Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 1 Chapter 7
So I continued to live on hopelessly.
Our resilience is just too meaningless, and cause us to be unable to escape from this world if the angels don’t lend us a helping hand.
Actually, the police had already grasped the clue about Toshi and Hakamizaka from the medication that they got from Ayaka’s body, it’s just because of the fact that Hakamizaka is the son of a politician, they’ve handled the evidence that they collected very carefully. They never would’ve thought that a large group of NEETs would barge in, and even turned the whole matter upside down. The CID who interrogated me seemed to know Tetsu-senpai as well, and he told me the whole truth dolefully.
I was let go after just being interrogated once, while quite a few people from Hirasaka-gumi, led by Yondaime, were arrested. The reason that Alice and I were immediately released was probably because Yondaime hid a part of the truth, because he said to me when we separated: “You owe me one.”
Hakamizaka Shirou was dead even when the ambulance arrived at the scene; the other five who took part in manufacturing and selling the drugs also overdosed on the drug, and died in the hospital.
Just like that, the angels’ wings disappeared from the streets.
A typical ending.
I’m not sure of the details of what occurred after that, because I didn’t show up at Hanamaru Ramen Shop anymore.
January ended, and February passed gradually. After a few snowstorms, I failed in three more subjects in the end of semester test at the end of February.
I kept avoiding the Gardening Club, as I would think of Ayaka and get depressed there. Why was I depressed? I looked at the barren garden from the window of the classroom. It’s just that I’ve returned to the days before I met Ayaka, the me at that time didn’t feel painful when I was alone.
The reason that I changed was of course, because I started to understand the warmth of having other people by my side, so I thought of ways to forget about it, and avoid talking to the others. To my classmates who were worried about me and tried to chat with me, I just shook my head, refusing to say anything. Right after the make up examinations ended, I stopped going to school.
It’s just that I’ve gone back to the days before I met her— those are just lies.
Ayaka’s disappearance was like the wound of a scratch, deeply etched into my heart.
Sometimes, I would subconsciously remember things about Ayaka. Especially during midnight, when I laid on my bed, staring at the pitch black skies at the other side of the glass window.
Next, I would think of Alice’s cold hands, Min-san’s ice cream, and the sounds and laughter of four people surrounding a bowl, playing a game of dices.
But that did not exist solely for me. If I firmly deem that they exist solely for me, when I discover the truth, all of this would be taken away, defiled, vanish, leaving my own pitiful self.
If the ending is like this, it’s better if I don’t get closer from the start.
Those are my conclusions. Even if I would be alone like this, and nobody would ever speak to me or call my name again.
But one night, my phone suddenly rang. I kept skipping school, and just like that, the spring holidays arrived. On the first day of the spring holidays, my phone rang. It was because I was rolling around on my bed with the lights on, that I subconsciously picked up the phone.
‘It’s me, go to your school right away. I’m waiting for you in front of the entrance.’
It was Alice. It was indeed Alice’s voice.
I couldn’t believe it, and was dumbstruck, my phone pressed to my phone, and stared blankly at the ceiling.
‘What’s with you? Are you trying to tell me that you’re going to sleep soon? Late night is the time that I move about. As my assistant, you’re telling me that you want to sleep? Isn’t it the spring holidays right now? Hurry up and make preparations to come out.’
“Wh…..” Unable to speak properly, I choked. “Wh- Why? The school?”
Does Alice know what time it is?
‘It is now three thirty five at night. Come here in thirty minutes. You are absolutely not allowed to let me wait for you outside.’
“Why do I……:”
‘You just have to ask about everything, such an annoyance. You’re my assistant, right? Or did you forget about our employment contract? I have something that I need you to see, so don’t ask anymore, hurry up and come.’
I flipped over my phone and looked at it in great detail. I just have this feeling that the phone call was just my imagination, but the liquid plasma screen did show a phone log.
Something for me to see?
As I was determined not to meet again, I originally wanted to just ignore Alice’s phone call and sleep. But even when I closed my eyes and lied down on the bed to sleep, Alice’s words still lingered in my mind.
School. Something that I have to see.
Would it be something about Ayaka?
I got up from the bed and carefully tip toed downstairs to avoid waking my sister, and walked out of the entrance. Probably because it’s already springtime, I could finally go out at night without wearing a sweater.
I got onto my bike, riding in a zephyr in the night.
“You’re late by twelve minutes.”
Alice was mad. Just like that day, she wore a black, western dress, a bonnet with a veil on it, held a plushie of a baby bear in her hands, and was squatting down on the pillar in front of the school gate.
It was the first time I came to the entrance of M High School late at night, white fluorescent lights on the walls surrounding the school faintly illuminated the campus. A corner of the glass window on the third floor reflected the moon. There wasn’t anyone in there.
“Because you have this look of incomprehension on your face, I’ll just tell you first. I’m a hikikomori, the degree of my pain of staying outside is like extending an exponential function. You might think that twelve minutes is not a big deal, but for me, you’ll have to add the twenty five minutes of getting here from my room.”
“Sorry, but since it’s already late at night, it’s better not to make a fuss out here.”
Alice’s shut mouth started to pout, and caught hold of my belt with trembling hands.
“Take me to the place where the few potted plants are placed on the rooftop.”
“I’m a NEET detective. The alarms have already been switched off, and I have the keys as well.”
How did she get the keys?
“If you want to know, just ask Major. I’m don’t know about the details. Goodness knows how he got that.”
Major…… I had this feeling from before that he had criminal tendencies, but never would I thought that it was true. But why are we going to the rooftop anyways?
Alice stopped answering my questions, showed me a ‘you’ll know when you see it’ expression and pushed on my back forcefully. I sighed and accepted the keys.
After I opened the door, I stepped onto the nostalgic uneven ground of cement. As it was unlit, it was pitch black at the rooftop. The streetlights were too low after all, while the brightness of the stars was too far away.
The indistinct view of the night could be seen at the other side of the railings. Through the river, gazing at the direction of the station, the brightness of that area was like a desecration of the night. With its back to the station, the ambiguous boundary between the night sky and the earth were scattered with headlamps and the lights that seeped out of the windows of the buildings.
My thanks to the night sky. If it was daytime right now, I would probably think of Ayaka again, right?
“Ahhhh, there’s something helpful here. Could we climb up there from here?”
Alice said while tightly holding onto my belt behind me. Raising my head to look upwards, there was only the night sky and a huge, black hole— no, the shadow of the water tower.
“…… are you climbing?”
“Being higher is better.”
I had wanted to say that it’s too dangerous climbing up in the dark, but was deterred by Alice’s determined eyes. But even if I climbed up the ladder, I still had to use up a lot of energy to drag the helpless Alice up.
“What is with this ladder, not even thinking for users who are my size, really!”
Alice clambered up to the top of the water tower, sticking close to the surface that was uneven due to being slightly raised, and complained while panting.
“You could just put the plushie at the bottom…..”
“Do you think I can stand the horrors of being outside without Lyril? I know that you’re both cold and insensitive, but I didn’t know that you’re that over!”
“Okay, I get it, I get it, sorry.”
Alice soared angrily while clutching on my clothes for dear life, not even being slightly courageous.
“So what are we going to do next? Summon a UFO?”
“We wait till dawn.”
“We’re waiting here until dawn.”
I couldn’t say anything for a moment.
I had wanted to complain, but after seeing Alice hugging her knees, burying her chin in her teddy bear while with her eyes glued to the floor of cement, I couldn’t say anything.
Alice said that she had something for me to see. She did this for me, and only me, and for that reason she came out from her shell— the room that was full of machines, to wait for me, didn’t she?
I squatted down beside Alice, feeling the warmth of her body beside me.
There was only the slight sounds of the wind, faraway exhaust pipes of cars, and the sound of Alice’s breathing.
Not knowing for how long, as if pure, clear water seeped into the bottom of the night, the skies gradually turned blue. The lights of the streetlights started to fade, while the darkness of the night gradually faded from the floors of the rooftop. Bunches of weeds could be seen on the cement floor.
Alice said in a small voice.
“Did she really go away without telling you a thing?”
I bit my lips and nodded.
“Really? Then I will tell you the words that have faded away in place of the deceased.”
“That would be the reason why Ayaka chose to jump down from the school building. It’s going to be daybreak soon.”
Alice said that it was the sole mystery.
The mystery that connected me to Alice.
“…… Do you understand now?”
“Ayaka jumped down from the rooftop so that the rooftop would be sealed off.”
“Don’t you understand? This is the sacred place where you and Ayaka spent your time together. So that no other people would trespass in here, she chose to jump off here. The graduation photos were to be taken here, right? But if someone committed suicide here, the school must seal off all the entrances to the rooftop because of safety reasons— you see, it has started.”
Started? What started?
Following Alice’s gaze, I looked at the floor of the rooftop.
In the long, extended period of time, the sun rose behind me. The clear morning that gently blended together light and darkness, cold air filled my surroundings, and I realized at that moment.
At the start, I thought that something was off, but the lush grassy land on the cement floor started to recover its greenery while bathing in the rays of sunlight, and a vivid red spread throughout the surrounding as if they were dyed.
In the dense grassy land on the rooftop, many flowers started to bloom, as though welcoming the morning sun.
I almost cried out loud, a hot substance filling my throat. The red stars that surfaced from the greenery clearly drew out a picture.
“The flowers are planted in a circle…… No, a double circle…… or triple……?”
Alice said in a small voice that wasn’t much different from the sound of her breathing. My fingers tightly clenched my knees, and shook my head. No, that’s not a circle. The letter G was inside of C, while the letter M was engulfed by the letter G.
It was our flag.
It’s the symbol that connects Ayaka and I.
In the light of dawn, it was as though the flowers used their faces to greet joy, blooming splendidly. How long did Alice and I stare silently at the flowers?
Alice stared at our flag while muttering.
“They bloom as soon as day breaks, and withers after a day.”
I couldn’t shift my gaze, and could only nod in agreement. My chest hurts like it was being held tightly, and heat rose in my body. I’m the only one left, and there’s nobody beside me. Why? Why did you leave this thing? Why are you letting me remember this?
“Ayaka might have been blinded by the drug, but she remembered this place in the end, and jumped down to protect this place.”
Alice said with a small but determined voice.
“I know.” My voice that came from my throat was wet.
“Ayaka kept thinking for you.”
So what? I don’t need this thing, I only wish that Ayaka would continue to be healthy. My wish is so small, it’s just that small……
“Of course all of this is only my assumptions, but I don’t really know if it’s true. Digging out the words of the deceased from their graves—“
“—anyways, it is just a consolation for the living. What Ayaka was really thinking of, I don’t understand too. But……”
Alice stacked her hand on my hand that was on my knee.
“This beautiful scene is real, only this is a fact. So you must accept it, right?”
The flag of flowers in my eyes started to blur, and the rooftop melted in a sea on that morning. The first teardrop trickled down from my cheeks, and they couldn’t be stopped anymore, and filled my whole world. That was the first time I cried after Ayaka’s suicide.
Why do people only leave memories? Isn’t it better if they rook away the memories about them with their death? Memories can’t be erased, my whole life before me would be used up to search for Ayaka’s true message in this beautiful scene.
“Narumi, do you hate me for bringing you here?”
Facing Alice’s question, I shook my head, tears flowing down my face. How could I hate you?
“Then it’s better if you just hate me. I’ve told you before, Ayaka’s suicide, your sadness, all of them are my fault.”
“I can only use this method to connect with the world, so it’s better if you hate me or reprimand me.”
I shouted harshly, turning around to face Alice. Her large eyes seemed to have a hint of tears in it, but those might just be my own tears.
“Is there any meaning to that? Are you an idiot? Shout when you’re angry like the others, and laugh when you’re happy like the others, speak your mind when you want something, why can’t you even do such a simple thing?”
“Because I’m that kind of person, didn’t you know?”
“I don’t know!”
I flung away Alice’s hand that was tightly holding on to my shirt.
I jumped down from the water tower, bouts of aches coming from my knees and my waist. I ignored Alice’s words, rushed out of the door and down the stairs. I, myself, don’t understand why am I so angry, but the anger was neither directed at Ayaka nor Alice, and not myself either.
Tears choked my throat. I ran in the streets on this morning, my lungs hurting like they were burning. When I ran past the bridge, the morning sun illuminated my face from the side.
I stood still temporarily, placed my elbows on the railings and looked downwards. I wept for awhile, the tears dropped down, and were absorbed by the billowing dust that was swept up by a truck..
Even so, I’m still just a useless, brainless, insensitive and cold-blooded person. The meaningless anger vanished right that day, and tears couldn’t even come out anymore.
Humans could get used to anything.
And they don’t even feel that their habits are sorrowful things.
The people who feel that it’s sorrowful are probably those who are in heaven, huh?
All of us are just manipulated by the notebook that was scribbled on randomly by that guy, being a bit angrier every day, smiling some more, then regret some more, we could only strive to live on like this.
On the evening two days after that, I dragged my sluggish body, wearing a thick woolen jacket, and wobbly rode my bike to the hospital.
Ayaka was still in a coma.
In the bright room that was so bright that it’s annoying, the patient that is lying on the bed at the center of the room didn’t even have a hint of blood in her face, and that person is Ayaka. The nurses told me: “She’s still breathing!” but I can’t see any movement in her chest. The ward was so silent that I could almost hear the sound of the liquid in the IV drip trickling through the tube.
I thought, Ayaka’s body is indeed here.
But her soul is at goodness knows where.
At that time, light shone from the other side of the door that was forcefully opened because of the drug. The place that I saw was probably not where Ayaka was, but my own; while the destination that Hakamizaka headed to was the darkness in his heart. We are all imprisoned in our own body, and probably couldn’t go elsewhere.
That’s right, are you Fujishima-kun? I raised my head because of the nurse’s question. I think that they are Ayaka’s classmates, they’ve brought something and asked me to give them to you.
The nurse took something out of the wardrobe at the side of the walls. It was a plastic bag that was filled with ten colored papers. Words written with an oil-based pen was written on the plastic bag: ‘Fujishima-kun’s ten papers’.
I blankly stared at the face of the nurse. The nurse smiled and pointed in the direction of the bed. At that moment, I realized that about a thousand paper cranes were hung beside her pillow, and the card that was nearby said that it was a gift from class 1-4.
Just call me if there’s anything. The nurse left after saying that.
I looked at the plastic bag with the colored papers inside with my head lowered.
Why didn’t they forget about me? I didn’t even answer them when they talked to me, I didn’t even go to school.
I would probably cry if I continued to think about it, so I sat down on the round stool and took out the colored papers from the bag.
It was just ten paper cranes, but it took me a long, long time. Each one of the paper cranes were all quite ugly due to them being crumpled up. To tie the cranes onto the thousand cranes, I went to the side of the pillow and suddenly found something.
On the wardrobe at the other side of the bed, things that seemed like gifts from the visitors were stacked on it, forming an intriguing combination.
A small wreath of flowers was placed in a transparent, palm-sized box.
Beside the wreath of flowers was a plastic tank model.
The only normal present was a flower basket with dried up flowers.
And there was also a 350cc deep red can.
At the side of the bed, which is also at the side of Ayaka’s face, I bent down my back and looked directly at Ayaka.
Saying that I can’t go anywhere is just a lie, because I can still walk with my own two feet. Ayaka can’t even use her legs to walk around now, but I have somewhere that I must go.
After hanging the ten paper cranes with the thousand paper cranes, and was about to walk out of the ward, I suddenly stopped.
It was like I’ve heard something, like someone was calling me, so I turned my head around. Of course, it was just my illusion, as Ayaka was still frozen at the middle of the white ward. But I noticed the changes on Ayaka, hurriedly rushed to the bed and stared at her face.
Ayaka’s eyelids slowly fluttered open.
I could see the color of Ayaka’s irises, but she was not looking at me. Ayaka’s eyes probably saw through my face, saw through the ceiling of the hospital, passed through the blue skies of the spring that was so sunny that it made people feel stupid, and was looking at that open door.
My hand moved on its own, not sure of how many time I pressed the emergency button. The sound of many footsteps came closer to the ward and surrounded me. The nurses pushed me away and pressed herself close to Ayaka’s face. As soon as she said to call a doctor, another nurse hurriedly ran out of the ward. The people wearing white robes finally surrounded the bed and started to argue after doing a brain wave examination, saying that it was the reflective action of the iris, then shooed me out of the ward.
The white haired doctor walked out and started to explain about Ayaka’s condition to me, who was sitting blankly in the sofa of the corridor. Everything isn’t clear yet, as they won’t know if they didn’t do detailed examination. Although it’s not too clear, conditions like this would occur occasionally. Although the chances of her awakening are small, there is still a possibility.
