In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 17

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my yuri comic. I can't draw, so here are the scripts for you to read and enjoy. If you want to collaborate as an artist, just contact me! Thanks and Enjoy

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

Chapter 17


Early morning, Eriko is asleep but tossing and turning in bed.

The panels go black. We are in her dream. There is the sound of dripping water.

Narration: "What is this place? It’s so dark, so cold, the air is so still and stale. When was the last time anyone else breathed this air?"

We see the ripple (in white on the black panels) of a drip hitting water.

Narration "Is this rock under my hands? So cold. Can I stand? I can’t really feel my legs. What’s wrong with me? Me? Who...who am I?"

The sound of rapid breathing.

Narration: "Slow down, breathe deep...but it’s so hard, the air seems so thin..."

Gasping sounds.

Narration: "I can't stay here. I have to get out. But where would I go? Am I trapped in this darkness?"

Another drip ripples the water.

Narration: "I still can't feel my legs to stand, can I crawl? Okay dammit, just move, move! All you have to do is move!"

We see a small light in the darkness.

Narration: "What’s that? Is that a light? Maybe it’s a way out? But what happens when I'm out? Where do I go? Who will I be? All I can remember is this darkness. Don't think about it, just keep crawling, just keep moving, don’t stop moving!"

The light grows in size but very slowly. The dripping water (and ripples) slowly makes way to a more steady rushing sound and images of flowing water.

Narration: "How long have I been crawling, it feels like forever. I don’t feel any closer. But that sound? Water? Is that the sound of running water? I...I feel it over my hands. If I follow it, will it lead me out? But what will I find there?"

We see the faint outline of a hand, under the water as it sets on something dark. (The panels are all black, everything is drawn in faint white outlines).

Narration: "Aghhh! What is this, it's warmer than the’’s not right...something isn’t right...what is this in my hand...what is this!?"

The hand wrenches up through the water, water splashing. As the hand turns over, palm up, still very faint in the darkness and we see a few feathers covered in dark liquid stuck to the hand.

Narration: "Oh god, what was that? Is...Is this blood? What is this place? Is this hell? Am I dead? I can’t be dead...I don’t remember even living. I have to run! My legs...stand dammit, stand up! Go GO!"

The sound of panting/gasping mixed with the rhythmic sound of running and some rushing water in the blackness. The light grows in size slightly.

Narration: "Why can't I get there? Please, please let me out!"

In the dark, we see the feet running, faintly outlined slightly below the surface of the water, suddenly water starts rising up over them.

Narration: "What’s going on, the water, it's rising!"

The water starts rising and rising, higher and higher, it’s getting faster.

Narration: "Stop, wait! The water’s getting too high, I can’t swim, the current is too strong, I'm going to drown. Where's the light, I can't see the light! I can't lose you!"

Eriko wakes up gasping, drenched in sweat. Light is streaming in through the bedroom window.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh, that dream again. It's just a dream...just a dream, right?”

Eriko rolls over and rays of light cross her face, causing her to squint her eyes.

Eriko (to herself): “Come on Eriko, get over yourself. It was just a dream.”

Next we see Eriko in the shower, we the scars on her back as the water is running down.

She comes out of the bathroom in shorts and a t-shirt, drying her hair. Heizo is already at his work bench working on something. A bell rings, it’s an old doorbell on a string attached to the shop door.

Heizo: “Ah, coming, coming!”

Eriko: “I’ll...I'll see who it is, Arishima-san”

Heizo: “Oh, Eriko-chan, I didn’t know you were up yet. Good morning. Call me Heizo, remember?”

Eriko: “Oh, ummm...okay...Good morning, He...Heizo-san.”

He lets out a sly little smile and goes back to what he was doing. She goes into the shop, the towel still draped around her neck. There’s a glass front cabinet/counter with junk piled high on it, and tons of stuff on shelves piled everywhere. A neighbor is in the shop.

Eriko: “Miura-san...good morning.”

Miura-san: “Good morning, Eriko-chan. My radio is on the fritz again, can Heizo-san take a look at it?”
Miura-san: “The new speaker’s working well, but I think the volume control has gone bad.”
Broadcaster: “Today is the 51st prefectural high-school math competition. The winner will go on to represent the prefecture in the national championships. We’ll bring you details of the awards ceremony tonight.”
She stands, places it in his hand, and she walks off down the alley, away from the street. The man just stands there looking at her. She’s backlit as she walks down the alley, there is a serene, but sad, and statuesque quality to her. A feather floats in the air.

Eriko: “Umm, it seems to break...a lot. Maybe you should get a new one.”

