Chapter 11:


My Three Dying Rules

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: Your grandpa… does he live elsewhere?

Pandora: We actually moved to this city in 2014. Before that we lived in grandpa’s house in a faraway village.

Doctor: What was your relationship with your grandpa like?

Pandora: He has always been my hero. When my parents needed to work, he would take care of me. I cried many rivers when we had to move out.

Doctor: So I assume we are talking about another pillar right now.

Pandora: Indeed, this is a story about another pillar.

Setting: Pandora’s high school, classroom / 29th June 2022

Pandora, Alyssa and the Student Council President are with their classmates in a classroom. Even Shinzo, the delinquent-looking boy is in school this time. The teacher hands out the papers to the whole class.

Teacher: Tomorrow is the last day of this school year. These are the final tests from yesterday. Overall, you did a great job, class, this was a rather difficult quiz. Shinzo, with 15 points, you ended up at the bottom of the class. Do better next time!

Shinzo: Hmph.

Teacher: And now our top 3 scores. Alyssa, 87 points out 100, really good.

Alyssa: Yay!!

Teacher: President, 99 points, there was just a spelling mistake with the last question so you can consider this almost flawless success.

Student Council President: O-oh, thank you very much, sir! I’ll promise to get the full score next time! Hihi.

Teacher: And our top scorer... Welcome at the top again… Pandora.

Pandora: (Smiles and bows her head slightly) Thank you, Teacher. I’ve forgotten what this feels like.

Student Council President: Oh, that is awesome, Pandora! Congratulations, I am glad you are doing better now! But next time, I won’t lose to you, hehe.

Alyssa: Pandora, I am so happy for you!

Shinzo starts clapping with his hands slowly and sarcastically.

Shinzo: Bravo, bravo! If it isn’t our perfect plastic fallen idol back in the game.

Alyssa: What do you want again, jerk?!

Shinzo: Oh, nothing. Isn’t it just interesting? For the first time ever, her father, a well known politician, comes to our school after Pandora’s grades are falling and all of a sudden, she gets a perfect score. What a coincidence.

Student Council President: What are you trying to imply, Shinzo?

Shinzo: I thought you were smarter than that, Prez.

Pandora: Haha, you’re funny as always! My father simply sat me down and grilled me, studied with me, he said no more allowance if I fail another test. It’s that simple. But I guess an airhead like you doesn’t understand what it means to study hard~.

Shinzo: Stupid arrogant bitch.

Teacher: Shinzo!! Come with me, to the principal, now! Class dismissed!

Shinzo: Tsk.

Teacher and Shinzo leave the classroom.

Alyssa: Pandora, shall we go celebrate tonight our top scores? It’s Wednesday, let’s go for that special offer cake they have near my place!

Pandora: Sorry, I’m travelling tonight. I won’t be coming to school tomorrow. My summer break just started.

Alyssa: Oh… alright… (Disappointed)

Pandora stands up and tries to leave classroom, the Student Council President stops her in the hallway, away from the other students.

Student Council President: Good job, Pandora~! (Closed eyes, kind expression, smile)

Pandora: Oh, I just had more time to study now that I have no boxing trainings or idol practice.

Student Council President: (facial expression switches to an ‘evil’ look) I meant your boyfriend. I heard you haven’t talked to him for a while. Good girl.

Pandora chuckles and leaves.

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Pandora: Honestly, she was kinda scary. I have no idea where she got all the information about me. A real stalker.

Doctor: What is the meaning of that test, though?

Pandora: Shinzo was right on the money. Although it appeared my dad pulled the strings and the school gave away perfect scores to me, I orchestrated the whole thing in order to keep the seed growing inside of my Father. I gave my teacher Father’s phone number, saying that my mom hasn’t been feeling well and so if they want to talk to my parents, they need to call my Father. I was half-failing the tests on purpose and timed it so that I would get a perfect score in the final test again after my Father’s visit.

Doctor: How cunning.

Pandora: After that, it was the time to go for the trip to my grandpa’s. I had a really cool scheme prepared, hehe.

Setting: On a road / 29th June 2022

Pandora, Leon, and their parents ride in a car. Father is driving. Their destination, the village they grew up in.

Mother: We need to stop by somewhere and buy something nice for grandpa before we arrive there.

Father: Of course.

Mother: He’s gonna be so surprised to see us! I didn’t let him know we were coming this time, hehe.

Pandora: I hope we go fishing again! Will you come too, big bro??

Leon: Whatever…

Leon is working on his laptop even now. When he is deep in work, he doesn’t notice what is going on around him.

Pandora: I am so glad we are all here! Last time, Leon didn’t come with us… but now, our whole family will be together again!

Mother: I wish your grandma was still with us…

Pandora: But she’s watching over us from above, right? So that nothing bad happens to us! (inner monologue) And yet, I wish my dad panicked and we collided with that big truck coming our way.

The scene loses colors as Pandora again fantasizes about her death in black and white. Pandora describes what is happening inside of her head.

Pandora: (inner monologue) I wouldn’t like my family to die in a car crash but what if that is the only option for them to actually not suffer? I can see it now. My dad tries to evade another car that makes a stupid mistake and so we crash into the truck in front of us. The impact is so strong our car gets pushed down from the highway. As we fall, my body is thrown through the front window. I break the window and the sharp glass cuts through my body. I’d probably gain a lot of new scars if I survived. But that’s impossible. One piece of glass sticks into my eye, making me half blind. As I finally fly out of the car, it falls down on the upper part of my body, crushing my skull. All of them are dead. But maybe my mom survives, maybe only her legs are trapped under the rubble. And she is forced to witness her whole family die in front of her eyes, not being able to do anything. When the help finally comes, she is afraid to look under the car where my lifeless body is. She fears she would find her daughter’s skull open. Would she finally have her wish fulfilled? She always said “I wonder what is going on in that little head of yours”. I hope this never will be the case. That’s not actually what I want. My family needs to happily live many years longer.

