Chapter 16:

Chapter 16: “Don't You (Forget About Me)"

Madman's Forgiveness

Chapter 16: “Don't You (Forget About Me)"

The light of the full moon stretches across the lake illuminating the water with its bright light. The way it glistens in the water is akin to that of a beacon leading ships to their destinations.

They lie next to each other gazing directly at the sky, admiring the assortment of stars that were visible tonight. Hiro with his arms crossed behind the back of his head, and Suzume upright hugging her knees.

Despite the many orbs of light above them. Hiro feels that the brightest star he could imagine is right next to him.

Turning his attention to Suzume, Hiro starts to think about how she is pretty much the same person she was all those years ago. Thinking back to the times when the two would sneak away from their respective groups to star-gaze at this exact spot. Now, she looks to be lost in thought; possibly enamored by the sight.

The lake was always her favorite spot due to all of the open space. In a sense, it was where she felt her safest. A place where she could truly be herself without the judgment of others.

She could feel his stare burning into her.

A half-smile formed across her face.

 “Hey, Hiro..?” She speaks as she turns to face him.

“There’s something I need to talk to you about.”


“There’s no way you’re being serious?!” A surprised Hiro shouts. He just can’t believe the information he had just received. Suzume smiles awkwardly as she chooses to elaborate.

“It’s all true!”

“I tried to keep the reason why I moved to America a secret back then because I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

“But, I’ve been acting ever since the end of high school!

She expresses gleefully, awaiting Hiro’s response. Yet, she grows worried for him as Hiro appears as though he’s staring right through her.

The faint sound of static begins to buzz through Hiro’s subconscious as he processes the information. The world around him begins to form a glow that only he can see.

“It all makes sense..” Hiro thinks to himself as Suzume tries to reclaim his attention. Her words were barely anything more than incoherent mutters through the static. She looks more concerned than anything as she desperately begins to shake him.

Hiro is too lost in his thought process to notice however. He is thinking back to the moment he held the box for Suikas tape. How the two women on the box-art resembled Suzume.

“The reason why Suika looks like her is because they’re the same person..”

“She must be her actress.”

“How have I not considered this until now..?”

“If this is true though..”

“There’s something I just don’t understand..”

“Why would she tell gramps instead..?”


The sound of a bone-chilling scream echoes throughout the campsite. The sheer intensity of it proves to be enough to snap Hiro out of his trance.


“What are you doing?”

He asks, confused as to why she is shaking his arm.

“And what the hell was that noise...?” He continues, standing so that he can face the origin. It seems as though whatever is responsible was just to the north of them.

Suzume wanted so desperately to question why he zoned out, why he had a look of determination on his face; but she too is more focused on finding out what happened.

“I think that was Yua!”

We should go find her to make sure she’s okay!”

She exclaims, grabbing hold of him by the hand.

The two begin to run in the direction of the woods, but something freezes them in their tracks.

Stepping out of the darkness, their path was now blocked off by a masked figure. A lump caught in Hiro’s throat. Though, the man looked different now; having a much more monstrous appearance than Hiro remembered. There was no doubt about it. This man was Michael Kurosawa.

He just stood there, as if goading the two to step closer.


Hiro states as the two begin to back up.

“We need to go, now!”

Where could they go though? The only natural path in sight was the northern path leading out of the lake. The eastern and western sides of the lake were blocked off by the mountains. The situation was worse than he thought. If they are to escape, they’re going to need to run through an opening in the woods. This could lead them to even worse situations considering they wouldn’t know where to go.

They had no time to stop and think about the best case scenario.

The killer was now walking toward them


Every corner they turn, the two constantly have to change directions. Due to the coverage of the trees, the moon is barely able to light their path. The two are lost, running literally blind throughout the woods. Though they can’t see him, they can feel that the killer is close by.


“Aren’t you a little too young to be thinking about getting married..?”

These words echo throughout Hiro's mind as he begins to think back to the day of their breakup. For weeks, Hiro participated in chores around town saving up for something that could potentially change his life. It was an aquamarine ring that he had planned to use to propose to Suzume. By this time, they’d been together for years and were nigh inseparable. Hiro had believed that they would be together forever.

Before school that day, he elaborated the good news to his foster father; seeking the man's blessings. For a 60-year-old man, Sato still was able to have a somewhat youthful appearance. His hair at that time was a faded blue that had meshed with the grays of old age. Sato is a caring father figure to Hiro considering his upbringing. Upon moving to the Hyōgo prefecture, he sought to re-invent himself. What better way to do that than to train to become a priest, he thought. Already adorn in his robes, he joined his foster son at the table for breakfast. It was nothing special, just the leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Miso soup with a bowl of salmon over rice.

He would have made a fresh meal for Hiro if the two weren’t both running on a tight schedule that day. Hiro had school in an hour, and Sato had a baptism. Yet despite this, he always found time to hear Hiro out and offer advice. Today, Hiro brought up the topic of marriage. Specifically, he wanted his father's help when it came to the feelings he held for Suzume.

Gently setting down his bowl of miso, Sato offered the boy a smile.

“It can be a rather big responsibility..”

