Part 38: An 18-Year Old Boy
content warning: suicidal ideation/suicide, car accident, eye trauma
[BGM: A Mexican Girl]
An 18-Year Old Boy
The flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo.
This was my first time on a plane, yet I wasn't as excited as I had imagined I would be.
I closed my eyes, hoping that I could fall asleep until landing.
After a while, the plane encountered some turbulence.
My face tightened a little, not because I was scared, but because I was annoyed that it had disrupted my dream.
I was dreaming of Carlos.
In the dream, we finally got to see each other again.
It was late at night. Even though we had not seen each other for such a long time, neither of us said anything.
It was so dark that I couldn't even see what he looked like as a grown up.
His lips moved, and he was about to say something. But suddenly, the ground beneath us morphed into an enormous wave and swept me away.
I opened my eyes. The boy next to me handed me one of his earbuds.
He probably thought I was afraid.
Some tender music was flowing out of the earbud.
I smiled at him with gratitude.
He had short and curly dark hair.
He looked like he was about 18 years old. Carlos would be around the same age now.
I fell asleep again, although I didn't go back to the same dream this time.
Four hours later.
At the front desk of the Prince Hotel in Shinjuku.
I was checking in.
Coincidentally, I ran into the boy who was next to me on the plane.
Also coincidentally, his room was right next to mine.
He said his name was Lin Wei. He was here on a trip by himself, and suggested that we could travel together, if it was okay with me.
I agreed, but it would have to wait until after I finished my business here.
The sun was about to set when he knocked on my door.
He told me that he had rented a car, and asked if I would like to go take a ride with him along the beach.
I said yes.
His eyes were a little red, and we didn't say anything to each other on the way.
He didn't go directly to the beach. Instead, he circled around Shinjuku a couple of times at first.
If he weren't so upset, I would have almost suspected that he had figured out who I really was.
I never knew that the target this time was still a kid.
[BGM: The Darkness]
Half an hour ago, I had received an instruction from Ray.
The target this time was the person staying in the room next to mine.
Lin Wei. He was the only child of the boss of Lin Inc., who ran the Black Dragon Gang.
Whenever Ray gave me an assignment, I never questioned the reason.
Although this time, I didn't really need to ask.
The Big Boss of Lin Inc. was in his final years. Some elders in the corporation had brought up the idea of looking for a successor.
Obviously, the Big Boss wanted his own son to succeed him, and everyone knew it.
But I knew Ray too well. He wanted to be the successor.
The gang had plenty of enemies in the criminal underworld.
This time, Lin Wei was traveling to Japan alone, without any bodyguards.
It meant that this would be the perfect opportunity for Ray to take him out of the equation.
It was quite windy by the ocean.
There were a couple of tourists hanging around on the beach.
I planned to complete the assignment once they left.
Lin Wei stood there, facing the ocean. He closed his eyes and spread his arms. He looked like a bird who was about to ride the wind and fly into the sky.
Miss, have you ever thought about what we live for in this world?
I fixed my hair that was flying in the wind.
For me, simply being able to live is good enough. I never thought about something so deep.
Lin Wei kept his posture.
Well, do you have an important person in your life?
I looked at the ocean.
He put his arms down.
What would you do if you couldn't be with that person?
He looked back at me. His face was covered in tears.
What if... you know that you'll only be waiting for nothing?
I suddenly realized that I had never thought about this possibility.
Miss, I know what you're doing here. I have seen many other people like you.
Lin Wei unbuttoned his shirt, and revealed the numerous horrifying scars on his body.
In two years, my father will hand the company to me. Miss, you of all people should know how many people want me dead. All of these years, my only wish has been to be with that person on my birthday. I was born in the winter, near Christmas. I would always dream about the two of us decorating our own Christmas tree, walking along the festive streets, and holding hands like a real couple. But year after year, I could never make it happen. And I will never be able to make it happen in the future. I will not let the person I love get hurt because of me. So I can't be with that person. Not in this life.
