I saw an unbelievable thing on the day the exam ended for the second quarter.
There was a letter in my desk. No, that itself isn’t too weird. The problem is the sender and its content. To put it simply, it was from Shiki, asking me out on a date.
It sounded like a threat telling me to take her out somewhere tomorrow. I went home all confused and waited for the next day to come, feeling like a samurai told to kill himself the next day.
That was the first word Shiki said to me when she came. She came to our meeting place, the dog statue in front of the station, with a red leather jacker over her kimono. More than her outfit, I was confused by how she spoke.
“Did ya wait? Sorry man. It took me awhile to shake off Akitaka.”
She says so as if it’s natural for her to say so.
She sounds like a guy, not like the Shiki I know. Not being able to answer, I check her figure again. There’s nothing different in her looks. She has a small body, but because of her valient gestures, she looks powerful… no, rather graceful. She has the unbalanceness of a lively puppet, a puppet made so well just on the outside.
“What? You angry just cause I’m an hour late? You’re pretty intolerant, man.”
Shiki looks at me with her black eyes. Her beautiful short black hair. A small face and big eyes, they both are beautiful. The black eyes are reflecting the figure of Kokutoh Mikiya, but it seems to be seeing something farther away. … Come to think of it, I was attracted to these eyes since that snowy day when we met
“Um… you’re Shiki, right?”
“Yeah”, Shiki laughs. A strange smile that’s more like a grin.
“What else do I look like? We’re wasting time like this. Come on, take me somewhere. I’ll let you decide, Kokuto.”
Saying that, Shiki starts to walk taking my arm forcefully.
… She said she’ll let me decide, but since I was confused, I didn’t even notice that she was leading the way…
We walked a lot.
Shiki didn’t do much shopping, but she would go into a store in the department store and look around, and goes to the next one when she gets bored. My request to take a rest at the cafe or a movie theater was denied. … But she’s right. It would have been boring to go to such places with the way Shiki is acting right now.
Shiki talked a lot. If I’m not mistaken, she seemed excited. How should I say this… she’s mentally high?
Most of the stores she went to were cloth-oriented, but I was relieved every one of them were store for women. Shiki must have gotten tired from looking through four department stores in four hours, as she says she wants to eat.
We wander around and end up in a fast food joint. Shiki takes off her jacket once she takes a seat. She catches peoples attention with that kimono outfit but it seems she doesn’t care at all. Making up my mind, I ask her about what I’ve been wondering all this time.
“Shiki, you actually talk like that all the time?”
“In my case. But there’s no meaning in how someone talks. Even you can change that.”
Shiki eats the hamburger like it doesn’t taste good.
“Well, this kind of thing never happened before. Today’s the first that I came outside. I didn’t say anything until now cause I had the same opinion as Shiki.”
… I don’t get it at all.
“Let’s see… It’s a split personality to put it simply. I’m SHIKI and the normal one is Shiki. SHIKI is from the word weaved cloth. But Shiki and I are not different people. The only difference between us is the prioriteis of things. The ranks of what we like are different.”
Saying that, she writes on her napkin using her wet fingers. The white finger writes the word Shiki and SHIKI.
“I wanted to talk with Kokuto, that’s all. Since it’s not something Shiki wanted to do, I’m doing it in her place. Do ya understand?”
“Well, kind of.”
I answer uneasily. But I actually have felt what SHIKI is talking about. I think something similar to that happened to me before. Before I entered high school, I have met Shiki, but she said she didn’t remember about it. At that time I thought she said that because she hated me, but if that’s the case, it makes sense.
No, more than that. Being with her all today, she isn’t anyone else but Shiki. As Shiki, no, as SHIKI says, she only talks differently, but her actions are the same. They are so similar I’m starting to feel there’s nothing different about her now.
“But why did you tell me about that?”
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to hide it from ya much longer.”
Shiki takes another drink. She puts her mouth on the straw and lets go quickly… Shiki doesn’t like cold things.
“To be honest, I’m like Shiki’s subversive impulse. Something that she wants to do the most. But up to now, there was no one I wanted to do so to. It’s because Ryohgi Shiki had no interest in anyone.”
