"Can You Open Your Heart?" - a Rika pseudo-route

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The O.H.L.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by The O.H.L. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:10 am

Fuck it. Why not. Ima go with the second choice.

May as well, cos somebody has to do it.
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WolfStreak
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by WolfStreak » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:50 am

No sexy time? :cry: Maybe the good end hu? I pick hidden third option, say nothing and let the author choose.
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Titus
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Titus » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:59 am

[Rika, your life is yours. I just want to be here for you.]
[Rika, getting better doesn’t mean you have to stop being yourself.]
FFFuuuck, I can't tell which leads to the good ending! Both options don't seem bad or that much different: Your life is yours...doesn't mean you have to stop being yourself. Both seem to be the same message, it's frustrating because I never wanted a good end like this since Rin's story.

I choose option [Rika, your life is yours. I just want to be here for you.], she wants to be left alone so clearly this is the option to pick for a brighter future for Rika...and Hisao.

Choose wisely everyone, my choice better lead to the good end :evil:
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Yojohee » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:46 am

I would have to go with "Rika, your life is yours. I just want to be here for you." too.
But i would create a save point just in case :P

I really like your story, rikabro!

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Triscuitable » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:54 am

You guys are going to hate it when it turns out you all picked out the bad ending. Maybe it's a ruse, to put you off guard with the promise of nice words.

Maybe Rika wants to change, but doesn't want to be changed for the benefit of others. She doesn't appear to be selfish, but she wants to be left alone. Should she stay with Hisao, she's basically going to change anyways. By that logic, I'm going to go with option #2.

Gilrond
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Gilrond » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:28 am

I'm going with choice number one. Don't screw me on this one, Rikabro, I'm invested in this now...

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:44 am

You know, SC is going to go down on CYOA stories real quick - forum rules and all that...

So I'm not going to state a preference. I'll just say that I expect choice one to lead to the bad end.
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The O.H.L.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by The O.H.L. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:52 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:You know, SC is going to go down on CYOA stories real quick - forum rules and all that...

So I'm not going to state a preference. I'll just say that I expect choice one to lead to the bad end.
Would it still be counted as CYOA if he wrote a chapter for each choice? (Assuming next few chapters will be the conclusion).
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Rikabro
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Rikabro » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:09 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:You know, SC is going to go down on CYOA stories real quick - forum rules and all that...
Hmm, I didn't mean to do that, but I guess it was my own indiscretion in that last post. I wanted to have a "branch" showing two possible outcomes, sort of like the VN. Didn't intend to give the impression that I was going to decide based on people's replies. I can see how I might have come off that way, though. I already know which part I'm writing next and I will post both in due course.

Thanks for the heads up. I clarified my post a little so people aren't given the wrong idea.

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Triscuitable » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:08 pm

Rikabro wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:You know, SC is going to go down on CYOA stories real quick - forum rules and all that...
Hmm, I didn't mean to do that, but I guess it was my own indiscretion in that last post. I wanted to have a "branch" showing two possible outcomes, sort of like the VN. Didn't intend to give the impression that I was going to decide based on people's replies. I can see how I might have come off that way, though. I already know which part I'm writing next and I will post both in due course.

Thanks for the heads up. I clarified my post a little so people aren't given the wrong idea.
Problem solved. Everyone happy? Now we get to watch and wait while I gawk at the right choice being the one nobody chose... :twisted:

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:38 pm

Damn, choices. Choices make me sad. Well, choices like these at least, where the outcome is hard to ascertain. This is no comfort/reject Misha choice, so it's hard for me to decide... but I think I'll go with number two: Rika, getting better doesn’t mean you have to stop being yourself.

Anyway; another great post Rikabro. I like your writing style and the content that it's conveying thus far. I'm looking forward to seeing the scenes that unfold from each of your two options here. Keep up the good work. Also, boobies. Giggity.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Vekter » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:19 pm

Another EXCELLENT chapter. Keep them coming, bro.

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/2/2012

Post by Rikabro » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:00 pm

Thanks for reading, everyone. I really appreciate the replies.

Here's a little something new. Feedback and comments appreciated as always.

Scene 9: The Answer

I reach over to her and clasp her hand, looking into her eyes. She gives me her complete attention.

