Time is up!
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    "00:00:00
    Time is up!

    You only get one chance to save yourself but you failed. You didn't do the job. Now, the price should be paid. A life for a life."



    2 hours; 29 minutes; 59 seconds before schedule



    It is a Monday morning. I got up earlier than I ought to but I didn't go back to bed. Oddly enough, I don't feel as tired as I usually do at that time of the day. Then I realized, I feel nothing. At all.

    I look back at my bed.

    How is that possible? I'm looking at my sleeping self, stiff as a rock, not breathing. Am I..

    Dead?

    No! That's impossible! B-but, how am I able to look at myself? Am I a ghost? Am I really dead?

    I feel a force behind me. I turn around. It's coming from my mirror. It's pulling me in. I scream, but no sound came out. I glimpsed at my body one last time, then everything went black.


    I woke up with a sudden jerk. What's that dream all about? It felt so real. I carefully look around me. My eyes rested upon that life-sized mirror of mine. It looked normal. I looked normal. My short, black hair, same as always. Those cold, gray eyes that no one could stare at too long, still there. My petite-looking body that always gets some people thinking I'm in middle school, check.

    "Onee-chan! Hurry up! You'll be late for school!"

    I stole a glance at my alarm clock. Kuso! It's 7am! I've got 20 minutes left!
    I took a quick shower, hurriedly changed into my uniform(with an embarrassingly long skirt), and got into the car.

    "Mei! You forgot your lunch! You wouldn't want to be starving to death, would you?"

    Death.

    "Arigatou, Oka-san! See you later!"

    I glanced at my wristwatch. 7:15! 5 minutes left! 1st day of school. Late. What a great way to start the year. Baka.


    "See you later, Oto-san!"

    I ran up the stairs and stopped outside my classroom door. I breathe in and out, closed my eyes, and reached for the door. I almost fell after someone opened it.

    "G-gomen nasai, Min-sensei. I woke up late."

    She slammed the door.
    Kuso! I've officially been added to her "Students-to-treat-badly" list.

    10 minutes later, the bell rang and students quickly filled the hallway. I watched as Min-sensei went out of the room and seemed to search for something, or someone, and her glaring eyes met mine. I tried to smile apologetically but failed(I'm not good with smiling). She left. Thank goodness!

    "Mei-chan! There you are! It's the first day of school and you already signed up to Sensei's "list". Poor you."

    Rin. She's so popular and she has red hair. I can't even believe she wanted to be friends with someone like me, the exact opposite of her. Everyone adores her while I, on the other hand, am always neglected.

    "I woke up late. I guess I'll have to bear with the consequence until she gets tired of me. I doubt it'll last long. Oh, Rin-chan! Have you seen.. you know.. him?"
    "Hmm. Not really. You know me. I don't see any other boy that isn't my boy. Ha-ha!"
    "Very fun- Oww!"

    I clutched my chest and fell to the tiled floor as I felt a searing pain. At the same time, I felt really dizzy.
    Rin screamed. The last thing I saw before I lost my consciousness was a black figure approaching me.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 09-14-2014 at 02:05 AM.

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    1 hour; 00 minutes; 00 seconds before schedule

    I heard muffled voices around me. I tried to open my eyes to see who's talking but I can't. I can't even move a muscle. What's wrong with me?
    The voices started to sound clearer and nearer.

    "I-I don't know what happened! She just collapsed while clutching her chest!"

    Rin.

    I remember now. The pain.
    I'm most probably in the school clinic.

    "Where is she? Where is my Mei?!"

    Oka-san.

    "Relax. She's inside."

    Whose voice was that? The nurse's, maybe?

    I felt a hand rest upon mine.

    "Mei. Oh God, Mei. Please wake up. I can't lose you. We can't lose you."

    I felt a tear slowly run down from my hand. I heard my mom sob.
    I don't want to see her cry.

    I tried to move again but I failed to. In the middle of my mom's sobbing and Rin's stuttering, I heard another voice. I can't quite understand the words but I'm certain it was from a different person. A different being.

    "...die...escape..kill...48..."

    What?
    The voice kept saying the same things but everytime, it gets louder and louder until I can't hear my mom and Rin anymore.

    It stopped.
    Silence. Then an ear-piercing scream.

