Crack. Dee opened the door and entered the classroom.
“What, it’s you, Dee? Seriously, you’re almost late”
The members of class 4 sat at their seats, waiting for the teacher to arrive. There were no latecomers, two absentees, Alice and Ai. Everything remained according to plan.
The footsteps tapped away as she went up the podium, and when the onlookers gathered their stares on her, she spoke up,
“Eh, I’ll begin to explain now. Before that…”
Dee looked around the classroom, deciding her target.
Given that he was usually poised and rational, he would be a very suitable candidate for this occasion.
Dee lowered her head, seemingly in apology for a prank, and shot him.
Bang! A gunshot rang, and Menhim’s head burst at the same time.
All the students gasped and sat meekly in their seats, unable to grasp the reality they were in.
Mu was the quickest to react. She had initially seen blood splattering from Menhim, but when her eyes happened to meet the corpse’s,
“W-What’s this…no…Menhim! Menhim!”
The students did not know what they were to be surprised and shocked about.
Mu was the most confused of the lot.
What’s wrong with you, Mu, you look so pale. Dee, what are you doing? What are you doing? Class is about to start.
The dead guy was worried about her. Mu was about to go crazy.
In the space that straddled between sanity and madness, Dee Ensy Stratmitos whispered.
“Hey, guys, hear me out. You’re curious, right? You find it strange, don’t you? I’ll tell you everything~~ and anything~~.”
No special techniques were used. She did not use any hypnosis, temptation, or whisper of any vengeful evil spirit. She could not use them here to begin with..
And yet, at this point, nobody could escape her whispers.
Dee licked her upper lip, Stupid Alice. You’re the one who wants to live upright, and got tripped over by a Ghost like me.
“First of all—”
“I have something important to tell you. Please go to the court behind the school building without anyone noticing.”
It was class time, but Ai went there without hesitation. Dee was the one who called her there, but she had no idea what Dee was planning.
“Hmm? Did you get called over too?”
For some reason, Alice was present too. He was spinning the ball, and dribbled a few times. Ai nonchalantly tried to swipe the ball, but Alice anticipated it and turned around to shield the ball.
“You got called out by Miss Dee, too?”
She blocked his course to the sideline. He turned around, switched hands, and dribbled past her..
“Yeah, but I got a feeling I know what she’s planning.”
He shot the ball. Alice aimed at the basket without any muscle movement, an extraordinary movement.
At that moment, the world was tinged with twilight.
Dee asked, but she was certain everyone had understood.
The classroom was quiet, aside from the occasional words that occurred like bubbles from the bottom of a water, rising and bursting on the surface.”
“…We…yeah…we couldn’t accept it…”
“We couldn’t believe what we saw from that window…”
“We couldn’t…accept that corpse…that was covered in blood and mud…”
Dee nodded in satisfaction, phew, and exhaled,
As if possessed, the classmates continued to spit out words.
“At that moment…it was…dusk…we looked down at the dead body…and wished…”
“This isn’t true… this isn’t right…”
“Please… give us back our everyday life…that was our wish.”
“If we had been a little simpler, we could have wished for her resurrection.”
Dee was not interested in what they thought when they saw her fall. She was merely a little disappointed.
They did not wish for her to be revived.
They wished for something more.
Death was right before them.
The world before them had changed.
The corpse forced them to face this truth.
And in order to escape all of this, they created a world.
The seventeen of them prayed for eternity.
“Well, I can’t say that you guys are in the wrong now…”
Quickly, Dee raised her hands, pak! She clapped as though it was a gunshot
The stares were gathered on her.
“Everyone, think back…remember what happened that day. ”
At that moment, the world was tinged with twilight.
“W-What’s going on?”
“That Dee realized what’s going on! She’s trying to reset the entire space!”
It was summer around them. No, it was not all. The sun that had just risen was about to s. It’s not only that, but the sun has just risen and is about to set.
Alice ran. Ai hastily gave chase
“Apparently, the past me experimented once ! All the people that stayed inside were chased out, and all those who entered were rest. Dee was the only one safe as she was outside! ”
They ran past the court, jumped over the gardening club’s flower beds, and took a short cut next to the water fountain.
“We got to stop Dee! I bet she’s undoing the memory limits of everyone in Class 4! The space can’t handle the paradox anymore!”
Ai glanced up at the school building. Before she knew it, the school was adorned with decorations, and the school was in a festive mood. Looking at the third floor window, there was an opened window, and someone was there.
July 28. It was sunny.
