Chapter 23:


Skipped a Beat

“Good evening, my name’s Takahashi Tanjiro, I turned 32 this May and I am a doctor”

“I’m Haru kimura. 30 years old, I am also a doctor. Takahashi is my senior”

“I’m Yamamoto Sato, I’m 33 years old. And I am also a doctor, just like them”

“So, you guys are all friends?” (A woman from the other side of the table)

“Yeah” (Yamamoto)

“That’s nice. Just like us. I am Yuki Hirano, 31 years old, a teacher in a high school.”

“I’m Mei Akiyama, 29 years old, and I’m also a teacher, but in an elementary school”

“I’m Emi Fukuda, 29 years old, and I’m a fashion model.”

(After a While)

(Takahashi, Haru and Yamamoto walking back to their homes)

“Takahashi, why can’t you just choose one? I don’t know how many mixers I have taken you to” (Yamamoto)

“I have told you; no one just seems like someone I can be with” (Takahashi)

“So, you’re fine with dying single?”

“Yeah, I’m fine with the way I am” (Takahashi)

“What is your type by the way?” (Haru smirking)

Takahashi: my type huh? Whenever Haru asks this, a woman with long black hair comes to my mind… I wonder who she is… so pretty…

“(Yamamoto glares at Haru) Haru… You know what happens when you ask him that”

“Hehe… sorry, I forgot…”

“No, you didn’t forget, you just wanted to go drinking with him again”


“You just drank at the mixer”

“That was just light bear. I wanted to go drinking tonight anyway”

“Fine, Takahashi is your responsibility. You have to take him home; you know how drunk he gets. I have a night shift, so I am going to the hospital”

“Okiee, byeee” (Haru)

“And make sure he doesn’t get too drunk, he has duty in ER tomorrow, around 14:00 or 15:00”

“Takahashi, when is it?” (Haru)

“Huh? What?” (Takahashi)

Takahashi: shit… I was lost in my thoughts again; I didn’t listen to what they were talking about

“When’s your duty in ER tomorrow?”

“14: 15… I am going to the bar”

“I know, me too. Let’s go!”

Yamamoto: Haru has to do this every time we go to a mixer… and I don’t understand why Takahashi wants to drink right after that question… what is he thinking?

(At the bar)

“Takahashi, Yamamoto said to not let you drink much, so keep that in mind” (Haru)

“I know, ER duty. I can’t be drunk at that time”


(After leaving the bar)

“Takahashi, wait here. I’ll be back in a little while”

“Huh…? Where are you going?”

“Just wait”

“Okay…” (Takahashi starts walking back home)

Takahashi: that’s a cute cat, wonder if she’ll want to talk to me

“Hi cat, how are you? Me? I’m Takahashi. Yeah yeah, nice to meet you too. Wait… where are you going… no one wants to talk to me…”

“I said to wait…” (Haru)

“Oh haru, I saw a cat, but she ran away”

“That’s because you were too close to it. Come on, get up, let’s go back home”

“No one talks to me…”

“that’s because you don’t start a conversation yourself”

“But I did… and the cat ran away”

“that’s because it was a cat… Yamamoto is going to get mad at me… I didn’t keep an eye on you. And you drank too much again”

“Yamamoto is scary, I don’t like him…”

“He just cares about you. You’re this old but don’t show interest in woman at all”

“it’s not like that… I just feel like something would go seriously wrong if I became friends with a woman”

Haru: That’s why I like the drunk you, honesty. Though it’s really weird how you can keep a conversation going even when you are this drunk… you aren’t even walking on your own right now

“What would go wrong?”

“I don’t know… I’ll die I think”

“Haha… no you don’t die”

“I know I don’t. I have to talk to my patients and coworkers. I know nothing will happen, but I don’t know why I feel like that”

“Did something happen in the past?”

“I don’t remember…”

“I see…”

“You know… I felt like a connection with someone lately”

“Oh… you finally have someone you like”

“No… I don’t like her; I don’t even know her… but I felt like we were connected”

“Huh…? Okay… who is she?”

“Remember that patient that came to the ER some days ago… ammm I can’t remember her name… she died while driving a car drunk”

“Yeah… her name was Hina… I think. Something like that. I don’t remember much.”

“Yeah, her. I think we are connected…”

“Takahashi… she died that day… you were operating on her…”

“WHAT? I let another patient die? AAAAAAAAAAAA”

“SHHHHH, don’t raise your voice, don’t you know what time… or not. you’re drunk… I forgot”

“Sorry… why did she die? Why couldn’t I save her?”

