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Echoes of the Mirror 1.2 ‘Regrettable Actions’
In this particular series, it should be noted that there is a heavy focus on sexual themes, violence, and traumatic events.
These are meant to challenge the main character's views on the world and his relationships.
That being said, If your someone who's okay with that, I'd really appreciate it if you want to check it out and leave some feedback.
-Oh god, she’s going to be SO pissed if I’m late!
I found myself running as fast I could around the various corners of the town, bound for the open field on the east side of town. I had no idea how long I was running for, but I could already tell that I was probably late… My heart racing and my breathing heavy, I turned a corner and heard the clamoring of a group of people.
Finally, after taking a small dirt path, my feet found the dewy grass of the field. Coming to a complete stop, I hunched over and tried to catch my breath as I took in the sight of what was in front of me.
-Wow… Alex sure has a way of drawing a crowd…
It looked like almost the entire senior class was here! There were several students bunched together in chaotic rows trying to see over each other. I could see students shoving their friends and girlfriends sitting on top of their boyfriend’s shoulders trying to get a better view.
It seems I made it just as the match was about to start.
While I was hesitant to get closer to the source of action, I squeezed myself past a submissive looking group of friends and tried to make my way towards the front. I felt bad, but Alex wanted me here to support her and it would be all for naught if she couldn’t see me in the crowd.
Finally, making my way to the front row, I spotted Alex standing in the middle of the field. She had a smirk on her face and a countenance of conviction.
In front of her was a medium-height, short-haired, blonde male. He stood with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. I didn’t know him personally, but he was an earth spirit-user that ranked pretty high at school.
Furrowing his eyebrows, he closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.
“Come forth, Iwao.”
A mark on the right side of his face glowed amber as the ground beside him crumbled…
My eyes widened as Itsuki’s familiar sprung out of the ground. What came forth was a giant translucent snake-like creature nearly 6 meters long that glowed the same color as its master’s mark.
-A greater spirit?!
I never saw Itsuki’s familiar before and while I didn’t know much about summoning, I knew that his pact-spirit was a powerful one… Unlike common spirits which can be found essentially anywhere, greater spirits are reclusive and have a significant amount of mana. For Itsuki to have found such a familiar, he had to have traveled quite far out of Hira and searched for quite a while…
I scowled as I thought about having to go through such a process.
Even then… Making a pact with such a spirit is no easy task… If his familiar rejected the idea of forming a pact, Itsuki could have very well wound up dead. Greater spirits normally act like guardians to certain geographical locations and they don’t like being found.
I was somewhat vaguely used to Alex and Kira’s familiars, but just seeing Itsuki’s made me nervous. It looked terrifying!
The audience cheered at sight of Itsuki calling forth his familiar. Eager for the fight to start, you could hear several students shouting out.
“Yeah! Get her!”
“Show that stale gale who’s boss!”
I chuckled as I heard the last one.
-What a lame phrase… ‘Stale gale’? What grade are you in, preschool?
Alex didn’t even flinch at the sight of Itsuki’s familiar. Powerful opponent or not, she still had the full intention to pummel Itsuki into the ground and she had more than enough power to probably do so.
She swept her right arm to the side and spoke…
“Come forth, Masaru.”
Under her stocking on her left thigh, her pact shined bright green. The wind grew fierce, making all of the student's uniforms flap in the breeze. Beside her, a miniature tornado revealed a translucent falcon about twice the size of a normal one, which glowed the same color as her mark.
The audience went crazy as they saw this.
“WHOO! You can do this, Hurricane!”
“That pipsqueak has nothing on you!”
You could tell that Alex was feeling pumped up by the crowd. Her smile grew wider with every cheer. I couldn’t help but smile myself. I was terrified of the fact that I was here, but I was proud of Alex regardless. She was doing what she loved and I could feel excitement emanating from her.
Ignoring Itsuki for a while longer, I could see her turn her head towards the crowd and search the rows… Finally, she spotted me. Her eyes widened and sparkled as she saw me stand in the crowd. I was here for her, and that must’ve meant a lot.
“I pray you’re ready...”
Itsuki’s statement out almost like a growl. It was obvious that he didn’t want to be ignored for any longer. He was ready to fight and was no stranger to duels. When Alex summoned her familiar, he didn’t even blink.
I may keep my distance from events like these, but I found his conviction awe-inspiring.
