This was not a hallucination or a metaphor. I saw the exact same view simultaneously as two different worlds, like two monitors on the same desk.
The monitor on the left showed the world of the present. The view on the right showed the result.
I had lost all hopes, because I had wished for my objectives to become my future – my result.
Life holds no joy for one who does not understand the meaning of the unknown.
Success holds no sense of achievement for one who cannot ever fail.
I am certain that the future that I see cannot be changed.
I act for the sake of the result I see.
Like an automation, a machine without a will, moving back and forth in the space between left eye and right eye.
A man-made phantom which might appear to be constructing the future; in fact, it was only able to serve the future – just a vulgar degradation of God.
None of these were illusions nor hallucinations, but,
if they had all just been some kind of delusion, then maybe even I could have became a slightly better person.
Kuramitsu Merca was a professional bomber.
He was a deconstructor who works solely on outside orders. Or perhaps you should say he took from certain individuals unconfessable requests – an entertainer representing no loose ends. He himself did not feel that way; however, as long as there were people, a large audience, gathering at the scenes he created and expecting him to perform some act, then it can be called a stage. His audience mainly consisted of stern men in suits, but in their own ways they earnestly watched his work and repeated the same thanks. You could say that, next to some random bystanders, they were a far better class of customers.
Well – even though he was called a bomber, the jobs he performed haven’t yet reached such a level of significance.
The explosives he handled were mainly for the destruction of buildings and construction sites – they were not meant for the taking of a life. He could probably make the right preparations if requested, but thankfully, remuneration worthy of murder has yet to be brought forth to him. What were asked of him were small-scale performances. For example, incendiary bombs made from a mix of aluminum powder and iron oxide, or chemical explosives made from fertilisers and engine oil. They were showy, but all of them had as much power as fireworks, just enough to fool children, and just enough to get the job done. It was still more than enough explosive force to kill one person, but in this country lives were still considered a priceless premium merchandise. Or at least that was what he without a doubt believed in.
His role was similar to a stage jack. He was employed to go to a certain stage and ruin it; he simply, secretly switched the leading roles from the distinguished artist to the screaming, fleeing crowd. Explosives were nothing more than props used to incite the people. It was merely that explosives were the equipment which could make the best use of those delusions he called seeing the future.
I have no expectations for the future, and no hope for it.
Yes – it wasn’t a hallucination or a metaphor. He had the power to ‘foresee the future.’
He realised at a fairly early stage that his vision was different from that of others.
He could watch the future like a film.
This peculiarity was more than enough to unhinge the life of any one person.
For example, this was one of his points of achievement.
For students in their school life, it is normal to have the objective of achieving test results.
He could see his ideal score in his right eye.
At the same time, the methods by which that result can be actualised – the present – is projected in his left eye.
The future wasn’t something you saw like a dream.
Ever since he was young, he had understood that the future was something you built upon resolute intentions.
There was a problem – the fact that, with the film he watched with his right eye, every single current action could be determined.
He wasn’t watching the future.
What he saw reflected in his right eye was not the future; it was nothing more than the ‘obvious result’ from five minutes later, or a day later, or a month later.
He was simply gazing at the result created from the accumulation of the present, belatedly –
This truth deprived Kuramitsu Merca of his human emotions.
He had no expectations for the future. Nothing but the obvious could occur in his life.
He had no hopes for the future. Nothing that he does not know about can occur.
And – paradoxically, there was no value in the present.
Once he had clarified how to bring forth the future result he wished for – regardless of how many hardships may beset that choice – there is no reason for him to select any other choices.
It was like a test’s answer sheet with all the blanks filled in.
As soon as the future is seen, the measures necessary to fulfill it are projected in his left eye.
As long as he acts according to that image, the film playing in his right eye will always become the unchangeable future.
Huh. So life is this, boring.
Thus, Kuramitsu Merca began feeling estranged from society, naturally becoming isolated and arriving at his current present.
As long as he is compensated, he will see a job through, from the first bomb warnings all the way to the actual deed. He went down this line of work from a small coincidence when he had needed some petty cash; now, he managed about three cases a year.
Of course, he wouldn’t be here in the first place if there wasn’t a demand for this type of work. As the Japanese police organisation is excellent, anyone who actually attempted a bombing can be arrested with little effort. After that, the only thing left would be getting testimonies – asking questions like, ‘who was your client?’ It really wasn’t worth the trouble. Kuramitsu Merca was just a fantasy, a laughable urban legend.
