21 July, Miki Shinohara

文字数 3,024文字

The Deadly Yoganobō


“Again. . . ?” I muttered sadly, shoulders drooping as I touched at the shredded portions. Could I forgive them for this?—No, I could not. I most certainly could not.
  It was then and there that I decided to wage war.
  (I’m gonna get those guys! No matter what!)
  Though a staunch pacifist, even I would fight if it was for the sake of protecting something dear. This would serve as a detailed record of those battles.
  (The problem is just how to go about fighting them.)
  As I watered the plants in the yard, I was pondering this when my mother called to me, “Aki! Time to eat!”
  “Coming!”
  Though I was in the midst of a battle, I had to eat. I don’t know who said at what point that you can’t fight on an empty stomach, but I understood the idea. In order to do anything at all, food is key.
  After eating my fill, I once more racked my brain as I pretended to do my homework.
  To tell you the truth, I still had not yet actually seen them in the flesh. They crept in under the cover of darkness, took aim at their targets, and gobbled up their defenseless victims. A frightening bunch, aren’t they? I referred to them as the “Deadly Yoganobō,” but simply imagining them writhing around in the dark was enough to give me goosebumps. They were demons, through and through. Did I really have any hope against such a fearsome foe?
  I had tried preparing decoys, and various other ruses, but none of them worked; I was unable to halt the daily rise in casualties as the days ticked on.
  It was already too late. I could never stop them.
  As I was consumed by my own sense of powerlessness, my father, who had been eating with me, said, “Oh, by the way, apparently there was an infestation of cutworms in the field behind us, but now they’ve been mostly exterminated. I mentioned your morning glories, and they said they’d spray some pesticide in our yard, too, while they’re at it. Isn’t that great, Aki? You don’t need to worry anymore.”
  A sudden end to my battles had just been decreed, a proclamation that those monsters would never return again. The record that was being written on those bug-eaten leaves would be halted, and one day I would awaken to find my morning glories blooming beautifully.
  That day, as I ate watermelon on the porch, I watched as a dragonfly flew by, and silently pledged that I would grow morning glories again next year.


Translated by Diana Taylor/Arranged by TranNet KK

Miki Shinohara
Resides in Yokohama City. Graduated from Meiji Gakuin University. Made her literary debut with

Eikoku

yōitan

(Tales of supernatural events in Britain), for which she won the 8th White Heart Newcomer Award’s Outstanding Performance Prize. The Eikoku yōitan series was later followed by the Ōshū yōitan (Tales of supernatural events in Europe), with the series currently at 52 volumes including side-stories. She also writes the Ayakashi no kagami (Ghostly mirror) series, published under the Kodansha Aoitori Bunko label, under the pen-name Miki Kagaya.

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