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Doll Inside the Box

Chapter Text

Grandmother had passed away yesterday, my father informed me through the phone so I was to go back to our hometown as soon as possible to attempt her funeral.

I'd got myself ready early in today´s morning. I am going back to my hometown by train. The neighbor´s housewife saw me off to the train station.

When I got in, the train was almost empty. I settled myself down inside one of these empty coaches. Afterward, I suddenly felt eerily tired.

The train moved forward slowly as I sank to my seat, having those dull vaporous daydreams about the past.

I didn´t know exactly how long my daydreaming had last.

All I could recall was that by the time I came to my sense again, there was a man sitting on the opposite side of the coach.

It was hard to make out the age of this man. Twenty years old? Thirty? Forty? But his face could pass for all these ages.
The man´s face was as pale as a marionette, and also as expressionless. He was wearing a white coat, quite reminded me of the kind of gown that a doctor might wear.

But in an instant, I had an impression that he was wearing a black suit for mourning.

The man had a box with him, sitting on his laps.

He talked to the box from time to time, and sometimes he smiled at it.

Looking out of the window, I could see countless pale pink sakura peals fluttering. How strange, I thought to myself. I could barely recall seeing so many sakura trees along this railway.

But the man seemed to be unaware of anything around him, his mind was fixed on the box on his laps. And as if making a response to the man, the box quivering slightly all on its own.

And then.

A small but clear voice could be heard coming out from inside the box.

What was this voice? It sounded like a human´s voice.

I froze immediately, fixing my eyes on the box.

The man cocked his head to look at me. "You can hear it too?" he was smiling.

Everything went quiet expected of his voice and the time around us frozen dead as well.

He held the box slightly up, opened the lid. "Please, don´t tell anyone about this!“

I leaned forward to see what was inside the box.

A very beautifully boy was stuffed inside the box. His feature was as exquisite as a traditional Japanese marionette, his eyes shut gently, a dreamy peaceful expression on his face.

The body part below the boy's chests was missing. However, you could tell this was a boy, not a girl; just by looking at his remained upper body.

Meanwhile, the boy in the box spoke again with his clear fine voice. "Hi."

Then, he smiled.

Oh, he was alive, perfectly alive.

The man smiled back at the boy inside the box, satisfied.

And then, all of a sudden I couldn´t stop envying the man.

Chapter Text

“What a busy day,“ In the train station, a policeman spoke to the other policeman who was working beside him.“ We ́ve just got a corpse being discovered in a moving train, and now there ́s another case about a teenage schoolboy on his way back to his hometown, had too disappeared in this very same train .“

The cold, dead body of the man had only been discovered after the train arrived at the final station. The body was found lying against one of the seats with a huge bloody wound on his forehead. The white coat worn by the victim was soaked through with dried blood, and the small, blood-stained hammer which had been used to hit the victim’s head repeatedly, was also found lying on the ground nearby. The hammer was supposedly served to help passengers to break the glass windows on the train when in the case of having to escape in an emergency situation, but ironically a supposedly life-saving tool had been turned into a murder weapon in this case.

"Yes, I'm quite sure about it. It was the same person I ́ve seen before. I can recognize him.“ The man known as Yukihiro, owner of the Ornamental Doll Shop, identified the murdered victim as one of the doll makers who used to work for him. The shop owner had been called to the crime scene because police officers found a name card of his within the victim ́s pocket.

Yukihiro then shook his head, sighing.“ What a loss to us all! This person...used to be one of the most talented doll makers in our business!“

“Thank you for coming over today, the identifying of the body has become easier with your help, mister! However, we still have to keep you here for a while longer in order to assess more information about the victim.“ The younger officer spoke politely to Yukihiro. But it was clear that these police officers wouldn't let him go so soon.

“It's okay, Officer; because I also have an important thing, which is about the victim as well, to ask.“

“ What is it you want to ask?“

“It's about a box,“ Yukihiro answered.“ The victim carried a box with him, so have you found it
yet?“

“Box, a box?!“ Before the older officer could make any answer, the younger officer cried out as if remembering something suddenly.“ Yes, I remember now! There is something strange here, according to the witnesses who had seen the victim on the platform before he boarded the train, the victim was seen carrying a wooden box with him when he got into the train. But as you can see now there is no such a box in the crime scene anymore!“

“How come nobody reported this detail to me!?“ The older officer cried annoyingly, but he also knew that this new information might be the break-through they were all looking for a clue that might lead them to find out the murderer’s motive, what could this missing box mean? Did this mean the murderer was after the box? Was that they were having a robbing-murder case on their hands?