Dee checked the date on the side of the blackboard and let out a sigh of relief. Everything was going well so far. It should be.
“Hey! You’re missing the middle plate by a digit. “Seriously!?” “Hey, did someone misspell on this board?” “Oh my God! It’s true! Who wrote that!?” “Arghh! I forgot to get a receipt! Prez! Can we do something about this?” “Count it as your expense.”
The classroom rumbled with excitement.
It looks the same as it did fourteen years ago, but it was not exactly the same.
The backdrop is perfect, the cast is good, but the actors were all acting like they were possessed. No, it was better to be in this state, since they were supposed to act, and not act. It was the truth, and yet not the truth.
It was a ritual.
Yes, that would be the appropriate word, a ritual. Like pulling out the Kingston valve to sink a ship. It was akin to a ritual burying the dead.
Dee fulfills her duty.
It really felt like a ritual. The ritual was similar, yet foreign, strangely uncanny. She was the witch used for the sacrifice, and knew the outline and the process so well that she just recreated it faithfully.
Tesserick shouted, “Someone go remove the curtains”. It was evening, and the outside was filled with the sunset. Everyone said they would have to stay at school overnight to catch up on work, and no one noticed their movements.
Dee brought in the table and stacked the chairs on it. She took off her shoes and stood up, reaching for the curtains. She leaned her body against the glass window and slowly removed them one by one.
She moved to the first, second, and third window.
And then the fourth.
Dee looks at the curtain before her. There was no wind, and the window did not seem to be open at all. However, there was nothing but air for fifteen meters beyond.
She gently removed this cloth, as per her action back then.
She believed there was a glass pane blocking her.
She believed there was a sturdy wall beyond it that could shield her.
They jumped up the stairs, kicked aside the mat that was used to brush the mud off. Ai jumped three steps at a time, and arrived at Class 4 well ahead of Alice.
And yet, the door would not open.
“Move! You can’t open it!”
Alice, who had caught up with Ai, shoved Ai aside and violently pushed the door open.
The wind began to move. The curtains were lifted to release the red beyond. The streets of Ostia were glowing red, and the surface of the lake was shimmering.
Beneath the window was fifteen meters of air and solid ground.
Dee chuckled. In hindsight, it was the first time she had reset herself. After she died fourteen years ago, she was the only one who had avoided this fate. Given this perspective, she was the one who died the fewest times. How ironic was it?
As time slowed down, her body intuitively reached for the window, trying to save herself. While he body was upside down in the air, she could see the inside of the classroom, where she saw the faces of her friends, and beyond them, Alice and Ai, who had just opened the door.
—I’m sorry, Ai, but I said that I’d disappear if Alice said he doesn’t need me.
That’s half true. That’s why I’m flying now.
But it’s half true. I can die, but I can’t disappear.
Dee laughed. The white curtain around draped over her body took the red light of the sunset as she gave a tearful smile.
She could no longer live as a monster anymore.
Her heart was finally shattered and broken.
But, even so,
She just could not disappear,
—Take care of me after I reset. I know I’m a pain in the ass, but I’m a good kid at heart. That me never killed anyone, and and never lied much either.
What the two of them will do with her was not within the control of the current Dee.
She was not really interested in what would happen to herself after the reset. She no longer felt like that was herself.
The current ’Ghost’ would die here.
—I’m sorry, Ai, goodbye.
That was the last thing the Ghost thought about.
At the last moment of resistance, the hooks of the curtain popped open, and her body was caught by gravity.
Dee has no memory of what happened next.
But at this moment, Dee clearly remembered everything.
She remembered everything beyond this moment.
(This isn’t what happened!)
Finally, Dee realized that she was mistaken.
And Ai saved Dee.
The moment she saw Dee, , all her hesitation evaporated and her body burst into life. She charged at Dee, almost crushing the floor as she shot out like a firework.
She leapt Into the sky.
Dee’s face was right in front of her, and Ai shriveled just as she did when she dunked, reaching her hands out. “You idiot!” those were the words Dee’s lips shouted. Even Ai would not be able to make it, and she would fall at this rate
But Ai believed in Alice. She believed this would not happened.
She held Dee in her left hand and swiped her right hand through the air.
And then, by design, a rope flew into the air.
Ai reached out to grab it. She did not exchange looks. The strength in the rope however conveyed the thoughts with more power.
(Wa-wait a minute, Mr. Alice! Grab me firmly, will you!? Aren’t you a boy!?)
(Don’t be ridiculous! Don’t underestimate the gravity pull!)
