"You were “right”, Rei. The beach is “pretty” at night too.~" Shoes in hand, Kanata and Rei walked together along the moonlit shore. The waves continuously crashed ashore, washing over their feet each time the water rolled in. It was a clear night.
Rei shot the other teen a confused look. "When exactly did I say that?" He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been to the beach, but he knew he had never visited at night. Surely, Kanata was mistaken? Perhaps he was confusing him with someone else.
Kanata giggled at Rei’s confused expression and reached over to poke him in the forehead. Maybe Rei really did have an “elderly person brain”. His memory had been pitiful lately after all.
"You said “it” in the “letter” you sent me.~" He replied. "Don’t you “remember”?"
"I sent you a letter?" Rei’s confusion only deepened, and Kanata’s closed-lip smile widened. Gazing at his gentle smile, Rei’s mind was flooded with images of trees snapped in half, unable to withstand the winds and rains that pelted them. How odd.
"Mhm.~" Kanata slowly shook his head in confirmation, offering no further elaboration. Oddly enough, Rei didn’t feel concerned enough to ask more about the letter that he had supposedly sent. It didn’t really matter anyways.
Laughing in glee, Kanata lazily kicked up a pile of seaweed as they continued to walk the shoreline. It scattered everywhere and he looked pleased.
Without any destination in mind, they continued walking. Rei couldn’t remember how they got there… It felt like they had been there for hours, yet the full moon had barely moved from its place in the sky. Slowly, Rei realized he was no longer holding his shoes. Where had they gone?
Why were they at the beach again?
He blinked and looked around, realizing that they were no longer walking the shoreline. They were somehow surrounded by ankle-high water on all sides, a shallow ocean that went on indefinitely in every direction.
It was truly bizarre.
When had they gotten so far from the shore? Rei couldn’t remember ever stepping off the beach but surely, they must have at some point. For a moment, Rei wondered if they were lost, but Kanata didn’t seem worried at all. It made sense that he wouldn’t be worried. Kanata loved water.
Or was it another person that loved water? And wind, and rain, and childish destruction. A name was at the edges of his mind, but he couldn’t quite grasp it. He tried to picture a face, but it was like trying to look at someone through a distorted, foggy lens. He could see shapes and colors, but it barely made sense. He saw unbridled power and mischief along with the semblance of a closed-lip smile. It was just like—
Pulling Rei’s attention from his thoughts, Kanata abruptly stopped walking and sat in the ocean. He scooped up handfuls of sand and let it fall through his fingers back into the salty water. He looked up at Rei with a pleased look on his face. "I really like this “world”~" Kanata said as he motioned for Rei to sit, trying to pat the water as if it were the ground. "Sit “down” with me. I want to “tell” you “something”."
Rei hesitantly looked between Kanata and the water but still moved to sit down. He didn’t particularly want to sit in water but did it because Kanata asked. Lowering himself, he tried not to cringe as his pants got soaked. Rei briefly wondered why he didn’t bring swim trunks to the beach but also couldn’t remember if he owned any.
"So, what is it that you have to tell me?" Rei asked, tilting his head to the side in curiosity. His own voice sounded hollow, his throat was sore, almost as if it was weak from disuse. He didn’t (couldn’t) give it much thought.
Kanata had a mischievous look on his face like he was about to share a secret that he wasn’t supposed to share. The look was familiar.
A vision of destroyed farmland and rice-fields flickered through Rei’s mind.
Kanata leaned in close. "I’m glad you killed her." He whispered.
Rei couldn’t find the words he needed. Physically and mentally, communication was alluding him. Slowly, as if moving through a thick fog, he furrowed his brows as he gathered himself enough to reply, "What are..." His voice died so he tried again. "What are you talking about? I would never kill another human being." He spoke slowly, stumbling over each word. He felt sick.
"H– mmmmmm, you’re still in denial, huh?" Kanata skimmed his hand over the top of the water and raised it to flick water at Rei. There was a pause, as if Kanata was waiting for him to speak. Rei opened and closed his mouth, but the words wouldn’t come out. Kanata laughed out, then made a thoughtful expression.
"Did I ever “thank” you for making “him” forget about what I did? Now he’s “mad” at you “instead” of me. You’re really the best, “Rei”~."
What was Kanata saying? Rei couldn’t quite grasp the words in his head. He couldn’t focus. Closing his eyes, he saw an empty room with a broken weaving loom in the center. It was just a pile of wood and string now.
What happened to the owner of the broken loom? Rei felt like he might already know the answer, but he couldn’t quite remember it.
He opened his eyes. In the distance, the sun was beginning to rise over the water. The moon was nowhere to be seen.
Kanata frowned as Rei intently watched the sun rise.
"“Time” is up" Kanata said as he half-heartedly splashed water at Rei. He seemed more subdued now. "I’m sorry I couldn’t “give” you a longer “break”." A strong wind blew and began to kick up waves. Kanata sighed. "It’s time for “you” to go “back”.
Rei tried to reply but only managed to make an unintelligible string of words. Kanata shot him a look of pity and gently held his hand.
"I’m “sorry”." His voice almost sounded shaky. Why was he sorry? Rei wondered what the other teen’s name was. He looked at where their hands were connected underneath the clear water.
Rei’s stomach dropped as he realized the ocean had risen. He opened his mouth to speak but closed it again. He looked to the boy that held his hand. The water continued to rise.
Letting go of the hand in his grasp, the unfamiliar teen grabbed Rei’s shoulders. He looked into Rei’s eyes with a blank expression before shoving him underneath the waves. Somehow the water became deeper, and they sank.
Rei could barely comprehend what was happening. He tried to fight back as hard as he could, but it was useless. The other teen was stronger, and they sank.
Time seemed to pass painfully slow.
Rei became dizzy.
He was terrified.
He didn’t want to die.
They only sank deeper.
Unable to hold his breathe any longer, Rei gasped in desperation. Salt water filled his lungs. His chest burned, his heart hammered, he couldn’t think. He had never felt this kind of fear before and everything hurt. He knew he couldn’t free himself.
So he gave up.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he stopped struggling and sank into the ocean with Susanoo.
Until his back finally hit the ocean floor and a weight settled over him.