In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 4

Part of an ongoing yuri comic story told in script format. Go here for other chapters.

In the Morning, I'll Say Hello

Chapter 4

"Second Day - Part 2"

All black.

                Narration: "Is this all there is?"

                Narration: "That would be sort of comforting."

A drip hits a black surface creating a faint white ripple.

Narration: "Sound? It' in here...but the air seems so still, so...dead. I wonder if there is anyone else here?"

Narration: "What if there isn't? What if it's only me? Who am I even? Am I anything? Am I alone? I...I don't want to be alone. God, please, I don't want to be alone!"

Suddenly Eriko sits up straight, screaming out. She's in class, in her desk. She had fallen asleep in class and she's just woken up from a nightmare with a scream and a start. Everyone in class has turned and is looking at her. A couple girls start giggling off to one side.

                Girl: "Shhh, don't let her hear you!"

A few others are murmuring about her.

                Girl: "Is this what it's going to be like all year?"

                Girl 2: "Why does she even come to school?"

Eriko just looks embarrassed and sinks into her seat a little, slouching down to try and be discrete. Hatsue winks at her and turns back around in her chair. Aiko hasn't even moved or looked. Yuka looks relieved and smiles at her. Eriko blushes at this and looks away. The teacher, noticing that everything is alright takes command.

Teacher: "As I was saying, we'll have a lab on this Thursday so you'll need to know the reactions ahead of time to prepare your hypothesis statements. Homework chapters are written on the board. That's it. Dismissed."

The students are all packing up and leaving. The teacher comes over to Eriko.

Teacher: "Nice of you to join us Arishima-san.”

A random student whispers to a neighbor.

Whisper: “Isn’t sensei afraid of her?”

Eriko speaks quietly, without making eye contact with the teacher.

Eriko: “”

Teacher: “Well, anyway, since you’re here now can you please take these to the science department for me and get the supplies for the next class?"

Eriko turns her head to the right (away from the teacher and Yuka) and sheepishly says:

Eriko: "I...I don't know the way."

Yuka stops packing her bag and turns around all excited towards the teacher. She looks at Eriko, then up at the teacher. Aiko puts down the book she’s been reading. Yuka jumps up waiving her hand in the air.

Teacher: "That's right, the guidance counselor did assign Kiyoura-san to show you around the school. This will be a good opportunity. Thank you Kiyoura-san."

The teacher hands Eriko the papers and Yuka grabs Eriko’s hand and pulls her quickly out of the room.

Eriko: “Wait...”

Aiko furrows her brow and just starts reading the book again. She turns a page, lowers her head a bit, and slams the book down onto the desk, clearly unable to concentrate.

Random student: “What’s wrong with her?”

Eriko and Yuka are walking down the hall. Yuka is still holding her hand leading the way. Yuka is beaming with happiness.

Eriko (to herself): "Why is she so excited to do this? She's always grabbing my hand. Shouldn't she be afraid of me by now?"

Eriko: "Why are're so...are you...?"

Yuka looks up at her and gives her a big smile. Eriko blushes strongly and turns her head away. Heart beat sound effects.

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

                Eriko (to herself): "Why?"

Eriko: "Just...just tell me the way...I don't need help."

Yuka just stares up at her. Eriko forcefully lets go of her hand.

                Eriko (to herself): "Her eyes, she's always...looking..."

Eriko: "Ughhh, just go away already.”

Yuka stares at her now empty hand and then looks back up at Eriko's stern face. She points the direction, then turns, and walks away with her head down a bit. Eriko looks after her for a moment, then puts her own head down.

Eriko (to herself): “Dammit, I didn’t mean it like that. But...she just bothers me. Those little hands, that stupid smile...that smile of hers...ughhh, what am I thinking? Why should I care anyway?...Even if I was mean to her.”

Eriko looks back up and sees Yuka playing hopscotch on the black and white tiled floor (jumping from one black linoleum square to another).

