This is a story containing depictions of Boys Love. Proceed with caution and don’t let your prejudices affect how you read this novel.
Haha, was just reading it, liked the story and decided to TL it. I need editors for this one, contact me on discord @hasr11#9300 if you’re up for it!
1. If you look up at the sky on a night when the snow falls.
When I raised my head and turned towards the window, I saw countless white shadows fluttering past the frosted glass.
No wonder the wind had been howling since a while back.
When I opened my window a crack, the frigid wind that blew in seemed to dampen my notes, and thus I closed it in a fluster. However, my cheeks that were exposed to the chill for a moment unexpectedly felt good.
It was right when I was unable to put my heart into studying for my exams any longer, and throwing the pencil clutched in my hand away, I decided to go out in an attempt to shake off my drowsiness.
Softly climbing down the stairs, all the lights on the staircase were turned off, and my family seemed to be asleep. While opening the front door, making sure I made no noise, in the midst of the darkness the snow fell incessantly, illuminated by the street lamps.
I looked up at the sky.
Right from when I was a child, I’d loved to look up at the sky with the snow falling midair.
I couldn’t look up for long since the snow could enter my eyes, but for a moment the scenery would be completely blanketed by countless snowflakes, and it gave an impact enough to make one feel they were in a different world.
I wondered when it began snowing, the asphalt was covered by a layer of snow. When I walked a step, and two, the snow covered up my footprints left behind one after another.
It was already well past midnight, and there was not a person on the street.
I looked up at the sky once again.
I felt as if I was sucked in the midst of the darkness of the night with the snow fluttering down, and my body trembled.
It’d become slightly cold.
When I turned back to return to my room, my footsteps paused.
There was nothing there.
Just the darkness of the night with the snow falling seemed to extend endlessly. When I impatiently walked a few steps ahead, I felt discomfort in my toes. When I kicked off the snow under my feet, what I saw wasn’t asphalt, but a gravel path.
“……What is this?”
I turned my head and looked around the place once. As I thought, it isn’t there. My house, anything. It was as if I was in the wilderness.
Just in the place where there had been a street lamp, I felt a similar light shine, and I rushed to that place in a panic. What I saw there wasn’t the familiar concrete pillar, but a time-worn wooden telegraph pole.
“What is this place?”
My heart began thumping wildly with a bad premonition.
Why did my house which should have been there disappear?
I frantically racked my brains.
“Is it a dream?”
It was cold. And I did seem to have my consciousness proper.
I was awake. I thought maybe I’d walked up to here by myself and forgotten how I’d come here because of amnesia or something, but still, something was strange. I wondered if my head had gone strange due to the stress from studying for my examinations, it seemed to be the most plausible explanation.
“Calm down, Me.”
The snow falling down incessantly made a stain on my parka.
In those circumstances, I could care less about the cause. If I’d kept standing at that place like that, I’d be frozen to death. For now, I should move and find some place with human inhabitants. And borrow a telephone from one of the homes to call someone and get them to pick me up. Or else, the police……
On hearing the sound of footsteps on the snow suddenly, I strained my eyes into the darkness, startled.
At long last, the silhouette that emerged out of the darkness and appeared under the street lamp was that of a man.
That man made an awfully surprised face on seeing me.
He seemed to be a young man of around 20 years of age. He was tall and wore a kimono with a haori on top, and had a strange umbrella unfurled. I wonder if it was an umbrella with a bull’s eye design. He wore boots on his feet. His long, deep brown hair was tied up behind. A good-looking face with gentle features. He wore strange round glasses.
The man, after staring at me from head to toe with wide eyes, scrunched up his face. His lips trembled slightly. It was an expression that seemed as if he’d met the person he’d always wanted to meet, with tears falling down.
I was confused. I had absolutely no recollection of having seen this man, but had I met him somewhere before?
“Aren’t you cold?”
The man spoke to me. It was a gentle and mellow voice.
I was wearing was old two piece sweats that I was using as loungewear. I had slipped on my sneakers barefoot, and so my body had begun freezing a long time ago.
The man stretched out his hand and I reached for it.
“It’s terrible. You’re so cold.”
He said while gripping my hand as if he were holding something precious and fragile. His eyes behind the glasses seemed a little moist. The man softly held my shoulders and guided me under his umbrella.
“For now, let’s go to my house. You’ll catch a cold if you stay here.”
The man and I walked side by side. I felt I should say something, but words couldn’t form. With the inside of my head, while in a confused mess, I mechanically placed my feet forward, one following the other.
After walking for about five minutes, the light of a house came in sight. It was a small house with old brickwork and had a pattern carved into the wall made of something similar to a mortar. The windows were of timber and the roof was made off reddish-brown roof tiles. Opening the small wooden door, the man showed me in.
The man entered the room while wearing his boots.
I looked around the inside of the room. The floor was wooden with a slightly faded luxurious carpet spread over it. The walls seemed plastered. The ceiling was put together in a lattice. On the other side of the room, a fireplace was burning brightly. It was similar to the western-style architecture of the Meiji period. The house was small, but its interiors were luxurious. Paper, an ink pot and a pen were placed on top of the table. I glanced at what was written on the paper and heaved a sigh of relief for some reason on coming to know that the letters were Japanese.
