行方不明の。 | Yukuefumei no. (novel)

Based on the song from the album Shoujo Rengoku.

I am crouching down. No, to be precise, a girl with the same face as mine, dressed in clothes I’ve never worn and with a hair color I’ve never had, is crouching down. She is shaking her shoulders slightly and apparently crying. I feel sorry for her and shout “hey” to her. She doesn’t look back; maybe she didn’t hear me. I move closer, put my hand on her shoulder, and say “hey” again. The girl turns around. Her face is blank and empty.

“So why do you think she looked like me?”
“Are you talking about your dream? There’s nothing less important than talking about other people’s dreams.”
Marisa is throwing her feet out on the tatami mats, looking bored. It’s selfish of her to barge into someone’s house without permission. “Make me a cup of tea,” she brazenly says while I sigh in disgust as she does what she wants.
“Normally I wouldn’t care about it either. But this one does bother me for some reason.”
When she turned around, I felt fear. An unfathomable sense of insecurity bubbling up from the bottom of my heart, and a sense of disbelief in myself that I didn’t know why I thought such a flabby person had the same face as me. All in all, I was puzzled by this feeling, which I was experiencing for the first time as if every pore in my body was about to open up. When I woke up, I was sweating and my palms were gripping the sky. When you have such a bad dream, you will think about something. I wonder if I could ask that dream demon if she knows anything about it.
“But it’s a strange story. It might be an indication of something.”
“Right, because the girl in my dream was wearing a shrine maiden outfit. Not the one I wear. And she had longer hair than I do, and hers were purple.”
As I say it, an image suddenly plays in my brain. There is the girl with the same face next to another girl, talking in a friendly manner. She looks like a witch, she has long blonde hair and wears a long robe. And she has the same face as Marisa. Again, I got goosebumps. What the hell was going on? I’ve known Marisa since I was a child, but I’ve never seen her dressed like that. To begin with, they probably didn’t look like very young children, and they looked no different in age from us.
“Reimu, hey.”
I huff, and Marisa looks at me quizzically. “I’ve called you five times,” she complains, and I feel uneasy. What was that vision I had earlier? Who or what is it that I’m seeing?
“Hey, Marisa. You’ve always had that haircut and always dressed like that, haven’t you?”
“What? I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but yeah.”
“Of course…”
I don’t think I can explain it well at all. But if she wasn’t Marisa, who was she? And if that’s the case, the one next to her was none other than me. The strange and uncanny presence of Marisa and me that was in neither of our memories consumed my mood every single day.

I am crouching down. No, I know that this is me, not me with the same face as me. As I step back to leave before she notices me, I step on something that was under my feet and I hear a noise. Her trembling shoulders stop with a snap, and cold sweat runs down my back. Calm down, it’s only me, I tell myself, but what I don’t know about myself is the scariest thing of all; it didn’t make sense and I stop breathing without thinking. Eventually, she turns around slowly. This time she has a face. My face. Her eyes look like they are going to cry, and they are distorted by pain, but she sees me and rushes to me at a tremendous speed. Before I have time to escape, she grabs me by both shoulders.
“Give it back! Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!”
She wobbles and shakes me as she repeats the same thing out loud. What did I do? What does she want me to give back? What did I take from her? The pain of my shoulders being grabbed and the grief I can feel are too real. This is no longer just a dream for me.
“Give it back! Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!”
She is crying tears of blood. And when I look closer, I see that she is dressed exactly the same as me. “Eee!” I let out a small scream. Trying to escape is impossible, and I can’t even use my usual powers.
“Give it back! Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!”
At some point, that voice multiplied, sounding like a chorus. I look around fearfully and there is an indefinite number of me.

It’s still nighttime when I wake up to my own scream. I feel like I have slept a lot, but something is wrong. Someone is lurking in the darkness.
“…Who is there?”
I have a hunch. There is only one person who could stay here without being trapped by the barriers I had put up around the room, and with no sign of her. That woman approaches me, but I can only see her dimly and vaguely because the full moon that should be in the sky is gone. Apparently, I’m already in her space.
“Good evening. Having a nice night?”
“It’s awful. What do you want, Yukari?”
“What a nice thing to hear. I’m here to kill you.”
I gasp. I could tell she is definitely not joking, despite her usual light-hearted tone. The cold sweat that flowed from my dream still trickles down my back. I can’t make a bad remark. I know it’s useless, but I brace myself.
“You’re about to find out what you shouldn’t be aware of. You know that this isn’t just a dream.”
“…What’s going on?”
“I don’t have to explain it to you. You’re dying now.”
“Wouldn’t it be a problem if I die?”
“It’s okay. There are plenty of others.”
“You’ve seen a lot of yourselves, and what do you think they are?” Yukari says with a clear face. Apparently, she can see everything in my dreams. This woman is serious. I sigh in abandonment.
It doesn’t matter, I mean. Yukari makes a sound of surprise.
“Oh my, this is the first time you’ve reacted like this. You’ve been attacking me here before.”
I wonder if I’m changing a little bit. Well, to me, I’m all the same Reimu.
What I’m saying is scary, but the atmosphere is so misleading and it’s as if I’m drinking tea on the edge.
“I can’t beat you. You’re sure about that?”
“I’m serious, of course. Hmm, I’ve changed my mind. I won’t kill you.”
“I’ll just erase your memories. I’m so kind~ I’d be happy to do it.”
It’s not something to be happy about, but for some reason, Yukari is in a good mood. Memories are the living record of a human being, and the loss of them is equivalent to me ceasing to be me. In the end, it would be the same as killing me. I will join the massive amount of myself in my dreams. It’s not even kind.
“And of course, I’ll use a strong spell on you so you won’t remember.”
Yukari’s palm touches my forehead. It’s warmer than I expected, and I’m somewhat relieved. I want to say more, but I know that my words would be meaningless and futile at this moment, so I stop immediately.
“Bye, Reimu. Good night. Have a good dream.”
I’ll never have another nightmare again.

“Hey Reimu, about that dream you were talking about the other day. Did anything else happen after that?”
When I offered Marisa a cup of tea, she said something incomprehensible to me. What’s wrong with talking about dreams? How can you bring up the subject yourself when you always say it’s boring and won’t listen to me? There’s nothing that comes to mind. I hear nothing in my heart. There is my voice. I follow my voice.
“Nothing. Marisa, you are weird.”
All I have to do is live my life according to me. Now I have nowhere else to go.