Part 30: Tōryanse (Let Me Pass)Part 30 - Tōryanse (Let Me Pass)
The video I'm linking below is highly recommended to watch. It contains elements of this update that are impossible to understand through screenshots.
That being said, it is also recommended that you do not use headphones while watching it. If you must use headphones, be prepared to turn the volume down. WAY down. Turn it down as soon as you hear the true (non-delusional) voicemail.
Video: The Voicemail
SFX: Connection. Beeeep.
OST: Tender Hearts
"Um, I'm sorry.... Calling you all of a sudden...."
"Except, there was something I wanted to talk to you about, no matter what...."
".....I managed to buy.... the new Seira-chan figure."
"I owe it all to you, Nishijou-kun."
"Thank you.... very much...."
"It's very cute, but.... a little ecchi.... isn't it. Ahaha."
"I was really embarrassed.... when I bought it...."
"Ah, I know, did you see this week's Burachu?"
"That was an amazing plot twist.... I was excited the whole time I watched it--"
"You multiple personality freak."
"You killed someone."
"You're the real criminal."
"Pay for your sins."
"Because I won't let you escape."
"Whose eyes are those eyes?"
SFX: Click. Beep, Beep, Beep....
It was no more than my own delusion, but it terrified me.
For it was entirely possible that Yua had actually looked up my cell phone number somewhere and called me.
I wanted to avoid listening to the voice message.
Shaking off my melancholy, I made the message play back. Scoping out my surroundings again and again to verify that the demon girl wasn't there, I put the phone to my ear.
Voicemail Service: "Message number 1. Friday, October 17th, 8:28 AM."
SFX: Connection sound. Beeeep.
I had the sense that it was ringing out from a slight distance. Perhaps the person on the other end of the line had been near a traffic light.
This song was often played at pedestrian crosswalks, in order to let people with visual disabilities know when the light turned green.
Though a lot of people knew the melody, far fewer knew the lyrics. Ah, on a side note, I know them. Because I'd learned them in middle school. Well, but it wasn't as though I remembered them perfectly.
SFX: Tune abruptly stops and is replaced by a siren. Beeeep boooop beeeep boooop
It sounded like "Coming home is beeeep booop beeeep booop--" It wasn't very auspicious, what with how it reminded me of an ambulance. Meh, it must've been a coincidence, but it was creepy all the same....
SFX: Siren is cut off by a LOUD Buzzer. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
The instant after the traffic signal's melody got cut off, there came a massively high-volume sound akin to that of a buzzer.
When I gingerly returned the phone to my ear, the message had already finished playing.
What had it been? At the very end, I might've faintly heard a roar like the ground rumbling....
That buzzer was something completely separate from the melody of the traffic light. For it to have such tremendous volume, all I could assume was that the phone's receiver had been deliberately placed close to the source of the sound.
"A, a prank?"
My heart began to race when I thought that.
Had I done anything to earn someone's dislike?
Who had made this call to me, anyway....
I could return the call, using the number displayed on my phone, but I wouldn't be able to bring myself to redial a prank caller....
In the end, my only available choice was to leave it be. Besides, my current situation was far worse than a prank call like this.
Thinking that he'd like to speak with the teacher who had been responsible for Nishijou Takumi during elementary school, Ban Yasuji attempted to contact him via phone, but was told that, sadly, he had passed away.
Ban, resorting to speaking instead with the one who had answered the phone--the head teacher, Kamio--went to the school together with his partner.
As it was a Saturday, the school gates were closed. The two detectives, Ban and Suwa, stopped there and looked over at the school building.
An extraordinarily eye-catching, brilliantly colored mural was painted on the white outer wall.
Without any knowledge of art or aesthetics, Ban had no idea what it signified, but the way the spiral-shaped painting changed to seven different colors as it went from top to bottom reminded him of a rainbow.
He tried striking a casual pose. One that was dandy, cool, refined.
"They say to go around to the back. There's supposed to be a side door."
The side door soon led to the school's rear entrance hallway, and getting to the staff room only required turning down one corridor.
Naturally, there were no children present in the building, and to the two detectives, it felt chillier than when they'd been outside, although this could have been an illusion created by the slick linoleum floor.
One of them rose and bowed his head upon seeing the detectives enter.
He was Kamio, with a mild smile and mostly-white hair swept over with a side part.
Ban and Suwa showed their police IDs to him almost simultaneously, then entered the topic at hand soon after a few brief greetings. It was Suwa's role to ask him questions.
Kamio: "I recall him. I wasn't his teacher myself, however, so I can't give you any real details. Are you all right with that?"
Suwa nodded, taking out his notebook and readying himself to jot things down.
"What kind of child was Nishijou-kun?"
Kamio: "I heard that he was difficult to handle. He was unique."
"Could you explain it in more concrete terms?"
Kamio: "I'm not sure if it's permissible for me to say that much.... Could you ask his family or his doctor?"
