The Let's Play Archive


by Egomaniac

Part 33: UPDATE 33

Takafumi Shimura
1976 17:19:45
Miyata Clinic / Abandoned Ward

The Cycle of Ouroboros

The term refers to a snake, or sometimes a dragon, consuming its own tail to form a circle, used to represent eternity. The origin lies in the ancient Greek for "one who eats his own tail". The beginning is tied to the end in an eternal loop, symbolizing an infinite cycle of death and rebirth. It impregnates itself, gives birth to itself, and murders itself in an endlessly repeating pattern.
There are two distinct features: eternal recreation and eternal destruction.

The Watcher

--From somewhere comes the sound of dripping water.
A man crawls into the fetal position atop the thick dust.
Drops of water seeping through the concrete walls drip onto his back.
He stirs slightly, but resists awakening fully.
--He is afraid to wake up.
Nevertheless, his consciousness is torn away from the vague world of his dreams back into reality.
Though it is summer, the chilly breeze against his soaked patient gown cools his body.
His already pale face has turned ashen, his sunken eyes losing all sign of vitality.
The man searches his memory.
Last night, by seeing through the eyes of others, he escaped from the hospital ward into this old and abandoned section of the building.
When he was hiding from those chasing after him, when he was clinging to the examination room ceiling, waiting for his chance... that's when it happened.
--What was it?
In his memory he seems to recall a sound like a siren wailing.
And then he was overwhelmed by a powerful vibration, so intensely painful it was as though his body was being torn apart.
The moment he lost consciousness he felt like he was becoming one with eternity.
He must have been here a long time before he awoke.
Even now his mind is clouded and his head aches.
He has intentionally sought out a place where the light cannot reach, and now he has no idea whether it is day or night.
--Something seems wrong...
Some days ago there was a strange omen in the village.
Mysterious light pillars rose up into the sky, causing discomfort and revulsion in those who saw them.
A report in the newspaper said "The natural phenomenon known as 'light pillars' is caused by the reflection of light from the ground upwards onto layers of ice crystals in the sky."
The man sighs.
--They don't know anything, and they treat me like I'm insane...
--It's a bad omen.
Understanding the true meaning of the ominous pillars of light, the man decided to run away. Away from the hospital where he was imprisoned, and away from this village.
Lost in thought, he bites on his fingertips.
From the abrasions of countless scratched walls his fingernails are now gone.
He continues biting, not noticing the blood that drips out.
--What happened to Akira...?
There are others who share his sixth sense.
Those who also notice the distortion of the village, and who recognize the truth about that woman.
--She is the source of that distortion. A woman with eternal life, rending the fabric forever, without end.
--Why does no one else recognize her true nature?
--Changing her name, changing her face, a woman existing across the ages.
--Silently observing, keeping the village under her watchful eye. That woman...
But reflecting on the end he has brought upon himself, perhaps it would have been better to stay quiet after all.
His cousin Akira also sensed that woman's true form.
But Akira refused to accept it.
Perhaps the wisest move was simply to stay out of the way.
Unlike Akira, he was unable to keep his silence.
In this village outsiders are shunned, treated like monsters, and locked up in cages.
--I must escape. Quickly, before that abomination arrives...
He feels a dark emptiness inside, growing, filling him with unease.
In a corner of the ceiling he crouches, staring into the darkness around him.
He imagines he sees the shape of another emerge from the inky blackness.
The delusion taunts him, and something begins to emerge from the shadows.
A small form takes shape before his eyes.

