they.” Yuki shook her head.
“My parents were killed when I was little. I’ve never had someone love me before. I didn’t know anyone could love me. Even the people I live with now only keep me out of pity. They only took me in because I they knew I had nowhere else to go.” She squeezed him tighter, taking a deep, shaky breath and continued. “I’ve never been a very likeable person. Back at my old school the other kids were constantly picking on me. Everybody hated me. I made a few friends, but they didn’t really like me, and left me before the school year even ended. I did have one friend but… but I killed her. I was all alone after that. The people who had claimed to be my friends left me. But then I met you. You’re the first real friend I’d had in years.” Rin was shocked. This was the most Yuki had ever told him about her past.
“Rin please, promise me you’ll never leave me. Please. Don’t ever, ever go.”
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I promise I will never, ever leave you.” She pulled away from him and smiled.
“Thank you.”

Yamada looked around the dimly lit makeshift investigation room. Blinds covered the windows and only one of the ceiling lights were turned on. Two folding tables made up the investigation table, with one recorder centered in the middle. The air conditioning in the room was intense, making Yamada shiver. He wished he’d brought his jacket with him. The look on the officer’s face unwelcoming. Sitting at the table was a woman wearing a white button-up shirt with a grey blazer and a grey skirt. Her long, white hair fell almost all the way to her hips and was brushed back behind her ears. She looked young, although her face was already getting lines on it. His father was also sitting at the table. The look on his face made Yamada want to curl up and die. He’d never seen his father look at him that way before.
It was a look of disgust and disappointment.
“Yamada-san?” the white haired lady asked.
“Yes?”
“Please, have a seat.”
Hesitantly, Yamada walked to one of the metal folding chairs across from the white haired lady and sat down. He sat straight up, nervously twiddling his fingers under the table. Two cops stood behind the white haired lady, staring at him menacingly, as if they thought he’d done something bad. The white haired lady leaned forward and turned on the recorder.
“May 9, 2012. I am detective Koharu Sasaki. I’m just gonna go straight to the point as not to waste your father’s time. Surely you must have heard about the killings that happened yesterday?”
Yamada glanced hesitantly at his father for maybe some hope, or an affirmation that he didn't do anything wrong, but his father looked at him with that same soul-shattering stare. Maybe they just want to ask a few questions. They were my classmates. I'm safe, I did nothing wrong. Stay positive!
He took a deep breath and replied “Yes, I did.” Koharu looked back at one of the officers and said, "I want you to write this down too." The officer took out a notepad from his chest pocket and clicked a pen. Koharu looked back at Yamada and continued her questioning. "You knew these victims, yes?"
"Yes I did," he thought about it for a moment, then changed his mind. "Well, not really," he said, "I mean, they were in my class, but I didn’t speak with them. There wasn’t really any need to. All I knew was a name to a face, that's all." He began to feel the nervousness leave him. They just wanted to know about the students, he thought. I'm not in trouble.
"Oh?" Koharu said with faked surprise in her voice, "is that so? It just so happens that I have already spoken to your principal and a classmate of yours, Aika Ito."
"Aika? What does she know about me? I’ve never said more than two words to her.”
His father rubbed his forehead, frustrated. "Yamada-san," he said in forced patience, "don't lie to these people. They know everything.”
Takashi was confused. "I'm sorry, but what is it exactly that you know?"
Koharu looked at him, again, in mocked surprise. She's making fun of me, he thought. She leaned back in the chair and said "I know you and Hiroko have a ‘not so good’ history in the past. I know she and several other classmates have been bullying you for the past year. That would create a fair amount of bad feeling between you two, would it not?”
"Okay, yes, she's bullied me," Yamada admitted, the nervousness returning to his voice, "but it wasn't just me. She's bullied Aika and Kaiyo. Hell, she bullied everyone. She’s famous. Why does it matter that I was included in the list of victims?" Yamada's father covered his face in frustration.
Koharu turned to look at an officer. "Bring them in," she said. The officer nodded and left the room. She then reached in her bag and pulled out a folder, opened it and handed Yamada a piece of paper from it. "This is a witness statement written by Aika saying that you have made threats against Hiroko, how you've wanted to kill her, even if it meant at school. Your principal, Mr. Miyagi has also told us that he has heard you say a great deal of… unpleasant things to her.”
"Wait, are you saying I’m a suspect?"
"We are simply considering the possibility.” She smiled.  That’s the same as a yes.
His father was losing patience. "Son, just tell her what she wants to know." He wants me to confess. My own father is asking me to confess to a crime I didn’t commit.
"Okay, look. I didn’t do anything. I have good grades, I turn my homework on time, and my teachers speak nothing but praise for me. I didn't do this, I swear."
Just then, the door opened and Aika and Mr. Miyagi entered, led by another officer. Aika, what are you doing?
Koharu turned to look at them. "Oh, good, I'm glad you're here. Aika, can you tell me again what you told me earlier?" Her voice, hard and cold as stone when she was talking to him, suddenly became much more gentle.
Aika looked at the ground, her hands behind her back, shifting nervously from foot to foot. "Well," she said nervously, not looking at Yamada, "I was leaving to go home after exams when I heard screaming from one of the classrooms. I walked over and..." She took a deep breath, "... And I saw Yamada torturing Hiroko. It was awful. Nori and Ichirou were there too, as well as Hiroko's friends, but when I got there, the others were already butchered to pieces by this... this... Psychopath! Why, Yamada? Why would you do something so awful!" Aika screamed at him burst into tears and Mr. Miyagi wrapped his arms around her. “Calm down Aika, everything is going to be okay.
“mmm” she nodded, her face buried in his chest.
Mr. Miyagi looked up. “The security cameras seemed to have been tampered with during the time that these students were murdered. We have no footage of what happened there, unfortunately.” He looked at Yamada. “I do happen to know someone who is very good with electronics and would have no trouble at all disabling the security systems, should they feel it was necessary.”
Yamada looked at him in disbelief. “Me?”
“Yes, you.”
“But…” Yamada couldn’t believe his ears. He was being accused of not only murder, but of tampering with the school security system.
"Thank you both," Koharu said. "Aika, would you be willing to testify against Yamada-san?"
"Yes," she said amidst all the tears.
"Thank you," Koharu said, "you are free to go." As Aika and Mr. Miyagi left, she turned to Yamada. "So let me go over the full story. You hated Hiroko and her friends for bullying you and you wanted to exact your revenge. In doing so, you killed her and her friends. You can't deny this, we found your bag at the crime scene, and we have two people willing to testify against you." She stood up and began pacing. "And then there was poor Nori. You were jealous of Rin. Everyone in the SCHOOL knows that. You’re always trying to best him, but you never can. So what better way to get him back then to kill his best friend. You even left the body intact, unlike the others. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you did this so that there would be no doubt in his mind that it was indeed his friend Nori. Ichirou saw the whole thing, so you killed him so there was no witness. It's lucky Aika got out of there alive." She turned back to Yamada. "I'll ask you again, and I want the truth. Did you kill those kids?"
"No!" I did nothing wrong!"
His father lost his patience. He stood up and slammed his fist on the table. "GODDAMN IT, YAMADA," he bellowed, "TELL HER WHAT SHE WANTS TO KNOW!"
No, no, no, no, I made father angry!! Tears were streaming down his face. He stood up and backed away. "Please father, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you angry! Please, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do anything bad! I'm sorry, father! Forgive me!"
Koharu leaned in and whispered to the officer who had brought in Aika and Miyagi and whispered “We’re not going to get anything else out of him today.” The officer nodded. They got the other officers and left, leaving Yamada’s father to deal with his son.

Aika’s sister was waiting for her outside the school to pick her up. After Yamada’s questioning, she had been given permission to leave school early due to the amount of emotional stress she must have been experiencing. Aika had, in fact, been experiencing no such stress, but felt that the opportunity to go home early was worth pretending. The teachers suspected nothing; her acting skills were better than almost everybody else in the school. Only one person was better than her. Aika opened the car door and slid in beside her sister.
“So, how’d it go?” she asked.
“Okay.” replied Aika. “It was hard, but I got through. I just hope they send that monster to jail before he can hurt anybody else.” Aika’s sister nodded.
“Yup. I totally agree. To think a psycho like that actually exists…” They drive the rest of the way back home in silence, Aika looking out the window at the houses passing one by one, her sister staring absentmindedly at the road, only half paying attention, not really interested in anything at all, lost inside her head. At times like this she sometimes liked to make up stories. She and her sister were on a long car ride, a car ride that was going to take them far, far away from this place, so some magical land where nothing bad ever happened. One where she was free from her mother.
Her sister pulled into the driveway and turned off the car. Aika was pulled out of her fantasy, back to real life. Opening her door, she got out of the car and followed her sister into the house. As she began to climb the stairs up to her room, she heard her sister’s voice call up to her.
“Aika. I’m going to start on dinner. Do you want me to call you down when it’s ready?”
“Yes.” replied Aika and continued her journey up the stairs to her bedroom, lost in thought. Of course, from the beginning she’d been sure that Yamada hadn’t been the one who had killed those people. There was no way that stuck up prick could bring himself to kill anyone. The police probably knew that too and just wanted it to look like they were taking action. They had no leads at all yet other than the testimony of a distressed Rin. The odds of her being suspected were low, but she knew that, given time, it would eventually happen. After all, she hadn’t been home at the time the murders were committed, and she didn’t doubt that they police would rule out anybody, even the students. It wasn’t exactly a secret she despised Hiroko. Better to pass the blame onto somebody else. Aika flopped down on her bed to wait for her sister to have dinner ready, her mind still on the murders. She was curious, despite herself. It wasn’t natural wasn’t it? To be curious about the murder of 5 students in your own school? She doubted she was the only one speculating. Probably the entire class was wondering the exact same things she was, so some extent or another. Her sister’s voice shouting up the stairs broke Aika out of her thoughtful stupor.
“Aikaaaa! Dinnerrrrr!”
“Comiiiiiing!” she called back, heaving herself up off her bed and walking out of her room. The delicious smell of fried rice wafted up from the kitchen, reminding Aika of how hungry she really was. As she headed down the stairs, she heard her sister talking to somebody. The voices stopped as Aika neared the bottom of the stairs. They must have heard her coming. Footsteps came from the kitchen and then the person who her sister had been talking to appeared at the bottom of the stairs to greet Aika.
“Ah, Aika hello.” It was Yuki. Among all the stuff with Yamada and the murders, she’d completely forgotten that she’d invited Yuki to have dinner with them earlier that week.
“Yuki. Welcome. I forgot you were coming.” Yuki smiled shyly and looked to the side.
“It’s okay. I know you had more important things distracting you today.” Ah. So her sister had told her about the interrogation. Not that it mattered all that much, but she kind of wished her sister had asked her before she’d gone and told Yuki all about Yamada. Yuki looked nervous as they walked together back to the kitchen.
“I’m sorry if I can’t stay too long. I have something I have to do tonight, so…” Aika laughed.
“Don’t worry about it. I have to go somewhere as well, so we shouldn’t be too long. I hope you can stay for all of it. I’ve been looking forward to having you over.”
“Looking forward to it so much that you forgot?” Aika blushed.
“Well… stuff happened. I really have been though.” Yuki giggled.
“I know. I’m just teasing.”

