Missing Children

BOOK: Missing Children
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KAGEROU DAYS
NOVEL VOLUME
FOUR
:
THE
MISSING CHILDREN

O
riginal novel published
by Shizen no Teki-P

Translations by:
miss-simplicity and
re-fuzaichakushin

Story plotline by JIN

 

BOOK COVER

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

(translated by
Miss-Simplicity
)

 

Today will the first time that I’ve written in a diary.

And as such, I’m honestly still in the process of thinking of what I should be writing.

Even if I were to write about “today’s happenings,” there really isn’t much about our life here that’s particularly worth mentioning, so what am I to do?

Ahh, but if I were to say something like that, I’d have to apologize to him, wouldn’t I? Let me correct myself.

Let’s see—As for something that happened today… Today was the first time we brought our daughter outside of the house.

As I watched her eyes sparkle and take in everything, it was as if… It was as if I was looking at how I once used to be.

Oh, yes, and when our daughter chased after a large bee, you can imagine how panicked he was.

In the end, she couldn’t keep up with it, and this time, the bee started chasing after me, instead. As expected, the two of us burst into laughter at that.

Soon, yet another summer will come since we started living here.

Come to think of it, it had also been a midsummer day when we came here.

And as I start to remember, for the first time, I am surprised by how quickly time passes.

How many more times will the three of us be able to greet summer together?

How many more times will the three of us be able to laugh together?

Thinking about these things leaves me with a slightly hollow feeling inside, so I won’t.

A diary is something that should be enjoyable to reread someday. Yes, I’ll strive to make today’s entry such.

In any case, I will write not only about what happened today, but about all the different things I’ve seen and heard up until now.

Yes, that sounds good.

If, one day, our daughter finds interest in the outside world, I hope that this diary will be of some use to her. That is what I think.

Starting tomorrow, I will write with more detail.

It’s a rare present from him, after all, so I should write it in every day.

With that, today I’ll bring the entry to a close.

I hope that tomorrow will be another good day.

x x x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHINIGAMI RECORD PART ONE

(translated by Miss-Simplicity
)

 

I was in a dark place.

 

Without a right nor left, an up nor a down.

 

Without cold or heat.

 

 

That was the kind of place it was.

 

 

Shinigami Record I

Even now that I know what “time” is, I still do not know how much time I spent there.

In the first place, while I was there, I wasn’t even aware of what “dark” was.

It wasn’t until I eventually encountered “light” that I realized that I had been in a dark place.

It seems to be a common thing in this world.

When you encounter new things, it’s only then that you come to understand the things from before.

I encountered “today,” and learned of “yesterday,”

I encountered “morning,” and learned of “night.”

It was only very recently that I encountered “winter,” and learned of “summer.”

As I gained this knowledge, I realized for the first time that this world is constantly and dramatically transforming.

In place of the darkness that had reigned until that moment, the world was suddenly filled with a great variety of things, and it would change with every blink.

When I blinked for the first time, that was when I first became interested in this world that I had not even been conscious of.

The “sky” that alternates between light and dark.

The “ocean” that sparkles blue in response to streaming rays of sunlight.

The “rain” that pours down on the “earth.”

And the “life” that emerges there.

Without being told by anyone, I watched “them,” who appeared in this world, and continued to try and figure out what each of them were in order to understand them.

All the things that were born one after another, and eventually rotted away, I simply continued to learn about them…. I believe I did this for a fairly long time.

In order to not leave out anything that could become a reference—that was how long I spent watching the transformation of this world.

And one day, I realized something.

Once I started thinking, I really hated to stop.

Just like when I had been in the darkness, and had decided to continue being there without thinking about anything, inside of my head, which had now acquired “knowledge,” questions began to arise one after another.

“What is this?”

“How was that made?”

“Why is this here?”

With no way or reason to suppress this curiosity, I surrendered to the questions and continued on my journey of learning each coming day.

 

            *

 

One time, when I entered a cavern and was following a narrow path, I ended up in a huge space opened up by a lake.

Through cracks in the rock face’s ceiling here and there, sunlight streamed in and illuminated the surface of the lake.

As I found myself staring at a single, faintly illuminated point on the water’s surface, a small shadow was reflected.

