Kara no Kyoukai:Chapter02 04

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Murder Study (Part 1)/[edit]

1[edit]

"Mikiya, is it true that you're going out with Ryougi?"

I almost spew out my coffee milk to Gakuto's words. Spluttering, I look around: Fortunately, the classroom at lunchtime is loud and no one seems to have heard Gakuto's nonsense.

"What do you mean by that, Gakuto?"

Gakuto looks rather amazed when I question him.

"What are you saying? It's a fact known to everyone that Kokuto of class 1-C has a crush on Ryougi. The only ones who don't know are you two."

I frown at those words.

It's been seven months since I first met Shiki. It's already November, right near winter.

...Certainly it's not weird for anyone to start going out after that much time.

"Gakuto, that's just a misunderstanding. We're just friends, and nothing more."

"Really?"

The hopeful judo club member frowns. In contrast to his name, which means "educated person", this guy, who has been my friend since elementary school, is the athletic type. Thanks to our strong relationship, he must have figured out I wasn't lying.

"But you call her by her first name. There's no way that Ryougi would allow a simple classmate to address her like that."

"Hey now. Shiki doesn't like that. She glared at me when I called her Ryougi-san before. People say you can kill someone by looking at them, but Shiki definitely has that potential. Anyways, she says she hates people calling her by her last name, so she says it's fine if I just call her "you". But since I didn't like that, I compromised with "Shiki-san". She didn't like that either, so it ended up with just Shiki. That is the boring truth."

Telling Gakuto about what happened in April, he agrees that it was indeed a boring development.

"I see. That sure is an unromantic story."

Gakuto says this disappointedly... What kind of an answer was he hoping for?

"So that thing last week at the school entrance was nothing either? Damn, it was a waste of time coming here. I should have just eaten lunch in my classroom."

"...Hold on. How do you know about that?"

"I told you, you guys are famous. Everyone at the school already knows you and Ryougi were getting shelter from the rain together by the entrance last Saturday. Since it’s Ryougi, even small things like that catch everyone's attention."

I sigh and look up. All I can hope for now is that Shiki will never hear about this.

"This is a school to get you ready for college right? I'm starting to wonder if everyone's really studying..."

"According to the teachers, employment rate is good for students who graduate from here."

...I have to question how this school is run.

"But man, why Ryougi? It just doesn't fit you."

I remember being told something like that by my Senpais.

They told me a quiet, gentle girl would suit me. I guess Gakuto thinks along the same lines too.

...I get a bit angry.

"Shiki isn't such a scary girl."

I let my tongue slip...

Gakuto grins... He looks like he knows I didn't mean to say that out loud.

"What do you mean she's just your friend? She's definitely a hard girl. The fact that you don't see that is proof that you're head-over-heels about her."

He must mean hard-headed when he says hard. I know he's right, but I don't want to just give in and nod.

"I already know that."

"Then what's so good about her? Her looks?"

Gakuto is holding nothing back.

Indeed Shiki is beautiful. But with that aside, I am attracted to Shiki. She always seems like she's about to be hurt. In reality, she's firm enough not to get hurt, but she is also more fragile than she looks. That's probably why I can't ignore her. I don't want to see her get hurt.

"It's just something that you don't notice. Even Shiki has her cute points... Let's see, if I think of her as an animal, she's cute enough to be a rabbit."

Suddenly, I regret saying that.

"Don't be stupid. She's definitely in the cat family, and probably the wild ones too. A rabbit is too far off, way too far. Ryougi is more like the type that would die out of loneliness, isn’t she?"

Gakuto laughs his ass off.

But I think she's like a rabbit in that she doesn't become attached to people, and in the way she observes others from a distance. Huh... if that's just me, then fine.

"All right. I won't talk to you about girls anymore."

Gakuto quits laughing once I tell him that.

"You might be right. A rabbit suits her well."

"Gakuto, a frank agreement is rather offensive."

"I mean it. I remembered that rabbits were dangerous too. In this world, there are rabbits that chop off your head if you're unlucky."

I stall at the serious voice in which he delivers this statement.