    My eyes flew open.
    Where am I? I got up from my bed and looked around. An endless view of the color white.
    There's no beginning and no end. It's like I'm in a different dimension. A different universe.
    How did I get here?

    "You will die. You can escape death. You need to kill the one you love the most. You are given 48 hours. Your time starts now!"

    I turned to see who said those but before I succeeded, a force pulled me into something. A portal. I was able to see someone, or something. A black figure. The black figure. Then it was gone. So was I.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 07-11-2014 at 08:28 PM.

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    47 hours; 59 minutes; 59 seconds

    "Mei."
    I felt a gentle touch on my cheek. I opened my eyes.

    Satoshi Hinata.

    "Mei! Y-you're awake! Takechi-san! Your daughter is awake!"

    "Mei! Oh my Mei! Thank heavens you're awake! How do you feel?"
    "I feel fine. Can we go home now?"
    "Uh.. I'll ask the nurse. Satoshi-kun, can you watch her while I'm out?"
    "No problem, Takechi-san. Take care!"

    I watched as my mom walked out the door. Hinata looked at me and I began speaking.

    "H-hinat-Satoshi-san. W-why are you here?"

    He laughed nervously.
    "Uh well, I.. I was worried about you."
    "Really? I didn't even know you knew my name, how much more know who I am."

    This time, I was the one who laughed nervously.

    "Oh.. I knew who you were since last year. When you bumped into me. You were obviously late for something so you didn't bother apologizing. Your library card fell and as I was about to pick it up, you left. I didn't get the chance to give it back that day so I kept it. Here."

    He took out his wallet and handed the library card to me. I stared and took it. Woah. It really was mine. I lost that a year ago and it was such a hassle. I can't believe he kept it. The picture still looked clear. In it, I wore the same neutral expression I always wore.

    He cleared his throat.

    "O-oh. Gomen nasai, Satoshi-san. I remember now. I really did bump into someone back then but I didn't know it was you. But, I want to ask something."
    "What is it?"
    "Why did you not give it back the next day?"

    I caught him off guard. He nervously averted his big, blue eyes from mine. His head bowed a little so his blond hair almost covered his eyes.

    "Uh.. hello? Earth to Satoshi-san."
    "I-I'm innocent! I s-swear! I didn't keep it t-to have a picture of you! I didn't have a crush on you! I swear!"

    My eyes grew wide and my jaw dropped. When he realized what he did, I could've sworn he would've fainted if my mother didn't arrive.

    "We can go home now, Mei. You can stand now, right?"
    "Y-yes, Oka-san."

    "What's wrong? Did something happen here? Satoshi-kun?"

    "N-nothing, Takechi-san. I-I'll go home now."
    "Okay. Arigatou, Satoshi-kun."
    "Do itashimashite."

    He went out.

    "I'm sure something happened. But I guess I'll leave you be. I'll pretend I've seen nothing."
    "Arigatou gozaimasu, Oka-san!"
    "Come on. You've still got school tomorrow."
    "Sure."

    I can't believe it. The star of the baseball team. The straight As student. The school heartthrob. The student body president. Confessed. To. Me. I still can't believe it. I felt my heart beat faster and only now did I notice that I was holding my breath. I breathed out loud enough for my mother to hear and she eyed me curiously. I smiled sheepishly then she knew.

    The beautiful commotion was more than enough to have distracted me from my dilemma.

    As I was heading out, I noticed a life-sized mirror beside the hospital bed. It wasn't there before. There was the black figure. I felt a slight pain in my chest and as I clutched it, I heard a voice in my head saying:

    "47 hours left."
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 07-15-2014 at 04:30 AM.

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    46 hours; 30 minutes: 00 seconds

    As we arrived home, my dad and little brother, still in his uniform, welcomed us.

    "Onee-chan!"
    "Mei, my daughter. How do you feel?"
    "I feel fine now. I just need some sleep. Can I have some?"
    "You need to eat something first, then you can doze off all you want."
    "Arigatou, Oto-san!"

    Dinner passed by in a blur. Soon enough, I was sprawled all over on my bed, not bothering to change into my pajamas. After a couple of minutes, I was asleep.

    "I love you, Mei."

    Hinata?

    "Mei. I love you."

    Oka-san?

    "I love you, Mei. You're my best friend."

    Rin?

    "I love you, my daughter."

    Oto-san?

