“Sorry, but I have a problem with you being here.”
After knocking on the door a few times, it opens… with the chain lock still on.
“And if you’re here for my sister, she’s not home.”
She sounds passively hostile, like a cat with its hair standing on end.
“I know; that’s why I figured I’d wait here. It’s actually surprising how the world’s working along normally, isn’t it?”
I sit down in front of the door and talk through the open crack.
Today, I’ve come here by train. Can’t believe it’s still in service. This isn’t exactly about the thing Rili said yesterday, but there’s a surprising number of people who would keep working normally until the end comes.
With that said, the train was almost empty, and there were very few people in town. I’m sure everyone is thinking about how they’re going to face the end, or starting to prepare for it, by now.
The world will end in nine days. Somehow, it still doesn’t feel real.
“I mean, the end is ’round the corner and all…”
I look up at the clear sky.
“Say, I think Doraemon has that one tool? The World Destruction Switch.”
“No, he doesn’t. Don’t you mean the Bomb of Mass Destruction? That, or I think you got it confused with some other story.”
“You sure know your stuff, huh… well, whatever. It would’ve really sucked if I had the right to flick the switch, you know. The world would’ve already been destroyed many times over.”
“Good for you.”
“Hell no! What I mean is, it’s a good thing that I can’t do it, Riri-chan.”
“I don’t care. Please just leave already.”
“You know, you seem like someone who’d never flick the switch no matter what happens. Say, you hungry? Where do you get food, living home alone?”
“And what do you think you’re doing, opening a bento in front of my house? Stop it!”
“Look, I’ll just put this here.”
I place my axe down in front of the gate and raise both my hands for her to see. In this world situation, no armed organization would be motivated to attack a civilian, I’m sure.
“I’ve bought a bowl for you as well, so how ’bout we eat together?”
Riri seemed absolutely persistent about not letting me into the house. But then she also said that she wouldn’t want me sitting to eat right in front of her door. The compromise she has proposed is the backyard.
“Nice! It’s got style.”
“…Pretty much dead, though. No one’s been taking care of it.”
“Weren’t you planting apple trees?”
“That was a figure of speech.”
It used to be a lawn, apparently. But now, it barely has anything left, and what it does have is all withered and brown. The tree in the corner is leafless; I can’t even tell whether it’s dead or alive.
Riri seems to be hungry, what with her immediately opening the beef rice bowl bento and chowing down. I probably guessed right that she hasn’t been eating all that well ever since she’s been living alone.
“So you trust me enough to eat food I’ve brought, huh?”
She looks like she’s about to have a coughing fit there.
“The bowl was taped, so it’s the stuff you’d usually buy from the shop in front of the station, right?”
“You don’t suspect that I might’ve peeled the tape off and spit in it on my way here?”
“You have no reason to do that.”
“No one needs a reason to do bad things.”
I’m very much enjoying myself, watching Riri here while eating my own beef rice bowl. Seeing how she’s wolfing it down, it’s a good thing I picked the large serving boxes. Ah, the perks of being young.
Neat black hair, no makeup, plain glasses, no pretentious fashion statement. And her cheeks look so soft and smooth.
And it seems like I’ve been starting at Riri too much. Now she’s looking back at me with suspicion, brows knit.
“So, you really dated my sister?”
“Ruru said anything?”
She must have told her sister that I came here yesterday.
“Told me to call the police.”
Now that’s a good laugh. Definitely what that woman would say.
“Why do you have a grudge against my sister?”
“Things happened. Problem between one woman and another. ”
The reason for my grudge is simple. She hooked up with someone else and dumped me, in that order. The case is so clear-cut that I think the whole human race would have my back.
It’s the most relatable resentment of all. Everyone sympathizes with me. With the victim. But what good does that do? My girlfriend is gone and never coming back, nor is there any jury to bring her to her punishment.
I must finish this by my own means.
Before the world falls to pieces.
“…Please don’t be vague.”
Riri says, dissatisfied.
“Hey, I’m thirsty.”
I crack a smile and say to her after finishing my bowl a little before she does.
“I don’t care.”
“I’m so thirsty right now, I might die before the world’s end gets me.”
“I think the hose over there still works.”
Riri points to the dirty blue hose that has been left lying around. Doesn’t look like the water’s gonna be clean, but water is water. No other options. I trace the hose to the source faucet and twist the tap.
Too much water; looks like I cranked it too far. The hose thrashes around like a snake, gushing water all over the backyard.
Now Riri is skipping back and forth trying to dodge the water, with her bowl still in her hands. I swear, the kid’s such a riot. Droplets spatter around, glittering under the bright sunlight.
“Stop it!! Please stop!!”
By the time I turned off the faucet, the dead lawn was soaked through and through, and Riri and I were wet to the skin. Good thing today is a sunny day.
I’m laughing so much that it’s getting hard to breathe.
“Hey, I think I’ll come tomorrow as well. Anything you wanna eat?”
Riri, dripping wet, heaves a sigh with a fed-up look on her face, and then answers me.
Pork rice bowl, she says.