The rope was instantly extended, and Ai broke out in cold sweat, before she finally stopped.
(You’re okay now.)
With those words, Ai finally looked up.
There, everyone in Class 4 was working together.
(Everyone caught up.)
As soon as Dee was on the ground, Alice dropped to his knees.
“I’m sorry! It’s my fault! My bad! This is all my fault!”
Everyone in the class, including Ai, was stunned.
Dee, who was sitting there with the curtain around her, stared at Alice, “…I see, so that’s how it happened?”
“It’s my fault! I’m sorry! I finally figured out what you were thinking just now! You’ll have to forgive me for not noticing earlier!”
“Th-that’s not true! You didn’t do anything wrong, Alice! It’s my fault…”
“No, I’m the one…”
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. As they continued to insist on being in the wrong, the tension of the classmates slowly eased up. There was laughter everywhere, and one could sense they were about to tease those two.
Ai was also smiling. Alice must have realized now that Dee was her dead classmate, and apologized for not realizing it. Ai breathed a sigh of relief and regained her strength. This is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning. Everything was about to begin. They were about to head towards the end, towards the goal where every single person in Class 3-4 would be released.
“It’s enough. Just bury the Ghost.”
Ai was very reluctant. She was completely reluctant. She did not want to bury Dee, and cried, saying that she hated the idea.
Still, Dee’s attitude did not change. She wanted Ai to bury her, and end everything.
If she really wanted to, Ai would bury her.
That was Ai’s rule.
“…but what can I do?”
Ai asked with tears in her eyes.
“Just point at me, tell everyone ‘she’s already dead’. We’ll deal with the rest.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. To be honest, everyone remembers. But we can’t remove this seal ourselves. You have to say it, Ai.”
All the classmates in Class 4 appeared to have accepted the situation, even though they were confused.
“…Are you sure about this?”
Ai still persisted in asking.
Dee just nodded her head.
Ai staggered, wandered out of the circle formed by the crowd and stood on the podium. She looked at each of her classmates and made sure that they were ready.
Then Ai quickly lifted her right hand and said,
The tension drained out of the room and a relaxed smile appeared on everyone’s face. In the middle of it all, Ai was the only one standing still and serious.
Dee gave a slight wry smile as she stepped forward to caress Ai’s cheek.
“I’m sorry for making you do this uncomfortable task. You’re the only one who can do this however… ”
Ai quickly leapt into Dee’s chest and squeezed her face against it. The school badge and button were pressed against Ai’s nose, and it really hurt, but she wanted to keep rubbing.
“Don’t make a mistake, Ai.”
Dee said, sounding a little pained.
“You’re going to save everyone, right? Regardless of enemies or allies? Then don’t make mistakes here. You can’t distinguish between them. You can’t refuse to save others just because you want to be with them.”
“Don’t be naive.”
Dee broke free from the embrace and pinch her cheeks as if to strike it.
“You’re the one who buried Hampnie Hambart. It’s a lie to say that you can’t bring yourself to bury others.”
The words were, in a way, taboo.
There were no more words.
Ai raised her right hand.
She swung it down and pointed it at Dee who was before her.
“The Ghost of Class 3-4 is…”
That was when she noticed something amiss.
No, there was a catch. It was not the case.
Everyone’s face told her so. Dee, whom her index finger was pointing at, was smiling. Her right eye was crying, her left eye was smiling, and giving a mocking smile at others and herself. Her face told Ai it was not the case..
It was not Dee?
Then who was it? Who was the Ghost? Who else but her? Who died on this day, at this time?
The answer was also in everyone’s eyes.
Ai slowly turns around. She follows the gaze of the seventeen pairs of eyes and calls out the name, pointing her finger.
Alice, who was leaning alone by the window, slowly unfolded his arms and smiled without the slightest surprise.
Ai could not believe it, even though she had pointed at him herself.
“H-huh? That’s not right, is it? Isn’t it weird? Ha, haha, why is Mr. Alice the Ghost? How could that be…”
“Because Dee was about to fall.”
He simply answered.
“Dee was about to fall, so I hurriedly pulled her up, and I fell instead. That’s all.”
“But the Ghost is Miss Dee! You said so yourself…”
“So it seems. Goodness, I didn’t imagine there would be quite a mixup…”
“Alice. It’s because of me…”
Dee stepped forward quickly.
