A murder occured in front of my house. My memory of that night after I went to take a walk is vague. But if you connect the parts that I remember, what I must have done is obvious. SHIKI is the same way too, but I do not deal with blood too well. Just looking at it makes my mind go blank. The flowing blood of this victim was really beautiful. The stone road to my mansion, the space between the stones are like a maze and the red liquid going through that maze was filled with beauty I haven’t seen before.
But that caused the misfortune. When I noticed, someone was throwing up behind me and it was Kokutoh Mikiya. I don’t know why he was there and I did not even wonder at that time. But I think… I went back to the mansion after that, but it seems the crime was found out much later than that and nobody knows I was at the scene of the crime. Then was what I saw just a dream? There’s no way that honest classmate would not tell about the killer. But why did it have to be in front of my house?
“SHIKI, is it you?”
I ask aloud but there’s no answer. SHIKI and I are out of line. That feeling grows stronger every day. Even if I let SHIKI use my body, the one to decide is me but why is it that my memory is vague when I do so?
… Maybe, it’s just that I don’t realize it but I might be insane like everyone else of the Ryohgi bloodline. SHIKI would say “If you think you’re abnormal, that’s a fake.” For an abnormal person, everyone else seems abnormal, so they would not question themselves. At least that’s the way I was. Then that must mean I finally figured out the difference between me and the rest of the world after sixteen years. But who caused that?
“Please excuse me, Ojou-sama.”
Akitaka says so after he knocks on the door.
“What is it?”
Akitaka opens the door with my word. It’s almost bedtime, so Akitaka does not enter the room.
“It seems there’s someone checking out the mansion.”
“I heard from father that he got all the policemen out.”
“All the police are off the property since last night. I think it is someone else tonight.”
“Do as you wish. It has nothing to do with me.”
“But it seems the one outside is your friend from your school.”
Being said that, I get up from my bed. I go to the window facing the mansion’s gate and look outside. In the bamboo woods, there is a figure that I wish would hide more cleverly. … It pisses me off.
“I can get him to go home if you wish.”
“You can leave that thing aa it is.”
I quickly make my way to the bed and lay down. Akitaka leaves after telling me goodnight. I cannot sleep even after turning off the lights and closing my eyes. There’s nothing to do so I check outside the window again. Wearing a brown coat, Mikiya is shivering in the cold. It seems he’s looking at the gate. … He might be a great man as he has a pot of coffee by his feet.
I have to reject the idea that seeing Mikiya at that place is only a dream. Since he was actually there, he’s here right now to check on me. I don’t know what his motive is, but I think he’s probably out to check who the killer is. … Anyways, I get mad and bite my nail unknowingly.
Even the day after such a thing happened, Mikiya was acting normal.
“Shiki, do you wanna eat lunch together?”
He would say that and go to the rooftop. I feel like I’m being trained using food as I always accept his offer for lunch. I have decided to ignore him, but I am curious about what he thinks of that night. I followed him up to the rooftop thinking he would question me about it, but Mikiya was like always.
“Isn’t your house too big? I can brag about seeing a servant just by going to see you.”
There’s no right for Mikaya to say that, with him using the word servant.
“Akitaka is my father’s secretary. And we call them caretakers, not servants, Kokutoh-kun.”
“I see, so you do have people like that at your place.”
… That’s the only time my house came up in the conversation. With his personality, I don’t think he knows that we know he’s out there checking on the mansion, but still, he is acting too strangely. He must have seen me covered in blood that night, so why can he still laugh like it never happened? So I bring the topic up myself.
“Kokutoh-kun, on the night of February third…”
“Don’t talk about that.”
He avoids my question just like that.
“What is it, Kokuto.”
… I can’t believe it, I’m talking like SHIKI without noticing. Mikiya is a bit startled by being called Kokuto while I am obviously still Shiki.
“Tell me, why didn’t you tell the police about me?”
“… Because I didn’t see anything.”
That’s a lie. There’s no way. Because at that time, SHIKI went towards him and…
“You just happened to be there, right? At least, that’s the only thing I saw so I decided to believe in you.”
That’s a lie. Then why would he check on the mansion?
… SHIKI went towards him and…
“Well, to be honest, it’s a bit hard on me so I’m working hard on it right now. If I can have confidence in myself, I should be able to hear you out. So let’s not talk about that for now.”
I feel like running away looking at his expression.
… SHIKI definitely tried to kill Kokutoh Mikiya…
I did not want such a thing. Mikiya said he would believe me. If I could also believe in myself, I wouldn’t feel this unknown pain either…
From that day on, I decide to ignore Mikiya completely. About two days into it, he stopped talking to me either but he did not stop coming to the mansion to check on me. Under the cold winter sky, he would stay in the bamboo woods until about three in the morning. Thanks to that, I cannot take my nightly walks. It’s been about two weeks since it started. I look outside the window wondering if he really wants to figure out the killer that bad. … He is really persistant. It’s almost three in the morning, but he just keeps staring at the gate. There’s nothing too desperate about his expression. No, he rather smiled when he left.
I get irritated. I finally understand. He isn’t out to find the killer. For him, it’s only natural to trust me, and that’s why he doesn’t suspect me. He’s there knowing from the beinning that I would not go out during the night. He’s only there to prove my innocence. That’s why he smiles happily when the night ends without anything happenning. Believing that the true killer is really innocent.
“… What a happy guy.”
Murmuring, I think. Being with Mikiya calms me down. Being with Mikiya makes me think I’m like him. Being with Mikiya makes me think I could go over to their side. But definitely, that bright side of the world is a world I should never be in. A world I cannot be in, a world without a place for me… He drags me in with his smile…
That’s why I am irritated by Mikiya, making me think all that. I have inside me a killer called SHIKI. That boy that lets me know that I am abnormal…
“I am fine by myself. But you’re getting in my way, Kokuto.”
