《沙耶之歌(The Song of Saya)》剧本原案(英文版)







name="青海" class="青海" src="2000104"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="2000205"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2000302"

Three such creatures sit around the table in front of me, slurping filthy

sludge from their cups as they trade whines, growls, and sounds that I

cannot describe.


name="青海" class="青海" src="2000404"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2000502"

name="青海" class="青海" src="2000604"


By listening carefully, I am able to grasp the gist of their conversation

and respond when it is required of me. This is necessary to avoid

arousing their suspicion.

However these creatures may look, they are my friends, apparently.


I wish that I could still deny it, but I gave up on that a long time ago.

Night after night, I went to sleep praying for an end to this nightmare,

only to wake each morning to the same twisted hellscape as the day


I know now that I have to blend in, that I have to act like one of them.

Such has been my life these past three months, and so it will remain

until the day I die.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="2000705"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2000802"

Judging by its tone, this one must be Koji. And the one next to him,

squealing more than the others, is probably Omi.K Which means that the

one next to me is Yoh, though I can no longer see any trace of her

once-attractive features. I try my best to ignore the rotten stench of

excrement that issues from her quivering flesh.


name="青海" class="青海" src="2000904"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="2001005"

name="青海" class="青海" src="2001104"

Everything has changed.k Or almost everything.k By some cruel trick of

fate, my relationship to the world alone remains the same, as if an

insane architect took the blueprints of my life and rebuilt it out of blood

and gore.K These monsters and I were part of the same college club. We

studied together, ate together -- we even went skiing together every

winter break.


Now these are but painful memories of days that will never return.K If

only no one recognized me, I might have been able to disconnect myself

from the world. It would have been comforting, in comparison, to

believe that I had been abducted by aliens, or that I had stumbled

through a gateway to hell.

But no, this is beyond a doubt the city where I was born and raised,

the society that I was part of for twenty years. Save that I, and I alone,

can no longer see it that way.

The world as I knew it is gone. I have no place to call home.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="2001205"

name="青海" class="青海" src="2001304"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="2001405"

Anyway, I can tell that whatever they're talking about is of no

importance to me. I decide to keep quiet while pretending to listen.

But just then...


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2001502"

"hEy FuMInoRi," one of the flesh-beasts says as it swivels its bloodshot

eyes towards me. "WhAt dO yOU THinK?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3001700"

"......About what?"

I try desperately to suppress my loathing and behave normally, but my

hoarse  ruins the attempt.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2001702"

"UH, wE'rE TAlkING abOUt THIs YEar'S skI TRiP. YOu'Re COMiNG

TOo... RiGHt?"

A slimy hole near the top of the creature writhes nauseatingly as it

vomits some semblance of words. That must be Koji's face -- or what I

would have seen as such three months ago. Unable to stomach the sight

of it, I avert my eyes and give a neutral answer.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3001900"

"I don't know."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2001902"

"YoU haVe oThEr pLAns?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002100"

"Not really."

These were my closest companions. One of them had even wished to

be more.

How many nights have I spent crying in loneliness, lamenting the

friends who no longer exist?


In three months my tears ran dry, and now there is only loathing left in

  1. Surrounded by hideous creatures that I can only assume are Koji,

Omi, and Yoh, I spend each day trying to act as I always have. If I fail

at this, I'll surely be sent back to the hospital.

Only this time, I'll be locked away forever.K No matter what, I won't let

that happen.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2002102"

"I mEAn... iT's NOt liKe phYSIcAL acTiVItY COulD AFfect YoUR

InJuRIeS, RIght?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002300"

"I'm not sure. I'll ask the doctor during my check-up."

That's it. I can't look at them or bear their screeching any longer.

I jump to my feet, desperate to escape.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="2002302"

"hEy, fUmINoRi!"

A spray of stringy slime from the cilia around its box flies at me. I

try to cover myself, but too late to keep the slime from splattering across

my face like the yolk of a rotten egg.K I'm about to lose it. I want to grab

a chair, a desk -- anything within reach -- and use it to smash the life

out of this creature, ending it all.


I barely suppress the impulse.

I mustn't let on that something is wrong. However they look to me, this

is their world. I'm the outsider here.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002500"

"Like I said, today's my check-up. I've got to go."

Struggling to put on a smile, I reach into my wallet, pull out the first

bill I find, and put it on the table without even looking at it. I don't care

about the change. I just need to get out of here -- now.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002600"


I'm not crazy.

-A HREF="sy01_02Cafe_Yoh"







name="青海" class="青海" src="3000104"

"Hey," says Takahata Omi, "why don't we go somewhere we can skate

for this year's ski trip?"

Tsukuba Yoh frowns at the suggestion.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="3000205"

"Skate? But why go to a ski resort to skate?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3000302"

"Haha. Give her a break, Tsukuba. It's all she talks about these days."

Tonoh Koji supports Omi with a laugh. Her impromptu suggestions are

nothing new, and it's Koji's role as her boyfriend to provide backup.

They're a good match for each other, Yoh thinks. Sometimes it makes

her jealous.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3000402"

"I mean, she'd seriously never gone skating before I took her the other


name="青海" class="青海" src="3000504"

"Hey! Is it really that strange?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3000602"

"Not many people start skating in their twenties, you know."

name="青海" class="青海" src="3000704"

"I was scared when I was little. Those shoes looked like big knives!"


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="3000805"

"But you picked it up just like that? That's pretty amazing, Omi."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3000902"

"It's a lot like skiing. You keep your weight forward and use the angle

of the shoes to steer."

name="青海" class="青海" src="3001004"

"He made it sound so easy, I figured I should give it a try. And it was


So it was a date. Yoh feels a stab of envy.

Koji and Omi enjoy their time together, as normal lovers do. That's

certainly not something that should arouse jealousy. It's just that her

luck in love has been bad.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="3001105"

"Oh... well, I want to see Omi skate too."

Yoh keeps her  upbeat, trying to cover up her internal conflict.

She knows that it's wrong to envy her friends. She too would be

spending time with the man she admires, if not for the terrible tragedy

that befell him. His is true misfortune. Her "bad luck" doesn't begin to


name="青海" class="青海" src="3001204"

"So, how 'bout it? If we make the next ski trip a skating trip too, it'll be

twice as fun!"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="3001305"

"But you can skate at a skating rink, can't you? Why go all the way to a

ski resort?"

name="青海" class="青海" src="3001404"

"I don't want to skate indoors. I want to skate outside, on a lake or


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="3001505"

"That sounds fun, but won't it be crowded?"

While speaking, Yoh sneaks a sideways glance at the young man sitting

next to her.

Although the conversation has involved only three people so far, there

are in fact two couples at the cafeteria table. Yoh's boyfriend -- though

there's still some doubt over whether he could be called that -- is beside

her, as silent and expressionless as a statue.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3001602"

"Hey, Fuminori. What do you think?"

Perhaps Koji sensed Yoh's pain, in his usual quiet and considerate way.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3001700"

"......About what?"

The cause of Yoh's distress -- Sakisaka Fuminori -- responds to Koji's

sudden query with a vague, mumbled question of his own.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3001802"

"Um, we're talking about this winter's ski trip. You're coming too...


Koji speaks gingerly, as though probing a tumor. A few months ago, he

would not have hesitated to rebuke Fuminori for his attitude. Their long

acquaintance had forged a strong and honest friendship. But now...

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3001900"

"I don't know," Fuminori responds bluntly, his downcast eyes and sullen

demeanor making clear that he has no desire to break his silence.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3002002"

"You have plans?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002100"

"Not really."

Even Koji, Fuminori's best friend, cannot communicate with him as

before. What hope does Yoh have of breaking through his shell?K The

scars left by the events of that late-summer day are still deep all these

months later. Each one of the four bears them, not only Fuminori.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3002202"

"I mean... it's not like physical activity could affect your injuries, right?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002300"

"Not sure. I'll ask the doctor during my check-up."

As though that answer drained the last of his patience, Fuminori bolts

out of his chair.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3002402"


Even Koji can't keep his  from rising as he tries to stop Fuminori

from leaving.

Fuminori reacts swiftly, throwing his hand over his face as though to

shield himself from something terrifying.K Maybe some spit flew

inadvertently from Koji's mouth, but that sort of thing happens during

everyday conversation. Fuminori's reaction is beyond the pale.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002500"

"Like I said," Fuminori snaps, making no attempt to relieve the

discomfort of his friends, "today's my check-up. I have to go."

Even as he tosses money on the table to pay for his coffee, he acts like

he's touching something filthy.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="3002600"



Cloaked in heavy silence, the remaining three lower their gaze to the

table, where the abandoned ten thousand yen bill sways forlornly.

Fuminori's coffee is untouched.

name="青海" class="青海" src="3002704"

"I can't take this anymore," Omi says with a sigh, but Koji shakes his

head reproachfully.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3002802"

"Fuminori just needs a little more time."

name="青海" class="青海" src="3002904"

"But it's been three months! What's with his attitude!? I feel like I'm

going crazy hanging around him!"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3003002"

"Hey, I don't understand what he's going through either. I don't thin

any of us can.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3003002_2" Can you imagine losing your whole family like that? That'd

screw anyone up."

It could have happened to anyone.K A tractor trailer flipped over on the

highway, crushing the Sakisaka family car into twisted scrap. They said it

had been difficult to tell the bodies of Fuminori's parents apart.

For a while, it had looked as if there was no hope for Fuminori either.

It was nothing short of a miracle that he was able to leave the hospital

and return to a normal life.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3003102"

"He was worse when we went to see him in the hospital, remember?

He was terrified of us, like he didn't know who we were. He even had to

be tied to the bed, he freaked out so bad.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3003102_2" I'm just glad he's made it this


name="青海" class="青海" src="3003204"

"There's still something strange about him. What's with the way he

looks at us? It's like we're not even human!"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="3003302"

"Cut it out, Omi," Koji says forcefully, probably less out of empathy for

his friend than out of consideration for Yoh.


While Koji's kindness makes her happy, Yoh also knows that she

mustn't take advantage of it.

Fuminori is the victim, just as Koji said. He's the one who most

deserves sympathy.

Yoh's feelings for Fuminori are her problem, and no one else's. She

doesn't blame Fuminori for not giving her an answer after she worked

up the courage to ask him out.

In fact, she thinks even more fondly of him for his serious

consideration of her feelings than she would have had he treated their

relationship casually.

Apparently, the fact that Fuminori did not reject her was enough to

make them a couple in Koji and Omi's eyes. They've had plenty of fun at

Yoh and Fuminori's expense since. The truth of it, though... is that he

still hasn't given her an answer.

After revealing her feelings to him, Yoh didn't see Fuminori again until

a week later, and then she could only stare at his broken body through

the window of the ICU.

And when he was finally released, after fifty days that seemed an

eternity, he was somehow different.

She's starting to doubt that he even remembers what she confessed to

him before the accident.

Now winter is coming, and her feelings hang forgotten in the cold,

lonely air.

-A HREF="sy02_01Hospital_Ryoko"







Dr. Tanbo Ryoko has never had a more troublesome patient.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000106"

"Has there been any change since your last visit, Mr. Sakisaka?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4000200"

"No, nothing to speak of."

His  is hard and flat, his words tossed carelessly into the air. It's

like he's speaking to himself in an empty room.

Ryoko is a surgeon, not a psychiatrist, but even she can sense the

thickness of the wall he has erected between himself and the world.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000306"

"Any nausea, dizziness, or hallucinations?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4000400"


While Sakisaka appears to be looking at Ryoko, his gaze is actually

aimed a fraction down and to the side. He's only superficially engaged in

the conversation, when in truth it does not interest him in the slightest --

perfect rejection.

Realizing that she can't interview him like this, Ryoko sighs and sets her

chart aside.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000506"

"Mr. Sakisaka. The procedure you received at this hospital was the

latest in experimental neurosurgery. We explained this before, didn't we?"

Treatment of subdural hematoma through the use of micromachines, a

procedure available in Japan exclusively here at the T University Medical

Center, had been the only way to save Sakisaka Fuminori from a

cerebral contusion that should have been fatal.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000606"

"With any experimental treatment, there is always the risk of

unexpected complications."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4000700"

"Of course."

Sakisaka Fuminori's lips twist slightly in what might be a bitter -- or

mocking -- smile, but it is gone before Ryoko can discern its meaning.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000806"

"Normally, I would never say anything to frighten a patient...K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4000806_2" but there

have been reports of serious neurological disorders post-surgery. We

must continue to monitor your condition carefully."

Hence these weekly check-ups. If only he would take them a little more


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4000900"

"How was last week's MRI?" Sakisaka asks abruptly, as if to catch Ryoko

off guard.

MRI -- Magnetic Resonance Imaging -- is a way for doctors to examine

the brain in detail without opening the patient's skull. Surprised by

Sakisaka's uncommon technical knowledge, Ryoko recalls his profile.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001006"

"Oh, that's right. You're a medical student, aren't you?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4001100"

"The kind of anomaly you're worried about should show up on the MRI,

right? Did you find anything?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001206"


There was nothing -- not the slightest hint of abnormal activity. For a

procedure with such a low rate of success, the results have been nothing

short of miraculous.

However, something still bothers Ryoko. She can't shake the feeling

that he's hiding something beneath his guarded exterior -- some terrible

weight on his soul, perhaps.

But if it is an inorganic problem, then there's nothing she can do as

long as he refuses to explain it.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4001300"

"I'm fine, doctor. I've lived on my own for three months without any

problems. What could go wrong now?"


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001406"

"Please, you know that continued observation is required after these

difficult surgeries. You have to trust us a little more."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4001500"

"I suppose you're right. I do want to trust you, Doctor. Can I come to

you with anything?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001606"

"Yes, of course," Ryoko answers, smiling to cover up her irritation.

Sakisaka asked exactly the same question during last week's visit.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4001700"

"Well then, let's pick up where we left off. Have you learned anything

about Dr. Ogai?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001806"


Unable to answer, Ryoko hardens the mask of her smile.

As before, the patient is inquiring about someone whom he has no

business knowing.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4001906"

"If you don't mind my asking, what does Dr. Ogai have to do with your


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4002000"

"You just told me to trust you, and now you're keeping secrets?"

Ryoko is used to patients treating her with hostility. After all, some

degree of paranoia is natural when dealing with someone who holds

your life in her hands.

In Sakisaka, however, she doesn't see the shortsighted impatience that

other patients exhibit. His demeanor is perfectly calm, almost like a

detective questioning a suspect.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4002106"

"He left this hospital some time ago. I never had any contact with him


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4002200"

"Do you know why he left?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4002306"

"Yes, I believe it was personal," Ryoko answers smoothly, her earlier

hesitation gone. Having decided at the outset to lie, she has no trouble

doing so with a straight face.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4002406"

"But why do you keep asking about Dr. Ogai? Do you know him?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4002500"

"Did you know that the doctor has gone missing?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4002606"


Ryoko realizes that her answer may have been a little too quick. She

should have acted more surprised.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4002700"

"I've recently become close with a relative of his. It was she who asked

me to find him."

A relative? Ryoko considers this with a frown.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4002806"

"I didn't think Dr. Ogai had any relatives."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4002900"

"Oh, who told you that?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003006"

"I... heard it from a nurse," Ryoko replies, remembering that she just

claimed to have had no contact with the man.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4003100"

"I see. So the doctor was famous enough for nurses to gossip about


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003206"

"He was an unusual man, I hear."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4003300"

"But no one knows why he left the university?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003406"


Ryoko falls silent, knowing that this isn't a topic she can brush away

with a smile.

Sakisaka seems to have finally grasped her mood, however, as his

strangely stiff tone softens a little.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4003500"

"Doctor, I absolutely must find Dr. Ogai.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4003500_2" There's a girl who's lost

without him. Can't you help me?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003606"

"Isn't this something the police should handle?"

Although she makes it sound like the most obvious thing in the world,

the suggestion is actually a risky gamble. If Ogai Masahiko's

disappearance becomes a police matter, then the university will be

investigated. Everyone who was involved in the incident will be at risk of


And of course, that includes Ryoko herself.


She knows, however, that Sakisaka is unlikely to go to the police. First

of all, his excuse is obviously a lie. They already made sure that Ogai

had no relatives who might come looking for him, which is why they

could bury the truth of what happened.

But then how did Sakisaka, a mere patient, learn about Ogai?

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003706"

"I'd be happy to help, but there's been no word from Dr. Ogai since he

resigned last April.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003706_2" I can only assume that he's gone on an extended


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="4003800"

"......I see."

Expecting resistance, Ryoko is surprised when Sakisaka backs down.

She's still worried about his condition. And the mysterious link between

him and Ogai Masahiko is only making her more uneasy.

But as long as he doesn't open up to her, there's nothing she can do.

After a brief pause, Ryoko writes "progress good" on Sakisaka's chart for


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="4003906"

"About next week's appointment. How does four o'clock again sou--"

Before she can finish, Sakisaka is gone.

-A HREF="sy02_02Home_Fuminori"







It looks like someone sprayed the walls with pig guts from ceiling to


What color should the walls of a hospital be? White, of course. And to

the creatures of rotten flesh shambling around me, I'm sure this hallway

looks just as white as it should.

I know, intellectually, that the walls are white. I know that the flesh

beasts are really human.

I'm the one with the problem, and it's because I've accepted this that

I'm able to lead something approaching a normal life.

Even if my university's medical department is nowhere near as good as

T University's, I'm still a medical student specializing in neurology. I have

a basic idea of what has happened to me, though it's hard to believe.


This isn't a pathological condition. It's probably some form of agnosia

unlike anything that has ever been studied before.

The flesh-beast called Tanbo Ryoko said that other patients had

developed neurological disorders after receiving the same treatment I

did. So I guess I'm just another failure. It makes me want to laugh in

that know-it-all doctor's face.

That said, I don't blame the doctors who operated on me. After all, I

do owe them my life. I know as well as anyone how low the chance of

success was, and that I had no other hope of survival.


I was unlucky. That's all there is to it.K The point is that my condition

isn't treatable.K Just like someone adapting to a hearing aid or

wheelchair, I have no choice but to adapt to this nauseating siicenery.

Of course it's hard. It wasn't easy to resign myself to this fate.

But now there's more than just despair. Even for me, there is a

glimmer of hope.

Keeping my eyes on my feet so as to see as little of this horrifying

world as possible, I hurry home.


I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house that's much too

large for me alone. My parents, even unluckier than I was, died in the

accident three months ago. I couldn't even go to the funeral for being in

intensive care.

I had to sell my father's business, but at least that left me with the

house and enough money to live on for a while.


Of course I'm sad, but the accident took from me more than my

parents. In fact, being on my own has probably saved me.

If they were still alive, my parents would never have allowed me to live

with some strange girl, after all.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5000101"

"Welcome home!"

As I open the door, a bright  greets me from the kitchen. The

is beautiful and clear as a bell -- human. Its sweet sound washes

the day's cacophony from my memory.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5000200"

"I'm home, Saya."

Even the patter of feet coming down the hallway is music to my ears.

Nowhere else in the city can I hear such footsteps. Only in this house,

with Saya, am I so privileged.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5000301"

"You're late. I was a little worried."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5000400"

"Sorry. I had to stop by the hospital today."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5000501"

"Oh, that was today?"

In her smile -- in the inquisitive tilt of her head -- is everything that I

have lost.

Since my accident, this girl is the only person I've met -- perhaps the

only person in the entire world -- who does not trigger my cognitive


True, her skin seems too white, and the color of her eyes and hair is

probably different in reality. But even so, her form is undeniably human.

And it's not just her appearance and her , but also her...

As I bend down to take off my shoes, Saya wraps her arms around my

neck and pulls me gently into her tiny bosom.K Her skin feels truly

human, not cold or slimy, and from her hair wafts the sweet fragrance

of a young girl.

In all the world, only Saya is pleasing to my five senses.

And what's more, she smiles at me -- embraces me.K She knows that

she is my salvation, and for some reason is happy that I need her.

If I had not met Saya -- if I had been all alone in this twisted,

filth-ridden world -- I would no doubt have succumbed to madness. It is

no exaggeration to say that Saya alone is keeping me alive.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5000600"

"What did you do today?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5000701"

"Worked on the living room. The painting's half done! And now I'm

making your dinner like I learned from the TV."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5000800"

"Sounds good."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5000901"

"It'll take a little longer. Can you wait?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5001000"

"Sure. I'll do some more work in the living room."

After I see the humming Saya off to the kitchen, I step into the living



I realized one day that if the natural colors of the world were

sickening, all I had to do was paint over them with colors that seemed

pleasant.K I went to the hardware store and bought every color of paint I

could find, then Saya and I tried different combinations until we found

one that worked.

After painting the bedroom from ceiling to floor, I was finally able to

get my first good night's sleep since the accident.

When we first started on the living room, Saya, unsure what to do with

the curtains, just painted carefully around the windows. Without a

moment's hesitation, I tore the curtains down and painted over the glass


There'll never be anything out there that I'd want to see, and as long

as we keep the storm shutters closed the neighbors probably won't thin

anything of it.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5001101"

"Dinner's ready!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5001200"

"Can you bring it in here?"

As she enters the living room with a tray of food, Saya sniffs the air.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5001301"

"The paint smell doesn't bother you?"

Now that she mentions it, I suppose the smell of paint thinner must be

building up in this closed room. It doesn't really bother me, though.

There are far worse smells outside.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5001400"

"Does it bother you, Saya?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5001501"

"No, I'm fine if you are."

Saya sets the food on the table. Unfortunately, neither its color nor its

smell is at all appetizing. Not that food elsewhere is any different.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5001600"

"Thanks, Saya."

As has become routine, I steel myself and methodically transport the

food into my mouth.

The taste is as gut-wrenching as I expected, but it's not Saya's fault.

I'm sure she made it exactly like the cooking show said. It's just that my

taste buds can't accept it.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5001701"

"It's not good?" she asks hesistantly.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5001800"

"Well... no..."

Lying won't make Saya happy. She knows about my condition.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5001901"

"Don't worry about it. I'll make something different tomorrow."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5002000"

"Sorry. You always go to the trouble of cooking, but I..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5002101"

"It's fine. If I keep trying, maybe I'll find something you'll like."

In my current state, eating is nothing more than an unwelcome duty.

As much as I hate it, I need food to survive.

If I stay alive, then perhaps one day, as Saya says, I'll be able to taste

something delicious again.

I met Saya, didn't I?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5002200"

"Aren't you going to eat?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5002301"

"No, I... already ate."

In all the time we've been together, Saya has never once eaten with

  1. I don't know why she refuses to do so. It makes me a little sad.

Still, I'm not about to push the issue, not when she's putting up with all

the problems I have.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5002400"

"By the way, I asked about your father again."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5002501"

"About Dad?"

Doctor Ogai Masahiko, Saya's father, is her only relative. Saya has

asked me to unravel the mystery of his disappearance.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5002600"

"They still wouldn't tell me anything. I get the feeling they're hiding


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5002701"


I expected Saya to be a little more dejected.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5002800"

"You haven't given up, have you?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5002901"

"No," Saya responds with an unreadable expression, "it's not that."

She gives a little shake of her head, then smiles at me once again.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003001"

"Thanks for all you're doing for me, Fuminori."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5003100"

"It's nothing compared to what you've done for me."

I thank her for the meal and set my chopsticks down next to the

perfectly clean plate. As wretched as the taste was, thinking of the care

that Saya put into it gave me the strength to finish every bite.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003201"

"Is it bath time?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5003300"

"Yeah. Will you wash my back again?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003401"


Ever since Saya moved in, it's been like having my own wife.



Why are you so good to me?


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003501"


Saya's slender hips bounce up and down with an insatiable hunger,

each descent thrusting my manhood deep into the embrace of her hot,

tight womb.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003601"

"Yes, yessss! Good! Ahh... hot... deeper!"

Who could imagine that her seemingly incorruptible body would ever

glisten with the hot sweat of passion, or feast on pleasure with such

bottomless lust?

Saya, my darling Saya. Is this really what you want?

Why do you go so far for me? What am I, that you can give yourself to

me body and soul?

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003701"

"More, Fuminori! Harder! It's so deep... ahhhhhh!"

Is this merely sympathy? Do you pity me, the exile from society? Is that

enough for you to surrender yourself to such mad desire? Are you so


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003801"

"Yessss... please... give me more... more!K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003801_2" I'm... going mad... uhhhh!"

Her eyes, as she gazes down upon me, are devoid of twisted or sinful

desire. There are only the melting flames of ecstasy.K Her beautiful,

carnal moans and undulating body seem impossible, dreamlike, and I

cannot help but wonder if even the pleasure that is burning me from

head to toe is but an illusion.


Needing to touch her, to reassure myself that she's real, I raise my

hands to her small breasts and seize them like my life depends on it.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5003901"


Saya convulses, screaming like an animal. As I roll her sharp, pin

nipples through my fingers, she throws her head back and gasps for air.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004001"

"Ahhhhh, yes! Fuminori... I'm going to pieces!"

Saya is here. She is with me, now.K Only in this moment is her existence

certain. Only when I am joined with her can I believe.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004101"

"Fuminoriiii... Inside... Please, come inside... I want you in me..."

I nod and accelerate the pace of my thrusts. Saya's gasps rise in pitch

as her mad dance of passion reaches its peak.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004201"

"I'm coming!! Fuminori! Together... Togetheeeeer!"

No matter what cruel fate might await me, Saya, there is nothing I fear

more than losing you.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004301"


As Saya climaxes, convulsing and wailing, I surrender to her tight

embrace and unleash my boiling seed into her womb.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004401"

"Ahhhh... So hot... Fuminori..."


Saya collapses atop me, still smiling, and I wrap my arms around her.

The feeling of her soft, sweat-soaked skin and the warmth emanating

from her body reassure me that she is still here.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005601"

"......Fuminori? Are you crying?"

I realize that my cheeks are wet with tears.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5004600"

"Why, Saya? Why do you go so far for me?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5004701"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5004800"

"I don't understand it... I don't, but I'm losing myself to you more every

day. I can't live without you, Saya."

I wrap my arms tighter around her, praying that our bodies will melt

together and never again be apart.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5004900"

"Tell me, please. What must I do to keep you with me? How can I

repay you?"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005001"

"Keep holding me," Saya whispers into my chest.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005101" "I want you to make

love to me. I want to stay like this forever.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005101_2" I won't leave you, Fuminori."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="5005200"

"Why? Why me?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005301"

"Because you're all alone," she says softly, gazing up into my eyes.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005401" "All

alone... just like me."

The sorrow in her  resonates with my own. There is a deep

loneliness in her eyes, a loneliness from which now springs boundless


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005501"

"You're all I have.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="5005501_2" In the whole wide world, only you will embrace me...

my precious Fuminori."

Now I know.

No matter what horrors this world unleashes upon me, all I'll ever need

is Saya.

-A HREF="sy03_01Uni_Yoh"







Yoh is determined to talk to him today.

Nothing will happen as long as she hesitates. It will only prolong her


The time has come to show courage once again.


Yoh's fourth period on Thursdays is biology. This is her one chance to

see Fuminori.

As a required course with many students, the lecture is held in a large

hall that can seat well over two hundred. But since the room is usually

only half full, it is rarely difficult for Yoh to find the seat she wants.

Yoh prefers to sit near the center, where it is easiest to hear the

professor. Most of the students congregate in this area for the same


Fuminori usually sits beside her, although given the ambiguous state of

their relationship, she knows better than to take this for granted. Still,

she tries to save a seat whenever possible.

The classroom isn't crowded today, so Yoh is able to set her bag on the

seat next to her without inconveniencing anyone.K

But when the professor arrives at the usual time to start class, there is

still no sign of Fuminori.

After waiting for about ten minutes, Yoh scans the room furtively.

Fuminori is there, sitting alone in the far back corner.K Did he miss Yoh

when he came in? No, he couldn't have. And besides, no serious student

would willingly sit so far away from the front.

Feeling miserable, Yoh slides her bag back over to herself.


to catch up to him before he disappears down the hallway.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6000105"


Fuminori jerks at the sound of his name. You would think she just

screamed at him.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6000200"

"What?" he turns to her and asks reluctantly.

Now that they are face to face, Yoh is painfully aware of how much

weight Fuminori has lost. His sunken eyes and protruding cheekbones

are a far cry from the features familiar to her. She wonders whether he's

under a lot of stress, or perhaps not getting enough nutrition. Maybe it's


He definitely looks more tense than he should -- afraid, even, though of

what she can't imagine. His eyes move restlessly from point to point, and

he refuses to look Yoh in the eye.

It hurts to see Fuminori this way. What could have changed him so?

Today, she reminds herself, rekindling the flame of courage in her


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6000305"

"Um, I want to talk to you about something. Do you have some time?"


The courtyard is empty and silent. No one is willing to sit and chat in

the cold November air.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6000400"

"So what is it?"

((Don't you remember!?))

Yoh almost blurts the question, but manages to keep her composure.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6000505"

"You've been acting strange lately. I'm worried about you."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6000600"

"Well, a lot's happened."

He smiles like it's nothing, but even that seems stiff and forced.

He's even standing precisely one pace farther away from her than he

used to.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6000705"

"Is that really all?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6000800"

"What more do you want?"

Yoh manages to keep from flinching at the harshness of his tone.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6000905"

"It's like you're struggling with something."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001000"


Rather than answer, Fuminori grinds his toe into the dead grass at his

feet. Fearing that her determination might flag, Yoh lets the words come

as they may.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001105"

"It's like there's a terrible weight on your shoulders, and it's slowly

breaking you.k name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001105_2" That's how you look to me."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001200"

"Oh really," Fuminori mutters through clenched teeth, no longer trying

to deny it or change the topic. This is an even clearer signal of rejection

than his prior evasiveness.

But Yoh's determination is strong. Today, at least, she won't back down.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001305"

"It's times like these," she implores, trying to convey the sincerity of her

feelings for him, "that you need your friends."


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001405"

II"I Feel rEAlLy bad ABoUT

YOur PareNTs.k name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001405_2" BUt yoU'RE Not

aLONE. you HAve KoJi, aND

OMi, anD...k  name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001405_3"you HAVe ME."


Yoh can no longer stop the words pouring from her lips. She fears that

if she does not unleash the feelings pent-up inside of her, they will be

lost forever.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001505"

II"I THiNk wE cAn HElP you, SO

YOu DoN'T hAVe To DEal

wITh IT alL bY YOuRSELf."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001505a"

"EVEN iF We caN't DO

aNYthIng, juST TALking To Us

mIGht makE you FEel bETTer."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001505b"

"I WAnt tO heLP YOu! wE aLl

DO! SO plEAse, teLL M--"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001600"

"Stop it!" Fuminori shouts, silencing Yoh's entreaty.

She promised herself that she wouldn't back down, but Fuminori's

expression is terrible enough to shatter her resolve.

The look in his eyes is not anger, or any other warm-blooded emotion.

It is hate -- murderously cold hate.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001700"

"Come to think of it, I never gave you an answer, did I?"

He remembers.

He remembers, yet still he has treated her so coldly.

That is all the answer she needs. If his words stab any deeper, she

might very well die.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001800"

"I never saw you in any special way before. When you asked me out, I

wasn't sure how to respond.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6001800_2" I didn't know how I really felt about you


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6001905"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002000"

"But now I can give you an answer. I've had plenty of time to think it

over, you know.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002000_2" I hate you, Tsukuba. I don't even want to look at you."

Don't cry, Yoh tells herself, but too late to stop the tears pouring from

her eyes.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002100"

"I suppose it's too much to hope I never see you again. We do go the

same school.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002100_2" So just make this the last time you speak to me, okay? Your

makes me sick."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="6002205"

which Fuminori twists his lips into a malevolent smile.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002300"

"You should really try thinking for yourself once in a while. I bet you

were just egged on by Omi and Koji, weren't you?k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="6002300_2" Well, you can play at

love all you want, but leave me out of it."

That's all Yoh can take.

Even after shedding tears in front of him, she absolutely refuses to let

him hear her cry. Any disgrace would be preferable to breaking down


So she runs, fleeing breathlessly from the courtyard with Fuminori's

cold smile at her back.


Omi was the first to catch sight of Yoh and Fuminori leaving for the

courtyard.K Reluctant to interrupt them, but still unwilling to leave them

alone, Koji and Omi ended up watching the whole thing from the


name="青海" class="青海" src="6002404"

"That asshole..."

Throughout the exchange, Omi was clearly itching to jump out and

punch Fuminori in the face. Knowing her temper, Koji kept firm hold of

her arm until the end. If he hadn't, she might very well have done it.

Fuminori leaves after Yoh, his every step seeming to take an act of

willpower. Koji sighs heavily into the once more empty courtyard, but the

bitter taste in his mouth will not go away.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6002502"

"What's wrong with him?"

Even Koji cannot forgive Fuminori's treatment of Yoh. However, the

first thing that he feels is confusion, not anger.

Koji has known Fuminori since long before college. Fuminori was never

this cruel before.

There is no question now that the accident changed him.

name="青海" class="青海" src="6002604"

"Are you just gonna let this go, Koji?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6002702"

"I don't want to, but what can we do?"

name="青海" class="青海" src="6002804"

"Something besides watch!" Omi shouts, her face red with fury.

name="青海" class="青海" src="6002904"

"I won't be satisfied until I give him a piece of my mind."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6003002"

"That won't make Tsukuba feel better."

name="青海" class="青海" src="6003104"

"But it'll make me feel better!"

Yoh and Omi are best friends, just like Koji and Fuminori. In fact, it

was the relationship between Koji and Omi that brought the other two

together. Omi's anger is only natural.

name="青海" class="青海" src="6003204"

"I'm going to talk to him alone. You don't have to come."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6003302"

"You serious?"

name="青海" class="青海" src="6003404"

"Take care of Yoh for me, will you? She's probably really hurt.k name="青海" class="青海" src="6003404_2" She'll

need someone to be nice to her after she's done crying."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6003502"

"Wait, shouldn't we switch jobs?"

name="青海" class="青海" src="6003604"

"You know how I am. If I try to comfort her, I'll end up making it


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6003702"

"Yeah, you've got a point."

name="青海" class="青海" src="6003804"


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="6003902"

"Anyway, just go easy. Okay?"

Ending the conversation before Omi's mood gets any worse, Koji heads

off to find Yoh.

-A HREF="sy03_02Flashback_Fuminori"







I feel awful, miserable -- but also refreshed. I've finally crossed the line.

I knew it would come crashing down like this sooner or later. Having

become unable to feel anything but disgust for other people, there was

no way I could hope to maintain the relationships I'd had before the


Today's incident will definitely get back to Koji and Omi, and everyone

will be convinced I've had a major change of character. Honestly, I don't

care any more. At least I probably won't be committed for this. I just

need to avoid acting any stranger than I already have.

If this puts a rift between me and the others, good. The thought of all

the stress I'll avoid brings a smile to my lips. I'm fed up with them

sticking their noses into my life. It's like they don't care that they make

my gut turn just by being near me.

I've been terrified of them until now, but today I struck fear into one of

them. In that sense, it's something of a relief... but I'm not entirely

without remorse for what happened.

The person I just demolished with the verbal equivalent of a nuclear

bomb used to be my friend Yoh. Even if my senses don't believe it, my

mind accepts the theory. I don't have any particular grudge against Yoh

herself, and I didn't want to hurt her.


In retrospect, perhaps I should have just ignored her outright.

Yoh was an attractive girl. I certainly didn't think badly of her. To be

honest, though, I was annoyed when Koji and Omi tried to stick us

together. It felt like they were toying with me, and Yoh seemed totally

oblivious to the fact that she was dancing to their tune. Her cluelessness

was irritating.

Still, I knew that none of them meant any harm. Back then, I didn't

have any reason to hurt others just to get my way. If having a casual

relationship with Yoh would keep our circle of friends together, I was

willing to make that compromise.

Now, however, there is no room in my heart for such forbearance.K If

merely talking to someone is an ordeal, then how can I be expected to

show them kindness?

These ruminations have left me exhausted. I want to return to Saya as

soon as possible, but thinking about the packed trains and crowded

downtown streets between here and home saps my spirit.

Catching sight of a nearby bench, I sit down and close my eyes to the

horrors of the world. I can't do anything about the stink or the noise, but

at least I can calm my nerves enough to rest.


When I regained consciousness in the T University hospital ward, the

world was as dark as it is now.K I had not yet recovered my sight, even

though my eyes and optical nerves were undamaged.K It must have been

an aftereffect of the accident.

Blindness was a shock, but now I know that my suffering then was

nothing. After all, my senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell were all

fine at the time.

The real horror began when my sight returned.


The one small mercy was that I was able to come to terms with the

accident and my neurosurgery while still blind.

I panicked when I first saw the nightmarish hospital and the

bloodcurdling shapes of the doctors and nurses, but I soon guessed the


It chills me to think of what might have happened if I had recovered

my sight along with my consciousness. Suddenly awakening in what can

only be described as hell, I would no doubt have lost my mind instantly.

Soon my disorder spread to the senses of touch, taste, and smell. As it

turns out, sight exerts tremendous influence over the other four senses.

The taste of my food, the feel of my bedsheets, the fragrance of my

get-well flowers -- all became as unbearably foul as my eyes said they

should be.

Eventually, when even the doctors' s became unrecognizable as

human, I decided to kill myself. I didn't believe for a second that I could

live in this new world.

At least, not until I met Saya.


One night while thinking of a painless way to die, I found myself

succumbing to sleep.

Drifting between the nightmares in my dreams and the nightmare of

reality, I didn't notice her enter my room.


The next thing I knew, there was a face staring down at me from next

to my bed.K The face was not covered in pus, or slime, or earthworm-like

feelers. It had smooth white cheeks, round eyes, a lovely little nose -- all

things I had never expected to see again. The face was that of a girl,

undeniably human and positively glowing with beauty.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7000100"

"Ahh..." I sighed in admiration, savoring the first peace and joy since

regaining my sight.

She had not expected such a reaction, apparently.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7000201"

"Aren't you afraid of me?" she asked. Looking at the clock, I saw that it

was exactly three in the morning -- no time for a young girl to be alone

in the hospital. Perhaps she expected me to mistake her for a ghost.

But I would not have cared if she had been a ghost. Either way, she

was a godsend.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7000300"

"Who are you? What are you doing here?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7000401"

"I'm Saya. I'm looking for my dad."