Then the older officer stared at Yukihiro, he needed to know more about this mysterious box in question. So you know what is inside this box right?“

“There is an Ornamental Doll inside the box.“ Yukihiro answered.

Ornamental Doll?“ The older officer had never heard of something like this.

“Excuse me, Sir“ The younger investigator explained in a small voice.“ Ornamental Doll is some kind of living doll.“

“Living Doll?“ The older officer was puzzled. Even a doll inside a box wasn't something too weird to understand, because the victim himself was a doll maker after all. But what was a living doll meant?

“Err, I think I would better explain the whole story from the beginning with you first to make everything clear.“ Yukihiro thought it was necessary to explain the nature of Ornamental Dolls first to these investigators.“ Ornamental Doll is a doll that was made to look like humans, even though they aren’t humans for real, still, they have emotions and feelings just as any of us do. Therefore there is a high demand for these dolls among the high society. These dolls are also very rare and precious products! So their prices are extremely high too, besides, Ornamental Dolls are quite similar to antiques, the older they are, the more expensive they become.”

The older officer tried to suppress the urge to yawn, it was rather boring for him to listen to Yukihiro´s talk when he couldn’t hear any information that might link directly to the murder case. However, the younger officer listened to the shop owner intently with a curious look on his face.

“Everything began when a very precious doll was sent to my shop. This doll is about 100 years old and this fact makes him even more special than the other dolls. But unluckily I found that the doll had been damaged quite badly only after the doll was delivered to my shop. So I called the best doll maker in the business for help and repair the damage. This Doll Maker whom I called, is the same man who was murdered on this train. Before he left my shop, I picked the Doll into a wooden box then handed it to him“

“Wait! there's something strange in your description! How can a doll be picked up inside a small, carryable box when you'd just told us Ornamental Dolls are all as larger as humans?“ The younger officer interrupted Yukihiro.

“I had already mentioned that the Doll in question was damaged quite badly, right? The damage is that the Doll's limbs and lower-body were all broken too seriously that these body-parts were all in need to be repaired.”

“And please allow me to go into the details a little further, this Doll is one of the Ornamental Dolls. So their face and body were all made by softwood, with their skin made of the finest lamb’s hide. Even though they were only made of wood, still they could be as lifelike and animated as any other dolls which are produced in modern times. So the same goes for our missing Doll as well. Despite his ‘age’ he still looks flawless and perfect; a real artifact.“

“Enough! It isn't a good time for you to be so long-winded about your dolls! Why don't you just tell us that you ́d picked this limbless doll into the box?“ The older officer eventually interrupted the shop owner.

“But Mr. Officer, if you want to understand what had happened, you'd have to understand the nature of Ornamental Dolls first.“

“Now we know the victim took the doll from you before he died, then what ́s up next?“

“You ́re correct. The Doll Maker took the Doll from me. And he was supposed to return him to me one week afterward. Naturally I didn't ́t realize something was wrong and at first, I didn't ́t have any suspicion against the Doll Maker because he had a good reputation in our trade and I had been working with him for several times before. But things did go wrong this time. After a whole week had passed, the Doll Maker still didn’t show up and after making a phone call to his workshop, I learned that he had been missing since one day ago. When I finally made my way to the Doll Maker’s workshop, all I could find there was the newly-made limbs and the lower body for my damaged Doll. Yes, the Doll Maker finished the job I gave to him perfectly but he also stole the Doll himself away from me.“ Yukihiro smiled bitterly at his own words.

“How did this happen? This is kidnapping. No, stealing! Why would the victim do something like this? And you had just mentioned he had a good reputation! Why must he have stolen your doll? Is it about money?“

“No, I'm sure that the Doll Maker wasn't doing it for money. If it was a matter about money, he would have also taken the limbs and lower-body he had repaired for the Doll with him. And based on my own knowledge of the nature of OrnamentalDolls, I guess I can tell what had happened between the Doll and the Doll Maker.“

“Err? What could happen between them?“ The younger officer ́s eyes widened in disbelief.

