Chapter 9:

Tale Three: Painless Porcupine (4)



I was taken to Oliver’s room, and politely asked to not take too long in my search.

Of course we don't want to pressure you, but... We were about to go to the hospital to visit Oliver, and visiting hours will be over soon.

So I was told.

And of course, I wouldn't dare abuse the trust these people had put in me.

So immediately after making sure I wasn't being watched, I began scanning every nook and cranny of this bedroom.

At first glance, this was no more than a typical teen boy's room.

In fact, so it appeared for the larger part of the time I spent on it.

The main point that stood out to me, though in a purely ordinary way, was the sizeable videogame and book collection this young man had.

It really did feel like the guy had a passion for the stuff. Such a clean and varied collection, it was worth feeling envious about.

But once I managed to drift my eyes away from that -

In the desk, a small laptop.

Next to it, a note.

I read the note.

I read it aloud- of course not.

Because the moment I laid my eyes on the text that page contained, I knew I should never have come close to it.

Truly, it made me feel anxious - horrified, even.

Not because of the contents themselves, though.

I could have guessed most of those.

It was because...

This simply couldn't be.

It left no room for a proper ending...

What was I supposed to do after this?

... Oh.

I guess to the spectator, the contents of that letter are still unknown.

I shall read them aloud.

Oliver, this is just to tell you that your mother and I have had to go away because of work again. We'll be out for a month, so please do your best at him like always. If anything happens, your uncle's got a key. But please don't call him unless it's strictly necessary. Sorry for the trouble, and thank you. You father.'

Wahaha! This was laughable.

So this was the end?

Did I really have no way at all to arrive at a half-decent conclusion?

Was there not a single option for a satisfying end to exist?



There must be something.

If I gave up here, that really would be it.

But as long as I keep trying, keep fighting for the one good ending, the best possible truth-

I would eventually arrive there.

Just you wait, Fate.

I can solve all your tests and finally become free.

That bitch would regret not having told me her answer while she was still ahead.

Now she'll have no choice but to accept mine, and my answer will become truth - an absolute, undisputable truth.

And Oliver will be finally be in peace, his pain restored and his life back to normal.

Just like everyone before him.

I would resolve this flawlessly - and prove myself once more.

After all, there was no way I was wrong.

Supernatural entities couldn't exist.

Which meant…

Only natural beings and happenings were allowed in this world.

Therefore, I would see to it that no end came where the solution and the conclusion weren’t completely natural.

I am now noticing I have spent a great deal of time in this Tale rambling about obtaining the results I wish for. I hope the spectator isn’t annoyed by this. If they are though, my sincerest apologies.

It’s undeniable that this one has been the most difficult tale from the very start.

From the moment I met Oliver in that alley, stabbing himself with a knife as if it were no big deal – from that very moment, not even my previous best efforts would have been able to solve this incident.

And so this is also the tale where I-

Where I do my very best to uncover the truth, so that everything may be solved and everyone may be in harmony.

That is my only objective.

And I have almost reached it.

I picked up a book from Oliver’s desk, one which had a piece of paper between its pages – signaling where its reader had last left off.

The black cat on the back cover seemed to stare right at me.

Don’t look at me like that.

I’m going to save your owner. And by doing that, you too will be saved, for a book’s purpose is to be read. A story’s purpose is to be told.

That’s why incomplete tales are worth nothing – they haven’t fulfilled their purpose. Their author didn’t meet their one obligation.

That won’t happen this time.

Because just as I picked the book, I went out of the room to meet with Oliver’s father – no, now I knew he was his uncle.

And we went straight to their car.

He and her wife, Oliver’s aunt, carried me back to the hospital.

From the car to the reception, from the reception to the waiting room.

Not a moment did my thoughts go astray.

I knew what I needed to do, and how exactly I’d do it.

“Oliver – I know exactly what is it that has happened.”

“Huh? T-that was fast…”

His voice was still weak, but a genuine smile slowly formed in his face.

His eyes were glowing.

Unlike the others –

Unlike all the others, he was ready to hear. Eager, even.