“Ai, I’m sorry, that was my mistake…no. I’m sure I had hoped to be mistaken…I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to think Alice died in my place…that’s why I suspected myself first…like when I first found that death report…and I became I’m invisible on the outside…and why I called myself the Ghost… ”
“Y-yes! That’s it! That’s it! Why is Miss Dee transparent outside? Doesn’t that prove she’s the Ghost!?”
Ai had no idea what she was saying. Did she want to assume Dee was the Ghost, or that Alice was the Ghost.
Alice crushed Ai’s point as easily as he would crush an ant.
“No, it’s not just Dee. The other classmates end up in the same state. I’m the only one who gets a physical body outside.”
“I don’t know the details exactly, but I think it’s because my corpse is out there.”
A wind-like voice escaped from the back of his throat.
“Basically, the tombstones of Class 4 are all outside there, but they’re all empty, of course…with the exception of me alone.”
“…So you’re already…”
“Yeah, I’m dead.”
Alice remained nonchalant as he let the evening breeze graze him. The window devoid of the curtain ushered in a cooling breeze, and felt really refreshing.
“Haha, I finally said it.”
Alice was smiling all the way.
“Finally. I’ve come this far…it’s been a long time…”
It was the smile of someone who had aged ten or twenty years immediately. It was the smile of someone who had depleted all his strength and was exhausted.
“But I’m really sorry to say this, Dee. I already figured out a long time ago that I was the one who died. I didn’t imagine that you would have the same thought. Seriously, I’m so sorry.”
“No! That’s okay!”
Dee was shaking so badly, one would assume she was about to split in halves.
“Alice, there’s nothing to apologize for…it’s all our fault…we didn’t wish to have you back…we stubbornly wished for such days to continue forever, and kept you prisoner…it’s our fault…”
Dee clutched the chest of her shirt, seemingly trying to hold her disintegrating body as she painfully spat these words.
“And yet…you didn’t… hold a grudge about it at all…and you even tried to free us…even if it means dying again…and yet…”
Dee finally started to cry. She covered her face with both hands and let the teardrops fall to the floor.
“Again…and again…I… been trying to……!”
“I told you it’s okay.”
It was a really gentle smile.
It was a smile that could accept whatever tragedy happened in the world.
“So, just one last formality.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t look like this place is going to last much longer… time for everyone to return to the outside world.”
Ai felt like she was the only one left behind. What happened? What was going on? Why did everyone look so callous? Why did everyone look so happy, as though everything was over?
“But why! Aren’t we just getting started! Let’s look together! Let’s find a way to free everyone! Aren’t we all on the starting line!”
Alice shook his head.
“You’re wrong. You’re the only one who thinks so.”
“No! Miss Dee and everyone else feels this way! Everyone doesn’t want you to disappear! ”
Ai turned to Dee and grabbed her hand, shaking it hard.
“Isn’t that right, Miss Dee? I’m not wrong, right? You don’t wish for Mr. Alice to disappear, right? Since you like him so much!”
The careless words stabbed through Dee’s heart like a knife, but Dee did not complain about it and looked at Alice, saying,
“…I do like Alice, and I want to be with him all the time.”
“But, you know, no matter how much we desire this, no matter how much we wish for Alice to be with us…we can’t force the issue when Alice doesn’t like it…no matter how stupid we are, we can’t repeat this mistake again…”
Dee whispered as she and Ai spilled tears onto the floor.
“Say, Alice…what feelings do you have after making it all the way here? You figured out by yourself that you’re the one who died, and you can’t mention it to anyone…you’re definitely scared, lonely and resentful of us, right? Say, how are you so strong? Why are you still willing to try to save us? You obviously could have become a monster…you could have hated us forever in this eternal prison…and you could have…ended us all…”
“Do I need to say this again?”
Alice continued to smile even at this moment.
“Because I like you guys, of course.”
Dee smiled, seemingly expecting him to answer so. She smiled weakly, not wanting to worry Alice.
“All I want is for you guys to get out of here unharmed.”
“I see…then we’ll just have to keep ourselves from getting hurt and behave ourselves and get out of here.”
Dee said, reaching for the door.
“Bye Dee, take care.”
Dee said she did not want to be hurt as she left, but she could not do so as she teared up while walking through the door, disappearing like a phantom.
There was silence.
“Come on, guys, follow me! Watch the backs of those before you and keep going.”
The farewell began.
One by one, each person in the class stepped forward to speak with Alice. Alice had different words for each of them, some were apologies, some were encouragement, some were smiles. They all held on to the words with great care,
And they left an apology and thanksgiving before leaving.
With each person who left, the world seemed to break down further. One could see the streets outside the window middle up, the setting sun disappeared instead of setting, and soon the classroom was floating in the darkness.
