Chapter 18:


My Three Dying Rules

Setting: Alyssa’s home / 16th July 2016

Little 10 year old Alyssa plays in a pool on the garden alone. She is wearing her pink swimsuit. Inside of the house, her father and two of his friends watch her from behind the window.

Alyssa’s father: Isn’t my daughter just beautiful and cute?

Friend #1: Oh she is. I don’t have a daughter myself…

Friend #2: She is truly a little angel.

The men come outside and greet with Alyssa.

Alyssa’s father: Ali? Please come say hi to these misters.

Alyssa: Hello, it’s nice to meet you! My name is Alyssa but my daddy calls me Ali! So you can call me Ali, too! I am 10 year old and I like when two boys kiss!

Alyssa’s father: Oh, hehe. You didn’t have to add that.

Friend #1: Let the girl be, of course she would be curious about that stuff. Nowadays it’s everywhere.

Friend #2: Nice to meet you too, Ali. What a distinguished young lady you are!

Alyssa’s father: Is she to your liking then?

Friend #1: She is more perfect than you described her.

Friend #2: Usually, we would just ask you to let us take her to... (he looks at Alyssa who sips her juice and curiously listens to the conversation) to the castle for princesses. But rather, let us rent her from time to time.

Friend #1: Yeah, we could come here and ... play with her when your wife is not home.

Alyssa’s father: What’s the pay?

Alyssa: Daddy? What does it mean to rent me?

Alyssa’s father: It’s to… ehm… play house with somebody.

Friend #2: I am willing to go 1,000 for an hour with her.

Friend #1: But that would be for both of us.

Alyssa’s father: Hmm… would you like to play with these misters, Ali?

Alyssa: If daddy wants to, I will! But I hope daddy will join us, too!

The friends start laughing out loud.

Alyssa’s father: No, lil princess. I can’t play with you.

Friend #1: She is so adorable! Could we play right now? I will give you 3,000 for 30 minutes!! I can’t wait any longer!

Alyssa’s father: Ali? Let’s go inside. Come, my friends.

Alyssa takes her dad’s hand and they all come inside the house. Father takes them into his and his wife’s bedroom.

Alyssa’s father: Now show them what you do before you take bath with mommy, Ali.

Friend #1: Yes, Ali, do it. I would love to see what a big girl you are.

Alyssa starts taking off her swimsuit.

Friend #2: Come on Ali, just a little more. What a beautiful young body you have.

Alyssa’s father: That’s my girl. Good girl. Daddy will buy you a lot of new toys, Ali.

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Pandora: It went on and on like this for one whole year. It didn’t seem there was any type of penetration but they did pretty much everything else to her… This is a story that Alyssa shared only with me and her mom. Her father was arrested after she explained that she was being forced to “play” with her father’s friends… All of them ended up in prison since they were no friends. They were actual criminals who trafficked little girls. Fucking pedophiles.

Doctor: Poor girl, I truly don’t envy such a fate. Good thing you were there for her to console her. These cases often end up with suicide… I can see now why the nickname “Ali” sends shivers down her spine so easily.

Pandora: An angel like Alyssa deserves only the best in her life. I wish my death was the only pain she ever feels.

Doctor: But didn’t you mention you were best friends since elementary school? If you moved out of the village to the city where you study together, how and when did you meet?

Pandora: That’s the thing. Our Village didn’t have any schools so I commuted to the neighboring town. That’s when I met Alyssa who lived there. Once she learnt I wanted to study psychology in this City since we had already moved here, she rented an apartment just to stay with me and study with me.

Doctor: I can’t imagine a lot of friends doing that. Dump Vulsen, she’s a keeper.

Pandora: One reason to study Psychology was of course me. But the other one was that she wanted to help little children to overcome traumas. To help them heal from the same type of misery she went through.

Doctor: Please, send her my way, I want to meet this angelic being so much.

Pandora: You’re creepy.

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

Pandora is sitting at her desk. Alyssa comes all cheerful.

Alyssa: Good morning, Pandora!

Pandora: O-oh, good morning, babe. (inner monologue) Impossible, she’s unbreakable! But I even used my trump card! I gotta go harder…

Alyssa: Listen, do you remember the two guys I told you about in the anime I’m watching?? The blondie finally confessed to the black hair!! It was so cuuuuuteeeee!

Pandora: There she goes, fangirling again…

Alyssa: I am so thrilled, I watched the episode yesterday and my heart is still beating like crazy!

Pandora: Ah, hehe.

Alyssa: Pandora, I want us to go for a little trip this Friday.

Pandora: Oh, but I have some other plans alr-

Alyssa: Stop it. We’re going and that’s that. No excuses.

Pandora: W-well, if you insist… (inner monologue) Dammit, what’s going on? I feel so powerless all of the sudden! Did my trump card really have no effect???

Alyssa: Great! I am so looking forward to it! And please, don’t make another slip up with that nickname like you did yesterday, okay~?

Pandora: S-sure…

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: The almighty Pandora goes stuttering like that? Ahahaha! Ehm. Sorry.

Pandora: You’re such a pain to deal with.

Doctor: Right back at ya.

Pandora: I was so nervous before my Friday date with Alyssa, I didn’t know what to do. Should I let her take the lead? Or should I take the opportunity to destroy her pillar once and for all?

