In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 32

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

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

Chapter 32
"Where Did You Go?"

Scenes of Aiko in her volleyball uniform scrimmaging and practicing in the gym. She’s amazing with her serves and spikes. The team is all cheering for her throughout the various activities.

Teammates: “She’s amazing”

Teammates: “That’s our captain!”

Teammates: “Wow, I hope I’ll be that good as a second-year!”

Teammates: “Don’t worry, there’s no way you’ll be that good!”

Teammates: “Hahahaha, you’re right, she’s so cool.”

Practice is done. Aiko is changing with the other girls, toweling off, putting on her uniform in the locker room, others are leaving.

Teammates: “Bye Okumura-sempai, great job today!”

Teammates: “I’m so psyched for the tournament. We’re going to crush them all!”

Teammates: “Bye bye, see you tomorrow.”

Aiko: “Thank you for all your hard work today. Don’t forget what we talked about, we have to always know where the other person is on the court.”

One of the Teammates: “Okay, I’ll remember, don’t worry, I got this!”

Aiko is all alone finishing getting dressed, she puts some stuff away in her gym locker and walks out of the locker room. As she walks out, we see Hatsue leaning against the wall outside the locker room, clearly waiting for Aiko to emerge. At first Aiko doesn’t seem to acknowledge Hatsue’s presence, but keeps walking a few steps. Aiko stops, but without turning around says:

Aiko: “Trying to play the part of a tough-guy, it doesn’t suit you. I figured after everything those other girls did to you, you’d have gotten over your sense of superiority.”

Hatsue: “I’m not the one with the superiority complex.”

Aiko whips around, hair crossing in front of her face before falling back in place, eyes fierce. She speaks sternly, but in cold control.

Aiko: “If you have something to say, say it.”

Hatsue: “What did you do to them?”

Aiko: “I don’t know what you mean. Now, if there's nothing else...”

Aiko turns back around to leave.

Hatsue: “Something is wrong with Kiyoura-san and Eriko-chan. Things were going well. What happened? I know you know something.”

Aiko: “If you think something happened, then I suggest you ask your friend. Goodbye.”

Aiko walks away.

Hatsue (to herself): “What's that supposed to mean? Why won’t anyone tell me what’s going on?”

Dinner at the Arishima household. Heizo and Eriko are sitting in silence. Eriko isn’t making much eye contact.

Heizo: “I hope I’m not prying, but I was wondering how the little miss did this weekend?”

Silence from Eriko.

Heizo: “Hmmm, I think I saw on the news that someone else won, was it close?”

Eriko: “I don’t know.”

Heizo: “Well, did you enjoy the trip? It must have been nice for her to have a friend there to cheer her on.”

Eriko (to herself): “He was so kind to me, paying for my trip, but I just can’t talk about it. I'm terrible.”

Eriko: “Thank you for the food. I’m going to go to bed. You can leave the dishes for me, I’ll do them in the morning.”

Eriko gets up, clears her dishes, and walks away. Heizo sighs.

Heizo (to himself): “I hope I wasn’t wrong to push her into that. But, youth is for exploring love and joy and pain and sorrow. Although it seems you’ve had more than enough of the later.”

Eriko lying in bed. Thinking, rolling around.

Eriko (to herself): “I’m disgusting, I’m selfish, I’m dangerous, I have no memory, I don’t know who I really am, I don’t know what things I’ve done, I don't know why I keep waking up covered in blood. Why am I even here at all? Why did he have to find me, why couldn’t he have just left me there to die?”

She slowly drifts off to sleep.

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

Eriko’s Mother: “Do something, please. Why must you keep her past from her?"

Kami-sama: “That was the deal to which she agreed. To give her back her memories would be to end our arrangement. Are you worried that she doesn't really want what she so desperately begged for, what she said she couldn't live without? Are you ready to decide for her that she should return to us again?”

Eriko’s mother: “That is for her and her alone to decide. But your rules have made it impossible. At least you could have allowed her to remember what she is fighting so hard for!”

Kami-sama: “I neither made things impossible nor is it my job to make things easier. Through her selfish wish, neglecting her duties, she has unbalanced the world. All over the world there is wickedness and evil which must be rooted out. Her struggles are simply the inevitability of the universe seeking balance because she is no longer providing it. I cannot wait any longer, she is needed again amongst us, but not just for tonight.”