“Well, the Doll Maker had been with the doll together day after day during the week when he worked to repair the damaged doll, right? And he was a person with passion when it comes to making dolls. So you can imagine how much strength and emotions he must have spent on this precious doll! As a result of pouring so much of himself into the Doll, the Doll Maker had fallen in love with him.“

“What!?“

“Because he was in love with the Doll, the desire to possess him also grew stronger and stronger in the Doll Maker ́s heart. Finally, he found that he couldn't bear to be separated with the Doll and return it to me. So all he could do was to pick the Doll back into the box and ran away with him but I guess…’ running away’ isn´t the right words, I mean, what the Doll Maker had done was something closer to the word elopement, I suppose. “

“What the Hell are you talking about? A man eloping with a doll?“ The older officer found the shop owner’s story to be completely insane and impossible to accept.

First, it was the talk about the separated limbs of a doll, then a doll being kidnapped, and now Yukihiro told them someone had run away with a doll. He could barely understand none of these matters and he was hopelessly puzzled.

“But...but, no matter how pretty the doll is, it is still just a doll!“ The policeman ́s voice grew louder as he growled in frustration.

“You couldn't say such thing about Ornamental Dolls, sir!“ Yukihiro stared at the officer.“ Ornamental Dolls are very pure in their appearance, and in fact, their nature is truly tender as well. But maybe they're just too pure, that they also become the most dangerous temptation to the others! So it isn't ́t too rare for some people to be drawn toward them and then lost themselves! Especially for an ancient doll as aged as this missing one, because it is believed that this kind of dolls is even more power than the ordinary ones! There also are rumors about many of his ex-owners went mad after came into possession of him.”

“That...sounds dangerous--“ The younger officer gasped.

“Danger always makes things more seductive and irresistible to their beholders, I suppose.“ Yukihiro commented calmly.

“ But where is this doll now? We found nothing like this on the train! And the Doll Maker himself was killed? How could this happen?“

Chapter Text

“Where are the box and the Doll inside it? We found nothing like these in the crime scene! and the Doll Maker himself was killed? How could this happen?“

Both of the police officers turned their head to Yukihiro, the shop owner of the Ornamental Doll Shop.

“This…How could I know actually?“ Yukihiro actually chuckled.

“OH?“

“I am nothing more than a shop owner, not a detective nor a fortune-teller, so how could I know things about how to solve a murder case then?“

“But you just, you just said that…“

“All I had just told you were nothing more than conjectures; yet finding out the truth is still your duty, I suppose.“

“You...I think you are right“ The older officer scolded himself mentally. How come he´d forget that it just wasn't possible to make the shop owner ́s tall tales into a formal statement?

Because who was going to believe in a tall tale such as this?

Meanwhile, a group of officers moved into the train for the search for further evidence, the scene became crowded as a result. And Yukihiro quickly took this chance to make his leave-taking. “If you don't ́t have other question for me, I think I'd better leave now. And I wish you all good luck.“

With that Yukihiro turned and left the two puzzled officers behind.

“So what do you think about this guy?“ The older officer asked the younger one, his face tensed.

“I feel like he had just made a fool out of us.“ The younger officer replied drily.

****

I saw a figure of a boy in a black school uniform in my imagination.

He was running under the silver moonlight, with a box in his arms.

The weedy-grassland spread from one end to the other, and there was no sign of sidewalk or road ahead anymore.

But the boy didn't ́t mind, he just kept on running among the grass. There was a blank excitement on his face, he ran without looking back for once. Running farther and farther to the edge of the land.

Just as the Doll Maker had once done, he didn't pay any attention to everything around him.

Maybe we should say that everything else no longer had any meaning to the Boy expected of the Doll inside the wooden box.

To the Boy, his own future and past had lost every meaning in his heart. He didn't care about anything else but the Doll. Everything was perfect if only he could be together with the beautiful Doll inside the box.

Finally, he stopped in the middle of the grassland, opening the lib of the box.

And then...

Ah, what happened after this?

The Boy who had lost himself to the Doll inside the box.

What happened to them in the end?

What I was seeing, was that real or was it just a fantasy?

***

A few days latter.

Yukihiro, owner of the Ornamental Doll Shop, slowly walked alone among a field of long grasses.

The early summer breeze blew softly across the grassland.

If you thought Yukihiro was merely having a walk in the great outdoors today, you were making a huge mistake.

Walking slowly, the shop owner stared at the ground before him as if looking for something. You
could tell that the shop owner was in serious business.

He must hurry now, otherwise, the weather would turn hotter when the sun rose higher, and it wouldn 't be comfortable to search for something when the weather was hot. Yukihiro thought to himself.

