Chapter 10:

I’m not a person. [Do-over]

Light of my darkest eve

The bell signalling the end of the lesson snaps me out of deep thought, and I realise I’ve taken in barely any information in the two hours I’ve been in the lecture room. With so much to think about, I couldn’t get my mind in the right place to listen.

Human trophies? Faction wars? Unreported violence? How exactly is one supposed to process all of this information in one day?

It occupies my mind so much that my other engagement for the day completely slips my mind, until an impatient Hanji reminds me in a very Hanji way.

“C’mon, you slow ass, we get shit to do?”

“Hu- oh, right. I’m comi-“

“Not fast enough.” As soon as my bag is packed, she grabs my arm and starts dragging me again. After such an exhausting day, I can’t even keep up with her when she’s pulling me along, so I finally bite the bullet and confront her about it.

“Hanji, wait.” I plant both of my feet down in the middle of the hall and pull back, stopping both of us in our tracks. Hanji looks at me confusedly, as if my actions make zero sense to her.

“Why you stoppin’? Drop your guts about being alone in a room with me or something?” She says, a slightly teasing tone to her voice.

“No, it’s just… even with you pulling me about, I can’t walk at the same speed you do. It causes me muscle ache and it always feels like I’m about to fall over.” I try to mentally prepare myself for the response. For when she inevitably considers me weak or pathetic for not even being able to walk properly. Hopefully she doesn’t berate me too ba-

“Hm? Why didn’t you say so before?”


“I’m not gonna know these things if you don’t tell me, man. Now I seem like an asshole.

“I- sorry…”

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. Let’s just walk at your pace from now on.” She steps back so that she’s side by side with me, and indicates that we should keep walking. I’m not entirely sure how I ended up being the one apologising in that situation, but I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about her pulling my arm off anymore.

Still, my anxiety is far from quelled during the rest of the walk. She says it teasingly, but being invited into Hanji’s room the day I met her has my nerves running at an all time high, and not just for the reasons a teenage boy would normally be anxious about being in a girl’s room.

Most of the time I’ve spent with Hanji has been in public, so even though she’s yet to do anything malicious to me yet, that may simply be so that she can do it without drawing attention. For all I know, this is all a front to get me alone to threaten me, attack me, coerce me into doing something I don’t want to do…

I swallow the lump in my throat as I realise we’ve already reached the door to Hanji’s room. Thankfully she doesn’t seem perturbed by my total silence, but the fact that I barely even processed the walk from the classroom to the dorm doesn’t say anything good about how in control of my mental faculties I am at the moment.

“Take a seat wherever you want.” Hanji opens the door and immediately sits in the only chair in the room, limiting my options to either the floor or the bed. Figuring it would be weird to sit at a lower level than the person I’m talking to, I cautiously sit down on the bed and take in the surroundings.

The room is spotless, every inch of it maintained with meticulous organisation. A line of trophies lined the windowsill, and the shelves were filled to the brim with every sort of book imaginable, seemingly arranged by genre. An entire unit for true crime, several shelves filled with textbooks, and a small collection of novels and stories about mental illness tucked away in the corner.

There’s a few I notice instantly. Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, sat right next to one called… Jummer Rain? Wait, I think that’s supposed to be an S…

“You happy just ogling all my books or you wanna actually do this shit?” Hanji asks, a tad bemused.

“Ah- sorry. Just liked how organised everything looked.”

“Well at least it’s my books you’re staring at instead of my tits, makes a nice change from the guys I normally bring in here.” Once again Hanji cackles at her own joke, and once again I’m left confused as to what I’m supposed to find funny.

Composing herself after her apparently reeling quip, Hanji swivels her chain to face me directly, and takes up a position I can only describe as the “therapist pose,” holding a pad and pen in her hand that I hadn’t even seen her grab.

“Now then. To business. Those figures you drew in your notebook… ghosts, were they?”

“I normally call them spectres, but yeah, ghosts works.”

“Interesting, interesting.” She begins writing things in her notepad, even though I’ve said almost nothing worth noting down. “And these ‘spectres’ of yours, they follow you around even when you’re medicated?”

“A lot of the time, yes, but the meds make them a lot smaller and quieter. They never really leave.”

“And may I speak with them?” I feel myself twitch as she asks this question. It’s the one I’d been anticipating, but I think I already know the answer.

“We don’t want to talk to her.”

“We don’t want anything to do with her.”

“She’s evil.”

“She’s even worse than you, Taro boy.”

“Th-they said they don’t want to talk to you.” I swallow, worried at how Hanji might react to the less-than-ideal answer. However, all she does is put her pen to her mouth and think for a moment. She acts almost exactly like the psychologists you see in TV shows, so much so that I find myself wondering if it’s a conscious imitation.

“Have they said anything about me? Formulated some sort of opinion of their own perhaps.”

I hesitate even more on this one, but the spectres are more than happy to fill the silence.

“We can answer this one.”

“She’s evil.”

“She’s awful.”

“She’s dangerous.”





“Th-they think you’re… evil.” I stare at the ground and mumble as I answer the question, hoping beyond hope that Hanji doesn’t think these are my thoughts. The last thing I need is to make her angry. “They… also have a nickname for you.”

“A nickname?” Instead of anger at being called evil, she seems to be full of childlike curiosity and excitement at the prospect. “What is it?”

“…they call you Psychobitch.” The silence that follows is suffocating, each second feeling like a lifetime. Every possibility runs my through my head. If she’s angry, is she going to hurt me? Shout at me? Is she going to use her popularity to have me ostracised? Will she tell everyone about my diagnoses? Am I safe no-

“Pffffft.” The crushing weight of the silence is instantaneously lifted by Hanji bursting out into fits of laughter, so loud she puts her arm around abdomen and can’t seem to get any words out for a moment.

“Taro bro, your ghosties are a laugh. No one’s said anything like that to my face for years. Oh man, I am gonna enjoy picking your brain so much. We’re gonna be good friends, dude.”

That… wasn’t the reaction I was expecting at all. It’s much better than earning her ire, I suppose. But still, now that she knows she can get entertainment out of my ‘hallucinations,’ she wants to keep me around as a friend?

It’s killing me inside. I have to ask the question on my mind.

“Hey, Hanji?”

“Hmm? What’s up?”

“Do you… see me as a person?”

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