“You aren’t beating down freshmen this time, Alex.”
Alex let out a laugh as she crossed her arms and gave her opponent a smirk.
“Huh? You mean you’re a middle schooler? I thought you were older, but I guess you’re tall for your age.”
With this, she crouched down like a lion about to pounce on prey.
Itsuki clicked his tongue, clearly aggravated by Alex’s banter. I don’t blame him. Alex had a bad habit of trash-talking her opponents and she clearly didn’t think Itsuki was a worthy match for her.
Likely deciding that he wasn’t going to put up with her banter anymore, Itsuki put a single hand on the ground and furrowed his eyebrows as his familiar curled backward ready to strike.
The tension in the air grew so thick that you could have cut it with a knife. I stood back with the rest of the crowd in anticipation and prepared myself.
-Here it comes...
Itsuki punched the ground as he screamed this, making the crowd go wild.
A jagged line pierced the earth, throwing rocks and dirt high in the air as it shot towards Alex.
While my knowledge of summoning was low, I could tell Itsuki planned on winning this match by coordinating with his familiar… As the earth began to shake, Iwao snaked itself into the ground out of Alex’s sight.
Even though she was in immediate danger, Alex just let out a sigh as she crossed her arms.
Her familiar, Masaru, took off into the sky in a gust of wind.
As the earth below Alex burst, she seemingly disappeared into thin air. Her strong point was absolute speed and flight… Itsuki didn’t have a chance of laying a finger on her.
Itsuki looked around confused.
Letting out a grunt, he threw himself to side, skidding across the grass…
A shockwave blew past the crowd as the ground next to Itsuki exploded in a gust of wind. Only a short distance away from his feet were large deep gashes in the earth.
Alex dropped from the sky to the ground gracefully, giving her opponent a smile.
“Come on Itsuki… You can do better than that.”
Trying to take advantage of Alex’s landing, Itsuki yelled to his familiar.
Bursting out from beneath Alex, Iwao quickly wrapped itself around Alex’s legs, turning them purple as it tightened itself around her.
Caught off guard but barely even putting up a struggle, Alex snapped her fingers, signaling the air to burst around her with explosive force, flinging Itsuki’s familiar into the air. Landing with a thud, Iwao let out a hiss before shooting upward and burrowing itself into the ground.
Smiling at how easy it was to dispatch Ituski’s familiar, Alex crouched down as wind started to circle around her like a ring of blades.
Itsuki quickly ran forward and did a front flip before planting both of his feet to the ground with force.
The small area between Itsuki and Alex exploded, shooting a giant boulder into the air.
Sending his foot into the ball of rock, the crowd gasped as it shot towards Alex.
Flinging her body to the side in desperation, Alex threw her left hand up and pointed it towards the rock.
The rock burst into a million pieces, making the crowd defend themselves against the rubble raining down on the field. Not having enough time to regain her bearings, the ground underneath Alex’s feet crumbled as Itsuki smiled, sending her tumbling backward.
Itsuki shouted to his familiar in desperation, trying to take advantage of the situation. As he began to distance himself from the battle, his familiar quickly slithered towards Alex.
Kicking a leg to the ground, Alex flipped herself back to her feet and delivered a powerful kick to the side of Iwao’s head. Itsuki’s familiar tumbled to the side, leaving Alex with more than enough time to leap into the air in a gust of wind.
Itsuki’s eyes widened in horror as he saw Alex descend upon him. In retaliation, Itsuki lifted his right leg and planted it into the ground with force. A sudden cloud of dust flew into the air, making Alex’s foot land on a wall of jagged rock.
Using her momentum, she planted both her feet on the wall and bounded backward with an elegant backflip. Taking advantage of the cover and dust, Itsuki darted from the wall, obviously trying to avoid Alex’s next imminent attack.
Landing back on her feet and sensing the end of the match, Alex lifted an arm into the air. Alex’s familiar stretched out above her, forcing the surrounding air around her arm to encircle it, turning the limb into a deadly wind-dance of invisible blades.
I noticed Itsuki in my peripherals, about to run in front of the crowd.
I began to get nervous as did everyone else, but I was confident that Alex wouldn’t let anything happen to me.
Alex’s eyes narrowed as her face stiffened. She put her arm in front of her and opened her hand.
A violent wind with the force and devastation of a hurricane of knives made its way towards Ituski.
