Beyond Another Darkness Volume 1 Story I
I heard a sound similar to a person collapsing to the ground.
At that moment, I stopped my raised hand and looked up towards the blue sky. Behind the multiple rows of buildings everything was enshrouded in a dark shadow. Among all this only the sky remained ever so blue.
I thought I had just heard something.
But it seems I misheard.
There’s no one around but me…
I resumed moving my hand and placed a silver coin into a vending machine. But the coin was immediately returned to me from the coin return slot. My body was drenched in sweat and my throat cracked from the dryness. Why was I so thirsty? I felt like a fish that had been tossed onto land. I bent down and picked up the 100 yen coin. But in that instant, I heard the sound of dripping. Turning back, I saw a red-black lump of some sort dropping onto the steaming asphalt road.
Similar to a color appearing within a black and white portrait, a sudden bright red color entered my eyes. It looked just like the body of a crushed cat.
Ah———it’s a uterus.
Looking at the mangled bloody piece of flesh, this sudden conviction entered my head. The scorching pavement began roasting the human organ and exuded an utterly putrid odor. My throat became even more parched as I watched this scene unravel before me.
Suddenly, I felt an unexpected gaze upon me. Once again I looked up towards the sky and saw the figure of a person standing on top of an abandoned building, but due to the reflection of the glaring sun I was unable to make out who the person was. Feeling an urge of wanting the person to notice me, I began waving both my hands. But no matter how hard I tried conveying the fact that I was here, the person did not respond. I tried shouting but couldn’t raise my voice due to my parched throat. So I turned back towards the vending machine hoping to buy a drink.
But the 100 yen coin…….
* * *
I use to harbor deep feelings for my sister. I loved her more than anyone else. So I decided to kill my sister. It was my duty. Therefore, I had no choice but to kill her. Why am I saying such words? That’s because…….I love her.
I shook my head trying to dispel the voice that surfaced within my mind. Sweating profusely, a tightness gripped my dry throat. Looking up towards the sky, the blazing sun boiled away. I pulled on my tie loosening the collar of my shirt. I walked along while holding my coat in one hand as the sound of noise entered my ears.
The buildings in this area were all abandoned due to the financial collapse of their head company. But now the usually desolate area was full of people. On the other side of the crowd, one could see a police car and news reporter vans. On the side roped off by the police line the police officers appeared preoccupied with something.
That aside, why are people even trying to take pictures?
It would be great if their phones would just explode from the bloodlust the instant they even try to take a picture.
I continued forth while silently cursing them in my mind. Choosing to hang around a crime scene like that is just plain malicious.
The frustration in my heart had reached it’s highest point. Just as I forced my trudging feet forward, a hint of red entered my view. A child wearing Gothic Lolita style clothing stood there with a red paper umbrella in hand.
Many laces decorated the black dress giving it a completely unrealistic dream-like feel. She was eating a bar of chocolate and her face was beautiful to the point where one would doubt whether she was even from this world. The spectating crowds of people also cast numerous glances towards her.
Hah, I really want to become someone who’s completely unrelated to her.
“I kept you waiting, Miss Mayuzumi.”
“Oh, you’re late by 5 minutes and 20 seconds, that’s rather rare for you. Occasionally eating some chocolate can do you wonders, want some?”
The beautiful girl——Mayuzumi said this while offering me a bar of chocolate. It’s as if she were trying to pick a fight with me, the chocolate bar had neatly bitten teeth marks on it. It’s like no one ever bothered teaching her not to hand her leftovers to others. Never mind, like this girl would ever go learn compulsory manners.
“No, it’s fine I don’t want any.”
“The convenience store over there sells chocolate bars, regardless of it being expensive or cheap the satisfaction it brings is all the same. It has nothing to do with the amount of polyphenols yet calories has become a focus among humans. The nutritional benefits within chocolate are but a mere consolation.”
Mayuzumi gave a stringent sort of statement before taking another bite of chocolate. The dark brown contents smeared between her lips.
“It appears to be a uterus this time, it’s becoming quite interesting isn’t it?”
The dark brown chocolate around her lips was like the color of dried blood. A rather disturbing image flashed through my head and I quickly shook my head. Yes, for example, people’s organs……
“A placenta? Does it look like one, or maybe not?”
“Oh, perhaps it’s a fetus? The blood from a menstrual period? Of course not, this is just chocolate.”
“…….Just stop talking and finish eating already.”
She licked her lips and began asking what should’ve been asked a while ago.
“By the way, why were you late?”
“I do say, Miss Mayuzumi, aren’t you the one who suddenly changed the meeting place? I even had to bear the heat wearing the suit you ordered me to wear and walk all the way here from the bus station……”
“Alright the reason for your lateness doesn’t matter anymore, have you found out anything regarding the uterus dropping down, Odagiri?”
I knew you would try to brush aside your previous words.
And yes, I didn’t actually say that out loud. I suddenly had an urge to smoke. However, not only did my superior in front of me dislike smoking but I was also only nineteen so smoking would be against the law. I don’t really have the courage to start smoking right next to an area full of police.
“Odagiri, stop worrying over whether there are people next to you or not and just quit smoking for your own good. It’s not like the smell of tobacco is that alluring.”
“Miss Mayuzumi, please stop reading my mind, and also please mind your own business.”
The whole reason I even became addicted to smoking is due to the stress I accumulated from being around you.
I instinctively swallowed down those words and Mayuzumi gave a smile.
Her smile had a dangerous feeling behind it.
“Back to what we were talking about, Odagiri. A uterus was dropped down so that means the victim is a female. Since it’s impossible for a male to have that organ, with this, the claims have further credibility.”
I gave a sigh when I heard this.
I didn’t know whether to consider that good or bad.
Mayuzumi then drew her paper umbrella out and walked forth. The people passing by unconsciously made way for her after seeing her elegant movements.
In contrast, people jostled up against me.
“Anyways, how were your results?”
“Nothing major, just that it seems she’s mentally unbalanced. Her mind was just filled with thoughts about killing her sister. I don’t recommend taking this case and recommend referring the person to a mental hospital instead.”
“Hmm~ I see, that might be the correct course, however, Odagiri.”
Inadvertently, Mayuzumi lifted her paper umbrella up. I also unconsciously looked up.
And noticed a person standing on top the roof of a tall building.
But the figure was covered by a glaring light and gradually became blurrier. Surprisingly when I looked back down, I realized that Mayuzumi was standing next to a vending machine. And for some reason looking for something in the coin return slot. Sensing my gaze, she gave a slight smile and continued talking as if nothing had happened.
“Odagiri, it would seem even now there are still organs being dropped.”
A heart of unknown origin dropped onto the ground between the buildings.
This was a supernatural phenomenon that had been occurring at random recently.
I had met the woman who knew the truth behind these occurrences……but the words she spoke were completely incomprehensible.
* * *
My sister had committed suicide a month ago.
She was having trouble regarding workplace relations.
I didn’t know anything about it so at the time I was really surprised…..my sister had jumped off the roof of an abandoned building as if she were diving headfirst into a pool. Just what was she thinking as she fell down? Did she feel regret as she plummeted through the air? Or did she feel fear? The feeling she felt when she met the ground…….
Ah, I’m sorry. My sister had committed suicide a month ago. Although she was still alive when in the ambulance she didn’t have any hopes of surviving. But it didn’t matter what happened at that point.
