In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 1

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" - by Jaime Lustig

Chapter 1

"First Day - Part 1"

All black panels with two white lights. One white light represents Eriko's Father (Kami-sama) and the other, Eriko's mother. The two are never seen, they will always be represented as white lights on a black background. They're relationship to Eriko is not known to the audience at this time. [Ed. note: Kami-sama denotes a diety, god, or God depending on its usage]

Eriko's mother: "Will she be okay?"

Kami-Sama: "She is like the sides of a coin tumbling in mid-flip, before one has caught it and named its outcome. Where she goes there is vengeance but there can also be mercy. Her fate is in her hands now. I can do no more for her."

Outside on the grounds of an all-girls high school. Students are walking into the building. It’s a sunny early spring day, near the start of the new school year in April. We see a small girl from behind, with short-ish brown hair, in a highschool uniform, crouched down. This is Yuka, picking flowers in a garden, playing with a ladybug. She's playing in the garden before school. Other girls are slightly snickering or pointing at her as they walk by.

                Girl 1: "Is that the one?"

                Girl 2: "It must be, she's so weird."

Yuka is completely oblivious and wrapped up in her play. We see several vantage points of her playing with the flowers and bugs. She's cute and tranquil and at peace in her own little world.  Suddenly we see legs coming up from the side and someone trips over Yuka knocking her over. Crouching overtop of her is Eriko, her long blond hair falling over them both.

                Eriko: "What the hell?!"

She opens her eyes to see that she's overtop Yuka, face to face. Yuka is looking up at her with adoring eyes and smiles at her. Eriko blushes immediately. Yuka reaches up to brush the hair back from Eriko's face. As her hand lightly grazes Eriko's cheek and hair, there is a wincing pain and a sharp light and Eriko falls backwards on to her hands, no longer over Yuka. This is the first we really see of Eriko in full. She's sitting there with scrapes and cuts and bruises and bandages all over her, including her face, arms and legs. She's a mess.

Eriko (to herself): "Ah my head! I must have hit it tripping on that idiot."

She speaks haltingly, uncertain, but aggressive.

Eriko: " were in my way!"

Yuka leans in to her with a worried expression.

                Eriko: "Wha...what are you...?"

Yuka goes to touch a cut on Eriko's face. Eriko knocks her hand away.

                Eriko: "Don't...don't touch it. It''s not from you."

Yuka is just sitting there, holding her hand (the one that was knocked away).  Just a quiet expression on her face, studying Eriko.

                Eriko (to herself): "Why is she looking at me like that?

Eriko: " shouldn' sitting's...dangerous..."

Eriko trails off as she speaks, and has to look away from Yuka as she's blushing under Yuka's knowing eyes.

                Eriko: "Aren't you say something?"

Yuka shakes her head 'no' softly and touches her throat.

                Eriko: "Ugh...Whatever!"

Eriko gets up in a huff and storms off. She is tall, beautiful, athletic, and magnificent with wild flowing, messy hair, she is strong but unkempt. She is like the classic shoujo delinquent. We see her walking away, hair blowing behind her, she takes long, strong strides but her fists are clenched and arms straight in anger.

Eriko (grumbling to herself): "I can't believe I'm going to this stupid place! I'm only doing this because of you, Arishima-san."

 Yuka is simply staring after her, the ladybug flies away, Yuka turns back to the flowers. While the panel is still of Yuka with the flowers, we have a speech bubble from Aiko in the background:

Aiko: "Yuka! Yuka!"

We see Aiko, a very composed and put together person coming up in the distance. She is tall (but not quite as tall as Eriko) regal and elegant, refined and ladylike. She is neither cold, nor stern, but closed off and proper. Yet there is an underlying warmth to her interactions with Yuka.

Aiko: "Really, you’re a second-year now, and you’re still doing this on the first day of class?"

Yuka smiles big and nods 'yes'  vigorously.

Aiko: "Come on, we're going to be late."

Yuka cutely shrugs like 'whatever, I don’t mind, I was having more fun here' (but doesn’t say anything, she never talks). Yuka’s hands are cupped around something. She’s got a hopeful (and maybe slightly mischeivous) expression (like "heh, heh, don't you want to know what's in here") on her face (imploring Aiko to ask what’s in her cupped hands).

Aiko (knowingly exasperated): "Sigh...Fine, fine, you win, show me what you've found."

