My Three Dying Rules
Setting: At the prison / 1st November 2024
Pandora is waiting in a prison, in the meeting rooms with the familiar glasses and phones that you can see in all the movies. The police bring the prisoner to Pandora. It is Shinzo’s father, the doctor who faked Pandora’s medical records.
Shinzo’s father: If it isn’t the corrupted angel. The savior who saved my daughter.
Pandora: I said that getting you in prison for your sins would be Shinzo’s last order from me. But this time, I need a favor from you.
Shinzo’s father: Under normal circumstances, I would send you away. But seeing my daughter, talking to me on the other side of this phone fills my heart with nothing but happiness. Pandora. You can’t even imagine how happy I am. Even if handcuffed, even if locked in a cell. I can still smile and make it through another day because my daughter is alive and she is waiting for me.
Shinzo’s father: I will do anything you ask me to.
Pandora: Actually, it’s just a simple question. You’re a doctor. So you must have connections. I am looking for a good psychologist. No. One of the best in the whole country.
Shinzo’s father: That’s not a problem, I know at least three people I can recommend!
Pandora: But there’s one condition that needs to be met. This psychologist has to have financial issues.
Shinzo’s father: That’s a weird request…
Pandora: Will you help me or not?
Shinzo’s father: Hmm… come to think of it. I do know somebody that would fit the description. Her name is…
Setting: At the psychologist / present, 24th November 2024
Doctor: What do you mean by that? What is that rule about??
Pandora: Oh doctor, please, just use those brain cells a little…
Doctor: Do you want me to issue a study based on your story?
Pandora: That’d be too lame. I want you to write a book. A novel based on a true story, full of analysis and psychological theory.
Doctor: Do you want me to write about yourself?
Pandora: No, about politicians who are granted superpowers by people through elections. Of course I want you to write about me.
Doctor: Okay, and why would I do that?
Pandora: And why would you not do that? Your ex-husband left you with quite a debt. Weren’t you struggling to pay it off? Your other books are not being sold well. They probably lack emotion. One of the best psychologists in the country? Give me a break. Your life is a mess and you are not even trying at work anymore, your jokes and sarcastic remarks towards me are your own coping mechanism with the confusion you feel inside from what is going on around you.
Doctor: (frowns) Hey. Where did you get this information?
Pandora: Doesn’t matter now, does it? All I know is that a story like this, about a girl who decided to lose it all, has the potential to be the best seller.
Doctor: It’d be too difficult to write a story like that.
Pandora: I’ll help you.
Doctor: But even so, you w- … wait. What did you say?
Doctor: You damn brat.
Pandora: Ahahah, well? Do you take the offer?
Doctor: I noticed one thing. You stopped fantasizing about your gruesome ways of death at some point. At first I thought it was because you were coming closer and closer to the actual suicide date. But… did you actually heal halfway through your plan?
Pandora: Did I? Or was this my plan all along? School is boring for a teenager. Life is difficult without connections. The world of the adults is scary. So what choice did I have? I just opened the door to my future, introduced myself and created a perfect business opportunity. For both you and me.
Doctor: No, I can’t believe this. You wouldn’t make your loved ones suffer just because you wanted to hurry up and become a psychologist, or a writer.
Pandora: I certainly wouldn’t.
Doctor: (realization) No way. Pandora. Was it actually all true? Or was the whole story just… made up for the novel I should write?
Pandora: Eheheh. We should definitely call it ‘My Three Dying Rules’.
Doctor: You managed to confuse me. I have no idea what is going on anymore. Should I be mad? Should I be skeptical? Or should I be relieved that a young girl… a very skillful young girl like you is not going to take her life?
Pandora: You are free to feel whatever you want at the moment.
Doctor: You even dug into my past and problems. You looked for a perfect psychologist for your ultimate scheme. You know I cannot refuse your offer right now. My circumstances won’t let me. Let’s do it.
Pandora: That’s the spirit! We need to give a fictional name to the main heroine. Although, I would love her to have your name. Would you be OK with it, Ms. Valentine?
Doctor Valentine: Giving author’s name to the main character is … lame, as you would say.
Pandora: But I love it so much~. Oh, and of course, unlike me, we will have the heroine actually commit the suicide. Just let her hang herself in the end or something.
Doctor: It’s going to be a really depressing story. Is there a main idea? What should the reader take from it? No, let me ask the question personally to you. What are you hoping to achieve?
Pandora: The world is still not ready to talk about depression and other mental illnesses. The people are oblivious to what is going on with their sisters, fathers, friends, neighbors. One day you are laughing with a beer in your hand with your friends and singing anime openings, the next day you are found dead in your bathtub. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s tell the world it is okay to feel insecure, empty, or sad. But let’s warn the world that even the people with seemingly the most perfect lives can feel empty inside and think about taking their own lives. May the story of Pandora … or Valentine, be a frightening example that there is darkness inside all of us. And the world needs to be prepared to help before it is too late. That’s my dream. The dream of an aspiring psychologist.