My eyes widened.
-No… This isn’t happening...is it?
The crowd suddenly started shouting as everyone pushed and shoved, trying desperately to move out of the way. I could feel my worst fears sweeping over me in an array of dark emotion.
Itsuki moved to dodge Alex’s attack as did the rest of the crowd, leaving me standing there in pure shock.
-Is this...really it?
I heard Alex’s voice yell out towards in desperation as her attack neared me.
For a moment all I could see was red…
A fine mist of blood filled the area in front of me… Pain took place of every other feeling that I had in my body as I fell to the ground and my vision began to blur...
“He was hit!”
“Quick, stop fighting!”
“I-Is that blood!?”
I could hear the crowd of students panicking...
A moment passed and everyone went silent.
I heard Alex’s voice from across the field.
I could hear someone run across the wet grass towards me. Looking up I saw Alex staring at me with tears running down her face as she dropped to the ground beside me.
“I’m so sorry!”
I opened my mouth but no words came out. Looking at her face, I could tell she was on the brink of hysterics. The situation wasn’t good...
Reluctantly, I lifted up my right arm and saw deep gashes spewing red covering almost every inch of the appendage. Alex’s attack had ripped through my flesh, tearing open an artery.
My thoughts were in a complete mess. I had no idea what to think of the situation.
Alex ripped off her blazer and wrapped it around my arm, gripping it tightly to keep me from bleeding out.
“Are you hit anywhere else!?”
Her voice was desperate, cracking at every syllable. Looking off to the side, I could see Itsuki staring at me in horror. I could feel one of Alex’s hands dart underneath my clothes and search my body desperately, likely making sure that another artery wasn’t hit.
“Okay... It doesn’t look like it hit you anywhere else…”
Alex let out a jagged breath of relief as she tearfully embraced me.
“I’m so sorry, Haku…”
I could feel her wet face against my cheek.
-This is my fault...
I closed my eyes and tried to search my body for any other source of pain… I found none. I slowly got to my feet and draped my arm to the side, grasping the blazer with a single hand to keep the tourniquet functional.
Wiping away her tears, Alex touched my shoulder before gently taking my left hand.
“Come on… Let's get you to the clinic…”
My eyes furrowed as I dropped her hand.
She looked me with a furious look, clearly insulted and worried.
“Don’t be a fucking idiot, Haku! If we don’t get you to the clinic NOW, you’ll bleed out!”
Tears beginning to well in her eyes once more, Alex forcefully took my hand again and tried to walk me away from the field. I looked down and forcefully threw aside her grasp as I spoke to her in a cold and monotone voice.
“I can get there myself, Alex. I’ll be fine.”
If looks spoke words, her’s spoke very clearly- “You're insane!”
“HAKU, PLEASE! I’M NOT GOING TO LET YOU DIE! WE NEED-”
I lifted up a hand to silence her.
“You have to finish your match Alex. You’re very dedicated and I’m not going to make you end it just because I didn’t get out of the way quick enough.”
This was my fault...the epitome of my personal failures… The gnarled pile of flesh hanging from my side just served as a physical representation of everything I failed to be… As I began to walk away, I turned my head and pointed my gaze at Alex.
“If I just studied more and tried harder to become a summoner then this wouldn’t have happened… Right, Alex?”
My words must have cut her deeper than a knife… The look that Alex had now was one of complete devastation. Tears flowed freely down her face as she reached out to me.
Before she could answer, I turned my head away and started to leave the field.
Letting out a moan, I gritted my teeth as I adjusted the tourniquet.
-God this hurts…
I found myself walking slowly down the wooded path that lead out of the field. The pain lingering from my arm began to become so immense that I had a hard time moving. I could see lesser earth and darkness spirits scurry through the brush around me as I pushed forward, leaving a gleaming trail of red puddles behind me.
I could feel the warmth of the liquid drip down my fingertips.
This was the punishment for me not being like everyone else in Hira, though I couldn’t figure out why it had to be this way. I didn’t bully anyone, I just stayed out of everyone's way! All I did was go to school and work at the bookstore! So why? Why did it have to be this way? How was this a justifiable punishment?
My vision began to blur more and more.
-Am I going to die?
I furrowed my eyebrows and grit my teeth.
-Would it even matter?
My mind flashed to the two beautiful faces of Kira and Alex.
