Part 34: deceASed
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
If we were to go to a new station, this was probably the best way to go, too. The other side- further westward- had nothing left but the reactor. That sounded far too dangerous for me to want to explore it with G.
By the way, thanks for talking with me and accompanying me in the escape room.
Hmm? What do you mean?
Well... I don't want to go too much into the details, but my sister has a habit of doing things without consulting me. That has led to... bad events in the past. For once, it's just nice to get along with someone who doesn't think I need to be shielded or sheltered for that matter.
I realized at that point that G had been acting this way this entire time because she wanted to get out of H's shadow. Maybe she felt inferior to H. It had been clear as crystal that the twins cared for each other, and yet it was also clear that H was always in the forefront. She was always the twin who spoke first, always the twin who did something first.
Was it for safety? Was it because H wanted the spotlight? I wasn't sure anymore.
Huh? What do you mean?
Your favorite color. I wanna know what it is.
That's a little out of left field. Does that have anything to do with...
No, no, it's just banter. It doesn't have anything to do with our situation. I'm just wondering. Isn't it nicer to be talking about something normal for once? Come on, even you must know that much! You're older and wiser than I am, right?
I mean... I guess. Okay, um, I guess I like green. But I kind of like all of them equally.
I don't like green. I don't know why, I just don't. It gives me the creeps. Makes me feel... really... really bad.
I think I used to like it... but now I like warm colors more, I guess. Nothing to do with your answer, don't worry.
She averted her gaze nonetheless for a short moment. We were waiting for the train to arrive, but it was taking a while. If it was on the other side, it would take a while to get here...
Hmm... I still fail to see the purpose of the question.
It's called small talk, Simon.
You're right, the color doesn't really matter. What do you like to eat, then?
Didn't you just agree that it didn't really matter?
Yes, I did, but I want to know other things then.
It was her turn to look mildly offended for reasons beyond my understanding.
It's all just for fun. You didn't forget what that was, right? Fun?
I wasn't heartless, so I decided to play into it a little.
Okay, okay! I like sandwiches.
That's so basic! Nothing else? That's your pick? Of all the possibilities, you picked sandwiches? Why not like... pizza? Pizza's cool, I love pizza!
Oh yeah, I thought, who didn't like pizza, huh? Everyone loved pizza!
I don't. I hate pizza.
No, I don't like it exactly for those reasons.
I tapped the logo I had on my outfit.
I deliver pizzas and I have to deal with pizzas all day when I work. It's always pizza, pizza, pizza. Pizza delivery, pizza preparation, cooking pizzas in ovens, and always there's the stench of pizza everywhere. When I'm on break, I smell like pizza, and when I come home, the outfit has to be washed because it's all pizza, all the time.
It was supposed to be a part-time job... but now... I'm in too deep. I don't know when I'll finally get to quit this job and do what I wanted.
G stared, mildly horrified at my outburst. I calmed down and sighed to reassure her.
Sorry, I guess I was a bit harsh. It's not like it really has anything to do with you though. They're my problems, so I shouldn't put them on your shoulders.
No, it's okay. I know what it's like to do something you don't want to do.
What do you mean?
But she remained silent from that point on. As the train had arrived, we had to take it. I followed after her.
BGM: Ambient Strain
G was right, in a way, about the fact going back empty-handed wouldn't be useful for anybody, but she forgot that each station didn't always have something. Already we'd seen it with the first stations: the pantry had food, but nothing useful. The library? Same thing. The bedroom had the papers I found, and the Stars had the maps, but the others didn't contain anything special.
Evidenced by our meager findings, it only proved the fact many stations would have nothing. There was an equal chance Jasmine and H had also left the lounge. Perhaps heading back to it was a waste. On the other hand, if they were still there, then not going back would cost me points with Jasmine. She'd probably get angry. Was I going to chance it...?
We're going to be continuing on for this update.
I chose not to return to the lounge before we found anything.
Let's keep going. I thought about it, and it would be better if we just continued.
So you agree, then?
The train was already setting off. I looked over at the twin, considering her arguments from earlier. Was this really fair? I looked down at my hands. This decision wasn't like me. It was as if... some kind of mystical force was guiding me. I closed my hands in fists and opened them again. I still had control over my body, and yet...
What's the matter?
I don't know. Something strange... I don't know. I just feel strange.
Can you explain it?
It's like... you know when you're dreaming? You do whatever you want in the dream, but it's not really something you consciously do. And then, sometimes, you understand you're in a dream. It's like that. It's like I'm dreaming, and I just now understood that I am.
BGM: Algorithm Simile
The train ceased its movements at the pool. The doors opened, but I continued talking, since we were far from our destination, which was the gym on the absolute opposite end.
I would if I could, G. It's not like that- that's not what I meant. It's more like, your every action up to now had been determined by your subconscious. Only after you realize you're in a dream do you have some kind of control.
You did something you didn't want to?
The chime rang out as the train closed its doors to set off again.
