15 May, Kenji Takemoto

文字数 3,444文字

May 15th is Stockings Day, it seems.
  Which is not at all why I put on the pair of special stockings I bought last week and went out.
  I had no destination in mind. I just couldn’t be in my house any longer. Who cares about not going out unless it’s absolutely necessary? The thought of wearing a mask didn’t even cross my mind.
  The sky was unbelievably blue. There were so few people in the city that it was also unbelievable. I walked around and around. After a while I realized I was somewhere that I’d never seen before, and I kept walking regardless.
  Soon enough I saw a Ferris wheel in the distance. I walked toward it as if I were drawn there. I was sure it would be shut at a time like this, but when I got closer I saw that the amusement park was open. It looked like someone had privately rented the whole park for the day. I went straight to the big wheel and got in one of the otherwise deserted cars.
  Kathurrnk, kathurrnk, kathurrrnk, kathurrrnk.
  I wondered to myself lazily if Ferris wheels were always this loud.
  The car began to rise, ever so slowly.
  My eyes fell to my own knees. To my comfortable black stockings. If you looked closely, you could tell there was a little purple and dark blue mixed in. They shone iridescently depending on the angle of the light. Although they were a little pricey, I’d been fascinated by their brilliance and bought them for some special occasion.
  But there wouldn’t be such an occasion now. Because yesterday my boyfriend had called to tell me this was it. It’s over anyway, we might as well call it quits now, he’d said.
  I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry. I was just so broken then.
  Kathurrnk, kathurrnk, kathurrrnk, kathurrrnk.
  Suddenly I clawed at my stockings, tearing both leggings to shreds. When they were full of holes I stopped and looked at them carefully. The shredded stockings kind of reflected what my heart felt like.
  That’s just when, all of a sudden,


started. My period—late and especially horrible. I felt it seeping out into the seat.
  This. Is. The.


  I wished that not only myself, but everything, would be broken, burned up in flames and destroyed. My head felt like it would burst, it was so full of desire for that to happen.
  Kathurrnk, kathurrnk, kathurrnk, kathurrnk.
  While I was thinking that, I realized something—that the surrounding landscape was above my head.
  The seat was upside down, too. The seat, now stuck to the ceiling, was dripping blood, and I was soaked in it.
  That’s when I understood. Oh, yeah. This all makes sense.
  Because at some point—maybe even a long time ago—I’d gone into a different world.

Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK

Kenji Takemoto
Born in Hyōgo Prefecture, 1954. Made his literary debut in university with






(Paradise lost inside the box), which was originally serialized in the detective fiction magazine Gen’eijō before being published in 1978. The book had a great effect on the world of Japanese mystery fiction. His novel



(Labyrinth of incense) placed first in the 2017 national KONOMYS (This mystery novel is amazing!) rankings, and won the 17th Honkaku Mystery Award. His recent works include




(Foxfire crossroad), among others. His latest novel





(This is not a mystery) is slated for a July 2020 publication.




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