Fortunately, something turned up soon during his search.

“Let me see.“

The object he had been searching for all along, the box was lying in a very short distance ahead of him,
in the middle of a tussock.

However, Yukihiro had also found something besides the box.

Something black in color, half-hidden among the long grass, just a few steps behind the box.

Yukihiro didn’t move forward, for a moment he only stood at his spot quietly. Fixing his eyes upon the two objects on the ground as everything fell back into absolute silence.

Only the sound of the wind lashing the weedy ground and the sound of light footsteps coming from behind
Yukihiro ́s back disturbed the silence.

…footsteps?

“I had never thought that we ́ll meet again so soon, Shop Owner.“ Before Yukihiro could turn, a familiar voice spoke to him from behind.

It was the voice of the young officer whom he had come across with a few days ago.

***

“I guess things just always happen unexpectedly, Mr. Officer.“ Yukihiro offered a very business-like smile of his.

“Really? I guess so.“ The officer smiled back.“ I really think you are a very interesting and special person from the very first time I met you, Sir.“

“Oh, you do think so?“ Yukihiro kept his polite smile.

“Of course I mean it. Because the impression you'd given me is so vivid, earlier today when I saw you turned up in the train station which we thought is the most likely place for our suspect to have made his escape after killing the poor Doll Maker. It is really hard to suppress my curiosity and not to follow you.“

Suspect? I can see you guys did find some key-evident, right ?“ Yukihiro interrupted.

“Yes, we found some fingerprints upon the murder weapon, guess whose fingerprints are on it? „

“Oh? Who is that then?“

‘There was a high schooler on the very same train disappeared too in almost the exact same time when the murder of the Doll Maker took place. Do you think it's a coincidence?“

“Huummm, I can tell you are going to tell me it isn't a coincidence by the look on your face.“ Yukihiro replied.

“Correct! We examined the fingerprints and found it matches perfectly with the missing school boy 's. As a result, he is now our suspect.“

The Young Officer shrugged, then continued.“ But I'm still so damn curious, Sir. How come you not only
happened to turn up in the very station that the suspect had made his escape but also wandering on
this place---the very place leads to the mountains---that we figured to be most likely for our suspect to go after leaving the station? So would you tell me WHY? And now I see you found your missing box again here in this middle of nowhere, can these really be just a coincidence?“ The Officer ́s voice grew
higher.

“Therefore, don't ́t you think it makes every sense for me to suspect also you? I really want to know what is going on here and whether you ́re involved with the murder case!” The Young Officer fixed his eyes on Yukihiro as if he meant to read the shop owner ́s mind. He was truly anxious, wondering whether he had made the right choice to follow Yukihiro alone, instead of asking his coworkers for help at the first place.

But it was too late for him to regret his own decision. No matter what might happen next, he'd have to face the shop owner alone.

Yukihiro kept his silence, but he moved aside to let the Young Officer see not only the box but the unknown figure lying on the ground beside it.

The Officer recognized this figure immediately, this figure was in the shape of a human being and it
seemed to be wearing black clothes...a black school uniform!

After realizing what he was looking at, the Young Officer rushed forward in anger.

“You! So you have always known where this boy had gone all along isn't ́t it? You tried to protect this boy---our suspect from us because you want to take your Doll back, is that what you had planned?” He cried.“ Damn you! Helping a crime suspect is a serious crime!“

Now the Young Officer could see the object lying beside the box more clearly. It was definitely a shape of a human being in black uniform-liked clothes but the boy was lying on the ground motionlessly, keeping completely still and silent.

Finally, the Young Officer ran to the motionless boy ́s side and took hold of one of his hands.

Then the Officer knew something was wrong, horribly wrong instantly.

It wasn't a human's hand.

As a matter of fact, the Officer wasn't holding a hand of a *living* human being.

Goodness! This hand felt just the same as what Yukihiro had described to him before! Softwood covering with fine lamb's hide.

Was it a doll?

Another Ornamental Doll?

Nothing was making any sense.

They thought that there was only one Doll missing in this case, and now there was another Doll appearing out of nowhere. The Young Officer believed that the person lying on the ground was the Boy---the suspect who had run away with the Doll inside the box, but now it turned out that there wasn't a human being at
all, but a doll!

“I don't ́t believe in such thing!” The Officer screamed. “Let me see the face of that, that doll
first!”

