Chapter 22

Kowasu lay on my floor, where she slept all the times she stayed at my house. I realized how the time had past so quickly. It was only a week ago that I had first met her. Only five minutes more of Kowasu... I let the tears loose. She grabbed my arm and pulled me down to the ground too.

I sat next to her. She moved so that her head was in my lap. I petted her head carefully. Ruffling her short, black hair. She had her eyes closed. Her face looked so content when I scratched behind her ears like a dog. Even sticking her tongue out like one. It seemed that everything was made better by just a scratch behind the ears.

"How much time do I have?" she asked, looking up at me.

Blinded with tears, I glanced at her clock.

"About four minutes."

She closed her eyes and coughed violently, blood seeping from her lips, running down the side of her face.

"This sort of hurts." she muttered, gazing her green eyes at me again.

"Riyo. Everyone is going to forget me. You don't have to worry about anyone asking where I am or who I even was." She coughed again, more black blood.

"Don't talk." I said, choking on the words.

"No, I am going to talk." she closed her eyes, "I'll wait for you wherever I am, Riyo. When you are alone, I'll be at your side. When you are scared, I'll be defending you. Always keep me with you, please?" she asked.

"I will," I choked.

It was quiet for a while.

"I would go through this all over again to live, Riyo. I am not scared of dying, I just don't want to leave you alone."

"Kowasu." I tried to calm the tears. She looked so sad, so broken there. "Don't stay. Don't wait for me. Go. You are never alone either."

"I love you, Kowasu." I continued, tears running down my face, "and I won't ever forget you. You don't forget me either, okay?"

"You kidding?" she answered, "I didn't expect that from you. Something along the lines of 'naked-time' could have happened."

Another still moment.

"I won't wait." she sighed deeply, "I'll come back for you instead, I promise. Not tomorrow, but I will come back. I'll miss you too much." She coughed more violently, but sat up anyway.

I put my arm around her shoulder and held her there, trying to stop her shaking. I cried and after a while, I noticed that Kowasu was crying too-whimpering and sobbing with me.

This had to be the hardest two minutes of my life, crying, the both of us. Knowing truly how short time was. People go on with their lives, everyday, thinking that they could live forever but here we were-really knowing when the last heartbeat would come.

The shaking grew worse; I could barely hold her still. Her blood splattering on me, tiny droplets over me too. She began to snarl at the pain I knew was flooding through her body.

And then she stopped. The clock fell from her neck and hit the floor. It turned to silver dust.

"I love you too..." that strong voice answered. That one I had heard so long ago. But it was no longer unknown.

Kowasu was dead, but I was alive.