Chapter 4:

For Whom The Bell Tolls

66 Hours

As I feel my feet sinking into the ground, and stare into the black nothingness spreading beneath my feet, a sense of dread overwhelms my body. Down there, I cannot see neither the floor below, nor the basement. All I can see is an endless void.

Am I going to… die?

Right as those thoughts cross my mind, I suddenly feel a frail hand gripping my forearm tightly.

Immediately, I jolt my head up to see Himura-san struggling to keep my body from falling into the unexplainable void, that was just a normal classroom floor a second ago. Right as my body sways like a leaf in the air, a distant voice, a scream, makes its way to my ears.


Was that Kurosawa-senpai?

Suddenly overcome with a sense of urgency, I grip Himura-san’s arm in response and try to use the remaining piece of stable ground behind me as leverage, using my other hand.

Swiftly and in between muffled voices and sounds that I can't make out at the time, Mayu joins in the rescue and thanks to our desperate efforts I get successfully pulled out of what could have been my deathbed. Just as feet rest on solid ground once again, a wave of relief washes over me.

What the hell just happened?

Still shocked by the absurdity of it all, I stand there kneeling on the ground for a moment.

“Hideki!” Mayu calls out, as she grabs and squeezes my shoulders with probably the same force she used when she helped pull me up. Despite the familiar face in front of me, I still can’t quite shake the shock away.

“I thought you and Kuro-“

“Ryotaaa!!!” Ishikawa-senpai runs past us, and calls down at the void, her eyes wide in shock.

Did Kurosawa-senpai… fall? Is he dead?

I’m suddenly reminded of the fresh scenes of chaos, embedded in my memory. Everything feels like a blur, but I can barely make out Kurosawa-senpai falling to the depths of that void… And then, his scream of anguish.

How is this even possible? We’re in the 1st floor. Even if the floor were to collapse in some way, the fall would lead you to the classroom just below this one. Breaking free of Mayu’s hold, I get up and turn to the entrance of the classroom. Or at least, what used to be a classroom. Not only isn’t the gap leading to the classroom below, but there’s no visible end to it either.

We heard his scream, but after that, nothing. I suddenly start contemplating if this fall, even has an end.

Instinctively I turn to Ishikawa-senpai, who is looking down at the seemingly never-ending pit of nothingness, her gaze distant, almost cut out from reality.

“Ryota?” With a shaky voice, she calls out yet again.

“Where is Ryota?!” With a sudden turn on her heel, she is now facing the dumbfounded Himura-san. “Where is he? And why didn’t you save him?!” She suddenly grabs her by the collar, her eyes burning with pure fury.

“I couldn’t! He was already too far deep by the time I reached Kobayashi-kun!” The girl tries to explain, her voice twisted in fear and guilt.

“What do you mean you couldn’t?! Didn't those freaking powers of yours tell you anything about this classroom earlier?! Or did you intentionally let Ryota fall while you took your sweet time grabbing HIM?!” Ishikawa-senpai points at me as she spits furiously, venom sipping from her every word. “Yes, that’s it! You just wanted Ryota out of the way because he didn’t like you! WAS HIS LIFE SO MEANINGLESS TO YOU?!” Suddenly she raises her clenched fist…

“Hey stop that!” Mayu intervenes, separating the both of them. While I, on the other hand, am completely frozen in place. My feet feel like they won’t budge, and I feel as if a bitter taste spreads through my mouth.

Did Kurosawa-senpai just… die? Did we really witness someone die right in front of us?

As those thoughts play back in a loop inside my mind, I feel a knot form in my stomach.

Suddenly, Mayu’s firm and loud voice snaps me out of my trance. “It’s no one’s fault, okay?! She may have some sort of ability that warns her about any potential danger, but she’s not superhuman! She couldn’t have done anything more than she already did!”

“Of course you’d say that, since YOUR best friend, “Mr. Apathetic” is still alive and kicking!” Ishikawa-senpai now directs her fiery glare towards Mayu, as she hisses bitterly.

Mayu on the other hand, looks down momentarily, realizing the pain her upperclassman must be going through.