Eriko (to herself): "Fine, I guess it didn’t bother her anyway. Whatever, I don’t care!”

Eriko turns and stalks down the hall.

She comes to the science department with the papers she's been carrying. Next to the door, is a display case with all sorts of photos and award ribbons and she sees a picture of Yuka with a second place prize in a math competition and a pinned up newspaper article about it. There is a really handsome boy next to her (Isei Yoshikawa) with the first place prize in the picture. Hatsue is coming down the hall and notices Eriko staring at the display case.

Hatsue: "She's amazing, isn't she? She’s always first in the class. This is from the national math competition. She placed second in the whole country!"

Eriko is just looking stunned.

Hatsue (laughing a bit): "Hee hee! You had no idea, did you?"

Eriko: "I... I didn’t think..."

A pause where they’re both looking back at the photo.

Eriko: “S...Sorry..."

Hatsue just tilts her head to this.

Eriko: "About before...I didn’t wasn’t hit you or anything.”

Hatsue gives her a warm smile.

Hatsue: "I know. You were just trying to protect Kiyoura-san weren't you?! I could tell you tried to pull up at the last minute to keep from hurting her."

Eriko (to herself): "She...she saw?"

Eriko: "I...I wasn't...K...Kiyoura...protecting...?"

Hatsue is stifling a little giggle at Eriko's flustered response. Students are coming down the hall waving towards Hatsue.

Random student: "Ha-chan, Ha-chan! We heard what happened in PE, are you okay?"

Student 2: “Kinoshita-san said that some delinquent hit you.”

Student 3: “Wait, isn’t that her?”

The three shrink back in horror, almost hiding behind Hatsue.

Hatsue: “What, you mean Arishima-san here?”

Student 1: “Arishima-san? Isn’t she the one who hit that little girl from your class yesterday?”

Hatsue: “There's no way she wou..."

Hatsue notices Eriko looking down.

Hatsue: "Wait, you hit Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko: “Umm....yes. B...But I didn’t...”

Student 2: "Come on Ha-chan! Let’s go before she does it again!”
The students are dragging Hatsue away. Hatsue turns her head and waves a bit to Eriko and winks knowingly while mouthing silently:

                Hatsue: "Don't worry, I know"

Eriko sticks up her hand in goodbye back, looks at her hand like "What am I doing?" As she's studying her hand more she curls it into a fist, she flashes back to accidentally hitting Yuka the day before in the bathroom.

Eriko (to herself) "Protecting...if only...all I’ve done is hurt her. Those girls were right. Maybe I really am a delinquent. It would explain a that really right?"

It’s the end of the school day, dismissal time, the students are at their lockers getting their stuff. Eriko comes around the corner and sees Yuka at her locker. Eriko is just sort of watching her from the distance.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s so small...and I hit her, and knocked her down...and today...she held my hand...Dammit, stupid Eriko! Why is she everywhere I look? Why is she always there? Why can’t I stop looking at her when she’s around?”

She’s watching as Yuka is just being her cute self. Yuka is putting various origami animals in her backpack, some flowers she picked fall out. They're all wilted from being in her bag all day. She holds them and they flop down. She straightens them and they flop down (little comedy routine to herself). A girl bumps into Eriko from behind pushing Eriko forward.

                Girl (in passing): "Sorry."

Eriko is now more closely behind Yuka.

                Eriko (to herself): "I...I should apologize."

Eriko: "Thank, for showing me the way...earlier."

Yuka just looks around, to the left and right still with her back to Eriko (sort of like playing a game with her like “who’s talking to me? I can't see anyone."). Eriko gets frustrated at this, not realizing she's being teased in a friendly way.

Eriko: "I'm right behind you!"

Eriko: (to herself): “Ughhhh! That's not what I meant. Why’d I yell at her! Why does she mess me up?”

Yuka turns and looks up at her with an enormous smile on her face. Eriko blushes and turns away from eye contact. Eriko says softly:

Eriko: "Idiot."

