It was a kinda gloomy afternoon in late October when it all started.
It was raining and the dorm was crowded with students that normally were walking around town but with weather that bad no one really wanted to go out.
Dabi was sitting on the windowsill in the common room and stared outside.
Spinner was in some kind of fight with two other students about some hockey game.
Twice tried to watch some motorcycle race on TV.
He then suddenly jumped and walked over to Dabi with just a few really big steps.
“Dabi, I have an idea!”
Dabi lazily turned around to his friend.
“So far we have befriended three people. But I think we need a lot more friends. There are a lot of people here on campus that don't seem to have many friends and no one should walk alone around here. You know, we all need someone to talk to and stuff. You know??”
Dabi blinked a few times.
For some reason since summer, Twice seemed to be obsessed with walking around and trying to talk to people he never talked to before.
Dabi was just dragged along.
At first Twice started hanging out with Spinner. Then he almost stalked some weird guy called Chisaki.
And then his friends.
Dabi always felt the weird need to apologise for Twice's behaviour but somehow in the end it all worked out and their circle of friends grew.
Twice blabbered on
“There's this girl I have a few classes with and she's like.. two years younger than us or so I have no idea how she is in college already but she is. I have never seen her with people around and I think we should change that.”
“Uh.... okay? How do you wanna do that?”
“I'm just gonna talk to her on Monday. What do you think?”
“Dunno? Go ahead I guess...?”
Dabi had a vague idea which girl Twice meant.
She was blonde and short and could be cute but there was an eerie air surrounding her.
But since Twice's group of friends was a ragtag bunch of misfits she would be fit in just fine.
Twice himself was a giant goofball sometimes.
In one moment it seemed like he was just a kid trapped in the body of a tall guy in his early 20s.
In another moment he would shout the most obscene things anyone has ever heard. Be it in the hallway, in the middle of a lecture, while eating lunch and sometimes in the middle of the night.
Dabi knew because even though his room was further down the hallway he could still hear his friend's yelling. It woke him up semi-regularly.
And on some days Twice would just break down sobbing and fled to the bathroom and wouldn't come back for a few hours.
He had no idea about what happened afterwards.
Dabi himself also was far from being the average college student. First of all the appearance.
Then his type of humour.
He often insulted people without meaning to because for him it was just friendly banter.
And his careless attitude pissed people off. For reasons Dabi cannot explain.
What's so bad about not blowing up at every single thing?
“I haven't felt an emotion since 1997” he often said.
“Look how many fucks I give. They are falling from the sky” he also often said.
Chisaki, the first guy they “recruited” was terribly afraid of bacteria and getting ill.
They never saw him without wearing gloves and a face mask.
No hand shaking or friendly hugs allowed, thank you.
Please just wave in my general direction.
He was often seen furiously wiping seats, benches, tables, kitchen counters and other places you can sit on.
Sometimes Dabi wondered if it was a good idea for him to study medicine.
On the other hand, if he would become a surgeon no one would need to worry about keeping the operating room sterile.
“We only have guy friends. We also need some girl friends. Not girlfriends... well, maybe those too but I mean like.. girls. Who are our friends.”
“I get what you mean, Twice and I agree. This group is a sausage fest.”
Two days later when Dabi walked to his next lecture he saw Twice down at the campus plaza wildly gesticulating and talking to that girl he wanted to talk to.
She didn't seem to mind.
As far as Dabi could see, whatever Twice was talking about must be funny since she was laughing.
Good. Another weirdo joined the group. Let's see what this eerie feeling is about.
Dabi almost bumped into another student he didn't even had noticed.
“Whoa there. Didn't see you there buddy. Sorry.”
The other student shot a quick glance at Dabi and walked a bit faster.
Maybe he's late for class.
Though in his oversized black clothes he almost looked like a high school student.
This time the common room was almost empty, even though it was raining again.
Why is it always raining the last few weeks?
Dabi stared out of the window again.
“Is this interesting?” Chisaki asked.
“I'm pretending to be an emo girl in a music video. I'm currently missing my boyfriend who broke up with me to fuck my best friend.”
“It is complicated, you know? He just bought me an expensive ring and told me we will be together forever but then at a party my bff flirted with him and he didn't do anything and now I'm so angry I think I will set his apartment in flames.”
“Dabi? Are you... okay?”
Dabi turned around to Chisaki and pretended to be crying.
“No! I am depressed! I was so in love with him, Rawr!”
Chisaki stared at Dabi for ten seconds.
“Please. Don't say this ever again.”
