Chapter 8 - Judgement
Starting from the day after Masaya killed himself, I hid in my room.
I left my room several times, explaining the situation to the visiting Toguchi-sensei and various people. I did explain, but all I could only say was basically “I don’t know.” And continue to act. I had to keep up the arrogant impression, and did to go all out. “I was watched. There’s no way I have anything to do with the suicide.” I said, and got punched by my dad, the blood in my mouth spreading.
However, it was indisputable that there was no proof.
I might as well reveal everything now, I guess? Show my hand with regards to the revolution.
A few times I had such a thought, but the answer was always “No”. I didn’t think the people around me would trust me.
Thus, I could not do anything, and kept hiding in my room unless necessary. I sealed my window sills tight, but I still couldn’t calm down, and sealed up the gaps with tape, ducking under my blanket.
I could only shiver.
It was hell.
My parents were yelling at each other, quarrelling downstairs.
The TV in my room showed the news, describing me as the ‘demonic middle school boy’, who dominated four people, and while being watched, one of them was driven to despair.
“No…I’m just some worthless trash.”
There seemed to be a group of media personnel gathered before my house. I peeled the tape slightly, poked my head out from the window, and shivered when it seemed I met them in the eyes. Ah, speaking of which, the aunts living nearby seemed to be saying on TV, “He’s a gloomy one. I can’t tell what he’s thinking.” Enough with that nonsense. How is anyone living nearby able to understand me?
They knew nothing of the Human Power Test, Masaya’s talents, and my revolution.
“Damn it. I need to keep on living…I will be mocked by anonymous, but I’m going to be a gleeful trash…”
I couldn’t admit defeat. Didn’t I already decide that no matter the sacrifices, I’m going to keep on going and became real trash?
However, the last punishment Masaya dealt to me was way too heavy.
All of Japan had been cursing me to “Die”.
I panted heavily on the bed, and at this moment, the smartphone on the table rang. That smartphone would only be used to contact my parents, so I was wondering who it was. I leaned forward, and picked it up.
The sender was Sou. Ah, right, I did send him my email address.
“I was worried as you weren’t online. Eh, is this the revolution you wish of?”
I yelled. I tapped hard at the keys, and sent him a message,
“This isn’t the revolution I wanted. I wanted a different outcome. I never expected Masaya to kill himself.”
And he immediately messaged me back, as though on a chat.
“…I suppose. I know you aren’t the type who will really wish for others to do. However, you are the one who caused this. Do you understand?”
“To be honest, I am disappointed. I had hopes for you, hoping that you will discuss this with me one day, but it ended up this way. You made the prodigy Masaya Kishitani kill himself, and that Kotomi Ishikawa you like is in a coma.”
“I said to shut up.”
“Hey, Sugawara, as you said, you aren’t the last in the Human Power Test, right? In other words, someone voted for you. Do you know that person might be Kotomi Ishikawa? Do you have anyone else who voted for you?”
“Shut up, shut up. Stop talking like you understand my predicament.”
“She’s bound by the Human Power Test, and really envied you for not caring about others. She worshipped you, had hopes for you. You betrayed her, and she fell into a coma.”
Sou continued to send messages,
“You disappoint me, Sugawara.”
I threw my phone to the wall, and it let out a weak thud, with a little dent on the wall as it bounced back. The battery slipped out, and landed on the floor, but other than that, the phone remained undamaged. It’s due to me being weak.
I took a few breaths, and took out two bubble gums from the can on the table, popping them into my mouth. I leaned on the table, closed my eyes, found the scattered phone and battery, reassembled them, and sent a message to Sou.
“You know something, don’t you? Why did Masaya die? Say something. Who are you? Answer me? What did you do to Masaya? Did you kill him?”
Ever since I started interacting with this guy, everything changed. Surely he knew something.
But his reply was aloof,
“You seem to be mistaken. I have nothing to do with this. Even if you do shift the blame to me, the situation will not change for the better.”
And the message ended off with these,
“But I do suppose my interaction with you shall come to an end, Sugawara. I do apologize, I never had any intention of breaking up your peaceful lifestyle, and it is my fault for being unable to build up trust with you. Farewell. The interaction till this point had been enjoyable.”