“I’m home”, the girl removed his shoes and walked into the house. The groceries were heavy and she was glad when she got to the kitchen and was able to put them down. She opened the fridge and emptied out the contents of the bags. Her beer supply had been running low, so she needed to restock. She hadn’t been decided on what tonight’s dinner was going to be, so she wandered around the store for a good half-hour looking for inspiration. After careful consideration, she decided that her best option was just to go with a frozen pizza. It was easy enough to prepare and besides, there were vegetables on it. That made it healthy, right? She gave out a small laugh. She was so stupid. She turned on the TV and settled on the couch with a can of beer in one hand, waiting for the oven to warm up. Her favorite idol group was performing tonight, and she didn’t want to miss a second of it. She wanted to be down there, screaming in the audience, cheering, enjoying life. Back when she was a child she’d dreamed of joining them. Even now, she still wanted to join the group, but there was no way they’d accept someone like her into the group. Ah, to be famous. That was all she wanted. The idols were simply a way of being famous. She wanted to have people look at her, to notice her, to say “Oh her, did you see that girl pass us on the street just now? Wasn’t she on TV yesterday?” She giggled at the absurdity of the thought and turned on the TV… and there they were. Dressed in outlandish, multicolored costumes with frills and streamers on every open area of cloth, dancing in sync to the most generic music imaginable. Everything about them was wonderful to this girl. They represented the life she wanted, the one she knew she could get if she just tried. Sadly, that childhood dream had been crushed by hopeless reality: she, like most other people in this world, would never be somebody interesting. She would never be somebody that people looked at or noticed. Nobody would ever say “Oh her, did you see that girl pass us on the street?”
Just as she finished her first can of beer and was starting on the second one, she heard a sound. She froze, the can on her lips, and listened. She didn’t hear anything other than the cheers of the crowd and the music on the TV. Slowly, she reached for the remote and turned off the TV. No sound other than her breathing disturbed the quiet of the house. There was no creak of a floorboard, no quiet steps. Still, she knew that there was somebody in the house with her, hiding just outside her vision, hiding in the shadows. Suddenly, she heard the creak of an old floorboard to her left. The girl whipped her head around, staring intently into the darkness, trying to make out any hint of who it was. For almost a minute she sat, unmoving, staring at the place where she’d heard the creak. Finally, just as she was about give up, she saw a shape moving forward slowly, trying not to make any more noise. And then, as it moved into the light being cast through the window, she could finally see the outline of the person. She recognized that outline. She recognized the short hair, the light demeanor.
“Sister…” she breathed. Relief flooded through her. It was only her sister. She’d probably decided to play a trick on her. It wasn’t like it was any kind of new occurrence; her younger sister was always pranking her or teasing her in some way. Her sister moved forward, no longer trying to be stealthy. She must have noticed that she’d been seen. The girl got up and walked around the couch to greet her sister. It wasn’t often she came home for dinner, usually choosing to spend the night at her boyfriend’s house. The girl was halfway to her sister, arms open to hug her, when she stopped. She’d noticed something, something shiny glinting in her sister’s hand. Her sister raised the knife and ran at her. The girl didn’t even have time to react. She felt a stabbing pain in her shoulder and cried out, flinging her arms up blindly to try and ward off the attacker. It didn’t work. She felt the knife enter her body again and again, felt her clothes being soaked through with blood. She fell to the ground, her vision darkening, her mind slipping further into black oblivion, and felt a sensation as though she were flying up, looking down at the room as a separate person from the one bleeding on the ground. The blade of the knife, though darkened with blood, still glinted as moonlight from the window fell upon it. And, as her sister leaned in closer and the moonlight fell across, the girl noticed something she had not earlier. Her sister was wearing a mask. It was a mask that she’d never seen before, white with a black smile painted across the front. The last thing she heard before she was consumed by blackness what a whispered apology coming from behind the mask.
“I’m sorry. I wish I didn’t have to do this to you.” There was a pause and then…

“Forgive me…”

“I’m going home now” said Sakura, waving goodbye to Rin. He’d invited her over to his house after school, an invitation that she had gladly accepted. Whenever she came over, Rin would cook for her. Unlike her and her sister, Rin actually knew how to cook, and what he made was amazing. She wasn’t sure about his dad though, since he always checked out early when she came over to visit, in a very obvious attempt to avoid her. Sakura got the impression Rin’s dad didn’t like her much for some reason. Not that it mattered much to her whether or not he liked her, but she was afraid Rin might worry. Despite his insistent claim that he didn’t mind, she couldn’t help but notice the sad expression on his face every time his dad left the room.
The air was warm and slightly humid as she stepped outside. She didn’t even need the light jacket she had brought with her. Closing her eyes, she turned her head upwards and inhaled, trying to smell everything around her. At this moment, she was so happy to be alive. She continued walking, keeping her eyes closed. It didn’t matter; the streets were empty this late at night. The entire town was sleeping. It was an eerie feeling, one of being the last human being alive in a town occupied only by ghosts and memories.
“Ouch!” she ran into something hard and heard a thud as it landed on the ground at her feet. Looking down, Sakura saw that it had been a person, though she couldn’t see their face; it was hidden by a hood. The person was wearing all black. Sakura would have walked into them even if she’d had her eyes open. The person quickly scrambled to their feet, and hurried away, leaving Sakura standing there feeling very confused. Well, whatever. Wherever that person was going or whatever they were doing was none of her business. She just had to get home now and make sure that her sister was having something for dinner besides alcohol. She felt a small, wet drop fall onto her head, then another. Pretty soon it was raining hard enough to soak right  through her thin t-shirt. Silently cursing at herself for not bringing an umbrella with her, Sakura picked up her jacket that she’d dropped and started home again. She wasn’t in any real hurry; she was already wet enough that more would make no difference at all. She started home again humming to herself, listening to the pitter patter of raindrops against the asphalt of the street.
The walk from her house to Rin’s wasn’t very far. Even walking as slow as she was, it only took a little over five minutes. When she finally reached the door to her house, her hair had separated into two masses that hung on either side of her face and her clothes had been plastered to her body. Sakura felt like she might never be dry again. She opened the door, walked in, and stopped.
“Sis, can you bring me a towel please?” she called. No response. Sakura inhaled and smelled a strong smell of alcohol coming from the living room. She sighed, removed her shoes and wet clothes, and walked into the house carrying them over her shoulder. After dropping them in the dryer and grabbing a towel to dry off with, she walked into the living room. At least this way she wouldn’t drip as much water. Something in the living room however stopped her in her tracks. Her sister lay on the floor passed out as usual. But… why was there so much blood everywhere? And why was her sister’s breathing so irregular? Why… what were all those cuts all over her body? Sakura dropped the towel and stumbled backwards, catching her balance against the doorframe. Her sister was… but…
“Oh god…” she groaned. “Oh god, oh god.” She stumbled towards the table next to the couch where her sister’s phone lay. She needed to call for help. With trembling fingers, she dialed 119, pressing the receiver to her ear. Her breaths were coming in short, desperate gasps. After a few rings someone picked up.
“Hello, Tokyo police department. What is your emergency?”
“I need… an ambulance. Please.”
“What is your emergency?”
“My sister appears to have been stabbed to death. She’s still breathing...I think. Please, send somebody, I don’t how it’ll be till she… till she…”
“Yes, we understand. What’s your name?”
“Sakura. Sakura Miki.”
“Where are you?”
“At home. The address is 5-8-10 Minami Azabu Minato-ku.” Sakura didn’t hear anything else; a loud ringing drowned out any other sound. She fell hard onto the floor, feeling sick. The room was spinning, spinning so fast. She felt oddly light. She needed to stop the spinning. She needed to stop… to stop…
The room disappeared into darkness as Sakura joined her sister, unconscious on the floor.
Chikako Daze (chapter 2)
For anybody who feels like reading it.
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Chapter 1
         
        Today, Rin decided to stay late. Even though it had been a long day of exams, he still had plenty of work that needed doing, as well as studying for the English exam tomorrow, and he worked better at school. Besides, home wasn’t all that great anyways. He set to work as soon as classes were over, not wanting to stay too late. Nevertheless, it still took him almost two hours. The sun was already setting when by the time Rin was ready to leave. He was halfway home when he heard a scream. Then another. Worried, he followed the screams, and came across a blood-covered body and someone hunched over the body of a naked girl. Whoever it was, they were shrouded in shadow, but Rin could see a red mask with a white smile painted onto the front of it. He stared stunned at the body before him, recognition slowly forming in his head. It was Kaiya Kito from class 2-C. At least, he thought it was. Parts of the body were too deformed for him to tell. Half her face was shredded, although he recognized her remaining light blue eye, open wide and terrified. Her once-shiny blonde hair was thick with blood. Her left arm had been sliced open so he could see the shiny white bone beneath. Her legs had been so destroyed they didn’t even look like legs anymore; they just looked like puddles of meat and blood. She was breathing, though it was ragged and irregular. Tears rolled from her remaining eye, tracing lines through the blood on her face. There was a knife through her right hand, pinning it to the ground. As he watched, the killer pulled the knife out and slid slowly into Kaiya’s right arm, twisting it harshly and dragging it downwards, opening up her right arm. Kaiya screamed in pain and Rin heard the killer’s high-pitched giggle. The killer slipped a small hand into the open wound and opened it up more, separating muscle from bone. Rin could hear Kaiya sobbing, begging the killer to stop hurting her. The killer only laughed and brought the knife up it her remaining eye. Kaiya’s pleas increased in volume. She was starting to sob now, fear overwriting any other emotion. She was begging the killer to let her go, to please not hurt her anymore. The killer giggled again, clearly enjoying their victim’s display or overwhelming terror and despair. The knife slid into Kaiya’s eye. Fluids from the destroyed eyeball flowed down Kaiya’s face. That was all Rin could take. He was shaken out of his daze, and ran, horrified, away from the scene, leaving the blinded, screaming Kaiya behind. He did nothing to try to save her.

