Chapter 6: Murder
I’ve decided to quickly explain this revolution.
It’s a little tiring, but keep up with me.
During break, after finishing the meals that aren’t too bad but not very good either, everyone would just do whatever they wanted.
I was always at a corner of the classroom, reading, so I never once paid attention to all my classmates. On a closer look though, I would find everyone doing all kinds of things happily.
Masaya, Ninomiya and Watabe were playing poker cards with several girls, while Ishikawa’s watching on from the side happily. Komuro’s trying his best to copy Masaya’s homework, the other girls are chatting away on the corridor, giving annoyed looks at Katou and the others as the latter talked about some degrading stuff. The more otaku oriented ones were discussing the anime airing that night, while calm people like were reading.
What I wanted to express was that back then, I was not enraged.
When I attacked Masaya with the filled water bottle, I was not that agitated.
So once I made up my body, I attacked Masaya with a swift, fluid motion when he turned his head around. Of course, it was to be expected; if I was really angry, I would have attacked him with a chair, and even Masaya would have been sent to the hospital. With my feeble muscles, I should have been able to do it.
In any case, it was due to kindness that I chose to attack with a water bottle, and left a bruise on Masaya’s face.
“What’s with you…Sugawara?”
Every classmate of mine stopped, and there was instantaneous silence in the classroom, with only Masaya remaining calm.
That really impressed me.
So I said, “This is really a good day.”
In early November, I began my revolution.
Once I was done with the preparations, I attacked Masaya, as I had described.
And chaos came.
I explained to my class teacher-in-charge Toguchi-sensei, Masaya’s mother, and the parents of the other three, and their lashing would have rendered me deaf. A few times Masaya’s mother wanted to hit me.
In the center of the classroom, several adults were surrounding me, agitated emotions lashing out.
Like a hare mistakenly entering a lion’s den, I was left with a terrifying, pitiful experience.
But I never apologized.
I couldn’t give up easily, for it’s a revolution.
Everyone subjected me to ridiculous punishments, and during noon break, I had to go to every classroom in the school, to kneel down before everyone.
That day, I returned home at 8.
And before I slept, I finally met my father, who made it home.
He took off the heavy coat, took out a can of beer from the fridge, “Don’t do anything stupid.” And merely told me this.
He never asked me anything.
Masaya’s mother went berserk like Asura himself, and I was suspended from school for three days; including Saturday, I spent five days on break. During this time, I went to the school a few times, and visited the homes of Masaya, Ninomiya, Watabe and Komuro. “Get your parents here!” A few of them called out to me, but so I could only answer, “Please tell my parents yourself.” I was not trying to fool them, I was being earnest; however, I got lashed at instead, and I appeared to have been thunderstruck.
I could understand this much.
The problem was that after suspension, I was forced to kneel before everyone.
(Is this the Edo Period!?)
During noon break, I went to kneel before every classroom, regardless of year. Is this permitted in education? MEXT, explain this!
…Well, that’s to be expected.
After the first day of kneeling ended, I grumbled inside my heart, and finally gained peace. I patted hard at my dirtied knees and hair, and said.
The feeling of pity and condescendence from strangers lingered in my heart. Everyone was having lunch happily, and I showed up with the teachers, my head grovelling onto the floor. Everyone was stunned, and unable to say anything; the curious looks became condescendence. I never saw their expressions, but that, I felt, was the atmosphere filling the classrooms.
It’s one thing for all the students to understand that bullying isn’t right; at the same time, it’s for everyone to know that I’m trash.
I guess this school won’t have any bullying again. Congrats.
(Masaya’s mom is really scary…)
I sighed, and heard Toguchi-sensei’s voice. He’s my teacher-in-charge, the adult who accompanied me as I kneeled.
The young teacher of approximately thirty years old scratched his head.
“You don’t seem to have taken this hard…”
“No, it’s not like I want to increase the punishment, but I’m curious. What are you thinking?”
“It’s nothing. I’m just reflecting on how I bullied Masaya.”
I never expected Toguchi-sensei to figure it out, so I tried my best to give an arrogant attitude, a mocking smile, and turned my eyes to a completely different direction.
