OmaeGotoki: Volume 2 EXTRA - Flum And Milkit In A Slightly Different, Peaceful World

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I’m in the middle of a dream about a hanged puppet.

A very cute, charming puppet dangles from the ceiling almost like a teru teru bouzu, almost making me want to sing the weather clear.

It’s raining right now.

A rain of light is falling.

Everyone says that it’s a blessing from the heavens.

It’d be bad if it stopped.

Who in their right mind would hang a teru teru bouzu like this, then?

I realize.

Ahh, I get it now.

It’s not a teru teru bouzu, it’s a pale-faced bloodstained corpse.

Dad.

Speaking of the heavens, everyone knows that the only one up there is Origin-sama.

Origin-sama truly is a most wonderful god.

Why? Because He’s Origin-sama.

Origin-sama, ahh, Origin-sama…!

Every morning every last man, woman, and child turns their face to the heavens, praying to marvelous Origin-sama as He laughs, mouth opened wide enough to spit up His own stomach.

The room around me reeks of human waste, and taking out my portable terminal I try to figure out how to deal with the body. I guess I should call the funeral parlor.

I wonder why Dad decided to hang himself in my room, of all places? It’s as if he wanted me to find him.

Maybe he thought I couldn’t handle this much ‘reality’.

Escapism is all about creating a gap in your mind, blotting out a certain thing. In other words, in order to escape something it’s necessary to perceive it, and by perceiving it you take the first step on the path to salvation. Everyone knows that.

Eyes can see a lot more than just reality, however.

Creating a gap gives them a chance to slither in like a mass of maggots and giving rise to the slime, slime that releases that green ooze that seeps into my brain softly stimulating me making me feel oh so good elevating my consciousness to the next stage where the rest of humanity waits not a blessing in and of itself but if that is what Origin-sama has in store for us if that’s his truth then I must come to the next level I must come, coming, cumming, I’m so happy so very happy Origin-sama ahhh Origin-sama your humble disciple's orgasmic feelings for you as you surely have lead me to---

“Hagh---”

My lungs feel like they’re strangling themselves, the high suddenly and violently ending its own life.

A reversal, a sudden and precipitous turn.

Like a drug addict in the grips of sudden withdrawl, my brain suddenly loses all trace of warmth.

“Ugh… uehhh…”

I groan.

I feel awful.

Of course I do.

My own father, Dad’s corpse is hanging right there in front of me.

His face is pale, as if he’d torn himself open and spewed all the blood he had to the point that there isn’t a drop left in his body.

His eyes bulge to the point where they look ready to pop out of his face, fluid flowing freely from them. His nose is in the same shape.

His long tongue sticks awkwardly out the side of his mouth, pointing the way for a long string of drool to escape to the ground.

The rope bites into his flesh so hard it crumples the skin beneath it.

His body hangs limply, but countless nail marks are left in his palms as though he’d struggled in the very end.

His crotch is soaked, the back of his pants stained a foul brown, a thin dribble of urine falling from the hem of his pants.

I see it.

I don’t want to see it, I want to turn away from it, I see it.

Why?

Am I trying to prove to myself that this is reality?

That’s ridiculous. This visceral sensation, this feeling of brutal realism couldn’t be anything but reality itself---


◇◇◇


“Flum-san?”

My body shakes. Hearing that reserved voice, I open my eyes.

“Flum-san… I’m glad you finally woke up.”

Right there in front of me is an unbelievably cute girl’s smile.

I’ve never seen anything so beautiful --- and even better, she’s right beside me in bed. Fortunately --- or actually, unfortunately, we’re both still in our pajamas… wait, what the hell am I thinking!?

“Sorry. Was I restless?”

“Yes, quite a bit, in fact. You’re drenched in sweat.”

“Ueh…”

I wipe my forehead and my hand comes away dripping with sweat. Even my pajamas are completely soaked. It must’ve felt pretty awful, sleeping beside such a sweat monster…

In case you’re wondering why we’re sleeping together, the answer’s perfectly rational: There aren’t enough beds in the house. I’d asked my parents to let her live here after she was abandoned by those shitbag parents of hers, and surprisingly enough they both readily agreed.

