Chapter 37:

The Frayed Ends Of Sanity

66 Hours

“Hideki! Help me!” Ayase desperately tries to break free of the iron-strong hold she’s in, as she screams and pleads for help.

Her cries make their way to my ears, loud and clear. There’s a ringing in my head, like a siren is going off inside it. The sound of the danger, and the smell of death.


I can’t move.


Ayase screams and pleads, yet I can’t do anything. My feet are glued to the ground. My body is paralyzed. I can't lift a finger. 

All I can do is watch.

Why can’t I move?! AT THIS RATE AYASE WILL—


A crashing sound makes its way to my ears. The grueling cries of the person I love feels my head. Cries of pain, of pure agony.

With a simple move of its palm. The former janitor crushes Ayase’s small frame.

Suddenly, the cries stop… They cease. Only silence hangs in the air, as my girlfriend’s body goes limp.


I mutter lowly. Weakly. This can’t be happening.

“Ayase!” I raise my voice. Yet I know full well, that I have failed her.

The monster finally looks at me, having lost interest in the body crushed into his palm,

With a slow, but sure movement of its lips, they curl up into a grin.

Ayase is dead.


Ayase is…

My knees can’t support me anymore. My legs give out.



A frenzied roar escapes from my lungs. Yet the monster in front of me cares not. Having discarded her body, it walks over and picks me up. I can feel her blood on my uniform, on my hands.

I have failed to save the person I cared for the most. And soon, my end will come too… With a squeeze, my bones are crushed and my heart—


“You better take me out on a date when we get out of here.” I blurt out, changing the subject. Hideki tends to think too much into things, and he gets distracted just as easily.


“What do you mean sure?”

“I mean definitely!”

Somehow he didn’t convince me. Bet it was fun teasing him nonetheless.

As I opened the door and stepped out onto the hallway, I felt a strong breeze pass through the opened window ahead. I instinctively rush to cover up my flailing skirt.

Who opened that window anyway?

“I hope you didn’t see—“

As I turn back in a huff, I notice something peculiar. The door is closed. And Hideki is not there.

Without another thought, I open the door that led us to the student council room.


Yet the student council room is no more. In its place stands yet another misplaced room. What was happening?

Did the rooms shift places when I stepped out? Talk about bad timing.

What am I to do now that I’m alone? Go fetch the others? Search for Hideki?

I hope Hideki is okay…

Suddenly, and along with that thought, a feeling of immense pressure comes crashing down on my chest.

What if Hideki triggered a trap? What if…

I need to inform the others.

I know I’m pitiful and useless. I know I’ve got a big mouth and I bite off more than I can chew more often than not, but I can’t just leave this to luck.

As I run down the stairs, thoughts flood my mind.

I’ve always been useless. I’ve contributed nothing to the group while I just act all high and mighty. Mayu has her leadership. Hideki has his brains. Noriko has her ability. Maybe I’m just dead weight?

I shake away that thought. I need to find the others.

As I descend back to the first floor, I look around for Kazuya and Hotaru. Weren’t they stationed here?

A brief search turns up nothing.

They must be in the ground floor. Maybe Mayu and Noriko are there too…

At least I hope so… There’s been a weird silence since Hideki disappeared. Like I’m all alone


Descending the staircase to the ground floor, I almost slip on a liquid, on one of the steps close to the ground.

“That was close…”

What was that liquid anyway...?

I raise my eyes and my breath catches on my throat.


There’s a person sprawled across the floor. Her frame matches that of Mayu. Her body is lying in a red pool, of a never-ending liquid. One that stretches from my feet, to her, and then all the way to the entrance.


I rush over to her, yet I notice there’s another body next to her. A smaller, more fragile frame.


She’s facing up, her eyes open, yet distant. And hollow. So hollow, it feels like she was never even alive.

“What is going on…?”

I mutter, my whole body shaking. With wobbly knees, I move closer and lay my eyes even further ahead.

