CHAPTER 2: THE PRISON, THE CHAINS, AND THE DRIPPING RED
That day, I rode a late-night bus back to my parents’ house.
It would have been nice if I could sleep until my stop, but I wasn’t really used to doing so.
So even in the dark, I couldn’t quite sleep and I think I was just blankly staring at space at that time.
Because of that, I remember it.
The sudden floating sensation, the unbearable impact.
The feeling of pain that made it bothersome to even lift a finger.
The pained groaning all around me.
I thought to myself then, ‘If only that last thing I heard was the sound of someone singing…’ and that moment, I died.
However, just when I thought I was dead, for some reason, I woke up.
And suddenly, it was just cold.
The air itself feels cold, everything that touched me felt just as cold, even the clanking sound I hear was cold.
Everything my senses feel is only the absolute cold.
And even though I was in this situation, I couldn’t make a sound, my body doesn’t move, and even my eyes can’t see a thing.
Am I blindfolded and tied up to something
Even so, I should be able to move my fingers.
I’m sure that I should be able to move my head and raise my voice.
And yet, I can definitely feel my body, but I can’t move anything.
I definitely should have died, so is this hell
Will I be tortured like this, unable to do anything, forever Will my body be burned, chipped, and ripped apart with my senses intact
The more I think about it, the more my mind comes up with horrible answers.
And even though my body should be shivering, even though my heart should be racing, even though I should be at least breaking out cold sweat; the fact that none of these are happening was just absolutely terrifying for me.
I wonder how much time has passed since
Nothing ever happened from then, so I managed to calm down a bit.
Though I can’t see a thing nor even move a finger, since I still have my senses, I tried getting a grasp of my current situation.
And just as I thought of doing so, my vision suddenly cleared up.
My line of sight was clearly high; if this really is my height, then I would easily go over 2 meters.
Still, it doesn’t feel to me like I became taller, but rather it’s more like I’m floating in the air — which reminds me of my final moments, it definitely doesn’t make me feel better.
I have an eagle’s eye view of myself now but at the spot where I should be, what was there was a newborn child.
Am I dreaming Maybe my death was just my imagination and I’m just in my bed sleeping back at home.
I began thinking so myself, but the vivid memory of my death dragged me back to reality.
So because I’m dead, does this mean that I’m a ghost I didn’t really believe in things like ghosts up until now; but seeing how I am right now, I can’t really deny it.
Still, I can definitely feel the cold even now, so I can’t say for sure that I became a ghost.
However, I can’t really be sure that ghosts can’t feel anything.
Rather than thinking of myself as dead, for some reason, I feel that being alive in this situation makes much more sense.
So am I reborn If the cold I feel is what this child feels, then that still makes sense.
So am I currently in that out-of-body experience situation There are a lot of stories of people having a special power after being reborn, but is this is mine
It is convenient, but really I’ve seen people that have memories of their past life on TV before, so it’s not like I don’t understand.
But just like with ghosts, I didn’t really believe it.
Now that I think about it, even if I was reborn as the baby right in front of me, the chances of me staying alive is really bleak.
That’s because my body, probably to keep me from escaping —not like a baby this age can actually run away— is chained by my limbs.
The chains extending from shackles with no trace of rust hang down parallel to my bed and is fixed to the ground with stakes.
The bed itself is made of stone, it’s the very opposite of comfortable, and the only clothing I have on is a thin piece of white cloth.
The room is overall made of stone: stone walls, stone floor, and there are even iron bars, so I’m pretty sure it’s a prison cell.
I want to take a look outside as well, but it seems that I can’t go too far from my body.
All I can see from beyond the bars are some similar-looking cells in front of this room.
Definitely not the best place for a baby to sleep.
Even if I was taken care of in this environment, would I even stay alive
Really, what a bizarre place to be reborn.
And though I’m in this terrible situation, surprisingly, I don’t feel any anger.
Maybe it’s because I’ve already died once, but if I had to say, I’ve just given up now.
