It looks like I’m back in the original dimension I belonged to: Hisakawa-san has turned back (sort of) into a guy and that clone following around like a servant, invading our privacy, is gone too. Seeing that my colleagues, including Itsuki, recalled things differently, it seems as though the nightmare I had been through is over. Shin’ichi doesn’t recall that earthquake-like feeling everyone there had been through. This means one thing: they are still stuck at that dimention and the ones here are like on auto-pilot, unless they never changed dimentions. But still, will I die this December?
Sometime after Christmas, some guys from the Gunma Prefecture contacted me out of the blue. They said that they had taken Mamiko Hisakawa’s (Huh?) device and did some fine-tuning so that I could view alternate dimentions at various place and time of more than some years into the past and future. I check the dimention I came from and… I’m still there??! I rewinded it to the night after the fesival when I returned to my dimention: There was no flash of light when I was fiddling Saeko’s device in front of her.
Oh wait… Christmas has already passed? The date that I should have died was about a week before… Why am I still here? Don’t tell me that it was a big lie someone started and was told to people who actually believed it, but fast-forwarding to that time & place and that video I saw is too real to be fake. So, does that mean that if I had remained at that dimension, I would have already died? Hmm…
Looks like I have escaped fate.
End of High School Arc
My senior high school graduation ceremony was emotional: It was the last day that I would ever step in there as a student and see everyone. It was a day I’m half-heartily looking forward to, since it’s the last I would experience a graduation ceremony like this. What shocked them the most is that they had caught wind of me entering a university overseas that is extremely hard to get into for most people here. (How high is my IQ level? I don’t know.)
Although I didn’t ask for it, I seem to have received the most attention in the entire school when they called my name. Standing applause even. I didn’t think of it before, but I somehow recognize everyone here and I didn’t realized that I had contributed a lot to the school when it seemed like nothing. I collected my diploma and faced the crowd. Looks like I might be standing here for a while and give a speech. Oh, let’s just smile and wave at them.
Principal: “Zen Dansei, Omaewa Desu. That’s your secret.”
The principal wispered that into my ear. What does he mean by “All the guys, You are Desu”? It doesn’t make any sense…
Me: “Principal, what do you mean by that?”
Principal: “You need to unscramble that message, find the truth yourself, or ask me that again in a few years, if I’m still around. Hurry up and give your speech. You’re the Student Council President, aren’t you?”
Oh what a helpful answer and never found out what he meant by that. Anyways, that was three and a quarter years ago. Since I did so well, I managed to skip a year and will graduate in September. My time there, however, seem a lot shorter than high school.
My great-grandmother called me (how rare) to attend a funeral of the Fujibayashi household, the only known relative living in the Kanagawa prefecture, somewhere around the country’s capital. I don’t know about the exact details, but the only living relative there is the daughter. I feel sorry for her, loosing her entire family. Wonder if I can ask uncle for help…
Asking for a leave to visit the funeral is a problem: Although it made into the newspapers back home, it’s not large enough to be in the news here. On top of that, her family name is different from mine and I don’t have a copy of the death certificate. Heck, I might even need to find a company to officially translate the report just so they can read it. Since some busybody did a check on my background (and all the other girls in the university, but I kinda stood out) before I knew it, this news was quickly spread around. Where did they get this info from? I don’t know where to search it myself, hold on… there is an entry with some photos of me in an online enclyopedia. It was created shortly after I entered high school, but has detailed info of what I do outside and in college. (Some info were deleted or modified due to not following the site’s standards.) Who created and contributed to this? Either way, it doesn’t say anything about what I do at work or the dimensional change in 2005.
Roommate: “Kotomi? If you are done packing your luggage, let me know and I will bring it to my car where we would head to the airport.”
In this country, except for taxis and airplanes, getting around would mean having your own transport as proven by statics of 1 in 2 people here owning a car.
Me: “Oh thanks. You have been of great help all these years.”
Since I obviously can’t make a call on the plane without facing hefty charges, I called up Itsuki to pick me up from the international airport there. This is the same Itsuki as the one I first saw at work 6 years ago. I have always keep in contact with him all these years long enough that I could forsee being married to him quite likely.
The flight took about half a day. However, when I reach there, I don’t see Itsuki at all. Instead, was a familiar-looking teenage girl. It’s Itsuki’s female clone from that nightmare dimension of 5 years ago. Although she’s wearing the uniform of a different high school, she doesn’t seem to have aged. My mouth was wide open upon seeing her.
Me: “I know I haven’t seen you in a long time, but what are you doing here? And where is Itsuki?”
