“Argh!” The young girl struggles in her chair, restraints binding her from moving and leather gloves tightly wrapped in her hands. She’s blindfolded, unable to see a thing, and no one else is in the room. Her only companion was the dark, a single light shining above her. On the other side of the room, there were people monitoring her activity, her brainwaves, trying to uncover the secrets she has been keeping.
“Let me go!”
The more she struggled, the more she screamed, everything around her seemed to change. The atmosphere has heavy and made it hard for her to breathe. The pressure was pushing against her body, making her feel tight and stiff. She could hear the voices whispering to her, seeing visions she didn’t want to look at. She tried to stop them, yelling at them, but it was no use.
In her last bit of energy, she screamed as loud as she could, her screams echoing off the walls. Then, the room started to shake. All of the equipment was going haywire, the light above her swinging wildly back and forth, and the windows shatter and break, a strong wind filling the room and circling the girl in a vacuum.
She didn’t stop, even as they yelled for her to calm down and quit. They ended up getting killed by something, but as of what, she didn’t know anymore. She just kept screaming.
“..Mm…” The girl woke up in a daze, hearing a high-pitched monotone beeping sound enter her ears. She slowly opened her eyes, closing them back a bit as she saw nothing but white. She covered her eyes with her arm and slowly looked around as her eyes adjusted.
A white ceiling with LED lights, the machines with tubes connected into her arm, the bouquet of lily flowers laid down on a dresser beside her bed. She wasn’t wearing her normal clothes anymore, and was now in a plain white gown. She looked outside and saw a beautiful view of Tokyo, the sun shining bright in the clear, cloudless, blue sky.
“Where… am I?”
Then, a sharp pain shocked her in the head, making a ringing sound go off in her ears. She clutched her head tight as a flood of memories entered her brain. Her eyes opened wide. Quickly, she checked herself to see if she was injured, but nothing. Not even a scar. She was perfectly fine.
“Was it a vision?” she thought to herself, still holding her head, even after the ringing and pain went away. “Or just a nightmare?”
She heard the door open and a young woman with long, raven black hair walked in.
“Matsui Jurina?” the doctor asked her as she fixed her labcoat and took out a clipboard and pen. Jurina could only study the actions of the nurse, a wave of uneasiness swept into her mind.
“Y-Yes…” Jurina answered after a few short seconds, feeling a slight tug of suspicion for the woman in front of her.
“I’m Kashiwagi Yuki. I’m a nurse here. I found you in an alley outside near an abandoned building and brought you here,” the doctor explained, a warm smile appeared on her lips before her expression turned to its original form. ”Did something happen to you, Jurina?”
The words left the young girl’s mouth, before a strong wave of nausea hit her hard. She groaned, clutching her head as instant flashes started to appear in her field of vision. Her breathing began to grow rapid, as she couldn’t stop the visions and voices inside, feeling herself drifting apart little by little.
“Are you okay, Matsui-san?”
Yuki was listening carefully to Jurina, watching her expression fill with fear as she hugged herself and shivered. She tried to write down what she was saying, but she couldn’t hear her shaky voice clearly. There was one word she did hear clearly, though.
Yuki’s hand fidgeted a bit as she wrote down that word.
“Is that all you can remember?”
A nod was received.
Yuki looked at the notes she took.
“Jurina’s father got drunk, forced some of his drunkard friends raped her, and then he was murdered that same night. Jurina had already blacked out when her father was killed, so the rape attempt did not succeed. The others were arrested, but Jurina doesn’t know how he was murdered.”
“I’m very sorry, Matsui-san…”
The elder girl hugged Jurina as she covered her face and started crying. Yuki couldn’t do anything else except comfort her. She just held her in her arms and rubbed her back as she sobbed softly into her chest. After a while, she heard Jurina’s voice die down and she became limp in her embrace. She broke the hug and saw Jurina staring at her with blank, lifeless eyes. They were so empty, pitch black, it felt like she was falling into another word.
Jurina blinked her eyes and they slowly returned to normal. Yuki was a bit confused about what just happened, but she didn’t have time to think as she saw on her watch, she was late. She quickly took her clipboard with the notes she wrote down about Jurina and was about to leave, when…
“Yuki-san…” she heard her voice and saw Jurina staring at her strangely. “Are you really going to take me to an asylum?”
“Yuma-kun told you I needed to be sent to a mental hospital. Are you really going to do it?”
