ird floor.

 

I shine the flashlight at the end of the second-floor corridor.

 

There’s nothing there.

 

“I-I’m fine, I’m fine.
I’ll just have to go to the bathroom.
I’ll hold out till morning.
…… No, there’s nothing in there! I’m not scared!”

 

It’s quiet.

 

The second and third floors of the Aion Mall Otherworld Store are both carpeted.

 

I can’t even hear my footsteps.

 

It’s dimly lit and quiet late at night at the Otherworldly store in the Aion Mall.

 

All I can hear is the sound of me brushing my clothes and my breathing.

 

I turn a corner in the aisle.

 

In the light of my flashlight, I can see red and blue paint.

 

It’s the restroom.

 

It’s a clean and comfortable restroom in the Aion Mall.

 

It’s the men’s restroom, dimly lit, with so many turnstiles that you can’t see what’s ahead, mirrors that show you where you don’t expect to see, and an empty space behind you.

 

I gulped and swallowed my saliva.

 

“No, no, no, I’ve been here plenty of times! I’ve even used the restroom at night many times since I came to the other world! I’m not going to bother about it now!”

 

Only my voice echoes in the quiet space.

 

Why is it that once I have an unpleasant imagination, I can’t get it out of my head?

 

I’m not shivering because I’m cold, I’m not cold because I’m holding off on going to the restroom.
I’m not really holding out on it.

 

“Easy peasy.
When I was still a child, the toilet was outside the main house and it was really dark.
I could go to the bathroom without any problem.
I had my grandfather accompany me.”

 

I keep talking to myself all the time so that I don’t have to listen to the silence.

 

I place the flashlight at the base of my neck and free my hands between my shoulders and cheeks.

 

I unzip and do my business.

 

“You see, it’s nothing.
Nothing at all.
I just did the small one.
I can’t tell anyone that I was this freaked out.
Chloe is going to burst out laughing.
No, she’s going to tilt her head back and not understand why I was so freaked out.”

 

Raise the zipper.

 

I turn around.

 

There was a semi-transparent shadow.

 

“Owaaaaaaaaa!”

 

The flashlight between my shoulder and cheek falls.

 

The translucent figure steps back a little.

 

I start running.

 

I think of something unimportant, like, “Oh, I haven’t washed my hands,” but I don’t care about that.

 

I exit the restroom and approach the corner of the aisle.

 

A translucent figure comes up behind me, and I run without looking back.

 

If only I turn that corner.

 

I step on the carpet and turn around the corner with a dash.

 

There was a skeleton.

 

A skeleton was standing there, the white bare bones.

 

“Yikesi!”

 

Unable to stop, I run into the skeleton.

 

I hit it and hear a clang.

 

I roll over and stop.

 

When I open my eyes.

 

The entire field of vision is filled with a cranium.

 

I hear a rattling sound and a laugh.

 

“Ah!”

 

I felt a cold sensation on my shoulder.

 

When I woke up, I was on my bed.

 

It’s on the bed in the tenant space I’m using as a room.

 

I lay down and looked around.

 

There is nothing odd.

 

“I had the strangest dream! I dreamt that ghosts and skeletons appeared in Aion Mall at night! Haha, am I a kid? Oh, the familiar ceiling is wonderful!”

 

I sat up.

 

I guess I had slept with one shoe on.

 

The other shoe was on the floor next to the bed.
A large flashlight was lined up right next to it.

 

It was as if someone had picked up and laid out the flashlight along with the other shoe that had fallen off in their haste to get to it.

 

“I must have been sleepwalking.
I knew being tired was bad for me! From now on, I’m going to stop staying up until midnight! Damn, I had a terrible dream!”

 

I get up and get out of bed.

 

I casually look outside the tenant space, past the gridded shutters.

 

There was a skeleton.

 

The skeleton was standing in the bright morning light.

 

“AAAAAH! I don’t want to live in another world anymore! Please send me home, I really don’t want to be in another world!”

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