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They Are Remembered

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Sometimes, when Lisa cooks, she can see them. She can see Nine stare at her food in disgust. She can see Twelve make an attempt to taste her food, then turn away with poorly hidden retches.


Sometimes, when Lisa is doing the laundry, she feels the ripped and scorched shirt Nine wore to the subway. She can see Twelve hiding behind their sheets, giving her playful smiles and words with hidden meanings.


Sometimes, when Lisa watches the news, she waits for the bit about Sphinx and their latest move, or the reports on how the police are currently solving the Greek riddles. She waits to see Shibazaki publicly answer the riddle on the screens at the busy intersection downtown. Occasionally, he is on the news. But it's never about Sphinx.


Sometimes, when a live video pops up into her social media, Lisa expects to hear Sphinx 01 and 02 introduce themselves instead of the seventeen-year-old girl introducing the different makeup products that she bought recently.


Sometimes, when Lisa sees the newest robot cartoon for children and sees the protagonist's helmet, she is reminded of  the two masks that sit on the nightstand in her small apartment.


Sometimes, when Lisa is at a pool, she sees a boy jump into it, fully clothed. It is never Twelve.


Sometimes, when she sees nail salon commercials on the television, she is reminded of Five. She remembers her eyes, seemingly unfeeling yet screaming out in pain and desperation, just like those boys did.


Sometimes, when Lisa browses old forums online, she sees old theories and supporters of Sphinx, discussing their next move and what their aim was. They were always wrong, never quite hitting the mark.


Sometimes, when she hears a cell phone ring, she feels her body jolt with adrenaline and she wants to run. She expects the sounds of explosions, the ground trembling beneath her feet. But it is simply a man answering a call from his boss. It's an elderly woman laughing with her grandson on the phone. It's a girl making plans to go to that new karaoke place with her boyfriend and their friends. There aren't any explosions, but her hand still trembles.


Sometimes, when she's standing on top of a bridge or a balcony, she sees Twelve with outstretched arms. Sometimes his lips are twitching into a smile. Others are when he looks like he's nearly crying, he's calling out with fear not for himself but for Lisa. She has to stop herself. She would give anything to jump into his arms just one more time.


Sometimes, when Lisa couch surfs through college, she dreams of Nine's grumbles about her uselessness and feels a fuzzy softness over her body. She wakes up with a blanket covering her that wasn't there the night before.


Sometimes, when she visits amusement parks, she can feel Twelve's hand tugging her along to the different rides, the weight of his betrayal of his lifelong friend pulling his heart in opposite direction.


Sometimes, when Lisa sees movies with bomb squads or hackers,  she thinks to herself how completely off they are. It was never that quick or easy. The situations are portrayed as suspenseful, but never to the degree she experienced.


Sometimes, Lisa looks at the full moon and remembers Twelve telling her how much he meant to him. She remembers how in that one instant, her self-loathing and feelings of incompetence vanished. 


Sometimes, when Lisa sees a live court and the defendant pleads guilty, she is reminded of Nine and his surrender to the police. He was always thinking of the next step ahead in his goal, even if Twelve wasn't there to help him. Both he and Twelve were dead set on their goal, even if there were some detours along the way.


Sometimes she sees car chases in the media, she wonders how exactly Five died during the pursuit before the press conference. Nine never went into detail, but Lisa knew it had been horrifying.


Sometimes, when Lisa's lover moves in for a kiss, she sees Twelve's face, and she pulls him deeper.


Sometimes, when Lisa listens to Nine's music, she sees his content smile as they sit there in silence, sharing the short moment of respite they rarely had.


Sometimes, when Lisa hears a helicopter, she hears a gunshot, too. She sees her love fall, a gaping red hole through where his heart should be. She hears her own stop. She hears Nine scream with anguish, sees the tears that Lisa thought he didn't have streaming down his face for his closest friend.


Sometimes, when Lisa stands by their graves, she can hear the pounding of Nine's sledgehammer on Five's wooden plank. She can also hear Shibazaki digging two graves through the night. She can hear herself as she takes up the forgotten hammer and pounds in the markers for her two friends when Shibazaki is long gone.


Sometimes, she can feel their hands on her shoulders, guiding her through the tougher decisions in life.


Sometimes, she can see in her peripheral vision the smile like the sun and eyes like ice. Sometimes she calls out to them. But they never answer.


Everyday, Lisa is reminded of the two boys who changed not only Japan, but the whole world. She is reminded of that summer when she was close to death more times than she could count. She is reminded of how Nine and Twelve became to closest people to her heart, even after their deaths and her own. She is reminded of their deep sorrow etched into their bodies and souls, of their drive and the lengths they would go to. She is reminded of their love for each other, and their eventual love for her.


She remembers their cause. She remembers Five. She remembers Nine and Twelve. 


They are remembered.