I assumed that she was the daughter of a late-shift doctor or another

patient. It was unusual, but not unthinkable for such a girl to be

wandering around the hospital.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7000501"

"It's no fun if you're not scared."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7000600"

"Wait!" I cried, desperate to keep her from leaving. It was only after

she turned around that I realized I hadn't thought of what to say next.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7000701"


Her beautiful eyes drew me in, healing my soul to its core. Through the

white haze clouding my mind, I struggled to form a coherent sentence.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7000800"

"I shouldn't do this to a girl, but you're the only one I can ask."

No longer concerned with propriety, I let the words come as they



name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7000900"

"Will you let me hold your hand?"

Saya looked confused at first, but then she smiled like she'd just found

a new toy. Her smile was brighter than my memories of the sun.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001001"

"You're strange," she said, holding out her slender white hand. "No

one's asked me anything like that before."

Ever so carefully, as though catching snowflakes, I placed my palm

against hers.

I could feel her human warmth and the softness of her delicate

fingers. She was there, just beyond the palm of my hand.

Thinking back on the joyful tears I shed then, I know that this is the

moment I was saved from my fate.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7001100"

"This is the first time in weeks that I've touched someone and felt them

as human."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001201"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7001300"

"I can't touch anyone else. I was in an accident, and as a side effect of

the surgery, I can't see people as human anymore."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001401"

"Hmm... how mysterious."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001501"

"You're interesting," she said, winding her fingers gently around mine.

"Can I come back tomorrow night?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7001600"

"Yes, of course! But isn't it dangerous?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001701"

"Don't worry," she replied. "The night belongs to me."


And so our rendezvous began.

Saya came to my room every night at three a.m., skillfully taking

advantage of the duty nurse's shift-change.

I was astonished to learn that she was living inside the hospital.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7001801"

"It's so big that I never run out of places to hide," she said, answering

my surprise with a nonchalant smile.

She had been living in the suburbs with her father, she told me, until

one day he'd suddenly stopped coming home.

After she had tired of waiting for his return, Saya had decided one

night to sneak into the hospital where he'd worked. And there she'd lived

for over two months, searching for his whereabouts all the while.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7001900"

"Don't you have to go to school?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002001"

"No, Dad taught me everything I need to know. I'm really smart."

She was a strange girl. On the one hand, she looked and talked like an

innocent child.  On the other, she was remarkably self-reliant, and at

times exhibited a sharp intelligence and deep knowledge that many may

have found unsettling.

I didn't care. Saya was the only other human in a world gone mad. Her

existence meant far more to me than the standards of society.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7002100"

"Aren't you worried you might get caught?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002201"

"Nope! I don't have to worry about food here, and it's a lot more fun

than staying in Dad's house by myself."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002301"

"I looked through the patient lists and found the ones who have mental

problems," Saya continued, grinning mischievously.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002301_2" "Sometimes I snea

into their rooms late at night and scare them. Even if they raise a fuss,

no one believes what mental patients say.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002301_3" They just brush it off as a bad


Her confession reminded me that the hospital was famous for its ghost

stories.K Who could have imagined that there was actually a real girl

impishly roaming these hallways?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7002400"

"So that's why you came to my room the first time?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002501"

"Yeah, sorry. Are you mad?"

While her pranks were hardly praiseworthy, I couldn't bring myself to

scold her for the very thing that had brought us together.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7002600"

"You shouldn't do it anymore. Will you come talk to me instead?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002701"

"Yeah! That's more fun for me, too!"


With extreme care, I was able to conceal my sensory disorder.

It was glaringly obvious that the doctors had no way to cure me, and

the fact that I had undergone a still-experimental procedure made me

even more cautious.

As a medical student, it was easy for me to imagine how the doctors

would react if they discovered that I was exhibiting such unusual side

effects. I was not about to become a guinea pig, a mere specimen to be

examined with clinical detachment.

And so I hid my discomfort and loathing behind a mask of normalcy,

convincing the doctors that any signs of stress were merely a result of


Saya was my support. Looking forward to her nightly visits gave me the

strength to endure my daily torture.

Hope can make an enormous difference in a patient's progress. With

the aid of my secret nurse, I recovered at a pace that left the doctors



On the last night before my release, I summoned my courage and

asked her,k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7002800" "Are you going to stay here forever?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7002901"

"Yeah. I couldn't learn anything about my dad, but it's not like I have

anywhere else to go. I guess I'll stay as long as I can hide."

In other words, she had no reason to stay.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7003000"

"Why not stay with me?" I asked timidly. The question took all the

courage I had.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7003101"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7003200"

"My family's gone, so I have plenty of room! You won't need to hide,

and it's not a bad place to live!"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7003301"

"You want me to live with you?"

I was too afraid to ask her what she thought of that, so I hastily

offered a deal.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7003400"

"In exchange, I'll help you look for your father! I'll find him no matter



name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7003501"

"I think that's gonna be hard," Saya said, looking a little embarassed.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7003601""Dad probably did something bad and had to leave the hospital.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7003601_2" We

can't get the police involved. You'll have to be as discrete as possible."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7003700"

"I'll do whatever it takes! I..."

Unable to control myself, I finally spoke the truth.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7003800"

"I can't be apart from you."

At first she looked bewildered, but after a few moments of silence, she


On the day of my release, I managed to smile as I accepted the

hideous, foul-smelling celebratory bouquet.

The flesh-beasts calling themselves Koji, Omi, and Yoh came to pick me

  1. Though they had come to see me many times during my stay, it

never got easier to see my friends changed so horribly.

My sudden tears of despair drew suspicion, but I managed to explain

them away as tears of joy.

While we walked to Koji's car, I looked desperately for Saya amid the

grotesque siicenery. Even as we drove away, I kept watching the hospital

fade into the distance, praying for a last glimmer of hope.

But Saya never appeared.


After Koji and the others dropped me off, I paused a while to regard

my surroundings.K I had lived my entire life on this block, in this house.

There was no other place that I could call home.

But nothing was as I remembered.


As I walked up the path to the front door and took in the yard where I

had spent my childhood, I could feel those memories being defiled by

the twisted, festering shapes around me.


Inside the house, I found nothing familiar, nothing to offer me comfort

and warmth. What I had once called home was now a whole other world.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="7004000"

"I have no home," I whispered with a smile of self-pity. There was one

last stop to make. One last nail to hammer into my coffin.


I stepped into the room that had cradled me from childhood. The walls

were papered with human entrails, the bed a tangled mass of

wormflesh.K But none of that mattered.

There, curled up on the bed like an abandoned cat, was Saya.

As I stood there in shock, she looked up at me and in a tiny, wea

said,K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="7004101" "Can I really stay?"


I responded by sweeping her into my arms, embracing her tightly so

that she would not escape.

Saya did not resist.

-A HREF="sy04_01Home_Omi"







When she arrives at the Sakisaka house, Omi first takes a deep breath

to calm herself.

Her anger does not vanish entirely, of course, but at least now she can

hear herself think.

She just doesn't want it to make her forget what she came here to say.

While waiting for a response from the intercom, she looks over the

patch of yard that she can see from outside the gate.

Even Omi isn't normally one to complain about other people's

housekeeping, but this is going too far.

The grass is growing wild, and there are piles of dead leaves scattered

everywhere. It doesn't just look untended. It looks like an uninhabited


It's still light out, but every window has its storm shutters tightly

sealed. Omi guesses that they've been closed since morning.

What kind of life is Fuminori leading? Even if he's living alone, he can't

neglect his housework forever.

And is it just her imagination, or does something stink like rotten meat?

It couldn't be coming from the yard, could it?

There's still no response, so she presses the buzzer a second time, and

a third, and a fourth. Finally, after this has gone on for over ten minutes,

As she expected, the power has been disconnected.

Perhaps Fuminori has a good reason for shutting out the world, but

Omi can only see it as a lack of respect for others. Her anger rekindled,

she pushes the gate open and stomps through the yard to the front door.


Given the state of his intercom, she doubts that Fuminori will respond

to a knock, so Omi decides to simply open the door and go in shouting.

And if the door is locked, she'll just have to...

Surprisingly, the doorknob turns easily in her hand, and the enraged

Omi finds herself throwing the door open wider than she intended.


Her nostrils are instantly assaulted by a choking stench.

name="青海" class="青海" src="8000104"

((What is that smell!?))

As Omi stands petrified on the threshold, the cowbell hanging on the

inside of the door chimes loudly. A moment later...


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="8000201"

"WeLCoMe HOMe!"


Omi can't believe her ears. The  she just heard could not have

been human, yet its intonations were too complex for any animal she

can imagine.

name="青海" class="青海" src="8000304"

"Is someone there?" she calls out to the end of the hallway from which

the  came.

and wet flopping its way deeper into the house.

name="青海" class="青海" src="8000404"


Finding it difficult to place a meaningful image to the  she just

heard, Omi stares blankly at the empty vestibule. There's nothing there

-- not even Fuminori's shoes, which can only mean that he's still outside

somewhere, wearing them.

The house should be empty.K But then what was that  just now?


Her anger has vanished as if it were never there. Nevertheless, Omi

sets foot into the hallway, leaving the door open so that the cowbell

won't ring.

The floor creaks, setting her nerves on edge. Omi herself isn't sure why

she's acting like a burglar, but something tells her to make as little noise

as possible.

The potency of the stink inside the house makes the whiff she caught

outside pale in comparison. It's sickening, like rotten fish guts. Has food

Stepping gingerly on the creaking floorboards, Omi makes her way to

the end of the hallway. She finds rooms to both sides of her -- one lit,

the other dark -- and chooses to look into the lit room.


It's the kitchen, lit by what must be the only window in the house not

covered by a storm shutter.

The sound she heard was the pot boiling on the stove, and on the

chopping board next to it lie a butcher's knife and some half-diced

carrots. A perfectly normal household siicene, with the light of the setting

sun making everything the color of decomposing fruit.

Something is wrong. Who was cooking here? And where did they go?

name="青海" class="青海" src="8000504"

"Is anyone here?" Omi calls, regretting it immediately as she realizes

that her  is shaking.K As her words echo vainly through the silent

house, she begins to feel foolish and defenseless.

Suddenly she feels something cold seeping through her pantyhose.

She timidly reaches down to touch her feet. Her fingertips come away

covered with a viscous, olive green slime, like the filthy water from a

tank long clogged with algae and dead fish. The whole floor is covered

with it. It must be the source of the stench.

Omi now wishes that she had worn her shoes inside, manners be



When she looks back ruefully the way she came, she realizes that her

current position is not visible from the entrance. This kitchen must be

where that strange  came from.


The next room is probably the den. As she expected from the closed

storm shutters, it's pitch black inside.

Omi wants nothing more than to flee this house, but that would mean

turning her back to the darkness. And that, she simply cannot bring

herself to do.


Moved by some irrational compulsion, Omi sets foot into the den.

It is too dark to see anything, and the stink is far worse than before.

She slides her hand along the wall, feeling for the light switch. Finding


Colors. Colors. So many colors.

The purple of entrails, the brown of rotten meat, the crimson of fresh

blood, the yellow of fat -- these colors, and more that cannot be

described, cover every inch of the room in maddening array. The colors

say all that needs to be said about the painter's hatred, malice, and


name="青海" class="青海" src="8000604"

immediately soaks through her jeans, its cold tendrils creeping up her

legs, crotch, and...

Her neck.

Her hand flies to her neck, where it is greeted by another drop of chilly


Above her. Something is dripping down on her head.


Making perhaps the worst decision of her life, Omi looks up.

The predator clinging to the ceiling, poised to leap upon its prey -- she

sees it in every detail.


Her mouth and nose are sealed before she can scream, and her belly is

torn open as something enters to feast on her innards.

But by the time she feels any of this, Omi has already gone mad.

-A HREF="sy04_02Home_Fuminori"







I bit the bullet and tried to take the train, but the rush hour crowds

were so bad that I had to get off halfway and walk.

I'm running pretty late. Is Saya worried? I hope she's not mad.


When I enter the yard, I realize that the front door has been left wide


Light from the living room is seeping out into the hallway, and I hear

what sounds like someone smacking their lips. There's also a tantalizing

fragrance in the air.

Is it Saya? I consider calling out to her, but decide to enter in silence



Something smells strange, though not unpleasant. The aroma is quite

soothing, in fact. It reminds me of Saya's hair.


At first, I am surprised by what I see in the living room.

The floor is covered with what looks to be some kind of grass --

probably the source of the herblike smell -- and there are fruit or

vegetable-like balls of varying size scattered everywhere.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9000100"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9000201"


Saya turns around, her eyes wide with surprise. She then looks away

sheepishly, like a child caught at some prank.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9000300"

"What are you eating?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9000401"

"This is, um, well," she stammers, so flustered that I suddenly feel bad

for sneaking up on her.

Remembering that she has never eaten in front of me before, I realize

that she must be quite embarassed.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9000500"

"Can I have one?"

I scoop up the closest fruit-thing and pop it into my mouth, ignoring

Saya's attempt to wave me off.

It has a strange texture, soft and pliable, like a peach or a pear. When

I bite into it with my back teeth, a succulent juice fills my mouth,

combined with a sharp, strong fragrance. It's unlike anything I've ever


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9000600"

"How did you make this? What did you use?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9000701"

"It wasn't hard... I just took it apart and melted it a little to make it

easier to eat. It's practically raw."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9000800"


I pick up a different lump, this one consisting of fruity flesh around a

taste to the last one.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9000901"

"Hey, are you okay? That's a..."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9001000"

"Yeah, even I can eat this. In fact, it's good!"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001101"



At first Saya looks dumbstruck, but then she bursts out laughing.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001201"

"So this is what you like! Now I feel stupid for going to all that trouble."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9001300"

"Is this what you always eat, Saya?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001401"

"Yeah, though it's been a while since I've had one so big. I usually

catch them in the nearby park."

There's an impressive nature preserve not too far from here. I've never

heard about fruits like these growing there, but -- well, of course. They

only look like fruits to me. They're really something else.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001501"

"Sorry, I already ate the best parts."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9001600"

"That's okay. There's always next time, and now we can eat together."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001701"


Saya seems really happy. I'm happy too, of course. Eating with

someone is much more fun than eating alone, and it makes the food

taste better too.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="9001801"

"There's still plenty left. It'll keep chilled for two or three days, though

it won't taste as good."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="9001900"

"Then we'd better start putting it away."

Sealing the small fruits in tupperware and the large ones in pots and

bowls, Saya and I store the remaining food in the refrigerator. Thinking

of tomorrow's dinner fills me with anticipation.

I feel that, little by little, I'm starting to regain the joy of living.

Saya will guide me. With her, I can live on.

-A HREF="sy04_03Horror"







IIII            True Scary Stories

Hospital Edition

Chapter 4: The Monster in the

University Hospital

A research student relates his

shocking experiences at

Tokyo's most prestigious

hospital! Will you believe him

or not!?


Strange things started happening at the hospital around the end of last


It began with patients waking up in the middle of the night,

screaming. They all spoke of terrifying nightmares, and many of them

had to be sedated. Some patients even transferred to other hospitals

because of it.

The weird thing was that they'd all had exactly the same dream -- a

dream about some horribly disgusting monster staring down at them

from their bedside.


But the really strange stuff started happening after that.

There used to be a lot of stray cats around campus, looking for scraps

from the students.

One day, the cats suddenly disappeared, and it wasn't that they'd

stopped coming. It was more like they'd vanished from the area entirely.

And then people stopped walking their dogs around. According to

rumors, the dogs were refusing to go anywhere near the school.

Eventually, things started going missing in the hospital.

Organs, to be precise.

Transplant organs kept disappearing from storage. Some people came

close to losing their jobs over it. And it wasn't just two or three times

that it happened. They tried to keep it from the research students, but

we heard that it was a lot worse than that.


People started saying that there was something living in the hospital.

The janitors would find strange messes that could only have been

made in the middle of the night -- traces of something that had crawled

down the hallway, or weird stains that seemed to be caused by

something dripping through the ceiling.

The late-shift nurses talked about hearing strange noises on the same

nights that patients woke screaming.

There's one last story, one you can never mention inside the hospital.

One day, the obstetrics department went crazy.

They said that a newborn had disappeared in the night.

If that were true, the police would've come and it would've been all

over the news, but they say the big shots managed to make it all go

away. It's just a rumor, of course.

These strange incidents suddenly stopped towards the end of summer.

Now there are almost no patients complaining of nightmares, and the

cats have started coming back to campus.

But still, what happened in the hospital that summer? Even now, just

thinking about it gives me the creeps.

-A HREF="sy05_01Uni_Koji"









name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12000102"


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="12000205"


This is the third day in a row that they haven't been able to get in

touch with Omi.

There's no sign that she returned to her apartment, and even her

family doesn't know anything. Her parents have already filed a missing

persons report.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12000302"

"Well, you know her. She'll probably just pop up somewhere like

nothing happened."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="12000405"

"I hope so," Yoh replies with a gloomy expression. She's worried about

Omi, of course, but the incident with Fuminori three days ago must still

be weighing on her mind as well.

Yoh hasn't seen Fuminori since then, and Fuminori hasn't made any

effort to approach her or Koji. Four people used to meet in this cafeteria

between classes, but now there are only two.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="12000505"

"Hey, Koji, let's keep thinking. Isn't there somewhere Omi might have


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12000602"

"No," Koji answers evasively. "I already checked everywhere."

It's a lie, of course. Koji knows where Omi planned to go that evening,

but he doesn't want to bring Fuminori up in front of Yoh.

Their awkward silence is mercifully broken by the bell signaling the

start of the next period.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12000702"

"Well, I've gotta go."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="12000805"



If Koji isn't mistaken, Yoh is supposed to have class next period too, but

she just sits there, staring off into space.



Both Omi's disappearance and Yoh's depression worry Koji, and both

problems lead back to the exact same place.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12000902"

((What the hell is Fuminori doing?))

When Omi went missing, the first thing he did was question Fuminori.

After all, the last time he'd seen her was just before she stormed off to

give Fuminori a piece of her mind.

Fuminori responded with unequivocal denial, and acted like he hadn't

the slightest idea why Omi would have gone to see him. Perhaps that

was only natural, as he was unaware that Omi and Koji had witnessed

him reduce Yoh to tears.

Did Omi even make it to Fuminori's house? She had been riding a wave

of emotion when she'd left, and might have calmed down and changed

her mind halfway there.

Or perhaps she ran into trouble on the way?

Koji concluded -- or, more accurately, convinced himself -- that one of

these possibilities was the truth, subconsciously denying the one

remaining possibility: that Fuminori was lying -- that he had met Omi,

and was involved with her disappearance.

When questioned by the police, Koji told the truth about Omi's

destination only up to the train station, maintaining that he had no idea

where she'd planned to go after that.

He wanted to cooperate with the search, of course, but Omi couldn't

have made it to Fuminori's house. Fuminori said so himself, didn't he? In

that case, he'd told the police everything they needed to know.

Not wanting to get the still-fragile Fuminori involved, he forced himself

to accept this flimsy logic.

But the conflict has built up inside of him without his notice, leaving

unanswered suspicion to fester in his mind.

Koji is deep in thought, paying no attention to his surroundings, but

perhaps that is what allows him to catch sight of his friend's bac

through the crowd of milling students.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001002"


At first, Koji assumes that he's headed to the lecture hall, but it soon

appears that he is instead going home.

Strange. Medical students have required courses in the afternoon.

Though he is initially surprised, Koji's hesitation lasts for only a second.

He follows his friend, taking care to stay far enough behind that he

won't be noticed.


Fuminori wasn't going home, as became obvious when he boarded a

train heading in the opposite direction.

Koji's next guess was that he was going to see his doctor at the T

University Hospital, but Fuminori rode straight through the closest station.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001102"

((Where is he going?))

At first, Koji felt ashamed for tailing his friend like this, but his

conscience fell silent as Fuminori's actions grew more mysterious.

The stranger it gets, the closer Koji feels to discovering the truth

behind Fuminori's sudden transformation. Any knowledge would be

welcome, no matter how slight.

Even Koji is beginning to think that there must be more behind

Fuminori's change than the accident alone. He wants a more satisfying

answer, one that will help him decide whether Fuminori can still be



Fuminori gets off at a small station in a nondescript suburb of Tokyo.

Koji follows, trying not to lose sight of him amid the other disembarking



The area is quite desolate, with only a small bookstore, a convenience

store, and a market in front of the train station. It is easy for Koji to keep

Fuminori in view.


This neighboorhood was carved out of the Fuji foothills, and here and

there remain steep inclines and wooded areas that escaped assimilation.

Koji is amazed that such a quiet place exists less than an hour out of

central Tokyo.

Fuminori seems to know these streets. He moves quickly and

purposefully through the suburban community, his eyes fixed straight



Before long, Fuminori reaches a house. Without ringing the bell or even

knocking, he opens the door and vanishes inside, leaving Koji to wonder

how Fuminori can treat the house as his own.


After waiting to see if Fuminori comes back out, Koji approaches the

gate and checks the nameplate.

Ogai, it reads.

Koji has never heard of anyone by that name among Fuminori's


Next, his attention is drawn to the thick wad of leaflets sticking out of

the mail slot. This, coupled with the general dilapidated feel of the place,

suggests that it has been abandonded for some time.


A small playground about two blocks away provides an adequate

vantage point from which to watch the front of the Ogai home.

Fortunately, it does not appear to be the sort of house that has a rear


Koji settles down on a bench to begin his stakeout.

((I should've brought more smokes.))


One hour passes, and then another, but there remains no sign of

movement around the Ogai residence. Soon twilight settles upon the


After Koji's one pack of cigarettes runs out, the stakeout becomes a

battle against mounting impatience. He kills time by redialing Omi on his

cell and sending her short text messages, but his efforts are futile, as he

knew they would be.


When the sky begins to turn deep blue and the streetlights come on,

Fuminori finally emerges from the house and heads back towards the

station with the same hurried stride.

After some brief consideration, Koji decides that right now,

investigating the house is more important than tailing Fuminori.


He rings the doorbell just to make sure. After receiving the expected

silence in response, he checks to make sure no one is watching and

turns the doorknob.

The door is not locked.


The moment he enters the house, stale air thick with mold and dust

fills Koji's nostrils. It is the unmistakable smell of a house that has long

lain untouched.

There is also a faint hint of something else in the air, something

reminiscent of damp sewers and fetid cisterns.

Flipping the light switch does nothing. The power must be ciiut off.


Koji uses his cigarette lighter to illuminate the immediate area. In the

thick dust covering the floor, he sees several brand-new trails of

footprints that could only have been made by shoes -- Fuminori's. Koji

decides to follow suit and dispense with courtesy. He enters with his

shoes on.


The lighter's flickering flame pushes back the deathly silence and

gloom of the house.

Koji is surprised to see evidence of life remaining -- everything from

furniture to tableware and appliances. Nothing seems to be missing.

The thickness of the dust suggests that the house has been empty for

several months, which means that the owner must have left with little

more than the clothes on his back. Could he have gone on a long


The calendar in the den is still turned to April.

Empty and silent, yet still exhibiting signs of the life that was once lived

there, the house reminds Koji of a passenger ship entombed at the

bottom of the sea. In the graveyard-like quiet, a sinister thought

suddenly enters his mind.

No one is living here, but that does not have to mean that the owner

left.K Maybe he was murdered, and his rotting corpse is right under Koji's


He finds himself wanting a stronger light. A flashlight in his hand

would make him feel much better.


Koji follows Fuminori's footsteps to the second floor, where he begins

to catch the scent of paper in the stale air. It is the smell of old books,

instantly recognizable to anyone who has worked in an antique

bookstore or library.


The first room on the second floor turns out to be a study, its towering

shelves packed with such a vast number of books that Koji fears for the

stability of the floor. As a medical student himself, he is able to discern

at a glance that this study belongs to a medical professional, and a

high-level one at that.

Judging by the content of the books, a smorgasbord of technical

volumes far beyond a simple student's understanding, the owner's

interests lie more with medical research than with clinical practice.

Fuminori must have spent most of his time here. The scattered dust

suggests that he was searching for something, and the contents of the

desk drawers are in obvious disarray.

A small pile of books stacked on the side table catches his eye. Being

next to the desk, they must have been the most frequently read. Their

nature could shed some light on the character of the person who worked


Koji frowns as he examines the three books. These aren't scientific

texts like the rest, but old, leather-bound Western tomes like the sort

you would find in a rare book store.

The titles are meaningless to him. Traite des Chiffres appears to

concern semiotics, but Ars Magna et Ultima is some kind of treatise on...


And then there's the Voynich Manuscript, which looks like some sort of

picture book.se id="1" src="pageturn" mode="normal" loop="off" When he pages through it, he finds the text utterly

incomprehensible. Maybe it's some kind of cipher.

Whatever they are, they clearly have nothing to do with medicine,

refuting Koji's earlier guess that this "Ogai" was a doctor.

Looking down, Koji suddenly notices the glint of something black and

metallic underneath the chair.

A pocket-sized flashlight, quite out of place among all these dusty

books. Fuminori must have brought it in.


With relief, Koji exchanges his lighter for the flashlight. Its tiny body

emits a powerful white beam that casts away the darkness.

His courage restored, he decides to explore the rest of the house.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001202"


Koji notices something strange, something that was not visible in the

lighter's weak flame.

The slime.

Dark, oily stains are everywhere. The stains are especially thick around

the doorknobs and stair banisters, like someone grasped them with

hands wrapped in greasy cloth.

Looking closer, he sees places where slime was splashed low on the

walls, almost as if a wet mop was run violently across the floor.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001302"


Could Ogai have made these marks? If so, how? Koji begins to feel sic

as he imagines a man shambling through the house with slime dripping

from his body.


Finding the bedroom next to the study, Koji checks the closet on a


He discovers two empty suitcases -- not what one would leave behind

when going on a long vacation.

A sudden chill runs through him. Whoever was living here is still

somewhere inside the house.


Suppressing the urge to flee, Koji goes back downstairs to check the

first floor.

If he finds a corpse, he'll have to call the police right away. He might

get away with trespassing if he reports it first, but if they find the body

later, it'll be awfully hard to explain his fingerprints all over the house.


The flashlight reveals the den to be covered in even more slime than

the rest of the house. The sofa looks as though it was dredged from the

bottom of a swamp.


In the kitchen, Koji takes one look at the sink and decides not to get

any closer. He doesn't want any more fuel for his imagination.

He reaches the door to the bathroom.

A common siicene from TV dramas flashes through his head -- a body

with slit wrists floating in a bathtub full of water.

And wasn't there a movie where a hitman disposes of his victim in a

bathtub filled with lye?

Koji braces himself for the worst and opens the door slowly, then

shines his light into the ceramic bathtub that appears from the darkness

like a white ghost.


Bones. So many bones. Bones black with dry flesh and blood.

Koji puts one hand against the wall to steady himself as his legs

threaten to buckle. Something is wrong, he realizes as he tries

desperately to get his thoughts in order.

The bones are too small, and there are far too many of them.

They aren't human.


After taking several deep breaths to calm himself, Koji enters the

bathroom and examines the tub.

The bones are piled atop each other like fallen leaves. They appear to

be from small animals, perhaps cats or dogs.

Even so, the quantity is mind-boggling. How many bodies would it take

to produce this many bones?

The bones have all been separated from one another, so it doesn't loo

like bodies were just thrown into the tub and left to rot. Each bone is

covered with deep grooves -- marks left by teeth biting through flesh.

Koji's sanity won't let him consider the possibility that a human could

have done this.

The owner of this house must have kept some sort of carnivorous

animal as a pet, giving it the bones of small animals to eat and disposing

of the remains in the bathtub.K But why not dispose of the leftovers

properly? They could have just been thrown out with the garbage. Or

was there something keeping him from leaving the house?

The relief Koji felt when he realized that the bones weren't human is

once again under attack.

In the first place, what the hell was Fuminori doing here?


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001502"



Koji whirls around, his light revealing Fuminori's expressionless face.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="12001600"

"You're trespassing."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001702"

"S-so are you," Koji replies, barely managing to speak over the

pounding of his heart.

Fuminori pushes past Koji and looks into the bathtub. He doesn't even

flinch at the sight of the bones.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="12001800"

"A friend of mine lives here. I'm just running an errand."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12001902"

"What? Who is this friend? When did you meet them?"

Koji doesn't want to believe that the old, friendly Fuminori could have

had contact with the denizens of this house.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="12002000"

"I'll introduce you one of these days," he says, turning to leave without

even a glance at Koji. "I owe her my life."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12002102"

"Hey, Fuminori!"


Koji runs after Fuminori. His heart is finally beating normally again.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12002202"

"Wait, is this friend of yours the reason you've been acting so strange?"


Standing in the entrance, Fuminori glares coldly at Koji over his

shoulder. The utter lack of emotion in his eyes gives Koji pause.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="12002300"

"You followed me, didn't you?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12002402"


Koji swallows. What can he say?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="12002500"

"You're starting to bother me, Koji. Don't do it again."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="12002602"


Fuminori walks away without another word, leaving Koji alone in the


Up until this very moment, concern for his friend was still at the

forefront of his mind.

Now, however, that concern is swiftly giving way to a growing sense of


Does the Fuminori he knew no longer exist? Was the person who just

stared Koji down an impostor wearing Fuminori's skin?

Koji has begun to believe that it might be so.

-A HREF="sy06_01Home_Fuminori"







What a nuisance.K Why does he insist on interfering?

If he only spoke with me to exchange pleasantries, even I could bear

  1. But now he's sticking his nose into my business just to satisfy his


Koji is a perfect example of someone who thinks that it's always good

to take an interest in other people's affairs. He probably thinks that he's

doing me a favor by prying into my personal life.

He couldn't be more wrong.

If he keeps this up, I might have to find some way to deal with him.

Like Saya said, I have to keep my search for Dr. Ogai a secret. Koji

could ruin everything.

I didn't have time to fully investigate the Ogai residence today. At this

rate, it will probably take several days just to go through the study.K Saya

didn't believe that I'd find anything to help with the search, but I thin

there's still a lot to explore. Who knows what I'll discover?

The problem is Koji. He knows about the house now. Will he make

things difficult?

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13000103"

"ExCusE ME," a hair-raising  calls as I'm about to pass through my


Suppressing a shudder, I put on a fake smile and turn to face the

writhing mass of rotten flesh that is staring at me with bulging eyes.


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13000203"

"GOOD EVeniNg. aRE YOu just GeTtIng hOME?"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13000300"

"Yes, I am."

Ah, of course. This is my next door neighbor Suzumi, a middle-aged

painter -- I think -- who spends all day at home while his wife works.

I haven't had much contact with him since the accident. Why is he

suddenly talking to me now?


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13000403"

"HaVE yoU gOttEN usED to lIVIng alOne?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13000500"

"Yes. Thank you for your help."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13000603"

"I knOW it mUSt be vEry dIFFicUlt, bUT yoU'rE stIll YOuNg. YOU HAVe

To tRY to MoVE oN WIth YOuR lIfE."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13000700"


What is this? Did he stop me just to deliver a lecture?


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13000803"

"WIth suCh a BIG HOusE, it MUst bE hARd To tAKe CaRe of

EVErytHiNg bY yoUrsELf."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13000900"

"Yes, I suppose it is rather difficult."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13001003"

"WhY noT hIRE A carEaKEr? DIDn'T yoUr faThER have onE?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13001100"

"I'm still a student. I can't really afford the expense."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13001203"

"I SEe..."

The flesh-beast undulates foully, as though it still has something to say.

The sight of it is driving me close to the edge.


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="13001303"

"EvEN SO, doN't YOu ThiNk yoU sHOuLd at LEasT tEnd TO yoUR yArD?

i'd bE hAPpy tO HELp."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="13001400"

"No, thank you. I'll manage on my own."

Now I get it. He's worried that the unsightliness of my house might

diminish the image of his own. Damned snob.


I flash a token smile, then retreat behind the safety of my gate.K I can

feel Suzumi's eyes boring into my back all the way to the front door.

Why won't everyone stay out of my life!? I just want to live together

with Saya, alone where no one will ever bother us.

-A HREF="sy07_01Home_Suzumi"







Suzumi Yosuke sighs in annoyance as he watches the neighbor boy

retreat into his house.

What's with his attitude? Even while talking, he kept his eyes averted,

as if to avoid looking at something repulsive.

Has he always been such an unpleasant young man? No, of course not.

When his parents were still alive, he had been a normal youth -- a little

shy, but sensitive and caring.

The unfamiliarity of living alone must be causing him undue stress. If

this continues, he might start to develop some serious mental problems.

Or is it too late already, Yosuke wonders as he gazes wearily at the

Sakisaka yard.


Even during dinner, Yosuke can't shake the neighboring house from his


name="妻" class="その他" src="14000107"

"What's wrong, honey? You look like something's bothering you."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14000203"

"Yeah... I saw the young man from next door today."

name="博美" class="その他" src="14000308"


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14000403"

"I just had to say something about his yard."

name="妻" class="その他" src="14000507"

"I know. I wish he'd at least do something about that smell."

The stink coming from the Sakisaka house grows worse each day, and

the Suzumi family is at its wits' end.

name="妻" class="その他" src="14000607"

"Could there be a dead cat in his bushes? He must notice the smell

coming from his own yard."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14000703"

"He couldn't be leaving garbage out there, could he?"

name="妻" class="その他" src="14000807"

"Surely not."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14000903"

"No, I wouldn't put it past him. Who knows what he's doing in there all

day with the storm shutters closed. What kind of life is he leading?"

name="博美" class="その他" src="14001008"

"Did he go crazy?"

name="妻" class="その他" src="14001107"

"Now, Hiromi, you mustn't say things like that."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14001203"

"Honestly, with the way things are going, I'm starting to wonder if he's

gone paranoid or something."

name="妻" class="その他" src="14001307"

"Will he be alright?"

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="14001403"

"Unless he gets help soon, who knows?"

-A HREF="sy07_02Home_Fuminori"







The seconds crawl by, each tick of the clock compounding my agony.

When I returned from the Ogai residence, I was greeted by a silent,

empty home. Saya had vanished without leaving any clue as to her


It isn't rare for her to go for walks at night. I've often gone with her.

However, such outings always take place in the middle of the night,

when no one is around, and never last for more than two hours.

Right now, it's five in the morning. Soon the sky will begin to show the

first light of dawn.

Even if she left right before I returned, she's still been gone for almost

half a day.

I can't sleep. I can only wait in anguish. I tried to distract myself by

painting more rooms, but I couldn't concentrate on the work.

If I had known this would happen, I would have left the Ogai house

sooner. I wish I hadn't wasted time on Koji.

If Saya doesn't return...

The thought makes me want to tear out my hair. After its long

absence, the terror of true loneliness is too much to bear.



At last, the cowbell chimes and Saya's long-awaited  name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000101""I'm home!" rings

out from the bottom of the stairs. As I jump out of my bed in relief, all

of the stress that has built up through the night is released in a wave

that threatens to sweep me off my feet.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000201"

"Ahh, so tired," Saya sighs as she climbs the stairs. "I knew the trip

would be hard."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15000300"

"Saya! Where have you..."

My question trails off as I notice the thick bundles of paper that she's

carrying under her arms.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15000500"

"What are those?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000401"

"Your medical charts and surgery records. I went back to the hospital


Saya drops her bundles on the floor, sending paper flying everywhere,

then pulls her favorite cushion over and collapses into it, name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000601" stretching


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15000700"

"You walked all the way back from the hospital in the middle of the


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000801"

meant to come back sooner, but there were so many files to go through."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15000901"

"So I decided to just bring everything. It was so heavy!"

Maybe it's just the exhaustion, but I'm not understanding a word Saya's



name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15001000"

"What are you planning to do with all this?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001101"

"What do you mean? I'm going to study it, of course," she replies,

holding one MRI photograph after another up to the light. "I'll have

plenty of time to go over it here."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001201"

At first I think she's just playing around, but the occasional mutters of

"Ah, better check this one," "Oh, I see," "Well, that was silly of them,"

and the like as she separates photos into a growing pile beside her make

me think that this might not be a joke after all.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15001300"

"Do you understand this stuff?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001401"

"I learned a lot from Dad!" She flashes me a grin, then returns to the

papers. "Hmm... so that's how it is.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001401_2" No wonder it can't be fixed."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15001500"

"......It can't?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001601"

"Not by a human doctor."

I can't tell if she's being serious.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001701"

"Even for me, it'll probably be tough," she says offhandedly, even as

her hands continue to shuffle papers. "I'll have to experiment first."

Watching more closely, I realize that her eyes are scanning each page

rapidly -- so rapidly, in fact, that I was unable to notice it at first.

Is it possible that Saya, a young girl, is actually reading my charts?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15001800"

"Hey, Saya?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15001901"

"Yeah?" she answers coolly, looking up from the charts.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15002000"

"I'm tired. Let's go to bed."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15002101"

"Sure," Saya replies with a grin, "if that's what you want."

Saya tosses aside the papers she was sorting, then leaps on me and

begins to tear off my clothes.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15002200"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15002301"

"Come on, just once before bed. Okay?"


Contrary to her appearance, Saya's appetite for sex would put any

adult to shame. You could even say it's a little unnatural.

wonder where her slender body gets all the energy from. Never satisfied

with letting me feast on her to my heart's content, she always uses me

to pleasure herself until I'm forced to tap out.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15002400"

"Hey, Saya. Don't you think it's unhealthy to be doing this every day?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15002501"

"Huh? Are you sick, Fuminori?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15002600"

"No, not me. My body is all grown up. But you're still..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15002701"

"Ahaha, don't worry!"

She laughs playfully as she pushes me onto the bed, the familiar sweet

sensation of her weight and skin rendering me helpless.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15002800"

"But I am worried! We haven't used any contraception."

To my astonishment, Saya is completely uninterested in safe sex. She

her. Surely she must know the risks... which can only mean that she

wants to get pregnant.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15002901"

"Fuminori..." she whispers, staring straight into my eyes. "You don't

want me to have your children?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003000"

How can I respond to that?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003100"

"It's not that. Your body is too small. Pregnancy is a serious burden,

you know?"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15003201"

"That's not really something you have to worry about..."

Saya seems unsure how to reply, but not because she doesn't

understand what I said. Rather, the bemused look on her face makes it

seem as though I'm the one not getting it.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15003301"

"But I know you're just thinking of me," she says suddenly, her smile

glowing with innocence. "So I'm happy!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003400"


By the time I break the spell of her angelic smile, Saya has undone my

belt and is removing my pants.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003500"

"C-come on, Saya..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15003601"

"Relax," she says teasingly as she bares my crotch and wraps her

slender white fingers around my penis and testicles. "Tonight, I'll do it so

you don't have to worry."


