In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 31

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw so I'm publishing the scripts here for your enjoyment! 

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

Chapter 31
"I'm a Monster"

Nighttime, a train pulls into a station. Eriko gets off, the crowd thins, the train pulls away, she’s still standing on the platform looking down.

Eriko (to herself): “How could I have been so stupid? Of course she doesn't like me the way I like her. How could she? He’s a genius like her, and he’s...he’s...a boy! I’m just so stupid...stupid...stupid...”

She puts her arm up over her eyes as they begin to tear. Tears are streaming down and dripping on the pavement. She’s alone at night in the empty train station.

Aiko, Suzu and Yuka are at dinner in Tokyo after the finals. They’re all eating quietly and solemnly, a black cloud hovers over the group. They’re listless and not making eye contact, just eating in silence.

Suzu: “I’m sure she’s okay, Yuka. Maybe something come up with her guardian and she had to rush back.”

Yuka looks up a little hopefully.

Suzu: “Don’t you think so too Aiko?”

Aiko: “mmmm” (disinterested affirmation)

Yuka is looking at Aiko hopefully but Aiko isn’t making eye contact. Yuka goes back to eating, just pushing food around her plate, finally she just puts her chopsticks down.

Suzu: “Let’s all get a good night’s sleep tonight, you’ve still got a fever. Maybe you can catch up with her tomorrow when we’re back in town, okay?”

Yuka nods slightly without really making eye contact (looking down, with hands in her lap).

Eriko is walking home through the empty streets from the train station, it’s very late at night, a clear night with the stars and moon out.

Eriko (to herself): “What’s wrong with me? I don't have any memories, I have horrible dreams and all these injuries, I have feelings for a girl who loves a boy. Why can’t I just be normal?”

The black panels with white starbursts representing Kami-sama and Eriko’s mother.

Kami-sama: “Humanity does not fit her; their evils, their flaws, their insecurities, their pain. What does she know of these things? Why would she want these things?”

Eriko’s mother: “And yet, with all their complexity, all their fragility, we exist to serve them.”

Kami-sama: “Yes, because of our boundless, age-less power, we transcend that suffering. Perhaps she is beginning to realize that what she wished for isn’t what she has found.”

Eriko’s mother: “Give her time, she is new to her humanity. Whether she succeeds or fails, she will emerge a more complete being.”

Kami-sama: “Perhaps you are correct. However, I wonder if she will not be forever dissatisfied regardless of which path she chooses for simply knowing that the other path exists?”

Eriko’s mother: “One being was never designed to be both god and man. That distinction was lost the moment she met that girl. The choice to let her walk both paths was no longer yours to make. Have faith in her, that she will emerge less perfect but more complete for this ordeal.”

Kami-sama: “You are the voice of hope to a world sullied with tragedy, despair, and suffering. But should the righter or wrongs leave us, who will turn your hope into reality?"

Back to Eriko walking through town in the dead of night.

Eriko (to herself): “What am I going to do now? How do I stop these feelings? What do I do when I have to see her every day? How can I just forget?”

Right then a hand is placed over Eriko’s mouth and she is dragged into a dark alley. She is thrown to the ground, a man is on top of her, he is holding a knife to her with his hand still covering her mouth.

Man: “Scream and I kill you!”

Eriko is struggling, but the man is big and strong.

Eriko (to herself): “What's he going to do to me?"

Man: “Shh, shhh, calm down and this won’t hurt so bad.”

Eriko’s eyes widen in the worst fear. The man starts to unbutton her shirt with one hand.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh god, no, no...”

She flashes back to Yuka, the back of her neck, the necklace, holding hands, touching the flower, her smile.

Eriko (to herself): “This can’t be could I look at you ever again...?”

The man is opening up her shirt, exposing her bra. She's struggling against him.

Eriko (to herself): “No, no, no, no, I’m not ready to give up on you, I’m not ready to give up on these feelings...”

Eriko’s eyes roll back into her head. They fill with blackness, a dark calmness comes over her face and her body relaxes.

