Normal in Parenthesis—The Old Will and the Dawn to All | Our World
Let us jump back to the time after the accident in Queen Street—the time where Gin was still inside the room he called the “Room of Reality”. Let us see what happened at the time when his presence was nowhere to be found…
August 28, Monday. Sakato Household, around 5:00 am.
Gin’s father, Amano Sakato, his mother, Senna Sakato, and his brother, Kei Sakato are all seated in the dining room very early in the morning. They only knew that Gin didn’t come home yesterday.
“Dad, Gin didn’t come home yesterday, I wonder what happened to him…”
“Kei, I think we should call the authorities in this matter… I’m more than nervous… I’m really scared right now. Please Kei, call them immediately.”
“Senna. We shouldn’t call anyone there or anything. You do know the possibilities of what they could do to Gin if they discover what happened to him when he was five.
This is just a hunch, but I know someone will inform us about Gin and his whereabouts.”
“I hope so…”
A few minutes later, someone started knocking on their door and Kei hurriedly opened it. He suddenly grabbed the person on the collar with all of his strength.
“Kei, hold on! What are you doing?”
“Who are you…?!”
“Let us calm down just for a second, please. Mr. Sakato”
Kei loosened his grip and put down his hand from the person’s collar.
“My name is Sean Hickory. Please let me enter and close all the windows of the house and please also dial all the soundproofing of the walls. I don’t want anyone hearing what we will be talking about.
It is about your son—Mr. Gin Sakato.”
The three looked very surprised but they didn’t let their emotions took over and stayed calm instead.
“P-please come in…”
After following Sean’s request, Senna gave him a cup of coffee and they all sat on the couch in the living room.
“Again, I am Sean Hickory. Before I tell you matters regarding your son, I have a question.
Have you ever heard of the people called ‘Exiles?’”
“They are people who were abused and were seen as animals a few decades ago. They could be considered as rejects of the world.
Why ask this all of a sudden?”
Kei responded quickly to Sean while he is sipping his coffee.
“That is correct. Those people are beings who don’t deserve to live. Or so they thought.
This will probably surprise you but as of right now, they are not extinct.”
“…What could that mean?”
“The one who is sitting before you is one of them.
I am an Exile, but I’m not the only one. There is one more Exile that is making their move-“
“Cut it out. What are you trying to say? We don’t have all the time in the world to be chatting nonsense.”
“Please let me finish.
I have an ally making a move as we speak. And the purpose of our action is to run an errand.”
“Before that, I will change the subject. I would assume you heard the news last night about an accident in the Queen Street. A truck hit a currently unknown person…”
“Don’t tell me…”
“Yes, Mrs. Sakato. Your son was the one who was hit by that truck. It seems that the truck had a malfunction in its brakes and can’t stop. When it did, it was too late. Gin was hit and landed on a wall.
But worry not, we treated his wounds and injuries. He suffered from countless fractures around his whole body and the least injured was his left arm. But little do we know that his recovery is unprecedentedly quick…
With your reaction, I suppose you already knew about it.”
“Skeletal Regeneration. I guess this is the first time you’re hearing this, Kei.”
“Yes. That is indeed the case. But Gin himself wasn’t even aware of it…
And that is where we need to run and errand. He asked us a favor to tell his family everything. One of our associates will be at school later to inform the principal.
But that is not the whole story. Right now, Gin is in our base unknown to the outside world. It was hidden enough to not be seen because we won’t know what they will do to us.”
“Then how in the world did you get out?”
“Some Exiles decided to resurface once their name vanished.
My other ally is Hiroomi Katsuto, and we are the owners of Giotto’s Restaurant. Right now, we still stay in our base, which is underground, but also blend in to the society.
Regarding Gin, the estimated time of his recovery is one year and six months.”
“Wait, does that mean my son will be in that base for one and a half year?”
“You are half correct, Mr. Sakato. To be exact, he will be spending two years in our base, as per his request…
Actually, he might have already spent more or less a month there.”
Sean gave a mysterious smile as he spoke to Gin’s family and Kei stood up out of anger.
“What the… You better not be joking around!”
“No, I am serious. I am not joking around here…
You probably noticed that I haven’t said if ‘he is safe’, because we do not know his current state. Last night at exactly 11:30 pm, he entered a room in our base that even we don’t know what is really inside that.
Your son himself decided to enter it on his own volition. We did not oppose it because we felt that he had different intentions.
We based our hypotheses to other Exiles who already entered that room. One of them was inside for almost half a day and said that he was there for a solid week.
We concluded that it was a room where the time accelerates more than tenfold inside. Fortunately, we managed to learn how to measure the ratio of time there. As for Gin’s, the ratio of his stay there is five days to two years. Which means in five days, at specifically September 1, 11:30pm, he will leave the room, but in that duration, he will spend two years inside.
