The Haunting: A Love Story
Prologue: Till’ Death...
ACT I -Black and White-
Chapter I: Funeral
Chapter II: Passing
Chapter III: Haunting
ACT II -Light Colors-
Chapter IV: A Drop of Green
Chapter V: Between You and Me
Chapter VI: What Lies Ahead
Chapter VII: Chained
Chapter VIII: Let me Love You
ACT III -Crimson Dusk-
Chapter IX: Dreamland
Chapter X: Sleep Walker
Chapter XI: Nightmare
Chapter XII: Shadows
Chapter XIII: Recollection
ACT IV -Clear Sky-
Chapter III: Haunting
The middle of the third week is marked as the turning point for the Student Council from its initial successes to its slow decline. Motivation dwindled, absences were filed, and assignments were completed beyond its initial deadline. Within my short time span as the President of the Student Council, I began to understand the reason behind Shizune's initial frustration—the things that drove her mad and often pushed her to the brink of her patience. When I first heard about the story from Lilly about a week ago, I find it hard to accept yet easy to swallow; now I am in the same position as she was before and am experiencing the same kind of stress she had. In the short time span of four weeks, some of the true 'colors' of the members became transparent and vile—people who joined not with the thought of others in mind, but of themselves. I am in no place to judge, but as days went by I became even more agitated by the ever-growing piss-poor performance of the Student Council; people who joined for merit, fame, and even those who were there for their love interest irritate me more than others.
And there is nothing I could do.
“Damn it Nakada! I told you to distribute
the fliers, not throw them away!”
“I did!” he replies in force. This ‘shouting match’ is a common sight in the Student Council. “I distributed them throughout the school!”
“Then can you explain why a faculty member complained to me about the mess in the cafeteria concerning our
Each day were filled with arguments, disagreements, conflicts, and fights between me and my 'dictatorship' against the members who grew rebellious by the hour and uncooperative by the minute. Each assignments and task I gave would often be left neglected or untouched, leaving both Misha and I to sort out and complete. Each time there was an argument, the members would point out their handicap—amputation, partial-deafness, asthma, or other bullshits—that kept them on the 'winning' side. Winning, I say? That was often the outcome whether I like it or not. Each time there was an argument, the 'victim' would appeal how their own 'issues' merit them the treatment they demand. Each time I step in, they resisted.
And each time I did, Lilly would act as the mediator.
She would stand in between us, like a jury or a judge before both sides. The whole damn thing felt like a competition or a fight for survival; it sickens me to think of it that way. The member I pressure would voice his or her complaints paired with a reason ‘why’ they couldn't complete the task or 'why' I was overbearing; in the end, I gave up on defending myself. It doesn't matter what I say or what I do, nor do I give a damn about it anymore; Lilly would side with the 'weak', falling for their facade and their call for compassion. And that left me in the wrong almost every single time.
By the start of the fourth week, I snapped.
“So that's it? Is this the best you could do?" I reply in anger at the result of an assignment I gave almost a week ago. "This isn't even worthy
to be published in the school's newspaper!”
The student cleans his nose with his thumb and stares at me with disgust. “That's the poll you've been demanding. Like it or not, that's what the students came up with.”
“THIS CAN'T EVEN BE CONSIDERED A POLL WHEN I CAN SEE THAT YOU FAKED THIS THING...!” The Student Council officer flinches as I slap the paper to the desk. It was evident; the handwriting, survey, signatures—everything has imprints of fraudulence. There was no reason for me to hold back, nor is there a motivation to do so.
“Redo this. Its already pass the initial deadline, and I am not giving anymore 'extensions' just because you have chronic asthma.”
“You're starting to sound like her, you know that...? The previous bitch that ran the council...”
And just like that, I snapped.
My mind—morals, ethics, self-control—and all that had kept me behind the fence snapped as the last straw was pulled. There was no intention to hide it, no effort to down-play it, nor was there any humor elusively inserted in his words; it was pure emotions, that of which contained dissatisfaction and insult. I was at a loss of words, and the second he spoke at such degree my fist flew and found his face. I didn't hesitate, and I knew the noise was sure to attract attention from the rest of the members who were 'busy' doing whatever they wanted. He stood up, wiped the blood from the cut on his lip, and charge with a fist that soared high above his face. It didn't take long soon after for us to exchange blows with a transparent killing intent accumulated from the stress and frustration we gathered at our own accord. Misha immediately leaped from her seat and hesitated before she rush forward to pull us apart, Hanako was frightened by the sudden show of aggression, while Lilly and the rest of the idle members immediately stood up and part us as best as they could. I find it funny how we—students who have chronic breathing problems—would voluntarily exchange blows knowing the risk that our next swing could brand us as a murderer.
