In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 46

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm posting the scripts here. I hope you enjoy!

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" - by Jaime Lustig
Chapter 46

The next day. A big grave in a fancy cemetery. There are many generations of Okumura family members listed on it.

Aiko (to herself): “Sigh. Just me again this year. I hope you all don’t mind.”

She cleans the grave with water, scrubs it down. She starts putting flowers in the various vases that are attached to the grave. Then she lights the incense and claps and says a silent prayer.

Aiko (to herself): “I wonder where mom’s name will go?”

She is running her hand along the stone of the grave.

Aiko (to herself): “Will father even come to her funeral?”

She’s so angry that without realizing it, she reaches out and snaps one of the flower steps in half leaving it leaning limply in the vase, destroying the perfection of the work she had done cleaning it. She gets up, dusts herself off, turns around sharply and walks away.

That evening at Hatsue’s house. Hatsue and Eriko are getting their yukatas on.

Eriko: “Thank you for helping me get dressed again.”

Hatsue: “I’m happy to, it’s like you’re my own doll to play dress up with!”

Eriko: “Gross!”

Hatsue: “Here, help me with this, would you?”

Eriko: “You really do look amazing. He'd better control himself.”

Hatsue: “ think? Oh, maybe I shouldn’t wear...”

Eriko: “No, I’m sorry, it’ll be fine. I’ll be there.”

Hatsue: “Whew, you’re right, I can do this!”

Eriko: “Says the one who’s usually pushing me!”

Hatsue: “Hee hee!”

Yuka is getting dressed in her yukata, looking at herself in the mirror. Futzing with her hair, etc... Suzu comes in.

Suzu: “You look so cute! I want to go now too!”

Yuka nods 'yes' vigorously.

Suzu: “No, it’s okay, I’m going to get a drink with some work friends."

Suzu (to herself): "I usually cancel on them, I can't do it again."

Suzu: "Besides, I don’t want to get in the way of your date.”

Yuka looks horrified, blushes, then vigorously shakes her hands in front of her signaling 'no, it’s not anything like that.'

Suzu: “Uh, huh, sure, whatever. Anyway. Have you heard from Aiko-chan?”

Yuka looks glum and shakes 'no,'

Suzu: “She hasn’t answered my calls either. Did something happen?”

Yuka looks down sadly.

Suzu: “You didn’t tell me much about her tournament. Did they do as bad as they usually do?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' and her eyes open wide but sorrowful.

Suzu (to herself): “Aiko isn't one to brood about losing a match."

Suzu: “So what did happen?”

Yuka’s eyes start to well up.

Suzu: “Yuka!?”

Suzu takes Yuka into her arms and hugs her tight.

Suzu: “Shhh, shhh, it’ll be okay, I’m sure whatever happened, you two will fix things. You're so important to each other.”

Suzu (to herself): “Yuka's going on a data and Aiko is suddenly avoiding her. Man, teenagers are tough to keep up with. I’m starting to feel really old.”

The expensive residential psychiatric hospital. Aiko is sitting next to her comatose mother who is still hooked up to various IVs and looking really withered and thin/gaunt.

Aiko: “I said 'hello' to grandma for you today.”

Just silence in the room.

Aiko (to herself): “Will you see her soon? Maybe that would be a good thing. This isn't how I want to remember you.”

Aiko: “Father didn’t....father sends his wishes.”

Aiko’s head falls. She puts her head in her hands.

Aiko: “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry mama, I have to go.”

She gets up suddenly and leaves the room very quickly.

Toshi is walking down the street, looking at a piece of paper with directions on it.

Toshi: “I think she said it was around here. It’s got to be close. I can’t believe she said ‘yes.’ She did say her friend was coming with us, so maybe it’s not really a...a date. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.”

He slaps his face with both hands.

Toshi: “Pull it together Toshi.”

Tetsu and Megumi are sitting in the living room watching TV when the doorbell rings.

Megumi: “Oh, were you expecting anyone?”

