25 May, Gaku Yakumaru

文字数 3,462文字

“I’m home.”
  Nobuhito Natsume handed his bag and the paper bag to his wife, Minayo, then took off his mask and headed to the bathroom sink. He carefully washed his hands and gargled, then went to the living and dining room, where a cake sat right in the middle of the dining table. The wall held Minayo’s handmade decorations.
  It was May 25th—their daughter Emi’s birthday.
  Emi, who had had a serious injury to her head when she was young, had been in the hospital for a long time. Every year they celebrated her birthday in her hospital room, but this year visitation was restricted due to the coronavirus.
  “What did you get for her?” Minayo asked, looking in the paper bag that Nobuhito had handed her.
  “I asked the clerk to pick out five picture books for us.”
  He looked at the clock; it was 8:30 at night. Any minute now, he thought, just as his phone began to vibrate in his pocket.
  It was a call from Emi’s nurse, Mayu Yamamoto.
  He pressed the button to answer and Mayu, in her mask and face guard, appeared on his screen.
  “Are you all ready?”
  He listened to Mayu, as Minayo lit the fifteen candles on top of the cake.
  Nobuhito turned his phone’s camera toward the cake, as he started singing, “Happy birthday to you.” Minayo and Mayu joined in.
  “Happy birthday, dear Emi . . . happy birthday to you!”
  To the sound of applause, Minayo blew out the candles. On the screen Emi almost looked as if she were smiling.
  “Next year, we’ll celebrate your birthday here, together.” He shared this wish with Emi through the screen, then said thank you to Mayu and ended the call.
  “They’ve finally lifted the state of emergency declaration. Maybe there’s someone up there celebrating Emi’s birthday, too,” Minayo said, smiling.
  “I think there must be,” Nobuhito said.
  Even now that the state of emergency had been lifted, many people would still continue to face tough days. Perhaps most would grit their teeth and endure, thinking that after night must come dawn, but still, there was now an explosion in cases of theft, fraud, and injuries, believed to be due to the chaos of the coronavirus.
  There’s no self-isolation or time off work when you’re a detective.
  “Time to go back to the station,” Nobuhito announced to Minayo, braced himself, and turned toward the door.


Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK

Gaku Yakumaru
Born in Hyōgo Prefecture, 1969. Made his literary debut in 2005 with

Tenshi

no

naifu

(Angel’s knife), for which he won the 51st Edogawa Rampo Prize . Won the 37th Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers in 2016 for

A

dewa

nai

kimi

to

(With you, who isn’t A), and the 70th Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Short Story in 2017 for “Tasogare” (Twilight). Many of his works, including

Yūzai

(A friend's guilt),

A

dewa

nai

kimi

to

,

Akutō

(Villain), and

Shimei

(Life or death), have been adapted into film and TV drama, and

Seiyaku

(Written oath) has become a smash hit in the Republic of Korea, selling over 200,000 copies. His other works include

A

Cops

Eyes

,

Sono

kagami

wa

uso

o

tsuku

(That mirror tells a lie),

Keiji

no

yakusoku

(The detective’s promise), and

Keiji

no

ikari

(The detective’s anger), which are part of the Keiji Natsume Nobuhito (Detective Nobuhito Natsume) series, as well as

Kami

no

ko

(Child of God) and

Gādian

(Guardian).

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  • 特大
背景色
  • 生成り
  • 水色
フォント
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
組み方向
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み