The Nightmare World

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 11

I wake up to find the rays of crimson shining through the window. The drowsiness still overpowering me, I close my eyes again.But my sleepiness fades when I realize Subaru isn't next to me anymore.I look around and quickly realize that I'm in the nightmare world.

(Where is everyone...?)

I'm completely woken up as that thought crosses my mind.

Me: Licht!

I bolt up from the couch.

Me: Where are you?

The recollection of yesterday forces me up. and the sudden rush of blood has my heart beating fast.

(Licht?)

l wrench my head in all directions. and worry hits me when I realize that Licht is nowhere in sight.

(Where could he have gone?)

cRASH!

out of nowhere. I hear a crashing sound from a distance.

My mind freezes.

(Was that from the kitchen?)

Me: L-Licht? Is that you?

I tiptoe in that direction,

pressing my hands to my chest.

Me: Licht, you better not be trying to scare me!

There's no response.

CRASH!

The sound of breaking continues. much louder now as I make my way to the kitchen.

I grab a nearby broom to arm myself.

I fearfully approach the kitchen, step by step.

CRASH!

But another loud noise makes me jump. I pin myself against the wall for cover.

(What's goung on...?)

Taking a deep breath, I clutch the broom tighter.

Jessica: Licht...?

Instead of a response, I hear what sounds like a menacing growl.

(What should I do?Licht's not here, I'm sure.)

I gently peel myself off the wall, taking a step back.

Suddenly, something moves behind me.

???: Hey

There's a tap on my shoulder, and I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Jessica: AAAAAAAAHHH!

I wildly swing the broom in all directions.

???: Gah!

Jessica: Get away from me. whatever you are!

???: Jessica, calm down.

All at once, I feel my broom being held by an unyielding force.

I try to pull it back. but the thing holding onto it is too strong.

I slowly open my eyes and see Licht.

Me: Licht...

Relieved, I fall to the floor.

(Phew... I was so scared. I thought I was done for.)

Licht: You okay?

Licht extends his hand out towards me.

I take his hand and slowly stand up.

Me: Please don't scare me like that again!

Licht: I'm sorry, I didn't

CRASH!

Me: Ah!

On instinct, I cling to Licht.

He goes stiff for a moment. I can feel his heart pounding in his chest

Me: S-Sorry...

I try to let go, but he stops me.

Licht: I wouldn't mind staying like this. How about you?

I silently decide to stay close to him.

Me: Something's in the kitchen!

Licht: Yeah, I actually heard it from upstairs. That's why I came down.

(What was he doing upstairs?)

Licht: l was resting.

Licht answers as if he read my mind.

Licht: Sorry for not asking you.

Me: No, no, not at all.

(It’s not like I still live here.You don't need to be so polite about it!)

Me: You definitely need plenty of rest.How are your wounds?

My gaze is fixed on his shoulder.

Licht: Don't worry about it. I'm fine.

Me: But

CRASH!

The terrible noise is too much to ignore now, as if it wants our attention.

(But what could it be?)

(Well, I've managed to meet up with Licht. We better get out of here...)

Licht: Jessica, you stay here. I‘ll take a look.

Licht leaves my side as he makes that statement.

Me: Wait!

I can't let him go on his own, so I decide to follow him into the kitchen.

We enter the kitchen and gasp at what we see.

There are pieces of broken ceramics all over the floor.

(What’s going on here?)

We can hear the growling of an animal.

Both: !

We both jump as a can of powdered milk falls from on top of the fridge.

Licht: Hey, over there.

Licht points to a shadow between the shelves.

Two golden eyes are staring back at us.

My heart gallops in fear.

(Is it the monster?)

Licht slowly approaches the shadow. I gulp, holding on to Licht for dear life.

Licht reaches out for the box and pulls it down.

Cat: Mmmreaaaaow!

Me: H!

I manage to hold back a scream just before it leaves my mouth.

A cry accompanies the box as it falls to the floor.

But it's a familiar sound.

Cat: Mrrowww! Hissss!

(It's a cat.)

(Talk about anti-climactic.But I'm glad it’s just a cat.)

The creature stands overhead. its paw swiftly swiping at Licht’s hand.

Licht: Whoa!

Me: Careful! It might bite!

The cat purrs in satisfaction, proud to have given us a scare.

(This little thing’s been breaking the dishes?)

Licht and I back off as it jumps to the floor and runs off.

(Phew!)