The problem was my sister had suddenly disappeared. No one had gone to visit her and yet my practically dead sister had just vanished. It’s obviously impossible for her to just walk out but she was gone. A while after my sister’s disappearance, an incident occurred at the building she jumped off of.
An organ suddenly dropped down from the top of the building. Yes, a still warm organ had just magically fell from the sky. I instantly understood. The organ belonged to my sister. The various organs inside my sister also wanted to commit suicide.
My sister’s body had disappeared from the hospital and was committing suicide piece-by-piece. I use to love my sister. I loved her more than anyone else. So I decided to kill my sister. Why am I saying such words? That’s because…….
I love her.
I turned off the tape recorder and re-winded the tape. Compared to the outside the cool apartment was essentially heaven. Mayuzumi was sitting on the sofa. For some reason she was wearing a large white coat over her Gothic Lolita clothes. There was even a name tag on the front.
“What do you think, Miss Mayuzumi? Also isn’t it about time we buy an IC Recorder? Who in the world still uses a tape recorder nowadays? Furthermore isn’t it a bit too much to force me to use my own money to buy the tape?”
“Not really, but judging from the tone, and contents, the person is truly crazy.”
She completely ignored me, pretending not to notice my bitter expression, Mayuzumi picked up her teacup. She then drank the hot chocolate inside and poured herself another cup. The air became filled with a strong aroma.
“……Miss Mayuzumi, please stop drinking that. And is this really appropriate for a case? I think her words contain quite the delusions.”
“Delusions? Well, I suppose you could call them delusions. But it’s still quite different from delusions since the issue lies in the contents.”
After saying this, Mayuzumi finished her drink and began pouring a third cup. The sweet aroma continued wafting about.
“Regarding personal interests, the easiest way of causing dissonance with others is through food, Odagiri.” Having different values regarding food can easily create cracks in a relationship. Since you really hate sweets, it’s understandable why you want me to stop. But if I don’t have my chocolate I will die, therefore be a good person and put up with it.”
Unfortunately, I’m actually one of humankind’s worst!
Right, I wanted to shout that out, but in the end I could only swallow down those words. So instead of shouting out my complaints I ended up obediently saying.
“Understood, so what’s this about the contents?”
“There are several, but since I can’t tell you now, just keep that in mind”
“Understood, I knew you would say that. Anyways, you’re intending to accept the commission then?
“Hm, I don’t know whether I can. You’re very talented Odagiri, so it would be very helpful if you could work hard like you usually do. But just one issue, your ignorance towards the benefits of captivity is a problem.”
I don’t really want to understand that sort of thing. I gave a sigh and stood up. Shortly thereafter, Mayuzumi turns on the tape recorder. A girl’s sweet voice began playing.
I love her. So I decided to kill my sister…..
Mayuzumi smiled upon hearing these murderous words.
“Longing for someone is a nice thing, the difficulty will make this interesting.”
The smile was a very warped one.
“Sadness or boredom? Which is worse I wonder?”
Mayuzumi was no longer paying attention to me and turned away in her over-sized white coat. I looked back towards her and murmured.
“I prefer boredom.”
And then left the room. Upon exiting the apartment, the warm summer sunlight enveloped me from head to toe.
Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya.
In this city of over two million people, there was a certain apartment complex. It was located in a high-class residential area, but aside from a certain room the building was essentially empty. On the fifth floor of the building, hanging on the door of the lone inhabited room.
《Mayuzumi Psychic Detective Agency》
If it wasn’t for the fact that I work here, I definitely would’ve pointed and laughed upon seeing that sign.
* * *
Although she is only a fourteen year-old girl, she is a detective and my superior. However, she usually never took on cases befitting of a detective. Although there were often some very similar jobs, considering the sign on the door it’s quite normal.
Mayuzumi isn’t even an official detective. She never applied for a license as a detective. So it should be normal for her not to receive any cases. It would actually be strange for her to even receive any cases.
But somehow, for some reason she would always receive cases on a regular basis. And each one of them would always end up being a mysterious case like the current one.
“She wants to find her near-dead sister, so she can kill her.”
Just thinking about the contents of the current case made my head hurt.
I once again cursed the trapped me who was forced to work alongside Mayuzumi. I heaved a deep sigh as I sat on the train’s seat. A long time ago, back when I had no relation to her. If that incident hadn’t occurred, I probably would’ve entered college already. For a moment, my vision suddenly went dark. I wanted to throw up and I quickly covered my mouth. It seems I still can’t think about the incident that occurred back then. I shook my head, trying to clear my mind. I have to stop reminiscing about the past.
I can’t change what happened.
So I tried suppressing my stomach spasms, and lowered my gaze. I still have to switch to a different train before I can reach my destination. Although taking a taxi would be quicker, I have to pay more. My salary is very small, so under these circumstances I can only resist such luxuries. Thus after wasting quite a bit of time, I finally reached my destination. The area where the house I am visiting was gave off a foul stench for some reason.
Over there, a female with long hair wearing a dress waved at me.
The dress was pure white.
Her figure looked like something out of a movie or painting.
As I approached, the woman smiled brightly. Although she is very pretty and had flawless skin, there was a certain craziness surrounding her. I remained vigilant as she looked towards me. Deceivingly gentle-looking women like Mayuzumi for example cannot be trusted. This was a lesson I learned the hard way.
“I apologize, the conversation with my superior turned out longer than expected……did I make you wait?”
“No, you’re right on time. Also I would like to thank you once again for accepting my case. If you hadn’t accepted it, I don’t know what I would do.”
The woman’s eyes became teary. I silently reviewed her case within my mind.
Yamashita Kazue, 25 years old. Both her parents died in a car accident about five years ago. She lived together with her sister. And works in a flower shop she had inherited from her parents. Her sister use to work for a large insurance company, but committed suicide a month ago.
However, before she could be officially declared dead she had disappeared from the hospital. She claims that the recent occurrence of organs dropping down from the sky are her sister’s organs. The contents of the case: Find her near-dead sister, so she can kill her.
After accepting her case over the phone, she sounded very happy and insisted I come over to her house.
Apparently to show me some photos.
I looked behind Kazue and unconsciously held my breath. Piles of garbage were stacked up beside the entrance. Perhaps a crow had been rummaging through it or something, but the semi-liquidated waste inside was spilled out. And under the sweltering hot sunlight, the unfiltered waste products were rotting at an alarming rate. It seems this is the source of the putrid odor. From the side it appears the yard is also in a similar state, the weeds were also thriving and already waist-high. It was practically impossible to tell that someone lived here.
It seems she completely gave up on daily life after her sister committed suicide.
Or technically speaking, she became mentally unbalanced after the death of her sister.
Is there perhaps some sort of abnormal warping occurring in the depths of her heart somewhere?
I glanced back towards Kazue and she gave a smile. There wasn’t a single trace of unsettlement on her face.
But because of this uncanny calmness, she appeared even more warped.
“Please come inside.”
“Ah…..ah, yes. Excuse me.”
Kazue began walking inside without showing any signs of shame regarding the deprived state of her house. Her slender legs brushed up against the mounds of garbage sending them flying. Completely disregarding the fatally infectious waste products smeared all over her white sandals, she pulled open the door.
