Chapter 12: The Forest

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“Michael, Allison, you’re up next,” Angel said.

“I don’t want to look,” Allison said.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“I want to look,” Michael said.

Michael stepped inside the reality engine control room to see what his life would be like if the Kratos Army never invaded Earth.

Michael was in Tokyo. He was in a taxi.

“Where to?” The Taxi Driver asked.

“Aokigahara, please,” Michael said.

“I can’t take you there. Please, think of your family.”

“I’m not going to hurt myself. I’m actually writing a book about Aokigahara. I’m going to go there for research.”

“There was an American who visited Aokigahara once. He filmed a video of a corpse.”

“I would never do anything so disrespectful.”

“Alright. I’ll take you there.”

The Taxi Driver took Michael to Aokigahara, which also known as Suicide Forest.

Michael walked through Suicide Forest. Throughout the day, he didn’t even see a dead body. Michael did come across a tent, however.

It was dusk. As Michael was about to leave the forest, he came across a young man.

“Hi,” Michael said.

“Hello,” the young man said. “You’ve come to the end of your rope, I see.”

“No, it’s nothing like that. I’m writing a book about this place. Why are you here?”

“What do you think?”

“Look, you have everything to live for you. Just think about your friends and family before you do anything.”

“My family is the reason why I’m here. My mother taught me how to speak English and Japanese. She seemed like a saint, but she’s evil. My mother raped and sexually assaulted me throughout my childhood, and she denied it. Meanwhile, my father pretended he didn’t know. When I was eighteen, I finally pressed charges. I brought my parents to court, and they were found not guilty. You’ll never know how fucked up that made me.”

The young man took a gun out of his jacket and he shot himself in the head. Michael stood there for a moment in complete shock.

“I’ve seen enough,” Michael said.

Later that day, Allison saw Michael sitting in the mess hall.

“What’s wrong?” Allison asked.

“In this alternate dimension, I took a trip to Japan,” Michael said. “I visited Suicide Forest. I saw a young man shoot himself in the head.”

“My God!” Allison said. “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how traumatic that must have been.”

Allison gave Michael a hug, and Michael just sat there. It was almost like he just shut down.

“Remember when Angel said we have memories from different universes?” Michael asked. “I actually remember seeing that guy shoot himself. I must have blocked it out, even though it only happened about two months ago. I would explain why I haven’t slept much.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Allison said. Michael and Allison just sat in the mess hall in silence, holding each other.

That night, Allison dreamt that she was in Japan.

“Where to?” The Taxi Driver asked.

“Suicide Forest, please,” Allison said.

“I can’t take you there. Please, think of your friends and family.”

“I have a friend who’s there. I need to save him.”

“Alright. I’ll take you there. I’ll pray for the both of you.”

“Thank you.”

The Taxi Driver drove Allison to Suicide Forest. Allison was prepared. She took a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, glow sticks, and a snack.

Throughout the day, Allison posted notes on several trees.

The note said, “Michael. You said you’re visiting Suicide Forest because you’re doing research for a book. I just want to make sure. Because I know how much I hurt you. You tried your best to move on. I thought I moved on as well, but I guess I didn’t, even though it’s been four years. Maybe we’re both crazy. At least I know I’m crazy. Because I’m in Suicide Forest, looking for you. I hope you’re alright.

Allison.”

It was getting dark and Allison made her way out of the forest. She followed a trail of glow sticks that she made for herself. The problem was, the glow sticks lead her in a circle. Suddenly, Allison heard a gunshot from a distance. Out of fear, Allison ran. She wasn’t even paying attention to the direction she was running. Allison continued to run until she tripped.

Allison looked up and she saw a grave stone. Allison shined her flashlight on the stone and Michael’s name was on it.

“Michael!” Allison screamed. “No!”

“Jesus Christ, you’re louder than my mother,” a male voice said. Allison turned around and she saw Michael covered in dirt.

“Michael!” Allison said. “Thank God, you’re okay. But why do you have a grave here?”

“Because I’m dead, Allison,” Michael said.

“You didn’t kill yourself because of me, did you?”

“That’s part of the reason.”

“I thought we buried the past. Sorry, wrong choice of words.”

“I saw my future, Allison. I tried moving on. I kept dating the wrong women until I reach my mid 30’s. Once I saw my future, I realized that I wasn’t gonna find anybody else. I wanted to avoid that horrible future, so I travelled all over to Japan and I killed myself without anybody knowing.”

“Oh, Michael! I’m so sorry I didn’t break up with you sooner.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. You’re a whiny little bitch. It’s no wonder why you’ll end up dating the wrong women. Well, you can’t now since you’re dead. You gave up before you even tried. Yeah, that’s so attractive.”

“You’re mean. Whatever. I’m dead tired.”

“Again with the stupid puns?”

“I’ll admit, puns about black holes really suck.”

Allison woke up from her dream.”

“What a fucked up dream,” Allison said to herself.

Allison told Melody and Sarah about the dream she had.

“What do you think the dream means?” Allison asked.

“Sounds like you’ve completely moved on,” Sarah said. “Even though it four years to get to that point.”

“You’re probably right. I’m sure Michael moved on as well. We did talk and we’ve decided to be friends.”

“Normally, I would think that’s a bad idea,” Melody said. “On the other hand, it has been four years.”

“I know. So, how have you two been doing?”

“Bored,” Sarah said. “I’m just waiting to land on some planet just so we can get out of this ship. I think I’m getting cabin fever. Even using the virtual reality room isn’t doing it for us anymore. Not for me at least.”

Speaking of which, Michael was using the virtual reality room. He was in a simulation where he was getting married.

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