Gone……! Why? Why is it nowhere to be found?
It’s not on the couch, I turned the cushions over and it’s not there. I looked under the couch and it was gone.
I crawled on all fours on the floor and searched all over the living room floor of Kouki’s house to see if it had fallen anywhere.
Then I came to the living room door.

“Looking for something?”

I huffed and looked and there was a foot there with slippers on.
Who is it? I thought, but the soft voice sounded familiar …….
I looked up and saw that she was there.

“It’s been a while. Sakakita san.”

She crouched down in front of me as I crawled on my knees, and then she looked down at me.
She has a simple, wise face that seems quiet but gives a glimpse of her brilliant wit ……. The lips that smile quietly are also very elegant. Her glossy black hair is just below her shoulders and must be about the same length as mine. Perhaps – although our heights are quite different – we may look alike in the back …….
If I glance down from my face, what I see there is clearly far removed from me.
Her slender body is filled with a rich bosom that asserts its presence. They are plump and firm. They seem to be about to burst out from the loose collar of her pink bathrobe. Even I, a member of the same gender, was overwhelmed by her presence. I felt as if I were standing in front of a magnificent nature. On her smooth white skin, the shadow of her deep cleavage falls clearly ………wait, bathrobe!?

“Why….Why are you wearing a bathrobe, Sada san?!”
“Why? ……,” said the girl, Sada Mayuko, a former middle school student, brushing her long hair, sighing softly and melancholy. “Because I’ve climbed the ladder of adulthood.”
“Adult …… hood?”

What’s that? If I climb that, do I get a bathrobe? I mean, …… wait. Why is …… Sada san at Kouki’s house? Why is Sada san wearing a bathrobe at Kouki’s house–!

“Ko…Kouki is…”

As I was about to stand up unsteadily, I heard a calm voice call out, ” Sakakita-san”

“Perhaps this is what you’re looking for?”

What was gently offered to me was exactly that. A key, shining dully in silver.
All my doubts and fears were suddenly blown away, and I was filled with relief. –My heart was filled with relief.

“Yes, that!” I exclaimed with glee, reaching for the key as quickly as I could. “My key! Thank you, Sada san!”

Almost at the point …… where our fingers touch ……, Sada san quickly withdrew her hand holding the key and placed it on her own chest.

“I’m sorry. This is mine now.”

Yours……? You mean Sada san’s ……?
The moment I was about to say that…


I heard that familiar …… voice that seemed so familiar to my ears. But the name that called out familiarly wasn’t mine.
A chill ran down my spine, and I looked up with a start.

“Honami …… why are you there?”

At the entrance to the living room, standing behind the open door, was Kouki.
No matter how much he usually says …… plainly with his mouth, there is a kind expression of dismay in his face, and his eyes are full of affection, and just by looking at me like that, I felt at ease. No matter how coarse the words were, I was convinced somewhere in my heart that they were the reverse of friendliness.
But Kouki there is like a different person. He has a stern scowl, wears a white bathrobe that is a different color from Sada san’s, and looks down at me coldly with eyes as if he were looking at someone else. ……

“–I mean, why is Kouki even wearing a bathrobe?!”

I stood up in a panic and started yelling at the top of my lungs.

“I’ve climbed the ladder of adulthood.”

Even Kouki says such a thing, smiling meaningfully.
I don’t understand.

“What…… what’s the …… adulthood! Why the bathrobe!?”
I heard a voice filled with melancholy, “Is it too early for Sakakita san?” and I felt Sada-san standing next to me. “Because she’s just a kid.”
“Kids …… we’re the same age, right?!”

I turned around with a start and huffed.
It’s true – I’m not the tall one. My height order has always been in the front since I was little. When I try to talk to Kouki or Sada san, I feel like looking up a little. Still …… it’s strange to look up so much.
Standing up, Sada san’s face seemed to be far overhead …….
Sada san’s height has suddenly doubled – not necessarily. If I look around, the furniture is much more massive than before, the ceiling is farther away, and the oval lights look much smaller. And if I …… glance away, Kouki’s eyes are at a height that I can no longer reach even if I were to grow taller.
I mean – am I …… shrinking?
Looking down at my body, I see that my outfit of T-shirt and shorts has changed to a light pink one-piece with a floral pattern. It looked familiar. It was a dress I used to wear when I was little. I swallowed hard and thought to myself, No way ……. –I’m back to being a kid again? But …… only me? Why? What’s going on?
And while I’m puzzled.

“Mayuko, let’s go.”
“I’ll be right back. I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. How many steps should we skip this time?”
“Hmmm. Maybe two steps.”
“Well… Kouki. I’ll be very happy.”

They proceeded to talk about the stairs as if nothing had happened and quickly tried to leave the place, but I stopped them with a surprisingly high voice, “Hey, …… wait!” I stopped them with a voice that rose surprisingly high in my own voice.

“Where …… are you two going? And …… why are you and Sada san together? What do you mean that key is Sada san’s?”
“Ah, that’s right.”

With a huff of remembrance, Kouki stood right beside Sada san, put his hands on her shoulders, and pulled her toward him. They were dressed in matching bathrobes. Like …… lovers.
Ah- I lost my voice.
When they showed me that much, I had no choice but to realize it.

“I didn’t report it properly. I’m going out with Mayuko.”

Hugging Sada san’s shoulder tightly, Kouki proudly says, “So–” and suddenly lets out a bitter smile.

Even the sound of my heart had disappeared. It was as if he had punched a huge hole in my chest.
“Please don’t come to our house anymore…” The words pierced my heart beautifully.