Miura-san: “This one has been with me for a very long time. It’s told me all about the world. I’m sure it’s got lots of years left, maybe more than I do! It just needs a tune up. No need for something new, when something old still has life left in it. Right Heizo-san?”

Heizo is coming into the shop from the back.

Heizo: “Yataro-san! Good morning. How’d that last repair hold up?”

Heizo: “I’ll take a look today, why don’t you stop by tomorrow to pick it up?”

Miura-san: “Thank you Heizo-san. Good seeing you again Eriko-chan.”

Eriko gives a slight bow.

Eriko: “G...goodbye...thank you for coming

Miura-san (to Heizo): “She tends shop, she’s polite, and she’s beautiful to boot, I see why you took her in Shishou!*”

(ed. note: Shishou is "master" as in a master teacher - in this case, one old man teaching another old man new tricks!)

Heizo: “Shishou?! Hoho! Well, she’s mine, you can’t have her!”

Miura-san: “We’ll have to let the beautiful lady decide about that.”

Eriko blushes.

Eriko: “Um, I...I don't...I mean...”

Miura-san: “ha ha! Oh to be young! Eriko-chan, I didn’t mean to embarrass you, we’re just old men having fun because you’re so easy to tease, ignore us. Besides, I’m sure you’ve got someone your own age whose chasing after you.”

Eriko waves her hands embarrassedly in front of her.

Eriko: “No, no, nothing like that.”

Heizo: “Maybe she’s the one doing the chasing?”

Eriko gives an exasperated, wide eyed look at Heizo.

Eriko: “Wha???!!!”

Miura-san: “She really is fun to tease isn’t she?”

Heizo: “One more reason I think I’ll keep her around.”

Miura-san: “Thanks again, see you later Heizo-san, Eriko-chan.”

Heizo: “Goodbye Yataro-san, thank you for your business.”

Miura leaves, waving, the door opens, the bell rings, the door shuts. Eriko pushes the radio at Heizo angrily/embarrassedly.

Eriko: “I’m...I’m going out!”

Heizo (laughing): “Ho ho! Will I see you for dinner later?”

Eriko's expression relaxes.

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...I know... you were just having fun. I didn’t mean...”

Heizo: “Eriko-chan, relax, you don’t have to worry so much.”

Eriko: “Oh, you need help in the shop today?”

Heizo: “No, no, it’ll be quiet today. Go out with your friends.”

Flash backs to Eriko talking to Yuka at the end of last chapter about being friends:
Eriko: “ you want to be...friends...too?”

Yuka reaches out to take Eriko’s hand in hers
[end flashback]

Eriko (to herself): “Friends...?”

She’s absent mindedly thinking about this as she walks back into the house. Heizo returns to sit at his work bench. He turns on a small black and white TV. There’s a news program playing. It goes from the weather to a news story.

Aiko, Suzu, and Yuka outside an official looking building with a banner stating "51st Prefectural High-School Math Competition." Suzu is fussing over Yuka’s clothes and hair like a mom would. Yuka is fussing back. She wriggles free and is looking around, over and around Suzu and Aiko.

Suzu: “What are you looking for?”

Aiko (sternly to Yuka): “She’s not coming, it’s not like you invited her so she doesn’t know where you are anyway.”

Suzu tips her head in curiosity at this comment.

Suzu (to herself): "Is she talking about that girl?"

Yuka seems sad at Aiko's statement, remembering Eriko getting so upset about the competition a few days earlier (slamming her fists into her desk and standing up "That's unfair.")

Aiko: “Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re here with you, like every year.”

Suzu: “Yeah! We’re here for you! Do your best Yuka! We love you.”

Aiko: “We’ll be waiting for you. Good luck!”

Yuka leaves, at first with head down, then picks it up, turns around with a smile and a triumphant pose, waving at them, they’re waving back. Others are entering the competition site.

Suzu (to Aiko): “Let’s get something to eat while we wait.”

We see Aiko and Suzu in a cafe. We see them through the window talking, ordering, drinking coffee. These scenes are alternated with scenes of Yuka in the competition doing the written test in row after row of other students. These scenes also alternate with scenes of Eriko wandering aimlessly through the streets of town. Eriko finds herself at the familiar alley.

Eriko (to herself): "I always seem to end up here..."

She crouches down in the shadows and watches people on the street pass by (men and women holding hands, little kids holding hands with their parents). She flashes to images of Yuka holding her hand, pulling her along, and of Yuka holding her fingers on the flower but these dissolve into the images of a hand with the feather and blood from her dream last night. She shivers, a little tear forms.

