The Sixth Sanity
Aiko has a secret . . . but she doesn't know the truth.
lost, searching for something recognizable in the oblivion. All she could derive from her surroundings was herself as she
was, in her blue nightgown.
A light hissing sound penetrated the solemnity and she turned, surprised. The hissing turned
into words and she strained her ears to understand what the disembodied voice was telling her. At once, she could fully grasp
what they said. "There is no escape. There is no escape. There is no escape. There is no escape. There is no escape. There
is no escape." The phrase repeated itself over and over in the darkness and she cried out in the pain of the repetition. She
collapsed to her knees, hands clasped over her ears. The sound pierced her brain and she couldnt let it go.
she was broken. STOP! she screamed, with all her soul. Remarkably, the voice ceased, and she let out an enormous sigh of relief.
She let herself fall on her back, dripping with exhaustion and sweat.
Her eyes snapped open as she heard it once again,
quieter this time. "There is no escape . . ."
Aiko awoke with a start and realized she had had a
shocking dream, one she hadnt understood in the slightest. What did it mean? Why did the phrase There is no escape repeat
itself without rest? She reached out and turned off her alarm clock, knowing it would go off in thirteen minutes anyway.
the bathroom, she removed her nightgown and stood naked in front of the mirror, staring at her waist-length brown hair. She
twisted a solitary strand around her finger, dazed and dwelling on the dream. She stepped in the shower and turned the water
on, feeling the numbing cold slowly turn to warmth as the water flowed over her body. This was her morning tradition of fully
"Aiko!" her mother shouted as she pounded fiercely on the door. "Hurry up! School starts in a half an hour!"
this, Aiko stepped out of the shower and wrapped one towel around her long hair and another around her body. She dashed to
her room, dressed quickly, and hurried back to the bathroom to dry her hair. The drying process took twenty minutes, but today
she would need to attempt to do it faster. This wasnt likely to happen.
She unwrapped the towel and the silky strands
flowed to her shoulders, dry as ever. Incredulous, she stared at it and slowly ran her fingers through it. Did I forget that
I dried it? What happened . . .
Her mother called to her again. "Aiko! Get moving! Youre going to be late!"
snatched up her school bag and headed out the door. There was no time to ponder the phenomenon.
Aiko drove to school, she thought only of the future occurrences of the day: a Calculus test, discussing the latest news with
her friends, and avoiding a certain teacher who needed to speak with her about her latest report. Once there, she walked quickly
to her locker and hung her jacket neatly on the hook, folded her scarf perfectly and placed it on the top shelf, and removed
her first period materials. When this process was complete, she searched for her friends.
As she walked over to them,
they were huddled in a group, chattering loudly as usual. "Hi," she said to them, not feeling quite like herself. She waved
"Aiko!" someone yelled to her, in the customary girl fashion. "What did you do to your hair? It looks fantastic!"
turned at this outburst and gawked at Aiko. "I . . . I just washed it this morning . . . and dried it. Why?"
streak! That just looks so cute on you! But you know you look gorgeous with your brown hair."
Aiko was dumbfounded.
"I didn't do anything to my hair, she protested." Yet, lagging in the back of her mind was a small doubt. Does this have anything
to do with my dream? Or the miraculous hair-drying before?
She suddenly spun around, aware of too many things at once.
The claustrophobia of too many people close in began to panic her, the sounds of students slamming lockers and talking busily
tore at her ears, the unmistakable aroma of school cafeteria food and girls perfume mixed together in her nostrils, and she
fell to the ground, clutching her head. "Oh please, make it stop!" she screamed.
Everyone backed away, frightened
at this sudden and very uncharacteristic outburst of hers. "Aiko, are you all right?" Faye, one of her friends, knelt next
to her. Aiko felt the burn as Faye touched her arm with concern. It felt like the searing pain of a cigarette lighter on skin.
Aiko grimaced and writhed away from Fayes touch.
The crowd around her had gotten larger as
is traditional with climactic situations. You cant help but stare, no matter how wrong you know it is to do so. People suddenly
began muttering and pointing at her. Faye fell on her back and scooted away as quickly as she could, concerned deeply for
what was happening to her friend, but also frightened by it.
Aiko felt a stirring sensation inside herself. She almost
felt like she was going to vomit, but in reverse. Everyone around her watched her body shudder and shake. Aiko cried out in
confusion she didnt know what was happening to her.