After I saw the message, I sent a few more back, but there was no response.
Sou left me.
That night, the house was really noisy, and later on, I realized my parents left in the night.
It was only the following morning that I realized they abandoned their son and ran away. There was a letter with printed words on the table, and I spent a lot of time to realize this. Like dinner, I was in charge of preparing breakfast, so the first thing I did was to head to the kitchen. I popped the bread into the toast, mixed eggs and bacon on a frying pan, and brewed some red tea. My parents still did not wake up, and I was skeptical, until I found that letter.
The content of the letter was simple.
They took leave from their companies, and left this house. There’s a week of household fees for me, and they hoped I wouldn’t leave the house, and not contact their companies.
“…They abandoned me.”
I muttered. It seemed they wanted to leave everything to me. I caused it all, so I could understand their pain. But they left without saying a word; would parents do this?
Even my parents abandoned me.
“Those two wouldn’t listen to me in the end…”
And the empty house was like a prison.
My appetite worsened. As I kept thinking about the incident, my gut would feel a heavy pressure. I tried eating several times, but I would vomit.
But even while living this life, my mind was exceptionally active.
So, without anyone noticing, I sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night, through the back door, and went to a certain place.
I came to my destination, and pressed the doorbell several times, kicking at the door. An unfamiliar, ugly, fat middle aged lady came to open the door, and I shoved her aside, storming into the house. I didn’t care that I was an intruder.
I yelled with all my might.
“Get out here! You’re right right!?”
Kouta Katou, dressed in pajamas, came from his room, and the stunned face immediately broke into timidity, so I grabbed him by the chest, and he howled sheepishly.
I shoved him to the door.
“You were the one who harassed Masaya, right?”
After the violence, someone poured ink onto Masaya’s notebook. I had been thinking who the culprit was, and finally thought of the one person stupid enough to do this.
“You thought I wouldn’t notice? You thought that you could use that time to push all the blame to me, right?”
But Kouta Katou shook his head to deny,
“No-not at all. Enough with that nonsense. Th-that was you, right, Sugawara?”
“I never approached Masaya’s table that day. Everyone in class was watching me, so I know every well. Also, it’s a brand different from me.”
“I-I’m the same! Look at my calligraphy bag, it’s a different brand!”
Once I heard those words, I punched Katou in the face. His mother standing by the side let out a short shriek, but I didn’t care.
Katou collapsed to the floor, and I stomped my foot on his head.
“I never said that it was ‘ink’, idiot!”
Such a guy should be thoroughly punished.
I wanted to vent all my rage on Katou, but his mother shielded him, “I’m calling the police!” She sobbed and yelled. I wanted to smash the phone in the living room, but I held back.
This guy’s unimportant.
I shoved Katou’s mother aside again, kicked Katou once, and turned to leave. At this moment, I noticed that I came in with sneakers on.
Really, staying in this place will only cause my IQ to drop.
So I thought, but someone suddenly called out to me.
“Sugawara! No matter what nonsense you pull, you’re doomed!”
It’s Kouta Katou. I intended to leave, so he thought he had the upper hand, and began boasting at me.
“Everyone will think that you did it! Sure is nice to bully Masaya here without any risk! If anyone discovered that it’s me, I’m going to declare that I was threatened by you! You’re the devil middle schooler!”
“Oh, so student A who revealed everything to the media was you?”
I turned around, saying this.
“I only did it once! Masaya wasn’t doomed by me! No matter what, it’s you to doomed Masaya! You murderer!”
I’m a killer.
But then, do you dare to say that you have nothing to do with Masaya’s death?
I didn’t intend to continue lecturing Katou. I had lots to say to him, but like me, he’s dumb, and he wouldn’t understand no matter how much I tried explaining to him, and even if he did, it’s pointless.
So all I did was to divert my rage. All I did was to be furious at Katou.
“So, foolish creatures wouldn’t know how to safeguard against eavesdropping, right?”
I threatened, and took my smartphone out from my pocket.
