“”Nii-san, please quickly break ties with such a woman.””
Azaka said so seriously to a woman in kimono, the one called Shiki. I feel rather uneasy due to the tight air surrounding them. It feels like they have a knife aimed at each other’s throat and looking for an opening to actually cut each other. I get timid within this tight air. Now, I can only pray that nothing will occur. Fortunately, they do not talk anymore and the woman wearing the kimono leaves gracefully. I stare at her back as she leaves. Shiki talked like a man. I couldn’t tell her age because of that, but maybe she’s around my age. Her last name was Ryohgi… maybe it’s that Ryohgi. Then her expensive looking kimono makes sense. I could see some worked out designs in her kimono. If she is of the Ryohgi, it’s no surprize she would have her own kimono maker.
“…… She was a beautiful person.”
Azaka nods to my murmur. I think she’s amazing for answering honestly even when she hates that person.
“But she is just as scary. … I don’t like that person.”
Azaka looks surprized. Her surprize is completely natural. Even I am surprized at my feeling. Because probably for the first time in my life, I feel a repulsion toward someone.
“That’s unexpected. I thought you were someone that wouldn’t hate anybody, but I guess I’m wrong.”
… Dislike is the same as hate? I never thought so. I just feel that I cannot get along with that person. I try closing my eyes. Ryohgi Shiki. Her ominous black hair, ominous white skin, and the ominous bottomless empty eyes. She was looking at me, so I looked back at her. That’s why we saw what was hiding behind us. She only has blood. She kills from her own will. She tries to hurt others. … That woman is a killer.
But I am different. I think I am different. Because I have never wanted to do such a thing. In the darkness behind my closed eyes, I repeat so over and over. But her figure would not disappear. … We have not talked even once, but her figure is engraved into my mind.
“I’m sorry Fujino. I ruined your day off.”
I open my eyes to Azaka’s words. I smile like I did in my practice.
“It’s all right. I did not feel like it anyways.”
“You do look pretty pale. It’s hard to tell because you’re pretty white to begin with.”
I did not feel like it for another reason, but I nod at her words anyways. … I know my body is not doing well by its reaction, but I did not notice that it is bad enough to show on my face.
“I guess it can’t be helped. I’ll ask Mikiya myself so do you want to go home for today?”
Azaka is worried about my health. I thank her.
“But is that message to your brother all right?”
“It’s fine. I don’t even know how many times I told him that anyways. He should be used to it. To tell you the truth, this a curse. Words that are repeated over and over can twist reality to lean towards that word. Really, a girlie curse. It’s sad and pitiful.”
I don’t know how serious she is but she explains so. I’m used to her unexpectedness. I decide to listen quietly to Azaka’s beautiful voice. … She is always the number one academically in our school and she even ranks in the top ten nationwide. Azaka is a bit strange and has this gentlemen-like side of her. Azaka is one of my friends from Reien Academy. Both of us entered that school from our high school. Since Reien is an “escalator” school from elementary school, it’s rare for people to come starting from high school like us. We met because of that and are close enough that we go out sometimes on weekends. Today, I was supposed to have her brother look for someone through Azaka.
I went to a local middle school and when I was there, a Senpai from a different school talked to me at an event. … I am depressed recently, but I am saved by thinking about this Senpai. When I told Azaka about it, she said we should look for this person. It happens that her brother is also from this area and he knows a lot of people around here. She said he is really good at looking for people our age. … It’s not that I really wanted to see him, but we end up deciding to look for this person with me not being able to refuse the pushing Azaka. We were waiting for her brother today but it seems he cannot come today. … I am relieved in a way.
I am not really into this whole thing because… I accidentally ran into him two days ago. At that time, I was able to say what I couldn’t say three years ago. Since I have done what I wanted to do, there is no point in looking for this person anymore. Maybe Azaka’s brother couldn’t come because God knew I didn’t need him anymore.
“Let’s get going. It’s hard to stay here over an hour buying just drinks.”
Azaka gets up. Even though she should be sad about not being able to see her brother, she still gets up gracefully. Sometimes, she is really manly. Maybe because of the way she talks. Her formal tone disappears like just now and becomes cool like a man. It’s not that she’s disguising herself, but that’s just a part of her. I really like this friend of mine. …… That’s why I shouldn’t see her anymore.
“Azaka. Please go back to the dorm by yourself. I will be staying at my parents house tonight again.”
“Really? That’s fine but Sister would be glaring at you if you stay out too much. You should restrain yourself.”
Waving her hand, Azaka leaves the cafe. Being alone, I take a glance at the sign. “Ahnenerbe”: it means inheritance in German.
After Azaka leaves, I start walking aimlessly. It is a lie that I am going back to my parents’ house. There is no place for me to go back to now. From that night two days ago, I have not even been to school. My father has probably been contacted already for unexcused absenses. They will ask me what I was doing if I do go back home. I am not good at telling lies so I might slip everything out. If that happens… father will contempt me.
I am my mother’s child from her former marriage. Father only needed mother’s house and land, so I was just something on the side since that time. That is why I worked hard not to be hated.
A faithful woman like my mother, a student my father can be proud of, a normal girl nobody would suspect about………
…… I always wanted to be that way.
Not for someone else, but for myself. I always dreamed that and the dream has protected me. But it came to an end. Such magic is not around me no matter how much I look. I continue walking, the sun is starting to set. I walk past many people irrevalent to me and many stoplights which blink insensibly. People older than me, people younger than me, everyone looks so happy. My heart contracts in pain. I think of something and pinch my cheek. …… I do not feel anything. I pinch harder. ………… Nothing. When I give up and let go, I notice that my fingertips are red. I guess I pinched hard enough that my nails dug into my skin. But I still feel nothing. I do not feel that I am alive.
I laugh thinking it’s funny. Why does my heart feel pain when I myself do not feel any pain? First of all, what is heart? Is it my heart that’s hurt or my brain? When the brain receives any words that is directed to attack an individual called Asagami Fujino, it creates a wound as a protection. Since a wound lets a person know it hurts, whatever story I come up with is only a medicine that soothes the pain. That is why even though I cannot feel pain, I still understand pain in my heart. But that is probably just an illusion. Probably a illusion for sure. A real pain cannot be cured just by words. One quickly forgets a pain in their heart because it is so trivial. But a wound on your body gives you pain as long as the wound is there. That is a strong proof of life.
If my heart is my brain, then my brain should get a wound. Then I should be able to feel pain. Like my days up to now. If the memories of the days I was violated by those people became wounds…
….. I remember again their laughter and their scary faces. All those times I was violated and threatened. When that guy with the knife jumped on me, my stomach felt hot and the cloth around my stomach area was cut. When I thought I was going to get stabbed, I became violent. After I was done with them, I realized that the heat in my stomach is pain. My heart shrinks once more. “I won’t forgive them.” Those words repeat in my head over and over.
My knee wobbles. It comes again. My stomach is burning. It feels like an invisible hand is grabbing inside of me.
I feel like vomiting. ……… I do not feel that way normally.
I feel dizzy. ……… I abruptly lose consciousness in this situation normally.
My arm is numb. ……… I confirm by looking at it normally.
It really hurts. ……… Yes, I feel alive.
The place I was stabbed is starting to hurt. The pain of the already-healed wound breaks out unexpectedly like this. A long time ago, mother said that wounds will not hurt once they heal. But that is a lie. The wound made by that knife is still hurting me even after the wound has healed.
… But mother, I like this pain. For me who has never felt that I was alive, there is nothing else that makes me feel more alive than this sensation. This remaining sense of pain is not an illusion.
“I have to look for him quickly.”
I murmur under my ragged breath. I have to get my revenge. I have to kill the boy that got away. It is irritating, but if I don’t do so, people will find out that I am a murderer. I don’t want that since I finally obtained the sense of pain. I want to keep on feeling the pleasure of feeling alive. I take my body that hurts every time I move it and start to walk toward their hangout place. I cry at the remaining sense of pain in my stomach. But right now, even that discomfort is lovely.
Parting with Azaka, I return to my place. When night comes, I go out into town. There were 5 people killed so far. 4 in that basement bar two days ago. According to Tohko, another one at a construction site yesterday night. Leaving the 4 killed two days ago, I do not see any relevance to the one killed last night. But I cannot say it is a total stranger. Mikiya once said that ones that hang around at night have many connections. Maybe there is a high probability that the 4 and the one killed last night is connected.
I suddenly recall the girl that was with Azaka. …… The feeling of death that is planted around her like capillary. Since I am not used to my eyes yet, I saw it without any preparation. … That was abnormal. It might be more abnormal than me. But that girl was normal. She smelled of blood, and she had eyes like me that seem like she did not know which boundary she is standing on. She must be my pray for sure, but I still cannot be confident in myself. It is because that girl has no cause. She has no reason to kill for pleasure like I do, no darkness that takes pleasure in murder.
