Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings

Sekai no Owari

Match Ten: Sekai no Owari:


I hate the silence.

Something is not right. I noticed it as I walked home. The streets felt so empty. There weren’t many people walking around like usual. I have tried not to notice it. But I can’t tune it out anymore. I gritted my teeth.

“Why is it so damn quiet?” I muttered to myself under my breath.

“I’m still here,” I heard someone whisper. I turned my head. There was no one there. I narrowed my eyes and frowned. Oh yeah, there is her. That reminds me, my neighborhood alone has gone strange.

I have three stories that happened this weekend alone.

The first one happened on a Friday. I was walking home from the hospital. (The nurse urged me to go outside for a change. “This is not good for you to be hanging around like this,” she said. “Go outside. Get some fresh air.” I couldn’t explain the truth to her. She wouldn’t understand. I need to be by my husband.)

For some reason, I took a shortcut through the woods near the park. I don’t usually go there. But today, I just started walking. The silent in the woods started to grate on my nerves. I couldn’t even hear the grass crunching at my sandals. That damned silence. I don’t like it. I end up thinking about that bitch.

That bitch. I was content not thinking about her at all. I haven’t spoken to her since I walked out of Grandma’s house down in Okinawa.

I stopped and shook my head. That damned silence got me again. So much so that I didn’t look at where I was. I frowned as I looked around. I found myself on what looked to be a campsite. A beat-up black tent was pitched off to the right. I could see through the other side with the big holes. A fire looked like it had just been put out. Trash and sleeping bags lay on the ground near the previous-mentioned fire pit. Was somebody out here? I would’ve chalked it up to a pair of homeless men camped out in the woods if not for what I saw next.

I happened to turn around and see several upon several trees covered in missing posters. Some looked worn out and dated. Others looked fresh. The oldest one was dated back in 1972. They were all gathered here in place. No particular reason. I glanced around as I held my breath. Do you ever get the feeling of being watched when you are alone?

“Hello?” I asked. Nothing but that damned silence again. Like hell I was going to stay there. I turned and walked out of there as fast as I could.

The next day, I went back to the woods. That place had to be a hallucination. It couldn’t be real. I forced myself to see. I made it back to the place. No campsite. It didn’t even look like anyone had even been staying there in the first place.

Those missing posters were still there. Some of them looked torn against those trees. Wait, were there more posters? I didn’t stick around to count.

On Saturday, I went back to the hospital. I am starting to hate hospitals. It’s like being in a tomb. The nurses don’t really want to see me or be here. I would rather be at home with Kiku. But lately, things have gotten worse.

The silence followed me here. I stood in the hall, gritting my teeth. I keep thinking about that bitch again.

I was just her accessory. She never cared about me. She didn’t even want to claim me. She wasn’t even the main woman. That old witch made it even worse.

So much worse.

I lifted my head. I looked to my left and right. Where did everyone go?

“Hello?” I asked. I turned to Kiku’s room. The door was still closed. I remembered there was a nurse tending to him. I knocked on the door. Nothing. Silence. I forced open the door and went inside. Uh… What the hell is this? Where is my husband? I looked around the room. Where did everyone go? And where did they take my husband?

I hurried down the hall. The silence was making my ears burn. Memories of that bitch came back into my head. She always tried to look pretty for him. He was never going to leave his wife. That old witch wouldn’t let it be so. She controlled everything.

Suddenly, I wasn’t alone.

When I turned my head, I saw a figure standing at the other end of the hall. I would say that it had to be a child, no older than eight.

“Hello?” I asked. The figure disappeared around the corner. I shouldn’t be doing this. Oh no, I have seen too many horror movies to fall for that shit.

But then, I heard the door creak open across the hall. Wait, there was sound? I walked over to the room as if in a daze. There was no one inside the room. That was until I looked further into the right. An old woman lay in bed asleep with machines hooked up in her body. I think I have seen her before. The nurses say that her daughter is all the way in America. What do you know? There is someone else here. I was about to back out of the room when I happened to look up to the ceiling.

What… the…?

A giant black spider-like demon lingered over this lady. Red eyes covered its body. It had its mouth wide open too. Drool fell on the bed below. The webs covered the ceiling. Now, I am already not fond of spiders. But this…

That spider leaned down with that wide-open mouth. That hissing noise. So much worse than silence. That damned creature’s head leaned down to the woman’s sleeping form. A small hand grabbed onto my jeans. I looked down and saw a little girl in a white dress looking up at me. She looked so pale that I could see through her tiny body. I noticed her holding a white scythe. The child slowly pulled me away from the door. I tried to grab on the door frame but this little girl pulled me away. My grip slipped and the door swung closed. I tried to speak up but the girl shook her head. I turned back to the door.

“Honda-san?” I heard behind me. I turned around and saw a nurse standing inches from me. She had a puzzled look on her face.

“Are you feeling okay?” that nurse asked.

“Where did you go?” I asked.

“I was tending to another patient upstairs,” she said like I had lost my mind. “Didn’t the other nurse tell you?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “She didn’t.” Where did everyone go? When did they come back? That nurse blinked at me.

“Are you feeling okay?” she asked.

“No…” I said, shaking my head. I started backing away. Suddenly, the door to my husband’s room opened. The nurse and I looked up to see a nurse peeking out.

“I’m done with taking care of Kiku,” she said. She noticed the looks on our faces. “Oh… Is this a bad time?”

“No,” I said again. I walked into Kiku’s room past the nurse.

The old lady died later that night.

Sunday had it the worst. I keep seeing little reapers around this empty city. They all keep staring at me. The silence made me angrier. I was happy when the silence wasn’t this bad. But now, something was not right.

I look behind me and think that I see her standing behind me, smirking. I only saw her face once. That was all that it took. She is holding my husband hostage. He’s sick because of her. She’s poisoning our home. Look at this city. It’s all dead.

Suddenly, I froze. I slowly turned my head.

“Hello?” I whispered. I saw her eyes. She didn’t even make a sound. That was the worst part. Her nails scrapped down my back. Not nails, but claws. I wanted to scream. But I couldn’t move. If anyone walked by, they wouldn’t see her. Kiku couldn’t help me. I was on my own.

Then, that vile woman spoke. She said something that shook me to my core. Nothing had been the same ever since. In fact, it only got worse.

“You will truly know what a nightmare of god looks like.”

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