Other than delivering pizzas? I mean, yeah. Just now, in fact. I suggested we kept going, but I don't know why... it doesn't line up with what I'd normally do.
You know, if you just wanted to change your mind, you could just tell me, and not need to go through a life story to get there...
No, no, that's not it at all! Inside of my head, I get the reasoning. It just doesn't feel like... me.
I slumped down into a seat. G wasn't sure where I was getting with this, so I abandoned the chase. And yet, what about her? It was also unlike her to continue without her sister.
I decided to close my eyes and rest until we'd arrive at the gym.
BGM: Algorithm Simile
As we stopped at the leisure station, something caught my attention.
Hey, isn't that... A?
The old man was barreling down the stairs and lunged into the train before it left. Clearly exhausted from the sprint, he panted, slowly rising up to his feet.
Oh, I hadn't thought you'd be here. What a surprise!
What did you run away from?
He paused to let the chime ring out first. As the train set off, he took a seat to ensure his security instead of falling off balance.
Nothing in particular. I just didn't want to miss the train!
There was something wrong with him. I could tell G shared my suspicions. First of all, he was here alone, and his hand was tightly gripping his bag. As if it contained something very important.
Did you find the ninth person?
Oh, that? No, not at all.
Are you sure?
Of course! In fact, I was going to the next station. I have not found the ninth person, but perhaps something else that may help us...
The next station was the security one. I found it somewhat odd he wanted to go there.
Well, I didn't have business with her specifically, but we hadn't seen other people for a while...
Ahh, yes. That is true. I wondered about that myself... Oh, my stop is here! Let us meet again soon.
BGM: Ambient Strain
With a bow, the man left the train once the doors opened. I looked at G with a quirked eyebrow. She seemed as lost as I was.
That was something. Anyway, let's continue to that gymnasium place.
Nothing else of note was really said until we arrived at that station.
BGM: Alarming Silence
How many stations have been explored now? Did we miss all of the remaining ones?
The train departed from the station once more, heading even further inside. I closed my hands in fists, feeling my annoyance grow. How many stations were left?
Maybe we should've just gone to the reactor.
Yeah. If I'd known this would happen...
Nothing we could predict.
The whole time, I clenched my teeth. Was this Marco's doing? Did he betray me and explore every single station without my knowing? I would know soon, no doubt.
BGM: Alarming Situation
We arrived at the church in silence. Once again, the door on the station was closed.
Oh, this is ridiculous now! Is there only the theater left?!
I hit my hand onto the window, giving it a worrying crack. I pulled away almost instantly, thinking it wouldn't be good if I broke it; the wind from the train's movement would be terrible.
I don't know... I feel strange, like I shouldn't go here.
Are you precognitive now?
I don't think so. That's all just a load of bull anyway. But... do you mind if you go check around first?
The train's chime rang out and the doors closed anew. I nodded at G.
Okay. When we get there, let's step off and I'll look around.
I couldn't help but think it strange how she wanted to be protected, all of a sudden, when she told me before that she liked the fact I didn't necessarily believe she needed protection. I quieted my thoughts. Perhaps the girl was simply scared. I... kind of was, too. The fewer stations remained, the fewer opportunities to find the ninth person existed as well. I would've lost all my chances at escape soon.
BGM: Ambient Strain
Okay, I'll head upstairs, and you wait here for a bit.
Okay. Be back quickly.
I looked through the open door of the lobby. Upon stepping in, I realized the doors didn't close behind me. That was strange. Despite that, the train left the station.
It wasn't a very detailed exploration, but one nonetheless. It confirmed something terrible. A chill ran up my spine when I realized what the dead ends in the hallway outside of the room meant. There was no way to go to the other side of the station. This meant once you got off the train for this one... you couldn't go back. Either you left through the exit, or you stayed trapped inside. That was incredibly bad news.
This doesn't make any sense...
I wandered back down the stairs to share the news with the twin. Once I was out, I called for G.
Hey, where are you?
BGM: Abyssal Snarl
Out of the corner of my eyes, I spied one of those dark tunnels with a locked grid. Maybe she had escaped through one of those? I wandered into the darkness. I couldn't see anything.
Hey, G, are you here?
The ground was softer here for some reason. There was a step I had to climb, but just one. Blindly touching around the gate, I finally found there was some kind of lock. Even if I messed with it, I couldn't open it. I decided G had not come this way, then.
Huh... she must've not come here. What is this step, anyway?
I stepped back and touched it. It was soft, and it had cloth on it. This wasn't a step. It was someone.
I grabbed her arm. She was not breathing.
Oh no! Oh no, oh no... No!!
I dragged her body back outside of the dark hallway. It was covered in blood- the same as my shoes. The girl had been stabbed.
What...? But there was no train... who...?
I wouldn't find the answer to this question. Not now, or ever.
I wanted to see who killed me. For a moment, I thought whatever killed me might've not been someone, but the knife was pulled out. A second stab hit me and I passed away.