Man: “That’s right, don’t put up a fight, this will all be over so...”

Suddenly her hand is around his throat, squeezing, squeezing so tight his eyes begin to bug out. The vantage point of the viewer shifts to the entrance to the alley from the street but the contents of the alley are all black in shadow. We hear a gurgling, gasping, then a scream, a thud, then silence.

Eriko comes stumbling out of the alley with her shirt still partly open, blood all down her arms and splattered across her body.

She holds onto the corner of the building with one arm to stabilize herself. She looks down at her hands covered in blood.

Eriko (to herself): “What, what happened? Why am I covered in blood? I...I don’t think I’m hurt anywhere. But whose blood is this?”

She turns back to look and sees the crumpled figure of the man in a pool of blood. She gasps, bends over and throws up.

She stumbles down the street.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh god, oh god, what happened!? I don’t remember anything. I don’t remember? Why don’t I ever remember anything! What happened to me? What is happening to me?!”

Back in the alley is the body of the man, his neck broken, stab and slash wounds all over him and the knife still in his chest. Blood all over the ground and on the walls.

Eriko is at the bank of the canal where she frequently rested in prior chapters. It’s still dark out, but the dawn is coming. She is in her underwear, washing the blood out of her clothing in the canal.

Eriko (to herself): “I’ve got to get it out, I’ve got to get it all out....oh god, what did I do? What did I do?”

Painful flashbacks to being held down, the knife at her throat. The look of the dead body, the blood all over her. Back to now, she’s gasping with eyes wide open, her hand over her mouth, tears streaming down her face.

Eriko (to herself): “How can I be around her now, knowing what I’m capable of? This is what Okumura was always worried about...this is what I’ve been worried about.”

She looks up at the moon in the clear night sky with tears streaking down her cheeks.

Black panels with white starbursts representing Kami-sama and Eriko’s mother.

Eriko’s mother: “My poor child.”

Kami-sama: “She may always relinquish her request. She will be welcomed back.”

Eriko’s mother: “What is left for her here?”

Kami-sama: “Her duties, her birth-right, her power. It is not too late, she will forget these sufferings in time.”

Eriko’s mother: “Can she really come back home and be content?”

Kami-sama: “Contentedness does not come from achieving ones desires.”

Eriko’s mother: “Have we done the right thing?”

Kami-sama: “What chance does she have if you, beacon of hope, now doubt?”

In the hotel in Tokyo. Yuka and Aiko are sharing a bed, Suzu is in the other bed. Yuka rolls over, eyes open and staring out at the moon through the window. Aiko turns over and sees her.

Aiko: “What’s wrong? Has your fever come back?”

She puts her hand on Yuka’s head.

Aiko: “You don’t feel hot. Try and get some sleep.”

Yuka puts her hand on Aiko’s hand, gives a little half smile and closes her eyes.

Aiko (to herself): “This is what she will do to you. Is it really worth it? Am I strong enough to be your friend and watch it happen?”

Back in town, the dawn is approaching. Eriko opens the door to her house, she comes in and it’s clear her clothes are still wet, they’re dripping on the floor. She takes off her shoes, and walks into the bathroom, she showers to get the rest of the blood off, it’s pooling in the drain.

She’s in pajamas now (maybe shorts and a tank top?) and takes her wet clothes into the kitchen. She gets a garbage bag, bags the clothes, and goes outside and places them in the dumpster/garbage can. The sun is just starting to peak above the horizon. She stands there watching the sky.

When she goes back into the house, Heizo is in the kitchen making breakfast. Eriko is shocked to see him.

Eriko: “Oh, Arishima-san, I...I'm sorry I woke you.”

Heizo: “You’re home early, or is it late?”

Eriko: “It’s...early, I suppose.”

Heizo: “How did things go with the little miss? Did you find her?”

Eriko: “mmm” (a quiet, sad affirmative)

Heizo: “Sit, I’ll get you breakfast and you can tell me all about it. Allow this old man to live vicariously through you young kids. Ha!”

