Recurring Nightmares

Fifteen nails.

Shion had counted them every time, and she was sure of it now. Fifteen nails for each hand. She brought her arms closer and hugged herself tightly, trying not to shiver. She could still feel the impact of the blows, still hear the crunching sound. Keiichi's screaming, the nurses getting there twoo late. Her own insane laughter echoing as she finally gave into death. Even worse, she remembered the impact of the knife with flesh, Satoko's crying, how satisfying it felt in the nightmare. Her stomach churned and she leaned over the trashcan by her bed, heaving over and over again.

She had long ago emptied her stomach.

Now they were just empty gags and chokes.

She had told Mion and Kasai she would be staying home from school the next day. It just wasn't worth it to go in, see Satoko's smiling face.

She couldn't even bring herself to visit Satoshi she was so disgusted with herself.

She sighed and gazed at her clock.

Midnight on the dot.

A sudden urge overcame her and she reached for her phone. She picked it up and dialed a familiar number.

The line rang a few times before someone picked up, "Moshi moshi, Maebara residence, this is Ryuguu Rena speaking."

For a moment Shion forgot about all of her woes, "Rena-chan, what are you doing at Keichi-kun's house at midnight?"

"Midnight?!"

She sounded shocked.

"Is it really that late… that late? I have to get going, sorry Keiichi-kun, here's the phone!"

A shuffle sounded as Keiichi took the phone, "Who's this?"

Shion sighed, leave it to Keiichi to answer the phone so impolitely with his friends, "Keiichi-kun, it's me, Shion Sonozaki."

"Oh hey!" he shouted with a laugh, "How have you been? We haven't spoken in forever. Sorry about Rena, my parents are out of town again and we sort of lost track of time talking."

Shion laughed lightly, "Keiichi, I was just calling to apologize."

"For what?"

"It's kind of hard to explain," she said softly, hugging her legs to her chest, "I've been having these weird dreams lately where I do horrible things. I've been trying not to let them bother me but…" she choked and tried to stop herself from crying, "I'm being stupid."

There was a long and uncomfortable moment of silence. "Don't worry," he said softly, "I forgive you… for everything."

Keiichi hung up the phone before she could respond.

Shion pulled her legs closer and smiled, letting the tears cascade down her cheeks.

That was exactly what she had needed to hear.