In recent times, all schools had begun responding with this don't-rock-the-boat attitude.
They wouldn't cooperate fully when it came to anything that might result in a lawsuit from a parent or guardian. It made doing one's job as a policeman much harder.
Kamio: "It was an accident. During a field trip, the bus they were on ran into a collapsing...."
"Ah, I know about that. They showed it on the news."
Kamio: "The children were only injured, thank god, all of their lives ended up being saved, but...."
Kamio: "Mr. Saitou ended up as the sole victim.... It's so hard to bear thinking about it."
"Did Nishijou-kun become caught up in the accident as well?"
Kamio gave a small side-to-side shake of his head in response to Ban's question.
Kamio: "He stayed home from school that day, and so he wasn't on the bus."
"Why did he stay home?"
Kamio: "I seem to remember hearing something about his illness having worsened, but...."
Ban, too, had a faint recollection of that accident.
After the accident, glancing at the TV had shown him the mass media swarming day after day around the house of the one male child who hadn't been involved.
Kamio: "It was a very sad accident...."
We usually didn't chat about anything important.
We'd exchange information about interesting threads on @channel, go on and on about ero stuff, recommend new comics to each other or discuss the previous day's anime, casual stuff like that.
Surprisingly, we didn't talk about ESO much. Why, you ask? Because we'd talk it to death afterward, while we played ESO.
Neidhardt: Has there been some kind of weird prank going around lately?
Grim: sauce plz
Neidhardt: Nah, I just heard about it from someone I know
Neidhardt: But I don't know if it's really going around or not
Neidhardt: Seems like they play weird sounds
Neidhardt: Into your cell phone's voicemail
Grim: Like a moe voice saying ero stuff to you? lol
Neidhardt: Haha, what eroge are you thinking of?
Neidhardt: On the contrary, wouldn't you want that them to hurry up and do that to you? Heh
Grim: Well, then, whose eyes are those eyes?
As usual, Grim had to go and use those words.... He'd made my mood go sour in an instant.
Plus, his Japanese was strange. Were those words so fascinating that they merited being shoehorned in, even when they didn't fit?
At least, they didn't fascinate me one bit. Far from it. They made me go cold.
But no point in fighting with him about it, not before I finished asking about the prank. I simply had to put up with him.
Grim: Like, the sound of a freak-otaku fapping? lol
Neidhardt: That's foul
Neidhardt: To answer you seriously, it's Let Me Pass
Grim: Let Me Pass? That's a song, right? The one they play at crosswalks?
Neidhardt: Yeah, yeah
Neidhardt: Then in the middle, it suddenly switches to a sound like a buzzer
Neidhardt: Apparently it's pretty high-decibel
Neidhardt: Ever heard of a prank like that?
Neidhardt: Seems like the kind of thing that'd be a fad at @channel, doesn't it?
I didn't know whose handiwork it was, and something about it concerned me, so I had a go at asking if Grim had heard of it.
If it were purely a crank call, all I'd have to do from here on out was ignore it.
Huh? Grim wasn't reacting. I wondered why.
Neidhardt: You drift off?
But if he was asleep, there was no helping it. We'd meet later in ESO anyway, and I could raise the subject again then. The moment I thought that and started to rise from my seat,
Grim: Kept ya waiting
Grim: I was searching @channel
Grim: For stuff about your prank
Oh, so that's what it had been.
But in other words, it meant that even the super-knowledgeable Grim hadn't known about this prank.
Grim: But no one was talking about it anywhere
Grim: Forget @channel, it isn't anywhere online
The identity of the caller concerned me, after all.... But I wasn't gutsy enough to call back.
Ah, but since I knew the phone number, I could use someone as a scapegoat and make them call for me.
Nanami and Misumi-kun seemed like the best choices. No, Misumi-kun was out, because he might have been brainwashed by the demon girl.
Right then, my stomach gurgled. Man, I was hungry. Did I have cup ramen stocked up somewhere?
If possible, I'd have preferred to avoid walking around after dark. Because lately, all it had given me were nasty memories.
I unthinkingly hastened my pace, hurrying down the road to the store.
The stores that were always open had been closed. It was a tad strange.
Maybe I was under the wrong impression. Like thinking it was 7 PM, when in actuality it was around 2 AM.
Okay, maybe not. Hehehe.
The sudden absence of something I had taken for granted: that alone was enough to give me the sense that I'd fallen into another world.
Under ordinary circumstances, I skirted away from meeting with and talking to people, but right now I just wanted to see someone's face.
I ran inside the convenience store. There absolutely had to be a clerk in here-- So I thought as I surveyed the store's interior.
No customers, not even a cashier.
"Ha, haha.... You're kidding."
This wasn't possible. The cashier had to be doing something in the back of the store.
If I brought some goods up to the register, they'd soon reemerge.
That was why, in the end, I took my time picking a boxed lunch. While pretending to check out some manga magazines, I set my boxed lunch down by the register.
Positive, Negative or Neutral?