“It wasn’t your fault, she was already in a really bad shape, no seat belt and an accident like that. You don’t expect a person to live after that”

“Oh… yeah I think I remember… but it made me sad anyway…”

“Well, a person died. Of course, you would be sad”

Haru: though you get a lot sadder than most of us… why do you think you could have saved everyone… life isn’t in your hand you know…


“Why do you say you are connected though?”

“If I also had a car…”

“Oh… you could have also end up like her?”

“Yeah, since we both are heavy drinkers”

“… that’s… Well, your apartment is here. I’ll wait for a little while so that you don’t do anything stupid in there”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine…”

“I know you won’t be. come on, let’s go in”


“I’m back… (Takahashi says as he enters his apartment)”

“No one is here you know…”

“I know…”

“Drink water, that will make you feel a little better”

“Okay… (Takahashi covers his mouth with hands as he feels like he’s about to vomit)”

“Yeah… now you’ll go to the bathroom (Takahashi runs towards the toilet)”

Haru: I don’t remember how many times I have done this. go to a bar with him, he gets so drunk that he starts talking about things he normally won’t. and when we reach home, he rushes towards the bathroom… sometimes he starts vomiting on the side of the road and that is really disgusting… I don’t know why he drinks so much…

(Takahashi walking out of the bathroom)

“How are you feeling now?” (Haru)

“A little better… I need water”

“Yeah, just drink water and go to sleep. I’ll come back in the morning”


(The next day)

*Phone buzzing

… what year is it? … 2034

I troubled Haru with taking care of me last night again… I’ll have to apologize, every time I get drunk, he makes sure to get me back home safe… and then next day. He comes back to check up on me around 10: 00. It’s 08: 33 right now… I should drink more water; I don’t feel like I can give duty in the ER like this.

*Sigh… I think I’ll have to change with someone again today… and most of the time it’s Yamamoto covering for me… I’m always troubling everyone with this drinking problem of mine. I should try controlling it… though it’s Haru’s fault for asking that question… I don’t why but when he asks that… I get a pain in my chest… longing to meet that woman that comes into my mind… but who is she? I don’t understand… but I feel like someone I knew in high school… though I don’t remember I made any close female friends at that time…

It’s 10: 00 now, he will arrive here any minute now…

*Door knocking

That must be him

“Good morning, Takahashi, how are you feeling now?” (Haru)

“I’m… Okay… I don’t think I can go to ER today…”

“Shit… Yamamoto is going to get mad at me again”

“I’m sorry I’m always troubling you guys with my drinking problem”

“It’s fine. It was my fault too, I asked you that question…”

“You know what, I’ll go. I not going to skip another day”

“If you still feel drunk, you shouldn’t”

“Just my head hurts, other than that I’m fine”

“I see. Well, there’s still some hours before you go to the hospital, let’s see how you feel before the time comes”


“I’ll be going then”


Haru and Yamamoto are my old friends, I think from when I was in high school. We were in the same club, football club, I think.

I don’t like my duty in the ER, everyone’s in such a rush and nervous. And sometimes the patients that come in the ER die… I don’t like that at all. Like that Hina person I was thinking of last night, they said that she was going back home after a high school reunion, it was late at night, and no one was with her, apparently, she also had drinking problems but no one from that reunion knew about that… so she left there alone, started driving without the seatbelt and crashed the car into a pool, full speed. She might have survived if she had the seatbelt on.

We contacted her boyfriend; he was there in the ER that day. He told us that she usually got drunk after remembering some guy. someone she knew in high school. She used to say that she feels like a part of her missing… like someone was there with her for years… but there actually was no one… that feeling used to make her angry, so she drank instead. Everyone thinks that she just remembering her ex or something like that… but for some reason, I feel like that’s not it… her death feels like my fault… But she was a patient, just like every other… I don’t know why she felt different…

It’s 13: 40 now. I feel fine. I think I can go to ER today. I’ll be fine. I should message Haru to let him know.

13: 54, I’m leaving the house.