        When Rin arrived home fifteen minutes later, he was soaking wet. It had started to rain when he was on his way home. He removed his shoes and walked slowly inside. The house was quiet and empty, almost eerily so. There was a not from his dad on the kitchen table. “I’m working late again tonight. I won’t be home till 10:30 or 11. There’s food in the refrigerator if you hungry”. Rin smiled coldly. He was most certainly not hungry. The image of Kaiya screaming on the sidewalk came to mind again. He felt sick. Why didn’t I do anything? Sadness and self-loathing swelled within him. Why was he always so fucking useless. Why couldn’t he do ANYTHING? He wished he had his mother. He needed a person to love him and hold him. Not that his girlfriend Sakura didn’t do that, but it was a different kind of love. He needed maternal love, and that was something Sakura could never provide. He remembered very little about his mother, but her remembered how relaxing it was to have her embrace him. When he was sad and crying, all he’d need was a hug from his mother and for her to stroke his hair and tell him it would be okay. She could make all the bad feelings disappear. He missed her. God, how he missed her. He began to cry, not trying to stop the tears or deny his grief. Denying it never made it go away, and crying usually made him feel better anyways, as though through the tears he was ridding himself of a little bit of that grief. He walked upstairs to his room and buried his face into his pillow. The scene he saw on the way home once again forced itself into his head. He tried to push the image of the deformed face of his classmate, away, but it wouldn’t go. He couldn’t forget the way she had pleaded for mercy, only to have any hope of survival stripped away little by little. The sound of utter despair he’d heard in her voice was something that would haunt him forever. He’d never forget the sickening scene of cruelty he’d seen that day. The masked person could have easily have killed Kaiya. She was helpless, couldn’t move, probably couldn’t even think straight. But they didn’t kill her. They’d kept her alive so that they could torture her. It was sick.
But you didn’t do anything to stop it said a small voice in the back of his head. He knew that voice all too well. It was the voice of self-hatred that had appeared just after his mother’s death and had yet to leave him be. Sometimes he thought that maybe he would never be free from it, that he would suffer for the rest of his life. Not that he didn’t deserve to be free from anything. After all, it was his fault his mom was dead.
You could have reported it to the police, but instead you stood and watched.
“Shut up.”
You did nothing at all. Just like you did with your mother.
“SHUT UP!” he shouted. The pillow muffled his voice.
You’re useless said the voice. Even if you tried to help, you couldn’t. You are worthless.
Rin cried into his pillow, unable to escape the voice of shame inside his head. He cried and cried until eventually he ran out of tears. He was a horrible human being…
That night, just like so many others, Rin cried himself to sleep.
         
        Rin woke up the next morning to the loud beeping of his alarm clock. He reached over to turn it off. He didn’t want to go to school today, not when he felt this awful. His pillow was still damp. He sighed. He could feel the tears returning. NO! He forced them back. He couldn’t go to school looking like he’d just been crying. The shame would be too much. Besides, he had a reputation to uphold. He couldn’t afford to show weakness in front of everyone in school. There was no way he could show people the real him. Nobody besides Nori could see the real him. The thought of his best friend roused him. Groaning, he forced himself to get out of bed. He turned on the light and looked around his room. Dirty laundry was scattered around his room, thrown over chairs, bunched into every corner space his room contained. The trashcan in the corner next to his bed was overflowing with crumpled up paper, the result of his failed attempts at writing since that time. Used tissues littered the floor next to his bed. There were books on the bookshelf, though they looked like they hadn’t been touched in years; all of them were covered in dust. There was a complete collection of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, as well as other western literature, and binder of short stories he’d written as a child before his… back when he’d had a mother. Mom used to read those to me when I was little… He remembered this the way a man would remember the happy times he’d spent with the woman he’d loved. Next to his bed stood a frame containing an old photo of Rin and his mother, one of the few things in the room that looked as though it has been touched recently. In the picture his mom was smiling, as was a little, 10-year-old Rin. He was laughing when they took that picture, though the subject of this laughter had long since been forgotten. How long has it been since I’ve been that happy? Rin bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to stop himself from breaking down right there. He set the picture down and went over to his closet. Maybe the act of preparing for school would be enough to distract him. As he dressed he mentally prepared himself for the day ahead of him. He imagined his girlfriend, Sakura, and felt a little better. Thinking of her always cheered him up. He took one last look behind him at the messy floor, sighed, and went downstairs to eat breakfast.

“Good morning”, his father greeted Rin as he emerged from the stairway.
“Good morning father”, he replied. There’s a long silence as Rin made himself some breakfast (toast with raspberry jam). Neither one of them knew what to say. They ate their breakfast in silence. Rin picked up his half-finished toast and left the table without a word.

Rin had left earlier than usual that day, carrying his toast with him. He wasn’t in the mood to eat breakfast at home this morning. It was too sad. There were too many tears shed in that house, by both him and his father, for Rin to be able to enjoy his breakfast. He took a less direct route to school today. Usually, he waited for one of his friends to go to school with, but silence and solitude seemed preferable this particular morning. Besides, it was early. She wouldn’t be ready anyways, and he didn’t feel like waiting that long for her to come out. So he walked to the train station alone, got on the train alone, and exited alone. He was too lost in thought to bother talking to the other person from his school on the train. Besides, he didn’t even know her name. Was it Hinata? Maybe. It didn’t really matter.
Rin walked in the door of classroom 2-C just as the bell rang. He’d walked a little too slowly that morning and had almost been late, despite having left home early and catching an earlier train.
Rin walked over to his seat, second to the back by the window, and sat down.
“Stand. Bow. Sit down.”
Rin looked around. There were lots of empty desks today. He counted five. One of them was Kaiyo’s. That wasn’t at all surprising. However, he counted four more: Hiroko Tsumiki, the notoriously brutal bully, and her two goons Saya and Yuri. The seat next to him was also empty, which was odd. That was Nori’s seat. He was never absent, at least not that Rin could remember. What could be keeping him home today? He’s probably just nervous. Yeah, that had to be it. After all, Nori was planning to confess to a girl today. Knowing Nori, he could easily have gotten himself sick from anxiety and just skipped school. As the day went on, Rin completely forgot about Nori.

        “I made you lunch today,” said Sakura, handing him a box wrapped in a blue-plaid handkerchief. Rin felt happiness expand inside his chest. Somebody loved him enough to make him lunch. My mother used to do that for me every day.
“Thanks so much,” said, smiling at her. He could still feel the same impossible, helpless love that he’d felt the day he’d confessed to her. The difference was that there was no anxiety or fear mixed in with it. When he’d confessed to her he’d been terrified: terrified that she would say no, or that she liked someone else. Or that she said she liked him too… as a friend. When she’d said she liked him too and agreed to go out with him, Rin was happier than he’d believed possible. Maybe it was because he’d been prepared for failure.  
Rin sat down next to Sakura and opened the lunch. It looked amazing.
“Itadakimasu.” Rin took a bite of the lunch and looked at Sakura surprised.
“Is it not good?” Sakura looked up at him with pleading eyes. Rin could tell she really wanted him to like it. He smiled at her.
“It’s delicious, Sakura.” A smile spread across her face. She looked relieved.
“I’m so happy.”
“I’m surprised though.” Sakura looked at him questioningly.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I didn’t know you were good at cooking. You told me your mom made your lunch for you, so I wasn’t expecting anything special, but this is really good.”
Color filled Sakura’s face. There was no way she could tell him that she’d just learned this morning in order to make this lunch for him. It would be best just to let him think she was a good cook. Besides, Sakura liked to think that it would raise her cool points. It’s like I’m in a dating sim. No, I think I’d prefer to be in an eroge. She giggled. How fast can you get through the Sakura route? Sakura and Rin ate lunch together on the roof that day, just like every other day. Neither one of them mentioned the fact that six of their classmates were missing. Neither one of them worried about Nori, or even considered the fact that something could have happened to him. They just enjoyed each other’s presence, two high school lovers ignorant of the evils of the world.
The door to the roof banged open and a figure stepped out, turning it’s head this way and that as though looking for something. Finally, it stopped, it’s eyes resting on Rin and Sakura.
“Ah, there you are Rin. I’ve been looking all over for you!” Rin groaned. Not this guy. Takashi Yamada walked briskly towards them, stopping suddenly in front of Rin.
“What on earth are you doing up here?” he demanded, completely ignoring the fact that there was another person next to Rin.
“We’re eating lunch…” said Rin, wondering where this conversation could possibly be going.
“We have our English exam today.”
“I know.”
“Why aren’t you studying?”
“Why do you care?” Yamada turned bright red.
“Because… I wouldn’t want to beat you too easily” He seemed to regain his footing again. “I wouldn’t want to beat you to the number 1 spot too easily.”
“When was the last time you ever beat me to the number one spot? And stop talking like this is some kind of competition. It’s just an english exam.” Yamada looked like he was about to explode.
“It is not ‘just an English exam’. This is war. I haven’t beaten you ONCE since you arrived at this school. If you think that this is just another test that you’re going to breeze by, leaving me in the dust, then you’re wrong. I’d pick it up if I were you because I’m am going to make you work for…” Yamada’s monologue was interrupted by the bell ringing, signaling the end of lunch. Rin got up and helped Sakura to her feet.
“Well, Yamada, it was nice talking with you. Good luck on your English exam.” He smiled at Yamada and walked past him, through the door, and back down to class.