“Rawr means I Love You in Dinosaur!”
Before Chisaki could smack the lanky bean in the face Twice stormed into the room.
“Guys! Guys, we have a new friend! Say hello to Toga!”
The short girl from earlier today stood in the doorway grinning way too wide for her face.
“Hiiiii~ I'm Toga! I'm so happy to meet you all! Very happy indeed.”
What is up with those teeth?
Dabi had never seen canines that sharp. He had heard that some people let their teeth sharpen.
But until now he thought someone was playing a very elaborate prank on him.
But seems those people seriously exist.
A wave of eeriness hit him.
There's something about this girl that's definitely not normal. But who in this weird clique is normal anyway?
“So what do you guys do all day? You all look totally different, do you even have common hobbies? Like Twicey here looks like a MMA fighter and you look like a law student and you look like you beat up kids and then go home and write sad poems about it.”
Dabi's eye twitched slightly.
“Also you look stoned!”
It twitched even more.
“Law student.....” Chisaki muttered, “I have never been more insulted in my life.”
“We're just hanging out. And sometimes we go play pool and stuff” Twice said.
“Oh that's cool. I collect knives. Do you want to see some?”
Toga was beaming.
Okay, so that's what's wrong with her. That explains so much to be honest.
“I don't think anyone would be interested in....”
Dabi cut Chisaki off.
“Sure we want.”
And a few minutes later they were standing around in Toga's room.
Which looked like a normal girl's room. Except for the wall of knives where other girls maybe had posters hanging.
But otherwise, very normal, very pink.
Toga pointed at one of the knives.
“This is the first one I got. I found it one day on a playground. I took it home and cleaned it and sharpened it.”
She pointed at another that had sharp wedges.
“This is really great when you want someone to bleed out. When you stab someone with it and they try to rip it out the teeth just get stuck and do more damage. I bought it at a hunting store a few years ago.”
Chisaki had gone completely pale. Twice seemed nervous too.
Did they have to worry that this girl would break into their rooms at night to do Horrible Things to them?
“I see your worried faces and I want to reassure you that I only collect them.”
At least she's sane.
“I also collect other things! Like articles from the newspapers.”
Toga shuffled over to a drawer that was completely plastered with hearts and peace signs and whatnot.
She pulled out a folder and went through the pages a bit.
“Here. This one, for example is about a case of unexplained murders in the 80s. I have collected every little bit of information I could find about it. Which is very hard by the way. Do you know how weird it feels to google all that stuff? And this one is about that guy who abducted and killed five women like a year ago.”
Nope, completely insane.
But in a weirdly nerdy way.
“And now I am collecting stuff about a string of weird cases of mutilated animals found on roadsides around Yokohama. No one really investigates that! Can you believe it? Just because it's not people. I think that's not fair. Animals have lives too.”
She closed the folder and huffed.
Dabi crossed his arms.
“So you're like... playing detective? Finding out more about it?”
Toga's face lit up.
“Wow, I never thought about that. I could totally find out the truth. I know everything!”
Chisaki leaned over to Dabi and whispered: “Hey, can we go now? I still have to write an essay and also this is creeping me out.”
“Dunno man. I think that's definitely a weird hobby but she seems harmless.”, Dabi whispered back.
“Yeah maybe, but I'm out, cheers.”
Chisaki marched out of the room without even saying goodbye.
Twice and Dabi remained.
“Oh nooooo I scared him away.”
“He's just horrible when it comes to blood” Twice tried to explain.
“Oh yeah you should have seen his face, when I was hit by a baseball once and it almost knocked out a tooth. I thought he would faint any second.”
“He really acts like a law student.”
“He studies medicine.” Twice said.
Toga just stared at the guy.
“You're joking, right?”
Twice shook his head.
And then Toga had a hysterical laughing fit that lasted so long that Dabi briefly considered to call an ambulance.
It was already dark when Twice and Dabi went back to their rooms.
The fact that it was already dark didn't mean that it was late though. The sun was already setting at 6pm.
“She's weird as fuck but I'd be lying if I would say what she said wasn't interesting. I don't know why I would need to know about serial killers but somehow I do now.”
Dabi was rambling.
“So you like her? You think she fits in with us?”
“Yeah kinda. Maybe. But I don't mind her hanging out with us.”
Twice pumped his fist in the air.
“Yeah! A new friend! Oh can you wait here for a minute? I wanna head over to the kiosk and get some snacks.”
“Sure. Knock yourself out.”
Dabi leaned back at the wall and Twice hurried out of the main door.
Empty corridors. Silence.