At the very least, until the revolution ends, I can’t open my heart to Toguchi-sensei.
So I mocked,
“Any worse? As long as I kneel down, things will end up well. Are you intending to get Masaya’s mom here? I did visit her during my break, but her rage just increased.”
“…Well, you’re right.”
Toguchi-sensei seemed to have given up, and sighed, hurrying back to the staff room. This teacher was criticized for being spineless and afraid of trouble, very unpopular amongst the students, but at this moment, I really was relieved by this.
When I returned to my classroom, I found my pencil case thrown into the dustbin.
It was very unnatural, and I figured it out on first glance. All the contents was spilled out, and thrown along with the pencil box, several mechanical pencils are sticking out under the grey plastic bag.
I never expected it to begin so quickly.
I felt stares from all over the classroom, different from when I headed out to kneel before every classroom; there’s a sense of justice. The proof is that several stares are looking at me, and not averting away. They showed no shame in their ugly inner hearts, and thought that throwing my penil case is an act of justice.
“Is the Human Power Test that important…?” I muttered.
I thought as I glared back at them. I really had a lot to say.
You guys don’t have the right to be trash. You’re scum. You want approval from others? You want to be praised by Masaya? Or be one with the surrounding atmosphere? You throw away other people’s stuff for some stupid reason? How many people have you harmed over the past 14 years, harking on the term friendship you do not understand?
But it was pointless to tell them this. First, I don’t care about these things; even if they’re stupid, buffoons, so what? It’s just my pencil case thrown away. Just a waste of a minute.
Real trash won’t be hurt.
And that’s what I saw during the initial phase of my revolution.
The revolution’s proceeding unexpectedly well, you know?
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’m tired!”
In any case, once I returned home, I yelled.
I attacked Masaya, faced Masaya’s mother in the staff room, visited the victims during my break, kneeled before everyone, my class and school judged me; it’s easy to write this, but every single event caused tremendous stress to my mental state.
I snacked on tidbits in the living room, soothing my tired soul. The baumkuchen I bought behind my parents’ back was unexpectedly nice. I started peeling the layers and eating them; it’s a unique way of eating I came up with. I collapsed on the sofa, “Uuu.” I murmured. Even trash like me will have a mental collapse.
“I should say that I haven’t done anything decent in a while. My head hearts. They’re cruel. They just tortured this weak kid in the Heisei Era like this!”
Even so, I couldn’t give up.
If not, I would forever have the infamy of being ‘the guy who bullied four classmates and beat up a classmate with a water bottle’.
The die has been cast.
I can only continue on.
I decided to grumble before heading to sleeping, “Beep.” There’s a sound from the computer. I approached it, and found the message was from Sou. It’s the usual message.
“Hello, you hear me? Did anything interesting happen today?”
I didn’t intend to tell him “I was forced to kneel during noon break as punishment.” So I made a harmless lie. It’s very easy to make up a lie. My day’s basically the same schedule, almost a staple. Go to school, don’t pay attention in class, head to the library, and head home.
I couldn’t tell Sou about the bullying and incident, but I just wanted to discuss something a little more stupid with Sou.
“Oh yeah, I found that cooking meat buns in soup is nice. It’s easy to complete a Chinese dish.”
At this point, I only need a change of mood, so I started getting greedy, and made a stupid joke.
Just to note, I never had meat bun soup. This should be enough to make a Chinese soup dish, right? I don’t know.
The conversation continued somewhat, and we chatted away,
“So, in that case, if you use red bean bun, it’ll become a red bean soup, right?”
“Really? Sounds like it’ll be really bland.”
“Try making it. I’m looking forward to your results.”
“You should try experimenting it yourself, Sou. This is despicable.”
I joked, and awaited his reply.
After a pause, Sou sent me a message,
“Anyway, why did you beat up Masaya Kishitani, Sugawara?”
At that moment, I stopped thinking.
I kept reading that message, and then checked through my chat log with Sou. There was proof that I never revealed my personal information to him.
I felt thirty immediately, and was unable to say anything.
But Sou kept sending messages to me on the computer.
“I apologize for saying this out of a sudden, but do you mind sharing this with me? I might be able to help you out. Why did you hit Masaya Kishitani? Why did you act so arrogant before Masaya Kishitani’s mother? How did you dominate the four students?”
