Part 81: Kid/Sara Route - Part 4
I thought I would look for the missing piece of the hologram and had an idea of where it might be.
The fragment should be around that room somewhere. I wanted to find the piece and put it back in the pendant. I thought if I could do it, Sara would jump with joy. As I imagined her happy face, I crawled around on my knees, searching from room corner to corner.
"Hmmm. That's strange."
Surprised, I looked up and there was Takeshi.
"Are you looking for something?"
I explained the situation and showed Takeshi the broken pendant.
I see. Well, you're right about it being broken."
"Yup. If you don't mind, could you help me look?"
"Ah, that sounds like a plan...But can I ask you something first?"
"That image of the guy you were talking about, where is it?"
"Where...? It's right here."
I peered into the mirror.
"W-what? He's gone..."
Takeshi looked at me skeptically.
"But it was here yesterday...I swear...Huh? I wonder why?"
"It's no big deal. I don't really care what kind of guy Sara would date anyway...No...I take that back."
"I might be just a little bit interested. But I suppose it doesn't matter now that the pendant's broke."
"And since, the pendant is something that is important to Sara. I'll help you look for the broken piece."
"First to find it wins, Kid!"
Takeshi thumped my back and set about crawling on the floor, searching.
"And? How much is the reward for this anyway?"
"How much am I gonna get if I find the piece."
"What...are you going to blackmail Sara?"
"What're you talking about? You're gonna pay me, not Sara!"
"Heeey, heeey, don't play innocent with me, champ."
"You don't think I'd let you take all the credit, do you?"
Takeshi wriggled toward me like a snake. He stopped in front of me.
"If I find it, I'll bet you're planning to say you did."
"'OH, HI MILADY, SARA!'"
"'Oh, hi Kid. What is it?'"
"'This is yours, milady.'"
"'Well, if it isn't the pendant I lent you yesterday! Oh, joy, it is fixed! Oh happy day!'"
"'Oh, how did I slave, searching the floor far and wide all of yesterday!'"
"'And was that alone that you searched, brave youth?'"
"'Do you jest? Of course I went on my quest for the missing piece alone!'"
"'Oh, wow! Kid, you are amazing!'"
"You're full of yourself!"
"Whatever. Anyway, that wasn't a very good impersonation - of me or Sara!"
"Don't be so picky about the details."
"I'm rootin' for you, okay kid?"
"I told you - it isn't like that."
"I said it's okay! I like doing this kind of thing."
"What do you mean by 'this'?"
"I mean...well, you know, being cupid, a matchmaker."
"Cupid doesn't ask for money."
"I suppose that's true."
"Then how about you help me in return later?"
"It seems like the generator needs looking at. No big deal, just some maintenance that's gotta be done."
"It's an order from Sora."
"In that case, I'd do it even if I didn't owe you anything."
Takeshi and I were just standing around covered in dust.
"Oh, there you are. I think I forgot to get the pendant back from you."
All I could do was hand her back the fractured pendant. Only then, like Sara was seeing us for the first time, did she notice that we were filthy.
"What are you guys doing here anyway?"
I couldn't think of anything to say. Takeshi and I exchanged glances.
"Actually...we were looking for the missing piece."
"Piece? What's that?"
"The piece that broke off that pendant. We thought we'd try to fix it for you."
"Oh, don't worry about that."
Sara looked kind of embarrassed. What? What had happened? All of the sudden Takeshi had made it look like it was all his bright idea. I thought he was going to let me take the credit.
"Besides...I'm pretty sure you're not going to find the piece here."
"Because...this pendant was cracked from the start."
"From the start?"
"Yup. I don't know why, but I've had this pendant as long as I can remember. And this piece broke off a long time ago."
"Oh, well that means..."
"We didn't have a chance of finding it. *sigh*"
Takeshi's sigh echoed throughout the infirmary.
He said that the part we had repaired before was malfunctioning and that the machine wasn't functioning in a stable manner. Takeshi told me when to meet him to fix it. Then he said he had something to do and took off. I didn't have anything to do until our meeting time, so I walked the corridors alone.
Suddenly, I noticed a faint voice. It sounded like a song. But I wondered who it could be. I turned toward the direction of the voice. But there was no one there. And the voice had stopped. But I was sure that the voice had come from around here. I thought that maybe...
Sara was sitting in front of the think window and staring at her pendant. I thought I might call out to her. She seemed to be focusing on something...It looked like she was starting to recite a song.
"Waiting inside a dream/Tonight a story by moonlight/Hoping the wait will be short/Sleeping curled and snug/Sleeping in mother's arms."
She finished singing.
It didn't seem like a good time to call out to her. So I went to leave.
A girl was sitting on the bed, crying in the same way. She was stifling her sobs to keep others from worrying...But who? Who was this? What could this all mean? What was the matter with me?
Still confused by what I had just seen, I answered.
"It's me, Sara. Sorry...I wanted to say something...but it just didn't seem right."
"What? What do you mean?"
She seemed her upbeat self again. I faced her and sat down.
"That song, you sang it before. In front of the Generator Room, I think."
"Hey, your memory IS fine."
