Translator: AmareeLis Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 1】Death and Immortality Part A (3)
Naturally, the school has an advanced alarm security system that will prevent any unauthorized entry at night.
If someone recklessly opens any door or window, the security company will be notified immediately and they will come rushing here in a blink of an eye.
However, the system has a loophole.
The prefectural school owns a modern building called 『Library Clock Tower』. The clock tower is situated on a small hill and it happens to be a popular tourist attraction.
It is located a little further away from the main school building.
Behind the school ground, exist mixed forests and a backdoor to the Library Clock Tower. There is only a small iron fence gate and climbing this gate will not trigger the alarm.
This tower was constructed a long time ago during the Japanese Meiji era, at the same time as the school was first built.
To preserve the tower from collapsing, they have since reinforced it, but haven’t upgraded the security system like the rest of the building. Well, the only place anyone could sneak into the school building at night is through this back door.
The entrance to the main library is now closed, and if I tried to open the door, the alarm will surely ring.
In contrast, the entrance to the clock tower is a simple lock system. Inside the clock tower, there is a room used by the librarian committees. In other words, this room contains old and damaged books that hold no value even if thieves decide to break in.
Also inside the clock tower, there is another room called 『The Clock Tower Management Room』. This is the place where Shiinamachi-senpai usually spends most of her time.
Only very few of the librarian committees are aware of this fact. Although, I would have no idea why Shiinamachi-senpai decides to live inside the very ordinary prefectural high school, within the depths of the clock tower.
On rare occasions, senpai would invite some of the librarian committees to spend the night at the clock tower. This has become a known tradition.
Actually, I also participated once in a sleepover with the other committee members, but it felt really awkward as all the other members are girls. I never participate again after that.
However, I am the only one coming here tonight.
Moreover, senpai invited me because 『today is a safe day』.
As a typical male high school student going through puberty, how could I not get excited hearing such an invitation?
However, Shiinamachi-senpai does have a tendency to act like an airhead.
It is possible that she had just carelessly used the word 『safe day』, while meaning something entirely different. The heart-pounding and adrenaline rushing through the brain can easily cause disillusionmentー I really shouldn’t expect too much or get my hopes up.
No matter what senpai’s request turns out to be, I will do my best to fulfill it. I absolutely will not disappoint her.
So, that’s the silent promise I make to myself as I climb over the iron gate and arrive at the clock tower’s entrance.
I reached the door, a heavy iron door. There is a slightly larger keyhole on the left-hand side.
I took out the key that is only possessed by a certain librarian committee. This key can only be given by either the supervising teacher or Shiinamachi-senpai herself. I insert the key into the hole and hear the click sounds unlocking.
The sound echoes through the room, making me feel like I have just unleashed something truly remarkable. In this case, there is a beautiful woman waiting for me inside, so I feel like my inner thought is justified.
「Pardon my intrusion. 」
I spoke as I open the door, letting myself in, then closed and locked the door behind me.
The room is a spacious one, dimly illuminated by faint lighting. The walls are packed with rows of bookshelves. In the center of the room, there is a large table, frequently used in the gatherings. Currently, a lot of items are scattered around it, such as magazines, light novels, and stationery.
In addition, there are few items to the left and right of the table, including a refrigerator, a gas stove and an electric fan. There is also a curtain over the window.
And at the back of the room, there sits a giant clock’s face almost as tall as a typical person. Once this faceplate belonged to the big clock tower, but since it has gotten old, it has seen been replaced and now kept in this room. As time passes by, the hand of the clock has stopped turning and this faceplate now ends up as decorations. Although I don’t know when the hand stopped moving, I think it works out well as the loud sound would’ve disturbed Shiinamachi-senpai’s sleep.
In any case, this is the 『Library Committee Room』. We usually gather here to organize books, check library cards and confirm for any overdue books yet to be returned. Sometimes we also have a tea party here.
Originally, this was a storeroom with ample space. Through the diligent efforts of former librarian committees, this place got cleaned up and later converted into their secret hideout.
On the other side of the room, there is a wooden staircase, spiraling up along the wall in a square shape. After going up roughly three floors, there is a door.
Behind that door is Shiinamachi-senpai’s room.
With every step I take, I could hear slight creaking sound echoes. Even though I think that the wooden boards wouldn’t come loose, I still grip the handrails tightly as I slowly make my way upstairs. Step by step, surely and steadily.
Everyday senpai is going up and down these stairs. Surely, doing this several times a day will automatically train your legs. Could it be that senpai’s perfect figure, with all those curves in the right places, is thanks to this daily exercise?
I couldn’t help but imagine these things.
While I was lost in thoughts, I didn’t realize I already went past the second floor and now about to reach the third floor.
I arrive at the 『Clock Tower Management Room』. There is a plate written in faint letters. Unlike the entrance door, this door is made out of wood and gives off an old nostalgic feeling.
「Shiinamachi-senpai, this is Sakuradamon. I have come to visit you.」
I knocked, then wait for Shiinamachi-senpai to answer the door. I took this opportunity to check the time.
According to the smartphone in my hand, it is now 11.55pm. It is perfect timing.
Like that, I silently wait for senpai’s reply.
