Classmate 1: “Yesterday was totally bizarre isn’t it? I was studying in the afternoon when the sky suddenly became night with my pen I was holding on the ground and me sitting on top of my clothes. I swear I was wearing them a moment earlier. Good thing I was in my room.”
Classmate 2: “The same happened to me too, but I was outside. Quite embarrassing. The same seem to happen to everyone else at the same time too. Some even found themselves in a mysterious crash, but are unharmed.”
Classmate 3 (laughing): “Sounds like there is a serial mass undresser on the loose. By the way, have you heard? That research company that was previously accused for murders years ago, but with no evidence found, has finally been brought down. Here, look!”
She showed a newspaper, that appears to be today’s edition, to the other two.
Classmate 1: I bet they were behind the massive…
She jumped in shock and became disturbed on what she saw.
Classmate 1: “That’s way cruel, cutting a woman into pieces, and there’s several articles inside confirming their past accusations, including ones I’ve never heard of before or seem related. But who’s this recent, most violently attacked, victim? They didn’t mention who she is or what caused the incident to happen.”
Classmate 2: “That victim in pieces looks a lot like… Hisakawa-san? Our own school-wide famous classmate?”
The three girls turned to look at me. I just waved at them with a smile when I saw them looking at me. They smiled back at me before they turn back to each other.
Classmate 1: “No, she’s right here and is still alive in one piece. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be here and we would have heard of it by now.”
Classmate 2: “But the victim here resembles her the most, and the images here are not fake.”
Please don’t ask me, I don’t want to answer to whose body that is even though I know that was me. I might accidentally reveal my secret if you make me and I don’t like to tell lies either.
Classmate 3: “Well, the article did say that the victim was working for their major competitor, the Hatsuya Institute. Hatsuya is known for developing a lot of advanced, yet top secret, things that other research companies would want to know. Who knows if that victim is one of their many clones they have. Securing a job at Hatsuya alone is very hard with high qualification levels and, although not mentioned, they might even do a deep background check for personality, abilities, and, if any, check on how their past criminal records happened.”
Classmate 2: “There’s no mention of what happened to everyone else yesterday even though it’s quite obvious and it happened on a massive scale. It’s as though us humans, except those involved in this article, had vanished into thin air somehow during that time for hours that, to us, seemed like a fraction of a second.”
Something like this seem to be the topic everyone is talking about lately, but none asked if I had somehow rose up from the dead. The situation could have been different if they had published my name and photo. There was no mention of the company I founded at all.
Classmate 4: “Hey girls, what are you… Uwa!”
This guy is usually one of the last to come back from lunch. He seem to like to do classroom duty with me, but is normally seen hanging around with those girls as at least one of them is his childhood friend.
Me: “I know, she looks a lot like me. Saw it on the morning news. I was really shocked myself when I saw the body. I don’t know who that is.”
Actually, I didn’t watch the news, though I had look at a bulletin board website and the images people (anonymously) posted there earlier on my phone.
Anyways, the third semester of the first year is ongoing currently. More of the third years had turn up less frequently or even stopped coming to the club to prepare for their college entrance tests. Among the third years that are still around are those not continuing to college, having the test earlier or later than everyone else, think that they will get in easily, or those dedicated to the computer club like the club president who would turn up in the club room just to study. Since I was already elected to be the club president for the following school year, I have unofficially taken over him as most of the members asked me instead of him while the current president watches me on how I would handle the situation. Wonder if my third year seniors know that I’m actually a year older than them? They addressed me as their senior after announcement of me being the president from this upcoming April.
Although it doesn’t concern me directly, closure of clubs due to lack of members at the end of the current school year does affect how many non first years entering the club next year, though there is a buffer time of a month to recruit new members. A most noticeable example of this is the art club located just next to us: after the third years had left, you don’t see much people around. Students graduating from middle school who are interested in the arts wouldn’t have picked this school anyway. I would like to help them, but I don’t know how. (They, or the school, could ask me odd questions if I try to help them financially.) Plus, I’m quite busy as the head of the computer club and doing whatever nonsense Itsuki would want me to do, although some of the orders are just relaying the orders of the Hatsuya institute.
Due to the time difference of about two months that occurred about a year ago when transferring dimensions (as my cloned body didn’t originally exist here while, ironically, my soul is), I missed out on a lot of things that happened during that time. I missed my own graduation ceremony since middle school, 4 years ago. Sure you can replay the video or attend somebody else’s, but it’s just not the same. Speaking of graduation, The graduation of my third year seniors is around the corner. Their last day of regular lessons was actually the end of the second term due to most college entrance tests being in January. How many times does Kotomi’s weird uncle wants me to go through this? More than that of the teachers apparently. No, it’s too depressing to talk about, and I don’t know what I said when I was giving out my speech, so I should skip forward to when they are stepping out of the school gates for the last time, though some chose to hang around for a bit longer. It’s quite easy to tell who the graduating third years are as they are wearing flowers pinned above the school badge and holding certificates the vice principal gave out earlier.
