It was afternoon, the best time to confess to your crush. The classroom was empty except for a couple of boy and girl. They both know they had something that they shared together, something that defined them.
Actually, neither of them were there to establish an intimate relationship with each other. Their relationship couldn’t get any closer than it already was anyway. It was hard to tell precisely what was going on between them since they had never made it clear, but everybody knew that they were an item. They were doing a class duty. The girl was in charge, while the boy helped her out of his own volition.
Outside of the occasional yelling of the students from the athletic club on the field, the only thing that accompanied them were the ticks of the clock. There was no conversation between them. They both were working on their papers with silence. It was a serene atmosphere they shared, and they respected their partner for keeping it.
A time where they were together alone, a place where they were not bothered by anything.
One paper after another.
One clip after another.
The one who decided to put an end to it was the boy. He rested his hands and gazed into the girl before him. Beyond his glasses was a pair of eyes wherein reflected a deep resolve. It was odd for him to even call out to other people, which only complimented just how substantial and important the thing he had to say out. “Selena, I have something to confess.”
Selena, the girl, didn’t mind him too much. She was irritated he broke the quietness she enjoyed before, but if what he had to say was really important then she wouldn’t have any reason not to hear him out. Selena knew the boy in front of her was not someone who would crack a joke out of the blue. Then again, she was still irked by him, so she didn’t give any response. In a way, that was her way of giving him the green light.
The boy also knew the girl well, so he decided just to say it out. “Promise me you won’t laugh.”
“Promise me first that it’s not something stupid.” Selena finally let out her voice. For someone who was labeled as the Ice Queen in school for her antisocial tendency, her voice surprisingly felt warm to the ear.
The boy was silent. Indeed, he was usually silent, but not this kind of silent. Maybe other people couldn’t tell what was the difference, with him virtually having no apparent emotion on his face and all, but Selena had spent her life growing alongside with him. She knew the subtle differences, like on his slightly dropped eyebrows for one or how he subverted his gaze for another.
This silence annoyed her so much that she had to put her pen down. She didn’t like being made fun of, but she hated it more when people didn’t answer her. She wouldn’t mind if someone slapped mud to her face boldly but stopping in the middle of a sentence really got her on her nerves.
And as her friend and practically her lover, while not official yet, he understood it more than anyone else in the world. Thus, he decided just to let the brake loose and see what would reveal after.
“Actually,” said the boy with his utmost serious tone “I’m an immortal.”
“Brandt, keep this up, and this will be the last time we see each other,” countered Selene harshly. This was dumb. She couldn’t believe she spared time for this charade. She didn’t know what struck him to say such hogwash, but she couldn’t care less now. She wanted to go home as soon as possible. This duty their classmates forced onto her was more than enough hindrance, she couldn’t effort to deal with another one.
“I’m not joking.”
“And I can’t get any more interested in this talk.” End of conversation. Period. No more of this nonsense. That was what she hinted. Obvious and plain. Brandt ought to catch it by now, else she would really consider to never associate with him again in the future.
Seeing his girlfriend didn’t entertain the conversation, Brandt decided to stop mentioning it altogether. He continued his work; sorting the papers out so it would be easier to manage in the future. He picked up his stapler again and restored the quietness they both enjoyed together.
It didn’t take long until their work was done. The sun was yet to set, but the sky was already painted in orange. The athletic club members were done with their training and about to leave the school ground. As they downed the empty hallway, they could hear sounds of activities in some of the classrooms. Maybe these people had a club activity, or maybe they were holding a study meeting. There was also the possibility that those activities were of a couple having an unhealthy relationship. However, that kind of thing clearly didn’t bother them a bit. They just strode away without giving even a glance.
Anyone would be weirded out by this peculiar pair. The girl basically rejected any human being that tried to get closer to her while the boy was Mr. Robot who was known for not having emotion at all. It was a wonder how they could get together, but then again it could be said that they were made for each other.