Doctor: It still sounds like a cry for help from you. But I will do whatever I can to make your dream reality.
Pandora: So when do we start? Will next week the usual time be okay for you, partner~?
Doctor: (smirks) Heh. I hate you.
Pandora stands up and prepares to leave the office. As she walks away, Doctor stops her.
Doctor: Wait! And what is the third dying rule?? If we’re gonna do this, I should know it! Pandora!
Pandora opens the door, looks back at her, smiles and leaves.
Setting: Somewhere in the streets / present, 24th November 2024
Pandora is wandering off through the streets. She finds a poster of a pop idol glued to a street lamp. She sees a black and white hallucination of quite a few people in front of it yelling: “Wooo, Pandora’s concert is next week! I can’t wait!”. The fans are chained. Pandora ignores them and walks by. The chains are undone and they are free as they disappear in the thin air.
Pandora walks further and hears a certain familiar voice from behind her: “Pandora, I am so proud of you, daughter! You defeated the champion Claressa! I couldn’t be happier!” Pandora’s former boxing Coach is chained up behind her. She doesn’t look back at the black and white hallucination. A billboard with an advertisement for the upcoming finals of the National Championship is shown with a face of her former Coach and a new boxing talent next to him, which Pandora doesn’t notice.
As she walks along the entrance to the cinema, she is called by another black and white hallucination: “Hurry up, Pandora!” says the first voice. The second voice says: “The movie is about to start!”. The voices belong to Marina and Chloe who are chained. Pandora doesn’t accept the invitation, the chains are broken. As she keeps walking, she passes two girls talking to each other.
Girl #1: Yeah, the illness wasn’t terminal in the end. I just need to take a lot of pills but I can manage! What about your mom?
Girl #2: She found a different job and now we are able to spend a lot of time together!
Pandora is confronted head on by another black and white projection witch chains around the neck. This one is Vulcan’s voice: “Pandora, I am sorry I couldn’t protect you from that. But please allow me to stand by you till the rest of my life.” The hallucination’s chains are being unwrapped and it disappears as soon as Pandora walks directly through it. A boy is sitting on a bench nearby, talking to somebody on the phone.
The boy: I’ll meet you right after my training! Yes, I love you, too.
“I don’t want to compete with you anymore. Let’s just be friends. We have so many things in common! Maybe we could be a badminton tag team or something? I know, I know, we never even played badminton together, hahah.” - echoes from the lips of Nessa, the Student Council President, that follows Pandora as a black and white hallucination. She has chains around her chest. Pandora passes a certain girl who tries to get rid of a poster stuck to the wall.
The girl: Another year, another successful cultural festival. Of course, it always succeeds only under my supervision!
Pandora comes to a train station where she was usually meeting with her best friend. A black and white hallucination of Alyssa is waiting in front of a coming train: “Pandora, late again? I can’t believe you, when did you become me? Heheh.” Pandora boards the train and she hums the usual song, with Alyssa’s projection staying behind at the station.
Once Pandora gets off the train, she arrives at a familiar place. The Village she grew up in. As she walks on a sidewalk, she sees Aura on the other side of the street, in a black and white hallucination fashion, who speaks to her with chains around his eyes: “You have always been my motivation, Panda. Thanks to you I won the first prize at the National Gallery!” Pandora doesn’t respond and continues towards her destination. The hallucination turns colorful, and the boy is walking next to an adult man. The boy looks directly at Pandora but it seems his eyes are unable to see. He speaks to the adult man.
The boy: Thank you for coming to buy another canvas with me, dad! I just have too many ideas swirling in my head!
Pandora finally reaches her Grandpa’s house. She opens the door with a key she had in her pocket. In the living room, her Grandpa, Mother, Father and Leon are welcoming her. Only they are just a black and white hallucination and are connected by a chain. Mother: “Welcome home, sweetie!”, Father: “Here’s my tough princess!”, Leon: “Damn, I was hoping you wouldn’t come tonight.”, Grandpa: “Your Grandma is making some soup for us, please join us, Pandora!”. She goes upstairs but a black and white hallucination comes out from her. The black and white Pandora joins the family. The real Pandora is passing a family photo where her little self, little Leon, Father, Mother, Grandpa and Grandma are.
She grabs her ‘hair’ and throws it away. The long white hair was just a wig. She reveals short black hair. She enters a room she used to sleep in whenever she was at Grandpa’s house. Pandora turns the lights on and looks at a rope with a sling above a chair. There is another rope that is hanging from the open window but the rope is coming from a ceiling. There is a hole which the rope comes out of. She climbs onto the chair and puts her head inside of the sling.