The rest of the day was slow and boring, with the English exam taking up the entire second half of the day. The exam wasn’t even all that hard. Rin didn’t understand why they were given so much time for this exam. All the others only took two periods each. Maybe it was because the people who were in charge thought that the students at this school were slow. Rin finished the exam with almost 2 hours left to go. He sighed and leaned back in his chair. The room felt oddly empty without Nori there next to him. Usually the two would talk quietly or pass notes after they finished the exam. Now, however, Rin sat in lonely silence. Time passed slower and slower it seemed as it went on. Every second seemed to take minutes, every minute, hours. Anxiety grabbed Rin, twisting his stomach in knots, though why, he didn’t know. He had nothing to be anxious about. And yet it was there. It was torture, watching the seconds tick by, consumed by anxiety. Finally, the bell rang signaling the end of the day. Chairs scraped against the floor as students stood up to leave. Even though this was their last exam, there was still another three weeks left until summer break. Rin was starting to get out of his chair when a shadow fell across his desk. Takashi Yamada looked down at Rin, doing his best to look friendly and failing horribly.
“Hey Rin,” he said, “how’d you do on the exam do you think?” Rin sighed inwardly. He had no desire to entertain Yamada like this. Best get it over with quickly.
“Fine. You?”
“I aced it. All my studying paid off. I’m finally going to defeat you Rin.” Rin sighed outwardly.
“That’s awesome Yamada. Listen, I promised Sakura I’d meet up with her after school, so I need to go.”
“Oh.” Yamada looked disappointed. “Well, okay then. Have… a good day.” The last three words sounded forced, but the simple fact that they came out at all was enough to shock Rin.
“T-Thanks.” He said awkwardly, and hurried out of the room.

“Where have you been?” demanded Sakura as Rin exited the building.
“I’m sorry, I got held up by… somebody as I was leaving.”
“Was it Yamada?” she demanded.
“Yeah.” Rin admitted. Sakura looked angry.
“God, I can’t stand that guy. I hope just, like, kills himself someday. It’s not like anybody’d miss him.” Rin opened his mouth to protest, but found that he couldn’t. Yamada was the most disliked kid in the school. Maybe people really wouldn’t miss him. He pushed that grim thought away as soon as he thought it. He didn’t need any more of those. The thought of going home made Rin feel sick.
“Hey, Sakura?” he asked.
“What is it?” She sounded less angry now. That was a relief.
“Do you think I could stay at your house tonight?” Sakura looked surprised.
“Um, sure. I don’t mind. But my sister won’t be home…”
“That’s fine.” said Rin hurriedly. “My dad won’t care. Might not even notice I didn’t come home, honestly.” Sakura looked at him sadly, but didn’t say anything. They walked in silence to the train station, the cold December wind whipping around them. Sakura wished there was something she could say to cheer Rin up, but what that something was escaped her. It was sad, she thought to herself, that even after dating him for over two months, she still had trouble knowing how to comfort him; her own boyfriend was a mystery to her.
The train was crowded, much more so than the one Rin usually took to get to his house. Bodies jostled him back and forth and he had to hold tightly onto Sakura’s hand to keep from getting separated. Lots of kids from his school seemed to take this bus. Rin could see the Chikako High uniform everywhere amongst the beige pants and shiny brown leather shoes of adults coming back from work. Next to him was a musician dressed in black carrying a large black case. Rin couldn’t help but wonder what instrument that box contained. Slowly, the train began to empty until he and Sakura were among the last people on the train.
“Does it usually take this long for you to get home?” asked Rin.
“Yes. My stop is the second to last one, so most of the time I’m the only person left by the time my stop arrives. Sometimes there are a few stragglers, but mostly it’s just me.” Rin nodded and made a small noise to indicate he’d heard her. He looked behind him. There was a girl back there, and judging from her uniform, she was from his school. He didn’t think he’d seen her before; she was short with white hair down slightly past her shoulders. However, it seemed that she did know who he was, as she’d been staring directly at him for the past ten minutes. She’d probably been there, watching them longer and he just hadn’t noticed due to the large crowd. He looked back at Sakura. She seemed to be in her own little world, staring out the window as the scenery flashing by. He decided not to mention the girl to her. It was probably nothing anyways, just another weirdo from his school. Chikako High had plenty of them. He pushed the girl out of his mind and moved up closer to Sakura, putting his arm around her. She smiled and closed her eyes, leaning her head back against his arm. When the train finally pulled into their stop, Rin and Sakura got off. The other girl did not, but stood by the doors watching them until the train pulled away from the station.

    “Mama?” Rin sat terrified, his back against the wall. Mother knelt over him, arms wrapped around him. Something was wrong. Mother was crying, crying and squeezing him so tight. Something warm was spreading across her back.
“Mama?” he said again. Mother coughed, speckling his face with blood. Her grip on him started to relax and she slipped sideways, falling on her side with a soft thud. Rin looked up, terrified at the dark shape towering over him, at the small glint of metal it held in its hand. Suddenly, he was back at school, in the courtyard with the sakura tree in it. In front of him lay a bloody, half-naked Sakura. Hiroko and the other girls were there too, with Hiroko holding a blood-covered knife. She looked Rin in the eyes and smirked.
“You’re worthless” she said. “You couldn’t protect your own girlfriend. You couldn’t protect your own mother! You’re better off dead.” She knelt down in front of him, placing the knife against his chest…

Rin’s eyes flew open. He looked desperately around the room. Where was he? This wasn’t his bed. What…? But then rational thought took over again and he began to think, remember. He was in Sakura’s house. He turned his head to see her sleeping face looking back. He rolled over, feeling her back. Nothing but smooth, unblemished skin. No knife wound. No blood. Rin sighed in relief. It had just been another nightmare. He breathed in, held it, and breathed out, trying to calm his racing heart. He slid out from under the covers, doing his best not to wake Sakura, and quietly opened the bathroom door. May as well shower now that he was up; he was covered in sweat from the nightmare. Just as he was bending over to turn on the water, he heard the bathroom door creak open. Arms closed around him and he could feel Sakura’s head resting on his shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. Her warm breath tickled his ear.
“Nothing.” he replied. “Just a nightmare. I’m okay.”
“Was it about your mother again?” Rin nodded wordlessly.
“I’m sorry.” she whispered in his ear. “I wish there was something I could do. Is there anything?”
“I don’t know.” He replied. “I don’t know if you can help. I don’t know if anybody can help me right now.” Sakura squeezed him tighter. Her body felt so good against his. The weight of her leaning on him was comforting. He felt a tear land on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” she whispered again. Rin reached forward and turned on the shower. Sakura released him but didn’t leave. Steam filled the room as the water began to heat up. Rin stepped into the shower and closed the curtain. The warm water felt good on his tense, sweaty body. The sound of the shower curtain opening behind him told him that Sakura had come in after him. Rin stepped out of the way to let her have the hot water. Rin couldn’t help but stare at her. She looked so beautiful with the light shining off the water running down her body.
“Hey Sakura?” he said, loud enough that she could hear him over the running water.
“Hm?” she replied, turning to face him.
“Do you… ever dream about your mother?” He looked away, afraid to see her face when she replied. He’d never asked her about this before.
“Yes…” her voice was small, meek. It sounded like she was holding back tears. “I do. All the time. I dream that someday, eventually, she’ll be able to come back and me and her and my sister will be able to live together as a family again.” Rin looked back up at her. She looked so sad, he almost regretted asking the question in the first place.
“Even though I know she’s not coming back, I still hold out hope. Though recently, that hope has been fading.” Rin wasn’t sure how to respond. Sakura looked up again. Her face was wet, and Rin had the feeling it was more than shower water. She staggered forwards, almost throwing herself at Rin, searly knocking both of them over. Her body shook.
“I’m sorry, Rin. I’m sorry I couldn’t be strong for you. I must seem pretty pathetic right now, huh? Crying over my mother who’s not even dead.” She laughed weakly and tried to wipe away her tears. It was hard to tell whether or not she was successful; water was still dripping from her hair.
“You’re not pathetic.” said Rin. “There’s nothing pathetic about crying over a family member. The fact that your mother is still alive is worse than mine being dead. I have the security of knowing that she’ll never come back. I don’t have any opportunities for false hope to arise. The fact that your mother is still alive is infinitely crueler. You have more of a right to cry than I do.” Sakura looked up at him with her tear-streaked face and nodded.
“Mmm.”
Let’s go back to bed.” said Rin. “We have school in the morning.” Sakura nodded again. Rin turned off the shower, got out and dried himself. He was already crawling into bed before Sakura came out of the bathroom.
“Goodnight.” he said, closing his eyes.
“Goodnight.”

Pretty much the entire school was gathered around the front of the school when Rin arrived with Sakura the next day. It was Friday, which meant that the exam grades would get posted. Chikako High School has a policy (that everybody hated) where they post student’s exam grades out on the front of the school so everybody can see how everybody else did. While this inevitably led to certain kids being teased for their poor grades, it also achieved the desired effect: everybody worked hard to get good grades so they wouldn’t be the one to be picked on. Yamada stood in the very back, standing on tiptoe trying to see over the crowd. Rin looked around to see if he could find Nori, but he was absent again.
It took him and Sakura almost 5 minutes to get to the front of the crowd. Most of the students had walked off sulkily, having either failed or scored lower than they were aiming for, which, in this school, was as bad as failing. Rin looked up at the score list for the seniors. He’d gotten first place in every subject except History, where he’d been beaten by Sakura. Yamada had gotten second in every subject except history where he’d gotten third. Rin could already hear the steam coming out of Yamada’s ears before he even turned around. Yamada’s hands were balled into fists, his face red. Tears of anger and frustration flowed down his face. He didn’t even say anything to Rin, just turned and ran off. Rin almost felt bad for him. Almost.

The rest of the day consisted of all the students doing whatever they wanted. The teachers put on movies out of obligation, but nobody really watched them. Students came and went as they pleased, or sat in the back of the class and watched porn. One girl curled up in the corner of homeroom and slept the whole day. Rin chose to spend the day holed up in the school’s library. He’d just found a detective novel he hadn’t read yet hidden away on a shelf in the back of the library. One of the things Rin loved about the library was that there weren’t any windows in the reading area. In the reading area, time seemed to have no meaning. He could sit there and allow himself to get lost in a book for hours and not realize it until the librarian had to ask him to leave because the library was closing. Today, however, the librarian decided to let Rin stay late. It was around 4:00 that the she came back to tell Rin she was leaving and to turn the lights out on his way out. Rin game an absent-minded “sure”, but didn’t look up from his novel. The light footsteps of the librarian faded away. The door opened and closed. She was gone. It was eerie, being alone in a library. Eerie and relaxing. Rin closed his eyes, leaning back in the large, squishy armchair. He could easily fall asleep here. He shouldn’t though. He had something he had to do at home before his dad got back. He grabbed the book he’d been reading and was about to leave the library when a shadow fell across the door; somebody was walking down the hall, and behind them, they seemed to be dragging something very large. Sounded like a bag of some kind, with the muffled scraping sound it was making. There was nothing to be afraid of here, yet Rin felt instinctively that he should not open the door. He waited for whoever it was to walk passed before he left. He was almost out the front door before he realized he’d left his bag in the library. Cursing silently, he began the slow ascent back up to the library.

