Chapter 18:

018 – Lots of Zs

Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World

Indeed I heard them again. The voices… those voices… their voices. But not only did I hear, but I have seen it so clearly that I can't believe it is a dream.Bookmark here

There are the adults clad in their white lab coats and there are the fellow children, dressed on hospital clothing. I see that the place is still at peace. There are no echoes of tragic screaming of small voices. It does seem that this was the beginning…Bookmark here

The beginning of all the agony.Bookmark here

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My eyes opened. My senses came back.Bookmark here

It does seem that I passed out, though I can't really remember. But in spite of whatever happened to me, Rin… she is watching over me.Bookmark here

"Ahh, I slept on her lap…"Bookmark here

"Oh… you're finally awake, Potato.Bookmark here

You had me worried there… Thankfully you just fell asleep. I thought something has happened to you…"Bookmark here

"Sorry for worrying you, Rin. How long was I out for?"Bookmark here

"Around 15 minutes."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Again, sorry for worrying you. But I promise that I'm not doing anything dumb. I just happen to pass out for some reason. And then I dreamed again…"Bookmark here

"But you look fine after a dream, thankfully."Bookmark here

"Yeah… what I recalled is kind of calm. The laboratory at that time was still quiet.Bookmark here

Hmm… I guess I could tell some stories from these memories."Bookmark here

"I'll gladly listen. But I won't cry on this, okay?"Bookmark here

"Perhaps not you, but probably me. You know that I'm a crybaby."Bookmark here

"Yes. If you need to, just cry them all out. I'm always here."Bookmark here

"Thanks.Bookmark here

Alright~ I should be getting… up! Hoo…!"Bookmark here

"Feeling fine?"Bookmark here

"No problem for the most part. I can stand up just fine."Bookmark here

"Mhm. That's good, then.Bookmark here

I'll help you with making lunch. I will have to stick for a bit longer just in case something happens."Bookmark here

"Then I will be in your care."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

I think I'm seriously miscalculating the current situation.Bookmark here

It's a given that I feel fine and normal, but in the duration of four hours, I passed out for six times.Bookmark here

Therefore, I came to a conclusion that in some way or another, I am falling under a state of slumber at random. I feel very awake but suddenly, my body turns off as if a switch is being pulled or pressed.Bookmark here

And what's more is every time I've been put to sleep, I see my memories through dreams.Bookmark here

With as much information I have gathered through those situations, I have considered it as something like a phenomenon.Bookmark here

Thankfully, Rin made a good call of staying around my house if ever I suddenly "switch off."Bookmark here

It happens so randomly that it can occur when I'm in the middle of talking, walking, or even… when nature calls me, yeah. Having known now that such an occurrence is happening to me makes a seemingly shallow thing a big deal. That in itself is honestly terrifying.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

The next day.Bookmark here

"Knock, knock. Is anyone home?"Bookmark here

"On it…!"Bookmark here

Opening the door came to my sight four people. In such cases, this sudden visit is an unusual one.Bookmark here

There's Nagi, Shiro, Jean, and the most unexpected one—Ai-san.Bookmark here

"Didn't expect this combo of four all together visiting my house. What's up? Came to hang out?Bookmark here

It's still a bit early in the morning, though."Bookmark here

"We're kind of informed by Ringo about the things happening to you recently."Bookmark here

"Yep. So we came to check you out."Bookmark here

"I would assume that all of you already had breakfast.Bookmark here

I hope that's the case. Please…"Bookmark here

"You really do think of us as food scavengers when we crash in here, huh?"Bookmark here

"We already have, don't worry about that."Bookmark here

"Oh, thank goodness…Bookmark here

So… what did Rin tell you all?"Bookmark here

"Just about how you randomly come down to a state of slumber at any given time."Bookmark here

"I see… But I'm sure that you'll probably see me fall down at some point. Please, someone catch me if that happens."Bookmark here

"Where's Ringo, by the way?"Bookmark here

"She's helping out Sis at sorting something work-related. She'll probably be surprised once she comes here."Bookmark here

"Have you been here in Gin's house before, Ai?"Bookmark here

"One time, yes. They invited me for a dinner around the summer vacation."Bookmark here

"Ugh… As much as I don't like to say, Gin's far better than me in cooking…"Bookmark here