Eriko: “Thank you, but...I’m tired...I should sleep.”

Heizo: “Ah yes, staying out late, sleeping in...that's the life!”

Eriko has been avoiding eye contact the whole time.

Eriko: “mmmm”

Heizo: “Well, goodnight, I’ll be here when you get up.”

Eriko (to herself): “Do you promise? What if you knew? Where would I go?”

Eriko: “Goodnight.”

She walks off to her room. Heizo goes back to making breakfast.

Heizo: “Oh dear, I let the fish burn!”

Middle of the day, the sun is bright and high in the sky. The train pulls in to the station and Aiko, Suzu and Yuka disembark.

Suzu: “I’ll get our stuff home, why don’t you two check in on Arishima-chan?”

Yuka nods 'no' and points to herself.

Suzu: “I’d feel better if Aiko-chan went with you. Do you mind Aiko?”

Aiko (to herself): “I don't want to help them.”

Aiko: “My driver will be here soon. I'll have him take us."

Suzu: “Is that okay?”

Aiko: “Well, that’s why my father pays him.”

Yuka is looking up at her gratefully.

Suzu: “Good luck girls. I hope she's okay.”

Suzu (to herself): “Thank you Aiko, I know this can’t be easy for you.”

It’s mid-morning. Eriko is sleeping fitfully in her bed, the curtains are drawn but light is streaming in. She pulls a pillow over her head, but ultimately gives up and throws it against the wall. She sits up, a mess. She sighs with her head down and hands in her lap.

Eriko (To herself): “Ughhh, I can’t sleep at all. I have to get out of here. I can't stop thinking about everything that happened."

We see Heizo at the counter of the shop, tinkering with something. The radio is on.

Radio: “...wanted rapist who has evaded police capture was found dead early in the morning. It appears he was slain in some sort of attack. Police are looking for the other party. It is unclear if it was self defense or murder at this point. We’ll have more on this story...”

Eriko is walking through the shop to the front door, passing Heizo at the counter.

Heizo: “Ah, Eriko-chan, good morning!”

Eriko: “I’m...going out.”

Heizo: “To see your friends?”

Eriko: “No, not today.”

Heizo: “Will you be home for dinner?”

Eriko: “mmmm” (affirmative)

She closes the door behind her. She looks at her bike chained up out front. She thinks back to riding with Yuka. She puts her head down in shame while blushing.

Eriko (to herself): “Ignore it Eriko. You have to let these feelings go."

She leaves the bike and walks. She’s walking down a street when a fancy black car with tinted windows drives past. She doesn’t look up.

In the car:

Aiko: “Driver, stop here please!”

Aiko (to herself): “I’ve done what I can, it’s up to you now. I didn't promise Suzu-san anything more."

Yuka gets out of the car and runs after Eriko who is a few blocks away by now.

Yuka comes up running behind Eriko. Eriko hears the footsteps running. She flashes back to the hand over her mouth, getting dragged into the alley. She panics.

Eriko (to herself): “NO! Not again!”

Eriko turns around quickly with rage on her face, ready to defend herself, yelling...

Eriko: “Don’t touch me! Get away from me!”

But then it’s her staring at Yuka and Yuka staring at her. They’re both wide-eyed at first. Yuka has her arm out reaching for Eriko, but slowly pulls it back as tears start to form in her eyes. Eriko relaxes her stance, straightens up, but looks off to the side.

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...I didn’t know it was you.”

Yuka wipes the tears from her eyes. She manages a half smile. Eriko turns to see this and blushes.

Eriko: “Why are you here?” (coolly)

Yuka takes a step towards her, with her hands clasped in front of her chest over the necklace.

Eriko (to herself): “Don’t look at me like that, please don’t look so cute. What do you want with me now? What could I possibly do for you?”

Eriko's voice is cold, quivering, and escalating.

Eriko: “Wh...what...what do you want?!”

Yuka puts her head down a little.

Eriko (heightened): “If it’s about...if it’s about that boy....well, I know....okay?!”