Me: Gosh. that scared me.

Licht: Aw, I thought it was cute.

Me: Cute? I don't think so. Look at all these broken plates.

Licht's gentle laugh sets my mind at ease.

Me: You seem to be feeling better.Let’s get out of here. I have some things to tell you.

We leave my former home and walk around the neighborhood,On the street. Licht listens intently as I relay the information the guys and I found.

This is the second time I've walked the streets together with him since regaining my memories.

(It feels strange walking side by side with him as an adult...)

(But he still hasn't regained his memories of me.)

(I wonder why he was brought to the orphanage?)

Licht: So you're saying our lost memories are connected to this orphanage.

Me: Yes.

Licht: And after remembering the past. the monster weakened. allowing us to escape?

Me: I know that wasn't the case with Monica, so I can't be sure yet. but...

Licht seems to be thinking about what I've said.

Me: I know it's a lot to take in.I'm having a hard time believing it myself.

Licht smiles.

Licht: I believe you.

Me: Oh.

(Licht didn't even question it.)

Licht: What's with that reaction?

Me: I didn't think it would be that easy to convince you.

Licht: Really? I’ve got no reason to doubt you.

Licht smiles and lets out a little laugh.

Embarrassed, I avert my gaze away from him.

Licht and I stroll downtown to find the others.

Me: They might be at the park. I notice that we always end up starting wherever we last lose consciousness.

(Seeing that the monster appeared, it's unlikely they stayed in the same location.)

(But I guess we've got no choice but to check it out.)

(Come to think of it...)

Me: Have you ever fallen asleep in here, Licht?

(He said he was resting earlier,but he might not have been asleep.)

Licht: Hmmm... Maybe?

Licht looks like he’s struggling with his words and changes the subject.

Licht: What's it like in yourworld? Is it different from here?

(Why did he change the subject like that?)

Whether he doesn't understand what "sleep" is or whether he’s just hiding something.....he's definitely our key to discovering the truth about this world.It wouldn't hurt to ask. but...

Me: Why did you change the subject?

Licht: Well... I don't really understand sleeping.But I lose consciousness sometimes. so I guess I do sleep?

(Huh. I guess I was reading too much into it...)

Me: To answer your question. my world is bright and full of sound.I'd love to show you around if you can ever come. Hey! We should get ice cream!

Licht: Ice cream...?What does it taste like?

Licht stares at me innocently. Confusion washes over me, but I try to not let it show on my face.

Me: Hmm. Well. it comes in a lot of flavors, but it's always cold and creamy.

Licht: I see.

Licht stares ahead. but I continue to look at him, puzzled.

(I have so many questions.)

Licht: I wish I could have some ice cream with you, Jessica.

It's such a simple wish, but it strikes a chord in my heart.

(Licht...who are you, really?)

We cross the gates to the park. and I still find myself thinking about Licht's situation.

(Could he be a part of the monster? Or maybe the one that controls the nightmare?)

(But he saved my life from that creature. He wouldn't do that if he was connected to it somehow.)

And Licht is a real person. My memories prove that.

(So why can't we find him in the real world?)

(What if...)

I stop in my tracks.

Licht: Jessica?

(What if he’s not in the real world because he’s already dead...?)

Memories of him as a child smiling rise up in my mind and fade away. I feel my hope fading away along with those memories.

Me: That's...

Licht: What's the problem. Jessica?Why did you stop?

Licht tugs my hand, bringing me back to my senses.

(Oh no...)

(I've been so caught up in my own thoughts that I wasn't paying attention.)

Me: Oh. sorry. Let's go.

Licht: You seemed so out of it. Are you okay?

I force a smile.

Me: Yes. I'm

Licht holds up his index finger to my lips.

Licht: If there's something that's bothering you, I want to help.

(I can't just ask, "hey are you dead?" And even if I could, I don't know if I want to know the answer.) (But maybe sharing my fears will make me feel better.)

His eyes are so sincere. I feel bad for thinking so negatively.

Licht squeezes my hand. as if assuring me it's okay to open up.

I hesitate. Licht gives me a dejected smile.

Licht: Even if you can’t now, I'd really love for you to share your feelings with me in the future.

Me: Oh, it's nothing! We should really hurry up and regroup.

I laugh nervously and Licht lets go of my hand.

Licht: Look there.

Licht points to the left and we can see Thoma waving.

Thoma: Hey! We’re finally all here.

