7 – The Eternity of Kaliarya Ignis – 5
“It’s a corpse I think… no, that’s not exactly it. I should say that… it’s something like a corpse?”
I also thought this the first time I met him, then time passed and I once again felt it now that I met him again. He had a dignified occupation, a meek behavior and a courteous tone, but he looked somewhat unreliable and frivolous. The first time I met him, that man was already in his twenties. Fifteen little years had passed since then, so now it wouldn’t be strange if he had crossed his mid-thirties. And yet his appearance was very youthful. When I unconsciously stared at him fixedly, he slightly bent his head, “Are you listening?”
“… I am. … But, what do you mean?”
Thinking about it properly, I guess I might have understood his words. But my head did not work well. There was no strength in my voice that tried to suppress its tremor, it must have sounded like I was afraid. In fact, I was helplessly scared.
“Your… this body is… more dead than alive. But, it’s not like it’s truly dead…if I have to say whether it’s alive or not, then, it is, I think.”
I listened to his quite incoherent monologue. For an instant, I imagined me grabbing his chest and shaking him, screaming that I wanted him to be more intelligible. But then I inhaled a deep breath. Because I didn’t have a right hand. Far from raising my voice, the real me stayed still on the chair, and only my left hand shook with a twitch. As my throat had tightened, I could only continue to take a few deep breaths. When he asked me if he should prepare some beverage I shook my head to refuse and tightened my left fist to hide my shaking. Then to escape the observing gaze of the man in front of me, I looked up at the celling of the clinic.
The lightly stained celling looked old. But I knew it was properly cleaned. I didn’t see any spiderweb nor dust. This doctor might unexpectedly love cleanliness. Then, starting from the ceiling, my gaze wandered meaninglessly across the room. In the corner of the definitively not large examination room, there was a little bookshelf. Teaching materials related to magic were lined up on it. I remember that in the past he told me he was “a doctor very familiar with sorcery.”
“Hey, you. Are you alright? Are you listening to me?”
That’s why I wasn’t wrong for choosing to come here. I shouldn’t be.
“… I’m listening.”
But I couldn’t accept what he was telling me so naturally at face value. ……Maybe, I heard wrongly? Yes. I must have made a mistake. As I thought, he said something strange. I should ask him again to confirm it. And yet…
What came out of my mouth, were words even I didn’t expect. It was done unconsciously, but a nuance of blame tainted my voice.
“At that time, didn’t you say that… nothing was strange?”
His eyes opened wide for a second, then he nodded his head, “that’s right.”
Seeing his meek expression as his sleek bangs fell on his eyes, I felt a sense of déjà-vu and gasped. No wonder. When he examined the young me who had been thrown into father’s magic square… I’m sure he made the same expression. No matter how tense the situation was, that man never felt impatient. For someone who worked as a doctor, this tolerance was necessary.
“Did you lie?”
Each time words left my mouth, I lost some warmth. I felt a chill on the back of my neck, as if a drop of icy water was running down and it made me feel felt like vomiting. I was quite impressed with myself for unexpectedly being able to properly continue the conversation despite this.
“No I didn’t. At that time, there was no abnormality at all. At least, I didn’t see one. There shouldn’t be any mistake with the judgment I made.”
In the past, this man had boasted he was working as father’s assistant. If this was really true, I wonder he if knew what father did to me. If he did, then why wouldn’t he tell me anything? I tried to complain, but now I realized how futile it was to ask. Currently, my body had fallen in a helpless situation. The result of the sorcery father casted on me couldn’t be reversed.
“…… However, after this, since I haven’t examined you at regular intervals… I do not know in what way your body changed during this lapse of time.”
I apologize, he said while lowering his head, but it felt like he didn’t understand the seriousness of this crisis. No, that’s not it. Maybe, he himself might have been bewildered by that overly severe problem. When we faced each other, I noticed his gaze was swaying.
“This is only a conjuncture but… your body might have reached its limits a long time ago.”
It aged forcibly. Maybe to fit you better, said the doctor as he touched my cheek. “You are not growing, because you cannot grow.” When I unconsciously tried to escape from his hand, he strongly restrained my movement. “Stay still.” I didn’t know what he was looking at but he moved my face to the right, then to the left, then he heaved a little sigh.