Yuka grabs Eriko’s hand and pulls her out the door to where Aiko is waiting.

Aiko: "Oh, is she coming with us? Well, I suppose introductions are in order, seeing as apparently you're determined to keep her around."

                Eriko: "Wa...wait...I'm not..."

Aiko turns to acknowledge Eriko.

Aiko: "I'm Aiko Okumura."

Eriko: "Oh, um...I’m Arishima."

Yuka is tugging on Aiko's outfit and pointing at herself vigorously

Aiko: "And you apparently know Yuka Kiyoura.”

Yuka shakes her head up and down in affirmation. Aiko turns to Eriko.

Aiko: “So you take the J-line too?”

Eriko (to herself): "Wait, where are we going? I never said I was going anywhere."

Eriko: “Ummm...I...”

Aiko: "Anyway, we need to hurry to make the first train. I’m sorry my driver wasn’t able to take you home today Yuka."

Yuka just silently nods 'no' like “don’t worry about it.” Eriko is staring at Aiko.

Eriko: “Driver?”

Aiko: “Yes, it’s something of a company benefit you could say. But I really do prefer taking the train....when they let me.”

Eriko (to herself): “When they let her?"

Yuka just starts pulling Eriko forward, who is looking a bit flustered and stammering:

Eriko: "Wait, hold on..."

Aiko is moving on.

Aiko: "If you're coming, then come. If you're going, then go."

Eriko looks down at Yuka, then away to the side in embarrassment.

Eriko: "Whatever."

Eriko walks behind with them a bit. Yuka skipping and dancing as she walks next to Aiko.

Hatsue is with her friends in the classroom talking still, she sees the three of them walking out together from the window. She smiles a bit, then goes back to talking with her friends.

The three of them are on the train together. Yuka is playing with a stuffed keychain. Eriko is staring out the window looking uncomfortable. Aiko is reading a book and sitting properly. Eriko is sitting across the aisle from Aiko and Yuka who are next to each other. Eriko turns to look at them.

Eriko (to herself): "They look so that what friends look like?"

Eriko turns back to see the scenery going by.

Eriko (to herself): "What am I doing? I don't even live this way."

Aiko appears to be reading her book, but is secretly studying Eriko. Eriko keeps looking up at the station lights, as people come and go and as they get further and further out. She's restless and her mood is darkening.

Eriko (to herself): “How much longer can I keep this up? Once they leave, I’ll get off at the next station...but we’re getting so far from my house.”

Conductor: "S-station, S-station, please mind the gap, have a wonderful day, S-station, S-stat..."

Aiko notices that Eriko is looking uncomfortable and staring at the sign. Aiko asks a rhetorical question coldly to her.

Aiko: "This is where you get off, isn't it?!"

Eriko turns angrily towards Aiko.

Eriko: “What...what do you mean?”

Aiko: “Were you just going to ride the train forever?”

Eriko (to herself): "Does she know? How can she?"

Eriko: “No, I was do you?...”

Aiko: “You don’t want to miss your stop, do you?”

Yuka is looking at this exchange with a puzzled expression.

Eriko: “Whatever.”

Eriko gets up and leaves the train. She turns to look at Yuka staring out the window after her. A slightly smug look on Aiko’s face. The train pulls out. Yuka puts a hand on the window. Eriko blushes and starts to timidly put up a hand (like when she said goodbye to Hatsue in the hall earlier). Eriko is standing there looking after the train as it leaves. She sees her hand up and pulls it down quickly.

Eriko (to herself): "Shit, I...I don't think I have the money to ride back."

She looks around at all the people.

Eriko (to herself): "I’ll guess I can just walk...home?"

We see her walking away, her back to us.

It's getting close to sunset now, the light is getting warmer as it gets lower. Eriko is walking to her home (a couple shots of passing things, walking over bridges, passing the canal - which she'll spend time at in the future, etc...), she finally walks up to the outside of Arishima's shop. There is a light on in one window. The front is an electronics store, with the small house attached behind, with a fence and a shed in the back.