Yuki was shocked. She just met Jurina, and yet she seems to immediately know who Yuma is. Did she come to this hospital before and meet Yuma? No, that couldn’t have been true, she thought. She has been working in the hospital longer than Yuma, and he was younger than her. Being a genius, she knew Yuma had skipped a few grades into entering high school early and passed medical school with flying colors. Neither she or Yuma have ever seen her before. So, how does she know?
“Ah, nothing… I’ll come check up on you later.”
Yuki left the room, leaning back to the wall as she shut the door behind her.
“What was that about?”
She held her head and tried to think as she went to her and Yuma’s office. Yuma was already in there, waiting for her. She still couldn’t believe Jurina said such a thing about him.
“Yukirin. Hey, what’s wrong?” he asked worriedly. “You look a bit pale.”
“I’m fine, um, Yuma… Guess I’m just tired.”
“You really need to take a rest next time, Yukirin.” Yuma said as he ushered Yukirin to take a seat on one of the chairs in the room. “So did you get the notes from the patient?”
“Yes. Matsui Jurina-san. Let’s take a look at these.” Yuki took the notes from her clipboard and the two started reading through Jurina’s files.
It seemed normal at first. Only child, mother and father were divorce, and of course, the fact that her dad was always drinking and hurting Jurina to the point of an attempt rape, ending in his murder. But then, they saw something strange in the files. A pink slip that came from a past appointment with a psychiatrist.
“Frequent nightmares. Must be kept under watch at all times. Highly emotional. Very destructive results.”
“Destructive? What the hell…”
Then, they saw another paper slip, this one yellow, from a police file.
“Acts of violence and abuse from father. House damage. Reports of strange activity from neighbors; most involved Jurina.”
“What’s with all of this?” Yuki whispered, shocked.
“Don’t know. These files couldn’t be wrong, all of the notes were taken from the police themselves,” Yuma paused. “Yukirin, do you think she’s some sort of criminal?”
“What?” Yukirin was surprised by the sudden conclusion. “Why would you ask that?”
“Because…” Yuma reached into her drawers and pulled out a TV remote. He turned on the TV in her room and the news came on.
“The man was found outside an alley way, and eyewitness reports say he and some of his friends were with a young girl. Reports say that a few guns from the men were found on their bodies, but a knife was found wrapped in a towel in the trash. DNA test showed that the fingerprints belonged to the young girl who was found unconscious at the site, Matsui Jurina.”
“What in the…” Yukirin stared in disbelief as she listens to the news more.
“Police authorities are currently looking for Matsui-san, as she had gone missing this morning and traces of her have not been found. More news as this case develops…”
Yuma looked at her nurse, seeing her wide eyed and shocked expression.
“Is this really… No, it can’t be true…?”
“Yukirin, we should really do something about this girl.”
“W-wait, I just talked to her. She said she was unconscious when her dad was murdered, so she couldn’t have done it. Whoever did this framed her.”
Yuki sighed and sat down, looking at her notes again. Then, she looked at one of the forms and saw something very strange written down.
“Unexplained paranormal activity coming from the Matsui residence. Matsui daughter a possible esper?”
Yuma looked and then reached into his previous files. He pulled out several newspaper templates that read about the same thing.
“Poltergeist activity in the Matsui home.”
“Daughter of Matsui possesses psychic ability?”
“Middle school girl accused of school property damage caused by indoor cyclone.”
“What the hell..?”
Yuki was looking at all these in front of her, and still couldn’t believe any of it. The fact that Jurina might have psychic powers seemed impossible and ridiculous, but considering that Jurina knew who Yuma was before even meeting her seemed to make it more plausible.
“What do you think we should do?” Yukirin wondered.
“Well, we can’t just leave her. She needs someone to help her if her family won’t.” Yuma said as a matter-of-factly.
Yuki crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair, rubbing her forehead as she tried to come up with something. Yuma sat against the table before saying, “I think we need to send her to a mental hospital.”
Her heart skipped a beat.
That’s exactly what Jurina said Yuma was going to say.
“Yuma-kun told you I needed to be sent to a mental hospital.”
“How did she know?” That was the only thought in Yuki’s mind, and it echoed in an abyss of confusion that made her feel dizzy and frustrated.
“I can’t believe this. Why would even think like that?”
“Well, if these are true, about her having psychic ability and the possibility of her being the cause of her own father’s death, sending her somewhere to help control them is the only choice. Right? We wouldn’t risk helping someone as dark as a killer, that would be suicide and you know it.”
Yuki rested her head on both her hands and sighed. She felt like doing this was wrong, especially since Jurina seemed to know about it, and if she didn’t like it, there was nothing else she could do for her. But seeing all the reports, files, and pictures of her in black and white ink, it seemed too real.