It would unquestionably be awkward to have a walk with your lover without having any conversation at all. Not knowing what to say while being under pressure namely expectation from your significant other. Any normal human would succumb and try to start an idle talk. However, not for these two.
Not for long, however, as Brandt once again opened the conversation he initiated in the classroom. With his hands in his jacket and his breath made a white fog, Brandt called out to Selena. “What do I need to make you believe I’m an immortal?”
At first, Selena didn’t want to invest in this talk. She had had of it. But, with nothing on her hand except a pair of gloves, she decided to just ride along for now. If he insisted thus far, what could she do but be curious? “First of all, what makes you think you’re an immortal?” That was a fair question. One wouldn’t think they were immortal unless they were being influenced by something else. There were special cases, but Selena knew Brandt wasn’t a boy who’d think a dragon was dwelling in his arm.
Brandt looked at his shoes for a while, then elevated his gaze. From the thin white fog that escaped his mouth, Selene could tell Brandt was sighing. “I didn’t want to upset you, but, actually, I died yesterday and lived until now.”
“Oh? Can you tell me more about it?” Finally found something that hooked her in, Selena gazed into Brandt’s eyes. Would it be a lie or not, she decided it might worth the while.
“After we parted in front of the bookstore, I saw a kitten across the street. It had a short and fluffy tail. Its eyes were big and curious. It was so cute I wanted to bring it home. I thought the road was clear, so I crossed it to pat the kitten. I didn’t see there was a truck running with high speed. Or maybe I was just captivated by the cute kitten that I was not aware of the truck. The kitten was that cute after all. I still remember seeing it licked its soft little paw with its tiny and short tongue. It kinds of remind me of you, so I think I’ll name it Helen.”
“I’m jealous of that kitten, so let’s get past it. Did you get hit by the truck?”
“I did, and I didn’t.” Brandt let another sigh escaped after he gave such an ambiguous answer. He found it cute that Selena was jealous of a kitten he found, cute enough that he wanted to wed her already. He also liked how Selena pouted when she didn’t receive an answer she expected, just like today. “Now, now, I don’t understand it either. I clearly remember how painful it was when I was hit by a truck. I really thought that it was the end of me, only to find I never took that step in the first place just a second after.”
Satisfied with the additional answer, Selena inquired further. “In other words, you experienced the accident, but you aren’t actually involved to it. Is there proof of that?”
“I don’t know if it can be called as proof,” stated Brandt as he produced his smartphone from his bag then showed it to Selena “but I did record the interview I had with the truck driver that ran over me. Unfortunately, I can’t get the footage of me being killed, so this should do it for now.”
Brandt uttered all that matter-of-factly, as though he thought cheaply of his life. To begin with, nobody would interview the very person who had killed them and recorded it on their smartphone. Selena who listened to him without showing any difference in emotion was just as weird. It was the father of her future children who got into an accident, yet she enjoyed it like she was reading a detective novel.
After the recording was ended, Selena determined that what Brandt said might be not a lie at all. From what she could collect, the truck driver stepped on the brake as soon as he felt he ran over Brandt. That was his testimony, which clearly was the opposite of the end result; Brandt didn’t hop into the road, thus there was no way he had that passionate kiss with the truck.
Of course, there was still a probability that Brandt staged it up, but Selena decided to buy it for now. Why? Simply because she found it interesting. If Brandt wanted to play with Selena this way, then she wouldn’t have a reason to refuse his invitation.
“Would you believe me now?” After his phone served its use, Brandt put it away. In Selena’s eyes, he was like a kid that just proved he caught a shiny rare Pocket Monster.
If this was really just a game, Selena had to choose her words delicately. She couldn’t let him win by acknowledging it, but she couldn’t invalidate it either. She had to keep the fun going. Even in a microscopic chance that this was not a game and Brandt was a genuine immortal, giving out a bad word choice might result in an irreversible tragedy. Whichever it was, she couldn’t deny it was interesting.
Collecting information was necessary before one went to war. Consequently, knowing the rules before joining the game was crucial. However, she didn’t have to obey the rule. One way to win a game was to create your own rule and make the other play by it. As long as she didn’t violate the initial rule, she could add as many rules as she wanted. “Have you heard of the cat in box experiment?”
