Chapter Twenty-Eight: Short Relief:

Mike sat in his room. His eyes looked so empty. The world seemed to stand still. Vivian hadn’t come back. This was just like last time.

A knock came on his door. Mike didn’t respond. Not even when it opened.

“Good morning!” Hotaru chirped. No response. She walked over to him.

“How are you this morning?” the loli demon asked. Mike didn’t even turn his head. She rubbed him on the shoulder.

“You pull through this,” she whispered. “I am here for you.” Her voice sounded so distant. Tears ran down his cheeks.

He began to see her face again. She had a gentle smile. What did she see in him? He was more wild back then. Mike didn’t care who he hurt. The attitude from the 60’s hadn’t left him yet.

Then, she came along.

Always smiling. Vivian is just like her in a way. That other woman was like the sun. He wasn’t looking for her. She found him. Then, she wouldn’t leave. Mike couldn’t understand it.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Your girl, silly,” she said. Her laughter could rival the cherry blossoms around them. So beautiful. This was the first time he had been truly happy.

So what went wrong?

The tears wouldn’t stop.

“Shhh,” Hotaru whispered.  “Shhh. Shhh. Shhh.” She put her arm around his shoulders.

“I am right here,” Hotaru whispered. “You will get through this.” More tears ran down his cheeks.

He’s done it again. Another one gone. First that woman, then Stella, and now Vivian.

“Am I cursed?” Mike murmured.  Hotaru looked up at him.

“What?” she asked. He didn’t respond.

So lost. Mike felt like he was a drift. It felt so dark too. His lips trembled.

“Mike? Mike? Mike?” Hotaru asked. The demon felt like he was sinking.

What’s the matter?

You feeling okay?

What happened?

Talk to me.

I want to help you.

Please… let me in.

I want to help you.

Please, Mike.

I love you.

Mike! Mike! Mike!

Please… Mike…

I love you. Please talk to me.

“She’s gone,” Mike said in a hushed tone.

“I know,” Hotaru said. “I sent Vivian away.” He shook his head. The loli demon raised her eyebrow.

“Not her?” she asked. He shook his head again. It did not take long for Hotaru to put it all together. She put her hand on his forehead. Hotaru closed her eyes.

Come on. Show me the source of your pain.  Let me help you. Her body went stiff.


Mike could hear the waves around him. The demon slowly looked up. A hand reached out to his face. He slowly gulped.

“Laura?” he asked.

“No,” Hotaru said. “It’s only me. Talk to me. What happened to Laura? She died didn’t she?” Mike lowered his eyes.

“Oh, Mikey,” she said. “I am so sorry.” Hotaru hugged him.

“I didn’t get to apologize to her,” he whispered. She rested her chin on his head.

“I can help you,” she whispered. Mike looked up at her.

“You can do that?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said. “Let’s get you some closure.” Hotaru held him tight to her chest. Both vanished from Mike’s dark place.