“I’m sorry, the house is a bit messy.”
An utterly foul stench assaulted my nose. Glancing down, I saw numerous shoes piling up the entire entrance. Since I’ve been taking care of Mayuzumi who has the habit of throwing her shoes everywhere, I had an urge to clean the entire mess. But I resisted the impulse and quickly stepped inside.
At that moment, I felt a sudden gaze behind my back.
I turned around but there was no one in sight. After glancing around for a bit, Kazue then hurriedly pushed me towards the inside of the house. Inadvertently, I had also realized something; all the shoes had two pairs, as if there were two people wearing the exact same things.
“Please come this way.”
Seeing her gradually fading back, I hurried after her. I followed her into a room, which when compared to the state of the kitchen I saw along the way, was in much better shape. It’s likely Kazue uses this room as her living quarters. But due to this, I also felt a gnawing bone-chilling atmosphere enveloping me.
There were pictures of a woman plastered all over the walls without leaving a single gap.
The smiling woman had an appearance that was somewhat similar to Kazue. But compared to the sickly pale Kazue, the woman appeared much more lively and her skin also had a healthy tanned glow to it. Since they look alike, this woman is probably Kazue’s sister, even the floors are covered with her photos. This made me feel as if I had walked into an illusion-like space made up of a person’s face.
“Please sit down over there.”
I looked towards where she was pointing and two sitting cushions were laid out. If I sat on top of that, it would be like I was sitting on her sister’s face.
Should I sit or not sit?
“May I ask what’s wrong?”
“……Oh it’s nothing, please excuse me.”
With no other choice I decided to sit down and Kazue also followed suit. She slowly curved her white legs and sat down with her back upright.
“I am very grateful you two were willing to accept my case.”
“No, the pleasures mine. Thank you very much for entrusting your case to us. Although I don’t know how much help we can be, we will do our best.”
Kazue once again smiled in an uncanny composed manner. Everything she had spoken about before sounded completely delusional and it also seemed like she was hiding something underneath that paper-like skin.
I dislike this woman.
“What do you think, my sister is very beautiful isn’t she? She’s perfect.”
Suddenly, her words became incoherent. Kazue shifted her gaze towards the photos and nodded her head with an innocent child-like smile. This was the first time she revealed such an expression and I really wanted to disregard this random interjection.
“Although this might make you recall unpleasant feelings, it’s a crucial piece of information for our investigation. So if possible, can you tell me more regarding the situation surrounding your sister?”
After giving a cough, Kazue looked at me in confusion.
“……What did you want to ask?”
What I want to ask?
Shouldn’t it be obvious?
“That……I am very sorry……what did you mean by situation?”
“The time when your sister committed suicide, could you tell me more about it?”
Kazue blinked dejectedly and sat straight.
“What I told you before was already everything. My sister committing suicide doesn’t matter to me, the issue lies in the fact that my sister didn’t die. My sister didn’t die but her body disappeared and is now once again attempting suicide in a twisted manner. Since my sister wasn’t able to successfully pass on, I now bear the responsibility of killing her. This is something only I can do since I love my sister more than anyone else. The case I asked you two to handle was to find my sister’s “body” before all her parts drop down. Please find my missing sister’s body at all cost. After that, I will finally be able to kill that body.”
Isn’t this essentially just more work for you? I wanted to say this as Kazue grimaced.
I felt like a switch inside my body had been turned on releasing my stress.
For whatever reason, I had a huge urge to smoke but I clenched my fist and suppressed my impulse. I ignored the rationality of the dialogue and tried focusing my attention on the contents.
Her near-dead sister had disappeared and was reattempting a twisted sort of suicide. She wants us to find her sister’s body before all her parts drop down. Since the investigation target for this time didn’t simple disappear ordinarily, there was apparently no reason to investigate the matters surrounding her relationships and suicide motives.
It’s justifiable and the reason makes sense.
But it’s also perplexing due to that reason.
“Two questions, may I ask them?”
“First, your sister attempted to commit suicide. However, your sister’s body then disappeared from the hospital, and is now once again reattempting suicide in the same manner, correct?”
“Understood, but why is your sister intentionally doing something like this? She was already nearly dead, so wouldn’t it have been better to just await death in the ward she was in?”
Her missing body wanted to commit suicide piece-by-piece in the same manner.
What had caused such a twisted situation?
After I asked her why, Kazue gave a sigh. A blank expression appeared on her face. I felt a sense of incongruity in her actions and just when I was about to ask, a peaceful smile once again appeared on Kazue’s face.
“Who knows? What my sister was thinking has absolutely nothing to do with me. I only have to grant death to my sister who failed to die.”
She said these chilling lines without a trace of hesitation. This woman is really crazy, I was sure of that much.
“In that case, I’ll ask the second question.”
“Your sister’s body is dropping down from the abandoned building piece-by-piece, and currently all the organs that have dropped down are in the custody of the police. If it’s like that, then when her “actual body” drops down it should be completely empty inside right? That thing—–excuse me, would essentially already be dead. Moreover, her body will definitely land on the ground so there really isn’t any need for you to go out of your way to find and kill her. Because by the time you do find her she would long be dead already.”
“There is really no need to find her. But if it was something like wanting to give your departed sister a proper burial then it’s understandable.”
After I said this, Kazue gave a sad smile. The corners of her mouth twisted greatly. It was an expression that knew how much influence she could deal on the other.
“……It seems you don’t understand.”
Her response was exactly what I thought it would be. Her downcast eyes began glistening with tears.
“My sister didn’t die but she still wants to commit suicide nevertheless, it’s just something I can’t accept.”
In an instant, tears flowed forth from her eyes and began streaming down her face. Even an actor wouldn’t have cried so realistically. The sight of her tightly gripping the hem of her dress was enough to make anyone feel sad.
“If it’s like this, shouldn’t I try to kill her before she can fully commit suicide?”
Her smile had become warped. It was truly unbelievable.
“Understood, I’ll stop the inquires here. I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time.”
After bowing my head, I secretly glanced towards Kazue. The tears in her eyes had already disappeared. She was definitely hiding something.
Just how much of the information I obtained are lies?
It seems figuring this point out will be of critical importance.
After declining her offer of sending me out, I left Kazue’s house. I took a deep breath and fresh air coursed through my lungs. My throat which had long been devastated from the putrid odors felt a sense of relief wash over it. Although I really wanted to take a smoke break, let’s withhold for now.
I pretended I was leaving and began walking away. I walked towards a utility pole a short distance away from Kazue’s house and quickly reached out my hand.
I grabbed the neck of a man pretending to be passing by and quickly pushed him backwards before he could resist. The man lost his balance and I twisted his arm around pinning it to his back. Although it was a rough method it suited my currently terrible mood, so he would just have to deal with it.
“Why were you spying on that house?”
“W-What do you mean?”
“Enough with the acting, haven’t you been spying on us since the moment I entered the house up to now?”
I originally was just taking a wild guess, but the man’s expression instantly stiffened. When I was entering Kazue’s house I had felt someone’s gaze but couldn’t find anyone, but when I left her house I was finally able to find the hidden person.
It appears he really was spying on her house. The man’s shirt was soaked in sweat and his thin greasy hair was also dripping with perspiration. Contrary to his old appearance, he seems to be fairly young.
“Answer, why were you spying on that house?”
“Y-You, hehe, are you that woman’s, ahah,-boyfriend?”
When I questioned him the man suddenly began laughing. Is he touched in the head or something? His breath gave off the smell of rotten eggs.
“T-Th-Then you are really in for it, ahaha, that woman is not normal, hehe, she killed someone before, she’s a murderer, ahahahahhaha!!”
He patted my arm with his other hand as if he were someone familiar with me and suddenly burst into a crazed laughter. Although the figure of him laughing away gave him a demented feel, the words he said are far too dangerous to disregard as mere nonsense.
She’s a murderer….
“Hahaha, what you don’t know? Hahahaha!! Yukiko, Yukiko, that woman killed Yukiko, ahahaha-ah-ah-ha!!”
His voice became choked with a wailing laughter and he gradually started to weaken before going limp. I didn’t know who this Yukiko was, but I could still easily guess who she was. It’s probably the name of Kazue’s sister.
If she really did kill someone then there could only be one target.
But even so, I thought her sister had committed suicide of her own will by jumping off a building.
“Didn’t she……commit suicide?”
“Haha, haa-hah, Yukiko, she……Yukiko……would never……commit suicide. Yukiko didn’t kill herself, it was Kazue, she was killed by Kazue. Many times over and over, Yukiko said so herself, she said that person’s eyes were scary. She would always say how much she hated having to take care of that person. How creepy Kazue was and how she would always follow her around.”
The man was grumbling away incoherently to himself, but suddenly he opened his eyes wide and began screaming while flailing about.
“It’s true! It was Kazue! Kazue killed her! Kazue sh-she killed Yukiko!”
Killer! Killer! The man screamed away as if he were singing. But an icy-cold voice then muffled the man’s scream.
“What’s going on, Odagiri?”
I turned around and Kazue was standing there. It seems the man’s cries were loud enough for her to hear from inside her house. I cursed silently inside my mind. It was impossible to question him any further now. Kazue bowed her head slightly.
“Oh, it’s been a while, Sugita. You even came all the way here, did something happen?”
Sugita began emitting a murderous intent. I quickly tightened my grip on his arm I had pinned behind his back.
“Hey, calm down.”
“Kazueee!! It’s because of you! Because of you, Yukiko she-!”
“Enough, Sugita, haven’t we already resolved that accusation?”
Kazue calmly replied. But Sugita began roaring away in anger.
“You listen here! Just one day, one day I will-”
“Don’t you forget, I was the one who drop the charges against you. If you continue bothering me, I will call the police again.”
Sugita’s shoulders suddenly gave a violent shudder. His entire body went limp and then he violently brushed off my hand. It was done quite violently, but it seems he didn’t want to stay here any longer. He arched his slightly dirty back and threw a few curses before leaving.
I glanced towards Kazue. She was still smiling uncannily like usual. She had overheard our previous conversation, but it didn’t seem as if she was fazed by it.
“I’m very sorry, Odagiri, are you alright?”
“I’m fine, don’t worry, but I think it might be better for you to contact the police.”
“I see, thank you for your concern, but there is no need to worry. That person doesn’t have that kind of courage, he won’t be able to do anything.”
Kazue stared towards the direction Sugita left. And a silence fell. After a while it seems she noticed my questioning look, and with a small sigh she began speaking.
“That person is Tomoyuki Sugita, he use to be my sister’s lover.”
“Yes, although it’s in the past.”
I suppose it could be put that way, the person was already dead so they couldn’t still be lovers. No, Yukiko was alive when she disappeared, so it isn’t impossible. But anyways it doesn’t really matter either way. What I want to know is something else.
“It seems his mind is full of delusions.”
“How should I put it…….although it’s quite sad.”
I think she already knew what I was going to say, but Kazue still had a composed expression on her face nevertheless. Just what was she hiding underneath that expression.
If anyone can tell me, please do.
“He said you killed your sister.”
An uncanny smile once again appeared on Kazue’s face.
“…….That person is free to say whatever he wants, after all-”
She then said something unexpected.
“–that person already broke up with my sister even before her suicide.”
“…….Already broke up?”
I replayed Sugita’s behavior in my mind. I was under the assumption he had begun spying on Kazue’s house after the unreasonable death of his lover. But apparently they had already broken up.
“A week before my sister tried committing suicide, she proposed they break up. When I heard this from her workplace I was also very surprised, apparently up till my sister’s suicide he had been conducting very possessive-like behavior. So I didn’t tell him that my sister had disappeared after her attempted suicide. And only told him that my sister had committed suicide and was dead. I also lied to him and said that a private funeral was held for her, but anyways it has nothing to do with him.”
She crossed her fingers and continued staring towards the direction Sugita had left. A sorrowful expression appeared on her face as if she were showing sympathy towards the pitiful man. However, a far different expression was deeply imprinted in my eyes. It was at the moment before her expression turned sorrowful, a fleeting instant that I managed to catch.
A snarling and warped mocking smile.
That mocking smile she showed towards Sugita’s pitiful figure was definitely her true personality.
* * *
“…….This is all the information I obtained.”
“Hm, thank you, it looks like things are getting more interesting. By the way, Odagiri, please open your mouth a little.”
She beckoned towards me as if she were commanding a dog. I gave a frown but did as she instructed and immediately Mayuzumi tossed a macaroon into my mouth. I unconsciously bit down, the sugary outer layer crumbled apart and the filling inside spread throughout my mouth.
“This type of pastry is a bit interesting as it’s quite compact but breaks apart rather easily when bitten. It’s very sweet so it might be more oriented towards younger people, but it’s still worth commending. Besides, I hate things that only adults can indulge in, drinking is one example and smoking is another. Not only is it unhealthy but even the smell itself is very unpleasant.”
Mayuzumi stared at me as she said this. She had used the sugary flavor of the macaroon to cover up the leftover nicotine smell in my mouth. I took a smoke break quite a few hours ago so it shouldn’t have been noticeable, but she’s keen as expected.
“……You actually noticed the smell.”
“I think it would be stranger if I didn’t notice the smell, but if you really want to smoke no matter what then so be it. However, there are just some things that people can and cannot withstand, so at the very least try and keep other people’s feelings in mind.
I was startled, Mayuzumi actually knew words like “keep other people’s feelings in mind”.
Mayuzumi took a sip of hot chocolate after saying her piece. I glanced at the legs sticking out from under her over-sized white coat, she was wearing stockings. Her dress was unusually short today.
“It’s quite a rare appearance.”
“Hm? Ah, it was recommended to me by the saleslady at the store I frequent. I didn’t want to waste my time with her so I just bought it.”
She ended up buying something she didn’t even want and it also seems very expensive, but Mayuzumi didn’t look like she particular cared. Instead, she causally picked up a box of 400 yen chocolate mushrooms and began eating them. It doesn’t seem like she regarded the clothing any different from cheap convenience store products. Perhaps for her, money is essentially on the level of water.
And yet she’s so stingy when it comes to paying wages, she probably just does that to annoy me.
“Continuing our previous conversation, let’s discuss what we can make out from the information you obtained. I also went out today, although it was only about as long as the time it takes to eat five bars of chocolate.”
It’s also quite rare for Mayuzumi to go out by herself. But then again, I did hear something about her family being very influential in the company Yukiko worked at. She gave a smile and continued.