SHIKI says so like she’s not interested. I could not move, being stared at by those deep black eyes.
“Yeah, but you can be rest assured. I’m still Shiki. I’m just saying what Shiki thinks. Like I told ya, we just talk differently. … Well, but we’re beginning to get out of line, so don’t take me too seriously.”
“Out of line? … You mean you and Shiki get in a fight?”
“Hey, how can you get in a fight with yourself? No matter what I do, it has to be something we both wanted, so we both have no complaints. No matter how much I fight, Shiki has control over this body. I’m seeing you like this because Shiki thought it was all right too. … Well, she’ll probably regret saying things like this. It’s not something Shiki would say, right?”
“I like those kind of things about you. But Shiki doesn’t. That’s what I mean by being out of line.”
…? What does that mean? Does Shiki not like the fact that I don’t think too much? Or does Shiki not like the fact that she’s liking that part of me? I don’t know why, but I somehow thought it had to be the latter.
“That’s all of the explanation. That’s it for today.”
Standing up suddenly, SHIKI puts on the leather jacket.
“Seeya. I like you, so I’ll see you again pretty soon.”
Putting the money for the hamburger on the table, SHIKI leaves quickly.
Parting with SHIKI and coming back to my town, the sun is setting already. Because of all the murder incidents going on recently, not many people are out even though the sun’s only setting.
When I get home, my cousin, Daisuke Nii-san is there. I was tired from all that talk with SHIKI, so I go to the kotatsu and put my legs in it. Daisuke Nii-san also has his legs in there so we end up fighting for the small space inside without a word. In the end, I couldn’t lay down, so I just had to get up.
“Aren’t you busy, Daisuke-san?”
I ask him while taking a manderine off the table. Daisuke Nii-san asnwers “Yeah”.
“It’s five people in three months, of course we’re busy. I’m too busy I can’t even go home to sleep. I have to get going in about an hour again.”
Daisuke Nii-san is a police officer. I don’t know why this lazy person has such an unsuited job.
“How’s the investigation going?”
“It’s all right. There weren’t any clues until now but the killer finally left us something. Well, it does seem intentional though.”
Saying that, Daisuke Nii-san lifts up his face. His serious face is right in front of mine.
“What I’m telling you is confidential. I’m going to tell you because this isn’t something that’s irrelevant to you. I told you about the first victim, right?”
Then, Daisuke Nii-san starts to describe the second and the third murder scene. … I listen closely while hoping not all policemen in this world lets out confidential matters this easily.
The second victim had its body cut vertically. From its head down to its groin. The weapon used is unknown. One of the cut halves was stuck to the wall.
The third victim had its arms and legs cut off, and the arms were sewen onto the legs.
The fourth victim had its body cut into pieces and had some word-like symbol stamped on it.
The fifth victim looked like a manji using its arms and legs.
“It’s easy to understand that the killer is abnormal.”
Saying so while trying to hold back my vomit, Daisuke Nii-san agrees.
“I think it’s a bit intentional though when it’s too easy to understand, but what do you think?”
“… Let’s see. I don’t think it matters every one of them is killed by being cut apart. I can’t say anything else, but…”
“I just thought the killer is getting used to this. The next one might not be outside.”
“You’re right.” Daisuke Nii-san covers his face with his hands.
“There’s no motive and there’s no rules. It’s only happening outside right now but this is a kind of a guy that would even come indoors. If this killer can’t find anyone out at night, there’s more motive for the killer to go into someone’s house. I just wish the higher ranked guys would take that into consideration and be prepared for it.”
“Well…” Daisuke Nii-san changes the subject.
“We found this by the fifth victim.”
Daisuke Nii-san places our school badge on the table. It’s considered unimportant with us not having uniforms and all, but we are required to wear this somewhere on us when going to school.
“I don’t know if the killer didn’t notice this because the scene of the crime was a grassy field or if the killer intentionally put this there. But either way, there has to be a meaning behind this. I might go over to your place sometime soon.”
Making a cop-like face, he says an ominous thing.