The Let's Play Archive


by OddHaberdasher

Part 71: Gigalomaniac

Part 71 - Gigalomaniac

The trains on the Yamanote Line were beginning to bustle with salarymen going home from work and students returning from school.

Kusunoki Yua and Yasuji Ban stood shoulder-to-shoulder, each holding onto a hanging ceiling strap, as the train shook them.

Perhaps because they made for an odd combination and drew people's attention, Yua had sensed incessant gazes coming from their surroundings for a while now.

Nor did she have the emotional slack to be able to carry out a friendly chat with Ban, the detective she had met for the first time only a few days ago.

Ban only held his silence and looked out the window. He didn't attempt to start a conversation with Yua.

Yua's opinion of Ban was that he didn't seem to be a bad person, but he was a little bit intimidating.

She had met people employed as detectives countless times in relation to her sister's death, but they hadn't left a very good impression on her.

That might explain her sense that she would have a hard time dealing with Ban. Such was the result of Yua's self-analysis.

Otaku A: "Use common sense. You can access the hidden dungeon by defeating the guard on the fifteenth underground floor."
Otaku B: "I dunno where the guard is--"

Their voices, which came out without any regard for how it might bother people around them, entered Yua's ears whether or not she wanted to hear them.

Otaku A: "Near the left edge of the map. You'll know he's the guard as soon as you look at him!"
Otaku B: "I can't even tell guards apart from police officers--"
Otaku A: "Nah, he's a guard no matter how you look at him. How the hell d'you get them mixed up with policemen? Guards don't have guns."

The two of them wore rather plain clothes, with bandanas on their foreheads, fingerless gloves on their hands, and full-stuffed knapsacks on their backs.

They belonged to the race commonly known as otaku.

There were times when Yua read manga or watched anime because she liked it, and their appearances didn't induce any particular revulsion in her.

It was just that she had never been to Akihabara, and it was her first time seeing people garbed like stereotypical otaku.

Realizing how rude she was being, taking curious little glances at them, she hastily lowered her eyes.

In the seat in front of her was a high school brunette wearing a disheveled navy blue blazer.

She was texting someone on her cell phone with fingers adorned by gaudy artificial nails. Each time she moved her fingers, her phone strap, patterned after a handgun, quivered a little.

The contents of her message naturally entered Yua's eyes. Why, well, because the high school girl held it peculiarly flat as she typed.

Almost as if she were forcing Yua to see it.

While Yua was also was a high school girl, she couldn't read a word of the text. It looked like so-called kogal slang, but she couldn't perceive it as anything but some kind of secret code.

Boy: "Bang!"

A little boy, about five years old, was standing close by Ban.

Boy: "Bang!"

Mother: "Nobu-kun, stop it."

A motherly woman soon came running up to the boy. She bowed her head a little to Ban.

Mother: "I'm sorry."
Boy: "Bang! Bang!"
Mother: "Nobu-kun! You stop that this instant!"

The mother used a fairly strong tone of voice in her efforts to stop her child,

But it was solely a verbal warning, through and through. She didn't confiscate the water pistol or make her son lower his hands.

Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Mother: "I'm terribly sorry."
"Nah, I don't mind."
Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Mother: "See, aren't you bothering him? Nobu-kun!"

The mother presented an angry face to her child and an apologetic face to Ban. But she did no more.

Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Mother: "Stop it! You'll make me angry!"
Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"

Undaunted, the little boy went on repeating the same word over and over, like a broken toy. Even then, and in spite of what she said to him, the mother made absolutely no attempt to stop him.

Mother:"I'm so, so very sorry...."
Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"

Boy: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"

Station Announcer: "This is an announcement to our ridership."
Station Announcer: "The Bangoumon subway line--"
Station Announcer: "Excuse me. Due to a fatal accident, passengers on the Hanzoumon Line are currently able to opt in for transfers to alternative routes."
Station Announcer: "We apologize for the inconvenience--"
"I've had this sense lately"

The flow of people in the platform was swelling. Ban muttered this to Yua as they walked through the crowd, going toward the Hachiko exit's turnstiles.

"Almost like I'm being stalked by an indeterminate number of people."
"What do you mean?"

"I end up thinking maybe the thoughtless actions of the people around me are almost like a form of harassment aimed at me, or something."

Which was why Ban had ultimately answered the child's mischief with silence.

