In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 52

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

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

Chapter 52

"The Contract"



At the library, it's dusk, sunset seen through the window. Eriko rocks back in her chair grabbing her head.


Eriko: “Arghhh, I can’t do this anymore!”


Yuka laughs silently at her.


Hatsue: “What do you think Yuka-chan? Can you cram anything else into that pea brain of hers?”


Yuka solemnly shakes her head ‘no’ then she and Hatsue laugh together.


Hatsue: “Let's pack it up. Midterms tomorrow, then it’s on to the weekend and our d...”


Eriko puts a hand over Hatsue’s mouth. Yuka and Hatsue are shocked.


Eriko: “Um...”


Eriko pulls her hand back down.


Eriko: “Thank you...both...for helping me.”


Yuka just nods vigorously 'yes' in acknowledgment.




It’s Thursday morning. Hatsue, Eriko and Yuka are in the classroom. Aiko’s desk is empty.


Hatsue (to herself): “Where is Okumura-san? Class is about to start? Is she really going to miss the midterms?”


Hatsue (to Yuka): “Yuka-chan, have you heard from Oku...”


But then Aiko comes in and sits at her desk. She looks tired, but is still holding herself with her normal formal dignity. The three girls are staring at her.


Aiko: “What, did you need something?”


The teacher comes in.


Student: “Stand...bow...”




Scenes of everyone taking their midterms, class after class. Yuka doodling on the pages as she whips out the answers effortlessly. Eriko periodically putting her head down on her paper, grabbing her head in frustration, grimmacing, etc...Eriko is showing her emotions on her sleeve as she struggles to complete the exams. Hatsue is working really hard. Aiko is cool and collected, but occasionally squeezes her eyes with her hand and blinks hard; evidence that she’s tired.


Teacher: “Time’s up, put your pencils down and turn your papers over.”


Hatsue: “Whew, all done! How’d it go Eriko-chan?”


Hatsue turns around as she says this to see Eriko with a dark cloud over her, clearly not happy with it.


Hatsue: “That well, huh? Anyway, it’s over now. I’m sure you did your best, especially after all the help from Yuka-chan.”


Eriko (turning to Yuka): “Um...thank you...”


However, Yuka is staring at Aiko as Aiko simply gets up quietly and leaves for the day, not saying anything to anyone.


Hatsue (to herself): “Yikes, now they're not even talking.”





Thursday night. Eriko in the bathtub.


Eriko (to herself): "Midterms are finally over. I don't know why I even bother, though. Everything feels temporary, like it will all be taken away from me someday."


Eriko starts to think about Yuka, various images, happy and sad, the various expressions, the times together, the looks, the tears...


Eriko (to herself): “Why does it feel like she's the only thing keeping me here? When I wake up hurt and in pain, no matter what happened to me, she's still there, looking at me..."


Eriko thinks of some of the more “almost” intimate moments, when they touched hands in the park, when they almost kissed...


Eriko (to herself): "These injuries, these dreams, these scars. I don't even know who I am. How can I trust my feelings? How can I bring her into my mess?"


Looking at the scars and injuries all over her body, she winces.


Eriko: "But what if she does love me back? What if something were to happen to her because of me?"


She touches a fresh wound on her arm, she gets a searing pain and flashes of blood splattering, screaming people, scared people, dead bodies...She gasps.


Eriko: "Why do I keep seeing these awful things? Are these my memories? What happens if I find out just who I really am? Do I go back? Can I bring her into whatever hell that is? All I'm going to do is end up hurting her. But...but when I look at her... when I think about being with her..."


She sinks under the water, blushing.





Friday. Students are standing around the board of posted midterm scores. Hatsue and Yuka are together looking. Eriko is not really paying attention or caring, just standing in the back, behind the crowd, leaning against a wall.


Hatsue: “Yuka-chan, first again, way to go!”


Yuka smiles in thanks. Hatsue pats her on the head. Eriko is watching this and nods in acknowledgement, Yuka smiles big at her, Eriko blushes. Hatsue turns to Eriko.


Hatsue: “How’d you do? Let’s see...”


Eriko: “I didn’t make the board.”


Hatsue: “Well, that’s okay, there’s still time before the finals. Maybe Yuka-chan can tutor you some more?”


Yuka looks at Eriko and smiles and shakes her head 'yes' vigorously. Eriko looks down shyly.