At this point, she cried into my arms. Hey, not in front of all these people…
Mamiko: “I have been wanting to say this for a long time, but back when I was cloned, my mind was transferred to the clone. I wasn’t sure if I was the clone or the original back then, since clones can think and behave the same as the original. That time you saw my supervisor calling me when you were about to do something at work: he told me that I am the original, but not the body I’m in. In other words, I am the same Itsuki as when we first met. The Saeko and Itsuki you have been talking to since then is not me and is just on auto-pilot so that it behaves like me. It’s pointless asking something that only I would know as identification as they would give the same answer as I would.”
Wait, this clone I have been ignoring is actually the same Itsuki I had first met back in the first year of high school?
Me: “So, how did you get here? And why are you still in that body?”
Mamiko: “You might have already know, but those guys from Gunma Prefecture had further develop the dimensional viewer so that I could actually to the dimension and place, but not time. This dimention changer only checks on what created the body and not how, so from this to that dimention at first was because that body originated from my parents, except that in that dimension, I was made with the female chromosome instead of the male ones. That would also explain why there was no change of physical traits for you and everyone else, I think. However, since this body I’m in now is cloned from when I was a female, there is no info on how I exist except that I appeared out of thin air. I can’t change back even if I wanted to, since nobody was present when I was cloned and it happened was because of a defect that had been fixed long before they realized that I have been mixed up. In fact, it never was designed to merge two beings into one.”
Mamiko started to sob.
Mamiko: “I noticed you behaving differently shortly after you said “Oh, it’s nothing.” back then. It wasn’t obvious, but I could tell that the you from that point was different. I arrived too late to save you from your death there: you were already running around aimlessly with your hands over what were your eyes shortly before being hit by a train head on and flung into the air. Your body landed several meters away from the impact point. It was horrible to see you being killed helplessly in front of me. I came here as soon as I found out you were transferred to here months before the accident, so Saeko is the only one left there with a guy she’s interested in (Kenjiro Tanigawa; Itsuki’s classmate), but I’m not.”
That explains why I still see myself in the dimension I came out back then: it’s just an empty shell so that things there still runs smoothly should I want to head back. Me being killed by an oncoming train while blinded did happen, except that I was in a dimension where it didn’t happen. I feel creeped out at that thought and makes me wonder if I’m a ghost and not know it.
Mamiko: “Oh, sorry to drag you into my sad story. Itsuki is waiting for us outside. I’ll handle your luggage and prepare the clothes for the funeral of your relatives.”
Mamiko seem uncomfortable saying the name Itsuki.
I arrived at the pick up point where Itsuki is waiting.
Itsuki: “Oh, Kotomi. I see you have met up with my master, this little girl with you.”
He giggled at the last part. Mamiko wanted to say something back, but gave up and let Itsuki drive the car. I know the reason why he said that is because of the appearence. The two of us have grown into adults (I am?!) while Mamiko is stuck with with a teenage body because of that swimsuit she’s wearing underneath those clothes that is impossible to remove.
Me: “So, anything we didn’t discuss on the phone or online?”
Itsuki: “Oh, nothing much, just some work and all. I’m working there full time now. This girl with us here is currently in the third cycle as a high school student in first year, changing schools at the end of each cycle. I’m actually gaining knowledge on what is the latest trend and behavior among teenagers of a particular era, and maybe solve some mysteries and cases.”
Mamiko: “Hey, you’re making it sound like I’m a witch that has been caught and doomed to be a student for the rest of her life. Anyways, whose funeral are we attending? She might be one of the thousands of people I have met.”
Me: “A relative of mine, the Fujibayashi household. I don’t know what happened, but the living relative is called Nanami Fujibayashi (藤林 菜々実).”
Mamiko: “Oh, that Nanami. No wonder she has some resemblance to you. I was in the same school as her during my second cycle in the third year. During club events, I notice that she always talked to Takuya Ishida (石田 卓哉), one of the club members and her senior who is in the same year as me, but joined my club in the second year onwards. I don’t know what club she had joined though. Poor girl, her entire family was killed by a daylight robber that has not been caught yet as details are unknown. Today’s newspaper reports says that it happened in the morning, shortly after Nanami left for school, but they weren’t discovered dead until she came home late that night.”
Me: “You have certainly know a lot about her. I didn’t even know I had such a relative: my family tree on dad’s side is too big and confusing.”
Come to think of it, where is my luggage? We seem to be empty-handed when we entered the car.
(to be continued in part 21)