Author: Inaida Sou
Translator: Kei of ChocoCats
○ 54 DAYS AGO
Two days had passed since my brother skipped the homestay study trip. My brother’s condition seemed to go back and forth between sick and healthy. Please read this at ChocoCats.
There were times when he went somewhere looking extremely healthy, and for a moment I thought he was faking it, but there wasn’t any reason for him to continue pretending to be sick. If it was my brother, normally he would stop. That’s why I forced sports drinks on him regularly, and I talked to him so he wouldn’t be bored alone.
As for my mother, she naturally opposed me taking care of my brother, but in the end, when my brother said, “let her do as she pleases”, she nodded her head.
The current time was 7:30 pm. It was actually time for my brother to take a bath, but he seemed to have a fever so headed to his room after I prepared a towel and a bucket to wipe his body. I had adjusted the hot water for now, but I also brought an electric kettle because it would be lukewarm anyway.
“Onii-chan, I’m coming in.”
After I knocked and entered the room, my brother was in bed leaning against the wall. He was pretty healthy at dinner, but now he looked dazed. I couldn’t feel the sharpness that always came from Kurobe-kun.
“I brought water to wipe your body. I’ll leave it here.”
I barely held myself back in almost reflexively saying, “huh?” It might not be good to say this to a sick person, but I was reluctant because his reply somehow showed too many intentions.
“My body feels sluggish.”
“Uhm, then I’ll wipe your arms, back, and stomach, but do the rest yourself.”
When my brother turned his body towards me, he made a face as if saying, “then, please.” It seemed he didn’t want to bother taking off his shirt’s buttons. Putting down the bucket and the towel, I approached my brother and quickly unbuttoned his shirt. He didn’t seem to be wearing anything inside, and his skin, which seemed to be several times finer than any other human’s, was exposed. I tried not to look at him as much as possible when I wrung out the towel and wiped my brother’s arm.
Probably because he didn’t have any energy, his arm felt limp and heavy. While I tried to wipe him carefully so it wouldn’t hurt him, my brother muttered in a whisper.
What that was about, my brother didn’t say anything. No subject.
My brother looked straight at me while I was at a loss for a reaction. Because I stood in front of him sitting on the bed, he looked at me with his eyes upturned. But somehow there was some pressure there.
“I rejected Himegasaki’s confession.”
My brother had an indifferent tone of voice. He didn’t look like he just rejected someone’s confession. Rather, he seemed to lack emotion, as if he had been dumped.
And yet, somehow, I felt a sense of relief, as if my hardened heart had softened.
Why is that… I felt very relieved and my restless feeling just suddenly disappeared. But it was a good chance for my brother to divert his cruel hobby…
“Won’t you regret it?”
I didn’t even know how those words came out of me. I wondered what I wished to hear from my brother’s reply. I didn’t know.
But it was an undeniable fact that I was relieved when I heard that my brother rejected her. As if taking advantage of it, it slipped out from my lips.
Now that I’ve said that, there wouldn’t be any turning back. I knew I should have followed up with something, but I couldn’t say anything. Please read this at ChocoCats.
While thinking about what to do, my brother put his hand lightly on my head.
My brother raised the corners of his mouth. His self-deprecating smile, which could not be called triumphant, slowly heated up the depths of my heart.
“By the way, you too, Mai, what are you going to do with Hase’s invitation?”
As an unexpected question was thrown at me, I blinked. My brother looked at me sharply and said, “Refuse it.”
“Even if you didn’t tell me, I would refuse. I don’t have time, there’s the exam after all.”
“Refuse even if there was no exam.”
My brother grabbed my hand which was wiping his body. The momentum was so great that I thought he would break my hand for a moment, but the strength was just enough to pull my finger.
“Why… It hurts! It hurts! What are you…?”
When I reflexively tried to say something back, my brother bit my finger. For a moment, I thought he had evolved into the type of psychopath who eats people, but that didn’t seem to be the case as he looked at me and said, “because you didn’t listen to me”.
“No, just because I don’t listen… is this a lion’s training? But I’m a human, you know?”
“How scary… Have you gone mad…? My finger will have a mark… The index finger is the most used finger too, oh come on…”
“Would it be better if it wasn’t your index finger?”
“The thumb is out of the question, and the pinky finger is too fragile, if it’s the ring finger, I may barely tolerate it, but the next time you bite me, I’ll stab your stomach with my thumb.”
“What are you saying?”
“It hurts when you got stabbed in the stomach with a thumb. Yukari-chan seems to often do that to her Onii-chan.”
My brother laughed scornfully at my story. But he looked at me thoughtfully for a while.
“That temple girl…”
“What? Are you going to diss her again? Let me tell you, the reading session wouldn’t have been successful without Yukari-chan, and she’s my most important friend.”
“It’s not like that. About what I said back then, it was my bad.”
Then what? When I glared at my brother wondering what he was going to say, he looked straight at me.
“For such a person, an existence like Mai’s would be salvation, wouldn’t it.”
“Stop it, why do you have to immediately say ‘huh’ to everything I say. A person with such a personality will often be misunderstood, you know.”
“Because you’ve been saying nonsense today… Come to think of it, maybe you have a fever?”
“No, my temperature is normal today.”
My brother made fun of my worries in return. After a while, I completely wiped my brother’s upper body. The rest was the lower part. While I was on it, I also wiped below his knees, but couldn’t do the rest of it, so I stopped. After thinking of just leaving the room as it was, I called out to my brother.
“Such a pretty person like Himegasaki-san, are you really sure?”
Keeping my hand on the doorknob, I fixed my line of sight on the door. The sound of the second hand felt awfully loud, and the bed spring creaked. Before I could turn around, pat, a hand was placed on my head. Pat, pat. It was different from stroking, the hand that was placed on my head kept touching while moving, and eventually combed my hair.
“Even if you say she’s pretty if you burn them and turn them into bones, everyone will be the same. If you peel the skin, it’s just a lump of meat.”
My brother removed his hand from my head. My cheeks were hot. I felt like my heartbeat was getting louder violently. I turned around but was stunned by what I saw.
The bookshelf behind my brother. On the second shelf.
The shelf where Kurobe-kun installed a door with a key and hid a box containing his diary about his impressions of killing animals, as well as a kitchen knife, knives, and an improved airgun. In order to camouflage his gentle, perfect, and popular honour student image, he sealed Pandora’s box there.
Last summer, it was statistics books and reference books. And yet.
I couldn’t see the reference books that should have been lined up on the second shelf of the bookshelf behind my brother now. A black panel was attached as if to match the dark colour of the bookshelf, and a small padlock was fastened at the bottom. Please read this at ChocoCats.
Even though until last year, it wasn’t there.
Now, when the night of tragedy had emerged.
T/N: Hello, I apologize terribly for not updating for quite a long time. I was sick and got hospitalized for awhile, and recovery has been pretty slow. It took me a bit long to finally regain my usual healthy state, both physically and mentally, and return to my daily life. I’m sorry for making you guys waiting without any notification. I also hope I can manage for the next chapter as the two chapters after this will be longer than our usual chapters.
Anyway, see you in the next chapter, and have a great day.