"That's because you're the pupil, Jean."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I know that already, Nacchi."Bookmark here

"Well, acting so modest doesn't suit you at all. I bet you haven't even served your food to Ai-san."Bookmark here

"Actually, Nagi. Even though I'm not a witness, they're pretty much having dinner for almost a month back in the North. Ai-san was basically Jean's critic."Bookmark here

"Wow, good for you chefs," Nagi uttered a lukewarm response.Bookmark here

"So anyway, whatever is happening to you, Gin?"Bookmark here

"Now that you ask, Shiro, I don't even know. But I'm sure that Rin already told you about it, or did she not?"Bookmark here

"She has said it once."Bookmark here

"So that leaves Jean who still doesn't know of it."Bookmark here

"And Ai-san, of course."Bookmark here

"So to put it into a few words, I've been having dreams, or nightmares if you will, containing my locked memories starting from when I was five.Bookmark here

Surely, you have the idea of what I'm talking about."Bookmark here

And so, Jean immediately came near me and whispered:Bookmark here

"Gin… If it is about the program, is it really okay to tell Ai about it?"Bookmark here

"I will try to keep it as vague as I can. But I'm afraid that she will eventually know about it."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Alright."Bookmark here

I raised the volume of my voice again, "Then, going back, it is indeed my memories of my childhood, specifically from the time when I was still involved in the Medical Children Program."Bookmark here

"'Medical… Children…?'"Bookmark here

"I suppose that you do not know of it since you were from the North, Ai-san. But the only thing I can say is that I am one of those children.Bookmark here

I do think that it is better if you do not know of the whole story, Ai-san. As Jean being one of the few people in Orio that knows it, I can't guarantee that he will say anything to you even if you ask."Bookmark here

"O-Oh… I see…"Bookmark here

"Continuing, I'm regaining my memories through those nightmares. That is why sometimes, I feel so dead when coming to school. I sometimes wake up with newly found unpleasant memories that could easily derail my whole day.Bookmark here

And then yesterday, I suddenly collapsed after coming home from shopping. I can't be thankful enough that Rin was there and she confirmed that I suddenly fell asleep for a couple of minutes. But at that point when I was asleep, I have dreamed again and recalled more memories.Bookmark here

It happened for another five times, and I saw a lot of situations from that past. I can easily say that those were just mere dreams… only if I could. But having them replay in my mind, I can't deny that they realistically happened. What is very frightening is how I can clearly see everything. It was like I'm being immersed in an extremely realistic simulation of what is in my mind.Bookmark here

It was like I went back in time roughly twelve years ago as my child self."Bookmark here

After a short pause, I heard a dangling of something metallic from the distance coming towards my front door. I'd say, of all dangling sound I hear, I'm very familiar to it of course since that's the same sound of my keys.Bookmark here

Thus, it opens with Rin entering.Bookmark here

"Morning, Pot-Bookmark here

Huh?"Bookmark here

"Good morning, Rin."Bookmark here

"Hi there, Ringo."Bookmark here

"Good morning, Ringo-senpai."Bookmark here

"Ah… Mhm. Thanks for visiting Gin, I guess."Bookmark here

"Well, Gin already explained what has been happening recently so we're pretty much informed now."Bookmark here

"I see."Bookmark here

"I wonder how Potato explained it with Ai-san here."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

With how much it became normality, we are all crammed inside my room.Bookmark here

"By the way, how are you going to explain it to the school? It sounds like you'll be hindered with your studies like that."Bookmark here

"Oh… I haven't really thought of that, Jean.Bookmark here

But if something happens, I am probably going to take a leave of absence again like last year. Maybe even longer than a week.Bookmark here

Though I will just look like a pain for the principal so it's better to tell Akira first as he's the secretary now."Bookmark here

"That works, then."Bookmark here

"But I think I'll have to take a checkup first so I may not be around tomorrow. It's nothing major, but just so I can get it seen by a doctor."Bookmark here

"You have a point. Hiroomi and Sean have been looking out for you for a year now."Bookmark here

