Beloved Neighbour

Beloved Neighbour

A Story by Aurafiex
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A boy comes to terms with who he truly loves all this time.

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“Madoka, are you sure about this?” I asked hesitantly as I watched her shuffle about her room rapidly, her hands adjusting things left and right into something deemed by her as “better” than what was currently so. Not that her room really required anything in the way of sprucing up, but she was a perfectionist when it came to anything she set her mind to, namely this one endeavour. By now the floor had a sparkle as though it were made of polished glass, and her bed had been made and straightened for what I believed was probably the third time. If anything, she seemed more enthusiastic about whole thing than I am.

 

“Yup! You can’t possibly have Nanami over at your place, considering how messy you are!” She chirped in reply, covering her mouth as she giggled with one had while arranging some roses in a vase with another. “And besides,” she added, “I promised to help you.”

 

“True...”

 

“So, don’t you worry a thing! Tonight’s gonna be really good, I’m sure of it!”

 

Ah, Madoka; what would my life be without you helping me every step of the way? Truth is, I don’t remember ever not knowing her. In fact, my first waking memory involves me taking her juice box one time during a gathering between our families. She cried so loudly that I ended up giving it back to her without so much as a sip of it. Seems stupid, I know, but we were three years old back then.

 

But I don’t regret it, since that was how we met. For numerous neighbourly gatherings after we would try to play together. I say “try to” because it was then that I had to make my choice of being under a tree with her or out with the others. I tried to convince her otherwise, but her heart seemed lost to the sands where she’d etch things that she said were her feelings. Weird and indecipherable scribbles they were, if my memory serves, and honestly quite creepy.

 

Still, we talked, and it was thanks to her that I became who I am. She made everything matter. With her everything was something to feel and understand. Empathy, maybe, something so short in supply as though a contrast to the eternal cloak of darkness that was the endless midnight in this city. Movies and television became something more than mindless entertainment. We’d talk about that too, discussing plots and characters for hours. And maybe, just maybe, that was why she did her hair up into two fluffy ponytails since she learned of my soft spot for girls like that.

 

I don’t know. Perhaps she felt something for me in some way, and if she ever did, I did not. I’ve always seen her as a sister first. It’s not that she wasn’t my type- she’s pretty; bright-eyed with a petite, smooth face and frame that’s cute and almost fairy-like, accentuated even more so with her pink candy-floss hair. In fact, she’s so cute that I remember once asking her (jokingly) if she wanted to be my bride on Valentines’ Day when we were fifteen. She had dressed up for the occasion too, sporting one of those butterfly dresses made entirely out of white silk from that expensive boutique downtown. And when she brushed off my question in that sweet, skittish way of hers, she was even prettier.

 

“You wouldn’t want to be with me. They’ll never find the body if that ever happens!” She said then at my proposal, laughing as she eyed my confused reaction. 

 

Well, Madoka always had a warped sense of humour. It was that same sense of humour you’d expect a madman to have and it did no favours for her social life. She sat alone, and because I sat with her, I too was alone from everyone else. Pretty can’t fix crazy, I suppose. But even then, I could have sworn then that I spied a faint shade of red forming around her face as she smiled from my words.

 

Perhaps I went too far that day, for ever since then things between us got… weird. Not that she would be considered normal by the standard of well-adjusted folk, but it was not a question that she, or rather, we, changed. It’s hard to describe, but we became... more intimate. We still talked and hung out as we always did, and nothing really changed in that regard. But it’s strange, you know, to hold someone you love as dearly as a sister in your arms as you rest your head upon her naked breasts. We were, at that point, best friends yet lovers, confused and infatuated. We know each other so well now, so well that nothing makes sense anymore.

 

Heck, I probably know her more than I would for anyone else, even my parents considering that we never talk now. They’re always so busy, like all adults are. In a way I do wonder if we’ll all become like that after we graduate and go out into the cold, dark world like they have. Business, they say, and it’s also why we have such a nice house in the suburb, and that I should do well to remember that whenever I bellyache their absence, they’d claim.

