We have to. At least it's slightly different this time. Unfortunately, I practically have to post the whole thing just for those few differences
There's no reason for Yumizuka to be there. But if she is, she might need my help.
...... I'll never forgive myself if I just ignore this.
Sure you will! Just after Sacchin takes over your mind.
Taking a deep breath, I steel my spirit.
Besides, if it comes to it, I have my "eyes" too.
Sensei said not to use them recklessly, but she'll find it acceptable if I use it against a killer.
"...... The sound... it came from here..."
Preparing myself, I step into the alley.
The back of my head, hurts.
As if convulsing under the utmost strain, my wracked spine hurts as if it's about to rip itself out of my body.
Why is it?
I can't think, yet my instincts shout at me.
Don't go any further.
If you do, you won't be able to come back.
But it's already too late.
I step out of the back alley, and into the the open space.
Nanaya: That sixth sense you always ignore anyway.
Music: play track 4
The ground and the walls are painted with red blood.
A heavy scent fills my nostrils.
Like a red fog permeating my body, the choking smell of blood.
A face. A face. A face.
A face on a severed head, rolling around with an expression of agony.
A face shriveled up like a mummy, split in halves.
A face with both eyes gouged out, so distorted I can't even tell if it used to be a man or a woman.
Unable to make a sound, I merely gaze speechless at the corpses.
No, they can't even be called human bodies anymore. Even a badly made sculpture looks better than this.
There are four bodies.
They roll around like scraps of leftover food.
I gape in shock at the sea of bodies.
The back of my head throbs,
my throat is parched, and my breath burns like fire.
My fingertips quiver, and my mouth distorts.
A corpse against the wall moves.
No, that's wrong.
It's not a corpse.
It's not like the scrapped hands and feet.
It's a living human being, with limbs attached.
I see something out of place.
In this ghoulish spectacle, the response to seeing someone alive is more of astonishment than happiness.
But, if he's alive.
If he's alive, I have to help him.
In my rush of emotion, I step towards the living figure.
Pulling itself up from the sea, it raises its face toward me.
A face like a dried out skull.
The dried up face, the dried up arm reaching for me.
In the throat of this bag of bones, vocal chords vibrate in accord with the ghastly voice.
Desperately, I try to tear him off me. But he merely raises that ghastly voice, and will not get off.
With a creak, the skull's jaw opens.
The mouth opens wide enough to rip off my shoulder with a single bite, and he approaches my face as if saying, "I don't want to die, somebody save me".
I can't even say "stop".
The guy made only of skin and bones, tries to bite my head---and suddenly, he collapses.
The awesome power vanishes.
The bag of bones in a person's form crumples to the ground and disappears.
like a bad dream, it turns to ash and blows away.
Well, then it's a waking nightmare, Mr. Technicality <>
Music: play track 1
"Tohno-kun. It'll be dangerous if you stay there."
I turn towards the voice behind me.
At the mouth of the alley where I came from, I see Yumizuka Satsuki.
"Good evening. Fancy meeting you in a place like this, huh?"
As if we had merely bumped into each other in the mall, Yumizuka greets me lightheartedly.
"Killing so many people... eh?"
I look around me.
...... And I remember the tragic scene I'm surrounded by.
In a sea of blood.
Tohno Shiki stands aghast like a murderer.
"N... no! This wasn't me!"
"Oh, of course it was. Everyone's dead, and Tohno-kun's alive, so obviously Tohno-kun must have killed them."
"No way! It just attacked me......!"
I point at the monster that attacked me moments ago.
But, nothing's there.
Even the ashes of the bones have been blown away by the wind.
"It's not... this wasn't... wasn't me..."
My head is paralyzed, and can only manage broken language.
...... I understand.
I can think clearly, but I can't put my thought into words.
For example, why is Yumizuka at a place like this?
For example, why is Yumizuka laughing in the face of this tragic scene?
"Yeah, I know. You just interrupted someone's meal. I'm sorry for sounding mean. I always act against my feelings, so I'm always acting like this to you."
Yumizuka is still laughing.
...... It's so inappropriate for this scene, I feel a chill.
Yumizuka doesn't move from the entrance of the alley.
Her arms are positioned strangely, as if she's hiding something behind her back.
---And, looking closer,
there are spots of something red on her sleeve.
"What is it? Your face looks scary, Tohno-kun."
She laughs again.