What would have been unnerving in another situation quickly became a boost to my confidence.

I got it.

I will now explain everything, and put and end to this pitiful Tale.

I reached out for the backpack Oliver had been carrying when I found him. Of course, I hadn’t left it behind – why would I, when it contained such a key piece of evidence to all the case?

“But that is…”

He said, dumbfounded. Of course he was.

It had been in front of his eyes all this time.

I opened it and started reading aloud, for the whole world to hear.


The whole notebook was but a compilation of all the tasks Oliver had for each day.

Except for the fact that…

No human being could do this much work.

This was inhuman.

Busy with part-time jobs from four to ten PM.

Even had one on Tuesday mornings.

On top of studying and doing homework for school.

His sleep schedule, precisely calculated down to the minute so he wouldn’t outright die from exhaustion.

His finances, also extremely analyzed and-

Wait a minute.


Rent. Water. Electricity.

This was…




I wanted to tear this notebook down to pieces, and with it all that it contained – but that was impossible.

Not yet.

Not yet, I told myself.

And I kept going.

After that notebook had been read aloud, Oliver’s family left speechless, and the man himself completely dumbfounded-

I kept going.

“That’s… the biggest part of it all. It encapsulates most of the information needed to understand the rest. But just in case, I’ll say it all. If that’s okay, that is…”

I looked Oliver in the eye, but he did not reply. Not even with any head movement.

He simply sat there… quiet and unmoving.

I couldn’t have cared less.

It was time to finish this whole thing off forever.

I explained everything.

How Oliver was planning to burn that notebook to ashes with the lighter he was carrying.

How he wanted nothing to do with that pitiful life anymore.

How his overwork, and his complete lack of meaningful human contact as a result, had caused him to stop feeling anything.

To become numb.

His feelings had been…atrophied.

Out of pure desperation, he’d started harming himself over and over – and then scared himself.

He had chosen to blame everything on a fictional being, a supernatural occurrence which could never exist…

Just so that he could keep the peace inside the chaos intact.

But now, his charade had to end.

His mental walls had to fall, in order for him to accept the truth-

A phone rang.

Just as I had finished my explanation, Oliver’s phone rang.

Seeing as I was not saying anything, he picked it up.

“… Yes? Dad? Oh? You’re coming back tomorrow?! T-thank you! Yes, thank you so much…! I love you, dad…!”

His eyes were completely brimming with tears.

With this, all issues would finally be solved.

They would be put to rest, forever.

Oliver would never again harm himself, he would never again have to work all day to survive, he could recover the human contact he longed for.

This was the perfect end.

The only natural end to this tale.

One in which – all ended well.

At long last, I had reached the end of this painfully exhausting Tale, and my mission here was over.

After being thanked by my schoolmate, still sobbing from relief, and by his uncle and aunt, I left the room.

It was almost 9:00 PM. A bit later than usual, for sure.

But it had all been worth it.

As much as I had to struggle through this time around – it all ended well.

And once more, it was proven.

Supernatural beings do not exist.



Why has it not ended yet?

What’s happening?

“Pffffft. Pitiful. Even I had greater expectations for you, idiot.”

And there she was.




Why must she appear now?

Where did I go wrong?

This Tale is over!

End it already!

There’s no room for her in this Tale-!

“SHUT THE FUCK UP, OKAY? Good. Sheesh. Who in their right minds would ever have thought of pulling off a prank as bad as this? Fucking hell. Now I have to come here, after being banished from this Tale, to teach you a lesson and cover up your mess. Seriously, I wanna kill you. You should just die. For real.”


I would never let you have it your way, demon.

This end is the only true end!

The only natural end to this tale, without any supernatural beings taking the truth away from my hands!

“Seriously? You call this ‘natural’? You call this ‘truth’? Well then. It seems you keep lowering the bar by the second.”

“Whateveeeeer. I don’t care anymore. I too want this to be over as soon as possible, mmkay? So we’ll just go over my main issues real quick. Just so I can prove to you – how utterly puke-worthy you are.”