Chapter 8:

Mitsuru's Interlude

Paradise on Earth

As I sit here in my hallway, looking at the open front door Sato ran out of, all I can do is wait.

But I know he’s never coming back, let alone ever talking to me again.

I love Junichiro Sato, but I think I hurt him very badly.

I’ve felt this strange attachment to him ever since we met that day in September. So much that whenever I turned a corner, I hoped he would run into me again, literally. In fact, I think I enjoyed what he accidentally did, too much so.

I realize now, or maybe I always understood, that Sato looked very similar to someone I used to know. An older cousin who I used to see all the time when my parents were too busy. He allowed me to play his copy of Last Fantasy Online before he inevitably moved to Kyoto when I was in middle school. He’s the reason I’m into MMOs in the first place, and honestly, it’s accurate to say I became the person I am because of him. He was the one who taught me what confidence means, how to effectively lead, and how to help others when my parents were busy making money and fighting each other.


He was also the one who first destroyed my innocence.

I move my gaze from the door to my backyard, the one part of my home producing any sound. My parents aren’t home, because of course they are not, so I’m left here by myself—left to decay in a desolation that I know is all my fault

I look at my chest, the top two buttons undone. and then my hands—the ones who let other men do those things to me, but more importantly the ones who held him down.

The ones who gave me the power to do whatever sick thing I wanted to him.

“I’m so fucked up.”