Erikos mother: “But that wasn’t the deal! Are you going against your promise?”

Kami-sama: “The arrangement is still in place, should she continue to desire it. But perhaps a longer time performing her role, existing as who she truly is, righting humanity of its ills, will help end her needless suffering."

Back to Eriko’s room, She is rolling over, faint words coming out of while she dreams.

Eriko: “Kiyoura....No...Not again....Kiyoura...”

Above her forms the glowing orb, tendrils of energy reach out to her limbs, her back arches and her muscles stiffen, she begins to rise out of the bed, lifted by the energy. Her eyes remain closed, but she is screaming in silent pain as her body is absorbed. Then in a brilliant flash, the room is empty and both she and the orb are gone.

Heizo rolls over in his bed.

Heizo (to himself): “Just what are you?”

At Yuka’s house. Early morning. The dawn is just showing. The house is quiet. Yuka wakes up, gets dressed, brushes her teeth. Goes into the kitchen starts making lunches. Finally Suzu stumbles out to see what’s going on.

Suzu: “Yuka. It’s so early, what are you doing up?”

Yuka takes hold of her necklace.

Suzu: “So you still haven’t fixed things with Arishima-san yet?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' solemnly.

Suzu: “Making her a bento?”

Yuks nods 'yes' and blushes.

Suzu: “Go get her!”

Yuka lights up and smiles huge at Suzu, gathers up her things and takes off.

Suzu (to herself): “After what I saw at the competition, should I be helping them? On the other hand, maybe I need to worry more about myself. When my little sister is getting more action than I am...HA!"

The sunrise is in full, Yuka arrives at the school early and it’s empty and silent. She goes over to the bench where Eriko typically sleeps. Yuka puts her bag down and sits on the bench, waiting. Time is passing, the sun is rising. We see Yuka laying down on the bench asleep, curled up on her side like a small child. Suddenly there is a hand gently touching her hair.

We see an ethereal vision of Eriko, touching Yuka’s hair, saying:

Eriko: “Yuka...”

With her eyes still closed, Yuka’s face blushes and a sweet smile crosses her face.

Voice: “Yuka....Yuka...”

She opens her eyes to see that it was really Aiko all along.

Aiko: “Yuka, what are you doing here so early?”

Yuka sits up and just shrugs.

Aiko: “You're waiting for her."

Yuka looks away but nods 'yes.'

Aiko: “The bell has already rung, it’s time to come in.”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Aiko: “Maybe she came in while you were sleeping out here.”

Aiko reaches out a hand to her and reluctantly Yuka accepts and gets up and walks in with her.

Aiko and Yuka walk into the classroom, it’s mostly full. Eriko’s desk is empty. Yuka looks pleadingly at Aiko.

Aiko: “She's probably just running late.”

Aiko: (to herself): “Why am I consoling her? I should just let Arishima-san ruin things. But I can't stand seeing her this way.”

They take their seats. Time passes, class goes on, Eriko’s desk remains empty. Yuka keeps staring out the window, no Eriko. Lunch time. Hatsue comes up to Aiko and Yuka.

Hatsue: “Have you heard from Eriko-chan?”

Yuka nods 'no' slowly.

The three of them are eating alone outside in a line, all with quiet, sulking looks on their faces. Aiko is reading a book while eating.

More scenes of class with Eriko’s empty desk. They go down to the shoe lockers at the end of the day. They look in Eriko’s locker, her indoor school shoes are still there. Hatsue puts a hand on Yuka’s shoulder in comfort, Yuka looks up at her. Hatsue gives a little smile, waves and leaves for the day.

                Hatsue: "I'll see you tomorrow."

Aiko: “I’ve got to go too. I’ll call you after practice, Yuka. Bye”

Yuka waves bye, watches as Aiko leaves, then goes off alone herself.

Suzu on the phone in her apartment.

Suzu: “...I figured she was out with you guys.”

Aiko (on phone): “Not with me, I had practice after school.”

Suzu: “Maybe she caught up with Arishima-san?”

Aiko: “I doubt it, Arishima-san didn’t show up for school today.”

Suzu: “Where could she...”

Right then the door opens and closes, the sound of shoes coming in, being taken off.

Suzu: “Hold on Aiko, I think she just got back.”