“Schrödinger’s cat?” Selena nodded to his words. “I have, of course. It’s about a cat that is both alive and dead at the same time until it’s observed.”
“Don’t you think it’s pretty similar to your case?” Selena started to skip out of joy. Her overcoat was thick and it draped pretty low, but it didn’t stop her to skip some steps ahead with a fluttering heart. “Brandt, you were dead yesterday after a truck collided you. However, you are now alive and talked to me about it. From the testimony of the one who killed you, joining with the story of your own experience, I can draw a conclusion that you entered a superposition phase for a moment. I’m not a science whiz and this is just something I read some time ago, but apparently, one atom can spin in two opposite directions simultaneously. Now then, between you and the cat, what is the difference?”
Seeing Selena who somehow was in a good mood hopping around in such garment worried Brandt. He hoped she’d stop it and just walk beside him safely. “Obviously, I was under observation. The truck driver saw me, the pedestrian saw me, I saw me. On the other hand, the cat was in the box. Nobody can tell if it was alive or dead until they opened it.”
After hearing his answer, Selena stopped right in front of Brandt. She was by no means short, she was called as the tallest girl in her year even, but Brandt was taller than her still. The fact that his waistline was smaller than hers really irritated her to no end. She worried that her future husband would suffer malnutrition due to how lean he was. But, before even malnutrition took him away, something else might if she was off-guard.
“You are wrong. You are totally wrong. You are so wrong that I’d be surprised if you can get any wronger. If we go by your logic, doesn’t the cat see itself too? You, the truck driver, the pedestrian, everything and anything in this universe is inside the box. No matter who sees it, the superposition happens. It’s not about the observation, it’s about the outcome.” Selena put her hands on her hip, preaching Brandt for his ignorance. “When in the box, the cat is both alive and dead. The outcome is unclear whether it will die or not. For you, however, you will always survive. Once the superposition happened, you will choose the reality where you are alive in order to experience it. That’s the difference.”
“I see.” Taken aback, Brandt accepted Selena’s conclusion. “I understand it now. In other words, I will always be with you even if I died.” He said jokingly, trying to ease the atmosphere.
“No, Brandt. You don’t understand at all.” All of a sudden, Selena’s tone turned cold. Even for Brandt who was doting on her, he could tell that Selena was infuriated. “The fact that you died doesn’t change. Even now, there is another me who’s crying for my loss of you. You choose the reality where you are alive, it means you abandon the reality where you are not. If you died now, you will leave me all alone in a world without you while you’re off meeting another me in another reality. Right now, I am celebrating the fact that you are not dead, but if that makes you think it’s okay to die, then why don’t you have an affair with another me after I kill you now?”
That was a screwed up mindset, but not wrong in the least. As expected, it took a psychopathic Ice Queen to threaten your own lover to death if he ever thought to cheat on you with yourself. Even for Mr. Robot who was known for having no emotion, that was too much.
“What should I do, then?”
“Simple. Just don’t die.” Selena showed him a smile befitting of an angel. “Or else, I’ll kill you.”
Thus, Selena won the game by denying it altogether.
If you feel that the conclusion is still hanging and the story is boring, that is because it’s a teaser project (or maybe simply due to my own poor writing skill). Thing is, I want to write something different. There are too many isekai stories nowadays that I need a breather from a breather.
I said teaser because I’m planning to continue this as a series. Some of you might have noticed it, but I’m using the two couples from Bunny Senpai and Bakemonogatari as the models for the characters. Currently, I haven’t devised any plotline and just wrote it on a whim. I still don’t know what I will do with it, but I do know that I won’t be writing many action scenes (I hope).
One last thing to add; I never finish anything I start. Maybe this idea will be scrapped in the middle of the way, or maybe I’ll forget about it altogether. Either way, I’m anxious that I won’t even finish the first chapter.
Special thanks to my Editor