I'm tired... tired of a life like this.
The last tourist had just left the beach.
He gave me one last smile, and started walking into the ocean. The water gradually went over his waist, his shoulder...
A few minutes later, I dived into the ocean.
I grabbed his hand.
I gasped for the salt-tasting air, feeling like I was going to be swallowed by the crushing waves at the very next moment.
I lay there on the beach. I was completely wet.
Lin Wei was lying next to me.
Why didn't you just let me die? Isn't that your mission?
I didn't know.
Perhaps I was hoping there would be another possibility for him.
It had been ten days. I still didn't have a strategy to help him.
Although I worked for Ray, I didn't really have all of the information in the organization.
Even in the gang, not a lot of people were aware of my existence.
Therefore, I didn't have any useful connections.
I was sitting on the couch in my room.
A bunch of empty candy boxes were piling up next to my hand.
Lin Wei must be an extremely important target to Ray.
Letting Lin go meant that I had betrayed him.
I might have made the stupidest decision of my life, just out of that one moment of sympathy.
I heard footsteps in the hallway outside. The person was intentionally keeping them light, so I knew instantly that it couldn't be a regular tenant.
My four years of training told me immediately that it was someone like me, and he or she was good at this job too.
Ray surely wouldn't show me any mercy...
Well, this isn't the usual kind of situation we have to deal with- usually saving someone is the right ending, not a Bad one. And, unfortunately (not to skip ahead) there is no good outcome here- for Lin Wei, at least.
Let's just rip the bandage off and get one of the other Bad Endings first.
Lin Wei was right.
I had the blood of over a dozen people on my hands.
If I were to be with Carlos, I would bring him nothing but misery.
The dark ocean was calling me.
Heavenly Father had given me a chance for redemption, right here, right now.
I grabbed Lin Wei, and we disappeared into the darkness together...
.yeah. Arguably the worst ending possible. There's one more Bad ending that's basically the same outcome, so no reason to show it again- instead, we'll go to the first non-Bad outcome.
I climbed back up to the beach and looked at the dark ocean.
The surface was almost pitch black, beneath which held many invisible but violent torrents.
The water was also much colder than I expected, and I could feel the chill in my bones.
I dove in a few more times, yet I still couldn't find Lin Wei.
He had disappeared into the dark ocean.
I felt as if a part of me had disappeared with him.
It's a Rank A because she accomplished her mission, but definitely not the outcome she was looking for... Let's get to the S ending.
[BGM: My Mexican Guitar Gently Weeps]
The hair dryer was buzzing.
I was sitting in my hotel room, drying my hair with my eyes closed.
I was afraid.
I was afraid that I would see myself in the foggy mirror, and that I wouldn't even recognize my own reflection.
In the dark water, I watched Lin Wei as he struggled to breathe.
I felt his grip on my hand tighten, then loosen.
After confirming his death, I came back up to the beach at a different spot and took a taxi back to the hotel.
It was just another assignment.
Even if he had lived a hard life, even if he had reminded me of someone, there was nothing else I could have done to help him.
But it was just another excuse.
The truth was, I simply couldn't stand the thought of leaving Ray.
That same evening, I told Ray about Lin Wei's final moments.
But his response surprised me.
[Starting from tomorrow, you are free.]
There's actually a variation of this ending you can get where Alicia intends to go after Lin, but is paralyzed by terror because she briefly envisions Carlos as the one who is floating away- holding her up long enough for him to vanish from sight. The rest is the same, with the same ending- Ray cutting her loose.
[BGM: New Life]
NEW MESSAGE: The Cafe Across the Street
NEW MESSAGE: The Guest with a Beard
[BGM: Broken Dream 1]
The Cafe Across the Street
I opened my eyes.
I saw a white ceiling.
I saw white walls.
I saw white blankets and beds.
And I could smell the strong odor of detergent.
How did I end up in the hospital?
It was very late. There was no one in the hallway.
I found the nurse station and asked for my record. It said I had gastritis.