Tetsu: “No, maybe Kiyoura-chan was coming over to meet Ha-chan and Eriko-chan?”

Megumi gives him a patronizing, but funny, puppy-dog face.

Megumi: “Are you lonely now?”

Tetsu responds as he gets up to answer the door.

Tetsu: “I don't know what you mean."
Megumi: “Uh, huh. That whole not having to be her white knight anymore thing?”

Tetsu flashes his beautiful model smile.

Tetsu: “That’s okay, I’m someone else’s white knight now.”

Megumi blushes. Right then, as Tetsu is about to open the door, Hatsue comes flying down the stairs.

Hatsue: “NO! Stop, don’t open the door.”

Outside, Toshi is hearing the commotion without hearing the specifics (just banging/crashing down stairs and loud voices).

Toshi (to himself): “Umm, I hope everything is okay. Did I get the right address? Maybe I better ring the bell again?”

Back inside, Hatsue is panting. Tetsu’s hand is still on the doorknob and he’s looking dumbfounded at Hatsue.

Tetsu: “Don’t you want me to let Kiyoura-chan in?”

Hatsue (between pants): “Its...not...Kiyoura-chan.”

Eriko walks down the stairs at this time and joins them.

Tetsu: “So why can’t I open it? Ah, Eriko-chan, you look lovely.”

Eriko blushes and looks uncomfortable being noticed.

Eriko: “Oh, um, thanks.”

The door rings again.

Tetsu: “Anyway, if we’re all done with the drama, I'm going to open it.”

Megumi comes to Tetsu's side and puts a hand on his shoulder.

Megumi: “Maybe it’s someone she’s not quite ready for you to meet.”

Tetsu is getting a little agitated.

Tetsu: “Wait, what? You a b...”

Hatsue just clamps a hand over his mouth to silence him.

Hatsue: “Just...just go back into the living room. If you still love your little sister at all, please!”

She says this as she is turning him around and shoving him back into the other room.

Megumi: “Eriko-chan is going with you, right?”

Hatsue: “mmm hmmm”

Megumi: “Okay then, I’ll try and keep him calm while you answer the door.”

Hatsue: “Sigh...thank you.”

Tetsu, being led into the other room by Megumi.
Tetsu: “Wait, I have a right...”

Megumi: “Calm down, calm down. This is what you wanted, remember?”

Tetsu: “Yeah, but still, I’m not...”

The door rings again with a knock this time as well. We hear Toshi through the door.

Toshi: “Umm, sorry to bother you, I’m looking for the Fujimaki residence?”

Eriko: “Pull yourself together, I’ll open it.”

Eriko opens the door. Toshi expects it to be Hatsue, but it’s Eriko.

Toshi: “Fujima....! Oh, um...hello. It’s nice to see you again...”

Eriko, in full-on devil stare mode, cuts him off:

Eriko: “She’s almost ready. Wait here.”

Toshi: “Oh, okay.”

Eriko slams the door shut leaving Toshi outside, sort of unsure what to do with himself. (This whole interaction between Eriko and Toshi should play comedically).

Toshi (to himself): “Whew, at least I’m in the right place. But man is she scary. I guess if she’s friends with Fujimaki-san, she must be okay. I’ll just have to prove myself to her too.”

The door opens again. There, backlit by the hall light is Hatsue, her hair beautifully done up. Her glasses off. She’s got a hand up to her face and is shyly looking down and off to the side and blushing.

Toshi: “ look...I mean...that yukata looks really good on you.”

Hatsue: “Um, thanks.”

Eriko walks right past them and down the front walk.

Eriko: “Let’s go.”

It’s dusk. Hatsue and Toshi are walking next to each other down the street, making light small talk, getting to know each other. Eriko is walking behind them, looking moody. She see’s someone in front of them, on a bridge, silhouetted by the sky and the streetlights.

Hatsue: “Is that Okumura-san?”

We see that it is. She drops a bottle into the water, and turns to face them. Hatsue runs over to her (as best she can in geta).

Hatsue: “Okumura-san! Were you waiting for us? I didn’t know you were coming too?”

Aiko starts talking and moving towards them:

Aiko: “I don...”

But she trips and falls onto her hands and knees. Her hair, loose, is in front of her face. Not a very elegant fall.

Hatsue: “Are you okay?”

Hatsue is starting to try and kneel down, but Eriko puts her hand on Hatsue’s back.

Eriko: “You two go on. I’ll walk with Okumura-san.”

Aiko still hasn’t gotten up or even pushed the hair out of her face.

Hatsue: “Oh, uh, okay. Are you sure?”

Eriko: “It’s fine. We’ll meet you and Kiyoura-san there.”

Toshi: “Don’t worry, I’ll get her there safely!”

Eriko: “Yes, that would be wise.”

Toshi makes an expression to himself like 'I’m totally not going to mess with her.'

Toshi (to himself): “Yeeeeesh”

Eriko squats down next to Aiko as the other two walk away. We hear Hatsue from behind as she's walking away with Toshi.

Hatsue: “I hope Okumura-san is okay."

Toshi: "You know her?"

Eriko reaches out a hand towards Aiko’s back to help but Aiko slaps it away. Still without looking up.

Aiko: “I don’t need your help.”

Eriko: “Have you been drinking again?”

Aiko: “What’s it to you?”

Eriko: “We’re meeting Kiyoura-san. I don’t think you want her to see you like this.”

Aiko: “What makes you think I want to see her at all?”

Eriko: “What?”

Aiko: “Never mind, just go.”

Eriko: “Fine. Whatever.”

She gets up and appears to leave. Aiko finally sits back on her legs and pushes the hair out of her face. She’s got bags under her eyes, no makeup, she’s a mess. She’s looking off to the side, maybe towards where others are walking to the festival in the distance. Then, a can of coffee is placed under her nose. She turns to see Eriko holding it out for her.

Eriko: “Take it.”

We next see the two of them on a bench sitting. Aiko finishes taking a sip from the can.

Eriko: “Better?”

Aiko: “Do you expect me to thank you now?”

Eriko: “I don’t expect anything.”

Aiko: “You think you’re so superior to everyone, don’t you?”

Eriko: “Whatever.”

Aiko: “What gives you the right to be so smug? I know you’re hiding something too.”

Eriko: “I...I don’t know.”

Aiko: “You don’t know what?”

Eriko: “Whether I’m hiding anything or not.”

Aiko: “You really expect me to believe that helpless crap?”

Eriko: “I don’t know what to believe.”

Aiko is shocked by Eriko's vulnerability.

Aiko: “I’m done with this little pity party.”

Eriko: “Let’s go then.”

Aiko: “I’m not going.”

Eriko: “That might not be an option, anymore.”

She turns and points to Yuka, who is standing there in her yukata having just walked up to find them. Aiko turns to see her. She blushes at the sight of Yuka looking so beautiful/cute.

Aiko: “Y...Yuka.”

Yuka comes over and starts to take Aiko’s hand. Aiko pulls it away and stands up.

Aiko: “I have to go. Have fun at the festival.”

Yuka puts her head down sadly as Aiko starts to leave. Eriko sees this and says:

Eriko: “You’re already here.”

Yuka look up happily at Eriko that she is trying to be nice to Aiko and turns back pleadingly to Aiko. Aiko can't resist Yuka's look.

                Aiko (to herself): "I can't say no to those eyes."

Aiko (curtly): “Sigh. Fine.”

Scenes of the five of them walking around the festival together. Hatsue and Toshi are together, laughing, Hatsue is being shy at times, Toshi being gregarious. Aiko, Eriko and Yuka are walking with Yuka in the middle. Eriko and Yuka steal glances at each other. Aiko is walking with arms folded across her chest, staring out to the side. Very stand-offish body language. With Eriko and Aiko so tall and Yuka so short in the middle, it makes a little scene. Eriko says quietly and cautiously:

                Eriko: " your..."

