Anna:Why the professor has to give us homework.I wanted to spend the weekend shopping not answering the assignments.
Me:I also wanted to catch up on my TV shows too.
We talk about our plans for the weekend until we reach the intersection.
Anna:well I am going this way .
Me:alright see you.
I wave good bye as Anna cross the intersection .We have been friends since the start of my university classes.
After graduating high school,most of my buddies moved far away for universities.
We talk a lot online ,but it makes me feel lonely sometimes .
I walk home thinking about my childhood .
I don't remember any of my friends from back then.
My memory is blur.
All I get is the feeling that something is missing .I can't recall much .Or anything at all,really
I don't have any of memories when I was a child
Did I have friends ? Did I have hobbies? Did I get a bunch of toys like other kids?
Sometimes I find myself thinking about this and feels an indescribable emptiness.
Me:I am home.
Mom & Dad:welcome pumpkin.
My parents greet me ,their voices coming from separate location.
Me:something smells good!
My dad sits down on the couch.
Dad:Your mom's making pasta.
Mom:I filled the bathtub for you,so clean up before dinner.
My mother pokes her head out from the kitchen,holding her ladle up.
I head to my room , the scent of pasta making me hungry.
(I feel empty from time to time but whenever I see my parents.)
Mother : dinner's ready!
(I feel so lucky .)
After my parents go to bed . I stay behind in the living room.
I look at the clock to see that it's 9:45. p.m.
Me: oh it's almost time.
I lightly slap my face with both of my hands to keep myself awake.
Me:you can't fall asleep now.you have waited for a whole week for this new episode.
I climb on to the couch.snnugling in one corner,as I watch the TV commercial run.
Slowly I feel my eyelids getting heavy.
I blink my eyes hard , opening them as wide as I can.
(I need to know what happens next.)
But the television starts to distort . The images askew on the screen.
From out of nowhere,the ringing of bells start to echo in my ears .
(What's this sound??).
My vision goes hazy.all I can see is a bright light.
(What is this ??I don't want to feel asleep yet)
Despite my efforts to fight it , I feel myself gradually dozing off.
And before I know , I am fast asleep.
My eyelids drift shut.
I open my eyes and find myself surrounded by darkness.
Me: huh?what just happened?
(Am I in my room.)
My breadth catches in my throat and an uneasy feeling begins bubbling in my stomach.
(Something is not right.)
Taking deep breadth , it takes every bit of my willpower to keep myself from panicking .
After a while , my eyes adjust to the darkness .
(Where the heck am I ?)
I don't know why but somehow ,this room feels familiar.
I feel asleep in the living room . Didn't I?
I try to turn my body to the side.
My eyes widen at the sight in front of me.
I feel my heart almost jump out of my chest.
In the dark, I see the figure of a young man lying down next to me .
(What in the world)!!
Confused as I am I take a closer look.
The young man is sleeping peacefully.
(He seems harmless.)
I try out calling to him but he doesn't responded.
(Well that's not gonna work.)
(Guess I should leave him alone .)
I try to get up but ,I hear a sound.
His eyelids flutter for a moment and he tries to get up.
I sit up and face him.
Me:umm.....do you know where we are? I suddenly I woke up in this place and ....!
The young man slowly looks at me.
His eyes one is blue ,other is red.Captivated by his mystical appearance , I inadvertently let out a small gasp.
Me:wow........your eyes are so beautiful.
The young man immediately covers his face with his hand.
???:no. Don't look.
Me: oh I am sorry.
(Did I say something to offend him.)
I try to touch him but he turns away.
???:man ,you are soo damn loud
I jump in surprise.i look over my shoulder to see another person staring down at me.
(He looks so scary.)
???: the hell are you being noisy for ,huh?
Me:I -I am sorry.
Out of the blue ,a very loud yawn echoes in the room.
???:what time is it...Hmmmm....it's still dark....can we go back to sleep....aaaah......where am I......who you people are???
A young woman freaks out as the commotion forces her awake.
(There's five of us .)
Five complete strangers ,all taken to one strange place.something feel really off about this.
