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When They Cry
In the year 1973 in the isolated village of Hinamizawa, it was a chilly, yet refreshing morning, as the scent of summer spread through the streets, the cherry blossoms swayed from their braches, dancing gracefully until they fell to the warm dirt roads. As the sun, shining like a star, started to rise slowly to the heavens, the bewailing of the cicadas echoed, signaling the start of a new tragedy.
“Hey Miyu, Wake up! Don’t want to be late!” called a voice, “If you don’t, I’ll just have to kiss ya!” The thought of it made Miyu jump out of the bed so fast that she almost slammed her head into the wall.
“Alright, I’m up Zion, no need for that.” She said, her face blushes as red as a tomato.
“Come on, let’s go, let’s go!” Zion yelled as she grabbed her hand, slid her down the stairs, and shoved her out the door. The bright rays of light touched her eyes, making them flutter rapidly. After a couple of seconds, Miyu asked which way they were going.
“Oh yeah, I forgot...this is gonna be your first day.” Zion remembered. “ Well first, you’re gonna have to meet everyone, then...”. Zion’s words faded from thought as Miyu stared at the scenery...the old, worn wooden houses, the trodded down dirt road, she smelled the scent of the cherry blossoms the wind carried-that was a pleasurable smell, the heat, warm, yet slightly chilly, cooled her porcelain skin. She closed her eyes and drifted away listening to the cries of the humming cicadas that were still in the area.
“Miyu, hey, are you listening?” Zion’s words snapped her back into reality. “You know, you really have to stop zoning out like that.”
“Sorry,” Miyu whimpered.
“Hey, look, it’s Raina,” Zion yelled, running toward her. “Come on, last one there is a rotten mochi!!”
“Hey, wait up!” Miyu exclaimed, her feet stumbling as she ran to catch up.
As soon as they sat in their seats, the bell rang. The door whizzed open as a young woman, no older than 25, came rushing through the door. Her hair, not too long, was the color of mahogany tree bark. It glistened in the light that shone from the open windows. “Sorry I’m late, class.” The lady said. “I’m Shizuka Mirakawa, your new teacher, and I’m looking forward to meeting you all!’
“Morning teacher!” the class chimed.
“Well, this is a surprise,” Zion whispered. “Chie-sensei isn’t here.
Before Miyu could ask who Chie was, Shizuka said delightfully, “Oh, we have a new student. Could you please introduce yourself, Miss Miyu.”Miyu got up out of the chair and walked through the isle of desks. As she walked, everyone stared at her, making her white skin bright pink. When she reached the front of the room, she turned to address the class. “Hello. My name is Miya Akashiya.
Starting today, I’ll be a ninth grader, and I hope you will all be kind to me.” She bowed with her hands on her knees. When she started to walk back to her seat, everyone silently whispered about how beautiful she was.
“Nice going princess,” Zion snickered. “Hey, that’s how I was taught to introduce myself!” Miyu remarked angrily, her face all pink
“Oh, calm down...I’m just teasing you!” Zion’s hand ruffled Miyu’s hair softly. Miyu’s face grew from pink to red as a rose. “Plus, I think it was kind of cute.” She spoke happily.
“Thank you.” Miyu’s words clumsily stuttered out of her mouth.
“Alright class, quiet down. It’s time to begin.” Shizuka spoke calmly. Everyone turned to face forward at their speaker. “Here’s the lesson sheet with today’s problems on it. Please complete this sheet and turn it in before you leave class today.” Shizuka said happily. One at a time, each student went up and grabbed a problem sheet.
“Hey Raina, Miyu...wanna work with me?” Zion bellowed.
“Sure” they both replied, and went over to the corner of the classroom.
“Hey Zion, can you help me with this problem?” Miyu asked, embarrassed.
“Well, let me see... x to the fourth times z to the eighth divided by twelve to the second is...is...umm...”
“Eighty-four” Raina chimed in.
“Wha...how did you figure that out?!” Zion asked flabbergasted.
