15 June, Sōichi Kawagoe

文字数 4,227文字

“Oops,” mumbled God as he looked down at the world below.
  Fond memories came back to him of the days when he had created this world. There had been hardships, but the seas had spread mostly as he had intended, the mountains rose, and life abounded. It had been the biggest, the most satisfying work he had done, and his eyes had been brimming with tears on completion. On the other hand, he couldn’t deny the fact that, in a rush to get the job done pronto, a lot of it had been quick and dirty. He didn’t believe he’d done mediocre work and was ready to shout, “Shut your mouth, you cynics” to anyone who dared criticize him. But even God himself, who had created this world, didn’t have a clue as to how the individual parts he’d made would associate with one another or the mechanisms that would be involved, or how everything would work out as a whole.
  He was surprised when he learned that continents were slowly moving, wondering if he had set things up like that, and let out a yelp asking why when he saw mountains crumbling from the impact of a big earthquake. It was a lot of fun to watch how life adapted to the environment and species increased in number, and he had stomped his feet in frustration when a meteor had caused a great extinction.
  Despite his shortcomings, God could have owned the world. But he hadn’t done that. He wanted to avoid a situation where playing with one end would cause problems on the other end, and he believed that watching events unfold might be a part of the creation process as he continued to watch over the world.
  Eventually, a life form that had, arrogantly, claimed to be the so-called lord of creation spread across the planet. He was exasperated when he almost crashed into an object that the life form had shot out as it aimed for the moon, and muttered “mmm, that looks yummy,” swallowing hungrily when he saw the—drink? food? He wasn’t sure which it was, the potato starch shaped into balls and sunk in a liquid that combined semi-fermented tea with cow’s milk.
  God is now looking at a corner of the city that the lord of creation has created. A small clinic is situated there, and says it has stopped receiving patients because it has had outpatients who had an infectious disease. A fax machine blares in the deserted, unmanned reception area, spitting out sheets of paper that say things to the effect of “I will burn you down.”
  “Oops,” God murmured again as he sees the unwarranted attacks. This isn’t the type of world he thought he’d created.
  Biting his lip, he glances around. Sheets of paper are pasted on an exterior wall of the clinic that say things like, “Go out of business,” and “This here is the source of the infection.” A couple passes by, a toddler between them.
  The wife points to the note that has just been put up and the husband nods. They’re both wearing face masks, but you can tell that they’re a little upset. With angry eyes, they use their fingernails to scratch at the papers on the wall and tear them down.
  “Aren’t we going home?” the child asks with a lisp. Without turning around, the father replies, “Just a minute,” and carefully peels the paper from the wall. Apparently frightened by the harsh atmosphere, the child starts to grimace when the mother holds her in her arms after pulling a note off the wall herself, explaining, “Daddy doesn’t like this type of thing.”
  “It wasn’t at this clinic, but a doctor helped bring you into this world, you know.”
  God is just a little, but steadily, relieved. He’s relieved about the future of the world that he created with his own hands and has now gone beyond his reach.


Translated by Eriko Sugita/Arranged by TranNet KK

Sōichi Kawagoe
Born in Kagoshima Prefecture, 1978. Grew up in Osaka. Enrolled at Ryukoku University’s Faculty of Letters, Department of History. Made his literary debut in 2018 with

Tenchi

ni

santari

(The resplendence of heaven and earth), for which he won the 25th Matsumoto Seichō Award. Published

Netsugen

(Heat source) in 2019, for which he was nominated for the 10th Futaro Yamada Award, and won the 9th Best Historical Novel as Chosen by Booksellers Award , the 2nd Homma Club Award (@honyanohomma) , and the 162nd Naoki Prize.

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