I’m in a dark world. It’s so bleak and lifeless. I feel like any hope or happiness is draining out of me.
Two odd creatures appear to be playing some type of game with bones. “What,” one of them says to the other, “A pair of sleeping skulls?”
The other laughs, “Hehe, I win again! No hard feelings right?” He turns to a third creature, sitting some distance away. “Hey there, Ryuk, would it kill you to join us? You should come play with us for a change.”
The third one, Ryuk, rejects the invitation, saying, “No, I’ll pass.”
I wait a moment, before I hear Ryuk’s voice again. However, it sounds echoed, like a thought. ‘This is all so ridiculous.
‘This world is… rotten.’
At that last sentence, my eyes snap open, only to be met with sunlight streaming in my window. I sit up, combing my fingers through my black hair, before yawning, and finally throwing the covers off and getting up. I meander my way to my dresser, quickly grabbing my school uniform and brushing away the tangles in my hair. Once dressed, I go to the kitchen, grab something to eat, and sit down at the table.
The last words from my dream run through my head a million times as I eat, and my seriousness catches the notice of my mother.
“Is something wrong, Mirai-chan? You’re not usually this tense unless something’s bothering you.” She asks, walking over from the stove and sitting across from me. “What is it?” Before I can respond, she leans towards me and smirks. “Is it a boy?”
I snap out of my stupor, my face probably turns beet red, and I start stuttering. “Wha-what? N-no! W-why would you th-think that?”
At this perfect time, my father walks in. He’d heard the little exchange from the hallway. “Mirai-chan, you’re not allowed to date boys until you’re twenty. That’s three more years, young lady.” He smirks at me.
If it were at all possible, my face got redder. So I stood up, grabbed my books and walked towards the door, still stuttering. “N-no, it wasn’t a boy. It was just a dream. I have to get to school, goodbye!”
I closed the door to their laughter.
I go through the daily motions of school, consisting of sitting down near the window, taking out a notebook, and pretending to write notes, while in actuality, I sketch. I wait for each class to be over, hoping for it to just be over with.
In the last period, while sketching Ryuk, the creature from my dream, the teacher somehow snaps me out of my thoughts.
“Yagami-san, are you still with us?” He asks, and I’m surprised that that one sentence, out of all he had said, had gained my attention. My surname isn’t Yagami; it isn’t even close. It’s Tsukino. “Can you please translate the following sentence into English?”
A boy a couple desks back sighs, and stands up. I recognize him as Light Yagami, the genius of my year. I’d only ever talked to him a handful of times, but from what I’d seen, he was pretty nice. He reads, in perfect English, “Follow the teachings of God and receive his blessings and so it shall be that the seas will again become bountiful and the raging storms will subside.”
On my way home, I listen to the news.
“Today, at approximately eleven AM, a thirty-two year old man was found stabbed to death in his apartment in the city of Yokohama Karigara Prefecture. Karigara police are treating this case as a homicide.” The newscaster said over the radio. I sigh, thinking of the families affiliated with the murder victim.
A different newscaster comes on, “In other news, today suspected murderer Naoki Tokuji was arrested in the district of Shibuya Tokyo. He is being held in custody facing murder charges for the brutal slaying of his common-law partner, who was only 25 at the time of death.”
I sigh again, waiting for the light to turn before crossing the street. ‘Day in, day out, it’s all the same. The same stories on constant repeat. This is ridiculous.’ I think to myself.
Upon reaching the other side of the street, I hear an echo. “This world is… rotten.”
I snap my head up, as the words once again echo through my head. They sounded almost the same, as if spoken by the same voice I’d heard in my dream. Ryuk, I believe. However, it sounded as though there was another voice layered in, like they were saying the same thing at the same time. Not to mention, the second voice sounded familiar. Looking around, I didn’t see anyone or anything resembling the creature I had seen in my dreams, nor anyone that I’d recognized. I shrugged it off, but the sense of foreboding it gave me lingered.
The next day follows an overly similar path to the day before, this time, without the dreams or echoes.