Me: “Takagi-senpai! I’ve something ask you!”
[Author’s note: Takagi is a family name]
I can’t ask a senior male club member as they would think that I am interested in them when calling out and might not be listening to me when they found out that I wanted to talk about something else instead. Also, this time-frame is rather short, not to mention the friends and family they might have brought along.
Takagi: “Oh? Hisakawa-san? Aren’t you our senior instead?”
Me: “That’s what I wanted to find out: I’ve been wondering for a long time why you and all the other people in the same year are calling me ‘senpai’.”
Takagi: “Well, while we were checking all the candidates, we have noticed that you have previously attended the famous Mihara academy and a typical one nearby between April 2004 and March 2007, along with working as a permanent staff of the Hatsuya institute many people are trying to het into. We also noticed there are three versions of you: the original male, the original female in the other dimension, and the clone of the female whose mind originated from the male. You fall into the third category, but inherited skills and possessions of what the second category had the first category didn’t have. From there alone, we noticed that you should be a year older than us instead of 2 years younger. Must be a shock for you to be able to do something completely different, but yet, able to do well. We were even more shocked to see that you had went through so many things that even a respected elderly would not have gone through.”
Wait, what did you say?
Me: “H…how did you know all of this?”
This must be a result of my cloned body being the “Property of Hatsuya Institute” and me transmitting information about myself, what I’m seeing/thinking what I did out in the open for everyone to see. Sad that I can’t stop it myself. I have no privacy, I can’t defend myself, I can’t return to my original self, I can’t remove what I’m wearing under my uniform, I can’t die, I can’t age, even if I seriously wanted it among other things. Worse part of it, I’m stuck with what I can’t do with this body for the rest of my (eternal) life. My body even does things by itself without even myself knowing what is going on and is sending me signals of feelings that is seperate of that of my mind which confuses me or made me unable to think. Odd that I can remember clearly during what happened during the time that I can’t think properly.
Takagi: “Apart from what you were thinking between what you last said and me saying this…”
Does she knows what I was thinking, or was that a wild guess?
Takagi: “…which was something about not being happy with yourself, one of the club members was randomly clicking links at the Hatsuya website under his father’s account when he saw a bio about you, dated the February of the previous year, like you are some kind of robot based on someone else. We noticed that you are better at computing than us. There are also ways to check what you are doing. One went to talk to you while the rest checks one of the ways mentioned. We were shocked that it actually follows exactly what you do! We didn’t tell you this because we assume that you already know about it. Talk about the lack of your own privacy. I’m sure you don’t think of yourself as a robot though.”
I started to cry into her chest and she pulled me closer to her body to comfort me. I have mixed reactions on her doing this to me: a part of my former male self is telling me to hold on to her for a while longer as I enjoy the feeling of… what am I thinking?
Me: “Takagi-san. Is there anything *sob* about the club that I *sob* should know about? Sorry, I can’t control myself.”
I said this in a sad voice as a result of my sobbing on top of my voice being muffled as my face is against her blazer. I was trying to say that in a serious voice.
Takagi: “Well, as you might already know, clubs are being closed down due to the lack of members, and our club might see the spillover effect. Even before you came, our club has enough members to not meet the axe. During the club exhibition period, well, making our club’s presence known and what we do should be enough. You can ask the other members for help, though when you just joined, a lot of guys wanted to join. We had to reject those who used you as a reason, but they still loiter outside the clubroom until the teachers had to pull them away. We noticed that you were annoyed by your own popularity, so we don’t blame you for the large crowd you brought to the club. You had even contributed to the club the most and completed given tasks in the quickest time that are somehow free from errors.”
People were looking at us, but there aren’t much people left as the graduation ceremony had ended quite a while back. Plus, the first and second years are already having their spring vacation now. If I were to be still a guy, those people around me would be gossiping even more and Takagi might mind what I’m doing to her right now even more to the extent of pushing me away, but I need someone to hug right now as I’m feeling lonely. Kotomi might not be back from her overseas studies for about two years. I don’t feel comfortable being with my other self (Itsuki) as he likes to stare at me and not listen to what I’m saying because my appearance distracts him (and other guys), despite the both of us being the same person.
Me: “So what do you plan to do now that you have graduated? Work? I heard you didn’t take any college entrance tests, but you look like you can enter college.”
Takagi: “Well, I myself entered the same competition you took, but a year ago, and was hired by a different company. I think it’s called Powell Research Institute or something like that. The company is a lot younger than Hatsuya, but seems to be rising quickly. Their headquarters is not far from here, and the place looks really nice.”
That’s the name of the company I founded. Even I don’t know how the Human Resources department hire people or even what criteria they are looking out for, but the employees I’ve came across are quite good and know what they are doing.
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