The feeling of her willowy, unblemished fingers embracing me is

enough to fill me with twisted ecstasy and draw out my male instinct.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003700"


Seeing my response, Saya brings her face to my groin and lovingly

wraps her lips around the head of my penis.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15003800"


My hips jerk involuntarily at the unexpected, intense shock of her

sucking hard on such a sensitive area.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15003901"

"Did that hurt?" she asks, looking timidly up at me as she soothingly

strokes my shaft.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15004000"

"No... I'm fine."

Where did Saya learn how to pleasure a man so well? I can't believe

the precision and skill of her ministrations. Her sinuous fingers are like

snakes coiled around my manhood, their sensual undulations drawing

desire forth from my loins.


As if all ten of her fingers weren't enough to drown me in pleasure,

next she adds her lips and tongue.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15004101"


The mind-blowing pleasure from this new stimulation instantly

threatens to push me over the edge.

A damp heat different from that of her womb presses down on me

from all directions.

Looking down, I see my lust filling her tiny mouth, stretching the

graceful lines of her cheeks and jaw so far that I fear she might break.

The sight makes me worry that she's pushing herself too hard, but her

tongue continues to devour me like a kitten desperately sucking on her

mother's teat.

As I watch, I begin to feel like I'm violating Saya's innocent, unsullied

face. The feeling of breaking a taboo further increases my perverted


In every man lurks the dark desire to spoil that which is beautiful.

Saya's bewitching body, able to drive me mad every night, is perfectly

designed to draw out such savage lusts.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15004300"


I can't hold it anymore. I'll come any second now.

But where? When the moment comes, what will I do with this thing in

Saya's mouth?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15004400"

"H-hey, wait, I'm going to..."

I try to pull out, but Saya doesn't let me.

She grabs my thighs and doubles the intensity of her sucking, as if

she's trying to pull me even deeper into her throat.


I'm worried about her, but my body is at its limit.

As irresistable waves of pleasure sweep away my willpower, I unleash

my pent-up seed deep into Saya's throat.

What have I done? I feel panic rise within me.

Regardless of the situation, I shouldn't have ejaculated into her mouth.

What if she chokes on it?

Saya, however, pays no heed to my distress. Still clinging to my waist

like a predator unwilling to relinquish its prey, she starts swallowing

effortlessly like someone dying of hunger.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15004501"


What is she swallowing?

The answer is obvious -- every last drop of the passion that I just

disgorged into her mouth.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15004600"


This is the first time I've ever had a girl do this to me. To be honest,

I'm speechless with shock.

I've always been prejudiced against fellatio, thinking it to be something

that perverted, sadistic men force women to do. But Saya...


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15004701"

"Mm... pwah! Hehe, that was good, Fuminori."

She looks up at me, answering my confusion by smiling like she just

pulled the greatest prank of her life. Her small tongue darts out from her

lips to lick away the last milky remnants around her mouth.

That tongue was just licking my...

The thought sends a worrying jolt of pleasure to my brain.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15004801"

"See? You don't have to worry if I do it like this."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15004900"

"Ah... Well..."

That's hardly the problem, but I have no idea how to respond.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15005001"

"Hey... Was it bad? It didn't feel good?"

Hearing the sudden nervousness in Saya's , I hastily stammer,

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15005100""O-of course it felt good."

In fact, it felt so good that I thought I'd go crazy -- but I can't say that,

can I?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15005200"

"But Saya, you didn't have to swallow it."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15005301"

"What? But I want it!"

Suddenly distraught, Saya clings to me like a child who's just had her

candy stolen.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15005401"

"I want every last drop of it. I want it inside me."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15005500"

"I-inside you?"

So Saya really does want to bear my child?

I'm... not averse to the idea. I still think it might be too early, of

course, but there isn't much point in worrying about my reputation now.

Assuming that Saya and I will be left alone, I even welcome it.

However, that only explains her appetite for normal sex. I still don't

know why she wants to swallow, of all things, during fellatio.

Well, I suppose that what's "impure" or "taboo" differs from person to

person, and I can't simply apply normal values to Saya.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15005601"

"......You don't like it?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15005700"


She gazes up at me pleadingly. How can I resist?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="15005800"

"I do... like it. As long as you're okay with it, so am I."

Saya smiles with relief and burrows contentedly into my chest.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="15005901"

"I love you, Fuminori," she purrs softly.

With her body draped over mine, I become even more aware of how

light and delicate she is.K Can this tiny girl and I really live as husband

and wife?

I feel a pang of self-loathing at the question. How can I still be afraid

after all that's happened? Saya's feelings are so earnest. How can I not

accept them?

I need to resolve once and for all to rid myself of the useless trappings

of morality.

Saya and I are all that matters. There's no point in worrying about

what others think anymore -- although I suppose I should still talk to

Saya's guardian, of course. I need to find Dr. Ogai as soon as possible.


By the time I drift to sleep in exhaustion's comforting embrace, all

doubts about Saya's actions have vanished from my mind.

Whatever the case, all that matters is that she's returned to me.

-A HREF="sy08_01Suzumi"







Two o'clock -- for Suzumi Yosuke, this is the most fulfilling time of day.

After seeing his wife and daughter off, taking care of the morning

chores, and eating a leisurely lunch, it's finally time to sit down at his


He's not a particularly popular painter, and he would only hold an

exhibition if he were hurting for money. However, the design work he

does on the side ensures that there's always enough to support his daily


Alongside the salary his wife earns working for a magazine, they're

able to pay their mortgage, send their daughter to school, and still have

plenty left over.


Yosuke's life is perfect -- leisurely and absent of want.

He loves his house, considering it the symbol of his success. When he

mows the lawn, polishes the windows and floors, and cleans the kitchen,

toilet, and bath, he feels the same joy as he does when washing his own


Just as he knows the length of his fingernails and the time since his

last meal, he also knows everything about his home's condition: the

status of every door, the freshness of every flower, the amount of ice in

the ice tray -- every last detail. This is his pride, and when he sits in his

studio, smelling the turpentine and knowing that each element of his

house is in perfect order, he feels the ultimate satisfaction.

While trying to find the right combination of paints on his palette, he

suddenly feels thirsty, but soon remembers that there isn't much orange

juice left in the refrigerator.

In fact, it's also about time to stock up on bath additive and powdered

soap. He could get everything at the supermarket when he goes to shop

for dinner, but it will probably be quite heavy.


((Now then, where should I leave off to go shopping?))

As he ponders this dilemma, he heads downstairs to the kitchen.

Just then, a breath of air tickles the back of his neck, bringing him to a

halt in the middle of the hallway.

A breeze -- impossible. Every window in the house is closed. Yosuke

shut them himself during his morning cleaning.


Yosuke enters the living room, searching for the source of the breeze.

Something stinks. It's the same pungent smell of fetid swampland that

emanates from the Sakisaka house. The window facing the yard next

door is open, its curtains billowing loosely in the gentle breeze.

There's a hole in the glass next to the lock. It looks strange, like it was

melted by some chemical instead of broken. Someone must have

reached through the hole to unlock the window.

Yosuke stands paralyzed, his heart pounding with anger -- and fear.

He listens carefully, but hears nothing. Perhaps the intruder has

already finished his business and left... but a burglar wouldn't have left

the room untouched, would he?

Maybe he heard Yosuke coming and hid... somewhere nearby.

Yosuke realizes that his still-wet palette knife is in his right hand. He

must have forgotten to put it aside before going downstairs.

He stares numbly at the knife for a moment, then decides that it's not

enough protection.

Instead, he grabs the ashtray sitting on top of the table. Made of thick,

solid glass, it is big and heavy enough to serve as a weapon.

The home that he thought of as part of himself now seems utterly alien.

Keenly aware of the thumping of his heart, Yosuke looks around the

living room and sees little that could be used as a hiding place. The

intruder must have gone either to the guest room or through the dining

room to the kitchen.

The kitchen is close to the stairs. If there had been movement, Yosuke

would have noticed it when he came down... which means that the

guest room is the most likely place.

He shuffles over to the guest room door and prepares to slide it open.

But what is that stench? Could the breeze alone carry something so

foul? It's as if the odor is coming from inside the room.

He readies his ashtray and throws open the door.


The straw-matted, Japanese-style room is empty. There is a closet, but

no one could fit in there.

So the intruder already left. Yosuke relaxes, the exhaustion of sudden

relief coming over him.

And that is when something seizes his ankle.


The instant he freezes in shock, his leg is yanked out from under him,

sending him crashing to the floor. Stars explode behind his eyes as his

head smacks against the door rail.

The hand -- if it can even be called that -- wrapped around Yosuke's

ankle extends all the way back to beneath the living room sofa.

There are barely five centimeters between the sofa and the floor, but

the intruder is able to hide in that tiny space.

It can't possibly be human.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="16000103"


Before the screaming Yosuke can regain his footing, countless

hand-like appendages seize his arms and legs, rendering him helpless.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="16000201"

II"CALm doWn. DOn't BE



atop him.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="16000303"

Yosuke can't even scream, his terror is so great.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="16000401"

II"iT wON't HUrT. Don'T bE

sCarED. IT WOn't hURT."


Thin, tubelike appendages penetrate his ears and nose, wriggling deep

into his skull.

Right before the sensation drives him mad, Yosuke loses consciousness.

-A HREF="sy08_02Hospital_Koji"







name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17000102"

"Thank you for taking the time to see us," Koji says, his humble bow

concealing his surprise at the doctor's youth. Even without her light

makeup, she wouldn't look a day over thirty. She must be quite talented

to be a leading neurosurgeon at such a young age.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17000206"

"Don't mention it. I was hoping somebody like you would come along."

Her friendly smile has none of the coldness one might expect from her

sharp, refined beauty.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17000306"

"It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Dr. Tanbo, Sakisaka Fuminori's

attending physician."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17000402"

"I'm Fuminori's friend Tonoh Koji. This is Tsukuba Yoh."

Yoh gives a quick bow, her expression apologetic.

When they arrived at the T University Medical Center and asked to see

Fuminori's doctor, Koji and Yoh had been prepared for rejection. They

hadn't expected the ease with which their request was granted.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17000506"

"You say you want to know what's wrong with him. Well, so do I."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17000602"

"I'm sorry?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17000706"

"He didn't come in for his checkup two days ago. I tried calling his

home, but there was no answer."

Two days ago... the same day Fuminori was searching that abandoned

house. Koji frowns, wondering what was important enough for him to

blow off his appointment.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17000806"

"What is he like at school?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17000902"

"He's... totally screwed up."


Seeing Yoh's shoulders jerk out of the corner of his eye, Koji regrets

not choosing his words more carefully.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001002"

"Since the accident, he's been like a completely different person.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001002_2" We

have no idea what to do. So we thought that talking to you might help."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17001106"

"Are you medical students too?" she asks out of nowhere.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001202"

"Huh? Well, yes."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17001306"

"Would you like to see his charts?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001402"

"You'd really show them to us?" Koji replies, incredulous.

Dr. Tanbo regards him silently for a moment, then sighs and says,

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17001506""Someone wanted to see them -- and without the hospital's permission.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17001606"His files were stolen from the archives two nights ago."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001702"



She stares hard at the astonished students, then shakes her head with

a tired smile.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17001806"

"Well, it doesn't look like you two were involved. That's a relief."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17001902"

"O-of course we weren't!"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002006"

"However, the culprit must have had an interest in his condition -- or

wanted to erase his records.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002006_2" Either way, I can only assume that it was

someone close to him."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17002102"

"I see..."

An ominous thought flashes through Koji's mind -- it couldn't have

been Fuminori himself, could it?

Koji looks at Dr. Tanbo and finds her staring right back at him, her

expression grave. He realizes that she must be harboring the same



name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002206"

"What do you think? Do you have any idea who among his associates

might have done it?"

Perhaps Dr. Tanbo didn't have anyone in mind when she asked, but

Koji's thoughts immediately fly to the eerie house to which Fuminori led


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17002302"

"I don't really know what their relationship is, but there's someone

called Ogai, probably a doctor or a..."


Koji stops speaking as he sees the dramatic change that has come

across Dr. Tanbo's face.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17002402"

"......You know Dr. Ogai?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002506"

"Do you know when and where Fuminori first encountered that man?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17002602"

"No, that's what I'd like to know. Just who is this Ogai?"

After remaining silent for some time, Dr. Tanbo looses a heavy sigh.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002706"

"Alright. It's not like you couldn't find out on your own easily enough.

Ogai Masahiko was a doctor teaching at this hospital.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002706_2" He was dismissed

over six months ago, however, following certain incidents."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17002802"

"What incidents? What did he do?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17002906"

"I can't say any more. And anyway, it has nothing to do with your


Koji has no argument with which to answer Dr. Tanbo's flat rejection.

However, he can't shake the feeling that this Ogai person is the key to

unraveling the mystery surrounding Fuminori.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003002"

"Doctor," he says, making up his mind. "Fuminori might be... involved

in a crime."

At this sudden declaration, both Yoh and Dr. Tanbo raise their


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17003106"

"What do you mean?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003202"

"A friend of ours went missing after going to see him. Fuminori denies

any involvement, of course."


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="17003305"

"You mean... Omi?"

Koji is unable to bear the shock in Yoh's .

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003402"

"Sorry, Tsukuba... I couldn't tell you."

Dr. Tanbo is frowning, her expression even more serious than before.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003502"

"Right now, this Ogai seems to be the center of Fuminori's attention.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003502_2" If

we know who he is and what Fuminori's looking for, we might start to

see the whole picture.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003602" Please tell us, doctor. Just what happened at this


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17003706"


Dr. Tanbo hesitates for some time, refusing to make eye contact, but

she finally shakes her head.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17003806"

"I'm sorry. This is not a decision I can make on my own."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17003902"


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17004006"

"Give me some time. I'll do my own investigating now that I know how

far this has gone."K

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17004102"


Koji is out of options. All that's left is to trust this young doctor. It's

frustrating, but a friend's rights only go so far.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="17004206"

"Let's exchange cell phone numbers. I'll call you if I learn anything, and

you call me the moment anything changes."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="17004302"


-A HREF="sy08_03Suzumi"







((What the... What happened to me?))

Yosuke's consciousness returns slowly, as though rising from a bog.

He's cold... no, hot.

Something itches, like tepid tongues and cold slugs crawling over his


((What the hell's going on?))

Timidly, he opens his eyes.


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18000103"


It's everywhere.

The thing that attacked him in the living room -- it's everywhere!

Terror shatters Yosuke's sanity.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18000203"


He throws off the thing lying atop him, but his wild flailing sends him

crashing to the floor.

But is it really the floor? The long, wriggling fibers of what should be

the carpet are winding themselves around his fingers.

The floor is made of worms.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18000303"

He tears his limbs free of the worms and tries to stand, but loses his

balance and tumbles to the floor again. The worms immediately swarm

over his body.

((Where the hell am I!?))

((Where did that thing take me!?))

Yosuke crawls across the worm-ridden floor towards the only exit from

the pulsating room.


When he gets outside, however, all he can see is blood, bile, and rotten

meat. There is no place to run.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18000403"

"What is this!?"

Most terrifying of all, this hellish place has the same layout as Yosuke's

house. In a half-mad daze, he wanders through the nightmarish

mockery of his home.


In the small room where his studio should be, he finds an easel made

of bones displaying a blood-soaked canvas. Like some cruel joke,

everything is exactly where it would be in Yosuke's studio.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18000503"

"Dammit, let me out! Let me out of here!!"

Howling, Yosuke lashes out against everything within reach.

The easel of bone shatters, driving splinters into his fist.

He feels the pain, but does not wake from the nightmare. If this isn't a

dream, then what is it?

When his strength gives out, Yosuke falls to his knees, sobbing. For the

first time in his life, he prays to the gods.


The sound of the door opening and closing grates on his ears.

((Downstairs... the front door? Someone else is here?))

name="妻" class="その他" src="18000607"

"wE'RE hOmE!"

monster has returned.

name="博美" class="その他" src="18000708"

"DadDY, wE'RE hoMe! WhERe's DiNnER?"

name="妻" class="その他" src="18000807"

"OH, hE'S nOt HeRE? dID hE go ShOPpInG?"

name="博美" class="その他" src="18000908"

"WHEn cAN we eAt?"


Yosuke hears the sound of something slimy sloshing its way up the

stairs. Even as he cowers in terror, he slides his trembling hand across

the floor and grabs one of the bones from the broken easel.

The tip of the bone is nice and sharp. If he holds it in both hands and

puts his weight behind it, he might be able to use it to defend himself.

name="妻" class="その他" src="18001007"

"HonEY, aRe YOu hoMe?"

The monster's growls are getting closer. Holding his breath, Yosuke

sses his back against the wall next to the door.

The pounding of his heart is like thunder in his ears, so loud that he

fears the creature might hear it. He knows it will eat him if it finds him

again, but it's all he can do to keep from crying.



name="妻" class="その他" src="18001107"



name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18001203"

Yosuke leaps on the creature as it enters, fear turning his roar into a

high-pitched scream.

The flesh-beast is covered in sludge and vile juices, but before horror

can paralyze him, Yosuke brings his bone-stake stabbing down.


name="妻" class="その他" src="18001307"

The monster screams as the stake pierces its chest and punches

through to the other side. It falls back, writhing in agony.

The sight of its pain sets Yosuke's blood on fire.


((I can win. I can kill it! If I finish it off before it enters my head again,

I'm safe!))

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18001403"

Yosuke grabs the bone and twists with all his might. The monster

convulses and gurgles, its trembling tentacles reaching up as though

begging for help.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18001503"

"Die! Die! DIE!"

Yosuke knocks it to the floor, then brings his heel crashing down on its

flopping body again and again. With each stomp, its groans and spasms

grow weaker.

When the monster at last stops twitching, Yosuke, panting hard, tears

the stake from its corpse and rises to his feet.

name="博美" class="その他" src="18001608"

"......DadDY?" something squeals.

Yosuke turns around to see another, smaller monster peeking out at

him from the stair landing.

((There's still one left.))

His desperate, rage-filled attack both exhilarated him and gave him a

Grinning maniacally, Yosuke raises his stake and moves towards the

second creature.

name="博美" class="その他" src="18001808"

The monster flees screaming down the stairs.


Not about to let his prey escape, Yosuke roars and gives chase. The

thought that killing the monsters might end this nightmare feeds his

savage bloodlust.

name="博美" class="その他" src="18001708"

"NO, DaDdy! nO!"


When the monster trips and falls in the dining room, Yosuke leaps on

pulls it free, then drives it again into the monster's flesh -- once, twice,

thrice, and more -- until there is nothing left but shredded, pulverized



Eventually, the only sound in the house is Yosuke's heavy breathing.

He has slain two monsters, but the nightmare shows no sign of ending.

Yosuke staggers to the front door and goes outside.


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18001803"


The sky, the city -- everything has gone mad.

Twisted shapes, nauseating colors, stinking air.

There is no escape. No end to the nightmare.

The last remnant of Yosuke's sanity vanishes like dust in the wind.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18001901"

"Hi, mister."

Yosuke turns to the sound of a young girl's .


She is standing in front of the house next door, wearing a spotless one

piece over her pure white skin. In the midst of this filth-ridden world,

she alone glows with beauty.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18002001"

"How do I look to you, mister?"

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18002103"

"You're... very ciiute."

Yosuke feels a sudden black lust rise within him.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18002201"

"Really? Then the experiment might be a success!"

Yosuke walks up to the strangely jubilant girl and brushes his hand

against her long, smooth hair.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18002303"

"Such a lovely girl. You must be the only one in the whole world."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18002401"


She looks up at the man towering over her, perhaps disturbed by his

hungry stare.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18002503"

"How about we play a game, little girl?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18002601"

"Okay, but what are we going to do?"

A grin parts Yosuke's lips and he replies,K name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18002703" "Everything that will please

me, of course."


With that, he grabs the girl's collar and tears the front of her dress

wide open.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18002801"

Shock and fear twist the lovely girl's delicate features, stimulating

Yosuke's sadism. Even after killing those two monsters, the embers of

violence still smolder in his heart -- and now they have new fuel to burn.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18002903"

"I like your expression, girl. Won't you show me an even prettier one?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003001"

"No... No!"

The terrified girl flees into the Sakisaka house. Yosuke runs after her,

feeling the joy of the hunt.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003101"

"No! Stay away!"

Even in desperation, she has no hope of outrunning an adult. Yosuke

grabs her from behind and wrestles her to the floor before she can resist.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003201"

"L-let me go! Why? Why are you doing this!?"

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18003303"

"Like I said, because you're too ciiute!"

Enjoying the sensation of her thin arms struggling futilely against his

grip, Yosuke uses his weight to hold her down while ripping off her

remaining scraps of clothing.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003401"

"No, I don't want this! Stop!"

Yosuke stares at the smooth body of the girl flopping beneath him,

entranced by her cherry-like nipples, soft yet tight belly, and narrow

waist. The thought of violating such an immaculate body amid the

horrors of this twisted world is irresistibly erotic.

Yosuke runs his tongue over every inch of her stomach and chest, as

though preparing to eat her whole. She stiffens and whimpers at the


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003501"

"It isn't... supposed to be this way..."

Her tear-choked  satisfies Yosuke's lust for conquest. This

nightmare has violated him, but now he is able to visit the same torment

on this innocent girl. Where he was the victim, he is now the victimizer.

The release he feels is intoxicating.

His manhood is ready and waiting, so he frees it from his pants. As he

playfully prods the girl's tightly-shut slit with it, she finally starts crying in


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003601"

"No! Stop! I'm scared! Fuminoriiiii!"

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18003703"

"Ahaha, I haven't even done anything yet."

Putting his mouth close to the sobbing girl's ear, Yosuke whispers,K name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18003803" "If

you're this scared already... how will you scream when I put it in you?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18003901"


Staring into her wide-open eyes, Yosuke drives himself deep into her



name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18004001"

The girl screams in pain as he forces himself through her still-dry slit.

Yosuke is surprised by her lack of a hymen, but even more so by the

sensation of her inner folds -- much too welcoming for such an

immature-seeming girl.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18004103"

"Oh my, you're awfully used to men. You look ciiute, but you're really a

dirty little girl."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18004201"

"No more... Don't hurt me..."

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18004303"

"No," Yosuke smiles, "I think I have to punish you for being so naughty."

Yosuke begins to move inside her, each violent thrust forcing a cry

from her lips and tears from her eyes as her head jerks in agony.

Soon she loses the strength to resist and goes limp, concentrating

instead on enduring Yosuke's cruelty. Yet she still stares tearfully,

pleadingly into Yosuke's lust-inflamed eyes as he pounds mercilessly into

her flesh.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18004401"

"Why... Why aren't you gentle?"

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="18004503"

"Because you're adorable!" Yosuke roars, his breathing wild with

passion. "You're too pretty not to hurt! Too beautiful not to break!"

The girl's choking gasps, the despair in her eyes -- they only intensify

his ecstasy.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18004601"

"Help... Help me... Fuminori..."

-A HREF="sy09_01Home_Fuminori"







As always, the sights of the city grate on my nerves. Today, however, I

don't feel as much hatred as I usually do.

I have grown more accustomed to my condition, but that is not the

reason for today's high spirits. My search of the Ogai house has finally

borne fruit.

When I pulled all the drawers out of the desk in the study, I found an

envelope stuck between the desk and the wall. It must have fallen off

the back of the writing tray.

Inside were three outdoor photographs. I couldn't recognize the

siicenery due to my condition, but I'm pretty sure that they show three


Scrawled on the back of each photo was an address: Nagano

H Town. None of the names is familiar, so they must be way out in the


The photos are all dated more than ten years ago. I don't know why

they were taken or what they mean, but maybe Saya will be able to

make some sense of them.


In any case, this is something that even Saya missed while she was

living in that house. I wonder how she'll react when I show her what

I've found.

Saya... I want so badly to see her. The thought of her waiting for me

speeds my footsteps.


When I step through the gate, I see that the front door is wide open

again. This is the second time this has happened.

Upon entering the house this time, however, name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="18004601" the sound of Saya crying

chills my blood.

name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="19001803a"

And it's not just her. I also hear a low, wet grunting...

propelled by a terrifying premonition.


A monster is in my house, and it's raping Saya.

The filth oozing from its body spreads across her skin as it drives itself

with animal ferocity between her weakly trembling thighs.

The monster forces its grotesque penis deeper and deeper into her,

each brutal thrust warping her vagina in clearly painful ways.

Each time the beast moves, Saya's sobs become cries of agony. She

looks at me with tear-filled eyes and calls my name in a weak, breathless


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19000101"

"Fuminori... help..."

Rage erupts inside me like black lava.


The monster stops gorging itself on Saya's body and turns its head to

look at me. Surprised by my own composure, I slip past it and grab the

meat cleaver sitting next to the sink.

Without a moment's hesitation, I slash at the monster's face.


name="洋佑" class="洋佑" src="19001203a"

It screams and staggers away from Saya. My attack must have blinded

it, because it flails its tentacles wildly as it tries to drive me away.

My bloodlust still unsated, I calmly seize one of the appendages and

plunge my weapon twice more into its quivering flesh.

The blade enters its body with fascinating ease. Each strike sprays my

face with its blood.


As I carve the monster to pieces and savor its hideous screams, my

mind is finally consumed by rage.

No mercy. I'll see this monster suffer for what it's done to Saya!

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19000200"

I give myself to the fury, howling at the top of my lungs as I slash and

slash and slash and slash. Even after the flesh-beast stops moving, I

keep slashing until I realize that it can no longer feel pain. Cursing

it in half.


When my thoughts finally regain some cohesion, I find myself still

digging the broken knife into the floor. The monster is gone, but pieces

of it are scattered everywhere.

I stop ciiutting into the tile, and in the sudden silence I hear Saya's faint

sobs coming from a corner of the kitchen.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19000300"


I pull the cowering Saya into my arms. She stiffens in fear at first, but

as soon as she realizes that it's me, she clings to my body and cries.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19000401"

"Fuminori... Fuminori! I was scared... so scared!"

I don't know what to say. I can only keep holding her.

This should never have happened to Saya. Everything in this twisted

world is to blame -- yes, including myself. I couldn't protect her. If I'd

been here, then maybe I could have prevented this.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19000501"

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." she says again and again in a  choked

with tears.

Not wanting to hear that from her, I pull her head into my chest.K

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19000600"

"Don't say that, Saya! It's not your fault!"

I try to reassure her, but she shakes her head vigorously in denial.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19000701"

"No, it is. I did it."

I don't understand. What is she saying?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19000800"

"You did... what?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19000901"

"I messed with his brain," she answers, glancing at the dismembered

monster with her swollen eyes. name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001001" "I made the inside of his head the same

as yours. I made him see the world like you do."

It takes me some time to understand the meaning of Saya's words.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19001100"

"What? But... how?"


Finally regaining her composure, Saya responds to my confusion in a

low .

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001201"

"I can do stuff like that. I can change the bodies of other living things.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001201_2"I've had this ability since I was born."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19001300"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001401"

"Every organism is different, so I have to study them in detail before I

know how to change them.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001401_2" By doing some research, I figured out what

happened to your brain.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001401_3" So I wanted to see if I could do the same thing

to someone else."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19001500"

"But... why?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001601"

"I thought that if everyone were like you, they would all... be kind to


My heart aches at the loneliness in her  as she confesses her

sorrowful wish.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001701"

"But that man... he wasn't kind at all.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001701_2" He said he wanted to hurt me,

break me, and he..."


She starts crying into my chest again, unable to say any more. I gently

rub her back while trying to get my jumbled thoughts together.

What is Saya, that she can do such a thing? The answer is beyond me.

However, there is one thing that I can answer, here and now.

Saya is mistaken.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19001800"

"You think that I'm kind to you because of the accident?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19001901"

"Yeah," she nods sadly.

I smile and shake my head.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002000"

"You're wrong. That was only the beginning."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002101"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002200"

"Our relationship is the sum of so much more.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002200_2" The time you and I have

spent together -- those days, those experiences, are what made us what

we are."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002301"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002400"

"You've been there for me, Saya -- sharing my pain, giving me hope

and joy.k  name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002400_2"That's how you became so important to me. See? It's harder

than you think."

Saya is still crying, but now her tears feel warm against my chest.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002501"

"Yeah, I understand. I finally understand."

Her smile shines through her tears.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002601"

"I only have you, Fuminori. There will never be anyone else."

Now more than ever before, I feel the depth of the bond between us.

And I'm sure that Saya feels it too.

I wrap my arms tightly around her and seal her lips with mine. Saya

responds, winding her arms around my neck as our tongues desperately

seek each other's warmth.

At this moment, Saya is my whole world, and I am hers.

The Earth turns for us alone.

Of course. I still haven't told her something very important.

I don't know why I've never said it before -- perhaps because it was

always so obvious. However, I should put it into words at least once --

this oath of mine.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19002700"

"Saya, I..."


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002801"


She stops me with a finger against my lips.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19002901"

"Before that, Fuminori, tell me one thing. What do you want?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19003000"

"What do I... want?"

Saya nods, staring into my eyes with unusual solemnity.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003101"

"Like I said, I can affect the bodies of living things in a way that

nothing else can.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003101_2" And now that I've learned how to manipulate human

brains..."K Saya pauses and takes a deep breath before continuing.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003201" "I can

turn you back to normal."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="19003300"


Until now, that hasn't even been in the realm of possibility.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003401"

"I just have to do the opposite of what I did to that man. It's... really


I replay Saya's words in my head to be sure of their meaning.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003501"

"So tell me, Fuminori.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="19003501_2" Do you want to return to your old life? Do you

want to take back what you lost in the accident?"


-A HREF="sy10_00"
















On that terrible day when I first opened my eyes after the accident,

what would my answer have been?

When I think back on this many years from now, will I wish that my

answer today had been different?

It doesn't matter. Here, at this moment, there is no doubt in my mind.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000100"

"Who was that?" I ask Saya, looking at the unidentifiable pieces of the


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21000201"

"......The man living next door. I don't know his name."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000300"

"Oh, so it was Mr. Suzumi."

He was hardly a stranger. We've been neighbors for as long as I can

remember. I'd go so far as to say we were on good terms before the


And now I've killed him with my own two hands.

I feel little.

Mr. Suzumi, the kindly painter who lived next door, is but a distant


The pieces of meat around me belonged to a creature whose mere

existence was nauseating. Only by killing the vermin could I find relief.

He complained about my yard being filthy, the swine. It doesn't matter

what Saya did. He wasn't worth keeping alive anyway.


These are my honest feelings.

My hands are wet with another man's blood, and yet I am utterly calm.

Now I know what I lost in the accident. Saya says that I can take it

back, but I know that I cannot. It is gone forever, like the life of the man

called Suzumi.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000400"

"Hey, Saya... No doctor could possibly fix my condition, you know."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21000501"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000600"

"You can do what no human is capable of. You're not human, are you?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21000701"


Saya looks away, her expression unreadable.

Everything is monstrous and loathsome in my eyes -- everything but

Saya. I thought that she was somehow unique.

I was wrong. I see her just as I do everything else -- as something

other than what she really is.

But why should that surprise me? Saya is part of my world, just as I

am of hers. It doesn't change what we are to each other.

I stand and walk over to Suzumi's dismembered corpse.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000800"

"I read this manga once, about a man who recovered from an accident

only to find that he could no longer see the world as it was. Kind of like


I finally realize that even though the stench of these monsters' flesh

turns my stomach, their blood and guts smell pretty good. In fact, I

know this fragrance quite well.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000900"

"He saw people as rocks and robots as beautiful women.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21000900_2" And so he fell

in love with something that wasn't remotely human."

removing the skin and tendons.

Ahh, just as I thought.

The stuff underneath is exactly the same as what Saya and I have

been eating.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001000"

"Hey, this looks pretty good. Let's eat it."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21001101"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001200"

"Oh, sorry. You're in no mood for that now, are you?k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001200_2" Now that it's

dead, though, meat is meat. It'd be a waste to throw it away. We should

get it in the fridge."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21001301"

"Is that... alright with you?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001400"

"Sure," I answer easily. There is no longer any room for doubt in my

mind.K  name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001500""Also, his wife and daughter are probably next door. They might

cause trouble when he doesn't come home. We'd better hunt them down

before they go to the police."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21001601"

"Is that... really what you want?" Saya asks again, this time with a

trace of fear in her .

I guess I still haven't convinced her of my sincerity.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001700"

"So at the end of this manga, the man who fell for something inhuman

gives up his own humanity for the sake of their love.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001700_2" A happy ending,

don't you think?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21001801"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21001900"

"You're all I need now, Saya. Nothing else matters as long as we're



Tossing the knife and meat aside, I pull Saya into my arms once more.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21002000"

"I can say it now, can't I? Saya... I love you."

As Saya wipes away the tears flowing from her eyes, I can no longer

see any hint of fear in her face.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21002101"

"I don't want you to regret this. I don't, but..."

I have sworn my oath, and Saya has accepted it. We have nothing to

fear now. Saya will never need to cry again.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21002201"

"I can't help it. I'm so happy. I guess I'm pretty selfish, aren't I?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21002300"

"I don't mind. I'll always indulge your selfishness, Saya."


Filled with contentment, we exchange a smile and set to the task of

cleaning the room.

A single person produces a lot more meat than I expected. Speaking of

which, I seem to remember doing something similar before.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="21002401"

"About his wife and daughter... I think he killed them. I heard their


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="21002500"

"Well, that makes things easier."

After we finish here, we should go gather the meat from the Suzumi

house. That should be enough to hold us for a while, and we can use

their refigerator to store what won't fit in ours.

It's all coming together. Saya and I will be just fine.

-A HREF="sy11_01Home_Fuminori"







name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20000100"

"Well, of course," I answer without thinking. "If it's possible to go back,

then I want to... I think."

I've never wondered if there could be any other answer. I stopped

dwelling on this question a long time ago, and if I'd been asked before I

met Saya, I wouldn't have hesitated.

But what about now? What does it mean to wish for the past, and

what could it do to me and Saya? As soon as these questions occur to

me, my true feelings become unclear.

The hurried answer I just gave her was less certain than I thought.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20000201"

"Oh... Yeah, of course you would."

Saya smiles softly, her expression an unreadable mixture of what seem

to be sorrow and relief. Seeing it fills me with sudden unease, as though

I've just wounded her deeply with my careless words.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20000300"

"Hey, Saya, I..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20000401"

"It's okay, Fuminori. Don't say anymore."


Saya silences me with another kiss, and thrusts her tongue into my

mouth with even greater passion than before. As the sweet softness of

her tongue clouds my mind, I begin to feel an urgent need to say what

she prevented me from saying -- to speak those most important words.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20000500"


I can't speak, for some reason, and my mind is hazy. My consciouness

is slipping away as the euphoria from her kiss spreads to my entire body.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20000601"

"Sleep well, Fuminori," I hear Saya whisper softly from far away.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20000701" "Don't

worry. When you wake up, it'll all be over."


Wait.K I have to tell you something before I sleep... just one thing...

My efforts are meaningless, however, as oblivion calls me into its



When I awoke, the first thing that greeted me was a terrible stink.

Mr. Suzumi's body was covered in flies, and I could smell the rotten

stench that you would expect from a corpse.

The night had ended, but Saya was nowhere to be seen in the morning


Aside from the blood-covered floor, the kitchen looked the same as it

had before the accident. In the den, however, the colors that had been

so soothing the day before now served as a stark reminder of what a

distant world I'd been living in.


Despite knowing that it would be futile, I wandered the house

searching for Saya. For almost an hour, I tried in vain to deny reality.


Then I called the police. When the operator answered, I couldn't stop

myself from crying. It had been such a long time since I'd heard a

human  other than Saya's.


As became clear later, Mr. Suzumi had murdered his family before I

killed him. Unable to give the police a satisfactory explanation, I was

arrested for all three murders. And when they found the remains of

Takahata Omi in my house, a fourth was added to the charges -- along

with one count of mutilating a corpse.

During my interrogation, I told them everything exactly as it had

happened, in every detail. The detectives didn't believe me, of course,

but the psychiatrist who came later did. He had me moved from the jail

to a much cleaner white room.


That's right. This room looks just as white to me as it does to everyone


In the end, they declared me incapable of answering for my actions.

Everything that had happened to me was real, but part of a reality

incompatible with the rest of the world.

So the doctors gave me a tiny space all to myself, a place where I

could live in my own reality.

I am sad that I wasn't believed, but I know that it couldn't be helped.

In this world, reality is what the majority says it is, and I had the

misfortune to step outside of that box.

The walls of my room are undeniably white. That, at least, I can be

thankful for as I live out the rest of my life here.


Everyone said that there had never been any girl named Saya. Well, so

be it. Saya probably was never part of their world.

But why shouldn't I be able to hear Saya's  here, in my room? This

is my world, after all, a continuation of the very real time that we spent



How long did I wait with such thoughts floating through my mind?

One night, I awoke to the sound of something crawling down the


The sound would not normally have woken me, but I must have had a

monition that night. Sleeping lighter than usual, I had waited for her

arrival -- and so I knew instantly that it was her.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20000800"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20000901"


She did not answer, but I could feel her outside my door, struggling

with some internal conflict.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001000"

"Why won't you let me hear your ?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="20001101"


After a long silence, something small slid through the narrow bars of

my peephole.


It was a cell phone, the screen already showing a notepad with

freshly-entered text.


II"My  will sound strange

to you."


I couldn't suppress a chuckle at Saya's uncharacteristic display of



name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001200"

"I don't care about that at all," I said, sending the phone back through

the bars. "I just want to hear you -- see you."

After a short pause, the phone returned to my side.


II"Please, let me stay the Saya

you remember."


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001300"


I'd started to suspect that it might be so.

In the hell my eyes had made of the world, Saya alone had looked

normal. I'd thought that she was somehow unique.

In truth, however, she had probably been a different kind of "unique"

than I'd imagined. It wasn't that my senses hadn't distorted her

appearance, but that she had been so unusual as to seem normal to my

twisted mind.

Saya's true form was something other than what I had known. Now,

however, I could see her as she really was.

But Saya didn't want that, and it was not for me to question the

workings of her heart. I just had to accept that girls need to keep some

things private.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001400"

"I tried to say something to you that day. Do you remember?"

I slid the phone back to her.


II"I was hoping you'd forgotten."


