‘Where should I go?’
Stay with Sou and Kanna
Leave and join someone else
‘Where should I go?’
[Stay with Sou and Kanna]
Leave and join someone else
You felt the protective urge to stick near Kanna. It would make Itsuki happy if you kept an eye on the little girl he tutored.
“I’ll take a rest. I’m a bit pooped,” you admitted, rubbing your neck. “Is that fine with you, Sou? Kanna?”
“O-of course!” Kanna exclaimed, her eyes brightening.
Sou smiled and sighed. “Sure.”
You slumped down next to them, your back laid up near the wall. You leaned forward to look at the two. Kanna seemed to be making herself comfortable, but still looking a bit anxious between you and Sou. Sou rubbed his head, shifting his teal locks and beanie along with the circle motions of his hand.
“Your head good?” you asked, your eyebrows knitting in concern. “You don’t have a concussion or anything, right?”
He shook his head softly. “Nope. It just hurts. A lot.”
Your lips pursed into a firm line. The whole thing unsettled you. Sou being so vulnerable and getting attacked by someone. You shut your eyes.
Giggle echoed in the darkness, sending some horrid shivers up your spine that made your stomach turn in disgust.
‘Fuck,’ you thought in your head as your hands scrunched up like a piece of paper. ‘I need to stop thinking about this and just focus on something else--’
“You good?” Sou asked, raising an eyebrow. “You seem a bit agitated over there.”
You rubbed your neck. “Sorry. Just a lot to take in I guess.”
He smiled. “So the cheery and calm Miss Y/N can lose her cool, huh?”
Chuckling drily, you closed your eyes. “Bold of you to assume I was calm this whole time. Inside, I’m very worried.”
“You are?” Kanna asked, her eyes shining with pure innocence.
“I’m worried about us all, of course,” you said, smiling at her. “I want us all to be alright.”
“K-Kanna does as well!” she exclaimed, clenching her fists together.
“Alrighty!” you whispered with a smile as you fist bumped her.
You leaned forward and looked at Sou. “Hey, give your hand over here.”
The two of you fistbumped as well. You slumped back against the wall. It was a bit… saddening. What was the point in rounding up all these people and forcing them to die? It was inconceivable. Something even you couldn’t understand. And you were good at those things. Wielding knowledge, that is. You were good at that. Yes, you were. Yeah. Yeah. At least, you used to be. Maybe that’s why you couldn’t comprehend the cause to why this was happening.
You watched as Kanna sat on one of the bar stools and began to silently read the variety of alcohol drinks from afar. A bit concerning, but you would leave her to it.
“Got any plans if we get out?” Sou asked beside you.
You took note of how he said “if” and not “when”. Pressing your lips together, you thought about it.
“Going back to study?” you suggested. “I… don’t really have any other purposes or things to do than that. Oh, and hang out with my friends.”
Sou nodded as if he understood, his eyes twitching due to the pain in his head. “You in a relationship?”
You stared at him as if he just let out an atomic fart.
He tugged at his scarf. “Sorry about that. I assumed you and that white haired dude were dating…?”
“A-ah, no… we aren’t,” you said, stumbling over your words like a fool. “I-I’m not ready for one and… uh...”
“Huh,” Sou said, raising his eyebrows.
Suddenly, his eyes darted towards Kanna, who was now looking at something in her hand near the sliding cabinet. There was a bunch of small fluorescent-looking text you couldn’t read, but when the green haired girl flipped the card over there was a huge skull. You squinted hard, barely making out the words on the card. A skull that read the words “Sacrifice” at the bottom.
“You ought to toss that,” Sou breathed, fixing his beanie.
“A… aah… This is… um…!” Kanna stammered, almost dropping the card out of surprise.
Sou’s eyes slotted upwards to meet hers. “If someone finds out you have that card you die… did it say that?”
Kanna jolted, her face paling. Your head swerve to look at the scarf-wearing male.
‘What?!’ you thought, the blood rushing from your face. ‘That means…!’
The beanie boy smiled. “Relax. That’s just a dummy rule.”
“What…?” You and Kanna asked in unison.
“Oi, don’t scare us like that…!” you harshly whispered, jabbing a finger at him.