Yuka is coming into the house, walking straight into her bedroom.

Suzu: “Yuka! Thank goodness, it's so late, are you alright?”

She says this while following Yuka into her bedroom. Yuka just flops on the bed exhausted (onto her stomach).

Suzu: (to Aiko on phone): “Aiko-chan, I’ll call you back, she’s here, she looks really tired.”

Aiko: “Okay, let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

Suzu: “Thank you Aiko-chan, you’re a good friend.”

Suzu goes and sits next to Yuka on the bed, starts rubbing her back. Yuka is hugging a stuffed animal tightly while lying on her side.

Suzu: “You want to talk about it?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Suzu: “Is it about Arishima-san?”

Yuka nods 'yes'

Suzu: “I heard she wasn’t in school today, did you go looking for her?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Suzu: “Did you find her?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Yuka walking around, ultimately going to Heizo’s store. She looks in the window and it’s just him. She went to go ring the bell, but withdraws her hand remembering when Eriko said “Leave me alone!"
[Flashback ends]

Suzu: “I’m so sorry. I can tell how important she is to you, but I don’t know what’s going on with her or why she’s acting like this. Are you sure she’s someone you should get so involved with?”

Yuka rolls over and sits up and looks into Suzu’s eyes with tears in her own and red cheeks.

Suzu: “I'm sorry. That wasn't fair of me. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Yuka hugs her tightly. Suzu hugs back and closes her eyes.

Suzu (to herself): “How much longer will you let me do this for you? You’re growing up so fast. Suddenly there are other people in your life that evoke these intense feelings. I should be happy for you, that you're loved and loving, but I’m jealous....and a little lonely...”

The next day at school, Yuka is waiting on the bench again outside, this time sitting up, solemnly, with hands folded in her lap. Aiko comes up to her from her car, sits down next to her without saying anything, and just takes out a book to start reading. Silently keeping her company.

Students keep walking by. Hatsue comes up, looks at the two of them, a bit perplexed, but sits down on the other side of Yuka. The three of them are there together. No one is talking. The bell rings. Aiko closes her book.

Aiko: “I'm going in.”

Yuka reluctantly gets up too, she’s looking more and more depressed.

Hatsue: (to herself): “Where is Eriko-chan? I hope she’s all right. She wasn’t herself on Monday, and now she’s missed two days of school.”

In class, Eriko’s desk is still empty. The teacher is taking attendance.

Teacher: “Arishima-san is absent again.”

There’s some whispering:

Students: “Finally, she got the point and quit”

Students: “Well, that’s what delinquents do, isn’t it?”

Students: “Good riddance, she was scary.”

Hatsue looks at Yuka who is just staring absent-mindedly out the window. Then at Aiko. Aiko makes brief, glaring eye contact, then turns back to face the front of the room.

The day passes, shots of school, lunch, school, then they’re by their lockers getting their shoes on.

Aiko: “Suzu-san told me you were out looking for her all last night. We were worried, you shouldn’t be out alone.”

Hatsue: “Then why don’t you help her look?”

Aiko: “Why don’t you?”

Hatsue: “That not know I can’t go out...alone...I’ll call her house when I get home.”

Yuka looks up at Hatsue with a smile (like, “that’s a great idea”)

Aiko: “Yuka, don’t get any ideas about going to her house alone after school. Just wait for Fujimaki-san to call her and check. I’m sure she’s just sick, caught your cold from the weekend or something.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Why is Okumura-san being so kind?”

Yuka is nodding 'yes' and waving Aiko away to get her to practice.

Aiko: “I'm going, I'm going. I’ll check in after practice okay?”

Yuka waves bye.

Aiko: “You look suspicious, like you’re planning something.”

Yuka is pushing Aiko away towards practice.

Aiko: “Okay, now I know you’re going to go there. Look, if it’s that important to you, I’ll skip practice and we can go. I’ll have my driver pick us up.”

Yuka looks up at her with a beaming smile.

Hatsue: “Is it really okay for the captain to skip practice?”

Aiko (to herself): “How can I say no to a smile like that.”

Aiko (ignoring Hatsue): “Let’s go, Yuka....Are you coming Fujimaki-san?”

Hatsue: “Really?! Thank you!”