Thoma puts his hand over his hips. trying to catch his breath.

Thoma: So what do we do now?

Ray: We'll have to go back and check the orphanage.There must be something there that could give us a clue.

Thoma: More walking?!

Thoma drops to the ground. squatting. Then he ruffles his hair in frustration.

Thoma: Can't we take a break? Please, Ray? Look at Licht. That wound looks pretty bad.

Licht: Oh, I can manage. I got plenty of rest.

Thoma: Duuude, you were supposed to be on my side!

I can’t help but giggle, but it's true that everyone seems exhausted.

Ray: Start walking. or we’re leaving you alone.

Thoma: You meanie!

Subaru: I think we should stay.

Subaru,who‘s been quiet all this time, suddenly speaks.

Me: What do you

Subaru silently points to something.

(It can't be...!)

A cold sensation runs through my body.

Everyone except Subaru: !!!

We all turn to see a young boy with golden hair standing quietly.

Subaru: That boy looks like Thoma.

Thoma: Oh-ho.

Thoma smiles. standing up. He was terrified of the visions before.but now he seems almost excited.

Thoma: I guess this means I'll regain my memories next.

A modest Thoma's delight. I find Ray clenching his fists.

Ray: Tch, the thought of him beating me out on this...

(Huh?)

(ls Ray upset?)

Thoma: Stay behind to see where my younger self will take us, eh?

Thoma, now suddenly energetic, starts approaching the apparition.

Me: Please be careful, Thoma.

(I really don't want you to push yourself...)

(Having experienced it myself. I know for a fact those apparitions

give you a different kind of fear.)

(Not a fear of death, but a fear of knowing the truth.)

Thoma: I got this, Jessica.I can handle it.

He gives me a wink.

I think back to the Thoma from my own memories.

Unlike the Thoma I know now, he was a quiet,sullen child.

The thoughts of his terrible past give me goosebumps.

Young Thoma leads us outside of the park and into a different part of the neighborhood.

Thoma: Hey. kid!

Thoma has made several attempts to talk to the little boy, but he doesn't respond.

(The child hasn't spoken.)

It reminds me of how quiet the young Thoma was in my vision.

Ray: Stop bugging him.

Thoma: What?

Ray: What if he disappears because you're being too noisy?

Thoma: Are you really that salty 'cause I'm getting my past back before you?Ah, I get it. You're worried about me. aren't you?

Ray: The hell I'm salty.

(Something's wrong with Ray.)

(Is that really why Ray's upset?)

(Could there be a deeper reason?)

Ray kicks a pebble on the ground. The stone rolls down the street and hits the apparition. But instead of making contact, the pebble just passes through the child as if he were a ghost.

Thoma: He's stopping here?

We arrive in front a large house.

Thoma: Are we here already, little guy?

The little boy nods and passes through the bars.

Thoma and Subaru open the gates and hurry inside.

Licht follows them.

Me: Ray, are you okay?

Ray just stands there, taking in the sight with an anxious expression.

Ray: I'm scared...

(What?)

Ray: I'm scared, Jessica.

(I've never seen Ray like this before...)

(Why is Ray so hung up on this? It's not like these are his memories...)

Ray: If I go any further. I don't think I'll be able to turn back.

He embraces himself gently. His eyes are blank. and I can't tell where he's looking.

I can tell that he’s shaking ever so slightly.

I think back to my lonely past and can't help but sympathize for him. I want to help him somehow.

(What can I do for Ray?)

Seeing as the others have already entered the house. I tug on Ray's jacket.

Me: Don't think about it too much, Ray.We're all here, right? We've all got your back.

Ray turns my way as he inhales.

Me: Besides, these are Thoma's memories. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Ray: That's what I'm afraid of.

Me: What was that?

Ray: Nothing.

Ray shakes his head.

(I swear he said something. but it was so quiet that I didn't catch it.)

Ray: Anyway. sorry for the hold up. Let's go.

Ray walks ahead of me and I follow him into the house. The door creaks as Ray opens it. and we find ourselves in a huge living room.

Everything is arranged neatly. not a single thing out of place.

(It looks very normal. at least.)

We pass through the hallway. then Ray stops.

Ray: Do you hear that?

There's a rattling sound coming from inside the room under the stairs.

Me: Ray

Ray holds his index finger against his lips. signaling me to keep quiet.

BANG! BANG!

The rattling stops and is replaced by something slamming against the door from the inside.