“I suppose you’re talking about that Suzume girl, right?”

Though Hiro doesn’t respond to this, Sato gets his answer confirmed through reading the boy's body language. Hiro balls his hands into a fist looking away from his father. Hiro’s face had flushed a bright red.

Hiro however is caught by surprise the moment Sato slams the palm of his hand into the back of his head. He jolts up, ready to swear at his foster father but ceases the moment he sees the proud look in his eyes.

“Go get her kiddo.”

“You can’t let things like these pass by you in life.”

“For example, what if I were to tell you that it’s a stupid idea?”

“You’d probably be discouraged.”

“It’s stuff like that that makes you live with regrets later in life.”

“Trust me, I’ve been there.”

He remarks with a hint of laughter.

“If you go all these years hoping for blessings from other people, you’re only going to find yourself miserable.”

“Think of your life as a movie with you as the main character.”

“If you want your story to turn out great, you gotta forge that perfect world yourself.”

For someone so strict, Sato always showed his foster son support. Sato had befriended Hiro’s original parents. The two would frequent his church services from time to time before his birth. So when Sato came to learn about the death of Hiro’s father, he was heartbroken. It became worse when he learned that Hiro was forced into becoming an orphan due to his mother disowning him. Misato had believed that Hiro was the key reason why she lost her husband. Grief-stricken, she couldn’t live with being reminded of that on the daily and took her life a mere two weeks later. Something that it was reported the young Hiro witnessed the results of. While Sato kept knowledge of them away from Hiro, he too lost important people to him. His wife and two daughters.

Sato saw Hiro as a way to redeem himself, feeling as though he failed them.

Throughout Hiro’s childhood, Sato would do his best to also try to form bonds with Hiro’s friends. He believed this to be a way to not only get to know his son better, but to be seen as the “cool dad.”

One friend in particular however stood out from all the rest.

It was Suzume. There was a tinge of familiarity to her that he could never exactly pinpoint. He treated her as if she were his daughter, going so far as giving her a spare key to their apartment. This was so she could visit whenever she pleased. Something she did frequently whenever she would stop by to see Hiro.

Ahead of this conversation, Suzume decided to pay Sato a solo visit. Hiro was out of town that week, looking for more opportunities to gather money for her ring. Sato knew in advance that she was going to move, but had to keep it hidden from Hiro. Suzume had planned to just keep it a secret, but felt it best to come to Sato for advice. Sato, while not angry; was disappointed. He lectured her about how irresponsible that would be. She agreed to be the one to tell him as a way to duck out of the conversation, but Hiro later had to figure things out through the likes of classroom rumors and gossip.

Months had passed since Suzume’s departure, and while he did everything in his power to help his son. Hiro’s mental health had become a shadow of what it once was. One day while checking the mail, Sato found a box that had been addressed to him. Although a bit confused considering it was shipped from America, he felt it best to take the box to his room. This was so that he could open it without worrying about wandering eyes.

As he opened the box, Sato was met with a surprise unlike any he’d seen before. It was a VHS tape for a film titled “The Melon Maiden’s Prince.” Memories surged throughout the old man. Memories that he had tried desperately to forget.

Though this was simply an act of good nature done by Suzume, she had no idea the snowball effect that giving this film to Sato would cause. The box-art was of two women both played by Suzume standing in the middle of a watermelon field with their fingers interlocked. The woman on the left’s tears were streaming down her face. While the woman on the right was depicted as laughing.

As he stared at the box art trying to make sense of this, Sato would quickly come to learn what this could have meant. After all these years, Sato’s past had finally caught up to him.

Despite rearranging his name and attempting to start over. His past as Junpei Saotome had finally come back to haunt him.

Junpei had to hide this tape from Hiro. He didn’t know how this story got out there, how they were even able to reproduce it. No matter where he searched for information, whether that be at the rent-a-flix or through the internet; he’d always come up short.

He knew about his son’s love for movies, so he feared that if he were to become introduced to this specific tape, he may be in danger.

Having exhausted all of his options, the only thing Junpei could do was to hide the tape among other VHS tapes he owned. Thus banning Hiro from ever stepping foot in his bedroom.


After an hour of running, the two finally find shelter inside the cafeteria. Luckily for them, it is the only place inside of the whole camp to have a metal door that they are able to lock.

“Did we lose him?!”

Suzume questions as Hiro is in the process of barricading the front entrance with one of the tables.

“I think we should be good for now.”

“Go around the kitchen and look for something we can use to fight him with!”

He exclaims. With one final push, the door’s finally barricaded.

Suzume agrees and goes to the kitchen to investigate. All the while, the axe mounted to the wall to his left catches Hiro’s attention.


“Come on..” Suzume speaks softly to herself as she digs through the cabinets looking for a knife. Something wasn’t right, the place had been cleaned of every sharp utensil. Not even so much as a spoon remained. The only thing that even came close to being a viable weapon was a rolling pin.

This was odd to her due to one simple fact. Around the time that this tape was recorded, she remembered cooking her friends meals. Remembering vividly where even some of the retired utensils would have been. Certain knives were dulled after being used too often. They were usually kept under the sink. Yet for some reason, they had all disappeared.

