The Death of Yuji Fujimoto

Yuji Fujimoto was supposed to die tonight and he knew it. He had received a letter in blood-red ink. Yuji already knew what was inside-- it was not something he wanted to open. He had committed a terrible sin and the weight of the misdoing had already numbed him from all emotions. The content inside read aloud -- 'The death of Yuji Fujimoto -- November 4th, 10:30PM'. And today was that day. But the thought of death did not scare Yuji. Nothing did anymore.

It wasn't always like this for Yuji. Before the incident, he was kind if a bit quirky at the age of twenty four. His upbringing from a single mother taught him compassion and care at an early age. Because he remembered the moldy one-roomed apartment he grew up in. He remembered working two part-time jobs in high school to help support his hardworking mother. He remembered his mother sick in bed with a fever after collapsing at work and the feeling of helplessness that followed. Yuji remembered pain. Yet he also remembered his mother's words. Every person must choose between what is right and what is easy.

But... on the day the deed was done. He did not think about virtue. He did not think about his mother's words. When it came to Eri, she was the guiding light inside a cold, dark cavern. She was the salvation to his agony. For her, he would do anything. And the results of that firm notion haunted him.

Knock. Knock.

The sound came from the entrance door. He glanced at the clock posted on the interior walls of his living room. "Saturday 3:00 PM". That was around the same time that Yuji had first met Eri on the train ride back home from his office job.

Yuji worked as a politician's assistant and the nature of his job forced him to be immersed around paperwork all day. Yuji, finding an empty pair of seats, paid no attention to his surroundings and sat with a heavy mind. After taking a seat, he glanced down for a second to retie his dress shoes -- despite the fact that they were already firmly knotted. The quirky young man had a tendency to keep himself active whenever there was something burdening him -- a trait that was inherited from his hardworking mother. Yuji's mother passed away months prior to him landing his current job. She never got to see her son succeed after eight years of hard work in a nationally flawed educational system. She never got to see her son become financially independent after eight rigorous years of studying at a prestigious university while working as a mailman to help pay off his tuition. But Yuji always kept his mother close. A small 2 by 2 photo of the two smiling rested comfortably inside his wallet -- with the exception of a few miscellaneous pictures of his mother in her youth and childbirth lying around his apartment... that was really all he had to remember her by. Yuji had finally stopped fiddling with the laces of his shoes and glanced up.

Yuji headed towards the entrance and opened the door.

There stood Eri Kanako, a young lady of twenty-two attired in casual jeans and a short-sleeve shirt of white. Yuji courted her inside the kitchen and brought her to the dining table.

"There's only one chair again." Eri smiled at the rugged looking man.

Yuji could do nothing but stare at the wall on the clock that now read "Saturday, 3:10PM". She took a seat, but her expression changed to one of concern.

For a split second... Yuji saw his mother again at young adulthood having peaked in her adolescent years not too long ago inside this very train.

Yuji blinked and shook his head. Despite the resemblance, he had begun to notice the dissimilarities. The young lady had a tiny speck of a mole on her elegant neck. Her hair was also a great length longer than the one presented inside the photo of his mother in her childbirth. But the look on her face -- that was always poignant, calming and full of grace. That was what had caught his attention because his mother had shared the same facial expression. So it came as a surprise to Yuji, when someone as seemingly conservative and beautiful as her made the first approach. "Sir, is this seat taken?" she asked with due courtesy. "No, by all means." he replied back in a soft voice. Who knew that the ramifications of a simple conversation would result as two future liaisons? Surely, not Yuji... when the living image of his mother in her youth confessed to being engaged with another man, weeks after the nature of their fervent relationship was established.

"What's wrong?" she asked, finally bringing Yuji back into the present.

"Nothing. You just look so beautiful that it hurts sometimes." Yuji lied as he excused himself to grab the spare stool inside his living room. Indeed, Miss Kanako was endowed graciously by her genetic makeup but that was not what engrossed his thoughts.

"You're lying." she pouted back with a look of deep concern when Yuji returned with the spare. The look on his lover's face quite resembled the last facial expression carved by her deceased fiancé.

It was etched into his memory. Every last detail of that seedy night. When he had coincidentally spotted him in the illicit nightlife of downtown Kabukicho. The building was small but sanitary. It was filled with men of questionable honor and the sound of intoxicated laughter echoed throughout the room. Yuji was meeting an old acquaintance immersed in Yakuza dealings at a bar. When he spotted that capricious smirk from a bird's eye view. The fiancé was not with Miss Kanako. Rather, he was courting another woman in an explicitly unfaithful manner. He had seen enough. Yuji had quickly excused himself for the night and discreetly stalked the pair down to a run-down love hotel that had oddly resembled the old apartment he used to live in with his mother.

What happened after was in such a blur. But the things that Yuji remembered were showing no mercy. No restraint when he viciously stabbed the fiancé's throat. And surely none for the conniving cunt turned deceased witness. But Yuji was in the wrong. The fiancé had facially expressed it. His lover had bled it. And he lived with the burden of that fact.

"Eri, do you know what day today is?" the man spoke, in a concisely dry voice.

