9

Tick…tock…

Those two sounds…sounds that had never seemed so maddening until now…

Tick…tock…

The time was five-thirty. Oryou had not woken up yet.

Tick…tock…

Mion stood at the phone. Rena was left. All she had to do was just call Rena, and then…

And then what?

Kill her, obviously.

Rika and Satoko's bodies now lay at the bottom of the well. They'd be getting lonely without another traitor's company.

Mion picked up the phone. She hesitated. It just seemed too good to be true. The competition was nearly wiped out. It was just one more person and then…then it would all be over. She would have Keiichi to herself.

But what if it was too late? What if he had already fallen for one of them? What if he was too busy mourning their death to pay any attention to her?

Well…grief passed. He'd get over it. She would be there for him. Provide him support, give him a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, someone to love…

Mion dialled Rena's home phone number and waited…waited…waited…

"Hello?"

"Rena," said Mion, "It's Mion. I need you to come over right away. It's urgent."

"Urgent?" said Rena's perky voice which now grated Mion's nerves. "What could it be, I wonder, I wonder?"

"Just…get over here," said Mion tensely before hanging up. She sighed and leaned against the wall, slowly sliding down to the floor. The doll that had started all this lay next to her. It had been left behind when Mion took the girls down. A stupid move, now that she thought about it. What if Oryou had woken up and seen it? What if she had asked about…?

What had become of Shion's body? Was it still in the dumpster? Or was it at the dump, collecting maggots and—

Again, Mion felt that itching. This time, the itchy feeling spread up to her neck and she scratched. The sharp edges of her nails massaged the itch, yet did not relieve it. If anything, the itch grew stronger with each attempt she made to scratch it.

When she had picked up Shion's body to put in the bag, had there already been maggots infesting within her? Had those maggots somehow transferred over into Mion's bloodstream?

"Damn maggots," grunted Mion, scratching harder and harder. Her breathing grew shorts as she chanted, "Maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots, maggots—"

She jumped up at the sound of a knock on the door. She grabbed the doll and marched over to the door, trying to ignore the sensation of maggots infesting her blood, trying to poison her to kill her as mercilessly as she had killed her sister. She opened the door…

"K—Kei-chan!" she gasped, hiding the doll behind her back.

"Yes, I was over at Rena's just now, and she told me about the call," explained Keiichi, "Since you're my friend, too, I thought I should go over with her. You've been acting really weird, Mion. Are you okay?"

Keiichi…worried about her?

Only because she pretended to be concerned and strung him along.

Wait, was she holding?

"R—Rena-chan," said Mion nervously, "What are you holding?"

"This?" said Rena as she held up what looked like a cleaver. "Oh, this is just a hooked machete I found in the dump a while ago. I was just showing it to Keiichi."

Showing? Plotting to murder?

"Mion, what's that behind your back?" asked Rena.

"This?" said Mion, bringing out the doll. "Oh, uh…Rika was here just now. She gave me this doll because she didn't want it. Anyway…I found a dead body in the underground torture room."

"A dead body?" said Keiichi. "Takano?"

"Um, I don't know," lied Mion as she stepped further outside. "Want to come with me so we can check it out together?"


The knife was still in the torture chamber, lying right next to the crucifix. Mion remembered this as she led Keiichi and Rena down below, chatting them up, making sure they wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

"I thought I saw a body over there, in the well," Mion pointed over to the well. "Just go a bit of a ways down there, but watch your step." She handed the doll over to Keiichi. "Here, hold this for me; I'll be right back."

She ran past them to where Satoko had once been chained up. She felt like giving herself a pat on the back for how neatly the crucifix had been cleaned up. A slight, yellow stain remained, but even that could barely be noticed as blood.

She bent down and picked up the knife. That, however, had not been cleaned. The blood on it had now dried, like paint. Yes, it merely looked as though it had been dipped into a paint bucket. Not that either of them would buy that excuse.

She chuckled to herself. If she had to kill Rena in front of Keiichi, so be it. He would understand. In Rena's final moments, she would show herself for whom she truly was, and Keiichi would cease to love her. He would realize how noble Mion was to go so far for him, and end up in her arms. It was all too perfect.

She waited a few seconds before quietly walking through the chamber, her feet echoing on the stony ground. Her heart sped up, her fingers curled around the cold metal, her nerves stood on end from the coldness of the underground, and from maggots underneath her skin.

You're just about there…not much longer now…

Down the tunnel…

You have the bitch in the palm of your hand…

A bit further…

Just about…

"M—Mion? What—"

Now.

Mion flung her knife towards Rena, only for Rena to block it with her hooked machete at the last moment. Rena panted, "Mion…why…"

"You know why," growled Mion as she attempted to stab Rena again, and was blocked once again, "It's because you—no, it's because you all stole Keiichi away from me!"

"Stole?" Rena blocked another shot. "What do you mean?"