Somehow, this girl cannot be Yumizuka Satsuki.
"Yumizuka---why are you hiding your hands like that?"
"Ah, have I been found out? I guess you're too observant to miss that, huh.
I've always liked that about you, Shiki-kun."
After emphasizing my name,
she brings her hands out.
Music: play track 6
"Yumizuka, your hands---"
"Yeah. I killed those people."
"Oh, but, it's okay. I didn't kill them because I hated them. I just needed their blood to live, so I had to kill them."
She says it as if it was normal.
Of course I can't understand it.
All I do understand is---my blood is pulsing wildly throughout my whole body.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
*pant*. *pant*. *pant*.
Like I've fallen in love at first sight with that bloody Yumizuka, I am excited---
I think Shiki might have a violence fetish.
"You... really killed them, Yumizuka?"
"You wouldn't believe me even if I told you it's a lie, right? Or do you think it's impossible for a girl like me to do such a thing?"
Her voice laughs softly.
---I don't believe her.
I don't believe her, but she is definitely not telling a lie.
This tragic scene.
It's all Yumizuka's doing.
"Why... such a terrible thing...?"
"It's not terrible. Like I said, I didn't kill them because I hated them. There's nothing wrong with killing others in order to live, is there, Shiki-kun?"
"What...! That's absurd! Killing is wrong!"
...says the hamburger-eating vegetarian.
"No, it's not. But, I did do one bad thing. Since today was my first time drinking blood, I let a little of my blood get back into them. Because of that, you got attacked, Shiki-kun.
"It---hurts. I guess, even if I'm hungry, I shouldn't just drink blood at random. If it's not good quality, beautiful blood, it won't agree with me..."
She breaks out in a fit of coughing.
She chokes out blood with every cough.
Yumizuka's body convulses.
...... I don't really understand.
All I know is, Yumizuka's in terrible pain. That's all I can clearly understand.
"Are you okay, Yumizuka...!?"
Without thinking, I run towards her to take her hand.
"----No! Don't come any closer, Shiki-kun!"
But, Yumizuka's voice stops me.
"Yumi... zuka, you---"
I don't understand.
Why Yumizuka's in pain, or why she's like this.
You don't understand a lot of things.
"What the hell is going on? You said you killed those people, but that's a lie, right, Yumizuka...? If you're in that much pain, shouldn't you be in a hospital?"
...... I know.
Even though I understand Yumizuka brought about this tragic scene, I still lie to myself.
"Hey, Yumizuka---I'm coming over there, okay?"
I speak gently.
But Yumizuka shakes her head in violent refusal.
"Why!?---If you're in pain, we have to get you to a hospital right away...!"
"Shiki-kun, you're not getting it. You really never understand anything..."
"Idiot! I told you before, I don't understand...!"
"Ah... yeah, you did, didn't you. But you're still here..."
Yumizuka begins to pull away.
What happened to you, really...?
My shoulders throb in pain where he grabbed earlier.
When I look back, the open space where all the limbs were scattered only left red blood.
The faces, the organs, the hands and feet.
They all turned to ash, like the skull did before.
I feel sick as if I'm going to cough up blood.
"This can't, be----"
This excitement, is so intense, I almost ejaculate.
Shiki DOES have a violence fetish
For a while,
the crimson color of blood burns in my eyes.
"This can't be real----!"
My world swims before me.
My eyes see nothing but a distorted world.
Vomit. I'm going to vomit.
My heart is exploding, I can hardly breathe.
"...... I have to...... hurry and rest......"
Since I've collapsed so many times before from my anemia, I know I'm about to faint.
---If I rest.
If I just rest my body in bed, this nausea, my exploding heart, will all go back to normal.
I---I can forget all about that, as if nothing happened, and wake up to a normal day.
"Welcome back, Shiki-san. Did you get to meet your friend?"
"I did! She's this mass murdering vampire, it's so hot. She's the greatest!"
"Uh---ah, yes, I met her."
I remember as soon as I answer.
The scattered limbs.
Face. Face. Face. Face.
The blood-stained alley.
Yumizuka's laughing face and her bloody hands----
"...... Sorry. I'm going back to my room, so please go back as well, Kohaku-san."
I don't feel like talking with anyone right now.
I leave Kohaku-san behind and go up the stairs.
Shiki's list must go something like this: Vampires > Arihiko > Sisters > Other People's Sisters > Everyone Else > Senpai. Yumizuka clearly outranks Kohaku.