"Maybe you lost your memory because you packed your head with so many useless little things like that."
Sara laughed as she said this.
"Is that song a lullaby or something?"
"Yeah. You've never heard it?"
I shook my head. I didn't recall hearing it before.
"Really? You don't know it?"
I pretended to think about it. Even if I did think on it, I didn't imagine I'd remember it.
Sara said it sadly and glanced down at the pendant hanging from the middle finger of her left hand.
"Uh...There was something I wanted to ask you."
I told her about how the image of the man in the hologram pendant had disappeared.
"I was sure the image was there yesterday..."
"Oh, that's because we're indoors."
"Huh? Whaddya mean? Yesterday when we looked at it we were in LeMU."
"No, that's not inside."
"That's a part of space, right?"
"I'm just kidding..."
"Here is how it works..."
With that, Sara took the lighter from her pocket. She put the lighter's flame close to the pendant.
The man in the hologram floated there - the same as the day before. The image wasn't as clear as before. I thought that it was probably the bad light. The room with the whale was mostly dark. I figured that was why he wasn't as clear.
"So you have to hold the lighter flame next to it to see it?"
I asked to make sure.
"It's gotta be either the lighter or sunlight."
"Yeah. I don't really know how it works, but you can't see it under fluorescent lights. Weird, huh?"
That's when I understood why Sara always carried the lighter. It was to look at the hologram...Sara put out the flame. And lit it, and put it out. And lit it, and put it out...She stared absently at the image of the man appearing and disappearing.
TrackDer Mond Das Meer
"Both of my parents are gone."
Sara said this out of the blue.
"They died when I was little. My mom and dad weren't around when I was a kid. For a while, I thought it was that way for everybody..."
I didn't know how to answer. I couldn't think of a decent reply.
"This pendant is the only keepsake I have."
"So that man is.."
"I think it's probably my father. I don't know for sure, but that is what I think."
After a long silence I said -
"It's the same for me."
"I've forgotten everything. So I don't remember anything about my mom or dad. If I bumped into them on the street, I would never know it. Even if I get out of here in one piece...I don't have anywhere to call home. So I'm in the same situation. It's the same as not having any parents."
"Well, I should get going."
"I've got to go help Takeshi. The generator needs some fixing..."
I stood up. As I was about to leave, I thought of something.
"Hey, would you mind lending me that lighter and pendant again?"
Takeshi grinned sadistically as he patted my right arm, which was supported by a cast. The cast was made of a specially formulated plastic. It was lighter than I had expected and not too cumbersome. Takeshi had put the cast on me with instructions from Sora. Sora said she had something else to do and left the work to Takeshi.
"Wow. That dive you took was really something else. Pretty impressive stuff."
"Be quiet! I told you my leg slipped. You're the one that forced the tools on me."
"Don't try to pin this on me. I never said to bring the tools along."
"You're the one that jumped off without anything."
"If we have to make repairs again, then we'll need the tools. So I left them there."
Takeshi was making excuses.
"Okay, fine. It was all my stupid fault..."
I looked at the cast wrapped around my right arm. While we were repairing the generator I had lost my balance holding the heavy toolbox and fallen off the machine.
"Well, don't get down about it. Sora said it's a clean break so you'll be back in business in no time."
"Easy for you to say..."
"Alright, now it's time..."
Takeshi took a transparent object that could easily be mistaken for a gun at a glance. It was a syringe used to inject a cartridge filled with a cocktail of antibiotics, fever medicine, painkillers and vitamins.
"Gimme your arm."
Takeshi put the needle against my left arm. He pushed it in.
"The break might cause a fever. Least you've got some medicine in you. Either way, the medicine ought to make you drowsy. So take it easy."
"Well, I best get going."
"Uh, hold on a second."
"Huh? What is it?"
"There's something I want you to see."
I held Sara's pendant out to Takeshi.
"Not that again."
"Yeah. I want you to look at it again."
"You can be a pain, you know?"
Even so, Takeshi took the pendant as he said this. This time I thought he'd be able to see it as well. I was gonna tell him that it was a picture of Sara's boyfriend.
Takeshi scrutinized the pendant. He turned it over, then sideways. And then...
"There's nothing here to see..."
"Huh...there has to be...Oh! I forgot."
I took the lighter out, lit it and held it up to the pendant. I showed the light on the pendant.
"Are you screwing with me?"
"Whaddya using a lighter to look at it for?"
"Because...that's how you see it."
"Look hard! There should be a man's face there."
"Oh, you're right! There is. And he's not a bad looking guy!"
"See! That's Sara's boyfriend."
"Ho, ho. Alright!"
"I wonder when I started going out with Sara? That or is this some miracle mirror that shows the future?"
"Huh? What're you talking about?"
"The only face showing in this mirror is mine. That means I must be Sara's guy."
"Idiot! There's no way you and Sara would get together!"
"You said it, not me. You said the guy in here was Sara's boyfriend, right?"
"I'm not talking about your ugly reflection! I'm talking about the holographic image!"
"And I'm saying there isn't a hologram in here, stupid!"
"I AM looking! I am staring! Look at my eyes! They're WIDE open!"