-I don’t need their pity… They lived just fine without me, and now they don’t have to waste their time being around me.
Bitterness overwhelmed me.
I stopped walking for a moment and tried to take in the scenery with what little consciousness I had left. The surrounding trees on the wooded path swayed side to side as the moon shined brightly above me. The spirits that were on the path fled into the woods a while ago. Even they didn’t want me around.
I glanced over to my left and saw that the path I stood on branched off further into the woods.
-The shrine, huh?
At this point, I lost almost all will to escort myself to the local clinic. I decided to make the choice to humor my bitterness and self-pity.
I took the path to the shrine.
I walked down the fork and reached my destination. Before me was a modest shrine made of aged wood.
To what god did it belong to? This I didn’t know. Honestly, I couldn’t find the will to care less.
“All I ever wanted to do was fit in...”
My voice quaked as tears began to well in my eyes.
I looked at the shrine expectantly as if it would answer.
“If you’re the cruel god that put me here…”
“ANSWER MY PRAYER AND GIVE ME A FAMILIAR!”
I was no longer able to contain my rage… I lost all reasoning and ripped the blazer acting as a tourniquet off my arm.
“TAKE THIS FOR PAYMENT!”
I whipped the appendage at the shrine, covering it in red glistening beads.
Surely I had completely lost my mind. If there was a god that oversaw this shrine, the audacity of my actions just sentenced me to an eternity of torment… If I was to die here and be reincarnated, even life as an amoeba wouldn’t be fit for someone who just disgraced the gods as deeply as I did.
I dropped to my knees…
The town of Hira never accepted me in life. By defacing one of their shrines, it was clear they would curse and spit on my name in death.
I started sobbing.
I looked up to the shrine to see my blood slowly coalesce into thin tendrils that slithered down to its base. It was almost as if they were alive.
-That... isn’t natural…
My anger was replaced with anxiety… Something felt ominous.
Under closer inspection, I noticed that thin rusted tracks rested underneath the shrine… Something was hidden underneath.
I crawled forward and gave the shrine a forceful push with my left hand.
The shrine dutifully slid back with a click. Underneath was a rusted metal trapdoor inscribed with heavy-handed and violently drawn characters.
It was written in a tongue that I didn’t recognize.
The tendrils of blood slithered onto the ground and squeezed through the cracks around the trapdoor, disappearing into whatever lay beyond it. What came over me at that moment could only be described as an almost supernatural feeling of curiosity.
Grabbing the oxidized ring bolted to the top, I swung it open to reveal a stone staircase covered in moss. Getting onto my feet, I peered down the dark stairwell… I couldn’t see anything. It was as if light itself was forbidden in the area that rested below.
Wiping the tears from my face, I began to walk down the stairwell, into the dark abyss.
Surrounded by pitch black, I no longer thought of my wounds. I was completely consumed by the desire to see what rested at the end of this path. Each of my footsteps down the decrepit staircase echoed endlessly. I could feel the moss under my feet give way to each of my steps with a squish.
It was obvious that no one had been down here in quite a while.
-What is this?
As I looked around I lost my footing and started falling down the stairs.
My leg got caught beneath me as I fell, snapping it as easy as one would break a twig underneath their feet.
I screamed out in my pain as my body made contact with the bottom of the stairwell. Grabbing my left leg, I clenched my teeth as I writhed in pain.
With my quivering left hand, I took out my phone shook it a few times to turn on the flashlight. I reluctantly shined it at the source of immense pain and saw that my entire left pant leg gleamed with a maroon hue. Half my calf was twisted in an unnatural position with a jagged shape sticking out from underneath the pant leg like a tent. I could no longer think… I was already on the brink of death.
Tears streamed down my face as I turned over and clawed my way down the corridor before me, quivering and sniveling like a newborn baby. My head hit the floor with each tug that pulled me further down the hall.
With movements like a worm, I finally found myself at the end of the corridor. Tilting my head up, I saw a large round room filled with rusted metal chains. Each chain stretched out like claws from a dark corner of the room that my light refused to touch, rattling ever so slightly.
My head hit the ground as my vision started to cut out. I reached the threshold of death’s door. As my phone fell out of my hand, I could see it illuminate a single chain.
I could hear what sounded like footsteps as the chain above me began to quiver. My breathing became shallow as the steps stopped behind my head.