It’s a miracle, really. I thought it’d take at least a week to persuade them… Unfortunately, there wasn’t a second miracle that gave us enough money out of the blue for another bed.

That’s why we’ve been sleeping together.

Yes, perfectly understandable.

To be honest I was afraid Milkit would object, but she accepted right away. It’s not more of that ‘you can do whatever you want with my body because you picked me up’ stuff, either. She just doesn’t seem to mind being touched by me.

To put it bluntly, her body is unbelievably soft and feels sooooo good that I’ve been groping her pretty much everyday, despite how damn hot it is.

I consider closing in for a good-morning hug just like always, but with this sweat… yeah, no.

“I guess I’ll take a shower.”

“I think that’s a good idea.”

“Wanna join me?”

“If that’s what you’d like, then gladly.”

She’s not sweaty at all, but to be honest I just want another excuse to see them.

What, you ask? Those. Y’know, those --- the two ripe little melon monsters she has on her chest.


◇◇◇


Leaving the bedroom, I first head downstairs to say hi to Mom. She’s probably making breakfast in the kitchen --- or so I thought, but I find her by the front door, just about to take out the trash. We have a composter so it’s probably not organic, and we typically just call and get someone to take care of the big trash, but --- I have no idea what that is. Inside the translucent white garbage bag I can barely make out a bunch of flesh-coloured chunks, and the bottom of the bag is covered in some sort of dark reddish fluid.

“What’s that, Mom?”

As I get a bit closer, the smell of rot hits my nostrils. I wrinkle my nose in disgust.

“It’s trash, Origin-sama told me that it’s trash.”

“Ahh… I understand.”

Mom’s crying.

“Origin-sama told me that it’s trash, so I’m treating trash like trash. It fulfilled its purpose, He said.”

“Ahh… I understand.”

I’m crying, too.

“It really was a hassle, though. Origin-sama told me to cut it up into smaller pieces first. We haven’t really been using a lot of garbage bags recently, you know.”

“Ahh… I understand.”

A strange sense of loneliness starts flitting about my chest. I don’t know what it is, and I can hear whispers of [FORGET] in my ears, gradually growing closer and louder. An inexplicable unpleasantness coils itself around my chest.

While that little exchange is going on, Mom disappears out the front door. Tears were running down her cheeks, so she was probably sa

[I DON’T GET IT]

I don’t get it.

What are tears, again?

“...Huh?”

I cock my head to the side.

I don’t even know why I did that, though.

My body moves on its own, as if somehow compelled to do so by some hazy, indistinct sensation. But wait, didn’t I feel that same kind of strange uneasiness just---

“Um, Flum-san?”

Responding to Milkit’s voice, I turn around to face her.

Her face is pale, her expression somehow pained.

“I have no idea why, but I feel rather sick… How about we hurry into the shower?”

“Yeah, the shower… Let’s go.”

I felt the exact same. I don’t know why, but I felt really sick for a moment there.

I obediently stop thinking about the contents of that garbage bag and the two of us head into the bathroom.


◇◇◇


In the bathroom, I grope Milkit’s boobs.

Just like always, she seems quite pleased at my touch.

It’s kinda lewd, really.

Come to think of it, why exactly am I fondling her like this? Even if we’re living together, isn’t it kinda weird to get turned on by another girl’s boobs?

No, it’s not.

Getting turned on by boobs is a fundamental part of being human, a natural feature of our hardware. It’s especially true for me, since I don’t have much in the breasts department --- wait, who’re ya callin’ flat!?

Flaaaat!

Flaaaat…

...Flat.

“I-I’m a lot bigger than I was in middle school, at least!”

“Nnh… hahh, Flum-san…? W-Who are you…?”

“Forget it. It’s nothing.”

Those aren’t the kind of words that should be said mid-grope.

Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that she’s started making all sorts of erotic expressions whenever I give her a little massage like this.

Huh. I wonder why?

“Ahhhh! Flum-san…! T-This is… I… hahn…!!”

Okay, so maybe I might have an idea. I’m not that dense. Quite a bit of time has passed since we started living together, and I’ve been fondling her like this every day.

