Aoyama, Hirai, Takenaka III
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 / MAD HATTER
Unconsciously, Iilooked at theiglazed encasement.
Nothingibut pitch-dark, and nobody was there.
I can feel myself being drawn to it.
As if someone was… watching me…
Rather, perhaps it would be more descriptive to say that I was being glared at.
Why did I feel a firm gaze?
Whenever I felt it, the corneriofimyiheadihurt.
No good, whatiwasithis? HadiI beenisleepingia lot, resultingiinimy bodyigetting sluggish? It had only been a short period of time since my days and nightsiwere reversed, so myibody might be giving up without me even realizing it.
While I was mumbling aboutisuch things, the automatic door opened.
Ah… someone was coming.
I felt it intuitively.
Just like back then, the dooriopened by itself, evenithough there was no human-like person there.
This was like being “Pavlov’s dog”.
My mouthiemitted the usual line that had firmly embedded itself in me out of habit, and I was amazed at myself.
Strangely enough, evenithough no one was supposed to have entered the store, I felt a faint presence.
Something was present in the store apart from me, something was moving aside from me, and that something was just in front of me.
It was like it wasistanding still right before my eyes.
Like it was extremelyiclose to me.
Such a presence was―
I stood inifront of the counter frozen in place.
My neck was… in pain.
Breathing wasia struggle.
I couldn’t breatheiproperly.
I understoodithat this was not something that was intended.
I know it’s not something I’m going to do.
But itiwas agonizing.
It was as if my throat wasibeing compressed to its utmost.
Like it was being constricted.
What the hell… What the helliwas this…
Even aftericoughing profusely, escaping the agony was beyond my control.
Strange perspiration beaded fromimy head.
I had no idea why, I couldn’t understand, I couldn’tibreathe, and since I couldn’t breathe, my mind couldn’t think… the only thing I knew was―
My body was tremblingiabnormally, and now it was going to beiawfully… bad…!
A muffled voice slipped out of my lips, oxygeniwas not flowing in, myihead wasidizzy… and I wondered if I was going to faint.
That was when that happened.
The automatic doorireopened with a mundane melody that was mostiincongruous with this situation.
The one who entered was.
A girl. euuw8huhu8
She hadiwide eyes and long hair.
With a short height and a childish face.
She was smoking―
She was a customer….
Damn, I cannot utter a word in this condition.
Even my body couldn’t move.
She would think I was a strange staff member…!
When I impatiently struggledito force my voice out, the girl with the rather innocent-looking face strode up to the counter, held the cigarette in her mouth between her fingers, and exhaled a lot of smoke toward me.
“You’re in the way… right there.
Now get the hell out of here.”
Once that was said, the oppressive feeling that had been smothering me faded away, and the stiffness in my body seemed to be lifted as if something had been snapped.
At that instant, I put my hands on the counter and drew in several deep breaths, as though I had been running at full speed.
Oxygen was coming in, and my head was starting to work clearly.
What the hell was that…
Disoriented, I no longer had any idea what was taking place, and what the hell did I just…
While trying to regulate my breathing and mildly in a panic, wondering how in the world could I possibly wrap my head around the bizarre event I had just experienced, the stern, baby-faced woman I thought was a customer walked in behind the counter.
That was when I realized it for the first time.
That this person was.
Instead of answering, herieyesinarrowed and with a grim look on her face, she said to me, “Claw marks…”
“They’re on your neck.”
When I was told this, horror struck me for some reason.
I involuntarily pressed down on my neck, which was sufferingifrom theipain I was feeling at the moment.
“Don’t look directlyiat that place.”
With another puff of cigarette smoke, Hirai pointediwith her chin toward the glazed encasement.
“A woman with bloodshotieyes kept staring this way.
Don’t look too closely at there, or she’ll enter the store like she just did.
Having said that, she stepped into the rear room without waiting for a reply.
As for me, confusionispread further and further within me.
A woman with bloodshot eyes was watching me from over there…?
She enteredithe store…?
No good, I couldn’t follow it.
However, what I felt earlier was the presence of something moving with a will and chills sprouting in me.
It was more than justisomething…
“For real, what the hell is going on…”
I wiped the sweat that had settled on my forehead and on the bridge of my nose.
Despite myibody having ceased trembling, the chills returned as I recalled what had just unfolded.
I mean… about Hirai.
She was a yankee huh…!
Even with a baby face, she hadieyes like a female bōsōzoku gang! She showed up late and smoked a cigarette brazenly!
What a terror… Somehow, she terrified me.
I felt like I wasigoing to get my ass kicked or something.
The chills were spreading to my neck and then to my ass this time.
Right then, the door of the rear room opened and Hirai reappeared, the baby-faced yankee.
I didn’t notice much earlier, but―her… her breasts were huge!?
Her uniform was sticking out!
What kind of a setup was this with a loli face and big tits, oi…!
I-I ended up looking directly at them.
Yikes, what would she say to me? As my eyes intersected with Hirai’s, I straightened up my back and tightened up my face.
Hirai, whose eyes locked with mine, was neither indignant nor glaring at me.
Instead, she unexpectedly smiled at me.
“Sorry for being late.
Her tongue stuck out of her mouth, and she lightly hit her own head with her fist.
To tell the truth, thisiwasiourifirstiofficialicontact.
I only realizedithis ailittle later.
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