|Period 12: The Endless Game of Tag|
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Rumors have it that the monstrous spirit of a young girl will appear in your dreams and make you play Tag. However, it is also said that you can pass these dreams to others by telling them, and despite her confidence- Chika will do anything to avoid hearing the story. But once she does, she soon runs out of people to tell...
As it goes on 2:00 pm, students are shown heading to their classes and Yomi greets the readers, mentioning that it is a new school term. Here are people who are happy, sad, funny- and even those filled with darkness. She sets down her flower and reveals who the first scream will come from in this new year and tells everyone to enjoy.
One late evening at an abandoned school, a girl wearing her pajamas runs through the halls until she finds herself at a dead end. She screams as a shadow begins to advance towards her.
The following day, three friends are playing tag. One girl wonders if she got everyone until she finds Chika on the jungle gym proclaiming victory. She nonchalantly brags and brings up how she has never once been caught by a "demon" (the it player) before a Teacher approaches to remind them that the bell has already sounded and they need to get to class.
Later, Chika notices her classmate Shou-chan appears to be depressed and she asks if she is alright. Shou decides to confide in her by bringing up a strange dream she's been having lately, explaining that it takes place at evening within the school, and she is playing tag with someone; she can't identify who though. No matter how much she runs, she feels as though sooner or later she will be unable to escape. Chika remarks on how scary this sounds, when to her shock, Shou confesses that those who hear of this dream are bound to have it too, then she profusely apologizes before saying she had been told this by her brother and is sure Chika will be fine.
Throughout class Chika remains stunned by what she was told, and she decides Shou is no longer worthy of being her friend for doing such a horrible thing. She doesn't realize everyone else has left yet until her elderly teacher approaches to ask Chika if she is okay. She is about to answer until she recalls what Shou said, and she tests its out by telling her about the scary dream.
The following day Chika awakens with relief. She didn't have that dream and is sure things will be alright now. She gets up after being called for breakfast and she leaves for school afterwards, where she is surprised upon discovering that Matsui-sensei will not be back for a while. The teacher explains that while he can't tell them exactly why, when he spoke to her on he phone she said things about being chased- only for Chika to hurriedly claim she feels unwell and ask to visit the infirmary for her headache. He allows it and she leaves before he can finish the story to make sure she won't be targeted, unlike everyone else.
Before she could realize what happened, the dream began to spread to everyone else in school and it became a hot topic. She was one of the few who hadn't yet experienced it, and Chika made sure to block it out of her mind and ignore it, until one day when her friends brought up a girl who transferred to their first-grade class a few years ago, the figure in the dream reminded them of Hiroko. This name rings a bell with Chika and she recalls Hiroko was a slow-runner who sucked at playing tag -she one spent a whole lunch period being the demon- so she was a frequent victim of merciless teasing from Chika and her friends. Chika nicknamed her slowpoke and was oblivious to the grief it caused Hiroko.
It's then the male teacher returns to tell the girls class will be starting soon, but Chika wants to know what happened to Hiroko and asks him. For a moment he grows silent before revealing that she got hurt one day before school, they were informed of the teasing she got and Hiroko told someone of her intentions to improve, so she decided to run to school on her own one day in hopes that this would help her run faster. But then an accident occurred. The Teacher stops an reminds the girls to return to class, and they express disturbance and panic realizing that their taunting led to Hiroko being killed. They wonder if they could fix things as she may have some connection to the dreams.
Once school ends, Chika makes a suggestion that they head to Hiroko's place after school. While they're not sure if anybody still lives there, the least they can do is pay their respects; showing that they even brought some candles and incense for the occasion. The girls ring the front door bell an explain why they have come, but they are startled when the person who answered yells out that Hiriko is still alive and they slam the door on them. The girls are shocked, but relieved to know that everything is okay; they might look foolish but at least nobody was hurt.
Some time passes, and eventually the tag-playing-monster left their school. Eventually Chika heard it managed to spread to a nearby middle school, but by now nobody even talks about it.
One day while eating breakfast, Chika's mother is talking on the phone with someone when she brings up the strange dream her friend had recently. Initially Chika pays it little mind until hearing how familiar it is, then in a panic she gets up to ask her mother if its possible she will get caught by this monster now that she heard this scary story. Her mother expresses curiosity and in a panic Chika hurriedly decides to tell someone else, but when she looks through her contacts she can't find anybody willing to answer the phone.
At this rate she will end up like the others and have the nightmare.
However, Chika suddenly recalls how she probably doesn't even have to worry, because nobody has ever caught her before. She also knows that everyone else managed to escape the monster, and they were convinced she would be fine too. Suddenly her arrogance takes over, and Chika decides to end this silly nightmare once and for all by seeing to it that she does have the dream.
Awakening in the school one late evening, Chika realizes she must be in the nightmare now. But she is actually much faster than the monster, like she figured, and can easily avoid it. She runs further ahead and teases the monster, only to panic when it picks it speed, something she wasn't expecting to happen. She cries for help and continues running, begging for someone or something to wake her up. She realizes that with each dream someone has of it, it's been gaining more speed and now it's capable of keeping up with her.
Suddenly Chika loses her balance and falls over. In the distance she hears someone calling and recognizes it as her mother. She screams for help but the monster overtakes her, gently touching her and proclaiming victory.
- - - -
Time passes, and outside of room 103 of the Hospital are a staff of doctors and nurses discussing a young patient named Hiroko, who was hit by a vehicle back in first grade. She has been in a coma since. A nurse expresses sadness for Hiroko and they move to room 102, where another girl was revealed to share her fate when she was in sixth grade; a girl named Chika Nishizono. As they wonder what happened before moving on, Chika helplessly cries out for someone to wake her as she lays still in the bed, endlessly chased by a monster.
Yomi remarks on how this might be Chika's punishment and how she pities her. As she sets her now dead flower onto the desk she warns the readers to be careful if they should ever meet a demon in their dream. She then asks everyone to look forward to the next Screaming Lesson.