 

They’ve gone on a long trip with her family since last week. Away from the night, to somewhere where the sun shone. Can’t come along because of school, they say. Well, at least that’s what she told me. They had all left without a word, leaving us two to take care of ourselves. It was why Madoka had insisted on moving in, at least temporarily. But I digress. I don’t know why my thoughts wander like that.

 

I really did consider back then if we truly could be together. Madoka was never undesirable, and perhaps in some morbid sense, a perfect fit. But rather something held me back, stopped me that one night where with tearful eyes she begged to be more than what we were. We should have never spoken after I left her tear-stricken, but she was all smiles and good cheer the next day as she ran up to me to walk together to school like we always did, as though nothing had happened, as if it was all a bad dream. Not wanting to ruin anything further I played along, and before I knew it, everything was back to normal. Perhaps it was indeed a hallucination.

 

And now, a month after that fateful night, I was in her room helping her out as she cleaned and sorted it for my upcoming “date”. Curtains made of red silk covered the window, and Madoka’s desk had been shifted to the center of the room and converted into a makeshift dining table for two by means of a tablecloth made of purple velvet and two covered chairs taken from the living room. The bed looked so soft too, for despite its capacity for one it had been neatly covered with one of those expensive-looking bed covers while the ceiling lights boasted a warm, yellow glow that made everything feel so warm despite the air conditioner. In fact, I daresay the entire room had more or less been remodelled into one of those “Love Hotel” rooms downtown.

 

“I won’t be here when Nanami comes over, but I’ve prepared dinner for the both of you! It’s your favourite pork chops for two! Just heat it up with the microwave for about ten minutes. Pretty sure a big dummy like you can do that!” Madoka said as she wagged her finger playfully. “Also, check under the pillow later. I’ve left you a surprise!” She added, winking as she covered her mouth to stifle her laughter.

 

I took the chance to check under the pillow when she left for the bathroom, and I discovered that she had left a pack of those rubbers we once to enjoy together, as if in a twist of irony, now that I am about to court the affections of someone else. But even with her flair for such sarcasm, I’m really grateful for what she had done for me. Perhaps a treat at her favourite café, the one with the cats that she really likes, would suffice as recompense after all this is over.

 

Even so, I can’t help but feel a sense of intangible dread, or rather confusion at the whole set-up. After all, why would Madoka go to such lengths for such purpose? Sure, we were close, but this seemed completely out of character, even for her. Doubly so considering what she thought of her.

 

In fact, the whole arrangement was more or less her idea. Hinata Nanami was nothing like Madoka. She was a transfer student from Osaka, one of those country bumpkin types that spoke with an accent, naive in that charming way that seemed to endear her to everyone in class. Think village idiot but ten times hotter. Hinata was pretty in that way all village girls are, with simple yet delicate features and neat brown hair that seemed chiselled from perfection itself. Her breasts were like ripe gourds, wrapped tightly around her slender, curvaceous frame and always seemingly at risk of tearing the buttons of her uniform apart. And her skin, oh, her skin was so soft, and it had that bronze shine that you’d get from just the right amount hours in the sun, something that only existed to us in words and illustrations. It made her stand out from the rest of the ladies who seemed so pale and sickly in comparison. Perhaps that was what it meant to grow up in the countryside, away from the pollution and stress. And perhaps that was why they all liked her so much. Especially the boys.

 

We first met on the train after school, standing close to each other, silent like strangers. Strangely enough she was alone, her eyes fixated on a paperback book of some kind. I don’t know how or why (and still don’t to this day), but the train jerked to a stop and my hands ended up, well... you know.

 

“AIEEEEEE!” she screamed. So sudden the whole debacle was that even Madoka couldn’t help but laugh despite her usual visible discomfort whenever I interacted with any other female schoolmate in her presence.

 

“Oh my god, I’m so sor-,” I tried to apologise but it was too late, for my right cheek had just been caved in by what was seemingly inhuman strength. God, how my face burned then, and thinking about it now makes the spot hurt all by its own. It was something straight out of one of those stupid “accidental pervert” scenes in all those harem anime shows that Madoka liked. But I won’t lie- I deserved it for being in this stupid situation.