Then it was a familiar scene all over; Lilly stood in the middle, her expression soured due to the aura that dominated the situation as she attempt to act as the 'peace keeper'. It was a cycle—a routine she had grown accustomed to, and one repetition she knew I despise. When the dust settled between us, I concentrate my attention towards the defender as he present his defense. Lilly listens solemnly and humbly nod in between his words before she turns her focus to me. By then, I had enough of all this charade, lies, and fruitless endeavor; after all, there is nothing to gain from arguing with the Student Council. Ever since she left, the Student Council has returned to what it originally was; an irresponsible, useless, and unmotivated bunch of students who joined because of the merit it offered. When Shizune stepped up and rebelled against their character, she was branded by many as being bossy, heartless, with some even claimed that she ran a dictatorship.
What a joke.
Now, after spending four damn weeks wearing her boots, I have finally understood the politics and the blunt-force-trauma she received during her reign.
“Hisao, I believe the deadline is a little too strict. Would you consider extending it?”
“So that's it, isn't it...?" I replied with irritation. "You guys just need another punching bag.”
I shook free from Misha and the member's grasps. My blood boil by the minute as I stood before Lilly with a display of authority I rarely exerted, all bottled up for days—weeks, maybe—thanks to the effort of my secretary. I stare right at her murky blue eyes and not a word was spoken; she couldn't see, but my aura alone humbled her before I shove her gently out of the way. The defendant stood still, both of his hands remains in the clutches of the other members as he kept his eyes trained on me with signs of respect, awe, and most of all—hatred. I should've done this long before the Student Council became the mess that it has become. Lilly did her part well, and I couldn't blame her for the kindness and compassion she offered regardless of their trouble. She was at no fault in this entire ordeal and just acted by her motherly instinct—no, I wouldn't blame her. But I believe it is time for me to act as the President of the Student Council, just as how Shizune once did.
I wonder; if she was still alive to see me, would she tap my shoulder and give a ‘proud’ smile? I might never find the answer; but even as I build my confidence to speak, the thought ran through my head as clear as a lake under the summer sun.
“When the Student Council was under her, all of you protested and point your fingers at the so-called 'megalomaniac' or 'dictator',” Misha flinches after she heard my first few introductions. Not just her though; Lilly, too, held her breath for a moment. “But did any of you decide to do
something about it?”
There was a brief silence. I smile victoriously before I continue, “Nothing, right...? Instead, all of you just sit there in your desks and enjoy your 'ordinary school life' as she toiled away so it could
happen. Now that she's gone, all the hate passed on to me as the new 'President', is that it? Your 'new' punching bag...”
“Not now, Lilly…!”
I was surprised of myself; by my aggression, tone, but most of all by the confidence that dared me to oppose the entire Student Council. I was outnumbered ten to one, yet there I spoke with a loud and clear voice that clearly opposed and criticized the Student Council's practice—something that I should've done a week ago. Lilly retreated by a few steps, taken aback by my sudden show of force that had been dormant since God-knows-when while the rest of the members were left speechless and almost unresponsive. It amazed me how much power and authority I could exert from a pool's worth of pent-up anger and frustration.
For minutes with no end, I insulted, criticized, and berated the members—all
of them—with little show of compassion or care. Some tried to resist, but they too were immediately silenced by my endless ramble filled with anger, stress, and hatred—pure hatred—of the current Student Council. A part of me begged for an end to the onslaught, to look back and reflect that the fault of the Student Council was also within my sphere of responsibility. But I digress; Shizune handled a three-man Student Council—THREE MAN
—and managed to accomplish more than what my twelve man group are capable of. It was almost insulting, and not just to me but also to her—Shizune—who built the reputation of the Student Council from the ground-up after all the members left. She may have pressed the members and demanded a very strict deadline, but it was all realistic; it wasn't something that she pulled out of her ass in a whim and decided that it was a good idea. She gave it a thought, over and over before she gave us—Misha and I—the assignment with a set-deadline. I used to complain about how tight the shift was, but when I gave some thought about it, the deadline was as realistic as it can be; she knew and believed
we could accomplish it on time.
