Chapter Five:

The crowd was roaring, as though hungry for blood.
They pressed up against the stage, all as one, trying to get closer to the one on stage.
The singer barely even recognized the crowd as she continued to sing as though in a trance. The crowd seemed to vanish before her eyes…there was only one person that mattered right now. All she saw was one man – she couldn't even think of his name in the moment – all she cared about was seeing him now.
She seemed to float across the floor towards him…getting close enough to grab his hand. The stage seemed to disappear; she was happy again.
Her task complete, she embraced the man, holding him close enough to barely register the gun firing…

Nanasawa Kimiko woke up in a cold sweat. This had been the tenth time this month she had seen this dream. None of it made sense to her.
Hayasaka Erika peeked into the room. Despite being in a hurry to get to work this morning, she still felt concerned for her roommate. Kimiko had been suffering a small bout of depression for nearly a month now, and the cold she managed to snap up while auditioning for yet another voice actress role wasn't helping.
Nor was her not hearing back for a couple weeks now. Kimiko had told Erika that there was no way she was getting the role after showing up late to the audition.
Erika had tried to give Kimiko some words of comfort, but after Kimiko was finally turned down for the role, the "streak of failure," as Kimiko called it, finally got to her.
<Kimiko? You okay?> Erika asked through the cracked door.
Kimiko only managed a cough and a nod in reply.
<Look, I'll grab some soup on the way out. I suppose I should call Anna Miller's and tell them you can't come in again.>
Another cough and a nod was all Erika got.
Picking up her cell phone off the counter, Erika dialed the number.
<Yes, this is Hayasaka, Nanasawa-san's roommate.>
<Is she ill?>
<Yes, I'm sorry.>
<Tell her we hope she gets better soon.>
<Thank you, I'll be sure to tell her.>
<Oh, before you go…>
<I'm a huge fan, Hayasaka-sama! I can't wait for your concert!>
<Thank you,> Erika sighed. She couldn't go anywhere these days and now she couldn't even pick up the phone. <Goodbye.>
She hung up the phone. Word had gotten around fast about her return to the stage. It was slightly shocking to be back in the spotlight, but he had helped with that.
<Okay, Kimiko, you're good for today,> Erika called into the bedroom. <I'll see you tonight after work.>
<Thank you, Erika,> Kimiko said weakly from the futon.
Kimiko heard the door close. She waited a few minutes before forcing herself from the bed.
<Erika had been so nice, how could I do this to her?> Kimiko thought, <This is her big moment and here I am bringing her down yet again.>
She walked over to the mirror. Seeing her wispy self in its reflection made her angry: at acting this way, at her luck, but mostly at her giving up hope.
Just to keep herself away from others who would jump at the chance to help her, she even reduced herself to faking sick for a week.
She sighed, and picked up the phone.

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