“Yukirin. What should we do?”
Yuki bit her lip before standing up and taking the files, hiding them in her drawer. She took another look at her clipboard, reading Jurina’s profile and sighed.
“I guess we have no choice…”
Yuki watched Jurina as she watched TV in her hospital room. She had just finished lunch and her checkup with Yuma, so that gave her plenty of time for the arrangements to send Jurina away. She slowly opened the door.
Jurina turned to her head towards the sound of the voice. “Yes?”
She slowly came in, shutting the door and trying to smile.
“Jurina-san… I talked to Yuma and we’ve decided to transfer you to a local mental facility in Tokyo. It’s not that anything’s wrong with you. We just–”
“Eh?” She looked at the young girl, who gave her a sad smile.
“I understand. Besides… I’ll be okay. I deserve to go to a place like that.”
“I wanna leave as soon as possible. And… if it means I don’t have to hurt anyone anymore, I’m totally okay with it.”
Yuki’s mind was running with lots of questions. Just who was this girl? The things she was saying, what she had heard about her, everything seemed impossible and crazy. But Jurina was acting so calm with it… It was like she wanted to be sent to a mental facility.
“When am I leaving?”
Three days later…
Jurina was packing the rest of her things in a small suitcase for her to carry, looking around her empty room that used to be her home and torture chamber. Her father was gone, and she knew no one else in her family would want or miss her after this. Everything in her room was packed and in a white van where Yuki was waiting outside to take her to her new home. Here, she knew she would be accepted, because she would finally be normal. Exactly the same as everyone. Well, that’s what she hoped.
Sighing, she zipped up her bag and pulled out the handle so she wouldn’t have to carry it over her shoulder. She left her home, locking it up tight, and sat in the back seat of the clean van. The two girls just sat quietly, not saying a word to each other, as Yuki drove down the road until they finally arrived at their destination.
“This is as far as I can take you. I gotta go back to work,” said Yuki. “Good luck.”
“Yea…” Jurina grabbed her bag as some men wearing white suits came and took her other bags. Then before leaving, she turned back to Yuki and said, “Also… you should probably keep an eye on Yuma. I don’t think he should work late tomorrow night.”
“Bye.” Jurina left, not saying another word to the raven girl.
Yuki felt a bit relieved she wouldn’t have to carry a burden like her anymore, but she had this deep drop in her heart when she heard those words.
Yuki didn’t want to think about it and started driving back to the hospital.
Jurina entered the mental facility, looking around at the nearly empty lobby. She went up to the front desk to see if someone was there, then a tall woman came up to her, tapping her shoulder.
“You must be Jurina-chan. I’m Mariko. I’ll be looking after you from now on, kay?”
“Uh-huh…” Jurina stood there, staring at the doctor in awe. She looked like a model in a labcoat, and her aura seemed a bit more powerful than any other doctor she’s seen.
“I’ll take you to your room. Follow me.”
Jurina silently followed Mariko as she was lead down a few halls to her room. She looked around to see some of the other patients, and as she expected, they did have some trouble doing normal things. They stopped at a door numbered “208”.
“This will be your room from now on. There’s another patient already occupying this room, so I hope you two can get along.”
Jurina just nodded.
“Something wrong?” Mariko knelt down so she was at Jurina’s height.
“No… I’m okay…”
The elder girl patted her head. “I heard about what happened to your dad. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Jurina gritted her teeth silently. She wasn’t sad about her father’s death.
Mariko knocked the door. “Rena?”
“Rena, are you there?”
Jurina stood there, watching the woman’s expression become anxious and worried. She knocked a few more times, louder.
Still no answer. Mariko quickly opened the door and saw Rena was perfectly alright, reading a manga with her headphones on.
“Oh, thank God…” she sighed, relieved.
Jurina didn’t quite understand what was going on. Rena looked completely normal, a teenage girl with long black hair, but she did look a bit pale and incredibly slim. And, looking around her room, she saw manga, makeup and magazines, and also dolls and plastic tea sets. It was like a teenager’s room mixed with a kid’s room, and there was even a variety of CDs ranging from rock and pop music to children’s music.
Honestly, unless this girl had a brain disorder that made her act like she had the mind of a toddler, she thought there was supposed to be a little girl in this room, too, because that’s what it seemed like.
“This is Matsui Rena. She’ll be your roommate from now on. Rena, meet Jurina.”
Rena looked at Jurina with empty black eyes. She slowly reached her hand out to shake her hand, but Rena slowly shrunk away, like she was scared. Jurina thought she must’ve been shy, so she smiled at the girl and held her hand.