"Ugh… I don't know if I can work…Bookmark here

Oh, dodged that, haha."Bookmark here

"I didn't know that combo.Bookmark here

Ah, got you. Sorry if I break the button."Bookmark here

"Lol. You ain't getting me, Nagi."Bookmark here

"What?! How come you drained my HP?!"Bookmark here

"Alright, finisher~"Bookmark here

"KO!"Bookmark here

It was a close game for the two, but Nagi was about to admit his loss until an upset happened where he suddenly won.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

W-What just happened?"Bookmark here

"Aah… Look here."Bookmark here

They saw Gin lying down, asleep without the controller on his hand.Bookmark here

"Oh… he went to sleep mode. That's so last minute. He was winning and all."Bookmark here

"Well, I got the win and Gin lost."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Thanks for hanging out today."Bookmark here

"Yeah. Be well, Gin."Bookmark here

"We'll visit again some time."Bookmark here

"I wish you well, Gin-senpai."Bookmark here

"Haha. Thanks, really."Bookmark here

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"Ah, I'm going to run an errand for Sis. Are you sure you'll be okay alone, Potato?"Bookmark here

"Don't worry too much. I'll probably just do things that don’t require a lot of movements."Bookmark here

"Alright, then. See you later."Bookmark here

"Be careful, Rin.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Hmm… I guess I'll do some drawing. Hey, Haku. Scratch my face if I fall asleep."Bookmark here

*Meow*Bookmark here

"Atta boy"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

I have done a few sketches for around half an hour and tried to watch anime after that. Thankfully, I haven't had any case of switching off after when the others were still here apart from one earlier.Bookmark here

I still ran out of things to do, however. The last thing I can do is lay down on my bed as I observe the afternoon sky outside from what I can see through my window.Bookmark here

"I guess I'll take a nap.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I didn't expect to be saying that of all times…"Bookmark here

But suddenly, my doorbell rang.Bookmark here

I went downstairs and checked who is in front of my door through the viewhole, and saw that it was Ginji.Bookmark here

"Hey G. What's up?"Bookmark here

"Thought I'd share some pizza since we ordered a bit too much," he followed up by showing the box.Bookmark here

"Ohhh… Thanks, then. If you're not in a rush, you can come in."Bookmark here

"Excuse my intrusion, then."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"You really live alone in this house, huh. Now that I've taken a good look, I can definitely say this is too big for you."Bookmark here

"Well… I still try to live with minimalism. That's why I have a lot of space in this house."Bookmark here

"Aren't with Ringo today?"Bookmark here

"She's out running an errand for her sister. She was here earlier along with the others from the club to check up on my condition."Bookmark here

"Condition?"Bookmark here

"I'm currently experiencing something that puts me into sleep by force. And with that, I always get dreams even if it was just a short time of slumber.Bookmark here

When you think about it, it could still be threatening to me."Bookmark here

"I see… Dreams, huh…Bookmark here

Gin, sorry but I will be very blunt with this. I have a question…Bookmark here

Do you know the Medical Children Program?"Bookmark here

Hearing what he just said, I came to a state of shock inside me. My suspicions of G suddenly rose up after hearing that.Bookmark here

"H-How… did you know that…? It was not disclosed to public even if it benefited a lot twelve years ago up until this point."Bookmark here

"So you really know of it…"Bookmark here

"Why do you ask… and why do you know…?"Bookmark here

"It's no use beating around the bush. I've heard a lot about you from the doctor himself, 027."Bookmark here

"He knows my code…"Bookmark here

"Rishou Kagetora, huh…Bookmark here

G, I'll need you to explain."Bookmark here

"Sure. I'll tell you my story then.Bookmark here

I met Dr. Kagetora around last year when I got into an accident of some sort. He was the one that gave me first aid in the scene of the incident. It was later revealed that I had respiratory infections because of mostly inhaling cigarette smoke and other forms of pollution overtime, apart from a much bigger accident I got into.Bookmark here

My family were then found by the doctor and sought to get me better from the infection and treatment from the accident: free of all charges. He was working at Maris Hospital at that time. But that was also the time when I discovered how much he was haunted by his past. Seriously, he was so broken. He had no one to talk it out, so I volunteered to listen to him and I ended up accompanying him when he's driven down by anxiety.Bookmark here

Thus, I've also discovered the program in which he led for a year. What I knew was about how 100 five year-old children were put to examinations involving incomplete drugs, which lead to death of the children and suicide. Even if the program was successful, all of the subjects were assumed to have died.Bookmark here

