The sun was at its peak.
“That lecture sure took a long time. What’s the next class again?”
The hallway was filled with students walking and mingling with each other as they passed by. I'm sleepy. Halfway through the day, I was already feeling tired. That’s just how tedious my everyday life is.
As a university student, classes were far from over. On the way to my next class, I already found myself on the verge of sleeping. I took out my phone then saw a new message notification on its screen.
“Yuuto. Hey, Yuuto.”
“Sheesh, you didn’t even hear a single word that I said.” Was he there all along? I’m so sleepy I didn’t even notice his presence.
“You just realized I was here, no? Man, that’s heartless.”
“Anyway, I was asking if you wanted to come together and hang out after school. Some seniors invited us, you see?”
I recall him getting friendly with the seniors lately. Though, I also recall most of them were... women.
“Hey... what’s that disappointing look for?”
Expressing myself with a sigh, I showed him my phone’s screen with a text message displayed on it.
“Ah. Your sister again…”
“That’s how it is. She asked me to buy some stuff for dinner tonight so I can’t go or I won’t be having food for dinner.” And I didn’t want to miss my younger sister’s home-cooking.
Ignoring what he said at the end, I checked the time then went on ahead. “The next class is literature. It’s almost time.”
“Wait, so you did hear. Please say that first… hey, wait for me!”
I was eating dinner with my younger sister.
“Hmm... It’s delicious!”
“Hehe... I’m happy.”
My younger sister beamed with a smile after hearing that her food was tasty. She also helped herself right after.
Our parents said they wouldn't be able to come home for dinner due to work which is why she decided to take charge of cooking our meal tonight.
She must’ve started preparing the food right as soon as she arrived home from school since she’s still wearing her uniform. By the way, my younger sister is still in her second year of highschool. I’m honestly proud that she could cook this well for her age.
Come to think of it, does she have a boyfriend?
Cute, diligent, smart, good at cooking, cute. At her age and with her qualities, it wouldn’t be strange for her to be in a relationship already. As her brother, I should at least know right?
And so I tried asking.
“Iroha, do you have a boyfriend or something?”
Iroha cocked her head. “Why do you ask?”
“Well, I’m just curious, that's all. Is it bad for a big brother to be curious about this type of stuff regarding his little sister?”
“It’s not that... Well, I don’t have anyone like that. Though there were some that approached me about it, I rejected them.”
She rejected them?
As though sensing my confusion, she continued.
“I want to focus on my studies so I don’t have time for that kind of stuff.” There was a hint of determination behind her words but she immediately looked away to hide her embarrassment.
I put on a smile. Looks like I was worrying for nothing.
“As diligent as ever.”
I felt like it was a waste though. She should enjoy herself more. Well, it’s not like I could tell her that. It’s her life after all.
“Anyway, I’m going to the convenience store after this. Do you want me to buy something?” Iroha smiled and said she wanted some ice cream.
Later that night.
I was on my way home. Street lights illuminated the way when all of a sudden, I heard something from the corner of a street I was just about to walk through.
“Stop... Stay awa...”
It was then that I heard a dubious sound. Wondering if something might’ve happened, I hesitantly went over to check. When I took a peek, I saw exactly what was transpiring.
What I saw was a girl with short black hair wearing a school uniform being cornered by a suspicious-looking man.
The man covered the girl’s mouth with his hand while his other hand clamped down on her wrist. The girl tried to cry for help but her persistent resistance didn’t do anything. It was obvious what was happening.
Is this for real?
The man’s lips turned into a coarse grind. This is why high school girls shouldn’t walk around late at night. I grimace in my mind. The thought of my high school sister who was alone back home crossed my mind and I began to worry.
I couldn’t just stand there watching after becoming a witness to it so after some thinking, I decided to step in. I silently walked towards the man without him noticing. My plan was to catch him off guard or so I thought.
I accidentally kicked an empty can lying on the side which, of course, they heard. Why was there a can there!
“Huh? Who the hell are you?!”
“Tsk, nevermind. Die!”
He suddenly charged at me with his fist. I moved to the side in a panic at the last second, barely avoiding it. T-that’s scary!
Losing his balance, the man stumble on his feet and fell, knees on the ground. Is he drunk or something?
I quickly went over to the girl to ensure her condition. Everything went by so fast. The girl probably wasn’t able to grasp the situation yet.
“Let’s run. Can you stand?”
I grabbed the girl’s hand and ran in the opposite direction.
But that was when I heard a single loud sound.
“Guh...” He has a gun…
Looking down, I saw a deep red leaking through my clothes. Blood soon covered the surrounding parts of my clothes where I was shot. Numbness pervaded through my body, and unable to maintain my balance, I fell.
“Hey! Are you ok?! Hey!”
The man ran away, leaving loud panicked footsteps behind. The gunshot probably alerted the neighborhood.
“I’m gonna call for help!.”
The girl quickly grabbed her phone. Her hands were shaking as she tried to call for help.
“Help is coming! Please hold on until then!”
My lower body hurts... It’s hard to breathe. My body felt hot; as if I was just drenched with boiling water. My consciousness was starting to slip away.
All of a sudden, everything turned white. It was as if the world lost all of its color. Everything around started to fade then suddenly...
A field of flowers spread throughout the ground and standing amid was a large tree. Underneath that large tree, beautiful blonde hair swayed from the blowing wind emanating across the area. It was a girl— No, it was a woman. The woman looked back and flashed a smile. It was a mysteriously familiar smile... Shimmering sunlight obscured my vision as if it was on purpose.
Then, the scenery started to fade once more until everything returned to what it was. I was suddenly pulled back to reality.
But that was then I completely lost consciousness. Everything went completely dark.