Kuramitsu himself thought this way.
However, after the first case, an appeal came for one more performance; there was a second case. The winds changed when he was referred to for the third case.
Not only did the bomber act according to the orders, he could even manage a brilliant escape from the investigators.
His identity was unknown. In the first place, a bomber has neither a secret bastion nor a backing organisation, and undertakes requests from a mobile phone. This is not even mentioning that, with money being the only objective, he wouldn’t even know the background of his clients. This bomber did not wish for public awareness. Self-respect means nothing to me – this sort of attitude probably conformed to the needs of current societies. Before he realised it, he was surviving entirely based on this job, and became a professional bomber.
Hey. It’s dangerous over there.
– Was the meeting between them a gift from Heaven, or divine retribution?
On the way back from a job, a girl wearing a kimono called out to him.
The job itself was the same as usual – sabotage due to personal grievances. He was to disrupt the dedication ceremony of a certain hotel. Destroy a single floor; furthermore, there must be no casualties.
Something large-scale like an entire floor would take time, but it was feasible. As the hotel was empty except for the people invited to the dedication ceremony, similarly, there was no security posted on the floors near the roof.
He wished for the result he sought, and simply acted based on the vision.
Thus, exactly as his right eye saw, the hotel was wrapped around by black smoke.
Five minutes before that, he had stopped by the hotel’s garden, in order to confirm the result. The girl had said that to him. ‘That hotel is dangerous.’
It seemed that she slipped away from the ceremony and was basking in the night wind.
A slight sense of discomfort. Curiosity. Secret anticipation.
Having confirmed the explosion of the hotel, he left the girl, scrutinising his own churning emotions.
Once the hotel incident had settled, he investigated into the ceremony’s participants, and found out about the girl from that day.
Her name was Ryougi Shiki.
That name was one that he had not seen that day – no, it was the first time a name appeared that hadn’t already been in his right eye.
This would be the first and last time Kuramitsu Merca acted as a bomber for objectives other than money.
The chance that his identity was exposed.
Evading the danger posed by his face having been seen.
With these human-like sentiments, it must be ascertained whether or not he can kill this girl.
“A bomber is coming after you?”
Aozaki Touko said, looking not so much in doubt as in complete disbelief.
It was evening at Garan-no-Dou. Ryougi Shiki was already regretting her decision to discuss this with Touko, having aimed for the small space of time when Kokutou Mikiya was absent.
“He’s not really coming after me – more like he’s following me around… I haven’t said anything to Kokutou, though.”
“Ooh? So you caught someone’s eye during the hotel incident? I guess even weirdos can be popular, huh?”
“It’s not funny. Look at this. It was in my mail slot this morning. Now I even have a cellphone for him to call me with.”
It has been three days since the explosion at the hotel. Her troubles with the bomber were now nearly daily events.
The first time, it was a flashbang-like explosive at a construction site.
The second time, it was an incendiary landmine planted on a road near Ahnenerbe.
The third time, it was a timed bomb for demolition purposes, placed in the ruins of a purposeless abandoned building.
It was a small comfort that all these acts of sabotage occurred in deserted places, targeting only the annoyed Ryougi Shiki. While there have been no witnesses, there have also been no victims.
The target, Shiki, also managed to leave the bomb site alive and unscathed every single time.
“The other side won’t stay quiet after you’ve ignored so many attacks. So, have you gotten a call yet?”
“Not even once. But more importantly, there’s something wrong with this guy, Touko.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“He can see way too far ahead. The third time was at an abandoned building that I just went to on a whim. When I got to the second floor, there was a cheap-looking alarm clock sitting in the middle of the room. As soon as it clicked to zero there was an explosion.”
At that point, it wasn’t just a coincidence – it was an inevitability.
Aozaki Touko, suddenly feeling interested by this bomber, had Ryougi Shiki stutter out her indirect impression of him from the three bombings.
It seems – this bomber is like a moving corpse.
The meaning of this phrase could not be understood by Aozaki Touko. The instincts of Ryougi Shiki was too animalistic – impressions that cannot be shared by others.
Aozaki Touko only responded to the point that ‘he could see too far ahead.’
“I’ve heard about this bomber. At the time, I thought it might have been true, but – it might be a type of precognition.”
Touko searched the desk distractedly.
“I bought it for you, Chief. You said a pack of Peace is fine, right?”
The sole employee returned with excellent timing.