Eriko (to herself): “This isn't how I want to talk to her."

Yuka looks up and smiles and nods 'yes' hopefully as if she thinks Eriko does understand that she's not interested in him.

Eriko (to herself): “So it’s really true. I can’t believe I ever thought you liked me that way.”

Eriko: “Oh, I see...I...I have to go.”

She turns and starts walking. Yuka is staring after her. But then starts to run after her and reaches out and grabs the back of Eriko’s shirt. Eriko turns around using her arm to bat away Yuka’s arm. Yuka stumbles to the ground with the impact.

Eriko: “Why?...just...just, leave me alone!”

She turns back and walks away leaving Yuka on the ground blinking up after her, tears welling up in her eyes. Aiko walks over and kneels beside Yuka.

Aiko: “Let’s go home. You did your best. There’s nothing more you can do. That’s just the way she is.”

Aiko (to herself): “Good, maybe this will be the end of things after all.”

Eriko is under the bridge by the canal now, lying under the overpass, looking up at the ironwork beneath the bridge, there are some birds going in and out of nests underneath.

Eriko: “I really can’t control myself. Okumura-san was right. I just pushed her down again. I didn't mean to hurt her. All I really want to do that can’t happen. She loves that boy and I’m a violent, dangerous...girl.”

She rolls over on her side and slowly closes her eyes and falls asleep.

It’s all black, this is the “cave” dream she keeps having.

Narration: “The air is so still, it’s like no one has been in here for centuries. It’s hard to catch my breath. Where am I?”

Sound of running water, tinkling over things, just a light stream.

Narration: “There’s water. Maybe I can find a way out if I follow where it’s flowing. But it's so hard to move. That's it, just put one hand in front of the other."

There’s a small dot of light in the distance.

Narration: “Is that light? That must be the way out. I have to get there...How long have I been crawling? It’s taking so long. It’s not getting any bigger, it’s not getting any closer...What's that? The water, oh god, it’s rising!”

We see a hand place down into the blackness of the water causing ripples.

Narration: “What am I touching? That isn't rock, why is it warm?"

The hand pulls up out of the water and there’s something clumped in it. The hand opens and there is a mass of feathers with dark liquid dripping off them.

Narration: “Feathers? This isn’t water at all! Oh my god, what the hell happened, what is this, who did this?!”

Eriko startles awake gasping.

Eriko (to herself): “ was just a dream. But why do I keep having them? Am I remembering some other horrible thing I’ve done?"

More shots of the birds flitting around in the iron work.

At school in the morning, Yuka gets out of Aiko’s black town car followed by Aiko.

Aiko (to the driver): “Thank you for picking Kiyoura-san up today.”

Yuka looks downcast. Hatsue comes running up.

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-chan! How did it go? I was thinking about you all weekend.”

Yuka just nods back and forth 'no' very slowly and solemnly.

Aiko: “Unfortunately she got sick. She did tie for second though.”

Hatsue: “Second at nationals, that’s amazing Kiyoura-chan! I’m so happy for you!”

Hatsue grabs her hands. Yuka looks up and smiles a little. Then Yuka starts walking in towards school. Hatsue looks surprised at Aiko. Aiko starts walking in without acknowledging Hatsue. Hatsue rushes to catch up.

Hatsue (to herself) “Maybe she’s still feeling sick. I wonder where Eriko is? I figured she’d be pretending to sleep out here while waiting for Kiyoura to show up.”

As they walk into the school, the bench where Eriko usually lays is empty. Yuka’s eyes follow it, she imagines Eriko lying there, she thinks about the times she’s gone over to bother her or poke her while she’s been lying there, then goes back to see the reality of the empty bench.

They’re in class now, people are coming in. Yuka turns to see that Eriko’s desk is still empty. She starts staring out the window, watching people come in from the front gate, but the crowds get thinner, finally at the end Eriko shows up, walking through the front gate, down the sidewalk and into the school. Yuka’s heart beats.