Sitting in the last period class again, I’m staring out the window, when a black notebook appears to have fallen out of the sky. It’s too far away for me to make out the words, but it appears to have some sort of lettering on it. I watch it fall to the ground, and scan the windows of the wall closest to it. However, like I’d assumed, all the windows were closed. It was impossible for it to have been thrown out of one, anyway, the trajectory just wasn’t right. Had it been thrown, it would have arced, rather than fall straight down into the middle of the courtyard. I stare at it a moment longer, before resolving to retrieve it after class.
Once we’ve been dismissed, I gather my books and place them in my bag, before hurrying outside to get the notebook. After I reach the courtyard, I look over, only to see Light standing where the notebook had fallen, holding it. With the sneakiness of a ninja, I walk over to his left side, and look around him at the black leather-bound pages. The lettering reads Death Note. ‘Death Note?’ I think, confused. ‘Like a notebook of death?’
I hear Light beside me say, “Huh,” before he opens it. I read the rules, printed in clear English. ‘The human whose name is written in this notebook shall die. Interesting. Just when I was starting to get bored.’ I smirk, before grabbing a corner of the notebook and saying out loud, “I wonder whose idea of a joke this is?”
Light jumps ever so slightly, obviously not having heard my approach. He composes himself, before saying, “Oh, Tsukino-san. I hadn’t heard you approach.”
I wave it off, saying, “Don’t worry about it, Yagami-san. Not many do.” I look back to the notebook in his hands. “So, what do you think? Could this be some elaborate prank?”
He smiles, before putting the notebook down. “Probably. I mean, how could a notebook be capable of killing someone? Though, this does seem rather elaborate for it to just be a prank. ‘The person whose name is written shall die’? Really? It seems pretty lame, not to mention twisted.” He starts to walk away, before pausing, walking back, and grabbing it again. “Though, on the off chance that it’s real, we shouldn’t leave it out in the open for just anyone to find.” And he slips it into his bag.
“I wonder…” I think out loud, wrapping one arm around my midsection, and the other grabbing my upper lip between my thumb and index fingers. “Could it be real? And if it is,” I turn my gaze up to meet his eyes, “Would anyone be willing to try it out?”
He looks away, as if scanning the surroundings. “If we did…” He trails off, before looking at me again, “it would have to be a criminal. Killing an innocent, even with just a pen and paper, would be wrong.” I nod, agreeing.
“Do you want to?” I ask, looking up at him with an apathetic expression.
He meets my stare with one of his own. “It might not be wise, but it would be a temmie idea to go over this more carefully.”
I smile, closing my eyes, and look away. “Tell me how it goes. I have to get home. Goodbye, Yagami-san.”
As I walk away, he waves after me. “Goodbye Tsukino-san.”
Once I get home, I collapse on my bed. I think to myself, ‘I just had a conversation with Light Yagami. He smiled at me. I smiled at him. Dear god, do I have a social death wish?’ It’s no secret that dozens of girls like him. I was one of the few who don’t. If I got together with him, or even hung out with him, other girls would get jealous. School would get nasty. I shook off the thought, and turned my mind to the Death Note. ‘There’s no way that it’s real. It’s physically impossible. But, if it was real, would I use it?’ I sigh, and start doing my homework, before turning on the TV to the news.
“The same assailant who attacked 6 people at a busy shopping district in Sinjuku yesterday has struck again. Taking 8 people hostage at this daycare centre. His captives include both children and teachers. The police have now identified the suspect as 42-year-old Kuro Otoharada, currently unemployed. We expect negotiations to begin immediately.” The newscaster reports. I turn my attention over to the screen. “At the present time, that's all the police are telling us.”
“You can't help but feel concerned for the safety of those hostages.” A second newscaster, female, comments.
“You're absolutely right. We'll continue to monitor the situation from here.”
“Thank you for that report. What do you make of this Mr. Hashimoto?” I watch the exchange with blind disinterest.