“Rika,” I say to her, “getting better doesn’t mean you have to stop being yourself. When I first met you, you looked like the loneliest person I have ever seen in my life. And I knew in a second how that felt, because, well, I’m just that alone myself. Months in the hospital, little to no visitors, completely alone with my thoughts in isolation. And then after coming here to Yamaku, where nobody knows me… to see someone else like you living out that loneliness that I had lived out for months just tore me apart. And then, when I started talking to you, I saw that there was a happy person in there, a person less lonely, a person who just needed someone to be with her. I don’t want you to be lonely anymore, Rika. I don’t want you to be afraid of what’s going to happen today or tomorrow or in the future. Every time I see you smile, it feels like an enormous victory, like I’m winning at some impossible game…”

She furrows her brow while I talk. I must be rambling. It doesn’t help that I’ve been pushing the limits of my studies. A rush of blood comes to my head, either a second wind or a sudden reaction to all the caffeine that’s probably been flowing through my system this last little while.

Am I even making any sense? I can practically feel my head spinning as I strain my intellect to form any coherent sentences. Undeterred, I go on…

“…but Rika, I’m not going to give up. No matter how hard this game is, and no matter how hard you fight back. I don’t want you to live in fear. I don’t want you to live in misery. I’m working hard to give myself a good life, and so are all the people who care about me. I don’t want to lose you. And I don’t want you to ever go through what you...”

Her eyes bulge as I encroach upon her secret. Whether it’s the misplaced confidence, the caffeine, the tremor in my throat or the gathering tears in the corners of my eyes as she stares at me, I press on. No going back. I put my hands on her shoulders. She’s shaking. Or maybe, I’m shaking… it’s difficult to tell.

“Rika, I don’t want you to lose someone again. I know what it’s like to be alone, but… I don’t know what it’s like to go through what you did. And I don’t want to learn. And I don’t want you to see it again, either. We can work together, Rika. There are a lot of people who care about you. Emi cares about you. Miki cares about you. Your mom and your dad care about you. The whole school wants to see you happy, but you just keep fighting us. I need you to stop it right now.”

A tear streams down her cheek and dangles on her chin. Then, another. It’s all too much, what I’m saying. Maybe I’m trying to cover up the force of the secret that I just brought to the surface. But, I’m out of words.

She speaks in a whisper.

“How could you…”

My heart thuds in my chest as I see a new expression overcome her, something I’ve never seen, and yet it’s so familiar that I know it instantly.

Betrayal.

She shoves my arms aside. “How could you, Nakai? How could you let me smile at you, hold your hand… give myself over to you like that, while you’re… ”

She trails off in a whimper, gazing at me with a mixture of pain and ferocity. Like a wounded animal backed into a corner, showing its teeth in a last effort at saving its skin. Her face flushes uncharacteristically as she speaks, her cheeks burning bright red.

No. I won’t let her get the better of me. I glare right back at her, standing to my feet, towering.

“You’re accusing ME of keeping secrets? Rika, why couldn’t you just tell me that there was someone else before? Why did I have to hear it from Emi while she was breaking down and crying out of worry that I might wind up the same way as… as he did? Just because of you and your… your obsession with fear and death. You act like you know everything about me but you won’t even tell me the truth about why we’re together, and what it’s really about.”

My voice turns from frustration to anger as I begin almost shouting. Her long, slender fingers dig into the grass while I talk, clutching them tightly as though she were worried she might fall off the surface of the Earth. Frail though she may look where she’s laying down, her eyes bind me, powerful, constricting, effortlessly asserting their power over me. I’m furious. My heart is racing. But more than anything else, I’m afraid. I’m filled with fear. And she knows it. In this moment, I can’t help thinking that Rika knows exactly what she’s doing to me, right now, and she always has. Her eyes narrow, and she looks at me like she’s never seen me before, like I have no right to even be speaking to her. She speaks, lowly, in an uncompromising tone.

“So you think you’re just like everyone else, Nakai?”

I shake my head indignantly at her, clenching my fists, more from the blood pressure than from rage. It might be a menacing pose to anyone but Rika, but she doesn’t even flinch at my gesture. She speaks again.

“Maybe it was wrong of me to think that you knew yourself as well as I know you. You aren’t like any of those other people at Yamaku and neither am I. We’re too rare to ever be accepted for what we really are. Nobody wants us. Everyone wants to change us. But the people they want aren’t the people that we are. I thought I could help you realize that, and I thought…”

She pauses, her voice starting to betray more emotion than she intends.

