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I Won't Let Him

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It's a long way down…

That was the last thought he had in his mind before he decided to jump.

They would have never believed in me anyway.

That was the last thought he had in his mind after he jumped.

The soaring wind brushing his face as he fell somehow made him feel so calm. None of it felt real to him, to be honest.

It didn't really matter, either way. Nothing was real to him anymore. Nothing mattered.

He didn't deserve to live anyway. This was the best outcome for everyone.

He was sure that BASIL would confess about everything, once he woke up. Confess to their friends about what really happened. This was good though. It works out in the end. This way, when everyone finds out what actually happened, they'll feel no guilt or remorse over his death.

He's sure that they'll be glad to be rid of him.

Perhaps it was cruel of him to force all the responsibilities onto his friend after everything he's been through. Once again, he chose to selfishly leave BASIL behind by himself.

BASIL always did hate being alone… Just like him.

Perhaps once BASIL learns what happened to his dear best friend after this is all over… he'll be the only one distraught about it. He may even decide to follow after him out of a sense of guilt, or obligation.

Perhaps that's for the best too… Maybe murderers like them don't deserve to live after all.

Once this was all over… OMORI will go back to sleep, and dream of White Space again. Where he'll go back to the simple life of a child, going on adventures, playing games, and having picnics. With his friends. With his sister. No longer shackled by the guilt of the waking world, he'll finally be able to dream eternally in HEADSPACE where everything was okay… Where his sister never died… His sister...

MARI…

If only things had gone differently. Time after time, For the past four years when SUNNY stayed awake, he had replayed the event in his mind over and over again, desperately wondering if he could have done something differently to prevent the way things played out.

If only SUNNY was better at the violin, he wouldn't have made MARI upset for not being perfect.

If only he didn't throw the violin down the stairs on the day of the recital, MARI wouldn't have gotten even more upset at him.

If only he was more responsible, he could have apologized to MARI instead of shouting back at her.

If only he never tried to run away… he could have prevented himself from shoving MARI off when she tried to grab him…

If only he didn't throw the violin down the stairs… MARI would have never landed on it.

If only he knew that she was still alive… he would have never let BASIL convince him to follow his lead.

If only he didn't turn around when BASIL tried to pull him back to the house after they hung her...

He would have never known that this was the moment when MARI truly died.

Sorry MARI. SUNNY just couldn't find the strength to forgive himself. OMORI just wouldn't let him…

If you're truly out there, watching over him like you said…

Well...

See you soon, I guess.

A hazy feeling.

Like a distant memory.

Like he was just waking up from a long sleep.

His vision blurry, he couldn't see what was in front of him.

A loud stream of muffling poured into his ears, accompanied by constant ringing.

Where was he? Was he dead? Did he survive the fall?

No, that can't be… A dream, maybe. It had to be. A last final dream to suffer through before the end.

"...UNNY… SUNNY…. SUNNY!"

His senses come back to him, steady, slowly.

He finally noticed that he was standing, all this time.

His eyes twitched up, his vision unblurs itself to see his sister MARI right in front of him again.

She was angry at him. Loudly upset. She looked down on him with judgemental eyes.

"Are you listening to me?! I am TALKING, young man!"

Ah, maybe not a dream then. A nightmare. Or Hell. A deserving hell…

Figures. If he were to see MARI again, of course she'd hate him too. Was she angry at him for not being able to forgive himself? Or maybe more preferably, she was angry at him for killing her in the first place…

Yes, he'd rather MARI hate him for that… He deserved nothing less.

"Look at the mess you made! Do you not realize that you just destroyed everyone's hard work at getting you that violin?!"

MARI sternly pointed downwards to the side, making OMORI look over in a daze.

The familiar scene of the violin he smashed at the bottom of the stairs.

What…? Why was he seeing this again? Hasn't he lived through this nightmare enough times already…?

"I can't believe you would throw your violin like that! On the day of our recital! Do you have any idea what you've just done, you ungrateful little brat?!"

If this is truly Hell, if he was truly dead, then does that mean that OMORI would have to be subjugated to suffer living through this scenario over and over again?

The past four years now, he's gone through this in his head. Over and over and over and over again. He never stopped thinking about it, he never once was able to stop thinking about it. Constantly torturing himself with the guilt and pain of reliving the same day every single time. Every moment he was awake, he remembered this day. The only time he could truly ever let him forget was when he dreamed of White Space, where nothing ever went wrong.

He wanted to die to get away from this. He wanted to die so that he could finally find peace, knowing that there would never be any peace if he was alive. To live in White Space for the rest of eternity.

This Hell would be no different than he was alive.

"Don't you know how hard everyone worked just to get you that violin?! How could you just throw it away like that?! Do you have anything to say for yourself, SUNNY?!"