They’re in the towncar headed to Eriko’s house. They’re all silent on the journey. When they get there, Yuka goes to ring the bell, but pauses and brings her hand back. Hatsue reaches over her and rings it and gives her a wink. Heizo comes to the door.

Heizo: “Ah, it’s the little miss and her friends. But...I’m sorry, Eriko-chan isn’t...home.”

Hatsue: “Do you know when she’ll be back?”

Heizo: “I never really know.”

Hatsue: “But we haven’t seen her in days? Is she sick?”

Heizo: “You had better come in.”

They’re sitting around the table now. He’s pouring tea for them, putting small snacks on plates.

Heizo: “I’m so glad she has friends that worry about her."

Hatsue: “Do you know where she is?”

Heizo: “No. But this happens sometimes, although this is longer than usual.”

Aiko: “What exactly 'happens?'”

Hatsue (to herself): “Not like you really care.”

Heizo: “Well, there are times where she goes missing. It usually isn’t this long though.”

Hatsue: “But she always comes back, right?”

Heizo: “So far, but I’ve only known her for a few months. I hope that one day her memories will return and she’ll be reunited with her family. But I’m also afraid that one day she won’t come back anymore.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Eriko told me a little about this but she never really explained.”

Hatsue: “What do you mean about her memories?”

Heizo: “Well, when I found her, she had no memory of who she was or why she was there. She didn’t even know her name. It seems like she still doesn’t.”

Hatsue (to herself): "So Eriko isn't even her name?"

Aiko (to herself): “That explains why my father’s people couldn’t find any background on her...”

Hatsue: “I had no idea it was like that! Poor Eriko-chan!”

Heizo: “She hasn’t told you any of this? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I hope she’ll forgive this old fool for sharing her secret.”

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-san went looking for her yesterday but couldn’t find her anywhere. Do you know where she might have gone?”

Heizo: “I really don’t know where she goes, but you might look for her in one place...”

Hatsue’s house, Aiko’s black car pulls up. Hatsue gets out.

Hatsue: “Thank you for the ride, Okumura-san. I’m sorry I can’t stay with you tonight. Good luck Kiyoura-chan!”

She shuts the door. Inside the car:

Aiko: “Are you sure you want to look for her tonight? It’s getting late.”

Yuka nods 'yes' with determination.

Aiko: “Fine, I’ll let Suzu-san know where we’ll be.”

The car pulls up to the alley where Eriko was found. The two girls get out of the car.

Aiko (to the driver): “Can you wait here please?”

Aiko (to yuka): “I guess this is it. Sort of makes sense he found her in a place like this.”

Yuka gives her an annoyed look.

Aiko: “Anyway, I don’t see her. She’s not here. Let’s go home.”

Yuka vigorously shakes her head 'no.'

Aiko: “What, are you going to stay out all night?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Aiko: “That’s crazy! You don’t know where she is, what she’s doing, or if she’s even coming back. She could have run away, she could have remembered who she is and gone back to her real home like Arishima-san said.”

Yuka just shakes her head 'no' slowly.

Aiko: “What makes you so sure she’s coming back? What if her memories did come back, she’ll have family and friends she misses. We’ve only known her for a few months, we’re nothing to her.”

Yuka puts her hand over her necklace.

Aiko: “Fine. Then where do you want to look next?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' and points to the alley.

Aiko: “You really think she’s going to show up here?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Aiko: “Whatever. I'm going to find a place to sit.”

Scenes of them sitting on a bench across the street waiting. At one point it’s just Yuka. Aiko comes back with some food for them to eat. It’s getting darker and darker, the sun goes down, they’re still sitting. Doing homework, eating’s evening now, dark out.

Aiko: “Ready to go yet?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

More scenes of them sitting, Aiko reading with a flashlight. Yuka just sitting there patiently. Over time her eyes begin to get heavy, she’s fighting off sleep. Finally she falls asleep against Aiko’s arm. Aiko looks down at her, gets up, bends down to pick her up, puts her arms under her and lifts her and is carrying her over to the waiting car when there is a bright flash of light.

Aiko: “What was that?”

Yuka in her arms, rubs her eyes, then her eyes get huge and she’s pointing. There in the alley, lying on her side with her hair all over the place is Eriko. She covered in blood and wounds, two particularly bad long parallel wounds on her back.

(to be continued...)

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