A voice clawed its way into my mind, echoing in the hollow depths of my psyche.
Pathetic creature. You lay there like a maggot devoid of purpose…
I could only listen to the voice as my heart rate began to slow. It pierced through my thoughts and memories, tearing through my very being, inspecting all that I was.
Self-pity… Anger… Pride…
The chain above me quaked as heard the sound of laughter.
The very fiber of your being is held together with doubt and self-loathing.
What is it that drives your insignificant existence? What is it that you think will grant you purpose?
The entity clawed its way to the memory from only moments before.
A familiar…? That is truly all you seek…? Hahaha…
Accept me and I shall invigorate you with power and life anew.
You will stand before the residents of this town and they will look at you as one would look upon a god.
Toss aside whatever doubts lay threaded within your weak mind and take me upon your soul.
This wasn't something I could debate. I was only half a moment away from death. I had no reason to refuse.
Do you accept?
I choked as I used my last shred of breath to say my final words.
So be it…
The chains in the room ripped themselves from the walls and bounded into the air. I could faintly see them come down onto my right arm with a red glow, forcing themselves into my open wounds.
I could only whimper slightly. The pain that I felt now was unlike anything I ever felt before. I could feel the chains force themselves into my body and snake into my veins… They slowly crept through my heart, my bowels, every internal organ of my body. Like a needle and thread, I could feel the chains run through my being and weave through my soul…
Despite the fact that I should have gone into shock from the immense pain, I knew I was not going to die. Whatever entity that was forcing itself upon me would not allow it.
My body convulsed on the floor as it rooted itself deep within me, nesting within my soul. I stared at the stones above me as it invaded every inch of my body.
Finally, I felt myself drift off into unconsciousness.
Now we are one…
I woke up to see the familiar interior of the bedroom in my apartment… I felt that something was wrong.
Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I began to remember what happened. Realizing the situation at hand, I shot out of bed.
-This isn’t possible…Is it?
It felt that I was beneath the shrine only moments ago. The voice of the entity still echoed in my head.
I began to fall into a panic, confident that I found myself in some twisted reality designed to break me down. I retraced my memories of the shrine and field.
-By all means, I should be dead… I shouldn’t be here.
I frantically looked around. It was indeed my room. I saw my bed in the corner, my desk near the door, and a random assortment of my other belongings organized in the other corner.
Remembering the school uniform left in tatters, I checked the closet to find an ample supply of uniforms left of the same number I always owned… I checked my person and found myself naked, just as I had always slept.
As I took in the surrounding scene, it seemed everything was as it should be.
-Was it… a dream?
Remembering my grievous wounds, I began to search my body. I looked at my leg and didn’t even see so much as a scar.
There was no evidence as to anything ever occurring. By all means, it seemed like an average morning after a regular nights sleep.
I let out a breath of relief as I began to calm down. I decided to take this as a good omen and glanced at the alarm clock resting beside my bed.
School was in half an hour.
I quickly threw on my clothes, but as I went to put on my blazer I noticed something on my right hand. What lay above my wrist was a marking that looked like an aggressive assortment of characters arranged in a circle. In the middle of the circle was an unfamiliar jagged shape that I couldn’t even begin to describe.
I broke out into a cold sweat.
This very clearly was not here yesterday.
-This is… a pact mark!?
At least this is what I thought it was. It definitely didn’t look like Alex’s or Kira’s… Their marks were elegant and beautiful… This looked esoteric and macabre. It was as if someone took a box cutter to the back of my hand, trying to carve out something in a language that died out long ago.
One might have believed I would have put two and two together, but after finding myself awake in my room with no explanation after the events that may or may not have occurred last night, drawing any sort of conclusion would be impossible for even the savviest individual. Instead, I tossed my blazer to the side and ran over to my nightstand to grab my phone.
I unlocked it and saw that I had received a few messages from Alex…
“I hope you got to the clinic alright.
I’m so very sorry for what happened Haku.
I hope that you can forgive me…
They probably put you in the clinic for the night, so don’t worry about coming to school. Just try to relax today, okay?
I should have followed you last night and made sure you were okay.
I’m really worried about you.
Please respond when you get this.
If anything happened to you I don’t know how I would live with myself.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I kept thinking about what you said to me.
I honestly don’t care that you don’t have a familiar, and I don’t think you should either.