It’s that, isn’t it?

I’m refining her breasts, aren’t I? I’m making them more sensitive by the day, aren’t I?

At this rate I get the feeling we might be crossing a certain line soon, so I exercise a rare bit of restraint and separate my hands from her chest.

“Weh...?”

Even if you give me that teary-eyed super-expectant look, Milkit, that’s all for now. Really.

I’m not aiming for that kinda thing when I grope her… t-though I guess I was getting a little excited there, too.

For better or worse this skinship’s bringing us closer together by the day. Come to think of it, though, I guess I can’t say this is the only factor. Just living together puts us in plenty of close-quarters situations, so I guess it’s just a natural thing.

“We’d better get out. We’ll be late at this rate.”

“I-If you insist…”

To be honest I was a little worried at first about us living together. I mean, we’d never even said anything more than ‘good morning’ to each other before. There’s also the whole thing about really close lovers finally deciding to live together but discovering that it just doesn’t work, y’know?

I mean, we’re not lovers, but still.

“I’m sorry for making you dry me off every time.”

“Hm? C’mon, I’m doing this because I want to, plain and simple. You really do have pretty hair, though, I’ve got to admit.”

“I don’t think most people would agree with you…”

“Ah, I guess you were probably picked on because of it, weren’t you?”

“...Yes.”

You could say that hair like that’s just my type, but I think more than that it adds to her mysterious charm. I mean, I’m not really the caring, dependable type, but just looking at her makes me want to protect her. I've never met her parents, but it’s plenty clear to me that anyone who’d abandon her is the worst kind of scum.

“Most people tell me that my eyes and skin and the like are disgusting, and nobody has ever complimented me before… I’m jealous of you for your black hair, Flum-san.”

“Eh? Haha, you’ve gotta be joking.”

“I really think so.”

Oof… was that a counterattack? No way am I going to lose so easily.

“Really? In that case, I think your hair’s beautiful --- no, gorgeous. I love it.”

“Uu… You’re merciless.”

“You say that, but you’re pretty happy, aren’t you?”

She might not be used to being complimented, but looking at her expression she’s clearly not upset at the very least.

One more little push, then.

“When I first saw you I thought you were an angel. You feel almost unreal --- honestly, every day I find myself in shock that such a beauty would ever want to be so close to me.”

“You’re complimenting me far too much…”

“I’m serious. You’re always right there in front of me when I wake up, right?”

“You’re so cute when you sleep I just can’t help but watch you…”

“Guh, that’s quite a counter… Don’t think I’m giving up, though! Anyhow, when I wake up the first thing I see is your face up-close.”

“I’m sorry... If you dislike it that much, I can try to stop.”

“No, it’s the opposite! Is there anything better than getting to see an angel’s smile first thing in the morning!? No, of course not! Definitely not! I swear you’re one of the most beautiful people on the planet, your skin and eyes are absolutely stunning, and silver hair is definitely the coolest thing ever! Okay?”

Even after saying this much, though, she still seems a little discontent. Hahh, this is a pickle --- a whole jarful of pickles.

Well, I was prepared for a drawn-out battle from the start. It’s not that easy to cure a pessimist, after all. I guess I’ll leave it at that for today.

“...Anyhow, after saying all that about how I feel completely no-holds-barred, I was kinda hoping that you’d finally forget about all those bad old memories you’re so determined to cling on to. I was thinking that maybe instead you’d be willing to make some new ones with me… or something like that, haha…”

I got the feeling I was being a little self-centered so I kinda petered out towards the end there, but that’s how I really feel. Since I’ve got a hold on her hand anyways, I just figured I may as well make her happy enough to really show up those shitty parents of hers.

“Flum-san… If you say too many things like that, I-I might get addicted to you…”

Uwoh, that’s pretty bold. Is she trying to push me away or something?

“I don’t see anything wrong with that. Everyone lives addicted to something, after all --- it’s just if that happens to be another person they become friends or lovers or something.”

“Lovers…?”

Uhh… I was kinda hoping she’d pick up on the first one!