Eriko (to herself): "What's wrong with me?"

She pulls her knees in tight against her body as she crouches in the shadows. She closes her eyes with her head down on her knees.

Suzu and Aiko leave the café and move to a bench outside under a tree.

Suzu: “So what do you know about Arishima-san?”

Aiko: “You two know each other?”

Suzu: “We ran into her the other day when Yuka and I were out. It seems like they’re pretty close.”

Aiko: “Close?! She’s a delinquent, she’s no good for Yuka...”

Suzu: “But...?”

Aiko: (sigh) “But, Yuka seems to want to be friends with her anyway.”

Suzu (off to the side): “Friends, huh?”

Suzu (to Aiko): “Do you really think she’s trouble? I get the feeling that she might really care about Yuka.”

Aiko: “I don't think she cares about anybody, not really. If she did, she’d be here today.”

Suzu looks up and across the street, and there in the alley is Eriko, crouched with knees pulled up, head down in her knees. It’s not clear that Suzu actually sees or identifies that it's her.

Suzu: (to herself): “I wonder?”

Aiko looks at her watch, it’s around noon.

Aiko: “She should be getting out now.”

Students are streaming out of the competition site. Yuka runs over to Aiko and Suzu and gives Suzu a big hug.

Suzu: “Looks like you had a good time.”

Aiko: “How do you think you did?”

Yuka looks over at her and nods her head vigorously “yes.”

Suzu: “Alright, let’s get something to eat while we wait for the scoring to finish. We’ve got about an hour until the award ceremony.”

Eriko appears to be sleeping in the alley. A dark shadow is creeping up on her. We see a hand reach out to touch her shoulder.

Man: “Miss?”

Just as he says this and is about to touch her shoulder, she grabs him and flips him on his back, with a knee on his throat and her hand back to punch. She’s got a dark look in her eyes, it’s not her at all, like she’s completely dissociated/in a trance. She looks like she’s clearly about to kill him.

Man: “Please miss, please, I was only making sure you were all right!”

The man appears to be homeless, scruffy and disheveled, and not a threat. Her expression immediately changes and softens as she comes to reality, backs down and releases him.

Eriko: “S...sorry.”

Eriko (to herself): “What was I about to do? I really am dangerous!”

He stands up, he dusts himself off, she’s already back to sitting where she was, knees pulled up, but head turned away from him and looking out at the street again.

Man (nervously): “Ha! You’re really strong! I wasn’t sure I’d make it out of that alive.”

Eriko (quietly and meekly): “Just...just go.”

Eriko doesn’t look at him but continues looking out at the street and the people passing by.

Man: “If you're sure you're okay...if you don’t need anything, not that I have anything to offer. Um...I guess I’ll be on my way.”

Eriko reaches in her pocket and pulls out a few coins (a few yen).

Eriko: “Sorry, take’s all I have on me.”

Man: “Thank you miss, but I couldn’t do that.”

Eriko: “I don’t need it.”

Man: “Who was that?”

It’s dark out. Heizo’s shop. He’s working on something, and he’s got his light on it (with the built-in magnifying glass), he’s also got his magnifying loupes on his glasses too, soldering something. The little TV on his bench is turned to the news.

Newscaster: “The market was slightly down today across the globe as investors…”

The door shuts. He looks up.

Heizo: “Oh, Eriko-chan, is that you?”

Eriko (from another room) “I’m home”

Heizo: “There’s food to heat up if you want.”

We just hear her bedroom door close. Heizo makes a slightly sad/resigned face.

Newscaster: “…winner of the 51st annual prefectural high school math competition is now set to compete in the national championships. The full story after this break from our sponsor…”

It’s morning in class. Eriko has her head down on her desk. Hatsue is talking with the group of girls again. Aiko and Yuka walk into the room together. Yuka sees Eriko and rushes right over to her and puts a paper down on Eriko’s desk. Eriko peeks up, see’s Yuka, blushes, looks down at the paper, raises her head a bit, takes the paper and reads it. The paper is an award certificate for first place in the 51st Prefectural High School Math Competition. Eriko looks up with a shocked expression. She first looks at Yuka, then turns to look at Aiko.

Eriko: “Does...does this mean…?”

Aiko: “That’s right, she won again and is off to nationals.”

Eriko looks down again at the paper, looks up at Yuka who is looking at her expectantly and beaming, and then Eriko tentatively/awkwardly puts her hand out and pats Yuka on the head. Yuka blushes, grabs Eriko’s hand and holds it, smiling broadly. Eriko reflexively pulls away, blushes, and hands the certificate back to Yuka.

