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Daichi didn't sleep easy that night, but Reina did. To her, none of what they had witnessed today was concerning to her at all. But come Sunday morning, they received news on the television about Akira's death.

“...And this just in, more fatalities in the Mikaki community have occurred! Shinoda Ryusei, his wife, Shinoda Rio, and their son, Shinoda Akira of Hokkaido Mikaki Senior High School, were all found dead on their property last night. With an increase in crime in Mikaki, authorities have decided to impose tighter restrictions on the community. More to come after this short break!”

Mr. Ito turned the television off, clearly bothered by the news alongside his wife, and the man commented, “Perhaps it was safer to stay in Tokyo after all.”

Mrs. Ito said, nodding towards Reina and Daichi and changing her distressed look to a smile, “At least our son found a future wife here. With all things considered, I think we made a good decision.” Her gaze shifted to Reina, and she seemed proud. It was an odd experience for Reina. Just when was the last time her own mother looked at her with such adoration?

The girl got up, already prepared for the school day, and she said, “Daichi and I will be leaving now. See you later, and thank you once again for everything you are doing for me.”

Reina did a little bow, and Mrs. Ito laughed and said, “Not at all! Keep Daichi under control, will you?” She winked playfully at her son, who groaned lowly. The ride to the school was silent, and Reina sunk deeply into thought.

As they parked their bicycles there, Reina said, “I'm thinking of dropping out.”

This caught Daichi by surprise, and he said, “Dropping out? But Reina, you've come so far!”

“Kosuke will not stop until he either kills me, or you, or both of us. Most likely the latter.” Reina stated.

“Reina, if it makes you feel any better, I don't fear death. Besides, talking about him won't make him go away. All we can do is endure and focus on our studies.” Daichi said.

“If that is so, why did you express such fear last night?” Reina questioned.

“I fear immense pain, not death. Besides, Akira really creeped me out.” Daichi responded.

Yume came to join them, and she said, “Hello Daichi, and Reina.” She nodded towards Reina in acknowledgment. “The current story is that Mr. Shinoda killed himself, then his wife also killed herself, and Akira was left alone for a time before he was captured by someone and tortured. There has been no more news concerning Akira's brother, Akashi. There is no further news of the case as of now.”

“I suspect Kurosawa Kosuke is the killer.” Reina stated.

“Do you have proof?” Yume countered.

Reina looked to Daichi, giving him silent permission to speak, and he nodded in understanding and said, “He has been harassing us, and he attacked Reina. We have reported such conduct to the police.”

“Ah yes, I saw those reports already. I suppose it would make sense, but I need solid proof first. That is how law enforcement works, see?” Yume said.

Reina pulled her hair back, then let it fall behind her back. She hoped the bruises were still there. She felt around, gently pushing in some spots, before taking her hand away from her neck once she felt a tiny bit of pain. “Does this suffice?”

Yume examined the bruises for a minute, before snapping a picture of them anyway. She said, “While I'm certain this was in the police report, I will take the evidence anyway. However, I will need proof that Kosuke is harming somebody before some more charges can be pressed against him. Say, perhaps snapping a picture of him stabbing somebody, or something like that.”

Reina adjusted her hair back to where it usually was, and she said, “Very well. Thank you anyway.”

Yume went towards the school, and the duo followed after her. Reina started going over elimination options in her head. Kosuke needed to die – if not today, then tomorrow. Daichi was likely his next target, and Reina needed to get rid of Kosuke long before he tried killing Daichi. Her future depended on it.


Reina had purposely isolated herself in the cooking club's meeting room. She had been cooking some red bean mochis, but every little mochi ball had been poisoned with the chemistry lab chemical she had stolen the other day almost as soon as she had concluded the final step of mochi preparation. She was counting on Kosuke coming in and harassing her, but if he didn't then all of this food had to be disposed of. Not that it mattered to her either way, though. Sure enough, Kosuke entered the classroom and said, “Well, well, well, what do we have here? Honda Reina cooking all alone in a low-security area?”

“Not necessarily, but go off.” Reina dismissed, having finished arranging the mochi balls on a huge platter.

Kosuke hummed then grabbed one of them, saying, “I'll be taking this.”

