By the time I noticed it, I had fallen asleep.
When I next opened my eyes, it was early morning, my shrill ring tone urging me to wake up quickly.
The purposely unpleasant ringtone felt the worst on the ears, and raising my face pressed down against my table, I grabbed the phone.
I looked at the clock. It was currently 4:28.
Just who could be calling so early in the morning?
I looked at the phone display. It was a number I had absolutely no recollection of. The number wasn’t withheld, so it was likely a real person, but if this was a prank call, I was just about ready to toss the phone and shatter it.
The unknown number came from the emergency room.
For a moment, I wondered who died. If there was someone around me prone to death, the Boss, I guess?
As I was thinking over it, the name ‘Jessica Bellequese’ came from the phone.
From the urgent voice, I could tell Jessica was in a terribly dangerous state.
Based on the hospital personnel’s story, they had tried dialing all numbers on her phone from top to bottom, and when no one was answering, I had finally picked up.
Since she was in a dangerous state, he wanted any persons concerned to go at once.
It felt as if I had a bucket of cold water poured over me. That Jessica’s in a critical state? And she was on death’s door?
The person I imagined to be furthest from death was dying.
Once the phone cut, I immediately left the house. There was some distance to the emergency ward, so I grabbed a taxi.
When I told the driver my destination, the forty-year-old at the wheel inferred my situation, sharply accelerating and blasted his engine.
Ten minutes, twenty, as time flew on by, I arrived at the hospital. Running through the dim hallway, I heard the place from the nurse at receptions and continued running on.
In the depths of the emergency ward, where only emergency cases were delivered, the special room. I found her there.
The emergency procedures were already done. But there was no knowing what would happen.
… The hell’s that supposed to mean.
I got the doctor’s permission for a meeting, and visited her in the special treatment room.
Sleeping on the bed, unlike the splendid complexion she had yesterday, she had lost too much blod, and her skin was pale.
… No trace of her good health remained.
All over her body were inserted tubes. From the tubes flowed some unfamiliar liquid, simultaneously sucking unneeded fluids from her body, it seems.
There’s no way she could have lived on her own. It was a state where only the machines were saving her.
As I approached the bed, her half-closed eyes turned to look my way.
Her lips were pale. Probably paler than even Samantha’s.
She opened her mouth to say something.
When I came closer, she said, “I’m sorry,” in a small voice.
“I stole it.”
It? What is she talking about?
Something stolen… “The crystal?”
She probably tried to nod. Her half-open eyes closed thin, and she tried lifting her head. But without the necessary stamina to accomplish the feat, her head only gave a slight quiver.
What was I supposed to say? I couldn’t find the words.
Should I shout at her that she was a fool?
Should I tell her she didn’t have to worry about it?
Both of them seemed wrong, and I felt the answer was somewhere else.
“That was something important. Perhaps it would have become crucial evidence in today’s trial.”
… What am I even saying?
But once the words started coming out of my mouth, they didn’t seem to stop.
“You’ve sure gone and done it.”
Jessica opened her mouth again. It seems she said, “I’m sorry, but this tome her voice was too small for me to hear.
“So where is it?”
“It was stolen… so I can’t give it back.”
After saying that much, Jessica closed her mouth, and closed her eyes. A light tear spilled from her eyes, travelling down her face, and eventually soaking the pillow.
Despite how painful it truly must be, there was currently an anesthetic working on her entire body, so she couldn’t feel pain. Yet even so, some part of her hurt as she gave a pained expression.
Pip, pip, pip, the ECG resounded through the room well.
With all the instruments hooked up to keep her alive, all Jessica could do was maintain her consciousness. That was all.
If her mind was cut off once, it felt as if that would be the moment of her death.
When I gently stroked her green hair, she slowly opened her eyes.
“I thought… no one would come.”
“That’s not true.”
“I don’t have a family.”
In that voice from which I felt no ambition or spirit, Jessica spoke terribly slowly.
“I don’t have any friends. While there are people who hate me, I don’t have anyone who’ll ever say they like me. I’m an unnecessary person.”
I… I… gently grabbed her hand.
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“mr… daniel. Will you stay there forever?”
Her voice was teary. She simply cried childishly a girl desperately pleading was before me.
“I can’t. The trial is today. I can’t stay forever.”
“Stingy. Stingy, stingy, stingy…”
“I’ll come again later. I haven’t paid your reward yet, right?”
“It’s fine. I’m done. I won’t want to stay anymore.”
“Don’t say something like that.”
Ah, thank god. I finally found the words I wanted.
Extremely simple, and clear, without twists or tricks, they were words anyone could come up with, but I felt I couldn’t find any words more correct.
“Try living a bit longer.”
“What’s living going to do for me?”
Biting her lip, Jessica spoke.
“You get cheated, betrayed, hated… all your precious people go away. I don’t want to live anymore.”
“You had it hard.”
I lightly stroked her head.
“Living is hard. But you see, it’s your fault for trying to live through it alone.”
“Depend on them. If you learn to depend on others, life becomes quite a fun thing.”
For a while, I stayed there.
An hour, then two, I cheered Jessica up.
When the time came around, I left the sickroom. I wanted to do it a little longer, but there was another, another person I had to go save.
It was still morning outside the emergency ward. It seems the sun was finally starting to rise, and the sky opposite to the sun retained traces of a pale violet.
It was only a matter of time before the remnants of the darkness disappeared. I returned to my house once, and prepared myself. At that moment, I unexpectedly stumbled upon a certain document.
A paper I’d picked up in the library. Looking at the page I happened to open up, I finally noticed the identity of the crystal balls.