I Want to Hear Your Voice - Chapter 1
18 years later, Tokyo.
The night city was packed with a lot of people. The neon signs flickered. The sky that looked like it would rain anytime soon was so cloudy that no stars could be seen.
The heat that made people sweat just by staying still, had irritated their hearts. A white hairball spirit floated lightly around Satori’s feet as if playing with them.
Satori wobbled when he bumped into the shoulder of someone who was passing by.
The young woman looked at Satori, and her eyes widened as if she had been startled.
(Oh gosh. His hair is so unkempt it looks like it hasn’t been cut for a while. Could he possibly be homeless even though he’s young?)
She knitted her eyebrow, and with her empty hand, she brushed the spot that had been touched as if it were dirty.
(Ugh, what’s with him? How about you say a word of apology instead of spacing out like that?!)
After the woman glared at Satori, she suddenly turned her face and walked away.
(Go die! You’re so gross, you idiot!)
Satori froze at the voice from her mind that she spitted out as she left.
(Argh, it’s so humid; it feels nasty. Old man, you’re in the way.)
(I came all dressed up because it’s the first date we had after a while, but we ended up going to that bar. He’s so unromantic. Maybe I should’ve broken up with him after all. But my birthday is coming soon, so I guess I should wait until it passes.)
(I’m fed up with this crowd of people. I wish half of the people here could just disappear at once. Ah, the hand of a fatty just touched me. It’s so drenched that it’s gross. If you’re fat then try to be more careful. I wonder, don’t they feel embarrassed to be seen like that in public? If it were me, I’d rather die.)
(Argh… I don’t wanna go to prep school. It’s a real pain in the ass. I just wanna skip…)
The constant stream of voices made Satori feel sick. The inner voices that were not particularly directed at anyone turn into undigested remains that accumulated inside of Satori.
The city of ‘Tokyo’ that Satori saw for the first time was so different from any scenery he had ever known. The countless number of people there made Satori wonder where they came from. Everything he saw there was full of surprise. The dazzling lights of the city were just like a festival being held all night long.
Sousuke is somewhere in this city.
Satori wanted to meet Sousuke no matter what. He wished only for that to happen, and continued to wait for his promise with Sousuke for a long time.
If I could meet Sousuke again for one more time, then I wouldn’t mind even if I have to disappear.
With this thought in mind, Satori gathered up his courage and went to meet the Dragon God, then made a certain deal with him.
In the night city, a single faintly glowing thread stretched out in a straight line. The thread that couldn’t be seen by anyone except for Satori, was so thin and fragile that it looked like it might rip at any moment. However, it was the only reliable guide that could lead him to Sousuke.
Suddenly, a hand came out of nowhere and grabbed Satori’s ankle. Unable to catch himself in time, Satori fell to the ground. When he looked over, there was an umbrella-shaped spirit no taller than Satori’s knees laughing uncontrollably as it disappeared into the back alley.
(He just fell on nothing.)
People glanced curiously at Satori who suddenly fell over an empty space; then they walked on as if nothing had happened.
Back in his hometown, Satori didn’t have any place he could belong to. Even so, he could see so many twinkling stars when he looked up at the night sky. The bugs comforted him. But in the city of “Tokyo,” there was only so much nature, and no matter how hard he looked, Satori couldn’t see the stars.
When Satori felt that raindrops had started to fall, it suddenly turned into a big rain. As the rain poured down relentlessly, people ran to a roofed place like scattered spiders.
The rain above Satori’s head suddenly stopped.
“Are you okay?”
Satori looked up and widened his eyes. The figure standing there was no longer of a young boy. Sousuke, who had grown into an adult, was holding out an umbrella to Satori with a concerned look in his eyes.
…It’s Sousuke. It’s Sousuke. It’s the same old Sousuke. I met him at last…
At that moment, the thread that had been glowing faintly in the darkness twinkled for one last time and then vanished as if it were melting away.
(I wonder if he feels sick. Maybe he got a heat stroke or something?)
Satori couldn’t mutter any word as if it got stuck in the back of his throat.
“Are you okay? Can you stand? Should I call the ambulance?”
(…Could it be that he’s a homeless person or that kind?)
Sousuke started to have some suspicion towards Satori who didn’t reply back. Then Satori was finally able to speak.
“Yes?” Without seeming like he questioned why the man in front of him came to know his name, Sousuke replied.
At that moment-
“Isn’t that person Ogigami Sousuke the announcer?”
Such a voice can be heard. When Satori turned his head, there were two young women with umbrellas pointing their fingers in his direction.
“You’re right. Huh? What is he doing in this kind of place?”
(He’s way hotter than how he looked on TV.)
(We’re so lucky!)
“What should we do? Should we go talk to him?”
It seemed like Sousuke could hear the women’s voices. Satori could tell from Sousuke’s mannerisms that he felt bothered by them, even without reading his mind.
“…If you’re okay by yourself then I’ll take my leave.”
Even though he had finally been able to meet Sousuke, Satori panicked when he felt that Sousuke was about to leave. Sousuke then made Satori hold the handle of the umbrella while saying that he’s free to use it. Satori grabbed his hand from above on the spur of the moment.
“Wa- wait! I’ve always been searching for you, Sousuke!”
Sousuke frowned his face slightly.
(…What? Is he a stalker or something?)
Satori was startled when could feel the faintest hint of suspicion that came from Sousuke’s palm.
Satori tried desperately to find a word to reply back, but he was feeling so shaken that he couldn’t find the right words. His fingertips that touched Sousuke’s hand trembled.
Sousuke narrowed his eyes.
(…His hand is hot. Does he have a fever?)
Satori could feel the air around Sousuke that had been filled with caution until then, suddenly became relaxed.
(Was there a hospital around here again?)
Even when Sousuke felt suspicious about him, he still got concerned about Satori’s condition. Satori’s chest became full when he felt Sousuke’s feeling of worry.
It’s Sousuke. It’s Sousuke…
Sousuke’s appearance could be said to have changed a lot, but his kindness had not changed at all. He was still the same old Sousuke that Satori knew well. Satori couldn’t help but feel so happy about it that he felt like crying.
“I don’t need to go to the hospital. I’m just happy to be able to meet Sousuke.”
Sousuke furrowed his eyebrows slightly towards the smiling Satori.
(It should be the first time we met, but why did he-… Is he a stalker after all?)
Satori could feel the feeling of suspicion that appeared once again in Sousuke’s head, but he didn’t feel hurt anymore. To be honest, he felt a bit lonely that Sousuke didn’t remember him, but Satori was happy to know that Sousuke was still as kind as he had always been.
Satori had thought that if he could meet Sousuke again just one more time, he wouldn’t mind dying right after that. However, now that he could meet Sousuke again, he became more and more greedy. He wanted to spend more time with him, he wanted to look at his face, he wanted to talk with him, and, if possible, he wanted to stay by Sousuke’s side forever… There was no end to his desires; that was why Satori had no choice but to cut himself off from his lingering attachment.
“…Thanks for worrying about me. Sousuke, please live a long and healthy life. I wish your happiness would last forever.”
–Even if I can never see you anymore…
“I don’t need this umbrella, so I’ll return it to you.”
Satori returned the handle of the umbrella back to Sousuke. Satori cheerfully said that he was leaving, but then Sousuke suddenly stopped him.