Swaying, and almost as if it were watching me as it lingered there, it had a difference shape than any other living thing I had seen until now.

At first, I didn’t pay it any mind. Living things weren’t hard to come by at all, and no matter what it was, it wasn’t strange.

However, what surprised me was that it seemed to acknowledge me.

At that time, it seemed unbelievable to me that I was being watched by something.

With all the creatures that I had encountered up until now, I acknowledged that we appeared to be fellow creatures, but not a single one had ever actually acknowledged me back.

Although that shadow there didn’t have anything like “eyes,” I thought that it was staring closely at me.

My curiosity piqued, I faced that shadow, and soon came to realize that it was unmistakably my own.

It was a shock to me.

Why hadn’t I noticed it until now, that I, the same as other beings, had my own shape?

The first time I encountered “my own form,” my mind was flooded with curiosity.

“When did I start looking like this?” “What do I look like here?” “Why do I look like this?” I examined every inch of my own body in that way.

However, I was not able to come up with answer regarding any of those questions.

It was a strange sensation.

As if I didn’t understand myself.

Even though I had been able to learn about other beings….

“Who was it that created me?”

Because of that sudden question, for a moment, my mind was filled with thoughts.

When it came down to it, perhaps I was the same as the “creatures” that had suddenly appeared one day.

However, if I was the same as them, there must be something, somewhere, which had given birth to me, but during this long period of time, I had yet to encounter such a being.

In the first place, I had watched the beginning of all “living things” In that way, I must have been born in a way fundamentally different from them.

Furthermore, with time, they became unable to maintain their shape, and while they eventually became extinct, I still had not the slightest hint of that, and therefore looking at it this way, it made more sense to consider that I was something completely different.

But….

“Then, what am I?”

Up until now, I had been on this journey of learning by following each thing that I came across, but I had never once thought about myself.

In order to seek out some kind of answer for this question, I at last began to earnestly think about it.

Closing my eyes, I immersed myself in the darkness that spread out before sleep.

I remembered the darkness from back then that was very similar to this.

 

I would follow the traces.

 

Once more, from the beginning.

 

*

 

……How much time had passed?

I had already been here for a fair amount of time, on a journey of recollection to find an explanation for myself.

I relied on all the knowledge that I had accumulated up until now, and continued to follow one miraculous revelation after another.

It was mind-numbing….. No, it wasn’t actually to that extent, but it almost felt like so; that was how long this road had been.

And, with only my curiosity to propel me forward on this thought journey, I had finally reached the end.

I traced my memories from the earliest beginning that I could recall, until the moment I closed my eyes here.

However, the conclusion that I came to in the end……

“……I don’t understand.”

I was completely devastated at this conclusion, at the answer that I had come up with.

I realized that in the end, I couldn’t explain my own existence, no matter what.

Even in the worst situation, there had never been anything that I hadn’t been able to understand, given time, but this time?

Although I repeated the endless cycle of recollection, the answer still would not appear.

Truthfully, to be faced with such a question that I couldn’t find an answer to was very irritating.

Irritation…. huh.

Perhaps this was also one other by-product of recollecting.

As I considered this, my thoughts slackened, and I opened my eyes for the first time in a while.

As before, the surface of water before me reflected my form. A black shadow. Without a head, feet, or a tail, a merely black being was there.

In regards to my indescribable appearance, the irritation I felt early began to stir even further.

If only my appearance, I wish that it have been a shape that was easier to understand.

If only I had feet, and a head…. If I had that kind of form, I would be having a much easier time coming up with an explanation that I was right now. 

When I thought of those things, as if as an allusion, suddenly, two faint red spots arose on the black shadow on the water’s surface.

It was the color of the blood that flowed from living things, a color that seemed to shine.

Although it was a little surprising that I had undergone a change, I was able to keep unexpectedly calm about it.

Were these…… “eyes”? I was certain that they had not been there either, but…..

I see. So I have “eyes.”

It would seem that I was finally like other creatures, but was I really? There was still something that set me off apart from them, but what was it……

With this newly acquired information, I prepared to go back to thinking, but at that moment, I heard from behind me, the sound of small rocks grinding against each other.

Although caught off guard, I calmly made my judgment.

