Chapter 1:

Fake painting

I Won't Kill Myself for the Second Time


The quilt that should have provided me with warmth was gone. After few ineffective moments of blind search, I decided that getting up and starting a new day was a good option as well. It was still dark outside, but the layer of snow blanketing the streets reflected enough light from the streetlights to help me understand that... I had no idea where I was. Forget the quilt; the whole room was a place that I had never seen before.

Two empty bottles of whiskey and various drugs lay nearby in a scattered disarray on the floor.

I tried to remember what exactly had happened before I had went to bed. Understanding began to take root in my mind after a moment of vacant silence. After a few deeper breaths to calm down and organize thoughts... I could easily tell that the quilt I had been searching for was still inside the closet, together with few plain sets of clothes and an old umbrella. What’s more, I even knew that this flat consisted of one bedroom, one room merged with a kitchen and one bathroom. However, this was my first time in this place. I was 100% sure of that. Why? That's because alongside my original memories, I could now easily access the memories of this body's previous owner.

Just to make sure, I headed to the bathroom and took a long, good look at the face in the mirror.

Not bad. Above average, I guess?

Messy and unkempt, but with a lot of potential. For sure it was way better than my previous one that faced an eternal, hopeless war against the acne. What’s more, this body was slender and slightly muscular.

About one meter eighty? Something like that.

The more I looked and compared this body to the old one, the better my mood became. Not only I was now a healthy seventeen years old quasi-bishounen, but the whole situation was something I always dreamt about. That was enough of a distraction to ease a big part of the pain and grief I had accumulated inside over the past few years.

There was one huge common point between Victor - this body's previous owner - and me, George. Both of us had attempted suicide. Both of us had chosen the method of overdosing on drugs and alcohol, and it looked like both of us had succeeded. Except for the fact that I had woken up in this body with all of his memories intact. Conversely, he should be in my original body by now, but I had this nagging feeling that claimed otherwise.

This was a chance I had always desired, a chance I had always sought for. The excitement and expectations bubbling inside me easily won over my panic and confusion. After glancing at the time, I returned to the bedroom, took out the quilt and laid down on the bed. There was a lot of thinking to do and a lot of Victor's memories to analyse.

*Ding, ding, ding*

An extremely loud doorbell woke me up. I yawned and went to open the front doors. I didn’t even had to waste time to dress up as last night I had fallen asleep fully clothed. I could easily guess who was on the other side as there was only one person that came here every morning to deliver the food.

*Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding*

My hasty response surprised the little girl who was in the middle of torturing the doorbell.

“Good morning brother. At least for once I don’t have to waste my precious time luring you out from your stinky cave. Did you finally evolve into a high level trashy brother that doesn’t even sleep and is wasting all his time playing games and watching porn?”

The name of this little insulting machine was Violet and she was Victor’s younger sister. Her most distinguishing features were long, slightly curly blond hair, pretty face and emerald eyes. She had a white scarf, yellowish thick jacket, white gloves and woolen hat. In contrast to the fully armored upper half, the lower one was almost defenseless.

I always wonder if in the process of evolution, girls had lost cold receptors in their legs, as no matter how cold it gets they will always wear a skirt.

This little devil was the only member of Victor’s family that still could stand him.

“Brother… heh?”

“What's with this creepy look? Brain meltdown? Do you want me to call a doctor and reset you to factory settings? Take this, I don’t want to look at your face any longer that I have to.”

She passed me a plastic bag containing few sandwiches and a jar of soup, making sure to avoid any unnecessary contact with my hand as if it could contaminate her clothes.

“Thanks Vio.”

Without sparing me a second glance she turned around.



She stopped near the staircase.

“Nothing. Just take care and have a nice day.”

Her sour face cracked just a tiny bit, but that was the entire response I got before she went down. I left newly obtained food supplies in the kitchen and sat down on the bed to start a second round of thinking.

Last time, after researching Victor memories I discovered that only his external appearance was better than mine. Inside, we were both rotten to the core. A huge balls of complexes, hurting themselves and everyone around. Desperately in need of attention. Previously as George I had realized my mistakes too late. Fat and ugly, I cursed at everyone and everything, burned all bridges and stayed at the mental age of a teenager.