Is that what Kouki really wants?

Did you think so …… to babysit? Did you always want to ……? Am I the only one who wanted to be with you? Was I really …… annoying? Am I in the way …… now? 
I have so many questions I want to ask. I want to cry and cling to you. I can’t find my voice, I can’t find my tears. –I can’t find the strength to speak out. It’s as if everything inside my body has been gutted and emptied. I stood there like a doll.

I was at my wits’ end. I was at a loss. As I stared at Kouki’s back as he left the living room with Sada-san, all I could do was beg–and pray. Please don’t go. I will be more honest from now on. I won’t lie to you anymore. I’ll stop being so stubborn. I will be honest. So please don’t go, Kouki.

[Too late, Honami chan.]

Suddenly, a very nostalgic …… resilient and bright voice came from behind me.
I was startled and turned around to find a stuffed animal there. The white triangular face has an inorganic smile with no apparent emotion. Its rounded body was dressed in a mustard-colored tuna-like costume. The baby-like proportions of the three-headed doll floated in the air with its cape fluttering in the air.


I couldn’t help but mention that name in passing,……. At that moment, I heard the door close with a bang.

A voice with no power leaks out, “Ah, …….”
[You got what you deserved, Penn.] 

I turned around again with a start at those words that seemed to catch up with me.

“…… you say that! I thought you were more of a …… encouraging character? I mean, I don’t remember the ‘pen’ ending!”
[Try being locked in a closet for years, Pen. Everyone changes.]

When he said that to me, with his bright voice and smile still intact, a chill ran down my spine.
Come to think of it, …… reminded me of the day I received the stuffed animal.

–My mother was afraid to throw away the stuffed animals, saying they might be cursed. So I put them all away in the closet upstairs. 

Kouki said such a thing as if it was nothing, but …… is not firmly cursed anymore!

[give up on Kouki kun, Pen. Kouki kun has become a man who only thinks about wearing a bathrobe.]

W-What are you talking about, all of a sudden?

“Such …… such Kouki, No ……!”
[I don’t care if Honami-chan doesn’t like it or not. Kouki kun is climbing the stairs to adulthood. He will never come back here again.]
“What’s the adult stairway……? What is it?”
[Honami chan is a child, so I can’t teach her anything.] 
“I’m not a child. ……!”

My voice echoed around the area, shrill and high-pitched, like a child having a tantrum. It was like a child throwing a tantrum.
Then I remembered.
That’s right – I’m a child

[Honami chan should stay here with me forever. You should stay here with me forever, soaking up the memories of Kouki kun and waiting for him to come back.]

Worst ……. I don’t want to do that.
I was so shocked that I felt an electric current running through my entire body. It was as if freedom had finally returned to my body. I was so excited that I had to go to the living room door at once.
I have to escape, I thought instinctively. I had to get to Kouki.
I stretched desperately, reached for the doorknob, and tried to pull down the lever,……, but it didn’t work.

“Is there any movement ……?”

No matter how many times I tried to turn it down, it wouldn’t even twitch.
Why ……? I was so busy trying to figure out why it was there, that I didn’t even have time to think about it.

[Te-tete-] a voice said, humming a melody I’d heard somewhere, [A door to nowhere~]
“What’s that?! That’s just a wall!”

As expected, I was annoyed and removed my hand from the lever and turned around vigorously.

“I’m not going to let you do this to me. Get me out of here! I’m still going to …… look for Kouki.”
[It’s too late. you deserved it. You could have gotten out of here any number of times before, but it was Honami chan who didn’t want to leave.]

He said in a cheerful voice but with a weirdly indifferent tone, and then he glided swiftly through the air to right in front of me.
His pea-like eyes, devoid of emotion, stared at me.
My body went rigid as if I were in bondage. With my back against the door, I gulped down a mouthful of saliva.

“So, Honami,” Hampenman continued, horrified. “For now, just be Hanpen.”

Why, ……! — and then, with a huff, I open my eyes


A faint voice escaped.
I looked up at the ceiling, which was different from the one I had seen earlier. The area was filled with the light of the long, quiet day.
A sigh of tiredness and relief escaped me.
My body felt terribly heavy. I slowly raised my upper body and looked around in my dazed consciousness.
Through the slightly open light pink curtains, which were probably already almost noon, a bright light that could not have been the morning sun was shining through, illuminating the room. A familiar white desk and a round low table in the middle of the room. The bookshelves were lined with manga and magazines, and on a corkboard hanging on the wall were several photos of me and my friends from junior high school.
It’s my room.
It’s okay – and I put my hand on my chest as I sit on the bed.

Just a dream. Still…….

Still, my heart was still beating fast and it took me a while to calm down.
I glanced at my pillow and there, lying on the floor, was a stuffed Hanpenman, given to me by Hiroyuki san before GW began. A stuffed animal filled with memories of Kouki. As usual, he was looking up at the ceiling with lifeless eyes and smiling without saying a word. Of course, the hampenman doesn’t start talking with strange endings or float in the air,……, but for ten days since I got it, I’ve been having the same dream. It’s a nightmare – I’d say it’s a nightmare – and I’ve been having trouble sleeping because of it.


I don’t feel like I slept at all. My headache is dull.
I lay on my bed again, and stared at the hanpenman with a jitters.

Let me forget about it, at least in my dreams. My heart is already broken…..

“I’m going to go exorcise him.”

I muttered in a whisper, with a threatening, pleading thought.

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