    "Onee-chan, I love you!"

    Rei?

    "Kill the one you love the most, then you live. You've got 46 hours left."

    I woke up in cold sweat. My chest hurt a little more than it did before.

    46 hours left.

    Am I really capable of killing someone just to be able to live? I haven't given it much thought before but now, I'm doubting myself. Yes, I've always thought of death as an escape from this world full of suffering and gloom. Yes, there were times I wished I'd died. But, I didn't expect it would happen this way. I didn't expect this is how it would work. I've grown up having my expectations turned upside down, but this seemed impossible. Too unbelievable. But I don't have a choice.

    My phone beeped. I went over my desk and opened it.

    From: (unknown)
    Hello Takechi-san. I'm sorry for leaving. I was just ashamed of myself. I hope you forgive me. I'll wait for you tomorrow. I need your support for my first baseball game this school year. Thanks. XOXO

    This must be from Hinata. It ought to be. Where did he get my e-mail? And.. when did he get my e-mail?

    To: (unknown)
    It's ok. I'm coming. :)

    I was about to press send but my fingers failed me. I'm too tired. I fell asleep with my phone still in my hand.

    No more mindboggling dreams this time. Just a long, dreamless sleep.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 07-15-2014 at 04:31 AM.

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    37 hours; 49 minutes; 58 seconds

    Through a small gap between the curtains, the sun shone upon my half-closed eyes. My alarm didn't go off yet. I peeked at it.

    6am.

    Anyway, I might as well get ready. I wouldn't risk going back to sleep. I might run late again and I don't want that to happen.

    I undressed and took a shower. The hot water felt nice as it landed on my bare skin. It helped me think.

    Does my existence matter, still? Would people grieve if I'm gone? Do I have a valid reason to take someone's life to save my own?

    I turned off the shower and dried myself up with a towel. I dressed up and examined myself in the mirror. Should I style my hair? It's too short to be braided. I've decided to put it up in a ponytail. A few strands keep falling out of place but they look stylish enough so I let them be.

    There.
    I almost look like a human. I mean, who am I kidding? I can't look normal enough for anyone else. This is the most mundane I can look.

    I opened the door and the smell of cooking bacon and eggs made my stomach grumble. I hope there're waffles.

    Oka-san greeted me with her motherly smile.
    "Ohayou, Mei."

    I look nothing like her. We may have the same hair color but hers is much more beautiful. My short and unevenly cut hair is nothing compared to her long and shiny one. Those blue eyes that sparkle whenever she smiles can't be compared.

    I got my eyes from my father. I look a lot like him.

    "Ohayou, Oka-san."
    I replied with a cheery tone.

    I heard someone coming down the stairs.

    My little brother, Rei. He's got black hair like mine but he got Oka-san's blue eyes. He's the younger brother anyone would kill for.

    Kill.

    "Onee-chan! Oka-san! Ohayou!"
    "Ohayou!"

    We sat down and ate. I gobbled up my bacon and eggs. Luckily, my favorite waffles were present. I savored every bite.

    "Rei! Don't forget to brush your teeth!"
    "Yes, Oka-san!"
    "I'm leaving! Ja ne!"

    It's still early so I decided to take the bus. My favorite seat by the window was unoccupied. Lucky me.

    I like this seat. I can peacefully put my headphones on and let the cool breeze brush my face.

    And I did just that.

    A few stops later, we stopped over a familiar house. Rin's.

    I watched as she waved goodbye to her mother. They look like twins but of course, they aren't.

    As she climbed on, her eyes were searching for something, or someone, and finally met mine.

    She squealed and immediately sat beside me and embraced me.

    "Mei! Oh thank goodness you're fine! I was worried sick!"

    I scratched my head.
    "Yep. I'm fine now. Sorry I made you worry."

    She went on saying how worried she was and a few forevers later, we arrived at school.

    "Good luck on your second day, kiddos!"
    Yep. That's our bus driver. Always trying to cheer us up.

    I turned and waved at him. I watched as he smiled.

    As I turned front, a godly figure approached me.

    Hinata.

    My eyes were fixed on him. I found out that I'm paralyzed. But in a desirable way.

    He was smiling. It wasn't the common smile he usually gives his friends. It seemed different. And new.

    "Ohayou, Mei-chan."
    "O-ohayou."

