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Why Lived#3

Check Why Lived#2 and previous works if you are new to the novel.

Chapter III – Behold

The Observatory was colossal, and more or less, similar to a tree. It’s a white-ish ivory-colored silver tower with countless branches, like a bush pointing to the sky. I used to be curious about how many people it could hold, though it seemed that tower was never fully filled. The tower was shiny in the day and dazzled in the night, being popular at every moment.

The inside, however, was more like a hotel. There were 330 floors in total, though people rarely went up to the floors beyond 200th.The first floor was Ground Concourse, where a bar and a reception desk were settled and usually crowded, like the entry of a labyrinth in a park where it’s easier to sell something like bottled water and hotdogs. I usually went to the bar and got a cup of latte with double sugar for no reason, and sometimes I could encounter Ann here when she was drinking vodka. Anyway, the drink was always free and tasty, arousing my memories from deep inside.

It was in the afternoon when I returned to my room. A pigeon was tweeting outside the window which I penetrated. My room was tranquil. There was only me, invisibly, covered in the veil of dusk. I sneaked out of my apartment, floating in somewhere 20 meters above the ground. I saw my senior high school, named Pentamond, reflecting mild sunlight from its library tower.

My classroom was located on the third floor of the teaching building, which had nothing special. The boys and girls were listening to their class advisor addressing speech. They seemed to have no difference from yesterday, though my seat was, of course, vacant. I saw my friend Chris leaning against the wall. My deskmate, the sister of Chris, Christina, was dozing in a weird pose. Mr. Lax, the class advisor and our math teacher, was speaking seemingly energetic. Outside the window there was a sparrow, singing a random song.

My cold zombie-like body was lying somewhere in the hospital nearby. Deeply inside the hospital there existed a spacious room full of bodies. I at once regretted when I seeped in. There were bodies, the darkness, three ventilation shafts drilled on the ceiling, and then nothing. No sign of living being, except for a trivial spider creeping in a corner, could be seen. Well, obviously I prefer to sleep everlastingly in the classroom filled with sunshine, bird songs, casualness, and breezes. This somehow damp stinky confined room was awful, at least I didn’t tend to stay here for long. I could find my body lying in peace, covered by a great piece of white fabric. I touched my body, trying if I can control it, but in vain. “This is it.” I sighed. Maybe I was the first guy who confirmed his death in person. There was nothing I can do for now.

A tragedy was ongoing in the corridor outside. I didn’t realize its presence since all the sorrow were sucked out by a noisy fan. My mom was sitting, and dad was making phone calls. When I was presented to ICU my mom was informed that her son could live with lasting disabilities if lucky. Now there was only lasting despair, and my dead body, which was devoid of an interior soul of a boy.

“Are you alright?” My dad whispered to my mom. He forced himself to be superficially normal, but I knew he was almost at the edge. My mom said nothing in response but took a long trembling breath like a girl weeping in sadness. She wondered why her son chose such an unacceptable way to deal with his problems.

I landed on the floor in front of my mom’s face. For sure she didn’t see me. My hands reached hers, but never touched her. I would answer her doubt, just like uttering a mediocre story, but this time the only one who could hear it was the little sparrow outside the classroom, which was humming a casual song out of tune.

My story initially began in an ordinary afternoon on March 3rd, 2021. It was windy and chilly. The windows were closed and locked tightly, though it’s still not enough to prevent them from vibrating with wind.

I sat in a corner of my classroom, and Christina sat next to me. She was dozing in peace, while her brother Chris came and casually rambled with me.

“Sora,” he said. “How do you think of my sister?”

His sudden question made me incoherent. Christina was a great girl. She often wore a blouse or T-shirt in pink color. When I was sitting next to her, I usually felt the sweetness she had, but I knew nothing more than what kind of soda she liked to drink. At the moment she was slurping, so I smiled slily and said “Better than you” as a tricky response. Christina was not the main character in my lengthy story, after all.

A real inception was an examination, which, like the last straw to kill me, made all the difference.

