“That whole story sounds like a bad novel.”
Shiki gets more angry and starts to glare at me.
Have I done something to make Shiki mad?
“Huh? But Shiki saw the ghosts there at the beginning of July, right? Then there were only four ghosts back then?”
I say the obvious just to confirm, but Shiki says no.
“Eight. There were eight from the beginning. Like I told you, there won’t be anymore after eight. In their case, the order is the opposite.”
“Then you’re saying you saw eight ghosts from the start? Like that one future-seeing girl?”
“No way. I’m normal. It’s just that the air there is abnormal. Let’s see… it feels weird like hot water and cold water being right next to each other.”
Tohko-san follows-up Shiki’s ambiguous words.
“So in other words, the time there is not working properly. It’s not like there’s only one way for time to pass by. The time it takes for something to rot away is unfairly different for everything. Then it should follow that an individual as human and it’s memory take different times to disappear. When someone dies, does that person’s memory disappear? It doesn’t, right? As long as there are observers (ones to remember), nothing disappears instantly. They just fade away.
People’s memory… no, rather records, if the observer happened to be the environment around that person, special people like those girls will remain and walk through town as an illusion even after they die. This is part of a phenomenon called ghosts. The only ones who see this illusion are the ones that share the memories with these ghosts, namely their parents and friends. Shiki is an exception though.
There are those kinds of “passage of time for records”, but at the top of that building, that is really slow. The girls’ memories from when they were alive has not caught up to their real state yet.
As a result, the memories stay alive. What can be seen there are the actions and the realities of those girls whose time happens to be passing by slowly.”
Then, Tohko-san lights another cigarette.
So she is saying that when something goes away, as long as I remember about it, it does not mean it has disappeared, but me remembering about it means it’s alive, so if it’s alive, it could be seen?
That’s just like hallucination. … No, Tohko-san probably used the word “illusion” because it is defined as something that isn’t real.
“I don’t care about all that explanations. There’s no danger in that. The problem is her. I know I got that thing good, but if there’s a main body somewhere else, we’ll just end up repeating this over and over again. I’m tired of being Mikiya’s bodyguard.”
“I feel the same way. I’ll take care of Fujoh Kirie. You can just take Kokutoh home. There’s about five more hours until he’s off work. If you’re going to sleep, you can use the floor there.”
The place Tohko-san pointed was a place that has not been cleaned for the past year and was like a dirty furnace.
Of course, Shiki ignores her.
“So, what was that anyway?”
Shiki glares at Tohko-san.
The wizard with a cigarette in her mouth thinks to herself and walks over to the window.
From there, she looks outside.
There are no lightings in this room. We only get the light from outside and it’s hard to tell if its morning or afternoon in here.
In contrast, the view outside the window is clearly mid-day. You could almost see the blazing-hot white sunlight.
Tohko-san stares at the summer scenary for a while.
“Before, you could classify her as flying.”
The smoke she blows out mixes in with the white sunlight.
I stare at her back as she looks outside… she’s like a mirage in all this white.
“Kokutoh, what do you think a view from a high place reminds you of?”
This sudden question pulls me back into reality.
I haven’t really been at a high place since I went to the Tokyo Tower as a child. I don’t really remember what I thought about it then. Only thing is that I tried so hard to find the place I lived, but ended up not being able to find it.
“That’s too shrewd of a remark, Kokutou.”
A cold response comes back. Well, I was a bit doubtful about my remark myself. I pull myself together and try to think of something else.
“Let’s see. There isn’t much that it reminds me of, but I do think it’s beautiful. A view from a high place is overwhelming.”
Probably because this response was more from my heart, Tohko-san nods in agreement.
And still staring outside, Tohko-san continues to talk.
“The scenary you see is magnificent. Even an boring one looks beautiful. But that’s not the impulse you feel when you look down onto the world you live in. The overlooking view only gives you one impulse…”
Saying the word “impulse”, Tohko-san cuts off her sentence.
Impulse is not something that comes from within you like feelings, but rather something that attacks you from the outside. Even if the one attacked by it doesn’t want it.
Something like violence that attacks you without warning, that is what we call impulses.
Then what is the violence that is brought by an overlooking view?
“That is being “far”. A vision too big creates a vivid seperation between you and the world. People can only feel safe around things close to them. Even if one has the most detailed map and knows exactly where they are, it’s only information, right?
For us, the world is only something we can feel ourselves. The boundaries between cities, countries, and the world, is only something that our brain recognizes and we ourselves cannot feel them unless we actually go to that place. And in reality, there is nothing wrong with that way of recognition.