“It seems Yamashita Yukiko had many problems in her workplace. Perhaps she’s just slow, but it seems she constantly made mistakes and even offended important customers before. It was to the point where she was forced to resign, but before then she caused an irrevocable issue that couldn’t even be amended if she resigned, the issue caused the company’s earnings to plummet……her colleagues even said things like “she probably wants to die at this point”.”
“That was also mentioned in the police report, the police also deemed that as the cause of her suicide.”
“Even more, it appears she would occasionally show suicidal thoughts. At first, it was just simply wishing she could just die. But gradually her tone became more serious, and a week before her suicide she also broke up with her boyfriend even though they were engaged. After taking care of all personal matters, she even left an unsent text that has been declared a will. So the claims of her committing suicide isn’t groundless. It could even be said that this is without a doubt a suicide incident. Thus the death was carried out of her own will. Case closed. All’s well that ends well.”
Mayuzumi concluded her summary as if she were ending a story. She picked up a chocolate mushroom with two slender fingers.
“Her colleagues were relieved after she died, this could be clearly seen from their words—–in truth, the near-dead Yukiko actually disappeared from the hospital before she died, but everyone just treated it like she had already died beforehand.”
Popping the piece of chocolate into her mouth, she then smiled happily.
“She wanted to die and she died. There’s nothing that can be done now that she’s dead. “She probably wants to die”…….if words like these relentlessly bombarded Yamashita Yukiko when she was alive, what do you think the true intention behind them would be, Odagiri?
This was an overly-simple riddle. Although I’m a bit disappointed that I’m able to instantly answer it.
“She should just die, right?”
“Correct, at least you can think normally regarding this subject, I’m quite relieved.”
It was sarcasm, but it seems Mayuzumi didn’t mean it any malicious way. That being said, I felt a choking sensation in my chest whenever I thought about the environment surrounding Yukiko. One by one, the malicious intent of her colleagues shoved her from behind like invisible hands.
Until finally, she was pushed right off a building.
But even so, everyone just pretended they had nothing to do with it, and called it a simple suicide.
“Right, putting aside the fine details for now. Yukiko committed suicide, because she couldn’t withstand the pressure from her peers, so she jumped off a building. With this the suspicions regarding the client should be cleared. I don’t want to accept the case of a murderer after all.”
I recalled Kazue’s behavior in my mind and began calming myself. I picked up my own mug but the coffee I had prepared before giving the report was already cold. Although it was cold it seems I still wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, as when I brought the mug to my mouth, Mayuzumi quickly said.
“No, Yamashita Yukiko was killed by her, that part is certain.”
The bitter taste of the coffee instantly increased.
I looked at her, Mayuzumi gave a cunning smile. Suddenly she picked up a piece of chocolate and tossed it into my coffee. With a ‘plop’ a sweet smell was mixed in. A drop of coffee splashed onto my nose, she gently wiped it off with her finger, and then immediately pressed the white fingertip to her lips, licking off the coffee.
“Let’s head out tomorrow morning, although caffeine is essentially for waking the brain, I still prefer getting my intake from chocolate over coffee. Plus the slight sugar intake is healthy. Also Odagiri–”
After a long analysis of the report she finally concluded with a:
–what’s wrong with accepting the case of a murderer?”
* * *
A gentle warm wind brushed against my face. The streets were empty since it was still early morning. And the discrepancy between the red paper umbrella and sunny weather was quite large. Why did Mayuzumi choose to go out so early in the morning?
Even more confusing she wants to visit the area where the organs were falling.
Mayuzumi and I arrived at the office buildings we were at a few days ago. The police tape had been removed. This location where the uterus had dropped down had become an infamous supernatural spot, but luckily there were no people around now.
Newspaper articles also treated the incident like an interesting story to report. So it ended up becoming nothing more than a public gathering spot. Hopefully the next organ that drops here will land on one of the onlookers. If an organ were to smash onto someone’s head people would definitely think twice before coming here.
I turned around and saw Mayuzumi crouching down in front of the same vending machine again. She had her hand underneath the vending machine searching for something. Obviously not caring whether or not she would get her expensive dress dirty. Just what was she looking for? Also for some reason I felt like smoking. I wasn’t even stressed yet I still want to smoke, this isn’t a good sign, I have a bad feeling.
I didn’t know what was about to happen but I suddenly felt homesick, I couldn’t remember when was the last time I even went back to my nice and cozy apartment.
“I found it.”
Mayuzumi stood up and she was holding a 100 yen coin in her hand.
“What a relief, I thought I might not find it, it’s quite satisfying to have your predictions come true. Technically speaking, these sort of small things are actually harder to find.”
She held it out for me to see. It looked like any other 100 yen coin, but then I realized the back of the coin was coated with dried blood.
“Miss Mayuzumi, please hold it more still so I can properly see.”
I should probably start paying more attention to details, if I keep this up I might end up missing something important.
But Mayuzumi suddenly flicked the coin away with her fingers. The 100 yen coin was sent flying and rolled back under the vending machine. I thought she had purposely done that but then Mayuzumi angrily whispered under her breath.
“My mistake, Odagiri, that was my fault. Since I apologized, could you retrieve it for me?”
I don’t really know how that would be considered an apology.
Just as she said it’s her own fault so I don’t really understand why I have to do this. But I crouched down and began searching. In the end, I finally found it after getting down on all fours to search. I gave it back to Mayuzumi and she nodded.
“I appreciate it, the effort you put into your work is truly valuable to me, even the police wouldn’t have investigated this vending machine.”
Mayuzumi then inserted the bloodstained coin into the vending machine. What are you doing? That took a lot of effort to find! Just as I was about to voice this, I heard a noise and the coin was returned.
“So it really was returned.”
“I was saying how this useless coin ended up being returned. Is it a defective coin or something? Occasionally there are coins were machines can’t recognize and end up returning, so it seems this is one of them.”
“So? What about it?”
“So it seems she wasn’t able to buy a drink. You know? One of the drinks from the vending machine? But if it were me I would actually buy hot chocolate, now then what would she buy?”
Mayuzumi became lost in thought. The vending machine gave off an artificial glow while her eyes flashed like a cat’s eye.
“Humans are driven by simple reasons, yet they are also killed because of simple reasons.”
Mayuzumi seems to have figured out something, but I could only repeat the same question like some sort of parrot. She smiled shortly afterwards. As I glanced at the dangerous smile upon her face, I began to regret even asking but it was too late.
“Anyways, it seems that was the reason she was here.”
Mayuzumi quickly opened her red paper umbrella. A sharp “pop” sounded and her umbrella unfolded like a blooming safflower. And just like a scenery change during a play, the scene before my eyes suddenly changed. A woman with long hair appeared in front of the vending machine. Although I had seen her face before, it was different since she was moving while before she was just a photo.
She bent down, took the coin from the coin return and inserted it back into the vending machine. But the coin was returned yet again. She bent down again, and repeated the same movements……over and over again.
“What is this thing……?”
“Calling her a “thing” is rather rude, she’s Yamashita Yukiko. Or rather a “ghost” of her. She was also here when we first came here. But it seems like you didn’t notice. Well then, Odagiri, do you understand now? The reason she was here was as a matter of fact due to a rather simple reason.”
I finally understood what Mayuzumi meant earlier.
Humans are driven by simple reasons.
Since she couldn’t buy a drink from the vending machine she couldn’t leave it.
It does make sense logically. She was standing right in front of the vending machine yet she couldn’t accomplish her objective. Thus she couldn’t leave.
But even so, this being the reason is simply absurd.
“Wait a minute……for a reason like that. No wait, if previously Yamashita Yukiko was actually here, then what’s up with those organs? She’s here so who do those organs belong to then?”
“Those also belong to Yamashita Yukiko.”
Mayuzumi gave an instant reply. She nodded towards the Yamashita Yukiko in front of us.
“Those were her physical self, this is her soul.”
Yukiko once again bent down to retrieve the coin. At that moment, Mayuzumi suddenly closed her umbrella and swung it towards her. The blur of red came into contact with the back of her head. But the umbrella passed through her and instead smashed heavily into the vending machine.
“She had been attacked like that and ended up dropping the 100 yen coin. At that moment she entered a state between life and death; and her soul emerged. Her soul was then left here and her body dragged to the top of the building and thrown down. As a result, her physical body was left in a near-death state and her soul remained here.”
She pointed her red umbrella up towards the building. I also looked up and realized that a shadow had appeared for a split-second on top the building roof. Someone was looking down, but the figure immediately became blurry and disappeared.
Was that “shadow” perhaps Yukiko’s actually body we were commissioned to find?
“Yes, correct. Her body is stuck between this realm and somewhere that isn’t here, wondering aimlessly about. Her body which had lost its soul ended up disappearing from the hospital in order to return to its soul. But it was unsuccessful. Thus Yukiko’s body was only able to return ‘piece-by-piece’. The body which disappeared from the hospital is trying to return from the rift it’s stuck in ‘piece-by-piece’. All in order to reunite with its soul, ‘piece-by-piece’.”
“How is that kind of thing even possible?”
“Normal humans cannot do it. Since a body would cease to function without a soul, and the soul will only remain here. Nonetheless, someone helped her. That person had helped moved her body in accordance to her desire.”
For a moment, I could clearly feel an ice-cold touch upon my back. In compliance with a human’s desires and bringing forth an impossible situation. And I knew who “that” person was.
But before I could confirm, Mayuzumi continued speaking.
“But since she had distorted the impossible, her body was unable to successfully return. And instead returned in pieces. Because of this, something that should’ve been over with a single death ended up turning into such a commotion. But here’s the problem, Odagiri, what does the body wish to do after recovering its soul?”
She looked towards me as if urging me to complete the question. But it was honestly beyond me. I raised my hands indicating that I surrender, and Mayuzumi smiled grimly.
“Yamashita Yukiko wishes to kill herself.”
“What? Her body wants to recover her soul just so she can kill herself?”
“It’s why our client for this case wants to kill Yamashita Yukiko herself. Since she was always following Yamashita Yukiko around she could easily tell that her sister was starting to hate her. Then around that time her sister committed a huge mistake at her workplace. Naturally, she would also hear about the situation and that’s when she realized. This was the perfect opportunity, this was her chance to make it appear as if her sister had committed suicide out of depression.”
An image of Kazue surfaced within my mind.
A woman that appeared to be hiding something behind her gentle smile.
A woman who was hiding her true malicious personality.
“Our client had followed Yamashita Yukiko and struck her on the head when she was bending down to pick up her coin. After that she dragged Yamashita Yukiko to the top of this building and tossed her down, making it appear like a suicide. Our client’s plan was rather successful, you could even say it was successful beyond her expectations.”
That’s true, it normally wouldn’t have been so easy.
If all the conditions hadn’t been so perfectly aligned, it wouldn’t have been deemed a suicide.
“The matters surrounding her workplace, breaking up with her lover, an unsent will, and the critical decisive condition. Why did Yamashita Yukiko come to an abandoned building complex?”
“Why? She had no reasons yet she still came to this place.”
“That’s because she was thinking of committing suicide here.”
A coin dropped to the ground with a loud “clink”. With a hollow expression in her eyes, Yukiko once again bent down.
“Her little sister had only quickened her death, but in the end she didn’t die. She wasn’t able to accept her own death so a distorted situation like this happened instead. Yamashita Yukiko’s body had disappeared from the hospital wanting to return here. But because the soul itself doesn’t realize it already lost its physical body, the body has nothing to guide it and was unable to successfully return. So in other words, it was a failure.”
Mayuzumi gave a sigh and shook her head.
“By the way……this was done by “him”. He is someone who only helps those that he finds “interesting”……but no matter, it’s impossible to confirm whether he actually was here at this point. Just like you back then, remember?”
I felt breathless upon hearing her ask me that. A sharp pain ran through my stomach and I bent over to endure a sudden urge to vomit. My heart began pounding rapidly and the sound of rain surfaced within my ears.
I tried calming myself while gripping my stomach, but the hallucinating sounds of rain wouldn’t disappear. As my vision started to blur, I heard the sound of Mayuzumi’s voice.
“My mistake, just pretend I didn’t say anything, how could you ever forget.”
She made a slight hand movement. Her snow white hand waving like a sort of butterfly. I slowly stood up while remaining silent. Trying to ignore the previous unsettling question not wanting her to realize my weakness.
“I want to ask you something.”
“Please go ahead, you’re free to ask as many questions as you like. Questions are important after all. Since no matter how meaningless the question is it at least will still have some value.”
“Why wasn’t she able to successfully die? Even if she died unknowingly, I don’t think a person who wanted to commit suicide would care that much.”
Regardless of being killed or committing suicide, in the end both lead to death.
But Mayuzumi shook her head with a smile.
“Well let me ask you, Odagiri, would you want to pass on while you were still thirsty? If it were me I would want to pass on eating chocolate.”
My mind began automatically processing the question.
If it were me what would I do? I would want to pass on while smoking in my own shabby but cozy apartment. I don’t really care for something like chocolate though.
That aside, if I were to see a certain “someone” with their red paper umbrella beside me, I couldn’t die even if I actually wanted to die.
But in that case…
On a summer afternoon, between one or two during one of the hottest time of the day, and being thirsty to the point of having to buy a drink from a vending machine.
Putting a twenty yen coin in first and then placing in a hundred only to have it spat back out at you. And in the midst of fuming over unable to buy a refreshing drink and bending over to pick up the coin, your consciousness suddenly goes blank.
“Correct, in the end it’s all just because she wasn’t able to get her drink.”
For just that simple of a reason?
With a twirl of her umbrella, Mayuzumi took out a chocolate bar from her pouch and tore it open with her mouth. She took a bite and then continued.
“Just when she was thinking of killing herself of her own will, she was knocked out and at the worst possible time too. It would be strange if she was actually able to pass on.”
So she wasn’t able to pass on for such a reason.
And is now trying to return back here to complete her own way of suicide.
“Do you understand now, why our client wants us to find her sister and kill her, and why she was able to deduce the meaning behind the organs dropping here as her sister’s intention to re-kill herself? She probably felt that her sister had managed to escape her grasp by disappearing from the hospital. Thus she wants us to find her sister’s body before all the parts drop down and her sister successfully re-kills herself, so that she can end her sister’s life herself.”
So essentially she just doesn’t want her sister to kill herself and wants to prevent it at all cost.
“Our client hasn’t really told us anything regarding her sister’s death, because she doesn’t want to let anyone know that she killed her own sister. She wants to pretend that her sister committed suicide, when in reality she was the one who killed her. She believes that her sister belongs to her, but didn’t want others to convict her. Even more, she feels her sister is trying to escape from her grasp thus she wants to end her sister’s life personally.”
Kazue said she wants to kill her sister.
The reason being because she loves her.
It’s quite strange when placed side by side as the two don’t really fit together at all.
“She wasn’t able to carry out her own suicide, so now she’s back to complete her own suicide.”
But Kazue wants to personally kill her.
“That’s because for the little sister her actions are the greatest betrayal, the worst possible kind of betrayal.”
This was a truly insane way of thought.
I gave a deep sigh. It’s as if a great burden had suddenly twisted itself around me. Her thought process was utterly stupid. The amount of “dedication” she had for her sister was so overly-bearing that it made me think her entire existence was but a mere illusion.
Even if she killed her she still wouldn’t be able to obtain her.
It was essentially the same as throwing a useless tantrum.
Why doesn’t she just understand this?
“Ignorance is bliss, Odagiri, akin to consuming too much sugar, or overdosing to hallucinate.”
So for Kazue this is a sort of happiness, but for her sister it would be a real misfortune. I stared absentmindedly at Yukiko who was picking up her coin again feeling rather tired.
“……..What do we do?”
Should we tell Kazue? Although I didn’t say this out-loud, Mayuzumi gave a direct and simple response.
Then she walked forth unhesitatingly right beside Yukiko. Yukiko gave no sign of noticing Mayuzumi. Her eyes were completely clouded and reflected absolutely nothing.
But Mayuzumi suddenly reached out and snatched something out of the lifeless Yukiko’s hand.
It was the bloodstained 100 yen coin.
With a start, Yukiko’s head slowly began turning. Her two eyes gradually focusing upon Mayuzumi. Her gaping bottomless mouth opened.
Mayuzumi flicked the coin away and the spiraling coin flew off into the distance. As if she were preforming a magic trick, she waved her fingers and a new coin appeared within her hand. Then she offered it to Yukiko.
“You can use this one.”
That was a rather abrupt way of handling things.
Yukiko gave a blank stare when Mayuzumi held out the coin. After a while, she received it and inserted the coin into the vending machine. The inserted amount displayed on the vending machine went from 20 yen to 120 yen. And the display panels lit up. Then she sluggishly pressed the button for diet coke.
I had an urge to ask her if this was enough, but held my tongue at the last moment. No matter what she chose, it doesn’t make up for the amount of time wasted thus far.
With a loud metallic thud, a can dropped into the bottom. She bent down and picked up the can of diet coke.
Opening the can with a loud pop, fizzy brown color bubbles began pouring out.
Yukiko tilted the can and drenched her long-parched throat with the carbonated drink.
Immediately, she widened her eyes and————vanished.
Mayuzumi showed no signs of surprise upon her vanishing and instead looked up towards the abandoned building. I followed suit and also looked up. This is bad…
There was something plummeting through the blue skies down towards the concrete ground. Two arms were extended as if in a welcoming embrace. Against the resisting wind, the white dress whirled around the figure like an encirclement of flying doves. But a moment before coming into contact with the ground, she raised her head.
And I realized that she was looking towards us.
A bone-shattering and flesh-splattering sound rang out. A dark thick fluid began slowly spreading out over the ground towards our feet.
Yamashita Yukiko’s body had fallen down right before us.
* * *
We were contacted a few days later.
I thought we would be contacted sooner, but it’s likely the other party was in distress. I didn’t really want to go, but I had no other choice since Mayuzumi forced me to go.
I prepared myself before going, at this point no matter what happens it’s unavoidable. I was expecting her to call me over to her house, but our meeting spot was instead the abandoned building.
It was another scorching hot day just like any other.
A figure was standing next to the abandoned building, gazing up into the deep blue skies.
It seems Kazue had long arrived. She stared absentmindedly at the building her sister had jumped off of.
Within the dark looming shadow of the towering building, her white dress fluttered about with the passing wind. This spectacle made me recall the scene of her sister’s death from a few days ago.
However, the atmosphere around Kazue was completely different from that of a dead person.
An immense aura of rage was exuding from her body.
“What do you mean?”
“Stop playing dumb! What you two did was wrong! What you two did to my sister it was wrong!”
I could see a blood-red tongue from Kazue’s screaming mouth. A thick blood-lust within her eyes assaulted me.
I thought back to the newspaper I saw a few days ago.
The patient that disappeared from the hospital——–the one who committed suicide or rather attempted suicide. Her body had fallen down from the buildings.
Naturally, she was notified since they are related.
It’s quite possible the funeral ceremonial had even been completed already. I endured her bellowing rage and took out an envelope from my pocket. Inside it was the payment we received for taking on her case.
“You can have this back, I apologize that we weren’t able to complete your request.”
“Apologize? You apologize?! What a joke, what you just said wouldn’t even be considered a pathetic excuse! If……If I knew it would turn out like this, I wouldn’t have asked people like you two in the first place!”
Kazue was screaming at the top of her lungs now. I simply lowered my head in apology.
“I really am sorry, regardless of whatever you did to your sister, we are sincerely regretful it turned out this way. Also I have a message from my superior.”
Beads of sweat were sliding down from the back of my neck like cascading waterfalls. Just thinking about the contents of the message and how I was forced to repeat it gave me quite the headache.
A fear akin to a child who had done something bad raced through my heart, but I couldn’t run away. If I run away now, things will only become even worse.
Might as well just get it all over with now than later.
“You love your sister, you want to monopolize her, yet you also cherish her. I can understand your feelings but–…”
The sound of her taking a bite of chocolate echoed through my mind.
The melted chocolate bar really did look like blood.
“–since she wanted to “fly” so badly, you should just let her.”
Kazue was completely speechless and stared at me with wide eyes.
I lowered my head slightly in parting to the motionless doll-like her, then began briskly walking away.
In that moment, the back of my hair stood on end, and I instinctively turned around.
A snow white figure slammed right into me.
I felt a huge impact on my abdomen, a sharp pain and boiling warm heat began to spread. I looked down shakily, there was a thick knife embedded deep within my stomach.
Kazue gave a bloodcurdling laugh.
Laughing away maniacally, she began pushing the tip of the knife deeper and deeper into my flesh.
It was painful, incredibly painful.
But compared to the pain, the fact of her actually stabbing me with a knife was harder to believe.
Although I knew she was warped personality-wise, her going this far was beyond my expectations.
She even used an actual knife.
It would’ve been better if she just attacked me like she did to her sister.
Or just using a stun gun would’ve also been fine too.
But instead, she just had to stab me in the stomach.
Out of all places why did she have to go for the stomach?
Something unbeknownst to me began squirming inside my stomach.
Right in the area where I was stabbed, an intense sensation wedged about and sent rippling waves of pain throughout my body.
Kazue’s smiling expression changed and a look of fear replaced it.
Then with an audible “pop” my consciousness faded.
* * *
Following the light sound I opened my eyes.
A white ceiling appeared within my vision. The bitter smell of medicine permeated throughout the room along with the slight aromatic scent of chocolate.It seems even if I fell into the very depths of hell I wouldn’t be able to escape that scent.
