Imagine this. Your beloved is ill, Your sister in law's pregnancy is in danger, Your brother broke his leg, Your mother sufers from depression, Your father can have a heart attack any moment, and Your lizard has some weird skin dissease. Can it get any worse?
Yes, of course. Imagine your best friend is dying.
Imagine that few months have passed. Nothing have change, except Your brother's leg is healed, and Your sister's in law pregnancy is advanced, but it is unknown if the baby will survive.
And you guessed right. Your best friend is still dying. And Death is approachig him faster and faster.
"I won't tell him." said Isshi, pouring himself some water to his cup.
Nao was away and he was left alone and called me, like usual. Doesn't matter that I have fragile Maiccho's health on my head. According to him, I can always visit my friend.
"You have to tell him." I insisted, crossing my legs. "Do you understand, Shino?"
"He'll start to freak out." said Isshi. "And when he'll start freaking out, we won't calm him down."
"Why?" I asked.
"It's just like that." said Isshi, leaning on a drawer. "Kou... Catch me."
Thank gods, Nao's away. Really.
"But what will Nao do, when you'll die?" I asked, puting wet towel on Isshi's forehead.
His breath started to calm down. Finally.
"I have no idea." said Isshi in a weak voice. "And I'd rather not think about it."
The phone called. I picked up.
"Maiccho?" I asked.
"Will you buy me some tissues?" asked Maiccho in his sweetly, but at the moment very coarse voice.
"Of course." I agreed.
Shino walked me to the door. I saw him burning out. Like a candle, which's knot is about to end.
"I'm scared." said Isshi quietly. "I don't want her to tear us apart."
"The queen of the other world, Kou." Isshi smiled weakly. "When she'll come for me, I'll have to wait for a long time for Yamiyo."
"And for me." I added.
"And for you." Isshi laughted. "Go home now. Mai needs you, Kousuke."
"See you, Shino." I said and ran to my car.
A month have passed and Shino wanted to see me again. But I couldn't. Yasuno decided he won't go to the band practice, Yuhra caught a cold and Taizo got lost somewhere. Maiccho's fever was really high and I had to go with him to the hospital. Really?
A week later I've got a phonecall from Tora, with who I wasn't keeping in touch lately. Everything was weird. Isshi didn't call or even pick up. Akiya picked up once and while talking with me, he sounded like he was about to cry, then he suddenly hung up. Shin told me he doesn't feel like talking and he needs to go to the shop and buy a lot of napkins, because he's running out of them. Izumi talked about going fishing, but his voice lacked it's usual playfullness. Nao's phone was turned off. Something was wrong.
"My beloved is still sick, my sister-in-law gave birth to a healthy baby, but she won't be able to have any more, brother broke his arm, mother attempted suicide, father got a heart attack and my lizard bit off it's tail for no apparent reason. To make things worse, you guys are behaving strangely lately, so give me a serious reason why you're calling so early." I said, while pouring myself some water.
"I didn't want you to learn about this from the media."
"Me and Akiya found Isshi last week. His family told us to not tell anyone, because..." Tora's voice cracked. "They wanted to give him a peacefull burial. Isshi is dead, Kousuke."
Crash! Glass of water fell out of my hand and water spilled all over the floor. I slid down the wall. Shino...
"Kousuke, what happened?"- Maiccho ran to me and shook me by my arms. "Kousuke!"
"Shino... Didn't pick up his phone... Because he couldn't..."
"Why?" Maiccho started getting anxious.
"Dead ones can't do this." I explained with my voice shaking. "Nao. He got left alone. I need to go. Wait, I don't know, where..."
"Isshi is dead?" asked Maiccho.
"Tora, are you still there? Where's Nao? With Shin and Izumi? Okay, I'm going there. Maiccho, stay here."
I felt like someone ripped out a chunk of my heart. Like something died inside me. Shino was always by my side, even when Maiccho didn't understand me. He was there always. He was an unseparable part of my existence on this pityfull world.
And now Shino is standing in front of me, with his hands on my shoulders. He's not there, yet he came for the third time.
"You're not here." I say calmly. "You're not here. You're someone, who's not."
"Why you're the only one that doesn't believe?" he asks.
I laught histerically.
"Because I'm a realist." I reply. "Let go off me."
"Kou, please believe me. Believe in me. Believe, please." I get the feeling Isshi is about to start crying.
His fingers painfully grip on my shoulders. But he's not there.
"Go away." I say and push him away.
I close the door behind me and fall on the floor.
"Ghosts don't exist." I repeat to myself, trying to reach the pills on my cupboard, perscibed by my psychiatrist. "They don't exist."
Shino's not here. Shino died. Shino didn't come back. And he won't. Ever.