… However, a long time passed and there is still no answer.
For a moment, I wondered if senpai has already fallen asleep. If this is the case, isn’t better if I call her cell phone?
But wait, I would hate to disturb senpai on her sleep. Then again, no, it’s senpai who actually called me here in the first place.
So, should I try knocking again?
While still lost in thoughts, I reach out to grab the door handle. With a slight touch, the wooden door slide open without a sound.
「The door is open?」
What a perfect chance to watch Shiinamachi-senpai’s sleeping face.
I quickly shake off such thoughts from my mind.
「Senpai, this is Sakuradamon. I’m here.」
Even though I raised my voice slightly, senpai still doesn’t respond. I wonder if she is in a deep sleep. If this is the case, maybe I better go home now.
ーSuddenly just now…
I sensed a heavy atmosphere inside the room. Somehow I felt an inexplicable sense of foreboding. I don’t know why but I felt wary like something bad is about to happen.
「… Excuse me, pardon my intrusion.」
To dispel such thoughts, I resolutely decide to step inside further. This may not be gentlemanly, but I decided to blame the curious inner voice deep inside my heart.
I push the door wide open and look inside.
A foul smell hits me and I almost choke.
ーThe smell of thick fresh『blood』rushed into my nostrils. Soon after I caught something in my visionーimpossible! I couldn’t help but doubt what I am seeing.
In the center of the room, Shiinamachi-senpai is lying down on the floor covered in blood.
I frantically rush to senpai’s side.
The amount of blood loss is extraordinary, a small pool of blood has formed over the entire patch of the wooden floor around Senpai’s body. Still dressed in her school uniform, senpai is lying down on her backside as though she is asleep.
As much as I want to deny it, I can clearly see a deep red wound across her chest. Where the wound is located, I can see a trace where it has penetrated through her. Blood is gushing through her back, looks like the wound has pierced right through her chest.
There is no way anyone could survive this kind of injury.
In other words, senpai has …
「. . . . . . . .」
I refuse to believe it. I can still remember senpai’s radiant smile earlier today. Yet now, senpai will not utter another word, her eyes will never open again, she will not smile at me again.
The moonlight illuminates senpai’s body gently, yet the silence in the air is too painful to bear.
No matter how hard I tried, I can’t hear anything else other than the sound of my own heartbeat. I can’t hear senpai’s breathing. There is no pulse to be detected, her heartbeat has completely stopped.
This is, there is no other way to look at this, she is . . .
I still refuse to believe it, I lift senpai’s limp body and repeatedly shouted her name while looking at her already lifeless pale face.
I understand. Surely, this wound has taken her life on the spot.
There is no other wound except for the very deep red wound right in the center of her chest. Looks like she got stabbed in one breath and had no chance to react. I guess the murderer had no hesitation, piercing her chest in one clean stroke with the intention to kill.
「Why… How could something like this…」
Earlier, senpai just told me that today is her 『safe day』. But what is the point now? Senpai is clearly no longer …
「. . . . . . . .」
The senpai whom I’ve been longing for all this time.
Who could have expected that I would be witnessing senpai’s death at this moment?
I wonder, is this at least a salvation that her face looks calm and peaceful in death? If senpai’s eyes are wide open in fear or there are traces of tears, I would feel angrier and more devastated.
「Senpai, sorry … If only I came earlier.」
If only I didn’t stop by at the convenience store. If only I didn’t stop by to chat with Kuhoh earlier. Maybe, I would’ve made it in time.
「. . . It’s too late to regret now . . .」
I adjust my vanity glasses to calm myself down.
That’s right, I don’t want to leave senpai like this.
So … First of all, I think I should call the police?
Then the ambulance will surely come along as well.
I understand it’s too late for senpai to receive treatment, but I hope I can still at least accompany her and stay by her side on the way to the hospital.
Just as I am thinking such thoughts.
I heard a sound from behind.
It’s a sound of someone stepping on the floor.
In a flash, the sound approaches closely right behind me.
I am ready to turn around, to check if anyone is thereー
Then, in an instant.
I can feel the sound of my heartbeat getting louder.
At the same time, I feel an intense pain and heat entering from my back, traveling to my body, running through the center of my chest.
Looking down, I can see a fresh cut and a pool of blood started gushing where the cut is made.
This exact method of piercing.
Undoubtedly, this is how you kill someone by stabbing the heart directly from the back.
Right at this momentーsomeone has just stabbed me from behind.
Just as I am becoming aware of this fact, my sight has turned blurry.
The intense pain that I felt earlier is slowly disappearing.
Instead, I now feel extremely cold.
Somehow I manage to muster an understanding that this coldness must be due to the heavy amount of bleeding.
I guess I would die soon … Soon I’ll be together with Shiinamachi-senpai that I have admired for so long. Maybe this way of dying isn’t such a bad thing after all.
With that thought in mind, the last words I say is:
「Thank youーfor killing me and letting me be with Shiinamachi-senpai.」
I think maybe I have actually gone mad for thanking the murderer. But at this moment, I can’t even muster another last bitter smile, I can feel my body is losing strength as I collapsed on top of senpai’s body.
ーI, Sakuradamon Jiro, thus met the end of my 17 years old life.