Unedited version, this is the last chapter I had in fanfiction!
Maki : The Stray Cat
“ Hey guys! We’re gonna have a class gathering after school today, those who can come, please gather in front of the school gate, okay?! We’re gonna have a buncha fun!”
The students of 1-A Hikarigaoka Senior High are excitedly discussing about the class gathering they will have soon. They seem to be friendly to one another, even if they made some groups in the class.
“ Hey, Kitagawa, are you going to tag along with us?” Kiko, a kind-looking girl from a girls’ group approached her friend who was sitting all alone in the corner of the class. The short-haired girl was very surprised when Kiko approached her, and even asking her to join them. Her green eyes glittered in surprise.
“ Eeh, Ki-chan, why are you asking her? She wouldn’t come with us even if you asked, I told you,” a girl from Kiko’s group sighed.
“ But, but…,” Kiko insisted.
“ It’s okay, Taniguchi. It’s as they said, I can’t come. Sorry, I need to go home,” answered Kitagawa. She quickly grabbed her bag and left the classroom.
“ Hee… I wonder why won’t she join us? What a weird girl…”
I’m Kitagawa Maki, a student from 1-A Hikarigaoka Senior High. I was kinda surprised when Taniguchi Kiko from my class invited me to join them. I was happy, in fact. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to join them. Because I know… They will say that I’m a weirdo. And some other gossips about myself.
Well, not that it matters, anyway.
Aah, finally I’m arrived!
Home sweet home!
I opened the front door enthusiastically.
“Tadaima! (I’m home!)”
I caught a glimpse of a note on the table.
“I have some business going around on work.
Make sure to study well and be a good girl.
Heat the food I have prepared for you, okay?
As usual, Mom is indulged in her work. I know that it’s for my sake… After all, she had to work for our living. Dad left for another woman. He didn’t love Mom, or even myself. I never heard from him ever since. I shouldn’t even yelled, “Tadaima!” like that. No one would respond to that, let alone hear those words happily… So why would I even shouted all happily like tha—-
“ Meow! Meowww!!”
“ Aah!” I was a bit surprised. I got indulged in my own thoughts that I forgot about them. Right—the only ones who understand me, the ones who would always be by my side, those who would love me for who I am… My family, they are more than just pets for me. My beloved cats!
“ Nyanko, Nyanbo, I’m home! Sorry, I was thinking of something that I forgot you two!” I hugged my cats, Nyanko and Nyanbo in delight. They seemed happy to see me as they purred gently in my arms.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have any family or friends. As long as Nyanko and Nyanbo are here with me, then nothing else matters.
On a rainy day, Maki was seen to run through a neighborhood. She hugged Nyanbo tightly in her arms, wrapped in a clothing to make sure Nyanbo didn’t get wet. Maki was happy when she found what she had been searching for. She pressed the bells to a certain house. Soon after, the door opened and she could see a man, in his coat, wearing glasses. The man smiled gently and let her in.
“ My my, isn’t it Maki-chan. I’m glad to see you here!” greeted the man.
“ Good afternoon, Professor Waka! Nice to see you!” Maki gently dried herself and Nyanbo from the raindrops.
“ Sorry to bother you, asking you to come out like that…”
“ No, it’s okay!” Maki answered, “ You have helped me out so much back in the day when I first found Nyanko and Nyanbo… You helped me to take care of them when I didn’t know of what to do, so if we could be any of help, then we’d be happy!”
“ Ah right, about that…,” answered Professor Waka, “ I just finished making a cat food that would contain much nutrient for cats, and should give more benefits than the other cat food… I’d like to try that on Nyanbo if you don’t mind.”
“ …So Nyanbo will stay at your place?” asked Maki hesitantly.
“ Yes, but only for about a week or so. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to Nyanbo! He will be okay, and the food will surely do no harm to him. You’ll even see him more energetic and chubby than ever!” assured Professor Waka.
Maki smiled, “ Well, if you say so… Then I’ll leave Nyanbo in your care. You’ll be a good boy here, right, Nyanbo?”
Maki smiled as she stroke Nyanbo.
A few days later…
“ Nyanbo, I’ve come for you!! How are you doing?” Maki opened the front door without knocking. Professor Waka didn’t lock the door and as Maki was too impatient so meet her beloved cat, she acted without thinking about etiquette anymore. She was too overwhelmed by the image of seeing the cat she loved dearly, all healthy and more energetic than ever, running towards her happily as he would usually do whenever Maki got home.
