Chapter 0:


Although I had everything, I decided to become a Hikikomori

“It has been five long years since every news channel around the globe reported these accusations live.”

A dull voice echoed through the small, dimly lit apartment. The room was filled with the faint glow of a computer screen, casting shadows on the scattered trash and empty instant noodle cups. The voice continued, narrating the relentless pursuit of scandalous headlines.

“The last place Mr. Esumi has been in public view was in front of his penthouse apartment complex in Shibuya after he returned from court facing the rape allegations, will he ta-”

“When will it ever stop?”

The more I remembered about the past, the more my stomach began to rumble. I reached out into the box of noodles, only for it to be empty.

Sighingly, I pushed the box away and decided to take out the trash... Or in reality, I just spent an additional two hours reading manga and doing other hikikomori activities.

I glanced briefly at the digital watch on the windowsill above my futon bed; it was 21:30 on a cold and rainy autumn night. I forced myself to stand up and grab the trash bags stacked on each other in front of my bathroom door. At least I could throw them out so I can go to the bathroom quickly to not miss any online gacha game events.

To ensure I would not run into any humans between the 20-meter run from my front door to the dumpster on the other side of the road, I maniacally took several peeks from my window behind my all-black window blinds. I took several long breaths and was ready to make the quickest run of my life. All while I was putting my coat and baseball cap on.

Slowly, I opened my front door so it didn’t make a sound. I took one final peek around the corners to ensure no one else was there. I finally made the run for it. As I left, I glanced at my phone clock on my lock screen to check my trash-throwing time.

My fingers felt already pickled, and my nose turned red and runny. The cold wind was biting my face, and I was soaking wet. I already regretted this shit. The 20-meter run felt like a whole damn kilometer. I threw the trash bags in the dumpster and ran back. The cold wind blew the rain into my face, making it hard to see anything. It suddenly started to pick up, and my baseball cap flew into the wild. I put my right arm just above my brows and kept my head down to shield my eyes from the rain.

"Seriously!? What is this weather, man? Fuck my luck!"

As I struggled to run back to my apartment in the heavy rain weighing me down and the cold wind numbing my fingers. I tripped. 

"Watch out!"

With a heavy head, I woke up the following morning in my bed. Or so I thought.
The mattress is soft, and the pillow faintly smells like strawberries. Actually, there is a faint, sweet smell of strawberries in the air. There is no garbage on the floor, and my clothes are neatly folded on the chair across the room instead of lying on the floor under a piece of half-eaten French toast.

This is nice… But…

Why is there a woman lying next to me?