So go home for today.
I once chose to cover my ears and just wait.
But now I have a place that I must go. So, I nodded and stood up.
Passing the bridge, passing through the Shuto Expressway, going around the station, I walked towards Hanamaru Ramen Shop that I didn’t show up for about a month and a half already.
“I’ve thought of a new dish: ‘Sesame Butter Ramen’, try it!”
Min-san, who was about to start work, said as if nothing had happened. It was like I came here yesterday and the day before yesterday. Min-san’s tone of speech made my chest hurt— but they also calmed me.
“Sesame and butter are both good, but when mixed……”
I think that they’ll be bad.
“Stop your blabbering. It’s going to be done soon, so eat it.”
“I have to go to Alice’s place for awhile.”
“Hmm— ? Ahhhh, that’s right……”
Min-san stretched her upper body out of the counter and patted my shoulder.
“She’s really mad, you should be mentally prepared.”
Eh, she’s really mad
“There’s no ice cream to help you this time, so you’ll have to put in effort yourself!”
Min-san laughed evilly, and forcefully pushed at my back. It can’t be helped, it’s my fault, after all.
The air in the NEET Detective Agency was so cold that it could freeze people to death, and my feelings were also as sharp as the shards of ice that were given out by the air conditioner along with the cold air. Alice, who was wearing pajamas, had her back to me. Her black hair that flowed on the blanket like rivers looked like a sharp object made of glass that day.
“No need, you don’t need to apologize to me, it’s just a small thing. Forsaking me on top of the water tower at the rooftop that day, although I experienced two hours like I was an abandoned man-made satellite, I couldn’t find any reason for you to apologize even after looking through the whole world. Being unable to climb down the ladder myself is completely my own fault. If you really want to apologize, then go look for Major. He was called out by my phone call early that morning, hid from the teachers on duty that day and fetched me from the water tower."
“…… I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. I apologize to you.”
Alice didn’t even turn her head over, harshly pounding on the keyboard. Empty cans of Dr. Pepper were stacked beneath the bed, forming a circular wall.
She’s obviously mad. Why am I so stupid?
It’s just because Alice was talking to me at my side, I vented my confused emotions on her, just like a kid.
“Didn’t I say you don’t need to apologize to me!”
Alice’s voice that sounded like there were thorns in it came from my back.
“But abandoning you outside and running home is indeed my fault. Sorry, I won’t do it again. When we go out next time, I’ll take really good care……”
The black hair suddenly moved. Alice turned her hair around, her face burning red.
“Th- th- that’s just because you’re coincidentally by my side! Don’t talk as if I can’t go out if you’re not here!”
“Ah, so- sorry.”
I curled up my body. I obviously didn’t mean that too.
“What is the motive of you coming here today, besides making fun of me? If there’s anything else, hurry up and speak!”
Alice swung her pillow around with her face red, hitting the carpet.
The conversation just now was what I wanted to say…… If I just said that honestly, I would probably just make Alice even angrier, huh? What on Earth should I say?
Alice suddenly turned around to face the keyboard with her back against me.
I pondered for a moment on what to say.
Would this type of lame argument work?
I don’t know, so I could only try.
“…… My employment contract…… is it still effective?”
The sound of the keyboard pounding stopped, the black hair flowing to a different direction because Alice turned around to face me. Her brows were tightly knotted, and the corner of her lips moved slightly downwards.
“Of course it’s finished, because the contract ends when I find out about the truth.”
I used my tongue to wet my lips, suppressing the nervous emotions in my heart.
“ Alice said it before, but you’re still not sure about the situation. So……”
I crudely pointed out the errors in Alice’s words. If it’s Alice, if it’s the usual Alice, she would’ve used fifteen times of her debating power to overwhelm me from the start. But the Alice at that moment suddenly froze because of my answer.
“So I’m still Alice’s assistant, right?”
“So I’m here to apologize today, and from now on—”
Ayaka might awaken some day, and she might tell us the truth that day. So until that day, I will be Alice’s assistant.
My words were interrupted because Alice suddenly started to throw empty cans of Dr. Pepper at me. The pure ‘dong’ sound of the metal rang.
“Idiot! Get out!”
Alice said with a slight red tinge on her cheeks. This was the shortest comment that I’ve ever heard Alice say.