“Seems the kidnappers want to distribute one of those cards to each person,” Sou explained, pointing at the card. “...Anyway, that’s a dangerous card. Trust me and hand it over, okay…?”
“Wait, Sou. Do you have one?” you asked, looking at him.
He pulled out a card with a hoe on it. “I do.”
“...then… I’ll take that card,” you said, outstretching your hand to Kanna.
“Wait, what?” Sou asked, his voice growing inaudible.
You looked at him again. “You already have one. And you said this one was dangerous so… I’ll take care of this one.”
“No no no,” the teal haired boy said, pushing you a little. “You don’t even know what it does--”
“So what are you going to do with it?” you asked, still not lowering your hand or gaze.
He didn’t say anything after that. You just smiled grimly.
“That’s why I’m just gonna borrow this card,” you said, your fingers beckoning Kanna to give you the card.
Sou just watched. “Well, not like I can stop you.”
Kanna gave you the card as you flipped it over. You scanned the words and scanned them again.
‘Well fuck,’ you thought as you tucked the card away. ‘I may have messed up. It’s probably karma.... For leaving her like that.’
“So.” Sou said, looking at your every movement. “Do you know what to do?”
You shrugged. “Sort of.”
He smirked. “Good to hear.”
Kanna played with the edges of her sleeve, hesitantly opening her mouth. She looked at you and then began to speak.
“Kanna… Kanna doesn’t understand things very well,” she stammered, looking at the ground. “But…! Kanna can tell that the card is… is dangerous…!”
You just smiled at her with ease. “That’s why I’ve got to take care of it, Kanna. I’ve got this.”
“D-doesn’t Sou have a plan?” Kanna asked, her voice growing small.
“Ah, Sou is weak,” you lied, silently apologizing to him. “He needs my help.”
“No I don’t,” he muttered.
“MHM,” you said loudly, nodding aggressively. “Don’t worry about it, Kanna. I… I will take care of this card.”
Sou shrugged in a nonchalant manner. “It’s up to her. Not like I can stop her.”
“...thanks, Sou,” you said, tucking the card into your hoodie pocket. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of this card.”
He just stared at you and tore his gaze away. You pressed your lips together again. This really wasn’t going to end well. Kanna left the bar and sat between you and Sou, smiling.
“Do… do you think anybody else is going to die…?” Kanna asked in a wobbly voice. “I… I don’t want anyone to die…”
‘What do I say? Especially since…’
The card in your pocket suddenly turned into a ticking bomb. You stopped yourself from self-consciously touching your pocket. Your attention was caught by Sou, who was staring at you as if you had all the answers. Over her head, you and Sou looked at each other, having a small mental conversation. You mouthed the words, “what do I say??” , and he mouthed back, “I don’t know” . You just stared at him pointedly as he mouthed the words “me???” as you nodded.
“I can’t do that.”
Kanna tugged at Sou’s sleeve. “Sou? Are you sick?”
“Our good old buddy old pal Sou here is just worried about us,” you said, nodding with your eyes closed.
“I--” he started to say, raising a finger.
“Yes, yes,” you continued putting your chin in between your index finger and thumb. “He’s says that we’re all going to try our best.”
Kanna looked up at Sou with billions of stars in her eyes. “R-really?”
‘Yes, I’ll try .’
“Y-yes…” Sou said, tugging at his scarf.
He shot you a stare. You shrugged in apology.
“You truly are capricious, Miss Y/N,” he muttered, pulling his beanie over his head.
“Please. Don’t call me that.”
‘I’m losing my shit over some lousy card over here.’
‘I don’t want to die.’
‘I won’t die.’
The bucket-wearing girl clasped her hands together. “Ah! Sou! Are you feeling better?”
The teal haired man rubbed his head, wincing. “Ah bit. I’ll just wait a little longer before we continue to investigate.”
‘You’re bad at lying.’
“Don’t push yourself…!” Kanna said, clenching her small hands. You smiled at the small girl.
“She’s right,” you said, nodding. “Who knows what might happen if you get hurt again.”
Sou let out a sigh of exasperation. “You know what? Let’s go. I think I’m feeling better now.”