"Like you don't know," scoffed Mion as she made another botched attempt, "I realized it the moment Keiichi gave the doll to Rika. It could've been anyone, but it had to be Rika!"

She let out a yell and aimed for the head. Again, this was blocked. "I realized it then," she said coldly, "I realized you all have a little thing for Keiichi. I loved him, and you all wanted to steal him away from me."

She was about to take another shot when she felt a pair of hands spin her around. "Mion," said Keiichi, his face wrenched with confusion and concern, "What did you do to Rika and Satoko?"

"They had to go, Kei-chan…no, Keiichi-kun," sneered Mion, "But I didn't do it for me. I did it for you. For us. Because I love you."

She searched Keiichi's face for a sign that he reciprocated her feelings..any sign at all. But there was none. His eyes widened, his jaw fell slack, and he shook his head slowly as he backed away from the crazed young girl.

Mion's eyes narrowed. "I see," she said coldly, turning back to Rena, "I see now perfectly. I'm too late, aren't I? You've already seduced him away from me, haven't you?"

"I…Mion, we're just friends…" said Rena, her eyes pleading for the mercy Mion would not give.

"That's a lie," said Mion sharply, "You were all lying to me." She tried once again to strike Rena, an attempt only partially successful—she had not penetrated any skin, but had managed to knock the hooked machete out of Rena's hands, and down the well. Defenceless, Rena fell to her knees. "Mion…please…"

It would soon be over.

Mion held up her knife…

Took aim…

Took the plunge…


"…K…Keiichi…"

Mion stood frozen with horror at the sight of a bleeding Keiichi on the ground, her knife jammed into his back. The idiot. The idiot.

No…she was the idiot. Nothing she could've done would have ever convinced Keiichi to love her, not even this. Rena had won. She had lost. She just couldn't accept it.

"…Mi…Mion…" Keiichi coughed up blood. He smiled up at her weakly. "You…shouldn't have…because…"

"Keiichi-kun…" was the only sound to emit from Mion's lips.

"…I…have always…loved…you…" whispered Keiichi. And his eyes were not fixed on Rena as he spoke these words.

His eyes had been fixed on Mion.

Solely on Mion.

And now…his once life-filled eyes began to fade out.

Shaking, Mion slowly pulled the knife out of his back. That cold metal now seemed no longer like a friend to her, but as a hateful foe.

"Mi…Mion…"

Mion looked up. She let out an angry scream and plunged the knife straight into Rena's heart. Rena fell over backwards and down, down into the well. Mion barely even heard the crash as she fell to her knees and cradled Keiichi's lifeless body. She let a cry of despair and buried her face into Keiichi's chest, sobbing as she remembered all the events that had led up to this. The murder of her friends…the murder of Satoko…Rika's suicide…Shion's murder…the little things, every little thing that counted between the girls and Keiichi…

And finally…

That doll.

That wretched doll which should have never come into being.

That doll which Keiichi was still hanging onto.

Her hands curled around his and stroked the delicate lace and frills of the doll he held. So soft…so smooth…like the skin of his hand…

She had ruined everything. She should've realized Keiichi did love her after all. She should've seen past her jealousy, and yet she hadn't. Nothing could ever go back to the way it was now. Ever.

She gently pried the doll out of Keiichi's hands and lay it on the ground, smoothing out the fine curls and petticoats. She looked down at Keiichi's body. It would all end right here.

She gently pushed his body over the edge and waited several seconds to here its landing.

She picked up the doll and hugged it tightly to her chest. Then, she closed her eyes…and took a few steps forward…


Oryou had been the one to make the gruesome discovery at the bottom of the well. After waking up from a nice, long nap, she had waited another full hour for Mion's return. When there was no sign of her granddaughter, she searched the entire house and the area surrounding it, before finally checking in the torture chamber. Horrified, she had called the police, who confirmed very little.

They confirmed the deaths, and possibly pinpointed the killer, but barely understood the motivation.

They confirmed the time of deaths, but not the time of the decision to kill.

Mostly…

They had confirmed that the final person to fall into the well was Mion Sonozaki.

And that she had been found with a content expression, hugging a doll tightly as though she intended to sleep with it…forever…

The most intricate thing to find in this world.

Is it a needle that you lost in the desert?

The most intricate thing to find in this world.

Is it a crow's feather that you lost in the darkness of the night?

The most intricate thing to find in this world is,

Realizing your own erroneous contemplation.

-Frederica Bernkastel

THE END

Credit song: "Dear You (Feel)"


A/N: And so ends the darkest, most morbid story I have ever written, not counting my "Ten Little Somethings" re-writes, because even those had somewhat lighter tones compared to this. Truthfully, I could have done better with this. I felt it was a bit rushed, and I didn't totally have my heart into it, but I gave it my best shot. Dark as it is, however, it is comforting to know about Matsuriyabashi-hen…and then, "Waiting" (shameless plug, lol).

Also ends is my last fanfic for 2010. I have a few plans in mind for 2011, but only I know for certain what they will be. Stay tuned…