２６ Ｊｕｌｙ， Ａｙａｋｏ Ｐａｌｌｕｓ
Dragon Ice Cream
‘I want to eat ice cream.’
Huh. . . ?
What is this? This is exactly why I didn’t want Sumire to be a part of this.
Fūta had started a “story exchange” with Rikuto, a friend he’d known since he was little. Before bed, Fūta would type up a story on his cell phone and send it to Rikuto. The following night, Rikuto would come up with the next part of the story and pass it back to Fūta, for him to continue.
Their first story was about superheroes with special powers, but they quickly ran out of ideas, and Fūta forced it to end with the words ‘The whole world was saved.’
To start fresh, during cleaning period at school, they made an exciting decision to make their next story about a dragon and a boy. Sumire, who was also assigned to their cleaning group, overheard them.
“Are you working on a manga?”
“Nah,” Fūta tried to brush her off, but Rikuto began to explain how the “story exchange” worked, so passionately that his ears turned bright red. Sumire nodded enthusiastically, and her cheeks, too, turned to a soft pink.
Uh oh. . . . Fūta’s bad feeling was about to come true. Sumire now wanted to join, and she wasn’t going to let it go. They were now in the upper grades at their elementary school, and this was the first time he’d been put in the same class as Sumire. It turned out that she wasn’t the quiet girl he’d thought she was.
In the end, Rikuto said, “It might be good to add a new perspective.” He was trying to act cool. This led to creating a “story exchange” chat group for the three of them. And now,
thiswas the consequence.
Why the heck would the dragon want ice cream?
Fūta buried his head in his hands. Rikuto had done such a nice job starting the story. What was Sumire thinking?
As soon as the dragon opens its mouth, the ice cream melts in the dragon’s heat. This saddens the dragon, then a lonely boy comes along. Fūta had to continue the story from here.
Will the boy make an ice cream that doesn’t melt?
Will he get the dragon to drink the ice cream through a fireproof straw?
Maybe he could cool down the dragon’s breath?
Fūta had never had to think so hard, even during a test. He now understood that having to come up with an idea for something he wouldn’t ever think of himself was exhausting. What was strange was that he was starting to enjoy it. He could feel his brain working. . . .
He was woken up by the sound of his cell phone. He must’ve dozed off.
“Aren’t we supposed to write at least one line every day?” It was a direct message from Sumire. The time on the screen was 11:59 p.m.
‘The boy said, “I want to eat ice cream too, but cold ice cream hurts my sensitive teeth. Let’s go look for warm ice cream together.” The dragon and the boy’s journey has begun.’
He sent his lines in a flash. The time was 12:00 midnight . He’d made it just in time. Well, kind of.
He felt like he was at the end of his rope, but the story couldn’t have developed this way had he been writing it on his own, and that made his heart leap. The “new perspective” wasn’t so bad after all.
It was a short message from Sumire:
Fūta breathed a sigh of relief, then relaxed into sleep.
Translated by Yuka Maeno/Arranged by TranNet KK
Born in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and currently resides in France. After working at an advertising agency, she enrolled at Tokyo University of the Arts’ Graduate School of Film and New Media and studied screenwriting. Published the collection of poems
saremashita(Those words have depreciated in value) in 2015, and wrote the script for the 2019 film
inukoro(Soaked puppy) under the name Fumiko Yamaguchi. Made her literary debut with
X(Neighbour X), for which she won the 14th Shōsetsu Gendai New Face Award for Best Novel. The book is slated for publication on August 26th, 2020.