Pandora is woken up from the fantasy, she finds out the car has stopped. The police is doing an inspection. Father just passed the alcohol test as he sits in the car. The police officer stands outside and they talk through the open window.

Police officer: Alright, no alcohol. But I have bad news for you, Mr. Politician.

Father: What’s going on?

Police officer: I see you are going on a trip with your family. But I’m afraid I can’t let you go further with this car. Your technical and emission license is not valid as of yesterday. You can’t drive this car until you have it renewed.

Father: Oh my god, I thought it was the next month!

Police officer: I’m sorry, you gotta find the office where they would renew it for you first thing in the morning. We won’t fine you for this today but if we see you again, it’s gonna be huge. We will even take your driving license.

Father: Damn… okay, thank you.

The police officer leaves and father desperately puts his head on the steering wheel.

Father: I’m so sorry guys, this is my fault. We need to turn back and have the license renewed.

Leon: Dad, what if we let Pandora and mom stay at a hotel in this nearby town? We could just turn back and solve the issue back home tomorrow morning and then we would come for them here. I don’t think we all need to go back. They look tired already.

Father: Alright, sounds like a plan.

Father drops them off in front of a hotel and he leaves with Leon.

Mother: I’m not happy it came to this but… you know what’s coming next, right?

Pandora: You bet. (smirk)

Mother and Pandora: Girls’ night out!!!

Pandora and Mother change at the hotel room and are ready to hit the city. First they go shopping for some summer clothes. Pandora and Mother seem to have a good time, trying out new outfits. Pandora takes a straw hat that perfectly fits beach vacations. Mother is seen fangirling over a pretty expensive pair of boots. Pandora drags her away angry. Finally they sit down at a restaurant, having ordered full course meal. Mother drinks a wine, the waiter comes with a second bottle already. Now they are digging into the ice cream desert.

Pandora: This is so good!!

Mother: Who said we were tired? Hahah.

Pandora: But you didn’t say a word to them!

Mother: Of course! Why would I? It’s our men’s job to take care of technical stuff, haha.

Pandora: I wonder who I got my cunning behavior from~? Haha.

Mother: Oh stop it, girlie. Ahahah. So how are things with Vulcan? Haven’t seen him in a while.

Pandora: We’re… good. Just… having a little break I guess.

Mother: Awwww, that happens in a relationship, don’t worry about it~.

Pandora: I’m not worried in the slightest. (winks) So, tell me about you and dad… what were you like when you were young?

Mother: Hmmm, when we were young… I shouldn’t talk about it to my daughter, the story is quite spicy, eheheh. (She giggles as a young high schooler, obviously the wine makes her drunk already.)

Pandora: You never had any shame talking to me about anything~. What’s the rule you taught me? Be always ladylike but be wild when with girls? There are just us girls right now~.

Mother: Eheheh… well… I actually had two men at the time… I was young and stupid and I didn’t know what I wanted. I wasn’t planning on marrying your dad or the other guy. But both of them proposed to me around the same time. And I told them both I needed a little bit more time. But after the time flew, I’ve decided to stay with your dad. He had better future, he put up a better fight!

Pandora: Oooh, how romantic! Two titans were fighting over you!

Mother: But your dad never knew about the other guy. And the other guy only found out after he saw… well… the wedding. That was a little indicator I might not be available for him anymore, ahahahh.

Pandora: Hmmm, so maybe I do tell this to dad when you’re not a good girl~.

Mother: You wouldn’t dare! Ahahah. You’re my bestie after all.

Pandora: And you’re my bestie as well! I love you.

Pandora stands up and gives a hug to her mother, rubbing her cheek against mom’s cheek. A tear rolls down Pandora’s other cheek.

Pandora: (inner monologue) I’m sorry, mom. But this is the last day of your happiness… or whatever you feel right now.

Mother: What’s going on sweetie? Why are you crying?

Pandora: I’m not crying, you are! I just got sentimental after a hug like this, hehe.

Setting: The village, grandpa’s house / 30th June 2022

The next day, Father and Leon have returned and picked up Mother and Pandora from the hotel. Now, standing in front of grandpa’s house, the whole family comes inside.

Father: Does anybody have a key?

Mother: I do! (She opens the locked front door.)

Pandora rushes inside all excited first, screaming at grandpa.

Pandora: Grandpaaa!! Where are you?? Your favorite grandchild is here~!

Mother: Ahaha, sometimes she’s still like a little kid.

Mother, Father and Leon come after her to the living room. They find Pandora standing in the door, frozen in a place.

Leon: What’s going on? Just move it, geez-

He notices she is crying.

Father: What’s going on, tough princess?

Mother: DAAAAAAAAAAD!!!!!!!!! (Mother screams from her lungs.)

In a fantasy, Pandora walks among the remaining pillars, looking for a specific one. But it is nowhere to be found. The statue that was supposed to represent her grandpa had burned down, leaving only ashes.

Back to reality, Pandora sees her grandpa, Mother’s dad, calmly sitting in a chair in front of a TV. Lifeless.