Chapter 16:

The Past (2)

FICTION: If you held the power of god in your two hands, would you save the world? Would you doom it? Or would you watch from the sidelines, just as you had done before?

You’d like to know, right? About me. My past, human self.

Fine then, I’ll tell you.

But only because we’re about to arrive; because our journey is coming to an end, as I’ve known for a while now. The future from that point is uncertain to me, and even the Record claims that it’s no more than “a pebble in the road of fate”.

But as you know, there are things that even he doesn’t know. Even if inconsequential, there are two small details; or “data” as he calls it; about myself that I’ve hidden from him.

And one large detail.

It relates to the end of the world; the one that he doesn’t quite understand.

The one thing that not even God knew, before he disappeared.

Only you and I can understand.


“Fate is something that is not simply followed, but instead conjured. Weaved together, strand by strand, it slowly begins to take shape as something greater than the individual threads that realize it. And even as its own whole, that individual piece will become just another strand, weaved into an even greater sum. Over and over, as they overlap and intertwine, the lives and events of all things come together to make one whole story. And in that sense, all things living or otherwise are equally important as contributors to such an incomprehensible, massive work of art that has no beginning nor end, which represents all things that there ever was, or ever will be.

“Such is fate, and such is life.”

Unfortunately, I’m not so philosophical nor enlightened on the subject as to preach such a passage from the depths of my own heart. No, that aside came from the being who claims to be God. The God, who rules over our world as an individual. Preaching as if he was some sort of mortal, with his own partial ideas and opinions. And yet he still stood above us in absolution, claiming to be anything but as he watched our world with hollow eyes.

But all of that stuff is just speculation on my part about what kind of personality this ‘God’ really held before. Because in all honesty, I had only ever met them once. And I wasn’t even able to converse with them, so much as listen silently to their final, regretful plea to the world before they dissolved, cutting their own string loose from this so-called grand fate that they seemed to enjoy monologuing about so much.

But at that initial moment in which I felt their presence from within my dream, I felt special. As special as anybody who had been one of the chosen ten would have felt then. Because in all of my naivety, I didn’t yet understand that their spiel about fate was simply a desperate attempt to hide the fact that they had no plan; no idea on how to handle their inevitable demise. That I, along with the other nine Chosen, had in fact not been chosen at all.

We were simply a random group of people left with the burden of a world which they would no longer be able to curate. A world which they had long since left to its own devices, but at their end suddenly couldn’t let go of. It was anything but special; that moment. Even as sitting ducks in a mess that we created ourselves; a mix of good, bad, and chaotic intentions; the one who was the most incompitent was perhaps God themself. Because even a god; the God; feared death in their final moments. And we, and our actions, were all only a byproduct of that fear, birthed from a sloppy, last-second plan that was concocted in a panic.

I didn’t ask for these powers; this omnipotence. But it had all been passed along to me regardless, whether or not I wanted such a substantial role, so how I used them really didn’t matter. It was a mistake for me to have inherited such abilities at all. When you took a second to think about the way that my powers manifested, and what little they were even capable of, it was an obvious fact that I was in fact not meant for this role.

I was an inconsequential person. A background character, who wouldn’t get more than a single line in somebody else’s story; who’d be rendered in cost-effective CG for the anime adaption. The only thing you could note about me is that I have a talent for disinvolving myself; a fear of what kinds of precious things I would shatter if I tried to step in and become part of the story. Omnipotence wouldn’t change that all on its own. In fact, it only seemed to lean into my flaws.

Ironic, wasn’t it?

But then again, even God broke character at least once. So by unfortunate extension, so could I.

This is the story about an omnipotent middle schooler who drove a girl to suicide, simply because she did her best to reach out to him.


When I awoke from the strange dream where God disappeared from the world, I was still no more or no less than myself. Despite the fact that the event was hazy, it was clear in my head, like a freshly cached memory.

Just a dream, right?

I prepared myself for school in a flurry, with little time to properly prepare myself. Shirt, blazer, skirt, and socks, just like normal. I packed my school books, notebooks, and unfinished homework, all packed into a neat little bag. Then to the bathroom, to tidy myself up.

I avoided the mirror.