Yuka holds out her hands, cupped around something. Aiko holds out her hands (maybe rolls her eyes while she does it, half knowing what's coming) and Yuka puts something in it. Aiko opens her hand to find a giant beetle in it. Aiko gasps and drops the beetle back into the garden. The beetle looks quizzically up at the girls before scampering off. Aiko sighs, Yuka silently laughs, and holds her stomach in glee. Aiko, recovering from her 'mock' shock, stands up, straightens out her clothes (she’s neutral faced while doing this - always proper) but then looks lovingly at Yuka playing in the garden again.

Aiko (to herself): "What am I going to do with you? What would I do without you?"

Aiko: "Okay, time to wash those hands before class."

We see them from behind walking into school, Yuka slightly prancing, maybe even a twirl, Aiko with great posture and poise. But there's a definite closeness between them.

It's the beginning of class in the classroom. Students are shuffling in to their seats, chatting, it's the first day of class. There's a seating chart posted on the board.

Girl: "Oh, I'm not near you M-chan?!"

Girl 2: "Ah, I hate being in the front!"

Aiko: "Looks like we're together by the window."

Yuka looks at her with big happy yet wondering eyes.

Aiko (to herself): "I can't always protect you out there, but at least I can make sure we're always together in class."

Yuka and Aiko take their desks by the window, Yuka in front of Aiko. The student council rep stands up and says:

Rep: “Stand...Bow...”

The teacher walks in.

Teacher: "I hope you all had a safe vacation. I will be your homeroom teacher this year. In addition to today’s opening ceremony, we also have a new student joining our school. She is a transfer student, from....from...."

She's scanning a paper, but not finding the answer.

Teacher:  “Where did you say you were from?”

It’s then that people turn to notice that Eriko is standing in the doorway of the classroom. Clearly uncomfortable and with a dark mood and menacing posture. A student looks at her and she just shoots back a "death" stare. She comes in and says tersely but quietly:

Eriko: " name is Eriko Arishima."

Eriko bows quickly and looks at the teacher. Everyone is a bit stunned by her abruptness. She's disheveled, people are noticing the bruises, scratches, and Band-Aids.

Teacher: “Um, welcome may take that open seat over there.”

She walks towards her seat. We see girls whispering as she walks past.

Girl 1: "She's so tall."

Girl 2: "What happened to her? Why does she have all those marks?"

Girl 3: “I heard some teachers talking about a delinquent in the school, do you think that’s her?”

Eriko glares at some of them as she passes by. They straighten up and look away. The cool kids are just staring at her (we'll meet them more in the next chapter). Eriko sits down and just closes her eyes.  Satomi Kinoshita (leader of the cool kids) just "harrumphs" with satisfaction and turns back around to face the teacher. A beautiful girl with big hair (Hatsue, the class idol) in front of Eriko's seat tilts her head in wonder.

                Hatsue (to herself): "Hmmm?"

Eriko is sitting to the right of Aiko. (Yuka is in front of Aiko on the left side of the room by the windows, Eriko is sitting next to Aiko on her right one row over; Hatsue is next to Yuka one row to the right and in front of Eriko). Yuka’s window seat is about half way back in the row. The teacher is continuing to take attendance.

Teacher: “Kinoshita-san?”

Kinoshita: “Here”

Yuka is now making some origami bugs with the paper from her notebook, completely oblivious to class. There are continuing whispers in the background about Eriko. Eriko puts her head down on her arms on her desk. At first her head is buried in her arms.

Whisper 1: "Where is she from?"

Whisper 2: "That can't be her real hair color"

Whisper 3: "Is she a foreigner?"

Whisper 4: "I heard she's in a gang."

Whisper 5: "She's sort of beautiful. She better not go after my boyfriend!"

Slowly, Eriko turns her head to the left and looks at Yuka. Yuka’s profile, a close-up of her ear poking out of her hair, her profile backlit by the window, etc... Eriko winces as the sunlight streaks through the window...suddenly:

Scenes of an alley at night, scenes of a picture on an altar (but can’t quite see who – it’s a man), scenes of blood streaked across a wall, a feather falling.

Back to the classroom, Eriko shrugs off the feeling.

Eriko (to herself): "Ughh, what was that?”

Aiko is looking at Eriko intently.

Aiko (To herself): “What was that? There’s something wrong with this girl.”

Eriko senses that Aiko is looking at her and raises her head to stare back at her.

Eriko: “What?”

Aiko, not fazed or threatened by this, simply turns her head back to the book she’s holding.

Aiko (to herself): “I’ll be watching you.”

Teacher: “Takeshita-san”

Takeshita: “Here”

Eriko just puts her head back down on her arms on her desk and checks out. Everything fades to black (she’s falling asleep)

It’s all black, but through the complete darkness there is a ripple of water, like a drop falling into a puddle.