An electric shock ran through her body and time seemed to stop a few seconds. She looked at the hand she was still holding and felt something in her head switch on. She could hear what Rena was thinking, but not only that. There seemed to be more than one voice in her head. An image flashed in front of her eyes of Rena and three other figures.
“Rena-san… do you have any younger sisters?”
Rena’s heart pulsed rapidly when she said that. She quickly pulled back from the younger girl and up against the wall, covering her mouth as she breathed in and out, quick and sharp breaths.
Jurina looked down, realizing she did the wrong thing. “Sorry…”
“It’ll be okay. Just give her some time to calm down. I’ll come back later to check up on you two.”
After Mariko left, Jurina just started unpacking her things and placed them in the closet and drawers. Then she sat quietly on her bed while Rena was still curled up in a ball, not saying a word or even glancing over at Jurina. She just hugged her knees and breathed deeply.
Jurina looked at the shy girl and slowly leaned forward. “Rena, right? Uh, Rena-san… You’re last name is Matsui, huh? So is mine. I wonder if we’re related somehow. Mm, but really, Matsui is a pretty common name…”
No response from the silent girl. Jurina thought maybe she was mute.
“Hey…” She didn’t know what exactly to talk about since she just met the girl, so she said the first thing that came to her mind. “Why are you here?”
Rena’s pulsating heart skipped a beat, pounding so loud, she thought Jurina could hear it.
“….I… don’t wanna talk about it….” she said in a small voice.
Jurina started reading her novel as Rena sat down in her bed with her headphones in. She wondered what Rena was listening to, so she got closer and saw the name “LoVendoЯ” on the CD cover.
“Can I listen?”
She put one earbud in and listened to the music play. It was a rock song, but the lyrics were sad and full with meaning. What a perfect song. Rena said it was called “Bukiyo”.
“Do you like this?”
“It’s hard to explain… but this song specifically… it really means a lot to me.”
Jurina smiled. “I can tell…”
She then decided it was best to give Rena some privacy for now, so she went back to her bed and started reading again. After about an hour, it was already time for checkups and both of them did perfectly okay. Well, as far as they knew. Neither of them talked about what had happened, so they each assumed one of them did better than the other. It was time for bed now, but after Jurina changed into her pajamas and was ready to go to sleep, Mariko came back in.
“Rena, it’s time to take your medicine,” Mariko said with a small smile, walking inside the room towards the pale girl’s bed.
Jurina watched as Mariko sat down beside Rena and slowly injected something into her arm. Mariko said it was a special medicine that Rena had to take, once in the morning and once before bed. When Jurina asked why, Mariko just said she’d tell her later. The two tucked themselves into bed and laid silently in the quiet room. Jurina laid there for a few minutes. She told Rena goodnight, but got no response, so she thought she was tired and went to bed.
She stared at her, but not in a creepy stalker kinda way. Like a mother would do to her child. Rena was beautiful in Jurina’s eyes, awake or asleep. Something about her was special, and probably why she was here, but she saw that small light of hope in her eyes that showed Rena was strong and had been surviving something for a long time.
Eventually, Jurina fell asleep and drifted off into her dream world. She was in a field of daisies in the summer, and she was with Rena, wearing the most beautiful dress and a hat with a few daisies in it. The wind was nice and cool from the sun’s heat and it felt so perfect in that world. In this place, Jurina could finally see Rena’s smile, a smile which she hoped the real Rena would make soon.
“Come here, sweetheart…”
No. Please don’t come near me.
“Don’t be shy. We won’t bite. Not as hard as we usually do.”
No. I’m begging you, stop.
“Hold her. And don’t let her go, I don’t want to see her squirm even the slightest.”
“Come here, dear.”
“We’ll do you as soft as possible. But then again… No promises.”
“Alright, now. Let’s take off her clothes.”
A scream was heard throughout the building.
There was cold sweat forming on her forehead and everything was still dizzy around her, her head pulsating.
She slowed her breath more and finally calmed down from the shock. When she looked over, she saw Rena sitting up from her bed, her head hung low.
“Rena-san… I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”
When Rena looked at her, something was different. Jurina sensed something changed in her eyes. They blinked a few times, they were black and almost larger than before. Or something like that. All she knew was she felt something strange about Rena looking at her.
“Rena-san, is something wrong?”
“Rena-san…?” Her voice had changed. It sounded like a child’s voice.
Rena tilted her head a bit, looking at her before saying.
“Who are you?”
It was Jurina’s time to be confused.