Listening to his every word, he made me stay in a hospital room inside his office until I recovered."Bookmark here

"I saw that room when I confronted him."Bookmark here

"Even after my confinement, I still come by and visit him and he still told me stories about someone he called as '027' and how he was so happy that there was someone who survived. That was the first time I saw you, although in an image. That's how it came to this day that I have asked you that question."Bookmark here

"So you already know about 086 too, I guess."Bookmark here

"Ken Ichikawa, I assume? He was your classmate up until last school year but after his surgery, he went off somewhere. Even the doctor does not know of his whereabouts."Bookmark here

"Yeah. He's doing fine somewhere."Bookmark here

"I'll take that as he knows where he is." Ginji suspected.Bookmark here

"But you sure do your research, G."Bookmark here

"Oh, please. That's just mere information gathering. I suck at research in school.Bookmark here

But I just got into it because of the doctor. I owe him a lot too."Bookmark here

"Are you still in contact with the doctor?"Bookmark here

"Sure, yeah. We're lending each other’s ears."Bookmark here

"So… can you tell me about him when you were a patient? Sure, I've heard from him already, but I want to know from other perspective."Bookmark here

"Oh, that.Bookmark here

To say it to the simplest, he was destroyed by the program. He was saying it was his fault, or he regrets everything, or his life per se can't equal to the lives that he 'killed.' Seeing him every time with a much distorted state is very surprising.Bookmark here

Honestly, even I was scared whenever he talks… or agonizes about it. Because of that, I have somehow woken up to how much corrupted this world is."Bookmark here

"So he still thinks that he was a murderer. He sure has changed so much for the ten years I haven't seen him.Bookmark here

If you ever have seen how he knelt down in front me and Rin, it made me very apologetic. I used to hate him, honestly, but when I saw how different he is from the past, I felt that it was time to forgive him."Bookmark here

"…With Ringo, huh.Bookmark here

Gin, there's something I need to tell you."Bookmark here

"Hm."Bookmark here

"This is something that even the doctor has not yet realized up until this moment. But to be honest, I am in no position to say this.Bookmark here

It is about you and Ringo. Seeing the two of you right now made it apparent that you two still don't know. But what I am talking about is not something I can say with my words.Bookmark here

There will definitely be someone that will tell you what the truth is. I know… it will be sooner than later. This is something you definitely… definitely need to know.Bookmark here

Even if it ends up hurting both of you."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Tranquility engulfed the whole house as Ginji awaited for a comment or reply from Gin, which did not ever come.Bookmark here

"Gin… You're so unfair, for crying out loud… Here I thought you were listening all along and I see you sound asleep.Bookmark here

Hahh… I still wish you two for the best.Bookmark here

Man… what a 'coincidence.'"Bookmark here

With the presence of Rin after a few moments, Ginji left the house after looking after the asleep.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

I got Doctor Kagetora's contact information from G, and attempted to make an appointment with him in the next day after submitting a day of absence from school.Bookmark here

"Rishou Kagetora, speaking."Bookmark here

"Hello~ Doc. Haven't talked to you in a while, have I?"Bookmark here

"Who is this speaking?"Bookmark here

"It's me, Gin Sakato. Surprised, are we?"Bookmark here

"Oh, 027… It's been a while. Are you well?"Bookmark here

"I shouldn't be calling if I were. Hahaha.Bookmark here

But don't worry. It's just minor. I need a checkup again."Bookmark here

"Alright. I'll free up a schedule an hour from now. Is that good?"Bookmark here

"Ehhh… I don't think I can get to Maris in just an hour."Bookmark here

"Umm… What?"Bookmark here

"What?"Bookmark here

"So… you didn't know?"Bookmark here

"Didn't know what?"Bookmark here

"I transferred to a family hospital here in Ginga in Cotona. Actually, Cerulean Street is just near the highway so…"Bookmark here

"My word, are you serious?! That's dead near to my house."Bookmark here

"Oh? Then that makes things easier."Bookmark here

"An hour, you say? Alright, I'll be there.Bookmark here

Thank you very much."Bookmark here

"Sure, sure. You'll be free of charge of course.Bookmark here

Wait, how did you call me?"Bookmark here

"Got your info from your friend, Ginji Satoshi."Bookmark here

"So you met Ginji. What a coincidence."Bookmark here

"I'll explain things later. See you then."Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