Shiki does not want to go crazy. SHIKI does not want to be broken. Everything would have been fine if I never had the dream of living normally.
March comes and the coldness starts to go away. I look outside from my classroom. The overlooking view from here makes a person like me feel safe. A view that I cannot reach does not let me hope by definition. Mikiya comes as usual into the red-tinted classroom. SHIKI liked to talk like this. … and I also did not dislike it.
“I never thought you’d invite me. Are you going to stop ignoring me?”
“I wanted to talk because it’s impossible to continue that.”
Mikiya makes a frowned face. I continue while feeling that I am mixing in with SHIKI.
“You said I am not the killer.”
The sunset is so red that I cannot see his face.
“I’m sorry. I am a killer. Why do you let me go even after seeing that scene?”
Mikiya looks dumb-struck.
“There’s nothing to let go, because you never did such a thing.”
“Even if I say I did myself?”
“You’re the one to tell me not to listen to you too seriously. And you definitely can’t do such a thing… ever.”
I get mad at Mikiya for saying that while he does not know anything.
“What do you mean definitely? What about me can you understand? What about me can you trust?”
My anger comes out my mouth. Mikiya makes a troubled face but smiles.
“I have no basis, but I will continue to believe in you. I like you, so I want to keep on believing in you.”
That did it. A pure power… pure words erase everything else just because it is pure. A normal word like that for him is happiness for Shiki and destruction that she could never get away from. I was just shown the world I could never be in through this happy person.
… A world where you could live with someone else must be a happy world.
… But I do not know such world.
… But I probably do not know such world.
If I get to know someone, SHIKI will kill that person because SHIKI’s reason for existence is to deny. And since my reason is to affirm, I cannot exist without denial. Since I have never been attracted to anything, I was able to stay away from this contradiction. Now that I know, the more I wish for it, the more I know this wish is hopeless. That fact really hurts and I detest it. For the first time, I deteste Mikiya from the bottom of my heart.
… Mikiya laughs like it’s nothing.
Even though I can never be there.
I cannot stand his existence. I know for sure now. Mikiya will bring me destruction…
“… You’re stupid.”
I tell him from the bottom of my heart.
“Yeah, I get told that a lot.”
The sunset is red and I exit the classroom. As I leave, I ask him without turning.
“Are you going to come again tonight?”
He sounds surprized. I guess he didn’t know I noticed his “stake-out”. Mikiya tries to lie it off but I stop him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’ll go if I feel like it.”
I leave the classroom. There are gray clouds in the red sky. From the dark clouds, I think it should rain tonight.
That night. The dark clouds starts to shower rain down onto the ground. Raindrops make the night into a noisy one. Even though it’s March, the rain is still cold. Kokutoh Mikiya stares at the Ryohgi mansion, wet in the rain with the bamboo leaves. The hand holding the umbrella is turning red. Mikiya lets out a big sigh. Even Mikiya doesn’t plan on continuing this stalker-like thing. It would be great if the killer would be caught while he does this, but Mikiya has decided to quit if nothing happens for another week.
… Standing in the rain sure is tiring. The coldness and the rain hits hard as Mikiya is just getting used to all this.
The sigh is not because of the rain but rather from how Shiki acted today. What was Mikiya able to get across to her when she thinks he didn’t trust her? At that time, Shiki seemed really fragile, so much that Mikiya thought she was crying.
The rain does not stop. The black puddles on the ground endlessly create ripples.
A big splash occurs. When Mikiya looks in the direction of the sound, a red figure is standing there. A girl in red is wet with rain. Not even holding an umbrella, the girl is drenched as if she has just came out from the ocean. The black hair is sticking to her forhead and her eyes look empty.
Mikiya quickly runs to her. How long has this girl been out in the rain? The red kimono is sticking to her body and her body is cold as ice. Mikiya hands her the umbrella and takes out a towel from his bag.
“Here, wipe yourself with this. What are you doing? Your house is right there.”
Mikiya reaches out his hand. She laughs at his defencelessness.
It happens even before he could notice. The hand that reached out feels something hot and Mikiya instantly jumps back. Something warm flows down his arm.
On the arm?
It doesn’t move?
The pain is so sharp, it cannot be thought of as normal pain. It hurts so much that the senses starts to go numb. There’s no time for Mikiya to think. The girl in red he thought of as Shiki moves. Maybe it’s because Mikiya has seen something terrible here already, but his head was not panicking yet. Jumping back calmly, he runs off.
……. No, there was no way he could get away.
The instant Mikiya jumps back, she runs towards him. Her speed is beast-like. Mikiya hears a slicing sound from around his feet. Red liquid mixes in with the rain. Noticing that it is his own blood, Mikiya fall onto the ground face-up.
He moans hitting his back on the ground. The girl in red gets on top of Mikiya. There’s determination in her eyes. The girl places her knife on Mikiya’s throat. Mikiya just looks up at the whole thing happening to him. What’s there is darkness… and her. There’s no emotion in those black eyes. She is serious. The top of the knife touches Mikiya’s throat. Maybe because the rain is coming down on her, but the girl looks like she’s crying. But there’s no expression. The mask-like crying face is scary, and at the same time, pitiful.
“Kokuto, say something.”
Shiki says so. Shiki is saying that she’ll listen to his last words. Mikiya tells Shiki looking directly in her eye while trembling.
“I… don’t want to… die…”
It’s doesn’t seem like the word is directed at Shiki. Mikiya said so to the impeding death coming onto him, not to Shiki.
“I want to kill you.”
It was a really kind smile.