???:Why are we here?
???:I can't be here , I have a date tomorrow.
Me:I have to get home.
???:everybody settle down.
The guy in the varsity jacket starts to take charge of the situation.
I stand up to get a good look at him ,but he walks toward the centre.
???:does anybody have any idea where we are?
???:jeez, why are you starting with that. should not we got to know each other first.
The young man smiles at each of us
(That's nice,he is trying to make everyone feel at ease.)
Eventually tension in the room subsides.
Thoma:my name's Thoma.
Everybody just look at him without a word.
Me:I am Jessica.
Thoma: oh! Nice to meet you Jessica.
Monica:well then my turn.i am Monica. I am fashion designer student and I have a really cool boyfriend.ahhh! I miss him right now.
(There's something childlike about Monica's charm. )
(It's kinda adorable.)
Thoma:sure you do ,haha.
I was expecting a more dramatic introduction ,to be honest.
(He is pretty bossy,but not very talkative)
Ray must have caught me staring at him because he turns to face me.
Ray:you there.The sooner your talk ,the faster we can start planning things out.
I look over my shoulders to see the quiet young man with heterochromia stand up.
He slowly let's his hand fall ,revealing the shine in his eyes.
(I mean what I said,his eyes are really beautiful .)
???:my name is Subaru.
Something about his name strikes a chord within me.
He glances at me , his red eyes glimmering at me from behind his bangs.
(There's something awfully familiar about that red eye of his .)
I try to reach back into my memories ,but have no recollection of ever meeting him .
(Is it just my imagination.)
Thoma:so ,now that we know each other , isn't it a bit less scary and creepy.
Thoma chuckles, and I smile.
(The atmosphere was really tense earlier. )
( I am glad someone like Thoma is here to lighten the mood.)
Ray:right, now that we have introduced ourselves ,lets try to figure out where we are and why . everyone gather around.
We all huddle to sit in a circle.
Ray:has anyone ever been here before.
My eyes scan the room from one corner to another.
Its normal, aside from the fact that it's dark and blood moon is illuminating us,albeit dimly.
(Nothing seems too out of the ordinary ,but)
(I have got this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.)
(Should I mention it?)
Thoma:nope ,not me.
Monica:me neither ,the place is too creepy for my taste.
Ray turn to Subaru ,and latter shakes his head.
Me:I just have a feeling .I guess that's not very useful information. Is it?
As I expected,Ray does not respond.
Ray:could you tell me the last thing you did before coming here?
Monica:I was watching movie with my boyfriend.
She cups her chin ,blushing.
Thoma:me next.i remember browsing the Internet before going to sleep . nothing unusual.
(Yeah,that all sounds pretty normal. )
(My night was the same way .I was determined to watch that show but I felt drowsy.)
Me:I was on the couch waiting for the latest episode of my favourite TV series. It airs at 10 , which is usually past my bedtime.
Ray:ten at night.
I nod ,and Ray rest his index finger under his nose in thought.
Thoma:hmm......now that you mention it,it was same time for me too.
(Ah ,that could be a hint.)
Subaru:something was ringing .
Subaru who was quiet the whole time,speaks up.
Subaru:in my ears.
Me:I felt that too.
Thoma:right ,it was bit painful,to be honest.
(When the bell chimed at ten o clock I was suddenly overcome with drowsiness.)
Ray:what about you Monica?
Monica:hmm..I don't really remember,may be.i was sitting with my boyfriend -
Ray:enough about your boyfriend.
Monica pouts ,glaring daggers at Ray.
(Haha, she does seem pretty obsessed with him.)
Thoma:you simply don't know the sensibilities of a woman in love.
Ray:I don't want to know, its not relevant here.
Thoma shrugs then looks at me and makes a face ,teasingly mocking Ray.
I almost laugh ,but bite my lower lip to hold it back.
(Ray and Thoma seems like they know each other pretty well.either that or Thoma teases everybody. )
Ray purses his lips together as he leans back.
He folds his arms across his chest.
