Chapter 1:


I sold my life for Yen

Banri sat in his dimly lit room, seeking solace until the vibration of his phone under his pillow disrupted his solitude. Retrieving it, a message from his landlord flashed on the screen. He sighed, resigned to the impending task ahead: "I suppose it's time to part with some things; rent's due, and no more extensions."

Surveying his minimalist room, he realized it housed only books and CDs. Sorting through his possessions, he murmured, "I need a box for these." Scouring beneath the bed, he unearthed a dusty container, using it to pack the items before locking his door and heading outside with the box in tow.

Navigating familiar streets, Banri struggled to recall the CD store's location. "Once I spot the library, I'll find it," he mused. The sight of the library reassured him he was on the right path. Pushing open the door of the CD store, he was greeted by the shopkeeper behind the counter.

"Welcome," the shopkeeper's voice was warm. "Hello, I have some CDs I'd like to sell," Banri replied softly. The shopkeeper began appraising the CDs while Banri explained his reason for selling.

During the transaction, the shopkeeper unexpectedly proposed, "Would you consider selling your lifespan?" Banri was taken aback. Nevertheless, the exchange concluded, leaving him with money and a peculiarly marked map.

Later, at a nearby bookstore, a kindly elderly shopkeeper welcomed Banri. He inquired about the books Banri intended to sell, noticing his collection, and asked about his motive. Once more, Banri found himself facing the offer of selling his lifespan, feeling disconcerted yet again. He left the store with another map and money in hand.

Comparing the maps, Banri decided to explore the marked location. He arrived at a building complex, surprised to find such a shop nestled amidst a game store and a cell phone repair shop.

Ascending to the fourth floor, Banri entered a room where a girl with striking blue hair and eyes awaited him. The proposition to sell his lifespan arose once more, offering 200,000 Yen for a reduction to three months. He agreed, money transferred, and was promptly sent home by the girl with a curt, "Thanks for doing business."

However, his rest was interrupted by the appearance of the girl in his room. Confused, Banri questioned her presence, only to learn they were tasked with overseeing those who sold their lifespans until their time was up. To confirm he was still alive, Banri slapped his face.

Named Kokoro, the girl queried his plans for his remaining months. Admitting he had none, she urged him not to squander his time. Grabbing a journal, Banri began penning down aspirations before his time ran out.

Pointing out an entry that caught her eye, Kokoro cautioned him against it. Curious, Banri asked why. With a thoughtful pause, she revealed a truth about his childhood friend, now a single mother abandoned by the child's father. Inspired, Banri resolved to give her the 200,000 Yen. Texting his old friend, she agreed to meet.

"Of course she would do the same for me," Banri chuckled. "Guess I should plan a visit."

Banri pulled out his phone and texted his childhood friend, "Let's meet at 12 tomorrow." He awaited a response eagerly.

The phone made a slight chime noise. He looked at the phone and saw she texted back: "Sounds good. See you tomorrow at noon!"

Banri smiled at the response, feeling a mix of anticipation and nervousness at the prospect of meeting his childhood friend after so long, especially considering the circumstances.

As he put down his phone, Kokoro glanced at him curiously. "Plans for tomorrow?" she inquired.

"Yeah, meeting an old friend," Banri replied, feeling a bit awkward about revealing too much.

Kokoro nodded knowingly. "It's good to reconnect with people from our past. Cherish those moments."

Banri nodded in agreement, feeling a surge of determination to make the most of his remaining time. He spent the rest of the evening organizing his thoughts, jotting down ideas, and contemplating how to make the most meaningful impact with the time he had left.

The next day arrived, and Banri found himself waiting at the agreed-upon meeting spot. As the clock approached noon, he spotted her walking towards him, a mix of familiarity and change evident in her demeanor.

"Hi," she greeted him with a tentative smile.

"Hey," Banri responded, returning the smile. "It's been a while."

They settled down at a nearby café, catching up on old times and sharing stories about their lives. Banri found himself recounting memories of their childhood, laughing at shared jokes, and feeling a sense of nostalgia wash over him.

As the conversation continued, Banri felt the weight of the impending farewell hanging over him. He realized he had something important to share.

"Hey, I have something for you," Banri said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out an envelope containing the 200,000 Yen. "It's for you and your child. I want to help."

She looked at the envelope and looked up at Banri. "Look, I don't want your money. To be frank, I hate you. I only said yes so I can hurt you and make you feel stupid."

Banri stood up and laughed. "You will regret this."

Banri stormed out of the cafe and walked over to the park, where he watched the lake for hours on end.

Kokoro spoke up. "I did warn you it was a bad idea to meet her."

Banri clicked his teeth, "Yeah, I know. I just wish she would forgive and forget that time. I didn't know she liked me. Sure, she confessed to me, but that was middle school; everyone used to do that crap as dares. How was I supposed to know she was being for real? Now she hates me. Well, at least I have you, Kokoro."

Kokoro blushed deeply. "Whatever do you mean?"

Banri sighed. "I'm just saying the first thing that comes to my head. I do apologize if it sounds crazy."

Kokoro looked up at the sky. "Well, only 3 days left."

Banri laughed nervously. "Wow, time flies. I've been watching the time fly by."

Kokoro laughed. "Well, since it's now 3 days, I'll be going away, and I'll come back once you pass."

Banri walked home, opened his door, and sat on the floor, feeling sick at the thought of being alone at his time of death.

Kokoro walked to the office and sat in front of the soul dealer.

Kokoro spoke up to the old man. "Look, I want you to cut my life in half to 3 days."

The old man looked confused but didn't say a word as he typed away at the keyboard and processed the check for the money.

Banri woke up the next day. "3 days left and all alone. I should go to the park."

Banri looked around and saw everyone looking at him.

"Where is Ms. Kokoro today?" someone said to Banri.

"Ah, we had a huge fight, and she kinda left me. It was my fault," Banri scratched his face, struggling to come up with the best lie.

Another person walked up to Banri. "Ms. Kokoro was really pretty. If you love this girl, go get her! What are you waiting for?"

Banri stood up and looked around for Kokoro.

"I need you, Kokoro. I never realized how much you made me feel human. I love you, Kokoro."

Just then, everyone stopped and looked at the girl walking up to Banri.

"By any chance, are you Ms. Kokoro?" one of the onlookers said.

The girl smiled. "Why, yes, it is."

"Wow, she is really pretty."

"I am jealous, man."

Banri stopped and placed his hand on his mouth. "Kokoro, how can they see you right now?"

Kokoro smiled. "Well, it's quite simple. I realized I couldn't live without you, even if it was for a second. So, I sold my lifespan to match up with yours."

Banri smiled. "I'm so happy right now."

Kokoro smiled. "Well, combining the money we have now, we can go anywhere."

Banri smiled. "We're rich!"

Kokoro hugged Banri tightly. "Let's go somewhere peaceful for our final days, Banri."

Banri nodded in agreement. "Hey, Kokoro, I love you."

Kokoro smiled and blushed deeply. "I love you too, Banri."

Lucid Levia
Taylor J