My Three Dying Rules
Setting: Village cemetery / 4th April 2009
A funeral is held at the Village cemetery. 3-year-old Pandora, 8-year-old Leon, their Mother, Father and Grandpa are standing near the tomb where their Grandma is going to be buried. Grandpa and Leon cry loudly.
Leon: Grandmaaa!! Nooo! Don’t put her there! I want to spend more time with Grandma!! (weeping)
Grandpa: Why did you leave me so soon, my love? Whyy?? (sobbing)
Little Pandora doesn’t really understand the pain of losing a loved one. She is holding Father’s hand and notices the murmur around her from the people.
Older Village woman #1: Just look at her. (Looking at Pandora’s Mother, who has a poker face all the time.) Her mother just died and she doesn’t even shed a single tear. At times, it seems she is smiling.
Older Village woman #2: That woman was always a creep. Even as a kid. She never cried, she laughed during inappropriate situations.
Older Village woman #1: Their family is so weird. Her brother didn’t even come to a funeral. Just what kind of a son does not attend a funeral of his own mother?
Pandora looks with children’s curiosity at her Mother. Her Mother really does seem emotionless right now.
Setting: Village, Grandfather’s home / 5th April 2009
Grandpa and Mother are talking to each other in a living room. Grandpa sits on his favorite chair. Little Pandora is playing with dolls on the carpet near them.
Grandpa: My heart has lost an important piece. I will miss your mom until the day I die…
Mother: I will miss her, too…
Grandpa: The whole Village is talking about us… Your good-for-nothing brother didn’t even bother to come. And you seemed as if you weren’t a bit troubled that your mother died.
Mother: But I am troubled. I am very well aware that I won’t see her anymore. But this has been my first funeral where a close person of mine died. I simply didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to fake tears just because everybody was crying, it would feel forced…
Grandpa: I understand that it is not your fault that you cannot feel any emotions. But maybe… you should try to learn how to fake them. Try to learn how to react to any situations, observe your surroundings…
Mother: Dad, I am sorry for worrying you. I know that you feel excruciating pain inside of you and yet I am not even a little bit sad that my beloved mom has passed away… I will try hard to get weaker! For your sake, and for my family’s sake as well.
Setting: Village cemetery / 21st April 2009
Another funeral is being held. Little Pandora is holding hands with her Mother, they stand next to each other a little further away from the tomb of the deceased. Mother observes the people. A woman is screaming from sorrow, she tries to jump into the hole after the coffin where her late mother is being laid to for the final rest.
Mother: Hmm, so people can act crazy like this out of desperation and it is socially acceptable…
After the funeral is over, Mother comes closer to shake hands with the screaming woman to condole.
Mother: I am sorry for your loss.
The screaming woman: Thank you…
Mother: May I ask you? Were you the one to find your mom dead?
The screaming woman: Pardon…?
Mother: What did you feel when you found out she died? What did you do?
The screaming woman: E-excuse me but that’s- (the woman looks at Mother in disbelief)
Pandora: Can we go now, mom? I am getting hungry.
Mother: Oh, right, sweetie, let’s go have a feast!
They turn around and leave the scene while the screaming woman watches them in a state of shock.
The screaming woman: Is that woman out of her mind…?
Setting: Village Park / 14th May 2009
Pandora is playing with little kids in the sand. Mother is talking to a certain man on a bench, who is sitting there with his blind son who has a familiar face.
Mother: Excuse me, sir. Is that your son?
The man on a bench: Yes, he is my most beloved son.
Mother: Is he… blind?
The man on a bench: Yes, unfortunately. He lost sight just 1 year after he was born. The doctors said he was lucky enough to have a chance to at least see the sun and understand what colors are.
Mother: What did you do when you found out your son would not be able to see?
The man on a bench: Nothing in particular. I just knew that I started to love him even more than before. He needs to be protected. I will do everything in my power to make his life a happy one. Everything else is pushed to the sidetracks. That’s our family’s mission.
Mother: Your family’s… mission…
Setting: Town’s hospital / 19th May 2009
Mother and Pandora are visiting a doctor. Pandora sits on a chair a little further away as Mother asks Doctor very specific questions.