And we did, by God we did.
Even with just three volunteers, Shizune's Student Council outperformed my twelve-man party house. What a joke.
With my throat dry and my lips pulled to a tremble, I point my index finger to the door and end my speech. “The door's there.”
“If you're here for merit, love interest, or anything that revolves around your own personal agenda," I continue, "Then you are free to leave. I won't stop you or report you; consider your involvement with the Student Council to be over.”
I sigh and humble myself with a bow. “I am thankful for your participation in the Student Council, but if this is how it has come to be then it’s best to disband.”
I kept my head low as whispers echoed around me. The shuffle of footsteps and the sound from the door that came a minute later became the bell that adjourned the meeting that day, leaving Misha, Lilly, Hanako, and I alone in the desolate Student Council office.
With it, came the end of 'Hisao's Student Council'.
The following morning I decided to skip homeroom period in the Student Council office and acted as if nothing had happened the day before. Mutou-sensei didn't suspect a thing—or so I believe—when I made my way out of the class, out of sight and out of minds; Hanako was absent once again, and I see that as a 'legit' opportunity for me to leave the class unhindered or questioned. When I left the classroom, Misha followed soon after and tagged along to the Student Council office. She asked a few inquiries, worried about what she admitted to be my 'declining mental state' ever since I took over the Student Council—maybe even before, yet she clearly refused to touch the subject. Nonetheless, I shook her off when we reach the door; I didn't tell her about what I have been experiencing—I couldn't.
For weeks, the dream of Shizune's accident is the show I was forced to watch each time I close my eyes. Last night was no different; it happened like any other night before, the same scene with the same consequence that left me powerless in the sideline. For the umpteenth time since it began, Lilly became both the voice of reason and the obstacle that stopped me from extending my hand to save her—to save Shizune from the never-ending cycle. But it wasn’t only Lilly’s words that swayed me, it was Shizune’s own will that convinced me to turn around and ignore. Before the end of each dream, Shizune herself would sign words of ‘goodbye’ or ‘farewell’; words that ring as an incentive for me to move on and forget. Each time I ran towards her—to push her out of harm’s way—she would tell me to stop and to forget and move on, denying my aid and allowing the truck to crush her once again. In all of those dream sequences, I end up standing in between the two of them until the truck came and awoken me from the nightmare; I never tried reaching for Lilly, nor did I succeed on saving Shizune. If Lilly represents my ‘future’ and Shizune as my ‘past’, then the message was clear: she wants me to take Lilly’s hand, move on, and forget then maybe—just maybe
—the cycle of nightmares would stop.
If it was like that, then I am Freud incarnate.
But it wasn’t like that. By the fourth week I began to notice small but subtle changes to the dream; it wasn’t only the distance that grew between me and Shizune or how close Lilly was to offer her hand, but it was also the change in Shizune’s facial expression. Since the day she passed away, she would maintain a sad but nonetheless strong smile as she signs her goodbyes. The fourth week was different though; I couldn’t explain it clearly due to the distance before us, but deep down I knew it wasn’t the same as it was three weeks before. When I look at her, I notice that particular dream wasn’t like any other—it felt alive
, real; like an alternate reality that exist somewhere across the borders of time and space with only one cruel scene available. In my last dream, Shizune didn’t sign her ‘goodbyes’ nor was there any attempt from her to convey them; instead, she stood still and looked at me straight in the eye as I was about to turn my back against her. From then on, I saw from a distance a face distorted by fear, sadness, and a glint of desperation that screamed louder than the oncoming truck itself.
‘Save me’, she cried. ‘Save me.’
When the truck smashed her once again, I was back in my room—awoken thirty minutes before my alarm set off.
Nobody knew about my issue; the nightmare that was constantly stalking me every time I close my eyes and the repetition—an endless cycle—of the same event that happened just four weeks ago. Most of the time, I translated it as my ‘confused psyche’ that was unable to move on from the tragedy and purposely trapped itself in the endless cycle as a reminder while emphasizing ‘it’s your fault!’
as loud as possible. I more or less believe it was some sort of guilt-trip my psyche came up with, maybe something similar to Kenji’s rambles—though in regards to that, I had come to the conclusion that he was genuinely out of the loop, so scratch that thought. Nonetheless, the fact remains.
