Kara no Kyoukai
by: Kinoku Nasu
An overlooking view – Fujou Kirie
That day, I decided to take the main street home.
It was merely on a whim, a novel idea for me.
As I made my way through the drab looking high rise district, a person suddenly fell from the sky.
Such a sickening sound, one I don’t often hear.
It was clear that they fell from a building and died instantly.
Dark crimson flowed down the asphalt.
That flowing, black hair was the only thing that remained of her original appearance.
Thin, brittle, white looking limbs, and that lifeless, caved in face of hers.
This imagery caused me to equate it to a flower, which had been flattened and pressed between the pages of a book.
Perhaps, that is because…to me that corpse, with its neck snapped into the shape of a fetus, resembled a broken lily.
One night, at the start of August, Kokuto Mikya dropped by, without notifying me beforehand.
“Good evening. You’re as lazy as ever, aren’t you Shiki?”
My unexpected visitor smiles at the doorway while greeting me in his typical, boring fashion.
“By the way, on my way here, I stumbled across an accident. It seems like a girl killed herself by falling off a building. I’ve heard these incidents have been happening a lot lately, but I never thought I’d see one myself — Here, put this in the refrigerator.”
While untying his boots at the entrance way, Mikiya tosses me a plastic bag. Inside of it are two cups of Häagen-Dazs Strawberry ice cream. Seems like he wants me to refrigerate them before they melt.
As I lazily shift through the contents of the bag, Mikiya finishes removing his shoes and strides past the entranceway.
I live in a single room apartment. After coming in through the one meter long entrance hall, you’ll reach the living room that doubles as my sleeping quarters.
I follow Mikiya as he hurries inside, glaring holes into his back.
“Shiki, you skipped classes again today, didn’t you? We can deal with your grades later, but you won’t be able to graduate with such a poor attendance rate. Did you already forget our promise to enroll in college together?”
“What gives you the right to lecture me about school? I don’t remember ever making a promise like that in the first place. Besides, didn’t you already drop out of college?”
“…Mmm. Contrary to what people say, I don’t think anybody has a ‘right’ to anything.”
With an unpleasant expression on his face, Mikiya sits down. This guy has a tendency to let his true nature show whenever he’s backed into a corner. A fact I’ve only just recently been able to remember.
Mikiya makes himself comfortable in the middle of the room.
I lay down on the bed behind Mikiya, resting on my side. Mikiya keeps his back turned, paying me no mind.
Staring at his back, I take note that he has a small build for a guy.
This guy here is Kokuto Mikiya, he’s allegedly been a friend of mine since high school.
Compared to the youth of today, where fashion trends die as fast as they crop up – a guy who embodies the perfect image of a student like him is a rare specimen indeed.
He doesn’t dye his hair, nor does he let it grow out. He doesn’t tan his skin, or accessorize. Guy doesn’t even carry around a cellphone, or fool around with women. Standing at only 170cm, he has a fair, somewhat cute face, that’s only accentuated by those black rimmed glasses of his.
Even though he’s been wearing drab looking clothing since he graduated from high school, he’s a handsome enough guy. I’d bet if he were to actually dress up he’d turn a few heads.
“Shiki, are you listening? I talked with your mother earlier. I think you should visit the Ryougi estate sometime, you know? Seriously, it’s been two months since you were discharged from the hospital and you really haven’t contacted them even once?”
“Nope, don’t have any real reason to, after all.”
“Hang on, you don’t need a reason to visit your family. It’s been two years since you’ve spoken to each other, you should meet up and have a proper discussion with them.“
“…I dunno. Everything still doesn’t feel real to me, nothing I can do to help that. Meeting them now would only drive us further apart. I mean, if I still feel uncomfortable talking to you, how am I supposed to hold a conversation with a total stranger?”
I furrow my eyebrows at his criticism.
I don’t see the problem here. It’s not like there’s anything illegal going on between my parents and I. Their child just got into a car accident and suffered amnesia. We’re recognized as family by law and blood, so everything should be fine.
Mikiya always worries about how other people are feeling.
Seriously, it’s nothing worth stressing out over.
I’ve been friends with Ryougi Shiki since our high school days.
We attended a pretty famous college preparation school.
During the acceptance speech I caught a name so unusual that it stuck in my mind – Ryougi Shiki. As it would turn out we were to be put into the same class. Ever since then, I’ve been one of Shiki’s only friends.
