V2 Story I – Part 01


Translator: Kell


Story I

I decided to create a god.

For the record, it was not a decision made out of sheer madness, nor delusion born of blind faith. I, as a human being, chose to challenge my preconceived notions. I knew it was a foolhardy idea. I understood from the attempts of those before me that it was a frontier I could never reach. Nevertheless, I had decided to follow this path. I will draw a god to life out of the sea of subconscious. I will reach that frontier. I, a human being, will attempt to reach a place that no human has ever set foot in.

They will criticize me.

They will try to kill me.

But they can’t stop me. I will create a god.

For one and one purpose only.


A boy was sprinting along the street at night, where the stifling afternoon weather still lingered in the air. He was being chased by several men. The sound of footsteps behind him showed no sign of giving up, as if mocking his unsteady steps. The shuffling of his sneakers and his labored breathing echoed on the deserted street. Anyone could tell how this getaway would end, an end that was coming closer.

The boy abruptly stopped. Perhaps he had given up. A concrete wall before him marked the end of the line. Upon closer look, the wall was scrawled with strings of words like some Buddisht incantation, and covered in bizarre graffiti drawn in black ink.

His pursuers caught up with him. The boy turned around.

Suddenly, the concrete wall squirmed, stirred like boiling water. Countless graffiti hounded the men like a swarm of bugs.

The flashlight went out.

“And that summarizes the current incident.”

“I truly appreciate the horror story vibe, Mayu-san. So what’s up with the flashlight?”

I turned on the light, and Mayuzumi shrugged. She tossed the flashlight that was illuminating her face to the side.

“It’s a perfect story for a summer night. I tried adding some aesthetics. I’m not telling you to act scared, but you could at least read the room.”

“Unfortunately, it’s already way past closing time.”

Please let me go home already.

Mayumi crossed her stocking-clad legs. Clothed in a gothic Lolita outfit, her figure was bizarrely beautiful. She looked like a painting come to life sitting on a leather sofa with her fingers interlocked. Her perfect features only added more to the surrealism.

I swallowed the sigh I was about to let out.

The scene looked overkill.

And what she just told me was less realistic than a B-grade horror flick.

“So bottom line, the graffiti moved,” I said.

“Not exactly. Moving graffiti by itself is not a problem. There are countless stories of moving painting if you investigate the local elementary schools. Mona Lisa, Mozart, and so on. Simple ghost stories, which if true, you can just take as funny anecdotes. The problem is that the graffiti moved and attacked people,” she said in a bored tone.

She picked up a small box on the desk. May wasn’t so hot; it was pleasant, even. But the air conditioning in the room was constantly powered on, perhaps because she wore stuffy clothes regardless of the heat.

The smell of chocolate drifted through the cold room.

Mayumi bit into another chocolate. Sweet fragrance wafted around her. From a box of pastries that resembled a jewelry box, she picked up a chocolate truffle and popped it into her mouth.

Meeting her cat-like gaze, I nodded. “So the issue is the physical damage it caused.”

“Exactly. An antique is one thing. Otherwise, no paintings move in this day and age.” Mayuzumi gave a weary smile.

Satisfied, she put down the box and lay on her stomach. Burying her face in the cushions, she whispered, “Moving street art, in particular, is outrageous.”

“…What?” I blurted out.

Mayuzumi closed her eyes as if she didn’t care. She wanted to sleep.

“Please wait,” I said. “By graffiti, you meant street art?”

“That’s what you call graffiti on a wall, right? From cartoons to pop, realistic works to nudes. There are many different types, but I’ve never heard of ink drawings or calligraphy street art. Either way, it’s a boring story. Not my cup of tea at all.”

Mayuzumi yawned. She brought up the topic, and now she was the one fed up with it. Her white hand fluttered like a butterfly. Her nails, painted with black nail polish, glistened.

“You can go home now, Odagiri-kun. Sorry for keeping you for so long.”

“Actually, I’d like to hear more about the case.”

“I don’t have anything more to tell you. It’s the kind of incident where it’s better to just see it for yourself. Just focus on catching the moving graffiti and its painter.”

The last part was news to me. Apparently the whole story that reeked of an urban legend wasn’t just a random incident that she happened to share. It was a case for us. I frowned, and Mayuzumi’s lips twisted into a mocking grin.