I never knew gastritis could make someone pass out...
The nurse told me that I was mostly fine; I just needed to take my medication for a couple more days.
But it was already too late to be discharged today, so I'd have to wait until tomorrow.
She also mentioned that it was a middle-aged man who had brought me in.
A middle-aged man.
Could it be him?
Probably not. There were plenty of middle-aged men out there.
Since I was mostly fine, I decided to go home anyway.
I couldn't stand the sight of the hospital for one more minute. I had too many bad memories of being in a hospital.
A young man was standing at the hospital entrance, looking down at the ground.
Maybe he was feeling down because a family member had been sick, too.
I walked towards the subway station.
At the last crossing, the lights had just turned from green to red.
I saw two people sitting next to the window in the coffee house across the street. Two very familiar people.
Ms. Yang... and him.
I stepped forward without even realizing it.
I had forgotten about the red light.
A truck charged directly at me from the side. Its headlights had blinded me.
My entire body was swallowed by the light.
The truck didn't stop after hitting me.
I had been left lying in the street when someone found me.
It happened to be the same young man who had been standing in front of the hospital earlier.
I was brought back to the hospital, but this time I wasn't mostly fine.
I probably would not survive the night.
I realized that I had so many regrets...
Why couldn't I tell him how I truly felt...
Why would I... always have to be torn apart from the most important people in my life?
[BGM: A Mexican Girl]
The Guest with a Beard
9:00 AM. It was the least busy hour of the day in the coffee shop.
I was wiping the glass carefully with a cleaning cloth.
Mama, who loved and happily shared his feminine side, was sitting next to the bar and perusing a women's fashion magazine while occasionally letting out a yawn.
There was also a customer in a strange hat that had been here since we opened this morning. He put out his eighth cigarette in the ashtray, put down an adult magazine that he had brought with him, left his booth and went into the guest restroom.
There was no one else in the shop but the three of us.
I had left Ray half a month ago.
I didn't know where else to go, so I came back to Maple House.
It still had the same decorations, but not the same people.
Raj had gone back to India.
Hang had become a legal resident and got married.
On my first day back I had told Mama everything about being auctioned off and abused.
But I left out everything related to Ray.
Mama was crying so hard that his entire face was wet. He hugged me so tight, and told me of course I could come back, and I could stay here for as long as I wanted to.
I tried to get back to a normal life.
I wanted to save up a little more money so that I could bring Carlos over to live with me.
A middle-aged man with a thick beard had just walked in.
I was carrying a glass pitcher of water when I accidentally bumped into him at the door.
Water spilled everywhere.
I caught the pitcher 20 centimeters off the ground, before it got smashed into pieces.
[BGM: No Escape from Here]
He was carrying an umbrella with a long handle.
It was raining heavily outside.
My clothes were soaking wet.
Water had spilled onto my clothes. The black dragon tattoo on my stomach became vaguely visible through my wet shirt.
I apologized and turned around to go to the back room so that I could change into another shirt.
I'm in a hurry.
I heard something else hidden inside his four short words. It was an extremely familiar sense of menace.
Then I noticed his umbrella out of the corner of my eyes.
I didn't suspect anything earlier because of the rain, but now I realized that his umbrella was completely dry.
I ducked down and sprinted to the kitchen.
Multiple deafening gun shots erupted behind me.
The meticulously painted walls were littered with holes from the shotgun.
I dragged Mama into the kitchen.
His fake eyelashes had fallen off.
There was nothing but a bloody hole where his left eyeball was supposed to be.
His and my blood was spreading all over the kitchen floor.
Suddenly, I heard a flush come from the restroom outside, and nothing else.
He was so confident that he wouldn't even bother coming in to make sure that we were dead?
The bearded man must be coming after me.
He couldn't be here for any other reason but revenge.
I had made a mistake.
I should not have come back.
I should not have expected to lead a normal life.
My mind was becoming cloudy.
Mama, I'm so sorry, it was my fault...
Profiles have updated.