14: 10, I’m here in the Emergency room. Right now. There aren’t any patients here... it’s kind of peaceful. Haru is here too

“How are you feeling Takahashi” (Haru)

“I’m fine now. Just a little headache, but it’s nothing”

“I see…”

(After a while)

Oh… a patient came… unconscious

“He first said he had a really bad headache and after some time, he collapsed” (person accompanying the patient)

Takahashi: he’s… not breathing very well, he’s really close to death. Nothing I can do now…

“Take him to the operation room, tell them to check his brain” (Takahashi)

“What do you think it is?” (Haru)

“I don’t know, if he collapsed after a severe headache, it could be internal bleeding. And he’s really close to dying. I don’t think they can do anything”


(After some hours)

Brain hemorrhage… he died. Her wife came later and told us that he used to be stressed a lot. and the reason is somewhat same as that Hina… Someone he knew… who doesn’t exist… I don’t understand what this could be…

One thing that that has been bugging me since… his wife said that ever since he came back from the high school reunion. He kept saying that he was right, there was someone. It wasn’t just him… his friends felt the same too… what did he mean by that? I wish I had the chance to talk to him.

Tomorrow is operation day. But it’s at night. Around 20: 30. So I have some time to relax at home. Maybe complete that novel. People die every day; I don’t need to worry about every patient that dies.

(Next Day)

It’s 14: 33 right now, I didn’t go to the bar last night, so I’m sober right now. I have been reading a book since morning.

*Phone ringing

Yamamoto is calling… he was in the ER today; I wonder what happened

*Picks up

“Takahashi, the Teacher that came in yesterday, they say that his wife mentioned a high school reunion. Is that true?”

“Yeah, she did…”

“The husband of today’s patient did too”

“What… that’s the third time in a week. are these reunions the same?”

“Yeah, he mentioned that there was one last week, on 3rd June.”

“The night that Hina patient came… she was going back home from a reunion, it was 3rd June that day”

“Exactly what I was thinking”

“What happened to the one today?”

“Suicide… she died from blood loss. Had deep cuts on her arms”

“That’s… What happened at the reunion? Why are they dying?”

“I know it’s concerning, but it’s not our job to go that deep behind the reason of someone’s death.”

“I know but…”

“Don’t think too much about it, I’m busy so I’m hanging up”

*Yamamoto hangs up

This is the first time something like this happened. Why did the one today commit suicide… maybe she was feeling the same too… someone she knew… but doesn’t exist… What it is?????????

This is giving me a headache… I should start reading again… I can’t do anything while sitting here right now. Will see if I can find something when I go to hospital today.

(Two days later)

Today, I have duty in the ER again. It’s been 2 days since the last patient that came was from the reunion.

It’s 08: 38 right now, I’m sitting in the ER. I drank the night of 7th, so I’m sober right now.

They are bringing another patient in; I should get up and see… it’s a woman this time…

(Just as Takahashi goes near the patient to take a look at her) “Sachi…”

“Huh... How do you know her?” (Sachi’s Husband)

Takahashi: Sachi Sachi Sachi Sachi … who is she? Why did I remember this name?

“Huh… wait, who is she?’ (Takahashi)

“You just said her name… doesn’t matter. She jumped from the roof of our house”

“Okay… her breathing is irregular… her ribs are broken; she fell on her chest… her heart must have taken the impact.” (Takahashi)

Takahashi: who is she… she looks someone familiar… someone I knew… wait… a woman with long black hair… IT’S HER… I’m certain I have known her for a long time… but how?

“She had been acting weird ever since she came back from the reunion and now this…”

“The reunion?” (Takahashi)


Takahashi: I need to check who were the other patients…

“Haru, take over for me, I have to go somewhere” (Takahashi)

“Takahashi, where are you going, we can’t leave a patient like this”

“Call Yamamoto, I’m going”

“But he’s on his break…”

Haru: what happened to Takahashi…

I need to check who were they. The hospital keeps a record of all the patients

“Excuse me, I need information on the patients relating to the reunion”

“Ah, the reunion case, yeah it has gotten everyone’s curiosity, here. These 3 files (showing on a computer)”

“Print them out please”

“Okay… Here, the first patient”

Hina Ito, 30 years old, died on 3rd June 2034… Hina Ito… now it’s feeling like she’s someone I knew

“Here, the second patient”

Eiji Kintaro, 32 years old, died on 6th June 2034…

“Here, the third patient”

Aoi Sakamoto… I went to Kyoto with Aoi to meet Sachi… Sachi… SACHI! The first year second year loops… telling Sachi that she dies… spent years in repeat trying to save her… how could I forget… and just now… I skipped a beat… So, she was alive… until today…


“Takahashi! What is wrong with you, a patient died because of you, and you are laughing here” (Yamamoto)

“She died? HAHAHA nothing new, she has already died so many times. And I have also saved her so many times from dying”

“What are you saying? She just died; you were supposed to operate on her… how irresponsible can you be?”