On my 39th birthday I decided to give it one more last try. As I had no siblings and my father left the family a long time ago, I turned my attention towards my mother, with whom I didn't had contact for at least the last five or six years, and begged for her forgiveness. We cried. Both of us cried for hours and finally reconciled. I threw away all my useless pride and despite possessing higher education got myself a simple job in my home town as a janitor. Good start, but it went downhill afterwards.

Some people had recognized me and still remembered how I had treated them before. They decided to pay me back threefold. Jeer at me everyday due to the state I was in. All I could do was to clench my teeth and try harder, hoping their grudges would dispel over time.

However, like I've said before, it was too late. No matter what I did, no matter how I tried, no matter where I looked for help it was all useless. After few additional heavy hits from life, I failed to forge any closer relations with people. As for my last pillar of support, my mother, she crumbled to dust.

Terminal cancer. With each passing day, she wilted in front of my eyes. I used all the money we had to prolong her life even a little. Nevertheless, she died. That was simply too much and I decided to follow in her footsteps.

My last attempt to repair everything failed after a year and a half, but now it’s different. Victor’s current situation is still salvageable. I can't even count how many times I prayed for a chance to start anew and here I am.

Victor’s soul is gone, but his body and memories are now my possessions. I will throw away the name of George Ruslan and from now on I will be Victor Amato. No matter what, this time it won’t end with self-destruction.

After my self-imposed conviction, which basically could be translated as a declaration of a crusade to obtain true friends and happiness, I got hungry.

“This… is a sandwich?”

In between two slices of bread was a thin slice of cheese haphazardly sprinkled with ketchup. This newly obtained sister of mine either lacked culinary skills or simply decided to pick the easiest and fastest solution. As for the soup it was just leftovers from their yesterday’s dinner.

From Victor memories I could more or less conclude that he didn’t think much of his sister coming here to deliver food. What’s more, this idiot even insulted her from time to time which resulted in her changing the attitude to the one I experienced today. Ever since he started living here four month ago, Violet didn’t skip even one day of her delivery service. For the seventeen years old Victor who tried to sever all his connections with home, his thirteen years old sister was just an annoying fly that constantly reminded him of his main source of stress.

"Heh, what an idiot."

Munching on a second sandwich I was silently thanking Vio as now she was my most reliable ally.

As for the flat, except for the basic necessities, there wasn’t much inside. A bed, two chairs, small table, desk and a brand new laptop. That’s practically all. On the other hand, the flat itself was a part of a new building in a good neighborhood. Surprisingly, it was not rented but owned by Victor’s father.

The moment this body hits 18 and becomes a fully fledged adult recognized by the society, the ownership rights will be transferred to me. This will also signal an end to any financial support from the family as well. Since today’s 2nd February and Victor’s birthday is on 14th of July, there’s still some time left. For the old Victor, this date was equivalent to obtaining true freedom, but I know that it’s just an illusion that will lead to regret and solitude.

Now that I think about it, this sudden suicide of his is a bit strange. Someone who looked forward to the future and even recently bought an expensive laptop shouldn’t derail his life train just like that.

As for the financial state of Victor’s account… of MY account. I will need to get used to calling myself that and to all things connected with it. Anyway, there’s 4,500$ there and every month I’m getting 2,000$ from the family. The lion’s share of his entire life savings was consumed by this new laptop, other than that, Vic was frugal with everything else, even food. That was quickly discovered by his youngest sister and led to her providing basic supply everyday.

The more I thought about it the happier I was.

Now I can call such a good girl my own little sister. I won’t deny that as a single child in my previous life I always wanted to have a sibling or two, and now I’ve got three of them. Although two are basically my archenemies and the remaining one is insulting me every time she opens her mouth…

I put the soup into the fridge for later and grabbed my jacket.

Time to take a look around the city. Experiencing it by myself is totally different compared to just knowing it from someone’s memories. As for school… I will think about it later, this matter is a bit complicated.

On my way out I also cleaned empty bottles and other trash that was lying around.

As I was strolling around on the streets of this mid-size city. I realized that one important thing had somehow escaped me till now. Even after double checking Victor memories I still couldn't believe it. The city name was Claymore and it was a part of the country called Eprya. Right - Eprya.

This country itself was a huge island located in the middle of the pacific ocean. Right between USA and Japan, and of course it didn’t exist in my previous life. Not only was I subconsciously using a language that was a bit similar to Japanese, but I didn’t even think of it as strange until I saw some billboards and bizarre letters on them. Just to make sure I tried writing few simple sentences in it on the snow and concluded that there were no problems with reading or writing. I could also easily swap between this language and english, which I had used in my previous life.