Nobody knew about my chain of nightmares.
Nobody, not a single soul, zip. I couldn’t bring myself to tell Misha about it for I fear that she, too, would be saddened by my revelation; it was already difficult for her to get over it, and I couldn’t bear to see her replace that cheery happy-go-lucky smile with a cry that could extinguish the greatest fires once again. It took her almost three weeks to finally get over it, and I believe it is best to leave her out of mine. Hanako is out of the question from the start, and talking to the nurse would definitely grant me a ticket to the nearest psychiatrist—if any, Kenji is be the right person to have his head checked. But I knew I wouldn’t survive another without having anyone to share with; someone I trust whom I could talk about the details of these vivid dreams. Most of all, I knew that keeping it to myself would definitely drive me insane sooner or later.
Nobody knew about my chain of nightmares, but that changed after the end of the third week.
It was purely coincidental, but nonetheless I found it relieving that someone else was willing—even voluntarily—carry the burden with me. It was one late afternoon in the Student Council office. On that particular day on week three, the Student Council had a major setback after one of its members decides to abandon his job and left me to finish it. I didn’t take that jab very well and raged, but without Lilly in the room I was given all the time I need to bitch about his incompetence; this resulted in him storming out of the Council with a mix of both anger and resentment. Nonetheless, I stayed behind in the office room and decided to finish the job to supplement the ailing Student Council. I, however, overestimated my own capability and—before I knew it—succumbed to my own fatigue and stress when I lay my head on the desk with the papers and documents as my pillow. The nightmare came like a storm, sudden and violent as a grim reminder of the incident. I was shaken, saddened, and at the same time frightened at the growing frequency of those dream I'm having.
But then she came. Like an angel from the clouds or a lighthouse to a seaman, she came and dragged me away from the horror.
“Hisao…? Are you ok…?”
Lilly heard my moans, wails, and cries of fear. Instinctively she took action, nudged, shook, and awoken me from the dream that tormented me. I never understand how she could tell I was asleep, or how she ‘reads’ through my crumbling psyche despite lacking the eyes she needed to see; but nonetheless when she asked me what was going on, I gave in to the stress and told her everything that happened. Every single detail, with each and every variation that occurred in each of the dreams—no stones were left unturned as I told her everything I could. Throughout the entire time, Lilly listened intently until I finished my story.
Her reply was like a flare against a backdrop of unlimited darkness—it revealed a path that I believed to have vanished in the world I used to know.
“May I…touch your face?”
She combs her hair through her ear. “I can’t?”
“Well…no, I mean…it’s ok but…” I took a deep breath and sigh. For what purpose does she need to touch my face? Nonetheless, I gave my approval. “Yes, go ahead.”
When she raise her hand, I couldn’t help but flinch at the sight of the unknown; the mystery she was about to perform. Then I felt the softness of her skin; the smooth traces of her slender finger as she explores the contours of my cheek, my nose, and my lips. She smiles with satisfaction while she keeps her hand on my cheeks. I was far too distracted by her soft touch to even remember what we were talking about, or why she reached her hand out and touch me in the first place…but then again, maybe this was what she was going for.
“You don’t look half bad.”
“T-thanks…” I reply as a rush of blood forms on my cheeks. She giggled, almost as if she knew what was going on the whole time.
“Do you feel this, Hisao?” she said with assurance. “Whenever you have another nightmare or are disturbed by it,”
She edges a little closer; my heart begins to pound. “Remember that you are never alone. I am always here to talk if you need me so please,”
“Don’t falter or change, Hisao. A dream is just what it is, so don’t let it burden you.”
She withdrew her hand, took a step back, and smile. “If you need, you can talk to me anytime.”
There was nothing I could say or do. I was too dumb-struck; awed by the amount of attention she gave me. And it wasn’t even a life-threatening issue or one that needed consoling, it was just a dream—just a dream! But here she just gave me her full attention as if my life depended on it—or her for that matter. Just as she stood for those who were in need, she stood for me—Hisao Nakai, a person who believed that she was arrogant, self-centered—even fake! Shizune may have influenced most of my judgments, but after that short moment I realized there was more to her than what I knew. As she took her leave, the only word I could muster was a simple ‘thanks’ before she made her way to the door and left me in the silence of the Student Council office.