Eriko (to herself): "I'm here...He calls it my home, but I have no home, do I? I wonder where home really is? How long can I really  stay here, depending on him? How long will it take before I remember?"

We flash back to Yuka's hand up on the train window.

Eriko (to herself): “Why am I thinking about that now? Why won’t she get out of my head? Ughhhh! I just can’t do it...I can’t go in...”

She keeps on walking. She goes back to the canal she passed earlier. Eriko is sitting under an overpass with the water flowing beneath it.

Eriko (to herself): “I guess this is better than that alley, even if I won't find any clues here. At least it’s quiet..."

She's throwing pebbles into the water. The sunset is deep now, almost night. The stones are starting to pile up. Eventually one rock sits atop the others and is above the water line.

Flashbacks to the laughing and pointing fingers from PE class after she botched the spike. A flash to the smile on Hatsue's face in the morning and the wink in the hallway. A flashback to Yuka's hand in hers. A flashback to Yuka’s hand on the window of the train.

                Eriko (to herself): "Are friends?"

A butterfly lands on the rock above the water's surface. It looks a lot like the butterfly from the morning. She thinks of Yuka's laughing face from when she put the butterfly on Eriko's hand.

Eriko (to herself): “What’s wrong with me?!”

Eriko angrily throws a rock at the butterfly which flits away, unfazed.

Eriko (to herself): “Will you go away the next time I throw something at you? You didn’t the first time or the second?”

Eriko closes her eyes and lays back. She begins dreaming. All black.

Narration: “Where am I? It’s so dark, should I be able to see?"

There is the ripple again (white on black).

Narration: "The ground is smooth and damp and cool, where is this? The air is so still. I feel like I’m suffocating, like I can’t get enough in. I...I have to get out of here!”

Eventually there is a pinpoint of light in the blackness. It starts very very small but gradually gets a hair bigger (but not much).

Narration: “Is that a light, an opening, a way out? But it’s so far away."

Sound effects: gasping sounds, like someone struggling to breathe

Narration: "I...I can't breathe, the air is so thin and stale, like no one has breathed it in for centuries.”

The light is only getting faintly bigger/closer.

Narration: “I’ve been crawling forever. Shouldn’t I have gotten to that light by now? Why aren’t I getting closer?”

Suddenly the light starts receding into the darkness. There’s the sound of rushing water.

Narration: “Wait, stop, I don’t want to go! I have to get to that light! I have to get there! I have to!”

Eriko wakes up sweating, gasping, breathing fast. Looks around, it's dark out now, the stars are out, the moon is low. She's still under the bridge by the canal.

                Sound effects: Eriko panting, breathing fast.

Eriko (to herself): "It was just a dream, just a dream. That stupid dream again. Every day. Why does it feel familiar?”

She just looks back up at the stars, catching her breath.

Eriko (to herself): “It’s so late, he’ll be worried. I guess I should go back...I shouldn't worry him. I owe him that at least.”

Eriko gets up and starts crawling up the bank to get onto the road. As she turns from the top of the bank onto the side road, all of a sudden, standing there on the overpass, is Aiko.

Aiko is carrying a brown paper bag, wrapped around something. She is looking out over the water at first. Then she turns and notices Eriko standing there. She is slightly startled to see Eriko. She throws the bag over the bridge/overpass into the water. We hear a splashing sound.

We see Aiko close up. Her face is flushed (drunk) and she is looking more flustered, not her normal put-together, proper self. It seems like she's been caught doing something wrong.

Aiko: "I know what you did back there in PE class. I don’t know how you did it, it should have hit her!...It should have hit her!"

Eriko doesn't say anything. Aiko keeps ranting, slurring her speech as she talks.

Aiko: "How long do you really think you can protect her before you just end up hurting her again?"

Eriko: "What are you...what are you talking about?”

Aiko comes down and gets in Eriko's face on the side road.