Please be okay...”
That was the end.
I clasped the phone to my forehead and came to the conclusion that last night was definitely not a dream.
However, while I’d like to stay home for the day and wrap my head around the situation, missing a day of school over something medical requires a doctor’s note. It didn’t seem that I was in any danger. Obviously, I was physically fine. It was imperative that I make it to school, no matter the circumstance…
If I indeed was a summoner, the details surrounding how I became one are horrific. Obviously, the entity I was master to was not something normal.
I ran into the bathroom and grabbed some medical bandages, wrapping my arm up to my fingertips to at least give the impression that I received medical attention. Hiding my pact mark also seemed to be the best decision. I didn’t want anyone trying to pry into the details of my night after the match.
Looking at my clock I saw that it was 5:50. The bell would ring in 10 minutes. Even if I sprinted to school, I'd still be late.
My credits can’t take any tardies… Looks like it can’t be helped.
I threw on my blazer and ran outside to behind the bookstore, ripping the tarp off the object that was now in front of me. It was a jet black motorbike Alex gave to me for my birthday two years ago...
At the time she was an avid motor-sports fan and not wanting to upset her, I feigned interest. She had no one to talk to and I felt bad telling her I didn’t care about her hobbies, so I tried to support her the best I could.
After one or two heated motor-sports discussions, she decided it would be the greatest thing in the world if we rode together. Not taking her seriously, I was extremely surprised when she showed up with this horrendously expensive piece of high-end sports equipment.
I personally didn’t really enjoy riding it, but I accepted it gratefully since Alex went through a significant amount of trouble to obtain it.
I jumped on the motorbike and kick-started it, making the engine roar to life. Pulling back the throttle, I soon found myself roaring down the streets of Hira.
Seeing the school on the right, I quickly whipped around the side of the building to the area for student parking and set the motorbike against the wall next to the side entrance.
When I arrived at my classroom, everyone gave me strange looks.
“Glad you could join us Haku…”
Professor Reid stood behind his podium with his hands clasped together. I could tell from the look on the professor’s face that I had done something wrong.
-Did I accidentally get here late?
“...You made it on time, but surely you remember that school rules dictate that motorbikes are not allowed on campus, hmm?”
-Was he watching me?
“Yes, professor. I’m very sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“See to it that it doesn’t.”
He turned to the whiteboard to begin his lesson.
As I took my seat I saw Kira staring at me with a very concerned look on her face. She began pointing to the phone on her lap.
Getting the message, I discreetly took my phone out and put it on my lap. I unlocked it to see that she messaged me.
“Are you okay?”
Looking around to make sure I wasn’t being watched I replied.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
The look on her face told me she didn’t believe me.
“Alex told me about last night…”
“It’s okay. I went to the clinic and they told me I would be fine to come to school today.”
Kira gave me a sad look.
“You look really pale, Haku.”
I didn’t have a chance to look in the mirror this morning so I didn’t even notice.
“I will admit, I did lose a lot of blood…”
“I’m really concerned about you, Haku. Alex is too.”
I was grateful that my friends cared about me, but if they kept on digging it would become a serious issue...
“There’s nothing to worry about Kira.”
Even over SMS, I can tell she is probably seeing right through my lies.
“Alex wouldn’t stop crying. She waited all night for you to tell her you were okay. She’s afraid that you hate her.”
I felt terrible.
I said and did a lot of things that I shouldn’t last night and my actions are obviously causing pain to those around me.
“I’ll talk to her after school, okay?”
Kira’s face looked distraught.
I could tell she was thinking hard about something.
“Actually Haku, I want to talk to you about something too.”
It seemed that my problems were on the verge of reaching a climax. Unlike the past few times, I had no opportunity to dodge this one.
“It’s something I have to tell you about in person.”
Kira’s feelings were evident. Seeing that I went through the self-destructive actions of last night, she has come to the conclusion that she needed to confess her feelings now before things spiraled in an uncontrollable fashion.
Before I could respond Kira had already sent me another message.
“Can you meet me at the big cherry blossom tree outside the middle school after you’re done speaking to Alex?”
This time, I can’t refuse.
I turned off my phone and rested my head on my desk.
-Whatever happens now…
Miss Yamada’s voice rang in my ears…
...if you make a decision tonight, with the mindset and mentality you currently have…
-I can’t turn back...