I smiled wryly at the text on the screen, wondering if she really

thought me so heartless.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001500"

"How could I forget?"

No one was listening, but still -- it would have been embarassing to

speak the rest aloud, so this time I typed it into the phone.


G, H, I

j, k, l

m, n, o

t, u, v

d, e

w, x, y

m, n, o

t, u

I slid the phone back through the slot.


I could sense her trembling outside my door.

I couldn't see her, or hear her -- but still, I knew.K Saya was crying.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001600"

"I was ready, you know."

Perhaps my words offered no comfort, spoken so late.

Even so... I was ready.

I had wanted to return to my old life, true, but I would have

abandoned that wish for Saya.K I know that I would have gone with her,

hand-in-hand, as far as we could -- even to the most forbidden of places.

Saya, too, must have known that I was prepared -- and because she

knew, she stopped me from saying those words. If I had spoken that

oath, there would have been no going back.


II"I'm sorry. I was a coward."


Seeing the words on the screen, I shook my head.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001700"

"It's not your fault. If I hadn't hesitated, you would have found the



II"I was afraid of you. Of how

you were changing because of



name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001800"

"It's no one's fault."

Saya couldn't bring herself to take everything from me, and I couldn't

bring myself to give up everything for her.

We were too weak to find happiness.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20001900"

"What will you do now, Saya?"


II"I'll keep searching for my

dad. He'll know how to send

me back to where I came



name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20002000"

"I see. You do want to go home, don't you?"

A short time passed with no words or messages exchanged. I wonder

how many times in that brief silence "yes" and "no" changed places in

her mind.




When the phone finally returned, the characters on the screen seemed

strangely uncertain.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20002100"

"Well, I hope you find your father."


II"I'll do my best."


The time had come for our parting. She had chosen her path, and I

had given my blessing. There was nothing more to be said.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20002200"

"If you change your mind, I'll always be here. You can come see me

whenever you want."


II"I will. Thank you.

Goodbye, Fuminori."


I read her final message and returned the phone to the other side.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="20002300"

"Goodbye, Saya."

She gently slapped my door in response, and then I heard the sound of

her sliding off down the hallway.

And I was left alone in the silence of the night.


Ever since that day, I have been waiting.

Perhaps Saya really did return to where she came from.

Perhaps she is still wandering today, looking for her father.

It must be hard. She must be lonely.K When she can no longer stand

being alone, she will surely return to me.K I am the only one who will

comfort her, and whisper sweet nothings in her ear.


And so I wait. Dreaming of her face and her , I wait.

Forever, in my white world.

-CALC WORKNAME="ENDING" OPERATOR="1" MODE="global" save0="true"

-SYSTEM CMD="ending" ROLL="staff" bgm="glassnokutsu"










name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23000101"

"I think I recognize this picture."

After we finish our labors and get into bed, I show Saya what I found

in Ogai's house.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23000201"

"It looks familiar. Yeah, I've definitely been there."

The photograph that Saya has selected is the one with a Tochigi

fecture address on the back.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23000300"

"That's... a house, right? I see trees and... mountains?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23000401"

"Yeah. Wow, Fuminori, you can see pictures now?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23000500"

"A little."

At the outset of my ordeal, I had to depend entirely on my sense of

distance to decipher what I saw. The houses in front of me, the

mountains far behind them, the clouds high above -- only distance and

scale told me what they were.

Photographs and other flat images used to be nearly impossible to

make out. Recently, however, I've gotten better at understanding what

things are by their shape. I know what the mountains and sky look like,

for instance, and how to tell them apart from buildings.


Each of the three pictures shows a similar siicene -- a lone house in the

middle of a thick forest.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23000601"

"Dad called it his retreat. He said that no one would find us there."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23000700"


Judging by the address on the back of each photo, they probably are

excellent places to hide from prying eyes. But why three?

The dates are pretty old, and it seems odd that they were all taken

within a few days of each other. Maybe he was scouting properties,

looking for the perfect location for his hideaway.

Saya recognizes only one of the houses, so that must be the one Ogai

picked.K Checking the location on a roadmap of the Kanto area, I find

that it's about three hours out of Tokyo by car.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23000800"

"Do you think your father will be there?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23000901"

"I tried calling him, but he didn't answer. I don't think he's there."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23001000"

"But he might have stopped by recently."

The way I see it, our only hope of finding Ogai is to follow whatever

lead we have, no matter how small. The probability that his hideout will

yield useful information may be low... but it's not zero.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23001100"

"I think I'll check this place out tomorrow."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23001201"

"Do you have to?" Saya pouts. I wasn't expecting her to object.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23001301" "Isn't it


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23001400"

"It'll only take about half a day to go there, check it out, and come


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23001501"

"I have to stay home by myself while you're gone?"

So that's what it is. Slightly exasperated, I smile and rub Saya's head.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23001700"

"Be a little patient, okay? You want to find your father too, don't you?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23003601"


After a brief silence, during which her expression is hard to decipher,

Saya looks up at me and says,K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23001801" "Hey, Fuminori... let's forget about Dad."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23001900"


That's the last thing I expected her to say.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002000"

"Forget about him? But he's your father. Aren't you worried?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23002101"

"Not anymore," Saya says, coming closer to feel my warmth. "I have

you now."


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23002201"

"I call him Dad, but he's not really my father.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23002201_2" He taught me a lot, and

probably loved me in his own way... but you're kinder and warmer."

Saya's words make me happy, but I also hear the loneliness in them.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002300"

"Are you really alright with that?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23002401"

"Yeah. You don't like it being just the two of us?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002500"

"I do... but I also want to meet Dr. Ogai."K Having finally figured out

how to explain my feelings, I continue,K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002600" "I want to get to know you

better. If there's someone who knows more about you than I do, I have

to meet them."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23002701"


Saya doesn't seem upset, but she does tilt her head quizzically, as

though my thoughts are strange to her.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002800"

"And I also want to... Yeah, I'm going to check it out tomorrow."

Another plan has started to form in my head, one separate from the

search for Dr. Ogai.

another use for his mountain retreat.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23002900"

"I know you'll be lonely, Saya, but try to bear it for a little while."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23003001"

"Okay," she nods, then looks questioningly into my eyes.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23003101" "Fuminori...

You really want a family and friends, don't you? More people you can

spend time with?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23003200"

"Well, that would be more fun, yeah..."K Fearing that Saya will start

sulking, I hurriedly add,K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="23003300" "But don't get me wrong. Even if I could have

lots of friends, you'll always be special to me."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23003401"

"I know. Hehehe, thanks."K Giggling, Saya rubs her cheek against mine.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="23003501""I'll find something to make you happy -- something just for you."

-A HREF="sy11_02Uni_Koji"







Today, all of Koji's classes were in the morning.


On his way to meet Yoh for lunch after his final lecture, Koji suddenly

gets a call in the middle of the hallway.

Without thinking, he reaches to his belt for his new camera-phone, but

curses when he realizes that the ringtone is coming from the old phone

in his bag. He hasn't transferred his contacts list yet, and calls still come

to his old phone from people who don't know the new number.

When he finally fishes the phone from his bag, the name he sees on

the display sends a chill up his spine.


Why now? What does he want?

It's hard to be happy about a call from Fuminori after the incident at

the Ogai house.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24000102"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24000200"

"Hey, Koji. You're done with class for today, right?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24000302"


Of course Fuminori would know that Koji is free on Thursday


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24000400"

"I need to talk to you about something. Can you come to the parking


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24000502"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24000600"

"Yeah, I'll be waiting."

Fuminori hangs up without another word.

What's gotten into him? What does he want? Koji wonders as he sticks

the phone into his jacket pocket.

This sudden change is disturbing after a week of Fuminori avoiding

both Koji and Yoh.

Maybe he's finally ready to talk -- in which case, Koji should probably

consider this a good thing.

However, he can't shake the feeling that something is wrong.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24000702"

"Did I keep you waiting?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24000800"


In the parking lot, Koji finds Fuminori leaning against the fender of

Koji's Accord.

The last time they met was in the darkness of an abandoned house.

This is the first time in over a week that they've spoken face-to-face in

the light. Perhaps that is why Koji senses something strange in

Fuminori's expression.

He's not sure what, exactly, but something has changed.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24000900"

"I think I told you before that I'm looking for information on a man

named Ogai."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24001002"

"Yeah, I got that."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001100"

"Well, it's starting to get more complicated. It looks like I can't handle it

by myself after all."

Fuminori seems more relaxed than before. He used to be tense all the

time, like he was terrified of something, but now his expression is calm.

He's even wearing what resembles a sheepish grin.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001200"

"I need your help, Koji."

Nevertheless, some instinct is telling Koji that Fuminori's changes are

not for the better.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24001302"

"Why the sudden change of heart?" Koji asks, keeping his expression

neutral to conceal his suspicion.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001400"

"You're interested, aren't you?" Fuminori responds coolly. His smile,

unreadable as ever, offers no glimpse of his true motives.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001500" "You searched

Dr. Ogai's house after me.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001500_2" It's a waste of time for us to look for him

separately. We should team up."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24001602"


Why?K Why does he sense malice, thick and viscous, lurking behind

Fuminori's smile?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24001700"

"Anyway, I need your car today. Mind driving?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24001802"

"......I guess not."

Fuminori's car was destroyed in the accident, so Koji isn't surprised that

he needs a lift.


Koji unlocks his car and gestures for Fuminori to take the passenger

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24001902"

"Well? Where are we going?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24002000"

"North Tochigi, near the Nasu Heights."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24002102"

"Tochigi!?" Koji can't believe his ears.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24002200"

"Here's the address," Fuminori says, handing Koji a photo with an

address on the back. "We need to find this building."

He seriously expects to be driven over a hundred kilometers and back?

Koji doesn't know whether to be angry or impressed.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24002300"

"If we leave now, we should get there by evening, right?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24002402"

"......Yeah, maybe."

Koji sighs heavily, tapping the steering wheel as he calms himself

down. Now that he's come this far, the only thing he can do is see his

friend's craziness through to the end.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24002502"

"Is this a vacation home or something?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24002600"

"Probably. Dr. Ogai should be there."

Koji isn't looking forward to meeting the owner of that creepy house,

but he's even more uneasy about letting Fuminori go alone.

It looks like he just has to grin and bear it.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24002702"

"We might not get back until night."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="24002800"

"Sorry for the trouble."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="24002902"

"......Don't mention it."

to say unspoken.


Fuminori's smile seems wrong somehow, like an expressionless mas

glued to his face.

-A HREF="sy12_01Uni_Yoh"







Yoh finds herself sitting alone in the cafeteria, searching for a familiar

face as her lunch cools on the table in front of her.

She was hoping to see Koji today, but he must have had other plans.

That wouldn't be at all unusual. Normally, Omi and Fuminori would pic

up the slack.

But Omi and Fuminori aren't here anymore.

Yoh puts down her chopsticks, her appetite ruined by the lack of

company -- and by the anxiety eating at her.K Omi is missing, Fuminori

has turned on her, and she has no idea why.

If Koji were here, she could count on him to distract her with some idle


Now that she is all by herself, Yoh becomes keenly aware of how little

tolerance she has for loneliness.

She begins to feel paranoid, like the whole world is plotting to take

from her everything that she cherishes.

What is going on here?K Where has Omi gone?K Is Fuminori really

unrelated to her disappearance?

Or is he the key to this mystery, as Koji and Dr. Tanbo suspect?


Yoh recalls the events of last Thursday. Alone and without an outlet for

her pain after Fuminori verbally eviscerated her, Yoh was lucky enough

to run into Koji. Although he could hardly make her problem go away,

his kindness was a comfort.

At the same time, Omi was on her way to Fuminori's house... and she

hasn't been heard from since.

Yoh has only been aware of Fuminori's connection to Omi's

disappearance since yesterday, when Koji revealed the truth during their

visit to the hospital.

What if...

A new possibility occurs to her, a reason for why Omi suddenly decided

to visit Fuminori.

What if it hadn't been a coincidence that Yoh ran into Koji that day?

What if Koji and Omi had known what transpired between her and

Fuminori, and had decided to act separately?

have been eavesdropping. It's not unthinkable.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="25000105"


As the idea forms in her mind, Yoh feels as though something is

tearing apart her body from the inside.

It's only a possibility, but if it's true... then whatever happened to Omi

is Yoh's responsibility too, isn't it?

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="25000205"


Yoh clutches her head, groaning in agony.

The food on her tray is now cold -- not that she would have eaten it


Despite her frustration and anxiety, Yoh is unable to act on her own.

She has never been good at adapting to challenges, and no one would

ever call her proactive. She hasn't the slightest idea how to respond to

this situation.

If Omi were here, she would probably tell Yoh to think positive and

now that Omi is gone, Yoh realizes just how weak and useless she is.

She can only sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of self-loathing.

The sudden ringing of her phone pulls her back from the brink of


It's a text message. There's no title, and the sender is...


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="25000305"

"Omi!?" Yoh cries out in shock.

The message itself is even more baffling.


II"If you want to know about

Sakisaka Fuminori, come to

his house alone. Tell no one."


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="25000405"


The message bears no trace of Omi's personality, but Yoh can't deny

that it was sent from her phone.K She takes a deep breath to calm herself

before typing her reply, taking care that excitement doesn't cause her

fingers to slip.


"Is that you, Omi? Where are you?"

Yoh presses send. The screen shows that her message was received.

As she waits for a reply, her mind fills with questions.

Is someone else using Omi's phone to send text messages? If so, why

to her?


Something suddenly occurs to her.

She and Omi have exchanged countless messages over the years,

many of which contained the sort of embarrassing confessions that close

girlfriends share. At times when her feelings for Fuminori grew too

strong to contain, Yoh often put them into words for Omi to read.

Did Omi put a password on her phone? Even if she had, the person

who sent the message was obviously able to unlock it -- which means

that whoever it is has full access to her history.


II"Do you want to know about

Sakisaka Fuminori?"


Yoh reads the strange message one more time. Whoever sent it must

believe that Yoh has an interest in Fuminori.


The phone rings again, startling Yoh, but she quickly recovers and

looks at the screen. There's no title, and the sender is still Takahata Omi.


II"I'll tell you everything when

we meet. Come alone. Tell no



It's not Omi. She would never try to scare Yoh with such a

mean-spirited prank.

Anxiety has brought Yoh almost to tears. Her mind isn't made to deal

with something like this.

Who is using Omi's phone and promising to reveal Fuminori's secrets?



Yoh desperately wants advice from Koji -- from anyone. She even starts

to dial Koji's cell, but a sudden suspicion stops her.

The sender might be somewhere nearby, watching her at this very

moment. A cold chill runs down her spine as she looks furtively around

the cafeteria.

"Come alone. Tell no one."

The lifeless characters on the screen are like a knife against her throat.

However.K Yoh clutches her phone and forces her heart to stop


Isn't this cowardice exactly what she hates most about herself?K Doesn't

she want to know what she's capable of? Doesn't she want to do more

than sit and wait?

Yoh realizes that her hand is shaking.

How easy it would be to just give in to her cowardice, to convince

herself that Omi and Fuminori are beyond her reach.

That is what she truly wants. Even if it means abandoning dignity and

loyalty, she wants to flee from the unknown.

But she also knows that even escape is beyond her.

Yoh understands herself well. She knows that no matter how far she

runs, regret and self-loathing will consume her after everything else has

fallen apart.

In the end, Yoh is unable to overcome her cowardice alone. She lacks

both the willpower and the courage to run.

-A HREF="sy12_02Home_Yoh"







The afternoon silence is somehow forbidding.K A stink is in the air, the

stink of garbage left out to rot.

Even this perfectly normal residential neighborhood seems ominous to

Yoh in her current state. She feels like she's standing in the middle of a

necropolis, as if everyone in the houses around her is dead.

Yoh pushes her fear aside and presses the buzzer on the Sakisaka

house's front gate.

Fuminori wasn't in class today. Is he home? He couldn't have sent

those awful messages, could he?K She doesn't even want to consider the

possibility, so she forces the unwelcome thought from her mind.

There's no response from the intercom.

Yoh doesn't know, of course, that Omi stood in the same spot one wee

ago, staring at the silent intercom with the same confusion that Yoh is

experiencing now.

She, however, is not forced to wait as Omi was.


The phone in her pocket rings, catching her off guard.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000105"


It's another text message from Omi's phone.

"Come in. The door is open."

Yoh looks around quickly, a shiver running through her as she realizes

that she's being watched.


Searching fearfully for her observer, Yoh spots movement out of the

corner of her eye. On the second floor of the Sakisaka house, a

tightly-drawn window curtain just fluttered.

The person who sent the messages is inside the house.

Only now does Yoh realize that every other window has its storm

shutters closed. No matter what happens inside, no one will ever know.

This time, she nearly gives in to the intense urge to flee.K But the terror

she feels towards her invisible watcher is stronger, and will not permit

her to turn her back upon the open window.

She has nowhere to run.

(すすり泣きの声、要収録) NAME="瑶" SRC="26\000205"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000205"

Yoh bursts into tears, unable to take a single step.

The phone in her hand rings again, demanding that she enter.

She steps through the gate.


When she enters the house, an overwhelming stench assaults her

nostrils.K The house is dark, even though it is the middle of the day.

Fuminori must be out, as his shoes are not in the vestibule.K However,

Yoh catches sight of a different pair stuffed behind the shoe cupboard.

They look familiar, so she pulls them out of the shadows for a closer

look. As soon as she recognizes them, her mind tries desperately to deny


They are identical to Omi's favorite shoes. Yoh has seen her wearing

them many times before. But that doesn't mean Omi is here, she tells

herself. They might belong to someone else, someone who bought the

same shoes from the same store. There's no way Omi could be here... is


In a sudden flash of clarity, Yoh presses the most frequently used

speed-dial button on the phone still in her tightly clenched fist.

The phone dials Omi's number.

It takes only a second for the signal to reach the nearest relay station,

and then...


A familiar ringtone echoes through the house -- the unmistakable

sound of Omi's phone.

It's coming from the second floor. Someone must still be up there in

the room with the moving curtains.

Omi's phone rings for just a few moments... and then it stops, as

whoever is holding it realizes Yoh's intentions. For the first time, Yoh

feels the definite presence of her formless guide.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000305"

"......Who's there?"

She gathers her courage and calls out into the house, but there is no

response. Whoever it is must not want to be seen.


Swallowing hard, Yoh walks down the hallway to the staircase.

Maybe it's Omi. Maybe it's Fuminori. Surely it's just the two of them

playing a prank on her. Koji might even be here with them.

Yoh's mind fills with comforting images of her friends. She needs to

believe that there is still hope. Otherwise, she could not take another


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000405"

"Is that you, Omi? Fuminori, are you there?"


As she climbs the stairs one at a time, Yoh calls out in a  choked

with tears.

would be the happiest moment of her life. She just wants this torment to


She tries to move faster, but her trembling legs will not let her. With

each agonizing second that passes, she begs for release from this



After climbing for what seems an eternity, Yoh finds herself standing in

the second floor hallway.

No sound greets her. There is only the gloom, brimming with silent


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000505"

"Omi? Omi, are you there?"

She shuffles forward, calling out in a weak .

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000605"

"Come out already, please... I can't take this anymore."

The door in front of her is half open. It must lead to the room that

overlooks the front gate.

Yoh watches helplessly from a corner of her mind as her body,

seeming to move of its own volition, slowly opens the door.


The room is empty.K The damp, stinking air clings to Yoh's skin.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000705"

"Please... stop this..."

She is at her limit, unable to take a single step more. Her spirit has

been utterly crushed.

Perhaps this is the moment her tormenter was waiting for.


Something grabs Yoh's arms from behind -- something flexible and

strong, like slime-covered rubber.

As the thing binds her limbs, fingerlike appendages tear roughly

through her blouse and force their way inside.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000805"

Yoh screams at the top of her lungs, amazed that she still has the

strength to do so. Responding to her distress, primal energy surges

through her body as she flails wildly to free herself.

However, the grip of the thing behind her remains unbreakable.

With escape impossible, Yoh can only scream louder as something cold

and wet slips under her bra and wraps itself around her breasts.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26000905"

She is helpless to resist as the invader squeezes her breasts and sucks

at her nipples, which have gone stiff with fear under the horrifying

onslaught. Her ears are filled with the sound of something slimy sliding

over her skin.

As the loathsome assault on her breasts continues, the unimaginable

terror threatens to drive Yoh utterly mad. Her throat is already raw from

screaming, and now she can't even breathe as she struggles desperately

against her attacker.


Suddenly, the thing releases its grip on her breasts and pulls out from

under her bra.

Yoh falls to the floor, unable to support herself on her unresponsive


The creature that grabbed her is still here, lurking in a dark corner of

the room.

She can feel it watching her, but can't bring herself to turn around.

She knows full well that seeing it will likely destroy the last vestiges of

her sanity.

From close by comes the beep of buttons being pressed.


Yoh hears a cheerful electronic sound, terribly out of place in this

room, and sees the phone in her hand blink coldly. A new text message

has arrived.

She is powerless to stop herself from reading the characters on the



II"You're pretty, and your

breasts are so big and soft. I

bet they're good for attracting



Now she has her answer. The messages from Omi's phone were sent

by the thing that just mauled her breasts.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26001005"


Yoh curls up into a tiny, sobbing ball, unable to raise her  or even


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26001105"

"Oh God... please save me..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="26sys020"

The creature makes a burbling sound.K Yoh somehow understands that

it is laughing at her.


II"That must be how you

tempted Fuminori.K You tried

to steal him from me, didn't

you? Thief."


Something cold seizes Yoh's ankles, then travels slowly up her legs until

it has covered her entire lower body.

Some primal female instinct tells her exactly what is going to happen.

She will be raped, powerless to resist a fate worse than death.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26001205"

"Stop..." she pleads feebly, even though there is no hope that the

inhuman creature will be merciful.K name="瑶" class="瑶" src="26001305" "Please... not that..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="26sys021"

She hears its bubbling laughter again.

The thing is enjoying her sorrow -- her despair.

Yoh no longer has the strength to resist the monster on top of her. She

is only able to shiver in revulsion as the cold, slimy thing covers her body.

Her sight grows dim as her mind sinks deeper and deeper into a black,

swamp-like abyss.

Her breasts are toyed with, her nipples are sucked on, and a weight

pushes itself between her legs -- but it all seems to be happening far



((I won't kill you.))

Though her mind is now barely fiiunctioning, Yoh hears a  whisper

to her inside her head. It is the  of a young girl, sweet and sinister,

with the cruel innocence of a child gleefully plucking the wings from


((Instead, I'll let you share in our happiness. Rejoice, Yoh. We'll love

you to death.))

The soft  is a stark contrast to the unyielding strength that drives

irresistibly into Yoh's core.

The pain is sharp and savage, greater than anything she has ever felt



It should be unbearable, but there is no longer enough left of Yoh's

mind to recognize it as pain.


While she stares blankly at the thing slithering deeper and deeper into

her body, an idle thought floats through her fading consciouness.


III've... never been kissed...

have I...

-A HREF="sy13_01Cabin_Koji"







It has begun to snow by the time they pass Utsunomiya on the Tohoku



name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000102"

"I hope the roads aren't snowed out," Koji says.

In the passenger seat, Fuminori is gazing out of the frosted window in

silence. He's been in this trancelike state for almost an hour now.

Taking advantage of his inattention, Koji stares unabashedly at

Fuminori from the corner of his eye.K He still doesn't understand the

danger signals that he's been getting from him.

Fuminori has stopped avoiding Koji, and he's even looking him in the

eye when he talks. So why does he seem even more distant now than he

did when he was trying to push his friends away?

Fuminori's posture is noticeably relaxed, but his gaze never wavers, not

even for a moment. It's as though he is focused on a clearly-defined

future that he has chosen to bring about, one that has no place for the

needs or wants of others.

Right now, Fuminori is complete. Koji cannot help but feel that beneath

his bland exterior is a core of solid steel that no one can touch.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000202"

"About Omi," Koji says suddenly, trying to gauge Fuminori's reaction.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000302""It's been a week since she disappeared, and we still haven't heard from


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27000400"

"Oh," Fuminori replies curtly, still staring into the distance.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27000500" "That's not

good. I wonder what happened to her."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000602"


Fuminori's tone is completely emotionless. Koji might as well have

asked him about the weather or the condition of the mountain roads

near their destination.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000702"

"I asked you this before, but you're sure you don't have any idea what

happened to her?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27000800"

"Not a clue," Fuminori answers, in exactly the same tone that he used

when Koji first questioned him following Omi's disappearance.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27000902"

Koji's eyes narrow. "It's like you don't give a damn."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27001000"

"That's not true."K Finally Fuminori shows some emotion. He sounds

hurt, like he can't believe Koji could think such a thing.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27001100" "She disappeared

on the way to my place, didn't she? Of course I'm worried."


Sudden frustration wells up inside Koji. If possible, he'd like nothing

more than to beat the secrets out of Fuminori's head.

Koji is worried sick about Omi. To have his concern brushed off so

Fuminori, who was his best friend, it's...

Fuminori never used to be this callous. Even if Koji tried to interrogate

him, he'd probably never find out what changed him so.

If Fuminori were still just hiding inside the shell he'd erected around

himself after the accident, Koji might have been able to get some

answers out of him. With this sly, evasive Fuminori, however, there's

nothing Koji can do. Fuminori will never reveal his true intentions -- not

to anyone.

All that's left, then, is for Koji to discover the truth on his own.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27001202"

"Omi was going to talk to you about Tsukuba, you know."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27001300"


Fuminori smiles bitterly at the mention of Tsukuba's name, perhaps

feeling sympathy for her pain. To Koji, however, it seems like pity, the

sort one directs at an ant or a worm.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27001400"

"I wouldn't know what to say. To be honest, it's been hard to talk to

her after what happened."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27001502"



If Fuminori's feelings for Yoh were really this cold, then he would have

rejected her when she first confessed to him. But he didn't -- or at least,

the Fuminori before the accident didn't.

Once again, Koji can't help but wonder if this man who looks like his

friend is really a different person who only possesses the memories of

Sakisaka Fuminori.


The snow has stopped falling when they get off the West Nasu Flats

Interchange. This area must already be getting a lot of snow, however,

as the nearby mountains are covered in white beneath the trees.


By the time they turn off the highway and enter the mountains, road

conditions are already bad enough for Koji to regret having forgotten tire


Nevertheless, he continues to power his Accord up the precarious

slopes with only a road map to guide him.

In places like this, an address isn't enough to pinpoint a location. His

only choice is to drive down every road, including private roads that

aren't even on the map, while searching for something that matches the


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27001602"

"Who would buy a home in a place like this?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27001700"

"It's far from prying eyes. That must be why Dr. Ogai chose it."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27001802"


The more he hears about Ogai, the less Koji wants to meet him.


Fuminori is the one who spots the narrow road half-hidden in the trees.

It's practically an animal trail, overgrown with weeds that are tall and

strong enough to withstand the weight of the snow.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27001902"

"Is this really a road?"

Koji stops the car and sticks his head out of the window to stare into

the dark forest, but he can't see where the path leads through the

tightly-packed trees.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27002000"

"How does it look to you?"

Fuminori hands Koji the photo, which he compares to the mountain

ridges visible beyond the trees.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002102"

"Yeah, it's definitely the right angle."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27002200"

"Let's check it out."

Fuminori's tone is as flat as always, but there is a quiet intensity in his

that leaves no room for argument.

Although Koji is worried that his car's suspension won't be able to

handle the terrain, there's no turning back now. He shifts into second

and starts down the frozen road.


The sun sets early at high altitudes. As the car creeps up the mountain

path, Koji catches glimpses through the trees of the gradually darkening


The forest is completely still, with no sound save for the rumble of the

Accord's engine and the crackle of snow and brush beneath its tires.

Fuminori is once again staring silently through the front window.

In the ominous silence, Koji feels the same faint chill that he felt when

standing before Ogai's suburban home. It feels wrong, as though he is

traveling deeper and deeper into a world not his own.


After some time, a blocky shape suddenly appears amid the trees,

standing out against the twilight sky.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002302"


Koji turns off the engine and compares the structure in front of him to

the picture in his hand -- a perfect match.

Before he can tell Fuminori, however, his silent friend is already out of

the car.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002402"



Realizing that it's pointless to call out to him, Koji shakes his head,

grabs the flashlight from the glove compartment, and follows Fuminori

across the snow-covered yard.

The photo must not have been taken recently, as the old, run-down

cabin before them has clearly been left to the mercy of the elements for

some time.

The front door appears to be locked, but Fuminori kicks it down

without a second thought. Koji just watches, knowing that nothing he

could say now would matter.

box type="9"


All of the windows are shut with heavy curtains, and the gloom inside

is thick and stifling.

Fuminori turns on his own flashlight and starts rummaging through the

cabin without regard for its owner's privacy.

Koji is reluctant to do the same, but it is obvious that this mountain

retreat has been abandoned for a long time, just like the house in Tokyo.

There's no point in being considerate now. He goes to search a different



Soon after entering the cabin, however, he realizes that their search is


There's nothing inside but the bare necessities of life. Some rooms are

even completely empty, save for a thick layer of dust on the floor.

Of what few pieces of furniture are present, more than half appear to

have never been used. There's an empty chest of drawers without a

single scratch or handprint, but bearing the telltale signs of mold and

moisture damage.

The condition of the cabin is eerie, though in a different way than the

filthiness of the house in the city. It's like someone put together a

mockup of a home and then left it to decay.

The only signs that anyone lived here are found in the toilet, the bath,

the kitchen, and the bedroom.

It appears that the cabin was never used for anything but eating and



Beneath the darkened sky, the snow itself seems to glow with a cold,

white light. The siicene is like something out of a fairytale, but to Koji it

serves only as an unpleasant reminder that he has stepped outside of

the reality that he knows.

Next to the front porch is a plain wooden door half buried in the

ground. It's locked, of course, but Koji sees no reason for restraint after

what Fuminori did to the front door.

The door offers surprisingly little resistance to Koji's heavy kick,

breaking open to reveal a set of concrete stairs leading down into a

pitch-black basement.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002502"


Koji would prefer to leave such a forbidding place to Fuminori, but it's

not like he can just ask him to take his place.

He descends into the chilly darkness, the beam of his flashlight leading

the way.


There turns out to be nothing in the basement but a storage room and

a boiler, exactly what one would expect to find in an isolated mountain


The few packages of preserved food sitting on the shelves have long

since passed their expiration dates, and the boiler doesn't appear to

have been used in years.

Koji guesses that Ogai's mountain home has been abandoned longer

than the house in Tokyo.


Was Fuminori simply mistaken when he said that Ogai might be here?

Or was he lying from the beginning?

Not sure what to do next, Koji goes back up the stairs and walks

around the outside of the cabin -- and there he finds the backyard.


It's in much worse condition than the front yard, having been mostly

reclaimed by the forest. It must have been neglected even when the

cabin was still in use.

The remnants of a woodshed lie in the yard, the mushrooms growing

on it speaking to how much time has passed since its collapse. Next to

the rotten logs, however, stands a circle of stone that has not yet

succumbed to the elements.

A well.

The well has no bucket or pulley, and when Koji peers carefully into it,

he sees that the water is no longer flowing. It's probably less than ten

meters deep, depending on how much mud is piled up inside.

Koji's search of the cabin has revealed nothing of interest, inside or


Leaning against the edge of the well, Koji wonders why Ogai bought

this remote home deep in the mountains, and what he was doing here.

As far as Koji can tell, there's no sign that more than one person ever

stayed here.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27002600"

"It's far from prying eyes."

Fuminori's words play back in Koji's head. Could this have been some

sort of secret refuge, a place to remain hidden from the world? That

would explain why there's nothing to suggest that whoever lived here

did anything more than eat and sleep.

Koji suddenly remembers the doctor he met yesterday at T University.

Maybe she'd know something.

barely a signal, but it manages to get through.


Koji's hopes are soon dashed, however, when his call goes straight to

Dr. Tanbo's  mail.

He considers calling back later, but realizes that it would be hard to

talk to her with Fuminori around. Fuminori would not at all be pleased to

learn that Koji and Yoh went to see his doctor.

Koji decides that he'd better tell the doctor what he can while he's still


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002702"

"Hello, this is Tonoh Koji. Thank you for your help yesterday."

Koji leaves a clear and concise message, explaining that he went with

Fuminori to Ogai's mountain retreat, giving the address, and asking for

confirmation that the property belongs to Ogai.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27002802"

"I'll call again when I get back to Tokyo. Goodbye."


After hanging up, Koji thinks back to their visit to the hospital. Is Dr.

Tanbo actually investigating like she said she would? Her reluctance to

speak of Dr. Ogai is weighing on his mind.

He talked to Yoh about it on the way home, but they were unable to

decide whether the doctor could really be trusted.

Speaking of which, how is Yoh doing? Koji hasn't seen her today.

He didn't say a word to her about his trip to Tochigi. She might be

worried, especially so soon after Omi's disappearance.

Thinking to check up on her, Koji dials Yoh's number... and is surprised

when it rings longer than it usually does.

Did she forget her phone somewhere?

Just as he's about to give up, the call connects.


The first thing Koji hears is a strange sound. It's not signal

interference, but some kind of wet, distorted noise -- like the less

groans, or perhaps sobs, of someone far away.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27002905"

No, that's exactly what they are. The person on the other side is crying.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27003002"

"T-Tsukuba? Is that you!?"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003105"

"Who's... there..."

There's a response, but is it really Tsukuba's ? It's too twisted with

agony for Koji to tell.

Panic surges through Koji as he realizes that something is terribly


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27003202"

"It's Koji, Tonoh Koji! Is that you, Tsukuba? Where are you!?"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27002905"

After a short period of nothing but pained moans, words start coming

through the speaker one by one, as though each takes an act of will.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003305"

"I was... attacked... by a monster... and now...K name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003305_2" there's... something

wrong... with my... body..."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27003402"

"What!? What happened!? Are you alright!?"

Yoh must be delirious, because Koji can't understand a thing she's

saying. Her gasps and wheezes, however, are enough to tell him that

she's in unimaginable pain.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003505"

"I'm... rotting away... my skin... is melting...K name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003505_2" my... ear just... came off..."

She's not making any sense! Koji feels despair seize his heart in an iron


What is happening to Yoh now, a hundred kilometers away?

Only her  gives any hint of what she's going through. There's

nothing he can do for her.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003605"

"Help me... Koji... This...K name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003605_2" this isn't... how my... fingers... are supposed...

to look..."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27003702"

"Call the cops, Tsukuba! Call for help!"

NAME="瑶" SRC="27\003805"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="27003805"

"No! I can't... let anyone... see me... like this..."

Yoh suddenly breaks into a violent hacking cough, as though trying to

expel something filling her throat.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27003902"



Koji screams into the phone, his reason overwhelmed by unimaginable


Which is why he is unable to react when the phone is suddenly

knocked from his hand, and also why he didn't notice Fuminori sneaking

up on him until it was too late.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27004002"


Fuminori seizes Koji's lower jaw with his right hand, ciiutting off Koji's

angry shout. Koji can hardly believe the strength of the smaller man's

grip.K His biggest mistake was leaning back against the well. There is

nothing to grab onto as Fuminori pushes him backwards over the edge.

He can only flail his arms vainly against the air.


Koji soon loses his balance entirely.

He feels a terrifying weightlessness as the world spins before his eyes.

Before he can realize what has happened, his back strikes something

with tremendous force.

He thrashes wildly as cold, dirty water fills his mouth and freezes him

to the core. Only when his fingers find the wall of the well is he able to

regain his sense of direction and right himself.


On his hands and knees in the mud, Koji vomits filthy water out of his


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27004102"

"Fuminori..." he tries to shout, but it comes out as a hoarse groan,

distorted by the echo in the cramped space.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27004200"

Fuminori's laughter, on the other hand, is crystal clear.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27004300"

"Sorry for interrupting your call," he says scornfully. "Here, I'll return


Fuminori tosses Koji's phone into the well. Koji catches it just before it

hits him in the face, but finds that the battery pack has been removed,

rendering it useless.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27004402"

"What the hell are you doing!?"

This is no joke. It's a miracle that Koji is uninjured. He could easily

have broken his neck.

And just because he's not hurt doesn't mean that he's safe.

Koji feels around the inside of the well, searching for something to hold

on to, but the mud-covered stone offers no purchase. It's obvious that

he won't be able to get out without help.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27004500"

"Too bad the fall didn't kill you. Now you have to freeze to death. You

really have no luck, Koji."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27004602"

"You can't be serious..." Koji starts to say, but trails off as the pieces

finally come together in his head.

Today's sudden change in Fuminori's attitude -- that smile that always

seemed somehow malevolent. Fuminori hadn't been smiling at Koji, but

at the thought of his friend's death.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27004702"


He can't wrap his head around this turn of events.K Why would Fuminori

try to kill him?

True, Fuminori had wanted Koji to stay out of his business, but is that

really a motive for murder?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27004800"

"It's not that I needed you dead right now, exactly, but you might have

become trouble later on.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27004900" So I figured I might as well take advantage of

this remote location to, well..."


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27005002"

"Might as well? You're doing this on a whim!?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27005100"

"Do you really need a reason to die?" Fuminori replies coldly. He

sounds truly amazed that Koji would ask such a thing.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27005200" "What makes you

so special, Koji? People die for no reason at all. My parents did, and I

almost followed them."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27005302"

"You're crazy!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="27005400"

"Come up with your own reason, why don't you? You'll have plenty of

time down there."


Fuminori disappears from view, leaving Koji alone in the darkness with

nothing to connect him to the outside world.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27005502"

"Fuminori! Hey! Fuminori!!"

Koji shouts at the top of his lungs, knowing beyond a doubt that if

Fuminori leaves, all hope of rescue will vanish with him. No one will ever

hear him calling for help from the bottom of this mountain well.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="27005602"

"It's Tsukuba! She's in trouble! Hey, Fuminori! Listen! Get me out of


In his desperation, Koji no longer comprehends the futility of begging

for mercy.

No god or devil will answer him. His only hope is that Fuminori will

have a change of heart. Praying for a miracle, he keeps calling

Fuminori's name.


Eventually, the sky grows as dark as the bottom of the well. Koji can no

longer make out the edge of the opening, and he has long since lost

track of how many hours he has been screaming.

Nevertheless, he continues to scream, for he knows that the despair

silence brings will kill him.

