My eyes shot open at the same time as a deep, almost pained gasp escaped my mouth. I stayed immobile for a good, long minute, just looking up to the ceiling of my room as my hitched, shaky breathing continued. My throat and chest hurt as I took a deep breath, and finally looked around and remembered what had happened.
“What the fuck…what a horrible nightmare…” I breathed out, letting my hand slide through my forehead and hair as my body finally started to relax…it had been a long time since I had a nightmare this bad, it all felt so real…
I swear could feel the unbearable pain in my stomach and the sickening feeling of my guts hanging out from it as blood dripped from them, I could feel the sharp blade inside of me, cutting mercilessly at my flesh, I could clearly feel my consciousness slowly fade away, my vision fading to black, until, finally, I fell on my knees and my body went numb. I had died.
Upon remembering the nightmare -and vaguely the sensation of it all- my body shook again. I turned my head and grabbed my phone, looking at the time. “Shit…I’m gonna be late…” I growled, getting up from my bed. “Well…I was gonna ditch either way, not like I matters…” He mumbled and changed clothes at the pace of someone who had all the damn time in the world, carefully doing my hair as I did every morning. I grabbed my shit, shoved two whole slices of bread in my mouth and left.
Throughout the day, I was doing my very best to ditch every single class I possibly could and meeting as little people as possible along the way. Weather I would sit by the window, hide in the hallway or just find an empty classroom to sit on, I just didn’t feel like existing today. But, the day seemed like it would go on forever. My plan was to find somewhere and sleep, but, every time I closed my eyes, that horrible nightmare came to mind; it just felt so real and genuinely terrifying, like my life had been seriously at risk.
“It was just a dream, dumbass…” I mumbled to myself. I was sitting by an open window, feeling the breeze blow on my face and hair as I fluttered my eyes, lost in thought.
“Oi, Shimada, talking to yourself?”
I blinked and turned my head to the familiar voice, seeing a very angry looking Mitsuki ‘Hellgirl Actual Satan’ Yamamoto, dragging a very unhappy looking Kurosaki by the scruff. I raised my eyebrow at the awkward situation.
“You’re not thinking of going mad, are you?” She asked in a accusatory but still playful tone. I shrugged and looked around, seeing Fukuroi, Urabe, Kirisaki and-to my dismay- Kizami following close behind her.
“Oh, fuck me…” I grunted quietly, shooting a glare at the raven haired man, not even remotely worried about hiding my annoyance with his mere existence.
“No, thank you.” Mitsuki answered, this time more playful and sassy than angry. “We’re heading to the council room; you remember what day it is, right?” Ah, there it is, the accusatory tone!
I looked up, pretending to be thinking, then looked at Fukuroi, I swear I heard him mumbled ‘ah geez…’ under his breath. “Is it someone’s birthday?” Okay. This time I definitely heard a ‘oh good God’ from Fukuroi!
Mitsuki’s face distorted into a frustrated, annoyed frown “Spring! Cleaning!!” She stomped her foot on the floor as she spoke. “And you’re coming with us to help.” I opened my mouth to protest, but her tongue was quicker than mine “You’ve been ditching school all day, you good for nothing! Plus, you look like you’ve lost your head in the clouds! Something to do might wake you up, right?” She put on a painfully soft smile as she said the last statement, but, even then, I could still see very clearly what that smile was telling me; if you refuse I will actually snap your spine.
I stayed silent for a while, just staring at her. Then, I threw my head back and let out the annoyed groan of a lifetime, getting up from my spot. “Alright, fuck…let’s just get this over with.”
Kirisaki and Urabe seemed concerned with having my around, but what the fuck did I care? I don’t want to be here just as much as you don’t want me here. I didn’t even look at them as we made our way to the council room, I just wanted to get this over with.
“Aaand…I think this is all!” Mitsuki cheered triumphantly as she put the last box away. Everyone in the room just plopped into whatever surface was closer in exhaustion. The spring cleaning had taken a lot longer (and a lot more work) than they expected.
“Man, why didn’t you clean this place earlier, it would’ve been much easier on us!” Katayama, who had been in the room with Ohkawa when I arrived, complained.
“We’re not even in the student council you know…” Ohkawa sighed. He and his piss-colored-hair buddy immediately shut their mouths upon receiving a death glare from Mitsuki. “Eep…!”
I let out a sigh, looking longingly at the exit door. I looked around, it seemed like there was nothing else to do here, so I got up, heading for the door. Urabe started talking, and I, for some reason of the unfair, bullshit destiny, looked over my shoulder.