“Good. Maybe it won't go to waste.” Reina said. She glanced at the analog clock in the room and said, “I have to go to the restroom. Mind watching the food for me?” Not giving Kosuke a chance to respond, she quickly left the room and went right to the restroom as she said she would. She readied a knife that she had stolen from the cooking club classroom and leaned against the wall next to the entrance of the restroom. She was well in the room, so if she were to stab Kosuke the cameras wouldn't be able to see her committing the crime. She gave it five minutes before she put away the knife and left the restroom, but she saw Kosuke smirking with his arms crossed once she walked out. He had been waiting for her, but she wasn't sure for how long.

“Thought you were sneaky, eh?” Kosuke asked.

“Excuse me?” Reina was playing innocent.

“Yeah, you are not innocent. I know how you are – you poisoned those mochis, didn't you?” Kosuke questioned.

“What makes you think I did?” Reina asked.

“I tossed a match in the batch and noticed that they were highly flammable. I wouldn't be surprised if they exploded.” Kosuke said. As if willed by Kosuke, an explosion occurred within the cooking club room and some passing faculty and students started to panic. Kosuke seemed no less haughty when he said, “Mm-hmm, just as I suspected.”

“I'm out of practice.” Came Reina's excuse.

“Right, of course you are.” Kosuke sarcastically stated, before he reached into his blazer pocket. Reina took off running to the cafeteria, with Kosuke hot on her heels. She had gained so much momentum that she crashed into Daichi and the food went everywhere. Both of them got up and backed away from Kosuke, mostly due to Reina grabbing and pulling Daichi back. This caught the attention of some nearby people, but most of them went around them to avoid trouble. Kosuke handed a small book that clearly looked to be a diary to Reina, saying, “Jeez, I was just going to give you this. Heard your mom took your old diary, so I thought that I would help you out.”

Reina didn't believe it, but she accepted it anyway and put it in her blazer pocket. She said, “Thanks, Kosuke.” She looked at Daichi and said, “Sorry about your lunch.” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Yume watching the scene from a distance. She must have known that something was up. Reina looked at their now-dirty uniforms, and said, “And our uniforms too... That's okay, maybe we can grab extras at home.”

“Do we have any other choice? Come, we can grab something at the gas station on the way back.” Daichi said, and he and Reina left for the front door of the school. Reina was certain that they were being followed, but she acted natural nonetheless. As she and Daichi changed their shoes out and headed outside, they noticed something odd about the bicycles. Every bicycle that they saw within their immediate field of vision had a set of slashed tires. And their bikes were no exception.

“Vandalism...” Reina murmured as they examined the damage done on their bikes. The sound of footsteps behind them caused her and Daichi to turn around. Kosuke was standing there, his arms crossed and a false smile on his face. “Kosuke, are you responsible for this?” Reina asked her former childhood friend.

“Maybe, they've been like that for a while.” Kosuke deflected, before advancing towards them. Reina noticed Yume watching the scene from behind the big tree. She had her phone out to record what went down. Both Daichi and Reina put more space between themselves and Kosuke.

Daichi sternly commanded, “Stand down!”

Kosuke laughed and remarked, “What are you, part of the military higher-ups?”

“No, but we are not comfortable with your current conduct. Please stop right where you are.” “Scared” wouldn't be a word to describe Daichi at the current moment; “irritated” would be.

Kosuke did as told, but he still had that same air of combined fury and snobbishness. He asked Daichi, “Answer me something, Daichi: if the news came out that Reina was responsible for Sayuri, Sachiko, and Moriko's death, would you still love her?”

“Well, no, of course not. But nothing has been proven yet so...” Daichi shrugged.

“I mean, think about it for a minute. Where was Reina on the afternoon of Moriko's death? Where was she on the night of Sachiko and Sayuri's?” Kosuke mused.

“Until I see some definitive proof that she did it, I will still cherish her. Something you apparently don't know how to do.” Daichi smarted off. It was quite unlike him, but at least when it came to his loved ones he could muster some courage.

Kosuke laughed oddly then said, “Wooo! Fiery today, aren't we? But answer me this: you don't seem to mind defending Reina, but have you ever considered defending yourself?” Kosuke resumed moving closer to Daichi. Reina caught the gleam of a knife's blade behind his back.

