I heard a sound, as though someone was being slammed on the pavement.
My hand stopped halfway. I turned my head up to see a dazzling, blue sky. Everything at the foot of the towering buildings appeared to be shrouded in a thick shadow. The blue sky stood out in stark contrast.
I thought I heard something just now. But I was certain it was just my imagination. After all, there was no one else here but me.
I moved my fingers again, pushing the silver coin into the vending machine. The coin came back in the return slot. Sweat streamed down my body, and my throat was raspy. I wondered why I was so thirsty. I felt like a fish tossed onto land. I bent down and pulled out the hundred yen coin. This time, I heard a splashing sound. I turned around and saw a reddish-black lump falling on the scorching asphalt. Against the monochromatic backdrop, the color red caught my eye. It looked like the corpse of a cat that had been run over.
Oh, a uterus, I thought as soon as I saw the bloody flesh.
The scorching road seared the raw flesh, sending a disgusting stench drifting through the air. The sight filled me with the strong urge to drink some water.
Sensing someone’s gaze on me, I looked up at the sky again. I glimpsed a figure on top of an abandoned building, but the glare obscured my vision. I wanted them to notice me. I waved my hand desperately, but there was no response. I wanted to call out, but my throat was too dry to speak. I turned around to buy something from the vending machine.
But the hundred-yen coin…
I loved my sister. Loved her more than anyone. That’s why I have to kill my sister. It’s my duty. That’s why I have to kill her. Did I tell you why? Well…
Because I love her.
I shook my head, trying to get rid of the voice in my head. Sweat trickled down my face, and my throat tightened from thirst. I turned my head to the sky and saw the sun burning white. I pulled on my tie and loosened my collar. I walked, my suit in one hand, when my ears caught the sounds of commotion. An economic downturn had turned the buildings in the area into abandoned structures. The place was usually deserted, but right now there was a crowd of onlookers. I spotted police vehicles and broadcasting vans right on the other side. Inside the police tape, uniformed officers squirmed about.
People were holding up their phones, taking pictures. I silently hoped their cameras would explode the moment they took a photo of the bloody organ.
Keeping my thoughts to myself, I continued walking bitterly. Who would want to meet up at a crime scene? It was nothing short of awful. My irritation was at an all-time high. As I forced my wobbly legs forward, I spotted the color red.
A girl in a gothic Lolita outfit was standing under a red paper parasol. Her laced, black dress looked surreal. She took a bite of chocolate. She had lovely features that seemed out of this world, drawing gazes from the onlookers.
How I wished I didn’t know her.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Mayu-san,” I said.
“You’re five minutes and twenty seconds late,” the captivating girl—Mayuzumi—replied. “Unusual for you. A piece of chocolate is good sometimes. Would you like some?”
She offered me chocolate. There were obvious teeth marks on it that I wondered if she was provoking me on purpose. Apparently, no one ever taught her not to give your half-eaten food to others. I highly doubted she had undergone compulsory education in the first palce.
“Thanks, but I’ll pass,” I replied.
“There’s a convenience store over there that sells chocolate bars. I learned that cheap or expensive, they provide almost the same level of satisfaction. The same goes for the amount of polyphenol. I don’t know why people fuss about these nutrients. Maybe it’s because chocolate is a drug.”
After rambling on, Mayuzumi took another bite of her chocolate. The dark-brown snack crumbled between her lips.
“It’s a uterus this time, apparently,” she said. “It’s getting really interesting.”
It looked like the color of dried blood. Unpleasant thoughts flashed through my mind, and I shook my head. If I had to compare it to a human’s internal organs…
“Placenta?” she said. “Does it look like one? Or no?”
“Or perhaps a fetus? Or maybe menstrual blood? Of course not. This is chocolate.”
“I didn’t say anything. Please, just eat.”
“I will.” She licked her lips. “By the way, why are you late?”
“You know why. You changed our meeting place at the last minute. I had to walk for several minutes from the bus stop under the blazing sun in the suit that you specifically chose—”
“Well, I don’t really care why you’re late. So, a uterus fell. Do you know what this means, Odagiri-kun?”
I know you’re trying to change the subject.
I swallowed the words. I felt the urge to smoke a cigarette. However, my boss was against smoking, and it was against the law for a nineteen-year-old to smoke. I didn’t have the guts to smoke in front of the cops.
“You should quit smoking altogether, Odagiri-kun. Regardless of whether someone’s around or not. What’s so tasty about stinky smoke anyway?”
“Please stop reading my thoughts, Mayu-san. Also, my smoking is none of your business.”
It’s your fault that I became a stressed-out heavy smoker in the first place, you little shit.
Mayuzumi’s lips curved in an animalistic grin. “Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The fact that a uterus fell means that the victim is female. Men don’t have uterus, after all. This adds credibility to her statement.”
I let out a sigh. I had no idea if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Shouldering her parasol, Mayuzumi started walking. Seeing her graceful steps, the passersby opened a path for her and bumped into me instead.
“So, how were things on your end?” she asked.
“What can I say except that she’s mentally ill. She’s hell-bent on killing her sister. I would not take the case. She should see a psychiatrist or something first.”
“Hmm. You’re right. You might be right. It’s just…”
Mayuzumi pointed the tip of her parasol upward. I followed it with my gaze. It felt like someone was standing on the roof of the building, but their figure was hidden by a colorful light. Feeling odd, I turned my eyes back in front of me and saw Mayuzumi in front of a vending machine on the side of the road. She was fumbling for something in the coin return slot. When she noticed my gaze, she grinned and continued talking as if nothing happened.
“The fact is, organs keep falling.”
A strange phenomenon had been occuring recently—internal organs falling to the bottom of abandoned buildings. Whose organs were they was unknown.
I met a woman who said she knew the truth.
But I couldn’t wrap my head around her story at all.
* * *
My sister committed suicide by jumping off a building a month ago.
Apparently, she was having problems at work. I was shocked, because I didn’t know anything about it. Yes, my sister jumped from the roof of an abandoned building, as if she were diving into a swimming pool. I wonder what goes on in people’s minds when they fall. As they dive into a thick layer of air, do they feel regret or fear? That feeling of falling straight down to your…
Oh, I’m sorry. Anyway, my sister committed suicide by jumping off a building a month ago. When she was rushed to the hospital, she was still alive, but it was highly unlikely she’d survive. But I don’t really care about that.
The problem is that my dying sister disappeared, even though no one visited her in the hospital. She couldn’t have walked on her own. A while after her disappearance, an organ fell from the abandoned building she jumped from. Yes, I’m talking about the case where a functioning liver suddenly fell from a building. I knew right away that it belonged to my sister. My sister’s body is trying to commit suicide again, in parts this time. Her body escaped from the hospital room, and it’s falling bit by bit. I loved my sister. Loved her more than anyone. That’s why I have to kill my sister. It’s my duty. That’s why I have to kill her. Did I tell you why? Well…
Because I love her.