Ray: okay, so we have pinpointed three things about this situation .
Ray lowers his arms ,letting his hands drop over his shins.
Ray:first ,no one of us have been here before. Second ,we all feel sleepy around ten at night. Third,we all experienced tinnitus.
Subaru:its a medical term for what we heard in our ears .
Thoma: oh! that sounds smart.
I curiously turn to look at Ray .
I am curious ,but I don't think Ray will answer me even if I ask
He turns to Subaru ,clearly a bit impressed
Ray:are you a med student too?
(Ohhh so Ray really a med student.)
(And Subaru sure seems to know a lot too.)
Out of nowhere, Thoma suddenly slap Ray's leg.
Thoma:what about you ?what we're you doing?
In annoyance ,Ray jerks his long leg back .
Ray :I was studying.
Thoma:whhaaat? That's boring. ..who studies on a Friday night.
Monica chimes in.
The atmosphere in the room feels a lot less uptight with these two around.i don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Monica:Friday nights are supposed to be for fun!
Thoma:I know ,right? Partying with friends ,drinking booze ,getting wasted.
The two of them share a high five that makes me smile .
(Atleast we are all getting along just fine.)
Ray:if you have time for idle chatter, thenyou have time to give insight about this situation.
I look at the others ,but they seem to be out of ideas.
(They haven't noticed? )
Me :guys, listen. We came here at a certain time, right ?
They all turn to me expectantly.
Me:but there are not any clocks here.
Me:after we sat down together, I looked around, and that's one thing I noticed
Their eyes scan the whole room .
Thoma:wow,you are right .I have been wondering what time it was ,but I always forget to ask
Subaru:is it because...
Subaru's face lights up in the dark ,as if he's experiencing a moment of clarity.
Subaru:does anyone have a watch?
Ray immediately puts his hand forward.
We all look at each other, thinking the same thing.
Ray:right let's take a look.
We hold our breadth in anticipation as we lean closer to confirm our suspicions.
The hands on Ray's wristwatch tell us something
Time stopped at 10.
Me: oh no,now we have absolutely no sense of time.
It feels as if our last thread of hope has been cut.dread washes over me as a brief silence over takes the room.
Thoma:I am trying to make sense of this.we all came here after we fall asleep, but is this a dream ?or are we in a different universe?
Me:a different universe.
Thoma:time is a construct .it's physically impossible to freeze ,given the laws of physics on Earth.the only way we can stop time ,theoretically ,is to be in a place where scientific law allows it .but the lack of clocks does not necessarily mean that time has stopped. It could also mean time is still running ,we just don't know how quickly.
Ray:that's the most sensible thing you have said since we woke up.
Thoma:hey,I may not be as diligent as you, but I know my way around science.
Ray:you are on to something but...
Subaru:we are just here.
Ray:I was gonna say that.
Ray folds his arms again.
Me:what do you mean ?
Ray:travelling to a different dimension would require deliberate effort.but we didn't do anything.
Thoma :right. We'd need to create a rift in space and go through it like a portal.
Me:well..I am not exactly the top student in my physics class.Tearing through space and bending time is not my speciality
Thoma:you are funny! Haha I like that!
Monica:wait so you are saying we are on earth but not on earth?I am so confused,I just wanna go home.
Ray:this is more likely to be a dream.
Once again , silence over takes the room. Just when I am about to say something to break the silence -
Out of the blue,a little girl ''s laugh fills the room.
Indescribable terror over takes my body, freezing me in place.
Me:wh-what was that?
The echo of a little girl's giggle grows louder and louder in my ear.
Monica :I don't like this anymore!
Monica clings to Thoma for comfort.
The laughter grows even louder .I desperately resist the urge to panic.if I start panicking now,Monica will get even more scared.just as I start tightly clenching my fist,the giggling stops .
Immediately, I sense something coming from the only door in the room.
Everyone stares motionless at the door .My heart races from the sheer sense of fear and dread.
Suddenly the door creaks .
A girl with red hair stands in front of the door. Things get even more freaky as she approaches us with an unfaltering smile.