    He turned to Rin.
    "Can I..uh borrow her?"

    Rin grinned.
    "Sure!"

    She turned to me and smiled sheepishly.
    "Enjoy!"
    She left.

    Hinata held out his hand.
    "Mind if I accompany you, milady?"

    I blushed. And took his hand.
    "No. Not at all."
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 07-26-2014 at 11:23 PM.

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    35 hours; 00 minutes; 00 seconds

    "Mei! Snap out of it! If you don't want to listen, get out!"

    Geez. Min-sensei is just cruel.

    "I'm sorry, sensei."

    She ignored my apology and went back to her lecture.

    I can't help it, okay? I was just overwhelmed with what happened this morning. I still can't forget how Hinata glowed whenever he speaks to me. I can feel the passion in his words. I saw in his eyes how he dreaded having to let go of my hand and leaving me. Is this.. love?

    I shook my head. No. It couldn't be, could it? I haven't fallen for him, have I? It's only been at least an hour that we've been together. No one could fall in love that fast. Besides, I've never fallen in love before so I wouldn't know the feeling. I'll be graduating next year anyway.

    Assuming I'll live.

    I shrug off the thought.

    3-2-1

    Finally! Just the sound I've been wanting to hear for a while now. The bell rang noisily. Min-sensei's brow furrowed as she picked up her stuff and marched outside the door.

    I looked at the window and saw storm clouds. Looks like there'll be no baseball tournament today.

    The rain suddenly poured. I closed my eyes and inhaled the smell of rain. I've always loved the rain. It never fails to calm my nerves.

    "Ne, Mei-chan. Someone's looking for you."
    "Eh? Are you kidding me, Rin?
    "Nope. Look. It's Hinata."
    She snickered.

    I left her and went out to see Hinata.

    "Hi Mei."
    He smiled.

    Yep. This is heaven. I'm already dead.

    "Uhm.. Mei?"
    "Oh sorry, Hinata. So uh.. why are you here?"
    "Isn't it obvious? I wanted to see you."

    Can this get any better?

    "It's only been a little while then you miss me already? Awww how sweet of you."

    Wow. I never knew I was this much of an airhead.
    He chuckled.
    "What an airhead!"
    He pinched my cheek.
    "You look especially cute today."

    I blushed. I've been blushing a lot right now.
    "Thanks."

    "By the way, I can't go home with you later. I'm sorry. I have to run some errands."
    "Oh it's fine."
    "Gee thanks."

    Then that's that. He left.



    Time ticked fast and before I knew it, the day was at its end.
    "Mei, I'll go before you. I'm in a hurry. Ja mata ne!"
    "Yeah. Ja ne!"

    I took my time wandering inside the campus, waiting for something to happen. And something happened. Something I would soon regret.

    My phone vibrated and I read the email:

    "Hey. I'm already here in front of the main gate. Where are you?"

    Huh? What's with Hinata? I thought he had to run some errands so he couldn't go home with me. I guess there's only one way to find out.

    As I neared the main gate, I saw Rin running towards it. I slowly approached the outside of the gate but quickly hid behind it.

    Why are they there? Hinata and Rin..
    I sneaked another peek but regretted it.

    "Has Mei gone home yet? She might see us."
    "I didn't see her inside the campus so most probably, yeah."
    "Yokatta."
    "I still can't believe she bought it, the story you made up. You, being bumped by her and her library card falling. Haha. She's so clueless, not knowing that I took it when she wasn't looking. I'd love to see the look on her face once she experiences her first heartbreak."
    "Oh how I love it when you sound so evil."
    "I love you too, my dear."

    B-but why? Why would my best friend, my only friend, want that?

    I saw Rin hold Hinata's hand and I watched, with teary eyes, as they took off.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 07-26-2014 at 11:29 PM.

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    29 hours; 01 minute; 00 seconds

    I stood there frozen, until I heard a noise.

    "Mmm..stop.. somebody.. hear us.."

    That voice. Min-sensei.
    I moved towards the source of the sound. It came from behind the giant Sakura tree. My Sakura tree. I made it my hideout, my secret place. How did Min-sensei find it?

    "Don't worry. Nobody'll hear us."

    I stopped at my tracks. O-oto-san? Oto-san?!

    I stepped backward slowly, trying to let the fact sink in. The fact that my dad is making out with my homeroom teacher. How long has this been happening?!

