Part 27: Girl DPart 27 - Girl D
There was no answer. Of course not. On the contrary, it'd be much scarier if there was--
SFX: Knock Knock
I'd lost in today's not-turning-around game.
There was no one else in the room. An auditory.... hallucination?
I wanted it to be one.... In my heart, I hoped that was the case.
SFX: Knock Knock
SFX: Knock Knock Knock
SFX: The Knocking continues indefinitely in a firm, yet polite manner
Someone had come.
Very few people ever came to visit here. Even newspaper subscription soliciters wouldn't go all the way up to the roof.
All I could think of was....
Home delivery service worker?
No, I wasn't supposed to be getting any packages today.
No, Nanami would bang at the door much more wildly. And she'd make a racket outside, yelling "Bro! Open up--!"
The chances were high. She'd been here once before. Had the demon girl ordered her to come here and kill me?
But if so would she bother to knock?
The knocking sound persisted.
Frozen in place, I thought about what I should do. But I couldn't come up with a single good idea, and all that rose within me was panic.
Maybe that was being way too cautious?
But I had to be doubly careful. Shibuya had been remarkably dangerous as of late.
If it were Yua, I mustn't let her in. If I did, it'd be the same as saying, go on, please kill me.
I stared in the direction of the door. But it was dark, and I couldn't see well.
When I reached the middle of the room, I was finally in a position to confirm it.
Chills ran through my whole body. My heartbeat sped up with anxiety.
In any case, I had to hurry and lock it.
If I made a sound, they'd know I was pretending not to be here, but it was better than letting them get inside.
SFX: Takumi trips and lands on everything littering the floor, producing a very loud crashing noise. The knocking stops.
I slipped grandly and landed hard on my ass.
SFX: The door creaks open
I didn't know who it was, but the person who'd been knocking was trying to open the door without permission.
I made as if to get up, but the pain kept my body from doing as I wished of it.
That's why all I could do was watch the door open with tear-stung eyes.
The de, dem, demon girl....!
To think that the demon girl herself, not Yua, would be the one to come marching in....!
Our eyes met. Right then, the demon girl smiled delightedly. Her smile made me shudder.
"Jeez, why didn't you answer sooner?"
Oh God.... Oh God... Oh God....!
She'd come to kill me at last! She was smiling with joy at the thought of murdering me!
It had to be because I'd told the police the facts! She'd seen me do it with her second sight!
"D, d, do, do...."
"Don't kill me!" I tried to scream, but my excess of terror made it hard for my voice to come out.
Craning her neck, the demon girl let forth the words of some mysterious spell. She was cursing me or something, it must be black magic....!
In hopes of opening even a little distance between me and her, I scooted backwards on my butt. With my hands slipping countless times on the trash scattered about the floor, I fled for the furthest-back part of my room--my computer desk.
The demon girl came trespassing in. On top of that, she courteously took off her shoes.
"Sorry to disturb you."
Unexpectedly, however, the demon girl was only carrying a bag. I couldn't see anything resembling a deadly weapon.
No, it must be inside that bag of hers....!
I mustn't get caught off-guard.
The moment I relaxed, she'd home in for the killing blow. Or else maybe she had already placed a curse on me with the magical words she'd used before.
A few days later, I might suddenly die by bursting all over with blood spurting from my body....
"I, I, I beg you...."
"Don't.... kill me...."
I cradled my head and splayed myself out on the floor. I detested the two detectives who had appeared before me with every fiber of my being.
"I, I, I'll apologize for talking to the police, so...."
"A, and, even then, they didn't, b, believe me. Even a, a teensy bit...."
It was a lie to buy myself some time.
When I thought that far, I gulped.
The demon girl suddenly snapped into a salute-like pose.
And bizarrely enough, she'd muttered something resembling a sound effect for it of her own accord.... Was this, too, a devil's curse?
In the dark, she says? Did she intend to play dumb? Or was she silently pressuring me with, "Forget everything you saw, act as if nothing ever happened."
This girl.... What the hell was she thinking....? Hadn't she come to kill me?
Rising from the couch, the demon extended a hand to me.
Her expression seemed extraordinarily gentle. Plus, when I saw her close up.... She was pretty cute....
Thinking a demon looked "pretty cute"? What the fuck?
Don't believe her....
Don't be deceived by this demon girl's smile. This was the temptation of a devil. If I gave into temptation, I'd die.
Don't believe in anything. Don't believe anything anyone says.
"B, but.... I, I saw...."
"I'd never have dreamed I'd get called a murderer.... Tahaha...."
What did she intend to do with me....?
Would I.... in the same way as that guy in the fourth case....
"Aren't you gonna kill me....?"
"Or, or take me to where Yua and Shogun are--"
Maybe the three of them felt like banding together to get rid of me in a group lynching....
"N, no, not th, that...."
So that's how it really is....!
"Oh, don't freak out like that. You react to every little thing in just the right way to get me down in the dumps...."
"P, please.... I won't ever.... t, talk about it to anyone.... again, so, l, let me go...."
"Helloooo, Taku? Calm down a little, will ya?"
She'd known my name even when we met for the first time, at the "staking" crime scene.
Like I'd thought, she was clairvoyant! She'd known my name and my address, too, because she'd used her power on me!
"--I've thought that for a while."
For a while....? Since when? Speaking of which, had I been talking to myself just now?
I myself had absolutely no awareness of it.
Really? Had I really, truly been talking to myself? What were the chances that she was lying to me? Or that she'd read my mind?
"Also, Taku, are you making fun of me? I mean, yeah, my test scores aren't that high."
"But it kind of hurts to have someone tell that kind of thing to my face."
Was someone here weird in the head....? Who? Me? This girl?
"C, could you be.... a t, transfer student....?"
"Ah, now that you mention it, apparently there's a transfer student coming soon. Mr. Tsukachin said so."
The two halves of our conversation didn't match up....
My previous fear, mixed with the strain of having no idea of when I might suddenly get killed, was starting to fade.
But in its exchange came a different variety of dread, gnawing its way into my heart and making me go cold.
"If you're making that face, could it possibly mean you still don't believe me?"
Who are you? She was a murderer. A demon girl.
Classmates, she says....? In other words, we weren't only friends, we were classmates?
"Guess it can't be helped, huh. You don't come to school that much."
"But that doesn't give you free license to totally forget that I exist."
"Ahem. Then I've gotta make you remember."
"Hey, no reaction!?"
In the first place, other than Yua, I'd never known a 3-D girl who talked to me with such familiarity.
And Yua was the demon girl's subordinate.
Ah, I get it....!
What the girl called Sakihata was enacting right now, right in front of my eyes, was the very same method Yua had used.
Knowing I wasn't used to interacting with 3-d girls, she meant to lead me into a trap by behaving friendly with me and tempting me.
After all, when I was at school, I stayed fixed at my desk from beginning to end, either pretending to sleep while having daydreams, or staring at the surface of my desk, or pretending to read my textbooks, and nothing else.
I had practically no memory of my classmates' faces and names. I'd made no effort to remember them.
Which was it? Was she telling the truth or lying to me?
Da, Daichin? What was that supposed to mean? A name? Some kind of secret code? A devil's spell?
Sh, she knew Misumi-kun's name....? On top of that, calling him Daichin.... She wouldn't say that unless they were really close....
"On that note, here ya go."
The demon girl quickly spotted my cell phone, which I'd left lying out on the sofa, picked it up, and held it out to me.
Apparently she wanted me to try calling Misumi-kun.
I didn't like using the phone, but she might kill me if I disobeyed. Driven by that fear, and helpless to do anything else, I was about to call him--
When I realized I didn't know his phone number.
Upon seeing me freeze in confusion, the demon girl tilted her head again, came around beside me, and looked over my shoulder at the phone's screen.
Her hair stirred, sending the pleasant smell of shampoo floating up to the tip of my nose.
But she was a demon! I won't let her tempt me! I'm not into 3-D stuff! Lend me your strength, Seira-tan!
"Then you gotta tell me that ahead of time. Sorry, sorry."
The demon girl had entered his number smoothly.
No matter how I had looked at this, it appeared to be a number she was used to dialing.
She passed the cell phone back to me with a smile.
Unsure of what else to do, I ended up taking it and putting it to my ear.
It sounded like he was downtown, as the bustle of his surroundings came in through the receiver.
This time, the demon girl peered into my face from in front of me.
Dammit, your face is too close....
"Ohh, Taku, huh."
Wasn't Misumi-kun being a little strange?
How had he figured out it was me so quickly?
I still hadn't gotten past the "Ni" part of my name.
"It wasn't a familiar number, so I was wondering who it might be."
"Does this mean you bought a cell?"
Maybe this "some other person who sounded like Misumi-kun" was her underling, pretending to be Misumi-kun in hopes of deceiving me.
The demon girl, too, may have understood from the beginning that I didn't know Misumi-kun's number, and therefore "guided" the situation to make it develop in this manner.
Anything and everything started to seem suspicious. I didn't know what had been truth and what - a lie.
To begin with, what kind of trap was the demon girl trying to make me fall into by using such elaborate tricks?
Or was there a reason she had "no choice but to trick me," even if it meant taking such a roundabout approach?
That was completely ridiculous!
"It's pretty unusual for you to contact me."
"Well, can't say I'm all that happy to get a call from a guy, though. Haha."
His tone of voice was perfectly identical to Misumi-kun's.
"Want me to teach you how to pick up girls?"
"Yeah, as if."
Should I try to get down to business and start talking? I sensed a gaze at my back. That girl was watching me steadily.
The tingle at the back of my neck had yet to disappear. With what manner of expression was the demon girl looking at me? I wanted to turn around and see for myself. But I was too scared to do it....
"If you don't have anything to say, I'm hanging up. I don't have enough free time to listen if you're not gonna talk. I'm with a chick right now."
"So, what is it? If something's up, make it quick."
"Um, uh, er....!"
"What? Spit it out."
"......In, in our"
"Yeah, what about our class?"
"Is what there?"
"Na, na, named.... Sakihata...."
Becoming more and more incoherent, I somehow managed to explain myself.
Misumi-kun suddenly stopped answering.
The next thing I heard was an enormous sigh.
"You sure your brain hasn't been affected by all those video games?"
Wh, what was he saying all of a sudden....
On top of that, why'd he have to use the language of a certain kind of totally irresponsible, groundless, anti-gamer "science" to label me....
"No matter how much you might not be interested in 3-D girls, Have you really forgotten about her too?"
The demon girl and I had been in the same class since freshman year? The three of us had gone to see a movie together a little while ago?
A little while ago.... When?
"Cause, I'm about as whimsical as she is."
"Man, it's a big world out there, but I'd say Rimi and I are just about the only ones who'd concern ourselves with an antisocial guy like you."
"Ah, that might be putting it a little too harshly. Haha."
I couldn't acknowledge that such a past existed.
The "Misumi-kun-esque somebody" was talking about a story. Not about the past. For the past could succeed in forming only with the support of one's memories....
"Who.... are you....?"
"Whoa, whoa, have you gone crazy for real? You've even forgotten me? Way too much gaming--"
"Haa, haa, haa...."
Looking rather worried about me, the demon girl quietly offered me a handkerchief.
A pretty, patternless handkerchief colored a faint vermillion. There was a slight floral scent to it.
Instead of taking it, I attempted to somehow keep my composure and organize my thoughts about my current circumstances. But it didn't go too well. My endlessly suspicious emotions spun down into a whirlpool of disorder.
After sighing in what sounded like light disappointment as she put away her handkerchief, the demon girl asked me this with a triumphant expression.
It was the attitude of someone who'd known the answer from the start--
I couldn't afford to answer her.
Maybe I was the one who'd gone crazy.
If you took the chat with "Shogun" into consideration, it was hard to discard the possibility that someone other than myself was controlling me.
Or only my memories of this demon girl.... of the girl called Sakihata Rimi, by some accident had been knocked clean out of me.
Whatever the case, I didn't understand myself....
Was it memory loss? Sonambulism? Something else? Or all this together?
"If you're not feeling well, how about lying down on the sofa?"
The demon girl spoke to me kindly.
I shook my head to show her my refusal and raised my face with all my strength.
Sweat got in my eyes, making my vision blur.
The demon girl's face was closer than I'd expected. What color did she hold in those eyes of hers?
"Hm? What, what?"
"Ah, sorry. It was selfish of me to come in."
"But, I was knocking, you know?"
"And no matter what, you wouldn't come out, then I heard this loud noise, so I was on pins and needles."
"Mm? What is it this time?"
What was her reason for coming to visit me? If she'd come to kill me, she would have acted on her intentions long ago, yet why wasn't she doing anything?
"Ahh, the reason, I came here? Um, that's--"
Without quite meaning to, I accepted it from her. Certainly, it had "Future Aspirations Questionnaire" written on it, with blank fields for up to three entries.
....Was that really it? Only that?
I didn't want to get involved. I mustn't get involved with 3-D girls.
This was a trap.
This wasn't reality.
If you don't mean to kill me, then please let me be.
Holding my head, I closed my heart. I started to tremble dreaming that a girl called Sakihata Rimi had never been there in the first place.
SFX: Door Opens
SFX: Door Closes
It reflected a screensaver of Seira, a character from "Blood Tune the Animation."
In this container house, which a girl called Sakihata Rimi had visited half a day earlier, there could now be found solely the form of its owner, Nishijou Takumi.
The time was already nearing five in the morning.
It was Takumi's daily habit to play online games until dawn, then sleep like a log on his sofa.
Now, too, Takumi was lying on the sofa in an uncomfortable-looking position.
He didn't use his bed to sleep in.
Though he possessed a proper bed, the reason he didn't sleep there was because it had been monopolized by the manga volumes, CDs, and so forth that he had piled atop it.
In the period when he avoid cleaning because it would be too much of a bother, his bed had gradually transformed to a type of shelving.
Henceforth, he began using the two-seat sofa as his sleeping space.
A painful-sounding moan spilled from Takumi's mouth.
Perhaps he was having a nightmare; his entire body was sweating, and his closed eyelids trembled.
His expression twisted agonizingly, And as he tossed and turned over and over, he came close to falling off the sofa.
Refraining from sitting down, he moved the mouse while standing. The screen saver disappeared, and his desktop filled the monitor.
Illuminated by the monitor's pallid light, Takumi's expression was horribly empty. His body wavered from side to side. Drool hung down from his half-open mouth.
The movements of his body were lackadaisical, but he showed no hesitation in selecting threads related to "New Gen" in the breaking news board.
In total they numbered approximately sixty, and Takumi opened them one by one in order, from the top down.
And while gazing at the monitor, he began touch-typing.
He repeated this in each of the sixty existing threads.