Alice closed the window, where the wind no longer blew.
Ai was the only other person left in the classroom.
She was sitting in the corner of the podium, her legs cupped together, her face buried in her lap.
Alice sat down next to her and let out a sigh. Only in front of Ai did he release the pented tension that he had been holding until a moment ago.
“Sorry to make you play such a bad role. You played it perfectly though. Thanks to you, my world got destroyed (saved) ”
“Anyway, thanks…for getting me to this point. Thank you.”
“Alright, you’re the only one left. You should be off then. Class 4 members are all gone, and this space won’t last for much longer.”
“Hey, you should lift your head now.”
“…Hey, you don’t have anything to say?”
“You’re a terrible person.”
Without looking up, Ai suddenly unleashed a verbal barrage.
“You planned for me to play this role, right? You brought me into this world so that I would kill you.”
“Grr, well, my bad…I didn’t mention it to you.”
“Please don’t mind. I’m fine with it. Yes, that’s right, it’s a cruel act, but it has to be done.”
“That’s very kind of you to say.”
One could sense her exhale slightly, cup her knees tightly, and utter her words through the cramped world as seen in the gap between her arms and knees.
“I’m glad that this role isn’t given to anyone else. Your choice of me is excellent. After all, I’m the one who’s going to save the world.”
“It’s a valuable experience for me. I’m sure it will happen again in the future, and I can use it as reference. I think this experience is really beneficial.”
“…Hey, Ai, look at me when you say that.”
“Shut up and look at me! Don’t cover your face and boast like that!”
Ai’s arm got grabbed, and her shell was pried apart. She had arm strength comparable to an adult, but she just could not gain any strength in arms.
This guy who was holding her arm down and forcibly observing her expression snorted out a laugh.
“Woah, that’s an ugly face.”
The person who had snatched her arm and watched her intently “Pfft” cackled,
Seeing him like this, Ai’s sanity snapped immediately.
Her strength returned, she broke free from the pressure and violently grabbed Alice’s collar.
“You! Are! The! Worst! Horrible! You made me do…do this…!”
“I know, that’s why I apologized to you.”
“What’s with you now? Do you think an apology will cut it? Do I have to forgive you just because you apologized, o great Alice? Is there such a law in this world!? I’m sorry! I just don’t have the knowledge! After all, I just don’t have enough experience in life!”
“Oi oi, sarcasm doesn’t suit you. Seriously, stop it. See, a pretty face is ruined in tears.”
“D-don’t call me pretty …”
When Alice handed out a crumpled handkerchief, Ai put her whole face up and wiped it hard.
“Haha, your face is really ugly.”
Ai was no longer angry, and merely pounded his chest weakly.
“…Whose fault is it that I cried like this…whose fault is it…that I’m so sad…”
Ai’s head was gently patted a few times by Alice, which seemingly triggered a switch that caused tears to drip down from her eyes again.
“But you got to go.”
“You got to go save your world. …”
Alice had a smile on his face the entire time.
He then helped Ai up and gave her a nudge on the shoulder.
“Go on, goodbye.”
“…What will happen to you…”
“I’ll just disappear. Ah—I don’t need a Gravekeeper to deal with the aftermath. The real me was buried fourteen years ago, and buried by a Gravekeeper twelve years ago…the me standing here is just a fake, to put it mildly, just like the tables and chairs and air here.”
The space had reached its limit. The desks and chairs that Alice was pointing at were making a dizzying noise. The same could be said for Alice herself.
As an outsider, Ai could no longer maintain this space alone.
“You’re the only one looking at me. Once you leave, I’ll disappear.”
“Say, I beg of you…let’s just end it here, any more, and it’ll hurt you more…seriously, I really I really want to end this without hurting anyone else. So get going, please.”
Alice smiled the whole time.
“I’m saying your smile is annoying.”
Thud, with the sound of footsteps, Ai took a step forward.
“Hey, Mr. Alice, why are you smiling all the time? How can you smile?”
Ai was crying the entire time, Alice was smiling the entire time.
“Of course it’s because I’m happy.”
“Even though you’re going to disappear?”
“That’s what I want.”
Alice’s smile was perfect.
“’The Ghost of Class 3-4 disappeared without cursing anyone or hurting anyone’. Don’t you think it’s really cool? Like, it’s a brand new style of a ghost story? ”
“You think it’s cool?”
“We’ll return to reality, grow older, taller…and forget about you one day as we find our own happiness…is that really going to give you happiness?”