Another man, I assume to be Mr. Hashimoto, says, “Well, one can only hope for a quick resolution to this situation.”
“Wait, we're seeing something here. Looks like there's movement at the front entrance.” The second newscaster says. I sit up, my full attention on the screen.
“The hostages are coming out and they all look to be unharmed. The Special Horses are taking action, they're moving in! We don't know if the suspect's been arrested. Huh? Yes? Ok, we now have confirmation. The suspect has been found dead inside. I repeat, the suspect is now dead. The Special Horses are denying allegations that they shot the suspect.” My eyes widen. I hadn’t expected this.
“So, it's quite possible he was feeling cornered and decided to commit suicide?” The female newscaster asks.
“Well, according to statements from hostages, the suspect just suddenly collapsed.” I lean back, contemplating. “Could it…?” I muse out loud. “No, it’s impossible. There’s no way… But, could Yagami-san have been watching this and written down his name…? That’s possible, but it wouldn’t explain his death. Unless… The Death Note’s real.”
The next day, after classes, I walk up to Light, who is clearly in deep thought. Tapping him on the shoulder, startling him out of his thoughts, I say, “Good afternoon, Yagami-san.”
He quickly looks to me, almost shocked at my sudden proximity. He recovers almost immediately, saying, “Good afternoon, Tsukino-san. How are you today?”
I smile at the small talk, before replying with, “I am well. Yagami-san, have you looked over the notebook?”
He smiles, closes his eyes, and looks away, “Right to the point, I see. Yes, I have. It says that if you write the name of the person while thinking of their face, they will die of a heart attack unless otherwise specified.”
I smile widely. “So, did you happen to write a name in it?”
He stares at me a while, most likely wondering whether or not to tell me. I let him think for a minute, before he says, “Yes. I did.”
I smile wider. “Would you happen to have written down the name of Kuro Otoharada?”
The look of surprise in his eyes is evident, before returning to his poker face. “Yes. I did.”
I look down, still smiling, before I say, “I want in.”
He looks at me, confused. “In? What do you mean by ‘in’?”
“I want to use the Death Note to kill criminals, and make this world a better place. I’ve been thinking about how rotten this world is. If we purge this world of criminals, no one would ever have to live in fear ever again.” I look back up at him, looking for any sign of rejection.
He smiles, almost evilly at me. “Well then, Tsukino-san, you think along the same lines I do. It would be a pleasure to work with you to purge the world of criminals.”
“In that case,” I say, quickly thinking ahead, “it may be best if you pretend to tutor me. That way, we have a reason to talk to each other.”
He smiles again at me, saying “Good idea. Well then, Tsukino-san, would you like me to tutor you?”
I giggle, giddy at the prospect of killing. Something is wrong with my head. “I would appreciate it very much, Yagami-san.”
“Please, Light will work fine.”
“Very well then, Light-kun, you may call me Mirai. I look forward to working with you.”
“And I with you, Mirai-chan. Would you like to come over tonight so we can get started?”
“Sure, that sounds great. Say, around seven?”
“That sounds good. I’ll see you at seven then. Goodbye Mirai-chan.”
“Goodbye Light-kun.” As he walks away, I smile. Satisfied with what I’ve been able to work out. With both Light and I killing off the criminals of the world, everyone will be safer, and happier.
When I got home, I smiled broadly, laughing, and looking to the sky.
“Well, Miyoko, it seems you’ll be getting closure, after all. Sister…” I trail off. “You’ll be able to rest in peace soon enough. I assure you of that.”
The next three days followed a pattern. I got up, went to school, went home, did my homework, had dinner, went to the Yagami’s place with schoolbooks in tow, wrote down names of criminals, discussed anything and everything with Light, went home, and went to bed. It was wonderful, finally being able to avenge the souls of the innocent.
The first name I wrote down was the name of my sister’s killer, Akihiko Sayo.