“So this is a brand new world, literally.”

Also, there was one other problem. Looking through Victor memories was a bit like using internet browser. As long as you knew what you’re looking for it was easy, but finding something without a specific keyword was comparable to typing in random words and counting on a lucky hit. That resulted in me being unable to pinpoint other subtle changes between my previous and this world. As for big ones like other countries that didn’t exist previously, there shouldn’t be any more…

After the initial shock I experienced a second round of astonishment caused by my own speed of getting used to all of this.

A huge island that didn’t exist in my previous world? Cool.

Native proficiency in a brand new language? Nice.

Was I always that quick to adapt to strange things? On the other hand, this was just like visiting a foreign country, one that you were already familiar with.

After a little internal turmoil, I decided to simply accept it, since compared to starting a new life in a new body it was actually nothing astounding.

My initial excitement, accompanied by the increased attention to smaller details of the surrounding, quickly disappeared as all I saw was a normal city clad in snow. It was a bit cold but other than that, everyone was just minding their own business. I decided to go to the nearest shop, buy some groceries and stuff and go back home.

On the way, I also checked Vic’s smartphone which I found in the jacket’s pocket. There wasn’t much in it. According to his memories and thanks to his advanced bridge burning ability there were only two people left that still wrote to this number. His father and Viktoria.

His father only sends one short message every month confirming the transfer of the allowance. As for Viktoria, she regularly boasts about all her recent achievements.

However, there was only one entry left in the contact list and it was Violet’s number. Everything else, outbox, inbox and the rest of contacts was long gone and purged by this self-proclaimed hermit.

I sent a message full of gratitude to Vio. Of course, I camouflaged it a bit so she wouldn’t find this sudden change of character too strange.

On the parking lot of the local supermarket, some kids were making a big snowman. One of them was clearly older than the rest and it was her that reacted strangely upon noticing me. She just froze while watching from a distance. After a short scan of Vic memories, I didn’t find anything and decided to ignore her.

On my way back from the shop, I shot a quick glance at the kids, but couldn’t find the strange one among them anymore.

When I was distracted by the playing children, I walked right into someone’s back and both of us fell over. Luckily there was enough snow on the pavement to reduce the damage.

“Hey, watch out kid.”

The guy I ran into was sporting a short beard and didn’t seem too bothered by the fall. He just brushed off the snow and even helped me to gather the groceries.

“I’m really sorry. Thank you for the help.”

“No problem kid, just watch out where you’re going in the future.”

Even though he was a bit shorter than me, he seemed to be in his twenties.

“I will, there’s just so much snow everywhere that it makes it hard to walk.”

“Yeah I know, only the little ones are happy. As for me, I have to grab a snowshovel every morning just to dig my way to the car. After that there’s a second round of shoveling to find which car is mine.”

“Sounds like a lot of work, if only we could just hibernate in home till it all melts.”

“Good plan kid, I will try it out later.”

He laughed politely to accompany my forced joke and went his own way. I started humming a little. After all I couldn’t even remember when was the last time that such an accidental contact with a stranger ended on a positive note. In my previous life people treated me like a disease.

When I was in front of the building I lived in, I noticed a snowman under construction on the side. It was a large-scale project, at least from a kid’s perspective, even though it still lacked the head part. Right next to it stood a short figure contemplating how to transport the last piece all the way up.

Actually, now that I look at her, isn't that the same girl who earlier froze upon seeing me?

Her shoulder length silverish-hair were accompanied by blue earmuffs. Her cheeks were red and beads of sweat formed on her forehead. Furthermore, she tried to catch her breath and was puffing large clouds of white. I was a little puzzled by her strange behaviour, but still helping those in need was a chance to improving myself, even if it was just by a tiny bit.

I put down the groceries and went to her.

“Need help?”

Without waiting for a reply, I grabbed the snowman head. It was a little heavier than I thought and I had to put it down to get a better grip on it. While it was embarrassing, I couldn’t back out now. Fortunately, my second attempt succeeded and Mr. Snowman was now the same height as her.

“All done.”

I smiled towards her. She seemed to be just a bit older than Vio, both of them were shorties barely reaching to my chest.