No words could describe what I was feeling at the time; there was nothing I could say. As I return to my seat, I realize how fast my heart was beating and how flustered I had become. For once, I wanted to believe that I had once again found the light that I’ve lost just three weeks before.
The entire third week went with the regular conflict and issues the Student Council was plagued with. Lilly always came in between my issues with the members and defused the situation as easily as it started, but never resolve it—instead it delayed what had become the inevitable. When the fourth week came, I went on a fit of rage and disbanded the Student Council out of my own volition and unofficially ended it. But nonetheless, Lilly, Misha, and Hanako kept returning to the Student Council office and assist me in tying a few loose ends left by the members that were scattered about—budget reports, complaints, issues, and requests that were put up by the committees we support. All of which were handled by the four of us and—surprisingly—we accomplished more than what the twelve-man Student Council was capable of.
I had become familiar with Lilly’s antics. When she wasn’t pressured, Lilly work extremely well and completes most tasks on-time—with Hanako’s assistance, she could even handle those that were usually regulated to normal members. After that time we had together by just a week ago, I began to see her in a different light than I used to. Each time our eyes met, my heart race a little faster and—sometimes—I found it worrisome as it could probably give me a ticket straight to the heavens. But something good always have an ending, and it is no different to Lilly’s involvement in the Student Council.
On the fourth day of the fourth week, Lilly visited the Student Council office one afternoon with a letter of resignation at hand.
“…you’re resigning?” I ask, slightly troubled by her purpose. “Why…?”
“I will be returning to Scotland tonight. I’m sorry for keeping this from you, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to you about this earlier.”
“…I’m worried,” she replies with a slightly disheartened look, causing my gut to wrench at the sight. “About how you will take this, about the Student Council, but most of all…”
She curls her lips for a moment, struggling to find the right word to convey whatever it is she wanted to say. After a brief period of silence, she spoke her intention. “I am worried about you, Hisao.”
I open my lips but no words were conveyed. I tried to move but my body won’t listen. Her words struck me like needles and—as painful as it is—I was happy of her concern, but similarly saddened by the fact that it trumps her
problems. I wasn’t the only one who had it rough; she was also having it in an entirely different context, yet here I still dared to ask more from her when maybe she needed it more than I do. The air fell to a complete standstill between us as no words were exchanged; on her side, she was waiting for me to give my answer while on mine, my lips were sealed shut by her words alone. It dragged on for minutes, but it felt like hours until she finally broke the silence.
“Would you care to take a walk with me?”
I gave a ‘yes’ from under my breath and quickly straighten up. She smiles kindly in reply and inch forward with her cane before she reach my arm for support; for a second, I flinched in surprise but accepted her warmth by the next and thus, we head out the door.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Anywhere is fine,” she replies. “I just want to talk.”
With her cane detracted and hung on her arm via a strap, I became Lilly’s ‘third leg’ throughout the entire walk. Nothing came from the two of us as we wade through the now-empty halls of Yamaku High and out towards the open—it felt alien, almost as if we barely knew each other with me simply giving her assistance to get to where she wanted to go. A breeze of wind hit us and for a moment, I took a glimpse at Lilly who quickly shields her face from the gust as the setting sun glints its ray on her hair and made it glow—almost, at least. We walked for a few more steps before—eventually—she broke the silence and spoke. I gave her my full attention then.
“When I woke up this morning, I was reminded of how small the Student Council was,” she starts. “But even if it’s just the four of us, talking, crying, grieving, and even stressing over Council work, I found it enjoyable. It was almost as if we were a family; one small, misshapen family.”
She takes a deep breath; from it I could feel the slight vibration of her voice, the shakiness that disrupts the air around her. “After Shizune passed away, you are not what you used to be. You rarely laugh, and most of the time you went in a fit of rage at the members—I almost believed you’ve changed completely from the person I used to know.”
“But when you talked to me last week and told me about the dreams you’re having,” she continues with an increasing vibration in her voice. “I was glad—happy, even—that you are still willing to share your burdens and move on. It gave me hope that one day we could return to the days before the accident, back when you can still laugh over a simple misunderstanding; back when we can talk to you openly.”