Anonymous narration: "What is this place? It’s so dark, I can’t see anything. It’s so calm, so still. Maybe that isn’t so bad. Maybe I like it here? Wait...I? Who am I? Have I always been here, breathing this stale air? Am I happy here? I don’t feel anything. Maybe that’s enough...but it doesn’t feel like enough..."


Voice: “-san....Arishima-san!”

Eriko startles awake and stands up into a fighting position. Her chair has been flung back, her desk has tipped over. She’s got a look on her face between a killer and a scared deer. The teacher had been trying to get her to wake up to answer a question in class. Some students burst out laughing at Eriko's reaction, others are scared. Chatter mixed with laughing and pointing:

Student: “What the hell is that?”

Student: “She’s going to kill someone.”

Student: “They can’t let her stay here. We have a reputation.”

Eriko looks around and sees everyone pointing and laughing, or sort of taken aback in fear, then she looks over and sees Yuka who looks worried (but not scared). Yuka begins to reach out a hand towards Eriko, Eriko seeing this, bats it away.

Eriko: “I told you, don’t touch me!”

Eriko storms out of the room, leaving her desk a mess and the chair tipped over. More shocked chatter from the students.

Teacher: “Enough, enough, quiet down, Kogara-san, you answer this instead...”

We see Eriko out in the hallway, leaning forward against a wall, arm bracing her, head on her arm, sweating.

Eriko (to herself): “I knew I couldn’t do this, I knew these dreams would keep coming...but I’m so tired, I just can’t keep my eyes open...I can’t seem to get any sleep...what’s wrong with me?”

She thinks back to Yuka's face when she first knocked her over, then Yuka reaching out to help her and batting the hand away.

Eriko (to herself): “What’s her problem?”

Eriko thinks to Yuka’s smiling face from outside and blushes.

Eriko (to herself): “Why do I keep thinking about her? I’ve got to get out of here.”

Back in the classroom, Yuka is looking at the empty desk where Eriko was. Aiko sees Yuka looking at it as she looks up from her book. Yuka turns to see Aiko looking at her, she gives Aiko a big smile. Aiko smiles sweetly back and pats Yuka on the head. Yuka just silently smiles back.

Eriko is walking through the school,

Eriko: "Stupid teacher, waking me up. I shouldn't even be in school anyway."

Eriko walks out a random door into a back part of the school.

Eriko: "How does Arishima-san even know if I'm a teenager? I could be an adult for all he knows. But I...I guess I don't really feel like one..."

As she's walking outside, she turns a corner and sees a couple of students smoking in a hidden part by the building. The girls quickly put the cigarettes behind their backs.  Eriko keeps walking by them, not caring, in her own world.

Girl: "Hey, you, you're not going to say anything are you?"

Eriko isn't even paying attention.

                Girl 2: "We're talking to you!"

Eriko turns and glares at them with force and says tersely.

                Eriko: "What?"

Girl: "Jeez, nevermind. She's just a second-year, no one would believe her anyway."

The girl flicks the cigarette butt at Eriko. It bounces off her chest. Eriko looks up from where it hit with fire in her eyes. The other girls' eyes go wide.

We change our vantage point into the school as Aiko is walking down the hall past some windows.

Aiko (thinking to herself): "First day...idiot teacher can't even remember the printouts and makes me go get them..."

She's about to open the faculty room door when she stops as she sees part of Eriko from behind through the window.

                Aiko: "What's she doing out there?"

Aiko goes outside and starts walking up behind Eriko when she overhears Eriko talking to the senior girls.

                Eriko: "Give me those!"

                Girl: "Sure, whatever, here."

Aiko sees the cigarette pack get passed to Eriko and Eriko takes one out.

Aiko (to herself): "Smoking on her first day at a new school. I could tell that girl was a waste."

Aiko shakes her head and goes back inside.

Eriko breaks the cigarette and lets it fall.

                Girl 2: "Hey!"

Then Eriko takes all the cigarettes out of the pack, breaks them all in half, drops them to the ground, crushes them into the dirt with her foot, throws the empty, crumpled pack back at the girl, hitting her in the head. Then she pulls the other girl forward by the shirt and gets in her face.

                Eriko: "Don't ever talk to me again!"

Lunchtime. Yuka and Aiko are eating bentos outside on a bench in an inner courtyard. They are smiling and laughing (Yuka silently of course), sharing each other’s foods. The sun is out, it's a beautiful day in the spring with the Cherry blossoms just drifting off the branches and whatnot. Yuka notices Eriko sitting alone on a bench  by the back wall of the school. She is just sitting there with her eyes closed, head tilted back against the wall. She's in shade from a beautiful tree above her. She looks relaxed, almost asleep or meditative. She doesn't have any food with her.