-A HREF="sy14_01Home_Fuminori"







I feel great, the same feeling that you get when the last piece of a

difficult puzzle slides smoothly into place.

I have killed a man, and no one will ever know.


It is a long way back to civilization, but neither the cold nor the

exhaustion can ruin my good mood as I walk alone down the

snow-covered mountain road.

I was tempted to use Koji's car, but that would have introduced a flaw

into the plan. I don't want anyone to connect me to his disappearance.

The plan formed in my mind the moment that I realized how remote

the location was.K Even if I couldn't find anything to lead me to Dr. Ogai,

his absence would at least prove that the cabin had been utterly

abandoned -- in which case, it would be the perfect spot to take care of

a problem. I knew coming all the way out to Tochigi wouldn't be a waste

of time.


I didn't even need to use the meat cleaver hidden under my jacket. A

dry well -- it's like fate itself provided me with the perfect setting.K That

idiot didn't even realize the danger he was in, and his phone call

distracted him enough for me to take him by surprise.

Now one of the two people whose questions might have caused trouble

for me and Saya has vanished from the face of the Earth. All that's left is

to eliminate the other.

Tsukuba Yoh -- I mustn't underestimate her just because she's less

aggressive than Koji. Even she should be able to see a connection

between the disappearances of her two friends.

I suppose I should be thankful that it was Yoh to whom Koji was

talking on the phone. If he'd reported our location to a third party, I'd

have to track down and eliminate that person too.

I'm a little worried about what they were discussing, but judging by

how Koji was screaming into the phone, they probably weren't

exchanging detailed information. Either way, I'd better get rid of Yoh as

soon as possible.


After walking all night long, I finally reach the Nasu Flats station just as

the trains start running.


It only takes an hour to get back to Tokyo on the limited express. It's

not enough time to rest, but I'm too wound up for that to matter.

Besides, I don't want to waste any time thinking up a way to kill Yoh.


Using the cabin again would be too dangerous, and I'm not sure how

I'd get her out there in the first place.

I just exploded in her face the other day. I doubt that she'll be as quic

to trust me as Koji was, which means that it will be difficult to get her


I could just ask Saya for her opinion, but even I have some pride. I

want to show her that I'm a man who can take care of business.


Unfortunately, I'm unable to come up with anything before I get home.

Well, I suppose that I should just be proud of having dealt with Koji, the

immediate threat.

The search of Dr. Ogai's cabin was a bust, with no trace of his having

been there, but I see no reason to be frustrated. Saya isn't all that

concerned about the doctor's whereabouts, so looking for him is just

something to satisfy my own curiosity.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28000100"

"I'm home."

It's morning, half a day later than I normally get home, and the sound

of Saya running down the stairs tells me just how impatient she was for

my return. It makes me feel warm inside.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28000201"

"Welcome home, Fuminori!"

She throws her arms around my neck, her smile at least twenty

percent brighter than usual.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28000300"

"Sorry I'm late. There was a change of plans."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28000401"

"It's okay. I'm just about done with my preparations too."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28000500"


Saya responds to my confusion with a mischievous smile.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28000601"

"I'm getting a surprise ready for you."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28000700"

"What kind of surprise?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28000801"

"That's a secret. Anyway, aren't you tired? Do you want to eat or take a

bath first?"

I don't realize how hungry I am until Saya mentions it.K I walked all

night without a bite to eat, and now my stomach's emptiness becomes

painfully clear. However, I can't sit down to a leisurely meal while

covered in the dirt and sweat of the road.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28000900"

"I'd like to grab a quick snack and get in a long, hot bath first."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28001001"

"I thought you'd say that, so I got the bath ready. You must be cold

after being out all night."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001100"

"Yeah, I sure am."

I'm amazed by Saya's foresight. She's always ready to give me what I

want before I want it.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28001201"

"Sounds like you had a hard time."

While soaking in the bath together, I tell Saya about my adventure.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001300"

"Killing him was easier than I thought. The hard part was getting


The heat of the bath is soothing, as is the sensation of Saya leaning

back against my chest as she massages the fatigue out of my stiff leg


Her ciiute little collarbone rises each time she squeezes my legs, and I

can see the soft curves of her breasts floating in the water.

Ahh, I'm home. Contentment fills me. I don't even need to sleep to

relieve my exhaustion.

Just like the living room and the bedroom, the bathroom is painted in

the colors that Saya and I find pleasing. We've left the entrance and

hallway untouched just in case someone should see inside, so these

three rooms are the only places I can relax in my own home.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001400"

"It was cold in the mountains, even for winter. I should've worn

heavier clothing.k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001400_2" I was afraid I'd freeze to death when it got dark."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28001501"

"Why didn't you just take that Koji person's clothes?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001600"

"I pushed him into a well, remember? His clothes were with him at the


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28001701"

"Oh yeah."

Saya laughs and sticks her tongue out bashfully.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28001801"

"So now there's just that Tsukuba girl to worry about?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28001900"

"She's the only person I can think of who can connect me to Koji's

disappearance. After I take care of her, we can finally relax."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002001"


Saya glances at me over her shoulder like she knows something that I


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002101"

"Have you already thought of a way to kill her?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28002200"

"Well... I've been thinking about it, but I haven't come up with

anything yet. I was hoping that you might have some ideas."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002301"

"Leave it to me!" she says, grinning with unusual confidence.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002401" "I can

take care of her in ways you've never dreamed of. It's as good as done!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28002500"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002601"

"Okay, it should be ready by now." Saya's  is full of anticipation.

She rises from the bath, her naked body glistening through the steam.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002701"

"Come on, Fuminori. I have something to show you."


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28002801"

"Close your eyes, and don't open them until I say so. Okay?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28002900"



I have no idea what's going on, but I do as Saya says and close my

eyes. She takes my hand and leads me up the stairs.

my ears. I stiffen.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28003000"

"I-is there someone here?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003101"

"Don't worry. There's no danger."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28003300"



in every choked sob.K At first, I'm amazed that Saya would let someone in

our house after what happened two days ago, but then I realize that

something is strange.

Isn't Saya the only one whose  can carry such clear emotion to

me?K Although my eyes are still closed when Saya leads me into the

bedroom, my ears tell me that there is someone only a few feet away.

And yet, I smell none of the human body odor that normally turns my


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003401"

"Okay, time to say hello! Open your eyes, Fuminori."

I open my eyes... and am struck dumb by what I see.


Tsukuba Yoh is curled up on the floor, with not a scrap of clothing to

cover her shivering body.

When I first lay eyes upon her naked flesh, I am entranced by the

sensuality of her generous proportions, far more mature than I would

have expected from her usual pure and innocent appearance.

Wait, forget about that. Why is she in my bedroom, naked?

Moreover, why is she...

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003501"

"Well, Fuminori? How does she look to you?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28003600"

"She's beautiful, but why can I..."

It doesn't make sense.

This is the Tsukuba Yoh I remember, not the putrid creature whose

attentions I found so unbearable after the accident. My senses recognize

her as the human that she is.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003701"

"This girl loves you, you know."

I do know, but I've never told Saya.

How did she find out?

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003801"

"So I decided to change her body into one that you can love back."

Saya pauses to gauge my reaction, then continues with a satisfied nod.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28003901"

"I made her like me."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28004000"

"What? How?"

I still don't understand why Saya chose Yoh, but this last statement is

even more baffling.

She... changed Yoh?

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004101"

"Don't you remember what I said the other day? I can mold the bodies

of other living things."


Yes, I remember. She claimed to have done something to Suzumi's

brain.K I didn't doubt her sincerity then, but I suppose that some part of

me thought she was exaggerating. I hadn't seen her handiwork firsthand.

But now...

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004201"

"It was a big change this time, not like the little tweak I made to the

man next door. But this is how my abilities are really meant to be used.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004201_2"This was my first time doing it, though."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28004300"

"Is this... really Yoh?"

Yoh finally notices my presence and turns her head to face me. I see a

faint glimmer of recognition in her glassy, unfocused eyes. Her features

are exactly as I remember them. Incredible.

This is far beyond mere cosmetic surgery. Once a twisted creature

unrecognizable as human, Yoh is now the very image of human


There is no similarity between what she was and what she is, which

can only mean that she has become something utterly inhuman.

According to Saya... she has become what Saya is.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004401"

"No one on this planet knows more about the biology of Homo sapiens

than I do," Saya declares, her  full of pride for her first creation.

"I've studied a lot!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28004500"

"Studied? How did you learn this? Who taught you? When?"

She couldn't have learned it from Dr. Ogai. No teacher on Earth could

impart such knowledge or skill.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004601"

"Come on... Don't you remember what you've been filling me with

every night?"

Saya blushes.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004701"

"That's like a blueprint for the human body.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004701_2" I can decipher it, and then

I can bend it to my will."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28004800"


What is she, really? I've accepted that she isn't human, but there's

more to her than that. Saya is something that far transcends my species.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28004901"

"It was my first time, though, so I might've messed up a little."

When Saya approaches, Yoh trembles in terror and tries to crawl away,

but she is only able to flail her arms and legs wildly. It's like she doesn't

know how to move her own body.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28005005"

And the only sounds coming out of her mouth are frightened moans.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28005100"

"She can't talk?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28005201"

"Yeah," Saya sighs in mild disappointment. "I guess the change broke

suffered a lot. I feel kinda bad."K

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28005400"



Yoh looks up at me pleadingly, as though begging me to save her. She

is no longer able to ask me for help, though, or even to call my name.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28005501"

"Well?" Saya asks, her eyes shining with anticipation. "Do you like her?"

I am at a loss for how to respond.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28005600"

"What do you mean... like her?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28005701"

"You said you wanted family and friends, didn't you? That's why I got

you this present."

Her innocent explanation only confuses me further.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28005800"

"Present? Come on, she's not a dog."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28005901"

"There's not much difference. Her head is totally empty."

I'm happy that Saya wants to please me, but she could use a little

more common sense.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28006000"

"It's not that. Holding a person captive is probably a lot harder than

you think."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28006101"

"Don't worry about it. Look, I have her chained up."

The only thing preventing Yoh from being totally naked is the leather

collar around her neck. I have no idea where Saya got it from, but it's

the kind of dog collar that would be sold in any pet store. The chrome

chain is fastened to one of the bedposts.


Yoh tries to get away again, but Saya sends her sprawling with a tug

of the chain.k name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28006205" Yoh tumbles to the floor, squealing in pain. Her actions are

those of an unintelligent animal, just as Saya said.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28006301"

"She doesn't have the brains to escape or get help.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28006301_2" See? There's

nothing for you to worry about."

Saya has a point.

I was wracking my brain for a plan to kill Yoh, but now my problem

has been solved in a way that I could never have imagined.

If a normal person looks upon her now, they'll probably see no trace of

the old Yoh. And if she has no memories and can't even speak... then it's

perfect. Saya has killed Yoh without taking her life.

Though there's still the problem of what she means by "giving" Yoh to


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28006401"

"You're not happy?" Saya asks dejectedly, her confidence suddenly

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28006600"

"No, but..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28006701"

"I can take good care of her all by myself. I won't let her make things

difficult for you. So can she stay? Please?"

That's not it. The last thing I want is to reject this symbol of Saya's


But how can I explain to Saya why I'm trying not to look at the naked

woman writhing on the floor?


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28006800"

"It's not that."

Yoh is the first human figure besides Saya that I've seen in the three

months since the accident, and she's a woman -- a woman positively

glowing with voluptuous feminine beauty.K Of course I'm happy, but I

also can't ignore the  of reason that's telling me not to be.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28006900"

"I'm happy, really, but if I show how pleased I am, I'm worried that


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007001"


Saya looks puzzled, as though she has absolutely no idea what I'm

getting at.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007100"

"I mean, look. She's still a girl, right?k name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007100_2" Don't you... balk at the thought of

me living with another girl?"


After considering this briefly, Saya finally seems to understand what

I'm trying to say.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007201"

"Ahaha, of course not! You worry too much!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007300"


Maybe I am worrying too much, although I'm pretty sure that I'm just

showing the consideration that any man who's sworn his love to a

woman would show.

Or maybe Saya doesn't understand that a man faced with a woman's

naked body can't help but react regardless of his feelings.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007401"

"Aha, how funny! You really are kind, Fuminori."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007500"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007601"

"I only did this so that she could please you.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007601_2" If you like her and enjoy

spending time with her, then I'll be happy too.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007601_3" You have nothing to be

shy about."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007700"

"I hate to say this, but..."

I struggle to find the right words to express my true feelings.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007800"

"Men are, well... really depraved creatures, and...K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007800_2" I mean, Yoh's body

has features that yours doesn't, right?K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28007800_3" So... even though it's nothing like

my love for you... I can't help but, um, get aroused."

With each word that I squeeze from my lips, Saya's grin grows wider

and wider, until finally she starts shaking with laughter.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28007901"

"I know, I know!" Saya exclaims jovially, patting my shoulder with one

hand and wiping tears from her eyes with the other. "There's no reason

worried, let me join in when you play with her. We can enjoy ourselves

in ways that we couldn't when it was just the two of us. Okay?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28008100"

"Are you sure?" I ask again, as though trying to force her to say no.


Saya answers me with a smile whose like I have never seen before.K It

is calm -- so terribly calm -- and there is something bewitching about

the soft set of her lips that sets it apart from her usual bright, childish


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28008201"

"You and I are lovers, and Tsukuba Yoh is our pet.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28008201_2" She will be

reminded of that when we play with her -- every day, from now on."

I finally know why Saya chose Yoh, for the venom in her  and

smile does not escape me.

Although she can no longer answer, if asked, Yoh would surely have

chosen death over this fate. And that is the very reason Saya visited it

upon her.

How wicked and terrible Saya is.

Perhaps others would fear and loathe her. I, however, find her

malevolence irresistibly charming.

The horrifying cruelty of what she has done to Yoh is so very human.

Though her shape may be different, her soul is the same as ours.

When I look upon Yoh's wretched form, I see the intensity and passion

of Saya's love for me -- for the flames that have consumed Yoh are

fueled by that very love.


I find myself enthusiastically accepting Saya's present.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28008300"

"Do you like this pet too?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28008401"

"Yeah. She's very pretty, and feels good to touch."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28008500"

"So you'll enjoy playing with her too, right? I don't have to hold back,

do I?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28008601"

"Of course I will!"

Grinning happily, Saya grabs the chain and pulls Yoh to her feet.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28008705"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28008801"

"Try touching her, Fuminori. She's really nice and soft."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28008900"


As Yoh looks up at me with teary, pleading eyes, I approach and let my

gaze roam freely over her lush body and ripe breasts.

I run my fingers through her hair, finding it as smooth as Saya's.

Enjoying the feel, I continue to caress Yoh's head.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28009005"


Her fearful expression softens a little. Perhaps she remembers me in

some part of her mind, and believes even now that I will be kind to her.

How foolish.


I stop stroking her hair and calmly seize both of her breasts.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28009105"

She flinches in pain at the sudden rough treatment, but I ignore her

and continue to knead her breasts as my lust demands.

They're incredibly soft. When I squeeze them, it's like my fingers are

being sucked inside.

I can't get this feeling from Saya's tight, slender body -- and, besides, I

would never think of treating her delicate frame so harshly. Yoh,


I grab her full breasts from underneath and squeeze them like tubes of

toothpaste, then give her nipples a little tweak.K name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28009205" Yoh squeals, unable to

handle the pain.

Even a little force can be painful when applied to a sensitive area, and

I'm being more than a little forceful. I pinch her nipples between my

thumbs and index fingers then twist hard, listening as Yoh's screams get

louder and she gasps for air.

Having my way with a woman is more fun than I thought.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28009301"

"Fuminori," Saya says from the sidelines, "it looks like you're all ready to


burst free.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28009401"

"Which do you prefer? A soft, curvy body like hers, or one like mine?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28009500"

"Hmm... As far as bodies go, probably this one."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28009601"

"That makes me a little jealous," Saya complains, pouting adorably.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28009700"

"You're the one who said you didn't mind. Come on, join in."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28009801"

"Yeah, let me play with her!"

Saya presses up against Yoh's back and grabs her breasts from behind.

Following my lead, she wriggles her fingers against Yoh's breasts,

taking full advantage of their softness.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28009901"

"Aha, this never gets old!"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28010005"


The tears in Yoh's eyes and the sight of her breasts changing shape

under Saya's hands cause a new sadistic desire to well up within me.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28010100"

"Alright, let's try this."

I pull off my slacks and put the tip of my hard manhood against Yoh's

breasts, then begin sliding it into the space between them.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28010200"

"Saya, bring them closer together."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28010301"

"Okay, like this?"

Understanding what I want, Saya squeezes Yoh's breasts around my

shaft. The sensation is astounding.

As Saya uses Yoh's breasts to press on me from the outside, I plow

through the center with my penis.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28010405"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28010501"

"Does it feel good, Fuminori?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28010600"

"Yeah, it sure does."

The softness and warmth of Yoh's breasts is different from that of

Saya's vagina, a heretofore unknown pleasure that is swiftly driving me

to climax.

With each stroke, she cries out in fear as the stiff head of my penis

stabs her in the face like a dark red weapon.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28010700"

"Saya... harder."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28010801"

"Um, like this?"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28010905"


Yoh jerks in agony as Saya crushes her breasts against my cock.

Her convulsions combine with the sensation of Saya's hands coming

through the softness of her breasts, and the feeling of being serviced by

both of them at once brings my pleasure to the breaking point.

My lust erupts right in Yoh's face.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28011005"


The sudden explosion covers her entire face with my hot seed.

Yoh shakes her head violently, trying in vain to escape from the sticky

goo dripping from her eyelids and nose.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28011101"

"Wow, that's a lot," Saya says, staring at Yoh's face with a mixture of

awe and envy.


Then Saya grabs Yoh's head, pulls it to her, and starts lapping my seed

off of Yoh's face like it's the most wonderful thing in the world.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28011201"

"All of this belongs to me."

Even as Saya tries to lick it all off, some of it drips into Yoh's mouth, name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28011305"

causing her to choke as it runs down her throat.

NAME="瑶" SRC="28\011305"(咳き込む声、要収録)

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28011401"

"Hey, stop that! You can't have any!"

Saya desperately presses her lips against Yoh's and thrusts her tongue

into Yoh's mouth, sucking up all of the semen inside.

When she pulls away with a wet sound, a sensual strand of saliva and

other fluids connects them briefly.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28011501"

"You don't get to have any," Saya says with satisfaction as she swallows

my sperm. "It's aaaall mine."

Yoh looks on Saya's bewitching smile with fear-clouded eyes. She

obviously has no idea what's going on.

The sight of these two women passionately exchanging fluids fills my

loins with hot lust once again.

Yoh's breasts aren't enough. Saya went to the trouble of giving me this

sent, so I'd better take full advantage of it.


Abandoning Yoh's breasts, which are red and inflamed from the friction

of Saya's fingers and my penis, I run my hand down her stomach and

slide my fingers between her legs.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28011605"


As I touch her most sensitive place, her entire body stiffens as though

hit with an electric shock. My fingers feel the unmistakable honey

seeping from her inner folds.

Despite what has been done to her, this woman is wet.K This realization

purges my mind of any remaining respect for Tsukuba Yoh, replacing it

with the affection one feels for a pet.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28011700"


Ignoring her cries of pain, I push Yoh to the floor and lift her left leg

into the air.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28011805"


I raise her leg until it's almost perpendicular to the floor, giving me a

good view of her vagina.

Yoh probably can't feel shame anymore, but she does seem to

understand how vulnerable she is in this position. She tries to get away

from me, panting like a hunted animal.


While holding her firmly in place, I get on my knees and straddle her

right thigh, then poke my manhood against the dripping entrance to her


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28011905"

She screams when I make contact with her sensitive mucous


Her tunnel still isn't wet enough to accept me without difficulty, but

that doesn't matter. My shaft is more than hard enough to force its way


After enjoying Yoh's panicked reaction to the impending threat of pain,

I thrust myself in to the hilt.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28012005"


She must not have been sufficiently prepared, as her choked scream is

like that of a dying animal. In fact, it reminds me of how Suzumi

screamed when I stabbed him with my knife.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28012105"

"Uhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!"

Yoh struggles to escape from the painful object invading her.K But with

me sitting on her right leg and her left leg in the air, she can't move her

lower body at all. No matter how hard she flails her arms and twists her

torso, she can't escape from me.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28012205"

"Hau! Kuhhhh!"

Powerless to resist, she can only ride out each brutal thrust of my hips.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28012301"

"Looks painful," Saya says, peering curiously at Yoh's tear-streaked face.

The sensation of Yoh's inner walls is completely different from Saya's.

Despite her immature appearance, Saya's vagina is surprisingly soft

and flexible, always sucking me in like a hungry serpent. Yoh's, on the

other hand, is clearly unaccustomed to intrusion. It's still hard and tight,

and isn't producing enough lubricant to match the speed of my thrusts.

That said, such strong resistance can be a source of pleasure for the one

exploring undiscovered territory.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28012401"

"Is she pleasing you?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28012500"

"You could say that."

Her vagina alone isn't as satisfying as Saya's, but the rest of her

voluptuous body offers different riches to plunder.

The hypnotic quivering of her thighs as she trembles beneath me --

the sight of her breasts heaving like storm-tossed ships -- these sights

and sensations are enough to stimulate my basest lusts.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28012601"

"Hehe, I'll join in too."


Saya straddles Yoh's side, pressing her clitoris against Yoh's hipbone.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28012701"


Saya gasps in pleasure as the tremors caused by my ravaging of Yoh's

insides are transmitted into her body.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28012801"

"How ciiute..." Saya murmurs dreamily, rubbing Yoh's breasts with her

left hand. "She's so adorable..."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28012905"


Yoh's moans start to become more rhythmical and passionate.

She must be beginning to find my movements pleasurable, as her

insides are now wet enough for me to slide through easily.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013001"

"Fuminori," Saya calls to me in a breathless  as she pleasures

herself on Yoh's body. "When you're about to come..."

She doesn't need to finish to make her desire clear.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28013100"

"Yeah, I know. Don't worry."

Saya shamelessly slides her slender waist between me and Yoh, the

glistening dew dripping from her groin speaking to her readiness.


Racing to the finish, I pick up the pace of my thrusts. Once again, Yoh

is forced to gasp for breath.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="28013205"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28013300"

"Saya, I'm..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013401"

"Okay! Come, Fuminori!"

The blazing hot orgasmic fire races down my spine.

Having reached the moment of truth, I release my grip on Yoh and

push her away, then seize Saya's buttocks with both hands.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013501"


Responding to her cry of anticipation, I pull her to me and drive my

exploding penis into her soaking hot core.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013601"


Saya accepts my raging manhood, screaming in both pain and ecstasy.

Surrounded by the familiar hot and soft embrace of Saya's body, I fill

her with the seed of my lust that she so desperately desires.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013701"


Saya convulses and collapses into my chest, smiling contentedly as she

surrenders herself to the fire filling her womb.

Still breathing hard after my ravaging of her body, Yoh gazes at us

with dazed, uncomprehending eyes.

Sprawled atop each other, smelling of sweat and sex, we savor for a

while the calm left in the aftermath of our orgy.


Later, as I lie on my bed completely drained of energy, I consider what

my life will be like from now on.

Saya is resting in my arms. Yoh is curled up on the floor. Yesterday, I

could not have imagined that the three of us would be a family.

A new home, new food, a new family -- all granted to me by Saya. She

has selflessly led me from the brink of death to find new joy amid


And I, too, have changed.

I have killed two people with my own hands, and made a third my

mindless slave. Yet despite all that I have done, I am still able to sleep

peacefully. Without a doubt, I am no longer the Sakisaka Fuminori I

once was.

How far will Saya take me?K What will I become?

I feel somewhat unsure, though not discouraged, about the unknown

I ask,K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28013800" "Saya... just what are you?"

I don't expect an answer. If Saya is asleep or doesn't want to respond,

I won't mind.


Saya lifts her head, however, and draws my gaze into the deep pools

of her eyes.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28013901"

"It's... kind of hard to explain."

She thinks for a while, searching for the right words, then says simply,

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014001"

"You know the dandelion flower? The one that scatters its seeds on the


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28014100"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014201"

"The wind carries those fluffy seeds far, far from where they were

born.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014201_2" What if one of them ends up in a desert where not even a single

blade of grass is growing?K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014201a" If you can imagine how that lone seed will

feel...K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014201a_2" then you might be able to understand me."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28014300"


As I consider Saya's answer, she continues her story.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014401"

"That seed is still a baby flower. If it does its best, it can turn even a

desert into a garden.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014401a" Maybe that little seed will decide to thrive.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014401a_2" Maybe it

will decide to grow and multiply, so that it can turn the whole desert

into a field of dandelions.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014401a_3" What do you think can give it the strength to

do so?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28014500"

"What?" I whisper, entranced.

Saya smiles softly and caresses my cheek.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014601"

"All it needs... is to be loved by just one person in the whole desert.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014601a" All

it needs is to be told how pretty dandelions are."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28014700"


The loving touch of her slender fingers fills me with peace and joy.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014801"

"I... love you."

I pull her into my chest, nodding silently.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="28014901"

"Stay with me forever. Never leave my side."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="28015000"

"Of course."


Basking in the soft warmth of our love for each other, we sink into the

oblivion of sleep.

-A HREF="sy15_01Cabin_Koji"







He has been buried alive.

His world is the silence and cold of the grave.

Ever since his  gave out and he lost the strength to scream, no

coherent thought has passed through Koji's mind.K Perhaps this is his

brain's way of protecting him from despair.


Instead, he dreams.

Images flash before his eyes. Random, unconnected siicenes from his

memories as well, but even these are pleasantly warm compared to the

death that is now encroaching upon him.

He dreams of mountains.

His older brother once took him hunting for insects when he was a

child. They sealed their caught butterflies in a plastic bag, only to later

find themselves holding a bag of dead butterflies.

He dreams of his lover.

They met at a mixer, where he'd been the only one to realize that she

couldn't hold her liquor. After she'd had too much to drink, he looked

after her while she vomited in the back alley. They toasted each other

with canned juice, and then...


He dreams that he is diving into a dark sea.

When he reaches the bottom, he looks up to see the moon shining

through the surface of the water. As he gazes up at the circle of light,

entranced by its roundness and brilliance, the distant rumbling of an

engine reaches his ears.

Something still conscious within him tells him that this dream is wrong.

((Have I ever gone diving... at night before?))

The dots begin to connect in his mind, forming a barrier to separate

his dreams from reality.

What is bothering him?K Of course, the sound.K The engine noise

gradually fades to a low idling, then abruptly gives way to silence,

followed by the sound of a door opening and closing.

This isn't a dream. These sounds are real.


Understanding comes like a sudden blow.

This isn't the bottom of the sea, and that circle of light isn't the moon.

It's the mouth of the well. The sun has already risen, and someone is

right outside with a car.

The last piece falls into place, and he becomes Tonoh Koji once more.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30000102"

"Help!" Koji shouts, surprised by how easily his  emerges. His

desperation blocks out the pain of his raw throat.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30000202" "Hey! I'm down here in

the well! Help me!!"

He keeps screaming with all of his might. Soon, the echoes in the

cramped well become deafening, and he is no longer certain if his

screams have meaning or if he is just howling wordlessly.

Nevertheless, he continues. His only desire is to be heard, lest he die

forgotten at the bottom of this well.


Koji's wait is not long, but even a minute feels like eternity when you're

hanging by your fingertips on the edge of despair.

Soon, the circle of light above him is partially eclipsed by the silhouette

of a person staring down into the well.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30000306"

"Tonoh? You alive down there?"

It is a woman's . Koji has heard it somewhere before, but for

some reason cannot remember to whom it belongs.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30000406"

"Just hold on. I'll get you out."

The silhouette vanishes, restoring the light to a perfect circle. Fear of

being left alone again threatens to send Koji into a panic, but his reason

has recovered enough to resist.

((She said she's going to get me out. I haven't been abandoned.))

While waiting, he gingerly tests his body, which he had forgotten all

about until now.

His joints ache, and his fingers and toes are numb, but though

exhausted, he's still in one piece.

After some time, the silhouette reappears at the top of the well.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30000506"

"Are you hurt? Can you climb a rope on your own?"


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30000602"

"No... I don't think so."

Koji lacks the confidence to attempt such a feat. His frozen fingers can

barely move.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30000706"

"Hmm... oh well. I'm coming down!"

After a brief pause, the owner of the  tosses a knotted climbing

rope into the well.

He grabs the rope as soon as it reaches him. The rough threads bite

into his palm, and relief nearly overwhelms him at the sensation. This is

really happening. He's really safe.

Now that he's free from despair, questions leap to the forefront of his

mind. First among them, who is his savior?

The rope shakes as the woman climbs carefully down, the beam from

the floodlight slung over her shoulder pushing back the shadow cast by

her body.

Soon she is standing in the same mud as Koji, and he finds himself

face to face with...

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30000802"



name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30000906"

"Were you expecting someone else?"

Koji could not have imagined that his savior would turn out to be Dr.

Tanbo Ryoko, neurosurgeon at the T University Medical Center.K Of

course, it took him a moment to recognize her. Instead of a white gown

and tight skirt, she is wearing a heavy leather coat, denim jeans, and

boots with no heel. She must have expected a hike through the

mountains.K Her light is a blocky all-purpose type featuring side-mounted

flourescent runners in addition to the main floodlight -- survival gear,

and professional-grade by the look of it.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30001006"

"You look awful," Dr. Tanbo says wryly as she gives Koji a once-over.

"Here, drink this."

She pulls a flask out of her pocket and hands it to him.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30001106"

"Go slow. Take small sips. It should help a little."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30001202"

"T-thank you."

She walks around with a flask? Maybe Koji's just old-fashioned, but it

doesn't seem appropriate for a young woman, and a doctor at that.


Nevertheless, he unscrews the cap and takes a swig -- and struggles to

keep from coughing as the potent liquid sears his tongue.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30001302"

"W-what is this!?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30001406"

"Spirytus vodka. Good for disinfecting wounds in a pinch, and also does

a fine job of setting things on fire."

Her tone is straightforward and quite serious. Koji can only gape at the

doctor, the dark smile on her face doing little to ease his confusion.

Is this really Dr. Tanbo?

There's no trace of the bookish, mild-mannered woman Koji met at the

hospital. Her expression is now set in a hard mask, and her eyes are

sharp and wary.

In the darkness at the bottom of the well, it is possible -- however

unlikely -- that the change in her features is due to the ominous

shadows cast by her lamp. It's not so easy, however, to explain the

change in her demeanor.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30001502"

"Um... why are you here?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30001606"

"You called me, didn't you?" Ryoko replies brusquely, glaring at Koji like

an annoyed professor.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30001706" "I tried calling back, but you didn't answer.

Neither did your friend Tsukuba. Am I supposed to think everything's


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30001802"

"N-no, but..."

Koji still doesn't understand why she acted so quickly, but it's a

different part of what she just said that seizes his attention.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30001902"

"Wait, Tsukuba!? You called her too?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30002006"

"Like I said, she didn't pick up either. To be honest, I figured you were

both corpses already."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30002102"


That's right. He almost died, and at the hands of the man he thought

was his best friend.

Anger and frustration well up inside of him. He can't forgive Fuminori's

And now he has no idea if Tsukuba is safe. Fuminori tried to kill Koji.

Could he have done the same to her?

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30002206"

"Calm down, why don't you?" Ryoko says irritably, turning away to

examine the inside of the well. "There's nothing you can do from here."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30002302"

"If you thought something was wrong," Koji says to her back, "then you

must have called the police, right?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30002406"

"The police?"

Still engrossed in her examination of the walls, Ryoko laughs scornfully

at the idea.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30002506"

"So you still think that's the way out, do you?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30002602"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Annoyed by her condescending attitude, Koji is about to demand

answers when she ciiuts him off with a gesture and shines her light at a

corner of the well.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30002706"

"You didn't notice this, Tonoh?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30002802"


In the light of the lamp, Koji sees that some of the stones are a

different shade than the rest of the wall. This must be what Ryoko was

looking for.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30002902"

"Huh? No, there wasn't enough light."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003006"


Ryoko's gaze moves slowly along the wall, finally coming to rest on a

gap between two of the stones. The hole is just wide enough for an

adult to reach into open-handed.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003106"

"You sure picked the right well to fall down," Ryoko says with a grim

smile. "Like they say, it's always the last place you look."

She wastes no time thrusting her hand into the opening.K After she

coming together behind the wall.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30003202"


Ryoko pulls her hand out and gives the different-colored stones a

smoothly back into the wall.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003306"

"So that's how he fooled me. I had no idea this was here the last time I


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30003402"

"You've been here before?"

Koji wants answers, but Ryoko ignores him and peers into the opening.

In the beam of her floodlight, Koji can see a concrete tunnel leading into

the mountain.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003506"

"I'm going on ahead, Tonoh. You'd better stay here." Her warning is

simple and utterly devoid of warmth.

Considering his options, Koji looks from the tunnel to the rope and bac


He's practically sweating now, thanks to the 190-proof vodka he just

drank, but although feeling has returned to his fingers, he still doesn't

have the strength to climb.

That said, the thought of being alone in the well again makes him


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30003602"

"I'll go too. Please take me with you."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003706"

"Heh, have it your way."

Ryoko steps into the tunnel without looking back, and Koji doesn't


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30003802"

"You were pretty different the last time we met," Koji says sarcastically,

following Ryoko as she moves cautiously down the tunnel with her light

leading the way.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30003906"

"This isn't the hospital, and you're not my patient. This service doesn't

come with a smile."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30004002"

"So this is who you really are?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004106"

"I wonder. Does it matter?"

Ryoko suddenly stops and stares at the floor. When Koji looks over her

shoulder, he sees a dust-covered rope lying coiled up in the middle of

the path.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30004202"

"What is it?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004306"

"Something left by the last guy who came down that well."

Ryoko picks up the rope, examines it, and hands it to Koji.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004406"

"It's about twice as long as my rope. It has a knot in it, and both ends

have been severed. They were connected before to make a circle."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30004502"


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004606"

"You loop one end of the circle around something topside, then use the

rest to climb down into the well.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004606_2" When you're at the bottom, you ciiut the

circle open and pull the whole rope in with you. No trace of your descent

is left behind."


Ryoko shines her light down the tunnel, revealing that it ends in a

closed wooden door about ten meters ahead.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004706"

"That's how he avoided detection. Really got me good."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30004802"

"You said you've been here before?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30004906"

"Yeah, you and Sakisaka aren't the only ones," Ryoko says dryly. "I

checked Ogai's cabin a while back."


As Ryoko speaks, she opens her coat and pulls out what she had

hanging underneath it.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005006"

"If there aren't any other exits... then he's still behind that door."

At first, Koji thinks that she is holding a steel pipe. Amazed that she

would be carrying a weapon, Koji looks closer -- and is appalled when he

realizes what it really is.

A gun.

And not one of those sleek handguns that he's seen in the movies, but

a double-barreled shotgun. The stock and barrels have been sawed

down for easier concealment, enhancing its aura of brutal efficiency.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30005102"

"What is that!?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005206"

"A twelve-gauge shotgun," Ryoko replies blandly, as though naming a

brand of cigarettes.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005306" "I don't have a permit, and ciiutting it down would be

illegal even if I did. Any other questions?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30005402"

"What are you planning to do with that thing?"


Ryoko looks over her shoulder and gives Koji her most chilling smile yet.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005506"

"When I first learned what Ogai was doing, I was a model citizen. I'd

never even gotten a ticket."

The woman whom Koji believed was just a normal doctor waves her

sawed-off shotgun menacingly as she continues, her tone sharp and


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005606"

"If I'd had this back then, I could've killed Ogai before he got away.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005606_2"Maybe then none of this would have happened. I feel bad about that,


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30005702"


Koji listens in silence, helpless to do anything but watch as

understanding moves farther and farther out of his grasp.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005806"

"In other words, everything I do from here on out is to clean up this

mess that you and your friends have stepped in.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005806_2" Remember that, and

don't ask any unnecessary questions. Got it?"

Koji can only nod weakly in response.


With the light in her left hand and the shotgun in her right, Ryoko

walks up to the door and takes a deep breath.

Then she kicks the door open, putting her full weight behind the blow.


With a disappointingly feeble sound, the door breaks off of its hinges

and falls into the room. Dust billows like white smoke in the beam of

Ryoko's light.

The room is large, at least thirty-five meters square. The tiled floor is

set with drainage grates, and there's no mistaking the operating table

sitting in the middle of the room. Cabinets full of enamelware and drugs

line one side of the space, and against the opposite wall stand a writing

desk and bookshelves.

Even Koji can recognize that much. The mysterious objects cluttering

the tables and shelves, however, are beyond his comprehension.

Mirrors delicately engraved with complex patterns, grotesque statues

and masks that must have been left by a race of savages, tapestries

woven in nauseating arrays of color, a crystal ball the size of an infant's


Any would fetch a hefty price at an antique store, if not for the one

thing they all have in common. Every last piece is so loathsome and foul

that Koji feels sick just looking at it. It's as though each was designed for

the sole sinister purpose of immortalizing its creator's hatred of the


Rare-looking books of the sort that he found in Ogai's home are piled

here and there, and on one shelf are stacked some scrolls that look to be

made of some kind of sheepskin or papyrus -- whatever it is, it's not


Finally, there are the indecipherable chalk patterns and symbols filling

every available space on the walls. Even the two sliding blackboards are

covered in strange, unreadable scribblings. Just looking at them is

making Koji dizzy.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30005906"

you do, don't touch anything. Even if something draws your attention,

don't look at it.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006006_2" If you see something that feels wrong, stare at your

shoes. Got it?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30006102"


Ryoko switches her light's flourescent runners on and sets it on a

nearby table where it can illuminate the whole room. She then holsters

her shotgun, only to pull out an even more confusing set of tools -- a

digital camera and a can of spraypaint.

She gives the can in her left hand a good shake, switches the camera

in her right hand on, and steps up to the blackboard while looking at the

covers it with a thick layer of paint, then moves on to the next.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30006202"

"Um... doctor?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006306"

"Lesson one. Never look at strange symbols or read anything written in

unusual languages like Latin.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006306_2" Use a camera to record them for later

examination, then paint over the real thing."

Now that she mentions it, Koji realizes that she's only looking at the

screen of her camera -- even then, only in short glimpses -- and never

directly at any of the drawings.