MARI, she had been so angry at him. All he wanted to do was to get closer to her, to spend more time with her, but he was never good enough to match her skill and dedication to the piano.

He picked up the violin for her. It was for her sake, not his. Why couldn't she see that? Why couldn't she see how hard he was working just to be with her? Why did she have to be so angry, so judgmental, just because he wasn't as perfect as her?

Why was he being called a selfish brat, WHEN EVERYTHING HE EVER DID WAS FOR-

...

No… No- no Nonono Nonono-

It was all playing out exactly like it did before.

Anywhere but here. Anything but this. He couldn't stand this kind of torture!

He'd rather stab himself again. He'd rather get lost in the forest surrounded by spiders constantly trying to kill him. He'd rather struggle and drown at the darkest pits of the ocean. He'd rather see the haunting corpse of his sister hanging off of every branch of every tree in the entire world.

Anything would be better than reliving this scene again, knowing that he couldn't do anything.

He had to get away from here. He had to run…

He took a disoriented step back before he tried to turn around and run away from MARI, only to have her grab onto his arm and pull him back-

"Where do you think you're going?! I'm not done talking to you!"

No, not again, NOT AGAIN-

It was purely instinctual. In his panicked mind, it was the only thing he could think of doing. In order to prevent living through the scene again, he had to shove her away.

But when he saw MARI stumble back towards the stairs, OMORI realized in horror what he had done.

It was like time had frozen, as OMORI watched his sister fall backwards. Her bad knee hadn't healed up yet, she lost her balance and tripped, she wouldn't grab onto the railing in time. She could only reach her hand out in order to latch on to something. She could only reach her hand out… to him.

He could only look on in horror.

He could only look on in horror.

He could only look on in horror.

Just like before.

That day, SUNNY's body froze up, his mind unable to comprehend what he was seeing- instead of doing anything- all he could do was to wait for something to happen.

Waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for something to happen.

OMORI won't make the same mistake as SUNNY.

Dashing forward, he latched his arms quickly around MARI's waist just as they were about to fall together.

OMORI felt his world spinning in circles as body began to get battered and bruised from colliding with the stair steps over and over again. He could feel every step breaking the bones in his arm, his leg, his wrists and ankles- he could see the stars shining up in his eyes after his head bounced on each step.

Yet not once did he let go of MARI. All he could think about was protecting her.

After what felt like countless years of falling down on an endless stairway, the both of them finally dropped to the bottom with MARI landing right on top of him.

"Owww! Owowowow! I think I busted my back…" MARI cried out in a stupor as she rubbed her back, before realizing her little brother was underneath her. In a panic, she quickly shuffled off of him before asking in concern, "SUNNY?! Are you alright?!"

OMORI could not respond. His mind was in a daze, and his body was as numb as it was in pain. Like being hit by an oncoming train.

If there was only one thing his body could feel though, it was this strange sensation in his right eye. Painful, yet familiar. Like when he tried to go visit BASIL in his room for the last time before he had to move away…

Garden shears.

"SUNNY, come on! Speak to me! Please let me know if you're alright!" MARI shouted nervously, roughly shaking his shoulders as if rousing him from sleep. "SUNNY! Come on, SUNNY!"

Unable to turn his head, he felt a hand grab on to his cheek as it gently pulled his head up for him.

There, he saw MARI. Looking down on him, not with the same judgemental eyes like before, but with horrified concern.

"Oh my god, SUNNY! Your eye, i-i-it's bleeding!" MARI stuttered in shock, "The violin, it- it got into your-"

She was alive. Alive and well. Even after falling down the stairs and landing on top of his violin.

This was… unexpected… He was so sure that things would play out the same as they always have… How was she still okay?

Was this another HEADSPACE delusion? A what-if scenario of what it would be like if OMORI was the one who fell down the stairs?

Out of the corner of his eye, the eye that wasn't being covered in pitch black darkness, he saw a familiar blond hair poking into view.

"M-MARI…? W-What happened?"

BASIL's voice. Of course he would show up too. Just like back then. Just like before. If it hadn't been for him, SUNNY would have never helped him hang MARI's body onto the tree outside. If it hadn't been for him, MARI would still have been alive. He was a murderer, same as SUNNY.

Will this scene continue to play out like he was imagining? Will BASIL suggest to MARI to hang his body on the tree, like he did for MARI in the real world?

Was his final punishment before death was to experience how it felt for MARI when she died?

"BASIL, go get help! Get someone, anyone- mom or dad, an adult, HERO- Just please find someone! SUNNY's hurt!" MARI desperately pleaded.

BASIL hesitated and trembled in fear, before running away. In the distance, OMORI could hear him scream, "KEL! HERO! SUNNY needs help!"

