1 April, Mizuki Tsujimura

文字数 4,521文字

The Story Begins Today


April 1st is cancelled this year.
  No April Fool’s Day! Last year Mom and everyone taught him that it’s the only day of the year you’re allowed to tell a lie.
  Hiroto’s face is buried in the playroom carpet. He sits up and wipes his eyes, burning hot from all the tears, and looks around for his mother. Earlier she was there trying to console him, but now she’s gone.
  Starting today, he isn’t allowed to play with his classmate, Masaya, anymore. Because Masaya’s grandma lives in their family house. Right now, there’s a scary illness spreading around, and Hiroto knows that it’s very bad if you catch it. But he doesn’t understand why that means he can’t play with his friend.
  “It can’t be helped,” his mom told him. “It’d be very dangerous if you took the virus into Masaya’s house.”
  His mom and Masaya’s mom have decided that together.
  Ever since starting elementary school, Hiroto has had cram school classes or some other kind of after-school activity—music lessons, sports and stuff—every single day after school. But he’s never complained, not once. He’s only free to play with Masaya on Saturdays and Sundays, but he puts up with all those extra lessons because Saturdays and Sundays are so much fun. He’s always, always,

all

-ways been so good! Now he can’t believe that he has to give up the only thing he ever looks forward to.
  The room is quiet and he can hear the rain pattering on the window. As he listens, he starts to feel calmer. It’s better if it rains. Even if he’d been allowed to play with Masaya, they couldn’t have gone outside anyway. So he doesn’t feel cheated, he’s not

too

sad.
  April Fool’s is cancelled this year. He’s heard the grown-ups talking about it. This isn’t the time to tell lies. It would cause all kinds of panic. It would be “disrespectful.”
  All of a sudden, he senses some kind of light coming from the far corner of the darkened room; a dazzlingly bright light. He shifts his focus from the hundreds of tiny raindrops trickling down the window, and turns his face towards the light. He gulps.
  His bookshelf is shining. “Huh?” he thinks. “What’s that?” He has a weird feeling inside him that quickly puffs up bigger and bigger.
  Is it—? No! One of those—? He sees them all the time in anime—some sort of doorway. When they’d go on adventures, to some kind of “Kingdom” or they’re summoned to a different world. Where the hero always triumphs. . . .
  No way! Too awesome! I have one of those too? It’s perfect timing. The miserable way he feels today is just like the hero always does, right before a secret adventure doorway opens.
  Hiroto walks over to his bookshelf, rubbing at his eyes. His tears have begun to dry.
  The light is coming from one of the books. His uncle gave it to him for his birthday last year. It was full of words and had hardly any pictures. He’d put it away on his shelf and had never opened it since. He remembers what his uncle said to him: “It’s really good to read books. Books can teach you all kinds of things. In this book here, there’s one line. . . when I read it, it changed my whole life.”
  “Liar,” Hiroto had thought to himself.
  Why was it that whenever grown-ups said things like that, it always sounded like they were talking down to you? Like they were making the whole thing up, lying to you?
  But. . . .
  April Fool’s is cancelled this year.
  So—whatever. He doesn’t care if it’s a lie.
  He reaches out and picks up the gleaming book. And the very moment he opens it, Hiroto’s feelings, and his body, and time itself, are instantly swallowed up by its pages.
  Because it’s a special April 1st, there’s a whole new world of lies to discover.


Translated by Louise Heal Kawai / Arranged by TranNet KK

Mizuki Tsujimura
She was born on February 29, 1980. Born in Yamanashi Prefecture, she made her debut in 2004 with

Tsumetai kōsha no toki ha tomaru

(Cold schoolhouse time is stop), which won the 31st Mephisto Prize. She won the 32nd Eiji Yoshikawa Literary Newcomer's Award for Tsunagu

(Connect)

, the 147th Naoki Sanjū-go Prize for

Kagi no nai yume o miru

(The keyless dream), and the 15th Honya Award for

Kagami no kojō

(Solitary castle in the mirror). Other writings include

Surouhaitsu no kamisama

(God of slow heights),

Anime Supremacy!, Asa ga kuru

(The morning comes),

Gōman to zenryō

(Arrogance and goodness), and

Shōsetu eiga Doraemon: Nobita no getsumen tansa ki

(Novel Doraemon the movie: Nobita's lunar exploration).

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