He understands what she's saying, but it still doesn't make any sense.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30006402"

"Why do you have to..."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006506"

"Now that you've come this far, you'd better shut up and listen for your

own good.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006506_2" Things like crystal balls and mirrors are dangerous. Anything

can happen if you break them, so it's best to cover them with a cloth or

paint over them for the time being."

Koji begins to fear that this doctor might be even crazier than Fuminori.

Despite the burst of energy he received from the vodka, Koji is still

exhausted from his night in the well.

The fear is affecting his body, making him dizzy and nauseous.

Soon, the walls are covered in black paint and the stale air is thick with

the smell of turpentine.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006606"

"That should do for now," Ryoko says with relief, then tosses the empty

can aside and puts away her video camera.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30006702"

"What happened to Ogai?" Koji asks, supporting himself against a

nearby table.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="30006806"

"Hm? Oh, he was over there."

Without stopping her examination of the papers on the writing table,

Ryoko points nonchalantly to a Chinese-style screen standing in one

corner of the room.

He "was" there. Her clinical choice of tense makes her meaning

instantly obvious.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="30006902"


to the screen, taking the utmost care not to look at the scaly

octopus-thing that is painted on it.

Behind the screen is a large easy chair. Although he's never met the

man before, Koji is fairly certain that the person sitting in it is Ogai



Ogai's corpse must have shrunk significantly while drying in this sealed

chamber. The body is barely the size of a child's, with only the business

suit hanging from the bones offering any hint of Ogai's former stature.

His empty eye sockets and wide-open jaw are filled with darkness --

the same darkness that surrounded Koji at the bottom of the well.

Compared to those gaping voids, the tiny hole in Ogai's right temple is

almost demure.

The revolver that he presumably used to kill himself is still clenched in

his dangling right hand. It looks like a child's toy compared to Ryoko's


Ryoko must have noticed Ogai's corpse while she was spray-painting

the walls, and still she kept working without batting an eyelash.

Impressive, though not exactly suprising after what he's been through.

It's getting difficult to remember the last time he spoke to someone sane.

But if not for her, Koji reminds himself with a bitter smirk, he would

have ended up joining this mummified corpse here -- and no one would

ever have found him.

Koji's vision suddenly dims.

He's pushed himself too hard, and the Spirytus vodka can't help him


consciousness, and the last thing he sees are Ogai Masahiko's gaping eye

sockets staring at him.

-A HREF="sy15_02Cabin_Koji"







When he wakes, Koji finds himself lying on something dry and soft.K A

bed is a bed, he thinks to himself, even one that smells of mold and

dust, and especially after sleeping in cold mud all night.K There are no

lights hanging from the ceiling, but the soft, warm light of a lamp fills

the room.

Simple furnishings, nonexistent decor -- Koji realizes that he's in Ogai's

cabin, in the bedroom that he searched before Fuminori pushed him into

the well.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000106"

"You awake?"

Ryoko is sitting in a chair against the wall, her expression blank as she

studies the pile of documents on the table in front of her. She must have

brought them up from Ogai's underground lab.

She turns a page, then takes a bite from the sandwich in her free hand.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000206"

"If you feel up to eating, there's food over there."

Without looking up from the files, she gestures towards the

convenience store bag sitting on the nightstand.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31000302"

"How did I get here?"

Koji can't imagine that a woman -- even a woman like Ryoko -- could

have climbed out of the well with him on her back.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000406"

"There was a sealed door behind one of the bookshelves down there,"

Ryoko mutters, taking care not to let the explanation interfere with her

reading or eating.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000506" "When I finally got it open, it led to the boiler room

underneath the cabin. The other side was hidden with a thin layer of

mortar.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000506_2"I figure that's how he got most of his supplies down there. Once

he had everything he needed, he could seal it up and use the well

instead. Pretty thorough."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31000602"

"Was there really something in there that he needed to hide?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000706"

"There used to be. This is the last of it."


Having finished her sandwich, Ryoko picks up some unsorted papers

with her free hand and waves them in the air.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000806"

"Not all scholars want to get on stage at a symposium and show their

research to the world, you know.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31000806_2" Some nutcases get their kicks by

learning secrets no one else knows, and by being buried with those

secrets in hidden tombs that no one'll ever find."

Koji still hasn't the slightest idea what Ogai's secret might have been.

From what Ryoko said in that tunnel, however, he can guess that

Fuminori is somehow involved.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31000902"

"What happened to Fuminori?" Koji asks desperately, no longer caring

who he gets answers from.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31001002" "What does he have to do with that body

down there? Just what is it that you're after?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001106"

"That's what I'm trying to find out," Ryoko replies coldly, as though

Koji's concerns are none of hers.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001206" "Sakisaka told me that he was acting on

behalf of one of Ogai's relatives."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31001302"

"Yes, he told me the same thing."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001406"

"Oh? Well, at least that's consistent."

Ryoko pulls several sheets of looseleaf paper from a different file.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001506"

"The truth is that Ogai has no relatives. I thought that Sakisaka was

simply lying.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001506_2" However, there was another possibility I should have

considered. He might have been tricked by someone claiming to be

Ogai's family."


Ryoko pauses, then looks sidelong at Koji.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001606"

"Does the name 'Saya' ring a bell?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31001702"

"Saya? No, who is that?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001806"

"Who -- or what -- is the question, but the more I read, the less I


She sighs bitterly, then returns her attention to the papers in her hand.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001906"

"All I can say for sure is that it appears to have been the focus of

Ogai's research.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31001906_2" If Sakisaka is involved with whatever 'Saya' is, then he's

already past the point of no return."


The icy certainty in Ryoko's  sends a chill down Koji's spine.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31002002"

"If so... then what will you do with him?"

He has to ask, even though he already knows the answer.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002106"

"It's like I said," Ryoko replies, smirking at the tension in Koji's . "I

have no idea how many times I've wished I'd killed Ogai when I had the

chance.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002106_2" I won't make the same mistake twice."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31002202"

"If I go to the police, it'll all be over!"

Ryoko doesn't respond, as though she didn't even hear what Koji just


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31002302"

"Fuminori tried to kill me," Koji continues persistently. "If I press

charges, he'll be arrested and..."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002406"

Ryoko ciiuts him off harshly. "You have witnesses? Proof? What was

Sakisaka's motive?K  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002506"You know, Tonoh, you're completely

misunderstanding what the police do.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002506_2" Their job isn't to fight for justice,

or even to keep people safe."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31002602"

"W-what are you saying?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002706"

"Finding reasonable explanations for unreasonable events -- that's what

the police are for.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002706_2" They will always choose to believe the simplest, most

logical explanation.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002706_3" Just like how water always flows downhill.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002706a" They

aren't interested in the truth. They don't know, or care, that the truth is

often stranger than fiction."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31002802"

"Surely they're not all like that! I won't know until I try!"


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31002906"

"Exactly," Ryoko states, as she pulls another sandwich out of the bag.

"That's the problem."

She hasn't spared Koji a second glance since looking at him earlier.

Even while talking, her attention is always focused on the papers in front

of her.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003006"

"Let's say you accuse your friend of pushing you into a well.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003006_2"In addition

to your statement, the police will consider two alternate versions of the

truth. Maybe you're making it all up to frame your friend.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003006_3"Or -- even

simpler -- it was an accident. You fell into the well by yourself, and the

shock has made you paranoid or delusional.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003006a"

These three possibilities will compete to see which comes out with the

most convincing evidence. No one knows which will be the winner.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003006a_2" Are

you willing to bet everything you have on your truth?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31003102"


Koji has no response.

Can he really explain with cold, clear logic what drove Fuminori to do

what he did? How can he convince anyone else when he doesn't even

understand it himself?


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003206"

"And here's the biggest problem." Ryoko says calmly, ciiutting into Koji's

thoughts.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003306" "While you're raising hell with the police, we'll lose our chance

to corner Sakisaka.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003306_2" If he sees trouble coming, he'll go into hiding. And

then we'll be right back at square one."

She pauses to take a bite of her sandwich before finishing.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003406"

"Just like when I let Ogai get away."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31003502"


A heavy silence falls upon them, with only the soft rustle of pages

turning in Ryoko's hands to mark the passage of time.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31003602"

"Please tell me, Doctor," Koji says, his hushed  breaking through

the quiet.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31003702" "What crime is so unforgivable that you're determined to take

justice into your own hands? What exactly did Ogai do in that room

down there?"

Once again, Ryoko ignores Koji's question. This time, however, Koji

doesn't back down. His silent glare demands her attention as she pores

through the documents before her.


After some time, Ryoko rearranges the papers in her hands and sets

her chair to face Koji for the first time since he awoke.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003806"

"Listen, Tonoh." Her hard stare belies the calmness of her .K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31003906" "You

need to get out of this while you still can. There are a lot of fine hot

springs around here. Go relax, and don't return to Tokyo until you're

ready to forget any of this ever happened."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31004002"

"Forget?"K Koji feels anger rise within him.K  name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31004102""Omi was my girlfriend.

Fuminori was my best friend. And you're telling me to forget about


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31004206"

"Yeah, forget about them," Ryoko replies, coolly rebuffing Koji's anger.

"This isn't a suggestion. It's a warning.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31004306" Whatever they were to you, that's

all over now. You'll never see them again. I guarantee it."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31004402"

"Then what about Tsukuba!?" Koji shouts, unable to control himself.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31004502""She begged me for help on the phone! Something terrible was

happening to her!"K

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31004606"

"And how many hours ago was that?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31004702"


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31004806"

"Do you know how much time has passed since I saved you? How

much longer do you think you would have lasted down there if I hadn't?"


She shakes her head, then declares coldly,  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31004906""It's too late. She's already

dead. Don't expect everyone to be as lucky as you."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005002"

"You heartless..." Koji growls, unable to suppress his anger.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005102" "If you'd

found me dead in that well, you wouldn't have thought anything of it,

would you?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31005206"

"I was prepared for that, of course," Ryoko says with a shrug, unfazed

by Koji's ire. "I hardly expected to find you alive."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005302"


It is futile to argue with this woman, Koji realizes. Her values are

fundamentally different from his own. Nothing he can say will ever move


Koji gets out of bed and stands on shaky legs.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005402"

"How long have I been asleep?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31005506"

"About half a day. I envy your ability to recover so quickly. It's a

privilege of youth, so enjoy it while it lasts."


Koji looks at his watch and sees that it's four in the morning, which

means that it was already early evening when Ryoko rescued him. He

can't believe that he survived in that well for almost two days.

Now that the gaps in his memory have been filled and his sense of

time has returned, he realizes that it's already Sunday morning. Ryoko's

right -- a lot of time has passed since he spoke to Yoh on the phone.

Koji grabs a sports drink and two jelly snacks from the bag of food that

Ryoko brought, then heads for the door. His legs are still a little

unsteady, but he can compensate for that with sheer willpower.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31005606"

"Just to make sure, mind telling me where you're going?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005702"

"Tokyo," Koji replies brusquely, his tone as hard as hers.K  name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31005802""Tsukuba

might still be alive. I'm going to save her."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31005906"

"You just don't listen, do you?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31006002"

"I could say the same about you."

Koji is expecting Ryoko to watch him go with that cold, mocking smile

of hers. Instead, however, she sighs heavily and rests her jaw in her


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31006106"

"Can't you wait a little longer? Somewhere in here," she thrusts her

chin at the mountain of papers in front of her,K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31006206" "is the answer to what

this thing called 'Saya' is. I think you should wait until I figure that out

and come up with a plan to deal with it."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31006302"

"You would think that, since you're already convinced that Tsukuba is



In truth, Koji is extremely uneasy about going it alone.

At the same time, however, he knows that he mustn't depend on

Ryoko. She's made it clear that she doesn't care about saving lives.

Teaming up with her will only make it more difficult to salvage

something -- anything -- out of this nightmare.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31006406"

got killed once already. Don't let it happen again."

She picks up something from the table and casually tosses it to Koji.

When Koji catches it, he feels its solid weight fill his hand.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31006602"

"This is..."

Koji stares at the menacing shape of cold metal.K It's a revolver, the

same one that was clenched in Ogai's skeletal fist.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31006706"

"It has four more shots. There's no safety, so just pull the trigger to

fire.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31006706_2" How you use it is up to you."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31006802"


If Koji were his usual cautious self, he would reject the dangerous

offering. Surely no good can come from the barrel of a gun.

And yet, without knowing it, Koji has already set foot into Ryoko's

world. Choosing instinct over reason, he accepts the small but deadly

weapon and slides it into his pocket.


There is no question that Koji intends to save Yoh and bring Fuminori

to answer for his crimes.

In the back of his mind, however, he can hear the footsteps of ruin



When he steps out of the cabin's front door, Koji shivers as the wind

tears into his skin.K To his surprise, the outside air is even colder than the

mud at the bottom of the well. Perhaps the cramped space mitigated

the cold somewhat. If he had been exposed to this chill all night long, he

would surely have frozen to death.

Koji finds two cars parked in the yard. The mini next to his Accord

must be Ryoko's.


When he sits behind the wheel of his car, he gets some relief from the

feeling that he has taken the first step, however small, back into his


He sips the sports drink, wetting his parched throat, then washes down

some jelly. His stomach rebels at the sudden influx of food after

thirty-six hours on empty, but he manages to force down the urge to


Koji needs the energy. No matter how hard it is, he must regain

enough stamina to overcome the challenges ahead.

After forcing down as much food as he can handle, Koji leans back in

his seat and takes a short break. When he begins to feel like himself

again, he reaches into the back seat and pulls his spare cell phone out of

his bag.

He never expected that carrying two phones would be such a stroke of


As he calls up Fuminori's number and prepares to hit send, Koji is

overcome by a flood of emotion.

Rage, despair, sorrow, pity -- he is unable to decide what to feel

towards his friend.

However, there is no time to dwell on he past. Every second lost

diminishes the chance of saving Omi and Yoh. Koji refuses to consider

that it may already be too late.

He steels himself and presses the button, then holds the phone to his

ear as it rings. The shrill sound seems to go on for longer than it ever

has in his life.

Right now, Fuminori's phone must be displaying the name of the caller.

Koji wonders what his reaction will be when he sees it.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31006900"


The call goes through.K In the silence on the other end of the phone,

Koji senses surprise, apprehension, and dark fury.K Feeling slightly

gratified, Koji delivers the first jab.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007002"

"What, you weren't expecting a call from a dead man?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31007100"

"What a surprise. How did you manage it?"

As Koji is about to answer, an idea suddenly comes to him.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007202"

"There was a secret passage in the well," Koji says, a plan forming

rapidly in his mind. "It led to a hidden underground lab."

He pauses to let that sink in. Then, with satisfaction filling his , he

says,K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007302" "I met Ogai Masahiko."


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31007400"


Fuminori's gasp tells Koji that the advantage is his. Keeping his

bold, he decides to further exaggerate the truth.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007502"

"I know it all -- everything about Saya. You're finished, Fuminori.k  name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007502_2"I've

got all the proof I need to blow this thing wide open. You won't even see

it coming."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31007600"

"You son of a bitch."

It's obvious from Fuminori's tone that rage has overwhelmed his

reason. Koji's bluff is working perfectly.

His victory is tainted, however, as Fuminori's response to the name

"Saya" brings a cry of anguish from the corner of his heart that still

wants to believe his friend can be saved.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31007706"

"If Sakisaka is involved with whatever 'Saya' is..."

Ryoko's words play back in his head, sounding even colder than before.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="31007806"

"...then he's already past the point of no return."

He mustn't allow emotion to sway him.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31007902"

"Where are Omi and Yoh?"

Koji suddenly switches topics, trying to keep Fuminori off balance. It all

comes down to this.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31008002"

"Depending on your answer, I might be willing to ciiut you a deal."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008100"


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31008202"

"If you swear not to cause any more harm, I'll forget about what you

did to me, and about what I found at the cabin.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31008202a" I don't want anything

more to do with you and Saya anyway. All I want is for Omi and Yoh to

be safe."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008300"

"Omi and Yoh..."

Fuminori's  trails off. He's obviously trying to decide how far Koji

can be trusted, and whether there's room for negotiation. Fuminori has

been called out, and now it's time for him to show his hand.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008400"

"I truly don't know anything about Omi. She never came by my house.

Yoh, on the other hand..."

Fuminori pauses, then gives a knowing chuckle that sends chills up

Koji's spine.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008500"

"Well... I wonder if she'll really want to leave."


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31008602"

"She's with you, isn't she?"

Koji is relieved to learn Yoh's location and that she is, at least, still alive.

At the same time, however, he remembers that horrifying phone call. It

is clear now that Fuminori played some part in Yoh's suffering.

Had she already fallen into his trap back then?

What has happened to her? How is she being treated?

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008700"

"Her wish has finally come true," Fuminori says with venomous

sarcasm. "She's my property now. I guess you and Omi got what you

wanted after all."

Koji feels despair settle over his soul.K How much lower will this man

go? Must Fuminori seek out and destroy every memory of the friendship

they once shared?

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31008802"

"Let Tsukuba go. When I'm sure she's safe, I'll destroy everything I

have on you and Saya."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="31008900"

"How can I trust you? First, I want you to..."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31009002"

"I'm not giving you a choice here, Fuminori."

Koji instinctively realizes that it's dangerous to push his bluff any



name="耕司" class="耕司" src="31009102"

"I'll call again later. You have until then to make up your mind."

He hangs up without waiting for a response.

Fuminori doesn't know that Koji is still at the cabin in Tochigi. Right

now, he's probably worrying about whether Koji will show up in one

hour or one minute. Koji hopes that he'll be able to take advantage of

Fuminori's confusion.

Three hours. That's how long it will take to race all the way back to


Koji is afraid that his body won't carry him through such a long drive.

His mind is clear, but his limbs still feel half-asleep, like they're

weighted down with lead.

Although he knows that he has to stay resolute, Koji still longs for the

peace he had just a few days ago, when life-or-death struggles were the

furthest thing from his mind.K Back then, he could never have imagined

himself fighting to rescue a friend from the clutches of a madman. With

each passing moment, he feels himself becoming less like the person he


When all of this is over, will he be able to return to his old life?

Or will this change continue until it has consumed him utterly?

Time is against him. Every second that passes is wasted.

Even so, he decides to allow himself just five minutes of weakness.

For exactly five minutes, he leans against the steering wheel and cries.

his Accord and drives away.

-A HREF="sy16_01Home_Fuminori"







NAME="瑶" SRC="32\000105"(フェラチオの舌音、ループ再生するため、長めに収録)

I stare at the silent phone in my hand.K There is anger, of course, but

something cold and heavy holds my emotions in check.

The sense of danger.K To be honest, I'm surprised at how calm I am.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="32000205"


Yoh looks up at me apprehensively, her head between my thighs. She

was attending to my manhood throughout the call.

Perhaps mistaking my silence for annoyance, she desperately rubs her

breasts against my shaft and attacks the head of my penis with her


The remaining fragments of her memory seem to have joined together,

as she has regained some degree of speech. Upon realizing this last

night, Saya began to teach her language once more. I assume she finds

our pet's efforts amusing.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="32000305"

"Don't... be mad. Yoh will... try harder."

Still gazing up at me pleadingly, Yoh sucks on my penis without even

taking the time to breathe.

Her ministrations threaten to fill my head with a white fog of pleasure

that would impede my thoughts -- and besides, my arousal has already


At first, I consider making her stop. When I gaze into her puppy-dog

eyes, however, I begin to think differently.

Thanks to Saya, I have a family once again. For the first time, I am

becoming aware of the responsibility that places on me.

I am now the head of a new Sakisaka household, as well as its only

male member. It is my duty to protect, comfort, and ensure the

happiness of the women living under my roof.

With that in mind, I know that I mustn't show fear or confusion. That

would only cause them distress.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32000400"


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="32000505"

"Yes, master."

I entrust my manhood to Yoh's ripe breasts, basking in the pleasure

with one part of my mind while contemplating our current predicament

with the other.

It is clear that I made a grave error when I failed to finish Koji off two

days ago. Right now, I need to set my frustration and anger aside and

deal with this problem logically.

It's time to leave.

I have no way of knowing when Koji escaped from the well, or how

much he has learned, or how many people he has had contact with

since then.K Now that it is impossible to know how far the problem has

spread, merely disposing of Koji won't guarantee our safety.

When the enemy has poisoned your water supply, you can't take the

risk that even one drop might remain. Your only choice is to stop

drinking the water.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32000601"

"Fuminori? Who were you talking to?"

Saya returns from the kitchen, where she'd gone in search of a

midnight snack. She's munching on her favorite -- spare ribs.

Purging myself of unease and impatience, I respond with a casual


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32000700"

"It looks like we have a little problem. That bastard Koji is still alive."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32000801"

"Oh dear."

By breaking the news suddenly and without any trace of anxiety, I am

able to avoid frightening Saya. Instead, she is merely surprised. I knew

that remaining calm would work.

Moreover, I'm currently getting my penis sucked by Yoh. It would be

hard for anyone to get too serious under these circumstances.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32000900"

"Saya... it might be best if we leave this house."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32001001"


Saya lowers her eyes and strokes her chin thoughtfully.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32001100"

"This was bound to happen sooner or later. Even without Koji, it's only

a matter of time before someone reports the Suzumi family missing."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32001201"

"Yeah," Saya nods. I can tell that she's reluctant to leave, but at least

there is no sadness in her expression.

Everything will be fine.K I will protect my life with Saya just as I have up

until now. I have that power.K Knowing that we've overcome one problem

fills me with new confidence.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32001300"

"By the way, Saya, I'm... almost..."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32001401"

"Huh? Ah! Wait, wait!"

Saya hastily discards her spareribs and pushes the still-sucking Yoh off

of me.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="32001505"


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32001601"

"Fuminori! You're never this hard when you make love to me!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32001700"

"Well, that's..."


Despite her scolding tone, Saya gently and passionately wraps her

mouth around my manhood.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32001801"


With my orgasm already charged up by Yoh, Saya's ravenous tongue

and throat push me over the edge instantly.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32001900"

"Saya, I'm...!"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002001"

"Come on, give me your..."

Before Saya finishes, I thrust deep into her throat and unleash my lust

as I stare into her eyes, wide with surprise.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002101"


Even while moaning around my penis, Saya grabs me firmly by the

waist and swallows all of my seed without choking.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002201"

"......Pwah! That was good."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32002300"

"You're so greedy, Saya," I say, smiling wryly as I look at Yoh, who's

lying limply on the floor.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32002400" "You always keep it all for yourself."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002501"

"Of course. I won't forgive you if you give it to any other woman."

After baring her teeth at me grumpily, she burrows her face into my


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002601"

"......I'm serious, okay?"

It's adorable how Saya goes from angry to pleading like this. I find

myself reaching down to muss up her hair.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="32002700"

"Don't worry. I won't. Now then, we'd better get ready."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="32002801"



We can travel light and take the Suzumi family car.K I'd better withdraw

everything that's left in my bank account and carry it as cash. I'll also

need a weapon, something more reliable than a butcher's knife.

Koji will most likely follow. He thinks that Yoh can still be saved.

However, I'm not abandoning this house just to run away.K As long as

Koji knows our location, we're stuck on the defensive. Leaving gives me

the chance to regain the initiative and deal with him at a place of my


The next time we meet, I'll kill him with my own two hands. I'll make

sure to wring every last drop of life out of his body.

A shiver runs through me as I anticipate the battle ahead, and my

bloodlust burns like orgasmic fire.

-A HREF="sy16_02Cabin_Ryoko"







When Ryoko looks up, the morning sun is already streaming in through

the window.

Tired from hours of poring over files, she removes her glasses and

massages her aching eyes.

Her dreams are always filled with horror, yet the night she just spent

was more nightmarish than them all -- and it's not over yet. She has

only just set foot on the threshold.

As expected, the files left by Ogai Masahiko were not the sort that

Ryoko could simply pick up and read.

Fortunately, Ogai had been too old-fashioned to put his trust in

electronic media. If he'd encrypted his files on a computer, she'd have

had to find a hacker to decipher them.

In fact, he had not employed any kind of code in his writing. That

would have been too time-consuming by hand. The method of

obfuscation he did use was quite simple.


Of the files Ryoko pulled from his underground lab, the majority turned

out to be notes and theses from Ogai's days as a student. The important

papers were the diaries and research notes that had been scattered

throughout the piles of worthless scrap.

At first, she was unable to understand the documents that she had

found. Each sheet was covered with text on one side and blank on the

impossible to glean any meaning from the whole.

The trick revealed itself, however, while she was sorting the pages that

made no sense. She found that each line continued on the same line of

a different page.

In Ogai's diary, for example, the first day began on the first line, then

continued not with the next line, but with the first line on the next page.

Similarly, the second day was the second line, the third day was the

third line, and so on and so forth. After filling all the lines on one set of

pages, Ogai had torn them out and scattered them among his other files.

There was no regularity to how the pages were numbered, of course.

Unable to locate any sort of key or legend, Ryoko had no choice but to

figure out the page order manually.

Despite knowing that the task would be exhausting, Ryoko set to it

valiantly. After separating all of the looseleaf sheets from the jumbled

files, she began the painstaking process of linking pages together

according to the contents of their first line.

She found that Ogai had dismantled and scattered his diary each time

he completed a number of days equal to the lines on one page, and had

done the same with his research notes every thirty pages or so.

The diary was much easier to restore. Because the entries varied in

length, later pages had a larger number of blank lines. The page with

only one line, therefore, was the last page of the diary, and those with

the most blank spaces could be considered closer to the end.


Ryoko's perseverance has paid off, for she has already succeeded in

restoring several volumes of Ogai's diary.

As she reads them, she feels despair draining her spirit, as it has so

many times before.

This cursed feeling of powerlessness that comes with knowing hidden

truths -- those who have tasted it once shall be beaten down by it again

and again, until the day they die.

All secrets are connected, after all. Once you have glimpsed even the

tiniest fraction of the world's true face, you have no choice but to watch

in horror as the veil rolls itself back inch by inch.

All that remains is to wait for the day when insanity will crush your

reason under its ever-mounting weight.


"I have succeeded in communicating with the organism. It shows

enormous curiosity, and its intelligence is beyond doubt. See research

notes for confirmed  patterns and body language."

"Its appetite for knowledge is insatiable, and its learning efficiency is

off the charts. However, it exhibits absolutely no desire to be recognized

as an individual.

Its ego appears to be quite weak, suggesting a psyche wholly unlike

that of a human."

"The speed of the organism's linguistic development is astounding.

When I laughed at its mispronunciations, it immediately picked up the

concept of puns.

Ever since, it has been employing its entire vocabulary in an attempt to

find puns that will 'make me laugh.' Perhaps, in a few days' time, it will

have learned enough language for us to communicate freely."


"The organism's command of spoken language is now sufficient to

facilitate higher-level discourse, but although it has regaled me with

questions all day, it remains unable to answer any of mine.

Its replies suggest that it only gained awareness after materializing in

this universe. It has no knowledge of where it came from.

While I am disappointed, the fact that it has reached this level of

intelligence only one week after starting to think tells me that there is no

end to what I can learn from it."

"Hypothesis. It is not a naturally-occurring organism, but was created

by an even more sophisticated sentient lifeform. This would explain why

it has no ego yet possesses such a hunger for knowledge. It might be

some sort of reconnaissance 'drone' that was sent here from another



Ryoko smiles humorlessly for the umpteenth time since she started


How wonderful it would be if she could laugh the diary off as the

delusions of a madman or the work of a science-fiction writer.

Alas, she knows far too much.

When she thinks back to the many horrors that Ogai brought into her

life, the words before her take on chilling credibility.


"I have confirmed that the organism's brainpower far surpasses any


This morning, I taught it about prime numbers. After I explained the

Lucas-Lehmer test for Mersenne primes, it immediately began to list

examples that it had calculated in its head.

I was only able to confirm by memory up to number 10, M89, but it

continued to list further examples without any trouble.

I left it to its calculations, and when I returned a few hours later, I

discovered that it had written down more than 70 of them.

Computers all over the world are currently working to calculate

Mersenne primes, but the last one I remember being found was the 39th

back in 2001."

"When I entered several of the results into my laptop and ran the

Lucas-Lehmer test on them, I found that every one was correct. The

same is no doubt true of the rest.

After all, the organism has never shown the pathological need for

respect that would lead it to lie about its accomplishments. I see no

reason to doubt its veracity.

If I could reveal to the world an expedient method for discovering

Mersenne primes, the prize money would make me a billionaire. Of

course, my current research is worth far more than any sum of money. I

must keep it secret.

The organism's computational speed exceeds that of even the most

powerful supercomputers. I can only conclude that its cognitive faculties

are beyond anything humanity can imagine."

"At the organism's request, we have begun a new field of study.

Despite its immeasurable aptitude for mathematics, it now desires to

concentrate on sociology and the natural sciences. Perhaps our math

problems are simply too elementary for it.

It has shown especially keen interest in the means by which organisms

reproduce and multiply. As it possesses nothing that could be called

emotion, I hesitate to use this description, but when it learned about

DNA, it seemed somehow 'excited.'"


"In fact, the organism itself seemed surprised by its reaction. When

asked about the nature of the impulse, the organism decided to label it

'instinct.' If this description is indeed accurate, then this is an extremely

interesting development.

It would mean that there is a deeper level to its psyche than just the

knowledge it has acquired since coming to this world. If I can use this

discovery to trace its roots, I might be able to learn what it truly is.

Note. Candidates for the plane and world of the organism's origin are

discussed in On the Silver Key, filed separately."

"I spent the whole day carrying books into its room.

Apparently, the organism is no longer satisfied by the knowledge I am

able to impart. It should come as no surprise, considering its linguistic

prowess, but the speed at which it consumes texts is astounding."


The diary continues for some time, chronicling the intimate relationship

between Ogai and "it."

In the back of her mind, Ryoko imagines the old doctor climbing down

the well in the middle of the night to hold congress with some inhuman

creature in that bizarre laboratory.

The image is disturbingly similar to the nightmares that have shattered

the silence of many nights with her screams.

What follows, however, makes even her worst nightmares pale in



"The organism has made a very strange request. This is the first time it

has asked for anything other than food and reading materials.

I can hardly believe it, but it wants to consume the sperm of living

creatures. This is separate from its desire for food. Once again, it is

describing this impulse as 'instinctive.'

Now that it has declared itself a 'lifeform that requires the seed of

males,' it has begun to identify itself as 'female.' After today, I suppose I

shall have to start calling the organism a 'she.'"

"Is the personality that she has begun to exhibit really just an imitation

created for her amusement?

Ever since she started to immerse herself in our literature, she has

been acting astonishingly human. She identifies herself as female, and

already possesses an enormous store of cultural knowledge. Is she trying

to create a human identity for herself based on these?

I have seen her laugh, grow angry, and today... she cried.

Is she just copying our emotional displays? If not, then she is already..."

"Is the 'soul' something that any intelligent lifeform can acquire?

I feel that I am witnessing something more mysterious than the

genesis of life itself."


"Today is her birthday. Although it is a year late, I want to give her a

special gift.

'Saya' was the name of my mother's cat. In childhood, she was my sole

friend and my beloved. I decided long ago that if I were ever blessed

with children, I would give this name to my daughter.

Happy birthday, Saya.

Let this be the name of your soul. You have earned it."

"The ability that Saya has discovered in herself is showing more

extraordinary results each day.

I have no doubt that she is a kind of artist. What exactly is it that she

created in her body from the rat semen I gave her?

At this point, I can only surmise that it is a type of retrovirus -- a

reverse transcriptase enzyme that creates exactly what she desires."

"The rats that have been transformed by her art are so very beautiful


The many enzymes secreted by her body and the various appendages

she uses are discussed in detail in my biological observations, filed

separately. Here, I will say this.K By witnessing Saya perform her

operations on several rats, I have gained much confidence in my theory

that her body is designed specifically to manipulate the biology of other



Ryoko looks grimly at the still-unsorted mountain of research notes.

When she finally manages to separate those papers, she will probably

find the many other files mentioned in the diary.

Ogai's biological observations -- at the very least, she wants to loo

through those before facing the thing called "Saya." Under no

circumstances does she want to go into battle unprepared.

She looks at her watch and sees that it's already seven in the morning.

Assuming Tonoh Koji made no stops, he should be arriving in Tokyo

about now.

Now that it's too late, she wishes she'd stopped that stubborn fool from

leaving -- even if she'd had to shoot him in the leg to do it.

-A HREF="sy16_03Home_Koji"







Koji pulls up two blocks away from the Sakisaka house and stares at

the silent building.

In the bright light of morning, the house seems shrouded in a dar

miasma, like a black hole torn out of the landscape. Is it just a figment

of Koji's imagination?

Every window is closed, offering no glimpse of the inside. Koji has no

way of knowing whether Fuminori is home.

A pedestrian walks his dog down the street, glancing back at Koji after

he passes by the Accord.

Koji isn't surprised by the attention. He hasn't bathed or changed

clothes since spending the night buried in mud, so he must look like a

vagrant even inside his car.

When he looks into the rearview mirror, he sees the haggard visage of

a man with one foot in the grave staring back at him. It's hard to believe

that the tired, unshaven face is really his.


If he stays here for too long, someone might report him to the police.

He'd better pull himself together and get moving.

He drives slowly up to the front of Fuminori's house, quickly checks to

make sure no one is around, and gets out of the car.

Anyone who might be in the house probably heard the sound of the

engine, but there's no point in worrying about that now.


Koji walks swiftly through the gate and yard to the front door. He puts

his hand on the doorknob, forgoing the bell. The time for such

pleasantries has passed.

The door is unlocked, and the knob turns easily in his hand.

He puts his ear to the door and listens for any sign of life. He's acting

like a thief, he realizes with some shame, but that is the least of his

worries now.

No sound from within. After checking the street again to make sure no


An indescribable stink immediately assaults his nostrils. He is already

pared for anything, however, so rather than discourage him, the

stench only sharpens his caution to a razor's edge.

He has crossed this threshold many times in the past, and his

memories of days spent here are still bright.

So why? Why does he feel the same ominous, blood-chilling aura that

permeated Ogai's home and cabin?

Anger and sorrow seize Koji's heart, as though a dear friend's grave

has been defiled.


Koji doesn't remove his shoes before entering. He knows why he's here,

and it's not to be polite.

Every storm shutter is closed, filling the house with gloom, and he can

see nothing but pitch black darkness through the open doors in the


He should have brought his flashlight from the car, he thinks ruefully,

then remembers that he dropped the light when Fuminori attacked him.

It's still lying in the backyard of the cabin in Tochigi.

the air seems charged with silent menace.

Is his enemy lurking somewhere in the darkness? It's not hard to

imagine Fuminori waiting for a chance to take him by surprise and finish

what the well failed to.


Koji walks down the first floor hallway, then climbs the stairs and

checks the second floor too. He moves slowly and carefully, keeping his

senses sharp, but feels nothing watching him from the shadows.

After completing his rounds safely, he is convinced that the house is


He suddenly realizes that his right hand is touching the cold steel of

the gun in his pocket. Did he intend to draw the weapon upon

encountering Fuminori?

Now that Koji thinks about it, his own actions seem mysterious to him.

What is he planning to do when he meets Fuminori? Will he lay into

him with curses and epithets? Will he force him to turn himself in? Or

will he...

Koji shakes his head. This isn't the time for such hopeless questions.

paralyze him forever.

His only choice is to keep marching on. He has to close the distance to

his prey.

In any case, Fuminori isn't home. What form their reunion takes will

probably be decided at the moment of their meeting. All Koji has to do is

not hesitate when the time comes.

Still, why does the whole house smell like stagnant water?

It's been three months since Fuminori distanced himself from his

friends. Just what kind of life has he been leading all this time?


Koji enters the living room and feels along the wall for the light switch.

The moment he flips it on, the answer to his question is revealed.

se id="1" src="horror1" mode="normal" loop="off"


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="34000102"


How far has Fuminori gone?K Koji realizes that this is the first time he

has encountered Fuminori's insanity in visible form.

From the dust piled in the corners of the room, it is clear that the paint

was not applied recently.K How many nights has Fuminori spent

surrounded by this maddening array of color?

Why, if such obvious signs were available -- why didn't Koji realize that

something was wrong before it got this bad?

Was he deaf to the dying screams of Fuminori's sanity? Was their

friendship really so worthless?

As he stands petrified in the unfamiliar living room, Koji directs his

anger entirely at himself. If he could, he would like nothing more than to

apologize to Fuminori for failing to help him through his suffering.

Koji feels that he might have been able to save his friend. Perhaps he

is arrogant to think so -- but if so, it is arrogance born of kindness.


Koji passes through the living room and opens the sliding door that

leads to the kitchen.

When he enters, he finds that the most disturbing of the house's many

stenches is strongest here.

Blood. The room is redolent with the smell of countless layers of blood

grown stale over time.

He peers into the well-used sink.

Around the rim, he sees faint, brownish-red blotches that water alone

couldn't rinse off.

Even more obvious are the stains on the dishrag.K Such stains are proof

that the rag has been used and reused countless times -- but what could

it have been used on to make it that sickening burgundy color?

Koji stares at the refrigerator next to the counter as though it were a

monster waiting to swallow him whole.

He stands motionless until he is able to work up the courage simply to

touch it.

First he'll check the freezer, then the refrigerator.


The freezer is packed with frozen meat of varying shapes and sizes. As

each piece is wrapped tightly in frosted-over plastic, he can't tell what

kind of meat it is.

The meat in the refrigerator, however, has already been thawed for



For a while, he can only stare in disbelief at the five fingers beckoning

to him from the back of the compartment.

They are the long, slender fingers of a woman, their bluish tinge giving

them the appearance of waxworks.

Koji is unable to remember what Omi's hands looked like, even though

he has kissed her fingers countless times.

When he finished crying after his conversation with Fuminori, Koji

promised himself that he would not cry again -- and in fact, he does not.

He regrets his decision, however. He indulged himself too early.

He should have saved his soothing tears for this moment, for now he

knows that truly, nothing is sacred. At last, his doubts about Fuminori

have been utterly obliterated.


Koji pulls Ogai's revolver out of his pocket and wraps his hands around

its grip like he would a charm.

Its definite presence -- its promise of merciful annihilation -- is the only

thing keeping his sanity intact.

He will surely use it to kill Sakisaka Fuminori.

Not for revenge.

Not for justice.

But to make this world once more a place governed by reason. For that

purpose alone, he must eliminate the anomaly.

He breathes deep, exhales, then lifts his hand before his face and

stares at his spread fingers.