But Nyanbo didn’t run towards Maki. He didn’t meow at all. Maki senses something wrong. Nyanbo would be very noisy when he heard Maki’s voice. Maki walked reluctantly. She continuously turned right and then left just in case Nyanbo was slipping somewhere inside. But she couldn’t grasp any image of Nyanbo, not even his shadow. Maki became worried.
“ …Nyanbo?” She cautiously looked under the furniture and on the corner of them while calling Nyanbo restlessly, “ Where are you, my dear Nyanbo?”
She then found a slightly opened door. The inside was dark. Maki gently pushed the door behind and the light from the room she was in shone over the dark room. At that moment, Maki could see clearly what was in the other room. Her eyes widened in surprise and shock.
There, she found her cat in a horrible condition. Nyanbo’s body got much thinner than she could ever remember. Some wounds were found in his body. Nyanbo seemed to have died in suffering. Maki lost her energy at instant. Her legs trembled before they finally stopped supporting Maki. Maki knelt down on the floor, grieving at her dead cat. She wept her eyes from tears that won’t stop running down her cheeks. She hugged Nyanbo’s body while repeatedly murmurring, “I’m sorry.”
Maki turned around to the voice calling her name. Professor Waka was behind her. Maki ‘s eyes changed. Anyone would be able to see hatred and anger clearly from her eyes. Maki stood up and ran outside.
“ Wait, Maki-chan!! Listen to my explanation!!” shouted Professor Waka. But it was useless. Maki ran out from Professor Waka’s house in tears of anger.
“ Nyanbo… I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have agreed… I… I should have…,” I couldn’t stop sobbing as I buried Nyanbo’s body in the yard. I could hear Nyanko’s worried meowing besides me, and I thought she understood what happened. I could see Nyanko’s face, grief and sadness in her pretty eyes. I hugged Nyanko as I finished burying Nyanbo.
“ Sorry, Nyanko… Sorry to make you all alone… Huwaa…,” I continued to cry with Nyanko.
I kept crying until the night. I lost my appetite, so I didn’t eat. All I could do is regretting my decision. If only I hadn’t agreed… then Nyanbo wouldn’t…
Something was wrong. Nyanbo… could it be that Professor Waka did something horrible to him…? All the wounds and that thin body of his…
I know now…
At midnight, Maki’s eyes were wide open. She sat in front of her computer as she clicked a certain site.
I will exact your revenge.
Jigokutsushin (Hotline to Hell).
Maki carefully typed down a name.
She was a bit hesitant to submit it, but then she clicked it. She was disappointed when nothing happened.
“So it was just a rumour, eh…”
“Did you call me?” Another girl’s voice could be heard inside of Maki’s room.
“Who is that?” Maki stood up from her seat and turned around to see another girl who suddenly appeared in her room. She could feel somewhat different air from the long black-haired girl.
“ My name is Enma Ai,” answered the girl.
“…,” Maki was surprised, “…Jigoku… Shoujo? (Hell Girl?)”
“ That’s right,” answered Ai as she handed out a dark red straw doll with a red string tied around its neck to Maki, “This is for you- If you truly seek revenge, Untie the scarlet thread from the doll’s neck. I will take the one you seek vengeance straight into the depths of hell. “
Maki grabbed the doll and touched the red string.
“However, there is a restitution, a price you must pay for it,” added Ai.
Maki paused her motion. She was just about to untie the red string.
“ When you die, your soul will be sent to Hell, left to wander in pain and agony for all of eternity.”
“…Eh?” Maki put off her fingers from the string.
“ And now, the decision is all yours…,” said Ai as she disappeared into thin air.
“ Hell…,” Maki murmured.
“ Aah… the school is finally over. I’m back, Nyanko and Nyan…,” I paused for a bit.
“ Ooh… right, I forgot. Nyanbo… isn’t here anymore. I can never meet her anymore…,” I started to feel all my grief back.
“ Meow,” I could hear Nyanko’s voice. She rubbed her head against my legs.
“ Nyanko…,” I hugged Nyanko, “ sorry I can’t do it. I can’t send him to hell… I’m afraid… I’m afraid… even though Nyanbo has suffered a lot, too… Sorry…”
“ Nyaa~,” Nyanko meowed again. I could see her face, she appeared to be smiling… trying to console me.