“…I thought maybe we wouldn’t have to be alone if we could at least be together. So I tried to show you… I tried to help you understand who I am, because I wanted you to understand who you are.”

My blood feels like it’s boiling. The rage sends my heart rate soaring. I should probably sit down. But I won’t.

“So you try to kill me? Over and over? Because you don’t want to ‘feel alone?’ You call me a deceiver, but you’ve been hiding things from me the whole time we’ve been together! You say I’m just like you, but I’m not. I take responsibility for my life, Rika. I appreciate the people who support me and I want to work hard for their sake. If you really can’t see the value in that, then…”

She stands up and puts two fingers on my mouth, shushing me. Her hand feels hot, even though she’s been clutching the cold grass. I can feel her fingers trembling. Sweat forms on her brow. All the blood that was in her cheeks is gone now, and she looks pale, fragile. Like a porcelain doll.

The image flashes through my head again of her, at the top of the Zelkova tree, solemnly exposing herself to me. How did it come to this in such a short time? What’s changed?

What was it she said to me? Something about mirrors…

And even now, her rage seems to be gone. She leans forward and whispers in my ear, takes a last glimpse of me with her tired eyes whose luminosity seems to have entirely drained, and turns around decisively, sulking, slowly, out of the courtyard, and into the night. From behind, with her hood drawn, she blends perfectly into the rest of the darkness. With her braid tucked into her hood, her dull gait, her hands stuffed in her pockets, nothing about her is visible any more. She could be just about anyone. A perfect stranger.

I watch her every step, hoping she’ll at least look back at me. But she is resolute. I stand frozen in place as the image of the stranger that I once thought I knew turns the corner and leaves my line of sight.

After a few moments of waiting to see if she might return, or maybe waiting for the will to stop her or run after her, or forgive her for what she said, I turn to return to my room and feel a crumpling in my pants pocket.

I reach in and withdraw a letter. A plain, neutral, ordinary piece of paper with words printed on it.

This letter.

I must have never noticed that it was even missing from the place I left it sitting on my desk. With all the events that have transpired since then, I never got a chance to mail it. My letter to Iwanako. My terrible, tactless, knee-jerk answer to a sincere, heartfelt plea of a young girl plagued with guilt and uncertainty. Here in my pocket, crumpled up into a ball.

Just like magic.



Scene 10: The Gift

It’s Monday morning, and I’m sitting in one of Yamaku’s iron fold-out chairs that are used for special assemblies. The sound of students whispering to one another agitates me immensely, and I keep my gaze fixed so that I don’t have to look at a single one of them. I try not to pay attention to the things they’re saying, which probably have more to do with their glee at the deferral of examinations than anything else.

Impossibly mired in cynicism, filled with rage, I stare at Rika’s colourless, grey face, her motionless eyes, as she gives me that look of total mystery that I saw for the first time on Saturday night. I feel like I should say something to her, but I don’t. Neither of us says anything. Our eyes grapple with one another, locked in our game, neither of us conceding an inch of ground. The moment I walked in here, she was staring at me, just like she always was.

I feel a warm hand on mine, and the sensation makes me shiver. But, it’s not Rika.

“Hisao,” Emi says to me. I don’t look at her. I wasn’t expecting anyone to voluntarily sit next to me.

She squeezes my hand, and I hear the sound of her whimpering. Unmoved, I simply keep staring ahead at Rika, trying to silence everyone around me, the well-wishers, the rabble, the horror-stricken.

“It’s okay to cry, Hisao. I know what it feels like to…”

She starts to sniffle as her voice cracks. I almost roll my eyes at her. Spare me, Emi. This isn’t about you and your fears.

I wish I hadn’t even come here.

On Sunday, two students were walking through the woods when they discovered the dead body of a young student. Police came to investigate, asking questions of the girls at the dorm. I know now that it was tentatively determined that there was no “foul play” in the girl’s death, just a tragic complication of her heart condition while she was too far from anyone to get any help. The investigators learned in their interviews with the students that she was prone to flights of fancy and would often wander off alone. Nobody was able to figure out why she didn’t use her phone to summon help as soon as she knew anything wrong.