Even after I went and refined her boobs like that!

But wait, if we become lovers then I’ll be able to legitimately fondle her to my heart’s content… That’s pretty tempting, I’ve got to admit…

…No it’s not! Calm down, libido!

As I battle with my lustful urges, Milkit turns around to face me. She must’ve noticed my smutty expression… or maybe not.

We had just gotten out of the shower so we’re both totally naked --- but despite that she brings her body close to mine and snuggles up against me.

Ohh… This overwhelming pressure… those twin titans are swallowing my little girls whole…! Fight on, little ones! If you lose here, then the hopes and dreams of flat-chested women all over the world lose with you!!

It’s okay, if my bust suddenly expands by only about thirty centimeters I’ll have her beat!

I’ll admit, it’s hopeless! That sudden of sudden and inexplicable growth’s only possible through the kind of mystery medicine or strange tentacle juices you see in hentai manga!

...As for how I know that, um, well…

“O-Okay… I guess I’ll get a little addicted, then.”

“...S-Sure, go right ahead.”

Uwah, this is kinda bad… She can totally feel my heartbeat going out of control, can’t she? I mean, I can feel hers, after all. Even through her chest I can feel her quivering slightly.

Hmm… I’ve never gotten this close to anyone before, but I’d guess this is... friendship? I mean, it’s normal for girls like us to get kinda clingy with each other, right? Y’know, wrapping arms around each other and holding hands and stuff… Even though it’s pretty normal to try to put a mature spin on it, everyone’s hungry for warmth in the end.

She wraps her arms around behind me, hesitantly but surely pushing her body against mine. I firmly pull her closer until we’re stuck together like glue, telling her with my body there’s no need to be so nervous.

Well, I still have my parents so it’s not like I’m exactly starved for affection, but this is different. If I’m not careful this might just become a habit…

“You’re a very strange person, Flum-san.”

“Really? All my friends tell me I’m kinda plain.”

“No, that’s not true. A normal person wouldn’t just take home someone they found sitting in a cardboard box in such a strange outfit.”

“So you admit it was strange, huh… I think anyone would get worried and say something, at least.”

“They wouldn’t let me live with them or spoil me as you have, though.”

“...Well, I guess so.”

Even I understand what I did was pretty crazy, but I couldn’t just leave her like that. I’ll even go so far as to admit that it was maybe a little much to just invite her to live with me. In the end, that probably means my parents are the really crazy ones for going along with it so easily.

“You really are strange… But…”

“But?”

She relaxes a little, pulling back just enough that we can get a good look at each other face-to-face.

Looking at her like this she really is beautiful, and her great body makes her almost seem like she isn’t even Japanese. In fact, that’s probably the strangest thing about this whole thing --- she could probably go anywhere she wants and have people falling all over her, but for some reason she’s decided to stay with someone like me.

“You really are, um, w-wonderful.”

And with that bashful look, even --- I can feel my face grow hot. That’s a hyper-unfair way to put it, seriously! That wording would set anyone’s heart aflutter!

“I’m so glad you’re strange, Flum-san.”

“Is that a compliment…?”

“Fufufu, I’d appreciate it if you’d take it as such.”

Dammit, she’s just too cute! Ah, screw it all, she’s mine! I’ll refine her whole body so hard that she’ll never be able to leave me!!

...If I said that aloud, though, she’d definitely get creeped out, so I’ll keep it to myself.

“...Crap, look at the time. I guess we should get dressed.”

Reality’s a bitch, seriously.

Oh, and I wasn’t really talking about making her mine in a romantic or sexual way or anything like that. It was a joke.

Yeah, I was probably joking… right?

My heart’s still beating out of control.

“Today is the first day of school, after all.”

Yeah… I guess that’s right. For a while there I was getting all excited about being able to spend another full day just screwing around with Milkit, but today unfortunately marks the end of summer vacation and the start of school.

We can’t just screw around naked like this all day long.


◇◇◇


Returning to the living room, I see Dad for the first time today.

“Ah, school starts again today, does it?”