So the Officer roughly turned the doll around. Only to find that the face of this doll in
the black uniform was looking exactly the same as the missing boy's face in the black and white photo
the Officer had seen at the police station!

The Young Officer’s mind was seriously in mess. The Young Officer felt like he was in some kind of a trance or a nightmare, or he had lost his mind somehow?

Why there was another doll here? And why it looked so damn alike to the missing boy? Was he mad or losing his mind along the line?

Then suddenly, the Officer found that the wooden box on the ground captured all his attention unexpectedly.

One person was killed because of this box.

Therefore.

Therefore…...

Just once, once was enough, he had to see the Doll inside the box, only just for a glace.

His hand went to the box seemingly all on its own.

“Stop it, Sir! STOP!!“ Yukihiro threw himself at the Officer and took the box away from the latter ́s grip. “You mustn 't see it! Do you remember what happened to the Doll Maker?“

Hearing those words, the Officer crumbled to the ground, and the sudden frenzy that possessed the Officer's mind so ferociously a minute ago vanished just as suddenly.

Finally, Yukihiro managed to speak evenly again.“ I ́m sorry, but I think you've misunderstood something entirely, Sir!“

“...What?“ The poor Young Officer had lost his calmness, he asked in a childlike, lost tone.

“I ́m here because I want to take these two dolls home. I know nothing about this missing suspect you had mentioned before. And I ́ve never ever tried to protect anyone from the police.“ Yukihiro explained to the Young Officer as if he were explaining things to a small child.

“Wait! How come you know the doll is here?“ The Officer still found Yukihiro ́s explanation hard to believe.

“How do you think I got to be the owner of the Ornamental Doll Shop then, Sir?“ Yukihiro chuckled softly.
“Because of my working experience? Knowledge? Or IQ? No. I got to be in this position because I have a special touch with the Dolls.“

Then Yukihiro picked the box and the black suit doll up from the ground.

“But I don't believe it! How can all this happen? This, this thing looks so much alike with the missing boy…“

“Maybe they do look really alike to one another, I don't ́t doubt you with this. But it isn't a human just as you
can see! Is it possible for you to bring this Doll up to the commissioner and tell him: ́Commissioner, here is our suspect and now please examine his fingerprints to see whether they match the fingerprints we had found in the crime scene ́? No. I don't think it can work.“

"...“ The Young Officer was speechless.

Yukihiro continued to reason. “Please remember, everything you had seen today is all reality. The reality that you had witnessed with your very own eyes.“

Still kneeling on the ground and too weak to stand up, the Young Officer made no response.

As Yukihiro walked past him, he said one more thing to the young policeman. “There are many things in this world that we can't find any explanation to, especially when it comes to Ornamental Dolls.“

Chapter Text

“So what happened then?“

“What do you mean?“I asked.

“I ́m talking about what happened to the Doll inside the box next, of course!“

“Well, there ́s nothing more to say actually. The story of the Doll Maker, the Missing Boy and the Doll had come to an end here.“ I explained to the children sitting in front of me, hoping to convince them.

“How come there´ll be nothing more to say? You didn't tell us what the Doll had become!“ One of the children pouted.

“And you didn't explain why the Missing Boy also turned into a doll neither!“ Another child added.

“This, I don't…sorry, even the younger Officer doesn't have the answer to this question! Because I had already told you all this man had witnessed, so the story has to end here!“ I tried to explain.

“What? It's cursory for a story to end like this!“

“Yes! It's too cursory!“

“I think so too! It's too cursory!“ The other kids started to complain.

“Sorry, but why don't we move on to have another story?“ All I could do was to make an apology to the children and felt quite ashamed for my poor storytelling skills.

Besides, it would be too difficult for me to explain to little kids that not everything in this world had an explanation. They really didn't need to know this fact yet.

They were so young, they still didn't have to understand something like this so soon.

So I also didn't tell them I myself was in fact the Young Officer in that story.

I was the Officer who went after the Doll Inside the Box.

But it was also the past. I had quit my job soon after the event with the Doll took place, and started a self-employing career after I was no longer a policeman.

But if you want to know why I chose to quit. I wouldn't be able to offer you an answer. All I could say was that I was haunted by what I had seen in the tussock.

I kept memorizing the strange expression on the Doll Maker ́s dead, pale face.