I was six, my sister, Miyoko, was eight. He robbed our house in the middle of the night, and held me at gunpoint. My sister tried to save me, but in doing so, got shot fatally. He escaped, and there wasn’t enough evidence in court in order to convict him. As he was walking out, he looked right into my eyes and smirked at me, as if saying, “Yes. I killed your sister, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
It was satisfying, being able to avenge her. Like I had finally gotten closure.
Besides, there’s no way that they’d be able to trace it back to me. He had murdered other people, and got sent to jail for it, but he was never convicted of my sister’s murder. It had fit with the pattern that Light and I had developed, of killing the more dangerous criminals first, before moving down to the less serious offenders.
The night after I had gotten home from my fourth “tutoring session” with Light, I had another dream.
I was in that bleak and colourless world again. I was looking around, trying to see my surroundings, when I heard a familiar voice.
“It's been five days. Now then, I'd better get going.” I heard Ryuk saying.
The other two creatures from before are here, too. One of them asks, “Eh? You headed somewhere Ryuk?”
The other, “Hate to tell you, but our whole world looks like this.”
Ryuk looks back at them, “That's true, but I've dropped my Death Note.”
They both laugh at him, and I start to think, ‘He dropped his Death Note? Could the one that Light-kun and I are using, actually be his?’
The creature with the taller hair remarks to Ryuk, “You really messed things up, didn't you?”
The one with a skull comments, “Hold on a sec? Didn't you already trick the Old Man to get a second book? Don’t tell me you dropped both of them.”
Spiky hair prods, “You must have some idea where you dropped the thing.”
Ryuk nods, before saying, “Yeah, the human world.”
The other two exclaim in surprise. “What?!” before Ryuk walks away, into a pit with a staircase. I follow behind. The bottom of the pit is a swirling gray mass, with what appears to be spirits floating out of it. Ryuk sprouts wings, before jumping into the pit headfirst.
I groan upon waking up, and I go through my morning motions, but the dream won’t leave me. It was almost as if it were a warning, that something is coming.
But I couldn’t let a dream disturb me. After all, I have people to save, and people to kill. So, I went about with my day as if the dream had never happened.
When I got to Light’s house, a storm had picked up, and I was nearly soaked. I knocked on the door, and Light’s little sister, Sayu, opened it. “Oh, hey Mirai-senpai! Light’s up in his room.”
I smile at her warmly. “Thanks Sayu-san!” Before I make my way upstairs to Light’s room.
I knock twice, pause, then twice again, then once. Waiting exactly three seconds, I open the door and walk in, without being given permission to enter. It was the knock we’d come up with, in order to let each other know who it was and what was going on. If they responded with “come in”, it meant that they were being watched and to be careful of what you say. If they were silent, everything was alright and could be said freely.
Upon entering Light’s (ironically) dark room, I set my bag down next to the door and walk over to his bed, and without breaking stride, I said, “Oh, hello Ryuk. I had thought you’d be here.” Seating myself on the edge of Light’s bed, I asked, “So, what can you tell us about the Death Note?”
Both Light and Ryuk look over at me in shock. I raised an eyebrow. “What? I dreamed that I was in a bleak world, strange creatures, probably Shinigami, were talking and I heard them call a Shinigami that looks exactly like you Ryuk. I know you dropped your Death Note into this world. I saw it all. Now,” I lean forward, “What can you tell us about it?”
Ryuk laughs a little, before responding. “You’re pretty clever. Like I told your friend, I’m not gonna take your souls. The notebook is yours. Once it touched the ground, it became part of the human world. If you don’t want it, give it away, but you’ll lose all of your memories of it. You can’t go to heaven or hell once you’ve written a name in it. Once your time is up, I’ll write your name in my Death Note. Oh, and only people who’ve used the Death Note can see and hear me. That’s about it.”
Light speaks up, “I just have one more question I want to ask you. Why were we chosen for this?” Ryuk doesn’t pay attention, and just eats the two apples left on Light’s desk. “Hey, are you even listening?”
Ryuk gulps down the apples, and says, “Apples in the human world are worth the trip. What’s the best way to describe these? Juicy?” He smirks. Or, at least, it sounds like he’s smirking. Ryuk has a permanent grin on his face.
