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Kai looked over at the closed off street with a look of mild disinterest. He could see the flash of police lights, hear the murmur of the surprised people. The looks of mild disgust and twisted interest plastered over their faces made it clear that something bad had happened, but he couldn’t figure out exactly what without entering through the crowd.


He turned to leave, too disinterested to push his way through, until he heard a snippet of conversation from the bystanders.


“What was his name?”
“Nagai, I think? We lived on the same street but we’ve never talked much. ”


Kai froze, gripping his bag tight. Instead of walking by he pushed his way to the front of the crowd, elbowing aside the unlucky people who happened to get in his way. After enough shoving, he found himself first staring up at a truck. Although it was in an odd position, it was nothing compared to the streaks of red dragged across the road. He couldn’t identify everything smeared across the street, but the color and occasional chunks of what must have once been flesh left him with the conclusion that he was looking at what was left of a person, and not just any person at that.


If he had a weaker stomach, he would have vomited there. A sudden wave of nausea swept over him, followed by a sudden cold sweat. He gripped his bag tighter, taking in a breath and doing his best to force air back into his lungs. The others around him didn’t seem to notice or care as he struggled to compose himself. Someone who must have been a police officer reached over the barrier of the accident and tapped his shoulder.


“You should leave, kid. This isn’t a place for children.”
“Is that,” Kai choked, “Is that Nagai Kei?”
“Yeah. You were close or something?”


Kai stumbled back, earning some angry groans from the people behind him. Once they saw his face they went quiet, moving out of the way for the boy to leave. As soon as he’d escaped the crowd he ran without hesitation, his legs and every other part of him threatening to collapse as he pushed on.


The house was empty, but that suited him fine. The moment the door was closed he felt tears welling up, and immediately struggled to fight them back. It was a losing battle from the beginning, and a moment later they streaked down his face. His legs finally gave way beneath him, and he buckled to the floor, head in hands. Wet tears and mucus made it harder to breath, and then he was coughing, his whole body shaking against the cold floor and hard wooden wall.


Kai wasn’t sure how much time had passed while he remained on the floor, but he eventually dragged himself to his room. Digging through one of his drawers, he found his old phone and charger. He plugged it into the wall before collapsing on his bed, his body desperate for a short reprieve from everything. Kai hesitated as sleep beckoned, but submitted just as the phone began to light up.


When Kai woke up it was pitch black both inside and outside his room. He shook it off, reaching over for the phone. The dim screen lit up to display a clock that was far from correct, in front of a background that consisted of a crude drawing of three smiling people. He ignored both, immediately entering his ‘Photos’. Some were old pictures he’d clearly taken of other screens, mostly from shows he’d enjoyed as a kid, others were blurry shots of animals he’d seen, and the rest were pictures of him, Eriko, and most often, Kei.


Kai didn’t often bother looking through the old things; usually they just made him feel worse. This was a different though, now they were all he had left. There would be no more glances from afar, exchanges of the occasional curt nod in the street, or anything else of the sort. He pulled the phone close, clutching the last piece of Kei he had close as he fell back asleep.