“Oh, if it isn’t Kai. What are you doing here?”
“I’m out on a walk. How about you, Akira?”
“Ummm, I’m on a walk too… I think? This is strange. What am I doing here?”
I was supposed to have my hands full being chased around by summer homework, and yet, why did I hop on my bike, and make the trek all the way to Asahi Park? It’s almost as if someone called me here.
“Did you throw your homework up in the air, and run here to escape reality? Good grief, Akira, you’re terrible at planning things through.”
“Yeah, you may be right. Hey, Kai. If you’re free, can you help me out with my homework?”
“Don’t want to.”
“I’m not stingy. I’m saying it with your best interest in mind.”
“Fret not, I don’t need that sort of adult-like concern…”
Like that, we repeated a conversation with no substance and immediately parted.
As we went our separate ways, “Come to think of it,” Kai said.
“It’s almost Orino-san’s birthday.”
“Oh yeah. That’s true, but why do you know that?”
“You told me the other day, didn’t you?”
Did I? Well, if Kai says so, then I’m sure I did.
“Are you planning anything?”
“Mnn, it’s still largely pending. Thought I think we’re going to do something with everyone from the club.”
“You should give her a big celebration. Please… make it the best birthday she could ask for.”
“You don’t have to tell me that. In that case, do you want to join in?”
“No, I’ll have to refrain.”
“I see… hey, Kai.”
“Aren’t you a little worn out? Your face is pale. Are you okay?”
“… Yeah. I’m fine. Thanks for worrying for me.”
I returned straight home, and immediately embarked on my homework. As there weren’t any particular hinderances, it went smoother than I expected. With heart and mind, I solved problem, and problem, and problem, cheating a bit from time to time. And like that, as my homework was clearing itself out, by the time I noticed it, the night had worn on.
“… I should sleep.”
Perhaps because my head was worn out, when I got under the covers and closed my eyes, I fell right asleep.
I saw a dream.
By the time I noticed it, I was in a park in the fall, where the fallen leaves danced. It was Asahi Park, where I headed today for some reason. Lowering myself onto the wooden table set, I dazed out into space. I kinda knew it was a dream.
When you’re in a dream knowing you’re dreaming, what did you call it again? A lucid dream?
“No, strictly speaking, you can’t call this a lucid dream. It’s said that a lucid dream is a phenomenon that occurs when your frontal lobe is still half-awake, but right now, you’re comfortable fast asleep. When my charming character has disappeared, you’re a cold one, you know that?”
Before I knew it, there was someone across the table.
In a frivolous tone, the child spoke out lines as if he was reading my heart.
“This is a dream I’m showing you.”
“Who are you…?”
I asked the boy I’d never seen before.
A sociable smile. A detestably light tone. Shirt. Suspenders. Glasses.
Someone I didn’t know.
“Ahaha. It looks like It’s true, I really never was. I guess I should say as expected of god. To be able to freely erase whoever he wants to, how truly godlike of him. It’s an ability like the completed version of the ‘Dictator Switch’.”
He gave a joyful laugh.
“Well, it looks like my telepathy alone just barely remained. At present, I’m in a strange state, where only my ability still remains in the world. Only this detestable ability that accompanied from the moment I was born, I guess even God couldn’t erase it so easily.”
“That being the case, I’m sure this is just a time lag. I shouldn’t have long. That’s why I decided I’d intrude on your dreams a bit.”
“Do you have some business with me?”
“Yes. Though there are loads of other people I want to talk to as well. But, well, I mulled and mulled, and in the end, decided I’d meet Kagoshima-san.”
He said, and earnestly lowered his head.
“I’m sorry I tried to kill you.”
It was a sincere apology. And like that, I thought.
“Tried to kill… what?”
“Or maybe, sorry I actually might have killed you once or twice? Well, they’re pretty much the same. With murder and attempted murder, if you only look at the result, there’s a huge difference, but they’re the same in essence. The intent’s all there.”
He lightly shrugged his shoulders.
“… At the end of the end, I did what I shouldn’t have. So I received divine retribution. That’s all there is to it. That’s why I’ll graciously accept this punishment.”
“I don’t really get it, but–”
I spoke my mind to the unfamiliar boy. In a fluffy, literally dream-like state, without thinking too deep about it.
“You shouldn’t kill people.”
“… You really are that, you know. The template wimp protagonist. When you can’t do anything yourself, you never fail to line up pretty words. It’s irritating just talking to you.”
I couldn’t return anything to that hostile look, and severe cynicism. All I could do was remain silent. There, he suddenly made a gentle smile, “But,” he added on a word.
“It’s precisely because you’re like that, that I wanted to see you in the end.”
He said as he leisurely stood.
“I’m sure you’re special to that man as well.”
“Even through my ability, I couldn’t see his heart. But it was oozing out so hard, it reached me anyway. The unfathomably deep sadness that lies at his base…”
“Good grief, this sounds like it’s becoming a girly conversation. As a manly man, I don’t appreciate these developments.”
So… I’ll be taking my leave.
He said. He walked past me, proceeding forward with unhesitant steps.
At the end of his path… a soft light. The sort of gently light that enveloped everything around it. I gazed at his back as he made off towards it.
“I could try acting cool, saying I leave with no regrets. I’ve got plenty of things to regret. But I got to see the last boss’s face at the end, so I’ll just say it wasn’t bad. It was a relatively fun life.”
His feet stopped, he turned my way.
“The rest is up to you, ‘kay?”
I… silently nodded.
I kinda got the feeling that was what I had to do.
He made a satisfied smile and started walking again.
And the unfamiliar boy melted into the light.