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Chapter 12 - The Common Trauma

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Zip zip…

In the secret base, the insects flew around the lamp, making flapping sounds—this was the only sound in this quite room.

Tetsudo, Chiriko, and Naruko didn’t make a sound. Atsumu had left. Jinta and Meiko had also left.

Jinta left with Meiko?

For they witnessed the drawing of the fire rod, this unprecedented experience, they believed in Meiko’s existence.

However, as time passed, they began to be uncertain. They was skeptical of whether what they saw was authentic.

“Menma…Is she really out there?” Naruko commenced with a slightly trembling voice Chiriko replied, “do you know what mass hallucinations are?”

“Mass hallucinations?”

“It is because we have the same trauma that we saw the same thing.”

The same trauma—Chiriko’s words comforted Naruko.

Until now, she was enduring the pain all by herself. Although it was maybe not exactly the case, the part where everyone could not communicate, was made in synch by the trauma.

“Perhaps…yeah. Perhaps.”

Having repeated two ‘perhaps’, Naruko calmed down.

This was because if she really believed it, that would mean…

“Are you idiots?”

Naruko and Chiriko raised their heads abruptly.

“Why don’t you believe this? There is no way she couldn’t be Menma.”

“But, but…”

“Isn’t this our chance?”

“Eh…”

Tetsudo showed a serious expression that hadn’t ever appeared in the memories of the two girls.

“If Menma’s here, then we can apologise to her for everything. Isn’t this great?”

This thought matched miraculously with the thought Jinta had yesterday —though Tetsudo didn’t know this.

“Yes. Apologise…yeah…”

Naruko was touched by Tetsudo’s words. If she could apogloise, then the inevitable feelings she had carried with her so long could…

“Why should we apologise?”

Chiriko asked calmly.

“Do you even have to…”

“Is it your fault that Menma’s dead?”

“!!”

Naruko was speechless. She couldn’t refute her.

“Stop this, Tsuruko!!”

“…”

“It isn’t anyone’s fault. It isn’t Anaru’s fault either. You’re acting so strange! At that time, I…also did my best…that…hey, hey!”

Chiriko left before letting him finish. Tetsudo looked at Naruko in panic.

“Hey, Anaru…”

“Stop calling me Anaru.”

Having heard this response, his heart a bit more assured…but at the next moment, Tetsudo’s heart began to chew on Chiriko’s words again.

(Why should we apologise?)

There were many things he wanted to apologise. To name one, it was of her death.

But, why should we apologise…like what Chiriko had said, there weren’t specific things to apologise.

(What am I doing?)

Chiriko pondered aimlessly while strolling on the neck of the bridge

Who was hurt? And who hurt him?

(This time, I hurt Anjo.)

No, it wasn’t me. The thing that really hurt her must be…

Chiriko believed that Meiko’s death was Naruko’s fault—such kind of Naruko’s thought.

This was because this thought was the same thought she had repeated in her heart for numerous times.

(Everyone had to be hurt.)

She wasn’t an exception.

Atsumu stood in a dark room.

It was a room without any decoration, a room that gave account to the fact that Atsumu didn’t have any hobbies. There weren’t any games, magazines or anything that youngsters would like. Even things pertaining to adults’ interest were absent, for example: western music CDs, mountains of plain-text books.

But this room was filled with Atsumu’s suffocating persistance. Atsumu stood in the room, without speaking a word or moving an inch…

Bam!

Suddenly, as if reaching his endurance limit, Atsumu kicked away a chair.

He bent his body, clenched his fists, and throw blows at the wall again and again. The pure pain made him more irascible. He wanted even more sharp pain, pain that would let him forget the pain on his chest.

“Who’s kidding…who’s kidding!!”

He couldn’t soothen his anger.

Atsumu’s mind was filled with Jinta’s flauting attitude.

(Who do you think you are…don’t be kidding. That’s just some mechanism. That’s just some trick anyone is capable of. Who do you think you are? You’re nobody. You’re nobody. You’re nobody. You’re nobody!)

Every time he thought of htim, his blood would seem to boil.

(You don’t qualify to mention Menma!)

Even if Menma really existed, why is he the only one who could see her?

What stupid thing was this? Even if it wasn’t a spirit but just a hallucination of a homeless dog with its mind went wrong, he couldn’t permit such things to happen.

That’s right: only he couldn’t be forgiven. He couldn’t be forgiven for anything that has to do with Menma. As Atsumu was pushed to the edge by his thoughts, he couldn’t make a line between what he should do and what he shouldn’t.

For he couldn’t make a line, he opened the door.

Then, he called upon ‘Menma’.

“Come out, Menma…”

It was different from what Jinta had seen, but perhaps it was the same summer spirit that Tetsudo had seen.

“Menma…”

Lightly and gently, he embraced her in his arms. He softly caressed her thin, hard hair. He wanted to speak the words of love, but there wasn’t enough time. Yes, time was running out.

“They’re too miserable to be fooled by that trick. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t forgive them. Menma, I even accepted their nonesense as true. This is the evidence I had almost forgotten you…”

I would never let you become lonely again.

Atsumu made up his mind: I would keep your lonlieness company.

Previous: Chapter 11 - Labyrinth in the Dark Woods Next: Chapter 13 - The Summer Recluse

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