That sort of trouble, which you couldn't really call trouble, had become an everyday occurrence for him. His nerves wouldn't hold up if he let every single little thing get to him.

"Meh, I'm probably over thinking it. It's not as if there can be a whole lot of people out there with any interest with a plain old guy like me."
"Except, group stalkers definitely do exist."

"From the victim's perspective, well, they have no clue what the others want with them, or even who they are."
"Except they do know for sure that every day, wherever they go, they'll be on the receiving end of all kinds of harassment."
"That's what group stalking is like."
"What about the possibility that the victim is simply dwelling on it too much...."
"It's plenty probable. They're always a hair's width away from just clinging to the idea of it obsessively, against all reason."

"What kind of thing....?"
"I've gotten a number of anonymous calls telling me to back out."

For some reason, Ban grinned foolishly as he said it. Yua, becoming conversely frightened, hugged her own upper arms.

"Um, are, are you going to be okay?"
"Meh, it happens to detectives pretty often."

Ban answered calmly, then quickly looked at Yua with a stiffer expression.

"Has anything similar happened with you, Yua-chan?"
"N, no. I don't think so...."
"If you sense something even a little uncomfortable or out of place around you, please tell me right away."
"Cause it's the police's job to protect your safety, Yua-chan."
"I will...."

OST: Silence

Ignoring what she'd said, I kept running my eyes across the nearby row of houses.

This place in my memory. This place I had no recollection of seeing.

The house that should have been here wasn't. A house that shouldn't have been here was.

Illuminated by the sunset, the "gap" between my memories and the actual scenery steadily began to stand out more and more prominently.

"Th, there aren't any gaps!"

I let my voice out, frantic to deny the despair in my heart.

That's right. There weren't any gaps between the two. I was just a block off.

But the sense of displacement between my memories and the scenery wouldn't go away.

Before I knew it, my whole body was sweating.

It felt like my eyes were rolling back in my head. Like my feet weren't touching the ground.

The sensation of it made nausea come rushing up in me.

"I'm not wrong, I know m, my house is here...."
"I always went to elementary school and mi, middle school from here...."
"In elementary school, I went with Nanami, holding hands...."
"In middle school, I went by bi, bike...."

Rimi asked quietly, having caught up with me.

"Wh, where...."
"What was it called?"
"I, isn't that obvious? .....The local...."

The school's name was, errr....

"....Hu....h? Eh?"

I couldn't remember....

I'd gone to middle school. I had memories of doing so. But the little details remained vague, like there was a fog in my head.

Such as my middle school's name. Such as which class I'd been in. Such as the name of my homeroom teacher.

Concrete names wouldn't come out of me.

"Th, that's impossible...."
"I've just for, forgotten...."

"Taku.... listen."


It felt like I'd go crazy.

"B, but! I'm, I, I! I remembered how to get here....!"
"Doesn't that throw a wrench in it!?"

Don't make that kind of face....!

Eyes lowered, her expression so sorrowful, Rimi flung out words meant to mislead me. Again, her words were cryptic. Incomprehensible. I abandoned all thoughts of them.

"Taku, you didn't go to middle school."
"I get it.... th, this is like being on Ca, Candid Camera, right? Isn't it?"
"That must be it, yeah, you and Nanami actually know each other, and th, the two of you were trying to trick me."
"Hehehe, what, I see, I see, ha~, you had me pretty freaked out there."

Although I tried to somehow laugh it off. Rimi didn't let out the tiniest giggle.

"D, do, don't, don't lie!"

Rimi was deceiving me! Rimi was my enemy, too!

"The 'staking' was y, your work, wasn't it....!"

It meant what had happened the first time we met, at the scene of the 'staking,' hadn't been a delusion or anything.

The true New-Gen criminal wasn't the man I'd seen earlier on the hospital television.

It was Rimi.

She'd been observing me, making sure I wasn't going to go tell someone the truth about what I'd witnessed. That had been her goal in staying together with me!

"Y, you were covered in blood ba, back then...! You're the culprit....!"

"When Gigalomaniacs have overly strong delusions, they sometimes blend together."
"Their delusions synchronize."

Softly. As though to persuade me. Rimi spoke.

Her attitude, brimming with composure, rubbed my nerves the wrong way.

"Yours, Taku"
"And mine"
"And the New-Gen perp's, and--"
"Like I'm gonna believe you!"


"This is a delusion...."

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