"N... no," the younger woman stuttered. If there was one dissimilarity Eri shared with Yuji's mother... it was the ability to lie. During childhood, Yuji had always asked his mother why his father was never around when his peers did. She had fooled Yuji into believing that he was an astronaut working in outer space to protect the Earth.

Yuji continued in his blunt fashion. "It is the day you were supposed to get married and live happily ever after."

Tears had flushed down the young lady's cheeks but she made no sound. Silence had soon enveloped the room once more.

A while later, Eri spoke in a composed manner "It should have been me."

"What?"

"To have died, I mean. I should have been the one to die. Not him."

"You're spouting nonsense!" Yuji glared a basilisk's venom unto her vulnerable gaze. His mother passing away had already left him emotionally dry. And until the incident, it was Eri who restored vigor and purpose to his life once more. The thought of his lover taking her life did not once cross his mind.

"I loved him - Just as much as I love you. Even despite his unfaithful tendencies... I guess that's why I started an affair with you - to get back at him." Her words sliced.

Yuji said nothing, for it was something he already knew. The young miss had quickly mopped up her cheeks and cupped her lover's face with her warm hands. Yuji had remembered telling Eri once that his mother used to do this to comfort him. The only difference was that his lover's hands were always warm while his mother's hands were always cold.

She passionately brushed her lips against his and after a long embrace, she softly cooed "But what's in the past is in the past. We should leave it at just that."

Eri had left the apartment at 10:00 PM. She worked for an Architectural Design company and Yuji did not want to impose on her routinely life anymore than he had already done. Because Yuji knew, that like his mother... Eri would have stayed with him and shoulder all responsibilities unless he sent her home for the evening.

Yuji had decided to surprise Eri at work that day. Her desk lay neatly piled with sketches and models of buildings in model size. Yuji casually sat on Eri's empty chair and waited for his lover. While the receptionist below led Yuji into Eri's room, she informed Yuji that Eri was in a business meeting and would be out shortly. Yuji, growing tired of waiting, decided to sift through her desk cabinets. The top desk cabinet held some portfolios neatly stacked and a stuffed teddy bear that he had bought for her on their second date. Yuji would find out that Eri had an affinity for cute things which came as a surprise to him because Eri had always seemed so reserved. But when the two were alone, 'reserved' was the last word that described her. Yuji opened the second cabinet and inside it were more portfolios with a few textbooks. And then it caught his attention. An engraved photo frame lying flat on it's back. It was carefully placed between two portfolios and Yuji would have never seen it if the edges weren't already sticking out. He picked up the photo frame and saw his lover with another man that had a particular smirk on his face.

He accompanied her to the train station and back in a flat fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes.

Once he was inside, he headed straight towards the kitchen. That was all the time it took to commit two murders and quickly leave the place a bloody mess.

Inside one of the kitchen cabinets was a loaded handgun of six rounds. Yuji's hand trembled violently. Who was he to dictate who deserves to live and who deserves to die?

The bullets were eight millimeters in width. On the night of the murders, Yuji had chosen what was easy over what was right. And for that he now had to pay a price. With the very same gun and bullets that dealt the cold justice called death to two living, breathing beings.

He carefully opened up the barrel and emptied out three slots. But he loved Eri. Yuji's life was one of many hardships and grievances. His mother's passing away was a testament to that fact. He deserved to be happy. And he wanted nothing more... then to live now, despite his previous misdoings.

Three days ago, around 10:15PM... Yuji went to the post office and dispatched a letter to himself inside the mail collection box.

"Sweetie, I have something to tell you." Eri spoke in a serious tone. The two lovers laid flat on a bed; with nothing but the blanket sheets covering their nudity. Yuji had reached for his lover's hand and clenched it. "I'm engaged to another man." she replied in a firm voice that hinted at a shade of shame. Yuji already knew. He had begun to suspect it after discovering the framed photo. "It's the guy who you're embracing inside the photo, isn't it?" Yuji asked quietly. Silence engrossed the two lovers. "So you already knew..." his lover whispered as she laid still, tightening the embrace of the two lover's hands. Indeed Yuji knew, and he knew that deep down inside the pits of his soul... he was filled with jealousy. And lust. And the hurt of betrayal.

He had decided that as atonement for his sins, his existence should end on the day his lover should have gotten married.

Yuji Fujimoto glanced at the wall clock again. 10:29PM.

He was supposed to die and he knew it. That notion was resolute for months now until exactly an hour ago. When the words from the seemingly younger clone of his mother and lover resounded deep within him to this very moment. Eri's belief in wanting to move on and letting go made him doubt himself. Perhaps he was the only one stuck in the past.

Tears rolled down his cheek. He took deep breaths in and out. The only way Yuji could forgive himself is if his future was dictated by extrinsic means. After all, as the future of Eri's fiancé was decided by an external influence. It was only poetically just.

So he would let fate decide. Perhaps he would see his mother soon in the afterlife.

Yuji spun the chamber and closed the barrel. His breathing once more composed. He pointed the nozzle of the gun to the temple of his head. And finally, the clock read 10:30 PM.

Click.