Waking up the following morning, it seems that yesterday was just a bad dream. Brother was the first person I saw when I left the room. I thought I had a nightmare of him being turned into a girl, and a very strong earthquake and tsunami happened.
Brother: “Oh, you’re awake. I completely forgotten about it when I came back, but here’s the thing I collected yesterday.”
He brought me to his room and opened his school bag that was on the floor. He took out what seemed like video game casings with American and European gaming rating symbol on it instead of the local ones. He also took out some products that looked as if it were to be sold in many different countries, except Japan. Is this unnecessary spending?
Brother: “Well, a pair of young ladies noticed me while I was at the train station offered me to buy whatever I liked using their money, no matter how expensive it may be. One in a Mizuho student uniform, and the other in a supervisor-level outfit with a Hatsuya logo on it. The Hatsuya supervisor has the same family name as mum’s big boss, but different given name. The student, however, has a completely different name even though those two looked very much alike. They seem quite desperate to get rid of the money they have. Oh, before you ask, nobody in Mizuho could wear anything besides what they are officially supposed to wear, have names besides what is in the academy’s records, or commit acts of crime.”
Mum did say that her big boss was wearing a Mizuho student uniform at a company meeting last autumn while wearing a name tag that completely doesn’t matches her name. Nobody at that meeting dared to point out the mismatching name tag or inappropriate outfit due to her top position and she herself mentioning about not wanting to talk about it as if she is already aware of it. The said Hatsuya supervisor could be her twin with the real family name on it, and there’s a possibility that the name on the academy’s records is completely different from the real name. I don’t think my brother was thinking of this possibility.
Brother: “Speaking of which, I promised to show you something yesterday.”
He promised me something yesterday? Did my nightmare of a big earthquake and tsunami in which a girl who claimed to be him said that actually happened? Brother was walking to his closet and took out a uniform of my school, for females!
Me: “Hey! Isn’t that mine?! What is it doing in your room?!”
Brother: “Don’t be silly. Count the number of sets you have, and you would find that this would be an extra set. This uniform is mine, and I didn’t steal it from you or anyone. See? It has my name sewn on the inside on the blazer, blouse and skirt.”
Why would my brother put up with the hassle and put his own name on a girl’s school uniform? In fact, why is he even showing me this at all so openly? Sure every student in our school has the name sewn in by the store at the time the uniform is purchased, but…
Brother: “You know, wouldn’t it be great if we both alike just like back in primary school? Only, instead of you trying to be me, I would try to be like you. Oh, and would like you to look at my-“
Me: “What are you talking about?”
I had no idea what made him say that, and my brother was already putting on the female uniform without taking off what he was already wearing.
Me: “You don’t look like me at all. In fact you really look like a per-“
At that instant, those clothes my brother was wearing underneath the uniform started to fade away and the shape of my brother’s entire body was unnaturally changing in front of me. How do I describe it… There isn’t any white light or funny background like you see for transformation scenes in cartoons, it just like a person growing up rapidly, but differently. I could see my brother morphing exactly into the girl I met yesterday. What on earth is this?!
[Author’s note 1: From this point, I’m referring to Yumiko’s brother in as Tsukasa instead. Both as a guy and a girl. His name was already mentioned back in part 3.]
Tsukasa: “Now do you believe me? Look at me! There isn’t a hint left on my body that I was a boy just a moment ago. Practically everyone who steps into Mizuho is forced to turned into elegant and beautiful young ladies. Since the first time I was there, I’ve not seen anyone in Mizuho wearing anything besides short skirts below the waist, even in winter, with the only exception being some kind of stockings that goes all the way up to the hips that only non-students wear. That Hatsuya supervisor I talked about earlier was wearing them too. All of this is only temporary as long as it’s being worn, but they are making it somewhat illogically impossible to physically take it off. Seriously, how does Mizuho and companies based here produce the best people with these strange things?”
Is this my brother? No matter how I tried to look, I see nothing but a pretty girl that doesn’t look anything like him, but does have resemblance to both of my parents. Even my brother’s voice sounded exactly like the girl from yesterday. The clothes are strangely impossible to take off, but I could feel that his body really feels like that of a girl. My mind is in a state of confusion.
Tsukasa: “I don’t know how I was able to adapt to this. There are conditions I have to meet to be able to take it off, but are not explained. I found out that I have to be outside the campus and not in sight by anyone during the time it would take me to change at a gender-neutral place. Most public toilets are obviously out of the question for that reason, though some toilets for the handicapped are.”
If he hadn’t transformed in front of me, I wouldn’t have believed him no matter what he said in either form, but being a girl myself, I don’t feel anything caused by the attractive feminine appearance, but rather shocked about the transformation itself.
Tsukasa: “Oh, didn’t you say that you have a boyfriend living in Ooarai town? It was struck by the tsunami yesterday. We should go there right away. The news says that the tracks has been reopened after earthquake safety checks and are operating again.”
How did I completely forget about Takuya? Oh no! I don’t know if he’s okay since his house is directly facing the sea!
Me: “Come on! Let’s go! We don’t have time to waste! Wait, what about our parents? If we are not home when they arrive home, they might get very worried.”
Tsukasa: “I’ve already called them before you woke up. They are okay, or rather, they were quite worried about us. Dad is on the way home, and mum is working overtime to help out with the disaster.”
We reached Ooarai town via train. As I feared, the town has been washed by the tsunami too. The first place we checked was the town’s refuge centre as that is where everyone who has become homeless gathers, which is actually converted from the sports hall of a primary school. When we got there, we also saw the dead that has been found arranged together outside.
Tsukasa: “It’s scary and extremely rare to come across a dead body, but to see this is horrifying to see this many, with young children included.”
At that instant, a man with boots and a safety hat approached us.
Safety officer: “Are you a refugee or…?”
Me: “Oh, we are not. We came from a nearby town and I was wondering if a friend who lives in this town is here.”
Safety officer: “Well, everyone is inside the hall. The list of the missing people, and the identified dead located close to us, are in there too. We are currently finding out the identities of the unidentified dead against the missing list, which is around there. The staff in the hall can help you find who you might be looking for in there. It’s chaotic along with so many sad people in there. Quite a large percentage of the town’s population seems to be among the dead, judging by the numbers.”
He was pointing to a standing group of people close to a large white tent.
Me: “Well, thank you very much.”
My brother appeared as if she wanted to say something to me, but stopped short of saying it.
I have a bad feeling about this…
[Author’s note 2: Although not mentioned, Tsukasa is still physically a girl on arrival at the refuge centre. Hence the use of “she” instead of “he”.]