My pale skin; my tired eyes; my wide, gloomy face; I didn’t like any of it one bit. I already knew what I looked like. So I covered it up with a sheet in the upstairs bathroom. Nobody else seemed to mind after I did it, so it stayed like that. If I already had eight-ball eyes by this point, I wouldn’t have been able to tell.

Of course, I hobbled downstairs just late enough for mom to have already left for work. She had breakfast wrapped up on the table in front of my favorite spot at the table, with a small bento containing a school-appropriate lunch waiting for me to pick up. I left both there, slipping my shoes on and quickly heading out.

I didn’t want to miss the bell.

Past the neighborhood, down the main road, and then up a big hill, I started to see other students of matching uniforms headed in the same direction.

They were all headed to school.

I didn’t know any of their names, but it had gotten to the point now where I recognized the faces of each and every one of them. Even more so the back of their heads, as I lingered behind them to get a good snippet of their conversations.

What was for lunch today?

Did that guy she asked out turn her down?

His little sister stole his pudding last night.

They were both excited for today’s drama club practice.

How did the baseball game go yesterday?

Endless questions and answers, all delivered in the casual conversation of the lively students. That kind of thing; those stories of the regular, mundane lives of others; I loved to eavesdrop in on them. But despite how close I listened in; how much I stared, nobody ever saw me. I was insignificant; less than insignificant.

I was freely allowed to observe, as life continued on around me. Not too far in the back; but not at the front, either. I felt most comfortable when I was in the middle of things, where nobody could ever see me.

It was as if I had a superpower.

And sometimes, I really did wonder if I could make myself invisible. Or really, it was more of me fantasizing. If I could have been that comfortable all of the time, then truly, I would be in paradise.

As the school gate came into view, I slowed my pace on the sidewalk, and move to the side so that others could pass me by. Still, they paid no mind, and didn’t even need to move for me. As long as I stayed out of their way, I would continue to be invisible to them.

And then, as the middle school campus was in full view at the top of the hill, I stopped, and watched the students enter through one by one, greeting the gym teacher as they continued on without a care in the world.

There I waited, hiding behind a tree that was just off of the sidewalk path. Most of the students had gone, and then that sound came, which was music to my ears. The one that made me forget how creepy I must have looked, leering at middle school kids from behind a tree.

Well, I was a middle schooler too though.

The school bell rang.

The teacher began to close the gate, just as two more students came through. One had messy, blonde hair, walking at a pace of his own, while the other donned thick glasses, stumbling over himself as he began to lay his excuses out to the gatekeeper.

These two were the usual tardies. They were typical looking characters, though despite their looks, they actually put in their own sort of effort to show up to class. Even if they were late, it’s not like they weren’t trying their best to be there. Or else they wouldn’t have come at all.

Like me.

After a few more minutes waiting, I turned back, satisfied with my daily watch. If I could make it back home now without anybody noticing me, the rest of my day would be a breeze. This was my daily routine.

Or at least, it should have been. But waiting in the blind spot of my vision was a certain girl.

“You won’t come today either?”

Hotaru Fujiwara.

The one who reminded me that I, in fact, did not have invisibility powers.

My mood became sour.

I walked past her, paying no mind to the girl’s soft, kind face.

I felt a tug on the collar of my arm. Twisting my neck, I saw a smile accompanied by inquisitive eyes.

“Why not?”

“This isn’t some bishoujo visual novel. If I ignore you, don’t start grabbing onto me. That’s sexual harrassment, you know.”

My favorite line.

I pulled away and kept walking. I hated girls like her the most. She looked like she was the type to give up easily when somebody shot her an ugly look, but unfortunately she was stubborn.

I guess she didn’t really get scared off like most people. Adults were especially the easiest to deal with in situations like these, so far removed from the mindset of a simple, bad-mannered child. They often just gave up and left things to somebody else. Luckily, my mom and dad were good parents. They loved me equally whether or not I attended classes.

Well, maybe they should have been pestering me about it a little bit more. After all, what if I grew up to be a NEET? I was already headed down that path. But well, it’s not like I was complaining. I wasn’t troubled or depressed. I just like to pursue my interests, and school didn’t happen to be one of them.

People like me were the most troublesome to your average, upstanding adults though; the type of kid that didn’t even try to become somebody.

