“Hey, I heard that Hitsuji-senpai, and his wife got into a traffic accident and passed away,”
One day, I was working on office tasks at Saitama’s Tokorozawa City Hall when I suddenly received some shocking news.
“No way…” I couldn’t help but be surprised.
Hitsuji-senpai was the person who had trained me as a newcomer.
I had to admit that I was indebted to him, but he was quite eccentric, or rather, how should I put it…? When he got busy, he would become irritable and take it out on us newcomers.
If we declined his invitation to go drinking, he would complain and make a fuss.
And when we did go, he would suddenly demand that we sing or do a comedy routine, making outrageous requests.
Especially when there were female staff around, he seemed to want to assert his dominance, so the demands were even more extreme.
Because of that, us newcomers, including me, tried to avoid getting too involved with him… And yet, he had passed away suddenly and without warning.
“Yeah… Well, I know it’s not the best thing to say, but…”
My colleague, Sasaki Kojiro, started to say something.
He had also been one of those who had been subjected to Hitsuji-senpai’s outrageous demands and often complained about it.
“It’s probably best not to say too much about his death.
It’s still insensitive, no matter what.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“Anyway, we should get back to work.
I bet you haven’t finished organizing the documents yet, right?”
Thanks for reminding me.”
After our conversation, Sasaki went back to work.
Hitsuji Fujima… Dead, huh? I feel like I’ve heard this kind of story somewhere before… Where was it? News? Dream? Newspaper? Evening edition? Poster? Notice? Internet?
Where was it? No matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t remember anything beyond a hazy sensation in my head.
I felt the same way when I first met Hitsuji Fujima senpai.
A familiar sensation, as if we had met somewhere or I knew him from before.
Unable to figure it out no matter how much I thought, I stopped my train of thought and focused on my work.
Subsequently, the official announcement of Hitsuji Fujima senpai’s passing and the notification of the funeral arrived, and everyone at the office was expected to attend.
At dusk, it was six o’clock in the evening after work.
We had arrived at the funeral hall, where a considerable number of people had gathered.
I was dressed in a plain black suit, tie, shirt, and belt, making my way through the funeral hall with my colleague Sasaki.
After checking in at the reception, I looked around the interior of the hall.
“We’re on the left side, right?”
“Yeah, that’s right…”
“Well… I feel like I’ve been in a similar place before.”
“Are you okay? You look tired…”
When Sasaki said that, I realized that I was indeed feeling exhausted.
Lately, the surname “Hitsuji” had been on my mind constantly for some reason.
I pressed my fingertips to my eyes, realizing that it wasn’t appropriate to be thinking about such things when we were here for a funeral.
I decided to switch my mindset.
I opened my eyes again and tried to sit on the left side of the altar… and there I saw Hitsuji-senpai’s photo in front of me.
In front of the photo, there were four children, all of the same height but with different hair colors and hairstyles.
I could only see their backs, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I had seen them somewhere before.
After the sutra recitation and incense offering, when the monk left and the family members finished their eulogies, we were on our way back home when I heard a voice.
“Who’s going to take care of those sisters?”
“My place is out of the question…”
“I heard they froze water with just their minds.”
As the dusk light illuminated them, I felt a sense of familiarity in the conversation among Hitsuji-senpai’s relatives.
Hasn’t this kind of feeling been happening too often lately?
Despite thinking that, I found myself stopping my feet and unintentionally eavesdropping on their conversation.
“Hey, we should head home.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Sasaki tapped my shoulder.
But for some reason, my feet wouldn’t move.
They remained frozen in place as I listened to the relatives’ conversation.
“Quadruplets… and they’re monsters, too.”
“Hey, that’s not…”
The old woman tried to say something, but the old man stopped her.
Could those people be Hitsuji-senpai’s parents? No, they must be.
From what I gathered from their conversati
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