What’s going on? I inadvertently explained,
“I know you, I have hopes for you, and I am worried about you, so please tell me your objective. Taku Sugawara, that classmate of yours called ‘I’ is Kotomi Ishikawa, right?”
I instinctively switched off the computer.
My breathing got hasty, and I frantically unplugged the computer internet cable before leaving the living room.
Why did that guy know me?
Who exactly was he?
I felt something breaking apart, and had an ominous premonition.
Just in time, the doorbell rang. It’s not my parents; it’s impossible for them to be home at this time.
With my heart pounding, I sneaked to the window, and peeked at the entrance.
The guy standing outside was someone I didn’t expect, someone I didn’t want to meet.
Masaya had a bandage on his face as he stood at the door. Seeing that figure, I backtracked, and wanted to leave the scene,
“Taku, you there?” he called out to me through the window, “Why did you do that? What did you intend to do?”
Masaya called out to me, and I covered my mouth, holding my breath.
But a genius’ really scary, and Masaya seemed to have realized my presence. He turned the door handle, saw that it was locked, and said,
“I know you’re hiding behind the door. If you don’t want to come up, it’s fine. But please, tell me, what is your aim?”
I couldn’t answer.
And Masaya said,
“You don’t have to kneel anymore. I don’t hope for you to do this. I’ll tell everyone in class not to be so narrow-minded and throw your pencil case. This is all I came to tell you. Hey, say something already, please.”
Even though he was being kind to me, I couldn’t answer. Only silence engulfed us as we were separated by this 3cm thick door.
“Hey, Taku…” Masaya muttered, “We’re still bullies, right? Allies, right?”
“Yeah…but, sorry.” I said. However, I was thinking that once everything ended, we could go out and eat together; of course, I couldn’t just invite him out.
He’s an ally member of the TakuMasa alliance.
But at this point, I couldn’t be his good friend.
So after that, I chose to remain silent.
Several minutes later, and Masaya stood at the door, several times about to say something, and finally gave up as he kicked the door in frustration, turning away to leave.
I closed my eyes, remaining at the corridor.
I had to keep torturing Masaya until the revolution ended.
For my own happiness.
I was worn out, and laid at the entrance; this time, the doorbell rang again.
It was probably after about ten minutes or so, and I got wary again, wondering if it was Masaya again. I was curious as to who the visitor was, and returned to the living room, and peered through the window; I saw the standard deep blue bag of our school, with a grey ribbon on it. Just the ribbon? There seemed to be something else tied to it. Yep, got an impression.
To see it clearly, I reached my head towards the window, and hit the glass accidentally. The visitor turned over upon hearing the hit, and our eyes met.
It’s Kotomi Ishikawa.
This was the first possible timing. She was the one person I didn’t want to see, more than Masaya. Things were going bad. The grey ribbon was a leftover of that doll. I couldn’t pretend not to be at home however, nodded, and went to the entrance. At the dim entrance, I switched on the white fluorescent lights, unlocked the door, and it was shoved aside, almost eagerly. She ignored the entrance I would typically clean up, and rattled away,
“Why did Masaya visit you, Sugawara?”
She asked. It’s a harsh expression I had never seen before, as though I was interrogated over the sins of my past incarnation.
I averted her intense eyes, and said,
“Did he? I wasn’t sure.”
“You’re lying. I saw Masaya leave your house, Sugawara. Please tell me. Why did Masaya come here?”
“…I didn’t see him.” I tried to be as careful as I could as I answered, “I ignored him. He was yelling outside the house, but I didn’t know what he was yelling. Probably the New Testament.”
“Masaya isn’t a Christian.”
Ishikawa’s rebuttal sure was typical of her, and I was dumbfounded.
“Then it’s probably the Old Testament.”
“Again with that attitude…you’ll get bullied, Sugawara.”
It’s a tone of pity and rage; over the 14 years of my life, this was the first time I had heard such a strange way of speaking.
“Everyone hates your guts, Sugawara…because you beat up Masaya. So, please tell me honestly. This is my one request…did you really bully Masaya?”