I knew this sound. It was the sound of moving creatures as their feet met the ground.

I reflexively looked in the direction of the noise. It would seem that the owners of the noise were travelling by the path that I had come here by.

Judging by the noise as it drew closer, they were mostly likely small creatures that walked on two legs. Several of them.

As I thought this, what soon appeared were several small creatures, as I had predicted.

However, they were also ones that I had never seen before.

What made them foreign was that they carried branches that were alight with fire.

They must have advanced through the dark cave using the light from those.

Giving in to my interest, I started intently at them, and those creatures finally drew closer to me.

When they did, I was able to see their appearances more clearly by the glow of the fire.

They were wearing, as if it were fur, something that seemed to be woven into fibers from organic material.

Besides that, they had at their waists what seemed to be small rocks, intentionally-sharpened to be used as self-defense, presumably.

To know how to deal with fire, as well, it would seem that they were rather intelligent creatures.

Looking around at their surroundings, their behavior seemed to indicate that they were cautious about something. Perhaps that was the type of caution they displayed around predators.

With their size, they seemed likely to be swallowed in an instant if they were to encounter a much larger creature.

As I thought of these things, I continued to watch them, and unexpectedly, they stopped, raised their torches as if to shine light in my direction, and let out loud cries.  

Piercing cries that one might let out right before being eaten. Caught off guard by this, I immediately started thinking.

What!? With what intention were they making all this noise for!?

Without showing any hospitality towards me, and without ceasing their cries, the creatures had begun swinging the fire that they had in their hands.

In the darkness, the madder red afterglow danced to and fro in the air.

“Fire”

Something that burns.

That much, I knew. But, why were they swinging around such a thing?

It was as if they were trying to drive something away. I wasn’t able to completely understand their actions, but the moment the tip of the swaying flames touched me, I abruptly realized the meaning.

My composed thoughts stopped, and in their place, a terrible sensation that I had never experienced before filled my mind.

“Hot”

Hot hot hot hot.

I was greatly confused by this sharp, instantaneous, and violent sensation.

What is this!?

It hurts!

It’s hot!

I don’t get this, it’s painful, I can’t take it!

The creatures before me, illuminated by the fire, had their eyes wide open, and I was unmistakably captured by that gaze.

My mind filled with intense pain, and I felt an unpleasant, shock-like sensation run through me.

Panicking, I pulled my body back as to not be exposed to the flames a second time, and watched as they left orange streaks in the air.

I tried to twist my body to put further distance between the flames and myself, but the area that had been burned pulsed in pain, and I wasn’t able to find the strength.

I couldn’t escape from this wave of pain. As I came to realize this, I learned, for the first time since I was born, the thing called “fear.”

Why?

I had never been burned by fire until now.

On the contrary, even though I hadn’t come into contact with anything, what was the meaning of this?

I tried desperately to think, but the new sensation that had implanted itself in my body, “fear,” interfered with my thoughts.

Although the creatures seemed surprised that I had jumped back, they thrust the flames in my direction once more.

It was useless even if I tried to get away from here.

Both my thoughts and my body were too overwhelmed by what was happening to keep up.

All I could do was tremble in fear of those who continued to bring me pain.

What was the matter with them—they were scary. What did they intend to do with me?

Living things attacking others? What was the meaning of that……

“……Do they intend to devour me?”

The moment I thought of this, my mind became filled with even more fear.

The reason that living things attack other living things in this world.

Often times, that was for “predation.”

For the sake of keeping themselves alive, they devour other life.

That’s right, I knew about this.

In that case, would I be devoured by something stronger, like others, and be devoured by these creatures and die?

That was surely it.

After all, despite how I was currently trying to retreat, they were relentlessly advancing towards me.

Ahh, they were going to kill me.

I might actually be devoured.

Would I die?

What happens when you die?

Would I no longer be able to even think?

All of a sudden, the fire-bearing creatures took out a mineral with a strange shape.

It seemed that some kind of liquid was sloshing around inside.

Without hesitation, the creatures emptied the contents at me.

The next moment, the creatures set fire to me with the flames that they held.

As I was burned by flames that nearly completely obstructed my view, intense pain surged through my body.

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