Lilly turn towards me; her foggy blue eyes seemingly stare right into mine. Accurately, she has pin-pointed the changes that has been happening—yes, I’ve changed probably for the worse since she passed away. For most, four weeks is all it takes to move on from the tragedy and continue. What about me? Even now the dreams still haunts me; the guilt carries me—even influenced most of my decision in the Council and probably is the same reason that drove the members away. So why can’t I just move on? Why can’t I forget about her and continue? It’s pitiful how I can’t even answer the same question that has been lingering in the air for four weeks.
I can’t even understand my own feelings…
“It never occurred to me how afraid I was of losing someone—of losing you, Hisao,” she continues. “If it is change for the better, then I’ll accept it with open arms. But with how things are now I…”
“I’m sorry, Lilly,” I reply, partly motivated by a sense of regret and self-pity. “I know I have been in a lot of stress, and I shouldn’t have pushed it upon myself in the first place.”
“Don’t apologize…please don’t apologize...”
I stop myself from walking further the moment she parts her hand from my arm. She stumbles forward, tears glistens under the crimson sky as it rolls down her cheek and fall into the soft grass below as her arms reach out in search of me. I take no time to reach out and catch her, steadies her before—to my surprise—she quickly clutches me and sobs. My arm feels powerless the moment she rests her head against my shoulder, sobbing quietly as I am engulfed in a mixed feeling of sadness and surprise. What came soon after was not something I would expect and equally shaken my base like a powerful tremor.
“I love you, Hisao. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!”
“I beg of you, don’t stray away,” she continues. “Never, ever stray away. I love you so please…”
I never realized how troubled and worried she was to my condition. If it isn’t my ailing heart, my psyche for the last three weeks wasn’t faring any better and that most likely worries her to no end. The pressure and the stress of losing someone weren’t just affecting me, but also Lilly who saw me slipping away from reality by each passing day. When she slumps her head on my shoulder and embrace me, I realized how deeply she cares for me and how worried she has been over my condition. But do I still deserve the love of someone else? Even now, Shizune still lingers in my mind and each time I remember her I am reminded by the tragedy that occurred just three weeks ago.
I couldn’t move on—I can’t
. The thought of loving someone else burdens me more than redeeming it. I can’t answer her feelings—at least, not now.
“Lilly, I may have changed…”
“Hi-Hisao…?” slowly I break our embrace and steady her with my arm.
“But that doesn’t mean I’ll leave you,” I continue. “I’m still here, though I may not be the same person you know.”
A light chuckle escapes my breath. “I don’t think I can answer your feelings—at least, not now so…”
“It’s ok,” she smiles in return, wiping her tear off with her slender finger. “I will wait until you are ready.”
I gave her a quick hug before she takes me in my arms once again and finish our walk. A few hours later, I watch from the gates of Yamaku High as she and her sister drove away in a cab that would take them to the airport. It will be another two-three weeks until her return, and by that time I need to prepare an answer to her question. Lilly has since been my greatest aide and closest friend, and I dare not to disappoint her. As I walk back to the dormitories, I made myself clear that I will forget about Shizune and move on; hell, I should’ve done this a week ago and stop this useless moping about her absence. Shizune’s gone, and even if I am to cry tears of blood there is no way for her to return to this world. It’s over. At least, I wanted to believe that it was over.
That is, until the dream I have that night.
When I once again revisit the reoccurring ‘dream’, I swore to myself that this will be final. There is no benefit or gain to be achieved from mourning the dead for more than four weeks, and more or less it made me look pathetic—even a fool knows when it is time to stop caring for something that doesn’t exist anymore and move on. I am confident and determined—proud, even—that I could finally answer the ‘question’ that has been haunting me every night. When Lilly expressed her concern over me just a week ago, it gave me the confidence—the answer I need to rid of this dream. And when she confessed to me just a few hours ago, it fueled my determination to put an end to my moping and take the step forward. I can’t lie anymore—no, I can’t fool myself
any further than this. Shizune may have stolen my heart in the past, but now…
…now I believe Lilly holds them close to her chest.
It is time to move on.