But if the vision is too large, discrepancy occurs. The 10m area around you that you actually feel and the 10km area that you are looking down on. They are both the world you live in, yet you feel the first one as more real.
See? There’s already an inconsistancy. It’s more correct for you to recognize the larger world you see as the world you live in rather than the small space around you. But no matter how hard you try, you cannot feel that you are living on this big world.
The reason being, what feels more real is always something that is around you. Your reasoning as your knowledge and your experience as your feeling crashes against each other and eventually, one will lose and confusion will start.
… how small the city is from up here. I can’t even imagine my house was down there. Was that park shaped that way? I didn’t even know that was there. This is like a town I don’t know about. It feels like I’ve come to a place far away.
… A high perspective brings these kinds of thinkings. Even though the person is still standing on one part of that city they’re looking down on…”
A high place is a place far away. That is true distance-wise. But Tohko-san must mean the mental aspect of it.
Two places apart horizontally and vertically. The only difference between the two is if you can or can’t look down on the other place.
“So you mean it’s not good to keep your vision at a high place?”
“If you go too far. In the ancient times, the sky was considered to be another world. To fly meant going to the other world. You will be drowned in another will if you do not protect yourself with technology (metal). Just like it sounds, you go crazy.
Well, if you do have a right protection on your recognition, you won’t be affected that much. It won’t be a problem if you have a firm place to stand on. You’ll be back to normal when you get back on the ground.”
… Now that she mentions it, when I was looking down on the school ground from the rooftop once, I suddenly wondered what would happen if I jumped down.
Of course, it was just a joke.
I had no intention of actually doing so, but why did I get that thought when it obviously leads to death?
Tohko-san says there are individual differences, but I think it’s common for people to imagine about falling when at high places.
“Does it mean your mind goes crazy just for an instant?”
Tohko-san laughs when I blurt out what I thought.
“Everyone dreams about the taboo, Kokutoh. Humans have the great ability of self-pleasure by imagining things they cannot do. But… yeah, that’s pretty close. The important thing is that the thought only comes at a specific place – at that place itself. Well, I guess that’s pretty obvious. To speak in your case, I think your mind isn’t crazy, but rather numb.”
“Tohko, you’re talking for too long.”
Shiki interrupts as if to say Shiki can’t stand it anymore. Come to think of it, we might have strayed off the main topic.
“It’s not long at all. If you say in terms of constructing a topic, we’re only on the second part.”
“I only want to hear the end. I don’t want to hear you guys talk.”
It’s mean, but I guess she also has a point.
Shiki continues to complain, ignoring me.
“And, you say there’s a problem with views from high places. Then what is a normal view? Even when we’re walking, we have a higher view than the ground.”
In contrast to Shiki’s attitude of trying to find holes, I thought the arguement did have a point.
A person’s eyes are certainly at a higher level than the ground. Then that would mean our view is somewhat overlooking the world.
Tohko-san nods at Shiki’s words. I guess she’s just going to say the conclusion now.
“But the ground you think is flat is actually a bit angled. But even including that, you never call our normal vision to be overlooking something.
A vision is not what your eyes see, but it’s an image that your brain comprehends. Our vision is protected by common sense, so we never feel our height to be high, and it’s even considered normal. There’s no notion that it’s high.
But on the other hand, everyone is living with a vision that is overlooking. Not a physical vision, but I mean our mental vision. Everyone is different, but a larger mind will try to go higher. But still, it will never leave its box.
Humans are made to live in a box, and they can only survive in the box. Humans cannot have the views of the Gods.
When you pass that certain line, you become monsters like that. Hypnos (illusion) turns into Thanatos (real death).”
As she says so, Tohko-san herself is overlooking the world.
She is looking down with her feet on the ground, which I thought that was a very important thing. And then, I remembered the dream I was watching.
The butterfly fell at the end.
Maybe she could have flown more gracefully is she had not tried to follow me.
Yes, if she fluttered as if to float, she should have been able to fly longer.
But since the butterfly knew about flying, it could not stand the lightness of its floating body.
That’s why it flew, quitting to float.
Thinking that much, I question myself if I was that poetic.
Tohko-san, by the window, throws her cigarette away.
“The flicker at the Fujiyoh building might be the world she was seeing. I can guess that the difference in the air Shiki felt was the boundary between the outside world and the inside of the box. That is a discontinuity that only a human mind can perceive.”
With Tohko-san’s talk finished, Shiki finally seems to relax.
Shiki lets out a breath and looks around.
“Discontinuity, huh? I wonder which side was the warm side and which side was the cold side for her.”
In contrast to the serious tone, Shiki acts like it doesn’t matter.
Tohko-san also acts like she doesn’t care.
“Of course, the opposite of you.”
And answered so.