Thoma: oh boy,this is starting to creep me out.
As the door opens ,the little girl's laughter grows even louder .
Girl:ehehehehehe! Do you want to come?
It's just a kid .Atleast, that's what I keep telling myself . But I can't seem to shake off the fear and anxiety.
(What is going on?)
Ray :who are you?
Monica:maybe she wants us to follow her.
Monica slowly let go of Thoma's arm. Looking intently at the little girl in front of us . Monica's eyes look somewhat vacant.
Monica :do you know where we are?
The girl smiles and then turns away to leave.2
Before anyone can stop her ,Monica gets up and runs to the door .
She's out of sight, and we're all at a loss about what to do.
(She really should not go running off on her own.)
Just arms I am about to speak-
Out of nowhere, we hear a shrill cry of fright.
Me:th-that was Monica!
I get to my feet to go after her,but Thoma catches my arm
Thoma :let's not do anything rash. Don't be reckless.
Ray:we have no idea what we are dealing with at this moment.the best thing we can do right now is stick together.
(He's is right nothing good will come from me trying to go alone .I need to calm down and get ahold of myself. )
Thoma lets go of my arm as Ray explains.
Ray:we all came here scared and confused, so let's do what we can for each other .
My eyes widen at his words.
(I didn't think Ray knew how to be so encouraging. )
Me: okay....I just hope Monica's alright .
Ray:right ,lets head out and investigate.take whatever you can to protect yourself or something you can use as a weapon.
We cautiously make our way outside. I find a baseball bat inside the room, while the guys each arm themselves with random objects
Thoma:what am I gonna do with this book,whack someone on the head with knowledge.
Ray:in that case, you should use it on yourself ,too.
I turn to see Subaru holding a plunger .
Ray:everybody stay close.
We cautiously trudge the darkness before long ,we hear a horrendous crunching sound.we nod silently and apprehensively turn around the corner.
I gasp at the sight .a human leg is on the floor ,all bloodied.just around the corner stands a terrifying hideous monster.
Thoma:whhaaat the hell?!
Monster :mommy..... I am hungry ...
The monster moans and mutters.the dismembered leg moves as if being pulled by someone.
Monster:help me ,mommy I am hungry.
The shadow moves,revealing Monica's bloodied body.
I cover my mouth with my free hand to keep myself from shouting.
Ray :that's. ..
I am stunned at what I am seeing. Before me is a hideous creature,it's teeth sharp and bloody .Monica lies dead ,but the space beside her unfolds in bright light .
(Monica's. ......dead?just a second ago.she was happily going on about her boyfriend and now she's.)
The sound of the monster's teeth munching and grinding echoes through the hallway.
Everyone's probably thinking the same thing. Unable to accept the fact right in front of us, we just stare at Monica's massacred body.Suddenly a strange mist appears next to the body ,and a little girl materialises from the mist .
It's the same girl again ,smiling happily as she rushes into man's arms.
Father:Monica! How's my little girl?
Me:Monica!?what the heck is going on?
In confusion I turn to look at Ray.
Ray:does this mean that these were Monica's childhood memories all this time?
Monica and her dad are smelling happily .their joyful expressions are a sharp contrast to the tragedy we see on the ground.
Me:are we been shown her memories?
Ray glares at the monster .
The monster scowl at us like we are next.
Subaru:we should get out of here.
Ray:Hey that's my line!let's go!
The guys start running ,but my legs won't stop shaking .
(Ohhh, come on! Run ,Jessica ,run!)
I try to take steps back as the monster approaches.
Ray :what are you doing ?!we gotta get outta here!
I grit my teeth and turn around.
(What was that? Why is this happening?)
Mustering all my strength to resist crying,I start to follow them .
Ray stretches out his hand for me,and I run fast to catch up .right after I reach to take Ray's hand .........the bells are ringing in my ears ,sleepiness overtakes me.
(I can't fall asleep. ..not here.....not now)
The ringing gets louder,I squeeze my eyes shut .
The last thing I feel is the brush of Ray's skin on my fingertips.