“Well, Zion, if you’re going to help someone, you need to know the material three times better than they do.” Raina stated.
“Well, I, umm...” Zion stuttered, “Hey, wait a second. Why are you telling me this when I’m a grade higher than you?” Zion said angrily.
“Because, we don’t want Miyu to end up as dumbfounded as you!” Raina smirked, letting out a small giggle.
“Why you...” Zion rose quickly from her chair. “I’m gonna kill you!” she roared ferociously.
“That’s if you can catch me...” Raina coaxed. The two girls started chasing each other around the room until the teacher told them to quiet down, and they solemnly returned to their seats.
“Sorry you had to see that Miyu,” they both said grimly.
“It’s okay,” Miyu exclaimed happily as she started to laugh. “I think it was kind of funny!” They all started laughing together.
“Hey, how ‘bout we make it up to you by letting you come with us after school for a special surprise?” Zion smiled.
“Uh, sure,” Miyu said bewildered.
“All right!” Zion jumped happily, “this will be great!”
“Yes it will,” Raina stated.
The noon bell rang, signaling the end of the school day. “Well, guys, it’s time to go to the place where the ‘special surprise’ is!” Zion grinned.
“Exactly where is the special surprise?” Miyu asked.
“Well, follow us!” Zion told her. As Miyu followed them down the old hallway, the boards creaking under the taps their feet left behind. When they reached the door at the end of the long hallway of nothing but wallpaper, the door slid open, revealing the room.
“All right, I know it doesn’t look like much, but watch...” When Zion snapped her fingers, three other people came in the room and all sat down at the card table Raina was.
“Everyone, attention,” Zion shouted as she put her arm around my neck. “As the leader of this club, I wanted to get everyone’s approval of making Miyu Akashiya the newest member of our club.”
Raina’s reply was first. “I think it will be great to have a new member.”
Followed by the reply of the silver-haired child, “I agree with Raina.”
The red-headed girl sitting next to her let out a laugh, “She will be no match for me, so I guess it’s okay, she bragged.
The final reply came from the only boy in the group, “I’m okay with it if everyone else is.”
“Great!” Zion jumped with joy. “Now you’re officially a member!! Now it’s time for the introductions. The girl with the silver hair is Kagome, the girl next to her is Nagisa. They’re best friends and live together. The boy is Takashi, he is very nice and he is a beginner, just like you.
“Really?” Miyu asked, bewildered.
“He only transferred here last year and didn’t join the club until a couple of months ago. Back on topic, here. The rules of the club are as follows: (1) Always aim to win, and (2) Do anything to win.”
“But what if we don’t win?” Miyu questioned.
“Well, if you end up in last place, you get the punishment game. The punishment game is when the loser has to do everything the winner says,” Zion replied.
“That sounds a little scary, so I’ll do my best not to get into that situation,” Miyu mumbled to
Zion was at the closet digging through the jumbled mess of toys, clothes, and games. “A-ha! Found ya, you little devil!” Zion laughed. “Okay, since this is Miyu’s first day, we’re going to start out with something easy. Everyone knows how to play Old Maid, right?” Everyone nodded their heads. “Good, let’s play!” Zion bellowed. During the next hour, everyone played their hardest, laughing when they beat each other.
“I can’t remember a time I’ve felt so happy.” Miyu whispered to herself, smiling. “I hope it never ends.”
The sun started to drop down behind the mountains as Zion, Raina, Takashi, and Miyu were making their way home.
“Takashi, make sure the ink stays on your face until you get home,” Zion shouted.
“Don’t worry, I will,” he paused for a second. “Miyu, can you come here for a minute?”
“Sure,” she replied.
“Listen, be careful of them...”
“Why?” she interrupted.
“Because some mysterious murders have been happening and I think they’re involved.” Takashi replied grimly.
“But what does that have to do with me?” Miyu questioned.
“You should know that Zion is the next head of the Higanzaki family, one of the three families that run this place. Which means that if anyone breaks the rules, they face severe punishment. Zion acts all good and nice, but she’s actually really cruel, and won’t think twice about doing her job...even if they are her friends.”
