Chapter 18:

[Reboot] Prologue Chapter: Madman’s Forgiveness

Madman's Forgiveness

[Reboot] Ch. 0 Prologue: Madman’s Forgiveness

“Is… this really happening?”

I am stunned, desperately attempting to make sense of my surroundings. None of this feels real. But then again, how can it? I'm standing at the entrance to the church corridor wearing the same casual wear I've worn every day since hearing the news.

The judging gazes of peers I have long forgotten pierce into me as I begrudgingly make my way down the lily petal-adorned aisle. I won't dare to look a single one of them in the eye. Instead, I force myself to keep my eyes trained on the floor before me. With every step I take, their voices become akin to that of television static as my body attempts to tune them out. From the moment I entered past those mahogany doors, I knew that I would be among one of their main conversation topics; but I don’t care and my body continues to move forward autonomously. The outside world no longer matters to me. All that matters is the person directly in front of me.


I question, stopping mere feet before her. Yet, my words fall upon deaf ears.

“Please answer me..”

Despite the occasion, I desperately want Suzume to acknowledge me. Whether it be from her scolding me for causing a scene, or from her reassuring me that things were alright between us after telling me just how much she missed me.

It has been years since we’ve last spoken with one another, but growing up she was always my closest friend. We met shortly after the death of my parents when I transferred into Hyogo Prefecture's reclaimed Sakka Elementary. No matter how bad I felt back then, she always found a way to cheer me up. Whether that be from exploiting one of my worst weaknesses, bad puns. Or from dragging me along on “adventures”

The most notable being that of the “Camp Gehenna Excursion.” Almost every summer after we met, she would beg me to come along with her to the summer camp she frequented. The outdoors has never really been my thing, so for five long years, I turned her down. It wasn’t until the summer of 2005, that I finally caved and decided to tag along due to my budding feelings for her. I hoped that it would be a good place to bond with her and finally confess how I felt. Yet, the possibility of rejection frightened me. She was my best friend back then and I feared that if I were to reveal anything to her that it could jeopardize that bond. So ultimately, I decided to bottle these feelings in the hopes that with time they’d dissipate.

They didn’t, and this is something that I’ve grown to regret since. After all, before today it was the last time I was able to see her smiling face.

“Suzume, I need you to forgive me..”

I beg, expecting her to finally grace me with the dignity of a response. However, the silence between us is almost deafening. It wasn’t like Suzume to ignore me, and this fact is starting to infuriate me. Seconds passed without so much as even a disgruntled breath of annoyance from her. I thought I’d grown out of it, but even now I don’t think I have the strength to look her in the eyes. As I try, I begin to feel my skin blister, as though a thousand needles are all burrowing into me. A strange heat forms in my chest, rapidly spreading to every part of my body aside from my face. The only thing that's keeping it cool is the tears that begin to stream down my cheeks.

In all of my life up until this point, I have never felt a pain so surreal. I want to speak, but it feels as though all of the air has escaped my lungs. All I can do is desperately fight for air, as I stare blankly at the sight before me.

Ever since we last spoke, it’s felt as if I’ve been stuck in a never-ending nightmare. One where every time I try to force myself awake I’ll only be plunged deeper into this abysmal reality.

I quickly realize that the one thing I feared for all of these years has finally come to fruition as I stare at the mural depicting a young girl smiling. Suzume Fusho, my best friend, and the only person I have ever truly loved is dead.

Joe Gold
MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon