Remaining Sense of Pain
July nears its end and my surrounding has started to fill with events. Like a friend who has been in a coma for two years regaining conciousness, like finishing the second big job at my workplace, and like my sister whom I haven’t seen for five years coming to see me. The nineteenth summer of I, Kokutoh Mikiya, started in such a commotion.
Today is a rare off day I had, but I accompanied my high school friend to go drink and when I noticed, I have missed the last train. Others took cabs home but as my payday is tomorrow, I do not have such extra money. It can’t be helped, so I decide to walk home. Fortunately, my house is only two stations away from here. The date has just changed from July 20 to July 21.
Past midnight, I walk through the night town alone. Being a weekday tomorrow, the shopping district is fast asleep. It has rained hard tonight. The rain stopped by midnight but the asphalt still shows remains of the rain as the wet ground makes splashing sounds. It is the middle of summer and the temperature is way above 30 degrees. The hot night air and the humid air from the rain irritates me… and then I see a girl crouched on the sidewalk. A girl wearing a black school uniform is holding her stomach in pain as she is crouching on the guardrail. … I notice the church’s sister-like uniform. That plain but party dress-like fancy design is of the Asagami Lady Academy. According to Gakuto, it’s really famous to those kinds of people… as they say it’s like a maid’s costume. …It’s not that I’m one of those people, but I know because my sister goes there.
“I heard all the students there lived in dorms…”
But to see her here at this time is too strange. She must be in some kind of trouble or just a bad student that doesn’t follow the school rules. With my sister going to the same school and all, I decide to talk to her. When I call to her, she slowly turns to me and her long hair sways.
It seems the girl gasped really faintly. She has really long hair. Her eyes look calm and she too looks calm. Her face is small… it’s cute but she has some handsomeness in her features. That balance is more like Japanese beauty. Her long hair is cast straight behind her and a small piece of it is seperated around her ears to drape down to her chests. It seems the left side of her hair is cut though. The front hair is cut straight and it reminds me of a good lady from a respected family.
“Yes? What is it?”
The girl says with a pale face. Her lips are purple. It’s obvious she has cyanosis. She has one of her hands on her stomach, her face twisted in pain.
“Does your stomach hurt?”
“No, um… I, um…”
She tries to act calm yet her words are not. The girl looks rather fragile. She has the feeling that she’s going to break down any second, just like Shiki when I first met her.
“You’re a student of the Reien Academy, right? Did you miss your train? That place is far from here. Do you want me to go get a taxi for you?”
“No, it’s all right. I don’t have any money.”
“Yeah, I don’t have any too.”
The girl looks at me in surprize. … I notice that I gave a surprizingly stupid reply.
“I see. Then your house must be near here. I heard everyone there lived in a dorm but I guess you’re allowed to go out.”
“No, my house is far from here.”
I tilt my head in wonder.
“Then is it something like running away?”
“Yes, I think that is what I have to resort to.”
… I’m troubled. Looking at her, the girl is soaked. Maybe she didn’t find cover in that rain before but she is dripping wet. … Since that time, I hated girls wet with rain. That must be why these words came out of my mouth.
“You want to come to my place just for tonight?”
Still sitting down, she looks at me as if she’s desperate. I nod.
“I live alone, so there’s no problem. But I won’t make any gurantees. I don’t have any intentions but if anything weird happens, I might get in the mood. I’m a healthy man so put that into consideration too. If you’re still okay with that, then come along. Unfortunately, it’s before my payday so I don’t have anything, but I should at least have some painkillers.”
The girl becomes happy. The defenceless and the pure smile also makes me happy. When I extend my hands to her, she gracefully gets up.
… It seemed there was red stains where the girl has been sitting…
I take this unknown girl and start walking through the night town again.
“We’re going to walk a bit but tell me if you’re suffering. I should at least be able to carry a girl on my back.”
“Yes, but my wound is healed so it doesn’t hurt.”
She says so but her hand is still on her stomach. It’s obvious she’s in some kind of pain. I ask her again.
“Does your stomach hurt?”
The girl denies it and grows silent again. We walk a bit more. After a small silence, the girl shakes her head.
“… Yes. It really, really hurts. I’m about to cry… can I cry?”
When I nod, the girl closes her eyes looking satisfied. It looks as if she is watching a dream.
The girl did not tell me her name so I decide not to either. I feel that it’s more romantic that way. Once we get to the apartment, the girl says she wants to borrow the shower. She also says she wants to dry her cloth so I decide to stay outside. Giving her a cheap excuse that I’m going to go buy some smokes, I leave the room. I feel I am really good natured as I’m going out to buy something I would not smoke.
After spending about an hour outside and coming back, I find her asleep on the sofa. I set my alarm clock to seven thirty and lay on my bed. As I fall asleep, I worry about the cut in her uniform around the stomach area.
When I wake up the next morning, the girl is sitting in the living room as she has nothing to do. She gives me a bow once she notices I’m awake.
“Thank you for last night. I cannot do anything in return but I am really thankful.”
The girl gets up and starts to leave. … I feel a bit bad about making her sit and wait just to say that to me.
“Wait, at least wait and get some breakfast.”
The girl obediently follows what I say. The only thing left are pasta and olive oil so naturally, our breakfast becomes spagetti. I quickly make it for the two of us and carry it to the table to eat. Since it’s so quiet, I turn on the TV and see a terrible news.
“… Wow, this is the kind of story Tohko-san would like.”
I murmur something aloud that if she was there, she’ll be throwing something at me. … But that’s how weird the content of the news is. I listen to the newscaster who talks about what happened last night.
Last night, in the basement of a bar that has been abandoned for half a year, four dead bodies were found. It seems all four victims had their limbs torn off and the scene of the crime was a pool of blood. The place is pretty close to here, maybe around four stations away from last night’s place. It’s strange that they said the limbs were torn off rather than cut off, but the news does not go into detail about it, but rather goes into the information on the victims.
All four of the victims were high-schoolers and they were just kids that played around near that place. It seems they did some drugs too and a person who has the newscater’s mike pointed at them is talking about the victim’s personal lives.
…… I think they deserved to die, those kids.
Those words flow from the TV and I get annoyed by those words that seems to talk bad about the dead, so I turn off the TV. Looking at the girl, she is placing her hand on her stomach painfully. Seeing that she hasn’t taken a bite of food, she might be really hurt. I can’t tell her expression as she is looking down.
‘…… There’s nobody that deserves to die.”
She says so with ragged breath.
“Why… I’m healed, so why…?!”
The girl gets up from the chair and runs to the door. I quickly follow her but she raises her hand to stop me. It shows she does not want me to go near her.
“Wait. I think you should calm down.”
“It’s all right. I knew it… I cannot go back.”
Her face twists in pain. The face that bears the pain seems similar to Shiki. The girl calms down and bows at me before she opens the door.
“Good bye. I never want to see you again.”
The girl leaves just like that. Her face like a Japanese doll, only her eyes seemed like it was about to cry.