I lowered my head, paused my breathing, sighed and stood up.
When I walked out of the room, actually I wasn’t here for an apology, and neither here for the matter about being her assistant, and so I’ve forgotten about it subconsciously because I thought that it was too stupid. Surely enough,the only words that I could say is just these.
“…… Thank you, in ways more than one.”
I said to the silhouette wearing teddy bear pajamas.
Walking out of the room and closing the door, the sentence on the signboard came into my eyes.
It’s the only NEET thing to do.
Shouldn’t there be a better way of setting thing? But it can’t be helped, I’m just a useless, brainless, insensitive and cold-blooded kid. For me, this is already the best effort that I have. If this doesn’t succeed as well, the regret wouldn’t get me anywhere.
There’s no reason for me to be here now.
This is the result that I have chosen, because life cannot be turned back.
After I walked down the stairs and was walking towards the streets, I met a darkish person. It was Tetsu-senpai! I became harried. After just half a month, I didn’t even know what to say at the start, I even thought of going past Tetsu-senpai and just runaway.
But Tetsu-senpai spoke as if nothing had happened:
“Oh? Well if it isn’t Narumi. You came at just the right time.”
From behind Tetsu-senpai, Hiro, Major who had a model gun slung on his back, and Yondaime who was wearing a purple vest were noisily walking towards the kitchen backdoor.
“Narumi, it’s been a long time. We’re going to visit Toshi today! To the police hospital, the police hospital! It’s at Iidabashi, have you ever went there before? No, right? It’s my first time too.” Hiro showed us a hearty smile as usual. “I never thought that Yondaime would come too, I really thought that he’d be locked up for five years or so too. I never would’ve thought that he’d be out so soon, so we’re celebrating for him getting out of the jail.”
“Don’t say it like that, it’s the end of my custody.”
“So nobody in your gang got caught? Congratulations. Because it’s your treat, I’ll go all out and order a large bowl of roast pork noodles.”
“Oi, wait a sec, why am I treating? Normally shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
“It’s the same when you get the ball into the hole when playing golf!”
“You’re so fussy, then how about the five of us play a game of poker, the last player treats!”
Tetsu-senpai took a pack of poker cards out of his pocket.
Five of us?
“Narumi, what are you doing? Hurry up and sit down!” Tetsu-sempai sat down on the stairs and knocked on the place beside him. Hiro who was sitting on the gas tank, Major who was sitting on the stacked up tires, and Yondaime who was sitting on the beer crate were all looking at me.
“…… I…… can join too?”
“Of course!” Hiro patted my back.
I stood blankly there, lowered my head and closed my eyes, trying to suppress my tears from falling. Why? Why would I feel like crying because of this? From that day, it feels like somewhere in my heart was hurt. But it’s okay even so, it’s not like my heart is broken or something—
At that moment, the phone in my pocket started to vibrate.
I used my rigid hand to take out the phone from my pocket.
‘There’s two orders for you right now.’
Alice said. It was indeed Alice’s voice.
‘The first thing, change your ringtone to ‘Colorado Bulldog’.’
My hand that was holding the phone was trembling. So that my tears would not fall, I forced myself to look at the sunny skies.
‘The second thing, my stock of Dr. Pepper had finished. You’d see Lowson Market after you turn right at the end of the road, hurry up and go buy a crate of Dr. Pepper here.’
“Mnn, ah, that is……”
I said with tears in my eyes.
‘I’m not forgiving you, because I wasn’t even angry with you, and you don’t have to apologize to me!’
“Mnn, I understand.”
‘Write NEET Detective Agency at the end of the receipt.’
And then Alice hung up suddenly. I wiped my red eyes, and the four looked at me while smiling or in surprise.
“…… I want a sports drink.”
“I want black coffee from Wonder.”
“It’s fine as long as it’s hundred percent fruit juice.”
“Oolong tea. I’ll kill you if you dare to buy a brand other than Suntory.”
And so I immediately became the errand boy. Well, it’s okay even if it’s like that. I might be a useless, brainless, insensitive and cold-blooded kid, but there’s still something that I could do.
Tetsu-senpai kicked my bottom, and I was kicked out. My pockets stuffed full of change, I ran towards the main street.
|Back to Chapter 6||Return to Main Page||Forward to Afterword|