Setting: At a train station / 2nd December 2022

Alyssa is waiting at the train station. Pandora runs towards her as she is a little late. Alyssa hums a melody that Pandora used to hum all the time when they would commute to school together. The scene is reminiscent of what they usually did together every morning, only this time the roles are reversed.

Alyssa: How come you’re late? You’re not watching any BL anime that could keep you at home longer~.

Pandora: I’m sorry, I panicked, I didn’t know what to wear for our date!

Alyssa: (smiles) A date… I guess we did go to our dates quite often, hihi.

Pandora: So, where are we going?

Alyssa: Sshhhh, let me be a little mysterious.

They board the train. They are silent for the whole ride. Once Pandora realizes where the train is headed, she says…

Pandora: Wait, but this is…!

Alyssa: Just a little further.

They finally take off of the train. They walk a short distance and they stop at a big building.

Alyssa: I bought two tickets to cinema for a sequel of our favorite movie we went to see here when we were kids. Let’s go.

Alyssa and Pandora watch the horror movie together. While Pandora eats popcorn, Alyssa keeps getting scared so she immediately crawls under Pandora’s arm. After the movie is finished, they walk out of the cinema.

Alyssa: Aaah, that was such a great movie!! I wasn’t scared at all!

Pandora: You liar!

Alyssa: Ahahaha! Next stop, the café!

Pandora and Alyssa drink coffee and eat a different type of cake. Alyssa feeds Pandora her cake and she grabs Pandora’s hand and makes Pandora feed her with the different type of cake too.

Alyssa: Ooof, I’m stuffed!

Pandora: This is a really pleasant, though unexpected, date you invited me to. (inner monologue) But this is wrong, I can’t enjoy myself like this, I need to get on track with my plan!

Alyssa: Just one more place.

They both walk side by side. After a while, they arrive in front of a certain house.

Pandora: I knew it… but why here…? Do you still have keys?

Alyssa: We moved out from my father after that traumatic incident and rented a flat here until my mom decided to buy a flat in the City so that my life would be more comfortable during the high school. After that man whom I used to call dad got arrested, the house went uninhabited.

Pandora: But why are we here?

Alyssa: Let’s go inside.

Pandora follows Alyssa inside. They go upstairs and Alyssa opens a certain door. It was her parents’ bedroom.

Alyssa: It all happened here. For full year, without my mother knowing a thing.

Pandora: Alyssa, I-

Alyssa: I chose this place because I want this story to have a proper finale.

Pandora: This… story?

Alyssa: Pandora. Who really switched the photos inside of those envelopes back at the cultural festival during your concert?

Pandora: How should I know?

Alyssa: It was you, wasn’t it?

Pandora remains silent but is visibly uncomfortable.

Alyssa: That’s the only logical explanation. After that concert, we started to grow more and more distant. You would ignore my phone calls, messages, decline my invites to our dates. You wouldn’t talk to me regularly even in school. You would rather skip lunch altogether than spend it with me. I thought it was just my imagination. But after that thing you did to the mug I gifted you and after you skipped my birthday party, I stopped being naïve. Those envelopes were just a beginning. You wanted to get rid of me for whatever reason. You planted a seed of destruction inside of me way back then.

Pandora: (inner monologue) She even uses the same description as me… we truly are best friends, one soul… we spent too much time together.

Alyssa: And the final nail in the coffin? You calling me ‘Ali’. It was no slip up, was it?

Pandora: (inner monologue) I swear I don’t want to do this to you babe, I love you from the bottom of my heart!!! (out loud) No, it wasn’t…

In a fantasy, Alyssa’s pillar connected to the statue of angelic Pandora cracks significantly for the second time.

Alyssa: I see. Even though you know full well what it means for me. That it brings back memories that haunted me and tortured me for years.

Pandora: Yes, even so.

Alyssa: Pandora. Those envelopes… the way you treat Vulcan. How you meet with older men. How you destroyed your dad’s reputation with that interview… this is not you anymore. You’re not the person I fell in love with. I can’t have a soulmate like this… I can’t have a soulmate who… is a bad person. And I started to think that you truly are a bad person.

Pandora: Maybe I am a bad person.

Alyssa: So let me ask you one last time. Do you still want to be best friends with me? No. Do you even want to be friends? Do you even want to talk to me?

Pandora: (inner monologue) Don’t do this… please… don’t make me say it out loud. (out loud) Well, we can still talk to each other, why not? I don’t understand what you mean, babe.

Alyssa: Pandora. Answer me.

Pandora: … No. I don’t want to be your friend anymore.

Alyssa: Really?

Pandora: Really… Ali.

In the fantasy, the pillar gets cut in half. Then it gets slashed and the pillar is shredded to millions of pieces. The statue finally falls down from the platform.

Alyssa: (tears start falling from her eyes) Thank you for being honest. I am really happy we got to go on our last date like this. Pandora, I break up with you. (Smiles through tears)

Pandora turns around and leaves the bedroom and also the house. Alyssa comes running after her and shouts at her while Pandora still walks away.

Alyssa: Pandora!! Just so you know, I will never give up on my dream! I will become a far better psychologist than you and then I will work with little children! I will help them overcome anything in their young lives! I won’t let a single soul stray away! I won’t let them end up like you!

Pandora doesn’t respond. When she is finally far enough, Pandora leans against a bus stop, bursting into loud crying, crouching down with her head in her hands.