Take pleasure in murder… How would Kokutoh Mikiya think if he hears that? Would he scold me telling me that murder is bad?
I do not really know if that word is directed at him or me. Kokutoh Mikiya said I have not changed from before. I guess I am no different than I am before I went into that coma. Then, did I used to take a walk at night too? … Like an abnormal person that searches for someone to fight with to kill?
No, that’s wrong. Shiki did not have such a taste. She did, but it was not prioritized. Then this is SHIKI’s sensibility. Of the man Ryohgi SHIKI, the yan, in side the woman Ryohgi Shiki, the yang. I wonder at my conclusion. I used to have him inside of me, but he is not anymore. Not being there must mean that he is dead. Then……… this will of wanting to kill cannot be anyone else’s but mine. As Tohko said, this job is just for me. Because I am certainly happy about being able to kill someone.
…… The time is almost midnight.
I take the train and arrive at a station I rarely come to.
From this always-awake noisy town,
I can see a big port in the distance.
After I part with Azaka, I change my destination. I do not know where the last one would run to, but I think there is a way to search for him. The only ones directly involved with me were the four that I killed and the one that escaped, but I was taken to many places by them. If I go there and ask where the last one went, I should be able to find where he escaped to. Since they cannot trust the police or the school, the only ones they can depend on should be their kind. I hold my burning stomach as I walk through the night town. I had some resistance about going into indecent places, but it is trivial to me as I am more tormented by the pain and my memories of being violated.
At my third place, I meet a guy that says he is a friend of Minato Keita. He was working at at a big building made into a big karaoke place, and gives me an unpleasant smile as he agrees to talk with me for a while. He sneaks out of his work and starts to walk telling me we should go to a quiet place to talk. … From the long experience I had, I can tell this man is taking me to their hangout place. These people can smell out weak people. This person with a good put-on smile must have seen through me as an easy victim to violate. … He probably knows I was violated by Minato Keita’s group too. That is why he takes me without concern. Even though I know that, I still did not refuse to follow him. This man that is a few years older than me heads to a quieter area. I hold my stomach as it starts to hurt even more, and I prepare myself.
…… The time is almost midnight.
I walk with this man as I curse the repeated violations in my head.
From this always-awake noisy town,
I can see a big port in the distance.
The man is feeling his own luckiness. He knew from the boasting Keita that Keita’s group is playing around with this girl from a all-girl school. It is because it is Keita’s habit to do as he wanted to that girl and to brag about it. To this man, it had nothing to do with him. He does not have a big connection with Keita’s group, and they were from different areas. That’s why he always listened to Keita’s story without concern. But for that girl to actually come to him!!
You have to take what is given to you. The man decides to get out of work and take Fujino somewhere. … It’s not that the man is hungry for sex. It’s not an unusual event for people like him to rape a girl with four or five guys. There is a reason why this man does not call for his friends. It is because Fujino is the daughter of the Asagami Construction. He should be able to get lots of money if he violated her and threatened them that he would make the matter public. The group Keita is in is rather stupid when it comes to such matters. Maybe because their leader is not that smart. Or is it that they did not need money because they were smart? Well, it does not matter. Either way, the man is happy right now. He did not contact his friends because he thinks that he will get the largest pay if he does not share it.
The girl who came to ask about Minato Keita… Asagami Fujino is following him silently. It will be bad taking her to the usual hangout place. The man heads to the warehouse area of the port. Since it’s almost midnight, the warehouse area is empty. As all warehouses are made the same way and arranged the same way, it seems like a giant factory. There aren’t many streetlights and nobody should come if he goes in between the warehouses. The only things that will be irritating would be the sound of waves and the lights from Broad Bridge currently under construction on the other side of the water. Bringing Fujino into such darkness, the man finally opens his mouth.
“This should be fine. So, what did you want to ask about?”
The man decides to answer her question first. It is his aesthetic that it’s not smart to attack from the start.
“Yes, would you happen to know where Keita-san is?”
Fujino is looking down while holding her stomach. The man cannot see her face with her cleanly-cut hair in front of her.
“I haven’t seen him lately. He doesn’t even have his own place so he’s been going around people’s places. You won’t be able to contact him cause he doesn’t have a cell phone.”
“No…… I can contact him.”