                Sound effect: "Ba-dump, Ba-dump"

Eriko finally walks into the room just as the bell is ringing. As she’s coming up to her desk she makes eye contact with Yuka. She turns away shyly and nervously (not defiantly). Sits down in her desk without saying a word and puts her head down on her arms. Yuka looks sad and small. Hatsue notices this.

Hatsue (to herself): “What's with them? Is Eriko still upset Kiyoura didn't tell her about the competition? Is she really that stupid?”

Yuka is staring at Eriko. Aiko puts a hand on Yuka’s shoulder. Hatsue sees this too.

Hatsue (to herself): “What does Okumura-san know? I thought things were going so well, especially after they sorted out her birthday gift.”

Shots of school passing by. Eriko keeps her head down the whole time. Yuka keeps stealing glances. It’s lunchtime now. Yuka comes over to Eriko, goes to touch her, pulls her hand back, but then taps her on the shoulder. Without looking up, Eriko mumbles a questioning sound.

Eriko: “nnnhmmmm?”

Yuka pulls on Eriko's sleeve a little. Eriko looks up from her arms, her eyes are red and puffy, as if she’s been crying. Yuka holds up the bento for Eriko to see.

Eriko (quietly): “I'm...I’m not hungry.”

Eriko puts her head back down on her arms. Yuka tries poking her again. Eriko ignores it. Aiko comes up and puts a hand on Yuka’s shoulder.

Aiko: “Let’s go outside, maybe she’ll join us when she gets hungry.”

Hatsue (to herself): "Wow, that was almost kind."

Aiko (To herself): “Is she actually pouting? I didn't think she was that sort of girl. She seems more sensitive than I would have thought. Well, whatever, I guess it helps my cause.”

She leads a sad Yuka away. Hatsue comes up to Eriko.

Hatsue: “Um, what was that exactly?”

Eriko answers again without lifting her head.

Eriko: “It’s nothing...I’m just not hungry.”

Hatsue: “What happened? I thought things were going well? You’re not still upset she didn’t invite you to the tournament are you?”

Eriko: “No.”

Hatsue replies sarcastically.

Hatsue: “Really?! Back to one word answers with me? I thought I’d finally gotten you talking.”

Eriko is silent, doesn’t bring her head up.

Hatsue: “Well, I'm hungry.”

Hatsue sits down in the seat in front of Eriko’s, takes out her food and starts eating.

At the shoe lockers at the end of the day.

Aiko: “Sorry Yuka, I have volleyball practice after school, the summer tournament is coming up, so I can’t give you a ride home. Are you okay taking the train?”

Yuka nods 'yes' quietly.

Aiko: “Are you sure? I could call my driver anyway and have him take you home?”

Yuka just puts a hand up to say she’s fine, don’t worry.

Aiko: “Okay. I’ll call you later.”

Aiko (to herself): “Can I keep pretending everything is normal?”

Aiko leaves. Yuka starts putting on her shoes. Eriko is across the way putting her shoes on, they aren't even looking at each other. Hatsue comes up to Eriko and says quietly:

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, did you hear that? Hurry up! Now’s your chance to get some more time alone with her?”

Eriko: “Doesn’t matter.”

Hatsue: “What do you mean it doesn’t matter?”

Eriko: “I’m going home. Bye.”

Hatsue (quietly, almost to herself): “Bye?”

Hatsue is left staring as Eriko walks out of the building first. She glances over at Yuka who is also just sadly watching Eriko walk away.

Hatsue (to herself): “What's wrong with them? Is it a lover’s quarrel? I guess that means at least there's love? Should I pushing things along a bit?”

Hatsue goes up to Yuka and nudges her forward while saying:

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-chan, go, go!”

Yuka looks back at Hatsue in surprise.

Hatsue: “Don't give up, Run!”

Yuka starts to take a step forward, she flashes back to being pushed away by Eriko, and stops moving. She drops her head, shakes it 'no.' And starts slowly walking out of school with Eriko far ahead in the distance.

(to be continued...)

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