(--Who is it?)
He thinks he sees a girl, possibly in her early teens. She wears a hospital gown.
A familiar voice echoes inside his head.
"...Well, it's better than wearing that mud-covered kimono."
(--That voice... Koichi?)
The young girl stands as still as a doll. Her long, shiny black hair and unweathered skin make the rough patient gown seem out of place.
(--What a bizarre hallucination.)
Such stolen visions are not new to him, but he has never experienced an episode quite like this one.
--He feels like he has become one with Koichi.
"...Something happened when we were engulfed by the sand. Something beyond my understanding. What were those things...?"
He can hear despair in Koichi's voice.
"We burned it along with your kimono. Now what should we do?"
The girl gives no response.
--Did something happen?
Through Koichi's words he realizes that something strange has occurred.
"...That's what he said. That there is a way to counter that power. But where is it?"
The vision fades and he is in the darkness once more.
"But what now? Was my father right and there's nothing I can do?"
The vision returns - the young girl holds out her hand toward him.
He can feel Koichi's surprise.
"Sumiko does this when I'm feeling down."
The girl's face appears before his eyes.
The man can feel slender arms wrapped around him.
"It must be because of me. It's all my fault..."
Koichi looks at the nape of her pale neck.
"No, we have to stop it..."

When his consciousness returns he sees the same dark ceiling as before stretching out ahead of him.
--What was that just now?
The vision has left him feeling anxious and uncomfortable.
He moves silently along the ceiling, slipping between the tiles into the hallway, and hides himself in the men's restroom.
Through the window, he can see that the sun is already setting.
He hears the sound of dripping water coming from the sink.
Listening to the sound, he suddenly remembers - he is very thirsty.
He twists the handle and a rush of red water gushes out from the tap.
Perhaps the pipes are rusty.
Unconcerned, the young man puts his mouth under the spout.
--The water reeks of blood.
But he can no longer bear his thirst, and swallows it in great gulps.
--This is...
The more he drinks, the better this water seems to taste.
And as he does, his headache and anxiety begin to fade.
Soon he feels relaxed, intoxicated.
His head grows light, his mind and soul relaxed, as his consciousness fades.
He leans against the wall, his legs stretched out in front of him.
Red water continues to gush from the faucet, spilling over the sides of the sink.
The young man's clothes are drenched with red water, but he doesn't mind. He is lost in reverie.
--What is happening...?
Hazily, the vision from before returns, fading in and out.
Shutting his eyes tightly, a single image forms from the noise.
Last night, that mysterious siren began to sound from somewhere unknown.

--He sees Koichi's face.
Even in this hallucination, he can still hear the siren.
The face is lined with pain. He looks exhausted.
(Drink some of the water and everything will be better...)
Though he mouths the word, no sound comes out.
Instead, the sobs of the young girl are so clear, it seems as though she is right beside him.
Koichi looks his way, shuddering in pain.
Tears as red as blood seep from his eyes.
"It should be here... the other power. But I... am now like the others..."
(Koichi? What's wrong?)
The girl's cries grow louder.
"Use this to cover my body..."
Koichi is lying in a long box like a coffin.
A black plastic bag and gold wire lie nearby.
"Please, I don't want to be like the others. I'll fight it until the end..."
The vision becomes distorted, blurred by the girl's tears.
"Please, do this for me."
White hands pull the black bag over Koichi's body, then wrap the wire around him.
Hesitantly, the girl places a wooden stake over Koichi's chest.
(--What are you doing!?)
The girl's hands refuse to move.
Koichi's voice comes from inside the bag.
"Please, do it..."
An instant later the stake has been driven into his body.
The vision tilts down, a pair of hands shaking, a pair of knees covered in a hospital gown.
"I'm all alone, Sumiko..."
The loneliness in her voice fills his mind.

His own scream jars the young man awake.
He opens his eyes and sees nothing but the restroom ceiling.
--Was it a dream?
He recalls the scene from before.
--Where am I?
After seeing through the eyes of others for so long he is beginning to lose the continuity of his own memory.
--I feel like... I was running away from something.
--What is happening?
The sun has set completely and only thin rays of moonlight from the window pierce the darkness.
The young man sips some of the water that has pooled on the floor and closes his eyes once more.
--I don't understand. Not a thing...

