Alternate Dimension (Part 24)

On the day before the festival at my former school, Kotomi asked me for help. She didn't say what exactly it was, other than it being an emergency and that only my clone should come with me right after my school ends. Kotomi is my girlfriend, and me as her boyfriend, which would be correct until May earlier, but since I have become a girl, things have gotten confusing. In fact, she doesn't even know what name she should call me other than my family name. I understand, since I have 3 different names: Saeko is my current name, Mamiko is the name I gave to my clone, and Itsuki as my original name. Even though it seems like the names of three different people, they all refer to me, and it's not even a pen or display name. I'm confused myself...

Well, her school is just at the bottom of the hill my school building is at, with the train station in the middle. It's not that I never been there before, but the feeling of heading there is different than when I was still a student there. It's the feeling of being an outsider when I travel past my middle or primary school after graduating from there.

Mamiko seems to be attracted to pretty things at the shops near the train station for some reason. In fact, it's the very same shop Kotomi would drag me to at unpredictable times and spend a long time there. I decided to leave Mamiko there without telling since she could be there for hours.


As I got closer to my former school, I can start to see more students from that school walking past me. I can hear whispers that range from, "Isn't that Hisakawa-san, the girl genius? I hear she is as good as Miyazawa-senpai.", to guys saying among themselves about wanting me to be their girlfriend. Maybe now I know why I feel like an outsider when heading towards my former school.

I arrived at the school gate. From there, I can see that the place is already heavily decorated with all the decorations, banners and booths set up, along with rehearsals. Kotomi doesn't seem to be waiting there, so I headed to her class at 2-1. Well, this doesn't seem to be the suitable place to wait with all the crowd and chaos going around there. Mamiko seems to have realized that I'm already there and that she's still at that shop.

With my school uniform glaringly different from the one I'm at now, I receive many stares from the people I walk past. Some of which that, apart from earlier, recognize me as the "spy" of my school, or Kenjiro's rumored-to-be girlfriend. I'm not his girlfriend, but because he was my best friend before that change, resulting in me knowing a lot about him and him knowing me, have somewhat turned me to have an affection for him rather than being close buddies. The opposite has happened for me with Kotomi, except that she still knows the me before the change. Also, apart from the fact that people are looking at me and that I'm now a student of another school, walking around the school feels completely different.

As I walked past the shoe lockers, I was reminded of the first letter she sent to me. At first, it looked like an envelope from my company. As there were rumours spread about a girl pretending to be Kotomi who landed on me and not sounding like her, it is actually Kotomi herself with her little-known singing voice as I found out from her later on, people seem to find some opportunity to look at my back whenever I open an envelope. When I first looked at the letter, it does look like an official letter from my company written in a language that people peering behind me would not understand. When I had a closer look, the first few lines were about apologizing for writing in that fashion and what I should say if people who saw the letter asking what it's about. She also asked me to meet at a particular storeroom during lunch 2 days after reading the letter (does she knows when I'm reading it?). That room, as she reveals to me, has the only staircase in the school, and hidden, that leads to the roof many were clueless on getting to. The rest were filled with extracts of recent news. What I found odd about her signature is that the name she use was that of her given name and a surname of her great grandfather that seemed too foreign. She even added her job title below the name, which seemed kind of pointless as it's not work related, but necessary to make the whole letter to be a company letter rather than a love letter. Well, the signature is one of the first places to look.

I soon reached the class of 2-1, Kotomi's classroom. There seem to be commotion going on in there and the doors were wide open with pieces of black cloth to cover the light from the outside. I took a peak inside to see that there seems to be some kind of an open area at the centre, surrounded by chairs. The class now looks like a totally different place. Since there's air conditioning, it's not really stuffy in there.

Someone in the classroom noticed me and, without warning, alerted everyone in there to my presence. The guys who were standing in the middle turned to look at me and have the sigh of relief when they saw me. It seems that Kotomi only told them to expect a girl of an unnamed different school to arrive to help the class, but wasn't expecting that someone to be me. Yes, I'm infamous in this city not only because of being the victim of a stabbing and hit-and-run incident in crowded areas not too long ago and magically survive to as though it never happened, despite witnesses seeing me in a near-death state. However, there also seem to be reasons pointing to events that happened before May that I either don't recall happening, or slightly different. As to the question to where Kotomi was, they said that she is helping a lot of people around the school and would only come in later.

The guys explained their situation that a girl who would have been performing tomorrow have fallen ill. They gave me the copy of the script and I looked at it: The play is about family problems, so there would be a lot of emotion portrayed and may include singing and/or playing of instruments. I have never acted before, so it looks like I need Mamiko, my clone, for this: I don't want to suffer the madness of rehearsing at such short notice. Besides, she is somewhat like an android and looks and behaves a lot like me, but more feminine. On top of that, during the recent festival at my current school, she just wonders around the campus aimlessly while I was stuck with playing music for my music club. Now, it's her turn, though I might want to pratcise myself to get a sense of what the play would be about. I might also want to ask for a digital copy of the script so that I can "program" Mamiko with the acting easily.

Speaking of her, where is she? She's still not here yet, but my senses tells me she's in the school somewhere. It also sounded that there are a lot of guys trying to peep inside, but had been shut out by Kotomi's classmates, with some taking care of the outside. Knowing the guys of this school, they would either be after me or Kotomi, or both.


After some practicing, I headed towards the vending machines for a break from all that rehearsal. At that time, a girl who introduced herself as Hiroko Kyohara, Kotomi's classmate and childhood friend. She knows me as her best friend of another school and it's very obvious from the uniform I'm wearing. Hmm... where have I seen that face before...

We sat down on the floor around there and discussed among ourselves. She said that it must have been tough for Kotomi to be popular because of her brains and beauty. (She also commented that it might apply to me in my school too.) Except for Hiroko, her family, and her boyfriend (me?), she would have to put up a convincing fake smile in front of everyone. That somewhat explains why she sent love letters to me in the form of an official corporate letter. Hiroko added on to say that since her boyfriend of another class in the same school disappeared 4 months ago, Kotomi got so depressed that she didn't feel like doing the things she normally does. She even have to force herself that fake smile and struggle with her studies so that her fans would not notice, which she told Hiroko, was unbearable. Sometimes, Kotomi would come to her house and release all the sadness she has been keeping in Hitoko's arms. She finally said that since the preparation of the festival started, Kotomi has started to get over it and move on.

This Kyohara-san seems to know that Kotomi had a boyfriend, but doesn't know who exactly. Tell you what: the boyfriend who disappeared 4 months ago is the girl whom you were talking with earlier, which, of course, I didn't say to her. Imagine the shock and everything else it would bring. It still irks to find the girl who is staring back at me when I look into the mirror is me.

Mamiko seems to be talking to a shocked Kenjiro at my former class before Kotomi called her to head to somewhere at this time.

Chapter 5


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