Miki was the one who called to tell me about what happened. In fact, she was the only one who talked to me at all before today.

I wonder if Emi wanted to wait for me to find out by myself? Why so unwilling to share the secrets of the dead all of a sudden, Emi? The only thing keeping me from asking her is that face that won’t leave me alone. Rika’s face.

Rika narrows her grey eyes visibly, and the corners of her mouth twitch. My heart thuds uncontrollably against my rib cage.

“Are you okay, Hisao?”

The mingled voices of the students in attendance gradually hush as one, louder male voice takes their place, and it’s harder to ignore. So I try harder to ignore it.

I focus on the sound of Rika’s voice.

“You’re a better stalker than Death himself, Mr. Nakai.”

You knew what you were saying, didn’t you, Rika? You saw me and you knew exactly what I was. You knew what was going to happen to you. How did you know?

“It’s all part of the program at Yamaku.”

I know, Rika. I’m not even looking at any of these people. I don’t hear a word of it. I’m not being programmed. Don’t worry.

“I can hear your heart.”

They must be beating in sync now, Rika, because I only hear mine.

“I wanted to see you.”

No. You’re lying, Rika. You had your chance to see me, and you threw it away. You never even gave me a chance to say goodbye. You knew. You knew what was happening. That’s why you went to the woods instead of going home, isn’t it? Like a sick dog that finds a place to curl up and die. You’re pathetic, Rika.

“People shouldn’t squander their last words.”

And you sure as hell didn’t, did you? Do you think I’ll ever forget? I hope you know how much of an impact you left with the last thing you said to me. Hell, I wish you could see how you brought the word “Death” to the lips of the whole school once again, how people who never even talked to you are crying, not because of you, not because they’re sad that you’re gone… but because of everything you stand for, and everything you ever did stand for.

But more than anything, your last words. How long did it take you to come up with that? You must have really been proud of yourself.

“We’ll always be alone.”

Stop it, Rika. You bitch. You fucking bitch. You couldn’t just let me be happy, could you? You needed someone to understand you so badly that you gave everything up for it. You took away from me everything that was taken away from you.

Well, you win, Rika. I am like you, now. Do you have any idea how people looked at me when I walked into the school today? Well, of course you do. And you wanted it this way, didn’t you? Just like you didn’t want me to visit you in the hospital. You wanted to punish me. You wanted to put me through the hell that you went through. You never wanted to be with me. You never wanted us to be happy together. You just wanted someone to know what it was like to be you.

I hate you.

“Hisao, are you alright?”

Emi’s voice completely derails my thoughts, and I suddenly realize that nobody’s talking any more. No eulogizer. No Rika. I feel wet droplets running down my cheeks. I must be crying. Rika can tell that I’m crying, too. Just look at her face.

I heave deep, heavy breaths, and I realize that the wetness on my face isn’t tears at all. It’s sweat.

Emi’s voice rises in urgency. But she sounds far away.

“Hisao, did you take your medicine today?”

My heart churns impossibly. My sight blurs, and the sole object of my vision contorts, pulling with it everything in my peripheral vision. I try to recognize all the faces she’s making at me. Regret. Intimacy. Serenity. Sorrow. Fear. Laughter. Sadistic glee.

But some of them are different. Too frightening to be real. The corners of her mouth spiral and her eyes dip and rise. The tip of her nose swirls around like a vortex, her ears fan out like wings and then detach like droplets of water on a window. Her braid coils like a scorpion’s tail and her bangs crawl down her features like a creeping vine on a tombstone.

And then the colour comes. But that’s different, too. Not the pale lunar light that I remember, but the red of her eyes, bleeding and saturating everything in my vision. The auditorium collapses as she consumes everything near her, sucking out its light, its life.

Everything fades into her. The sounds, the colours, even the feeling of Emi’s hand on mine. She takes it all.

Until there’s nothing left but us.
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WolfStreak
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/5/2012

Post by WolfStreak » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:00 pm

Awesome! i loved this last chapter.

You said you are doing both so i know this is not the end but great work.
Streak as in streaking by at the speed of light.
Not the naked kind of streak...
That would just be odd >.>

stanman237
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/5/2012

Post by stanman237 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:30 pm

For some reason the choice felt a lot like choosing during Rin's Arc which is the most frustrating one you can try to finish

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