Scent of plums’ blossoms (4)

Maybe Shi-chan herself is waiting for me.

The voice he supposedly heard from the back, felt like it came from the girl in front of him.

“Sorry. Don’t mind me. I thought I was being called to the second floor, but I must be hearing things. I am late because I was tidying up the things that I have dropped.

The person who continued talking is a girl.

“A-Ah-Ah er, uh, Shi…..”

He knows in his head that the voice doesn’t belong to Shizuka.

But he still have his suspicion. That is why he can’t turned around and faced her.

Because he felt that even if he slightly destroy the equilibrium, the Shizuka in front of him will not disappear together with the girl behind.

“What happened to that picture?”

“Eh?……Picture?”

It goes without saying the obvious but there is a picture in front Keito.

There is no way the dead can be resurrected. In the painting, there is a girl who stood still.

He felt relieved knowing that.

However, there is no mistake that the girl depicted in the painting resembles Shizuka.

There is no way he could ever forget those eyes, those nose, those hair and those lips. She is also wearing the same uniform from middle school that Keita and the rest have attended. She wasn’t wearing a white cardigan because it is sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

She was starring to the distance so it is hard to tell what is she thinking.

“Are you okay? Do you feel sick?”

The stranger asked from behind. It is okay. That was not Shizuka’s voice that I remembered. After saying that,

“Who is that?”

Keito finally shifted his sights from the painting and turned around.

Even though much time hasn’t passed since he left school, he felt like it has been a while that he saw someone.

Standing there was a pretty girl.

She probably three or four years older than Keito. With a calm composure, she looks at Keito. She is quite tall for a girl. She is a little shorter than Keito but she has surpassed a hundred and seventy centimetres.

Her soft wavy hair are tinged in red as if her hair is mixed with the crimson evening glow. It is not added with illumination nor dyeing, that is her real hair.

With a distinct set of looks, her pale amber colored eyes peeked through deep into his small eyes. Looking from her pale skin which is similar to her see-through blood vessels, it is possible that foreign blood is flowing in her veins.

However, in spite of having of her colorful features, that expression is hard to see in the shade.

It was as if he thought that the girl herself had the same feeling as the <shadow> that appeared previously in the painting, which made Keito loss for words for a brief period of time.

“Perhaps you know the person that is drawn in the painting?”

That <shadow>, questioned him.

“Yes.”

Keito nodded in response while still remaining confused.

“Err……..I apologise for entering without permission. It was opened so……”

“No problem. This place doesn’t refuse any visitors. I have been waiting for you.”

Finally, she squints and lights a smile on her face. That strange transition had reassured Keito.

“You said that just now. About waiting for me……..Do you know me?”

“No, I don’t know you. However, many people visit this place is because they want it. Perhaps there is something I can help you with. That is why I am expressing my greetings to first time visitors.”

It is not strange if you ask. However, Keito hasn’t recovered from the first shock. She is still a mystery but the picture in front come first.

“Now then, I would to ask about this picture.”

“I am terribly sorry.”

She interrupted Keito. Her eyebrows were wrinkled in between her glabella, as if she was staring at something.

“I also want to ask about the person in the painting. Furthermore, I would like to tell you what I know but could you wait just a minute? Before that, I like to confirm with you one thing. Is this the person who got involved in that accident?”

Keito understood her intention with just that question.

“Yes.”

“I see. This painting is something my mother left behind.”

Left behind. He was curious about the meaning of those words but she got the better of him.

“I think it is going to be a little weird after this but please don’t worry about it.”

“A little weird?”

“Muttering to oneself, hands holding out to nothing. Something like that.”

It is certainly strange, but if he could be prepared if she would tell him beforehand.

“Well then.”

The girl started to walked towards Keito’s rear right, which was the area she had been starring for some time now.

Naturally Keito also shifted his sights afterwards.

“Eh!?”

She raised her face when Keito raised his voice and both of their eyes meet.

In front of the girl was that old lady that Keito brought in front of this building. It was that old woman had disappeared before he knew it.

It is obvious that the girl can see the old lady—-<<Shadow>>.

“I see. Looks like you can see them too.”

Apparently she also noticed Keito and the old lady. She starred into Keito’s eyes with her amber colored eyes as if her eyes are engulfing him.

Keito is hesitating whether to look at the girl or the old lady’s <<shadow>>.  He opened his mouth in order to seek an explanation. The girl also tried to say something but in that moment, she approaches the old lady. Keito kept his eyes on her each and every single move.

“Hello. I am Utaha, Umegae Utaha.”

Utaha. She introduced herself as she bend down facing the old lady and talked to her as if she is persuading the old lady.

Up till now there hasn’t been any example where Keito is able to come to a mutual understanding with them. Is it possible with Utaha?

However, the old lady isn’t showing any form of expression.

Where is she looking, what is she thinking?  It is just that the old lady is standing in a daze and didn’t heard Utaha’s voice while having a miserable face with her eyebrows lowered.

Utaha turn towards Keito’s direction.

“I am Umagae Utaha. Excuse me, can you tell me your name?”

“Aikawa. Aikawa Keito.”

“I have a request Aikawa-san. Could you please keep an eye on her for a while?”

After saying that, Utaha left the place.

Previous | Home | Next