After what seemed like ages, but in reality was probably only 5 minutes, Rin had his bag and was exiting the library for the second time. As he walked down the second-year’s hallway, he noticed a strange smell in the air. Curious, he followed the smell, trying to find the source, and found himself down a hall he’d never been before, nor had he even known existed. At the very end on the left side, a door to an unused classroom stood ajar. Rin was suddenly afraid. He had the awful feeling that there was something in that classroom he didn’t want to see. He stood frozen in place, torn between the desire to leave and the desire to see what was in the classroom. Finally, his curiosity got the better of him and, slowly, he crept forwards towards the open door. It was dark inside the classroom, dark enough that he had to strain his eyes to see inside. The smell was strong now, almost overpowering, and it made his stomach churn. Still though, he couldn’t quite place it. Rin took a deep breath, held it, and walked into the classroom. The sight before him looked like something out of a nightmare. Five bodies were strewn across the room. Desks had been overturned and chairs pushed around as though there had been a struggle. The floor around where the bodies lay was covered in almost-fresh blood. A single solitary chair lay overturned in the middle of the room. This too was splattered with blood. Oh god, not again, Rin thought. He removed his shoes and socks and left them by the entrance to the classroom. He wouldn’t want them to get them dirty. He took a deep breath and entered the room. The air was heavy with the sharp, metallic smell of blood. He shuddered, but kept walking. He reached the first body and bent down to examine it. It’s like I’m a real detective. He felt a shiver of excitement, despite the horrifying circumstances. He examined the body, which belonged to Hiroko Tsumiki from class 2-C, although most of the student body knew her as simply “The Bitch”. She was notorious for being the worst bully to ever walk the halls of Chikako High. He remembered saving Sakura from her once. It was a week before he’d confessed to her. It was about an hour after school had ended. Rin had just finished his homework and was going out to the courtyard to read till Nori came to pick him up. He’d found her lying almost naked on the grass, her torn uniform lying a short distance away. Bruises covered her body from where Hiroko’s mooks, Yuri and Saya had kicked her. Her face, which was usually beautiful, was red and swollen. Her nose looked as if it had been stomped on, probably by one of the mooks; Hiroko wouldn’t get her shoes dirty like that. Tears streamed down her face, carving thin lines through the blood and dirt. Rin froze. As he watched, Yuri kicked her hard extracting a moan of pain from her victim. It seemed Sakura had given up trying to resist them a long time ago. As long as he lived, Rin would never forget the look of despair in her eyes.
“Alright girls, pick her up”, Hiroko said, malice dripping like syrup from her voice, thick and cold. Yuri and Saya grabbed Sakura’s arms and hauled her to her feet. Hiroko approached the helpless figure before her laughing. “Carry her over to the tree”. The two dragged Sakura over to the cherry blossom tree that stood in the middle of the courtyard. As he watched, Hiroko produced a long piece of rope from the pocket of her skirt. Grabbing Sakura’s arms from her two “helpers”, she proceeded to tie Sakura’s hands to one of the lower branches of the tree. She hung there limply, her feet dangling off the ground. Once she was sure her victim was secure, Hiroko stood back to examine her work. Sakura dangled helplessly from the tree, her eyes wide and trembling. Fear had replaced the despair, although the tears did not stop. Giggling, Hiroko produced a small knife from the pocket of her skirt and waved it in front of Sakura’s face. The shiny metal of the blade glinted menacingly in the fading sunlight. It looked very sharp. Rin stared in disbelief. Surely she wouldn’t dare to… but this WAS Hiroko Tsumiki. He didn’t doubt that murder even was not beyond this girl. She walked slowly towards Sakura, playing with the blade as she approached.
“No.” whispered Sakura.
“What was that?” asked Hiroko, her lips twisting into a cold, beautiful smile.
“Please don’t hurt me. Please, I beg of you.”
Hiroko now stood directly in front of her. She laughed, a cold, cruel sound that sent chills down Rin’s spine. He needed to do something, but his legs were frozen in place. Unable to move, his only option was to watch the horrifying show unfolding before him.
“You’re asking ME to not hurt YOU?” cried Hiroko as though it was the most ridiculous proposition in the world. “Don’t be ridiculous. You deserve anything that comes your way. I heard the things you said about me; spreading rumors about my mom being a whore, laughing at me behind my back. Just yesterday I heard you and Yuki saying the reason my family was so rich was because of the amount of money my mom charged per hour. You expected those words to go unnoticed? I’ve been the subject of your cruel entertainment. Now you’re going to be the subject of mine. That’s only fair, right?”
“No”, whispered Sakura, “I didn’t say that. I would never… I’d never say those things about you”.
“LIAR!” Hiroko shouted. For just a second, her sweet façade slipped revealing underneath a face twisted with hate. But then it disappeared as though nothing had happened and the angelic smile returned as pretty and innocent as ever. “Well I suppose we’ll find out if you’re lying soon enough, won’t we?” The knife pressed against Sakura’s smooth, almost childish face. Sakura squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for the pain.
“S-stop!” Rin stepped forward. What on earth am I doing?
“And who the hell are you?” asked Hiroko. The look she gave him almost made him back down. But he couldn’t do that. Someone had to stop this, and there wasn’t anyone else around. He just had to be brave.
“I’m her boyfriend.” My god, what am I saying?
“And? Why the hell should I listen to you?”
“Because… my father’s a police officer.” This was not entirely a lie. His dad used to work for the police, but he’d quit last year. Rin took out his phone. “I can call him if you like. Assault, possession of a deadly weapon on school grounds. I’m pretty sure there’s enough here to have you arrested.” Rin opened his phone and started to dial his dad’s number.
“Fine.” Hiroko dropped the knife. She looked furious. “I’ll get you back for this.”
That threat never amounted to anything.
He shuddered and tried to shake off the memory of the horrible display of “bullying” he’d seen that day and decided to continue examining the body. She was completely naked. Her clothes were next to her, torn and bloody. Her face had been almost entirely destroyed by some kind of blunt object, presumably the blood-covered chair in the middle of the room. Little bits of shattered bone were mixed into a reddish mess with the consistency of stew. All of her teeth had been removed and were lying in a pile next to her head. One of her arms had been reduced to hamburger. On the other, the flesh had been stripped clean off and was lying next to her in a heap. The rest of her body was covered in bruises, bones were shattered, and her feet were barely recognizable as feet. Rin felt like vomiting. This scene reminded him all too well of what he’d seen happen to Kaiyo on the way back from school. This girl was tortured, just like Kaiyo. No, this is worse. Much worse. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to remain calm. Leaving the body of Hiroko (good riddance) on the floor, Rin moves on to the next two bodies. These ones are also girls, also naked, and in similar condition to Hiroko’s body. Rin recognizes them too. They’re Hiroko’s henchmen (henchwomen?). They’d been with Hiroko ever since the beginning of high school. They worshipped her as a queen and did her bidding. They had no will of their own and only did what Hiroko told them to do. Unlike Hiroko, who was at the top of her class, these two were stupid. They’d never gotten above a C- in their entire time here. Despite their beautiful names, they were both incredibly ugly. Rin sometimes thought that Hiroko had only gotten them to make herself look prettier in contrast. It was horrible, but Rin was actually glad they were dead. They deserved it Rin thought bitterly. He took out his English notebook and wrote down the details of what he’d seen. He moved on to the next body.
The next body was a kid named Hiro Ichirou from class 2-B. Rin knew very little about him besides the fact that he was going out with Kaiyo Kita. They’d started dating the year before; their last year of Junior High. Ichirou was the quiet kid in class. He never talked to anyone besides Kaiyo as far as Rin knew. He never raised his hand in class and was always out the door the moment the bell rang. As a result, he never made any friends besides, of course, Kaiyo. Nobody in class really knew almost anything about him. Rin knelt down to examine the body. His stomach had been sliced open, his intestines lolling out like bloody snakes. His eyes had been cut out and his face had been turned into something that resembled ground beef. His arms were extended and looked unharmed, besides the fact that both his hands had been cut off and were lying on either side of what used to be his head. The legs had been broken and bent upwards towards his hips. His fee had been cut off and placed just above his hands. It looked like some sort of grotesque work of art. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a new piece of modern artwork: Ichirou, the faceless corpse. Rin smiled coldly. Bad joke. He wrote down details in his notebook. Finally, Rin proceeded to the last body. Be bent down to look… and froze. The body was Nori Takano from class 2-C.
Rin had known Nori since first grade, when they were seated next to each other. Nori was a quiet kid. Rin hadn’t learned the word “introverted” yet, but he knew that that’s what Nori was. He’d just transferred in that year, so he didn’t have any friends. He was always alone during lunch, reading some book or another. Rin decided that it was his job to make friends with this kid who looked so lonely. So one day during lunch Rin approached Nori.
“Hey there, my name’s Rin. I’m here to make friends with you.” He beamed down at Nori, hands on his hips. Nori blushed and looked down.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to do that,” He whispered.
“Oh, come one”, said Rin, “You’ve been in this school for three months now and you still haven’t made ANY friends! I can’t just leave you like this. It’s pathetic. You need to started becoming social and I’m going to help you do that”. Over the next few weeks Rin slowly began to coax Nori out of his shell. As they talked more Nori admitted that he had wanted to make friends with Rin, but had been too shy to approach him. He’d been overjoyed when Rin had essentially ordered him to become friends with him.
They ended up becoming the closest of friends very quickly. Rin taught Nori ways to socialize with other people. He taught him how to make eye contact when speaking to somebody. He taught him how to pretend to be interested in a conversation even if all you want to do is leave the room and be alone. He taught him how to deal with girls. “Girls are not some kind of alien creature”, said Rin. It was after school and the two were hanging out in Rin’s bedroom. “Girls are human beings just like us. They get sad. They get happy. They fall in love, and they experience the same pain that you and I feel when that person doesn't love them back. Pretty girls are no different. Just because they look better doesn’t mean their feelings are different. Most of them want to be treated like regular girls.” Nori listened to all this in amazement. It was as if Rin was a god who knew everything. When they entered Middle School, Nori managed to make friends with some of the kids in the class. However, he would always consider Rin his closest friend. He told him so one day and Rin smiled wider than he thought he ever could. “I’m glad I’ve had such an impact on your life”, he said and drew Nori into a tight hug.
One day, the summer before they started High School, Nori was over at Rin’s house hanging out. For some reason Nori never wanted Rin to come over to his house. They were laying around in Rin’s room reading manga when Nori suddenly asked, “Hey Rin, how did you confess to Sakura?” Rin looked up, surprised by the sudden question.
“I dunno. I just sorta asked her. It was about a week after I saved her from Hiroko. You remember that?” Nori nodded his head. Rin had told him all about the terrible things Hiroko had done to Sakura. “Well, after I saved her I realized how much I liked her. So after English class one day I was like, ‘He Sakura, can we meet behind the school when school ends?’ and she was like sure. And so I told her about how I’d been interested in her for a while and how saving her from Hiroko had really made me realize the depth of the feelings I had for her. She said she liked me too and we started going out. Why do you ask?” Nori shrugged and said “No reason. I was just… curious. That’s all.” He was quiet for the rest of the afternoon. They just sat together, reading and enjoying the silence and enjoying each other’s company. When it came time for Nori to go home he smiled at Rin and said “Thank you.” He didn’t mention the conversation at all for the rest of the summer. Then, about a week ago, Nori said to Rin, “Hey, I’ve got something to confess to you.” Rin, a little confused said, “Okay, what is it?”
“Well, about halfway through 8th grade, I started liking Yuki. She was one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever met. The way her eyes shined, the way her hair seemed to shimmer in the sun. I saw her and my first thought was ‘I need to have that girl’. I wanted to confess to her, but I didn’t know how. I was really shy about it, which is why I haven’t told you till now.”
Rin was shocked. Nori liked Yuki? “By Yuki… do you mean Kizu-chan?” Nori nodded. “So is that why you asked me how I confessed to Sakura?” he asked. Nori nodded again. He was blushing furiously. Rin half expected to see steam come out of his ears. Rin laughed. “Then ask her. I told you, girls are not alien creatures. Just act like yourself. Don’t act the way you think she wants you to. Otherwise she won’t see Nori. Or at least, she won’t see the real Nori.” Nori smiled bashfully at Rin.
“Thanks best friend” he said quietly, and Rin was reminded of back when Nori had first told Rin how important he was to him.
“You’re welcome, best friend,” he said and petted Nori’s head. “Oh, one more thing. She’s really scared of men, so be careful. Tell her you’re best friends with Rin Hayashi. She’ll probably calm down a bit.”
“Mkay. Thanks Rin!”
The next day, Nori came to him looking like his dog had just died.
“Woah, Nori, what’s wrong? Did it go poorly?”
“She said she’d have to think about it. She seemed really freaked out. She was tense the whole time like she thought I was gonna attack her or something.”
“I told you, she’s terrified of men. Apparently something happened in her past. She wouldn’t tell me anything else. My guess would be that she was abused by a man, possibly her father, when she was little. But that’s just pure speculation on my part.”
“Oh.” Nori looks worried. “That’s… I’m not sure what to say.”
“That’s okay. Don’t mention it to her and don’t tell her I told you. She’d freak. I told her I wouldn’t tell anyone, but I thought it was something you should know. I’m trusting you to not tell anyone else.”
“Okay.”
The next day, Nori came to Rin. This time he was smiling.
“RIN! RIN SHE AGREED!” The happiness radiating off of him was astounding. “She said she would be willing to meet me after school tomorrow to talk! Do you realize what this means? The girl of my dreams agreed to meet me. I’m getting the chance to confess to a girl I’ve loved for years. I never thought the day would come when I would be so happy.”
“Why not do it today?”
“I need some time to figure out what to say.” He blushed. Rin looked at him, his face red from admitting this, and couldn’t help but laugh. He was, and would always be, the same Nori he had talked to eight years ago. He could learn how to function in the world. He could learn how to make conversation. He could learn how to not back down from situations he was afraid to do. He could grow shoulder-length hair and have stubble on his chin. He could learn how to defend himself and how to be more confident in his decisions. He could do anything he wanted to. But inside, he would always be Nori.
“What?!” he demanded.
“Oh, nothing. I was just… thinking.”
“Humph” Nori was clearly unsatisfied with this vague answer, but accepted it nonetheless. Class was starting, after all. He could grill Rin about it later…

