Chapter 0:

Prologue

A Car is Parked Outside the Dollhouse.


People always ask if I love Tsukushi Taketatsu.

No, I don’t love her.

Crunched not for deception, no impasse of being untrue, and certainly not to affirm I don’t fall in love. I haven’t since childhood. So for each and every question posed to a love interest─either the anodyne or the controversial─the answer has become its own powerhouse.

Miss Taketatsu, our fabled princess from the dollhouse, isn’t an exception.

“Do you love her, or do you not love her?” Slight movement detected by the trigger, their index hardened into pulling it. “Make up your mind already, you stupid twat!”

Give me a break, I already answered.

Waves gushed below the cliff, and I think I’ve been standing on the edge for about some time now. I placed my phone and headset in one pocket. I must have already crushed the earpieces by now, retrospecting the rigidness of the night. I dropped my car keys somewhere. No longer do I feel Izayoi Isshiki as he was already a corpse.

I don’t feel like dying being forced to say I loved someone.

You’d do everything to shake the impossible answer, resorting to rocking the suspension bridge.

Shut up, I was told in a soulful bellow.

Fine, of course, reason has been thrown out the window.

Nonetheless, I would answer the same. I wouldn’t love Tsukushi Taketatsu if heaven’s screenplay dictated I’d fall for her on such a weird term. She wouldn’t love so either, cutting our already questionable bond which hung by the thread since the first encounter.

Nonetheless, saying anything now only presents us to the null.

As if a confession, pretend or not, would bear effect to the devil.

Slender hand, unblemished flawless skin and polished fingernails upright to the face. Forged black metal at the hand’s end, and its barrel marked the throat. You don’t normally aim at the throat. I’ve never seen a Glock in person before. I know it was one because I studied them once, all sources pointing to its perfection. So far, I praised them for having a good taste albeit knowing of their impertinence towards life.

“I hated you the most,” the envious spirit said, coldness emanating from their breath. “So do tell, we both fell in love with the same imperfection right?!”

As their pointer finger clutched the trigger, the resolve to snuff a soul out of the mortal realm became evident.

I found the sentiment wry, they needed an affirmation in order to justify their hatred.

Come to think of it, I’ve always hated their kind. Loathsome creatures who’d blame the universe for their mishaps. Given a reflection towards society in the form of movies, I’d find myself shouting at them more often than not. If they composed themselves, no credit card companies would have been caught in scenic implosions.

For one, I wouldn't like to witness a historical recourse given I have a choice.

I say so, but the end product only said I couldn’t bring myself to truly hate them.

I wouldn’t be so keen as not to credit them for how I think now.

I met one, and I couldn’t easily shake a questionable stance where I wouldn’t be grateful for their existence.

If only I wasn’t pointed a glock to the throat.

Sigh, I suppose I need to get around how and when it began.

Imagine the sound of rain trickling down the road, a fleeting moment in midsummer midnight. I manned the counter of a distant conbini from home, upfront Denenchofu in Ota City. Here, I shared with my coworker Maria a recent experience on the way to Natural Blossom, about how I first came into contact with the dollhouse prisoner.

I didn’t know her at the time, thus warranting no excitement but a slight complaint about how the rich and powerful have issues with people.

Maria Kasuga was no altruist, and our minds clicked towards all the frames no one walked in.

As a pair of part-time workers in the rich neighborhood, the feeling amounted to guilt and pleasure. Like we dug our other foot to the grave, cursing the very people who are responsible for our paychecks. From the fault of one, everyone else has been persecuted in a chain of complaints we haven’t told anyone during our entire playthrough. Something sparked between Maria and I, so I’d love to run back to an easygoing lifestyle and see how it unfolds.

If certain events didn’t happen, it’d have been more likely I fell in love with her.

A certain event pertaining to the arrival of a black car amidst our classless criticism against the better contributors to Japan’s wealth. Behind the clear glass was the image of a dignified old man, his cane and mustache breaking our composure. He entered as the automatic door opened, and that was when we were caught panicking over how we’re losing our jobs pronto.

Wait, they heard our conversation?!

I don’t know how it wouldn’t be the first question in Miss Kasuga’s head.

I, too, thought the same.

Who stood before us was the business magnate Isamu Taketatsu. I saw him in magazines, he lives in the area. I’ve been working at Blossom for seven months now, working four night shifts in a week. No other esteemed figure has walked in aside from him, it felt like I witnessed a recourse in history eventually told to everyone’s disbelief.

Ba-dump, ba-dump! Who’s heart beat in such rapid motion, I couldn’t make a decision. Only it ran faster as he walked closer. I froze where Maria froze, the man didn’t get the standard conbini greeting that the feedback loop escalated further.

Before I knew it, he was upfront─and the smile, askew.

Mine.

“Who would have thought I’d see you so close to home,” he said, hmm? “Mister Isshiki, how would you like to be my granddaughter’s healthcare assistant?”

J.P.B
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Hina
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Kaabii
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Vforest
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Peace Sign
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