We start casually chatting as we always do. To be honest I’m kinda surprised he’s up so early since he’s really not a morning person, but apparently he has to go in to work early. Going to sleep at nine last night to get up early this morning --- what is he, a grade schooler?

Milkit, having gotten used to life here by now, casually joins the conversation. After a little while even Mom naturally shows up, having finished taking out the trash.

I wonder why Dad’s here, though?

If he’s here, then who was that?

…?

???

That?

Right… that.

[EHH, WHATEVER]

Ehh, whatever.

There’s no point thinking about it.

The faint scent of blood wafting in from somewhere, I skewer a sausage with my fork. The silver tines punch through its skin, causing its juices to spill out from within.

I prefer my sausages grilled instead of boiled, though, so I finish breakfast somewhat discontented.


◇◇◇


Changing into our uniforms, we head out into town. The rays of summer slowly start to grill my maidenly skin.

Fucking sun.

“Uegh… Looks like Inferno Earth again today, dammit…”

“Fufufu. Yes, it really is an inferno.”

I used to be the only one to hear those words, but again today Milkit replies, an amused tone in her voice. For some reason she’s really taken a liking to the phrase, and every time she hears it she breaks out into a smile.

We bike our bikes down to the station. The one that Milkit’s riding isn’t one of ours but one that she’s had for a while, just one of the many things we salvaged from her apartment. At the time I was kinda freaking out that we might run into her parents there, but there was no change whatsoever to her little second-floor apartment.

Apparently they haven’t come back even once.

It strikes me as a pretty heartless thing for them to do, but Milkit herself doesn’t really seem to care.

Speaking of which, the only way to get from my house to the station involves going right past her apartment. As we pass, I slow to almost a halt and look up at the second floor.

“...They’re not coming back.”

“Yeah, I know.”

I’m still uneasy, though.

Right now, there’s no justifiable reason to keeping Milkit at my house. If her parents ever come back and try to take her away from me, I wouldn’t be able to stop them. That’s why right now, when we’re still together and her parents are still MIA, I’d like to make some sort of pledge to her --- or something like that, I’m still working it out.

“Let’s hurry to school.”

Milkit urges me onwards, apparently not a big fan of this place. I’m sure she has too many unpleasant memories of that apartment to count. Before now, though, she’s never really thought of them as unpleasant; since we’ve started living together she’s started to hate her past more and more. If nothing else, I think it’s a sign things are changing for the better.

Putting my feet back to work, we bike past the apartment while ignoring the human face nailed to the wall. Following familiar streets, we finally arrive at the station and leave our bikes at the rack outside. As we leave the area, an office worker gets hit by a truck coming out of an alleyway. His corpse sails through the air, finally landing right in front of the station doors. Grabbing Milkit’s hand in mine, we step over the body and enter the train station, heading for the platform.

In the past there supposedly was a ‘ticket gate’ or something that we’d have to go through, but these days even retina scanners are getting rare. I’ve heard that a little further out in the countryside they still use these card things, but now even those are on the verge of disappearing.

I find it interesting that despite all the technological advancements we’ve been seeing in recent years we still have the kind of train that runs on rails. I think I heard it was because those two-hundred-something year old rails were still being maintained or something.

Come to think of it, though, I guess bikes are even older. It’s honestly just kinda amazing that we’re still using them. I mean, I heard that they used to be slower, but nowadays it only takes about ten minutes to reach a station no matter where you are.

Trains are supposedly the same way; they’re many times faster than they used to be, to the point where I wouldn’t be able to go to the school I do if not for that.

There are some downsides, of course, like a bunch of country shopping malls going out of business what with the cities so easy to get to. Even now the huge old buildings are just sitting empty near the middle of the city. They’re supposedly looking to put them to use again, but they haven’t been able to find anyone interested.

...Anyhow, country talk aside.

Brushing aside the ugly hanged puppets that dangle in front of the train, we both get on. The human hands dangling from the ceiling as handholds are covered in blood right now, so I don’t want to touch them. If the train was full I wouldn’t really have a choice, but the train’s pretty empty today so we can sit wherever we like.

“Considering it’s a school day, there aren’t many people around.”

“...What’s the date, again?”

“July 30th. Is something the matter?”

“Nah, I just thought I might’ve been wrong. Makes sense. August 7th is the first day of school, so July 30th is the first day of school.”

“Yes, exactly.”

[I GET IT]

I get it.

After a moment, the train starts running. Since Origin is powering the train for us, we get to ride for free. Those retina scanners I mentioned earlier used to be for charging people train fare, but nowadays they’re only used to make sure no weirdos get on. Even if I’d normally get a student discount on train fares it’d still end up being quite expensive, so apparently my parents are saving a lot.

It’s all thanks to Origin.

He provides us with infinite energy.

Even in elementary school, we used to have a class every day all about Him. We all have a duty to learn about Him, after all. Every morning He takes up at least ten minutes of the news, but not because there’s any sort of law. Without the politicians even saying anything the station just decided it --- I don’t know when or why it happened, though.

They just decided it was for the best.

I don’t know why.

When did they start that, again?

It wasn’t like that back when Milkit came to live with us. At least, I don’t think so.

Our conjoined hands rest between our seats. Outside it’s still hellishly hot, but within the train it’s nice and cool --- maybe a bit too cold, actually, but this makes it perfect hand-holding weather. We sit and stare wordlessly out the window. The scenery that flits by us is a myriad of colours.

On a familiar riverbank, a man is having sex with a duck while a young boy watches. The man has his gut slashed open, the wound probably self-inflicted from the bloodstained axe beside him. He holds his vaginal gash open as the duck plunges its head inside him, over and over again with a rhythmic piston-like movement. Beside them the little boy is watching and clapping with glee, probably the man’s son. He’s probably so excited for his turn he can hardly wait.

At that moment, a woman runs at the train, screaming her lungs out. She collides with the train, but is blown away on contact, flipping and twisting through the air with all the skill, grace, and vigour of an olympic gymnast before flying out of sight.

A swarm of crows flies alongside the train as if trying to race it. Clutched in their beaks and talons are all manner of human body parts. Come to think of it, that’s not too rare these days. I guess it just goes to show how many bodies have been kicking around as of late.

...Speaking of which, there was one in my house this morning, wasn’t there? I was pretty sure it was Dad, but since he’s still alive it must’ve been somebody else. Since the bath was clean when Milkit and I used it, Mom must’ve cut it up in the front hallway with a saw or something. I get that she’s a real hard worker, but I hope she doesn’t get too tired working so hard first thing in the morning.

“...”

“...Flum-san?”

Milkit calls my name, her voice so horribly nervous and thin I can barely make it out. She squeezes my hand.

“Is it okay if I confirm a few things with you?”

The cabin of the train’s probably blocking some of the radio waves.[1] It always has. I get the feeling that I can be just a little more normal here… no, I can’t call this odd sense of loss ‘normal’, I guess. Milkit’s probably feeling the same thing I am.

That’s why she brings up the sort of serious conversation that we’d never have normally.

“It said on the news yesterday that we fired another missile overseas, didn’t we?”

“Yeah, one of those new nukes, right? The ones that vaporize everything, even the ground itself.”

“Yes, and they said that the last island was wiped out. That means… Japan’s all that’s left of the world, right?”

I remember it.

Origin-related news has been repeated so many times it’s almost sickening, so it’s honestly weirder to not know about it.

“Everyone knows it, correct?”

“Yeah… probably.”

“I can’t help but wonder why, then… I get the feeling that’s the only ‘information’ I’ve been receiving lately.”

“What do you mean?”

Maybe because she’s so smart, Milkit sometimes has really roundabout ways of saying things. Whenever I ask her directly like this, however, she gets straight to the point so even I can understand it.

“Don’t you find it strange?”

“...That’s…”

Come to think of it, she’s right.

We watch the news and laugh, like it’s the most natural thing in the world, but --- the Japanese archipelago’s all that’s left now. Every other country fell to the nuclear missiles, and all their inhabitants with them.

That’s definitely strange.

[IT’S NOT STRANGE]

It’s not strange.

“It’s not strange.”

“No, it isn’t strange, is it.”

Milkit echoes my words.

That must mean it isn’t strange.