"That's a pretty amazing rabbit."

Gakuto nods.

"Of course, 'cause I'm talking about the world of gaming."

2[edit]

I saw an unbelievable thing on the day the exam for the second quarter ended.

There was a letter in my desk. No, that itself wasn't too weird. The problem was the sender and its content. To put it simply, it was from Shiki, asking me out on a date.

It sounded like a threat telling me to take her out somewhere tomorrow. Bewildered, I headed home and waited apprehensively for the next day to come, feeling like a samurai ordered to kill himself the following sunrise.



"Yo, Kokuto."

Shiki greets me as she arrives. She came to our meeting-place, the dog statue in front of the station, with a red leather jacket over her kimono. More than her outfit, I was confused by how she spoke.

"Did ya wait? Sorry man. It took me awhile to shake off Akitaka."

She says this as if it's perfectly natural for her.

She sounds like a guy, not like the Shiki I know. Not being able to answer, I check her figure again. There's nothing different in her looks. She has a graceful, somewhat diminutive body, but her confident stance and composure lend her a certain measure of strength. This unstable contradiction creates an almost marionette-like atmosphere around here. She is a puppet. Made well, but just on the outside.

"What? You angry just 'cause I'm an hour late? You're pretty intolerant, man."

Shiki engages me with her dark eyes. Her beautiful short black hair frames that small face, and big, beautiful eyes. Nevertheless, whilst those deep eyes reflect the outline of Kokuto Mikiya on the surface, it seems that they are focused on something much further away. Perhaps in the distance...

Come to think of it, I was attracted to these eyes since that snowy day when we first met.

"Um... You're Shiki, right?"

"Yeah," Shiki laughs. A strange smile that's more like a grin.

"What else do I look like? We're wasting time like this. Come on, take me somewhere. I'll let you decide, Kokuto."

Saying that, Shiki seizes my arms forcefully and starts to walk.

...She'd said she'd let me decide, but in my confusion I didn't even notice that she was leading the way...

We walked a lot.

Shiki didn't do much shopping, but she would go into various boutiques to look around, heading into another whenever she got bored. My requests to take a rest at the cafe or a movie theater were denied, but she was in the right. It would have been boring to go to such places with the way Shiki was acting at the moment.

Shiki talked a lot. If I'm not mistaken, she seemed excited somehow. How should I say this... a mental high?

Most of the stores she went to were fashion-oriented, but I was relieved that they were all for women's clothing. Eventually, Shiki must have become tired from looking through four department stores in four hours, as she told me that she wanted to get something to eat.

We wander around and end up in a fast food joint. Shiki takes off her jacket once she takes a seat. Her out-of-place kimono garb draws glances from all around, but this fact does not seem to faze her. Steeling my nerves, I ask her about what I've been wondering all this time.

"Shiki, you actually talk like that all the time?"

"In my case. But there's no meaning in how someone talks. Even you can change that."

Shiki eats at her hamburger disinterestedly.

"Well, this kind of thing never happened before. Today's the first day that I came outside. I didn't say anything until now 'cause I had the same opinion as Shiki."

...I don't get it at all.

"Let's see... It's a split personality, to put it simply. I'm SHIKI and the normal one is Shiki. SHIKI is from the word, "woven cloth." But Shiki and I are not different people. The only difference between us is our priorities of things. The hierarchy of our interests is different."

Saying that, she writes on her napkin with her wet hands. Her white finger traces the words "Shiki" and "SHIKI".

"I wanted to talk with you, Kokuto, that's all. Since it's not something Shiki wanted to do, I'm doing it in her place. Do ya understand?"

"Well, kind of."

I answer uneasily, but I actually have felt what SHIKI is talking about. I think something similar to that happened to me before. Before I entered high school, I met Shiki, but she said she didn't remember it. At that time I thought she said that because she hated me, but after hearing this, it makes sense.

No, more than that. After spending all day with her I can tell she is the same Shiki. As Shiki, no, as SHIKI says, she only talks differently, but her actions are the same. They are so similar I'm starting to feel there's nothing different about her now.