                Aiko (to herself): "Pathetic."

Yuka blushes and smiles and demurs a little. Eriko blushes hard too and looks back away.

Toshi: “So, what’s the story with your friends back there?”

Hatsue: “Hmmm? Oh...they sort of look like a little family don’t they?”

Toshi: “Whose the dad though?”

Hatsue: “Oh, that would totally be Okumura-san!”

Toshi: “Really? It’s Arishima-san that I’m afraid of.”

Hatsue: “Don’t let her fool you, she’s really a softy at heart. Just look at the way she looks at...”

Hatsue clamps her hand over her mouth in shock that she almost revealed Eriko’s feelings for Yuka.

Toshi: “What?”

Hatsue: “Nothing, nothing!”

The sound of Taiko drums.

Hatsue: “Oh! The dance is going to start!”

Eriko and the other group has just come to where Hatsue and Toshi are.

Hatsue: “Let’s join in!”

Eriko: “Dance?”

Hatsue: “It was always my favorite part...I mean before..."

Toshi: "Before?"

Hatsue ignores what she almost revealed to Toshi and fakes energy.

Hatsue: "Come on!”

She takes Eriko by the hand and runs towards the dance site. Yuka skips along after them leaving Toshi and Aiko.

Aiko: “So who are you supposed to be?”

Toshi: “I’m a friend of Fujimaki-san’s, I guess.”

Aiko turns to follow the others and says over her shoulder:

Aiko: “Good luck with that.”

Toshi (to himself): “Yikes, I see what Fujimaki-san meant.”

Over at the circle of dancers who are forming with the musicians on the tower in the middle. People are starting to dance.

Hatsue: “Come on, let’s go!”

Eriko: “What is this?”

Hatsue: “You really don’t know?”

Eriko shakes her head 'no.'

Eriko: “mmm mmm”

Hatsue (to herself): “It's not just her past she doesn't remember then. Weird.”

Hatsue: “We're welcoming the spirits of the departed.”

Eriko: “Departed...?”

Eriko steps back and Yuka grabs on to Hatsue’s hand.

Hatsue: “Okay, wait here then, I’ll go with Kiyoura-chan!”

Eriko is standing, watching as the dancers are going around, the claps, the footwork, the girls in their yukatas, the sound of the drums, the singing, things start to swirl. She starts to experience voices and flashes of people in pain, flashes of people hurting each other, flashes of people being killed by a great flaming sword (all in Eriko’s mind):

Voices: “wait...stop...don’t”

Voices: “I beg you, noooooooo”

Voices: “Daddy...where are you...aren’t you coming back?”

Voices: “Why’d you have to leave us, I don’t care what they say you did.”

Voices: “Get away from me!”

Voices: “What are you! Stay away!”

Voices: “I didn’t mean to, I swear, it was an accident”

Voices: “You have been judged.”

All of a sudden Eriko collapses. But Toshi catches her.

Hatsue: “Eriko!”

Black panels with the white star-burst lights representing Kami-sama and Eriko’s mother:

Eriko’s mother: “She’s remembering.”

Kami-sama: “It was only a matter of time.”

Eriko is sitting on a bench with Yuka next to her. Aiko is standing off to the side a bit. And Hatsue and Toshi are standing in front of the bench.

Hatsue: “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Eriko: “I’m fine, really.”

Toshi: “Why don’t we get her something to eat? Maybe she’s just anemic.”

Hatsue: “That’s a great idea! Eriko-chan, we’ll be right back!”

They leave together. Yuka is sitting, fretfully, next to Eriko. Aiko is watching them without watching them. Yuka haltingly touches Eriko’s shoulder. Eriko, her head down and resting in her hands, her arms propped up on knees, turns her head slightly and makes eye contact with Yuka, and sustains it gently. Aiko watches this tender interaction.

Aiko (to herself): “So it’s like that now.”

Aiko: “I’m going home.”

Yuka starts to stand up in dismay.

Aiko: “I’ll see you in school.”

