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Nyctophobia

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With Clover being gone so often, Light Field was overwhelmed with a feeling of loneliness. The solution was simple, really: get a roommate. Said roommate would have to deal with two messes of morphogenetic field manipulators.

Junpei Tenmyouji was the perfect fit.

Light glided his fingers along the strings of his harp, playing the final notes of a song. Silencing the harp, he gently clamped the still-vibrating strings between his forearms.

“Not going to play anymore?” Junpei rested his upper body on the arm of the couch closest to Light. The brunet glanced up at Light from his phone.

“Correct. I’m not; I was thinking that we—” Blaring, two emergency alarms cut Light off.

[THE PRESIDENT HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY AND HAS CLOSED ALL BORDERS. DO NOT, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA. USE RADIOS. AVOID ALL CONTACT WITH PEOPLE. COVER YOUR WINDOWS.]

Panic. That was all Light felt. “Clover— I need to call Clover!”

“I’ll close the blinds!”

“There is no need to close me,” Light said with a laugh dripping with anxiety. With furrowed brows and shaking hands, VoiceOver reading out all of his mistaps along the way, he successfully called his sister. Junpei, on the other hand, was already busying himself in closing the blinds. Junpei’s footsteps trailing off as he ran down the hallway, Light’s phone ringing, and sirens wailing became a cacophony that was too much for Light to bear.

All until he heard his sister’s voice.
“Light! I- I’m with Alice. We’re drive- driving home right now! Is Junpei with you?”

“He is. He… is closing the blinds and curtains at the moment.”

“Okay, oka- Alice!” Clover shrieked. Light’s chest tightened. He could hear the honking of horns amidst the women’s panic.

“Clover? Are you alright? What just happened?”  

“Yeah- yeah, I am. We are. This, uh, a woman just ran in front of a car in front of us. It- it keeps happening! Oh- right here, it’s quicker.” Clover’s voice was muffled; Light assumed she covered her phone. Still, what was she on about with the people running in front of cars? Was this the cause of the emergency alert? Perhaps, by some miracle, he misheard her. “We’ll be home in two minutes!”

“Do not end the call.” Light stood up and quickly walked to the door, waiting by it as if he was a dog waiting for his owner. “I’ll unlock the door. Just get here as soon as possible.”

“Yeah, yeah, we’re almost there. This road isn’t taken much so- so there aren’t as many, uh, bodies.” Ah, so he had not misheard her.

“Please brief me on what you mean by that when you get home.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course. Hold on, we’re parking now.” The slam of a door, the clack of heels on pavement-- an open door.

“In, in, in-- we’ll talk later!” Alice pushed Clover through the door, causing her lithe frame to crash into her brother. Alice closed the door behind her and locked it. “Okay, you can open your eyes now.” Alice’s breaths were heavy and slow.

“What’s going on?”

“It-it’s… we’re not sure. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the morphogenetic field, though. Where’s Junpei? He needs to be here if we’re gonna talk about this.”

“He should be covering the windows. I am unsure why he is taking such a long time.”

“Well, he succeeded,” Alice said. “I’ll go look around.”

“Alright.” Light turned to Clover as Alice headed down the hallway, “Are you alright?” He placed his hands on Clover’s shoulders before pulling her into a tight hug.

“Yeah… I am. I don’t know how, but we’re alive.” Clover gripped the soft, knitted fabric of Light’s sweater.

“Will you show me what happened?”

“Absolutely not. It was horrifying.” She looked up at Light and broke the hug. “I should turn on the T.V.”

“That would be a good idea.” Light walked over to one of the armchairs neighboring the couch and sat down. It was a bit shocking that he was able to accept whatever life threw his was, Light noticed. Except it really wasn’t. Participation in two nonary games left him quite jaded to life’s little surprises.

The T.V. presented footage of a highway with an innumerable amount of cars piled up. Smoke billowed from the flames which began to spread into the grassy median strip.

“I’ve got him!” Alice entered the living room, a shaken Junpei following a fair distance behind. Clover sat down on the couch and patted the spot next to her, inviting Alice to join.

“Akane won’t answer.” Junpei’s arms hung at his sides, one hand loosely holding a phone.

“Did you expect that she would?” Light crossed his arms. “Aoi and Akane are most likely together. She did not respond a year ago and shall not respond now.” Junpei gave a disgruntled groan in response as he followed Alice to the couch, sitting down next to her.

“No need-- holy shit!” The television caught Junpei’s attention, finally. “Okay, what the actual fuck is happening?” The news switched to a neighborhood where there was a mob of people running. A woman broke through the thinning crowd and calmly walked into a burning car. “What the fuck!” Junpei threw his hands into the air and spared a quick glance at Light. “A- a woman just walked into a burning car like it wasn’t, you know, burning!”

“What?” Light raised his eyebrows.

“We got a briefing on it,” Alice cut in.

“Thank you for the heads up! It would have been great to know ahead of time.” Junpei’s voice was high, on the verge of breaking. It was a clear gauge for his mental state.

“You’re welcome,” Alice retorted. “It wasn’t a full briefing but it’s all we could get.”

“We were driving back from it when you called, Light.”

“Yeah; we didn’t know much sooner than you two.” Alice grabbed Clover’s hand. “From what we were told, this isn’t some sort of infection or disease. It’s… well, we aren’t quite sure of what it is.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “It seems to be this entity-- at least that is what I’m going to call it-- that affects people when they look at it. It isn’t proven, but it’s the best we’ve got. There’s footage of groups of people looking in one direction before exhibiting their suicidal behavior. Those who weren’t looking weren’t affected. Did you notice that the woman on the T.V. was staring at something?”

“Yeah, yeah. I did,” Junpei said.

“Well, that was probably the thing causing all of this.”

“So if we look at it, we die.” Junpei held his head in his hands. “Excuse me, what the fuck?”

“There’s another problem,” Light started, “we lack enough food to sustain us for very long.”

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.”

“Clover’s little strawberry patch will help, sure. We need to find an actual source of food, though.”  Light laughed. Light wrung his hands.

“How are we going to do that?” Alice asked. “The streets are graveyards. There’s no way that we could get anywhere. And even if we do, we can’t see!”

Light smirked. “That has never stopped me.”

“Okay, okay. Can we go one minute without a blind joke?” Exasperated, Junpei sighed.

“It has been more than a minute since my previous one. With great effort, I shall refrain from making another. For now, that is.”

“Great. So, guys, food.”

“Grocery stores are likely to be raided almost immediately. We have a decent amount of non perishables in the pantry that, if rationed correctly, should last us about,” Light paused, “two or three months?”

“We could go to a nursery!” Clover suggested. “There’s one about, like, a mile or so away from here. That’s where I got the strawberries. There were many types of fruits and vegetables there. They had these little pamphlet thingies that gave info about each plant.”

“Great thinking, Clover. Do you know how to get there?”

“Uhh…”

“She can use the GPS on her phone.” Junpei couldn’t hide his smile. Who knew that silly little strawberry patch would end up saving everyone’s collective ass?