Alright, he's not shaking. He is prepared to face his new objective.

Koji sticks the revolver back into his pocket and pulls out his phone.

-A HREF="sy17_00"

















It's time to finish this.

Just as he promised earlier, Koji calls Fuminori again.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35000100"

"Hey Koji. Where are you?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35000202"

"What difference does it make?"

As soon as Koji responds, a shrill ringing fills the house. Startled, Koji

spins around and looks into the hallway.

The house phone is flashing to signal an incoming call.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35000300"

"Hmm, I see. I figured you'd be at my house."

Koji fell for it. Fuminori is the one calling the house, and now he knows

exactly where Koji is.K He must have predicted that this would be Koji's

first stop, and that Koji would call him upon finding it empty.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35000400"

"So, I guess you've already seen everything."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35000502"

"Yeah." Koji keeps his  bold to conceal his horror. When did

Fuminori become so cunning?K  name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35000602""It looks like you've become quite the

meat-eater since we last met. Just how many people have you killed?"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35000700"

"Actually, I've only killed one so far," Fuminori replies unapologetically,

his tone upbeat.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35000800" "I've taken apart three or four, though. I'm getting

tty good at removing the tendons and draining the blood and such."

Koji no longer feels sadness or horror when faced with Fuminori's

inhumanity. There is only the cold desire to kill the creature speaking

such revolting words with his friend's .

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35000902"

"You killed Omi, didn't you? You bastard. You were lying when you said

you hadn't seen her."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001000"

"Hmm, I wonder..." Fuminori mutters, seeming somehow embarassed.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001100""I guess the first one I ate might have been Omi. It was the same day

she disappeared, come to think of it.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001100_2" The body wasn't in any shape that

I could identify."

Koji had already abandoned hope, but it's still a shock to hear of his

lover's brutal end.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35001202"

"Tsukuba too?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001300"

"No," Fuminori says with an exasperated chuckle. "She's here, like I

promised. I'm no fool. I need her to trade with you, right? I won't waste


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35001402"

"Let me hear her ."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001500"

"I don't think that's possible. She's in no shape to talk."

Fuminori's dismissive words further sharpen Koji's bloodlust.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35001602"

"You forget what I said? If you don't let her go unharmed..."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001700"

"Come on, be happy that she's still alive. Or would you rather have Yoh

as a corpse?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35001802"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35001900"

"Let's get this straight, Koji. You bring your evidence along with all the

files you've gathered. When I'm satisfied that they're the real thing, I'll

hand Yoh over."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35002002"


It's obvious that this deal is a sham.K In all likelihood, Fuminori is

planning to kill him and bury his secrets forever. Moreover, Koji doubts

that Yoh is even alive. Her meat could very well be somewhere in the

refrigerator right in front of him.

after all, he has no intention of making a trade either. His only goal is to

get close enough to destroy Fuminori and whatever is pulling his strings.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35002102"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="35002200"

"You remember Dr. Ogai's house? The one you followed me to. Let's

meet there tonight at seven. Come alone."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="35002302"


Fuminori hangs up without waiting for Koji's response.

Perhaps Fuminori, too, has sensed his opponent's intent. If so, then he

has realized that Koji is not just the hunted, but the hunter as well.


((So, we're two duelists trying to gauge each other's moves.))

Koji smiles grimly as he pockets his phone. It's astounding how much

their relationship has changed.

The question is whether or not to comply with the seven o'cloc

rendezvous agreement. If this were a serious negotiation, then it would

be wise to avoid preempting Fuminori in any way that could provoke his

anger. What Koji and Fuminori are really doing, however, is trying to

lure each other into a deadly trap.


Koji doesn't know what Fuminori plans to do between now and then,

but he's not about to let his enemy keep the initiative.

The fierce bloodlust that has taken root in his heart is more than

enough to energize his exhausted body.


Koji leaves the death-filled house, his stride more determined than


-A HREF="sy17_02Common_Ruin_Fuminori"







The ringing of her cell phone interrupts Ryoko's labors.K When she sees

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000106"

"This is Tanbo. What is it?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000202"

"I've searched Fuminori's house."

Even over the phone, Ryoko can hear the change in Koji's tone. His is

the dull, flat  of someone who has had all the energy beaten out of


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000302"

"Fuminori has... murdered people.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000302_2" He's killed too many people to count,

and he's... eating them."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000406"


His first steps into Ryoko's world have already brought him face-to-face

with something particularly gruesome.K In consideration of his probable

state of mind, she decides to say nothing.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000502"

"Omi is dead," Koji continues. "Tsukuba too, probably.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000502_2" Doctor... I was


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000606"

"The fact that you're still alive to make this call means you haven't

made a fatal mistake yet," Ryoko says, praising Koji in her own way.

Whether he is comforted or not is up to him.K  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000706""Anyway, don't screw up

this time. Do nothing until I return.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000706_2"What we're dealing with here... isn't

going down easy." With her understanding of Saya deepening by the

hour, Ryoko is able to make this declaration with new confidence.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36000802"

"Fuminori already knows I'm alive. I didn't tell him who rescued me,

but he's definitely on guard."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36000906"

"I see."

Koji's actions were rash, but there's no point regretting them now. The

constructive approach would be to use the pressure that he's placed on


Ryoko's involvement is still a secret. That makes her a wild card.

Depending on how she plays it, this advantage could be decisive.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36001002"

"Have you found anything?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36001106"

"Not enough yet," Ryoko answers, glancing sidelong at the looseleaf

pages still scattered across the table.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36001206" "Let's see... I'll wrap this up by

evening and return to Tokyo around midnight.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="36001206_2" You stay out of trouble

until then. Got it?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="36001302"


The lack of emotion in Koji's  is actually reassuring to Ryoko.K He's

a machine now, able to do whatever it takes to accomplish a single goal

-- the extermination of Sakisaka Fuminori.

He is even willing to accept help from Ryoko, whose principles hardly

mesh with his. A praiseworthy change, indeed.


After Ryoko hangs up, she gloomily counts the stacks of looseleaf that

still need to be restored.

There's no time left. She'll probably only be able to get the general


If she has to go into battle with only fragmentary knowledge, then

there's one thing that she absolutely must decipher -- Ogai's biological

reports, which should contain information on the strengths and

weaknesses of the organism called "Saya."


All she can do now is pray for luck as she dives back into the

mountains of paper.

-A HREF="sy17_02Common_Ruin_Fuminori"







Today was the first time I've driven since my accident last summer.

The proposition was always too dangerous to consider, given my inability

to recognize roads and cars.K Things have changed, however, in the three

months I've had to adapt to my condition.

I know what cars and pedestrians look like now, and even though I

can't exactly see colors, I've learned to decipher lights and turn signals.K I

still can't read street signs, of course. Nevertheless, I managed to make

it safely to our destination with Saya and Yoh in the back seat.

It was Saya who came up with the idea for our new hideout -- an

abandoned building she'd discovered while living with Dr. Ogai.


In these hilly suburban residential areas, it's not hard to find thic

patches of undeveloped forest just off the beaten path. Saya's old

"playground" is located in one such secluded area, unaffected by the

flow of everyday life.

It used to be a privately operated sanatorium hidden among the silent

trees. After the owners went bankrupt, it remained unsold and was

eventually forgotten.

After I left Saya and Yoh at the hideout, I returned to town to make

some preparations. Now I'm finally back at our new refuge.


I liked this ruin from the moment I saw it. Mountains of construction

materials and garbage litter the front yard, forming a serviceable

barricade. This place looks even less likely to receive unwanted attention

than our house.

Since my brain sees humans as revolting monsters, places they've been

tend to stink or seem covered in filthy slime. Ruins like these, long empty

of life, are the places I find the most restful.

bgm src="s07" mode="fadeout" time="20" loop="off"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37000100"

"I'm back," I call out to let them know I'm not a stranger. Then I go

down to the basement where they're hiding.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37000201"

"Welcome back. Were you okay with the car?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37000300"

"It was no problem at all. I've figured out how to tell which roads are

one way. As long as I keep my speed down, there's nothing to worry

about. So, how are things here?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37000401"

"I took a look around. As I thought, there's no sign that anyone's been

here since I found this place. It's safe."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37000500"

"I see. Let's hope it stays that way."

I'm a little worried that this abandoned building could become a

hangout for biker gangs or homeless people.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37000601"

"It's probably because of all the trash piled out front. Most people won't

get anywhere near that, don't you think?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37000700"

"I guess."

It doesn't bother me at all. I rather like it, in fact. But of course, normal

people would feel differently.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37000801"

"So, how was your shopping? Did you find something good?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37000900"

"I sure did."


I proudly unwrap the weapon I just bought from a camping goods

store -- a one-meter-long wood axe, the biggest and sturdiest I could


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37001000"

"I like how this was right next to a sign saying that long knives are

illegal. Seems like you could do way more damage with one of these."

I grip the axe with both hands, testing its dependable weight, then

air right where a person's neck would be. Yoh, who's sprawled out on

the floor, flinches at the sound and curls herself into a ball.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37001101"

"How sharp is it? Want to test it on Yoh?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37001200"

"Um... I don't think that's a good idea."

I definitely wasn't expecting Saya to suggest anything so brutal.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37001301"

"You don't need to worry. Yoh's new body can heal pretty easily from

ciiuts and such."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37001400"

"But I'm sure it'll hurt."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37001501"

"Oh. Yeah, I guess you're right."K It must have slipped her mind

completely. She smiles at the oblivious Yoh as if to hide her

you think?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37001700"

"Well... I just wouldn't feel right using an axe on a human."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37001801"

"Really? Then what about Koji?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37001900"

"That's easy."

It should be obvious, but I guess that Saya still doesn't understand.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002000"

"I don't see him as human. I'll have no trouble ciiutting him to pieces."


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002101"

"That really makes a difference?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002200"

"Yeah. Humans have a conscience, you see.k  name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002200_2"No matter how much you

hate someone, you can't help but think twice about killing them. And

that's how I'll win."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002301"


Saya seems awfully subdued. I guess she's concerned about what'll

happen when I have it out with Koji.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002400"

"He's bigger and stronger, so I might not have much chance against

him in a straight-up fight.k  name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002400_2"But what's just 'slaying a monster' to me is

'murder' to him. This is big. He'll definitely hesitate when it counts."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002501"

"I'm a little worried," Saya says softly, staring at the floor with unusual

gravity. "You can never be sure how someone will react. It's dangerous

to rely on that."

She raises her head and looks straight at me.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002601"

"Don't you think it'd be better if I hunt him?"

I appreciate Saya's consideration. Even though it could be interpreted

as a lack of faith in me, she's still putting my safety above hers.

Nevertheless, I can't accept her heartfelt suggestion.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002700"

"With your strength, you might be able to overpower a girl like Yoh,

but I think it'd be hard for you to take down a guy."


The bitter memory of Saya's rape is still fresh in my mind. Saya falls

silent for a moment, seeming to understand what I'm thinking, but then

comes right back to stubbornly press her case.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002801"

"My first attack went fine, though. Most humans go limp as soon as

they see me.k  name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37002801_2"It was the same in the hospital. You were the only one who

could talk to me."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37002900"

"Hmm... I guess you have a point."

I can't imagine it personally, but I suppose it's possible that Saya's

appearance is shocking enough to make someone lose their nerve.

Suzumi was able to gain the advantage because he had the same

condition as me, which let him see Saya as a ciiute girl.

Fear doesn't necessarily make people weaker, however. Depending on

the situation, it can even send someone into a berserk rage and make

them harder to put down.

In other words, such a tactic would be the same sort of gamble that

Saya's worried about.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003000"

"Alright, Saya, how about this?"

When I tell Saya the new plan that just popped into my head, her

gloomy frown turns into a bright smile.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37003101"

"That's perfect! You're so smart, Fuminori!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003200"

"Oh, stop."

It's not exactly a great plan, but I guess the fact that it lessens the ris

to me is enough to excite her. She's so easy to please -- but that's part

of what makes her so ciiute.

-A HREF="sy17_03Fuminori2" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy17_03Ryoko2"

A HREF="sy17_04Common2"




L7948~L7952, L7961~L7967


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37003301"

"So when's Koji coming?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003500"

"I got a call from him this morning. For now, I've sent him on a wild

goose chase. I'm thinking I should shake him up a little."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37003601"

"It'd be best to take care of him after it's dark, don't you think?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003700"

"Yeah. When the time is right, I'll lure him here and finish him. We

won't have to worry about witnesses here."

-A HREF="sy17_04Common2"




L7948~L7951, L7953~L7960


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37003301"

"So when's Koji coming?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003400"

"I don't know. He'll call sooner or later, and then I'll lure him here and

finish him."

Koji will come. I know that he won't leave us alone.

We could just keep running, now that we've started, but I want to

eliminate Koji as soon as possible.

Therefore, when he contacts me, I intend to meet with him unless it's

an obvious trap.

-A HREF="sy17_04Common2"






name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37003801"

"We're finally going to get more human meat. Too bad it's just going to

rot without a refrigerator."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37003900"

"Why don't we use it to trap other animals? It could be bait for stray

cats or crows."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37004001"

"That's too dangerous. If an animal gets away with the meat, someone

might find it and wonder where it came from."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37004100"

"Good point."

Humans are extremely dangerous, and their filthy, stinking bodies

make me sick just by being nearby. Ironically, however, nothing tastes

better than their meat. I truly regret having to abandon our well-stocked


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37004201"

"The forest around here is full of animals. I don't think we'll have any

trouble finding food."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37004300"

"We have three mouths to feed. Are you sure?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37004401"

"Leave it to me! I may not look it, but I'm a pretty good hunter. I'll be

sure to keep us well fed."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37004500"

"Okay. Looks like you're going to be the breadwinner of this family."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37004601"

Saya giggles happily at my praise. I find these childish qualities of hers



name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37004701"

"I wonder how long we'll be able to relax this time."

Because of the casual way she says it, I almost miss the emptiness to

which her question leads.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37004800"


Saya's right. This won't last forever.

No matter how safe this hideout might seem, we will have to abandon

it eventually. The slightest mistake could put our life together in

jeopardy -- just like when I failed to silence Koji.

Some dumb kids might decide that this old ruin is a good place to test

their courage, or this land might be targeted for new development.

In order to be together with Saya, I have chosen to live apart from

society. We will never find lasting peace in this world teeming with

humans -- not unless we can somehow escape from it.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37004900"

"Think of like going on a journey, just the two of us."

I pull Saya into my arms and fold my hands around her slender

shoulders, then whisper,K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37005000" "Life is like a journey anyway. Nothing stays the

same forever.k  name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37005000_2"The only difference is whether time passes you by or

sweeps you up in its flow."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005101"

"I guess you're right."

Saya smiles softly, perhaps in resignation, perhaps in sadness -- either

way, there is peace and contentment in her expression.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005201"

"But we'll be together, so I'm not lonely. You're not lonely either, are


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37005300"


I have no regrets.

As long as I can hold Saya in my arms, I will gladly pay any price.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005401"

"And besides," she adds brightly, trying to cheer me up.K name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005501" "One day, we

won't have to hide anymore. I can promise you that."

It sounds like a fairytale, but for some reason, she seems absolutely


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005601"

"That day might be tomorrow, or it might be far off in the future.k  name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005601_2"It's

my first time, so even I don't know when the sign will come.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005601_3" I'm a little


I have no idea what Saya's prophetic words mean, but this isn't the

first time that she's said or done something mysterious. She's performed

any number of miracles already.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="37005700"

"So there's hope for us too?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005801"

"Yeah," she says with a cheerful nod.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="37005901"

"It will be my last present to you, Fuminori. My first and final duty."

-A HREF="sy17_05Fuminori3" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy17_05Ryoko3"







Koji has nothing to do but wait.

He has spent almost half a day in the dark, empty study, breathing

stale air choked with mold as he strains his ears for the slightest hint of

movement below. Few people could endure such a vigil, but Koji has

accomplished it without complaint.K If anything, the suffering is welcome,

for it keeps his nerves honed to a razor's edge.

Without a doubt, his single-minded focus is the only thing allowing him

to push the limits of his stamina. Koji understands this, and embraces

the pain.K His closest friend has shattered his world like glass, and now

Koji feels only hate towards the madness that has replaced it, and

towards himself for allowing it to happen.

Self-loathing is a more reliable source of willpower than any faith or

resolve, no matter how noble.

When he arrived at the Ogai house, Koji snuck inside carefully, hoping

to perhaps take his enemy by surprise.

It was only after he got inside that he realized the house was still

abandoned. Even so, Koji was sure that Fuminori would arrive earlier

than promised in order to set up an ambush.


However, the light streaming through the windows turned red, then

faded to darkness with no sign of anyone coming. Koji's patience has

grown weaker and weaker by the moment.

And now the appointed time has arrived.

Just as Koji's frustration is about to peak, his phone begins to vibrate

and flash.

It's from Fuminori. He's calling rather than show up himself.

Rage threatens to overwhelm him for an instant, but Koji manages to

keep his  calm as he answers.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="38000102"

"What's going on here, Fuminori?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000200"

"Well, I was worried that you might be wasting energy on something

silly, like planning an ambush," Fuminori says, chuckling scornfully.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000300" "It's

kind of late, but I guess I should tell you the real meeting place before

you lose your mind. Did I make it in time?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="38000402"

"Son of a bitch..."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000500"

"Come on, don't get mad. I'm just being careful, right?"

Fuminori laughs with unrestrained malevolence, as though to

emphasize that he's seen through Koji's plans.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000600"

"Assuming you're at Dr. Ogai's house, there's a place nearby, within

walking distance. Yoh and I are there.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000600_2" I'll give you the address. You

should be able to find it on your car's GPS."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="38000702"

"You have proof this isn't another trick?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="38000800"

"If you're that paranoid, you don't have to come. Just turn tail and run."

Fuminori hangs up immediately after speaking his challenge.


Koji leaps out of his chair and kicks it across the room, unable to find

any other outlet for his rage.

He has no choice but to do what Fuminori says.K His stamina is already

exhausted. Only his obsession is keeping him going. If he allows himself

even a moment's rest, he fears that he'll never again find the strength to

face this madness.

Tonight is his only chance to kill Fuminori.

Koji knows, of course, that his enemy is planning to ambush him.

Fuminori isn't going to fight fair -- but then, neither is Koji.


With the unsteady stride of a man half asleep, Koji leaves the Ogai

house and heads for his Accord.


Only the base of these foothills has been developed for housing. The

address Fuminori gave Koji is outside of that area, in the thick forest that

still covers the mountain's face.

His car's GPS shows a road that leads nowhere, but according to

Fuminori, there should be an old, abandoned sanatorium there.


It's definitely a place that no one could find, not even by accident.

Maybe this next stop really will be the last.

Koji drives up the steep incline, soon leaving the residential

neighborhood behind. Even though the hands of progress are right at its

doorstep, the undeveloped forest is darker than he expected.

This looks like a great place to live in secret -- or to kill someone and

hide the body.

Places like this, lost and forgotten, aren't found only in deep jungles

and hidden valleys. Holes in the world are everywhere, even in the midst

of civilization.

-A HREF="sy18_01Common3_Ruin_Koji"







The hands of his watch move with agonizing slowness, as though

counting down to the end of the world.

In the hours since contacting Ryoko, Koji went back to his apartment,

showered, changed clothes, and even had his first full meal in days.

He wanted to take a nap, knowing that he needed the rest, but no

matter how hard he tried, sleep never came. Forcing himself to relax

only made his nerves colder and sharper.


With nothing else to do, he decides to wander the city until nightfall.

Downtown Tokyo is bustling. Surrounded by smiling pedestrians, bright

lights, and windows decorated early for Christmas, he feels as if all of

the happiness in the world has gathered in this very place.

Koji takes it all in, burning it into his memory like it's the last thing he'll

ever see.

Is the world so beautiful because of the horrors that lurk in its

shadows? The glow of the city can no longer warm him. Perhaps that is

why it seems so precious.


Koji watches the city for hours. It feels unreachably distant, like

reading the obituary of someone you loved long ago.

His phone rings at eight p.m. It's Ryoko.

Their conversation is short. She hangs up as soon as they decide where

to meet.

And so ends Tonoh Koji's final night of peace.


Ryoko arrives at the diner at one a.m., one hour later than agreed


She has a heavy-looking duffle bag under her arm. Koji doesn't feel like

asking what the bulges represent.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39000106"

"Sorry. I had a lot to get together."

Ryoko doesn't sound at all apologetic, but Koji decides to just nod


Only a few tables are filled at this hour, like lonely islands in the midst

of the vast restaurant. After sending the bleary-eyed waitress away with

an order for two coffees, Koji and Ryoko are left all alone in a corner of

the dining area.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39000202"

"So did you find what you were looking for?" Koji asks bluntly while

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39000306"

"I'd like to think I didn't make you wait for nothing, at least. Though

I'm still not sure of anything."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39000402"

"I think Fuminori is under a lot of stress. I've left him hanging for a day

since I told him I'd call."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39000506"

"Do you really think you have him on edge?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39000602"

"His reaction to the name 'Saya' was very clear."

In the silence that follows, Koji tries to soothe his parched throat with

another mouthful of weak coffee.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39000706"

"I see," Ryoko mutters. "So it is Saya."

It's obvious that her grimace isn't for the coffee.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39000802"

"You know, don't you?" Koji asks, his tone almost confrontational. "You

know what this 'Saya' is."

Ryoko tries to ignore Koji's question by nursing her coffee, but that only

works until the cup is empty.

Staring at the brown stain at the bottom of her cup, Ryoko says, her

hard and flat, K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39000906""You were foolish enough to ignore my warning

once.K  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001006"But I'm just as stubborn as you, so I'm going to say this one more

time. Go home, Tonoh, and forget everything that's happened."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39001102"

"You really are stubborn," Koji replies, smiling bitterly instead of glaring

at her like he did before.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39001202" "Are you saying that I still haven't crossed the

line separating me from you and Fuminori?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001306"

"You still haven't seen the most damning part of all this."


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001406"

"As far as you're concerned," Ryoko continues with a disparaging smirk,

"your best friend in the whole world suddenly went crazy and became a

cannibal. That's all this thing is to you, isn't it?"

That's all?

The things that Fuminori has done are so horrifying that Koji's only

recourse, his only hope of coping, is to kill the man who was once his

friend. Yet despite that, Ryoko makes this nightmare sound like just the


Koji still doesn't understand where her morbid cynicism comes from.

Nor does he want to.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39001502"

"You say there's something more, but aren't you just imagining it?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001606"

"See, that's how I know your wounds are still shallow."

Her brusque tone says that she doesn't care whether or not Koji is

satisfied with her explanation.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001706"

"If you back out now, they'll probably heal, given time. You haven't

crossed the final line yet."


Koji considers Ryoko's words calmly, without letting himself get

emotional like before.

The final line. True, Fuminori is somewhere beyond that.

Although Koji has gone far enough to be willing to kill Fuminori, he has

no intention of eating his enemy's flesh once he's dead. That, at least,

still separates the two.

Then what about Ryoko, who has treated Koji like an ignorant fool ever

since she saved him from the well? How close is she to Fuminori?

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39001802"

"You're saying your wounds are deeper than mine?"


In response to Koji's biting question, Ryoko's mocking smile turns


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39001906"

"This gun was my father's, you know."

Ryoko pats one of her duffle bag's bulges.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002006"

"His hunting club kicked him out when it disappeared from his locker.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002006_2"I

feel bad about that. My parents were always proud of me. They probably

never even suspected that I was the one who took it."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39002102"

"So you had a good reason for taking it?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002206"

"No, not at all."

Her quick denial isn't what Koji was expecting.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002306"

"At the time, the Ogai mess had already ended -- at least, that's what I

thought.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002306_2"He'd vanished without a trace, and I was sure I'd never see him

again.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002306_3"I didn't steal this gun because I needed to shoot someone."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39002402"

"Then why?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002506"

"Because I couldn't sleep. That's all."

Ryoko pauses, perhaps needing time to decide how best to explain.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002606"

"Until then," she continues, choosing her words carefully, "I was

sleeping with a machete next to my bed. I couldn't stand being alone at

night, you see.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002706"

I needed to know that no matter what horrors the world might hold, I

still had some power against the madness.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002706_2"I needed a weapon I could

count on."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39002802"


Koji doesn't know what to say. He's amazed -- impressed, even -- that

someone with such a serious case of delusional paranoia could fiiunction

as one of T University's top doctors.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002906"

"It didn't work, though. My nightmares kept on getting worse.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39002906_2"A

machete just wasn't enough to let me sleep peacefully. That's when I

stole my father's gun.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003006"

By ciiutting the barrel down like this, the shot spreads over a wider area

and causes more damage.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003006_2"I hear that even in America, carrying a

sawed-off shotgun is a serious crime. But with this gun sitting in the

back of my closet, I was finally able to sleep.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003006_3"One night out of three,

that is."


At this point, Ryoko seems to have gotten everything off of her chest.

Smiling like someone who just finished a hard job, she adds,K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003106" "A gun's a

great thing to have, you know. It really is.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003106_2"You can use it to blow your

enemies away, and if that doesn't work, you can always stick it in your

mouth and pull the trigger."


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39003202"

"Doctor... you need help."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003306"

"Thanks for the honest opinion. You won't be able to talk like that for

much longer, though. Not if you go any further."

Koji is already doubtful that meeting with Ryoko was the right thing to


The one thing that he and Ryoko have in common is an unwillingness

to leave Fuminori to the proper authorities.

Fuminori not only killed Koji's lover and friend, but even went so far as

to defile their corpses. Koji isn't about to give him the chance to get off

on an insanity plea.

No matter what crimes he must commit, Koji will end Fuminori with his

own two hands. If he doesn't, he knows that he will never sleep again.

It helps to have a partner-in-crime, but only when that partner doesn't

cause trouble.

Ryoko talks big about exposing Ogai's secrets, but she might just have

a head full of delusions. If so, Koji needs to rethink this whole thing.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39003402"

"If you're telling me to leave this to you," Koji says with unflappable

determination, "then please give me some reason to trust you.K name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39003502" Prove to

me there's a reason for you to be so obsessed with Ogai. Show me what

he did."


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003606"

"So you're determined to go all the way? Oh well."

Ryoko smirks and shakes her head ruefully, but puts up no futher

resistance. She pulls a stack of paper from her bag and hands it to Koji.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003706"

"After you read one line, it continues on the same line of the next

page. Anyway, just skim it."

As directed, Koji looks through the hand-written pages -- and gives up

after less than three minutes.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39003802"

"Is this a manuscript for a horror novel or something? I didn't thin

Ogai had such childish hobbies."

Koji deliberately scoffs at the document, doing everything he can to

show contempt for what he just read. At the same time, he tries

desperately not to remember the mountain of bones in Ogai's bathtub

and the unidentifiable smell permeating Fuminori's house.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39003906"

"The specimens that Ogai brought to the hospital one year ago were

just as unbelievable," Ryoko says, coldly ignoring Koji's disdain.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004006""Apparently, he continued his research in secret, using our supplies

without permission.K  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004006_2"But he made a mistake and was discovered. That's

when things got crazy.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004106"

Judging by the equipment he was trying to use, he meant to treat his

experiment as a P3-level biohazard.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004106_2"To be honest, even that might not

have been sufficient for what he was dealing with.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004106a"

We should have evacuated the nearby civilians, but the big shots did

their thing and made the whole mess disappear.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004106b" In exchange, we were

left with the task of exterminating every single rat on campus --

including the things that used to be rats."

At their first meeting, Ryoko brushed Koji off when he asked about

Ogai Masahiko. Now, however, she's telling the whole story, her  as

flat and emotionless as a machine's.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004206"

"In the end, everyone gave up trying to explain what had happened.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004206_2"No one could figure out where his materials had come from, or what

they were.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004206a"

In retrospect, they did the wise thing.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004206a_2"They knew how to keep the line

between reality and fantasy where it should be.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004206b"

I, unfortunately, was not so wise."


Ryoko pauses for a moment, then grins with self-disdain so maniacal

that it strikes Koji like a blow.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004306"

"I searched everywhere for Ogai, flushed him out, and finally learned

what he'd been doing.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004306_2"I found the people he'd been dealing with and

who'd encouraged him to perform his experiments.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004306a"

That's when I started sleeping with a machete.k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004306a_2"I'd learned just how

absurd, how hollow, how worthless our precious 'reason' is."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39004402"



As though fleeing from the quiet insanity that he keeps glimpsing in

reads a line at random.

"The organism's flesh is not fibrous, but reticulated. Put simply, it is an

extremely tough substance that expands and contracts not in one

direction, but in all directions. This means that slashing or piercing

damage has very little effect. Since the flesh can contract in any

direction freely, any wound will be sealed instantly..."

It's nonsense. What else can it be?

If he lets himself believe it, then everything else -- all the logical rules

that define the world -- will be rendered meaningless.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39004502"

"Do you believe what's in this, Doctor?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004606"

"I lost any reason to doubt it a long time ago."

Ryoko reaches into her duffle bag again, this time removing a stainless

steel thermos that looks able to hold about 500ccs of liquid.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39004706"

"This is the secret weapon that'll let us defeat Saya. It was a pain to

get, but it should work like a charm."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39004802"

"I can't take this anymore," Koji snaps, no longer able to disguise his

frustration.K  name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39004902""I don't care what Saya is! All I care about is killing Fuminori.

I can't leave this to you."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005006"

"I see."

Now that she's given up on persuading him, her assent is swift and

cold. At this moment, Koji's fate has likely ceased to matter to her.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005106"

"Alright, then. You do everything you can to take Sakisaka down. I'll

take advantage of the opening you create.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005106_2" I won't get in your way, and

I'll even take care of things when you screw up."

Despite the determination in her , Koji can't bring himself to trust

this paranoid doctor completely.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39005202"

"Do you have a reason to kill Fuminori?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005306"

"I like things neat and tidy. I can't stand people like him who lur

outside of the world.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005306a" They're like cockroaches in your bedroom. Can you

sleep with them sciiuttling underneath your pillow?k  name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005306a_2"The moment I find

one, I kill it and stamp out all trace of its existence. I have to, for the

sake of my mental well-being."

Her reasons are similar to Koji's own.

He doesn't want to bring a murderer to justice, nor does he want

revenge for Omi and Yoh. If he did, he could have left everything to the

police.K The reason he can't is that the villain is Fuminori. The man he

believed was his friend has turned his whole world upside down.

Everything and everyone with a part in this madness is to blame, and

that includes himself for allowing the betrayal. His self-loathing, his

desire to destroy, is what's keeping him on his feet.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39005406"

"Okay, let's move in for the checkmate. Go ahead and call Sakisaka out."

Koji nods, pulls out his cell phone, and calls his friend for what will


The call goes through quickly. He must have been waiting for it.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39005502"

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Fuminori. I've finished my preparations."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="39005600"

"Koji. Where are you?"

Fuminori must have been quite anxious to hear from Koji. His  is

hard and completely emotionless.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39005702"

"Let's just say I'm right behind you."

Koji can't help but smile at Fuminori's disappointment. Perhaps Ryoko's

maniacal sadism has rubbed off on him.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39005802"

"Well? Have you decided to let Tsukuba go?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="39005900"

"Yeah. I suppose I have no choice."

He's lying, Koji thinks, remembering the contents of Fuminori's


((Just what part of Yoh did you eat, Fuminori? Did you carve that poor

girl up like a pig?))

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="39006000"

"Koji, bring your evidence along with all the files you've gathered.

When I'm satisfied that they're the real thing, I'll hand Yoh over."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39006102"

"Fine. Where?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="39006200"

"First, come to Y Station on the O Line. When I'm sure that you're

alone, I'll tell you the exact location."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39006302"

"You're being awfully careful."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="39006400"

"No tricks. You have forty-five minutes."

Fuminori hangs up without waiting for Koji's response.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39006502"

"He won't tell me his location until he's sure I'm alone."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39006606"

"Not bad for a medical student. I'm impressed."

Ryoko's praise sounds serious, drawing a glare from Koji.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39006706"

"We'll leave my car here. Is your trunk large enough for me to fit


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39006802"

"Yeah, but... are you serious? You've seen too many movies."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39006906"

"This adventure is more dangerous than anything you've seen in a


With those bold words, Ryoko grabs her duffle bag and rises from her


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39007006"

"Weren't you the one who chose to meet here?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="39007102"

"Yeah, why?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="39007206"

"Take responsibility for the coffee," she says, and tosses him the check.


Even after Koji arrives at Y Station as directed, Fuminori calls him and

makes him change locations three more times.

Koji is beginning to doubt that Fuminori is trying to make sure that he's

alone. He might just be using the time to guess when Koji arrives at

each designated location.

Nevertheless, Koji can't let his guard down. Fuminori might choose any

moment to make sure that he isn't bringing any help. If he makes a

mistake and puts Fuminori on alert, Ryoko will lose her chance to take

him by surprise. She'll just have to put up with the cramped trunk for a

little while longer.


After the nature preserve and the dry riverbed, the fourth location to

which Fuminori sends Koji is in the thick forest at the top of the foothills,

high above the developed area at their base.

His car's GPS shows a road that leads nowhere, but according to

Fuminori, there should be an old, abandoned sanatorium there.

The park and river were empty this late at night, but during the day

would likely have considerable traffic. This time, however, his instinct is

telling him that it's definitely a place that no one could find, not even by



It looks like this is the final stop.

Koji drives up the steep incline, soon leaving the residential

neighborhood behind. Even though the hands of progress are right at its

doorstep, the undeveloped forest is darker than he expected.

This looks like a great place to live in secret -- or to kill someone and

hide the body.

Places like this, lost and forgotten, aren't found only in deep jungles

and hidden valleys. Holes in the world are everywhere, even in the midst

of civilization.

-A HREF="sy18_01Common3_Ruin_Koji"







A broken-down gatepost suddenly appears in the Accord's headlights

like a ghost rising from the darkness. It looks like this is the final stop.

Koji rolls up to the gate and turns off the engine, giving himself to the

silence of the forest.

His phone starts ringing almost immediately. He doesn't need to chec

who it's from.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40000102"

"I'm here."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40000200"

"Yeah, I heard you. Welcome to my new home."

Fuminori is nearby, close enough to hear the sound of the engine. A

shiver of excitement shoots up Koji's spine.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40000300"

"Come inside. Yoh's waiting."

Fuminori hangs up without another word.

-A HREF="sy18_02郁紀4" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy18_02Ryoko4"







After grabbing his new flashlight from the glove compartment and

gets out of the car.

-A HREF="sy18_03Common4"







After grabbing his new flashlight from the glove compartment and

making sure to pop the trunk at exactly the same time. Ryoko shouldn't

need any more explanation than that.

Realizing that the interior roof light will stay on and broadcast that the

car and deliberately slams the driver's side door hard.

-A HREF="sy18_03Common4"






Mountains of trash litter the front yard, forming a serviceable barricade.

Koji sees everything from small refrigerators and mopeds to huge

chunks of concrete and plaster that must have been abandoned by

construction workers. The fact that they could get away with leaving all

this stuff behind shows just how remote this place is.

-A HREF="sy18_05Fuminori5" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy18_04Ryoko5"






Glancing sidelong at the rear of his car, Koji sees no movement inside

the barely-open trunk. Ryoko knows what she's doing. She'll probably

wait until Fuminori's attention is focused on Koji before making her move.

-A HREF="sy18_05Fuminori5"






The moon is brighter than usual, allowing Koji to walk through the

front yard without tripping on debris. Staying alert, he heads for the

building beyond the mountains of trash.

Something must be buried underneath the piles of garbage, because

the whole yard is filled with the sharp stink of chemicals.

Even the homeless probably wouldn't come to this place. If you need to

get out of the wind and rain, there are plenty of shelters more suitable.

-A HREF="sy18_07Fuminori6" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy18_06Ryoko6"






When he reaches the gaping, doorless entrance to the building, Koji

glances back the way he came. His Accord, parked at the gate, is hidden

behind the mountains of trash.

Even if Fuminori is watching from inside the sanitorium, he shouldn't

be able to see Ryoko crawl out of the trunk. It looks like she'll get her

chance to take him by surprise.

-A HREF="sy18_07Fuminori6"







How many times now has he stood like this, alone in some ominously

silent place far removed from his everyday life?

Sneaking into deathly quiet houses to find traces of unimaginable

happenings has become as normal as going to class.

The houses that he explored before were like freshly-shed cicada shells

-- empty and dilapidated, but with traces of the life they had sheltered.

This place, however, is different -- a perfect ruin, its walls and pillars

rising from the dark forest like an army of ghosts, with no sign at all that

people once lived and worked here.

The structure resembles a skeleton more than a shell. Time and the

elements have stripped it of its former shape, and now there is only


Koji has gone as far as he can. This must be the final stop.

What will Fuminori's next move be? He must be planning to kill Koji,

but how?

Just as he's about to turn on his flashlight, Koji reconsiders.

If he wanders around with the light on, he'll be broadcasting his exact

location. That will give the advantage to Fuminori, who's probably lying

in wait for him right now.

He holds the light before him in his left hand with his finger poised on

the switch. In his right hand, he raises the revolver, keeping it pointed in

the same direction.

Now ready to fire when he turns on the light, Koji steps quietly into the

dark ruin.


It takes a while for his eyes to adjust, but even when they do, he has

only moonlight streaming through empty windows to guide him.

Everything appears gray and indistinct.

However, Fuminori has to deal with the same conditions if he's hiding


This is a battle of nerves, exhausting and deadly, where the first to

make a sound and give away his position will lose.

The rooms on both sides of the hallway are all open. Some are even

missing their doors. Koji creeps up to each entrance, checks to make

sure no one is inside, then carefully proceeds on.

The stink that he noticed in the garden has changed. Now it smells

more organic, like rotting meat. It's the exact same smell that filled

Fuminori's house.

-A HREF="sy18_09Fuminori7" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy18_08Ryoko7"






II ----The organism's flesh

freely expands in a manner

that renders piercing damage

meaningless meaningless



Koji grits his teeth and forces the madman's words out of his head.

What good can come of taking them seriously? This isn't the time for

such useless...

-A HREF="sy18_09Fuminori7"







Koji freezes and stares down the hall.

It was a wet sound that he heard just now, like someone dragging

their feet through a swamp -- and it came from the room at the end of

the hall.

Something is there -- something alive.

Koji creeps towards the sound, his light and gun at the ready.