That's different. Everything was so different. OMORI couldn't wrap his mind around why everything was playing out so differently.

He was so sure that this was supposed to be his final punishment...

Beside him, MARI started hugging him to her body as she began shivering from the shock. Her eyes started swelling up as streams of tears unraveled down her cheeks.

"SUNNY, I'm so sorry… This was my fault… Oh god, this is all my fault- I shouldn't have- I shouldn't have-"

As the tears of his sister hit land on his face, mixing in with the blood that was presumably coming from his eye, OMORI couldn't help but wonder if maybe this wasn't really a punishment after all?

Instead of his sister, it was him that was bleeding and on the ground.

MARI was the one that was alive this time.

This never happened before. Never has this ever happened before in any of his nightmares.

If he was truly about to die from the fall at the hospital, or even perhaps already in the process of dying, then what could any of this mean?

Is this… is this a world where he managed to save his sister? Before she fell and died?

Maybe this was actually Heaven instead. How long has he always fantasized of a world where his sister was still alive?

Or maybe this was one last final delusion he's given himself before he passes on.

Heh… Heheheh…

He could feel the light in the room starting to dim… His other eye could barely keep itself open as he suddenly felt sleepier than ever before.

He could feel himself fading away.

"SUNNY? SUNNY, stay with me!"

A world where SUNNY dies in MARI's place… Where he never killed his sister… Where BASIL never hanged her body to the tree outside.

What a perfect world, indeed. One where he would gladly live in if he wasn't about to die.

MARI pulled OMORI closer, hugging him to her chest as she was sobbing.

Her heartbeat… It made such a beautiful rhythm. He could stay here and listen to it forever if he could help it.

"We're going to get you to the hospital SUNNY... You're going to be just fine! I promise that I'll be there for you!" He could hear MARI muttering in between gasps and hiccups.

No, don't cry for him, MARI. This is perfect, exactly what he always wanted…

OMORI weakly reached up to hold the hand caressing his cheek, covered in blood and tears. Looking up at her, he couldn't help but give a calm smile.

Whether this world was real or fake, some sort of premonition of what could've been, or another one of his fantasies to give him comfort… He never felt more at peace with himself as he did now.

"Don't worry… Everything is going to be okay…" MARI whimpered.

Everything is going to be okay…

Those words…Those words have haunted him for so long. Spoken by BASIL to reassure him that he wouldn't get in trouble for pushing MARI down those flight of steps that night. No matter how many times he said it, OMORI knew nothing was ever going to be okay...

But to hear it coming from MARI, he felt like he could truly believe it for the first time ever in his life.

Dying in his sister's arms… it was all he could ever ask for.

It was like the past four years was nothing more than a long-forgotten nightmare...

Everything was going to be okay…


Six years have passed since the incident.

An adult MARI, twenty-one years old, pulled up a chair and sat right beside her little brother in the hospital bed.

In just a few more days, her little brother will soon be celebrating his eighteenth birthday.

"Hey, Little Brother." MARI greeted cheerfully enough, before rummaging around her bag and pulling out a small wrapped-up plate of steak. "I know I'm just a few days early, but I couldn't help but get a bit over-excited. I wanted to celebrate with you as soon as possible."

Unwrapping the plate, she carefully placed the item right on top of her little brother's lap.

"It's your favorite! Steak!" MARI smiled, "I even made it exactly how you always liked it."

Silence was her only response, as the only noise in the room was that of a heartbeat monitor continuing to beep at a steady pace.

With a sigh, she said, "I know you can't eat it right now, so how about I help eat it for you? Best not to let it go to waste."

With that, she moved the plate over to her lap instead, and began slowly eating.

For the next half hour, MARI silently ate by herself right next to her little brother. Occasionally, she would look up to stare at him. Watching his face. Watching his arms and legs. Watching his fingers.

Just waiting.

Waiting for something to happen.

At last, she finished her last bite and wiped her mouth away with a small napkin. Cleaning herself up, she put her plate back in her bag before standing up.

"Well… I hope you liked your early birthday present…" MARI said sadly, "Only four days left to go…"

Leaning down, MARI brushed the bangs away from her little brother's face and gave his forehead a small kiss.

"Don't feel lonely, okay? I'm going to keep visiting you every single day." MARI reassured him gently.

Even then, there was still no response.

"No matter how long it takes…" She gulped, "I'll still come to visit you, okay? Until you wake up again, I'll be right by your side…"

SUNNY never woke up since the incident.

That fateful day when SUNNY protected her from falling down the stairs and landing on his violin, he was immediately rushed to the hospital. BASIL managed to get help from KEL and HERO, and their parents were able to get an ambulance to arrive right on time.

The recital she and SUNNY were about to participate in had to be canceled, of course. There was no way MARI could focus on anything other than her brother's wellbeing.