---So why can't I sleep?
I'm so dizzy right now, but why don't I pass out like always?
If I close my eyes, the vision of that scene in the alley shows up under my eyelids.
My heart throbs violently.
It isn't terror, rather---it's closer to sexual excitement.
"Oh baby, you really know how to turn me on."
I don't understand it at all.
Is there this thin of a line between terror and lust?
Who can it be at this hour?
"Shiki-sama, are you awake......?"
That whisper is Hisui.
Just imagining her form, my heart calms down a bit.
Music: play track 1
At least Hisui still cares
"...... Hisui. What are you doing at this hour?"
"Shiki-sama, you seemed to have trouble sleeping so I brought you some medicine."
"Eh.........? Uh, that's right. ...... But how did you know, Hisui?"
"I heard it from my sister. She told me that you were very tired, so I should give extra care."
...... I see, it was Kohaku-san.
She must have seen how bad my face looked when we met in the lobby.
"...... And, this medicine is?"
"It is a sleep-inducing medicine. Your personal physician gave his approval that it could be used for you."
"Approval...... at this hour!?"
"No, my sister asked your personal physician as soon as she found out you were coming here to live in this mansion."
"Wow--Kohaku-san is pretty amazing. She's pretty thoughtful."
Anyway, I'm very thankful right now.
Taking the water from Hisui, I drink the medicine.
I missed it, but the lovely target of all our affections looked like this. ...
I start to feel very sleepy after a while.
"...... Thanks, Hisui. Please give Kohaku-san my thanks as well."
"As you wish. Well then, please rest well, Shiki-sama."
...... I can hear Hisui's footsteps.
It feels like all the power is draining from my body.
I space out.
As if I was passing out, I quickly fall asleep---
A red alley.
The same back alley that I was in before.
Where Yumizuka Satsuki is killing.
Luring appropriate passers-by into that back alley.
Mercilessly killing them from behind by twisting their necks like a damp cloth, then plunging her teeth into them.
How dare she--do those things without me!
As if in a dream, indulging herself in drinking the blood, Yumizuka tears apart the four dead bodies and continues licking the blood.
A crimson world.
But, I don't feel it is sick, or detest it at all.
Pathetic. Pathetic, pathetic.
A knife in my hand.
*pant* *pant* My breathing is out of control.
My heart is pounding like a piston, urging me to do something.
If it were me, I'd do a much better job.
Why are you hesitating?
Why are you holding back?
There's no--holding back.
There's no point resisting it.
Someone's... irritating voice.
I I want to do what I want to do.
Is it alright to think so?
That woman is worthless.
...... But, am I the one who is worthless?
WORTHLESS ones should just be killed.
...... Is it alright to kill the worthless?
----There's a voice calling me.
"Please remain strong. I shall bring you something to drink."
----I sense the presence receding.
It makes me realize that it is morning now.
My head hurts.
...... Because I saw that hideous dream.
Yumizuka painted with blood, and I, staring at her in envy. A complete nightmare.
"...... There's something wrong......"
I manage to say this much, still breathing hard.
Last night's dream still lingers in my head.
It really was a horrific nightmare.
I was just blanked out in my dream, as if I couldn't rouse myself from the nightmare if I tried.
Music: play track 2
She looks so worried for him
"I have brought you something to drink. You do not appear well, so please drink it."
Looking at it, it seems like she brought a drink on a silver tray like she did yesterday.
"......? I don't really feel bad or anything. I slept soundly and I feel refreshed."
Hisui stares at me.
"You seemed to be in a very poor state earlier. Shiki-sama, does the scar on your chest not hurt?"
Aww, they're so cute together.
"I'll change and go to the dining room. Thanks for everything--and for giving me this drink. Sorry about that."
"No, you do not need to apologize. I will wait for you in the sitting room."
Hisui silently leaves the room.
To be honest, I really am quite moved.
I thought she was truly without emotions, but she may just be poor at expressing them.
She was so distressed over me having a nightmare, it makes me smile imagining her in such a hurry.
Maybe it isn't that hard to see Hisui's smile.
It fades away.
There's nothing lingering. Perhaps just a sudden fit?
"...... Chest... wound."
I bring my hand over my chest.
There is a great scar there, and even though that it has healed, at times it still hurts like it did just now.
The doctor said the physical wound is healed, but that the mind must be replaying the pain over and over again.