“I don’t give a shit; I’ll probably restart tonight, whatever happens now doesn’t matter”

“Restart? What are you saying…?”

“That guy knew my wife’s name, and I have never seen him before, how you knew her?” (Sachi’s husband)

“Sachi? Oh it’s a LOOOOONG story, you guys want to hear it? I will tell everything, doesn’t matter if you guys believe or not. I’ll restart tonight and go back to first year probably. Just like every___”

(Sachi’s husband punches Takahashi)


Takahashi: damn that hurts… reminds me of the time when Sachi saved me from a fight…

“If Sachi was alive, she would have moved forward to save me from that punch you know…”


“STOP! Takahashi, tell me, how do you know this Sachi patient?” (Yamamoto)

“Does it matter? I’m tired of explaining everything. I’m not going to explain it now”

“HOW DID YOU KNOW HER? HOW?” (Sachi’s husband)

“Okay relax… she was an old friend… girlfriend…”

“Wait… she always felt like there was someone really important to her… is that you?”

“Yeah, that’s me”


“Shut up, let me explain a little. I don’t want to die here so I will give a little explanation. Though I know no one ever believed it. I have never met her in this life. But I have been with her for so long that a memory of me got stuck in her mind”


“Honestly, I don’t understand either. But that’s probably what happened”

“Probably? You murderer…”

“Whatever, who cares. She died. Nothing matters now.”

“Takahashi, what’s wrong? You weren’t like this…” (Yamamoto)

“Well, apparently I am. I’m going home. Don’t follow me”

“Takahashi, don’t. you have to explain why you left the ER (Takahashi starts running) TAKAHASHI!” (Yamamoto)

Takahashi: I’m not safe at my apartment… I need to run somewhere else… and I am not that strong to run that much. They’ll catch me… oh, yeah. If I kill myself, I’ll restart to first year… I need something I can die instantly with… they are locking my way out of the hospital… ok… I should stop for now… will try something when I get the chance

“Fine… I won’t run…” (Takahashi)

(Security pushes Takahashi to the ground and handcuffs him)

“WHAT THE FUCK… who called security on me?” (Takahashi)

“You leave the patient alone; can’t even explain why you did that and then you try to run out of the hospital. Of course, I would call security on you” (Yamamoto)

“She wasn’t alone, Haru was there, and I told him to call you”

“HARU IS NOT QUALIFIED TO OPERATE YET, and you know that. Yet you leave it to him”


“She could have been saved Takahashi; if I had come in time, I would have started operating on her and notice that the broken ribs were pressing on her heart, it wasn’t pumping blood to the whole body properly. Her brain failed because it wasn’t getting sufficient blood to work. I got there late… but you were there when she arrived, you could have saved her… why did you leave?”

Huh… I could have saved her? …what’s the point? She still wouldn’t know me. And her feeling that they know someone is missing doesn’t go away even if that person is Infront of them. So, she would have just gone home with that feeling which forced her to jump

“Okay… I understand I did wrong, now what?” (Takahashi)

“How… was this on purpose?” (Yamamoto)


“What are you planning? You aren’t even resisting…”

“I have told you; I’ll restart tonight so it doesn’t even matter”

“Okay… explain this ‘Restart’ of yours that you mention so much”

“Nothing, just that when I go to sleep, I’ll wake up on the first day of my first year in high school”

“So, you’ll go back in time? that’s why what happens here doesn’t matter?”

“Yeah, exactly. Finally, someone understands”

“Take him away”


“Whatever you say, you still have committed a first-degree murder. You will go to jail for now”

“Whatever. I don’t care”

(3 days later)

Those idiots did something with me… I haven’t been able to sleep at all… I don’t even know how many days has it been since I came here.

It’s a white room, no windows, just a hole on the door. I am tied to a chair. They only untie me when I have to eat.

I thought they wouldn’t believe… it hurts so much, my eyes, my brain. I need to sleep but can’t. they didn’t inject anything… they must have put something in my food… those bastards… well I shouldn’t have said anything in the first place… doesn’t matter. If I can’t sleep, I’ll just die after somedays. This pain is already unbearable…


No one is hearing me…

“Shut up!” (A voice from outside the cell)

“Hey, what the fuck did you guys do with my food?”