The conversation ends there, as if smothered.

“Flum-san… To be honest, I’m a little worried.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean. I am, too.”

[I’M NOT WORRIED]

“I’m not worried, though.”

“No, I’m not, either… and I think that’s the problem.”

We notice.

We’re just made not to notice.

It’s not that we’re super perceptive or anything, I don’t think, it’s just that the two of us might somehow have the ability to ‘resist’. It’s not enough to fight back, though, and the best we can do is just ball up that clump of normalcy and let it sit there inside us.

[Next, Kubikirizakamae - Before Decapitation Hill. Kubikirizakamae - Before Decapitation Hill---]

The intercoms announce our arrival at a new station, one that I’ve never got off at myself. High school girls about my age line the platform, large phillips-head screwdrivers in hand. As we pass through they press the pointy ends against their necks and drive them in, twisting and gouging in circular motions to make the holes even larger. Apparently the area’s seen a bit of a boom recently, with over a dozen casualties every time. There’s all sorts of reaction videos online yelling on and on about how nobody’s actually decapitating themselves, but it’s apparently pretty well-rated nonetheless. That must be why it’s so popular with high school girls.

“I feel as though things haven’t gotten strange only recently, but rather that there have been signs for a long time and we were simply made used to them.”

“Made used to…?”

“Yes, like how the new missiles and the wars overseas and the like feel like they have nothing to do with us. We should’ve found that strange, but we simply got used to it all too readily because thought we didn’t have any reason to worry. Ah, but even if we realize it, just thinking about it seems to make everything go blurry, and your mind goes fuzzy…”

“I think I get what you’re talking about. Yeah, I think it’s always been like that, come to think of it. Like, the nonsensical is being made sensical. But since it makes sense…”

“Exactly. The uneasiness fades. To be honest, I can barely even remember why we started talking about this in the first place.”

I barely even know what I’m saying --- but that ‘barely knowing’ is probably the best we’ll ever get.

There’s no point thinking about it.

Even right now, if something strange were to happen, we wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it.

“I wonder how it got to be this bad… I don’t have any proof, mind you, but I do get the feeling that this is a bad thing, whatever it is.”

“Yeah, I kinda get that impression, too.”

We’ll have to compare and contrast what we each see and hear. Even if one person alone isn’t enough, with the two of us putting our heads together we can probably catch some glimpse of the truth.

“Maybe the reason it’s gotten to be this way is because it’s ‘finished’. By finished, I mean---”

“It’s finished wiping out everywhere else?”

“I believe so.”

So that’s why the next target is us. I don’t mean ‘us’ us, though, I mean the whole of Japan. It doesn’t want to just wipe us out with a missile or something, it wants a more… I dunno, a more ‘appropriate’ way?

I get that kinda feeling. It’s probably because I have a bit of ‘ease’ now. I don’t know from what or who, but I guess this means that since all the real enemies have disappeared dealing with us will be easy… or something like that.

[Next, Kubitsurizaka - Hanging Hill. Kubitsurizaka - Hanging Hill---]

There’s no place with that name, not even a hill there, but there’s a station.

I look up at the electronic display board above the train doors and read the words ‘Next: Minetakashi - Peak Hill’.

Minetakashi is maybe only two minutes away at best, but we’re practically on top of Kubitsurizaka. In other words, what we heard a moment ago probably wasn’t the voice of the employees but something far further away, resonating all the way into our heads---

No, I can’t think about it anymore or else I’ll forget all about it, even the fact that it even crossed my mind to begin with.

We arrive a moment later at Kubitsurisaka, and just like its name a wonderful array of hanged corpses greet us from the platform rafters. I’m reminded of a lantern festival; they certainly aren’t as pretty as paper lanterns but looking at the array of red, orange, and brown flesh tones I can honestly say this is just as good. Nowadays the entire country has corpses hanging in their train stations, but few of them command the same respect and dignity of this one, the first and the original.

My chest swells with pride.

It’s truly wonderful, how such a proud and widespread tradition started from a normal little country station like this.