Eriko: “Um...if you...have time...that is.”


Hatsue laughs at her. Suddenly there’s some murmuring from the crowd.


Girl: “Can you believe it?”


Girl 2: “I know, I never thought I’d do better than her.”


Girl 3: “How the mighty have fallen.”


Girl 4: “Haven’t you noticed that she’s not been hanging out with that weird girl anymore?”


Girl 5: “What do you think, maybe she was just copying off her all this time or something?”


Girl 6: “You think? Well, that’s what you get for being arrogant.”


Hatsue, Yuka and Eriko are exchanging quizzical looks at each other.


Hatsue: “They couldn’t be talking about...did you see Okumura-san on the board?”


They look under Yuka’s name (which is number one, of course) and there are some random names following hers.


Hatsue: “Wow, Okumura-san isn't second after Yuka? Let’s see, where is she....?”


Yuka and Hatsue are looking, Eriko doesn’t really care and is standing off looking to the side. Suddenly Yuka’s face drops.


Hatsue: “What is it? Did you find her name?”


Yuka points. Aiko scored 79th out of the top 100. Hatsue’s face is shocked.


Hatsue: “What on earth? 79th? No wonder she isn’t here, she must have known. What happened?”


Yuka just shakes her head 'no' as in: ‘I don’t know’ with a sad expression.




Lunch-time. Aiko’s desk is still empty. Eriko is looking at the forlorn Yuka who is looking back at Aiko’s desk.


Eriko (to herself): “I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but, it hurts seeing her miss Okumura-san.”


Eriko: “Um...maybe...that girl...Hase...Hasekawa-san...knows something?”


Hatsue: “I think she means Hasekura-san.”


Yuka lights up at this suggestion and looks at Eriko.


Eriko: “Go...we’ll wait.”


Yuka nods 'thanks' vigorously, gets up, and as she runs out she puts her hand on top of Eriko’s hand as she passes by. There is both a smile and a tear in Yuka’s eye. Eriko notices, blushes.


Eriko (to herself): “I'll do anything to see that smile.”


Hatsue: “That was pretty unlike you, you know.”


Eriko: “Ughhh, don’t remind me.”


Hatsue: “But this is perfect, now that she’s not here, we can talk about the date tomorrow!”


Eriko: “”


Hatsue: “Yes stupid, the date. Now what are you going to wear?”


Eriko: “Wear? I hadn’t really thought about it.”


Hatsue: “Of course you hadn’t, but you do want to look cute don’t you?”


Eriko: “I...I guess...”


Hatsue: “Knowing you, you probably don’t have much at home other than ratty t-shirts and jeans.”


Eriko: “mmmm”


Hatsue: “Let’s go out shopping after school! You can help me pick out something too!”


Yuka walks slowly back in and sits down, takes out her bento and opens it up to begin eating.


Eriko (to herself): “Why is she hurting you like this?"


Hatsue: “No luck, huh?”


Yuka shakes her head 'no' and they eat their lunch quietly together.




Hatsue and Eriko are in a clothing store. Hatsue is holding things up to Eriko.


Hatsue: “, that won’t do either. You’re a hard one to shop for.”


There’s some store workers off to the side talking.


Worker 1: “Do you think she’s a model?”


Worker 2: “I don’t know, look how tall she is?”


Worker 1: “Yeah, but she’s in a school uniform.”


Eriko scrunches up her face after hearing this. With each comment, she gets more and more uncomfortable until the last one where she turns around sharply and glares at the employees with her fiercest look. Hatsue laughs.


Hatsue: “Ha, I thought we’d broken you of that habit! Oh well, maybe you can scare them into giving us a discount.”


Eriko: “Sigh...I can't do this.”


Hatsue: “Come on, just try some of these on, something will be better than nothing.”


Eriko: “Ughhh.”




Aiko is at home, in her room, she throws her bag on the floor, the mid-terms with terrible scores spill out.


Aiko: “God damn you father...where are you when she needs you? They said she’s not going to hold on much longer."


She looks over to her desk, there are some framed pictures of her and Yuka and her and Yuka and Suzu (the same ones from Yuka's corkboard). She picks one up.


Aiko: “I’ve just wasted so much time. Time I could have spent with mother, time I could have spent being the daughter you wanted father, time I could have spent on my studies at the schools you wanted me to go to, and now? What do I have to show for it, for all that time, all that effort, all that caring and worrying and...”


She throws the picture she’s holding at the other pictures. They all break and fall down. She puts her head down and sighs. Then walks over and picks up her phone (which is on the ground scattered with the papers that spilled out of her bag) and dials (we don't see who).


Aiko: “Are you free?”


Aiko: “I know it’s short notice, but are you really in a position to say ‘no’ to me?”


Aiko: “Pick me up in an hour.”


She hangs up the phone and stares out the window, before going over to her closet to pick out clothes.




Eriko in the bathroom at night, getting ready for bed. She’s just gotten out of the bath and is looking at herself in the mirror. She turns to see her back in the mirror.


Eriko (to herself): “The scars, they look a little better. It’s been a little while...maybe things will be okay...maybe...maybe it’s okay for me to try...?”


She’s in her room now, putting her pajamas on, walking over to the bed where her new clothes are laid out. She picks them up and is feeling the fabric between her fingers.


Eriko (to herself): “ least I want to think it is. Does she think it is too? We’ve been out together before, but...but this is different, isn’t it? How can I know what she’s thinking? How can I know what she’s feeling?”


She presses the clothes against her face, a slight smile and closed eyes, a blush.


Eriko (to herself): “Tomorrow...a date.”




Middle of the night, Eriko is sleeping soundly. The moon shining through the shear curtains covering her window. Streaks of moonlight shine through the crack between the shear curtains and go across her body and face.


The blue energy ball starts to form above her. Slowly it gets bigger, tendrils of energy start lashing out at her, wrapping around her limbs. She’s silently screaming with her eyes closed, still asleep as the energy envelopes her, lifting her out of the bed. This time though, we start getting a close-up, we see the blue energy ripping into her back, the scars glowing, energy starting to come through them, faintly beginning to trace the shape of emergent wings...The energy completely envelopes her and she disappears into it.




We see the shape of a woman kneeling. It’s Eriko, but she is an angel, bathed in light, wearing flowing heavenly robes, wings tucked behind her. First she unfurls her wings, stretching them out. Then she rises from her kneeling position – this is the first time the reader sees that this is Eriko. She is beautiful, her face shining, her hair long and radiant, she is truly an angel.


Eriko: “So what have you called me for this time father?”


That’s when we hear the sounds of fighting, hits, slaps, crashing things from another room in an unknown house.


Man’s voice: “You fucking slut! I told you not to leave this house and this is what I get?”


More sounds of fighting, things breaking.


Woman’s voice: “No, don’t, please, please, I promise, I promise it won’t happen again.”


Eriko's eyes flash. She walks towards the sounds, walking through the darkened rooms of the house towards where light is coming through a curtain obscuring a doorway.


Eriko (to herself): “Why are men like this? Why can’t they treat others as precious jewels. It makes me sick...”


She draws her flaming sword (blue flame, like the energy that takes her) and pushes through the curtain.


Eriko (loudly): “ENOUGH! It will stop here!”


We see a woman cowering on the ground, bruised, bleeding, sheltering her face against the blows and the thrown objects, now strewn about the floor, many broken, by a man towering above her.


Man (turning to Eriko): “Who the FUCK are you?”


Eriko: “I pity that you are about to find out."


The man clenches his fists.


Woman: “Please, no more, no more!”


Eriko kneels down and kindly puts her hand on the woman’s cheek.


Eriko: “It will be okay, this will all be over soon.”


As she says this, a piece of furniture breaks over Eriko’s head. It has no effect on her. She turns to the man who did that.


Man: “Get the FUCK out before I really hurt you!”


Eriko: “You have no idea about hurt.”


Eriko stretches out her wings, holds up her sword.


Eriko: “I, Raguel, the angel of vengeance, have been sent here to render judgment. What have you to say for yourself?”


Woman: “What are you going to do to him?”


Man: “So that’s how you’re going to play, with your toy sword and fancy costume. Fine, let’s do this.”


He pulls out a switchblade.


Eriko: “I have given you the opportunity to speak for your crimes, crimes against this woman and many others, and instead you challenge me with more violence. You are hereby judged! Now leave this world in peace!"


He runs towards her with the knife out, she deftly steps aside and wields her sword with a single dramatic flourish. A deep, light-filled wound opens across the man’s entire chest (diagonally). His face fills with fear, he looks down as the light seeps out of him. He screams and falls to the ground. The light dissipates and he is dead, but with no obvious wound. The woman is crying hysterically.


Eriko: “Come now, let me heal your wounds.”


Woman: “What have you done to him? What have you done! You killed him, you’ve killed him!”


Eriko: "You are now free of his violence.”


Woman: “But what will I do, I have nothing, no money, no job, nothing! He was all I had.”


Eriko: “You deserve so much better than that."


Woman: “What choice did I have, what choice do I have now?”


Eriko: “If you like, I can erase all memories of him from you, and anything else you would like to forget. You can start new, start over. What do you wish?”


Woman: “ can take all those memories away?”


Eriko: “Yes, you have only to ask.”


The woman moves over and speaks softly (too quiet for the readers to hear).


Eriko: “As you command, I will remove all that binds you. Be free.”


Eriko leans forward and kisses her on the forehead, there is an effervescent light where they touch. When the light fades, Eriko is gone and it is just the woman. She is alone in her house, the man’s body is gone.


Woman: “What happened? Why my place such a mess? Was I robbed?”


She touches her face, we now see that all her wounds are gone.


Woman: “Maybe I just slipped and fell? I feel alright though. I’ll have to see my doctor tomorrow. I better start cleaning before...before what?”




The all black panels with the lights for Kami-sama and Eriko’s mother.


Kami-sama: “Raguel, you did well tonight. I will see to it that her life was not saved in vain.”


Eriko is also represented by a starburst light.


Eriko: “Should I thank you for that?”


Kami-sama: “I do my duty, as you must do yours."


Eriko: "No, I am done."


Kami-sama: "Yet you continue to come back."


Eriko: "As if I have a choice?"


Kami-sama: "With each day, you must make your decision anew.”


Eriko: “You may ask me to make it an infinite number of times, and each time I will answer the same.”


Kami-sama: “You will forsake eternity, you will forsake your power, your duty, your responsibility to all the people throughout all future time for that one child?"


Eriko: “How can you say that about the one I love? You, after all, know the value of each single life!”


Kami-sama: “The value of life? I watched as you spared the life of the woman who would have one day killed the girl you are so infatuated with. But in sparing her mother's life, you harmed that child deeply, striping her of her voice."


Eriko: “I know what sins I have committed, and that is why I must do this!”


Kami-sama: “Yes, your so-called sins. I have watched as you shadowed that girl from afar these past years, watching as she grew, grieving over what you blame yourself for.”


Eriko: “But it was my fault!”


Kami-sama: “Yes, it is your fault that you became obsessed. It is your fault that you deluded yourself into thinking that you were in love with her, a human! And yet, I stood by."


Eriko: “Yes, you stood by, doing nothing for her, nothing to make up for what I did.”


Kami-sama: “Nothing you say? I was patient with you when you came to me with an impossible request, to join her on earth as a mortal, to give up your heavenly power and your eternity.”


Eriko: “But how could I bear eternity when I destroyed her short life?"


Kami-sama: “And so, I offered you a bargain, a chance. I gave you one year to prove that she could love you equal to your supposed love for her.


Eriko: “But you took all my memories! How can I hope in just one year to get her to fall in love with me when I don’t even know who I am when I am with her?”


Kami-sama: “That was the bargain and you agreed to it. Time is running out, and if you fail you will return to your rightful place by my side as the angel of vengeance for all time, never to speak of or involve yourself with her again. She will forget you and move on with her life, as a human should, until such time as she passes from this existence.”


Eriko: “There is no life for me here, I must atone for what I have done!"


Eriko’s mother: “My dear child, are you really only trying to atone?"


Eriko: “No, mother, you're right. I love her, I truly love her as a part of myself that I cannot bear to be without.”


Kami-sama: “Have you made your decision?"


Eriko’s mother: “Raguel, you don’t need to prove anything anymore.”


Eriko: “Thank you mother, but I still have time, all is not lost. I took her voice and so much else from her, and now I selfishly ask her to love me. I have no right. But it IS love and I will not give up on that, or her, quietly.


With this we see her in angel form (not the starburst light), bathed in radiant light. She turns with her sword and begins to sever the wings from her back. She screams in pain as each wing drops in a bloody mess to the ground.
Eriko’s mother: “My dear child...”
Eriko (shaky and in pain): “!”

(to be continued...)

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