“I think, the fact you can move without any problem even now is thanks to your huge magic power.”
Then, the doctor gently touched my right shoulder. It was a careful gesture as if he was touching something fragile. In a smooth motion, his hand slid down then lightly grasped my upper arm, and when he confirmed there was nothing from my elbow to my fingers he frowned. When I came to this clinic after losing my arm, I had explained everything beforehand, but he also surely had to confirm it himself. Because there was nothing inside it, my right sleeve swayed helplessly at every little movement. He slowly folded it up, then examined my arm. He eyes were full of pity.
Seeming to sympathize with me, he opened his mouth several times, but in the end, he didn’t find any word to say and sank into silence.
The silence continued for a long, long time before I managed to ask if there was any solution. Even though I already knew such a thing didn’t exist, I couldn’t help but ask. Sure enough, after another moment of silence where his words were stuck in his throat… he said a single word, “Sorry.” His voice sounded pained. Even though he was speaking with an informal tone, his apology just now was different, it sounded solemn. That told me everything. Instinctively I pressed down my chest to ascertain my heartbeat. When I felt a pulsation through the palm of my hand, I heaved a little sigh. At least, right now I was alive. This was certain …… or so I thought. That’s why, conscious of my daringly bright voice, I declared, “My heart, is beating.” When I did so, the doctor, unable to hide his bewilderment, laughed dryly.
Then, he asked me, “Really?” For a second, I thought he was messing around with me. So I tried to rebut him, but ahead of my gaze was a serious look I couldn’t resist. While my mouth stayed opened, I held my breath.
“Maybe, this is all a dream your magic power is showing you.”
In truth, your heartbeat has already stopped, your pulse doesn’t beat, even the fact you’re breathing is an auditory hallucination, an illusion… Maybe, you’re already dead, the doctor told me. “I already said it earlier. You seem to be alive and you’re dead…… But, it’s not like you’re completely dead either, if I have to say if this state could be called being alive or not, then it can… maybe.” He declared this almost as if my existence itself was a dream, an illusion. His words were too cold-headed, but it felt like it was the truth. If that body has already finished its role as a living organism, then, what was here was only a lump of flesh.
To suppress my trembling, I took several deep breaths. I realized that doing this might be meaningless. If all the gestures done “in order to live” were pointless, then I didn’t need to breath. Even though it was so painful. Even though my breathing could accelerate like this. Even though struggling to breath was what it meant to be alive. Could everything really be just the figment of my imagination?
Even though I’m alive, I’m dead. Even though I’m dead, I’m alive.
“… What should I do? What the hell, should I do…?”
My body was shivering so much it was miserable. If this wasn’t being alive, then how would you call it? Even though that’s what I thought, the doctor in front of my eyes simply shook his head. “… I apologize but, I’m a doctor. I can only cure those who are alive.” It was a cruel remark. But, he surely knew that showing an half-basked kindness here would be a greatest form of cruelty. In order to not give me a futile hope, he clearly told me the truth and facts only. A good and experienced doctor would understand it was the right thing to do.
Having already lost all my will and energy, I could no longer question him. Although I actually had many things I wanted to ask him, the questions were unable to take form and disappeared.
His line of sight followed me when I finally stood up. Despite having told me very harsh words, I understood he was concerned about me. Him, who had not offered me his help.
Because he probably knew he couldn’t help me.
If I was immortal.
When I first thought about this, the thing that crossed my mind was Emma. If I had to keep living eternally. If this was truly what was waiting for me, then she would definitively leave this world before me. Picturing myself left all alone in this world, I trembled in dread.
…… I never thought I might die before her. I did not even imagine this.
“… So, then, that mean that Rya, y-you might di-disappear suddenly?”