”Alrighty, let’s go,” you said, pointing towards the exit. “Come on, Kanna.”
You held out your hand and helped her up. The three of you walked out and entered the main room. Sou pointed up the steps that had magically appeared before.
“Let’s go check out what’s up there, okay?” he asked, a small smile appearing on his face.
“Sure,” you said, giving your hand to Kanna again. “Careful. Don’t fall.”
‘Ah… she’s so precious,’ you thought, as if flowers had just bloomed all over the place.
After walking up the stairs, the three of you got onto the second floor. Then you spotted Sara and sent a small wave at her. She smiled back and waved back.
“Hey, Miss Sara,” Sou said, nodding at her presence.
‘He calls her “miss”?’ you thought. ‘I didn’t know Sou was this respectful. He’s probably more friendlier to me because of our closer age gap.’
“Sou! Y/N! And…” Sara trailed off as she looked at the girl beside me.
Kanna flinched, and moved to hide behind me. I gripped her hand tight in fear of her panicking again. Still, she gave you the vibe of shyness and the feeling of not wanting to be seen by Sara at the moment.
Sou smiled at her. “Aren’t you tired? It’s not good to work too hard. You should take some time to rest.”
“Hmm… I can’t rest. Not while everyone is working so hard,” Sara replied determinedly, clenching her hand.
“I think rest is a valuable choice too, myself,” the male replied with the air of seriousness. His gaze wandered around the room. “Still… who knows who you’ll be attacked by… So I know how you feel, Miss Sara.”
‘Oh yeah,’ you thought, your eyes zeroing in on Sou’s beanie. ‘I have to keep in mind that he’s still hurt and that he shouldn’t push himself too hard.’
“Miss Sara… I don’t think you should go to the first floor on your own,” Sou said, looking at the ground.
“But…” Sara meekly protested, hesitance gently landing onto her feelings and words.
“Err… hey…” Sou said, his voice dropping a few tones. That concerned me. “...Joe’s your best friend, right?”
A small smile graced Sara’s face, the uneasiness retreating like ocean water. “Yes, he can be a bit stupid in ways… but he’s a really good guy.”
“...uh-huh…” Suddenly, Sou’s face lit up with a smile again. “Miss Sara… so you trust Joe then.”
It felt as if something had grabbed your shoulders. It didn’t feel good. Something was up.
“Miss Sara,” Sou said as he walked forward. His voice lowered to a whisper while he quietly told her something.
Too quiet. You couldn’t hear what he said. Yet, you didn’t strain your ears to hear because you didn’t want to invade his privacy.
‘What are they talking about?’
As they spoke, you gripped Kanna’s hand slightly tighter. You were suddenly reminded of something else.
‘Are they talking about me?’
‘No, stupid idiot.’
“...Sorry. That must’ve bewildered you,” Sou said, stepping away from her.
You looked at Sara’s face, astounded that her face was extremely pale. Her eyes were wide in confusion as she searched Sou’s face.
“We’ll be going now. Catch you later,” the beanie man told her as he began to walk away.
You waved goodbye at Sara, who was still dazed out of her mind. You frowned.
“Ah, I’ll go downstairs because there’s somebody dangerous lurking around,” you told them. “Sorry, Kanna. I have to go.”
You gently let go of her hand as she nodded and ran after Sou. Turning towards Sara, you nodded.
Descending the stairs, you looked back to see if Sou was still watching. Seeing that he wasn’t, you tapped Sara’s shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” you asked as she turned around with an uneasy expression. “You look like… I don’t know. You saw a ghost?”
She shook her head, smiling. “No… I’m just… confused…”
“Confused? On what?” you asked, tilting your head.
Sara began to fidget with her hands. “Something about Joe.”
‘Oh thank God.’
“I see,” you said, pursing your lips. “Go talk to him then.”
“What?” she asked, looking at you in surprise.
You nodded again with your eyes closed. “You heard me. The best way to take care of those thoughts is to talk about them. If you’re confused about Joe, just go talk to him about it. Don’t turn into those tropes where you guys don’t talk and have miscommunication issues, okay? Don’t do that. Ever!”