She had waited so long in the check-in room, waiting for the doctors to tell them all if he was going to be all right.

Even though she was there with friends and family, she couldn't bring herself to speak or even look at them. All she could think about was how…

How it was her fault.

When the doctors came out after hours of waiting to deliver the news, she became devastated.

He had become stable again and was breathing just fine. The doctors managed to stop the bleeding and heal his body, but they weren't able to save his eye.

It was MARI's fault that he lost his eye.

She was the first to ask the doctor to let her see SUNNY, but the doctor was hesitant. SUNNY hadn't woken up yet, and might not be conscious for a while.

It didn't matter. She just had to see him. To make sure she was all right.

When she saw his sleeping form for the very first time, she couldn't help but admire how peaceful her little brother looked. As if he was just taking a short nap to regain his energy. As if he would soon wake up at any moment.

He never woke up.

Days after days of waiting, visiting him whenever she was allowed to. Sometimes with her parents. Sometimes with her friends.

Usually almost always by herself.

He still never woke up.

There's no telling when he'll ever wake up. It could be tomorrow, or it could even be in the next fifty years.

That's all she could remember the doctors saying.

Coma. Her brother SUNNY was in a coma. It was MARI's fault that he was in a coma.

The news broke her. Knowing that her little brother would be in a coma after falling down those stairs, a fall that she surely caused, it was overwhelming for her. It felt like a part of her died.

It was all her fault. She was the reason why he was like this.

If it hadn't been for her, SUNNY would have still…

HERO tried his best to comfort her, trying to convince her that it was just an accident. But there was no way she could believe that. She knew, from the bottom of her heart, that this whole thing was entirely her fault and no one else's.

All she had to do was let herself fall by herself. She didn't have to reach out to grab SUNNY. If only she could have fell by herself, SUNNY would have been just fine.

She couldn't sleep right anymore. She barely ate properly either. Ever since then, she's been unable to focus on her schoolwork and had to be dropped out of school early.

During the years that passed, all she ever did now was wake up, cook, eat, visit SUNNY, and sleep. She couldn't bring herself to do anything else. She's barely even touched her piano ever since the incident.

She didn't even go outside anymore unless it was to go visit SUNNY. When was the last time she ever brought out her picnic basket?

At first, it used to be that everyone would be visiting him. KEL, AUBREY, HERO and BASIL, they'd all make time out of their schedules to come and visit SUNNY along with her. Not as often as her, but they still made the attempt to visit.

But as time moved on, they all eventually gave up when they realized SUNNY wasn't going to be waking up anytime soon.

KEL stopped first, as he started getting into more curricular activities in school with his sports and making new friends. Even though he would come over to her house to occasionally visit, he doesn't ever seem to want to go to the hospital anymore. One time MARI asked why he stopped. He became nervous and changed the topic.

MARI couldn't see KEL as a friend after that anymore.

AUBREY was shockingly the second to stop coming. Her last visit, she completely broke down in tears and shouted how she couldn't handle seeing him like this anymore, before running back home. Ever since then, AUBREY has been actively avoiding MARI and the others. The last time MARI saw her, she had dyed her hair pink and was hanging out with some scooter gang from the neighborhood. Carrying a nail bat.

MARI couldn't see AUBREY as a friend anymore either.

HERO… he left for college.

She'd rather not think about him. For all she cared, he was dead to her.

The only person left who ever visits SUNNY as much as she does was BASIL. Every so often, he'd come to add or change the flowers in the vase sitting right next to SUNNY's bed.

White Egret Orchids. Supposedly, in the language of flowers, it symbolizes the phrase, "my thoughts will follow you into your dreams."

BASIL was a true friend, in her eyes. Even if he absolutely hated her guts for what she did to SUNNY.

BASIL doesn't ever visit their house anymore. Even though he comes to visit SUNNY, she knew that he only specifically visits during the hours when he knows MARI isn't there.

She couldn't blame him. At least he still cared about SUNNY, unlike the others.

So in the end, she was left all alone to be the one to take care of her little brother. Besides BASIL, she was practically all alone…

All alone...

It was fine. Who cares? Not like she needed them anyways.

If her group of friends could so easily be torn apart and broken from something like this, then maybe they were never her friends to begin with…

As long as SUNNY was still breathing, she'll come visit him and stay right by his side. She'll never leave him alone.

Then when he eventually wakes up, he won't be alone.

It was her responsibility to make sure.

Because it was all her fault…

All her fault.

Buckling to her knees, she laid her head on the bed and covered her face to stop herself from crying. Her other hand reached out to grab onto her little brother's hand and tightly grasped it like a lifeline.

No matter how long it takes, she'll continue to wait.

Just wait.

Waiting until something happens.