I looked over Takeshi's shoulder and peered into the pendant.
"Look! It's right there!"
I pointed at the hologram of the man.
"That's me, right?"
"You're behind it! The guy inside the mirror is you! The guy floating in the front is who I mean!"
"There's no floating guy anywhere...How many times are you gonna make me say it? There's nothing there!"
You came as we were repeating this sad exchange.
"What are you all worked up about? You two finished fixing the generator?"
"That's my line!"
I showed You the hologram pendant. And I used the lighter.
"He says the face inside there is Sara's future man."
"I didn't say that! You're twisting my words."
"Whoaa. Is that so?"
"Cause either that girl is going to need a sex change operation. Or I will..."
"Yuck! Not for me!"
"I mean, this is just an ordinary mirror. I don't think there's a hologram or anything in there."
"It's a hologram! There's a guy's face in there!"
I wondered how many times I would have to shout out this same line...
"Look! He's right here! Right here!"
Now I looked over You's shoulder and pointed to the pendant.
"Hey, Kid, are you alright? Are you having another fit?"
"You really, truly can't see it?"
"You can't see the man's face?"
You and Takeshi looked at each other. They couldn't see it...Neither You nor Takeshi could...I wondered why in the world not...?
I heard a voice crying somewhere. The muffled voice kept sniveling and sobbing again and again. Who...who was it...? Who are you...? I...didn't know...what I was escaping from...
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
Waiting for....for what? Was I waiting for me? And where in the world was that? This was...this was...Just then the scene dissolved away.
Wait! Tell me! I didn't know what I had run from or to where! What was I...?
I was in the infirmary. My body was drenched in sweat.
A sharp pain shot through my right arm. I looked at my right arm and stared confused at the cast on my arm. I didn't know why...
Then I remembered. I had broken my arm and was resting... I was still foggy from the drugs. A string of hazy memories came back to me. I remembered the scary dream I had. I thought it was from the fever and medicine. I was sure of it. That's why I had such bizarre dreams. I shook my head and tried to get a better grip on my consciousness. I looked at the clock on the wall. It was a bit past two in the morning. Normally it would be the middle of the night...But somehow it didn't feel like that at all.
I tried to remember how long we had been trapped there...An extended amount of time in here - where the cycles of day and night were meaningless - really played with one's sense of time. I sat up, taking care to watch out for my broken arm.
Sara's pendant was by my left hand. It looked like I had fallen asleep with it clasped in my hand.
"I've gotta return this."
I slipped off of the bed. My right arm felt slightly feverish, but because the medicine Takeshi had injected was probably still working, it didn't hurt much. But I still was unable to move it normally. Next to the pillow was a sling for me to hang my arm. I wondered if Takeshi had left it. Or maybe You. Either way, I couldn't just let my hurt arm swing back and forth as I walked. I put it on.
I thought about where Sara might be...I figured she might be asleep. I wondered where she always slept. An image of Sara atop the whale floated into my mind. I decided to try there first...If she weren't there, then I'd try somewhere else. Still a bit groggy, I left the infirmary.
I heard the sound of splashing. It wasn't from the...Generator Room. It sounded like it came from the pipe room.
"I wonder what that is."
The moment I saw what was happening, I jumped into the water. After I jumped I remembered that my arm was broken, but it was too late. I swam toward Sara doing the best I could with my arm.
"Sara, grab hold!"
"Huh? Kid, what're you doing?"
"Just grab hold of me!"
I tried to grab Sara, but she swam away from me.
"Just leave me alone!"
"Huh? w-w-wait Sara?"
"I said, stay away from me - pervert!"
Then I noticed something a little bit strange. If I stretched my legs I could just touch the floor.
"Uh, what're you doing?"
"Just what it looks like."
"...I don't know what it looks like. That's why I asked."
"I'm practicing swimming."
"Yes. Just what it looks like?"
"Oh...I see...well, geez..."
...Only that stupid line.
"Well, since you've seen me, I'll tell you I guess."
"I actually don't know how to swim."
As she said this, Sara continued flapping about madly in the water as if she were sinking.
"I thought we have all this time...and I found a swimsuit in the changing room."
"So I thought that I would try to get in a little swim practice. I mean, the water here isn't all that cold."
Now that she mentioned it, I realized the water was warmer than in the corridors. I imagined the heat from the pipes had warmed it.
"So I was practicing swimming all alone."
"I thought you were a ninja? Ninja can..."
"Well, swimming is the only skill I'm not good at..."
"Just between you and me...Unfortunately, my swimming was so bad that I wasn't promoted to a master."
"Is that right...?"
"Ah, hee, hee..."
"Hee, hee. Kid, you take everything so seriously. Nin! Nin! Ninja!"
"Oh...so...that was a joke!"
"Sure it was. Me? A ninja?"
"A, ha, ha, but it's true that I can't swim."
"And being in this situation and not being able to swim...it makes me nervous. I think I'm probably the only one here who can't swim."
"You can swim right, Kid?"
I hadn't thought about it, but I thought I'd been swimming alright a minute ago. That meant that I could swim.
"Yeah...I can swim."
"That's perfect! Will you teach me?"