“Where is everything..?”

She questions as a light knocking comes from her right.

Turning her attention to the back exit of the cafeteria, she finds that the noise is coming from the wooden door. It’s just faint enough that Hiro is unable to hear it.

“That’s right..”

Suzume thinks as she begins to move closer to it.

“There was always a door in the kitchen huh..?”

She’s cautious in her approach as she hesitantly inches her hand closer to the doorknob.

“Kazuma, if this is your idea of a joke you can stop now.”
She asks, thinking that maybe all of this is just some elaborate prank.

Yet her only response comes in the form of the tapping coming to an abrupt halt.


An immense feeling of relief begins to wash over Suzume as she finally locks the door.

“Hey Suzume, have you had any luck?!”

Hiro calls out as he begins to enter the kitchen brandishing his axe.

She seems at least happy to see him for the time being. A feeling that would quickly prove to be short-lived.

“No, for some reason everything’s gone.”

“Good on you for finding an axe though!”

“We should be prepared enough now.”

“I think we should just l-”


She is cut off the moment a crunching noise forms behind her. Before she can turn around, she looks to Hiro to verify what had happened. Yet, there’s fear in his eyes. Hiro is speechless as he watches the horror unfold before him.

Two arms punched their way through the door's base effortlessly.

Suzume turns around just in time to narrowly avoid the arms grabbing her by the sweater. Though they’d yet to see his face, they knew who was responsible. Squeezing at the now mangled door, the beast of a man rips it off of its hinges. Pulling the remnants of the door apart to free his arms.

During this time Hiro sees an opening to escape. With his free hand he grabs hold of Suzume by the wrist and books it past the killer, who tries once again to grab at Suzume. At first, he’s successful. Going as far as grabbing hold of her by the hem of her sweater.

“Save me!”

She desperately screams to Hiro as the killer yanks her free from his grasp.


“I’m not going to let you die here!”

Upon seeing this, Hiro screams out in pain as the static-like aura returns to him temporarily. The glow of his white eyes intrigued the killer, enough so that he loosened his grip on Suzume. The killer smacks her away from his oncoming attacker, not wanting her to interfere.

The blood-lusted Hiro charges at the masked figure. With all of his strength, Hiro smashes the base of the axe across his face hard enough to make the wood shatter. The aura surrounding Hiro immediately dissipates upon contact. While the axe was nothing more than a prop, it had seemed to do the job. They watch triumphantly as the killer falls unconscious before them.


“Did you kill it..?”

Suzume asks as she begins to stand. That smack had done quite the number on her. She was bruised up due to attempting to cease her momentum when the killer had smacked her.

“I… have no idea.”

Hiro asks himself, looking at the palms of his hands.

“That power again..”

“Is this the one I used against the kappas..?”

He thinks to himself, trying to make sense of this. However, he’s more relieved than anything that he was able to save them both.

He continues, turning his attention over to Suzume who is in the process of making her way toward him.

Despite all the scratches, she still looks just as beautiful as she was to him on the day that they met.

She’s even displaying that same dopey smile she became known for. This was one of the few times however where he could sense legitimate happiness behind it. Not just something forced for the sake of others.

“We should find everyone so we can get out of here.

“I’d say I had fun coming back to camp, but I’m really not sure if this can be considered that.”

She says with a laugh. Hiro’s own expression begins to slowly shift as the world around him gradually begins to dither once more.

“Wait, I thought we killed him!”

“What the hell is happening!”

He thinks to himself, barely being able to see the outline of a man rise behind Suzume.

“Why is it still going off?!”

“I gotta get Suzume out of here.”

“I have t-”

By the time he was able to process what was happening, it was already too late. The killer had Suzume by her neck. In the killer's free hand, he held the more dominant half of the axe; gripping it by the poll. Something that was otherwise known as the smooth edge of the axe’s head.

Hiro wanted desperately to stand up, wanting to fight the man; but his body felt frozen. It was as if something was holding him down, forcing him to watch as the events unfolded.

“Don’t do this!”

“I know there’s good in you Michael!”

“If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t have let me live all those years ago!”

He spoke, referring to the moment the two crossed paths when he was younger.

“Did that mean nothing to you!?”

To his relief, the killer begins to lower the axe head as if he were considering what Hiro had to say.

Suzume is unable to speak due to the hold Michael has on her, but she offers Hiro an encouraging smile. She was proud of what he had to say.

“I don’t know what happened to you for you to end up like this.”

“What I do know is that it’s not too late for you to change!”

“You can have a better life, just please let her go!”

“I love h-”


It was that final line that sealed her fate. Hiro watches in horror as the killer thrusts the edge of the axe head into her backside.


Hiro screams out as he watches the same static quickly envelop Suzume’s form. Though she was on the verge of dying, she still looked down at Hiro with a smile.


She mutters quietly as her body gradually fades to dust.

“Please don’t forget about me..”

A direct contrast to what she said to him the day of their breakup.
Suzume Fusho, the woman that Hiro had come to love; is dead.

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