“Yamashita Kazue is dead.”
Upon hearing a voice, I looked to my side and saw Mayuzumi sitting beside me. She was wearing a pitch black dress akin to a mourning attire while eating a bar of chocolate.
“She ended up losing both her arms and quite a bit of blood but Yamashita Kazue actually managed to survive, but then someone threw her down from the roof of the hospital while she was still in a comatose state. Just like what happened to her sister. Want to see the headlines?”
She handed over a newspaper the moment she said this.
It depicted a photo of a man, who had apparently snuck into the hospital and murdered the patient. A face that looked far younger than when I had met him was staring back at me.
“What you do to others will also come back around to you. The outcome of those who seek vengeance, how pitiful.”
Mayuzumi spoke in a soft voice as she continued eating the chocolate bar. I clenched the newspaper tightly in my hand.
“……Did you set this up?”
I began thinking back on Sugita’s figure from that day.
Although his behavior was borderline to the point of being stalker-like, in the end he never did have the courage to step beyond that fine line. Or at least it was suppose to be so, but if he did cross over that line….
Someone would have to give him that push.
“You told him what actually happened didn’t you?”
A piece of the chocolate bar broke off with a crisp sound. As Mayuzumi ate the piece of chocolate she said:
“If you ask me, I will answer. No matter how foolish the question is.”
The dried bits of chocolate in truth looked like nothing more than mere chocolate. The stuff I said about how the dried chocolate looked like blood was just an over-exaggeration. But the disgustingness of the matter was no lie.
“I didn’t tell him, whether someone commits murder or not is completely up to them. Just like whether someone chooses to commit suicide or not.”
I slowly began to sit up, the pain had already disappeared.
I opened my shirt and the area where I was stabbed had only left a strangely small scar.
“So you can sit up already, that’s good.”
“……Miss Mayuzumi, can I ask you another question?”
“Yes, you can, but if you make me repeat something over and over again I will get angry. But I will not get angry or feel annoyed over the actual question.”
I bit down upon my lip, I hesitated for a second about whether to even ask, but in the end decided to ask anyways.
“You said before that there was nothing wrong with accepting the case of a murderer. But then the outcome turned out like this. Although it’s unethical, we could’ve just done what was asked of us and yet…”
“Understand this, it doesn’t matter what the actual requesters themselves are like.”
Mayuzumi replied in a casual manner. She then continued on with her unrelenting words that held no conscience.
“As long as it’s interesting, I will even accept the case of a murderer. Although this time was a bit special. I didn’t really care for the actual case itself, but I was interested to see what would happen if I gave Yamashita Yukiko the 100 yen.”
So it wasn’t an act of kindness to save Yamashita Yukiko.
Or an act of pity for Yamashita Yukiko.
And instead, just a mere childlike curiosity.
“I just wanted to see someone commit suicide right in front of me.”
I thought back to the moment.
The sight of her body plummeting towards us, the sound of her flesh smashing heavily into the ground.
I’ve also heard something similar to that before in the past.
My thoughts shifted over into a scene of a roof under the blue and white skies. A person was standing there. The dress whirled about in the wind and suddenly the person began running forth as if upon signal. For a moment the body hung motionlessly in mid-air, then with the force of gravity plummeted straight down heavily onto the ground.
Upon hearing the sound of crushing flesh, I immediately brushed away my thoughts.
I couldn’t think back to that moment.
I couldn’t recall those memories.
A pain began surfacing in my stomach and beads of sweat began pouring forth.
It would be best if the terrible memories could just be sealed away like this.
If they weren’t, my stomach would burst open once again.
“Miss Mayuzumi, one more question.”
I ignored the anguishing pain within my stomach and continued on. A gentle smile appeared on Mayuzumi’s face as she urged me on.
It’s likely she more or less knew what I was going to ask.
When I thought that I began pondering whether it would perhaps be better to just not ask instead. But once again I decided to ask anyways.
“Did you also knew that I would be attacked?”
“Yes, I did expect that. Since I haven’t seen you get hurt in quite a long while, I wanted to see if your body could still hold up.”
The instant I heard that, my vision began to blur from an immense rage.
I wanted to lash out at the little girl who was sitting right in front of me. But there was no point in carrying out such actions. Even if I ended up breaking all the bones in Mayuzumi’s body, she would likely just continue eating her chocolate bar as if nothing had happened. I clenched my hands tightly.
“Ah, one more thing.”
Mayuzumi continued on as if she were oblivious of the inner turmoils within my heart.
“The “thing” within your stomach is also safe and sound.”
At this point my rage peaked and I couldn’t hold back my anger any longer. My fist flew towards Mayuzumi’s face.
Though with whatever bit of rationality I had left, my punch was instead diverted towards the wall beside her. A deafening sound erupted accompanied with a splintering cracking noise.
Judging from the tremendous pain it was likely broken, but the pain also allowed me to recover from my boiling rage in that critical moment. Mayuzumi continued eating her chocolate bar nonchalantly. I managed to utter forth a voice behind my tightly clenched teeth.
“Please try dying once.”
At that time I will even deliver the coup de grâce.
In response, Mayuzumi merely said.
“Do you want some?”
And held out her chocolate bar.
I immediately retorted and turned away from her.
A clear blue sky could be seen from the window of the ward room.
It was the same color as the sky on that day at the bottom of the building.
I didn’t know why, but I had an urge to smoke.
* * *
……What was happening?
I had suddenly came back to and realized that there was a new 100 yen coin in my hand.
This wasn’t the one I was previously holding, just who gave this to me?
I was clutching a coin without any scratches or marks. Although I didn’t know who gave this to me, it should be fine if I used it. My throat was far too parched, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I shoved the 100 yen coin into the vending machine. The coin dropped in with a clear metallic noise followed by the illumination of the red vending machine lights.
It was a simple occurrence.
That was what I should’ve thought, but because of the situation up till now the emotional feeling was greatly overwhelming.
After a moment’s hesitation, I chose a diet coke. There wasn’t any need to worry about calories anymore, but compared to a regular coke the slight reduction in sweetness is very appealing to me. I opened the can and a wonderful fizzing noise accompanied by bubbling emerged.
I just couldn’t resist it any longer. Bringing the can to my mouth, a cool and tingling sweetness assaulted my tongue. Draining the entire can in a single gulp, a refreshing sensation filled my entire throat. At that moment, the view of the sky greeted me.
And there was a person standing among the light blue background of the sky.
That figure had been unconsciously looking towards the sky for all this time now. But the figure which had been hazy up to now then suddenly began merging together and becoming clearer. That person was wearing the same white dress as my younger sister.
The white dress that whipped around with the wind also appeared like a whirl of clouds. White is my favorite color. But I had always felt disgruntled over my younger sister copying me and also wearing white. Looking from here it would seem that the color indeed suited me better.
———Ahh, that person….was me…
The moment I realized that the world flipped over. A fierce wind was blowing against my cheeks. I was staring at the vending machine from on top of the roof. But no one was there. Although there was a can of soda rolling on the ground.
Standing from the top of the building everything underneath looked so minuscule. And along with the glowing horizon and clear endless blue… In that forever timeless moment, I looked towards the stretching blue skies and took a step forth.
And felt the long awaited sensation of falling.
And just like this…I…for the first time in my life died.
Categories: Beyond Another Darkness