Chapter Seven: Melatonin:

October 7th, 1997.

Seattle, Washington. Oaklyn Mental Hospital was closed for the night. This was a slow autumn night. A twenty-one-year-old patient had escaped from her room. She was born with schizophrenia, but was only diagnosed when she was thirteen. This was her fourth hospital placement. This patient was prone to self-harm. The scars on her neck, chest, ribcage, arms, and legs over the years were proof of this. She heard voices that kept telling her to hurt herself and other people. She wanted to make them stop. Thus the multiple suicide attempts from ages ten to present day. Doctors always were on watch with the young blonde. However, that wasn’t true tonight.

The patient, who shall be named Mary for now, snuck out of her room on this particular night. Once again, she wanted to die. Mary timed her plan down to the tee. Wait until everyone was asleep then move. She knew her way to the drugs; her need to die led her there. Even so, the trip wasn’t an easy one. They strapped her down to the bed every night. However tonight, Mary escaped.

She made it to the doctor’s office and came to the drug cabinet. They locked it for the night. Mary feverishly tried to pull apart the chain. It popped loose after a few tugs. She pulled open the cabinet door. Mary started just grabbing pills at random. The voices screamed in her head now. She trembled and huddled up into a ball on the floor.

Shut up!, she thought. The patient opened the first bottle and began swallowing pills. Mary kept swallowing until a thick black veil fell upon her.

Mary opened her eyes and saw a screen of black. She felt her body dropping. Not too fast, but more of floating down like a leaf. Her eyes trailed all around her. She smelt of burnt hair and rubber flooded her nose. She could hear faint screaming below. Mary strained to listen closely. These people were screaming in agony. She realized that she was falling towards Hell. Mary shut her eyes in panic.

“No!” she screamed in her mind, “I don’t want to go to hell! I didn’t do anything wrong! Don’t let me go to hell! Don’t make me go! Please don’t make me go!” Suddenly, Mary stopped falling. She felt her body rising upwards. Her scattered mind was confused. Where was she going now?

A cool white light hit her face. Mary opened her eyes and looked around. Quiet, not the mind-raping type, more like a nerve-calming quiet filled her head. Mary’s feet touched cool soft grass. Fauna and flora grew like a virus before her. A soft breeze tapped her on the cheeks. Mary’s eyes widened.

This is…, she thought. Off to the left, something caught her eye. A man was tending to this lovely garden. His strong hands planted some irises in a fresh dirt patch. The sun kissed his skin many times over the years. Mary turned for a better look. He paused from his work and looked up. She only got to see his face for a brief second.

Mary awoke on the doctor’s office door. To her amazed relief, she heard silence, nerve-relaxing silence.

August 6th, 2009.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tsuzuki made it to Kimoto Manor’s front door and rang the bell. Rihoko greeted him at the door.

“Hey Tsuzuki,” she said.

“Hey,” he said back, “Is Anna in?” The grad student’s face became grim.

“Yeah, she’s in her room,” she replied. The shinigami eyed her oddly.

“Something wrong?” he asked. Rihoko bit her lip as she leaned in close.

“It’s Anna,” she whispered, “She hasn’t been sleeping very well.” Tsuzuki blinked at her.

“Well, why not?” he asked. Rihoko shrugged at him.

“She won’t tell me,” she replied, “Do come in.” Tsuzuki walked inside. He found Anna on her laptop in her room. Tsuzuki slowly approached her from behind. His girlfriend didn’t look up. He peeked over her shoulder at the screen.

“What are you reading?” he whispered. Anna didn’t turn around.

“A schizophrenia case from ’97,” she said, “This woman had the disease for eight years on record. They didn’t catch it until she was thirteen years old. She was also suicidal. One night, she snuck into the doctor’s office and tried to overdose.” Anna scrolled down to let her boyfriend read more of the file. “While out cold, she said she saw Hell and Heaven. After that, she didn’t hear voice anymore. She went on to be a Sunday school teacher.”

“Anna-chan,” Tsuzuki spoke up. The shinigami pushed himself to keep talking when she didn’t respond.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked.

“Yes…” she said, “Why?” Her boyfriend tried to think of the best way to put this. The man shuffled his feet.

“Rihoko said…” the shinigami began. His girlfriend glanced up at him out of the corner of her eye.

“Rihoko said what?” she asked. Tsuzuki hesitated at the sound of her tone. Could he say it without pissing her off? He would have to try.

“She said you haven’t been sleeping well,” the shinigami said. Tsuzuki waited as Anna clicked on another link.

“It’s just nightmares,” she shrugged off.

“I’m here if you have a problem,” the shinigami told her, “But, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.”

“I thank you for that, but this is beyond you,” she explained as she scrolled down article about nightmares and dreams. Tsuzuki made a puzzled face at that statement.

“What do you mean?” he asked. Anna paused; she couldn’t tell him the truth just yet. The woman took her hand off the mouse.

“Okay, but only when I need your help,” she said. “I want to fix this problem myself first.”

“Alright,” Tsuzuki said, “But how?” This time, Anna turned around to face him.

“I’m going to see a therapist,” she said sounding matter of fact. Tsuzuki’s face went pale as he couldn’t stomach that idea.

“But you can’t!” he protested.

“What else can I do?” she asked, “These nightmares won’t leave me alone until I do something about them.” The woman took his hand as she saw the worry in his eyes. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell them my true identity,” she assured.

“Promise me you’ll come to me when it doesn’t work,” he pleaded.

“I will,” Anna said in a soft voice as Tsuzuki held her close to him. She took some temporary comfort in his arms.