Chapter 27:

Lost, Completely

Second Chances

It’d been three days since I woke up in this miserable body. Moira is nowhere to be seen. I cannot move. I cannot speak. I'm just floating aimlessly, in this timeline.

Chiaki’s mom always visited me during the evening, wearing her business suit, always with a smile on her face.

Chiaki’s father stopped coming on the second day. Chiaki’s mom said that he was tired from his work so he preferred to rest at home. But I don’t think that’s true. He likely didn’t want to see a crippled boy that caused him to lose his only daughter.

The more I thought about it, the more it hurt.

I didn’t want those things to happen, but I fixed it, even though it’s not on this timeline.

Even if... I could never return their daughter to them here, ever again.

I looked at Chiaki’s mom as she peeled the apple as always.

I wanted to comfort her, “I’ve saved your daughter. And I promised you both that I would take care of her for the rest of my life.”

But, no voice came out.

“So, I asked the doctor,” she said. “He said it'd take you at least three months of therapy for you to be able to make slight movement, or speak again.”

This is miserable, and pathetic.

I couldn’t do anything but look at her, or the ceiling.

My parents… how was their funeral?

Hideki… has his family moved on since his death?

Chiaki… where was she buried?

Yui… what happened to her?

The whole world turned against me when Moira snapped her finger.

They were all alive, standing, talking in front of me.

Now, they are all but dust and ashes.

Memories. Faded with time.

How many times do I have to deal with this ridiculous fate of mine?

“I got a hold on an old friend of hers,” Chiaki’s mom said. “Her name was Yui, and she said she’d be visiting us tomorrow.”

Yui… she was the only one unaffected. But because I didn’t really interact with her before, all our conversations never happened. To her, I might just be another stranger.

“I’ll put this here,” Chiaki’s mom said, putting the apple on the bowl. “Nurses will come and make juices from it so you can drink it.”

Pathetic. I attempted to yell.

The monitor beeps.

“Shin, what’s wrong suddenly?” Chiaki’s mom asked.

Everything. The whole world. What do you expect me to do here, Moira? Live a whole life here?

I slowly felt my energy being drained away, as I fell asleep.

“Shin, this here is Yui.”

I opened my eyes and looked at Yui. She still has her charm, her long hair still braided.

“Hello Shin,” she said. “I was Chiaki’s university friend.”

Yes. I know.

“Chiaki was a really sweet girl," she added. "One time I forgot my notes, and she borrowed some from me, also sharing some exam tips that I’d missed out.”

I know, Yui.

“She helped me more times I could count, and inspired me to overcome a guilt that I had those few years ago.”

… I know. You told me. Me, and Hideki.

Damn it. DAMN IT, MOIRA!

The monitor started to beep.


The beep escalated.

“I’m so sorry, did I—”

“Shin, shin. Focus. Calm down, ok?”

I’ve had enough, what else do you want? MOIRA!

The nurses barged in again.

Stop doing this to me every time!

I blacked out.

“Is it breezy?”

I opened my eyes, Chiaki’s mom said she wanted me to have a change of pace, so she offered to take me on a wheelchair for a stroll around the hospital’s garden.

She put a blanket on me. “There, I did this to Chiaki when we were pushing her baby trolley around the park as well. She was—”

Chiaki’s mom stopped talking. She pushed me near to a bench and sat herself down.

She wiped her tears away, but they were still flowing uncontrollably.

“Chiaki…” she called out.

I saved her, Chiaki’s mom. Please. Don’t cry. She’s alive and well. Last time I met her, she was wearing a cute floral-patterned kimono. I held her hand. She stood beside me.

“… I’m sorry,” she said. “Even though so many years have passed.”

“It must have been hard for you too,” she added. “Chiaki—she talked so much about you. If only we could spend more time with her, and be home earlier that night. Then it wouldn’t have happened—”

It’s not your fault. It’s not.

I couldn’t say anything but only to glance at her.

Her hands were slightly trembling.

She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

“Shin,” she called me. “Today will be the last time I come to visit you. Chiaki’s dad and I received an overseas job and we won’t be able to come back for a few years. I’m sorry.”

It’s ok. Don’t let me burden you down.

She wrapped her arms around me again. “Take care, and live, Shin. Live.”

I will.

I will.

It was in the middle of night, when a noise woke me up.

I saw a girl with double ponytails standing in front of my patient bed.

She didn’t have any expression on her face.

“Hello Shin,” she said. “I know this is hard for you, but it’s meant to be. You’ll have some special guests tomorrow. Then, you’ll understand why I did this.”

Before I got to answer her, I slowly lost my consciousness.

No. Moira... please.

Come back.