Dangan Ronpa, City of Despair

Chapter 21

"Gooooood morning everyone. It is now seven AM and night time is officially over. Please make your way to the gymnasium ASAP."

Wait. That wasn't how it went. Why was Monokuma calling us to the gym? Instantly awake, I got out of bed and headed to the gym. It didn't take long for everyone to gather. It took even less time for Monokuma to arrive after.

"Thank you all for waiting!" Monokuma said cheerfully. "Now, the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the pattern that I've noticed. It seems that after a class trial, you all become happy again and you get along with each other. I know for a fact that you kids won't do anything until I give you some motivation so... I'm just going to save time and do the motivation today!"

What was he talking about!? This really was all just some game to him, wasn't it? This wasn't about saving time. It was about destroying the hope we had begun to feel.

"Can't you give us a break!?" Mayu asked. "It's only been a day since..." She paused, seeming to choke on the words. "Since Isoya..." Monokuma shook his head. He had a sinister gleam in his eyes.

"I'm just trying to save time!" He said innocently. "You should be thanking me! Now you don't have to waste your time having meaningless conversations, and developing character."

"We aren't developing character." Asami argued. "We're getting to know each other. We're not fictional characters."

That went without saying didn't it? I mean, how in the world could we be fictional characters? Monokuma just laughed at her argument.

"But what if you are?" He asked. "What if everything you know, this whole world is actually just something being imagined by a teenage girl with too much time on her hands?"

That had to be the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Apparently Ren agreed.

"Stop being an idiot and just give us the motive already." He snapped. "You said you're trying to save time, so stop wasting it." Monokuma instantly became serious. Or as close as the idiotic bear could.

"Alrighty then! This time..." He held up some envelopes with names written on them. "I have an envelope with a picture in it for you! The quality is really great! It will be like you're really there."

"Really where?" Asami asked.

"You've got to open them and find out! Puhuhu!"

Monokuma tossed the envelopes into the air. We all looked around for our own. Monokuma must have left while we were doing this, since I didn't see him when I looked up again. Ignoring his absence, I opened the envelope. I would have kept it closed, but ignoring the motive didn't help last time. Inside was a photo of my family and I. We were smiling and waving at the camera. I remembered taking the photograph. It had been my six birthday and we had just finished eating the cake. Everyone looked so happy, and I felt warm tears beginning to flow down my cheeks as I remembered them. How could I have thought that I'd be able to leave all of them behind? I couldn't stay here forever. Not with all of them waiting for me to come home. I had to get ou-

Wait. This is what Monokuma wanted to happen. He wanted us to think about the outside world. About the things we loved. I wasn't going to fall for his trick. I put the photo in my pocket. I'd throw it out later. Ren did the same thing. As I walked over to him, I noticed he was wiping away a tear.

"Are you okay Ren?" I asked. He nodded, but didn't say anything.

"What was in your picture?"

"It doesn't matter." Ren replied. He sounded serious. "If we're going to be staying here, then we need to be able to forget about our lives out there. This is our new life."

That's what I had been thinking of during Missa's concert, but... would we really be able to forget our lives from before. Eventually someone would snap right? It's not easy to forget your past. Though I suppose that Monokuma did steal our memories. This all would have been easier if we couldn't remember anything at all. If this city was all we knew.

"Are you going to be throwing out the picture?" I asked.

"Yes. I will." Ren answered. It seemed like the conversation was finished, so I walked away. Everyone seemed like they were about to cry. None of us said anything, and eventually we all just dispersed.

That night, I laid in bed for a while. I missed my family. My friends. I even missed my homework. I had taken everything in my life for granted. I could see that now.

Tears formed in my eyes as I took the photo out of my pocket. Why couldn't things go back to the way they had been? Why was I stuck in here? Why did this have to happen to me? I found myself desperately wishing to escape and get back home. But... I couldn't sacrifice the lives of my friends to win my freedom.

I tore up the photo, realizing that I had begun to fall into Monokuma's trap again. After throwing it into the garbage, I fell into a restless sleep.

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