Eriko: “Co..Congratulations.”

Aiko: “So where were you yesterday?”

Eriko: “What do you mean?”

Aiko: “Suzu-san and I saw her off, waited for her, and went to the award ceremony. She was even on the news.”

Eriko (to herself): “I didn’t know it was yesterday. Would I have gone if I did?”

Eriko (a bit defiantly): “Good for you.”

Aiko: “You just don’t get it, do you?”

Eriko (getting angry): “Get what?!”

Aiko is just about to retort, but Yuka puts her hand on Aiko’s arm and shakes her head “no.” She takes both Aiko and Eriko’s hands and puts them on her head (as if to make them both pat her on the head at the same time). Hatsue, seeing this, cracks up laughing.

Aiko turns away in defiance and pulls her hand back.

Aiko: “Anyway, Yuka, who do you want to invite?”

Yuka raises Eriko’s hand in the air (volunteering Eriko)

Eriko: “Invite?...To what?”

Aiko: “Don’t worry about it if you don’t want to go.”

Eriko (to herself): “What is her problem?!”

Eriko sees that her hand is still in Yuka's and pulls it back.

Eriko: “I don’t know what you...”

Yuka runs over to Hatsue, grabs Hatsue’s hand and pulls her over to Aiko and Eriko.

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-san, wait, wait!”

Chitose: "What do those freaks want with her now?"

Eriko (to herself): “I don’t understand what’s going on here”

Eriko: “Ha...Hatsue-chan?”

Aiko: “Anyone else?”

Yuka just nods her head 'no.'

Hatsue: “Sorry, what’s going on?”

Aiko: “Yuka-chan’s sister is holding a celebration dinner this weekend at Yuka’s favorite restaurant. Apparently, she’s inviting you both.”

Hatsue: “Restaurant...uh, I don’t know what you’re celebrating, but I’m sure it’s great, but I uh...I won’t be able to make it.”

Eriko looks at Hatsue who is clearly uncomfortable. Yuka looks sad and has pleading eyes at Hatsue.

Hatsue: “I’m sorry Kiyoura-san.”

Aiko: “Plans with your boyfriend?"

Hatsue: “Ummm, yeah, sorta, that."

Eriko (to herself): "She really can't go out alone, can she?"

Eriko: “Umm, What if we...went to someone’s house...instead?”

Aiko: “Are you stupid? Why would that make a difference if she already has plans? Besides, Yuka chose the restaurant.”

Eriko: “I don’t know, I just thought...”

Yuka looks at Hatsue questioningly as if to ask “will that make a difference?” Hatsue sort of confirms it in silent acknowledgement.

Yuka then looks at Aiko and nods 'yes' vigorously.

Aiko: “What?! Are you sure you’re okay with that? I thought you wanted to go out to eat?”

Yuka just nods 'no' quietly, and spreads her arms to indicate ‘the point is to get together with friends, it doesn’t matter where.’ Aiko is shaking her head in disbelief.

Aiko: “It's your party."

Aiko turns to Eriko.

Aiko: "So then Arishima-san, since it was your idea, where is it going to be held? Your place?”

Eriko: “I don’t…I didn’t mean…”

Yuka points to herself.

Aiko: “We can’t make you and Suzu-san do the work, you're supposed to be celebrating.”

Yuka just nods her head 'no' and waves her hands as if to say, ‘it’s not a problem.’

Aiko (sarcastically): “So Arishima-san gets to cancel the dinner, invite us all over to your place, and make you two do all the work. Great job!"

Yuka puts a hand onto Aiko’s arm, looks up at her sweetly.

Aiko: “So is that it? Sigh...Fine...Are you two going to come over to Yuka’s house this weekend to celebrate?”

Hatsue: “Are you going Eriko-chan?”

Yuka looks up hopefully at her, Eriko blushes a little.

Eriko: “I…I guess. If it’s...if it’s really okay.”

Aiko: “What's wrong with you, you just made a big scene about it?”

Everyone ignores Aiko.

Hatsue (to herself): “Okay, Hatsue, you can do this, you’ve been to other people’s houses before. You can just have Tetsu drop you off.”

Hatsue: “Well, would it be okay if I came too then?”

Yuka just flashes a big smile and hugs them both. Eriko blushes.

Hatsue: “Wa!! Kiyoura-san!”

The group of Hatsue's friends watching:

Koari: “What was that all about?”

Chitose: “Now she's going to the freak's house?”

Satomi (to herself): “We’ll see Ha-chan...we’ll see...”

(to be continued...)

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