I don't know how many times I've fallen asleep. But every time, it's always the same dream.

My vision is muddy, but I can see what looks like trees in my field of vision. There's no light beyond the partially-illuminated trees. I feel disconnected from my limbs. I can't stand up and look around. I can't even turn my head around. I can only see from one angle, as if my head was chopped at the guillotine.

And yet, that angle was all I needed to see her. A mysterious, fearsome girl trudged towards me at a slow pace. I could not make any visible emotion, but I was both in awe and horror at the sight of her. Her blue aura and floating red ribbons were enough to tell me she was not human. Upon closing in on me, she reaches down to touch me, but she jumps back in shock. In retaliation, she raises her ribbons to strike me...

"Tanuma-kun...Wake up!"

I jolt awake. The class giggles and murmurs as I rub my eyes and wipe drool off my mouth. The teacher is looking at me with discontent, but with a hopeless sigh rather than anger. He knows about my condition, my anemia. It's quite sad to both of us that this occurs on a regular basis, but it's hard to find a cure for everyone who has it.

"Sensei, I'm sorry..." I ask forgiveness.

"It's not your fault, Tanuma-kun," he assures me. "But you should stay at the nurse's office until school is over."

I nod, and stand up from my chair at a snail's pace. I limp over to the door and shuffle down the hallway towards the nurse's office.

Our school is small and quite old-looking. The walls are made of old, dull concrete, while the floor is completely wooden. Some of the floorboards are dirty and in disrepair, making the whole place stink of mildew. There's only one floor, so it doesn't take long to reach the clinic.

I slide open the door, but the nurse seems to be out. There's a note indicating where my prescribed meds are, right next to a couple of gray iron tablets. When I first heard of these things, I didn't think they would be colored like iron. Makes sense, though.

I would take these with some water, but the nurse didn't leave a glass for me. There's no water fountain in this school, either. I moisten the inside of my mouth before taking the pills. Right as I take them, my vision blurs and my muscles lose their strength. I don't reach the bed in time before collapsing onto the floor.

I see the dream, exactly as it was before. I lay there, waiting for the strange girl to show up and touch me. It was such a vivid dream, I wonder to myself if this ever happened before.

I only remember fragments of my childhood. I remember my mother and father coddling me at an early age, sometimes going out of their way to spoil me on occasions. We were never poor, although I didn't understand where it all came from and why my parents had so much free time.

Still, there were times when my parents would bicker a lot. I don't remember at all what they were talking about, but I remember being really scared of them. They would actually try to kill one another in combat, but it always ended in a stalemate, and I had to clean up all the blood later. I don't know what kind of differences they had, but there must have been a reason my parents stuck together for as long as they did.

When I was eight, my mother disappeared. I don't even remember how or why she left us, but I remember my father grieving over her for days on end. He must have really liked her, but I don't remember how I felt about it.

Because that same day was when my anemia acted up.

I awaken from my dream. The room looks a bit darker than I remember, so I rub my eyes to see if there's something in it. In every direction is nothing but pitch black. I feel around for the lights, but I can't find them anywhere. I swipe around in the empty darkness until I feel something rough, like a tree trunk. With that as a point of reference, I feel around it until I feel something familiar.

It's a door handle. I turn the knob and open the door. Behind it is more darkness. I suspect I'm still in the school, and I just left the nurse's office. That means the exit is to my left. I shuffle towards the exit as fast as I can.

"What does it take to find a flashlight around here?" I complain to myself.

That's when I bump into someone. Frightened, I topple back onto the floor. I wince after feeling glass shards and wood chunks. I can't see the person in front of me, but I know I'm going to die if I stay here. The school has just become a place of death within darkness. No one will hear me scream here.

I'm lifted up by small but strong hands. Someone's carrying me. I don't know who it is, but I suspect this person is good. I would like to pat this person on the head, but my hand hurts. I suspect I'll bleed to death before I find the way out.

Still, I'm glad an angel of some sort will carry my useless body to heaven. I wonder if my mother is there...