Usually, the scar begins throbbing after I see a traffic accident or a dead body.
The image of blood or death must make me recall the accident eight years ago.
"...... Because of last night, I guess."
The red back alley.
And the normal, smiling face of Yumizuka.
The image of Yumizuka doesn't leave my mind.
But I don't know what I should do, what I can do.
I can only live my everyday life.
"...... Shi... t..."
Swearing at myself, I roll out of bed.
After changing out of my pajamas and into my school uniform, I head to the sitting room.
"Good morning, Nii-san."
Sitting on the sofa, Akiha greets me and looks at my expression.
"...... Ah, good morning Akiha."
Returning her greeting, I head to the dining room.
There really isn't that much time for me to stay and chat with Akiha---and I don't really feel like talking to anyone at all.
"Nii-san, I would like to speak with you a little---is that alright?"
No, bitch, so step off.
"That's fine, but please make it short since I don't have much time."
I sit on the sofa across from her.
"Then I will get straight to the point. Nii-san, where did you go last night?"
Akiha looks directly at me as she asks.
...... Kohaku-san probably did keep it a secret, but I guess it wasn't possible to hide being gone for two hours.
"I don't want to lie to you, Akiha. Have a good day at school."
"Just walking the streets IS something. You are still a minor, so please do not wander out late at night. Even if you weren't, there have been a lot of disturbances going on."
"I know, isn't it great?"
Disturbances--the killer skulking around town at night.
Why didn't I realize it?
The killer that murders people and drinks their blood.
That phrase perfectly matches Yumizuka's behavior yesterday----
"...... Nii-san? Are you listening to me?"
"Eh----uh, yeah. I'm listening."
I hear Akiha's voice.
But, the only thing in my mind is the image of Yumizuka from yesterday.
You should really be used to that by now.
"So. You can't talk about your situation, Nii-san?"
"Yeah. It has nothing to do with you, Akiha."
Right now, I can think only of Yumizuka.
I want to be alone--and so I said that.
"You're going to keep going your own way, is that what you're saying, Nii-san?"
"I understand. Well, please, feel free. If that's what you want, Nii-san, I'll do the same."
Akiha stands, and walks out to the lobby.
"Shiki-sama? Is this acceptable?"
"...... Acceptable? Is what acceptable?"
"I believe Akiha-sama is deeply concerned about you, Shiki-sama. But I think it is difficult for her since she does not often talk about her feelings----"
"I know. But right now, my head's full, and I can't... I do feel sorry."
"Shiki-sama, around what time will you be returning today?"
"Ahh... since today's Saturday... --No. It'll probably be in the evening. There's something I want to look for."
Some...thing? Vampires are people, too
"I understand. Please, take care until then."
She bows deeply.
After Hisui sees me off, I leave the mansion.
Music: play track 1
That statement in every way preserves Shiki's priority list.
Noon comes, and school ends.
I have no idea.
I have no idea, but I still have to look for Yumizuka.
The sun sets.
Even after running everywhere in town, there's no sign of Yumizuka Satsuki anywhere.
I bite my lip angrily.
...... But it's not anger over not finding her.
Two days ago.
I'm mad at myself for promising such a thing in the first place.
---Help me when I'm in a pinch, okay?
Yumizuka said that, and I answered lightheartedly.
I would help, as much as I could.
...... Such an irresponsible answer.
There's really nothing I can do.
She said it hurt.
I can't even find Yumizuka, painfully suffering in the cold darkness.
The sun is setting.
...... I don't want to admit it, but maybe I can only find Yumizuka after nightfall.
"...... I told Hisui I'd be back in the evening."
Perhaps it's too early.
I'll go back to the mansion and calmly think this through.
"Welcome home, Shiki-sama."
Hisui was waiting in the lobby.
"I'm back...... Hisui, where's Akiha?"
Sisters > Other People's Sisters > Everyone Else. Still good.
"Akiha-sama has not returned yet. Since she shall be late, we are to have supper first."
"I see...... I'll be resting in my room until dinner, so I'll head to the dining room when it's time."
"Yes. Please rest until I call you."
I turn my back to the bowing Hisui and walk towards my room.
---After supper, I sit down on my bed.
The clock's hands show nine o'clock.
Since leaving the mansion after eight is forbidden, I cannot go outside any longer.
But, that's merely a rule.
If I feel like it, I can easily go outside.