Seeing the way Aozaki Touko’s eyes lit up as she received the cigarettes, Ryougi Shiki sighed, realising that this was the beginning of another long talk.
It was the third of August.
Ryougi Shiki, together with Kokutou Mikiya, searched for a fortune teller supposedly close by.
It was a suggestion from the director, Aozaki Touko.
According to her, it was very possible that the fortune teller calling herself the Mother of Mifune possessed an imitation of precognition, and also possible that she was in fact the mentioned bomber.
“Well, in all likelihood she’s completely unrelated. It’s pointless for Kokutou, but go see her if you can. You should be able to get a feel on what kind of people seers are if you meet them directly.”
As Touko had predicted, the girl soon encountered the fortune teller.
She came out in the afternoon, in an alley between two buildings just wide enough for one person.
The Mother of Mifune looked exactly like what thousands of people would think as the typical fortune teller. A black veil covered her face, and she had a crystal ball for the sake of pretense. While she was physically well-built, she was beyond her fifties.
“Me, a bomber? You must think I’m stupid. I work with love and dreams – the kind of advice that sells well to young people. I’ve got nothing to say to a killer like you.”
Strangely, despite her cold treatment, the old woman did not inspire any animosity. Shiki exchanged words with her for about two minutes, then turned her back on the fortune teller.
“This helped. I don’t know if you can really see the future or not, but I understand how your kind thinks now.”
“…Well, aren’t you getting cheeky. Just what do you think you know about me? If you’re looking for a fight, then let’s have a go at it. I can start by teaching you some ‘facts’ about this person you love so much that you would pick fights with him for no reason at all.”
The old woman’s slacking face shaped into an unpleasant smile.
An uncontrollable urge to kill clouded Shiki’s face, but in the end, she did not see the death of the old woman.
“My, you’re kinder than I expected. Looks like my guess was wrong about you. That wasn’t very nice just now – how about I give you some friendly advice this time?”
“…Don’t. That was enough. Live as long as you can, old woman. It’s dangerous at night out here; it’s no place for the elderly.”
“Goodness, such dashing words in this day and age! I might just fall for this fine young man! Tell me, have we met before? Stay for a while, I’ll give you some special service!”
“No, we haven’t. Don’t go being a fortune teller if you’re just trying to find a guy.”
She left the alley behind.
To the girl in the kimono with fluttering hands, she said,
“Really now? That’s unfortunate. By the way, the bridge is bad luck. Be careful… well, I guess you wouldn’t die from something like that.”
Ryougi Shiki parted with the fortune teller. As time wasted away in the bustle of the city, a tone she would never be able to get use to began to sound.
Without a break in her stride, she took out the cellphone given to her by the bomber.
“Good afternoon. I believe this is our first meeting, Ryougi-san.”
A high-pitched voice was coming through a voice changer. It was impossible to determine age or sex.
“How is this a first? You’ve already seen me a few times close up, haven’t you?”
“Of course not. All I do is set the bombs. There’s no reason for me to appear before you. Even now, I am talking from a house far away.”
“A meddler and a liar too, huh? Well, whatever. What do you want? If you’re just here to talk, find someone who knows how to listen. I’ve got nothing to say to you.”
“Even though I’m trying to kill you? …What a strange girl. Aren’t you going to ask, ‘why, why me?'”
“What, you mean you’ll tell me if I asked? If you’re going to play as the mysterious stranger, then shut up. Besides, I’m not interested in you. I can’t get worked up fighting a corpse. If you try anything, I’ll just have to squash another annoying bug.”
“……How composed. I hadn’t seen that reply coming.”
The voice became weaker, yet seemingly happier.
The bomber began to accumulate ‘truths’.
Ryougi Shiki will embrace death in two minutes.
Even now, his right eye is watching the ‘result.’
Shiki, walking on the bridge, is caught by the blast of an explosive hidden on a parked truck. The bomber is watching through his precognition, waiting intently in his front-row seat.
“Perhaps you think that you cannot be killed? That the future is your ally?”
“Who knows? I won’t know until I get to that part. But I’m still alive right now.”
“You’ll die, you know. You will. You’ll be caught in an explosion and die. This is decided. I can see all futures. The future I see absolutely cannot be changed.”
“- Heh. So that’s your type of precognition, huh.”
Somehow, there was a tint in Ryougi Shiki’s voice.
Faint delight. Not joy, but rapture. Not happiness, but pleasure – as though saying, what delicious prey. Like a wild beast licking its lips, a wintry yet voluptuous tone.