Eriko (to herself): "Why can't I remember anything? I...I don't even know my real name...Is there anyone...looking for me?"

Between where Eriko and where Yuka and Aiko are sitting, are some other girls talking to themselves about Eriko in a half whisper, but still audible:

Girl: "I heard there’s a homeless girl who transferred here. I heard she lives on the streets."

Girl 2: "Do you think she’s in a gang?"

Girl 3: "I bet she’s shacked up with some salary-man."

Girl 2: "How scandalous! HA! You shouldn't say it even if it is true!"

Girl 1 and 3 laughing with girl 2 as well.

Aiko and Yuka look the girls' way. The girls notice their glance and turn the other way to see that Eriko is on the other side of them.

                Girl 1: "Shit, that's her! Let's go."

They hurriedly pack up their lunches and leave their spot. Aiko looks down and continues eating her lunch.

                Aiko (to herself): "Idiots wasting time on the new idiot."

Yuka looks upset about the negative conversations about Eriko. She focuses back on Eriko across the way. Eriko still has her eyes closed.

Eriko (to herself): "Hrmpf, quiet now. At least they had the good sense to leave."

Eriko lifts her head from the wall and opens her eyes slowly and she makes eye contact with Yuka. Yuka still has on a worried face. Eriko blushes at this and turns away suddenly.  Yuka turns to Aiko with a concerned look in her eyes.

Aiko: “Leave her be, Yuka.”

Yuka goes to get up to go over to Eriko, Aiko notices, and puts a hand on Yuka's arm to keep her from going.

Aiko: “Didn’t you see what she just did in class back there? She even hit you. Then, on my way to the bathroom...”

Yuka nods back and forth 'no.'

Aiko: “What do you mean it wasn’t her fault? She won’t last more than a day here before she gets kicked out. Don’t waste your time.”

Yuka looks at Eriko and then back at Aiko. Yuka just gives Aiko a pleading look. Aiko pulls her hand off Yuka's arm.

Aiko: "Fine, go to her, but don’t make me say 'I told you so' later."

Yuka gives a huge warm smile and hug to Aiko and runs over to Eriko.

Aiko (to herself): “What’s with Yuka today? Why’s she so interested in that loser? I hope she doesn’t get hurt. I won’t forgive anyone who hurts Yuka.”

We see Eriko’s face, eyes closed, head back again. Suddenly a piece of food appears by her face. We see that Yuka is holding a piece of food near Eriko using chopsticks from her own bento. Yuka touches the food to Eriko's lips. It startles Eriko into consciousness and into a fighting pose where she pins Yuka against the wall with a hand around her neck and is about to punch her in the face (with her other arm that's cocked back). With her fingers closing on Yuka's slim neck, Eriko gets another wincing headache and bright flash. Suddenly she comes to being fully present and starts to let go seeing that it's Yuka. Eriko sees the shock on Yuka’s face. But looking into Eriko’s eyes, the shock on Yuka's face turns relaxed and she gives Eriko another huge smile. Eriko backs off staggering.

Eriko (looking to the side): "Idiot!..."

Eriko (quietly): "...I could have killed you."

Girl (in background): "Did you see that?"

Girl 2: "Should we get a teacher?"

Girl 3: "It's okay, Okumura-san's there."

Aiko is rushing up to help Yuka while yelling over her shoulder at Eriko.

Aiko: “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Eriko is speaking quietly and not looking at Aiko. She's still blushing a little and looking to the side. She struggles to speak as if the words hurt to come out.

Eriko: “ was...her fault.”

Aiko: “What? I couldn’t hear you, I bet you don’t have much to say after that! Yuka, are you hurt anywhere?”

Yuka just dusts herself off and shakes her head 'no.'

Aiko: “Come on, let’s get you out of here.”

Yuka picks up her bento which was dropped and scattered, ducks around Aiko and goes over to Eriko where she pops a piece of food into Eriko's mouth when she isn’t looking. Eriko is just stunned by this. Yuka just gives her a big smile.

Aiko: “Yuka, I said let’s go!”

Aiko grabs Yuka’s hand and is leading her away.

Eriko (to herself): “Who does that bitch think she is? I...I know what I did was wrong, but that’s no way to talk to that girl...I mean, whatever, I don’t give a damn about either of them. I...I don't know what I should even give a damn about...”

Aiko (to herself): “Arishima-san, was that your name? I’m watching you. That was your one free pass. I won’t let you lay a hand on her again.”

(end Chapter 1)

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