She immediately got in between Daichi and Kosuke and she shouted, “Daichi, run!”

Daichi needed no further prompting, as he was off almost as soon as Reina spoke. Yume came running out from behind the tree to get a better view of the fight on her phone. She seemed very invested now. Reina couldn't afford to draw her own knife, as she didn't want to incriminate herself, so she took off running as well. Hopefully Daichi wouldn't do something stupid like trip and fall over something, resulting in both of them being slowed down. She just needed to lure Kosuke somewhere to finish him off, away from Yume's prying eyes.

Kosuke seemed more interested in killing off Reina as opposed to Daichi, probably because the boy knew that Reina would interfere if he had switched targets right off the bat, so to speak. Seeing Yume keep up with them would be an issue for Reina, so she had to buy some time. Reina whipped out her phone and set it up to record, then she acted like she was live on a social media network. Facing the back camera towards Kosuke, phone being held vertically, Reina said to an imaginary audience, “Hey, my loyal followers! Update: I'm being chased by a maniac! Must be a crazy fan or something. So yeah, he has a knife, and it's like something out of a horror movie from the West! Speaking of horror movies, what's your favorite horror movie? Mine is Tomakomai Ghost!” Fortunately, this false audience made Kosuke stop and put his knife away awkwardly. Yume slowed down and seemed a little disappointed. Reina was amazed that Kosuke hadn't even noticed her yet.

Reina sighed then stopped recording, followed by pocketing the phone. She said, trying to manipulate what was left of Kosuke's emotions, “Kosuke, I understand that you're hurt. I understand that your parents manipulated you into thinking that I was the only option. We are both in pain, even if I don't show it... or I'm too much of a superficial bitch to show some semblance of human emotion. The point is, all I have left now is Daichi. My parents kicked me out and kept the cat, Kasumi is dead, and we grew apart. If you take Daichi away from me, then you have successfully stripped everything from me that I have left in this world. Tell me: what is your goal?” Being able to cry on command would've been super helpful at this moment in time.

Kosuke chuckled flatly, then said, “Nice try, Reina. I know that you're nothing more than a psychopathic, manipulative bitch, and that is exactly what you're trying to accomplish now. Your acting career will end very soon. So you lost everything, so what? I lost the love of my life to pride, and it has broken me beyond repair. Besides, you are incapable of forming bonds with others anyway, so that point is debunked. And don't worry Rei – you and Daichi will be together soon, and I will tag along with you as we all descend into Hell.” Yume smirked as Kosuke said those words, which meant that she likely got some evidence, yet she continued to record.

Reina, not betraying Yume's location, said, “Alright, if that is how it must be, at least answer me this: what did you do to Kasumi, Akira, and Masaru? And most importantly, what do you have planned for me and Daichi?”

Dark glee formed on Kosuke's face, and he said, “It doesn't matter what I did to them. Just know that Kasumi's evenings are spent alone at her house, Masaru was a hard one to crack, and Akira was a soiled plan. As for you and Daichi, I'll probably just slit his throat and stab his chest, and you...” He chuckled. “Well, just know that the last five minutes of your life will be in bed.”

Yume seemed close to throwing up, yet she remained silent. Reina, however, was unfazed. Instead, she offered, “Well, I'm here, so maybe we can get it over with, then you can go after Daichi.”

“Hmm, well, ideally I'd want to do it in a bedroom, but since you have so kindly offered, meet me over there.” He nodded towards a slope on the side of the road that led into the school, a slope covered with various flora, what with trees and shrubs and stuff. He ran over to the area in question, and Reina finally glanced at Yume. Yume ended the recording, a triumphant look on her face, and after the two stared at each other for a moment, Yume waved Reina off. She had her evidence.

Reina looked in the direction that Kosuke went, and walked in that direction. As she approached the location, she heard the distant wail of a siren. Daichi must have called the police. Reina put a pair of work gloves on, slid a hand into her blazer pocket, and wrapped her fingers around the handle of a knife. She started up the slope, walking among assorted bushes, tree saplings, and weeds. Once Reina had walked far enough away to be concealed from all directions, Kosuke slipped out from behind some young pine trees and hugged Reina from behind, before kissing her on the lips. Reina noticed that his pants were undone. Keeping her lips against Kosuke's, she turned and set a hand on the back of his head to secure it against her own lips. A police car drove past, and underneath the sound of the siren Reina took the knife that was in her hand and plunged it into Kosuke's chest, before swiftly ripping it out.