In this school, the city I lived in, the province where the city located, and even the entire country, examinations, whether conspicuous or puny, were regarded as a way out, a dead cold-blood evaluating system, and the way I, together with my classmates, were forced to go on. Christina, however, with her parents’ sufficient and dedicated financial support, was released from the invisible brutal captivity. Chris was firstly cynical about this partiality, but eventually accepted the reality loathly, just like me.

An upcoming exam was scheduled on March 4th. There was not much time left. I certainly had no confidence in getting a satisfying mark on all subjects, Christina, in contrast, was indifferent. She didn’t need to take the exam, which was somewhat overwhelming difficult after all.

When I was standing in the Observatory, Mr. Lax was giving his lecture. He had a face giving everyone who had ever seen it an intuitive feeling that he was a man of logic, intelligence, and gentleness. He always wore a pair of silver-framed glasses. Aged 48, his beard was faintly snowish grey, but elegant in sight. His arms and legs were well muscled, all thanks to his passion on table tennis, though he often lost his game with his students.

Chris and his sister seemed normal in the classroom. Mr. Lax, somehow, frowned more often and nobody noticed the nuanced change in his mood. He got a phone call in the morning that one if his students suicided, which made him frozen at once. “Did he die?” He asked the police who called him, optimistically assuming the young teenager could somehow fortunately survive the suicide.

“Unfortunately,” the policeman uttered slowly and robotically, “he was dead. You were his teacher, right?”

“Yes, I was. May I somehow help you, officer?”

“You may be investigated, but now I am just informing you. Please give us some detail about the student when we ask you later.”

“With pleasure.”

Put down his phone, Mr. Lax slumped onto his bed in the chamber. His mind was chaotic, where countless problems spilled and overloaded. Would he be dismissed? How could he face to my parents? Could he tell my death in the class? Ultimately, why did the 17-year-old boy suicide in a sudden? He wanted to figure out all of these.

Mr. Lax set off to Pentamond as usual twenty minutes later. His consciousness was left behind his automatically moving body. Twenty minutes before it was a mundane day of ordinary routine and tenderness, and it all inverted in less than three minutes. He almost missed the commuter train as his legs moved significantly slower, as if there were three lead ingots attached to his legs, but I knew they were not on his legs, instead, overwhelming inside his heart.

While Chris managed to achieve one success after another, I failed my examination inevitably. I failed again a month later, and again on June 26th, 2021, the Final Exam of the semester. Failure was disappointing, but what actually eroding me was its side products, so to speak, negativeness. It’s an unnoticeable chronic process remained unaware until another failure on Oct.10th, 2021, when I was diagnosed severe depression, when, at least in my memory, my mom cried for the very first time.

I could hear that it was probably raining outside the Observatory. Ann, in the pure black outfit as always, was already sat in the bar drinking her regular vodka when I went down to the Ground Concourse. Her cheek flushed red. Maybe she was a little drunk.

It was, indeed, drizzling outside. I ordered a cup of latte, sitting next to Ann. I could feel a thick scent of alcohol coming from her body, but it was surprisingly nice to smell, blended with lavender aroma.

“Vodka?” I asked casually.

“Yea…h,” Ann burped. “It’s intense and hallucinating. Do you also want some?”

 “I prefer latte.” I took another sip of icy coffee. “Have to say, the flavor and texture are perfect.” The latte was bittersweet and smooth in flavor, which, to exaggerate, like drinking liquid silk.

“Good afternoon, ma’am.” The barkeeper joined in our natter, wiping glasses although they were seemingly shiny and crystal.

“Working as a guide must be tiring, right?”

“More or less.” Ann finished another glass of vodka. “One fourth of Russian vodka and three fourth of Sprite, please.”

“In a second, ma’am.” The barkeeper sophisticatedly mixed vodka with some Sprite soda drawn from the pressure tank and passed the glass to Ann diagonally on the marble table.

“What do you actually do in your job?” I asked gently when Ann finished the last drop of her beverage in the glass.

“A goddamn piece of bullshit chores. I literally don’t know why there are so many people to guide, Yikes! Please save me!” Alcohol seemed to deprive the superficial shield of elegance from Ann. Well, somehow, she was charming even on the inside. At the moment I couldn’t withhold my intent to giggle, Ann collapsed onto the table and began to snooze.

