Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hyouka Volume 5 Approximating the Distance between Two People

Prologue - Too Long When Simply Running

1. Present: 0km

In the end, it didn't rain. To think I had prayed as much as I had, too.

My prayer didn’t go through last year either. This could only mean that praying for rain was completely useless. Now that I understood this, I suppose I’d be able to peacefully come to terms with the inevitable next year when this happens again. If I don’t need to do something, I won’t do it. If I absolutely have to, I’ll make it quick. Today, I, Hōtarō Oreki, learned that praying for rain was something I didn't need to do.

Of the thousand or so Kamiyama High School students that were initially spread about the school grounds, a third had already disappeared. They had set off on a journey to the far reaches of the distant horizon. I knew that what they were doing was nothing more than profitless toil, but I felt no sympathy. After all, I would soon be following after them in their suffering.

With an ear-grating howl, the megaphone was switched on again, and from it came a command.

“That concludes the third-years. Class 2-A, come forward.”[1]

Fellow students filled into their set positions as if they were being dragged along by something. Among them were faces brimming with spirited passion, however, most of the students had such a look of resignation on their faces that the tranquility it radiated was almost saintly. I probably had the same exact expression on mine.

There was a line drawn in chalk on the ground. Alongside it stood a General Committee member, pistol in hand. He didn’t radiate any bit of the usual no-nonsense severity normally found in a cold enforcer of cruel judgement like himself. Considering his markedly middle school face, he must be a first-year. He stared intently at his stopwatch, itself looking as if it wouldn’t tolerate disorder for even a second. At the end of the day, he was just following his orders. Most likely, he wasn't even thinking about what kind of special significance his actions towards us held. Even if he were to consider it, at most it would be something along the lines of:

“I didn’t make this decision. My superiors told me to do it, and I have to do what's assigned to me. It’s not like I want to do this, so I hold no responsibility in the matter.”

It was precisely this thought process that allowed him to be capable of such incalculable cruelty without even so much as a change in his expression. Slowly, he raised the pistol in his hand.

Perhaps even now, at this very moment, we will see a torrential rain so violent and so sudden that it will forever change the field of meteorology as we know it. And yet, the July sky remained so refreshingly clear that it pissed me off. Not even foxes would get married on a day like this.[2]

“Ready.”

Ah, that’s right. Didn’t I realize it just a second ago? Heaven didn't respond to our prayers. I had other choice than to find the solution in a way only I could.

Even until the very end, the committee member didn’t look up from his stopwatch. With a thin finger, he pulled the trigger.

An explosive noise rang out, and white smoke rose from the barrel.

This was Kamiyama High School’s Hoshigaya Cup. At last, Class 2-A was ordered to start running.


To continue reading, you can download pdf file here!






Hyouka: Short Story 4

"Even Though I'm Told I Now Have Wings..." (2016)


Note: This story takes place after the events in volume 5.

The long season of rain had ended, and only a single petal-like cloud floated in the night sky, illuminated by the crescent moon. The breeze that entered the room was warm, despite the time of night, and seemed to herald the coming of summer. Although I became aware of the house lights scattered about in the distance, I continued to press the organ’s keys, my eyes scanning a sheet of music.

I memorized the basic progression of notes that flowed out and then proceeded to slowly hum the tune. I felt a little embarrassed when imagining how far this “la-la-la" melody of mine might carry through a night this silent, and my voice became soft.

As if drowning in the sound myself, I hummed the same song countless times. At last, I had become nearly satisfied with the accuracy of my pitch and took a deep breath, intending to add the lyrics on my next attempt.

At that moment, a voice called to me from the other side of the sliding door.

“Eru.”

It was my father.

It was incredibly rare for him to come all the way to my room to call for me. Perhaps the organ, or maybe my humming, had been too loud. I timidly responded.

“Yes?”

“Come to the shrine room.”

As usual, his voice was serious, but he didn’t appear to be angry. I was relieved, yet all the more struck by how mysterious it was. The shrine room was often used when there was something important to discuss, but I couldn’t possibly imagine what there was to talk about.

“I’ll be there shortly.”

The sound of footsteps faded away. It seemed that today’s practice was complete. I closed the lid of the organ and shut the window.

Suddenly, as I left my room, I became inexplicably hesitant. What exactly was it that he wanted to talk about? For no particular reason, I felt a terrible apprehension.

—Maybe I could just continue to hum instead?

Even thoughts like these passed through my head at that moment.

Of course I couldn’t. As I approached the moment of truth, I somehow managed to steel my nerves a little. I smiled as I thought about my earlier moment of panic and turned off the lights in my room. Beyond the window, across which the curtains had not been closed, a small cloud drifted in front of the moon.