Once he comes back, please don’t pressure him. I’m certain that he is feeling very lonely right now. He’s alone there for two years. Food is not a problem though. We will provide him raw supplies four or five times a day. But the catch is that he can’t leave the room unless the time is up and the doors only open every start of the monthly duration inside that room. Every 27th of the month is when the door opens.”
“So it means he will be 17 on Friday…”
“Mom, it’s okay. He will come back. I know it.”
“Senna, I trust that he will come home on Friday. I’m sure of it. He will survive the two years.”
Sean gave off a chuckle and stood up from the couch.
“This is definitely his family… You all have a strong will.
When we were transporting him to our base, even with broken bones, he never went unconscious. It probably meant that it’s his will to live. Don’t worry, he can walk now without any support.
With that, I shall take my lea-“
As he grabbed his bag, Sean realized he forgot one last thing that Gin asked for.
“Uhm… Before I leave, I was asked by him that I take his phone. I don’t know why, but can I have it as per requested?”
“If Gin said so… Kei, can you?”
Kei took the phone from the untouched and very clean bedroom. The phone was placed on top of a shoebox beside Gin’s bed. He came back to the living room with the phone, but with hesitation, he gave it to Sean.
“He’s probably saying his thanks right now.
Then, I will take my leave. The restaurant should be open at 8. Thanks for listening and I hope to see you all with Gin on Friday.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Three hours later.
“Uhm, excuse me! Are you Mr. Kiiro Kobayakawa?”
“Can I ask you to accompany me to the principal’s office? In behalf of your student, Mr. Gin Sakato, I will submit a leave of absence of him for five days. He asked me to give it directly to the principal.”
“So Sakato will be absent for the whole week? I shouldn’t ask for the reason since he requested a direct submission to the principal’s office.
But I’m warning you, the principal is a good man, but he’s hard to deal with.
Anyways, let’s go before the students are already at school.”
The principal’s office is located in another old building in the first floor. The office is in the very back of the building but it still stands out because of how the doors were painted with a color that does not make a good contrast to the inside of the building.
“Here’s the principal’s office, Mr…”
“Katsuto is my surname.”
“Right, Mr. Katsuto. I need to take my leave though. Are you sure you will be alright?”
“Is that a sarcastic question?
Anyways, thank you for accompanying me.”
Hiroomi knocked first and opened the door of the office. But whom he saw sat at the principal’s table was the last person he thought of.
After seeing the principal, he fell to his knees and started shivering out of surprise.
▪ ▪ ▪
It is time for lunch break. As usual, the lone table with six seats was occupied except for one seat where Gin is usually sat.
“Hey, what do you think is the reason why Gin is absent?”
“Don’t ask me.”
“But for a whole week. That’s so not like Gin…”
Nagi looked at Rin assuming that she might know why Gin is absent since she was the closest to him out of the four.
“Ringo, what do you think?”
No, I also don’t know…”
“Shall we ask his parents?”
“Even though we knew him for a long time now, we still don’t know where he lived.”
Rin shuddered out of surprise and immediately, the four looked at her.
“Is something the matter?”
“Ah… N-No. I just spaced out for a minute…”
“So I’m the only one who knows his place?”
“Mind if I take that seat?”
The group heard an unknown voice of a young man dressed properly with an envelope around his arms.
It was Hiroomi.
He gave off a kind and polite smile to Gin’s friends.
“Ugh. I finally calmed down… Thank goodness…!”
“Ehem… I’m Hiroomi Katsuto and I am currently Gin’s representative who submitted his leave of absence. It will only be for a short time but if you have any questions, I’ll answer as long as it is within my capability.”
Please take a seat.”
Akira was the one who welcomed him to take Gin’s seat. But Hiroomi waited for them to finish their lunch before he started speaking.
“Oh, I think we will have a long talk here. But I have been given the permission that you will be late in the next period.”
“So… Mr. Katsuto, what do you want to talk about?”
“It is regarding Gin. As you may have known, he will not be around for the whole week, but he will come back next week.”
“Then can we know where he is right now?”
“I’m very sorry, he requested not to tell his current location right now.”
“Does that mean he-“
“Please don’t think of something like we kidnapped him. Such a thing did not happen.”
“Eh? You got through me!”
“I just want to clear the misunderstandings, Mr. Bentley.”
“Ehhhhh?! You even know my name?!”
“I was informed by your friend.
Akira Bentley, Jean Ando, Nagi Kajima or Nacchi, Shiro Kirishima, and Ringo Akanami.”
“That Gin… he even said my nickname…”
“He said that he will definitely be lonely because he won’t see his friends for a few days. So please don’t make him pressured once he comes back.”
“Right, got it.”
▪ ▪ ▪
August 30, Wednesday. Art Room.
“I think it’s a bad idea to give him homework once he comes back on Monday. Don’t you think?”
“Well, Mr. Katsuto said that we should not pressure him…”
“I guess that’s the right way.”
“Man, it’s also lonely not seeing him draw in his usual place.”
With her pencil stopped, Rin fell to a deep thought and silence.