    I stepped on a twig and the moaning sounds vanished. Kuso!

    Min-sensei peered from behind the tree and saw me. Her eyes grew wide with a mixture of shock and terror from being found out.

    "M-mei.."

    Oto-san appeared and briskly walked towards me.

    "Mei, I can explain.."
    "N-no! No! I'm done with believing in lies! I'm done with trusting people!"
    "But Mei, you're my daughter, my Princess. I love you!"
    "Love?! Is this what you do to people you love?! You lie and betray them?! No! Love is a lie! You're a liar! You're all liars!"

    I slightly stumbled and ran away. I didn't dare look back. What for?

    The rain poured again. I'm entirely soaked but I didn't care. I kept running until I slipped, but I didn't stand up. I just let myself be. I let my tears flow, watched it being washed by the rain.

    "00:00:00
    Time is up!

    You only get one chance to save your life but you failed. You didn't do the job. Now, the price should be paid. A life for a life."

    I could feel my body floating, no, my soul. I could feel my soul being ripped away from my body.

    I'm dying.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 09-14-2014 at 02:07 AM.

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    25 hours; 45 minutes; 00 seconds

    My eyes opened and I exhaled loudly. I-I'm alive. I'm still alive. But wait, why am I in my room? Perhaps I passed out again? Who brought me here? Could it be..

    "Mei! What were you thinking, letting yourself get soaked in the rain like that?! Good thing you're dad found you."
    "Oto-san? No.. Takechi Ken? He brought me-"
    "Oooii Takechi Mei! How dare you disrespect your father?! He-"
    "Father?! I don't have a liar as a father! Oka-san, he betrayed us! He has an affair with-"
    Before I could finish, she cut me off by putting her hand on my mouth.

    "Sshhh.. I know.. don't let Rei hear you.."

    She gently took off her hand from my mouth and sighed.

    "I've known it for a long time now. A year, perhaps."
    "What? B-but why didn't you tell me? Does he know you know?"
    "No. I've become great in pretending I was clueless. I don't want to lose Ken. I love him so much. I don't want to have a broken family."
    "But it isn't fair!"
    "Nothing is fair."
    "But that's not reason enough to let yourself be blinded by that thing you believe in. That thing you call love. If you keep that up, you become selfish."
    "I don't care. I love him and I'm sure he loves both you and Rei. Those reasons are enough."
    "No! No! No!"

    I sprang up from bed and ran down the stairs. Unfortunately, I slipped and hurtled towards the tiled floor. I closed my eyes and waited for a painful landing but it didn't come. Instead, someone caught me in midair. He caught me.

    "Mei.. I-"

    I pushed myself away from him.

    "How dare you?! What made you think you're still welcome here?!"
    "Mei, please here me out."
    "No, you hear me out! I grew up believing we were a happy family. You were King, mom was Queen, Rei was Prince and I, the Princess. Your Princess. Why did you have to find someone else, let alone a teacher, let alone my teacher! Why did you make us believe you really care about us, about Mom, about me?!"

    My body convulsed as my vision turned blurry, then black.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 08-31-2014 at 04:17 PM.

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    25 hours; 00 minutes; 50 seconds

    A few moments later, I've lost control of my body. I can feel my feet move towards the kitchen, my hand trying to grab something.. a KNIFE. Am I really doing this?

    "M-mei.. Princess.. calm down. Put the knife away. It's dangerous. You might get hurt."
    "I won't. But you will."

    What the?! Did I really say that? It's not as if I regret saying it..

    I slowly figured out that I'm in full control of my body.

    "Mei! NO!"

    I clasped the knife and plunged it right through his heart...
    As I pulled the knife back out, it hit me..

    No. No! NOOO!


    Dad took Mom into his arms, with tears in his eyes as he screamed:

    "Miya! Nooooo! Mei! Look at what you've done!"

    He kept screaming. I can't find my voice. My eyes grew wide with terror and regret as I looked at my bloodied hands. Tears started falling from my eyes, mixing with the blood, Oka-san's blood, on the knife.

    I took one long look at my mother's nearly lifeless body and I met her teary eyes. She smiled a weak smile and whispered:

    "I forgive you. Please forgive your dad."

    I averted my gaze and when I looked back at her, no traces of life are left.