"Dad, you'll meet him again, huh?"Bookmark here

"Please ask him not to freak out when he sees me."Bookmark here

"It's been twelve years already. I hope he doesn't cause a ruckus."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

September 4, 3:15pm.Bookmark here

A faculty meeting is being held in the office after the dismissal.Bookmark here

"Sir Juushiro, why are we still not starting the meeting?"Bookmark here

"I'm still waiting for someone. He said he has something to say.Bookmark here

Oh, speaking of."Bookmark here

"Sorry I'm late. Good afternoon, teachers."Bookmark here

"Oh, Mr. Sakato. So you're the one that the principal was waiting for."Bookmark here

"Alright, let's start the meeting.Bookmark here

We'll have Mr. Sakato speak first regarding what he has to say."Bookmark here

"Thank you, Mr. Principal.Bookmark here

I asked to join the meeting for today for the advantage of informing specifically my subject teachers of my case. I will immediately step out once I have said what I will.Bookmark here

I was absent yesterday for the reason of having a checkup. I am currently experiencing some kind of sleeping disorder in which at random, I fall asleep or 'switch off' regardless of my condition, so to speak.Bookmark here

With the following days, the teachers might observe me to suddenly nod off in classes. So I ask for this behavior to be excused.Bookmark here

Regarding a remedy or therapy, there is nothing I can do about it but live with it until such time of monitoring. If anything happens beyond that, I would like to ask in advance for an indefinite time of absence from school if my conditions worsen.Bookmark here

That's all I have to say."Bookmark here

"What a brave child he is to be barging in to a meeting. Truly amazing."Bookmark here

"If it is a health issue, there's nothing to talk about. He even provided papers for it."Bookmark here

"What do you think, Sir Juushiro?"Bookmark here

"We wish for our student's safety and wellness so I will permit this behavior in the near future. Mr. Sakato, if something happens, please go to the clinic immediately."Bookmark here

"Yes, sir.Bookmark here

With this supposed to be concluded, I will have to leave now as I may disturb the rest of the meeting."Bookmark here

"Thank you for the consideration, you may leave now."Bookmark here

"Thank you very much."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Over the past week, the frequency of my switching off has gotten higher. It came to the point that it became a disturbance in classes every time it happens.Bookmark here

Today is September 14, my last day of being present in school and classes ended quickly. I have decided to pull back from school.Bookmark here

And before this indefinite duration of leave, this might be the last time that I will be walking the White Street from school in a while.Bookmark here

"Hahh… I knew it would come to this…"Bookmark here

"It's for the better, Potato."Bookmark here

"Nee-chan is right, Nii. Who knows what you might have done if you didn't file an absence."Bookmark here

"Though I'm quite worried with how I will continue day to day life."Bookmark here

"I'll be inside now. Nee-chan, can you get Nii home until he opens his door?"Bookmark here

"Of course, Anna.Bookmark here

Potato, you heard him."Bookmark here

"Yes…"Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

Okay… Something is not right with this…Bookmark here

Why are both of our families inside my house right now?Bookmark here

There is Dad, Mom, Uncle Shuu, Aunt Sumi and Sis… all in one place. And there seems to be an argument happening…Bookmark here

A meeting of some sort, rather.Bookmark here

"Well, yes, Shuu. Kei isn't always available since he is working."Bookmark here

"Our daughter is also busy at school works so I don't think Anna can…"Bookmark here

"So that leaves with…"Bookmark here

"Oh, great timing, son."Bookmark here

"Hey there, musuko!"Bookmark here

"Here's little sister too."Bookmark here

"Uhh… Care to tell what in the world is happening right now…?"Bookmark here

"Let's not beat around the bush. I know this is sudden but…Bookmark here

…"Bookmark here

"But what? What, Uncle?"Bookmark here

"We've come to the agreement so…Bookmark here

How about you let my daughter live in this house for a while?"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

NANI?Bookmark here

To be continued.

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

You've finished 018!Bookmark here

I doubt that it's an actual disorder, but good for him for sleeping that much. I wish I could do that too.Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

019: Under this roof, what exactly does the future entails?Bookmark here

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