She nodded, her eyes brightening a bit. “What if--”
“If you don’t want to tell him directly,” you suggested, a smile crossing your features. “Just talk. You can take something out of that. Got it?”
“Yes ma’am,” she replied with a beautiful smile.”
You grinned. “Now go! I don’t want to see you being sad!”
She nodded. “Are you going to…?”
‘Should I go with her? No… I need to think about something.’
“There are some things I need to mull over,” you said, glancing to the side. “You go ahead.”
Sara disappeared. You stood there, sighing. You put a hand on your head.
‘Fuck,’ you thought while walking forward. ‘I need some time to think.’
You walked into one of the dark hallways and flopped onto a beanie bag thing in the darkness. Sitting, you pulled out the card from your pocket. You turned it over in the dark, despite not being able to see. You put it back in your pocket again and let out another long sigh.
‘What do I do…?’
You sat there in the darkness. Just thinking about nothing for what felt like a millennia. You let out another long sigh.
‘Karma. This is…’
You thought back to Haruka. How she screamed at you and cursed you all the way to her death. How… her death was on your hands. It was disgusting how you… constantly forgot about it. You should’ve felt more horrified. You should’ve been ashamed. You should’ve cried while you had the chance. After this, you won’t anymore. You… you could still hear her laughing.
“ʏᴏᴜ ᴊᴏɪɴɪɴɢ ᴍᴇ ɴᴏᴡ?”
In an imaginary world, (probably in your damn head), you looked to see her lifeless corpse hanging upside down. Even thought you Her mouth opened and closed like a door with broken hinges. Her emerald eyes seemed to be more like a dead forest. They bulged out of their sockets. Her orange hair was dull and now trailed down. You didn’t bother looking up past her skirt. Her mouth began to rapidly flap up and down as her teeth sank into her mouth flesh. The sound was gruesome. Blood began to flow past her lips and down her face. Her eyes dilated as red tears erupted from them. No, it was blood. All of her blood mixed together and dripped to the ground in one big puddle. Her limbs twitched. Then began to dance violently, clashing against one another. Her hair swang around with her shiny golden necklace. Ah, that necklace. How badly you wanted to rip it off and throw it into the nearest ocean. But that's besides the point. Her fingers flexed pointlessly as her eyeballs spun in circles then stopped. They stared dead straight at you.
“ʜᴏᴘᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ꜰᴜɴ, ʏᴏᴜ ᴍɪꜱᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ, ꜱʜᴏᴡ-ᴏꜰꜰ ᴡᴇɴᴄʜ!”
You jolted aggressively. Putting a hand over your chest, you could feel how much your chest was beating.
“Fuck…” you breathed, squinting your eyes shut.
Placing an arm over your eyes, you began to think.
‘Sorry, Sara. Joe. Guess we won’t go out for another big hangout with the whole group again. Sorry, Gin. I won’t be able to babysit you anymore. That one time was probably the last time. Sorry, Kanna. I’m selfish. I just comforted you and now I’m about to tear you to pieces. Sorry, Sou. You’re probably feeling extra guilty for letting me have the card. Well, who am I to decide emotions? I’m not God. If only… If only I had the same power. If I did, this would’ve never happened... Sorry, Itsuki. Guess I couldn’t bring you your bandaids. I won’t be able to care for you anymore. Not anymore. I won’t talk to you anymore, laugh with you anymore, see you anymore… Sorry. Sorry I couldn’t--’
You stopped. You lifted off your arm and sat up. You walked out of the darkness and blinked blearily because of the light. A mistake, but you needed to clear your head.
‘Don’t think of things that aren’t good for you. They aren’t true.
Walking around, you saw no one. Deserted. Empty.
“Where is… everyone…?” you asked yourself, walking up the stairs to the second floor.
Standing before you down a dark hallway was a door with a shining light. You walked towards it.
“What the--?” you asked as you looked inside.
Suddenly you were pushed. Your stomach felt light and sick.
When you came to, you suddenly sat up.
“--fuck!” you shouted as you stared at the pilings of food before you on a table.. A bright TV screen with the Laughing Doll herself was positioned at the end of the table. Standing up, you walked towards the table and looked at the assortment of delectables and beverages.
‘What is this…?’