“Sir,” the barkeeper smiled. “Could you look after the ma’am for a while lest she got a cold? It’s raining hard now.”

“Oh, yes, of course.” I ruffled her hair hoping that she would be waken, but she kept snoozing heavily like a drunk piglet, with her nose bubbling and spit leaking between her lips.

“Well,” I made an embarrassed smile. “I must somehow move her to the couch there. Could you do me a favor?” The barkeeper nodded.

I lifted Ann’s body, and the barkeeper lifted her legs. We silently moved Ann onto the couch, and I covered her body in my jacket. She slept in peace with maybe a sweet dream. Sitting near her head, I could listen to her steady breathing, gazing at the raindrop falling. This was what called an ordinary day, or, daily life, I guess.

Through Ann’s perfectly shaped face I could see Christina somewhere underneath. Christina was a girl of invulnerable tenderness and excessive loveliness, and Ann was an upgraded version of Christina, who secrete the enthusiasm behind apathy and superficially difficult characteristics, who only performed as herself when being overwhelmed be vodka, who was elegant but also straightforward. It was a pity that she died somehow on the Earth.

“Yo! Good evening, Ann.” She woke up 3 hours later, and I greeted her with a funny smile.

“How long did I sleep…” Ann stretched her limbs and drowsily asked me, like a girl woken up in the morning by her benevolent dad.

“Three hours, approximately.”

“Wait…What?! Three hours!” Ann seemed to be shocked.

“Anything wrong?”

“Wrong! It is very WRONG!!” Ann jumped up like a thunder bolt, and quickly grabbed everything on the couch. Her voice was as horrible as a mad lion starved for three weeks.

“Wait…But…” I tried to remind her that she was in my jacket, but she literally vanished before I could utter my words. Well, whatever, she would return my jacket in the future anyway.

“Some vodka, please.” I returned to the bar when the barkeeper was, as always, wiping the glasses.

“In a second, sir. Hopefully, you will be attracted by the unique flavor.” The barkeeper silently giggled, reflecting the prosperity of heaven on the shiny glass bottles.

“Do you know what do the guides do in their job?” I sipped some vodka and asked the barkeeper with curiosity.

“They do a lot of things, as I know.” The barkeeper frowned. “Their main task is to guide those who died to the gate of the heaven.”


“They also took the responsibility of leading the souls in heaven to the end of the River Forgotten, where the souls would be reincarnated.”

The tasks seemed to be reasonable. Since there were hundreds of thousands of people died every day, no wonder Ann was exhausted.

“Who has the right to be a guide?” I asked doubtfully.

“Everyone. The first generation of guide was introduced by Master Mercury and Master Pluto, soon everyone could voluntarily apply for a guide to gain something meaningful to do here, and to earn a silver daisy on their collars.”

It was nearly midnight when I stepped out of the Observatory. The rain had stopped since an hour ago, and the moon hanging in the sky was now sharing his loneliness with me walking along the River Forgotten.

“What was she doing?” I wryly smiled.

Pentamond was a somewhat excellent school as it was said, but it was definitely not a pleasant place to live for more than ten hours each day. If friendship, the tangible one, was compared with gold outside the confined high-voltage electric barriers made of stainless steel surrounding Pentamond, it was harder to get than to steal a legendary diamond from Louvre.

I, frankly, used to have such a diamond friend, who called Aoi. He somehow cruelly left me in a sudden one day.

My funeral was held five days after I died, on Dec.24th, 2021. The attendees were fewer than I imagined, but still filled up half of the chamber.

My parents were standing next to my coffin. Mr. Lax was also there three meters away, gazing at my face dyed like lime by whitish powder. Chris and Christina were sitting on the chair in the first row, constantly eye contacting each other without saying a word. My relatives sat in order, and I didn’t find Aoi anywhere in between them. He didn’t come, which was a bit disappointing, but never went beyond my expectations.

It was drizzling when the crowd was singing hymn and praying for my bliss and wellbeing after death. The cold raindrops didn’t more or less dilute the nearly solidified atmosphere, but somehow condensed the sadness. I slightly took a seat on the coffin, like an angel, though I more analogous to a hipster in appearance.