This girl’s words are strange. She can contact him but doesn’t know where he is? Has this girl gone crazy from being raped too much? Well, if that’s the case, it should make things easier but it’s also true that the man is let down a bit. The man calms down again.
“All right. If you can contact him, then just ask where he is.”
“Well….. Keita-san does not want to tell me where he is hiding. That is why I am going around asking his friends. Please answer me… I do not care if you know or do not know.”
“Whoa, wait a sec. What do you mean he’s hiding? Did he get into some deep shit?”
The man gets irritated by the girls strange words. He’s hiding… does that mean that the cops know about them raping Fujino? No, if that’s the case, she wouldn’t come herself. The man thinks, but cannot come up with an answer, because…
… Because he has not seen the news.
“Well, who cares. But what do you mean you don’t care if I know or not? Was that your intention to begin with? Keita’s not your intention but you came to find a new man or something?!”
The man laughs from his heart this time – I really am in luck, I should be able to get the money without even threatening. And besides, Asagami Fujino is a beautiful girl that he would not easily obtain. He will be able to obtain prize of money and beauty. What else can you call this but luck?
“Sorry, I should have took you to my place from the start then. Or you like this kinda place better, perhaps?”
The girl in the black uniform nods.
“But before that, please tell me if you know where Keita-san is.”
“Hey dumbass, you can quit your excuse for coming here. First of all, I wouldn’t know where he would go.”
The girl looks up as if satisfied. The eyes looking at the man are abnormal. There is no emotion in her amber eyes that fire up the spiral.
…… It is not normal….
The man who does not notice that madness encounters a strange circumstance. His arm is moving on its own! His joint bends. His elbow bends to about 90 degrees, and it keeps bending…
… And it finally breaks.
A stupid scream. The fate of the man ends here. Certainly, he did have luck. Back luck is luck indeed.
In a dark alley not even lit up by the moonlight, a tragedy raises its curtains.
The scream only becomes a beast-like groan. The man’s arms are already not like arms anymore. It’s like a puzzle ring… or a rubber band twisted around to make a model airplane fly. … Either way, it should not function as human arms anymore.
The man runs away from the girl who is only standing in front of him. In that instant, his body floats and his right leg is torn off from his knee. Blood splashes as if emptying a full bucket. The blood that sprays along the wall seems like some kind of art. Asagami Fujino keeps watching with her emotionless eyes.
“I-i-it’s twi… twist-t-t-t-t-ed…!!!”
His words are incomprehensible. Fujino decides to ignore them.
…… She murmurs, “Bend.”
That is the same word she has been saying all this time. Her friend has told her that a repeated word can become a curse. The man is on the ground, only moving his neck. Both his hands are twisted and his right leg is gone. The blood from his leg is soaking the ground. Fujino steps into it thinking that it’s like a red carpet. Her shoes sink into the red liquid. A summer night is hot and the humid air stick to the skin and becomes annoying. The air of the blood has a similar feeling.
Looking down at the man that is acting like a green caterpiller, Fujino sighs. She hates herself for doing such a thing. But she also thinks this is what she intended to do from the start. She knew from the way he acted that this man did not know what happened in that basement bar. But he will find out in time. Then, he will grow suspicious of Fujino for searching Keita. So this is something that cannot be helped. This man intended to do that from the start. This will be indirect, but this is part of Asagami Fujino’s revenge. Only a revenge to those who violated her. It’s just that her ability to violate.far surpassed their ability to violate.
“I am sorry…. but I have to do this.”
The man’s remaining left leg is torn off. And that causes the remaining life in him to cut off as well. Fujino looks down at the convulsing body. Now, she knows how the man feels. Until now, she did not know. She could not understand people’s reaction to pain. But now that she knows pain, she can strongly sympathize with this man. That makes her happy. To be alive means to get hurt.
“And finally… I can be normal.”
My pain, other’s pain. I am the one who made him this way. I am the one that gave him these wounds. It means Asagami Fujino is superior. This is what it means to be alive. The ugly self that cannot feel the pleasure of life unless commiting such actions.
“….. Mother. Am I so ugly that I have to go this far?”
The thing in her stomach becomes unbearable. Her heart starts to beat rapidly. A chill runs up her spine…
“I do not want to kill people…”
Fujino turns around to the sudden voice. At the entrance of the alley between the warehouses, a girl in kimono stands. With the port reflecting the quiet moonlight behind her…
… Ryohgi Shiki is there…