“You’re wrong,” Miyu hissed. “Zion would never hurt us. She’s so kind to us. You’re lying! What do you even know about her?” she screeched.
“More than you would ever know,” he said, with a hint of sorrow. Also, be more scared of Raina, she’s the one you really need to be careful of.”
Before Takashi could finish, Miyu ran down the dirt road. She stopped in front of an old tree and sat down, her hands on her face. “It can’t be true, it just can’t. Zion would never hurt me, or anyone else. Neither would Raina. He’s lying...it’s all a lie!” she wailed as tears were streaming down her face. She wrapped her hands around her knees, and just then, she heard a footstep coming up from behind her. She jumped up, asking “Who’s there?”...shaking. No one answered. She heard more footsteps coming toward her...faster, louder, closer. Before she could turn around, a hand grabbed her and pulled her into the dense brush.
“Shh...don’t say anything,” a familiar voice whispered.
“Zion, is that you?” Miyu looked up to see Zion and Raina. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“You’re being followed,” Zion told her. “Listen, on the count of three, we’re going to jump out and run. No matter what happens, don’t look back! Ready...1...2..3!!” They all jumped out, running. They heard a set of footsteps behind them, on their tail.
“Miyu, you go with Raina and get out of here.”
“But what about you?”
“Don’t worry, this is my fate. Goodbye.”
At that same moment, a loud crack shattered the silence, red butterflies flew across the ground, crashing into a lake of red. “Zion, Nooo...!!!”
At the clinic, Raina and Miyu waited in the snow white room.
Just then, the door opened...”How is she?” Miyu asked, sadly.
“Unfortunately, she’s in a critical state. We’ve done everything we can do, it’s up to Oyashiro to see what happens next.”
“Can we please see her?” Miyu begged.
He nodded and they both went in. Zion was surely in a critical state—the bandages on her back were already stained with blood, she was hooked up to so many machines that there was barely any room, tubes that were connected to these machines were attached to every part of her body. They girls both took a seat beside her.
“Hey, Miyu, how do you know Zion?” Raina asked.
Miyu paused for a minute. “Well, I really don’t remember much about it...we’ve been friends ever since birth.”
“Can you tell me more, if it doesn’t pain you?”
“As far as I can remember, Zion told me that 16 years ago, her mom found me in a basket with a note saying that whoever wrote the note would come get me after their ‘problem’ had been solved. Along with it was a silver locket with a picture inside of a woman. Ever since then, we lived together as sisters.”
“You really must care about her.”
“She’s always been there for me, no matter what.” Miyu confessed, tears welling in her eyes. At that moment, there were knocks on the door...
“Come in,” Raina yelled.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I made arrangements for you guys to spend the night here with your friend. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.” They both thanked her and she walked out the door.
“It’s getting late and we have school tomorrow. I’m going to our room. You wanna come with
“No, Raina. I wanna stay here a little longer. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” When the door clicked shut after Raina’s departure, Miyu grabbed Zion’s hand. “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault that you got hurt.” Miyu sobbed, her tears falling onto Zion’s hand. Miyu could her Zion’s gentle voice saying that it was okay, feeling her hand gently patting her head. But when Miyu looked up, she saw Zion’s still hand in the same position, laying in her own.
“I guess it was just the reliving of a memory. Miyu fell into a deep sleep, her hands still clutching to Zion, tears still falling slowly off her face, her expression a slight smile –reminiscing the memories long forgotten.
The morning light shown through the only window in the room onto Miyu’s face. She woke up slowly, rubbing off the remnants of last night’s sorrow. She looked outside to see the sky as blue as ice, and the clouds dancing despite what happened the night before. As she started to walk out the door, she noticed it was 10:30am. “Oh my gosh, I’m really late for school.” She panicked, trying to find a clean set of clothes to wear to school. On the table, she noticed a piece of paper addressed to her that said “Miyu, you’re probably going to sleep in, so I’m telling Shizuka-sensei that you aren’t feeling well. Don’t worry about going to school. See you later. Raina. P.S. The nurse wants to talk to you.” Miyu changed her clothes and went to find the nurse. She wandered the halls confused, until she found out from one of the staff, where her room was. When she entered the room, the nurse was typing on her laptop.
