Chapter 22:

Volume 2.9: Fever Dream (1/2)

Sleeping Princess

A quick note~Bookmark here

All chapters from Volume 3 onward will be split up to help the story gain more exposure.Bookmark here

Thank you all for your support!Bookmark here

Koda Mari’s PerspectiveBookmark here

“I…just really don’t want to leave, M-Mari.”Bookmark here

“Are you saying that I won’t protect you?”Bookmark here

“…Of course not!”Bookmark here

Her soft brown hair hit my chest. It was days like this I remembered how small chested I am. I mean…even Madoka won out on me. This sweet flower, too afraid to leave her room, confided in me.Bookmark here

“I…feel so safe around you, Mari.”Bookmark here

Madoka has a hard time expressing her feelings to others. For the time I’ve known her that’s been certain. But after what happened she latched onto me. There’s no way I’ll take that for granted. Her honesty…made me strive to be honest myself at times.Bookmark here

“…But you wanted to go for so long. This was your idea first, Madoka. Don’t you want to…go with me?”Bookmark here

I teased, tapping her cute nose. She flailed about like a bunny. I couldn’t help but giggle. Madoka didn’t take my taunting lightly and knocked me over the head. I had to get her out of this room. Madoka needed to be free from…this curse she was over. Rescue her from this encapsulated tomb she made for herself. Refusing to talk with others outside her mom and me…even rejecting to see her best friend Watanabe Mae.Bookmark here

“…I’m…just scared you know.”Bookmark here

So, I wrapped my hand around her shoulder and held her shaking hand. She was traumatized and that was apparent. But if she feels safe and enjoys the time we’d have together outside…maybe the Madoka I knew would come back…Bookmark here

“You’re a smart, strong girl. And don’t worry…if you don’t want to go today, I’ll wait for you.”Bookmark here

“…You’ll wait for me?”Bookmark here

“As long as it takes. I’m not leaving anytime soon.”Bookmark here

Her cheeks reddened. Hiding behind her glasses, those sapphire gems met my gaze.Bookmark here

“…You won’t leave me…will you? You promise, Mari?”Bookmark here

Madoka begged. To appease her fears, I smiled brightly…nothing like the fake side I grew accustomed to. She always brought out a sense of ease to me. I couldn’t get past her with my stage-tailored feelings. She could read me…like my…deceased husband.Bookmark here

“Never. You’re stuck with me for a long time.”Bookmark here

I could feel her labored breathing die down as she nuzzled her nose on my jacket.Bookmark here

“…Could we go on Sunday? Just the two of us?”Bookmark here

“Sure. Just the two of us, Madoka.”Bookmark here

In the forest of dazzling games, joyful cheers and, amusement park thrills...dread crept over me… On the hottest day of the year, cold sweat mirroring ice prickles clawing down my hardened back made my veins run cool. This contrasted the summer day, luring me deeper into this abstract situation.Bookmark here

“Madoka?!”Bookmark here

Abandoning the frozen treats in my hand, I rushed over to the seat she was waiting at…now void of her…Bookmark here

“Madoka, where are you?!”Bookmark here

She was right here. Where did she go? I only left for a second and she…disappeared? Did she vanish into thin air? No, don’t be ridiculous, Mari…she has to be somewhere nearby…Bookmark here

All these ludicrous thoughts piled in my head as I searched around for the girl I promised to protect. That’s when a flock of birds scattered from the trees. Frightened by a bloodcurdling scream echoing nearby, I rushed off towards the nearby bridge connecting parts of the theme park. A wonderful waterfall flowed behind me cooling off passersby. But because my blood was already ice-cold my heart felt as though it became frozen. The chatter of park-goers faded into the background as I glanced over the overpass…Bookmark here

There she was…Bookmark here

Nearly 1000cm below…Bookmark here

Lying face up…arms sprawled out like a mangled corpse…Bookmark here

Looking up towards the sky…Bookmark here

“Oh my god, Madoka!”Bookmark here

A few men were already down the bridge crossing. They seemed to be aiding her. Without a second to waste, I hopped over the wooden bridge, landing on a solid bolder. My heart raged stronger than the waterfall behind me as I climbed down a few rocks.Bookmark here

“Ngg…”Bookmark here

I groaned. What were seconds felt like hours as I made it to the bottom. My feet finally hit a flat surface as I hustled over and leaned down, catching eyes with her… She lied flat on the cobblestone ground as two tanned men aided her.Bookmark here

“M-Madoka!”Bookmark here

One man stood up and held me back as the other seemingly checked her for injuries.Bookmark here

“Hold on, don’t move her! She hit her head and moving her around too much could make it worse.”Bookmark here

With rage equating my frustration, I gripped his thin shirt, tugging at him in a fit.Bookmark here

“What happened to her?! What did you do to my Madoka?!”Bookmark here

I shook the black-haired young man. Instead of fighting me off, he calmly took my shoulders and gently nudged my shaking body.Bookmark here

“Calm down…we didn’t do anything. That girl backed up off the bridge and fell herself. We tried to stop her. My friend and I witnessed it so we raced down to help her.”Bookmark here

Staring at her motionless body that lied on the hot ground…my heart felt as though it was climbing up my throat. I cried out to her now tossing the man aside.Bookmark here

“M-Madoka…Madoka can you hear me?!”Bookmark here

Knees buckling, I fell beside her. Steadily, I reached my fingers out and touched the side of her warm cheeks. She didn’t respond but it was clear she was still conscious. The second man was too busy aiding her to be bothered by my hysteria worry.Bookmark here

Her eyes were wide open, gazing at the sun. She reminded me of a doll that’s been dropped to the floor. And now she lied there with a mono expression. Unable to move…Bookmark here

Despite the situation, I couldn’t help but think…how lovely her ocean-colored eyes were. Like flickering gems, they shined off the sun-drenched day. But the deep red blemishes coming from her lovely brown hair brought back the sense of urgency immediately.Bookmark here

“Medics are coming!”Bookmark here

I could hear the horde above us calling out below. This…shouldn’t have happened. I reached out my hand and touched her soft hair…Bookmark here

“I shouldn’t have left you alone… This is my fault…I’m…I’m…”Bookmark here

“Ma’am, please step aside.”Bookmark here

Another masculine voice woke me up. With force, the medical personal took my hand and tore me away to the side. They lifted her up revealing the back of her bloodied head…Bookmark here

“Ma’am, what’s her name?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

He spoke again but in a more authoritative way.Bookmark here

“Ma’am. What is her name?”Bookmark here

“Oh…Ahh…Nakagawa Madoka. She’s Nakagawa Madoka…my…ah…she’s my friends’ daughter.”Bookmark here

I needed to keep it together…for Madoka’s sake right now.Bookmark here

“And your name, ma’am?”Bookmark here

“…Koda Mari…”Bookmark here

They picked her up on a stretcher methodically and lifted her out of the enclosed space. The pool of blood lied dirtied on the cobblestone pathway below….Bookmark here

“We’re taking her to the nearby hospital. Would you like to ride along with us, Koda Mari, ma’am?”Bookmark here

“Y-yes! I-I’m on my way.”Bookmark here

I hurriedly picked up her glasses likely broken from the impact. Blood circinate the outside of them, filtering through the cracks. Holding them close to my chest, I prayed she’d be okay…Even though I told myself to keep it together…I couldn’t. Not when it came to, Madoka. Nothing was ever the same about me when it came to…Madoka.Bookmark here

“I’m so sorry…Madoka.”Bookmark here

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