Saki's initial enthusiasm quickly waned. Her mind had to have been playing tricks on her. She decided to keep at it to avoid going back into the hallway. If Tomoe needed something, she would come and ask. Jun wanted to be alone. Nothing could be done.

The smell of iron and copper filled the air. Cleaning the blood off the floor would require a lot of toilet paper and water, which were too precious to waste. Even Saki's bath might have been unnecessary.

Her legs hurt. She went into the first stall and sat down, holding her injured hand away from her body. Blood occasionally dripped from it, leaving more of a mess on a floor that had once been spotless.

Hunger finally stopped being a source of significant discomfort and had been downgraded to a moderate annoyance. Despite everything else, she had yet to develop a headache. The air remained breathable. Her primary concerns were directed at the distinct possibility of her cut getting infected and Jun's mental health.

Her thoughts wandered farther from her. She couldn't stop wondering how her family felt, which stung worse than anything else. Judging by the date Jun had provided, she had been missing for at least two years. They might have given up on any chance they had of finding her and gone on with their lives. Mom probably still had her room exactly how she had left it.

Saki dug her thumb into the wound. Fresh pain cleared her thoughts. Anything could happen. Anything at all. Especially since she could have come from a different timeline than Jun. Tomoe was from 1985. Kadenokoji had been built in 1994. That explained why she had never heard of it, but didn't account for Jun's ignorance. Everybody knew about Kadenokoji. It didn't make any sense.

There was a knock at her stall door.

"Are you feeling tired?" Tomoe asked.

Not really, but she didn't need to say it. "Yeah."

"Would you like to stay in there?"

Saki got off the seat. "No."

Tomoe smiled as the door opened. Saki returned it, as if it mattered. They both were faking it.

Jun hadn't moved from her corner. Her head was still buried in her arms. Tomoe led Saki to the corner across from her.

"You want to sleep leaning on each other again?" Saki asked.

"So long as you want to," Tomoe replied.

Saki nodded. She got situated with Tomoe.

"You can join us at any time, Jun," Tomoe said, receiving no reply.

Tomoe didn't bother searching for Saki's hand, which she made no effort to provide.

The world vanished as Saki closed her eyes. Jun's tactic deserved a try. She went back to a better time in her life. It was the summer right before she started high school. She spent three weeks of her vacation with her grandparents at their home in the countryside. Her little brother had also come along. Somehow, they finally started getting along. They fished. Caught bugs. Sat in fascinated silence at how dark it got outside the city. The world was a different place without a smartphone.

It was beautiful. She had been fortunate to experience it.

"Saki! Saki, wake up!"

Saki cried out and swatted at the person shaking her. Her vision focused. Tomoe. Had she slept? She couldn't remember. It hadn't been for long and she certainly didn't feel rested.

Tomoe was crying. Again. "Jun. . .it's Jun. . .she. . ."

Jun wasn't in the corner, but she had left her blazer behind. Saki had to have slept. Time had to have passed.

"What's going on?" Saki asked.

Tomoe collapsed into a crumpled heap, weeping openly. Saki got to her feet, her joints popping audibly. The smell of blood was overpowering. It hadn't been like that before.

Jun wasn't hanging around the sinks. Saki had to check the stalls. The first was empty. So was the second. Saki found what she was looking for in the third stall.

An unbelievable amount of blood was on the floor next to a chunk of glass Jun must have taken while Saki and Tomoe had been with Eiko. The blood had come from the vicious crevices she had dug into both of her arms. An apology had been written on the wall with her blood.

Her face had the same look of horror as Eiko's. Two hallucinations just hours apart seemed unlikely. Something else was in the room with them.

"Saki!" Tomoe screamed. "Get over here! Quickly! There's a-"

She tore out of the stall and ran back to the hallway. Tomoe was nowhere to be seen.

"Tomoe!" Saki cried out.

No answer. Her skin went cold as her heart jumped into her throat.


This couldn't be happening. Tomoe, a girl who had already vanished once before, had just disappeared again. Saki ran to the first stall and pushed the door open. Nobody. She pushed in the second door. No one. The other two were already occupied.

"This isn't funny, Tomoe!"

She focused her attention on the mirrors. Saki knocked on one and switched frantically to the other two, repeating the same action.

"Tomoe, can you hear me? Can you see me? I'm right here!"

Saki waved her arms in the air, lunging from one mirror to the next. She gripped the edges of a sink and got right up against the a mirror, trying to see if Tomoe had gotten trapped on the other side.

"Talk to me."

It felt like being crushed. A wave of some unknown emotion slowly descended on her from above. Terror. It was just her. Nobody else. In a restroom with two decaying corpses. Dizziness overtook her. Saki stumbled back into the hallway, hyperventilating.

She screamed at the top of her lungs. "Tomoe!" Once more. "Tomoe!" Her throat went sore. Saki fell to the floor, weeping uncontrollably. "No! Please! Please, don't leave me! I'm right here! I'm right here! Where are you?!"


One last plan.

She could keep it together long enough to give it a try.

If it didn't work. . .

The torrent of madness in her mind cleared, waiting to see if her final effort would be for nothing just like all her other schemes.

Saki took off a boot and smashed it into the second mirror. It broke, providing her with what she needed. One of the pieces looked wicked enough for the job. She picked it up with her wounded hand and went over to the light switch.

It would get worse in the dark. Tomoe had said that. Nobody had doubted her. Not even Eiko. Whatever happened when the lights were off would be better than what she knew would happen to her if she was left alone in the restroom for another five minutes.

Saki put a hand above the switch and bowed her head. It had to work. It had to.

She wept. Everything had fallen apart so quickly. Life just worked out that way for some people. If she hadn't killed Eiko, Jun would still be alive. Tomoe may have always been destined to vanish, but she would at least have Jun.

None of it made any sense. It hadn't ever made any sense. She still couldn't stop trying to figure it out. If only there were someone else to talk to. All her thoughts had been sped up. Her mind was desperate for a solution. With none available, it was about to break. If that happened, Saki didn't know if she would be able to come back from it.

She made sure she had a decent grip on the piece of glass in her hand.

Saki turned off the lights, plunging herself into darkness.