“…Ha. It’s obvious that you won’t believe me. You people can’t understand my perception. The future I see is absolute. Completely. It’s the same as a formula. Once you know the variables, the answer cannot be altered.”
Reality is a thing that cannot be determined by formulas.
It is a fluctuating value that cannot be fixed until the answer is given.
However – if you could determine the variable, then the answer becomes unshakable.
That was the precognition of the bomber, Kuramitsu Merca.
In order to actualise the ‘successful future’ that he saw, he weighed together the variables called reality.
There was no place for his own free will. Interests, emotions – it was pointless to insert any of these wishful observations.
…That’s right, once you can see what is correct, you can do no wrong – even if he feels no happiness from his present actions, he cannot go against the vision of the ‘successful future.’
By seeing the future, he has limited his own past.
Moving in the space between present and future – a slave only for the purpose of actualising the future. That was the precognition of Kuramitsu Merca.
“…An unchangeable future, right? I shouldn’t be saying this myself, but – is that fun for you?”
“…Who knows? For almost six years now, the thing called a will did not exist in me. I’m a machine entangled in a future already seen. Is my left eye the real me? Or is it my right eye? Or am I just a ghost floating between them? To be honest, I don’t know myself.”
Ryougi Shiki crossed the bridge.
A truck placed with explosives was parked three metres before her.
There were no passing cars. There was a pedestrian at the end of the bridge, but even then the only result was burns on the left arm.
” – Did you think it was fun to wind me up?”
“I don’t have excesses like that. You saw my face. That is reason enough for me to kill you. Now, I will dispose of you from far away, as an unknown stranger.”
“That’s a bad lie. You’re really close by, aren’t you?”
The bomber caught his breath.
His extended finger shook as it hovered over the remote, ready to light the fuse.
“I said I wasn’t there.”
“Yes, you are. You said you saw the future by weighing together variables, right? So, you have to be watching me right now for you to see ahead.”
That was the deciding difference between what he possessed and a precognition which predicted only the future.
“You can’t create the future by being an indirect third party.
You have to match it with the actual scene. That is the condition of your precognition.”
As he determined the future by measuring the factors of reality, even if he understood the result, he must see ‘that instant’ himself. The future he saw was his own view – that was the absolute condition.
That was why he had failed three times.
For the first, second, and third attempts, he only saw ‘a future where he placed explosives in a place he lured Ryougi Shiki to’. He did not directly see a vision of her dead body. He thought it would be enough to use a situation where any normal person would be killed.
As a result, Ryougi Shiki lived on.
As long as a future containing her death was not seen, she can live on as normal – !
“That’s why you’re definitely close by. Your precognition won’t hold unless you can see my dead body.”
One more step. Ryougi Shiki approached the bed of the truck.
The bomber activated the fuse.
Oxidisation occurred within a second, as the incendiary bomb’s blast spread.
The area shook with the explosion, and other smaller blasts and black smoke.
Ryougi Shiki was hit from the side by the blast.
So far, it was according to his vision. The bomber’s precognition can never be wrong. Yet – he still cannot see the ‘future form’ of the bloodied, charred girl.
– What is with that girl?
On the roof of an office building five hundred metres away, he was watching the bridge that had become the scene of a bombing.
The encamped bomber clearly saw it with his left, true eye.
The way she, in an instant, leapt towards the river and fell, while the blast wrapped around her.
There were the sounds of a crowd and the sirens of patrol cars.
In its midst, the floating body of the girl rose, swimming calmly towards the riverbank.
– For an instant, he was sure that their eyes met.
The girl walked away from the bank. ‘I finally found you.’ Her lips, twisting into a leer, clearly said that she would now slowly, surely, catch and kill her prey.
The bomber shook off the horror that had paralysed his thoughts, and moved away from the office building.
This conclusion was also one he had included as foreseeable.
When he could not see the girl’s ‘corpse’, he prepared the next future.
– She’s coming. It’s all thanks to her surviving the bridge. Now, finally –
Even horror was being overwritten by his trust in his success.
It would be in a multi-storey parking lot fifteen minutes from now.
He could vividly see the form of Ryougi Shiki there, torn to pieces.
The precognition of the bomber was absolute.
Fifteen minutes later, as though the world itself had suddenly ended, she will die.
The precognition of Kuramitsu Merca was not a thing of probability, but an inevitability matched with reality.
That was the order of this world. It would be impossible for anyone to go against this flow of events.