It was a peaceful expression that didn't fit a victim of violent crime at all. Logically thinking, we knew that because the victim was attacked in the front and because he was still wildly aware by the time he was attacked, so he must be able to see his murderer coming for him.

However, we couldn't find any trace of defense or struggle on the victim's body, and his expression remained peaceful as if nothing happened. The biggest twist of all was, the victim did not try to raise his arms to protect himself from the attack for once!

No one in our team had seen a case with such a strangely passive victim like this. So passive that as if he was welcoming Death to fall upon him. Neither of us had seen such a ghastly calm expression on a murdered victim, so calm that it seemed that---

I really couldn't go on with all these memories.

Meanwhile, our murder investigation had also met a dead-end, we simply couldn't go any further.

Day in, day out. Soon I lost my faith in my job, and finally, I quit it.

”What happened then?

Now it was almost two years afterward, but sometimes the memory of this particular case still found their way back into my mind. So many questions remained unanswered. I still longed to know what had happened to the mysterious Doll and the Shop Owner thereafter. But my questions had always remained unanswered to these days, maybe there would never be an answer at all.

Still, memories did fade slowly as time went by. After two years, I had already grown used to the care-free new life of mine, and I had finally decided to stop bothering myself with old memories altogether.

Today I went out as a volunteer to this event for children in the park, and my duty for today was storytelling to entertain the kids.

By dusk, my last story for these children was over, so I told them. “The sun is setting, children, and it's time for you all to go home, right?“

“Okay!“
“So see you tomorrow then, mister!“

“Goodbye!“

“We will look forward to more stories ne!“

One by one the children left, leaving me behind alone in the park.

 

And that was when I hear a familiar voice behind my back.

“It has been a while...“

Oh, that was…

“We hadn't met for almost...“ He spoke in his usual casual manner.

“For almost two years.“ I turned to face the person who was standing near the gate of the park.

How could I forget this person? The man stood by the gate, was Yukihiro, the owner of the Ornamental Doll Shop. Of course, who else could it be?

*********

The memories of the old event about the Doll came back to life again in my mind.

“Mister Officer. I guess you still remember me?

“Of course I do.“ I shook my head, then added on.” Need not to address me as an officer, I ́m no longer in police office now.“

“I know this fact very well too.“ Surprisingly he answered me like this. “So I couldn't ́t come to you a little earlier because it really took me a while to figure out where you currently are.“

“What can I do for you then?“ I asked as calmly as I could manage.

“In fact, I have something for you today.“

“For me? Really?“

“Of course,“ Then he handed me a package wrapping with fine silky paper, the package was rectangle in shape. A familiar shape of what seemed to be some kind of a box. “There it is, I would be more than gladful if you can accept it.“

It was a shape that I was too familiar with. This was the kind of box which could fill a life-sized doll inside, if only you just took off the doll’s limbs beforehand.

 

“Why...why should I accept it?“

“It is exactly what you always want to find out, right? Wanting to know what is inside, you are always curious about it, right?“

And he was right, it was just what I had always desired secretly from the darkest part of my heart.

I wanted to know what was inside this box, what type of spell it might possibly possess to make the Doll Maker die for it so willingly.

To the point that his expression was still so calm and peaceful when he was killed as if he didn't care about his own safety, as if safety and fighting for his own life were simply beyond his concern?

To think about it more carefully and putting ourselves into the Doll Maker’́s position, perhaps in the end, the Doll Maker was really in bliss that he could die for the Doll he treasured so much,

He loved the Doll deeply enough that he didn't mind.

This thought sent a chill down my spine as if I were sinking into icy water. Instantly I shrugged, trying to shake the thought away. I didn't want to put myself into his position. I refused to understand what was in the Doll Maker ́s mind. Because I knew by instinct that it wasn't something I could possibly bear to understand, just like you didn’t dare to look down at a bottomless dark abyss.

“Maybe it's time for me to leave.“ Yukihiro announced before turning to leave as if he knew that it was when he should leave this box alone with me.

Shortly after Yukihiro’s departure, I was alone with the box in front of me.

Slowly I unwrapped the paper wrapping, and the item underneath it started to reveal itself, it was, unsurprisingly, a wooden box.

Once I laid eyes on this wooden box, I ́d become so sure that Yukihiro had given me the very same box which had been carrying the Doll two years ago.

I took another deep break before I open the lid.

What was in the box?

Empty.

An empty box. Nothing inside.

Was it the answer for me?

 

The End?