6 August, Rihito Inuzuka

文字数 2,768文字

The Visitor


When the school bell rang, Taku was the first to dash out of the classroom. With no friends, school wasn’t a place he wanted to hang around. Besides, he wanted to hurry up and get home so he could check the mailbox.
  Two weeks before school reopened, Taku’s dad had taken him to see the ocean. Taku had put a letter inside a small glass bottle and thrown it into the sea. He had written Be my friend, please, along with his name and address. Every day since then, he had checked the mailbox, hoping that somebody had picked up the glass bottle, read his letter, and gotten in touch.
  When Taku arrived back at the apartment building, there was a girl looking at the mailboxes in the lobby. The girl noticed Taku and turned around. She looked younger than him. He stood next to her and checked his mailbox, making sure there was no letter.
  

Nothing

again

. . . . His shoulders dropped with disappointment and he got into the elevator. The girl got in behind him. She reached out her hand and pushed the button for the fifth floor, the same floor as Taku. But that was weird. He had never seen this girl before now.
  She got off at the fifth floor and Taku followed. To his surprise, she stopped outside his place. His heart was pounding.

Did

she

maybe

.

.

.

?


  Hey, are you here ’cause you read my letter?
  He called out to her nervously, and her eyes opened wide with surprise. The next moment, she was running back towards the elevator. Taku was taken aback, and then his smartphone began ringing from inside his schoolbag. Feeling flustered, he took it out. It was his mom. She was living with another man who wasn’t his dad, and it had been a while since she had called.
  Taku? Sorry to call so suddenly. Mai isn’t with you, is she?
  He had heard of Mai, the daughter of the man his mom was living with, but he had never actually met her.
  We got into a bit of a fight and she ran out the house. I thought she might’ve gone to your place, which is why I called, but. . . .
  Taku looked over at Mai, who was standing in front of the elevator.

If

my

mom

gets

along

with

Mais

dad,

then

Im

sure

we

could

be

friends,

too.

Taku gave a beaming smile.


Translated by Lauren Barrett/Arranged by TranNet KK

Rihito Inuzuka
Born in Osaka, 1974. Graduated from Waseda University. Made his literary debut in 2018 with

Ningen

gari

(Hunting humans), for which he won Outstanding Performance Award at the 38th Yokomizo Seishi Mystery Awards, judged by Arisu Arisugawa, Riku Onda, Hiroyuki Kurokawa, and Shūsuke Michio. Currently works in the real estate business. His most recent novel is

Nemuri

no

kami

(The god of sleep).

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