“Should I ask his parents…? They might know the reason but it’s going to feel like I’m stepping to a place I shouldn’t have.
This kind of makes me worried…”
Earth to Ringo?”
Rin came back to her senses when Shiro constantly called out to her but he dropped her pencil and started throwing her arms everywhere.
“Ah! Wahh! Wah! Wha!
“You okay there Ringo?”
“Yeah… You seem to be spacing out a lot.”
“Ah, I’m okay. I’m just thinking a bit…”
“Now I’m doing something clichéd…”
▪ ▪ ▪
Same day, after school.
“Ah, Ringo! What could be the reason for your visit?”
“Uhm… It’s about Gin’s absence…”
“Oh, about that…
I advise you to wait until he tells it to you once he is back.”
“That is… if Gin will tell her…”
“I can’t tell you where he is right now, but he won’t be going home for a few days.”
“Oh… Okay. I will be going home then.”
“Alright, take care.”
▪ ▪ ▪
August 31, Thursday. Around 10 in the evening.
It is late in the night but Rin can’t seem to sleep immediately. Even though she’s already on her bed, her eyes are still wide open, looking at the ceiling. She’s still anxious as to why Gin is away for the whole week.
“What could be the reason why he is on a leave…?
I know I’m not in the place to ask too much because it’s probably personal… But I can’t stop being worried…”
“That lifeless and monotonous place was made by a man sitting beside the apple tree.”
At that moment, she heard someone’s voice from her head. It is very familiar to her but she can’t seem to recognize whose voice was that.
She vigorously got up and started looking around her dark room. But she saw no one.
“Eh… Did I just hear his voice?! I’m so worried about him that I’m hearing things now…”
“Of course. I will be this worried because I-“
She let out a huge sigh and lied down again. But there is one word that can’t stop cycling in her mind.
“Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin. Gin.
She once again got up but started counting sheep even being in a state of exhaustion for unknown reason.
“One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five sheep, six sheep…
Seven Gin, eight Gi-“
Her head finally overheated.
▪ ▪ ▪
September 1, Friday.
The day where Gin will be finally coming back after two years.
“Ah, good morning Ri-
“Ah… Shiro. Good… morning…”
At the entrance of the school, Rin and Shiro met but Shiro is too surprised to see Rin’s eyebags and started shaking while staring at her.
“Nacchiiiii! Help! Ringo is in a bad state!”
Immediately after opening the door of room 4A, she called out Nagi and the other two loudly that the whole class noticed her quickly.
“Hey! What happened?!”
~ ~ ~
“Oh… Does that mean she didn’t get that much of sleep last night?”
“Even though we go to school late, she still has bed hair…”
“Don’t mind it. I’ll fix it later.”
“Isn’t her head kind of smoking…?”
“Are you sure you don’t have a fever, Ringo? Your face is beet red.”
▪ ▪ ▪
The usual group is sat on the usual table whenever it is lunch break with confirmation that Rin is actually just doing fine.
Nagi noticed two young men dressed in a formal outfit. He recognized one of the two and called him.
“Oh hey, Nacchi! It’s been a while…?”
“You have a companion today.
And I kindly request you to refrain from calling me that.”
“I’m Sean Hickory. We had an appointment with the principal earlier that’s why we are here again.”
Hiroomi made a search in his bag to find a small envelope that contains something that Gin left at the midpoint room once.
“Just the right timing, huh. Gin sent this to us and he said that we should give this to your group. I don’t know what’s inside though.”
Akira opened the envelope containing a ripped small piece of paper with Gin’s handwriting.
Even Hiroomi and Sean were surprised at how anticlimactic that was.
▪ ▪ ▪
“Hiro, soon the time inside will be in sync here.”
“Yeah, that only means that he’s coming.”
“Let’s just hope that he’ll come out.”
Finally, ten minutes have passed. The doors of the midpoint room unlocked, but still closed. There are no sounds that can be heard. The whole underground base is filled with total silence. They still can’t hear any footsteps coming beyond the door even at how quiet it is.
“Is he here?”
The doorknob made a sound where someone is opening the door.
It slowly opened outwards with the sound of creaking. What they can see is only brightness and a silhouette of someone from the white background.
The brightness faded and they can finally see the only person who entered that room five days ago—Gin Sakato.
I wanna sleep…”
Not even clearly seeing him. His body fell to the floor.
“Gin?! Gin! Are you okay?”
He-Hey! Speak up!
“Roses… are… red…”
“Huh? What is he saying?”
“Vi… olets are… b-blue…
“What in the world…”
“Omae… wa mou… shindeiru…”
Gin Sakato finally came back to the outside world.
You have finished reading chapter 10!
Huzzah, that is ten chapters... or eleven, technically. I've said the future of the next few chapters in chapter 9, and so I would like to announce that I will be updating the story cover to match the current plot line. I'm an artist first before a writer, so it's always fun to make covers!
Thanks for reading!
Eleven: Welcome back to the surface.