Mother: Is there a way to treat my condition?
Mother’s Doctor: I don’t think so. It’s not an illness or anything. It’s just an unfortunate disorder.
Mother: Doctor, please help me… how can I start crying on command?
Mother’s Doctor: Well, that’s not a question for me, I’m afraid. But try to cut a lot of onion and remember how it feels when the tears flow out of your eyes.
Mother: That sounds really stupid. But I will try that…
Setting: At the psychologist / present
Pandora: My Mother tried a lot of things and I think that in the end, she succeeded in faking her emotions. I mean, the only people who knew about her condition were the late Grandma, Grandpa and me. My Father and Leon never noticed anything. That’s how good she was.
Doctor: But when it comes to specific situations, like you saying you had a terminal illness, she couldn’t fake anything. I can imagine those were circumstances she couldn’t have prepared for. That’s when I started to have my doubts. No mother would have such a cold reaction. And the way she talked to Benedict-
Doctor: Benimaru… when he was coming to your Grandpa’s house. She didn’t feel any remorse towards your Father.
Pandora: Exactly. And she didn’t even flinch when Grandma died. So I thought at first that I didn’t need to hurt my Mother because she would overcome my death pretty easily.
Doctor: But you couldn’t risk it. Mother-daughter bond is much stronger when in role of a mother than when in role of a daughter. On top of that, it’s not just about the emotions. It’s about habits, the way of life. She would know there would be something missing deep inside. It’s not like she is not a human being.
Pandora: I studied her condition quite a lot. You could say that my Mother was the main reason why I chose to be a psychologist.
Doctor: Were you successful in dealing with the ‘final antagonist’ then?
Pandora: (smiles coldly, as if she was faking it) During the time my Father was in the hospital because of the heart attack…
Setting: Village, Benimaru’s flat, living room / 25th July 2024
Mother read the message from Pandora where she sent a photo of Benimaru to her. Mother immediately calls her and Pandora picks up the phone.
Mother: (on the phone) Pandora… what are you doing with him…???
Pandora: I don’t understand why you chose Father over this cutie. He is such a kind person. He even let me stay at his place~. Oh and when he touches me I feel so good~.
Benimaru’s face is struck with a surprise but then he starts laughing.
Mother: Have you really gone crazy?!
Pandora: Wouldn’t you like to get back to him? Forget about your husband, he’s a loser now. Collapsing like that just because of a job. Tsk tsk tsk.
Mother: Don’t speak about your Father like that!! I am coming over there! (she hangs up)
Pandora: Ooops, Mom is coming here. I guess she would know where you live.
Benimaru: Wahaha! This is getting so interesting!!
Pandora: Now listen to my plan, you sleazy bastard.
Pandora explains the plan. Benimaru laughs out loud all the time.
Benimaru: And what do I get in return for cooperating?
Pandora: Me. We will do it. Tonight. (Benimaru sticks his tongue out and licks his lips as he starts drooling.)
Setting: At the psychologist / present
Doctor: You’re such a sl-
Pandora: Don’t judge me yet.
Doctor: One question, what happened to the dog? Why was it not with you at the flat?
Setting: Village, nearby forest / 25th July 2024
Pandora walks along her dog Lucky, it is on a leash. She stops and watches the sun rise for a bit. She looks at the happy dog and pulls out a knife.
Pandora: Sorry, boy. This is for the future… (She makes a move with the knife.)
Setting: At the psychologist / present
Doctor: No way. You didn’t. You couldn’t.
Setting: Village, Benimaru’s flat / 25th July 2024
The sun is already setting. Mother knocks on the door. A voice shouts from the inside of the flat.
Benimaru: It’s open!
Mother enters the flat. She finds Benimaru sitting in a living room at the dining table. There are candles, flowers, a bottle of wine with two full glasses and two plates of food, some meat with vegetables.
Mother: Where is my daughter?
Benimaru: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am alone here. Please have a seat.
Mother: What are you playing, Beni?
Benimaru shows with his head and points at the plate that is obviously there for somebody who will join Benimaru. Mother comes closer and looks at the meat at the plate. Benimaru makes another gesture with his head, telling her to look under it. Mother lifts the plate and finds a note under it. The note says:
Do what I say or you will never see your daughter again.