"But why did you tell me about that?"

"I thought I wouldn't be able to hide it from ya much longer."

Shiki takes another drink. She puts the straw to her mouth briefly, and quickly lets go... Shiki doesn't like cold things.

"To be honest, I'm like Shiki's subversive impulse. This was something that she really wanted to do. But up to now, there was no one I wanted to do it with, because Ryougi Shiki was uninterested in everyone."

SHIKI says so like she's not interested. I could not move, being entranced by those deep black eyes.

"Yeah, but you rest assured, I'm still Shiki. I'm just saying what Shiki thinks. Like I told ya, we just talk differently... Well, we're beginning to get out of line, so don't take me too seriously."

"Out of line?... You mean, you and Shiki get into fights?"

"Hey, how can you get in a fight with yourself? No matter what I do, it has to be something we both wanted, so we both have no complaints. No matter how much I fight, Shiki has control over this body. I'm seeing you like this because Shiki thought it was all right too. Anyway, she'll probably regret having talked this way. It's not something Shiki would do, right?"

I agree.

SHIKI laughs.

"I like those kind of things about you. But Shiki doesn't. That's what I mean by being out of line."

...What does that mean? Does Shiki not like the fact that I don't think too much? Or does Shiki not like the fact that she likes that part of me? I don't know why, but I somehow thought it had to be the latter.

"Well, that's enough explanation for today."

Standing up suddenly, SHIKI puts on the leather jacket.

"Bye~. I like you, so I'll see you again pretty soon."

Putting the money for the hamburger on the table, SHIKI leaves quickly.



I part with SHIKI and return to my neighborhood, the sun is setting already. Because of all the recent murder incidents not many people are out, even though the sun's only setting.

When I get home, my cousin, Daisuke Nii-san is there. I feel exhausted from all that talk with SHIKI, so I go to the kotatsu and put my legs in it. Daisuke Nii-san also has his legs in there so we end up fighting for the small space inside without a word. In the end, I couldn't lay down, so I just had to get up again.

"Aren't you busy, Daisuke-san?"

I ask him while taking a mandarin orange off the table. Daisuke Nii-san answers:

"Yeah. It's five people in three months, of course we're busy. I'm so busy I can't even go home to sleep. I have to get going again in about an hour."

Daisuke Nii-san is a police officer. It's an unfitting job for such a lazy person.

"How's the investigation going?"

"It's all right. There weren't any clues until now but the killer finally left us something. Well, it does seem intentional though."

Saying that, Daisuke Nii-san lifts up his face. His serious face is right in front of mine.

"What I'm telling you is confidential. I'm going to tell you because this is something that's important to you. I told you about the first victim, right?"

Daisuke Nii-san begins to describe the second and the third murder scene... I listen closely while hoping not all policemen in this world let out confidential matters so easily.

The second victim had their body bisected vertically. From their head down to their groin. The weapon used is unknown. One of the cut halves was stuck to the wall.

The third victim had their arms and legs amputated, with the severed arms sewn onto the legs.

The fourth victim had their body cut into pieces and had some word-like symbol stamped on it.

The fifth victim was made to resemble a manji using its arms and legs.

"It's easy to understand that the killer is abnormal."

I say this while trying to hold back the rapidly rising wave of nausea. Daisuke Nii-san agrees.

"I think it's clearly intentional when it's so easy to understand, but what do you think?"

"...Let's see. I don't think it matters that every one of them is killed by being cut apart. I can't say anything else, but..."

"But?"

"I just think the killer is getting used to this. The next one might not be outside."

"You're right." Daisuke Nii-san covers his face with his hands.

"There's no motive and there's no pattern. It's only happening outside right now but, this is a kind of a guy that would even come indoors. If this killer can't find anyone out at night, there's more motive for them to go into someone's house. I just wish the higher ranking guys would take that into consideration and be prepared for it."

"Well..." Daisuke Nii-san changes the subject.

"We found this by the fifth victim."

Daisuke Nii-san places our school badge on the table. It's considered unimportant, seeing as we don't have uniforms or anything, but we are in fact required to wear this somewhere on our person when going to school.