Except he couldn’t…

Rin stared down at Nori’s rapidly cooling corpse and cried. He cried quietly, not screaming or sobbing. That would come later when he’s alone at home, face buried in his favorite pillow. For now the only sounds are his occasional gasps and the tears plopping into the puddles of blood at his feet. Tomorrow was the day he was supposed to meet Yuki. He was supposed to confess to her tomorrow because she was the only girl he loved. He was supposed to sand behind the school and tell her how much he loved her. He should have been HAPPY! Why did this have to happen? Why? Rin has to put a hand over his mouth to stifle the scream. He forces himself to get up. I wonder if he died happy. Probably not. He probably died full of regret and sadness and despair. I need to get out of here. As Rin got up to leave, he noticed something he hadn’t seen before (probably due to the shock of seeing the bodies of his classmates). There was a bag lying abandoned on the floor next to the door. Curious, he knelt down to examine the bag… and completely forgot about Nori. He pulled out his camera, took a picture of the front of the bag and left hurriedly, leaving the bag behind. There was blood on the bag, as well as the name of the person who owned it. The name on the bag was Takashi Yamada.

        Rin made his way down to the police station. Once he got there, he asked to speak to the lead detective behind the murders at Chikako Academy. A tall, middle aged woman with long white hair came out to meet him.
“Hello there. I am detective Koharu Sasaki. You wanted to speak to me?” She looked at him kindly.
“Y-yes” Rin said and began to tell them what he saw. He started from the beginning, with the first murder. He described the mask, and the hunched figure of the killer. He described the high-pitched giggles that the masked person made while hurting Kaiyo. Sasaki was nodding and smiling encouragingly. She must have done this before.
“And could you see who the victim was?” She asked. Rin hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth, closing it again, and shaking his head.
“I’m sorry, it was dark and the body was too deformed for me to be able to get a good look at who it was.” Sasaki stared at him for a while as though trying to decide whether or not she wanted to believe him. Finally, she shook her head and relaxed. Her hair shook out of synch with the movement of her head.
“Okay. And I take it you saw the… uh… scene in the classroom?” Rin nodded silently.
“I… I was going home and left my bag in the room, so I went to get it, which is when I found the bodies.” Or, what was left of them he thought.
“And can you describe the scene for me please?” she asked. Rin hesitated for a second and then began describing what he had seen that day. It wasn’t hard; the scene in that classroom would probably never fade from his memory.
“The corpses were pretty messed up too, but I couldn’t tell if it had been done before or after they had died.” Sasaki smiled at him when he finished
“Thank you very much. Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” Rin shook his head and left the police station. The bell tinkled overhead as he opened the door and stepped out into the cold night air. It didn’t occur to him until much later, as he was laying in bed trying to fall asleep that the questions the woman had asked him were things she should have already known. If she was the person in charge of the case, why did she need to ask about what the corpses look like, what the scene looked like? Rin tried to push this thought away and tried to get some sleep, but it kept nagging at him. Finally, unable to sleep, he got up and dialed the number that Sasaki had given him to call in case he had any further questions or information he wanted to give them. The phone rang five times before he got a message.
“The number you have dialed is out of service…” He hung up the phone, suddenly chilly despite the warmth of the room. Why had this detective given him a number that didn’t exist? Quickly, Rin changed back into his clothes and crept silently downstairs so as not to wake his father. The odds of Sasaki still being there this late at night were slim, but it was worth a try.

It was midnight by the time Rin was walking into the door of the police office. There was a different person at the desk this time, a short, fat man with black hair down to his shoulders. His uniform barely fit.
“Hey there. What can I do for you?” He had a friendly voice, as if he were talking to an old friend rather than a stranger he had no connection to.
“H-Hi” stammered Rin. “I was wondering if detective Sasaki is still here.” The policeman shook his head sadly.
“No. I’m sorry. She left about an hour ago.” His tone was somber, as though he were telling Rin that Sasaki had just died rather than that she had left for the night.
“Oh.” said Rin. “Could I have a number to call her with?”
“Sure” the policeman wrote a phone number down on a piece of paper and handed it to Rin. “I don’t know if she’ll answer, but it doesn’t hurt to try.” Rin smiled gratefully.
“Thanks.”

        Rin walked back from the police station with many thoughts swirling around in his mind. Who was the killer he’d seen on his way back from school yesterday? Why had they murdered Kaiya? She was such a sweet girl. Was it related to the murder of the 5 students at his school? Probably. After all, Kaiya had also been a student from his school. So maybe the killer was a member of his school. In that case it had to be a student. But could a teenager really do those horrible things? They’d have to be fucking crazy!
As Rin boarded the subway home he felt a strange presence, as though someone was watching him. He scanned the train trying to discern who it was, but everyone looked to be absorbed into their own little worlds. As time went on, and the train began to empty of passengers, he noticed something strange. His stop, like Sakura’s, was near the end of the line, so he was almost always the last person off the train. However, today there was another person, and that person was staring right at him. It was the same girl who had been on the train that time he went home with Sakura, except this time, Rin recognized the girl as Aika Ito, a fellow classmate. She was quiet and fairly reserved, so he knew almost nothing about her except from the things he heard from his friend Yuki. He knew she didn’t interact with many people and as a result had poor social skills. He knew she did rather poorly in school, usually barely passing tests and quizzes.
He also knew her house was in the opposite direction. ‘Why is she on THIS train’ he wondered. Rin waved at her and smiled warmly. She continued to glare at him as though she knew no other expression. Rin shifted uncomfortably.
“Ummm, hey there” he tried. She glared at him. “Um… do you… want something from me?” She continued to glare at him.
“Now approaching Ikebukuro station”. Rin sighs with relief and hurries off the train, glad to be away from that icy stare. He started home and it finally came to him: what the look was in her eyes he’d seen before. It was hate… ice cold hate.