“I don’t know, I’m just here to keep an eye on you.”

“Can you call someone? I haven’t slept in days. This pain is unbearable… I need to talk to someone”

“Shut up, no one will come”

I can’t do anything if I’m tied to this chair… at first, I thought that when they’ll bring me food, I’ll run out, but when I tried it, they shot my leg instead of me. And I can’t move it now. I will just ask if they did something with my food, so I can figure out if I can do something about my sleep. It’s… I don’t have a clock or anything, I don’t even know if it’s day or night.

(Some minutes later)

Oh, they are opening the door…

“Don’t try to run again or I’ll shot your other leg this time”

“I know…” (Takahashi)

“Here… your food” (a guy in white coat)

“Wait… what did you do to my food?”

“Oh, you noticed”

“Of course, I would notice, I’m not an idiot. I haven’t been able to sleep for I don’t know how long”

“A modified version of normal caffeine, even a little amount can keep a human stay awake for weeks. It tastes like normal coffee so you wouldn’t know”

“I’m not drinking it then (spills the cup by hand)”

“Haha… Your choice, you have already taken enough that you can stay awake for months”

“But I’ll die from that…”

“That’s you sentence. Enjoy the days you have left”

Did they believe me, or this is one of their ways to kill criminals? If what I think is true, then I’ll just have to wait till I die… wait. What if I don’t repeat… I only repeated when I was in high school…what if I just die this time…? Well either way it would be way better than what I am feeling right now…

(4 days later)

I… can’t even open my eyes now… it hurts so much that I end up screaming… and I’m sure I’ll die in a few hours. I can’t even move my fingers. I just want to die now… I can’t bear this pain anymore… my brain feels like it’s about to explode… it stings… (Takahashi starts screaming)

“SHUT UP (the guy from outside banging on the door with his gun) I SAID SHUT UP!”

(Takahashi continuously screaming)

(The guy comes in)

“I said shut up or I’ll start shooting your limbs”

(Takahashi still screaming)

(Shoots his left foot)

“(A guy came running into the cell) STOP! Don’t shoot him, he’s going to die in a while”

“Oh… sorry, I thought he was trying to get attention”

“No, this happens to every criminal. After 8 or 9 days, they start going cra”

*Phone buzzing

Huh… I’m in my bed… *sigh

I thought I wouldn’t see this room ever again, 2018…

This feels really strange though, A 32-year-old in a 15-year-old body.

What now? I remembered Sachi and the feelings I had for her came rushing back to me... and I restarted… don’t want to think about all the torture I had to go through. If I had just kept my mouth shut. They would have just let me sleep like a normal criminal… No, I shouldn’t have acted like that after I remembered everything. If I Had just apologized or made something up, I would have been treated like a normal criminal and then I could have restarted at night…

Of course, I don’t want to live these years again… but like I have a choice… or wait, I have never killed myself in the first year, have I? I want to see if I restart or just die? If I die, then I won’t even know… and that’s better than repeating these years. But if I repeat… then I’ll change school and my job, so that Sachi doesn’t come in my life ever again.

I don’t think I can get a handgun with this body. I need a knife. I can die easily that way.

Oh… mom’s working in the kitchen… doesn’t matter. I just need a knife

“What’s wrong? You aren't getting ready for school” (Mom)

“I will, I just need this knife (Grabs a knife)”

“What do you need a knife for?”

“For this (Takahashi stabs himself in the chest)”

“TAKAHASHI! (Takahashi’s mom starts panicking) you are bleeding, why would you do this… I need to stop the bleeding”

Damn… it’s a lot more painful than I thought…

“Mom… it’s okay… I’ll probably be free now”

“Huh…? What are you saying, you are going to die you idiot. I need to call an ambulance.”

(Takahashi sits on the chair, and pulls out the knife)


"Wake up Takahashi, it's 08: 30 already, you are going to be late for school, Seriously, even though you are a high school student now, can't even set your own alarms"

Huh… it's my mom. She's angry because I'm late for school. Well, whatever, last night I spent watching anime was the best! Wait, it's Sunday…

"But it's Sunday mom, no school until tomorrow"

"IT'S MONDAY, get up, wash your face, you are still half sleeping"

I check the clock, it is Monday. How could I miss a whole day? I guess I just couldn't keep track of days after I graduated middle school.