I relied on that. My stubborn, unproductive self.

From far behind me, I could hear her still.

“See you tomorrow!”

I didn’t look back, but I didn’t need to see to know that she must have been waving goodbye. Well, it wasn’t a surprise to me, considering this had been a daily occurrence for a few weeks now.

I hated people like her; goody-two-shoes types, who reached out to others while looking down on them. As if she was being a good person by trying to save me from some kind of non-existent purgatory of loneliness.

I was perfectly fine with myself. I didn’t need friends, and I didn’t need help. Anybody who couldn’t just accept me as I was was nothing but a self-righteous prick.

If I wasn’t careful then she, too, would become part of my routine.


My reflection was gone. I wandered into the bathroom this morning to find that the bedsheet had been taken down. I almost recoiled at myself, but there was no “myself” to even react to.

No, but I hadn’t really disappeared, had I?

Was I a vampire? Did that pesky Fujiwara bite me?

Actually, that outcome didn’t seem so bad. I would then be able to wander the night with carefree spirits, like the main character does in Cull of the Night.

I finished my routine and stepped outside as usual.

And no, I wasn’t so brainless as to think “I mUSt StILl bE HalF asLEEp.” and drop it or anything ridiculous like that. My reflection clearly wasn’t there. This wasn’t a dream, either.

Come on now.

I left my house, looking for somebody who could confirm that I was still visible. God forbid, if I was coming down with a case of puberty syndrome. Or even worse, if I was approached by a perverted high school boy who was 1/10th vampire, wanting to fix my mental illness.

I read a lot of light novels, if you couldn’t tell.

I found myself running to find the usual merge of students, which I usually only stood around to watch in the morning. I thought I was calm about the whole thing, but suddenly the thought of disappearing entirely didn’t seem so pleasant.

There they were.

I wanted to call out to one of them. I tried, but my voice wouldn’t come out. I was getting cold feet.

If I called out to them, and this was all just in my head, then they would see me, wouldn’t they? And then they’d want to know why I was talking to them, and then it would become awkward.

Put simply, I would have to interact.

I couldn’t really do that. It felt wrong. And awkward. So instead, I began walking with the rest of them like normal. Not because I had become calm, but the opposite. I could barely catch my breath even. I didn’t want anybody to turn my way and see me. I didn’t want to be interacted with.

I was afraid of talking to others.

At the end of the stream of middle schoolers, when the school gates closed, I stood still, taking in big heaves of air to try and slow my heart rate. It felt like I was stuck riding a one-way train with no stops. I was stuck on some sort of track.

Maybe I would stay out a little longer today before heading home as usual. Just to change things up a bit. Perhaps double-checking the mirror wasn’t a bad idea.

I turned around to find Fujiwara waiting behind me again.

That means she saw me, right?

But she wasn’t saying anything this time. She wasn’t even looking at me. Just off into the distance, as if–

As if I wasn’t there.

I wanted to ask.

I wanted to, but instead I walked past her and headed back towards my home again.

No, why couldn’t I say anything?

I should confirm it, right?

What if I really was invisible, and nobody would ever see me again?

Say something.


“C- can you see me?”


She turned towards me.

“Of course I can.”

A wave of relief washed over me.

Thank god she replied. I didn’t know what I would have done if she didn’t.

“Then say something to begin with!”

Actually, what I wanted to say was ‘thanks’.

But instead, a filthy response came out of my mouth. I didn’t look back. I wasn’t sure this time, what kind of face or gesture she was making. But what I did think is that I might be okay with her greeting me, once in a while.

Doubly so, after evening came around. Because as it turns out, she was the only one who could see me. Not my parents, or any shop owners, or anybody else, for that matter.

I really had disappeared.


Surprisingly, my daily routine remained the same. I was in such a panic yesterday that I forgot about that fact that nobody really ever noticed me to begin with, and I liked things that way. But now, I was able to see more. I tested the limits of my “disappearance” with all sorts of people and situations. And to my surprise, nobody could see me at all, nor would they even react if I touched them, or other objects around them.

It seemed that there was some level of control I had over it, sometimes able to choose whether or not I was visible. I didn’t know quite how it worked, but it was almost as if I could tell somebody’s brain that I didn’t exist, and their understanding of certain situations seemed to correct itself to stay accurate to that fact. But I couldn’t make them change anything other than whether they could see me.

