【Interlude: Her Darkness, Part 2】
If she knows what happened to me then of course I’d like her to tell me exactly what it was. I would also serve as a definitive proof that she’s not a delusion created by my mind, because the creation of my mind won’t be in possession of the information that I myself don’t know about.
「Sure, if that’s how you want to justify it then go ahead… but you know what? It pains me a little that you still won’t outright believe me.」
「Believe me, I’m not happy about it either, but that is the only way I can be absolutely sure nobody is influencing my mind in any way. After all, brain is not something that can just be shut down in order to protect it, it must stay active at all times. That is why even when we’re asleep we can still hear with our ears and smell with our noses. You can still feel anything that touches your skin, and if you open your mouth you’d be able to taste the air.」
I realize that it sounded like an unnecessary lecture, but it was something that I had to say.
「In other words what I wanted to say is that aside from the visual information processed by the eyes pretty much everything can be fabricated if only someone possesses the means to do so.」
「That is exactly right. Taking that hypothesis into account into account, if I was just a product of your subconsciousness, it would be impossible for me to know about the information processed by your body in real time.」
Then I remembered what people who supposedly had a near-death experience used to say about it.
In most of the cases people were saying that they felt as if they were dragged out of their bodies and were looking at it from above before flying into the sky far, far away. Then they’d find themselves either at the end of a dark tunnel or at the riverbank where the spirits of their ancestors would either welcome them among themselves or tell them to go back, after which most of them woke up back in their physical bodies. During the time of said near-death experiences it is said that the mind’s heightened activity is causing an occurrence of a rare and strange phenomenon of 「Knowing what you should not know」. Once when I watched a documentary about together with Aika my reaction to hearing that was 「Hee, so amazing things like that really happen?」. It made quite an impression on me. The gist of it was that even when they are asleep human bodies acquire and process a large amount of information which can later be displayed by the brain in form of 「dreams」. But in order to prove to me that she is not a delusion created by my mind Aika has explicitly stated that she’s going to tell me about 「a memory that I don’t remember」.
The way she phrased that sentence reminded me of mother to some extent, but I cannot say that to her out loud since she would just get mad at me for comparing her to the person she despised more than anything else in this world.
I guess I should just listen to what she has to say and then make my decision based on what I’ll hear.
「For starters, we should firmly establish how much do you remember and where exactly your memory starts getting blurry. So, brother, what are your earliest memories before you ended up here? What exactly do you remember?」
With that said I tried to recall the events of the day of my date with senpai with as many details as possible.
I remember that I headed to school to spend the night in Shiinamachi-senpai’s room. Senpai lived in a suite at the top of the school’s clock tower which served as a sort of a clubroom for the members of the Librarian Committee and frequently held the 「All-Night Stayover Parties」 for all the members to participate in. When I told her that Aika also wanted to attend she gladly expressed her approval. Therefore when I got back home from our date it was only to fetch Aika so we could make our way back to school. And after we arrived there… when we got there… Ugh, it’s no use, I can’t remember anything that happened after that. It was as if there was a large, gaping hole in my memory.
「I clearly remember arriving at school, but as to everything that happened after that…」
「So it’s that after all, huh? I think the answer you’re looking for lies exactly there.」
「What do you mean, Aika?」
In the morning she helped me make my hair and chose the clothes for me and then I proceeded to having my date with Shiinamachi-senpai. I can clearly recall every event and the contents of the conversations that happened throughout the day, but as soon as we got to the school part, there was nothing, just a giant, gaping hole in my memories. When I tried to force my brain to remember, I was assaulted by a headache so strong that I thought I was going to pass out.
「are you okay, brother?」
「Y-Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just that when I tried to recall what happened after we arrived at school a sudden headache attacked me, that’s all.」
「Then it would seem that you really cannot remember what happened throughout the night at all.」
Aika said as she placed her hand on my forehead. It wa so pleasantly cold that it made the pain disappear almost immediately and without a trace.
「But it’s okay. You don’t have to force yourself to remember. I will explain everything in order.」
「Sorry about that. And thank you.」
Aika smiled and brought her face closer to mine. Just that notion alone made me heart beat faster with excitement, but it was also quite confused. I mean, as attractive as my sister is, she is still my sister. Am I really that kind of a degenerate who gets aroused by his own blood-related sister?
「First of all, after the sun went down you called me to inform me that I was cordially invited to Shiinamachi-san’s sleepover party.」
That much I could still remember.
「Senpai, the thing is, my sister said she’d like to attend one of your parties someday, so I was wondering if it would be possible for to bring her together with me?」
「Waah, I’m so glad, Jiro-kun. The truth is, I wanted to meet your sister ever since you’ve told me about her!」
「Monjiro’s sister is coming? I see, it appears that now would be my best chance to introduce myself to his closest family as his future mistress-to-be.」
「Yeah yeah, whatever floats your boat I guess.」
「EEEEEEEEhhhhhh?! You really want to introduce yourself to his sister in such a vulgar way?! A-Anyway, since she’ll be coming to meet us, should I be wearing something more formal than usual?! What do you think, Shiki-san?!」
「No no senpai, she was (probably) just kidding and you don’t need to wear any formal clothing! It’s going to be a normal introductory meeting, so you don’t have to go the extra mile to prepare for that!」
「Thank you for being considerate, Monjiro, but I don’t think I’m going to listen to that advice. I’ll be meeting my future sister-in-law after all, so formal clothing is absolutely necessary for such an occasion.」
「EEEEEEHHHHh?!!! So you really need it after all?! Jiro-kun, you misinforming dummy!」
Such a conversation ensued, but at the end of the day I’ve received an okay to take Aika with me to the party. I called her right after that and she said she’s going to meet me at school but being a model older brother that I am I just couldn’t allow her to walk alone after dark, therefore I came back to our house to get her.
「I called you, then I’ve came back home to get ready and then we went straight to school.」
And on the way there she lectured me that I should not do anything inappropriate to any of the girls even if the opportunity will present itself to me. Honestly, for some reason I felt as if this was not going to be a meeting where I introduce my younger sister to everyone, but rather that kind of meeting where the son takes his mother to meet with his spouse, so before we crossed the school gates I politely begged her not to step on any landmines that might end up derailing everything in a weird direction. That was the last memory that was crystal clear to me.
All right, that pretty much takes care of sorting my memories out, but I still could not recall a single thing that happened after we went past the school gates.
「Thanks Aika, I think I’ve organized everything now.」
「Okay, so now we are certain that you remember everything that happened before we stepped into the school grounds.」
「Yes, even the contents of every conversation that happened during the day.」
Without her help I probably wouldn’t have been able to piece even that together.
「So now we’ll be throwing you into uncharted waters, but have no fear, I will tell you everything, since I was by your side this entire time.」
「Please, do go on.」
Did she really stayed with me the entire time? How could I forget such an important detail?
「Brother, at that sleepover party, you…」
Aika was about to say something, but then a troubled expression appeared on her face. That meant that what happened to me was so serious that she was on the fence in regards to whether she should tell me about it or not.
「Haa, so I died again after all?」
「Yes. Brother, you… you were killed by Shiki-san.」