 

Of course, a misunderstanding was just that, and she too apologised after calming down and realising the ridiculousness of it all. The three of us went to the ice cream parlour after, her treat for my face, she said. I was so caught up in my infatuation that there I fumbled my words and stuttered my speech as my ice cream melted into milky cream, but it all worked in my favour- she found it funny and cute. Good enough an outcome for me, I suppose.

 

We started hanging out after. A dinner date first. A movie second and by the end of our third month we had our first kiss, the first to be followed by many more whenever we thought ourselves away from scrying eyes. Through her I met new friends too; something I had given up being with Madoka, for she was unusually difficult amongst any others our age whenever they tried to hang out with me. It was either her or them, and until Hinata it was all but a given.

 

Life went on as normal, but everything felt different now, in that good way that all those love-addled poets from my literature readings crow about. With Hinata by my side the air felt so much cleaner and everything around me seemed so beautiful and happy, as though every day was an adventure. No longer did I only dream of nights with Madoka while in school, forever ensnared in the cycle of build-up and release. I began to have dreams for my future, no, our future together. A family, maybe. She inspired me to greater heights and I began to do well, much to the surprise of my teachers and friends who had long dismissed me to a fate as one of the delinquent-to-be loitering in the darkness. It’s surprising how having a reason to work hard and rise every day makes life so much sweeter and meaningful, something unfelt of in all my years with Madoka, who seemed content with keeping me like that, forever under her thumb as she soared to greater heights on her own.

 

Perhaps we’d get married when we come of age, and with luck (and some savings), we could leave this wretched city for someplace sunnier. We could always go back to her hometown to start anew as hardworking farmers under the sun. She had regaled me with stories of her life back there, and what intrigued me most was the way she described the warmth of the morning sun and the beauty of the sunset and sunrise, something I have yet to experience.

 

And unlike Madoka, Hinata made me feel like an adult, a much welcome change to all the coddling of the former. With the latter we had little difference in opinion, our discussions were passionate and simple unlike Madoka’s penchant for disagreement and discussion. It wasn’t that I was shy of such mental stimulation, but it felt good to be with someone else agreeable, and to be right for a change.

 

I like to think that Madoka and I were still best friends and neighbours even with Hinata’s entry into our lives. But she was adamant in addressing her in a formal manner rather than by her first name despite the latter’s wishes. It wasn’t too clear why she wished such a barrier between the two of them, but her actions one afternoon honestly freaked me out.

 

We were at the park with some of Hinata’s friends, and despite our best efforts to get her to hang out with us, she stood steadfast and alone in a corner like she did all those years ago. We were at a vending machine trying out some kind of new “spicy soda” when Hinata called out to Madoka who was still alone in the shade. We had been taking turns to try it, laughing at each other’s reaction to its zesty and fruity contents.

 

“Madoka, you wanna come over an’ try this? It’s pretty awesome!” Hinata had said, probably hoping that she was thirsty enough to come over for a drink and perhaps to join in on the fun.

 

“I’m fine, thanks.” Madoka’s eyes were affixed to the sand as she spoke, her attention focused solely at etching something into the sand with a tree branch. It was only later when I came over to her spot with some soda, worried for her well-being, that I discovered that she had etched the word “DIE” over and over into the ground.

 

Suffice to say, I was horrified by the ghastly spectacle before me, only to be shocked further when she looked me in the eye smiling, a maniacal edge within her red pupils.

 

“It’s n-nothing... may I have some of that soda?” She said, blushing in her usual sweet way to defuse the tension forming between us.

 

I was too speechless to say anything then as I handed the can to her in a moment of awkward silence. And in the end, she liked it very much. No surprise really. It was a damn good drink.

 

But that was all in the past, and it seemed like Madoka had changed her way of thinking as of late. At least that I would like to think, for she had so eagerly volunteered to facilitate a date between Hinata and I. Hell, she was the one to initiate the whole thing when we thought that we had asked the other out. Cliché, I know.