“Ah, before everyone leaves…!” She reached onto her bag and pulled out a paper doll. “I was going to suggest, we do this-“
“Charm?” I completed her sentence without even thinking, like my voice had just…came out on its own…I wasn’t even remotely interested in charms, and there were a hundred different things a simple paper doll could be…but still, the paper doll-this specific paper doll- seemed eerily familiar to me.
Urabe looked at me confused for a bit. ‘Don’t look at me like that, I’m just as confused as you…!’. A thin smile came across her face “A-ah…yes! A charm…!” She seemed pleased and turned to talk to everyone. Normally I’d just leave right there, but I stayed, like something was pulling me in. “It’s the Sachiko Ever After…”
She was talking about the charm to everyone else in the class, but whatever she was saying, and I just straight up wasn’t listening, I just kept staring intently at the paper doll, lost in thought. It was a…weird, déjà-vu feeling. I felt like I had heard of ‘Sachiko Ever After’ before. I blinked and shook my head. Nah, you’re just dizzy ‘cause you didn’t sleep well, that’s all.
“So, everyone, each one must grab one end of the paper doll, chant ‘Sachiko We Beg Of You’ the amount of times of people present, and then we all pull so we each get a piece!” Urabe finished her explanation and everyone obediently tugged on the paper doll. I, on the other hand, was hesitant for some reason…”Hey, Shimada, are you not gonna participate?”
“You aren’t scared, are you?” Kurosaki grinned playfully at me. I looked around to see too many eyes on me- Kirisaki, Kizami and Ohkawa seemed particularly displeased with my presence-.
I sighed “This is dumb…” and tugged at the paper doll, a strange shiver going up and down my spine as I did.
As instructed by Urabe, we all chanted ‘Sachiko we beg of you’ nine times. “Now, everyone…tighten your grip and pull so we each get a piece, okay?” Urabe said excitedly “One, two…three!”
At the count of three, we all pulled, each getting a piece.
Immediately, I felt as though my entire body had gone numb, I was very much awake, but the world suddenly distorted into a horrid scenery. It was a feeling very similar to sleep paralysis, were the world around me was doing everything in its power to end me, and I could do nothing but stay still and watch.
Once I was finally able to move I looked down, at the paper scrap, then, at my stomach; and the memories of my nightmare from earlier came all rushing back, as livid and powerful as if I had actually lived through them, the sinking feeling of hopelessness and the agonizing pain of the stab wound, the smell of rotting flesh that filled the heavy atmosphere, it had all come back like my life had flashed before my eyes, it was a terrifying, sinking feeling.
“Kai…? Kai?!” Fukuroi’s concerned voice is what brought me back to reality. I looked at my hand, shakily holding onto the paper scrap I had just ripped, and then I looked around, once again, having many eyes on me. I felt sick, dizzy, cold… “Kai?” Fukuroi placed a hand on my shoulder “…are you okay? You went pale all of a sudden—“
“We made a horrible mistake.” Was all I was able to say, so lowly and shakily I doubt anyone even heard me besides Fukuroi.
Before he could ask me what I meant, the world began to shake violently.
“An earthquake!?” Kurosaki hissed, looking around the room frightened.
“E-Everyone! Get under the desks!” Mitsuki yelled, rushing over to where Urabe and Kirisaki were standing. “Hide somewhere sa----“ she trailed off suddenly, and as I glanced to see the reason, I narrowed my eyes in horror; a giant hole appeared right in front of Yamamoto, one more step and she certainly would have fallen.
“Mitsuki!” Fukuroi rushed to her aid, but the hole expanded as the earthquake continued, making a circle around the two “What the—“ soon enough the floor underneath them gave out, and they fell into endless darkness.
Tohko and Urabe conjunctively yelled out Mitsuki’s name, reaching their arms out, as if in the hopes of still reaching her.
Kurosaki tried to get close “F-Fukuro---“ only for the floor under his feet to collapse as well. He let out a drawn out scream as he fell as well.
The whole situation was a unlikely mess, as the floor kept breaking and falling to pieces. I stood paralyzed as the whole situation continued on. I saw Katayama try to reach for Ohkawa, only to have him slip right from his hand as the brunet, the girls and Kizami all fell. We were the only two left as the earthquake continued.
“What is going o----o-o—“ Katayama attempted to scream in frustration, only to stop dead in his tracks. The last bit of floor still left in the classroom- the one right under our feet- had finally given out, and we both fell into the black abyss, right after our classmates. “A—AH---AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHH!”
For a brief moment, before I lost consciousness, it felt as if the world had suddenly gone in slow motion…as the last bits of light faded from my vision, I slowly reached out my arm, as if there was any hope to still grab the knob to the exit door. Of course that was impossible, but for some reason, I still tried.
My vision was slowly engulfed by darkness, and I lost consciousness.