The Nightmare World

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Chapter 6

Ray:its-

Ray freezes ,unable to continue.

Me:Ray..?

Ray:did you hear that?

We all look around, suddenly alert.

Me:hear what?

The leaves on the bushes across from us start rustling.

(What's that?!)

Fear starts coursing through me. In an instant ,my entire body is covered in goosebumps. We all quietly stare at the bushes where the voice came from.

Subaru:...

Subaru walks closer to the moving bushes.

Me:Subaru,wait!its too dangerous.

He walks slowly, and we wait in anticipation.

My body is frozen with fear . A knot tightens in my stomach.

Thoma:no!don't, it's a,it's a -

Subaru parts the bushes.

KIKIKIKIKIKIKIKI

Thoma:it's a squirrel! It's a squirrel!

Thoma bolts out of his chair.

(On my goodness! )

The squirrel walks along the plant bed and skitters away.

Subaru:ah,you scared it.

Thoma:I scared it?don't you know how scary those so-called harmless creature are? I almost got in trouble because of one of them.

Subaru:maybe you deserved it.

Thoma :listen here,you kid....

Thoma continues to lecture Subaru .

(I am glad it was just a squirrel. We've all been on edge lately. I guess its alright to loosen up a just little. )

Me:so there are actually animals around here. What do you think, Ray?

I turn my head towards Ray,but he seems distracted.

Me:Ray.....

Ray:its back...

Me:what do you.......

Trembling with fear, I follow Ray's line of sight.

There in the place of squirrel stands a young girl.

Me:ahh....!

I immediately let out a small screech.

Everyone else also notices and turns to face her.

Licht :who is that? Is she one of your friends?

Thoma : oh hell no....!

The little girl twirls for a second, then faces us with a bright smile.

(I know that girl!)

My entire body convulses in bone-chilling horror.

(Noo.....)

Little girl :we're going to park.hee!hee!

An inexplicable fear rushes over me.

Thoma :Jessica!

Little girl : papa's taking me to the park.

(No!)

Subaru :what's wrong Jessica?

Me:that girl...

A picture frame flashes in my mind. I see my younger self holding my parent's hand,smiling brightly. No doubt about it. It's the exact same bright smile as the girl in front of us.

Me:its me!

Ray:what?

Little girl :to the park! to the park!

The little girl runs away , and I feel the urge to follow. But the fear paralyzes me to the ground.

(What if I end up like Monica? Does this mean I am going to die too?)

I feel cold sweat breaking through my pores.

(Should I really go after her?if I go there's no turning back . What's waiting up ahead for me is something that will make me wish I was never born.)

That's what I feel like telling myself. It's not just death that I am afraid right now. There's something else that is knowing the truth that scares me.

(I don't want to see it,I don't want to hear it.)

Ray:let's follow her quietly.

Thoma:stay between us, Jessica. We won't let anything happen to you.

Thoma reassures me , and I shake my head to regain my senses.

Me: okay........

I repress my fears and press on. We walk along the street with Ray at the front.

(Why is that child here? Are there my memories? Does this mean I am going to die next!)

Despite my resolve, my find is full of unanswered questions.

(Stop overthinking Jessica. You are only scaring yourself.)

Subaru:Jessica.

I feel a warm grip on my wrist,and I turn to see Subaru staring at me.

The heterochromia intensifies his gaze even in the dark.

(His red eyes...it's still so beautiful to me.)

Subaru :I know its hard,but you've got to stay calm. Take a deep breath. If you lose your head here,you won't be able to make it .

Subaru's words always sounds more like a reprimand,but my heart starts to feel lighter.

Subaru :we are right behind you,so don't worry.

Me:thanks Subaru.

Subaru doesn't say anything else after that.

(I'm still feeling so anxious. What will we see when we get to the park?)

As the gate opens,another figure appears next to the girl.

Little girl : Papa!

(Papa?)

The man happily takes the child into his arms.

But that's not the man I know as my father.

(Is he my real father? So I'm adopted after all. But how did I become an orphan in the first place?)

He gently caresses his daughter's hair.

(So gentle...)

I clutch at my chest. The corner of my eyes starts to sting. My heart starts to feels heavy. I don't want to see anymore of this vision. I close my eyes and take deep breaths.

(This is a clue to the nightmare world . I should not look away. I have to face it head-on. )

I tell myself.

We follow the apparitions deeper into the park.

Little girl: Papa,where are you going?

Little girl's father :papa has a little work to do,Jessica. Wait right here for me.

My father says as he hands me my favourite candy.

Little girl: okay Papa! I will be a good girl and wait right here.

He pats my head and leave the park.

(!)

(I know what's happening here.)

(This is the truth that I have been running away from .)

We stop as the figure of man disappears,leaving the little girl alone. The little girl continues to wait all alone for her father to come back.

Me:I was abandoned.

Everyone looks at me.

Licht :Jessica...

He steps close to me and rubs my back.

Little girl :papa! Papa!where are you?

But no matter how hard she cries,her father never returns.

Me:hey,you...

I take a few steps closer to my younger self.

(You are hurt,are not you?its scary to be all alone,huh? It...it hurts...)

I wish I could just tell her-"You are not alone. You are going to meet so many people and be happy"

Subaru:get back,Jessica!

For some reason, everything else is muffled in my hearing. All I can hear is the sound of the little girl's misery,a plea for help.

I continue to walk.

Me:hey.....you are not alone.

I utter to my child self.

Little girl: please come back,Papa!

The little girl wails in desperation, her tears overflowing. I fall to my knees,my hands clutching the grass.

From the corner of my eye,I see the monster graduating starting to materialize.

But I am not concerned about that right now.

The emotions and memories from my childhood came flooding in. I feel the tears fall on the back of my hand.

(I don't want this. I don't want to be alone! Its lonely,being all by myself. It hurts so much...)

I close my eyes,unable to take this pain gnawing at me from the inside.

Licht:Jessica.....

Hearing someone call my name,I open my eyes.

Monster:aaarghhhaaa-lone! Aaarghaa!

In that split second,it looks me in the eyes.

(That-)

My heart pound thunderously in my ears.

Monster:pa--pa!

The desperation, the misery all of the fear I have....

Monster:come.....back!

Its ready to devour me.

Just as it's fangs are about to descend upon me,I instantly understand everything. This monster must be the embodiment of the memories that I have been repressing all this time.

Licht:Jessica!

In a flash,Licht dashes towards the scene.

Licht:nooo !!!

SPLAT!

In a split second, everything is bathed in blood!

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