A new scene emerges from the darkness.
He can hear a sigh coming from the vision's owner.
In what appears to be a dimly lit basement room, female hands tightly grasp a pair of crudely shaped dolls.
Apparently made out of clay, one bears a sword and the other a shield.
From behind comes the sound of an iron door opening.
The vision's owner places the dolls on the counter and turns around. Through the half open door, the petite girl in the hospital gown appears.
Her face lights up with surprise and joy.
Tears flow freely from her eyes as she rushes forward.
The vision's owner hugs the girl tightly.
"Miss Miyako, I told you I would never leave you alone, didn't I?"
The young girl's sobs are loud in his ears.
(--Where have I heard that woman's voice before...?)
"Sumiko... I don't know what I should do anymore! Koichi is..."
Tears overcome her and she is unable to continue.
"Don't worry, Miss Miyako. I will stay with you."
The woman's hands clasp the girl even tighter.
With the eyes of a child, the girl looks up into the face of her benefactor.
Gently, the owner of the vision smooths the tangles in the young girl's hair.
Suddenly, the girl's eyes move to the objects placed on the counter
"These... These are what Koichi was looking for."
"Miss Miyako, please have a seat."
The owner of the vision prompts the girl, ignoring her words.
As indicated, the girl obediently takes a seat in the large iron chair.
"Please stay here, Miss Miyako."
The woman's hands reach out and strap the girl into the chair with leather belts.
"Sumiko? What are you doing?"
"This place is very dangerous, so I must secure you here. One must be careful with precious things."
The vision shifts to the dolls on the counter.
Carefully, the woman places the dolls in the girl's restrained hands.
The girl's face stiffens. She looks frightened.
"I was wrong, Miss Miyako. Sometimes I even begin to forget... who I am..."
(--That voice... It belongs to...)
A forgotten memory suddenly surfaces in the young man's consciousness.
The vision becomes distorted. The dolls vanish.
He desperately tries to focus on the woman's voice.

"Sumiko? Sumiko! I'm scared! Please don't do this!"
The desperate pleas of the young girl ring in his ears.
The thick belts that confine her fill his vision.
(What is she going to do?)
In the shifting images before him he catches a glimpse of the woman's face.
That face, full of benevolence - The face the young man fears the most.
(That woman. That monster!)
His vision goes dark once more.
"I can't see, Sumiko... Why are you doing this?"
The young girl sobs in the blackness.
That woman's voice draws closer, and she whispers quietly like a mother tending a child.
"It's alright. Did you have a bad dream? Sumiko will sing you a song..."
The sound of a mysterious siren begins to echo in the air... like a lullaby from the woman's lips.
(--That woman... the abomination!)
In the darkness, the girl's desperate wails continue.
The man listens to the sound of the monster's singing.
--Changing her name, changing her face, a woman existing across the ages.
--Silently observing, keeping the village under her watchful eye. That woman...
But, unlike the young girl, the sound makes the man feel warm, as though he is wrapped in the arms of a loving mother.
The siren drifts as if from another world, filling his mind.
Somewhere, he thinks he hears the cry of an infant.
The woman stops singing, and gently speaks.
"Just as I feared. This is not the time. But no matter, I will come again..."
The woman's voice slowly fades away.
Nothing is left but the sobs of the young girl.

--The siren continues to wail.
--Someone is calling...
When the young man awakens the whole world feels as if it is alive, moving.
But the man does not feel frightened. In fact, he enjoys the vibrant, lively world before him.
The universe seems to expand within him, and he is overcome by the feeling of eternity.
His consciousness disappears into the darkness and he drifts between two worlds.
--The woman who has come here across the eons.
--The woman who travels backward and forward across time and space.
--The woman who controls the beginning and the end.
--Then there is nothing more to worry about.
There is no more need for painful memories.
In the eternal cycle of devastation isolated in time, a woman enveloped by light appears.
The woman passes something on to her next self.
It has happened many times before.
The wheel of ouroboros never ends.

--When next he opens his eyes his fears have melted away and he has been reborn.
Such is the man's feeling.

Priest's Diary

August 4, 1976 (Wednesday)

The priestess has returned along with the head.
This must be God's will.
When she saw Kei she was very surprised, but he treats her like his real mother.

I am tired.
But I am happy to see how lovingly she cares for Kei.
I must stay strong until the day I can pass my duties on to him.