Chapter 2:

Chapter 1

Vanilla Twilight


I am Rikuto Michiyo, currently sitting on an empty park bench directly opposite of another person.

It’s not surprising to see someone sitting directly opposite of you, if it were in the middle of the day and all other seats are taken. It’s a different story if it’s 2 in the morning and all the other benches are vacant.

She’s a girl, no less. Doesn’t she know that it’s dangerous to be out at this hour by herself?

I bet she does, but she willingly does it anyway?

What a strange girl.

It has already been half an hour of being in this awkward situation with a complete stranger. I try to put my mind off things by letting my mind wander in search of something else to get my attention.

But every now and again, our eyes would meet.

And each time, felt quicker, and lonelier than the last.

Of course, in the times our eyes meet, we’d immediately look away as if nothing had happened.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, she never fails to show up every night, at the same time.

When did it start? When did she start coming here? I’ve only noticed her recently when I decided to start paying attention to things.

The first time I’ve ever seen her was about a week ago when she sat down on a bench diagonal from mine, where she sat prior to tonight.

This is the first time I’ve seen her, anyone, occupy the bench in front of me.

Isn’t this the prime opportunity to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger? Though now that I think about it, how do I even begin?

I’ve never done anything remotely similar to this, so even if I do say something, it would only embarrass me.

It’s not like I have to communicate with her, so I don’t know why I’m making this a bigger problem than it actually is. But that saves me from any future embarrassment. Besides, if she wanted to talk to someone, she would have said something much sooner.

“Hey.”

Yeah, something like that.

“How long are you planning to stare at me for?”

Yeah, she’d definitely say something like that.

“Hey—can you really see me?”

Eh?

“S-sorry? Are you some sort of ghost? Why are you surprised that I can see you?” I ask a genuine question as her question snaps me out of my trance.

Is she actually a ghost?

She brushes her fringes to the side and behind her left ear, and even from this far, I can see that she isn’t the normal, boring type of girl I’ve grown accustomed to seeing underneath the sun.

Her blazing red pupils catch me by surprise. Never have I seen such a shade of red in someone’s eyes.

“Pfft!” She breaks the silence and laughs in a way that looks like she’s mocking me. “Am I a ghost? That’s quite the question!”

Her laughter continues as I sit, confused as to why she’s laughing at my question when she asked an even stranger one.

“Who wouldn’t ask that?! You were the one who asked if I can see you! Obviously, what I asked was the correct one to match yours!”

“I know! Hahaha!” She says through her laughter. “Do you really think ghosts exist in this world? Please, nothing like that could ever exist in our reality. If science and numbers can’t prove one’s existence, there’s no way it can possibly exist, right?”

“I mean, I don’t see anything wrong with that statement but—”

“But what?”

I took my eyes off her for a split second, which is apparently all it takes for her to stand up and grab my hand.

“Too many questions! Let’s go!”

“G-go where?”

“On an adventure of course!” She flashes me a quick smile as bright as the moon, one which I can probably never get out of my head anymore.