Chapter 26:

What's Real?

Second Chances

She glared at me. “Did you just slap God of Fate herself?”

“Well, you shouldn’t make yourself vulnerable like that, Moira.”

“Enough,” she said. “After everything that I told you, you still refused to believe the truth. Every single thing that ‘Reaper’ told you was a lie, a lie that you fed through him to yourself. You choose to believe his sweet lies rather than the bitter truth. That’s pathetic.”

“There was nothing sweet about what he said,” I said. “If I could have made a world where I’m happy, there was no need for me to go through all those deaths over and over again. Is there?”

“Those weren’t real, you just used it to justify—”

“ARGH, tsk, tsk, tsk. I haven’t finished.”

I stood beside me in the patient bed. “Assuming that those weren’t real, then I couldn’t find any reason that I myself would put myself under those dreadful situations. I defied fate, I detested second chances my whole life, but if I can save the people that I love, I would put that principle behind. I would save them, in a blink.”

I put my hand on me sleeping on the patient's bed. “I wouldn’t let myself suffer. That’s what I’ve promised myself, that I would have no more regrets.”

“ARGH,” Moira said. “You’re just impossible to deal with.”

“What do you need me to do to prove that those were all illusions, to get you back on THIS timeline and THIS body.”

“Nothing. Chiaki’s hiccups, Hideki’s red eyes when he walked out of my toilet, Yui’s sad smile when she told us her story, my mother’s unique cooking, my father’s love of our family—they were all real, and irreplaceable. They happened. To me. I was there, embracing their feelings.”

“So,” I walked to the mechanical ventilator beside my bed.

“Don’t do it, you’ll kill yourself!”

I took a deep breath. “I believe in them, and myself.”

I pulled the plug of the machine out.




“It’s time for me to use this second chance, and move on.”

The scene around us changed to where we were standing, in the kitchen. The only thing different was that my dead body was gone. The clock started to move again.

“Unbelievable,” Moira said. “You literally defied fate herself.”

She looked at me. “Reaper was right. You are a pain to deal with.”

She sighed, “So much for the last trial.”

I chuckled.

“Hey,” she stomped her feet. “No laughing!”

I patted her head, “Ok. Ok.”

She slapped my hand away, “Don’t get so friendly with me!”

I chuckled again. “Can I go back now?”

She let out another heavy sigh. “Fine, you can go back to them.”

“However,” she said. “I have one final question.”

“Did you ever believe in fate, or destiny?”

I smiled. “For the last question, that was definitely lame.”

She pouted at me. “Just answer the question.”

“I’d say I’m not much of a believer myself, and caused some troubles for you and Reaper it seems.”

I coughed. “But without fate that those thugs happened to attack Chiaki and I when we were small, Chiaki might not have grown up to become so reliable, caring and strong.”

“Without Hideki’s encounter with Yui, same as hers with him, Hideki wouldn’t have changed to sympathize and learn to empathize with people, while Yui wouldn’t have learned to support herself and her family in their farm.”

“Without death entangling my father and mother, I wouldn’t have known how deeply they cared for each other, and my love for them.”

“Fate brought Reaper and I together, brought back the bond we share that I’ve long forgotten, that I wasn’t supposed to remember. It united us back then, in that moment, and relieved him for his long wait in centuries. But it was my choice to embrace these fates, making them my destiny,”

“So,” she asked. “Do you or do you not?”

“Does it matter? If the only fate in front of me is death, then I’ll slap that fate.”

She covered her face with both her hands.

“As hard as I can, again and again.”

She glared at me.

“But if all that fate brings is happiness, challenges, and hardship, then I’ll embrace and accept them.”

“That’s just selfish,” she said. “You’re just selfish.”

“Humans are selfish, that’s why we are afraid of losing others, and why we try to cherish precious moments in our life. You of all, should know this, Moira.”

She pouted. “This is why I can’t stand humans.”

“Fine, fine,” she said. “I’ll let you go but there’s one thing you need to do.”

She snapped her finger, as I slowly lost my consciousness.

The last thing she said to me was, “It’s not over yet, Shin.”

… What?


I opened my eyes.

My whole body froze, and got chills seeing what’s in front of me.

No. This can’t be happening.

“Patient’s name?” the doctor flashed his small flashlight at my eyes.

“Shin,” the nurse beside him replied, holding a patient record. “He’s been in a coma for five years, drug overdose.”

“What’s going on?” I tried to move my mouth but I could say anything. No. I wasn’t supposed to be here.

“His vitals are stable,” the doctor said. “It’s a miracle.”

I don’t want this miracle.

Send me back, Moira.

“Call his caretakers,” the doctor said. “Tell them we have good news.”

No. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Get me out, get me out, MOIRA! We had a deal!

I struggled to move my body but to no avail, the muscles in my body won’t respond to me. They had not been used for too long that they might as well be cramped already. I might need to spend my whole life in this body, not being able to say, or do anything.

I don’t want to accept this.

Let me out. LET ME OUT!

“Doctor, his heart beat rate is suddenly spiking.”

“Shin, shin, do you hear me? I know this must have been confusing, but you must calm down, you heart cannot—”


“Sedative, now!”

Don’t you dare insert that into me! Hey, hey!

I blacked out.

“Shin, you’re finally awake.”

I opened my eyes to see both Chiaki’s parents over my bed, they looked older than I remembered. Don’t tell me—I’m in a patient bed.

No. I can’t. Not this again.

The monitor beside my bed started to beep.

Why? Why do I need to go through this?

The monitor beeped louder.

“Shin, calm down first,” Chiaki’s dad said.

I started to imagine myself kicking the bed. Moira, why do you have to torture me like this? MOIRA!

The nurse barged in, and one of them quickly gave me sedative again.

I blacked out.

I will do this, as many times as I need to do, Moira. Again, and again, until I’m back to my real body.

After a while, I opened my eyes again.

“Shin, please,” Chiaki’s mom held my hand. “Please don’t do this to us.”

She’s all alone in the room with me.

“I know you can’t respond, but you have to stop doing this to yourself.”

I looked at her hand on top of mine, but I didn't feel any warmth from it at all. I have lost all my senses; I could only move my eyes around, and blink.

What use is it if I stay here? You hear me, MOIRA?

The monitor started to beep again.

“Please, Shin,” Chiaki’s mom hugged my head in her arms. “Chiaki wouldn’t want this.”

I started to feel tears rolling in my eyes.

“Chiaki would have wanted you to live.”

I felt my throat closing up.

“Please,” she said. “For the sake of your parents, and your friend, Hideki. Please live. Please don’t give up.”

I took a deep, sharp breath.

Is this how it’s going to end?

I don’t want this, please. Please let me go back.

Let me have the second chance.