At our school they allowed the use of casual clothing. In my opinion everybody tended to express themselves through their attire. However, even at this school, Shiki stood out.
For you see, they were always dressed in a kimono.
The way that simple kimono matched Shiki’s slumped shoulders as they walked around made the classroom feel like a samurai’s estate. Shiki never did anything that could be considered unnecessary, hardly speaking outside of class. I believe that should paint a good picture of what kind of person Shiki was.
Even Shiki’s looks were almost perfect.
Their beautiful, silken black hair was cut in such a way it was as if Shiki couldn’t be bothered to clean it up. It was styled in a short bob which covered exactly up to the ears. Curiously, it suited Shiki so well that the other students had a hard time determining their gender.
Shiki’s face held an androgyonous beauty that a man would recognize as a woman’s, yet a woman would mistake for a man’s. Although I’d say they were more dignified than beautiful.
Above all that however, I found Shiki’s most fascinating feature to be their eyes. Sharp, yet with calm pupils and thin eyebrows. The way they were always looking at something nobody else could see is what defined Ryougi Shiki to me.
Until that night.
When that happened to Shiki.
“Falling from a building.”
“Eh-? Ah, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Somebody fell from a building. Can that really be considered an accident, Mikiya?”
Mikiya, who had been silent this entire time, is snapped to his senses by my pointless musings.
See, this guy’s honest to a fault, so he starts to think about my question seriously.
“Hmmm, it was an accident, no doubt about that…but I wonder why that is? If it’s suicide, the perpetrator in question is dead. Although in that case, it’s their own decision, so they should still be held accountable. However if somebody falls from a rooftop, it’s typically considered an accident—”
“So neither a murder; nor an accident, kind of an ambigious way of putting it. Seriously if they’re gonna kill themselves why not do it in a way that won’t bother anybody else.”
“Shiki, you shouldn’t speak poorly of the dead.”
Mikiya’s voice was listless, rather than chastising. He was so annoyingly predictable. I knew what he was going to say before he said it.
“Cocteau, I seriously hate your generalizations.”
Naturally, my retort was pretty harsh. However, Mikiya didn’t seem to take any offense over it.
“Ahhh… I really missed the way you called me that.”
Mikiya nodded in affirmation like a well-behaved squirrel.
There are two ways I refer to him – Cocteau and Mikiya. Although, I’m not particularly a fan of how Cocteau sounds… I don’t know the reason why.
The conversation hits a lull as I’m lost in thought, until Mikiya claps his hands together, as if he remembered something.
“Now that you mention it, since we’re on the topic of strange occurrences, my little sister Azaka saw ‘that’ earlier.”
“You know that thing, the girl at the Fujou Building. The one flying in the sky. You told me you saw her once too, Shiki.“
Ah, I remember. It was a little ghost story that started around three weeks ago.
In the business district, there’s a high class apartment called the Fujou building. In the sky above it, when night falls, a figure of a person can be seen. That not only myself but also Azaka were both able to see it, would suggest that it’s genuine.
Ever since I got into a car accident and was comatose for two years, I’ve started seeing ‘things that shouldn’t exist.’
Touko once told me that it’s not that I can see them, but rather perceive them. In other words my brain and eyes have been connected on a deeper cognitive level, but I’m not exactly interested in the mechanics behind it.
“I’ve seen that thing hanging around the Fujou building more than once already. Although, I haven’t been around there lately, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to see her again.”
“Huh. I pass by there pretty often but I still haven’t been able to see her.”
“You’re not gonna because you wear glasses.”
I don’t think glasses have anything to do with it, mutters a sulking Mikiya.
His actions were warm without a hint of ill intent. That’s why it’s impossible for him to see something like that…still, we keep on having this boring discussion about falling and flying. I don’t understand the point of all of this, so I ask a question:
“Mikiya, do you know why people fly?”
Shrugging his shoulders, Mikiya answers.
“Well, I don’t know much about falling or flying. After all, I haven’t done either.”
He says something like that as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
- Whenever Shiki calls Mikiya by his surname she always refers to him as コクトー, which is meant to have a foreign sounding slant to it. This is a reference to the French poet Jean Cocteau, whose name sounds similar to Kokutou.
- Well-behaved squirrel: Yeah Shiki just straight up called him a squirrel here. It’s nothing important, I just thought it was funny Nasu wrote that.
Editor and QC- Lunar Frog