My mom was the first who burst into tears, then did my dad, then did Mr. Lax, and eventually did Christina. Chris, in the other hand, stayed silent with shiny pearls rolling back and forth in his eyes. He clutched the hands of his sobbing sister and gently wiped away the messes of tears on her face. At this moment, Chris, for the very first time, felt that he functioned as an actual big brother, comforting his only lovely sister, thus he mustn’t cry like a girl.

“Why did Sora suicide?” I could hardly understand her words uttered incoherently, but Chris clearly knew more about the code to communicate with his sister. He looked at Christina in the eyes with all his tenderness.

“I will definitely figure it out,” Chris tightened his eyes, “regardless of those banal adults who are likely to interpret Sora’s will in a misleading way. Christina, you can trust me. Please trust me.” He made the promise to his sister with a spark in his heart.

I quietly embraced them, the reliable elder brother and the sobbing younger sister, with my gratitude. It’s a magnificent moment. I literally felt that I was alive again, and suddenly, I could feel the warmth of their back, and I could sense the scent of shampoo from Christina’s hair. The brother and sister immediately turned around but found only nothingness. As swift as I suddenly somehow descended, I vanished.

“Did you feel something was behind us?” Chris confusedly asked.

“I thought it was my illusion, and now it seemed wasn’t.”

“Let me guess, is it cold and nasty, like a piece of icy slime liquid?”

“Maybe…I think that’s it.”

I was certainly disappointed to have such a terrifying touch on them, so I left the funeral and flew crisscrossing the city.

Aoi was shopping with his girlfriend in a supermarket. They are surrounded by ethereal happiness, and my diamond fiercely shattered into nonentity. I didn’t feel sad though, since I’d found a more precious pearl in Chris’s eyes.

Ann was waiting in the Ground Concourse when I tended to get another cup of latte. She was in my jacket, but also covered in her regular black coat. Luckily, it was no longer raining outside, so no more cold winds and droplets.

“I am right out here for you, Sora.” Ann said seriously with his cheek jerked. Her eyes were sharply scanning me in an unheralded way, which made me a little nervous.

“That’s strange. Have you fall in love on me?”

“Absolutely not, you twit. All thanks to someone who bred a mystery.” Ann sat down on the couch, and I sat opposite to her. She was somehow angry as her face was tight and solid.

“You bred a mystery, which is a big problem.”

“Wait, what is a ‘mystery’? I think you need to elucidate in advance.”

“Did you touched someone on the Earth and let them perceive you?”

“Kind of? I wasn’t sure.” I turned my head to the sky outside the window, and the clouds were flowing, formed a beautiful cyanotype. I was grateful if they really felt me, so I made a faint smile. Hopefully, Ann didn’t notice that.

“All in all, what I said was called ‘mystery’, an unusual incident that shouldn’t happen.” Ann took a sigh. “If such a thing happens too frequently, you may be forced to be reincarnated.”

“Okay.” I nodded. “I will be cautious. Besides…” Ann was rarely seen in the Observatory, so I wanted to grab a chance to natter with her.

“Ann, I wanted to know why you are dead. It, somehow, means a lot to me.” I stumbled with my cheek flushing red, like a mediocre teenager.

“Umm…” Ann thought for a second and agreed my request.

“I am glad to tell the story, but I need a glass of lemonade vodka.” Ann smiled with casualness.

“And I will listen with my pleasure.” I gently brought a glass of lemonade vodka from the bar, as well as my little cup of latte.

I could hear the ice knocking the glass, making a ringing sound of noise, which was blew out and dissolved in the breeze. Ann was there in front of me, sitting in silence, and I was looking at her in the eyes, with my heart flickering.

To be continued…

Author’s Comment

More deeply and detailedly, the story marches slow.

The next chatper will include the little story between Ann and Sora, deepening their relationship, and more precisely depict Ann’s personality.

Chatper III is long, I literally don’t know what comes next. Anyway, enjoy the story.

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Need Cpt.4 💀

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Why Lived#3
The tower was shiny in the day and dazzled in the night, being popular at every moment.