At school the next day, Rin can’t stop thinking about the five bodies he saw. He looked around him at the five empty desks. All of them had families, he thought. They all had dreams and aspirations for the future. They had people they loved. And now they’re gone. He clenched his teeth and tried to choke back tears. They were my classmates. They were MY AGE! Why did they have to die? He could see the rest of the class whispering to each other, speculating about the desks. It was rare for anybody in Chikako High to be absent more than a day, and to have the same five students be absent two days in a row had not gone unnoticed by students, nor teachers. Several times on his way here, Rin overheard teachers in the hallway talking about it. It seemed they had been notified about the deaths. Rin looked at his watch. Homeroom didn’t start for another 10 minutes. Exhausted, he laid his head on the table and fell into a half-sleep state, thinking.
Life is so fragile. It’s like glass; one wrong move and it’s gone. It’s so easy to forget, to be lulled into thinking nothing bad will happen. You hear about people dying in other countries, you hear about war, but you think “oh that will never happen to me”, and you forget that tragedy can strike anywhere at any time. Just because you have friends and family and aspirations for the future, it doesn’t make you immune to misfortune. Bad things happen to the nicest of people. People die who don’t deserve to. Just yesterday Rin thought that life would always go on the same, that they’d would always be a normal class full or normal people. He’d felt invulnerable to death. He’d never believed that his classmates, the same classmates with whom he’d shared his secrets with, the ones who he’d talked about girls with, who he’d played video games with, could die right in front of his eyes. He’d felt separated, protected from tragedy. But all that changed in the blink of an eye.
Halfway through the school day, there was an announcement. Rin wondered what it could be about, since announcements halfway through the day were extremely rare. The principal's voice came over the intercom. “Mr. Mutou?”
“Yes?”
“I need Mr. Yamada Takashi down in the main office.”
All eyes in the class turned to look at Yamada.
“Ahem”, the teacher cleared his throat, “Will someone please volunteer to escort Yamada-san down to the main office”.
Silence. Then Rikka, the class president, stood up.
“As class president I feel it is my responsibility to escort Yamada-san”. She grabbed Yamada’s arm and coaxed him out of his seat. “Come with me”, she ordered. The two left, Rena almost dragging Yamada along behind her. The door closed behind them. The room was completely silent, the tension in the air palpable. Everyone was afraid to speak. The spell was broken by the sound of the bell signaling the end of homeroom. The class scrambled to get ready for their next class. Takashi Yamada was now the last thing on their minds.
Chikako Daze (chapter 1)
So here's another thing. If you like it I might upload more. It's still a work in progress.
Story concept credit goes to a guy named Raspberry. He thought of the idea and setting. All I did was the writing.
This is one of the earliest pieces of writing I've done, so it might not be as good as my other stories.
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        They were everywhere. Everywhere, she knew, there were people, and they wanted to hurt her. They hid just out of sight, waiting, ready to come after her the moment she let her guard down. Nobody could be trusted. Of course, she knew if she tried to tell anyone, they’d just laugh it away. They’d go look in the shadows, point behind the bushes and say, “See, there’s nothing there.” But she knew better. She’d seen them slinking under the cover of darkness, dark shapes moving, scuttling around. As soon as she turned to look, they were gone, hiding from her. Hiding in the shadows. Hiding in the trees. Hiding in the bushes, all the time trying to get inside. Sometimes, while she slept, she could hear their scratching, fingernails on her window, trying desperately to get in. Her fingers closed around the cold steel of the gun she kept under her pillow, just in case one of them got in. Without it, she had no doubt that she would succumb to the insanity and terror that was always with her, dancing just outside her consciousness.
There was a knock on her door.
“Aiko, are you in there?” the muffled voice of her mother came through the door. It sounded exhausted, almost mournful. Aiko was silent. A sigh came from the other side of the door, full of hurt and grief and resignation.
“Dinner’s ready if… if you want to come out.” Aiko was still silent.
“We’re having curry tonight. You like curry right?” No response.
“Your father… he made it sweet, just the way you like it.” Nothing. Aiko’s mother sighed.
“You know we love you, right Aiko? Your dad and I… we love you. And we’ll still love you, no matter what. So… if there’s anything you want to talk about then…” She trailed off. She sighed again and spoke, her voice thick with tears just barely held back. “Please Aiko, come out.”
There were a few seconds of silence, and then she could hear the sound of her mother’s footsteps retreating from her door. And although her mother had tried to hide it, she had heard a sob escape her mouth.

        “Any luck?”
“No…” Aiko’s mother tried to wipe the tears from her eyes, but they were quickly replaced. She fell onto the couch next to her husband, leaning against him. The comforting weight of his arms encircled her shoulders, and all the grief she’d been trying to hold at bay suddenly burst out all at once. A sob escaped her lips. It was a terrible sound, full of misery and despair, an expression of hurt so profound words alone could not do it justice. She buried her face in his chest and sobbed and he held her and cried silently over her shoulder.
“She’s dead...! Shuuji, our daughter... is dead! And it’s our fault!” She struggled to talk through the tears and the sobs, drawing breath only to let it out again in a wail of misery.
“No she’s not. She’s very alive in there. And even if she wasn’t, it isn’t your fault, nor mine.”
“She is dead, Shuu, and you know it. Our daughter isn’t in there anymore. Her body eats, breathes, goes to school, but it isn’t her. The Aiko we knew is dead, and she’s not coming back!” Her husband waited patiently until her crying began to subside. She unburied her face and looked up at him.
“Shuuji… what did we do wrong?”
“I don’t think we did anything wrong. You need to stop blaming yourself, Mitsuko. It’s bad habit of yours. I’m sure what’s happening to Aiko is just a phase. It’ll pass if you give it time.” Aiko’s mother nodded, clearly unconvinced.
“She hasn’t been to school in days, she’s not eating, and I can hear her screaming in her sleep at night. I don’t think it’s a phase, Shuu. I think there’s something wrong with her. And if there is, it’s our responsibility as her parents to find out what it is and try our best to help her. I want my daughter back, Shuu. And if there’s any hope of that, I want to do anything and everything in my power to do it.” Shuuji was moved by the determination and passion in his wife’s voice.
“What do you suggest we do then?”
“I’m not sure. But I’ll think of something.”

That night, as Aiko got up to use the bathroom, her foot knocked against something hard. She looked down. A bowl of cold soup had been set in front of her door. Mom left dinner for me…
Picking up the bowl of soup, Aiko proceeded to the bathroom, dumped the soup into the toilet, and flushed. She felt no remorse, no sadness at the sight of the food her mother had set out for her as a way of trying to show her love being washed away in the toilet. Indeed she didn’t feel much of anything.
The empty bowl lay forgotten on the bathroom floor as the person for whom it was intended slept.

***

        “Naire? Are you in there?” Naire heard her mother knock lightly against her door. She didn’t have the energy to get up and go open it. She didn’t have the energy to do anything.
“Your teacher called today. He wanted to know if… if you were going to come to school this week. They’re preparing for the school festival.” Naire hid under her sheets, stripped naked due to the intense heat underneath the covers. She didn’t mind it though. The darkness felt good. It was soothing. Even if she was hot and sweating and disgusting, she was safe. Nobody could touch her while she was under the covers.
“Naire…”
“Mom, please. I don’t want to go. Can you just leave me alone for a while. I promise I’ll come out to eat. Just… let me be.” There was silence for a few seconds, then Naire heard the sound of her mother’s feet walking away. Naire felt like crying. She knew how much she was hurting her mother, how selfish she was being. But she just couldn’t bring herself to come out of her room for anything other than food. She could not bring herself to put on that uniform and face the hostility of the students at school. If only I could disappear forever.
This wouldn’t have happened if Fae were still alive. If Fae were still alive, if she still lived in Ireland, if she hadn’t met that boy, maybe she wouldn’t have to suffer like this. But Fae had insisted on moving to America to study. Her parents had discussed it and decided that the entire family should move too, so that Fae wouldn’t feel lonely or homesick (this was her mother’s biggest worry and no amount of arguing from Naire would convince her otherwise). Needless to say, Naire was the only person who had opposed this. Fae had been grateful and Dad… well, Dad just sort of went along with it. Naire could feel the sadness rise up again, the sadness and the anger and the helplessness she’d felt back then when her parents had told her that she was going to move to America, away from her hometown, away from her friends, from everything she knew and loved. She reached her hand out from under the covers, feeling around on her bedside table. After a few seconds, she found what she was looking for, and pulled her hand back in. The metal of the razor blade against her skin felt cold in comparison with the heat she was engulfed in. She pressed down… and stopped. For almost a minute she sat still with the blade pressed against her arm, trembling. It would be so easy. Just pull and… no. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t do it anymore. She took a deep breath and set the blade down beside her. Never again. She had to prove to herself that she could do this, that she could be strong. She looked at her arm. The scars were already starting to fade. Maybe, someday they would be completely gone. Naire looked forward to that day.

        As Naire’s mother set the table for dinner, she couldn’t help but remember Leannán. He used to always cook for her while she took care of the children. In fact, he was the one who’d taught her how to cook. It was one of the simplest, yet most important things he’d ever taught her. After he’d gone and died on her, leaving her alone with Naire, she’d needed to learn how to provide for her and Naire. And it was thanks to his lessons on how to cook that she and her daughter weren’t eating reheatable pizzas and convenience store meals. She went to knock on her daughter’s door to tell her that it was time to eat and she needed to come out of that awful cave of hers, but stopped. She could hear heavy breathing behind the door and… crying? Was her daughter crying? Quietly, she opened the door, peering into the darkness. Her daughter sat naked on the edge of the bed, a blade pressed against the inside of her arm. Naire’s mother’s eyes widened.
“Oh my god, Naire! Stop!” She turned on the light and ran for her daughter, taking the razor from her hand and placing it on the bedside table. Her daughter collapsed against her, shaking and crying.
“I’m sorry mom. I’m sorry. I tried not to. But…”
“Shhh. It’s okay. You didn’t. You didn’t do anything. You’re fine.” She stroked Naire’s hair, holding her against her chest. Her daughter’s body shook and she snuggled her face further into her mother’s chest.
“It’s okay.”
“Really?” Her voice was muffled
“Really.”
“I’m not… I’m not hurting you?”
“Of course not. Now come eat. It’s time for dinner. Are you up for it?” Naire smiled.
“Yes. Let me get dressed and I’ll... be right out.”