After obtaining her quiet word of gratitude, I went back to grab the bags. However, she just stood there without moving, drilling holes into my back with her gaze.

“Uhm… do you need help with something else?”

“Not really.”

“Well in that case I will be going, you too should go home and warm yourself a bit.”

“It’s just… well… shouldn’t you be dead already?”

This one question asked in an awkward tone was like a bucket of ice-cold water. This totally unexpected blow shattered any resemblance of a thinking process in my head.

“I knew it.”

Seeing my sudden and alarmed reaction the girl reached some kind of a conclusion all by herself.

“Why did you pretend to not know me?”

“A… well… I don’t?”

“Stop bluffing. Do you want to break our agreement?”

She seemed angry and grabbed the sleeve of my jacket. I still had no idea what was going on and needed some extra time to collect myself.

“I don’t think this is the best place to talk. Let’s go inside.”

I took the silence as yes and led her to my flat.

Once inside, we just stopped in the corridor and were observing each other.

“Can you let me go for a moment? I would like to take off my jacket. You must be hot as well.”

All that time she maintained a tight grip on the sleeve.

“Relax. I’m not going to run away. I’ve got a lot of questions for you as well.”

I didn’t want to force her and just silently waited. Finally, after few minutes she sighed and let me go. Looks that she was starting to get hot and decided to hear my previous request.

When we moved to the room I took out two small bottles of iced tea from the plastic bag and passed one to her. We sat down at the table and quenched our thirst. Seeing as she was unwilling to talk I decided to take the initiative.

“So, let’s start from the beginning. My name’s Victor Amato and yours?”

Introducing each other was a basic start to most conversations, but it seems that it was a bad choice in this case. She clicked her tongue and moved to grab my sleeve again.

“Lies, lies and even more lies. I had enough. I order you...”

Before I could answer, her pretty brown pupils changed colour to bright red.

“... to answer all my questions with truth.”

An irresistible hot wave started spreading from the place where she caught me. What’s more, I couldn’t even muster the strength to make any drastic moves.

“Answer me, why do you pretend to now know me?”

“I really don’t know you.”

I answered in a split second, before even thinking deeply about the question, as if it was squeezed out of my mind by this overwhelming heat. Hearing that answer, the girl looked shocked. With every second her bright complexion was becoming more and more pale.

“Do… don’t! If you resist you will die!”

Instead of a threat, it sounded more like a plead of a scared girl.

“I’m not resisting, but for sure, I would love to get an explanation.”

“You really don’t know me?”


It was easy to read her expression. She didn’t expect this answer, but at the same time it seemed to somehow calm her down.

“What about our meeting yesterday?”

“I don’t remember any meeting with you.”

“Impossible. You’re alive right?”

“Alive and healthy.”

“You’re Victor Amato?”

The moment I wanted to answer ‘yes’, the heat inside me started to grow. With each passing second it became more and more painful.

“Don’t resist please.”


Either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, both of them would be lies and I didn't even dare to imagine what would happen if I lied to her. Even delaying the answer a little, to gather my thoughts, hurt so much already.

“Just answer!”

Seeing my hesitation the girl tried to force the answer. If not for the stabbing pain in my whole body, that she herself was the main cause of, I would even risk the statement that she was worried about me.

“ThE BooDY is Victor! TheEe SOUl is NOT!”

I screamed out the right answer, no longer being able to resist the pain. I didn’t want this to be known, but couldn’t find any other way out.

“How is that possible…”

The heat wave inside dissipated quickly as if it was never there in the first place. I don’t know if she had stopped using that power by herself, run out of mana, or timed out. The girl let go of my sleeve and retracted her hand, while her pupils turned back to their brownish colour.

“So you’re not Victor.”

“Yeah… you can say so.”

Ignoring my answer, she seemed to be thinking about something hard. As for me, I was both incredibly fascinated by her power and angry at her for using it on me. Due to a strange equilibrium of those feelings I could maintain a superficial calmness.

“Some explanation?”

I asked and wanted to grab her shoulder to get her attention, but decided not to. Who knows if teasing her right now was a good idea, especially when all that pain was still fresh in my mind. The girl silently returned to her chair. She was sitting with her head turned down and expression hidden behind the silver curtain of hair.

“Long story short… you owe me money.”



Slowly, she turned her head in my direction and gave me the brightest smile one could muster, although it was obviously fake.