...... What...... am I thinking? It's just foolish.
I just can't comprehend what's happening to Yumizuka.
I do realize she is the vampire serial killer causing all these incidents in town.
I can not forget her last words she said in the sunset on our way home----
...... Before I realize it, it's almost midnight.
Lost in thinking about what I should do, I've passed some of the night wide awake.
"...... Shiki-sama, are you awake......?"
...... Hisui's voice.
Why is she up this late at night?
She's so worried, she looks like she needs s hug. C'mon, Shiki, give her a hug!
...... This doesn't require any thought.
That phone call had to have been from Yumizuka.
"...... Thanks. But, it's a little late, so I'll wait until tomorrow. She's one of my classmates, so I'll see her tomorrow."
"That is not true. There is something wrong with smiling like that with such a strained face."
"Stupid, I'm not lying at all. I'm fine, I won't go out this late at night. Akiha would get mad, and you would get in trouble, so there's no reason for me to do that."
Hisui descends into silence.
The conversation between us dies.
Eh? Eh? ...hug? ...
"...... Sheesh. I can't hide anything from Hisui."
Because she wubs you
I take my knife out of the drawer.
...... I don't intend to necessarily use it, but I just feel better with it by my side.
"---The park? Why would she call me out at this hour---"
...and you're too obsessed with vampires and violence
Muttering, I think back to those foolish tales.
Vampires can only move about during night time.
So supposing that's true, then Yumizuka didn't call me out at this hour.
It's more like if it wasn't this hour, then she couldn't call me at all.
"...... Sorry, Hisui. Even I think I'm stupid. You told me not to strain myself, but I can't just sleep like this."
Apologizing to the empty room, I quietly leave the mansion.
Music: play track 1
The park located off of the main road.
Because of the serial killings these past several days, there's not a soul to be seen around here.
Thump. My heart beats loudly.
My throat dries up from the tension.
If the phone call that Hisui received was from Yumizuka,
then she has to be waiting there for me.
I try to catch my breath.
In contrast to my cold body, my throat is scorching.
It's dry with thirst.
I put my hand in my pocket.
I just---wanted a blade in my hand.
Nanaya: Icy cold to cool your nerves, burning hot to get your blood boiling.
A faint headache.
A low temperature.
My mind is cool like ice.
Something is strange.
This park, it feels like something bad is around here.
"...... Just what am I afraid of?"
I shake the headache off, and walk deeper in.
Music: play track 9
"...... Wait, Shiki-kun. I'm glad you came, but I don't want you any nearer right now. Please, don't come any closer."
Her breathing looks painful.
Her body convulses as she speaks, as if she's about to collapse any second now.
"...... What's going on, Yumizuka? Why haven't you been home? What was that about, yesterday? Why, that----"
"Hm? That what?"
"That---you know what I'm talking about!"
"If you mean yesterday---well, you saw what happened. I told you, 'I killed those people,' didn't I?"
She answers frankly.
...... It's almost as if she's laughing at my feelings of denial.
"Then... the recent killings in town were all your doing, Yumizuka...!"
"I don't like to say it, but... that's the way it is, yeah."
"What the hell do you mean, 'That's the way it is' ...!?"
"It's just the way it is. I killed those people, and I'll keep on doing the same thing. I can't just lie about it, can I?"
"Yumi... zuka, you--"
"Please. Stop calling me that. I'm calling you Shiki-kun, so it's only fair for you to call me by my first name too."
"When I think about it, I look foolish. I could never talk to you like this, for all the years I watched you from afar."
"I was always watching you, Shiki-kun. Even before I was saved in that warehouse, I was always watching you.
I'm... really a coward. I always just agreed with the people around me, and smiled when it seemed right. Before I knew it, everyone was treating me like an idol."
"So school wasn't fun for me. But that changed, after you talked to me in the second year of junior high, Shiki-kun."
"Nah. It's not something you'd remember. How can I put it... You were always natural, never showing off. Probably you didn't even think about what you said back then."
"It's okay. Don't make a face like that. You were only hanging out with Inui-kun, so it was normal for you to ignore other classmates."
"But that was okay. I was happy just being in the same class as you, Shiki-kun.
It was my goal to talk to you and let you call me Yumizuka-san. Now that I think about it, it was too small of a wish."
She recalls nostalgically.
Those ancient days.
...... Like she is remembering something that happened a long time ago.