Please forgive me for completely disappearing off the face of the Earth. My explanation will be posted below.




《〈Kage no Hana〉》


Three is a magic number.

They both said it was, and so I believed them.

My parents were the best in the world, so they would never lie to their only daughter, right?

That is, until I found out that they were wrong.

It's a lie. They lied to me.

Three is the number of sadness.




"You see, Rima? Three is the number of happiness! There are three of us, and we'll always be happy!"

Of happiness?


"Your mother is right, Rima! They say that three is the number of magic."

"Can we have a picnic tomorrow? Just the three of us?"

"You've gotten bored of our conversation already?"


"Honey, stop teasing her."

"Of course we can! Anything to make you happy."

Anything, huh?

Three lies.




I don't know when it stopped.

I know that I don't want to remember it.

But, I do remember how it started.

"Just lock her in here. She should fetch a pretty high ransom."

A sneer.

The basement was very dark.

The janitor found me, curled up and sniffling.

"H-hey! What are you doing here? A little girl like you shouldn't be here! Go home!"

A command.

If I hadn't cried all my tears dry, I would have cried out of embarrassment.

I walked home as if nothing happened.

It was just twenty minutes, so they wouldn't notice, right?

"Oh, you're home late today. Did anything happen?"

"No, Mom."

A lie.

Three voices.




"Excuse me, but judging from the information we gathered, your daughter was kidnapped and held captive on her way home from school three days ago. We found her in our storage room."

An indifferent voice. It was a strange man on speaking the phone.

"What do you mean she got kidnapped? I trusted you with her, and you let that happen!"

An angry voice. It was my dad.

"How should I have known? She told me nothing had happened, and I believed her! Can you blame me for trusting our daughter?"

Another shouting voice. It was my mom.

"Are you trying to blame this on Rima? Anyways, it's your fault for letting her walk from school alone!"

"Dad, I-"

"Not now, sweetheart. Your mother and I are talking about something important."

He went right back to shouting.

Three people.




"That lazy, good-for-nothing husband! Claiming to be too busy with work! Hah! Busier than me? No, I think not."

Resent. It was a not-so-quiet mumble.

"All you do each day is watch that stupid news channel! Do you not care about our daughter?"

Frustration. It was a shout that drowned out everything else.

"Well, if you cared about Rima so much, then couldn't you take out some time from your busy schedule to pick her up from school?"

"Why couldn't I just walk? It was just an accident…"

"Rima! Don't be sad! See, look, it's a funny face!"

Delusion. It was a little voice that knew it wouldn't be heard, knew that it wouldn't matter, yet still too scared to face reality.

Three feelings.




"I'll be going out with my friends today, okay?"

I just wanted to get away from them.

I could still hear them through the door.

"It's all your fault that she's like this! If you had just spent more time with her, she wouldn't be like this!"

She just wanted him to see what his laziness caused.

"You can hardly say anything, since you've always been far from the perfect parent yourself!"

He wanted to see what her ignorance destroyed.

"Neither of them said goodbye to me…"

"Come on Rima, smile! We're going to have fun today, so you should be happy!"

Three excuses.




"Rima, we're going to get a divorce. I know that this is pretty shocking, but it's for your sake."


"Don't worry, Rima! After the divorce, they'll realize how much they miss each other, and you'll be a family again!"


"Goodbye, Rima. I'll come and visit you sometime!"


Three hopes.




Was it hopeless to continue dreaming?

Have the tears stopped?

Will it ever end?

Past, present, and future.

The three phases of time.




"Rima…look! It's a funny face! Bala-Balansu!~"

I smiled a bit.


"Come on, Rima! You're going shopping with Amu and Yaya in twenty minutes! You have to hurry!"


I let the final tears fall on my pillow, and then I dried my eyes.


There was no use in crying, was there?

They fell in perfect rhythm.

Left, right, left.

It's time to forget. It's time to move on. It's time to think about happier things.

I smiled.


"Three teardrops."

Ichi, ni, san.


Please forgive my sad and incredibly pitiful excuse for a story. My willpower melted somewhere along the point when my oh-so-kind mother decided I need to learn the entire contents of a textbook over the the "Three Character Writings" which were basically "THE DIVINE, ALMIGHTY, OMNIPOTENT LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE." In a nutshell. An ugly, deformed nutshell that slightly resembles the Chinese fruit thing that carried wine when it was dried in the...the...olden times. (I FORGOT THE WORD. It started with an f.) You know, Hu (second accent) lu (fourth accent).

Because my mom went all Asian!parent on me, I, naturally, had to do algebra as well. My writing attempts kind of just...died. Like this:

Me: Okay! I will sit down and finish this chapter once and for all!
(Hey, why are my thoughts being broadcasted in large, white subtitles while we're running for our lives?)

Me: Large, white subtitles...ooh, that kind of looks like that math problem I had in my textbook yesterday!
Conscience: Don't even think about it! You will sit here and concentrate and not go off to re-memorize the equation for each type of a line! Which I know you won't do anyways!
(Hm, this is an unusually long and silent running scene.)

Me: Wow! There are a lot of n-shaped letters in that sentence! In simplified form it would be 15n+12l+
Conscience: Concentrate!
Me: Nah, I'd rather not. In fact, I think I'll just watch another episode of K-ON!

You see? So I gave up sometime around attempt four. And then, I started feeling extremely guilty for just disappearing off the face of the Earth, and I started planning a story.

Sadly, every single one of them was angsty in some way. (...and that concludes our lesson on How Studying Causes Depression.) It's just one of the side effects of learning math and Chinese over the summer. That, and accelerated speed of losing any information that had anything to do with the topic you were studying.

If you want to know how I got those O-shaped dots that are smaller than O's, I'll tell you that they're the Chinese (and possibly for other Asian languages as well) version of a period.


Because a plain dot looks too much like a comma.

And, if you're wondering why the titles different in the story, it's because I used the actual characters instead of the romanized word.

Also, I apologize for the long A/N and possibly lack of my characteristic sarcasm. I was rambling.