Chapter 7: A (Not So) Picturesque Predicament

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It was a long time ago. Three children were in a garden; two girls, one boy. One of the girls couldn't have been older than ten, the other couldn't have been older than eight. A mere two year difference separated them - it was the only thing that could ever separate them. The boy was only slightly older than the eldest girl, but she was the one who was responsible for the both of them like a parent.

The group sat huddled beneath a tree surrounded by tall bushes and plants in the shade as they shielded themselves from the cruel, unforgiving world around them. The boy's parents were coming to get him soon, so they all simultaneously decided to hide from them. The girls were confident that they wouldn't be found there - it was their garden after all. Who would search for them there?

The boy didn't like his parents. The girls didn't like his parents either. They were mean people who were always too busy to care for their son, always pushing him away. She didn't want them to take her friend away again, especially when they neglected him day after day. She didn't know when she would see him again after that, it could have been days, weeks or even months. It all came down to whether the boy's parents had work outside of the city - the boy couldn't stay alone by himself so they left him with his uncle.

His uncle had work too, though he would bring the boy with him sometimes and teach him everything he'd learned. Other times, when his work became too stressful, he would leave the boy to play out with the girls. He had a bad childhood in an unloving household. She didn't think it was fair that such a sweet boy received such unaffectionate treatment; he didn't do anything wrong to deserve it!

The older girl promised that she would always take care of him, forever and ever. It was a solemn oath that she had sworn to herself. She loved the boy. The younger girl loved the boy. The girls' parents loved the boy, too. What she could never understand was why her best friend's parents didn't love him. He was the kindest boy she knew, and she adored everything about him. She wouldn't let anything or anyone hurt him. She was his protector.

"I promise to always make you happy."

-

The morning sun dashed a bright streak across the detective's pale face through his open curtains as his eyes fluttered open. Another boring day of his boring life. He rubbed his eyes tiredly, having woken from a strange dream.

In his dream, he was locked in a small wooden cottage, though it could be argued that it was just a room seeing as the 'cottage' was four simple walls and a roof. However, that was besides the point. The floorboards were cracked and dusty, some poking up from the ground in an attempt to escape their demise. The walls weren't much different either; monochrome and musty.

There was no light hanging from the ceiling and the thick maroon velvet curtains covering the windows were shut tight. The only source of light in the room was an array of candles on the large, circular table he sat at in the middle of the room. On the other side of the table sat a boy Shuichi was very familiar with - Kokichi Oma himself sitting on a tall stool, one of the legs slightly broken allowing the boy to rock himself back and forth on it.

The purple haired boy was humming to himself quietly and didn't seem to pay attention to the detective when he spoke to the smaller boy, ignoring him completely as if he wasn't there. His humming turned into singing, his voice sweet and intoxicating; the type of charming voice which could put you under a spell. His singing wasn't bad at all, rather it was soothing and relaxing. What he was singing wasn't clear no matter how hard the detective tried to listen. His singing was just a collection of inaudible sounds, yet Shuichi found himself being drawn into the melodic tune, leaning on the table to listen closer to the harmonic sounds spilling from the other boy's lips.

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