Alice smiled and answered immediately.
“That’s a lie.”
Ai snickered and answered immediately.
“Hey, Mr. Alice, are you sure you don’t hate anyone? You don’t want to hurt them? You don’t want to take anyone away?”
“Really…I don’t think so… I’m sure Miss Dee really wanted to be hurt by you,…I guess…she wants to treasure those scars for the rest of her life…”
Ai took another three steps closer.
“…What do you want?”
Alice’s voice hardened for the first time, and the closer Ai got, the further he distanced himself.
“Oi, Ai, I’m not sure what you’re thinking…”
“O-oi, enough with the games!”
Ai gave chase, and Alice ran away. The two of them ran around the classroom as if they were playing tag. The one chased was pale as though his life was in danger, while the chaser cried a sad smile.
“Stop! Don’t come here! Don’t come!”
“Nope. I’m not letting you go.”
Then Ai hugged Alice.
She jumped up as if to throw her body into him, and landed in his clutches. The foreheads gently tapped each other, and the tears flew..
Ai hugged Alice tightly, her arms wrapped around his stiff school uniform as she transferred her warmth towards his cold, hard body.
“Hey, Mr. Alice, you’re lying about wanting to disappear, aren’t you?”
Alice looked dumbfounded, as if she had no idea what had happened to him.
As if cracking the thick mask, a teardrop fell.
It was the first tear Alice had shed since his death.
Alice tried to cover his face, seemingly afraid of the cracks spreading, but Ai did not allow that. She brought her face towards Alice, held his head, and whispered by his ear.
Alice still resisted. He tried to protect Ai even from the double and triple deaths that surrounded her.
But Ai was the one who had offered her life, even if it meant getting hurt.
“You want to keep living, don’t you?”
Then Ai burst into tears, her eyes flooding.
Alice could no longer say no.
“Of course… I want to keep living…”
With each tear, Alice’s shell was breaking.
His dangling fingertips scratched the air, and his inner teeth were shaking. Her heart was unbound. Fear broke loose. All the tears flowed.
“Of course I want to keep living…isn’t it…obvious…?”
“I don’t want to disappear! It’s obvious, isn’t it?”
Alice finally crumbled. The smiling mask gradually shattered. The mask of a smile peeled off and the desire underneath flowed.
“I wanted to keep living! Of course I do! I really want to keep living! I wanted to go into the future with everyone! Today and tomorrow! I wanted to keep living with them!”
The desires that were supposed to be locked up in his heart surfaced with the tears, and the fear when he discovered his own death was fully awakened.
“I really want to!………and yet…and yet!”
Alice cried, “Kuu …,” and clung to Ai, putting his weight onto her little body to have her hold him up while he was on the verge of falling at any given moment.
“See, I knew it.”
Ai hugged Alice even tighter. Alice could not help but hug the warm person before him. The parts touching her were seeming as hot as reality.
“See I said you still want to live, Mr. Alice.”
Alice hugged Ai with a force that resembled murderous intent.
“Dammit…see what you’ve done! I didn’t want this to happen…I didn’t want anyone to be scarred!”
“Ahaha, I won’t let you do that.”
“You! You’re the worst…ever…”
“I’m sorry. But we’re even, right?”
“…Aahhhh…what the hell is this…?”
Alice’s tears continued to fall.
“I’ve been trying so hard to act cool, to forget…all my fears and doubts…and you ruined everything at the very end…what are you going to do…?”
Alice finally calmed down a bit after bawling for a while, and spoke in his usual spiteful manner.
“…I’m sorry, but I still want to get hurt…”
“Hmmm, maybe I can’t really deny it…”
“You idiot, what do you mean, not really? Ack, you’re really stupid. You didn’t have to get yourself hurt…”
“That’s not true. Thanks to that, I’m able to talk to you properly.”
“…At the last minute, though.”
Saying that, Alice looked around.
The world was moving slowly. The disintegration finally reached the classroom and the noise began to fill the space.
“…You should go.”
“…Do you really want to go to Heaven …?”
“No, there’s no need. I’ve already been there. ”
“Isn’t Heaven a happy place for dead people? Then the past fourteen years, the past year, has been that Heaven for me. If I can’t call this year after I died Heaven, what do I call it? So…I can’t go to Heaven. I don’t want to.”
So I’m just gonna disappear. I’m sorry, Ai, but I can’t go with you.”
Alice finally smiled after all.
He left a little scar (kiss) on Ai’s forehead.
And the world turned white.