I am not the only one who had tried summoning a god.
Some of my predecessors have attempted to draw one to life.
But all of their attempts ended in failure. The results varied—from nothing happening to being devoured by whatever they conjured. But they all had one thing in common: they could not die in peace. All of them, gloriously announcing their plan of summoning a god, were later condemned by their clan members for their folly. When they failed to attain their goal, their achievements turned to mistakes. Since ages past, it had been understood by many that a person who attempts to tread on the realm of the divine will meet an ugly end.
Humans should not aspire to be gods.
To do so is taboo. Simply setting your eyes on it is a sin.
Gods are gods because they are in a realm beyond the reach of man.
They are gods because they exist far above the rest.
Even I know that.
But I have no way to see ■■■■. In the age of the gods, Izanagi went to see Izanami in the land of the dead. Gods have the means to do so, while wretched human beings do not. If we did, I would have gone to see them without delay. No matter how decomposed they may be, no matter how much their body may have changed, I would bring them back home.
But I know. My wish is meaningless.
Wishes mean nothing. Prayers are useless.
Gods do not save people. They do not not grant the wishes of inferior human beings.
Then I will not hesitate to break taboo.
What’s wrong with summoning a god? What’s wrong with drawing one? I prayed and I hoped. I prayed for days and days, and in the end, I realized that everything was meaningless. Faith means nothing. Gods that do not show themselves to man may as well not exist.
There are no gods. So I will create one. Summon one.
And in order to create a god, the blood of a girl who is revered as a god is necessary. The blood of that girl, who is herself a gifted esper, immune to our ability despite being a mere human being. I will do anything to obtain it. I have collected blood for that purpose. I must confront her with everything I have. That is the least I can do, as a courtesy for killing her. I might be scum at this point, but I must remain honorable.
■■■■ will not forgive me for this, I am sure.
So why do I still proceed forward? Why…
It is time to summon a god.
I thought I heard something, a voice.
A sharp cry, almost like a lightning strike.
I woke up and looked around. The apartment was wrapped in silence. It was probably just my imagination. As I got up from the uncomfortable sofa, my nose caught the residual scent of chocolate. Coughing a little, I surveyed the room once more.
What time is it?
I had stayed at Mayuzumi’s place several times before for security reasons, but I could never get used to it. The sound of Mayuzumi’s soft breathing reached my ears. I looked at the couch across from me. Her eyes were closed, her fingers crossed in front of her chest. At first glance, she resembled a medieval princess with her nightgown. On her head, however, was a nightcap with pompoms.
Today’s pompom was a fish that automatically bobbed up and down. I had no idea how it worked.
Watching the deformed red goldfish, I let out a sigh.
I got off the couch and headed for the kitchen to get some water. A small light was on. I was sure I turned it off. Did Mayuzumi forget to turn it off? Then, I noticed someone standing there in the dimness. A figure in white. I thought it was a ghost or something, but upon closer look, I realized it was Shirayuki. The outline of her white kimono seemed to blend in with the darkness. She just stood there blankly. Her kimono was oddly disheveled, as if she had gotten up in a hurry and changed her clothes while half-awake.
She was staring vacantly at the tap water.
Did she come here for a drink of water? Her wandering gaze seemed to suggest otherwise. It was as though she was searching for something, but then lost track of it.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
She turned around. Dark, moist eyes gazed at me. She opened her mouth to say something, then stopped, and picked up a brush. She quietly unfolded her fan and drew something. It was dark, but I managed to make out the words.
“I had a dream.”
“A dream? Was it bad?”
She looked nonplussed. In the darkness of the night, her dark eyes narrowed sadly, glistened as if on the verge of tears. For once she wore an expression befitting her age. Clutching her hand tightly, she shook her head.
A small smile appeared on her lips.
“An old dream. When I was a child, I was carefree and simple-minded. I was dreaming about those days. Back then, I knew nothing of the responsibility, the pressure, or even the pride of being the head of the clan. I thought that I could live my life detached from any of that, pushing everything onto others. That all I had to do was enjoy the pleasures of life. I’m ashamed to admit that I was a very foolish child.”
Her fan snapped open and shut, as she repeatedly moved her brush and erased what she wrote. I stared at her while reading the words.
Her eyes seemed like she was still dreaming. She had that look as if she could not accept the reality she had woken up to.
“I woke up because I heard my brother’s voice. I thought I heard him scream. But I couldn’t have.”
I suddenly remembered the voice I heard earlier. A scream that hit me like a thunderclap. Whose voice was it? Maybe what she felt was transmitted to me.
The demon in my belly sometimes devoured people’s emotions and memories.
Did her brother’s scream bothered her so much that the demon picked it up?
What was her brother up to now?
Before I could ask her the question, Mayuzumi’s words sprang in my mind.
“Why did your brother betray the clan?”
“I was just hearing things.”
Her fan snapped close. She picked up a glass, poured a small amount of water into it, and drank a little at a time. After several gulps of the lukewarm water, she set the glass down. Staring at the stream of water being swallowed by the drain, she shook her head.
She turned, heaving a deep sigh. Her dark eyes held the usual calmness. As she passed by me, she opened her fan.
“Please forget what I said.”
The fan closed, and a faint breeze caressed my ear. Shirayuki walked away.
“Shirayuki-san,” I called.
I thought she would just keep going, but she turned around. In the depths of her grim and dignified gaze, I saw a pleading look.
Her eyes begged me not to ask any questions.
I kept my mouth shut. Was her brother the defector of the Minase clan? Why did he leave? There were so many questions I wanted to ask. But I swallowed them all.
One must not touch a person’s wounds carelessly.
“Good night,” I said. “And sweet dreams.”
Shirayuki’s eyes widened slightly. Slowly she lowered her head. When she lifted her head back up, there was a tearful smile on her face. The next instant, however, she regained her steely gaze and turned on her heel.
The white figure disappeared. I heard a door open and close. I stood there, staring blankly at the dark ceiling.
I recalled the scream I heard earlier.
A deafening howl.
It sounded like an announcement that the time had come.