I knew there was more I could do, too. I could feel it; it’s just that I had to do more experimenting.

But I was happy with this. As long as I had this ability, as if by a wish granted by god, I would be able to keep doing what I wanted to do. And if I could learn to control it better, then I would have no need for interaction, or growing up, or integration into society.

I could simply sit back and observe.

I planned to fake my death. It wasn’t a pretty idea, but at the very least, it would guarantee that nobody would come looking for me. My parents would be sad, sure, but they were good, confident people. Hopefully, they wouldn’t beat themselves up about it too much.

Before I did it, I decided to complete my regular morning routine one more time.

I watched the students.

I waited for the gate to close.

And I walked past Fujiwara, who greeted me kindly as always.

As I walked away, I gave a good, final ‘goodbye’ to her without looking behind me. I wanted to sound cool.

“Why? Where are you going?”

Well, it backfired.

“None of your business.”

Her smile dropped.

“You… are you doing okay?”

She was pitying me again, wasn’t she?

“I’m fine.”

Suddenly, I didn’t want to talk to her anymore. I tried to make myself invisible, but she kept following me. Somehow, the ability didn’t work on her.

“Hey, why don’t you try coming to school this time? I think you could have fun.”

“Not interested.”

She grabbed my collar again.

“Come on, just once. I’d like you to go with me.”

My mood soured, as I pulled my collar away from her grip.

“Screw off. Seriously.”

Suddenly, there was a tug at my arm. It was a bit painful.

“I won’t let you go! Come with me, okay?”

I hadn’t been this irritated by somebody in a long time. For something so minor, somehow my entire mood for the day shriveled down into a steaming irritation.

“I said screw off!”

I shook her off of me, and ran. What else was a socially awkward kid like me supposed to do? I thought that I heard her fall and hit the ground, but I shut it out.

It didn’t matter.

She was just trying to use me for her own self-satisfaction.

Soon, it wouldn’t matter.

My physical presence will be gone soon.

I just have to wait for her to forget about me.

I just have to get to the bridge like I planned, and jump.

And then I’ll turn myself invisible after I hit the water, and I won’t have to worry about anything anymore.

I’ll be gone, and she’ll move on.

I just have to escape from the situation.

I jumped.

And as I hit the water, making myself invisible, there were a few spectators. Just as I had planned.

Actually, no, wait.

She was there.

Hotaru Fujiwara had seen it.

She saw me jump.

Well, no matter. Everything was settled now. My part was over. Perhaps it was even better, because she could inform the school, or my parents quickly. They wouldn’t have to go looking at all.

Yeah, it was a positive.

Faintly, I could see her crying.

I felt a little bad, but that was natural, right? Anybody would cry when they saw somebody jump off of a bridge.

It’s not like we were close though, right?

She’ll get over it quickly, right?

That’s what I had legitimately thought. Or at least, it’s how I justified things to myself. But I watched her from afar, for the next few years. She made it all the way to high school, before she couldn’t stand the guilt anymore.

Apparently I was important to her. She had been watching me all the way up until the day I had stopped coming to school, working up the courage to talk to me. It was pretty stupid not to notice something like that, really. She was late to school every day, just to talk to me when I didn’t even respond to her. To wave it all off; to try and protect my petty pride, just because I was afraid to open up to others.

Isn’t that pathetic?

Now you know, right?

My name, and my past. My guilt, and my insecurities. My pathetic, half-assed self, and hey, did you catch that gender reveal? I was a girl, once.

How’s that for a plot-twist?

Well, I’m just changing the subject.

I don’t really know how to handle my past nowadays, other than to just try and distance myself. But I can’t bring myself to forget, either. Even her little brother is dead now. He lived to an old age, with a fairly regular life after he was able to get away from his abusive mother.

A happy ending, right?

Are you glad you asked? Are you satisfied with this answer? Are you going to continue reading, knowing the kind of dull, half-assed person that I am?

Well, there’s only one more chapter left. And then it’ll all be over. So it doesn’t matter now, whether or not you hate me.

Go ahead and take your time, before moving on to the next chapter. Do some rereading, if you so please.

I’m in no hurry.

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