When I came home, I told her I went to see the doctor but I didn’t explain in details. Emma hadn’t said she would come with me. It’s because I talked her into looking after the house while I was away. Then, when I came back from the clinic and opened the door of the entrance hall, she was here. She looked at me with an anxious face. Just looking at her was enough to know she had accumulated a lot of weariness, and I realized she must have been waiting there for hours. Maybe the servants had already retired to their room, but there was no one by her side and she was standing all alone in the wide hall. For a while, we stared at each other without saying anything. For a very long time, we remained quiet. In this room where silence ruled, I felt into the disillusion only the two of us existed in this world. Perhaps, it’s an ambiance we created. No matter how many servants we lived with, no matter how many people we met, we couldn’t accept another person.
I could say with confidence that for each of us, the other’s existence was our everything… … As such, we needed some resolution and preparedness.
I repeatedly inhaled deeply and finally managed to tell her the truth. Starting from father’s inhuman deed, I told her everything without hiding anything. As a result of trying to explain in an easy-to-understand way, it unintentionally sounded like a tale you’d narrate to children. At times, she nodded or shook her head, and I didn’t know if she understood or not, but she listened to my story till the end with barely any interjection at all. Then, after having heard everything, her eyes plainly reflected her despair.
While I was in the middle of narrating my story, I was often at a loss for words and frequently wondered if it was something she ought to hear or not. If she continued to not know anything, like the time before I lost my arm, then I wondered if we would be able to go back to these unchanging days. But I knew very well that this selfishness of mine couldn’t be allowed. She had the right to know, and I had the obligation to tell her.
Otherwise, we couldn’t make “our resolve.” The resolve to face the coming days.
“Such, such a thing, no.”
Her shaken voice became hazy before disappearing. There was no way for her to hold back her grief. I could see many lines marking her round cheeks. Realizing they were tears took me a while because she had been crying too quietly. She didn’t sob convulsively, she didn’t leak any weeping sound, her tears simply fell down one by one. Is there a way to save you? I shook my head at her question. Then I added, this is inevitable. Feeling a throbbing pain in my chest, I understood my own words were tormenting myself. Unconsciously, I pressed down on my chest with my left hand, but after doing that I wondered is this was also an illusion. I thought of something unpleasant.
But, even if my body has already met its death, my heart was still here and complained with pain. It was an undeniable fact.
“I won’t be able to bear it. I’ll never, ever be able to stand it. Rya, Rya. I cannot leave without you. I cannot…”
She tightly grasped my chest with her little hands and looked up at me in panic. Her grief made the air shook. “Rya, Rya,” As she called my name again and again, I couldn’t stand to see her agonize so much. All I could do was to gently pat her back and earnestly kept saying, “I’m sorry.” I didn’t even have any words of comfort.
……After that, how many years did we spend together?
Every morning, every night, she was afraid. If, at the very least, we had received a verdict regarding my remaining time, we might have been able to sort out our feelings, but no one could even predict when that day would come.
That’s precisely why Emma was scared of night time, saying, “When I think that you might disappear the moment I blink, I cannot close my eyes.” Then, she also feared the morning, “When I woke up in the morning and think you might have disappeared while I was sleeping, I cannot open my eyes.”
Day time was day time, she barely got any work done and kept coming over to check on me. Although I wanted to go back to our usual life as much as possible, in the first place it wasn’t something doable. If our positions were reversed, I’d surely act the same way as her. I would stay at a distance where we could confirm each other’s appearance and I would tightly hold her hand from time to time. As long as time allowed it, I would simply spend it by her side, not doing anything. Even though I knew going on like this wasn’t good. But I didn’t know what else I could do beside this. By chance, we had a lot of assets. We had enough room to live even without doing anything. However, the servants didn’t really look favorably on our overly idle lives. But whether they decided to watch over the situation or they were simply confused by it, no one raised any objection.
In spite of spending our days dozing off under a gentle sunshine, our hearts seemed to be unrelated to this calmness. When we entered the bed at night, Emma hugged my body and trembled. I also put my arms around her back and strongly, tightly hold her in my arms, but I couldn’t stop my shaking. I’m scared, she whispered, but there was nothing I could say to her.
And then, one day, in front of her eyes, I turned into sand.
When it happened, we were sitting side by side on the sofa. After taking some time, she had managed to regain just a bit of her composure. She smiled and said, maybe I should get back to work soon. I was genuinely glad. So I nodded and answered, You’re right, that would be great. While we were both smiling and I was about to stand up thinking of getting something to drink, my vision suddenly blurred.