“Look Ishikawa-senpai, I have no idea how you must be feeling right now… But fighting won’t get us anywhere.” She raises her gaze, full of determination. “We don’t even know what is going on, or what caused all this. And we don’t have a clue what happened to Kurosawa-senpai so let’s just all calm down, okay?”

That’s so like her.

I think to myself almost instantly. I was kinda worried when I saw her so stressed out before but now she seems a lot calmer. A lot more like herself. And she’s clearly right, we need to get our act together.

And that, of course includes me.

I give my head a good shake, in order to wake myself up, and take a step closer towards the group.

Right as I do, and as everyone seems to have nothing more to say, Ishikawa-senpai turns back towards the doorway. The atmosphere suddenly feels so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

“Ryota…” With a voice that breaks in the face of her overwhelming emotions, she kneels right in front of the threshold. Although I can’t see her face, I can see her shoulders shaking, and soon we can all hear her sobbing loud and clear.

We all instinctively look away, deciding to give her the space she needs.

Why did senpai have to die? Would I have died too, if Himura-san hadn’t rushed to my aid as soon as she did?

The thought of that, terrifies to my core. We all carry some sort of baggage with us. Hopes, dreams and even regrets. And for all of that, to be cut short just like that? This life is unfair. This world is unfair.

This world, huh?

Is all of this even normal? Classrooms crumbling, voids appearing? Invisible walls? Are we even in the same world, as we knew it?

I turn my head to look at the two girls besides me. If it weren’t for them, I definitely would be sharing the same fate as Kurosawa-senpai. Whatever that fate was…

“Hey, Mayu, Himura-san.” I call out to them, in a low voice. “Thank you, for saving me, I mean.”

Despite the situation, a somewhat bitter smile spreads across both their faces.

“It’s a shame we-“

“Shhh.” Mayu places a hand over Himura-san’s shoulder, squeezing reassuringly.


“It’s okay. There's no need to apologize.” The two girls share a brief nod.

“Let’s give her some time.” I suggest, and we all take yet another set of steps back.

After a brief talk between the three of us, we decided to survey around the school a bit, before going to check the student council room altogether. Since we didn’t know what would await us, we decided not to open any doors if not necessary. We also decided it’s best not to leave Ishikawa-senpai alone, so me and Himura-san embarked on a survey, while Mayu stayed behind to keep an eye on our upperclassman.

“What are we even looking for?”

I ask, as I and Himura-san descend the stairs to the ground floor.

This floor is exactly like we left it, but we don’t know if there’s anything like that floor trap waiting for us. But I guess if we ever do come across something like that again, Himura-san will warn us beforehand.

“Kobayashi-kun?” The girl next to me stops right around the shoe locker area, after some looking around.


“I just… wanted to thank you. For defending me back there. With Kurosawa…” She casts her gaze down, fidgeting with her fingers.

“Thank me? You literally saved my ass a couple minutes ago. I think we’re more than even, Himura-san.” I chuckle lightly, as I walk around the perimeter yet again. “Nothing out of the ordinary here, though. Himura-san do you sense anything?”

“Not really, but let me try and focus…” She replies, as she closes her eyes, and furrows her brows in concentration.

As she does, I turn to look around. I don’t think she’ll find anything to be honest. This place looks exactly the same as always. The setting sun gives it an orange hue, as if it’s wrapped in a filter, and the lack of students roaming about is the only thing that seems off. I look back out the entrance, and squint against the orange sunlight. It won’t be long till it gets dark… And we’re still here.

“I… sense something.”

“You do?” I turn back to Himura-san instantly.

Don’t tell me this floor is gonna fall apart too…

“Yes. I sense, a disturbance.”

“A disturbance?”

What sort of disturbance?

“Like the veil covering the school is being disturbed…” She mutters, her eyes still closed shut.

And then, right as I’m about to ask her to elaborate further, a voice rings out. A rough, unfamiliar voice. The voice of an adult.

“Hey, what are you kids still doing here?”

To be Continued… 


Hey guys, just wanted to leave this brief message here to let you know I'm currently on vacation, so this will be the only upload for this week! Thank you for understanding and I’ll see you again next week! 

Haru Yumera