Squish... squish.K Now it sounds like someone squeezing mud through

their fingers, and as he gets closer, Koji begins to hear breathing.

Could it be Fuminori? No, that's impossible. He should be waiting for a

chance to ambush Koji, not making careless noise.

As he proceeds, the strange sound coming through the cracks in the

concrete walls grows clearer.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40000405"



Before he knows it, he is standing on the threshold.K The room is filled

with a thick, viscous darkness, just like every other room that he's passed.

There is more than just darkness, however. Something is there.

He can hear pained breathing, like that of a wounded animal, and

what sounds like sobbing.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40000502"

"Who's there?" Koji whispers into the darkness.

Now that he's given away his position, he might as well turn on his

light. For some reason, however, Koji feels that to do so would have

disastrous consequences.

((Sobbing... the last time I heard her , on the phone, she was


The wheezing suddenly stops.

And then...

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40000605"


A whisper comes out of the darkness. Though not a human  -- not

by any measure -- it speaks some blasphemous semblance of human


A nightmarish flash of insight connects the dots in Koji's mind.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40000702"


It can't be.

Yoh doesn't sound like this. She doesn't smell like this.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40000805"

"pLeAse... KoJi... KilL... mE..."

But if it's not Yoh, then how does it know his name? Why is it begging

him for help?

No. It can't be Yoh. She's human, not some creature that slithers and

hides in the shadows.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40000905"

"It HurTs... tHis BoDy... aLWayS HurTs...k  name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40000905_2"SaVe mE... KoJi..."

The thing wriggles closer. His reason cries out, imploring him to switch

the light on before it's too late -- or to turn and run, if he cannot.

But Koji is unable to make either choice. He can only call out in vain to

the amorphous shape in the darkness.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40001002"

"Is it you, Tsukuba? Is it really you!?"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40001105"

"LeT Me dIe... No... MorE... PleAse... KilL meeEE!"

Something soft and slimy slides over Koji's toes.

Instinct overrides his will, forcing him to turn on his light and shine it

at his feet.


The white beam reveals everything -- the merciless truth that finally

shatters Koji's sanity.

NAME="耕司" SRC="40\001202"



responds with instant obedience.


There is a burst of tremendous light and sound, both more intense

than he expected, and then the destructive forces are swallowed up by

the darkness.

His ears are still ringing from the bang, but he hears a weak

coming from the shadows.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40001305"

"iT... HuRts..."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40001402"

Koji screams and pulls the trigger again and again, believing that

salvation can come only from the barrel of his gun.


Light and darkness, explosion and silence -- they dance their dance

three more times. Koji doesn't even need to aim. The horrible creature is

right at his feet, far too close to miss.

Ryoko warned him how many bullets were left in the revolver, but that

information has already been driven from his mind.

Even after the cold, heavy gloom wraps itself around him once more,

Koji keeps pulling the trigger like a man possessed, paying no heed to

the clicking of the empty weapon.


His panic-stricken legs suddenly give out, sending him down hard on

his backside.K Even then, he keeps firing the empty gun. He knows no

other way to erase the memory of the thing that he glimpsed in the

beam of his flashlight.

The light, which fell from his hand during the attack, is now pointing in

a completely different direction.K And though all four bullets must have

hit their target, they were Koji's last card to play.

Which leaves him alone in the darkness with no way to defend himself.

And just as he realizes this...

A mass of rotting flesh rolls onto him like a tidal wave.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40001505"


He can no longer even scream as the thing pushes him onto his back.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40001602"With fear seizing his throat in an iron grip, Koji struggles desperately

against the monster as it crawls up his body towards his face.

Covering his face with his left hand, he scrabbles wildly along the floor

with his right, searching for a way out that doesn't exist.

His mind is that of a feral animal, empty of everything but primal terror.


And that is why, when his right hand closes around something hard at

the last moment, he recognizes it instinctively as a weapon.

Putting every ounce of strength into his arm, Koji swings the heavy

object at the creature on top of him.

He hears the thud of a blunt object striking something soft and wet,

and then Koji's attacker rolls off him.

As soon as he is able to move freely, Koji leaps to his feet and grabs his

new weapon with both hands, brandishing it like a charm to ward off

evil. Only now does he realize that he's holding a rusty steel pipe.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="40001705"


The monster is still sobbing.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40001802"


With a cry that is part terrified scream, part enraged roar, Koji raises

the steel pipe and brings it crashing down on the cowering creature.

He hears a wet sound and feels the blood-chilling sensation of its thick,

soft flesh absorbing the blow. These combine to evoke an instinctive

loathing that wipes his mind of all but the urge to destroy.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40001902"

"Die! DIE!!"

Consumed by the same desperation with which he kept firing the

empty gun, Koji rains blow after blow down on his enemy.

and more like he's beating a puddle of viscous liquid.


Koji doesn't stop thrashing the creature until he recovers enough of his

senses to realize that whatever it might have been before, it is now

nothing but a lifeless corpse.

The pipe in his hand, covered with unidentifiable fluids and filth,

suddenly feels unbearably heavy.

-A HREF="sy18_11Fuminori8" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy18_10Ryoko8"






name="凉子" class="凉子" src="40002006"

"You still haven't seen the most damning part of all this."

Ryoko's  plays back in his head, and at last he knows how merciful

her warning was. Now that his eyes are as open as hers, he is able to

laugh in contempt of his own foolishness.

-A HREF="sy18_11Fuminori8"






Twenty years of memories in the light of the sun -- if they were indeed

cious to him, then he should never have come to this place.

The black flames of despair rise within him, consuming fear and

revulsion and pity. Only rage and hate remain. Every cell in his body

cries out for vengeance, for the blood of the man who poisoned him

with truth and tore him from the womb of innocence.

And then Koji, slave to hate, hears the sound of someone sneaking up

behind him.

Koji whirls, swinging his steel pipe with all the force he can muster.

His enemy hastily leaps back to avoid the strike, surprised by his failure

to catch Koji off guard. Twisted shadows dance in the beam of the light

on the floor.

Readying his pipe for the next blow, Koji faces off against his second


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40002102"

"Sakisaka... Fuminori!"

Before this moment, Koji could not have imagined that he would spea

his friend's name with such hatred.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40002200"

"Hey, that was a pretty heavy swing just now. You trying to kill me or


Even now, Fuminori is smiling, as though the huge axe in his hands is

just a sick joke.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40002300"

"Damn, Koji. I thought you'd hesitate."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40002402"

"You thought I'd hesitate? Against you!?"

Koji sneers too, unable to contain his contempt for the notion.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40002502"

"How did you kill Omi, you piece of shit? What did you do to Tsukuba?

After all this, you expect me to think twice about killing you?"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40002600"

"That's my line, Koji," Fuminori growls, looking sadly at the pile of dead

flesh at Koji's feet.K name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40002700" "How could you do such a horrible thing to Yoh?

You'll taste ten times her pain before I kill you."


The blade of Fuminori's axe carves a murderous arc through the

darkness, glittering menacingly in the faint light coming from the floor.

Koji raises his pipe to block the ferocious swing. The heavy impact

numbs his arms, but his large frame takes the blow without giving any


Fuminori presses the attack, delivering a second blow and a third. His

axe, designed for chopping down trees, is deadlier and more durable

than the piece of pipe Koji found discarded on the floor. Each strike Koji

blocks sends chunks of rust flying from his makeshift weapon.

He can't win as long as he's on the defensive. He needs to create an

opportunity to attack.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40002802"


Koji blocks a crushing downward swing, then pushes back hard before

Fuminori can pull away, throwing him off balance.K Fuminori stumbles

backwards, then plants his feet to steady himself.

Taking advantage of his opponent's temporary immobility, Koji delivers

a punishing low kick to Fuminori's outer thigh.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40002900"


Fuminori grunts and retreats, swinging his axe wildly to prevent Koji

from following up with another attack.

Koji, however, does not press his advantage. He just stands where he

is, calmly spearing Fuminori with his stare.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40003002"

"You've never been in a fight, have you?"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40003100"

Fuminori roars and comes in for another attack, but the damage to his

right leg seems to be slowing his swing.

Easily blocking the axe with his pipe, Koji waits for Fuminori to exhaust


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40003200"

"Die! Die!!"

Fuminori delivers blow after heavy blow, howling savagely all the while.

What he does not realize, however, is that the situation now favors

composure, not brute force.


When Fuminori raises his axe high for yet another attack, Koji sees that

his movements have grown dull enough. Seizing the opportunity, Koji


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40003300"


As Fuminori recoils in fear, Koji brings his pipe crashing into his

enemy's unprotected side.

He feels the crunch of ribs breaking.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40003400"


The pain drives Fuminori to his knees. Staring down at Fuminori's

defenseless head, Koji, surprised by his own lack of emotion, raises his

pipe high to deliver the finishing blow.

Which is when something wraps itself around his left ankle.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40003502"



The instant Koji panics at the unexpected sensation, something soft yet

strong winds itself around his right leg and drags him to the floor before

he can resist.

He twists his body and tries to swing the steel pipe at the unseen

enemy behind him, but his right hand, too, is seized by the same flexible


He wasn't able to feel it through his pants, but now his blood turns to

ice at the cold, slimy sensation of the thing wrapped around his

uncovered wrist.

((That monster's still alive!?))

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="40003600"

"That's it... Saya," Fuminori says encouragingly. Even while kneeling on

the floor, his face twisted in pain, he manages a terrible, victorious grin.


This monster is Saya.

-A HREF="sy19_01_badend" OPERATOR="badend=1"

-A HREF="sy20_01_madend"

<<分岐郁紀に電話した? 凉子に電話した?>>







Koji struggles desperately to free himself from the creature's slimy grip,PREPRE

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40003702"


The horror has already driven Koji half mad. Just imagining the

creature's appearance is enough to send him into a mindless panic.

His scream is suddenly ciiut off as a slimy appendage seizes his throat.

This most deadly tentacle isn't just ciiutting off his windpipe. It's trying to

snap his neck... and it's getting tighter.


My mind hazy from the pain, I watch as Saya feasts upon her slain


We've won. It was hard, and I wasn't able to do it alone, but together

we have defeated our enemy.

The price was steep. At least two of my ribs are broken, sending a

sharp pain shooting through my chest every time I breathe.

And then there's Yoh. I didn't expect her to fall to Koji so easily. I

suppose that, unlike Saya, she might have been unfamiliar with how to

use her new body in combat.

My injury must have fueled Saya's anger. Her slaughter of Koji was

merciless and complete. As soon as her prey stopped moving, she san

her teeth into his vital organs and ruthlessly extinguished the last

embers of life.

Though her brutal, grisly actions were unbecoming of her girlish

appearance, Saya's face, covered in blood and gore, was that of a

victorious queen of beasts lording over her defeated foe. There was

something noble and sacred about her primal ferocity that made me

reluctant to disturb her.

I don't know how long I've been sitting here watching Saya feast. I've

nearly fainted from the pain several times. To be honest, I'm not used to


The wounds I suffered in the car accident were worse, of course, but

these broken ribs are the most severe injury that's ever been deliberately

inflicted upon me.


You'd think that Saya could show a little more concern for my

condition. Koji is already as dead as can be, so there's no reason for her

to be so greedy.

I suddenly realize that Saya has stopped eating. Now she's lying on her

back, rolling from side to side.

Has she eaten too much? It's been several days since we've had fresh,

unfrozen meat, so I understand where her enthusiasm is coming from.

But still, I'm wounded here. She could give me a hand.

Because I'm preoccupied with my own selfish wants, I'm slow to realize

that something is wrong.

Saya isn't resting. She's trembling -- in agony.

My blood goes cold, and the pain from my broken ribs is suddenly


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41000100"


I jump up, run to her side, and cradle her fallen body in my arms.

Her face is pale and drenched in sweat, and her half-closed eyelids and

lips are shivering like she has a fever.

What's going on? Was she wounded in the fight? Could the meat she

just ate have been poisoned somehow?

I don't understand. All I know is that something terrible is happening.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41000200"

"Saya! Saya!"

The only thing I can do is call her name with all of my strength.

Saya slowly opens her eyes and gazes vacantly into my face.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000301"

"Sorry... Fuminori. I'm fine... really...k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000301_2" It just... hurts a little."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41000400"

"What's wrong!? What is it!? Come on, Saya!"

There's no way she's fine. It's glaringly obvious that her condition is


Even so, I'm the only one who's panicking. Saya's expression is serene,

as though she understands everything that is happening to her. She

even smiles softly up at me.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000501"

"I can't believe it. I never thought... the time would come... so soon."

I might lose Saya. The thought is unbearable. Terror and despair are

quickly overwhelming me, a feeling of utter helplessness that I cannot


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000601"

"Don't be afraid. Remember what I said? This is... the sign.k  name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000601_2"This is...

our only hope..."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41000700"

"What are you talking about!? I don't understand! Stay with me, Saya!"


Saya answers my tearful entreaty with a smile like that of a mother

comforting her child.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000801"

"I did it... I decided to do my best.k  name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000801_2"After all... you said you loved me.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41000801_3"You said... that I was pretty."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41000900"

"Stop this, Saya!"

Whatever is happening, I can't just sit by and watch as it causes Saya

such agony.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41001000"

"Please! Whatever you're trying to do, I don't want to see you suffer!"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001101"

"Don't be like that, Fuminori..." Saya chides me. "Please understand."

In a soft , she reveals her secret.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001201"

"They're going to be born... our children."

For a moment, my mind goes completely blank.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41001300"

"What? But... when did you?"

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001401"

"I'm surprised too. Fuminori?"

Saya's labored breathing speaks to the terrible pain her tiny body is

suffering -- even so, she wraps her arms tightly around my neck.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001501"

"Take me outside... to an open place... under the sky."

I nod. What else can I do? If I speak, I'm afraid that I'll be unable to

hold back my tears. I mustn't cry -- not when Saya is facing her torment

so bravely.


It feels like Saya is burning up in my arms, and I fear that the terrible

convulsions that shoot through her at intervals will tear her frail body to



Praying for her safety, I scoop Saya up and carry her swiftly out of the

ruined building.

Maybe the cold night air will soothe her fever -- but that hope is futile,

cruelly dashed as her breathing grows shallow and she moans through

bluish lips.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41001600"

"Saya... we're outside."

In response to my call, she opens her eyes once more.

Her gaze is cloudy and unfocused. She can no longer see.

Nevertheless, Saya looks at me. I can tell that she is imagining my

expression where my face should be.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001701"

"Just as I promised... this is... my final present."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41001800"

"I know."

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41001901"

"I hope you'll... like it..."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41002000"

"Of course I will!"

It takes every ounce of my willpower, but I manage to make my

light and cheerful.K In Saya's mind's eye, I know that I am smiling. She

won't have to see my face streaked with tears.


name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002101"

"Fuminori... to you, who loved me...k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002101_2" I give... this planet."

Saya's whisper is weak and pained, but there is ecstasy in her  --

ecstasy, and joy.

Her back suddenly shifts, then bulges outward.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002201"

"This world... will be beautiful," she whispers in exultation.k name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002201_2" "A world...

just for us."


And then, Saya blooms. How else can I describe it?

Flower petals -- long and wide, they spread from her back like the

wings of a newly-formed butterfly.K Their brilliant glow comes from the

countless tiny scales that cover each petal like particles of light.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41002300"

"Is this goodbye?" I ask her, careful to keep the sorrow out of my .

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002401"

"No... not goodbye. This is... the beginning."

Saya's pain must already have left her, for her expression is infinitely

peaceful and content.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="41002501"

"The beginning... of our world."


The radiant motes rise on the wind, painting rivers of light in the

frozen winter sky.

It is beautiful -- overwhelmingly, painfully beautiful.K Singing

victoriously of their freedom, the shining seeds of life are released into

this vast and fertile land.K Their song heralds the coming of the new

world and the destruction of the old.K

It is a boundless healing.

It is an eternal blessing.

We shall fill the world with our joy.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="41002600"

"Now we'll be together forever, won't we?"

Embracing Saya's pitifully shrunken body, I gaze into the shining sky

and let my tears flow freely.

Thank you.

Thank you for this final gift, Saya.

-A HREF="sy19_02Ending_Ryoko"







She was worried, at first, how long the preserved foods in the

underground storeroom would last her, but now it seems that her fears

were unfounded.

It's the liquor she should have worried about.

By savoring each drop of Spirytus as though it were her last, she

thought that she could make her flask hold out a little longer -- but she

must have been consuming more each day than she realized.

Who can blame her? There is no way that she could have gotten

through this without the intoxicating effects of distilled alcohol.

After Ryoko chased useless emotions like hope and despair from her

mind, she found herself spending the most peaceful days of her life.

As resignation set in, even hate and fear left her. Now she feels only

awe for what Ogai Masahiko did and respect for the depth of his

intellectual curiosity.

After all, neither she nor this world has any reason left to deny his



Alone in the mountain cabin, Ryoko killed time by bringing order to the

documents that Ogai had left behind.

She took the scattered, enciphered papers and rewrote them in a more

readable fashion, eliminating redundancies and adding indexes and

tables of contents.

Ryoko did not intend for anyone to read them, of course. She knew full

well how meaningless her actions were.

With her reason to live gone, however, having something to devote her

mind to was at least some relief.

And now, as the last congratulatory drops of Spirytus vodka burn their

way down Ryoko's throat, all of Ogai's research lies before her in a single

volume. She has finally finished transcribing and annotating the last of

his writings.

Enjoying the satisfaction of a pointless job well done, she idly pages

through the manuscript that she just completed.


"I shall conclude by summarizing my theory as it currently stands.

The lifeform that I named Saya did not appear in our universe by

chance, nor even as a result of my summoning, but because of the

instincts that were programmed directly into her biology.

She was created to fulfill the same ultimate purpose that all life shares:


Saya and her kind procreate by spreading their seeds to other


"What is the probability that they will discover a doorway to another

world? Even if they succeed in doing so, the chance of that world being

suitable for reproduction must be even more minute.

In order to make the most of that scant probability, evolution has

granted them a certain advantage -- none other than the astonishing

ability that I have witnessed in Saya.

To wit, they select the most prosperous lifeform that they encounter,

take control of it, and in doing so gain dominance over that planet's

biosphere. In other words, they 'hijack' the entire species.

They do this by analyzing their target's genome, then overwriting its

genetic code to remake it in their own image. Saya's biology is more

than capable of inducing such dramatic and widespread mutation."


"There is a significant probability that the target species will have

evolved into intelligent life. This element may be necessary to gaining

control of the planet's environment.

Therefore, Saya and her sisters also plunder their target's culture and

psychology. Her extraordinary learning ability and intellectual curiosity

are likely instinctive tools that enable her to inherit the target species's

entire wealth of knowledge."

"In fact, it may be that Saya's kind has always had its sights set on

intelligent life.

Perhaps they wait patiently for some foolish, extradimensional species

to gain knowledge of other worlds and, in attempting to satisfy its

curiosity, make contact with the outer universe in which they dwell.

Rather than send Saya and her kin on their dimensional journeys with

only luck and their own strength to depend on, would not waiting for

such contact greatly increase the chance of finding a world worthy of


Just as I, having acquired the Silver Key, fancied myself an explorer of

the unknown -- how many intelligent lifeforms on other worlds have

thoughtlessly congratulated themselves for 'discovering' Saya's sisters?"


Taken by the sudden urge to go outside for a change, Ryoko gathers

up the manuscript and heads to her car, which is parked in the front


She has completed her self-imposed final duty. There is no longer any

reason for her to remain holed up in the mountain cabin.


She drives a little farther up the mountain, to an open place that offers

a scenic view of the land below.

In the early days of the change, Ryoko often came to this spot to watch

helplessly over the mutating city.


"The one flaw in my theory comes from none other than Saya herself.

After using me to learn everything she could about humanity, Saya

should finally have been prepared to begin the last stage of her invasion.

However, she never carried out her mission. Why?"

"I hypothesize... that Saya was an irregular among her kind.

It is said that the human race's intelligence has allowed us to conquer

our natural instincts. Perhaps, in absorbing the human psyche, Saya

accidentally inherited the disease that infects our entire species."

"What is human love, really? What behavior could be more of a

hindrance to the efficient propagation of a species?

I am reminded of how, at the end of her studies, Saya consumed vast

quantities of romantic literature from all over the world.

She tried to understand romance as an integral part of the human

reproductive process. As a result, she might have unwittingly neutered

her own unparalleled reproductive abilities.

After all... she had not known love."


"She had come to this world to rule it in our place, and had studied

humanity to fulfill that purpose -- but ultimately, she could not share

love with a human.K Without love's blessing, Saya was unable to find the

passion to fill this world with her kind.

In learning all that there was to know about humanity, she herself had

become hopelessly human.K Weary of loneliness, she despaired of the

world. How pure her maiden's soul must have been.

If this hypothesis is correct, then it means that I have failed as her

teacher. I cannot help but feel ashamed for having spoiled such an

extraordinary organism."


Saya.K Next to Ogai Masahiko, Ryoko now knows more about that entity

than anyone else.

No... when the young man named Sakisaka Fuminori is added to the

running, perhaps she only comes in third.

In the end, she never encountered the creature face to face. She

would like to have met it once, though.

If Ogai's analysis of Saya's psychology is correct, then it must have

been Sakisaka who restored her desire to conquer the world.

Perhaps, as Sakisaka's chief physician, Ryoko played some role in

bringing that lonely young man and Saya together -- in which case, she

should at least have had the right to attend their wedding-to-end-


She might even have charged them a matchmaker's fee.

se id="1" src="pageturn" mode="normal" loop="off"


"I have a dream -- that one day my daughter will know the blessings of

love.K I pray that there will come a day when her heart burns with the

flames of passion, and her world becomes bright and joyous once more."


"When that day comes, Saya, your terrible, irresistible purpose will

surely consume us, that your progeny may flourish. The whole world will

know your love, and be reborn.

Ahh, what wonders the future holds."

se id="1" src="pageturn" mode="normal" loop="off"


"I deeply regret that I must end my life before I can see that day

come, but the footsteps of those who would destroy my dream grow

closer by the hour.K If I seal my lips in death, then their grasping hands

will not reach you."


"Please forgive me, my daughter, for leaving you alone in this barren

world.K With the knowledge that you now possess, I know that you will

find your own path. The radiance of your hard-won soul shall light the

road ahead.K Have no fear. Have no doubt. March onward, until you

reach your answer at last.

And I, Saya, will dream forever of the world that you will create."


just more resistant to the change. Whatever the case, Ryoko has not yet

become as inhuman as the creatures wriggling through the city below.

She does not know exactly how many people on this planet could still

be called human, but she's one of what must be only a handful of

survivors who are left to watch over the end of mankind.

Of course, it's only a matter of time before she changes too.

It has been three days since she chopped off her right hand -- which

had ceased to fiiunction as anything resembling a human hand -- but the

itching that has spread across her entire back is growing more

intolerable by the hour.

She could look in a mirror to see what she is becoming, but she doubts

that it would make her happy.

Ryoko thinks that maybe it would be best to just go to sleep here, with

the world spread out before her.

When she awakens, perhaps she will be ready to descend the

mountain and join in the city's revelries. Or maybe she won't even need

such resolve anymore.

Whatever the case, Ryoko thinks dreamily as she licks the very last

drop from her flask.

Even after I stop being human, I hope I'll still enjoy the taste of booze.

-CALC WORKNAME="ENDING" OPERATOR="1" MODE="global" save0="true"

-SYSTEM CMD="ending" ROLL="staff" bgm="SayaNoUta"










Koji struggles desperately to free himself from the creature's slimy grip,PREPRE

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="40003702"


The horror has already driven Koji half mad. Just imagining the

creature's appearance is enough to send him into a mindless panic.

His scream suddenly dies as a slimy appendage seizes his throat. This

most deadly tentacle isn't just ciiutting off his windpipe. It's trying to snap

his neck... and it's getting tighter.

Koji is certain that this is the end, but just as his vision begins to dim,

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="43000101"


With a horrifying, inhuman scream, the creature releases Koji and

retracts its tentacles.

The first thing he sees after regaining his mobility is Ryoko running

down the hall with a smoking shotgun in one hand and a silver tube in

the other.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43000202"


Ryoko responds by tossing him the tube. Though still lying on the floor,

he manages to snatch it out of the air.

It's the thermos she showed him at the restaurant, the one she called

her secret weapon!


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="43000306"

"Pour it on that thing!" Ryoko shouts to Koji. At the same time, she

aims her gun at Fuminori, who's still on his knees five paces away. The

double-barreled shotgun still has one shot loaded.

The monster that attacked Koji is writhing in agony. It hasn't yet

recovered from Ryoko's shot.

But he's already seen that bullets aren't enough to kill these creatures.

Now is his only chance.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="43000400"

"What are you doing!?" Fuminori growls, gritting his teeth against the

pain of his broken ribs.

Forcing himself to be calm, Koji stands and carefully unscrews the lid

of the thermos. There's no question in his mind that something

extremely potent is inside.

As soon as it is unsealed, a thick white mist pours out of the thermos

and the surrounding air turns freezing cold.K

Instantly guessing what's inside, Koji lobs the thermos at the pile of

flesh convulsing on the floor.


The thermos sails through the air, spewing white fog, and like a

baptismal font showers its liquid contents upon the hellish creature.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="43000501"


Its scream this time is incomparable to before.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="43000601"

The monster thrashes in agony, wreathed in white smoke. Its screams

are joined by Ryoko's cackling.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="43000706"

"Ahahahaha! That's minus 197 degrees, you fucking monster! How's it

feel!? Cold? Hot? Not so tough now, are you!?"

Her eyes blaze with manic glee, as if to say that sanity was a small

price to pay for the joy of at last vanquishing her nightmare.

BUSTUP NAME="怖凉子" face="怒り3" MODE="off" zoom="" ALIGN="left"


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="43000800"

"Monsters! I'll kill you!!"

Fuminori staggers to his feet, roaring black curses. His rage seems to

have drowned out the pain of his broken bones.

Ryoko is not one to underestimate the threat posed by his axe. Her

mad laughter fades away, leaving only a cold smile as she pulls the


With a short burst of dark flame, Ryoko's gun sputters and dies.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="43000906"


shotgun shells need proper storage. And besides, she always expected

that any situation where her gun would be necessary would also be one

that she would not survive.

Cursing in anger and dismay, Ryoko breaks the shotgun open and

a vengeful demon, the head of his axe screeching as it drags along the



((I have to stop him!))

Koji tries to charge Fuminori, but only succeeds at sending himself

sprawling. One of his shoes is stuck to the floor, frozen by the liquid


As Ryoko fumbles in her pocket for a new shell, Fuminori closes the

distance and raises his axe in both hands.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001002"


Koji curses and rips his shoe free of the frozen concrete, but he knows

that he'll never make it in time.

Ryoko thrusts a new shell into the chamber of her shotgun and snaps it

closed, then looks up to find her target.

crashing down with the wind howling in its wake.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001102"


The sounds of bones shattering, tendons snapping, and flesh tearing

blend together in foul harmony.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="43001206"


The thick blade enters through Ryoko's left shoulder, plowing through

her collarbone and shoulder blade, smashing several ribs, and popping

her lung like a balloon before stopping in the center of her chest.

Her expression frozen in shock by the impact, she sprays a geyser of

blood from her mouth.


She should have died instantly, but through some unimaginable force

bloodstained lips, she raises her shotgun.


Not to the front, but to the side.

Beyond the barrel of her gun, wearing the 77-degree Kelvin mist like a

white cloak of death, is the weakly wriggling Saya.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="43001300"



Fuminori's scream vanishes into the roar of the shotgun.


The destruction is absolute. The impact of the shotgun pellets

obliterates the half of Saya's body that fell prey to the liquid nitrogen.

The frozen particles of Saya's shattered flesh drift to the floor like snow.

Even the creature's special biology is insufficient to seal a wound of this

size.K From the opening pour its internal organs, a tide of liquid, slime,

and fat whose color is far too foul to belong to any living creature.

name="沙耶" class="沙耶" src="43001401"


The monster convulses, wailing in a weak, pitiful .


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="43001500"


With his axe still buried in Ryoko's body, Fuminori stares at the dying

creature, his expression utterly devoid of emotion.

Koji grabs his pipe and prepares to attack Fuminori from behind, but

freezes when he sees the emptiness on the face of the man he hated.

Fuminori pulls his axe out of Ryoko's corpse, then looks at Koji with

glazed eyes. There is no recognition in them, nor hate, nor rage.

When Koji meets Fuminori's blank stare, he knows.

There is nothing left in him to kill.


Fuminori grips the axe closer to its head and raises it high, the blade

towards his face.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001602"


Koji doesn't know whether he should interfere -- but even if he wanted

to, what could he say to stop Fuminori?

Fuminori pulls his head back, slowly but surely... then drives his face

into the blade of the axe like a spring-loaded toy.

Crunch. His skull caves in with a dull, wet sound, and the spray of

blood catches Koji in the face.

Despite Fuminori's utter lack of hesitation, his first attempt at suicide

only succeeds in transforming his face into a hash of crimson.

Fuminori pulls his head back one more time, even slower than before.

Then, with every ounce of strength still left in his body, he slams it into

the bloodstained axe.

The sound is wetter than before.


Koji stares at the two mangled corpses for a while. He feels completely

left behind, like he can't remember why he's standing in this place with

a steel pipe in his hand.

The stale air filling the ruined building becomes choked with the stench

of blood, and the crimson puddles gradually spread across the

snow-covered floor -- yet the tranquility of the siicene makes it seem like

a painting.

A soft, slimy sound breaks the silence.K Koji looks at the mortally

wounded monster. The creature is on death's door, but even so, it

moves. Slowly, feebly, it drags its broken body through the sea of blood.

It's coming for Fuminori.

Koji had forgotten his anger, but now it comes surging back at full


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001702"


He growls and stabs the monster with the end of his pipe. It convulses

in agony, but keeps crawling towards Fuminori.

Koji explodes into a frenzy of rage.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001802"

"Die, you monster! Just die already! Stay the hell away from Fuminori!"


Again and again, he smashes the helpless flesh-beast with his pipe.

Something tells him that if he does not stop it here, he will truly have



The monster, however, never succumbs.K It struggles on beneath his

blows, until finally it reaches Fuminori's corpse.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="43001902"

"Don't touch Fuminori! Don't touch him, damn you! What gives you the



Koji keeps swinging, his fury unabated even as tears start to pool in his

eyes. The monster's slime flies through the air, joining with the blood

already covering his face.

The creature extends one thin, trembling tentacle to touch Fuminori's

shoulder, then lovingly caresses his blood-stained cheek.

And then it stops moving.

Even in its final moments, the monster would not let Fuminori go. It

died joined with him.

At last, Koji knows that the world he knew is lost forever.

-A HREF="sy20_02Ending_Koji"







name="青海" class="青海" src="44000104"

"Hey," Omi says enthusiastically, the exposed bones of her face

clattering, "why don't we go somewhere we can skate for this year's ski


Chunks of her body are missing, as though something's been nibbling

on her. It makes her look a lot thinner. She's been worried about her

weight recently, but now she shouldn't need to diet.


name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="44000200"

Fuminori laughs at Omi's crazy suggestion. "That's right. You just

started skating recently, didn't you?"

He sounds amused, but it's hard to tell from his expression, since his

face has been cleaved in two by an axe.

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="44000300"

"Not many people start skating in their twenties, you know."

name="青海" class="青海" src="44000404"

"I was scared when I was little. Those shoes looked like big knives!"

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="44000500"

"Yeah, I know. If someone kicked you in the face with one of those on,

you'd probably end up like me."

Omi and Yoh laugh at Fuminori's dumb joke. Yoh never used to laugh

with such exuberance. She seems truly happy now that she and

Fuminori are officially together.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44000605"

"But you were able to kill him on your first try? That's amazing, Omi."

name="郁紀" class="郁紀" src="44000700"

"It's a lot like playing baseball. You swing hard and let the weight of

the axe do the damage."


name="青海" class="青海" src="44000804"

"He made killing him sound so easy, I figured I'd give it a try. And it

was fun!"

What is this feeling? Something is wrong, though Koji can't put his

finger on what.


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44000905"

"Oh... well, I want to try eating Omi too."

Ah, that's it.

When he sees Yoh's envious smile, Koji finally realizes what's bothering


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44001002"

"Hey, Tsukuba..."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001105"

"Hm? What's wrong, Koji?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44001202"

"Why are you... normal?"

Yoh tilts her head quizzically, like she doesn't understand what he


name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001305"

"Normal? I'm always normal."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44001402"

"But, back then, you were..."

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001505"

"Oh, I get it," Yoh nods in understanding.K  name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001605""You're talking about when I

looked different from you? That was such a long time ago."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44001702"

"It... was?"

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001805"

"Of course!" she replies, deflecting Koji's confusion with that uncannily

cheerful smile.

name="瑶" class="瑶" src="44001905"

"After all, you're one of us now."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44002002"



Oh, of course.

Koji looks down and is satisfied to see wriggling tentacles where his

arms and legs should be.


When he opens his eyes, his mattress and pillow are soaked in sweat.

It's always the same nightmare. He doesn't know how many times he's

had it, but at least he's not leaping out of bed screaming anymore.

He sits up, clutching his throbbing head.

It's four in the morning.

He hasn't had nearly enough rest, but he probably won't be able to get

back to sleep tonight.

Time for a smoke. A full pack will last him until dawn. Now, where did

he put the pack he bought yesterday?


Koji wanders sleepily into the den, where yet another old friend is

waiting for him.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44002106"

"You look like hell."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44002202"

"Doctor. You're here too?"

Ryoko's chopped-up corpse is sitting at his dining table, looking as

deathly pale as ever as she sips coffee from a mug.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44002306"

"You can't be getting much sleep, tossing and turning like that every


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44002402"

"It's not always like this," Koji says amicably as he sits down across

from her. "If I take some pills, it usually helps. For now."

Hallucinations like these are easier to deal with than elaborate

nightmares like the one he just had. They should probably worry him

more, though.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44002506"

"If you'd listened to my warnings back then, you wouldn't be in such

bad shape now."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44002602"

"Let's stop talking about that. What's done is done."


Ryoko chuckles, smiling the same cruel, manic smile that she used to

when she was alive. Her left arm hangs from her half-severed shoulder,

dangling like a forgotten wind chime.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44002706"

"Sounds like you've come to terms with it."

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44002802"

"You were the same, weren't you? You managed to pass yourself off as

an elite neurosurgeon most of the time."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44002906"

"It's not that hard keeping up appearances, when you have to."K The

takes another sip of her coffee.K name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003006" "But it's only going to get worse, you

know.k name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003006_2" Time heals emotional wounds, but with you, it's more like you've

been poisoned."

She's probably right.

Everyone dreams at night. No matter how dim the memories may get,

the nightmares will always be there to tear into Koji with fresh fangs.

The insanity that has taken root in his heart will grow, eventually

consuming everything that's left inside of him.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44003102"

"In my case, I've had you to learn from. I'm ready for anything."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003206"

"Is that so?"


Koji nods, smiling confidently, then stands and walks to the bathroom,

where he retrieves the weapon that he keeps hidden behind the mirror.

Ogai's revolver, the one souvenir that Koji brought back from the other

world that night.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44003302"

"It was tough, but I finally found someone who deals in these things.k name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44003302_2" I

bought bullets for it. Can you believe that ammunition is more expensive

than the gun itself?"

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003406"

"How about that."

In the mirror, Koji sees Ryoko with her axe-inflicted gash reversed. She

raises her mug in a toast to Koji's resourcefulness.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003506"

"So, how many shots did you buy?"

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44003602"

"Just one."

This time, it's Koji who shrugs his shoulders. He uses both, exercising

his privilege as the survivor.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44003702"

"You see... I never want to be in a situation where I'll need more."

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003806"


The corpse in the mirror nods sagely, her smile approving.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44003906"

"You really do get it, Tonoh."

There is a brief silence.

Koji doesn't really feel like getting all melancholy with a corpse.


name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44004002"

"Hey, Doctor, let's give the diner coffee a rest. If you want, I'll put on a

new pot of----"

When Koji turns around halfway through his sentence, he realizes that

the room is empty but for the silence of the night.

name="耕司" class="耕司" src="44004102"


And so, Koji returns to the world of the sane.

He lights his first cigarette of the night and takes a deep drag. While

sitting alone in his den, puffing on his smoke, he stares at the gun in his


He knows just how precarious a cliff he's standing on.

The final line of which Ryoko spoke is now one step behind him. Koji

no longer has anything to protect his soul.

Now that Ogai Masahiko's fantasies and Tanbo Ryoko's delusions have

all become tangible horrors, he knows what insanity and despair truly


Back in the real world, Sakisaka Fuminori is wanted for several

gruesome murders.

It didn't take long for someone to discover the stockpiles of human

meat in the empty Sakisaka and Suzumi homes. In the two refrigerators

were found the remains of Suzumi Yosuke, his wife and daughter, and

Takahata Omi.

They found the clothes and other effects of Tsukuba Yoh, but were

unable to locate any trace of her among the various body parts -- a fact

that made Koji's nightmares all the more vivid.


Doctor Tanbo Ryoko of the T University Hospital vanished mysteriously

around the same time. Because she was Fuminori's chief physician, the

police have been investigating her connection to his crimes.

As for the two corpses secretly buried in the backyard of a certain ruin

-- well, they'll probably never be found, and this incident will become

just another cold case.

Koji alone knows what really happened, and he has no intention of

revealing it -- not now, and not ever.

Ogai's writings were not nonsense, which means that everything else

was.K What fool was it who said that men are the lords of creation? Those

who can believe in paltry things like human wisdom and valor... are

those lucky innocents who have not looked into the abyss.

Koji can no longer share in their blessed ignorance.

He knows. He has been defiled by the insanity called truth, and he will

never believe again.

If he has been poisoned, as Ryoko's ghost said, then that poison is

none other than the truth itself.

Just as pure oxygen is harmful to the body, the naked truth has the

power to destroy men's minds.K Only by diluting it with lies and taking it

in small doses can humans maintain a healthy soul.


name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44004206"

"No matter what horrors the world might hold..."

Words once spoken by the living Tanbo Ryoko pass through Koji's mind.

name="凉子" class="凉子" src="44004306"

"I still had some power against the madness."

That, without a doubt, was the comfort that she kept hidden in her

bosom -- the only thing that allowed her to face her dreams each night.


Koji has taken his predecessor's lessons to heart. He's prepared for


One bullet is always behind the bathroom mirror, promising him