This wasn’t a dream Sunny was used to.
Sunny, Omori - who was he again?
His confusion aside, white space didn’t greet him this time. It wasn’t too uncommon for him to have a dream that seemed to go against his lucid dreaming abilities. At times, his mind simply wouldn’t let him return to the world he had so carefully crafted, spending hours staring at his wall and visiting even when he was awake. He supposed it made sense. It wasn’t realistic to lucid dream every night, even if he happened to be aware he was dreaming most of the time.
Everything about his headspace had been carefully crafted, every minute detail being taken into account. A lot of it was involuntary, he was sure. There were lots of things he didn’t understand about his dream world, but he had no desire to change them. As long as he had a happy escape from his mundane life, whatever his mind decided to throw at him was okay.
But this was much more realistic than what he was used to. He was in Mari’s piano room, and she was practicing. It wasn’t a song he recognized. It wasn’t until she played for a while that he realized he was holding a violin - was he supposed to be playing, too? He didn’t remember how. Even if he did, being stuck in such a realistic place, without Omori to guide him through anything, was scary.
“Sunny.” Mari stopped. It was a little disappointing. She sounded nice. She sighed, turning to face him. “Are you going to just stand there?”
He paused, thinking a while before speaking. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know this song.”
Mari didn’t say anything as she turned back to her piano, looking upset. He always hated making her upset. She was such a cheery girl - if she was upset, it was about something that meant a lot to her.
It was then he noticed her hair. It looked darker than usual? Wasn’t it usually purple? He didn’t remember. He tried to think back, and in some memories, it was pretty dark, but - memories with Mari were always fuzzy. He hated it. It wasn’t that way with the others, except for Basil sometimes. Now that he thought about it… what color was Basil’s hair again? What was he even up to?
“Let’s try again, shall we?” Sunny could tell Mari tried her best to sound more positive, but she was never good at tricking him. Not when it came to things she really cared about, anyway. She was exceptional at putting on a smile that didn’t exactly travel up to her eyes, fooling just about everyone. But not Sunny.
She began to play regardless. The boy’s grip tightened around his violin and his bow, as if doing so would cause the knowledge to come back to him. In a lot of his dreams, doing stuff like that worked. But not this time.
Just as he was about to try to play anyway, she stopped once again.
“What is your problem?!” Her angry tone startled him. She didn’t sound like that often.
“I don’t know what this song is! I don’t know what you’re playing!” he yelled back, tears stinging the inner corners of his eyes. He was continually becoming more and more frustrated, and hearing Mari sound so angry scared him.
“Aren’t you going to apologize?” Mari turned around once more. It was then Sunny noticed that her hair was definitely black for sure. Strange.
“I’m sorry?” He swallowed. “I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m not good enough at improvising to play a song that -”
“No.” Mari towered over him, a look on his face that Sunny had never seen before. When did she even get up?
“Apologize again. That wasn’t good enough.”
What the hell was going on?! “I’m sorry…?”
“Is that a question?”
“I don’t understand what I need to be sorry for! I don’t know this song!”
“I’m sorry, Mari.”
“I’m sorry! I -”
Mari shook her head. She looked away and sat back down on the stool she had, laughing softly.
“Are you - are you laughing at me?!” Sunny yelled, tears streaming down his face. “What is wrong with you?!”
“Oh, Sunny, Don’t you understand? ‘Sorry’ is not good enough.”
Was this even about the music anymore?
“Let’s try again.”
“No! I’m not going to let you get mad at me again!”
Before he even had a chance to finish his statement, the piano began once again. The sound was different. Unsettling. Like nails on a chalkboard. Did it even sound like a piano anymore? His ears burned, and he dropped his violin on the floor in order to cover them. It didn’t even feel like he was in the piano room anymore. Chances were, he probably wasn’t. The horrifying music continued, winding in circles until -
Sunny sat up straight in his bed, nearly hurting his neck in the process. He rubbed it just in case, but at the moment, there was too much on his mind to worry about it. It was so quiet. Unsettlingly so. He had never had a dream feel so loud before, but it wasn’t uncommon for him to wake up from his nightmares feeling similarly distraught. That was part of life, he supposed. Everyone experienced nightmares. Not everyone had the same relationship to their dreams as he did though. But there was no point in lingering on it.
It was already beginning to fade from his mind as quickly as it had happened anyway. He threw his legs over the side of his bed and got up. It appeared to still be pretty dark outside - chances were he woke up during the night. But he didn’t feel like going back to sleep.
He made his way down the stairs, feeling an unnerving presence in the room to the left of him. That was about normal though. He always made an effort to avoid it, even though he didn’t know why. In all honesty, he had forgotten what was in there. But this time, it made him especially uncomfortable. He made an effort to get off of the stairs on the side furthest from the room, about to enter the kitchen until -
The music continued, going in a cycle over and over. He jumped, frozen in place as he stared into the unfamiliar room.
He thought he saw something in there. Mari? He couldn’t tell. Surely, it was her. She had been the one playing it before.
“Start playing! I’ve been repeating this section over and over so you can join in!”
His voice caught in his throat, hands tightening into fists to grip his violin again. It wasn’t there.
“Tell me you’re sorry. Tell me you don’t remember. Admit that it was all your fault.”
Sunny’s legs gave out, causing him to fall to the floor. He slapped his hands over his ears again, anything to silence the sound. He was trembling. Admit what was his fault? That he couldn’t remember? That he couldn’t remember that… he…
Just as he was about to start figuring things out, it all stopped again. Hesitantly, he lifted his gaze from the floor, looking around. It was nighttime. He was about to get a snack from the kitchen, and then… he couldn’t remember what happened. He freaked out? Maybe it was because of the dark. He didn’t like the dark.
He shrugged, standing up. It wasn’t uncommon for him to come to reality doing something he didn’t remember starting. He walked into the kitchen and made a point to turn the light on, even though he probably didn’t need it to see. He knew there wasn’t much to see in the fridge, but maybe he could make himself. A bowl of cereal? That sounded good.
He poured it quickly. He could have added milk, but he wanted to be downstairs for as little amount of time as possible. He didn’t like leaving his room, there were more possibilities if he did. He always ended up anxious for one reason or another.
After finishing the snack, he made his way back into his room and into his bed, falling asleep within minutes. He appeared in white space, visibly disoriented. He didn’t know why. Personally, he felt fine.
Omori spoke up. “I’m sorry.” He didn’t remember wanting to speak. He never spoke in his dream world.
Even though the words had technically left his mouth, they were out of his control. Strange. What was he apologizing for? Was he apologizing to himself?
“It’s okay,” he tried to say. But the words never left his mouth.