???: Please! Please, open the door!

Ray and I look at each other in shock.

Me: Who is that?

???: Is someone there? Please!

Ray reaches for the door knob,but before he can get ahold of it. we hear footsteps from behind.

We turn around and see another boy running towards him.

Me: Thoma?

(Oh no! They're gonna bump into each other!)

Without much time to react, the young boy runs into Ray, passing through him like mist.

(Ah!)

Ray: Whoa...

Thoma's distorted image floats for a few seconds until he regains his usual form. But we don't have time to comment on the phenomenon.

Young Thoma turns the knob and opens the door.

Young Thoma: Don't worry! Your big brother's right here!

???: Big brother!

A young boy emerges from behind the door and rushes into the young Thoma's arms.

Me: Thoma has a brother?

(The little brother looks oddly familiar...)

Thoma: What's happening?

The vision of the two brothers unfolds in the space between us. They're a picture of love, the older comforting the younger.

???: Big brother. why is Mommy so mean to me? I'm scared. Uwaaa!

Ray takes a step closer. and so does Thoma, closing in from the other side.

Me: Ray...?

I step closer to him.

A bruised. frail looking child is holding onto Thoma with all his might.

The child lifts his head.

Ray: Is this...

We all take in the younger brother's features. The familiarity takes us by surprise.

Thoma: R-Ray?

Thoma shoots Ray an inquisitive look, the vision of two young brothers separating them like a thin cloud.

Ray stands still, the confusion clear on his face.

Me: Thoma!

I shout from where I stand. and Thoma gives me a look.

(He's just as clueless.)

Young Thoma: Shh... Calm down. Mom does it because she's worried about you.Unlike me...

Young Ray: Then why does Mom hurt me like this? She keeps locking me up and yelling at me when I make mistakes. Mom lets you do whatever you want. She loves you more!

Young Thoma pats his brother, stroking the little boy's hair.

Young Thoma: Don'tworry,Ray. I'II protect you.

The vision gradually disappears until the scene that separates us is no more.

(Thoma... Ray...)

Ray takes a step forward, his eyes fixed on Thoma.

He opens his mouth, his words raspy as his breath grows short.

Ray :Big brother?

Ray and Thoma look at each other with shocked expressions.

The scene changes, The two boys are now happily looking at a sketchbook together.

Young Ray: That's amazing, big bro! Young Thoma: You think so? Do you think Mom will like it?

Young Ray: Of course!

The figure of a woman comes into view.

There's a piece of paper in her hands. crumpled by the force she's clutching it with.

Young Thoma: Mom!

(Mom?)

Young Thoma runs excitedly towards his mother. waving the sketchbook in his hands.

Young Thoma: Mom, I drew you for art class today. and my teacher gave me an award for it. Look!

The boy proudly shows his mother the artwork, but the woman passes him by going straight for his younger brother.

Young Thoma: M-Mom?

Thoma holds onto his sketchbook tightly.

Mother: Ray.

All at once, the blood drains from the younger boy's face, his pallor ghostly white.

(He looks so scared...)

I turn my head to look at Ray and Thoma both of them have gone pale looking at the apparition.

Mother: Come here, Ray.

Young Ray: I-I'm sorry!

(What?)

Young Ray shrinks into a corner, shielding himself, as if something bad is coming for him.

(He's so scared. Why?)

I remember young Ray locked up in the room, crying.

Mother: What did I tell you about being sorry?

The mother throws the paper she's holding.

It falls to the ground without a sound, but by the horrified expression on the younger boy's face, the weight it carries is a heavy burden.

The paper shows a number of red marks. It happens to be a report card, bleeding with unfavorable grades.

(Is that why she's angry?Because of her son‘s poor grades?) Mother: If you have the time to be sorry. you have the time to do benen

The mother reaches for young Ray and the boy struggles in her hold.

Young Ray: No. Mom, please! No owies! Please...! I'll study! I'll study hard. I promise!

I feel my heart cracking to pieces as I watch the tears stream down the little boy's face.

(How could this happen?!)

SMACK!

(!!!)

Mother: You insolent child!

Young Ray falls to the floor from a hard slap to the face.

Young Thoma: Mom. stop!

The older brother throws away his sketchbook and then grabs onto his mother.

He does his best to pull her away, but what can a mere child do? Young Ray continues to cry as he takes his mother's beatings, and young Thoma laments his helplessness.