“Little girl, you’re really testing my patience. First you ask me why I’m not dead, after that you accuse me of lying and torture me with some hocus pocus and now you’re trying to scam me out of money?”

“I’m not! Wait a moment.”

For a moment she went out of the room and returned with some paper that had probably been kept in her jacket.

“Here, read it.”

It was a contract. One between me and her. Skipping all the legal gibberish, it obliged me to pay her 75,000$ in exchange for her own made reproduction of a famous painting. It was a scam, a huge one. To my surprise, it was signed by the previous Victor. At least now I knew the name of the scammer. Silvie Toril.

“Girl, do I look like an idiot to you? Seriously.”

“But! We made a deal!”

“This? This is a scam, not a deal. It’s not even a valid contract as both parties are minors.”
“The contract is not important!”

I nearly fell from my chair.

If it’s not important then why show it to me? Oh…

“Did you by any chance wanted to make me remember our meeting due to Victor's signature of on it? Or simply to prove that there actually was some kind of a deal between us?”

Silvie nodded energetically.

“Talking ain’t your strong point heh?”

Her cuteness level increased by 20% when she looked at me angrily with slightly lowered head, but it quickly got cut in half when she tried to grab me. Seeing as I made a quick evasive maneuver, Silvie just snorted shortly to emphasize her dominance.

“Yesterday we met.”

“It wasn’t me. I really wanted to keep it a secret, but now that you know it’s pointless. The body’s the same, but the owner has changed.”


“Good question. I’ve got no idea myself. Just woke up like this today, the previous owner committed suicide.”

I told her way more than I should. But now, when a perfect chance to share this burden with someone else just appeared all by itself, I lacked the mental strength to ignore it.


I could almost see the remaining bits of her good mood evaporating. While I was thinking about what to say next, she took the initiative.

“You saw my power, it makes people listen to my command. If I order something that’s impossible, it will break the human mind…”

“So you ordered the previous Victor something, which resulted in him killing himself?”


Silvie hit the table with all her strength. I didn’t expect such a drastic reaction, but my choice of words was indeed poor.


She wiped her eyes with a sleeve of her black sweater. I waited patiently for her to calm down and noticed her clutching tightly onto that piece of paper. Maybe for her this contract was more important than I thought.

“We made a deal. I ordered you… him… to unlock his latent talent. I was sure it’s safe. No one died from it before. The pay yo-he offered was too good… your mind broke. I’m sure of it and I got scared and run away… But! But! You’re alive right? You’re ok now? It’s not my fault right?”

As tears slowly fell on the table, she wanted me to simply nod to her words - plant a seed of doubt inside her excuses that will one day grow into a false truth.

What should I say to this crying little girl to help her cope with the guilt? That it’s not her fault? She won’t believe me. That she has nothing to worry as Victor’s alive and well? She may listen to it, but she has already forced the truth out of me so it's not a healthy solution. Make her face the real truth? That’s cruel.

“Victor, the one you knew and met, is dead.”

“No. No! No! Nooooo!”

“Look at me Silvie! I don’t even remember you from yesterday. You forced the truth from me yourself!”

“Noo… waAAAAAaahhhhHH!”

I didn’t have to say anything else. Just this simple denial of her plead for help was enough.

Her loud cry reverberated due to the emptiness of this flat. She curled into a small ball on the chair, sobbing and crying with all her might. Repeating with tear broken voice one word, ‘again’. I couldn’t even comfort her by patting her head as I was the last person qualified to do that. After all I was the one that gained the most due to her suffering.

Even though I got roped into all this by coincidence it still hurt to just sit there powerlessly.

It took her almost an hour to tire out and calm down. After the storm, I went to the bathroom to fetch some tissues and squatted in front of her to wipe out the remaining tears. Silvie didn’t protest and allowed me to clean her face. After that, she just stood up and left without a word. After a minute or two I heard the sound of the front doors. All that was left was this crumpled piece of paper on the table, which had previously played the role of an excuse and a last source of deception.

I still had a lot of questions.

How did they meet yesterday? Where did Victor learn about her powers? Why is there no trace of any of it in his memories? What exactly is that power? Are there more people like that?

As for our meeting today, that was hardly a coincidence, given that Victor's address was clearly stated in the contract. Unfortunately I couldn’t provide Silvie with the answer she sought and wanted.

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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Kazushi Tetsuo
James K.