Benimaru: I am so glad to see you love! (diverting the attention away) Please have a seat, you must be tired!
Mother reluctantly sits on the chair.
Benimaru: Please eat the dinner, I made it just for us. Did you miss me?
Mother: (frowns) Yes, I missed you… in a way.
Benimaru: Come on, eat, or it will get cold.
Mother starts eating the meat with vegetables.
Benimaru: Do you remember how we used to spend the nights together? I felt bad for Kazuo. He had no idea you were dating both of us, hahah.
Mother: That’s ancient history. I love my husband and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.
Benimaru: Do you love him, though? How can you know you love him if you cannot feel any emotions?
Benimaru: Yeah, I know about your condition. You are unable to feel pain, sadness, happiness, gratitude or even… love.
Mother: Did she tell you?
Benimaru: I am surprised that nobody else knew it. But do you know when I was surprised even more? (Mother stares at him in silence) When I was coming weekly to your house in this Village and you treated me the same way you had always treated me. I loved that feeling. Knowing that you would spend time with me when nobody else was home, hehe. It felt good to do that with a married woman.
Mother: Are you finished? What is this even all about?
Benimaru: Just one more question and please be as honest as possible. Then we can wrap this up. I promise.
Mother: … I’m all ears.
Benimaru: Did you love Kazuo more than me? Answer me. Pandora.
Mother is revealed to have the same name as her daughter, Pandora.
Mother: I didn’t. I didn’t love any of you.
Benimaru: Then how could you have been married to Kazuo for so many years?
Mother: I learnt to fake love. I knew I had no other choice but to force myself to care about him if I wanted to ever have a normal life.
Benimaru: Is that enough for you… (He turns his head the other way and the door from his bedroom open) …Pandora?
Pandora comes outside of the room and she takes her phone from below the table.
Mother: P-Pandora, you’re okay?!
Pandora: I didn’t have to hear that. But what about you… Father? (Pandora reveals she had her Father listen to the whole conversation through a phone.)
Father: (from the phone, he is put on a speaker) Pandora…! I can’t believe this. You never loved me…? And who is this guy anyway?!
Mother: Kazuo, I will explain!
Pandora: What is there to explain? There was not a single lie, was there?
Father: Well… was there…?
Mother: I understand what this is about… to think that my own daughter would do this. No, Kazuo. There was not a single lie. Everything that you heard was the truth. I am sorry I was lying to you my whole life…
Father: (his voice is trembling in the phone) Just… who are you? And what kind of a family have we been?! Is it true you are unable to feel anything? What about Leon? Do you care about your own son?
Mother: I will forever suffer because of my condition. I am sorry. I am truly sorry.
Pandora: No, you’re not sorry, Mom. You are unable to feel any remorse. You’re saying this just because that’s what normal people would say in this situation.
Mother: I have heard enough. I don’t know why I came. Why did I worry-
Pandora: You didn’t worry.
Mother: I’m leaving…
Pandora: Great, leave us alone and we will go wild with Beni-chan tonight~. I still don’t understand how you could choose Father over him.
Father: Pandoraaa-!! (She hangs up)
In a fantasy, the parents pillar is being cracked from every possible side. At the very bottom of the pillar, a single stone is holding it.
Mother: You destroyed everything, Pandora. I have no words to say to you anymore. I hope to never see your face again.
Pandora: So cold~.
As her Mother is leaving, Pandora shouts at her.
Pandora: Oh, and Mom? (inner monologue) Thank you for everything. I am proud I could be born to a strong and caring woman like you. (out loud) I hope you enjoyed the dinner! (inner monologue) Mommy, I can’t imagine what immense love you would have given to me had you not have your unfortunate condition. (out loud) I am certain Lucky would have been really happy… (inner monologue) This is my final blow. (Out loud) …that you were the one to eat him!
Mother’s face goes pale as she remembers the meat on the plate. In the fantasy, the bottom stone cracks and the last pillar finally crumbles, leaving Pandora all alone in the place.
CHAPTER 22: END
Author’s note: At last, the final pillar has been destroyed. What awaits our heroine now? Only two chapters left!