Yuka takes a step towards Aiko with a hand outstretched.

Aiko: “Bye.”

Aiko is walking away, when Yuka grabs her shirt from behind. Aiko doesn’t turn around.

Aiko: “Go back to her, she needs you.”

Yuka looks up pleadingly, Aiko turns her head a bit to catch Yuka’s eyes without turning her body around. She turns her head back to the front to stop herself from looking into Yuka's eyes and wavering.

Aiko: “You’ve made your choice. I’m going now.”

Aiko begins to walk away when we hear a scream from the distance.

Hatsue: “Get away from me!”

Eriko is immediately up and in battle mode, she rushes to Hatsue and grabs Toshi by the shirt ready to pummel him.

Hatsue: “No wait, Eriko-chan, don’t hurt him!”

Eriko is staring at him with the black look of death in her eyes.

Toshi: “Let me explain, please!”

She drops him

Eriko: “Run!”

He's sprawled on the ground.

Toshi: “I swear, I didn’t...”
Hatsue (quietly, calmly): “I know. I promise, I know. Just go for now, please. I’ll call you.”

Toshi: “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.”

Eriko: “You heard her, go.”

Toshi gets up and walks away solemnly. People are still staring at the commotion.

Eriko: “Are you okay? What did he do to you?”

Hatsue: “It wasn’t like that. It was my fault. I just...”

Hatsue starts crying and falls into Eriko’s arms.

Eriko: “It’s late, let’s go home.”

Hatsue: “Okay.”

They separate from the embrace and turn to see Yuka who is a bit back and turned away from them. Yuka is standing watching as Aiko is walking away, now far in the distance, Yuka has been watching her depart the whole time.

Corner of a street, Yuka, Eriko and Hatsue are walking and not really talking.

Hatsue: “I can get back from here. Why don’t you take Kiyoura-chan home?”

Eriko: “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Hatsue: “I’m fine, really. He just tried to hold my hand is all. He didn’t do anything wrong.”

Eriko (non-committal): “mmmmm”

As Yuka leaves with Eriko, she waves goodbye to Hatsue. Eriko puts a simple hand up to say bye to Hatsue. Hatsue waves goodbye back. Eriko and Yuka walk in silence to the train station. They’re sitting next to each other on the train, but there is a space between them now, unlike the other day, they aren’t touching or holding hands. They are each looking off to the opposite side, their minds full of other things.

The next day, Eriko is down by the canal, sitting with knees pulled up, arms wrapped around them, head on her knees. Sulking. She throws her head back and stares at the sky.

Eriko (to herself): “Stupid Okumura! I don’t understand! What happened between them? What did she say to Yuka to make her look that way? And I...I couldn’t do anything for her. ARGHHHH!!!!”

She throws her whole body back so she’s lying down on the grass now, still staring up at the sky. She closes her eyes.

It’s all black, she's dreaming, the cave dream. Ripples in water. A hand submerged.

Voice: “What is’s warmer than the water...but...”

We see a hand holding bloody feathers.

Eriko awakes screaming on the bank, it’s dusk now.

Eriko: “Ughhhhhhh...”

She’s breathing rapidly, looking around to gather her bearings.

Eriko (to herself): “Why is it always that same dream?”

She sees the Obon lanterns starting to float down the canal past her.

Eriko (to herself): “Each one, for someone who has died?”

More of the lanterns floating. Things start to go askew again. She grabs her head. Things go black. More voices and flashes of dead people, of hurt people, or scared people, blood, women, children, men, good people, bad people...

Voices: “please stop, please stop!”

Voices: “NO! I said no!”

Voices: “I’m scared.”

Voices: “What do you think you are?”

Voices: “I’ll change, I promise, please, for the love of god!”

Voices: “stop, stop, don’t hurt Suz...”

Eriko startles awake from these visions with her eyes wide open, sweat beaded on her forehead, gasping. She is truly frightened. She holds her hands up in front of her face, staring at them as if they have done something horrible.

(to be continued...)

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