“Thanks for coming, this will only take a few minutes,” the nurse said. “What do you want to talk to me about exactly?” Miyu demanded. “Listen, I don’t think you should stay here in Hinamizawa anymore.” “Why?” Miyu questioned.
“Because yesterday, you were being targeted, and because of it, your friend got hurt. And if you continue to stay, you could end up being your friends’ downfall.”
“But where am I supposed to go? I have no one else to be with. Zion was the only one I knew since my birth,” Miyu barked.
“I think I know who is targeting you...” “Who is it?” “Well, my opinion is that they are Oyashiro’s followers...” the nurse answered. “Who’s Oyashiro?” Miyu interrupted.
“Oyashiro is the guardian god of Hinamizawa. In legend, demons use to come into the village from Onigafuchi swamp and ate humans. When this got out of control, Oyashiro came and sealed Onigafuchi swamp as well as the demon’s blood, allowing them to live in peace together, or something like that.”
“But what does Oyashiro have to do with me?”
“Well, the number one rule of this village was not to let outsiders in, or let anyone out of the village. And you really don’t remember much of your past except for what Zion has told you. So that got me thinking...when you said you were left abandoned, that may be why Oyashiro’s followers were after you. And they left you here knowing that you would be able to live in peace for a while.”
“Is that why Zion wouldn’t let me go to school with her until now?” she thought to herself.
“The one remaining piece in this puzzle is who were your parents and why they were being targeted. It seems that only Zion knows the truth about what really happened, but in her current condition, we will probably never know.”
“What do you mean? That Zion has been lying to me all of my life?” Miyu blurted out.
“It’s a possibility, but I...”
“Why should I trust you? For all I know, everything you are telling me is a lie!” Miyu interrupted, hissing.
“Well, I think she’s still hiding something from you.”
Miyu ran out of the room, slamming the door behind her. She ran out of the clinic, away from the poisonous words that woman said, her legs pounding, thrusting her farther and farther away from the lies of a viper. When she stopped, she noticed that she was back in the forest, the scene of yesterday came rushing back to her, making her fall down to the dirt. Miyu’s body shook as she relived the scene, she was so submerged in the replay that she didn’t notice the shadow coming from behind her. Before she realized what was happening, a pair of hands wrapped around her—one on her mouth, the other sliding down her body.
“My, my, what a beauty I caught. I think she will do nicely for me.” a voice spoke, his hands moving lower until he grasped her firmly in the wrong spots. “Wow, what a luscious body for such a small thing. You really will do very nicely.” His fingers tickling her made Miyu jump, the heat making the sweat slowly drip down her body, her eyes starting to glaze over from the intensity of the moment, her skin of porcelain turning pink from the pain. She was just about to pass out when the man’s grip seemed to lessen. She tried to move, but her body was still frozen from the shock.
“Who threw that? Come out and show yourself!!” the man growled. Just then, a figure stepped out of the shadows, coming closer to the man. “Come any closer,” he warned, “and the girl gets it.” The shadow moved, despite what the man told it...and in a second, the man let go of Miyu. The figure standing in front of her replied, “Lay another hand on her and you’ll get it” the shadow hissed.
“Zion, is that you?” Miyu asked, but as it turned to look at her, the man got up and came running toward them. As a silver object plunged into the shadow, the red butterflies flew through the air again, but the man fell, the streams of red turning into puddles at her feet, the figure reaching out to her...but before she could grab it’s hand, she passed out. The last words she heard was “Are you okay?” The figure caught her in its arms, saying “Miyu, I’m sorry”. It spoke to her unconscious body. As the figure carried Miyu back from whence she came, Miyu clung closer to it, muttering Zion’s name. “Rest now Miyu, you need it.” The figure whispered sweetly.