The murmur of the crowd rose and someone commented Her hair! Its
gone completely white! At this, Aiko struggled to her feet and ran. She flew into the bathroom and stood over a sink, her
She looked in the mirror and wiped the sweat-soaked strands of hair from her face. It was no longer
white she never believed it had been. However, there was one small strand that seemed lighter than the rest. The harder she
stared at it, the brighter it became, until it blinded her to look at it.
Faye entered the bathroom. "Aiko . . . are
you okay? Whats going on?" Her voice staggered with concern.
"Come on, Faye. Were going to be late for Calculus. I
can't miss that test."
She hadnt studied for this. Calculus was not a strong point of hers, so
the way she figured it, why study for something you dont excel at when you dont see a need for it in your life? Yet sitting
in that icy classroom, holding her head in one hand, and a pencil in the other, Aiko knew she should have at least paid attention
during the class at one time or another.
She looked across the room at Shawn. He was fiercely scribbling the answers
on page three of the test, whereas she was delayed on question two of the first. What I wouldnt give to know whats going on
in his brain right now, she thought hopelessly.
The reverse-vomit feeling took her over again and she shuddered violently
without giving a physical movement. Question 13, question 13, oh, the law of cosines, this is easy stuff. The teacher is giving
me remedial work! The answer is obvious! Sina+5/g! She wrote down the answer, and then stared at Shawn. He finished writing
and she noticed a haughty smile playing on his lips.
This is incredible, she thought. She wrote down the rest of the
answers, all the while listening to Shawns brain. When he was done, he even re-checked his work. Every thought process, she
heard. Every trigonometric function recited in his brain, she heard. Every answer recited, she heard. Everything, she wrote
When Shawn was done, he handed in his paper. Aiko waited a moment and proceeded to the front of the room to turn
hers in as well. She noticed she had forgotten to write her name on it, and moved to do so. As her pencil touched the paper,
she recoiled suddenly.
What is my name?
After Calculus, she dashed to the bathroom again.
She had another funny feeling in the pit of her stomach.
In the mirror, she looked closely at her hair. In the background,
the doors on the bathroom stalls seemed to wave at her, mocking her situation. She felt like crying.
Then she found
the second white strand.
Why? Why? Why is my hair doing this? What is happening to me? She screamed ferociously at
no one and punched the mirror angrily. It shattered and pieces of angular glass made new homes for themselves in the flesh
of her right hand. AHHH!! she shrieked, mostly from shock. She felt no pain, which was what surprised her so.
river flowed down her fist and into the crook of her elbow, where it jutted the other direction and dribbled onto the cement
tiles of the floor. She watched the cuts heal themselves and she was soon standing with a fistful of broken glass and memories
of bloody stains.
A third white strand glowed ominously in her hair and she forgot who she was. Now she was a nameless,
Aiko! Wait! Faye called desperately after her friend. But Aiko paid her no mind and
disappeared into the bathroom. Faye rushed after her, fully aware that this choice would inevitably make her late for her
second hour class.
She yanked on the door handle, but it refused to allow her passage. She pounded on the door and
screamed her friends name. Aiko! Aiko! AIKO!!! PLEASE!! Oh god, please open the door, Aiko!
Faye scratched at the frame
and kicked the door, but nothing helped. She finally sank to her knees in defeat and this was when the hinges creaked and
the door slowly opened itself. Faye wasted no time and rushed inside. A stink of blood and death pierced her nostrils.
then saw Aiko, laying on the floor on her back, her left hand clenched tightly shut, and her right hand wide open. Glittering
crystals of a broken mirror shined in the room.
Both of the veins in her wrists were slashed wide open and she lay
dead in a pool of her own blood.
Faye fell to her knees and cried and cried and cried.
was admitted to a mental ward that very same hour. She wouldnt stop repeating the phrase white strand, white strand, white
strand. She told crazy stories of her best friend killing herself in the bathroom. Faye babbled mindlessly about seeing the
veins gouged open and blood flowing free. "I saw it! White strand, white strand, white strand. There were four! She killed
herself! I saw it! Four white strands. Aiko with the beautiful brown hair. Aiko with the beautiful white hair. Four white
strands. White strand."
They searched the bathroom. Nothing was there. The only thing unusual about the place was the
solitary triangular piece removed from the mirror that was used to cut Fayes wrists.
Faye tore at her bonds. "Why are
my wrists covered? Shouldnt you cover Aikos wrists? Shouldnt you be trying to save her?! Four white strands in her hair! White
There was no record of any student at the school named Aiko. No one could find the girl Faye was muttering
The next day, the Calculus teacher was correcting tests. There was two perfect papers in the
pile. One belonged to his prize student, Shawn. The other had no name.
Under the blank for Name was written An Angel.