"I don't know if the killer didn't notice this because the scene of the crime was a grassy field or if the killer intentionally put this there. But either way, there has to be a meaning behind this. I might go over to your place sometime soon."

Frowning, he delivers this ominous statement.

3[edit]

The winter vacation ended in a flash. The only thing that happened was I went to the shrine on new year with Shiki. But I think I led a normal life other than that.

When the third term started, Shiki isolated herself even more. She radiated an aura of rejection that even I could feel.

After making sure everyone else has left and going to the classroom, I always find SHIKI there. She doesn't do anything, she just stares out of the window. I haven't been invited or called to come here. But I just can't leave this fragile girl alone, so I keep her company meaninglessly.

The sun sets early in the wintertime and the classroom is tinted red. In this red and black, SHIKI is leaning against the window.

"Did I tell you that I hate people?"

Today, SHIKI starts to talk mindlessly.

"That's the first time I heard that... do you mean that?"

"Yeah, Shiki hates people. She's been like that since she was small. ... You see, when you're a child, you don't know anything. You think the whole world will love you unconditionally. Since you like them, they must like you... That feels like common sense."

"You're right. You never doubt anything when you're small. You unconditionally love them and you think it's only natural for them to love you back. The only things I was scared of were ghosts. Though, I'm scared of people now."

SHIKI nods in agreement.

"But that's a very important thing. You need to be pure, Kokuto. Since you only worry about yourself when you're small, you won't notice the evil minds of other people. Even if it's just a misunderstanding, the feeling of love you receive makes you able to be kind to others, hence people can only express the emotions they're familiar with."

The sunset casts a red hue across her face. At this moment, I cannot tell if she is SHIKI or Shiki, yet it does not make any difference either way, this is just Shiki's monologue.

"But I'm different. I have known someone else since I was born. Since Shiki has SHIKI inside of her, she knew of others. She found out that there're other people who think differently and that they do not love you unconditionally. Since she found out as a child how ugly other people are, she could not love them. In time, she grew to pay them no attention. The only emotion Shiki knows is rejection."

... That's why she hates people. SHIKI says so with her eyes... I feel like crying for no reason.

"But wasn't she lonely like that?"

"Why? Shiki has me. It's certainly lonely by yourself but Shiki isn't alone. She was isolated, but she wasn't alone."

SHIKI says so with a resolute face. There's no deceit in that expression, and it seems she really is satisfied with that.

But really...?

Yet really...?

"But Shiki is acting weird recently. She has an abnormality in her called "me", but she wants to deny me. Denying is my domain, and Shiki is supposed to be only able to affirm."

SHIKI laughs asking why that might be. It's a brutal looking smile.

"Kokuto, have you ever wanted to kill someone?"

At that instant, the sun paints her face in vermilion and makes my heart jump.

"Not so far. The most I've ever wanted was to punch someone."

"I see. But I only have that feeling."

Her voice echoes through the classroom.

"......

Huh?"

"I told you. Humans can only show emotions that they have experienced. I take on the forbidden taboos inside Shiki. What's low on Shiki's priorities is high on mine. I am content with that and I know that's why I exist. I am the personality that takes on Shiki's suppressed intentions. That's why I've always killed my will. I have been killing the dark side called SHIKI. I have killed myself over and over. See? The only thing I've experienced is killing things."

Then, she walks away from the window. Why... do I suddenly find the person silently walking toward me so terrifying?

"So Kokuto, the definition of murder for Shiki is..."

A voice murmuring by my ear...

"... Is to eliminate, in self defense, anything that tries to open her up."

Smiling, SHIKI leaves the classroom. It was an innocent smile that one would give after playing a trick on you...



During lunch break the next day...

When I asked Shiki if she wanted to have lunch with me, she looked really surprised. At this time, she showed me her surprised expression for the first time since I have met her.

"What a strange thing to ask..."

Saying that, Shiki accepts my request. Shiki asks that we go to the rooftop. She is following silently behind me. Her silent stare is stabbing into my back. Maybe she's mad at me... no, she definitely is... Even I know what she meant by those words yesterday. It was her last warning to me not to be involved with her, and that she doesn't know what she might do if I don't comply.

But Shiki does not understand. That's something Shiki has always unconsciously told me, and I have already gotten used to it. When we get to the rooftop, no one is there. I guess being January and all, nobody else wanted to eat in this cold weather.

"It's cold, do you want to eat somewhere else?"

"No, I want to eat here. If you want to go somewhere else, please go ahead."

I tilt my head to Shiki's polite tone. We sit by the wall to avoid the wind. Shiki just sits there without opening her bread. In contrast, I have already finished my second sandwich.

"Why did you talk to me?"

Shiki's murmur is so sudden that I could not catch her words.

"Did you say something, Shiki?"

"I said, why are you so carefree?"

She says so with piercing eyes.

"That's harsh. I've been called excessively honest, but I've never been called carefree."

"I guess everyone was holding back."

Selfishly convinced, Shiki opens her egg sandwich. The stark crunch of the wrapper suited the frosty rooftop. Shiki sits there silently and nibbles on her sandwich. I have nothing to do as I'm already done. I think a meal needs to be accompanied by a conversation.

"Shiki, you must be a bit mad."

"...A bit?"

She glares at me. I scold myself for not thinking before I spoke.

"I don't understand, but I get irritated when you're around. Why you involve yourself with me, why you don't act differently after being told all that yesterday, these are all things I don't understand."

"I don't know the reason either. It's fun being with you, but if you ask me why it's fun, I can't answer. Well, if you talk about yesterday, I guess you can say I'm optimistic."

"Kokuto-kun, do you understand that I'm abnormal?"

I can only nod to those words. Her split personality is real and it is indeed not normal.

"Yeah, it's indeed not normal."

"Right. So then you should understand that I am not someone you could associate with normally."

"Abnormal or not, it doesn't matter when we're hanging out."

Shiki stops all movement. She stops time as if she's even forgotten how to breathe.

"But I cannot be like you."

Saying that, Shiki slides her fingers through her hair. Her kimono sways and I notice the bandage wrapped around her thin arm, near her right elbow. The fabric looks clean and new.

"Shiki, that wound..."

Before I get a chance to finish, Shiki stands up.

"If you don't understand with SHIKI's words, I'll tell you myself."

Shiki talks while gazing away into the distance.

"If we keep this up, I will probably end up killing you."

... How could I have replied to those words?

After that, Shiki returns to the classroom, leaving her trash behind. On my own again, I begin to pick up the litter.

"...Geez, this is just like Gakuto said."

I remember the conversation I had with Gakuto. Like he told me, I might be stupid. I could not hate Shiki even after she completely rejected me. Rather, my mind has been cleared. There can only be one reason why it's fun being with Shiki.

"I already went mad a long time ago."

...Yeah, why didn't I notice this earlier?

...I love Shiki so much that I can even laugh off her telling me she wants to kill me.

4[edit]

It's the first Sunday in February. I wake up and go to the dining room. Daisuke Nii-san is there, getting ready to leave.

"Oh, you were here?"

"Yo. I just came to sleep 'cause I missed the last train, but I've gotta go to work now. I envy you students, your promises of vacation are always kept."

He looks like he hasn't had enough sleep. I bet he's busy with all the new information on that serial killer.

"You were talking about coming to my school, but what happened to that?"

"It seems we'll have to go there again. To tell you the truth, there was a sixth victim three days ago. I guess this victim struggled hard and we found evidence of the killer's skin in her nails. Women have long nails so I guess she scratched the killer's arm pretty bad. Maybe it was a desperate move but the scratch has to be deep; she clawed out almost three centimeters of skin."

This development is a new one, it's not even on TV or in the newspapers yet. But I am shocked for a different reason... I think it's because in the past few days, Shiki has been using the ominous word "killing" quite a number of times. Why else would I imagine for an instant that Shiki would be this killer?

"A scratch... you mean the killer has a wound?"

"Of course. Do you think the victim would scratch her own arm? We've already figured out the skin is from around the elbow area, and the blood's been analyzed, so the killer is done for."

Daisuke Nii-san leaves. With power escaping my legs, I crumble onto the chair. Three days ago was the day I had that conversation with SHIKI in the setting sun. I think when I saw her the next day, the bandage was around her elbow...

Right around mid-day, I figure out it's no good just sitting here and thinking. Instead, I should just go to Shiki and ask her. If she tells me her wound is nothing related to it, this uneasiness will go away.

I decide to visit Shiki's house using the school's contact guide. Her house is on the outskirts of town, one station away from here. When I finally find her house, the sun is already setting. The mansion with bamboo trees surrounding it is oriental-styled. It's impossible to tell the size of this place from where I am - I wouldn't be able to tell exactly how big it is unless I got in a plane to have an overhead view. I walk through the bamboo woods along a path and reach a big gate: I'm slightly relieved that this ancient-looking place has an intercom. After pushing it and declaring my intentions, a man in a black suit appears. I find out that this man, in around his thirties, is Shiki's servant. This person called Akitaka talks politely, even to a stranger such as myself. Unfortunately, Shiki isn't home. He offers for me to stay and wait, but I refuse. To be honest, I don't have the guts to go into this place alone.

I decide to go home since the sun has already set. I get to the station after an hour's walk and happen to run into Senpai. At his invitation, we eat at a nearby restaurant and end up talking until ten. Unlike Senpai, I am a student so I have to start heading home soon: I say goodbye to Senpai and buy a train ticket at the station. It's almost eleven o'clock now. For a second I wonder if Shiki has arrived home already.

"What the hell am I doing?"

I question myself as I walk through the residential district, which appears absent of any sign of life this late at night. I can't understand why I'm heading toward Shiki's house in this unfamiliar town. Even though I know I won't be able to see her, I at least want to see the lights in her house. Trudging through the chilly winter air, I exit the residential district and end up facing a group of trees. I walk through the small road in the middle of it. Since there's no wind, the bamboo is silent. There are no streetlights, so the moon is my only guide.

I half-jokingly think what would happen if I got attacked here, and the thought begins to eat at me. The image grows stronger in my head even as my consciousness struggles to discard the thought. When I was a kid, I was scared of ghosts. The shadows in between the bamboo looked like ghosts and I would be frightened. But now, I'm scared of other people. I'm only scared of the fact that someone might be hiding in the bushes.

...Since when did the unknown ghosts turn into other humans?

The more I try to calm down, the more the feeling creeps into me. ...Really, this dreadful feeling does not go away. Oh yeah, I think Shiki was saying the same thing before. I think that was... While I try to recall, I see something ahead of me.

"......"

I stop dead in my tracks. It's not my will, because right now... my mind is totally empty.

A white figure stands a few meters ahead. The white kimono that looks bright is covered with red spots. The red spots on the kimono expand. It's because the thing in front of her is spilling red liquid everywhere. The one in the white kimono is Shiki and the thing is not a fountain, but a dead person.

"........."

I cannot say anything. But I always thought about this somewhere in my mind, this image of Shiki standing in front of a dead body. That's why I'm not surprised or making a commotion. My mind is just completely blank. The body must have recently died... the blood would not be flowing out with such a force unless its arteries were slashed while it was alive. There is a gaping wound in its neck and an angled cut transecting its torso. Shiki is silently staring at the dead body. The color of the spilled blood alone is enough to make one faint, yet its organs spill and bulge grotesquely out from the wound, transforming it into something inhuman. It appears as if some slimy, primitive being is trying to assume a human form, but the resemblance is so horrific that it's difficult to look at... A normal human being would not be able to stand the sight, but Shiki is staring at the dead body. Blood splatters her ghostly-white kimono.

The spots look like red butterflies.

The butterflies are flying toward Shiki's face.

The blood-covered face is twisted and deformed.

Is it because of fear or pleasure?

Is she Shiki... or SHIKI?

"..........."