Why did she accept the case when she herself said it wasn’t her cup of tea?

“Mayu-san, who asked you to take the case?” I asked anxiously.

Mayuzumi softly shook her head. “No one. Yet. But they wil come. It’s a hassle, so I thought we’d get it done right away.”

“I see. What about the details?”

“I won’t tell you. Not now, at least.”

“I see. I understand.”

I nodded and stood up. Mayuzumi pulled on a nightgown and a cap with pompoms. This time it was a chameleon with its mouth open and an insect made of beads at the tip of its tongue.

I sighed as I stepped outside.

As usual, I had no idea what was going on.

Moving words attacking people, and catching the culprit.

Those were the only information I had. Too little to have a full grasp of the situation.

Ridiculous.

In other words, it was business as usual.


I ashed my cigarette and put it out on the portable ashtray.

I stared dumbly at the graffiti before me.

“…What is this?”

Drawings of frogs filled the walls.

It was nothing short of spectacular. The artist managed to replicate even the sliminess on the warts using precise shading alone. Drawn with ink, its subtlety belied an odd presence. The most conspicuous feature of the graffiti was the writing in the corner. A frog’s limbs sprouted from the edge of the beautifully-written letters. I didn’t know what the idea was behind the design, but it looked as if the word had hardened in the process of being transformed into an image of a frog. I cautiously studied the distorted letters up close.

Frog.

It was said that the incident started as a fight between hooligans.

From Mayuzumi’s apartment on the eastern outskirts of Nago City in Aichi Prefecture, I took the subway to the city center, and then switched to another subway line. All in all the trip took me about twenty minutes. Once outside the quiet station, I arrived at a nondescript corner of a residential area, far from the bustling streets and towering buildings. Graffiti covered the walls of apartment complexes and private homes that comprised the faded streetscape. There was a relatively busy public library nearby, but otherwise there were only few people about even during daytime, perhaps because I was somewhere two streets away from the main road. The vibrant colors on the walls provided some life instead.

The black-and-white frog, in particular, gave off a bizarre aura.

Street art was once popular in this neighborhood. Apparently the graffitis marked the delinquents’ territories. Although it was a nuisance to the residents, they served as a clear demonstration of power. Several groups competed with each other for territory, and the area under their control was filled with their own street art. Since the groups were equally matched, the location of their street arts remained the same for a long time. But then one day something unusual happened.

It had something to do with the bizarre graffiti on this wall.

Too bizarre to be called street art.

“One day, a new faction appeared at the delinquents’ hangout, erasing people’s graffiti and painting new ones over them,” Mayuzumi had said. “I say a new faction, but it was only one person. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if that was all. The poor newcomer was beaten up, kicked out, and that was the end of it. Or so they thought. The graffiti that he drew suddenly started moving and attacked people.”

I slowly reached out my finger. Fearfully, I touched the wall. My fingertips felt the rough texture of concrete. Nothing happened. The frog was completely still.

This is ridiculous.

I turned around and left. I looked at the note that Mayuzumi had given me. She told me that there was a witness. Using a map, I made my way to a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood where the owner claimed to have witnessed the aberration. After turning several similar-looking corners, a sign with Chinese characters came into view. On the red roof was a shoddy picture of a dragon. I wondered if it catered to the neighborhood. As I stood in front of the cozy storefront, the smell of oil stimulated my appetite.

That reminds me. It’s almost time for lunch.

With fried chicken in my mind, I pulled open the heavy glass door. There was only one customer in the poorly-lit restaurant. A young man, his back hunched, was scooping fried rice at the grease-stained counter.

He turned around. “Oh, if it isn’t Odagiri-san.” He raised his hand. A bright smile appeared on his doll-like face.

Saga Yuusuke.

Wordlessly I walked up to him and grabbed his collar.

“So this is your doing,” I snarled.

“Wh-What are you talking about? Did I do something?”

Before he could run away, I made him a suspect and secured the culprit.

Yuusuke tossed the remaining fried rice into his mouth, and said, “I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think it’s right to just grab a civilian having lunch out of nowhere.”

“You mean a civilian who hits people on the head with a bat?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry about that. Anyway, I’m innocent.” He slapped me on the chest. “Innocent.”

It didn’t seem like he was lying. He looked calm and composed. But it was also a fact that he could not be trusted.

Saga Yuusuke lies without batting an eye.



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