V3 Story III – Part 07

Translator: Kell

“But even when her dolls were taken away from her, she still had some freedom left. And the product was something better than the dolls.”

Mayuzumi flipped through the diary, then stabbed it, stopping in one of the pages that featured a brightly-colored scene.

“I’m talking about her friend. An imaginary friend she created out of loneliness.”

It was her new means of distraction. An escape from reality.

No wonder there were no signs left behind. She never met anyone. Aya, lonely as she was, created a friend on her own.

As someone she could rely on. Someone who would protect her.

I turned my gaze to Aya. There was a calm smile on her face. Too calm, in fact. Her left hand continued to stroke Aya‘s head.

With a smile as immaculate as the Virgin Mary’s, she said, “So now what?”

Mayuzumi smiled at her provocative question. “Her new friend did not have a body. That’s probably why she felt so safe and absorbed in her new object of escape. Her friend would not die, no matter what.”

Not even her mother could touch Aya’s friend. For Aya, her ‘friend’ was her sanctuary, her only and absolute escape. The images with her friend were full of light.

But paradise came to an abrupt end.

“After a temporary mental breakdown, Aya was raised to act properly. Her mother was probably enraged when she spoke to her imaginary friend. It’s abnormal behavior. So she told Aya to say goodbye to her friend.”

She had to bid farewell to it.

Mayuzumi turned the pages again at an increasing speed. “If that was all she did, it wouldn’t have been a problem. They could have parted more differently. But her mother, in her haste, must have said this.” The parasol pierced a page showing a girl with a knife. She stood alone in a sea of red blood. “Clean up. Get rid of the imaginary.”

Clean up was a trigger word for Aya.

The dry run was over. Her mother had unwittingly flipped her daughter’s trauma switch.

“Pressured, Aya-kun cleaned up her friend.”

To her, cleaning up was synonymous to killing.

Unable to disobey her mother’s instructions, she killed her friend.

Following what she did in the past, she stuffed the corpse into a cabinet.

Aya was not sure what to do with the body, so she buried it in her room. But no one could see her friend. As such, it was the same as there being no body at all. From others’ point of view, she didn’t kill anyone.

But her friend’s corpse was indeed in the cabinet.

No one knew the pain she felt.

“I’m a murderer. I killed someone I care about. I killed my friend. I killed someone. But no one condemns me for what I did. No one reprimanded me. My mother calls me her beloved child, even when no one condemns me, even when no one calls me a murderer.”

Mayuzumi’s voice sounded as if she was giving a speech.

Aya had spent all her time with the corpse of her friend.

An intense chill ran down my spine. The child inside me, apparently excited, touched my stomach. Mayuzumi pulled her parasol off the notebook and shook it.

A red flower sprang open.

Resting the parasol on her shoulder, she smiled. “The repeated stress drove her to commit this heinous act. Dismembering a human body was impossible with her constitution. She cut up her mother and buried her just like her friend.”

Shiraki Masumi’s body was mutilated all over.

Aya killed her mother, just like she did her friend.

“But there is one thing I don’t understand.” Wearing a vile expression, Mayuzumi narrowed her eyes at Aya. “She put up with it for so long. She endured for a long, long time. Even a cracked stone does not break apart that easily. Why now?”

None answered her question. Aya was still asleep. Aya gently stroked her face, running her fingers over her sunken cheek. She tucked her hair over her ear.

Mayuzumi suddenly smiled. “Actually, I have a question for you. You knew about Aya’s past. You were by her side and protected her. Yet her mother forced you two apart.”

Aya’s eyes slowly opened. Her black eyeballs reflected the ceiling.

Mayuzumi took out a piece of chocolate. She set her teeth against the neck of the smiling noblewoman.

The head snapped from the torso.

“Are you the friend she killed?”

The rain pelted hard against the roof. The expression vanished from Aya’s face.

She turned her glassy eyes on us. The flesh around them squirmed. Pale skin rose and rippled erratically. It was as if a worm had entered her body and was wriggling around inside. A moment later, her flesh returned to normal as though nothing had happened.

Aya gave a composed smile. That was the answer.

She was not human.

“Mayu-san, Aya‘s friend didn’t have a body, and she should be dead. How is she here now?”

The question popped out of my mouth. Aya’s friend was buried without anyone seeing it.

Yet here she was, smiling gracefully.

“Someone gave her a body, an act that only a god should be able to do. But gods don’t exist.”

God would be able to create man from clay. But man has no right to do so.

Then who created her?

“Who gave you that body? No, you don’t have to answer that question. I already know.”

Mayuzumi pulled a red envelope from her handbag. She drew a paper from within, opened it, and showed it to Aya.

“Once upon a time, there was a ■.” Mayuzumi smiled deeply. “Where’s the fox?”

What did she just say?

My vision turned red, like I’d been punched. My heart raced, and all sound faded. The next instant, the sound of rain blasted through my ears. The baby in my belly laughed. Extending its fingers, she ripped my belly open. A different voice overlapped with the child’s innocent laughter.

It sounded amused.

The laughter of a fox.

I bit my lip hard and caught my breath. Aya was sitting upright, staring straight ahead. Her lips parted and she whispered something. Tears suddenly spilled from her big eyes. Several translucent drops flowed down her sunken cheeks.

An icy voice reverberated.

A voice as impassive as the caption that accompanied the drawing.

“One day a new pit was added to the graveyard. The coffin was filled with the smell of blood. The fox asked the girl, who was burdened with a painful sin.”

If you grieve the death of a friend, let’s undo it.

“But it needed the missing ingredient.”

One for the body, one for the soul.

The girl tried to gather the materials.

For her very precious friend.

She could have done anything.



Aya got off the bed with robotic movements. She put her hand under the white sheet and pulled it slowly. I quickly grabbed Mayuzumi by the scruff of her neck and pulled her back. She fell on her backside, but she didn’t say anything.

A red blade touched the spot where her neck had been.

The broad knife was stained with dried blood.

The sheet Aya was sleeping on had a stain of the same color. I shuddered.

She was sleeping with the knife all this time.

“I have to… I have to… I have to kill…!!!”

Aya swung the knife. The blade grazed my cheek. I grabbed her arm, and was shocked at how thin it was. I tried to take away the knife, but to no avail. She gripped the knife tight as she struggled.

She reminded me of a dying beast.

Tears streamed down her hollow cheeks. Behind her, Aya was still sitting on the bed, wearing the same smile. She was staring at the Aya calmly.

Her gentle gaze gave me goosebumps.

“Wh-What is… this…?”

I blocked the knife coming down my neck. The blade dug into my palm, spilling blood. I stifled a groan as I bore through the pain. To prevent the blade from coming closer, I grabbed the handle together with Aya’s hand.

Footsteps clambered up the stairs. Higasa must have realized that something was wrong. But the open door suddenly moved on its own, creaking shut as if someone was pushing it.

“Lad! Mayuko! What’s going on?! Hey!”

I could hear Higasa’s voice through the door. The knob shook wildly. He slammed the door, but it wouldn’t open. It was the same as the front door. The room was shut like a coffin.

All that was left was for the body to roll inside and we were done.

“I… I… I…”

Aya‘s heartbroken cries echoed in the room. She wailed as she pushed the knife. It looked like she was the one being stabbed. Aya on the bed had an elegant smile on her face, her chin resting on her hand.

All the hair on my body bristled. Revulsion prevailed over pain.

What the hell is that look?

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