Some few more minutes pass. What’s taking Yuri so long?
Troubled, I go out of the classroom and into the strangely quiet halls.
I can hear gasping, a sigh of pleasure. I think someone’s on the Internet. Probably watching hentai again..
I was quick to assume it was some guy, but, no.
In the corner, I saw a strand of purple hair.
I approached slowly, mindful to only make silent footsteps. The breathing became harder, as if it was a laborious yet pleasurable act.
I saw her clearly. Her left arm had tons of cut marks. Blood was flowing from them to the ground.
She tried to speak to me, when suddenly, I felt a sudden rush of blood. Her voice was muffled. Everything felt intense. I felt my heartbeat sound louder.
This time, that feeling of deja vu was not present.
If I would use the logic that things already happened, this was not part of it. In fact, I feel like the deja vu familiarity is the real universe, and this was a different, alternative version of it.
The next thing I knew, I was in the classroom.
“Time to share your poems, guys!” Monika said.
I presented my poem to Yuri first.
“It’s amazing!” she said. “Everything you do is amazing!”
The feeling of familiarity with the real universe is gone yet again. This was not what she said.
Meanwhile, I am examining my feelings for Yuri. In my heart, there’s this voice telling me that we were once close, very close. As if her personality resonated with mine and we shared a tender moment, a life-or-death situation even, together.
How can anyone forget such a feeling? Indeed, memories can fade, but the emotions? Not really.
Did I die and relieve this moment in the past? Or was it true that time travel is possible when you sleep?
What bullshit am I telling myself.
Meanwhile, there was a sinister presence behind Yuri’s eyes as she was speaking.
“Your choice of words just makes me feel… amazing. This is more than amazing. I feel this is the best poem I have ever read. Wow!”
Her voice’s intensity was reaching an excitable phase that felt somehow wrong.
I use my logic once again. It’s just my second day in the club. It’s impossible for Yuri to immediately love my poem although I did write it in a style that she likes.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes I’m okay!” Yuri said, seemingly out of breath.
Something was wrong.
“Yuri, I think we need to get you to a doctor.”
Suddenly, Monika was at my side. She was beaming her adorable smile.
“Why, what’s wrong?” she said happily.
“N-n-nothing!” Yuri stammered.
“Hey!” Natsuki said. “What’s wrong with you? Are your boobs getting a size bigger again after reading his poem? Figures!”
Yuri glared at Natsuki.
“It’s not like your poems are any good at all either!” She suddenly yelled. “Shut up you vending-machine, change-collecting trash!”
That’s too much.
“Quit it, guys!” Monika said, standing in between the two girls.
I know I have seen this happen before, but someone else intervened. Someone who I felt was also dear to me ever since. This, someone, was the one who fixed this situation.
Suddenly, the palpitation returned, the voices of Yuri, Natsuki, and Monika began to sound muffled. The colors of the room changed from its vibrant sunlit warmth to a cold sepia tone.
What’s happening to me?
“She’ll confess she loves you.”
A voice in my head says.
“Then, she’ll kill herself.”
This was a familiar, female voice. Who was it?
“What?!” I said.
“You know this was not what happened.
You know you went to your house together. You know you spent time making something wonderful designing the props for the festival.”
“Who is this?” I felt like I was insane, hearing voices in my head.
The voice kept repeating itself.
Suddenly, the room’s colors returned. Yuri’s face was right in front of me. Her eyes felt like someone who had an addiction to something. It had black lines below it. Her pupils were heavily dilated.
“Y-y-you know.” Yuri said. “Out of the three of us, props-making is the most difficult thing to do.
“So I’d like you to help me out.”
“But I also need help in baking!” Natsuki shouted. For a split second, I think I saw her left eye was staring somewhere else while the right one looked right at me.
Then both her eyes suddenly twitched and looked straight at me.
“However,” Monika said. “I’d love to spend time together with you too. I mean, I feel jealous, you helping out the other members. But I also need to prepare certain accountabilities to make sure everything runs smoothly by Monday during the festival!”
Monika smiled again at me. Her beaming, beautiful smile still elegant despite everyone’s bickering earlier.
Everyone was waiting for my response.
I remember the ghostly female voice’s words.
Yuri will confess she loves me, then she’ll kill herself.
Why do I feel someone else has died because of me and I couldn’t do anything about them?
I want to speak out Yuri’s name. But something is holding me back.
I keep on trying. Everyone was still looking at me. This time, they felt like still photographs, staring at me.
Each time I try to say “Yuri,” my vision fades to black in a millisecond and returns to seeing the three girls. My heart also beats faster each time. I felt suffocated each time I try saying it.
I held on. I have to save her. I have to stop her from killing herself. I kept trying to say her name.
Then I blacked out.
When I came to, I saw Yuri still staring at me. Her eyes were still agitated. I was seated right in front of her. The other girls were also staring at me.
Whenever I change my gaze, something strange happens.
Sometimes, I would see a splotch of different color in the room. Sometimes I would see the drawing of a girl wearing a ribbon who hanged herself.
The strange feeling of deja vu was gone.
What is happening?
I don’t have a history of drugs. I don’t have a history of any substance abuse. I’m too young for that!
What are these hallucinations?
“Save her.” I remembered the female ghost’s voice again.
“I ch-ch-choose…” I said. Yuri’s face was agitated.
Meanwhile, the more I stare at Monika, the more lovely she becomes. It’s as if she is smiling at me, wanting me to choose her. I stare away. However, her reflection suddenly shows on the ground. It had this big, different Cheshire cat grin. It was Monika, but not really her.
What is happening?
Suddenly, the heavy atmosphere of the room disappears. The colors returned to normal colors.
Yuri stood up. She closed her eyes.
“That’s so unfair, prez!” she said in her normal voice. “Why does he have to pick you?!”
Monika beamed. She shined bright and beautifully. She looks like the class star Monika I always knew.
Except, I didn’t feel too happy choosing her. I want to save Yuri if the ghost woman’s voice was to be trusted. I want to make sure she’s okay before the festival.
Somehow, my body knows I need to save her as if I needed to repay a debt.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then!” Monika smiled sweetly at me, her beautiful irresistible smile that got me here in the first place.
Yuri got close to me.
“Y-you know.” She began. Natsuki was also leaving the classroom.
“I feel jealous prez gets to work with you. I mean, do you really like jolly, all-star girls like her?”
I look at her.
“Yuri, listen.” I said. “I wanted to say I want to work with you. My entire body wants to keep saying it. Haven’t you wondered why it took a long time and a seizure for me to make a decision?”
“I didn’t notice it.” She said. Her pupils were still dilated. This time, I knew her eyes were furious, as if I was looking at a maddened animal.
“You know, I like your poems.” Yuri said. “I even kept the pen you lent me.”
She smiled in a slightly sardonic yet maniacal manner.
“I even played with myself using your pen. In fact, I wrote today’s poem just for you using the same pen. You didn’t even get to read it! Here!”
She pushed a piece of paper with illegible writings. The paper had red stains and a gigantic yellow stain at the bottom center.
“You see how much I care for you?” Yuri’s voice suddenly rose.
“DON’T YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY? YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN SO NICE TO ME.
“HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE MONIKA OVER ME? HOW??”
I felt surprised, yet at the same time curious.
‘She’ll confess she loves you. Then she’ll kill herself. Save her.”
The words echo in my head.