This can’t be happening!

It’s Kazuya. There’s blood everywhere. His legs are missing. Everything is red, bathed in crimson and drowned in anguish.

And the last one, further away from everyone. There’s someone lying on the ground, their back against the wall.


His head hangs low, and his torso is full of blood.


My teary eyes overspill as I run towards him.

I catch him just in time before he falls. His face is tranquil, yet his eyes are a pair of hazy lifeless beads.

“Aya…se…san…” He opens his crimson mouth to speak, yet only a whisper escapes.

This can’t be happening. This can’t be—

I can’t see through the tears. But I can see him falling in and out of consciousness.

“Wait, Hideki! I’ll save you! I’ll fix you right—“

“You… can’t…”

And with those lifeless whispers, his body goes limp and his hangs in my arms.

His heart is not beating. He’s bathed in blood, the only thing preventing him from falling is me.


I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t save anyone.

I’m useless, and because of me…

He’s gone.



“AH!” With a sharp exhale, I feel the air return to my lungs.

I’m alive?

I look around to the student council room, and heave a sigh. I feel like I just ran a marathon, despite being still all the while.

“Something the matter?”

I turn to the sound of a voice. Ayase’s voice.

“Ayase…” I mutter, as I gaze at her face.

Why does it feel like I haven’t seen her in a while? I was just standing here wasn’t I?

Hidekiii? You okay?”

“Yeah, sorry about that. Don’t know what got into me.” I shake the weird feeling away, and smile at my concerned girlfriend.

“Let’s go then.” She smiles back and leads the way.

We step out of the room, and I instinctively look out the window. It’s night out, the sky’s clear. Why did I think it wouldn’t be?


As I’m engrossed in the outside climate, Ayase turns straight ahead to address somebody.

It’s Mayu and the rest.

“What are you doing here?” I ask, brows furrowed. Weren’t we supposed to meet downstairs?

“You’re late.” Mayu replies, her expression grim.

“Late for what?” Ayase tilts her head questioningly.

“It’s over.”

“What is?”

Mayu is not making any sense. And what’s with this atmosphere?

“Our time.” Kazuya joins in, his eyes piercing through mine.


“66 hours have passed. And we’re still here…” Noriko mutters.

“They have? But how?”

“Where’s Hotaru?” Ayase asks, causing Mayu’s face to twist into fury,

“They took her!”

What is going on?!

“Who took her?! Mayu you’re not making any sense!”

“You took too long Hideki!” Mayu raises her voice, her eyes shining with a deadly glint.

I took… too long?

“We’re all gonna die, and it’s your fault!” Kazuya stomps his foot on the ground, furious.

“Hideki?” Ayase turns to me with a questioning tone. “Where’s the key?”

“Huh? T-The key?”

“Didn’t you say you’d find it?”

“I did?”

“You said you would.” Ayase mutters, her expression crestfallen. Betrayed. “But you didn’t.”

“You couldn’t save Kurosawa.”

“Nor Tanaka.”

“Not even… Yoko.” Mayu’s voice sips with venom, as everyone takes a step forward.

“You opened the book…”

“Let Misaki free…”

“And now, the key.” Ayase mutters again.

“B-But…” I shrink back, powerless. Suddenly, everything feels bigger. Scarier. I shrink and shrink…

It’s not my fault…

Darkness surrounds me, consumes me…

It’s not my…


“Ayase-senpai and Hideki-kun sure are late….” Hotaru mutters lowly, as we all sit together, waiting for the two of them. It’s been well over 15 minutes after the time we had agreed on, yet they are nowhere to be found.

And right when me and Noriko had figured the pattern out too…

“You don’t think they…” Kazuya starts, but I raise a hand almost immediately.

“Hehe, don’t be stupid!” I let out an awkward laugh… There’s no way anything happened to them…


“Maybe we should search for them?”

Lucid Levia