When Miyu woke up, she found herself back at the clinic. “Was it all a dream? It seemed all to real to be a dream,” she thought to herself. When she tried to get up, a hand pressed her head down again. When she looked up, she saw a familiar face...Zion!! Miyu jumped up and wrapped her arms around Zion’s body.
“I’m so happy you’re not dead. I don’t know what I would have done. I missed you so much!” Miyu stated happily with tears running down her face.
“Hey, why are you crying?” Zion asked sympathetically.
“I’ve just missed you so much, and I’m glad that we can be together again, and because you saved me again, and...” Miyu couldn’t finish the rest of her sentence. She held Zion tighter, crying tears that flowed like waterfalls down her cheeks.
“Miyu,” Zion smiled, pressing Miyu close to her. Time seemed to stop for a moment just for them to embrace each other. “I’m sorry, Miyu, but I’m no longer of your world,” tears streaming down her face.
“What? No, it can’t be, please don’t go, I need you, don’t leave me again. PLEASE!!!” miyu begged, crying, holding herself closer to Zion.
“I’m sorry, I can’t. I have to go” Zion said, sobbing. Smiling at Miyu, she said, ”But whenever you need me, I’ll always be there for you. Goodbye.”
Zion’s image slowly fading, Miyu’s grasp on her body disappearing, until nothing remained of her.
Miyu sprang up out of the bed, letting out a scream.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” a voice called.
Miyu turned her head to see Raina standing in the doorway. When she finally came to her senses, ahe asked where they were.
“We’re at my place. After I started carrying you, it began to rain. I brought you here because it was the closest place to get shelter. By the way, did you see Zion anytime during our walk?”
“No, I didn’t, Why?” “No reason,” Miyu lied. “What did the nurse tell you?” “She told me about the legend of Oyashiro, that’s all” “Did she say anything about you?” “I can’t let her know,” Miyu thought to herself. “Umm, no, she didn’t.” “You’re lying,” Raina muttered. “What? I didn’t hear you...”
“You’re lying,” Raina howled, pouncing on Miyu and pinning her to the floor. “Oyashiro will punish all who betray him. I won’t let you “transfer” like Kazuki did a year ago. I won’t let anything repeat itself again!” she screamed.
Miyu, scared, started to try to break free of her grasp, but Raina only squeezed harder. Blood started flowing from out of cuts from the pressure of her fingernails. “Please stop, Raina, it hurts.” Raina snapped back into reality, realizing what she had done.
“Miyu, I...” Before Raina could finish, Miyu collapsed. “This isn’t good,” Raina thought to herself. “She has a fever, I have to take her to the clinic. It’s still really bad out there...wait—I think I still have that motor scooter my Dad got me for my birthday last year.” Raina looked everywhere in the house, but couldn’t find it. She went out into the garage, and sure enough, there it was. Raina went back inside, got Miyu and loaded her onto the scooter.
“Ready, hold on tight.” Raina signaled the start by revving the gas. As they drove into the dark street, rain trickled on the umbrella hanging from the back of the scooter—the scooter looking like a seagull in a vast black ocean.
By the time they got to the clinic, Miyu could barely stand. Raina explained their predicament, and they put Miyu with Zion. “Hey, do you think I’ll get better too?” Miyu asked in a whisper.
“I really don’t know,” Raina sighed. “It’s time for bed. Come join us, Raina.”
“Sure,” Raina replied.
They all laid down in the beds, Miyu holding onto both of her friends’ hands. They all drifted away into a slumber, the cicadas bewailing once again, one final time in this tragic story.
The next morning, men in quarantine clothing were digging up bodies from the village.
“It’s so sad that their lives had to end so early, but at least it was a peaceful death,” the boy admitted, looking down at the three bodies who’s hands were still clasped together.
“Sometimes I can still see them running around the school, laughing, smiling, forever.