***

        “So, Aiko, tell me about these… uh… nightmares you’ve been having.” Aiko sat silently on the couch across from the man who was to be her new therapist. He was a thin, balding man with clothes that didn’t fit him very well. He wore small reading glasses in order to see the clipboard he held in front of him. Behind them, his eyes were a light blue color, the color of the sky. Aiko hated everything about him.
“Your mother told me you haven’t come out of your room in two weeks, not even to eat. And she told me that you’ve been having nightmares for several months now.”
Aiko sat for a few minutes, staring at him defiantly. He stared back, seemingly unaffected by her lack of response. Finally, he spoke
“Aiko, I’m here to help you. I don’t know what it is that has happened to you, why you’re having these nightmares. I need you to talk to me, to help me out here. If you don’t talk to me, I can’t do anything for you.”
“You can’t help me anyways. Nobody can.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I’ve seen countless people like you. I know how you people think. You don’t give a fuck about me, do you? You just want to collect my mom’s money and pretend to help me. You people are all the same. Claiming to help people yet doing nothing to help. So many people have claimed to be able to help me, and yet here I am not any better than I was last year. Not a single person has been able to do anything for me. You expect me to believe you’ll be any different?” The man was quiet. His blue eyes stared at her with an intensity she was not used to.
“Aiko, you have to understand something. It is not our job to ‘fix’ you. We can talk to you. We can help you, give you a place to talk. We can offer advice and guide you. But it’s ultimately up to you to choose to help yourself.” Aiko raised her head, looking directly into his eyes.
“What do you think I’ve been doing this past year?” Without waiting for a response, Aiko got up off the couch and walked to the door without a word. As she was about to leave, the man called out to her. Aiko paused with her hand on the door handle.
“Find somebody to talk to. If you find somebody you can open up to, you will feel better. I guarantee it. It doesn’t have to be me. It doesn’t even have to be your mother. But find somebody to talk to.” Aiko’s jaw tightened. Without a word, she left the room. Behind her, she heard the man sigh.

        “Done already?” asked her mother. Aiko just nodded and walked right past her and out the door to the parking lot. Because her back was turned, she couldn’t see the look of hurt on her mother’s face. She climbed into the back seat of the car and looked out the window. She didn’t look at or talk to her mother the entire half hour ride home. Rather, she thought about the conversation she and her parents had had last night…

        “Aiko. Come out of your room. We need to talk to you.” Aiko grudgingly opened her door but didn’t walk through it. If her parents wanted to talk to her, they could do it in here. Her mother sighed, seeming to understand that she wasn’t going to get her daughter to come out and walked into Aiko’s room. It was dark inside and cold; even though it was the middle of December, Aiko had all her windows open. Aiko sat in the only chair, leaving her parents to find the most comfortable place they could on the floor.
“Well? What did you want to tell me.” Aiko aimed her eyes down and to the side, taking care not to look at her parents.
“Aiko we were thinking of… we’re going to take you a therapist. We want to find the best way to help you get over whatever it is that you’re struggling with.” Aiko smirked.
“Well I hope he does better than those other failures you wasted money on.” Her mother flinched at those words.
“I just want to do what’s best for you. And me and your father… don’t know what to do.” Aiko could see her mother visibly shrinking as she spoke. Aiko laughed coldly.
“If you want to do what’s best for me, get out of my fucking life. You think you can do anything for me? You’re fucking wrong.” Her mother was trembling now, her hands squeezing the fabric of her dress so hard her knuckles were turning white.
“Aiko, please…”
“I don’t need your help. I don’t need anybody’s help. Now get out of my fucking room, you pathetic excuse for a mother.” Aiko’s mother had started to cry long before her daughter had finished. Her father wrapped his arm around his wife and squeezed.
“Please Aiko, just give it a chance. One session, that’s it. If you never want to go back, you won’t have to. And… we’ll never make you go to another therapist again.”
“Because you don’t want to pay for it?” Her father’s mouth tightened.
“No. Because we want you to be happy. And if giving up on therapy does anything to help, we’ll do it for you.” For the first time, Aiko looked at her father.
“You mean it?”
“Of course. Will you go?”
“I’ll try it. But only once.”
“Fine.”
“Now get out.” Aiko pointed towards the open door leading out to the hallway. Her father guided her still-sobbing mother out the door. Aiko closed the door quietly and climbed into bed…

        Aiko was out of the car as soon as it pulled into the driveway. Her mother raised a hand to try to stop her, but gave up. It wouldn’t make any difference what she said. Aiko ran straight up to her room, closed the door, and climbed into bed. She was exhausted from going out today. It had been weeks since she’d set foot outside, and the stress of doing something new had taken it’s toll on her mind and body. She rolled over on her side and pulled the covers more tightly around herself. She reached under her pillow to make sure her gun was still there and closed her eyes. Darkness engulfed her, soothed her. She could feel her body relaxing. Maybe she should try it now. Maybe it would be easier now that she was more relaxed. Her hands crept down her stomach, between her legs and stopped, trembling in the air less than a centimeter away from their goal. Slowly, carefully, she extended a finger and stopped again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could do this. She could…
Her finger went closer, closer until finally it touched. She bit down on her other hand to calm herself and keep from screaming. She pressed harder, dragging her finger up. Her breath caught in her throat. Fear filled her. No matter how often she did this, she was always reminded of him. The man who had hurt her, who had done this to her. She cursed silently. Over a year later and she couldn’t do this. She gave up, bringing her hands back up to her face, cuddling her gun the way a normal 10 year old would cuddle her stuffed bear. The things were back. She could hear the scratching on her window pane. Aiko squeezed her eyes shut and pulled her knees up to her chest, laying curled up on her side. The scratching grew louder, more insistent. Aiko squeezed the gun more tightly. She’d kill them. If any one of them managed to get inside, she’d kill them. She hated this: this constant fear, this constant feeling that she needed to defend herself against. There was a knock on her door. For a second, Aiko almost pointed the gun at the door, convinced it was one of the People. But then rational thought kicked in, telling her it was just her mother. Aiko relaxed her grip on the gun.
“Aiko? Can I come in?” Aiko didn’t answer, instead covering herself in blankets. Her mother seemed to take the lack of an answer as a “yes”, opening the door and coming inside. At least she didn’t turn on the light.
“Hey there. I just wanted to ask you what you thought about today.” No reply.
“He… seemed nice enough.” Aiko remained silent. Aiko’s mother continued, but in a slightly shakier voice.
“So… do you think you’d… want to go back?” Aiko sat in silence for a while before answering.
“No. I won’t go back.”
“Oh.” Her mother sounded deflated.
“He can’t help me.”
“Yes… okay… well, I guess that’s it. I’m sorry for making you go.” Aiko was silent. Her mother sighed and turned away. Just before she was about to leave, Aiko yelled, “Wait!”
Her mother turned around hopefully. Aiko took a deep breath.
“I… I want to go to school tomorrow.” Her mother’s eyes widened.
“You… what?”
“I want to go to school tomorrow.”  

***

“Hey there, it’s Naire. I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I was wondering if… if… ah, goddamnit!” Naire slammed her fist against her desk. It’d been 20 minutes since she’d sat down to practice what she was going to say and she still couldn’t even get through the first sentence. Tears of frustration and anger slid down her face and fell onto her desk, making dark spots where they landed. He was gone. There was no reason for her to want to talk to him, let alone see him anymore. And yet, for some reason, she couldn’t let him go.
“Hey there, it’s Naire. I know we haven’t talked to each other for a while, but I was… was… I… fuck.” She gave up, flopping down on her bed and staring at the ceiling. Her legs dangled off the side and she swung them back and forth, thinking. Maybe she should just call him. Get it over with. Obviously practicing wasn’t doing anything. But what if she tripped up? Naire rolled over on her side, sighing. Why did it have to be this hard? It was just a phone call. She wouldn’t even have to talk face to face with him. She took a deep breath and reached for her phone. Slowly, digit by digit, she typed the phone number she knew all too well. Naire’s finger hovered above the send button for a split second before pressing down. Her hands shook as she brought the phone up to her ear. It didn’t even ring once before she got his voicemail. “This is Alan. I can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message and I might call you back.” There was a beep indicating that it was time to leave a message. Naire took a deep breath, exhaled, and started talking.
“Hey there, it’s Naire. I know it’s been a while since we last spoke, but I was wondering if… if… if it would be okay for us to meet up sometime. There are so many things I want to talk about with you. So, if you get this message… when you get this message, please call me back. I’d love to hear your voice…” Naire clutched the phone to her ear. She needed to hang up soon; she didn’t want to let him hear her cry. She took another deep breath and whispered “I’m sorry” before hanging up. She let the phone drop to the floor. She’d done it. She’d called him. She looked up at the ceiling and laughed. She’s done it. Now all she had to do was wait and see if he’d call back. Her eyes drifted sideways to the school uniform hanging on the wall and made up her mind. If he called back, she’d go back. She’d face the taunts and jeers of her classmates. She wanted so desperately for things to work out again. Maybe if she saw him, even if it was just one more time, maybe she’d be able to make up the things she’d said to him. Maybe he’d find it within himself to apologize. That way, even if they never saw each other again, the bitterness wouldn’t be as strong.
Naire looked to the side, to her bedside table, to the thing on the bedside table. The blade of her razor glinted slightly in the soft light of her room, casting reflected light at the wall opposite it. The bed squeaked as Naire crawled across it to the table, picking up the razor. It sat in her hand, looking both evil and completely innocent, like a child who hurts without malicious intent. For almost 5 minutes she sat there, just looking at the tool in her hand, the blade she used to mutilate her own body. Then, before she lost the will to do so, she got up and threw it away. Never again. She would never do it again. Her scars were almost healed, and she wanted it to stay that way. Even if she was hurting, even if she was sad, she’d find a way to cope without hurting herself.
Aiko chapter 1
I got a few positive comments on my other writing, so I decided why not put up more for the two people who feel like reading it. This one is a little more mature, so I feel obligated to say "viewer discretion is advised" even though I know nobody will listen to me. 
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RealBloodClaw Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy B-Day! :D
I shall give you points!
:happy birthday: birthdAy '09 fella (Badges) Blower fella (Party) Free Undertale Sans Headbob Icon 1 MenInASuitcase KimRaiFan's Bday Cake 
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Sparkle1princess Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2016
Thank you so much <3
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RealBloodClaw Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem! :D
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IcyFawn13 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Eyyy Happy Birthday!! :D
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Sparkle1princess Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016
Thanks <3
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IcyFawn13 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! ^ u ^
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Ravensong867 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Press 1 to wish Sparkle a happy birthday

*runs away mysteriously*

Day128 - Happy Birthday 
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Sparkle1princess Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016
1
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Icey-Shadow Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016
Hey... Happy early birthday.
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Sparkle1princess Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016
Thanks you :O How did you know?
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