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Reina had to return to her house that morning to gather her schoolbag and other belongings. Fortunately, Mrs. Honda had tossed out a suitcase of Reina's clothes, her shoes, and her schoolbag out on the front lawn, so she moved it all over to the Ito household. After that, she and Daichi biked all the way to the high school. There were whispers amongst the students when they arrived, and Reina could catch snippets of conversation. “Maki Kasumi is dead?” “Kurosawa Kosuke was arrested?” “Was he responsible for the deaths?” “Poor Yume...”

When they got to the third floor, where their classrooms were located, Daichi said, “We must part ways here. If anything at all happens, come get me. Class 3-1.” The boy walked away, and Reina went into her own classroom. Kosuke's chair was empty, and Akira and Masaru were still missing. A girl came running into the classroom and she announced, “Masaru killed Maki Kasumi from Class 3-1! It was another murder-suicide!” The classroom became noisy with panicked students, except Reina. She looked at her fellow classmates and tried to follow what was going on. Natsuki called out over the noise, “What of Kosuke and Akira?”

“Well, Kosuke was arrested last night for assault, and Akira is still missing.” The newcomer answered.

“We're all gonna die!” One of the boys shouted.

“First Moriko, second Sachiko, third Sayuri, fourth Kasumi, and now Masaru?!” Another boy said.

A teacher came in, and she told the class, “Stay calm! The authorities have this under control! There is a memorial service being held in the auditorium for Masaru and Kasumi. Please make your way there.”



Daichi and Reina were now sitting with one another during lunch. There was no sight of Yume, but Reina thought that she had taken a day off school to grieve. She and Kasumi were good friends after all. Daichi broke the silence with, “You're tough, Reina. Both of your friends are either dead or arrested, yet you still seem as unchanged as you were before. But you don't have to be strong all the time either.” He was hinting that she take time to grieve as well.

“My grief expresses itself in shock, not tears.” Reina lied.

“My point still stands – there is no shame in grieving.” Daichi said, before going back to eat. He added after a moment, “Two weeks. Two weeks and so much as happened.”

Reina had other things on her mind. “Kosuke can still come back.”

“True, but for now we can just enjoy today. And if Kosuke gives us any trouble, we'll just get the police involved again.” Daichi said.



With Masaru declared dead, thus canceling the Friday night date, and Reina getting accustomed to living with the Itos, it wasn't until Saturday morning that something new happened. Reina and Daichi had decided to pay the admission to get into the local tourist attraction, mostly for the museum on the location's grounds.

As they looked at various exhibits, Kosuke suddenly appeared as if from nowhere. Kosuke said, “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” He had a smug look on his face and set his hands on his hips, staring between Reina and Daichi. “Hmm... Lover number five? You really get around, don't you, Rei?” His tone was no longer the friendly one that Reina had grown used to. Instead, his new tone was more sarcastic and condescending.

Daichi glared at Kosuke at first, before becoming confused and looking between Reina and Kosuke. “Eh? Lover number five? Getting around? Reina, what is he talking about?”

It was so expected of Kosuke to just show up and break apart Daichi and herself. However, she should still make an emotional appeal. “I lost everyone else, and Daichi is all I have left. You still have time this semester to find yourself a girlfriend if you are still interested in marriage.”

Kosuke shook his head, a malicious grin on his face. “Sure, like I'd leave an innocent guy in the clutches of a slut.”

“Go to hell.” Daichi shot at Kosuke. It was strange to see Daichi angry, as the guy usually had an enormous amount of patience. He then took Reina by the hand and went the other direction with her.

Kosuke called after them, “Hey man, I'm just trying to tell you that Reina's been passed around like a bottle of sake at a gathering.”

Daichi turned, trying to keep himself under control, “Don't you have a better way to contribute to society other than stalking and harassing girls and their lovers? Reina has made it quite clear that she wants nothing more to do with you, so please respect that. There are plenty of girls available at the high school. Perhaps directing your efforts towards them may yield better gains for yourself.” With that, he left the building with Reina in tow, saying, “I will never understand people who refuse to let go of the past.” He then took a deep breath, then said, “I'm sorry you had to see that, Reina.”

“I don't mind.” Reina replied.

Daichi glanced at Reina then smiled as he looked ahead. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” For once, Reina felt something; a level of internal happiness she never knew existed. It was like her soul had soared for a moment. Her eyes felt wet, and she paused and wiped away with her free hand to remove whatever had gotten in her eyes. Daichi paused and waited for Reina, a soft smile on his face. Reina looked at her hand in confusion. There was a shining wet spot on it, and Reina wondered if the pollen from the various flowers on the grounds was aggravating whatever allergies she possessed. As far as she knew, she did not typically suffer from allergies. Then, her vision became blurry, her nose stuffy, and she let Daichi's hand go in alarm. She kept wiping at her eyes, before remembering the handkerchief in her purse and pulling it out to use it instead.

Daichi tugged at her arm and said, “Let's go somewhere more private.” They did just that, and Reina spent a about a minute blowing her nose and drying her eyes.


Once she had dried her eyes and wiped her nose to the best of her ability, she had put the handkerchief away in her purse. She remarked, “That was strange, but no matter.”

She started trying to leave the area the two had isolated themselves in, when Daichi became confused and asked her, “Was that even enough time?”

“It was more than enough. I don't do that often.” Reina said, before trying to leave their little area once again. Daichi walked alongside her, and they made their way back to the Ito household, but not before reporting Kosuke's conduct to the police once again.



Reina was staring at the ceiling of the living room that night. She knew that something had changed within Kosuke... Or perhaps, he was always this way. If her hypothesis was correct, it would only be a matter of time before the boy tried to kill Daichi, or even herself. Reina got up and headed into Daichi's room. Once she was in there, she whispered, “Daichi, wake up.”

The boy gave no indication that he had heard her for a moment, before he groggily asked, “What is it?” His eyes seemed to still be closed.

“I may have to fake my death.” Reina said.

This caused Daichi to jolt upright and rub his eyes. “Hm? What was that?”

“If Kosuke thinks I'm dead, then maybe he will finally leave us in peace.” Reina said.

“I can't allow that. We shouldn't have to live our lives in fear of useless people like him.” Daichi stated, having awakened quickly.

“I'm certain he killed Akira and Masaru, in the very least.” Reina said.

“But we have no proof. We don't even know where their bodies would be located.” Daichi said.

“I have a few ideas.” Reina said. She looked back in the living room, where her suitcase full of clothes was located. “I plan to return by sunrise.”

Daichi got up and went to grab some clothes out of the closet. “We will go together.”

“Very well. Bring something to defend yourself with.” Reina said, before going back into the living room to change.

Submitted: March 18, 2021

© Copyright 2022 A. Rhetters. All rights reserved.


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