He made a noise between a choke and a cough, and Reina shoved him back onto the ground and quickly jumped backwards to dodge any potential counter stabbing. At a good distance away from Kosuke, she disappeared among the foliage, circling him then unleashing an ambush behind him, bringing the knife around quickly, slitting his throat, and plunging the blade into his skull for good measure. She removed the knife from his skull, hopped back into the dense plant life, and went back around to watch Kosuke expire. Her eyes were dark, cold, remorseless, her black uniform having gotten some blood on it. She said after a moment of observing her handiwork, “There are better ways to die. Getting raped then murdered isn't how I'd like to go.” At this point, Kosuke was already slipping from this world. He just had a perpetual shocked look on his face.

Reina heard another police car drive past, and she waited before she emerged from the plants, checking her surroundings before running across the road and continuing into the identical group of plants across the way. She needed to leave the scene and find Daichi.


It was a risky trip, but Reina had arrived at the beach she and Daichi had gone to on one of their dates. She had to dispose of her bloodied clothing, lest Daichi see it and break up with her for it. She had removed her gloves and pocketed them in her blazer, and she wrote out the words “Non-Wolf” in the sand as a sort of code for Daichi. She expected him to be a while, but surely he was smart enough to check the places they had been to before. As for Reina, she went underneath the bridge that belonged to the road that ran past the beach to undress. For good measure, she dressed down to her bra and panties, then rinsed off in the shallow creek. She had folded her clothes up with the knife she had used and buried them deep in the sand. She would have to come back later and burn them.

She waited in her underwear underneath the bridge, peeking out and up at the road above her from time to time. Eventually, Daichi biked down to the beach, and Reina came out from hiding and waved to get his attention. He first looked at the words she had scrawled in the sand, and his face lit up. Then, he noticed Reina and had to look away, blushing. Despite his bashfulness, he dropped his bike and came over to her anyway, taking his food-covered blazer off to cover her. Once he had placed it on Reina, the blazer managed to cover her underwear, which encouraged Daichi to finally look at her. He had snapped back to the issue at hand at this point, and he asked, “Did Kosuke...?”

Reina nodded, but so Daichi wouldn't get the wrong idea she said, “He's dead now. After that chaos, I think it's time that I dropped out of school. Just so we won't have any more Kosukes to worry with.”

“And I can't allow it. You are so close to graduating, so why not push forward?” Daichi said.

Reina was certain that her misdeeds would catch up to her eventually, so she was uncertain about continuing her education. But she wanted to keep Daichi, so she would comply. “Alright, I am just worried that people will now know who I am, and thus they will start various unsavory rumors about me. I guess I just don't want to be accused of something...” She was hinting, but not entirely. No, Daichi would never know of the atrocities she had committed.

Daichi said, “If you are innocent, then there is nothing to worry about.”

“Perhaps.” Reina said. Daichi suddenly kissed her on the lips, and she eagerly returned it. It was like for one small moment among several she had lived, everything was alright. Granted, her condition limited the emotional reaction to the kiss, but that was fine. Daichi was all that mattered to her now, especially since she truly had no one left in her small circle. Well, there was Yume, but Reina doubted she cared for her. Yume just wanted evidence after all.

Daichi pulled away from the kiss and said, “I'll call my mom and she'll pick us up.”

“I have little coverage.” Reina said, trying to put up a sane act by appearing concerned about her current state.

“She will understand.” Daichi got his phone out and called his mother, while Reina moved her own phone to Daichi's blazer jacket. She doubted she would continue through school, but she would at least try for Daichi. But if Yume started causing trouble for her, then Reina was going to disappear.

The two waited for Mrs. Ito to arrive, and as her shining white hatchback came into view, Reina felt free at long last. No one could force her to marry anyone now, except herself. She and Daichi entered the car, and Mrs. Ito drove them back to Mikaki.

The End

Submitted: March 18, 2021

© Copyright 2022 A. Rhetters. All rights reserved.


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