She was in a void. Or then she wasn’t. The space she laid on – or floated in – was pitch black, like deep and dark water. She could breathe just fine there (or was it actually breathing) but all of her limbs were heavy. Like they had been made of lead.
She laid on her back and tried to look around. Right above her was something that resembled the surface of water but above that wasn’t anything that could have been called ‘a sky’. The water-like thing continued there and was also black, maybe even more than the one that surrounded the girl. Sometimes there were voices that spoke but she either couldn’t remember them afterwards of the water drowned the exact contents.
“Hello, little sister. We can’t meet for a long time yet but remember these instructions… They are the same I gave you before you came to Tokyo. Number one: You are not Kagemiya Hoshi here. You are Okiya Tsukiko. Number two: lie about everything they ask you. And number three: Find one person you’ll trust explicitly. Good luck.”
That was the voice right at the beginning. She didn’t hear it again and eventually gradually forgot about it.
The girl didn’t know how long time she was like that. Just lying in the dark and waiting. A minute? An hour? Several hours? A day? She wasn’t sure at all.
Suddenly the girl noticed that she was standing on her own two feet. The surface-like thing was above her head now but while she felt like she was standing, there wasn’t anything beneath her feet. The emptiness – or water – continued there. Now though she was able to move her legs and arms. She took some steps. She noticed it was pretty easy but not as easy as… where she usually was. What was before this place again?
“Where am I? Who am I?” The girl thought for the first time. She got no answer. There wasn’t anyone else with her. Or was there? The girl looked around herself and saw someone a couple of meters away from me. She lay on her back like the girl had done earlier and seemed to be asleep, floating in mid-air… mid-water? But the strange thing was… The girl recognized that woman.
“Is she…?” The girl approached the prone form of the woman. “Mizunashi Rena…”
But how did she know the woman? What an earth was going on? Was this a weird dream – or nightmare? Or was this a bad fantasy story? The girl truly hoped it was just a dream. But if it truly were just a dream… why she hadn’t woken up already?
“W-What is this? What is happening?” The girl watched the unconscious newsreader and grabbed her shoulders. She felt solid but the girl had a feeling the woman wasn’t actually… there. “Hime-san, wake up before the crows arrive. Please…” Why was she calling her that?
“Mumei-chan, you are the one who should wake up.” A voice said but it sounded to come from somewhere very far away and echo a bit. The girl looked around but once again didn’t see anything to indicate where the voice was coming from. She shook Mizunashi’s shoulders even more. Tears appeared in her eyes when the woman didn’t react at all. “Please, wake up… I… I don’t want to be here alone… This place is scary…”
The girl stood silently beside Mizunashi. She didn’t want to wander around that weird place anymore. It was too scary. Too absent of everything. Time to time it was like a presence nearby to be felt but she never saw anyone. The girl didn’t need anything as she stood vigil. No food, drink or sleep. She only feared that she would be alone.
Time lost its meaning in that void.
And at point she got a bad feeling. Something was coming toward the two of them. The girl frowned and saw shadows flickering somewhere far away. They grew and shrank in turn but every time seemed to be a bit closer than before. Then one of them came much, much closer than the others previously and she recognized it as a crow. A bad omen. The crow flew around, sometimes came closer but always flew further, like he hadn’t seen them. Once he landed right next to the two females and opened its beak. It sang nine notes that formed a melody.
“That melody… Nanatsu no ko?” The girl’s eyes widened. The crow flew away and didn’t come back but the ominous feeling didn’t leave with it.
“Hime-san, wake up already! They are coming! They are here soon!” The girl once again grabbed onto the unconscious reporter’s shoulders and shook her once again. “One… one of them might already be here…” She added, scared.
Then… something touched her shoulder, like a hand, and shook it a bit. The girl also heard a male voice. Unlike with the previous voices, she could actually say this one was male one. But it also came very far away and she could barely even hear what he was saying.
“Hey, are you alright? …Won’t you wake up?”
And something happened there then. The water around everything evaporated and Mizunashi with it. The girl didn’t have time to react to anything when all she could hear was static. The darkness was gone, replaced by bright pure whiteness. The girl fell on her knees and for the first time noticed wearing some hospital clothes. At least she thought she was. She had never stayed at hospital for extended time.
The static rattled everything again. This time it revealed another girl. She looked just like her. Jade. That was her name. The other girl looked just like Jade but had black hair. Her eyes were closed, like she was asleep. She was wearing the hospital scrubs too and underneath her bare feet was a kanji painted. It was one of the few Jade could recognize.
“Hoshi…” She whispered and like triggered by the word, the world tilted. The both girl’s fell. Hoshi first, limp like a ragdoll. Jade then, curled tight into a terrified ball.
But Hoshi fell slower, making Jade fall right into her. There wasn’t a crash though. Only flickering images, static filling her ears and finally… Finally a blissful darkness.
Her eyes flew open. She felt dizzy and could barely even see anything. What little she could see though, was that she was lying in a dark place. It was a room. Slowly the girl sat up and looked around. Now she could see much better. The lights of the room were off and made the room pretty shadowy. But everything was pretty light. The walls, bed sheets, curtains… Everything was grey, not black. The room resembled pretty much a hospital room. The steady beeping of heart machine confirmed it.
The door of the room opened and a nurse stepped in.
“Oh, you have woken up. That’s good. Are you okay? You heartrate rose so rapidly…” The nurse asked. The girl licked her dry lips. Her throat felt parched.
“I think so. What happened?” She mumbled weakly. Her voice was hoarse. The nurse went to a nearby station and returned with a paper cup of water with a straw in it. She helped the girl to drink from it with small sip as she went to explain the situation.
“You have been in coma for a while. I heard you were hit by a car.” The nurse told her.
“How…How long time…?” The girl swallowed.
“Oh…” She let out a breath she hadn’t realized to be holding. Five months was something she definitely hadn’t expected. And being hit by a car… Well, she didn’t really remember it. Maybe later…?
“It’s closer to midnight right now, I think you should sleep over the night. I’ll bring you some food at tomorrow morning then.”
“Alright… I am tired.” The girl noted and leant her head back to the pillow once more.
“Before I let you fall asleep again…” The nurse spoke up again. “What is your name? Can you recall it?”
“Okiya… Okiya Tsukiko.” The girl replied, half asleep. Not Jade, not Hoshi… Where did that thought come from?
“Thank you.” The nurse left.