“…I did. Komuro spilled the beans of what I did on the internet, and Masaya has to bear the responsibility, so I beat him up. That’s how it is.”
My tone was colder than I thought. However, what I said could never be taken back.
Ishikawa shook her head before me.
“That’s a lie too. Even though I’m not smart, I know Masaya isn’t the type to be bullied.”
“In that case, why didn’t Masaya deny it before the teachers and the parents? If he had said ‘I wasn’t bullied’, I wouldn’t have anything. He never denied it, because he couldn’t, because it’s a fact. You should have asked Masaya, right? What did he say?”
When I rejected Ishikawa with words, I felt a sharp pain in my heart. I had a strong urge to apologize immediately and embrace her. I was mentally prepared, but I never expected being enemies with Ishikawa to be so painful.
While I was wondering if I made her cry, she unexpectedly gave me a slap. It’s weak, but it’s enough to send this weaker me sprawling on the floor.
Her breathing’s as frantic as a wild animal as she looked down at me,
“Why…wouldn’t you tell me?”
Her eyes are filled with tears, and she lashed out at me,
“Please tell me honestly! What should I do!? Whose words do I believe? Please tell me the truth…or…I’ll have to bully you…Sugawara…”
While on the floor, I retorted back with all my determination, pushing back Ishikawa and my first love with determination.
“Stop trying to act goody-goody and say what sounds nice already. What you see is just others; you don’t hate me, right? You’re just scared of being treated cruelly again, hoping to be accepted by the other students. Stop determining other people’s crimes with that kind of motive. Stop running away from reality!”
She let out a verbal sob when she heard those words, and looked down at me in tears. She appeared to have something to say, but she seemed unable to say anything.
I guess I was right. Such an obvious response helped me out; it’s because of this that I started the revolution.
This is fine, so I convinced myself. Even if I was hated by Ishikawa, I couldn’t get her involved. This would be fine.
I felt the cold from the marble floor, and to avoid her gaze, I looked towards the pottery plant at the entrance. The dark green leaves were shaking as I kept waiting for Ishikawa to leave.
Finally, Ishikawa said in pain,
“Please shut up…you don’t know the suffering others have. You won’t understand.”
“You aren’t reflecting on this at all right, Sugawara? You spilled ink on Masaya’s textbook…just like you cut up Masaya’s gym clothes in September…you kept bullying Masaya…you’re horrible.”
I turned back, and asked, but she had already left.
I wanted to give pursuit, but my train of thoughts couldn’t catch up, and my body couldn’t move for the time being.
Again, I was left alone on the corridor.
But unlike before, I had clear doubts in my mind.
“Did I spill ink on Masaya’s notebook? Did I cut up his gym clothes?”
Those weren’t me.
Some people did these behind my back. I recalled Masaya’s anguished look.
Was I thoroughly mistaken about something?
Something laid hidden.
And was progressing to a place different from my revolution.
I have few wishes.
To fulfil these minimal wishes, I had to start this revolution.
To ease the burden of my friends.
Even if it’s a little, I hoped to ease Ishikawa’s burden.
I wanted to wreck the Human Power Test, and get happiness.
So I had such expectations as I started this revolution alone. And then, even if it wasn’t at me, I hoped she would show a hearty smile again.
It’s fine for us not to be loves.
Trash won’t hope for such unrealistic things.
However, a month after I beat up Masaya, my wish wasn’t fulfilled. Instead, it appeared before me in a twisted manner.
Even I wasn’t sure of what happened during this time; I could deduce from the shown information and rumors, but deductions are just deductions. Of course, the one thing I could be certain of, was that the source of everything was me.
My revolution started creating turmoil, affecting various people; there’s no doubt about these.
Ishikawa fell from the stairs, and lost consciousness.
Once I heard those news, I stopped thinking. However, the worst possible outcome happened three days later.
Masaya Kishitani killed himself.
When I heard of this through the phone call, I collapsed to the floor due to hyperventilation.
Ahh, please, just mock me.
Laugh at this shallow me.
This is the one thing you can do, my hope.
For I look down on myself, more than anyone else.
So when you make fun of me, our emotions will become one, and we’ll be kindred soul.
Following this is the real hell.
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