“ Nyanko… Let’s live well here… and so when our time come, we will surely be able to meet Nyanbo again in heaven, right?” I tried to think positively.
Suddenly, I heard someone knocking the door. I wiped off my tears as I opened the front door. I could see Professor Waka there. My anger and hatred bursted out again. My body became hot, moreover my head. This man is the one who killed Nyanbo…!
“ I… I’m sorry, Maki-chan,” said Professor Waka. I could see his face, all worried. He seemed to be truly sorry.
“ Sorry… but trust me it’s not like what you think it was,” he continued.
“ What do you mean? There’s nothing more to be explained as it is obvious, isn’t it?!” I yelled. Hello, I’m still angry!
“ That’s why, listen to me first…,” he continued, “Actually the food was doing fine. Nyanbo got healthier and more energetic than ever. He was very naughty. He would run over the house and even wandered off to the park nearby. I think during that moment, he got on a fight with another cats and injured himself. I have tried restraining him, but he managed to find a way to escape again, and so… that explains Nyanbo’s condition… right?”
I became speechless. Well, he’s right about one thing. Nyanbo was surely naughty. He was the troublemaker, but he was still lovely, nevertheless. So there is that possibility, too…
Day by day, Professor Waka would pay me a visit. He would apologize continuously for Nyanbo’s dead. He also played with Nyanko. I started to think that he was telling the truth… Now that I think about it, there’s no way he would be so cruel to do something like that to Nyanbo. After all, he was the one who helped me nurturing Nyanbo as well. So I accepted Professor Waka’s apology and asked him to come and play with Nyanko and me, since we still felt our loss for Nyanbo. I was glad to see his delighted face. He thanked me a lot and smiled at Nyanko. Maybe it was just me… being too paranoid and negative thinking…?
We talked a lot during his visits. Now I found out that he was actually a good person and too kind-hearted. I didn’t know him this well before, but now I came to like him. I also pitied him when he told me that he was having stresses from his work. His environment that wasn’t supportive towards him, how his colleagues and relatives despised him despite of his hard work, and his boss that oppressed him too much. I see now that we’re alike.
How could I help him, I wonder…?
That afternoon, Maki was seen in front of her computer again. But, instead of accessing the Jigokutsushin, she accessed another website instead.
The Heaven Correspondence
She typed in the same name she had submitted to Hotline to Hell.
She submitted it and it directed her to a blank page, the same as Hotline to Hell’s.
“ Hi,” another girl’s voice could be heard. Maki turned around with a smile.
“ So you really came! You’re Heaven Girl, right?” asked Maki.
“ That’s right. My name is Anju Cheryl. Take this ring,” Anju handed over a small ring with red heart decoration on it.
“ Should you no longer doubt, then you shall kiss that red heart decoration and I’ll take the one whose name you submitted to the Heaven,” explained Anju.
Maki accepted the ring and asked, “ There’s the restitution… isn’t there?”
“ How do you know?” asked Anju.
“ I contacted Hell Girl before.”
“ Ah,” Anju understood why.
“ Well actually, after you have signed the contract—I mean kissed that ring, the Heaven’s Crest will appear.”
“ Heaven’s Crest?” asked Maki.
“ Yup. It looks like a tattoo of a heart with small wings on its left and right side. If you live your life well, then it won’t turn black and so you and your beloved one will be in heaven. But… every time you do bad things, it will turn black, a little by little. From the heart, and then the wings. If it’s already a half, then you can’t go to Heaven. Your soul will be wandering around the world. But if the heart and one wing has been turned out into black, your soul and your beloved one’s soul—which has been sent to the Heaven will be wandering in the world, unable to settle down somewhere. Not the Heaven, and not even the Hell. Your souls will be lost forever,” explained Anju.
“ Uh…m,” Maki hesitated, “ If it turned black, is there a way to turn it back to white?”
“ Yes,” answered Anju, “every time you do good deeds, the black one will turn into white again, but this will be only a bit… It’s easier to make it all black rather than returning it to white.”
“ I see…,” Maki doubted herself. She was afraid that she wasn’t good enough and that she would cause their souls to wander off without any settlement. To her, it’s more cruel than going to hell. Having no place to settle down… Becoming a lost soul forever…
“ Well, take your time and decide…,” Anju then disappeared.
A few days later…
“ Professor Waka? What’s wrong?” Maki opened the door. It was late at night that she didn’t expect Professor Waka to come, “ did you forget something?”