Her eyes that were staring at me couldn’t widen any more than they already did at that moment.
“No, no… Rya! Rya!!”
I tried to ask, what happened? but then I noticed the words didn’t come out. Not only that, but even the arm that was about to sooth my screaming and pale wife, was nowhere to be seen. When I felt that my fingers were touching something crisp and lowered my gaze, I saw my left arm had crumbled into gravels. Was I the one who gasped? Or was it Emma?
“Wait…, wait, no, no!”
Ah. Bloody hell.
I felt that’s what I thought, but I couldn’t collect my mind. Still continuing to scream my name, Emma tried to hug me who was turning into sand, but it wasn’t going well and she yelled again. On the sofa and the polished floor, pieces of me scattered. They fluttered in all direction while dancing in the wind. While screaming, Emma stretched her hands, seeming to not exactly understand what was happening. She tried to gather me who had fallen apart. She clasped to her chest my shirt and pants that had gently fallen, and scraped up together the gravels that had scattered around her. As if she thought by doing that, she could restore me to my previous shape. She slipped off the sofa and fell on her knees. She moved her hands again and again, gathering up what used to be me. She resembled a young child who was playing with sand.
“Rya, Rya, why… Why, how come, why…?”
When eventually, she noticed that collecting sand was meaningless, she stood up while still hugging my clothes. At that moment, servants gathered in the room, wondering if something had happened. Their gazes were clearly puzzled as they gazed at the sand scattered in the room and their crying mistress. Someone called out to her, “Madame, what happened here?” But Emma only kept saying my name. Madame, Madame? called out the servants, yet she didn’t seem to hear them. She only enumerated cryptic words.
“…Rya, Rya, where… where, are you…? Are you… trying to trick me?”
You are, right? Her reddened eyes abruptly swung from left to right.
“What happened to you!! Where are you!! Rya…!! Rya !!!”
She was screaming to the point I thought she would tear off her throat. I had never seen her yell so loudly. And with that so loud voice, she was calling me. She did that while scratching off her chest, as if she was in so much pain that doing nothing would be unbearable otherwise. Emma called my name again, and again, and again and again. Her gaze was roaming around. She was truly looking for me. Even though she had seen her husband turn into sand with her very own eyes, she was still looking for me.
And I, despite having lost my body, I was “looking” at her. Yes. I was only, merely looking at her. While my wife was screaming in a loud voice and was crying with a reddened face like those of a newborn, I couldn’t reach out for her. Once again, she fell to her knees with a loud bang and started to gather the scattered sand, her nails scratching off the wooden floor.
Emma, Emma. Stop. Stop.
Even though that’s what I thought, as expected my voice didn’t come out. It’s natural since I didn’t have any vocal cords. “Rya! Rya!” Emma kept calling me, even if her nails were broken, even if blood incessantly oozed out from her fingers. With a bloodcurdling expression, she didn’t miss even a single grain of sand that could have been lodged in the crack of the floorboard. Her clearly deranged figure was completely different from her usual prudent self.
I could not watch it. This was not her. She was losing herself. I had to help her. I thought so, but I could only watch, unable to stop her.
Even though I should have lost my eyes and ears, these very own eyes of mine were watching my beloved person fall into despair. Her tragic shrieks were etched in my ears.
A real miscreant was someone who, just like what was happening now, would do nothing while watching a person suffer in front of him.
Nocta’s evil thoughts:
Were you happy when you saw the chapter was early? Now that you have read it, are you feeling down and regretting reading? Yes, you are very welcome! I did tell you it was awful… Oh, also, I hesitated when using “miscreant.” It is the equivalent of the Japanese word, but I wonder if I shouldn’t have used another one. What else has the meaning of “human trash” or something similar?
Anyway, I’m spending the weekend with my grandmother, that’s why it’s so early. I didn’t dare read next chapter, but I’m betting it’ll be… like in the movie with Bruce Willis The Six Sense, maybe? I think it’d be the more effective way for the author to make us readers frustrated and to show us the agony of both Emma and Kaliarya ^^
See you next week :D