(What kind of mother would do such a thing?)

I grip my clothes, unable to hold onto anything that might give me strength.

(This is so sickening. I can't take this! If it hurts this much for me, how much more for Ray and Thoma?) (How can they stand to watch this?)

(I hate not being able to do anything...)

I decide to... I run towards the scene. unable to stomach the sight any longer.

Me: Stop it!

I try to grab on to the woman. But a force pulls me back.

Subaru: Get ahold of yourself, Jessica.

Me: Do you expect me to just stand here and do nothing?

I turn to Subaru.

He shakes his head from side to side.His red eye shimmers sorrowfully.

I'm sure he would do something if he could.

Me: Sorry...

(These are childhood memories. There's nothing we can do to change them.)

(We're helpless before our own memories.)

(I already knew this.)

(I know that our memories aren't all happy ones.)

I follow Subaru, slowly relaxing my arm.

(All I can do is look the truth in the eye.)

(When they do regain their memories, I'll be there to help them through it as best I can.Just like they did for me...)

Without warning, the scene unfolds just as a strike of lightning whips over us.

Suddenly, we hear the sound of glass shattering.

Me: Wh-What was that?!

The boy's mother falls to the ground, revealing the Young Thoma panting hard against the tears. The younger brother cowers on the floor. eyes closed shut and trembling in fear.

Young Thoma: Please...stop it.

I look over to see the boy holding a broken vase in his hand.

Young Thoma: Stop hurting my brother!

(It can't be...)

I hold my breath, shooting Thoma a look. Surrounded by silence, our eyes are all focused on Thoma.

For a moment, the only sound we hear is young Ray sobbing.

Ray: Thoma, you...

Ray turns to Thoma with a sad look on his face.

Thoma himself seems to be confused and surprised, and he takes a step back. shaking his head in disbelief.

Thoma: No... No, I

But the boy's mother never again moves even an inch.

Thoma: No. I didn't mean to... I didn’t mean to hurt her. I just wanted to stop the violence... It's not... It's not my fault.

Thoma hides his head in his hands and mumbles in a faint voice.

The image of him standing all alone in the orphanage makes its way into my mind.

(Thoma...)

(When we were little. I thought he was just a gloomy kid,I had no idea he had such a traumatic past.)

cast.)

My heart aches at the thought of a child having to carry the burden of such a sin.

And the fact that he did it to protect someone only makes it hurt more.

The apparition turns into a bright light. taking us to another part of Thoma and Ray's memories. Young Ray is walking around the hallways, exploring the orphanage.

Young Ray: Stairs? Maybe there's something cool down there!

The boy happily descends the stairs. but voices in the distance stop him in his tracks. He presses up against a wall, trying to take a peek from a distance.

(That's the man I saw! Father! And the one he's talking to is...?)

Father: You know this experiment can't be completed without you, Licht. I can count on you, right?

Young Licht: If it's for everyone's sake. then you can count on me, Father!

Everyone: !!!

(What does this mean?Licht was involved with the experiments?)

I quickly turn to Licht, who continues to stare at the apparition. His expression is unreadable.

The warm memories of our childhood together begin to go cold.

(You knew all along, and you never said anything?)

But just as I'm about to approach him

Monster: Growaargh!

The monster appears out of nowhere. We instinctively fall back, but Thoma stays still with his head down.

Thoma: No. It's a lie. These aren't my memories...

Ray: Thoma, look out!

The monster grows in size before Thoma.

Monster: Murderer... Mommy... Mommy... Mommy doesn't love me... If she doesn’t...love me...then she should...die!

Thoma: No! That's not true! I didn't do it! I didn't kill anyone!

Thoma denies what we all just witnessed.

Thoma: You've got it all wrong! Ray...

Ray: It keeps growing!

We got our memories back! Why?! You've forced us to relive these horrible memories...

Ray grabs hls chest tightly.

Ray: Why don't you just die?

(what's gomg on?)

(Has Thoma not regained his memories?)

Monster: Murderer...

Thoma: Shut up!!

(That doesn't seem to be the case.)

(It seems he just can't accept his memories.)

Thoma's legs collapse. and the weight of his memories pin him down.

Monster: Rawhhrr!

The monster grows even larger in the blink of an eye, the lumps on its body forming human limbs in all directions as if they're reaching for something to eat.

Monster: Killed... Mommy” You...killed...

Thoma: No, Ray! I did it for you!