Pandora: I’m finally free.
Suddenly a female scream saying “STOOOOOOOOP!!!!” is heard as someone is standing in the door.
Pandora: W-what are you doing here… Alyssa?!
Alyssa: Pandora, no!! Don’t do this!!
Pandora: How did you find me here?
Alyssa: You idiot! Do you think your best friend wouldn’t know?! I met your Mother and she told me what you have done! A certain someone told me they have a feeling you would try to do it tonight!
Pandora: A certain someone?
Alyssa: It doesn’t matter now! But it all makes sense (starts tearing up)… you… you tried to hurt everybody so that nobody is hurt when you die... isn’t that right?! You planned this for so long!
Alyssa: Don’t underestimate me! It all falls into place! I am a psychologist, too, if you forgot! And I am much more skilled now!
Pandora: Babe, please leave me alone. I want to do this.
Alyssa: No! I won’t let you!! (Alyssa hugs Pandora who has still her head inside of the fling.) I won’t let you kick that chair away! I swear I’m gonna save you! You will be the first child I will ever save and then I will save at least a million more children!
Pandora: Don’t do this to me.
Alyssa: Did you think you could just sever our bond like this?! No way! I have never stopped thinking about you! Even though you hurt me. I studied your behavior pattern and this was the only explanation. You would never call me Ali, you would never ruin your family, you would never do anything so cruel to anybody! You are the kindest person I ever met!
Pandora: How did you know I would be here…?
Alyssa: I’m your soul mate, silly! We are the same. I wanted to reach my closure at the house I grew up in. Of course you would do the same!
Pandora: You can stop hugging me now...
Alyssa: No! Because if I do, you will kill yourself! I am never letting you go! We will eat, sleep, bath and even work hugging from now on!
Pandora: Please let me go, babe.
Alyssa: (bursting into crying) I won’t! I don’t want to lose you! Please stop it!!
Pandora: I guess my plan failed…
Alyssa: Yes! And I will foil any other plans of yours! You hear me?!
Pandora: (inner monologue) Damn… I should have known that Alyssa would be…
Alyssa: Please move your head out of that sling, I’m begging you! Whatever you throw at me, I will endure it! Call me Ali all you want! Skip all of my birthdays all you want! I will forgive you each and every time! But please… PLEASE, don’t die! If you kill yourself, I swear, I will NEVER forgive you! That’s the only time I will ever stop considering you a friend! That’s the only way you could truly hurt me and make me hate you!!!
Pandora: (inner monologue) I see… so that’s how it is. (out loud) Alright… (she moves her head out of the sling). You won… I won’t hang myself.
Alyssa: I don’t trust you! (she squeezes her harder)
Pandora: I kinda prepared for an unlikely scenario like this. But know one thing, babe. I love you.
She forcibly kicks Alyssa away, Alyssa falls down and Pandora grabs the second rope hanging from the window. It has a sling at the end as well. She sticks her head inside of it. Alyssa looks terrified and screams at Pandora. She stands up and rushes at Pandora, trying to reach her with her hand. Pandora just by a little bit manages to evade her and she jumps out of the window.
Pandora: (inner monologue, while Alyssa screams something that Pandora cannot hear) Doctor, you were right. When I got closer and closer to my ultimate fate, I stopped seeing the gruesome vivid pictures of my death.
Alyssa looks out of the window and keeps screaming at Pandora, trying to reach her but Pandora hangs right between Alyssa’s hand and the ground.
Pandora: (inner monologue) Alyssa, perhaps I chose this date, the day of your birthday, because I always knew you would be the hidden final boss of my journey.
Alyssa tries to look in the room for something she could cut the rope with but she cannot find anything. She looks at the ceiling from where the rope is hanging, she looks down the window and she panics. She doesn’t know whether she needs to go upstairs to untie it or downstairs to hold Pandora’s legs.
Pandora: (inner monologue) I am losing oxygen. The end is near… these were My Three Dying Rules.
Alyssa cries and screams at Pandora.
Pandora: (inner monologue) Rule number one: I shall not die before I hurt everybody so much that my death won’t hurt them anymore.
Alyssa tries to catch the rope but it just makes the sling around Pandora’s neck tighter. She immediately lets it go. She sees that Pandora pees herself.
Pandora: (inner monologue) Rule number two: I shall not die before becoming a perfect test subject for further psychology studies.
Alyssa collapses desperately crying and drooling on the floor, with her head in her hands.
Pandora: (inner monologue) Rule number three: I shall not die unless I totally h- (her eyes roll over).
CHAPTER 24: END
Author’s note: And thus, the story of Pandora, the girl who decided to lose it all, has concluded. Next time, the epilogue.