Once again I am greeted with the familiar scene that has been haunting me for four weeks straight. Lilly stands in front of me, offering her hand—a path to my salvation—with a smile brighter than a thousand sunflowers. Behind me, Shizune stands in the middle of the road waiting for her inevitable death by the hands of a truck. With confidence, I smile at Lilly and made my first few steps towards her with gusto and determination that I have never felt before in a long time. I refuse to turn—to look back is an insult to my decision and speaks volume how much I am still trapped in the past. It has become my shackles, and at this moment I am determined to break free from it once and for all.
“Lilly,” I said as I stand before her. “Are you waiting for me?”
She smiles warmly, “Yes, Hisao.”
I raise my hand to reach hers.
It would have been easy to end my torment right there; the chain of nightmares, grief, and sighs if I just take her hand, move on, and forget. Maybe fate has determined it to be that way in the first place, yet I stubbornly fought it in a futile attempt to preserve the past that I’ve lost. Maybe if I just take her hand, everything will be alright. Maybe…well, just ‘maybe’.
But I didn’t.
I hesitated at the last minute, withdrew my hand, and turned for a final glimpse at Shizune. Just like the dream I had yesterday, she made no attempts to sign or ward me off away from her, nor was there any indication that she ever moved from her place. Instead, she was clasping her hand together—as if praying—and smiled. Even from a distance, I could tell that she’s trying her best to accept all this and let me go while tearing up. Then, I was reminded by her cry the day before; the one thing I never expected her to ‘say’ in this strange, vivid dream of mine.
’Save me,’ she cried. ‘Save me…’
What am I doing?
She may have wanted me to continue forward, end our relationship, and release me from my torment. She may have wanted me to move on and forget in the first place, but it isn’t fair when she herself is unable to do so. It isn’t fair for Lilly and especially, not for me and
you! We’re two fools, you and I; one wanting to forget and move on, while the other urging to do so. Yet none wished for it to happen. Even if I have been tormented by these dreams in the first place, the memories that still haunts me to this day, I would be lying if I were to say that I detest the prospect of seeing you; the idea of meeting you, Shizune. I never said that I hated it—it frightens me, yes, but I never loathed it. Even if everything is just a dream, if I can just see you—save you—and touch you one more time I would be satisfied. God, why am I doing this…? What am I doing…?
This isn’t what I wanted. This is just another route, an escape from the other that doesn’t provide closure—my closure. What I wanted is to see you one last time, Shizune.
I want to see you, Shizune.
I want to see you…
to see you.
“I’m sorry, Lilly.” I said followed with a sigh. “But I can’t leave her alone.”
“I know it’s foolish of me, but just this once I’d like that to be something I can be proud of.”
I turn my heel and ran as fast as I could towards her. To my right and my left, pedestrians—people that were made up in my dream—lines up as obstacles that I quickly push away. I glimpse at the distance and saw the truck—it’s still a way’s off, thankfully, before I turn my attention towards Shizune. She remains in an upward position, hands clasps and head to the ground; apparently, she hasn’t notice me as I close my distance towards her or else she’ll be signing furiously to drive me away. Well, even if she does try that, I’ll ignore her selfishness and press forward—just this once. Whatever’s the conclusion, it doesn’t matter to me anymore; I’ve made up my mind and whether this dream is to continue or end, I’ll let fate sort it out.
My heart beats faster by the second as I draw in closer and closer. Just to my north-east, the truck now comes into full view with terrifying speed that will soon crush her frail body—but this time, it will be the last.
This time, I’ll save you.
I reach out my hand and aimed for her hand. For a second, she shot her head up and our eyes meet.
And then I was back in my room, surrounded by the familiar white walls and the ticking sound of my alarm clock.
In the grasp of my right hand, I feel the soft, smooth texture of a blouse and familiar warmth. When I look up, there stands the girl I have been longing to see sharing a mixed look of bewilderment and joy as I.
END CHAPTER III
Again I have to apologize for the delay. I just have a clean reboot of my PC, lost my MS Word, and had to wait for 3-4 days so I could get Office2010 at a cheaper price. Then it came to the romance scene which--I admit--got me a little stressed out (partly because one particular scene has 'cheese' written all over it), while the other made me squeal like a little pig...figuratively speaking. While writing the last scene, I was listening to Serenade in Blue but--mostly--what inspired me was 'Otonashi'
from Angel Beats, so I recommend you guys to listen to that while reading the last dream sequence.
anyway, enjoy this next installment as much as I have enjoyed writing it