The blood’s drained from his face immediately, and later, he lost strength as he collapsed to the floor.
“Good for you that you have your mom comforting you.”
I mocked, and turned to leave Katou’s house.
Skin was torn as I swung my right fist into Katou’s teeth. I stroked it, and returned home under the winter sky. I didn’t feel that I won; just letting my rage explode caused me to feel more devastated. On the way back, I puked. I leaned on the traffic signboard, trying to let myself calm down.
Actually, I did not record it, I just threatened him. I was too na?ve after all; only going to his house to throw a tantrum. I was downhearted at how useless I was.
But even if I did record, all the blame would be shifted to me. Nobody would believe that a single harassment would drive Masaya to despair, and nobody would seriously look at the evidence I might provide.
The one who doomed Masaya was undoubtedly me.
Once I got home, I found that my beloved classmates sent me a message. It’s been a while since I checked through this, so only at this point did I find it.
The opening’s basically something only the class knew of, and this proved that it wasn’t a prank.
There were thirty lines or so in the main text, all of them writing the same thing, with different handwritings.
“To the devil who killed Masaya, die.”
The letter’s filled with such words.
It contained the wrath of my 32 classmates, excluding Masaya, Ishikawa and me.
I used it to wipe my nose, rolled it into a ball, and threw it into the trash.
Other than Katou’s house, I would head out alone.
I couldn’t eat at all in the day, and after sunset, I felt really hungry. During such moments, I would head out. My own deduction was that “young man lack calcium intake”, “lack of iron”, and various things that resulted in excessive stress, so I went out to the convenience store, and match with some Kanto food or simple dishes. Most of the time, I would eat by the road, for whenever I went home to eat, I would end up puking.
The one place I really liked to be at was the top of the overhead bridge.
This road is basically the pulse of our city, and even at midnight, several cars were passing through. Eating hot food on this overhead bridge was unique, to say the least.
I looked afar at the long road my eyes couldn’t see, and prayed that I could escape everything. For I didn’t have the courage to kill myself.
Alone in the darkness, I stared at the headlights of the cars, and filled my stomach.
The cold of December left me thoroughly shivering to the bone.
After seven days, I finally took action.
A week of agony passed, and I decided to start the revolution again. There was no other choice, and if I made another choice at this point, the price I paid would be for naught.
And thus, it’s because of the price I paid that I couldn’t give up.
I gave up on myself. I was already in a self-destructive mindset.
“The whole world’s my enemy, but so what? I’m judged with the death penalty by all people, described as a psychotic by the media, abandoned by my parents, rejected by my friends, cursed by my classmates to ‘die’. But, nobody stood on my side in the first place…nobody on this world will love me…who do I think I am? This is the real me.”
Masaya had no qualms sacrificing his life to destroy my revolution.
So I decided to move to the next phase—the ‘second revolution’.
This time, I would bet on my life, and change this world.
“Hey, Masaya. I’m going to continue fighting against you.”
That was a painful choice.
A single middle schooler couldn’t do much.
At this point, my plans were all ruined by Masaya, or rather, they were overturned on me. My words would only be empty excuses, and most importantly, the one I intended to take action against vanished, greatly affecting the revolution.
Masaya Kishitani’s plan was more perfect than before.
Over these three days, I drank 56 cups of red tea, and chewed on 53 bubble gums. I didn’t try to act cool and learn smoking, only because I’m trash with insufficient guts.
I boiled hot water to brew the 57th cup of red tea, and slowly repeated my thoughts.
As I had not been cleaning up very day, the rubbish in my room was all scattered as I kept writing with a ballpoint pen.
I kept revising the plan and reflecting on it, thinking.
But in such a precarious predicament, I couldn’t do anything, and at most, I could only send a cat carcass and a strange prelude in Masaya’s mailbox. I didn’t want to meet Masaya’s mother again, but without eliminating ‘her’ as the great threat, the plan probably wouldn’t succeed.
And so, about two weeks after Masaya killed himself, there was a great chance in the second revolution.
It was when I was eating potato chips on the bridge at night.
