an English translation of the novel

Page 143-144

Then his body was jerked back.

I gasped. So it was…but it couldn’t be…

Fujita hung in the air. He wasn’t levitating himself.

Someone was holding him up with cantus.

I fought back a rising scream.

When confronted with something utterly unbelievable, people lose all sense of rational thought and turn into gaping idiots. At that moment, I was the gaping idiot.

In front of me, not fifty meters away, a living human was being torn apart limb by limb.

“Don’t look.”

Satoru forced my head around to face the other direction.

“Gyaaaaaaaah…!”

A horrible scream came from behind us. The air was filled with the wet stink of blood.

Satoru had me by the arm and was running silently deeper into the hospital.

“Quick, this way,” Dr. Noguchi called, waving us over.

I hadn’t seen it earlier, but there was a narrow hallway behind the stairs. Later, I learned that it was a passage for transporting corpses.

“What in the world was that?” Satoru asked shakily.

“You know, don’t you? Anyone would. It’s a…”

He suddenly went silent and gestured for us to do the same.

I strained my ears, trying to hear.

Footsteps. Small, light steps slowly approaching the hospital entrance.

It entered the hospital. Then came the creaking of wood as it went up the stairs.

I caught sight of Seki’s face and was terrified by what I saw. Her face was contorted with fear and she looked as if she was about to start screaming again. If she did, we were done for.


Page 145-146

Before she could open her mouth, Okano sprang into action. She pulled Seki toward her, covering Seki’s face with her body and began patting her rhythmically on the back like she was comforting a child. Seki struggled for a moment, but quickly relaxed.

The footsteps continued up toward the second floor.

Dr. Noguchi waved for us to keep going. We crept forward until we reached the back door. He grasped the doorknob and twisted.

The door didn’t open. I thought our hearts would stop right then and there, but then he slid the bolt above the door and it swung open quietly.

I felt as if I had escaped from a tiny, rotting coffin into the infinite vastness of hell.

When we had shut the door behind us, Dr. Noguchi turned and tottered off in a random direction.

“That’s the wrong way,” Satoru said, reaching out to stop Dr. Noguchi.

He pushed Satoru’s hand away brusquely.

“Don’t follow me. Pick a direction and go.”

“Wait.”

“Listen. We have to split up. And even then we might all get killed anyway. But if we’re lucky, one person will survive.”

A strange sound echoed through the building. A cross between a crying scream and an animalistic roar. He had probably seen the queerat corpses and discovered that his hostages were missing. We had to get out of here.

“We stand no chance alone. We have to fight as one.”

“As one…? What are you talking about?” Dr. Noguchi’s lips twisted in what looked like a sneer.

Behind us, the footsteps were coming down the stairs. We were out of time.

“You saw him kill those two people just now. It doesn’t matter if there are five of us or a hundred of us. The outcome is the same.”

“But…”

“What are you going to do against a fiend? Just go already!” He shoved Satoru aside.

Fiend… My blood froze just hearing the word.

Logic and common sense rebelled against this piece of information. How could a fiend be part of the queerats’ attack?


Page 147-148

But the evidence was right in front of me. The burnt and dismembered corpses of two people killed by cantus. Only a fiend could have done it.

“There’s no other choice. We have to go out the other way,” Satoru said, looking at Dr. Noguchi’s retreating figure.

“Wait.” I grabbed his sleeve.

“What?”

“It’s coming…! It’s circling around the building.”

A faint sound was carried to us on the wind. I listened hard. No doubt about it. The sound wasn’t as clear as when he had entered the hospital, but I could hear footsteps crunching on sand and rustling grass.

Wordlessly, Satoru motioned for us to come together. Then he carefully opened the door that we had come through minutes earlier.

He had taken off his clogs at some point and now held them in his hands. Okano and I did the same. With Seki sandwiched between us, we quietly entered the hospital again. Satoru slipped in after us and shut the door carefully.

Just in time. Before we could even catch our breath, we heard footsteps outside the door. It was only two or three meters away.

At the same time, I heard a strange moaning sound. A deep, throaty sound like someone chanting a spell. Then a high, hissing sound, the kind a snake makes when it’s threatened.

The fiend… Outside, just a thin plank of wood away, was the fiend.

I prayed for my life.

God, please. Don’t let it find us.

Lead the fiend away.

Just let everything be…I stopped.

There was no sound. No footsteps. No creepy moaning.

I didn’t hear it leave, so it was probably still standing right outside. It was being quiet for a reason.


Page 149-150

The fiend was listening. I didn’t even dare to swallow. In the silence that stretched on endlessly, I saw the thing I feared most. The doorknob turning slowly…

I couldn’t stand it anymore. I felt myself losing consciousness.

But the door never opened.

“Grrrrr…★*∀§▲ЖAД!” the fiend let out a strange, high-pitched sound.

The next instant he gave a victorious shout. Before I could even react, I heard a bone-chilling scream.

I clamped my hands over my ears. It was Dr. Noguchi’s voice.

“Shit! Get away! Fucking fiend!”

The unbearable scream came again. The fiend was toying with him.

“Hurry, this way!”

Satoru sprinted back through the hospital toward the front entrance. He stopped beside the hole in the wall and peeked outside. The three of us followed close behind him. My bare feet were bleeding from being pierced by dozens of splinters, but I strangely didn’t feel anything.

“Who…Who the hell are you?” Dr. Noguchi’s dying shrieks echoed through the hospital.

I gritted my teeth and turned away. There was nothing I could do. Don’t ask. Don’t think. Right now, if I didn’t focus on getting out of here alive…

“The boat looks intact. Hurry!”

Satoru stepped outside and waved for us to follow. We ran as fast as we could, but came to a halt mere inches outside the hospital. Seki had planted her feet and was fighting tooth and nail against going any farther.

“What are you doing? We have to get out of here…hey, snap out of it!” I shouted desperately.

“Saki, hurry. Leave her there,” Satoru said calmly.

“But…!”

“At this rate, we’re all going to die. If we don’t go back and warn the others, the entire district is doomed.


Page 151-152

“The two of you should go,” Okano said quietly. “I’ll hide here with her. Please come back for us later.”

Her voice was calm, as if she had already accepted death.

“No way. I could never!”

“There’s no other choice. Plus, fleeing by boat could be more dangerous. After all, he wouldn’t expect anyone to stay here. …now hurry!”

“Saki! Let’s go.”

Satoru grabbed my arm again and started dragging me away.

“I’m sorry…” I said to Okano, tears flowing down my face.

I turned my back on her and ran as hard as I could toward the boat.

We passed a charred, blackened corpse. It was still smoking. Then Fujita came into view, his limbs twisted in all the wrong directions. I tried to shove my emotions aside, but that didn’t stop me from shaking uncontrollably.

Satoru cast off the moment we got into the boat. He slowly turned the boat around and pushed off. We laid down below the gunwhale to keep out of sight.

Against the dark sky, all I could see were ghostly images of the hospital. I kept thinking that the fiend would appear at any moment. My entire body was limp with fear.

Satoru deftly maneuvered the boat through the narrow waterway away from the hospital. How was he controlling the boat when he couldn’t see where he was going? I looked over at him and saw that he was using the starlight reflecting off of a small mirror to guide him.

Eventually, the boat rounded a large bend.

“…we’re safe now. He can’t see us from the hospital anymore,” Satoru whispered.

“Then hurry, go as fast as you can!” I said.

Satoru shook his head. “We should stay quiet for a little longer. Even if the fiend isn’t here, there still might be queerats around. We’re too close to the banks; we won’t be able to escape if they fire at us. There’s a wider canal ahead. We’ll go full speed from there.”