Ray: ...!

Thoma: No. I don't want to see this! Aaaaah!!

The monster reaches out for Thoma before he can regain his composure.

Me: No!

(Thoma's out of it right now. My best plan of action is to distract the monster.)

I pick up a piece of glass on the floor and throw it with all my might at the monster.

The monster turns to glare at me.

Me: ...!

I try to stop myself from shaking. If I can distract it for long enough, Ray can go grab Thoma and escape.

But what about me?

(Am I going to die?)

Licht: It's alright, I'll protect you.

Licht holds my shoulder. I signal to Ray with my eyes and he nods. Licht picks up another shard and throws it at the monster. The monster is distracted for a moment, but turns back to Thoma and shoves its claw into his stomach.

(No!)

I can't help but turn away from the horror.

I hear Ray and Subaru running up to the monster. It's followed by the loud thud of something hitting the floor.

Ray: Dammit!

I fearfully turn my gaze to see Thoma colIapsed on the floor.

The pool of blood surrounding him is growing. I hold back my tears and cover my mouth.

Ray: Hey, monster.

Ray glares at the monster.

Ray: You think you've won by making me remember all of that unpleasant shit? Well. you haven't. I've already accepted all of it. Now die already!

I feel Ray's quiet fury like electricity running through my veins. The monster begins to wince.

Ray: I said die. Didn't you hear me?

The monster shrinks before our eyes and disappears.

As the monster disappears, the apparition fades with it. and we find ourselves back in Thoma’s old house.

Me: Thoma! Ray!

My relief only lasts a moment before I find myself running to Thoma.

Me: Oh my God, please tell me you're okay.

Ray and Subaru find the strength to stand, but Thoma remains glued to the ground with labored breathing. Thoma: Jessica...

I nervously look to his abdomen.

(This can’t be happening...)

I cover my mouth, a gasp escaping my lips.

Ray: Stop moving!

Me: We gotta stop the bleeding!

I’ve only ever seen stuff like this in the movies. so I have no idea what I need to do. But I quickly take off my jacket and cover Thoma's wound.

My jacket is quickly stained red with his blood. Ray looks at me and nods, tying my jacket tightly around Thoma's middle.

Thoma: I don't... Aha...

Thoma coughs, choking on his own tears.

Thoma: I don't think I'm gonna make it...

His eyes roll backwards, head falling to the side.

(No!)

Me: Wh-What are you talking about...? This is no time for jokes. We promised that we’d get through this together. right?

Thoma: I don’t know if I can keep that promise.

Thoma gives an apologetic laugh and closes his eyes.

Ray: Goddammit!

Ray takes Thoma's face in his hands. slapping him lightly.

Ray: Stay with me!

I grab Thoma's hand, pressing it to give him some warmth.

(He's so cold!)

I grip his hand tighter in an attempt to help him stay awake. But the wound has clear taken a toll on his body. Blood spurts from the wound, hitting Ray in the face. Ray: Stop bleeding. goddammit!

My jacket is soaked red, but Ray continues to press against the injury, applying pressure to stop it from getting worse.

Thoma grimaces in pain.

Thoma: Ray...

I feel Thoma’s weak squeeze on my fingers.

Thoma: Before I die, I need to tell you something.

Ray: I don't wanna hear it. I’m a doctor in training. I'm not letting you die!

Ray's trying to keep his cool. but his expression tells another story. I hold Thoma's hand tightly.

Ray: If you‘ve got something to say, say it after we get through this. I won't ever forgive you if you die here!

Ray turns away, continuing to close his hands over Thoma's abdomen.

Thoma: Ha... Ray, I'm sorry I made things so hard for you.

Ray: I said shut up! You can repent all you want Iater...!

Ray's voice is muffled by tears. Thoma chuckles as his head turns my way.

Thoma: Jessica, you'll hear me out. right...?

(What can I do for him at this moment? )

Me: Thoma, please. don't talk anymore. Your wound will only get worse.

Thoma shakes his head from side to side.

(This is too much for me.)

My feelings well up inside me and I find myself unable to take it anymore.

I slowly let go of Thoma's hand.

I turn and find myself in Subaru's arms.

I feel his hands run over my back.

Jessica: Listen to him. Ray, please.

Ray: No. I don'twant to... I'll listen to all your talk after we make it through this.

Thoma: Jessica... I'm trusting you with Ray.

I hold back my tears as best as I can and manage to nod.