A lanky woman appeared before me again.
It was the woman I met at the food court before, and if I remembered correctly, her name’s Sayo. As a female, she’s exceptionally tall, taller than my dad. It was the first time I met someone so suited to be dressed in a rider suit. She showed up on the bridge, and not on the road. That alone seemed so out of place.
We met before, but she called out a strange name. Maybe she was mistaken.
“Who’s Takkun? I don’t have that name.”
“I know. You’re Taku Sugawara, right? That’s why you’re Takkun.”
It’s very strange, but there’s something more important. So I couldn’t help but shrink back.
She knew my name.
I didn’t know how much she knew about me, but it’s way too dangerous now that she knew my name.
“So I know everything that happened in your class. But relax, I don’t know the truth to the matter; all I know is that I know nothing.”
Saying that, she quickly reached her hand out and grabbed my collar. I was easily grabbed, probably due to my poor athleticism. I tried hitting at her hand, but I was forced into a different position, and pressed onto the railing of the bridge.
A second later, an icy metal feeling entered my chest through my clothes.
It wasn’t a situation where I could relax at all.
“What is it?” I lowered my voice, “Want some extras? There’s some potato chips on the ground.”
“Who’s going to eat that? What did you do to Masaya Kishitani? What is the ‘revolution’? Just tell me.”
Ah, I realized immediately. She’s telling me off too. She once encouraged me, but at this point, she’s questioning me for my sins.
Damn it, I’m way to sad.
Everyone chose to leave me. Nobody was willing to stand by my side at all. Once I realized this, I felt sadness within. So trash really have it difficult to survive? Was it that tough?
I felt sobbing. I bit my lips and stomped hard at Sayo’s foot. However, she held me down with more force, not faltering.
Damn it, damn it, damn it.
“I SAID EVERYTHING. I BULLIED THEM ALL!” I yelled, “MASAYA HAS TO BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY OF REVEALING EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET, SO I SMACKED HIM WITH THE WATER BOTTLE. I KEPT DRIVING AT HIM, AND DROVE HIM TO SUICIDE. HE DESERVES IT!”
I could no longer stop.
Whether it’s the plan, or the revolution. I gave up on everything else, and just yelled.
Because all of Japan hoped for it, right?
Is this happiness?
“BULLYING’S AN INVENTION THAT SPANS THROUGH CIVILZATION! NO NEED FOR DREAMS AND COUNTRY FATES, JUST LOCK THIRTY YOUNG PEOPLE INTO A SAUNA! IT’S AN ANTIDOE TO THE BORING DAYS! WITHOUT EXCITEMENT, HUMANS CAN’T LIVE!”
Damn it, damn it, damn it.
“MOTIVE? JUST JEALOUSY! MY FIRST LOVE WAS MASAYA’S GIRLFRIEND! THAT GUYS THE POPULAR ONE! IT’S NO WONDER I HAVE HIM AS A TARGET! IT’S CALLED A REVOLUTION! ISN’T IT COOL! IT’S A FLAWLESS, PERFECT CRIME!”
Damn it, damn it, damn it.
“SO I’M GOING TO CONTINUE WITH REVENGE! I’M NOT GOING TO FORGIVE MASAYA’S MOTHER! SHE FORCED ME WITH THE STUPID PUNISHMENT TO KNEEL BEFORE EVERYONE! NO WAY WILL I FORGIVE SUCH SCUM! I’M NOT GOING TO FORGIVE KOTOMI ISHIKAWA FOR LIVING ON! EVERYONE’S UNFORGIVABLE! EVERYONE CAN DIE FOR ALL I CARE!”
Sayo said by my ear. As she changed her position, I regained my senses immediately. She embraced me, from top to bottom.
I could feel her head pressing on my chest. Due to the rider suit, I couldn’t feel the body warmth, but I could feel her hands hugging me.
“That’s enough. There’s no way you could have bullied others…”
She seemed to be forcing her voice out.
“I spoke with Takayoshi Komuro over the phone. Surely he’s at fault. It’s just that those watching the news couldn’t tell, and the police and teachers with the evidence couldn’t tell, but in any case, you’re not the one in the wrong.”
