Chapter 2 — Coming of age, a ceremony needed for emancipation. Part 5
I saw him turn his head to look at me in the reflection of the mirror.
Then, I spread my arms out and slowly did a full twirl.
“What…are those?” he inquired coldly, his ears jerking straight up in surprise.
“I’d like to know that myself.”
It was something like a black birthmark, sprawled upon my skin like a stripe. It extended from my toes all the way up to around the height of my elbow.
My body looked like a white box that was wrapped with a black ribbon.
Wrapping, gift, present.
My dream resurfaced, and along with it, the white girl and the smoothness of her hand.
It was as if that dream had amalgamated with reality, and as proof, I should have received some sort of power, or so Ver had said.
I traced my finger over the black ribbons for a while, but it simply felt like I was touching my skin.
In the end, I decided to stop thinking about it and changed into my summer uniform.
“Are you feeling unwell?”
“I’m completely fine.” My body that is, I couldn’t say the same regarding my mental state.
I had no idea where the power that Ver mentioned was stored.
I slowly massaged my slim chest. Deep within it, I could feel light heartbeats.
The heartbeats of a wolf’s heart, a god’s heart, and a human’s heart.
There was no disparity between them, it was simply tranquil.
“When I liberate myself from my shackles, huh,” I murmured to myself as I fetched my bag and checked the time.
Even though I had woken up at the same time as usual, it seemed that I was going to be late. Not that it mattered much to me anyway.
I went down to the first floor. There, I couldn’t feel my mother’s presence, and my step father seemed to have already left for work.
The TV in the living room had been left on and it was currently showing the morning news.
In one segment, they mentioned the discovery of a large dog’s corpse. In another segment, a mysterious intruder had slaughtered the animals that were being sheltered in a health care center, and a girl had been attacked by a stray dog.
There was nothing but dogs all over the news.
A commentator with a face like a monkey’s was giving his hypothesis on what seemed to be the most plausible reason behind this case.
Everything he uttered couldn’t have been further away from the truth, but the rest of the staff all nodded in approval.
I knew exactly what had happened, but there was probably no one who would believe me.
It’s not like there was anyone who could even begin to understand.
For most people, reality was just like that. They only saw what they wanted to see.
“I’m leaving,” I lightly muttered to no one in particular as I turned the TV off.
No one responded. It seemed like today was going to be another cold day.
There were no clouds in the sky, yet the sunshine was a bit too dull.
When I arrived at the front gates, it was less than five minutes til the bell was going to ring, and I barely managed to enter the classroom in time.
The classroom was unusually quiet, almost as if they were all afraid of something, and it seemed that Budworm was already back.
Her brown hair was in disarray, and she was wearing a short skirt coupled with white knee socks. The place where Shiro had slashed her, her left eye, was covered in bandages and the long ends hung low on her shoulders.
Her scarf was carelessly worn, and if one peeked from above, it would probably be possible to see her chest.
She had also lost some weight.
Her right eye glared directly at me with enmity.
Its dark lustre was reminiscent of a sharpened blade, out of place in this cold autumn day.
I willfully walked up to her.
There was no reply to my greeting. She merely spoke in a monologue-like tone.
“–told me that we should never see each other again.”
The most important part of the sentence was left out, so I had no idea what she was trying to say.
“Who told you that?”
“…Who is that?”
I immediately heard the sound of grating teeth.
“Aya, Natsume Aya. The girl who was always by my side. Don’t tell me you forgot her already?!”
“Ahh.” She was talking about Mouse.
She stood up indignantly and swiftly grabbed me by the collar.
Her hands shook as she grit her teeth and glared at me with her right eye.
She was a whirlpool of negativity—grief, rage, hatred, anguish, remorse and vexation.