I try to say something and I collapse onto the ground. I vomit. I vomit out everything in my stomach, stomach acid, as if to try and rid myself of this memory... I vomit until I start to cry. But it's no good. It doesn't even make me feel better. The amount of blood is so vast and the smell so overwhelming that it seeps into my brain.

Eventually, Shiki notices me. Her head turns to look at me. The expressionless face shows a smile. It's so pure it makes me rather calm. The smile reminds me of a mother. That smile is so unfitting to this whole scene that...

It makes me shiver.

My consciousness begins to fade as she draws closer. I remember Shiki's words at the last moment.

..."Be careful Kokuto-kun. A bad premonition tends to attract bad reality."

... I guess I was stupid indeed. Because I tried not to think about this evil reality until the moment I saw it with my own eyes...

5[edit]

I end up missing school the following day. I was found by a policeman, standing absent-mindedly at the scene of the crime, and was taken in for questioning.

I heard I could not say anything for a few hours. It took me about four hours before my mind returned... I guess my brain doesn't have that good of a recovery system. Anyways, after I was questioned and released, it was too late to go to school.

The manner in which the man was killed would have made it impossible for the killer not to have blood on their clothes: fortunately, I did not; and being a relative of Daisuke Nii-san, I think my questioning went rather smoothly. Daisuke Nii-san offered me a ride home, which I accepted.

"So you didn't see anyone, Mikiya?"

"You're being too persistent. I said I didn't see anyone."

I glare at Daisuke Nii-san and sit deep in my seat.

"I see. Damn! It would have helped if you'd seen the killer... but I guess he wouldn't have let you go alive if you saw him. I can't let you die, so I guess it's a good thing for me you didn't see anyone."

"You're not a good policeman, Daisuke-san."

I hate myself for being able to respond to him in such a normal tone. My mind scornfully brands me a liar. I can't believe that I can lie with such a straight face, especially considering these are police matters we're talking about here. If I don't tell the truth, things will only get worse... But still, I do not say anything about Shiki being at the scene of the crime.

"Well, I'm glad you're not hurt. So, what's your impression of your first dead body?"

He asks me a cruel question.

"Terrible. I don't ever want to see it again."

"This one is special. It's not as bad as what is normally seen so relax."

What does he want me to be relaxed about?

"But, it's a small world we live in. I didn't know you knew the daughter of the Ryougi family."

The fact that might make him happy gets me more depressed... The murder that happened in front of Ryougi's house is treated as the same killer's work but the investigation stopped from there. Even the police left the territory of the Ryougis after their inspection. From what he says, it's because of the pressure from the Ryougis. It was recorded that this murder happened in between eleven and twelve at night on February third (Sunday), and the only witness was Kokuto Mikiya. But it's also recorded that I was there only after the crime had occurred and that I was in a state of shock after seeing the scene of the crime. Neither I nor the Ryougi family have said anything about Shiki.

"But didn't you investigate the people of the Ryougi?"

Daisuke-san shakes his head to my question.

"The daughter of that place goes to your high school, so I wanted to ask them about it, but they refused. They said they didn't care about what happened outside their house. The way I see it, they are innocent, they have nothing to do with the crime."

"Huh?"

I let it out without thinking. I trust Daisuke Nii-san even if it seems like I don't. It's commonly known in his workplace that this person keeps his hold on his job due to his superior skill; so that's why I thought he might suspect Shiki.

"Why do you think so?"

"Hmm, well... do you think such a beautiful girl would kill someone? You don't, right? I don't think so too. This is an obvious answer for a guy."

...Why did he ever decide to be a policeman? No, more than that, I sigh at how much more carefree he is than me.

"I see. You'll be single for the rest of your life."

"Hey now, I could put you in jail, you know."

I'd be released due to lack of any convicting evidence... But I agree with his opinion. Even though I don't have the hunch like he does, it is my opinion that Shiki is not the killer. Even if she admits it herself, I believe she is not the one. So now, there is something I must do.


The crime neared its solution.

From then on, until that day three years later, the killer would cease to appear. For me at that time, that incident seemed like it did not concern me.

It happened to be the first and the last incident which involved both Shiki and me.

Murder Study (Part 1)・Finish


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