“What do you mean…it’s illogical.”
“It’s not a question of logic, but what I can feel. Ahh, this is nuts; it’s the sixth sense. I don’t think someone whimper away due to rejection would be the devil who drove his classmate to suicide.”
Surely there are such people in the world, I thought, but I couldn’t say it out. I couldn’t say anything. And for some strange reason, I wanted to cry. But I wouldn’t cry. When I launched the revolution, this was what I decided on.
I didn’t resist, and I continued to stand on the bridge. With Sayo embracing me, I looked down at the vehicles driving under the bridge, accelerating away as though they ignored me. The bridge we’re on was shaking.
After some time, and though reluctant, I nudged Sayo’s arms away. I’m no longer at kid; no way could I keep relying on her.
“You’re still a kid. You can keep relying on me.”
Sayo said, as though reading through my thoughts.
I shook my head.
“I’m 14. My voice is breaking, and I can masturbate.”
“You sure like your dirty jokes.”
“Mind telling me what happened?”
“Masaya’s older sister is investigating this. I’m her assistant.”
She’s called Sanae, right? I remembered Masaya mentioning her a few times. Whenever he talked about his sister or mother, he would keep on going.
Considering the possibility of the revolution, I probably should meet her, but there’s a risk for some strange reason.
“I won’t say, and you won’t believe me anyone. Any idiot who believes my words wholeheartedly will only pull me down.”
“Pull down what?”
“Then tell Masaya’s sister yourself. No way she will belive you. She’s not going to give up until she gets an acceptable answer. She’s a little timid now, but I believe she’ll pull herself through again.
“…She’s scared of something?”
“Well…I don’t know. She seemed to be hiding something. If I keep ignoring this, she might take revenge on you. You know about Masaya’s mother too, right? Tell me the truth, trust me.”
She smacked her chest with a chest. Sayo’s brilliant smile was before me, and I could hear the rubbing and bumps of the rider suit. She seemed to be encouraging me.
I stared at her earnest look, and thought of a few plans. However, due to my prior agitation, my mind couldn’t work well. With her prompting me, “Alright.” I couldn’t help but say.
Given that Sayo said this much, I could only meet her.
Sanae Kishitani, the older sister of the victim I drove to suicide.
Of course, I understand the meaning of this.
Please laugh out loud and mock me.
I drove my friend to despair, got hit by my first love, abandoned by my parents, cursed by my classmates ‘to die’, and even abandoned by my internet friend, and the whole of Japan wanted to judge me with the ‘death penalty’.
But when embraced by a woman, my heart weakened. How foolish I am. I should be lambasted for being a perverted middle schooler.
And thus, I was betrayed by the one I trusted.
The next day, I was on the bench.
I gave Sayo two conditions.
Once, she had to keep this a secret until I met her.
Second, I would decide the time and place.
So, around 4pm, I went to a park a 5 minute walk away from Masaya’s house. If there were no hiccups, Sanae should be here.
“She might be the last puzzle.”
I fiddled with my earphones as I pondered. Unlike the event at the bridge on the prior day, my thoughts had calmed down greatly.
I couldn’t embarrass myself again. I had to face this calmly.
And then, let the second revolution succeed.
“And there’s something I want to ask her.”
There was just one doubt I had.
There was something Ishikawa said that I couldn’t figure out. I thought it was Katou, but it seemed I was wrong.
In September, Masaya’s gym clothes were slashed.
Of course, that wasn’t me, and that wasn’t Ishikawa.
According to what I heard from Toguchi-sensei, before the 5th period, Masaya took out his gym clothes, and found that they were slashed by something sharp. I was at the library, so I wasn’t a witness. I could determine however that there were only a few people who could take out Masaya’s gym clothes from his bag, cut it up, and put it back. It’s completely different from spilling ink onto a notebook.
College students were still on summer vacation in September, and many returned home.
Sayo said that she was hiding something.
So I had to get this clear.
Was the one who cut up Masaya’s gym clothes Sanae?
There were footsteps behind me.
And this was the final step.
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