an English translation of the novel

Page 258-260

“I understand what you’re trying to say. This isn’t an excuse, but whether or not you are disposed of isn’t under our jurisdiction. That belongs to the Board of Education.”

“Their chairman is Hiromi-chan. You know her, right? She’s always been a worrier. I can’t help but feel that her worrying has been even worse lately.”

Hiromi-chan…I had heard that Hiromi Torigai was on the Board of Education, but never knew she was the chairman. She was my mother’s good friend and I remember her often staying over for dinner. She seemed to be an introverted person, with a small, skinny build, and a voice almost too quiet to hear. So she had the power to dictate the life or death of any of the students, and frequently made these coldhearted decisions? I couldn’t believe it.

“The Ethics Committee is the highest authority in the district, but we usually don’t interfere with the Board of Education’s decisions. You guys were the exception. I asked them not to dispose of you.”

“Because of Satoru?”

“No. I would never let personal sentiments get in the way of such an important matter. You were the reason. You are indispensable for the future of the towns.”

So we had almost been murdered. Somehow even knowing that didn’t disturb me.

But what was the real reason we had been spared? It was hard to accept, but was it really because I was as important as Tomiko said? No one had ever said anything like this to me before, so I was completely confused. I wondered if it was possible that they couldn’t easily kill off the head librarian’s daughter. …but if that was the case, then my sister should have been spared too.

“But don’t think badly of Hiromi-chan and her people. They’re driven by a sort of paranoia.”

“Paranoia…?”

Did possessing the power to end the lives of others cause abnormalities in their mind?

“Hm. Perhaps that was a bad choice of words. I have the same fears too.”

“Fears of what?”

Tomiko looked surprised. “Isn’t it obvious? There are only two things in this world we really have to fear. Fiends and karma demons.”

I was speechless. The two nursery-tales I had heard again and again as a child came to mind.

“But Hiromi has never seen a fiend or karma demon. Unlike me. That’s why I always say they’re simply driven by paranoia.”

“So you’ve actually…”

“Yes, I’ve seen them. Up close and personal too. Would you like to hear about it?”

“Yes.”

Tomiko closed her eyes for a moment and began speaking softly.


Page 260-263

 

Records detail the exploits of close to thirty fiends throughout the world. Apart from two, all have been boys. I think this shows that no matter how much we try, we can’t break the curse that is male aggression.

This student was also a boy. Unfortunately I can no longer remember his name. Although this happened a long time ago, I can still remember every detail, just not the name. That’s always seemed strange to me. Maybe there was some reason I wanted to forget it.

Although there’s also a detailed file on the incident in the library, only the initials YK remain. We don’t even know which letter represents the given name and which represents the surname. We’re not sure why it was written like that, but one explanation was that the old Japanese laws were temporarily revived during the transitional period before the Code of Ethics was enacted. And in it, the 61st article of the youth protection act that was in effect… Well, that doesn’t matter now.

Anyway, we call that child K.

At the time, K was a first year student at Leadership Academy. Leadership Academy is the predecessor to the current Sage Academy. He had just turned thirteen. …that’s right, he was a year younger than you are now.

In the beginning K appeared to be a completely average, inconspicuous student. The first sign of his abnormalities came from the Rorschach test that all new students took. The test is no longer given, but it entails having the student look at an inkblot made from a folded sheet of paper and analyzing their personality from the images associated with the blot.

Based on his answers, it was determined that K was habitually under an unusually large amount of stress. But it was unclear what the stressors were. On the other hand, all of the associations he made with the inkblots were unusually violent. It was likely that the desire for destruction and murder was deeply entrenched in his subconscious. For some reason, his abnormalities were not taken seriously at the time; even his test results raised no concerns until they were reexamined after the incident.

K’s abnormality became apparent as he learned to master his cantus at Leadership Academy.

His ability to manipulate his cantus was average, or just below average. But in situations where normal students struggled, K seemed to come alive. There aren’t any specific examples, but in various competitions where there was the possibility of injuring other people, K continued to use his cantus completely without hesitation.

K’s homeroom teacher quickly noticed this behavior and brought it before the Board of Education multiple times, saying that they should take precautionary measures. But no effective measures were taken. There were a number of reasons for this.

First, the previous appearance of a fiend was over 80 years ago, and the memories of that incident had been largely forgotten. The sense of danger was dulled. Second, K’s mother was known as an outspoken member of the town council. At the time, everything was decided by the town council, so it was extremely difficult to pass any extreme measures on the school. Third, the bureaucratic bodies governing the schools had a widespread policy of peace-at-any-price. Though historically, it’s questionable whether there was ever a time when this policy was not in effect.

And fourth, there were no effective mechanisms to deal with such a situation at the time.

So in the end, nothing was done except to give K regular counseling. He was not dealt with, and was allowed to continue while they watched from the sidelines.

Then one day, seven months after he entered school, it finally occurred.


