The winter vacation ended in a flash. The only thing that happened was I went to the shrine on new year with Shiki. But I think I led a normal life other than that.
When the third term started, Shiki isolated herself even more. She had that rejection air around her that even I noticed.
After making sure everyone else has left and going to the classroom, SHIKI would always be there. She doesn’t do anything but just stares out the window. I haven’t been invited or called to come here. But I just can’t leave this fragile girl alone, so I keep her company meaninglessly.
The sun sets early in the wintertime and the classroom is tinted red. In this classroom filled with just the color red and black, SHIKI is leaning against the window.
“Did I tell you that I hate people?”
Today, SHIKI starts to talk mindlessly.
“That’s the first time I heard that… do you mean that?”
“Yeah, Shiki hates people. She was like that from when she was small. … You see, when you’re a child, you don’t know anything. You think the whole world would love you unconditionally. Since you like them, they must like you… that feels like common sense.”
“You’re right. You never doubt anything when you’re small. You unconditionally love them and you think it’s only natural for them to love you back. The only thing I was scared of were ghosts. Even though I’m scared of people now.”
SHIKI nods in agreement.
“But that’s a very important thing. You need to be pure, Kokuto. Since you only concern about yourself when you’re small, you won’t notice other people’s bad minds. Even if it’s just a misunderstanding, the feeling of love you receive makes you be able to be kind to others. Since people can only express the emotions they have.”
The sunset illuminates her face red. At this moment, I cannot tell if she is SHIKI or Shiki, but it has no meaning at all which she is. Either way, this is just Shiki’s monologue.
“But I’m different. I knew someone else since I was born. Since Shiki has SHIKI inside of her, she knew of others. She found out that there’s other people who think differently and that they do not love you unconditionally. Since she found out as a child how ugly other people are, she could not love them. In time. she grew to pay them no attention. The only emotion Shiki has is rejection.”
… That’s why she hates people. SHIKI says so with her eyes. … I feel like crying without reason.
“But wasn’t she lonely like that?”
“Why? Shiki has me. It’s certainly lonely by yourself but Shiki isn’t alone. She was isolated, but she wasn’t alone.”
SHIKI says so with a resolute face. There’s no bluff in it and it seems she really is satisfied with that.
“But Shiki is acting weird recently. She has an abonormality in her called me, but she wants to deny me. Denying is my domain, and Shiki is supposed to be only able to affirm.”
SHIKI laughs asking why that might be. It’s a brutal looking smile.
“Kokuto, have you ever wanted to kill someone?”
At that instance, the sun makes her face look red and made my heart jump.
“Not so far. The most I’ve ever wanted was wanting to punch someone.”
“I see. But I only have that feeling.”
Her voice echoes through the classroom.
“I told you. Humans can only show emotions that they have experienced. I take on the forbidden taboos inside Shiki. What’s low on Shiki’s priorities is high on mine. I am content with that and I know that’s why I exist. I am the personality that takes on Shiki’s supressed intentions. That’s why I’ve always killed my will. I have been killing the dark side called SHIKI. I have killed myself over and over. See? The only thing I’ve experienced is killing things.”
Then, she walks away from the window. Why, why do I think the person walking toward me silently is scary?
“So Kokuto, the definiton of murder for Shiki is…”
A voice murmuring by my ear…
“… Is to eliminate, in self defense anything that tries to open her up.”
Smiling, SHIKI leaves the classroom. It was an innocent smile that one would give after playing a trick on you…
On lunch break the next day…
When I asked Shiki if she wanted to have lunch with me, she looked really surprized. At this time, she showed me her surprized expression for the first time since I have met her.
“What a thing…”
Saying that, Shiki accepts my request. We head to the rooftop following Shiki’s request. She is following silently behind me. Her silent stare is stabbing into my back. Maybe she’s mad at me… no, she definitely is. … Even I know what she meant by those words yesterday. It’s her last warning telling me not to be involved with her, and that she doesn’t know what she’ll do if I did. But Shiki does not understand. That’s something Shiki has always told me without words unconsciously, and I have already gotten used to it. When we get to the rooftop, no one is there. I guess being January and all, nobody else wanted to eat in this cold weather.
“It’s cold, do you want to eat somewhere else?”
“No, I want to eat here. If you want to go somewhere else, please go ahead.”
I tilt my head to Shiki’s polite tone. We sit by the wall to avoid the wind. Shiki just sits there without opening her bread. In contrast, I have already finished my second sandwich.
“Why did you talk to me?”
Shiki’s murmur is so sudden that I could not catch her words.
“Did you say something, Shiki?”
“I said, why are you so carefree?”
She says so with glaring eyes.
“That’s terrible. I’ve been called excessively honest, but I’ve never been called carefree.”
“I guess everyone was holding back.”
Convinced selfishly, Shiki opens her egg sandwich. The sound of the wrapper suited the cold rooftop. Shiki sits there silently and nibbles on her sandwich. I have nothing to do as I’m already done. I think a meal needs to be accompanied by a conversation.
“Shiki, you must be a bit mad.”
“… A bit?”
She glares at me. I scold myself in my mind for not thinking before I said something.
“I don’t understand but I get irritated when you’re there. Why you involve yourself with me, why you don’t act differently after being said all that yesterday, there’s all those things I don’t understand.”
“I don’t know the reason either. It’s fun being with you but if you ask me why it’s fun, I can’t answer. Well, if you talk about yesterday, I guess you can say I’m optimistic.”
“Kokutoh-kun, do you understand that I’m abnormal?”
I can only nod to those words. Her split personality is real and it is indeed not normal.
“Yeah, it’s indeed not normal.”
“Right. So then you should understand that I am not someone you could associate with normally.”
“Abnormal or not, it doesn’t matter when hanging out.”
Shiki stops all movement. She stops time as if she’s even forgotten how to breathe.
“But I cannot be like you.”
Saying that, Shiki slides her fingers through her hair. Her kimono sways and I notice the bandage wrapped around her thin arm. The bandage wrapped around near her right elbow is quite new.
“Shiki, that wound…”
Before I get a chance to finish, Shiki stands up.
“If you don’t understand with SHIKI’s words, I’ll tell you myself.”
Shiki talks while looking off into the distance.
“If we keep this up, I will probably end up killing you.”
… How could I have replied to those words?
After that, Shiki goes to the classroom leaving her trash behind. Being left alone, I first clean up the mess.
“… Geez, this is just like Gakuto said.”
I remember the conversation I had with Gakuto. Like Gakuto said, I might be stupid. I could not hate Shiki even after she completely rejected me. No, my mind has rather cleared up. There can only be one reason why it’s fun being with Shiki.
“I already went mad a long time ago.”
… Yeah, why didn’t I notice this earlier?
… That I love Shiki so much that I can even laugh off her telling me she wants to kill me.