 

Perhaps there was some measure of foul play, but I didn’t want to doubt her, even as common sense dictated otherwise. But it seemed alright, considering that her eyes didn’t twitch uncontrollably like they would whenever she was nervous about anything. She seemed so sure about this that it was almost... crazy.

 

*Pinch*

 

I felt my thoughts shift back into reality by way of a rather hard pinch to my arm, courtesy of Madoka.

 

“Ow!”

 

“Stop dreaming around! It’s already five thirty!” Madoka tapped her wrist’s imaginary watch as her lips pouted in annoyance. “You have to go pick up Hinata from the train station!”

 

“I...” I tried to say something, but Madoka was having none of it as I got manually ejected from the room and then the front door.

 

“I’ll be out, so make it a night to remember!” Madoka winked, waving and smiling as I hurried to my destination.

 

It was around fifteen minutes to six by the time I reached the train station. I say that because I don’t wear a watch, and the darkness in the sky made telling the time of day impossible with one’s intuition. But Hinata wasn’t angry when I found her sitting on a bench quietly musing and staring at the eternally night sky, smiling so serenely and sweetly.

 

“Hey, the aurora’s really pretty, don’tcha think?” She said as I walked up to her, pointing skyward at the crimson light that shone eerily in the sky, its glow constantly shifting between bright and dim, as if the sky was tearing in some fashion. Perhaps that was why I liked her so much, for she retained that rural calmness that let her notice such things, that let her stop to smell the flowers that others would trample without a second thought as they rushed onward. Everything with her was so relaxed and simple, unlike everyone else where it all had to be now or never, always faster, never slower.

 

By the time we returned Madoka had pretty much vanished, making it seem as though all the decor and fuss was my doing. I wasn’t one to take undue credit, but I did feel some measure of undeserved pride as Hinata marvelled over the warm lighting and the red silk as she ran her fingers across the exquisite fabrics. She praised the aroma of “my cooking” as I presented to her our dinner and leaned forward to kiss my cheek as I lit the scented candles in the middle of the table.

 

“This is so romantic! I didn’t know you were capable of... this.” Hinata blushed in between mouthfuls of Madoka’s spiced pork chops. They were really good, and even better recently, for some reason. Improved her recipe with a special kind of meat, she told me when I had asked.

 

We finished our meal quickly, and we held hands as I played a movie on my laptop. A romantic movie, of course, something I had picked out personally for the sake of our date. It was a pretty good film too, for I had watched it with Madoka beforehand. Hell, it was so good that I...

 

That I...

 

I don’t know what happened next, but when I awoke I found myself tucked into the sheets of the bed, as though I had awakened from a long slumber. It was then that I heard the sound of a door opening, bringing forth Madoka and two adult men who presented to me some kind of badge held in a leather casing. I tried to make out what it was, but everything was so fuzzy and blurry to the point that every colour of everything around me seemed to exist with the express intention to split my mind apart.

 

They asked me about the night before, about Hinata, but I found myself unable to say anything coherent, much to their dismayed expressions. Only when Madoka said something to them did they leave, but even as they left I could barely make out their suspicious gaze, one that made me feel so giddy such that everything faded to black once more.

 

I awoke once more, burning from within even though the air-conditioning was at full blast. Madoka sat quietly by my side, her hands pressing firmly against my forehead a folded, wet towel soaked with cold water. It seemed strange, but it all made sense when my fingers recoiled at the heat emanating from my forehead. But even in all this discomfort, what comforted me most was her presence, seemingly unerring and almost angelic as I watched her closely while she dipped the towel back into the bucket of cold water.

 

“They said Hinata went missing. But don’t worry about it- I’m here for you.” Madoka said, smiling a smile so warm that I could not help but feel some measure of loving warmth upon my heart despite the tangled skein that was my current state of consciousness.

 

And it was true. Hinata’s chair was empty when I came back to school three days later. The questions from everyone wouldn’t stop. I wanted very much to answer them, but the truth was as much a mystery to me as it was to them. The police came a few times too, but over the months they too stopped asking like my schoolmates have, possibly tired of the lack of leads like how my peers’ attention span waned in the face of new happenings in the City of Midnight, like they always did. It seemed almost as though Hinata, that beautiful transfer student, was nothing more than a wistful dream, a fad no different from any other that came like the seasons but left unlike the eternal night.