Page 264-265

 

Tomiko looked up at the ceiling and sighed deeply. Then she stood up and went over a small cupboard and brought out a teapot and two cups. She poured hot water from a kettle on the table and started making tea.

I drank the fragrant tea and waited for her to continue.

 

To tell the truth, only a few records of the incident remain. In particular, the beginning of the incident is almost entirely unknown. What started it? What was the sequence of events that led to so much destruction? All of this is left up to speculation, but it did happen. Over a thousand lives were lost, that was the grave reality of the situation.

It’s almost certain that his homeroom teacher was the first to die. Her injuries were so severe that it was difficult to verify her identity when the body was found. Then the twenty-two students in his year, the second years, the third years, the corpses of about fifty students were found in horrifying condition…

K was a true fiend. He had reverted to the primitive state of his ancestors–a monster who had absolutely no attack control. Furthermore, the death feedback that he should have been born with failed to function. Statistically, the chance of a child who lacked both of these traits being born was about three million to one, in other words, almost nonexistent in a district like Kamisu 66. But statistics are only statistics.

To some extent, K’s family must have known he was abnormal. His mother in particular seemed to have been aware of it since he was a baby. She had him undergo various psychological and correctional therapies when he was young. One of these therapies was something similar to brainwashing. Maybe because of it, his aggressive instinct was suppressed during his childhood.

But whether this was a good thing still remains a question. It is still suspected that the forceful suppression of his violent tendencies was the reason for his stress.

What happened on that fateful day to make him snap?

Or rather, what was it that caused his human disguise to break and unleash the fiend within him?

Going by the all the data we have on fiends, it seems like the first person is crucial. There have been a number of cases where fiends did not go on a rampage. After all, even without attack inhibition or death feedback, humans can still decide logically that it is wrong to kill.

But once they kill their first victim, a switch flips in their brain and they will go on killing without end. The massacre only stops when the fiend dies. There is no exception to this.


Page 266-267

K ripped off his teacher’s arms and legs then smashed her head like a ripe fruit. Then he picked off the terrified students one by one, slamming them into the walls of the classroom with so much force they were completely crushed.

It looked like a scene from hell. 90% of the people who helped clean up the aftermath suffered extreme PTSD and had to quit…

The fiend left the classroom and wandered the school in search of more prey. The children who tried to run were picked off like flies. Others were rounded up–many were trampled to death in the process–and slaughtered en masse.

No one could lift a finger against him. There were many students more adept at using cantus than K, but they were tied down by attack inhibition and death feedback…in other words, no one could attack the fiend directly.

Since K himself had no attack inhibition, it was possible he killed preemptively out of fear that others could also attack him.

Another theory is that he became intoxicated by the endorphins released in his brain and simply could not stop himself. That’s why Raman-Klogius syndrome is also called “Fox in the Henhouse” syndrome.

By the way, Raman and Klogius are not the names of scientists. They are the names of two children, one from Mumbai and the other from Helsinki, who slaughtered tens of thousands of people. Two of the worst fiends in history who gave their names to the world’s most abominable disease.

Compared to those two, less than a tenth of the number of people died at K’s hands. But I think it was no less brutal. Compared to the big cities from the previous era, Kamisu 66 has a considerably lower population density, so, fortunately…if you could call it fortunate, only a thousand died.


Page 268-269

Also, there was someone who sacrificed himself to stop K. We owe everything to him.

 

Tomiko paused and sipped her cold tea. I was so overwhelmed by the story that I sat rigid in my seat, all but forgetting to breathe.

Everything I had heard so far was so terrifying and depressing that I hurt physically. But I was dying to hear the ending just the same.

Suddenly I wondered why she asked if I wanted to hear the story. Maybe she was telling the truth about me succeeding her someday, and this was some sort of test.

 

Having killed every living being in sight, K left the silent school. He walked down the road as if nothing were wrong. During this time only one person K set eyes upon survived by some miracle. But he said that he didn’t feel anything amiss at that moment. Just a short boy walking along the road. A scene you’d see any other day of the week.

But what happened right after that was completely unbelievable.

There were some people headed toward him on the road. A group of agricultural workers from Lotus Farms. When they were forty or fifty meters away from K, the torso of the leader of the group exploded in a mist of blood.

As the warm, wet fog clouded everything around them, the rest of the group stood frozen, not knowing what had happened. K continued walking toward them without changing pace, and one by one, the workers were reduced to bloody lumps of flesh.

Gradually, K rounded a bend in the road and out of sight. The two people who first realized that something was wrong managed to find a place to hide. One was determined to run and get help, the other cowered on the ground, paralyzed by fear.

K came to a halt. Perhaps he sensed them hiding and wanted to lure them out. Then, when one tried to escape, he snapped his neck as casually as if picking a fruit off a branch.

Once again K went on his way, leaving the surviving witness in a state of shock so severe that he couldn’t even move. He was rescued the next day, but after being forced to recount the events that had happened, spent the rest of his life in a nearly crippled state.