“Yulan. Yuuuuulaaaaan. Can you say it? Come on, try one more time. Ugh, if you can’t even say my name how the hell are people going to know you belong to me??? I didn’t kidnap you!”
The little girl made a strange gurgling noise.
Hey, HEY, NOT ON THE CARPET! THIS IS A NEW CARPET!”
The girl threw up.
Yulan quickly picked her up and rushed to the bathroom.
“Go on now. I told you not to eat the silica packets. Those aren’t edible.”
The child asked.
“Yeah sure. Done? Okay wash your hands.”
The little girl scrubbed her hands with soap as Yulan sat on the bathroom floor, his head leaning against the bathtub.
“My god, Suki-san, how did you do it?”
Yulan glared at the girl but then sighed loudly.
“Haruko-chan? No, Ko-ko, come here.”
He opened his arms as Haruko smiled and gave him a hug.
“Haha. Do you miss mommy?”
“.... no. Ko-ko has Lan.”
“Hmmm. You’re lying.”
“Ko-ko doesn’t lie.”
“Is that so?”
Yulan picked the girl up once again and walked out into the main room of the small apartment.
“Thank goodness there’s a bathroom here. For a one room apartment, it’s a luxury.”
“Lan, where's Suki?”
“Suki-san? Your mother? You know where she went, Ko-chan.”
“Mommy went to play right?”
“That’s right. Mom went to play in the clouds. She can eat what she wants and sleep as much as she wants. Of course, she can watch over Ko-ko as well.”
“Yes she watches over you everyday. That’s really special isn’t it.”
Yulan sat down and pulled out a maid outfit magazine. Haruko grabbed it but Yulan yanked it away and stood up. He was so tall, 5 year old Haruko could never reach. He giggled.
“Hehe~ this isn’t for kids now! When you grow up, Ko-ko, you can read it okay?”
“Ko is big.”
Yulan snorted and chucked the magazine away. The apartment was a mess. You could barely see the floor. Funny that Yulan cared about a new carpet when you couldn’t even see the damn thing.
“It’s Yulan, you know. What do you want now?”
Yulan looked like he just ate a lemon.
“Don’t even say that- ugh.”
“Fine. Come here Ko-ko.”
Yulan said, exhausted. He grabbed the little girl and laid down on his back. Haruko smiled happily and hit Yulan’s face. She grabbed the tie from his school uniform and stuffed it in her mouth. Yulan laughed and patted her on the head.
“TELL ME EXACTLY HOW THIS HAPPENED! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???!!! STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET LIKE THAT!
“I TOLD YOU, THE DRIVER WAS IMPAIRED! HE WAS DRUNK! OTHERWISE, HE WOULD’VE STOPPED!”
“WHAT THE HELL? WHAT THE HELL! SO YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG THEN???”
“GOD… THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEAN!”
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER? SINCE DAY ONE, YOU LASHED OUT ON HER. AND NOW THIS?”
Itsuki-chan? That’s Itsuki-chan’s voice. And…
“Stop that. Both of you, get out. Now. You’re both disturbing her. You think she wants to wake up to this? GET OUT. Now.”
Kaito-kun. He has a stern yet soft voice.
“Haruko-san…. Wake up now. They’re not here to make a ruckus anymore. How long are you going to sleep? I’m… not good at things like this…”
What things? Am I sleeping? But I can hear you fine. Hehe, Kaito-kun, you’re finally calling me by my first name?
That time I… that time when Shun-kun and Taichi-kun were being introduced as new club members. I saw it. I know what you’re doing. You shouldn’t do those kinds of things… if you’re stressed you can buy an ice cream or take a walk. Why… would you… to your body…”
What’s he saying now? I can’t understand. It feels like I'm underwater. My body feels heavy and I can't breathe. It's like the world is crushing me down.
“I should have… done something… I should have…”
It’s fine. This is just a bad habit of mine. It doesn’t concern you… so think only of happy things.
“I have no idea how to get in contact with --------------. Your phone was found in the park but it was broken…”
“Hey hey, brother, stop. She still hasn’t woken up but you’re putting too many things on her.”
“Ugh… Should I even be here? I only met her once but… I really liked her. The way she got all embarrassed when she tried to say the B word.”
“You weren’t even sleeping. That’s why you got all pissed so fast.”
“What? Well how can I sleep comfortably when you all were talking about that type of thing?”
“Exactly! But now you’re telling an injured person about all these difficult things as well!”
Now they’re the ones arguing. I should tell them to stop but why… can’t I move my arm… I want to wave to them and say “Hello!” We should all go see the ocean. Summer break is going to start soon!
“Sigh… we have to find ----------. He needs to know what happened.”
“The ----------- who’s alive?”
“Oh my god, yes obviously! Don’t joke about that.”
Who are they talking about? I want to know too!
“Let’s head back for today. We’ll come back tomorrow.”
What? No! Where are you going? Don’t leave me here alone! I don’t want to be alone! Come back!
Haruko struggled for what felt like a lifetime. Every day, a voice would be heard. The voice would tell Haruko “Good morning!” and later, “Good night!”. But, that’s not the voice Haruko wanted to hear. Whose voice did she want to hear? He was tall. He had long, shiny black hair. He always wore a dark suit. Haha, he doesn’t work in the mafia. Maybe he should! It would suit him more. Then, he would have a good excuse for lying. Yulan, I love you but you don’t love me.
Haruko opened her eyes. The room was dark. Outside the big windows on the wall, the city lights shined brightly. Haruko tried lifting her head. It was heavy. Was her head always this heavy? She looked around. The clock read 3:26 AM. June 9th. She looked down at her arms. They were all bandaged up. An IV was hooked up to her right hand. Where were her things? Her uniform? Her bag? Her book? She ripped the IV out of her hand and flinched. As she leaned over the side of the bed, she noticed the floor looked miles away. Carefully placing her foot down, she tried to stand but her legs gave away, making her fall face first onto the floor. Haruko tried pushing herself back up. After much pain, she decided to crawl over to the drawers on the other side of the room.
Opening the first one, she immediately found her bag. It had been washed. Why was it washed? What happened to it? Why was she in a private hospital room? She opened her back quickly and searched furiously for the book; 52 Hertz. It wasn’t there. It was missing. She was too tired to panic. She suddenly felt weak and terribly unfortunate. What happened… Why was the book so important…
The door to Haruko’s room slid open silently. A pool of golden light shined on her, then disappeared as the door closed again. Haruko lay on her stomach, the floor felt cold and slippery. A pair of shiny black shoes appeared in front of her face. Haruko didn’t look up and decided to play dead. A familiar, gentle voice whispered to her, breaking the silence.