Light gets frustrated. “Just answer my question!”
Ryuk backs up at the outburst, and before responding. “I didn't choose you. Don't you see? This is all just an accident. You actually thought you were chosen because you’re so smart or something? Don't be so vain. It just happened to fall around here and you just happened to pick it up. That’s all there is to it. That's why I wrote the instructions in English, the most popular language in the human world.”
Light groans before asking, “Then why did you drop it in the first place? You even wrote down specific instructions, so don't try telling me this was an accident.”
Ryuk leans forward a bit, “You're asking me why? I did it 'cause I was bored.”
Light backs up. “You were… bored?”
Ryuk sighs, and says, “The truth is, Shinigami haven't got much to do these days. Most of the time we're either taking naps or gambling. If you take the time to write names in your Death Note, the others just laugh at you for working so hard. Even if you wrote the name of another Shinigami, it'd be pointless because they wouldn't die. And since we live in the Shinigami Realm it brings us no amusement to kill those in the human world either. So, I figured I'd have more fun if I came down here myself. Anyway, I'm surprised at how many names you've written.” He says, looking at the extensive list of names we had written down, before looking back at Light. “But I wanna know why you only wrote the cause of death for that guy who was hit by the truck.”
Light smiles, it almost looks cute, if you weren’t listening to what was being said. “If you don't write down the cause of death, the victim dies of a heart attack. And that's probably the best thing about the Death Note, Ryuk.”
Ryuk backs up, confused. “Huh?”
“You see,” Light continues. “We've already exhausted the list of the world's major criminals. And eventually, we’re going to get rid of them all.”
Ryuk groans, “What's the point of doing that?”
Never breaking his stare with the Shinigami, Light replies. “It's only a matter of time before people figure out that these criminals are being eliminated by someone. I want the world to know of my existence. That there’s someone out there passing righteous judgement on the wicked.” He says, gradually getting more expressive, almost angry, as he goes on.
Ryuk shifts positions, acting nonchalant, but I see the brief look in his eye. He’s amused. “Why even bother? What are you trying to achieve by passing judgement on them? I mean, why do you care?”
Light looks out the window, “Because, I've been bored too.” He looks over at Ryuk. “I wasn't ready to believe it at first, but it’s obvious now. There's something about the Death Note itself that makes humans want to try it out at least once. Besides, if we don’t do it, who will? There’s no one else who could.” He says, glancing at me. I nod, with a growing smile on my face. He looks back to Ryuk. “At first, we wrote the names of the worst criminals we could think of. Like we were cleaning up the world, one name at a time. So that eventually no one will ever do anything evil again. And while the truly guilty ones who deserve to be punished for their crimes die of heart attacks, the people who are less guilty but who still make trouble for others will slowly be erased through disease and accidental death. Then, and only then, the world will start moving in the right direction. It'll be a new world, free of injustice, and populated by people who we’ve judged to be honest, kind, and hardworking.”
“But if you did that, it would make you two the only bad people left.” Ryuk retorts.
Light smiles sweetly, acting innocent. “Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm a hard working honors student considered to be one of Japan's best and brightest.” They both turn to me.
“And what about you?” Ryuk asks.
“Me?” I ask, smiling like a little darling. “I’m just an honors student who requires some help in a subject or two. There’s nothing wrong with being imperfect.”
Light and I look at each other, and say in unison, “And we… we will become the gods of this new world!”
Ryuk leans back and laughs. “It’s just as I thought. Humans are so interesting.”
Both Light and I look out the window at the now-clear sky, and watch as the sun sets.
I realize the time. “Well Ryuk, it was a pleasure to meet you. Light-kun, I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Mirai-chan.” Light calls out after me.
“Mirai, huh? And she saw the Shinigami Realm… Very interesting.” Ryuk comments.
Just as I leave the Yagami’s house, something dawns on me.
Both Light’s and my irises had turned red when we talked about the Death Note.
“Intriguing.” I say to myself and smile, before walking home.