“ No… Sorry to disturb you the night you returned from your school vacation,” answered Professor Waka.
“ Oh no, it’s okay… Sorry to bother you with Nyanko,” answered Maki. She left Nyanko in Professor Waka’s care during her stay in another town for school vacation, “ I will take her home tomorrow morning, so don’t worry about it.”
“ Ehm… about Nyanko, you see…,” Professor Waka hesitantly opened a bundle of blanket he was holding. There, Nyanko lied down without any movement, nor breath. Maki was shocked. Nyanko was covered in wounds.
“ Wha… what?!”
“ Apparently, the children bullied her when she lied down, sunbathing,” explained Professor Waka, “ I… I tried so hard to heal her, but it was useless… But she died peacefully in my arms… I’m really sorry, Maki-chan…”
I cried so hard again after receiving Nyanko’s death. I buried her next to Nyanbo. Now I have no one left… I’m all alone in this world… Why did all these happen in the first place? Why did they have to die…?
Right, Professor Waka!
I wonder how he was doing… He also loved Nyanko, and I’m sure he was the one who got shocked the most. After all, he was the one who found Nyanko. And also… I need to say my gratitude to him for trying to save Nyanko and for being there during her last moments.
I went to Professor Waka’s house without calling him first. I knocked but no one answered.
“ Hmm… I wonder where he went…”
I could hear a vague voice from the backyard of his house. I approached the backyard and the voice became clearer. It was Professor Waka’s voice. I peeked the backyard as I could see Professor Waka and someone who seemed like his friend. They were chatting in friendly way.
“ Eeeh?! How could you do that?! You loved the cats, didn’t you?” the other man exclaimed. I paused.
What are they talking about?
“ Hmph,” answered Professor Waka, “ it was all just lip service, lip service. I hate cats a lot. They were too noisy and bothersome. Even after they were beaten up, they still annoyed me!!”
“ Wha… what about the cat food you made?” asked the man.
“ Well, it’s my job so I can’t be picky… but you see, they vomitted the food,” answered Professor Waka.
“ And you didn’t give them another food?”
“ Well, it’s their fault, what could be so wrong with this food I made? Anyway, it’d be a waste of money to buy them other things. If they really needed another food, they could just hunt for mice, right? Ahahahaha,” Professor Waka laughed.
“ But what is it that you intend to do, then? Getting so friendly to the cats and the owner of them…”
“ Well, that girl seems to be nice and easy to be deceived. It was nice to eat freely from her. Also, maybe when I get more of her trust, I can introduce her to a certain business and make her work for me, right? Ahahaha,” answered Professor Waka as the man also laughed along with him.
“ You’re so brilliant and cunning as usual!”
So… it was him after all… Nyanbo and Nyanko…?!
Unforgivable… I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!!!
Maki rushed home and opened her drawer where she saved the straw doll and the ring she got respectively from Hell Girl and Heaven Girl. She grabbed a thing and signed the contract.
At Professor Waka’s house
Professor Waka was sitting leisurely on the sofa as he drank a cup of coffee. Suddenly, a girl appeared behind him.
“ Who are you?!” asked Professor Waka.
The girl smiled, “ No need to be afraid or worried. I’m…”
“ I wonder if she really sent Professor Waka… Where is the sign, again…?” asked Maki as she reached for a mirror. She searched around her body and found the sign of the contract and smiled.
“ So, it has been done. Now…,” she opened her bag and found something she had searched for.
Forgive me… Mom.
She opened a bottle and drank some capsules before she collapsed. No one came to her aid as she closed her eyes. Her breathing slowed down, as well as her heart. Not a long time after, she passed away. It’s obvious now that she got a mark on her body. The mark is shaped like heart with wings. And it’s all pitch black.
“ Suicide is the worst kind of sin. It would surely turn the Heaven’s Crest to black in an instant. And with that, my soul and Professor Waka’s soul will have to wander off the world forever… Unable to settle in a place. I’m taking him with me… This is what he deserves from causing Nyanko and Nyanbo suffer!! I also was responsible in their deaths, so… this is my answer. This is my decision to atone my sins and also to revenge their deaths.”
“ I can’t believe you,” said Anju as she sent over Maki and Professor Waka’s soul to the world and closed their passages to Heaven and Hell.
“What a mad story it was… Humans are really complicated. I can never comprehend them,” Anju thought.
Now then… I wonder what will the next madness be…?