Thoma: I'm worried about that kid.

He doesn't know how to take care of himself, haha... Ray... I'm sorry. Ray.

Ray hangs his head low, focusing on applying pressure on Thoma's wound.

Ray: no, I don't want to. ......I will

listen to all your talk after we

make it through this.

Thoma: Jessica... I'm trusting you with Ray.

I hold back my tears as best as I can and manage to nod.

Thoma: I'm worried about that kid. He doesn't know how to take care of himself. haha... Ray... I'm sorry. Ray.

Ray hangs his head low. focusing on applying pressure on Thoma’s wound. But the room goes silent, and eventually, he takes his hands off Thoma’s abdomen. Ray casts his eyes down in silence. Thoma lays lifeless on the floor.

I understand just how important Ray was to Thoma as a brother.

We hear faint footsteps and see Licht approaching the corpse.

Licht: I'm sorry. Ray.

Licht reaches out to Ray to try and comfort him.

Ray: You!

Ray grabs Licht by the front of his shirt.

Me: Ray!

Ray: What do you know?!

Licht: I don't

Ray: Don't lie! We all saw it! You had something to do with the experiment. My memories are proof of that.What the hell is this world? What is that monster? What does this all have to do with the experiment?

What did you do to us?!

Licht remains calm despite Ray’s heated words.

He brings up his hands turning them over, as if to show that they're anything but dirty.

Ray: I said spill it!

Me: Ray, don't!

I run to them, taking hold of Ray's clenched hand over the fabric of Licht’s clothes.

Ray: You saw it. didn’t you? How he wagged his tail obediently at that old man?

Ray's sharp eyes settle back on Licht.

Licht casts his gaze downward apologetically.

Licht: I’m sorry. I just can't remember...

It really doesn‘t seem like he’s lying.

Ray slowly lets go of Licht and looks away awkwardiy.

(Even though they didn't remember each other, he just lost his big brother.There’s no way I can just tell him to chill out...)

We're surrounded by an uneasy silence.

Ray: Sorry for losing my cool... But I don't know if I can trust you.

Licht: Yeah... I understand.

Licht answers sadly.

The bells begin to ring and I feel my consciousness slip away.

My eyes bolt open, waking me up swiftly from the nightmare.

There's an ache in my chest, and I immediately get up, knowing full well why.

Me: Ray!

I scramble to get out of bed, passing Subaru's side before I can tell if he's awake or not.

(Ray needs help right now!)

My footsteps echo as I dash towards the hallway, but then I pause, not sure which way to turn.

(What room are they in?)

Subaru: It's down the right side, Jessica.

Subaru instructs. and I give him an affirmative nod. I find the room they were staying in at the end of the hall.

Me: Ray?

I call, but no one responds.

I knock. holding my breath denying what I know I'll find on the other side of the door.

I decide to give the door knob a try, and to my surprise, the door opens.

Me: I'm coming in! Ray? Thoma?

I take a step, feeling the oppressive air beneath my feet. Soon, I find Ray sitting on the bed. hunched over and motionless.Next to his bed lies Thoma. None of us needs to ask what's wrong.

(He's gone...)

(Thoma...)

Me: Ray!

I throw myself at Ray's feet. peering into his face only to find him frozen stiff.

Me: Ray? Ray, it’s me.

I nudge his knee, trying to shake him back to reality. But he only purses his lips in

reply, as if trying to hold back his feelings.

Seeing him look this painfully empty... I feel tears well up in my eyes.

Me: I’m so sorry...

I reach out to touch him.

But my hand freezes midway.

(What should I do?)

(He's in a very sensitive spot right now.)

I curl my hands into a fist, slowly retracting it to settle on the floor.

Me: Ray...

My call falls on deaf ears greeted with nothing but silence. Subaru: Ray.

Subaru calls out to Ray from by the door

Ray:

Me: Ray...?

I gently place my hand on Ray's shoulder.

Ray: Mmm...

Ray opens his mouth, but only a quiet groan comes out of it.

Then he blinks, looking up at Subaru.

Ray: Right,There's something we need to do.

Ray takes his phone out to call the police and report Thoma’s death.

(Ray...)

Then he looks back at us. eyes shining with conviction. But somewhere beneath that is a gleam of something more ominous and

heady. Something like rage.

Ray :Let’s go.

His eyes narrow, sharp as swords.

Ray :I’ll find out who was in charge and make them pay.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.