Pretending to be a a girl in some music video again, Dabi imagined walking down the hallways crying about some lost love and unfair parents.
For some reason the sprinklers were on.
The eyeliner is running dramatically over the wet cheeks.
Emo girl is looking at her wrist where she wrote the name of her ex with a sharpie.
It's also running from the water from the sprinklers.
Some guitar solo is playing in the background.
Emo girl gets angry and punches the wall.
She swears revenge. Maybe burning something down would help. Maybe destroying things....
“Hey, what are you doing there?”
Dabi looked up.
Oh, he really had wandered through the hallway. But without the sprinklers and the sharpie and the cheating boyfriend.
In front of him stood the guy from before.
Black oversized hoodie, black jeans, black Converse. God, is that a Senses Fail patch?
How emo, Dabi thought, ignoring the fact that he also has a Senses Fail patch on his backpack.
No one needs to know.
The guy still stares at him.
Oh Jesus, please someone get him lip balm. And some moisturiser. Because this dude looks dead.
“I was just dramatically walking around, thinking about my cheating boyfriend.”
“Ah nothing. It was a joke. Sorry again for bumping into you earlier.”
“Ah. Its fine.”
The guy shoved his hands back in his pockets and walked back in the direction he came from.
That's not where the dorms are.
“Hey Dabi, I'm back”
Dabi was lightly punched in the shoulder.
“Nice. Dude, have you seen that weird dude in the wannabe emo clothes just now?”
Twice seemed confused.
“Emo dude..? No. I haven't seen anyone.”
Dabi scratched his head.
He also never had seen that guy before. Is he a ghost or something?
Over the next few days Dabi ran into that guy over and over again. But every time he asked someone about him, no one had an idea who he was talking about.
He ran into him in the bathroom during lunch break.
He ran into him in the library.
He ran into him while running cross campus to catch a bus.
Had this dude always been there and Dabi just didn't notice?
“You always look like you're searching for something. Are you okay?”
They were walking down a popular shopping street in town.
Toga wanted to meet with a friend of hers and asked everyone if they want to come with her but only Dabi agreed.
“I think I might have seen a ghost. Also, I'm not okay.”
Toga's eyes went wide.
“A ghost?? A really spooky one? The one that haunts your dreams by night? Where have you seen it?”
“Everywhere, basically. And he even shows up during the day. I need proof that this guy really exists.”
“Wooooooooow..... A real mystery. Maybe my friend can help you. She's great with mysteries.”
They arrived at a small café.
Toga was running towards some guy in brown cargo pants who was waving at her.
But didn't Toga say “she”?
Then Toga ran back to Dabi grabbed his arm and pulled him with her.
“This is my best friend, Magne. She's basically like my sister. If you need help with mysteries, then talk to her.”
Dabi awkwardly shook her hand. Wow that's a strong handshake.
“I took the liberty of already ordering some cake for me. I just couldn't wait. So, what is this mystery you are talking about?”
They sat down at one of the small tables.
It was weirdly warm for October this week so somehow everyone was still outside.
“Basically I am chasing a guy only I can see, it seems. I never have seen him before but suddenly he is everywhere. But when I ask someone about him no one knows what I'm talking about.” Dabi explained.
“Wow that really is something. By the way, Toga you should order the Strawberry Shortcake it's the best I have ever eaten. Okay, so if you need proof that this mysterious guy really exists you maybe should take a picture of him?”
“Isn't that creepy as fuck?”
“Well, for me it would be way creepier if I would see a guy no one else can see. If you can take a picture of him you know he's real at least.”
That girl has a point there.
Sadly, after this the guy vanished.
Over the course of the next weeks Dabi grew more and more frustrated.
He felt like he was stuck in some third rate emo music video.
Maybe he should let his hair grow out a bit and get blue streaks.
“Dabi, you look like you're constipated. Do you need help?”
Chisaki offered one day.
“I'm not okay” Dabi mumbled.
“Yeah I can see that. Seriously, if you have problems with your digestive system, I know some drops that really...”
“I can shit just fine, Chisaki.”
“Oh. Then.. care to explain what's wrong?”
Dabi sprawled himself out on his bed.
Chisaki was standing in the middle of the room.
He forgot his wipes and spray and wasn't brave enough to take a seat on Dabi's really old office chair.
“This guy...... This weird guy I told you about... The one I am always running into. I'm not running into him anymore.”
Chisaki furrowed his brows.
“And that's a problem why...?”
Dabi sat up and threw his arms in the air.
