Part 20: The Two Who Are Close II
Eva was face up on the bed... on the bed with her shoes still on...?
Kumasawa, who had fearfully entered after Kanon and who was hiding behind his back, screamed a short 'Hii-!' again when she saw Eva like that. Eva's shoes had been the first part of her that Kanon had seen, so, at first, he'd had a strange feeling since she was wearing shoes in bed, but when Eva's head shifted into his line of sight, Kanon couldn't help but let out a short scream like Kumasawa...
BGM: Golden Slaughterer
At the base of where it was stuck in, blood dripped down, staining the sheets on the other side bright red...
Kumasawa's knees gave way once more, and she sank down on the floor. Her mouth kept flapping open and closed, but she couldn't even scream. Eva, with some kind of weapon sticking out of her forehead, was dead. Both eyes were open wide, and the image of the person who killed her must have been burned into them, but the only mouth that could say who had been closed for all eternity.
Even though that forehead was the last place they wanted to look, they couldn't tear their eyes from it...
"...What about Hideyoshi-sama...? Hideyoshi-sama...!"
Eva was on top of her bed, but the other bed was empty. Where was Hideyoshi?!
After taking a backwards glance at Kumasawa, still on her knees and stupefied, he checked the bathroom just in case. At the moment he opened the door, he was greeted by steam and the sound of the shower. The bathroom was of the same familiar style as most hotel bathrooms. When taking a shower, a waterproof curtain was used to keep water from flying out.
Just like Eva, a weapon with a demon-like design was stuck into his forehead. Since his head had been under the hot water of shower the whole time, his face wasn't half covered and filthy with blood like Eva's had been, but the sight of him dead while still taking a shower was tragic enough...
Just then, Natsuhi's voice rang through the hall. She was probably coming with Genji.
"...We shouldn't touch it carelessly... The culprit's fingerprints might be left on it... We should hand it over to the police..."
"...They went out of their way to leave it here. I'm sure they wouldn't have left fingerprints."
As Natsuhi said that, she picked up the envelope... And before checking its contents, she entered the room herself, when she found Eva, dead.
"Th... this is... truly atrocious..."
"...Kanon, turn off the shower... Don't let this be any more pitiful than it needs to...!"
Kanon gripped his handkerchief and twisted the valve, turning off the shower. In the bathtub, a small jar of body soap had fallen with its cap off. It really looked like he had been attacked while taking a shower. There was still a small splash of blood clinging to the white bathtub, and the combination of red and white made a horrible contrast.
"...I, I understand... No signs of postmortem lividity... Rigor mortis hasn't begun either. We should probably assume that about one hour has passed since they died... But even so, how a weapon with such a short handle could do that to the skull... I cannot imagine..."
Nanjo checked their pulse and their pupils, making certain of their deaths once more. As Kanon watched this businesslike treatment, he thought... Couldn't you tell at a glance that they're dead without doing all that?
Nanjo thought about removing the weapon, but after deciding it would be better to preserve the scene and hand it over to the police, he left it alone. But he couldn't see the blade well at the base of the wound. Even more importantly, it wasn't shaped like a flat blade, but was conical. He noticed that, rather than a knife, it was more like a short handled spear, something with a shape better suited for thrusting than slicing. Rather than a short spear, some people might call it a thick icepick.
At any rate, the weapon's unsettling design made it obvious what its original purpose was, and how that purpose was carried out. No further words were needed to describe it...
The rising urge to vomit was exactly the same feeling she'd had that morning at the gardening storehouse... For a while, Natsuhi couldn't help but stand with her back facing the guest room, fighting that sickness in her stomach...
"...A, anyways, we can't let the kids... we can't let George-kun see this room. Quickly, close this room up...!"
"...Y, yes, it shouldn't be shown to them... If George-san saw his parents in this brutal state..."
But the recklessly approaching footsteps were obviously George's even before he came flying into the room.
George and the other children had been waiting in the parlor. But when they had seen Genji call Natsuhi out, and had noticed her turn pale and fly out of the room, they had felt that he might have been the bearer of bad news. And when they saw a large group of people gathered around the guest room, they were sure of it...
"Aunt Eva and uncle Hideyoshiare safe, right?! Hey, Kanon-kun! What's this all about?!"
Kanon didn't have to say anything. George's scream after he ran into the room told them everything they needed to know.
Natsuhi touched George's shoulder with her hand, but he violently shook her off. George fell over beside Eva, and buried his face in the bed in front of his mother's face, wailing. Then he pounded on the bed with his fist, over and over again...
"...Ge, George nii-san, ...h, hang in there... huh... Battler?"
"Horrible... That's horrible... He proposed to the girl he loved and lost her the next day... And on the same day, even his Mom and Dad were killed... I... isn't that too harsh..."
Of course, all dead people are equally pitiable. But to Battler, those left alone by the deaths of others were far more pitiable. Everyone here now had lost someone close to them. George wasn't the only one pitiable. However, George's pain was far greater than everyone else's.
"You know, all people die sooner or later... If you're human, the day will eventually come when you must fight the sorrow of losing someone close to you. But still, shouldn't that day be far in the future for Aniki... and shouldn't those deaths visit him one at a time...?!! Horrible... that's too horrible... That bastard... that bastard...! What happened to human compassion...?!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!"
"...Uu-... Battler, don't cry, don't cry..."
Maria tried to comfort Battler in a mechanical-sounding voice... Battler violently wiped his tears.
"Aah... Damn it, I won't cry anymore... Tears of regret, tears of sadness, I won't shed them again... Aah, it's all useless. The witch has backed me into a corner. I'm always on the defensive...! And that's useless, it's all useless! I'll turn the chessboard over...!! That bastard probably thinks we'll be running scared like sheep until tomorrow without trying anything. But guess what, I'll turn it over!! That bastard can't escape this island until tomorrow either...! We won't be the ones hiding away, pissing ourselves, that bastard will! I'll expose you, you'll see. By tomorrow... no, I won't wait for tomorrow, tonight."