Still, I wonder why this is happening.
With skin white as silk, bright golden hair, and blue eyes clear as the sky, I’m quite the cute baby if I say so myself.
Shifting my gaze as I was thinking so, I met my own gaze.
It was like it was staring right at me, I could feel clear intent.
Clank…… the chains rang.
I was shocked by the sudden noise, but it looks like the child was just trying to reach for me with its little arms.
But either due to the chains’ weight or it’s short length, the tiny arms are once again drawn back to the bed.
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Right now, I — or should I say, my soul — am out of my body.
In that case, there’s no way that my body is conscious at all.
And yet, why is it gazing so intently at me
Then I realized.
I just rejected the possibility of being a ghost, but maybe I am some sort of thing possessing or inhabiting this child.
Perhaps I might be some sort of split personality even.
If that’s the case, then this body isn’t mine, it’s this child’s.
It’s not a second life, not some sort of bonus stage, but the beginning of this child’s only life.
And yet, why is this child getting this kind of treatment.
It’s unthinkable that this child committed some kind of crime.
At this age, it’s not like this child can do so.
And even if something did happen, it’s the parent’s job to take responsibility.
The more I think about it, the more anger just boils in me.
If it was just me, I would’ve accepted this as my fate, but if this child really has a separate soul, this situation is absolutely unforgivable.
However, my seething rage was interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming from outside the prison cell.
The footsteps slowly draw closer to our cell.
And then, it gradually grew louder and suddenly stopped upon reaching the front of this cell.
The one who stood there was a man draped in luxurious clothes, the very image of nobility.
He was a tall looking man with a prominent nose and chiseled features.
His combed long hair was brown in color, and his eyes were blue.
And as he is clearly not Japanese, it’s hard for me to gauge his age, but I’d say he’s about 30-40 years of age.
He has the figure of a calm and mature adult and if not for the current situation, I’d probably admire his look.
In fact, the situation right now, as well as the look on his face, is the worst it can be.
The man entered the cell with some sort of flask, displaying a vulgar smile that’s in contrast with his orderly features.
Looking at him and the baby side by side, I can see that they have the same eyes, making it clear that this man may be the child’s father.
However, even if it’s true, I just can’t feel relieved.
Rather, I feel less relief and more danger.
The man approached the baby and whispered something.
But since it wasn’t anything Japanese, I couldn’t understand what he just said.
After that, he flashed a wide grin, placed the flask on the bed and took the baby’s right arm.
His grasp on the wrist felt extremely unpleasant.
As I thought, our senses are linked.
In the first place, what did he even come here for Thinking so, I closely observe the man and notice something shiny in his right hand.
The next instant, a sharp pain ran through my right arm.
I reflexively looked at my own right arm, but all I see are the stone floors and walls; my right arm doesn’t even exist.
Rather, I don’t even have a body — perhaps because I’m just a soul now.
And yet, the burning pain won’t disappear.
I see, so that’s how it is.
Bearing the pain, I shift my gaze to the baby’s arm and it stained in bright red.
In my sight, I see a beautifully pure flow of red ceaselessly drip onto the stone-cold prison floor.
That same red gradually stains my own mind with its color.
I don’t think I can keep thinking anymore.
The next thing I felt, was even more pain and the disgusting feeling of something injected into my body.
Moving my gaze, I see that the man poured the contents of the flask into the baby’s wound.
That something I felt going inside me probably was the thing in the flask.
And though I want to stop him, the fact that I can do nothing but scowl at him only frustrates me.
As the flask ran out of its fluid, the man puts his hand on the wound and whispers something.
Then, a faint light started leaking from the man’s hand.
Before I even noticed, the wound was suddenly healed.
Seeing that the baby never cried during the whole operation, the man audibly rejoiced and left the cell in a still excited state.
Left behind, the baby silently began falling asleep; however, I couldn’t get my mind off what happened just now.
From then on, I started thinking of ways I could somehow protect this child.