“It makes me feel like a fucking madman! I know this guy exists. I have even talked to him like once. Almost. He needs some damn lip balm and looks like dead itself. And now that I was ready to take a pic of him and prove his existence once and for all he vanishes!”
“You want to take a pic of him?”
Dabi groaned again.
“I know that sounds like a stalker. But I just wanna prove that he exists. It seems like no one but me has ever seen him.”
“Dude... you do you. But who knows. Maybe he was an intern or stuff. I wouldn't waste a single thought about the whole thing.”
So Dabi tried to not waste a single thought about the whole thing.
He tried so hard and got so far. But in the end, it doesn't even matter.
Because two days later he caught himself looking for that guy again.
It was already close to Christmas. And the dude remained gone.
Dabi was in the library looking for some books to read. Maybe that would distract him.
He just wanted to check out when he saw him.
Emo dude. With the oversized hoodie. Coming in through the front door.
Dabi almost dropped his books.
He imagined he was a girl in an emo music video who sees her crush.
He walks past her and their eyes meet. Maybe he was smiling, maybe he was not. Everything is in slow motion. The people around them vanish. It's only those two.
When he passed her everything is back to normal. Guitar solo.
Dabi wanted to slam his fucking books on the floor.
Then he walks into emo dude while crossing a bridge.
Okay, emo music video.
It's raining. Girl was just dumped by some stupid jackass. She is desperate and doesn't know what to do. Maybe she should jump but the bridge isn't really high. She's nervous. After contemplating for a while she sees Him. Some emo dude walking towards her, asking her if everything is alright.
It's still raining but also now the sun is shining. Everything is well now even though there is still sadness in her heart. Forever. Guitar solo.
Dabi seriously contemplated to jump into the river below.
The third time he runs into him is at a bus stop. Some old lady is also there but that's it.
“Hold still!” Dabi says harshly and the guy looks at him, startled.
Dabi takes out his cellphone and takes a pic of the dude.
“I explain later. Don't worry, I will delete the pic soon. I just have to prove something to someone.”
Emo dude is chewing on his lower lip. His leg seems shaky.
“Look. I know that was creepy as fuck but you won't believe the hell I went through to get this pic. As soon as I prove that you exists I will delete it.”
“That I exist..?”
Fuck that sounds stupid. Oh god so stupid and creepy and.... hell, Dabi has to explain this seriously now.
“Okay, there is no way to explain this without sounding weird. Remember back in October when I almost ran you over?”
Emo dude nods. Dabi can see strands of blueish grey hair. Is that dye?
“Good. I thought to that day I had seen everyone on campus. But I never had seen you. So I asked my friend about you and he said he doesn't know about you. And he literally is friends with everyone. And then I kept running into you. But every time I wanted my friend to look at you you vanished. Like a fucking ghost or something. It was... kinda pissing me off somehow. And we kept running into each other but I was either alone or you did that magical vanishing thing.”
Emo kid stared at Dabi in silence.
“I kinda got all riled up about this. And then I didn't see you again and I seriously thought I was going crazy or had seen a ghost or something. A friend had told me to take a picture to prove it. But then I couldn't because I didn't see you. But now I did. And now I can prove it. And now I can have peace of mind.”
The dude still stared at Dabi.
Dabi pulled out the phone again.
“I could also delete the pic right now. And take you to my friends instead. You know... In the flesh?”
“You want me to meet your friends..?”
“You're always alone. Maybe you could need some friends.”
Emo dude looked at the ground. Spit stains everywhere, ewwww.
“Okay... Take me to your friends.”
“Ah I can't today. Maybe we could meet at that church at 4pm tomorrow?”
Emo dude shrugged.
Dabi wanted to shake his hand, but emo dude didn't react. He awkwardly pulled his hand back and coughed.
“Okay then.... Until tomorrow. And I'm Dabi, by the way.”
“Tomura... I'm Tomura...”
Then Dabi's bus arrived. Time to visit his mom in the hospital.
He sat down at the window.
Okay. Emo music video.
Girl just had a date but it didn't go as planned.
Maybe she should have listened to her bff, she had a bad feeling about this all the time.
It's raining. It's also raining in emo girl's heart.
She had sadness for breakfast.
She should have stayed home and spend the time with her bff instead.
Now that she thinks about it, bff was always there for her.
Every time emo girl needed a shoulder to cry on bff was there.
The rain represents the tears she wants to cry but cannot because this is a public setting and that would be embarrassing.
Emo girl thinks maybe she should have dated bff instead.
There is thunder in the background as the bus drives into the darkness.