Some of the bodies have started to turn brown with rot, showing just how long they must’ve been dangling here. The further they decompose the softer their flesh grows until finally they fall from their ropes in clumps. At that point it’s time to swap them out and a new human comes along to take their place, hanging there until they ripen in the same way. The old bodies, by the way, are disposed of in sections, with the lower halves becoming fertilizer while heads are taken to different train station, Kubidzuka - Head Mound, for display until the flesh rots away completely into mush. The bones aren’t just discarded then --- no, there’s still a use for them.

They make a wonderful condiment.

We pass the station, returning to the peaceful sight of the countryside.

At a railway crossing I spot a naked middle-aged woman mashing her head against a rock and screaming.

All common country sights.

“I’m not especially hoping to do anything with this situation, though.”

“I don’t think we could do anything even if we wanted to.”

“Yes, precisely. I’m sure that as soon as we disembark and return into the rain of light we’ll forget this feeling, what we’ve said, everything.”

There’s no rain of light.

She’s just talking hypothetically. It might be something like that, though, something invisible that descends from the sky and seeps into the brain. She’s just phrasing that hideous truth as harmless and peaceable as she can.

“I’m glad you’re here with me, Flum-san. I’m sure that without you I would’ve been swallowed whole long ago.”

“I feel the same way. Without you, I’d probably be just like them.”

“...Even if you’re lying, I’m happy to hear that.”

“C’mon, don’t be like that. I’m dead serious. Would I be holding your hand like this if I wasn’t?”

I give her hand a light squeeze, my fingers entwined with hers.

We might’ve gotten so close so quickly because of that ‘suspension bridge effect’ thing. Even if we aren’t aware most of the time there’s even any danger, we’re nonetheless surrounded by it constantly.

Whoever or whatever’s dropping this rain of light, it can’t do anything against our instincts, our souls.

“Just hearing you say that is enough to make me glad you’re the one who picked me up, Flum-san. From the bottom of my heart.”

Milkit narrows her eyes slightly as she gazes off into the distance, her words carrying such a weight they can’t not be from her heart.

I look out the window.

--- Kubidzuka.

The disembodied heads lined up there seem to curse us with their empty gazes as we pass.


◇◇◇


After getting off the train, we head to school hand-in-hand without a care in the world.

We enter the classroom.

At the front of the classroom loiters the so-called ‘cool kids’. The girl who leads their group looks about as she would if she were inspecting her nails as she cuts her fingers off with a pair of scissors, knuckle by knuckle. We head to the desk where my ‘group’ tends to hang out.

My friend gives me a passive “Morning” as she fiddles with her phone.

“You look pretty hyped, even though we’ve only got stuff in the morning… Huh? I didn’t know you two were so close.”

She seems to notice Milkit standing beside me for the first time.

She’s my best friend in class, and we’ve known each other since we were in middle school. She’s laid-back and cheerful, and somehow just talking to her puts me in a good mood.

“Hey.”

“...Hello.”

She typically has it pretty together, though it looks like Milkit and I coming to school holding hands was just about the last thing she expected. When I tell her we’ve been living together, she’s downright shocked. I guess it can’t be helped; the last time I saw her Milkit and I barely talked to each other.

My friend’s a good person, though. When she actually starts talking to Milkit she quickly realizes just how cute and upfront she is, and she quickly becomes used to her. Milkit herself, being a bit on the shy side, looks a little tired out by the sudden social situation. I really like them both, though, so I really want them to get along, y’know? I redouble my efforts after I hear that it’s my friend’s turn to jump off the roof and kill herself. It’s their last chance to meet properly, after all.

At the front of the class that cool girl loudly complains “Gawd, why’s it so hard to cut off my hand?” as she stabs herself over and over in the wrist with her scissors, widening her wound little by little.


◇◇◇


Summer, 2197 CE.

Two years remain until the world is temporarily destroyed.

Today’s a day just like any other.


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  1. 毒電波(dokudenpa) or ‘toxic radio waves’ is a term used to describe one person’s lunacy or other mental state, including delusions and hallucinations, transmitting to other people. The ‘phenomena’ is completely unsupported by modern science but is a fairly common concept within Japanese pop culture.