Chapter 3 - OvercastMature

Toshi's room is a haven for darkness. Every wall is covered in posters of X Japan and Ichiko Aoba but can barely be seen as thick, black curtains hide the view of the outside world. If sunlight ever trespassed, it would be a cold day in Hell. Toshi was sat on his bed with his laptop; he typed furiously as his written word became digital.

The doorway opened suddenly reveal Mariko, Toshi's overworked mother. Though she had aged well, semi circles had bloomed under his eyes some months ago and had refused to yield. Once, she was an enthusiastic intern and now she was a top surgeon whose job often stole her away from her family. Toshi did not react as she sat on the edge of his bed. Her expression was that of pity and understanding.

"Hello Toshi." she began. He raised his head and offered a weak smile before continuing his typing. Discouraged, she continued regardless. "I heard you had some trouble at school."

Toshi stopped typing. He looked up at Mariko guiltily but said nothing.

"It's okay. I told them you'd pick up your work tomorrow. You're not in trouble. But.. why did you leave so early? Are you getting picked on again?"

Toshi shook his head violently. He could imagine Katsu's inevitable response. The little bitch told his mother. Grab him, I'll show him what I do to Momma's boys.

Mariko looked on concerned but yawned loudly. The graveyard shift has destroyed any semblance her body clock had. She stood up, ready to sleep for one thousand years.

"I know it's tough on you, with me and Dad working all the time. But we'll make some time soon. We'll have a day out."

"Okay." replied Toshi simply.

Mariko smiled and shuffled out the door. It closed behind her, isolating Toshi from the outside world. A small sigh of relief escaped him. Retreating, he focused on the glowing screen of his laptop. A wall of writing was minimized as he checked his emails. A tiny envelope icon opened and stacks of invites, offers and Amazon rating queries crowded his inbox.

But one email was simply titled Need a place to vent, Toshi? The sender was simply named PMR.

A wrinkle crossed his forehead. Either cyberspace achieved sentience or the Nigerian Princes were trying a new angle. He clicked on it anyway. Nothing ventured, after all.

A blue box was revealed with the Hiragana for A haven for the bullied, insecure and lonely. Together, we are not alone. Say goodbye to your problems or we will. Won't you join us in The Raining Room?

Toshi shuddered. The words were there as clear as day but they filtered through his mind like wisps of smoke. The Raining Room he thought. Someone's joking around... Katsu? Unlikely. Toshi had blocked him from every platform though it's not impossible his friends would do his dirty work.

The Raining Room was an urban legend... surely. A 1990's dial-up joke from some bad movie where all the users died suddenly. Such stupidity. It's some dark joke from some asshole with too much time on his hands.

A second email appeared from the same sender. It opened automatically this time.

Don't be shy. We've suffered just like you. Katsu is one in a million.

Toshi froze. Katsu is one in a million. Shocked, he suddenly snapped his laptop shut as though a virus were trying to leap from the screen. His breathing became sudden and sharp. They're fucking with me he thought. He left the room hastily as his laptop remained still glowing from his previous session.

The End

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