Aiko: “Don’t play dumb with me. I don’t know what you want with her and I don’t care. But for some godforsaken reason she’s interested in you, when she’s never interested in anyone. But I won’t let anything hurt her, so you better just stay away.”

Eriko just says firmly, quietly, and coldly as she moves past Aiko:

Eriko: “Get out of my way.”

Aiko: “I’m not going anywhere, I’ve always been there for her and I always will.”

Eriko turns around to face her.

Eriko: “Are you a stalker?!?”

Aiko: "Like you should talk, taking the train when you don't live anywhere near us!"

Eriko blushes.

Eriko: " what?”

Aiko: “So stay away. I don’t want you getting her hopes up only to destroy them when she figures out what you really are?”

Eriko: (to herself): “What I really am? Like you could possibly know? I don’t even know...but you’re probably right about me, anyway.”

Eriko turns back around and starts leaving. She says quietly.

Eriko: “I’m going now.”

Aiko is shouting after her.

Aiko: “You're only going to end up hurting her again. I won't let you hurt her! I won’t let you!"

Aiko is just staring after Eriko, Aiko's hair blowing in the evening breeze. She is flush and fuming.

Aiko (to herself): “I won’t let you have her...”

Yuka and Suzu's small modest apartment complex with the external stairs and landings. We go inside their apartment and look at the door from the inside entryway, the door front door opens.

Suzu: "I'm home."

Suzu takes her shoes off at the entrance. The lights are out in the main space. She turns them on.

Suzu (to herself): "It's awfully quiet, even for Yuka.”

The table is empty, the kitchen is clean, no sign anyone is home.

Suzu (to herself): “Didn't she eat dinner? Well, her shoes are here so I know she’s home at least."

Suzu is looking around, the apartment is perfectly neat. The main room is empty (where the TV, couch, coffee table, and dining room table are). We again see the picture of a person, who is presumably their father, on the shrine.

There is some light spilling out the bottom of Yuka's door. Suzu opens the door to see Yuka asleep at her desk, on top of her books, just her reading light on.

Suzu (to herself): “Oh, Yuka, asleep studying again...”

In the notebook, amongst equations and calculus graphs, is a little doodle of Yuka and Eriko holding hands.

Suzu (to herself): "Now who could this be? It doesn't look like Aiko-chan. What are you up to little one? Did you make a new friend?"

Suzu picks up Yuka carefully, Yuka wraps herself around Suzu like a little child might (head on shoulder, arms around neck, legs around and off to one side. Yuka doesn't open her eyes.

Suzu: "Let's get you in bed, you'll get a stiff neck sleeping like this."

Suzu puts Yuka down in the bed and covers her. Yuka turns on her side, and cuddles up with a stuffed animal, totally and peacefully asleep. Suzu starts brushing the bangs off Yuka’s head.

Suzu (to herself): "How on earth did you end up so cute? It certainly wasn't mom's doing. But thank goodness for that."

We then switch our view to Arishima’s house and see Eriko in her bedroom, sheets a mess, she’s not a beautiful sleeper, as if she's stressed in her dreams, tossing and turning. Mumbling:

Eriko: "no no, don't take me yet, I haven't finished, I have to make it right..."

Black panels with the two white lights like star-bursts for Kami-sama and Eriko's mother (again, not named)

Eriko's mother: “She is starting to remember things, it didn’t take long.”

Kami-sama: "After experiencing eternity, human time will move faster than she is ready for.”

Eriko's mother: “What will happen to her if she doesn't succeed?”

Kami-sama: “What is succeeding? Is she ready to know the type of pain that comes with getting her wish fulfilled? Suffering that exceeds any she has ever handed out? Perhaps succeeding is not getting what one has asked for. Even so, tonight, she must be ours.”

Eriko's mother: “Please, let her sleep tonight, her tasks can wait another day, she’s gone through so much already.”

Kami-sama: “As you wish. But the balance can only wait so long. It will claim her one way or another, as its champion or as its victim.”

(to be continued...)

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