    I ran outside the door, knife still at hand, most probably looking like a bloodthirsty psycho who has escaped from prison.

    I killed my mother. I killed my mother. I KILLED HER.

    I ran nonstop, without looking back. I didn't know where I was nor did I care.

    Oka-san's last words keep echoing in my mind.

    "I forgive you. Please forgive your dad."

    I can't. Even if I can, I won't. I can't understand why she let herself die for his sake. He betrayed her, but she still did it.

    I screamed. I didn't care if anyone heard, I just screamed and screamed, until my voice broke. Then I burst into tears again.

    It hurts a lot. I was running for a while now, not really stopping, but that's not it. I'm not tired because of running. I'm tired because of living.

    I've gotten rid of my mother, my only real friend, the one I love the most. What's the point in taking the life of the one you love the most to save your own? Yes, I may go back to my normal life except that, nothing in my life is normal. Everything in my life is a lie. I might as well die-

    I heard the honking, but it was a second too late.

    The last thing I saw was a pair of headlights, and the black figure.
    Last edited by whiteassnow; 09-22-2014 at 02:07 PM.

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    5 hours; 40 minutes; 00 seconds A.D.

    The fluorescent light momentarily blinded me as I slowly opened my eyes. Where am I? How did I get here? No. Wait.

    Who am I?

    "Are you okay?"

    I watched as a boy my age approached me. He had jet black hair and auburn eyes.

    "I-"

    I cleared my throat.

    "I'm fine now. Can you tell me where I am, how I got here, and most importantly, who I am?"

    "You're here in the hospital. You don't remember? You were hit by a car. Our car. But thank heavens you're alive. We're very sorry for what happened."

    The door opened and a man and a woman entered. They must be his parents.

    The woman sat beside me.

    "How are you feeling? I deeply apologize for what happened. I'm Azuma Kanade. That's my husband, Ryousuke. That's our son, Kiske. Can you tell us your name?"

    "I would.. if I remember it."

    "Oh no. I'm very sorry."

    "I can't say it's okay, but I accept your apology. Where do I go when I'm discharged?"

    "We'll take you in and help you search for your family. Is that fine with you?"

    "Yes. Thank you very much."

    A year passed without progress, but I've grown fond of these people who took me in.

    I'm here in my room, with my headphones up.

    Someone suddenly barged in.

    Kiske.

    "Yuki! Oka-san's in the hospital! She saw a kid run down the street to get his ball so she tried to move away.. she hit a tree instead!"

    "What?!"

    "Come on!"

    As I was about to stand up, my head hurt suddenly. I screamed.

    "I forgive you. Please forgive your father."

    Oka-san?

  19. #11
    twisted snowflake whiteassnow's Avatar
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    (Unspecified Time)

    Kiske carried me to the car.

    "What happened?"

    "I-I.. don't remember."

    We finally arrived in the hospital. Ryousuke-san ran towards the operating room but he was hindered.

    "No, sir. You can't go inside. Please wait here until the operation is done."

    He wouldn't settle for that. He tried to push away the nurse but Kiske and a few more nurses held him. They injected him a mild tranquilizer.

    An hour passed before a doctor came out of the operating room.

    "Are you the patient's family?"

    "Yes. How is she?"

    "I'm very sorry. We tried our best but we couldn't save her."

    Ryousuke-san broke down and went inside. Kiske, with tears in his eyes, went to his father's side and tried to console him.

    Kanade-san, even in death, was still beautiful. It's a shame to have her die like this.

    After a week, we held her burial. She wore a pure white dress and had a bouquet between her hands.

    I roamed around the memorial park and saw a little kid. He had black hair and blue eyes. He almost looked like me.

    He looked in my direction and his eyes widened. He came running towards me.

    "Mei-nee-chan! I've missed you so much! Where have you been?"

    Mei? That's my name? And this.. this is.. my brother?

    "Rei! Let's go home!"

    "Oto-san! I found her! I found Onee-chan!"

    His father's, my father's, eyes grew wide with shock and disbelief.

    "Mei? Is that really you?"

    "I'm sorry but I remember nothing. Are you my dad?"

    "Yes! Yes, of course. Let's go home now."

    Those last words of his were filled with a weird emotion. Was it pretense?

    No. Of course not. Why would my own father do that to me?

    I went with him and my brother.



    "I'm home!"

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