“Please sit there”
While he urged me, I sat down on the divan, absentminded. With the towel the man handed over, I wiped my face and neck. In the midst of it, my head was spinning wildly trying to comprehend the situation I was in now. My house disappearing all of a sudden, the wooden telegraph pole, the kimono-clad man, the house I’d never seen before.
I don’t want to believe it; it’s impossible, but this, this situation is perhaps. No, but there’s no way. What is this?
The man brought along a metal basin and placed it under my feet. In the meanwhile, he also brought a kettle he had placed in the fireplace and another kettle he hadn’t, and he alternately poured hot and cold water. Steam began rising.
“Actually I wanted to heat the water in the bath, but it’d take time if I did it now.”
The man, taking off my shoes, carefully gauged the temperature of the water with his hand and gently placed my feet in the basin.
The warmth gradually spread, and I unconsciously let out a sigh of relief.
The man, kneeling beside me, washed my legs in a careful manner.
After quite a while had gone by, I finally came to the realisation that my feet were being washed by someone else and I came to my senses.
“Ah, um, I’m sorry.”
When I apologised in a fluster, the man laughed cheerfully.
I said in a hurry.
“Um, I-I’m confused about many things.”
“Even I know I’m about to say something really strange, but I was in front of my home just till a while ago.”
The man silently stared and lent an ear to the faltering words I spoke.
“Before I knew it, I really don’t know when, I was in an unfamiliar place. In the blink of an eye.”
“I get it.”
Hearing the unexpected reply, I blinked my eyes.
The man spoke.
“Your clothes are, how should I put it, really……strange, and when I met you, you seemed to appear all of a sudden out of the darkness, from nothing. This place……this village is called Kazekoku village, and many inexplicable things have occurred here. That’s why I can probably understand the situation you are in.”
The man got up and took the paper and pen on top of the table in his hands.
“My name is Hayase. Shigao Hayase. And you?”
I wrote my name.
Hayase-san, after staring at the paper with my name written for a long time, looked straight at me and hesitantly opened his mouth.
“In this village, people disappear.”
I didn’t know how to reply to those abrupt words.
“When I was a child, more than 300 people lived in this village. But now, it has dwindled to a mere 15. Everyone suddenly disappeared. One by one, without any warning, dissolved in thin air.”
Hayase-san let out a heavy sigh while speaking.
“Yesterday my friend whom I’d seen off with a smile disappeared; my mother disappeared in the kitchen leaving behind the warm pot she had been heating……like that, everyone suddenly disappeared. Nobody returned. All the people in my family are no more.”
I received a shock from Hayase-san’s words. Hayase-san combed up his hair as if to shake something off.
“That’s why I thought when I met you. You’re probably a person from another world……even though you lived somewhere in the other world, you suddenly disappeared. You disappeared……and then appeared in this village. Am I wrong?”
“Probably……that’s, the case.”
Hayase-san lightly nodded.
“There’s a world somewhere in which people disappear similar to here, I see.”
Hayase-san took my feet out and carefully wiped them with a towel.
“If I say such things, you might get hurt. It must have been an unintentional, unsettling and absurd thing for you to come to this village, but……I’m sorry, you’re like a miracle for me. In a village where everyone only disappears, you’re the first person who came. ……I have to confess, right now, I really happy.”
Hayase-san’s eyes were moist. After pressing his lips tightly for a long time as if enduring something, he got up and softly hugged my head.
“Thank you for coming here.”
My heart throbbed, and it hurt painfully.
‘Ahh, I see’, I thought. I came from another world.
Strangely I dropped the thoughts in my heart with a thud without any doubts. Being thanked by Hayase-san, and being looked at tenderly, the anxiety and confusion of having come to a place I didn’t know became small and suddenly quietened down in my heart.
And what came to mind anew was that I’d forgotten to turn off the power supply to the heater before leaving my room. But I calmed down on remembering that the power would automatically switch off after 3 hours if that heater was kept running. No, but there were other things to think of too.
There was one more room other than the living room in this house. Surrounded by bookshelves, there was only one bed in that room. I was urged as if it were a matter of course, and I got in the bed together with Hayase-san.
Hayase-san’s hand stretched out and grabbed my hand under the futon. It held unexpected strength and I was surprised despite myself, but for some reason, I didn’t feel the urge to shake myself free. If I thought about it, it was an extremely odd situation. In an unfamiliar world, beside an unfamiliar man, I was sleeping in a bed. Huh, why did I accept this situation so easily, even I was puzzled, and my head began going round in circles once again, but at some point, sleepiness and tiredness won over me and I slept just like that.
1. Haori: It’s like an overcoat worn over a kimono. You often see it in anime too, and now you know it’s named haha.
2. Bulls Eye Design: It’s called a Janome Kasa and it’s a type of Japanese umbrella. Don’t exactly get the difference myself, but if ya wanna know, read this.
3. Meiji Period: It extended from October 23, 1868, to July 30, 1912.↩
4. Kazekoku: there was no furigana for it so it’s my guess. FYI it means wail of the winds/ weeping winds.↩
thank you so much!
This reminds me of Picked Up in Winter a bit