 

Only Madoka said nothing else on the matter the whole time, instead only suggesting that I rest more to recover as well as to lie low during the entire fiasco. And only she took to comforting rather than scorning me like the others have as I shed tears for Hinata, which made Madoka’s embrace now warmer and more welcoming than ever before. Could they not see that I too was just as hurt? It seemed only she could and wanted to understand me, even as the whole world seemed adamant that I had something to do with Hinata’s disappearance.

 

Perhaps I have been wrong this entire time about Madoka, of how selfishly I put her aside as a friend and nothing more, when true love was in fact right by my side the entire time. Love is such a strange thing, to be honest, but perhaps after all we are meant to be more than just friends, and perhaps I am a fool to have thought otherwise all this time. It is after all so easy to ignore the ones closest to you in pursuit of an ideal. But even as ideals may have some grounding , they  are but mere dreams, and reality is now, and only now in Madoka’s arms do I see my folly.

 

And to atone for this, I have taken up her offer to move in with her so that I may finally set things right. It seemed the only right thing to do considering that our families have yet to return from their vacation. Truly, it does feel good to be pampered and cared for, especially by someone who loves you.

 

“I love you, Madoka.” I said, as I closed my eyes, leaning forward to kiss her on her lips.

 

“I love you too!” she cried as she returned my embrace while my hands reached out passionately towards her to make up for all the lost time. If only I knew what was best for me back then.

 

Oh, and the food! It’s gotten even better ever since I’ve moved in. Even though it’s some variation of pork chops and curry every other night, it never fails to satisfy my palate. Truly, the joy of home-cooked cuisine was one to be desired. Hinata, like me, couldn’t cook to save her life.

 

But even despite all the happiness now I can’t help but feel a slight discomfort gnawing at the back of my mind. Perhaps it is the strange circumstances of Hinata’s disappearance, or perhaps it is the fact that even after so long our parents have yet to come home. Not only that, Madoka has kept the kitchen under lock and key despite my best efforts to reason with her otherwise. Especially not the freezer, she says. Something about me falling ill again, she says. Good thing we have one of those fancy mini fridges in her room.

 

All these concerns gnaw at me as I sleep, and sometimes when I gaze at crimson aurora in the night sky I remember Hinata’s curves and smile, of all the good times that seemed to be from another life. Sometimes I even consider breaking into the kitchen as Madoka slumbers, to discover the truth that may very well be hiding in plain sight. But all it takes is one kiss upon Madoka’s lips to make me forget it all in lieu of the happiness we have between us now.

 

And perhaps it’s better that way. I don’t think I want to bear that weight. 


© 2017 Aurafiex



Author's Note

Aurafiex
Hey!

This story is part of the City of Midnight, a collection of short stories. If you enjoyed this, do check out the other stories below!


My New Life

Twin Souls

Accursed Mystic

Midnight

Have a nice day!

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Wow, this was great. The part when Madoka writes Die on the floor reminds me of what Yuno did in future diary. Sorry I haven't been here for a really long time.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Months Ago


Aurafiex

10 Months Ago

Hey there! Long time no see!

Yeah, I got the idea from watching Mirai Nikki. It was a.. read more

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Added on February 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 20, 2017
Tags: Horror, Beloved, Neighbour, Girl, Psycho, Yandere, Stalker, Girlfriend, Teen, High School, Missing, Person, Murder, Cannibal, City of Midnight, Night

Author

Aurafiex
Aurafiex

Singapore



About
Hi! I enjoy World of Warcraft, music and swimming. I'm someone who writes for fun. Pardon any typos or mistakes, because I write on my phone(lol). I'm new here, so if you like what you see do.. more..

Writing
Midnight Midnight

A Story by Aurafiex


My New Life My New Life

A Story by Aurafiex


Twin Souls Twin Souls

A Story by Aurafiex