Disclaimer: This is the chapter where things start taking a bit of a turn. Specifically, there’s a lot of kind of depressing topics discussed in this part. If you aren’t comfortable reading any of this, then don’t read it. It’s as simple as that. Kioko The noise sounds as if it’s coming from the hallway. I follow it. Thinking of it now, I didn’t hear Kioko breathing (that sounds really creepy oof) when I woke up just now. I hope she’s okay... I walk through the hallway. There’s a closet on the right... I’m about to open it, when... “Ahh!” I whip around, and see Kioko’s silhouette standing in the living room at the end of the hallway. Flicking on the light, I see her figure standing frozen, eyes fixed on me. Her halo’s gone, too. I’ve never seen her without it. She doesn’t look any different... but something about her just feels off. “Oh, it’s... it’s just you,” Kioko says. She doesn’t look too happy about this. “Are you okay?” I ask her. “What on earth are you doing?” “What? Oh... I... couldn’t sleep...” “Are you sure everything’s alright? I’ve never seen you up at night before.” “You haven’t been here very long,” she replies. “I think you should go back to bed.” “Where’s your halo?” I persist. “I’m not wearing it?” “No, you’re not.” “Huh... I don’t remember removing it...” Kioko doesn’t feel like herself. She doesn’t have the right... aura, or something. “Look, if I go to bed, will you?” she says, desperately. “Okay...” As we walk back to bed, I glance at the closet again. Evangeline I hear the door open, and then close. My heart stiffens. Is somebody breaking in? Evangeline couldn’t have left the door unlocked, right? I investigate. Peering through a window, I can see... Evangeline’s figure, walking away from the house. My curiousity gets the better of me, and I follow. She doesn’t seem to notice me at all, not that I’m trying to make her. She just keeps walking, further away from her house. She takes a few deep breaths. I stop to catch my breath after awhile, but she doesn’t. I lose sight of her for a minute, but following the path I saw her take, I soon find her sitting alone on a bank, by a river. (I know the picture depicts a beach. Just go with it.) “Evangeline?” She looks up at me. She’s... crying. “Evangeline, are you...” “No,” she says, biting her lip and looking away. “Why are you here...?” “I just got curious. I’m... sorry, I didn’t know you were...” “It’s okay,” she mumbles, still crying. “You weren’t supposed to know... I doubt I’ll forgive myself, though... I didn’t need to let you find me. You aren’t supposed to care.” “Hey, it’s okay. I want to help. What’s the matter?” “I don’t think I should be telling you this... but... m-my parents, they died in a flood when I was really young. I k-know... it’s... stupid, but I think about it a lot when there’s nothing else to...” “That isn’t stupid, Evangeline. Why would you think that?” “Because I’m telling you a problem you can’t fix. You’re going to think it’s a waste if you can’t help.” “But it isn’t,” I say gently. “There isn’t anything wrong with feeling sad about that.” Evangeline buries her face in her hands. “Do you want me to leave?” I ask. Maybe I should respect her space. “No. I mean, please don’t... I mean...” “I understand. You don’t have to say it.” (Sorry for how long that was. I had a lot to fit in.) Freya When I come out into the next room, I find Freya sitting on the floor. There are books stacked around her. (I forgot those in the picture... oof) “Freya?” “...” I wait, silently. “Why are you here?” she asks. There’s a note of bitterness in her voice I haven’t heard before. It isn’t her usual annoyed tone. It’s... ice cold. “I told you to stay where you were.” “I was worried. I’m sorry.” “You were worried?” Freya looks up. “Yeah, I was.” “Well, there’s nothing to worry about.” I look at her closely. It looks like she’s been crying. “I just wanted to see if you were okay. And by the looks of it...” “Shut up!” she yells. I back off a little. I wasn’t expecting that. I know not to push her, but I just got worried and went too far. Freya stares at me for a moment, and then she bursts into tears. I sit down next to her. “Hey, it’s okay.” Freya stares at the ground. “I’m s-so, so sorry,” she sobs. “I’m an awful person.” “Why would you say that?” “Because of all the awful th-things I do to you... to everybody. When y-you s-said I hated you, it made me think m-maybe I d-did... And then it happened all over again.” “What happened?” “I h-hated myself all over again,” she cries. She looks so defeated. I’ve never seen her like this. “Truth is,” she says quietly, “the reason I’m so cold to people isn’t just because I care more about the world than the people in it. It’s because it’s easier to be cold to other people, rather than myself.” I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think Freya was this kind of person. I put my arms around her. I feel helpless to do anything except for this. There’s a silence for awhile, before the both of us fall asleep. Well, two of those chapters out of three were a little depressing. Sorry if that bothered you. Have a nice day.