23 August, Ren Hanna

文字数 4,111文字

For You


School’s over now. It’s great that you’re so passionate, but it’s time to go home for today, I said as I opened the door to the literature club’s room; the students who were clustered around the whiteboard started hurriedly getting their things together. The sun had already set and six of them still remained, so I had to admire their enthusiasm.
  When the girl who was the president of the club had at last gotten ready to leave, she put her bag over her shoulders, then bowed.
  Thank you for printing our magazine.
  No need to make a big deal out of it. I’ll lock up, so you go on home now, and take care.
  After I saw that she’d left the room, I quietly called out a name.
  You can come out now, Yui .
  A girl in uniform suddenly appeared from the cleaning supplies closet.
  The girls like you, don’t they, Ryō?
  What? What do you mean?
  Well, she’s in love with you. I heard her telling another club member.
  Oh. Well, that’s a pretty normal delusion, but I’d better keep my distance from her then.
  Poor thing.
  But that’s how it ought to be between students and teachers.
  I sat down in a chair; Yui, who was standing behind me, smiled and said, I’m a student, too.
  Right, are you ready to start?
  She nodded, then closed her eyes.
  And then.
  The ash covering the island was white like snow and frozen. One step on it and it would shriek like a sea bird—
  I typed the phrases that came out of Yui’s mouth carefully, without missing a letter.
  She was a writer who had made her debut as a student and won multiple awards, but in the winter of her second year of high school, she and her entire family died in a fire. The only one who knew she was now a ghost bound to this room was me, her cousin and classmate.
  Yui’s wish was to deliver a story to the world even after her death, and so she had started to dictate to me.
  Every time the sea breeze blew, the whirled-up ash took the form of the dead and danced. The day she cried, the wind called up a boy who had drowned at sea one hundred years before—
  Yui’s novels were highly praised as perhaps the work of an established author under a new pen name. After some discussion, we decided to donate all the earnings.
  My feelings for Yui were special, but after nine years of coming to this club room and our relationship never changing in the slightest, even as I’d gone from being a student to an alumnus to, now, being the club’s advisor, I’d gotten the feeling that I was little more than a writing implement, like a pen, to her. That on some level my impulses held no interest to Yui.
  However, about an hour later, I sat in front of her new story, now completed on my screen, looking at it with slight surprise. It was the first time Yui had written that kind of thing.
  It ended with the ashes of the girl and boy fluttering together, as if in an embrace.
  This story’s a gift for you, Yui said quietly with a smirk, now done with spinning the tale.
  Oh, this is a love story.


Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK


Ren Hanna
Born in 1988. Graduated from Kyoto University’s Faculty of Letters. Submitted the short story Enju (Distant curse) to the 17th Japan Horror Novel Awards in 2010, for which he won the Award for Best Short Story. Made his official literary debut with

Shōjo

kinku

(Forbidden zone for girls) the same year, which contained a revised version of the short story.

Nameraka

na

sekai

to,

sono

teki

(A smooth world and its enemy), a collection of his works, placed No. 1 in the list of Best SF Published in Japan 2019 in SF ga yomitai! 2020 ban (We want to read SF! 2020 edition). Two anthologies he acted as editor for,

Nihon

SF

no

rinkaiten

[kaiki

hen]

(The critical point of Japanese SF [Bizarre tales edition]) and

Nihon

SF

no

rinkaiten

[renai

hen]

(The critical point of Japanese SF [Romantic tales edition]) were published in July 2020 to widespread acclaim. Hanna is currently regarded as the most iconic flag-bearer of the world of SF literature.

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