Chapter 2-1

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VOLUME 1

[2nd Discussion ~ The Ghost-story Telling Student Council]

“The truly scary things aren’t ghosts or monsters! They’re humans themselves!”

As usual, the president stuck out her small chest and proudly spoke as if she were reciting something she probably read in some book.

Honestly, I agreed. But because that was a way too obvious way to answer, I gave a half-assed response instead.

“Ah, yeah. Sure.”

“It’s true! Besides, both ghosts and monsters were created by humans!”

“No, I feel like that explanation is a bit off……”

When people say “humans are scary,” I don’t think that’s what they mean. However, the president really looked satisfied as she reclined in her chair…… I’ve always thought about it, but why does this person get a kick from flagrantly ripping off wise sayings and presenting them seriously?

Not only I, but Chizuru-san, Minatsu, and Mafuyu-chan also didn’t have any particular reaction, and each gave their own half-hearted agreements.

The president started talking about this topic, probably because among the students, the rumors of “The Seven Wonders” started to increase.

The Seven Wonders. If you knew all seven, you would be cursed. But when I thought about it, somehow I came up with 21. It’s overkill. If a curse were to befall me, I wouldn’t be the only one in trouble; another unrelated person could be dragged into it and die.

Considering I wasn’t even that interested in the rumors yet I still knew so many, I could pretty much guess what the present situation in school was… If people on average knew more than 21 of these wonders, and the curse were real, then not just the school, but the entire town would blow up.

“The situation is already urgent!”

The president was enthusiastic. On the whiteboard in thick, thick, thiiiiiiick writing, she wrote “Today’s Agenda – Regarding the overly widespread condition of ghost stories.”

I don’t know why, but it seemed that the president didn’t like the current situation. It couldn’t be that she actually feared Resident Evil-like dangers, could it? (1)

Next to me, Minatsu stealthily whispered into my ear.

“(Why is Prez-san this enthusiastic?)”

“(Who knows…… maybe she’s actually a coward? Especially with that type of body.)”

“(Oh, that makes sense. Hey, how about we test it out?)”

Minatsu informed me, and with a sadistic smile, raised her hand upright at the president who was continuing her fervent speech.

“Hey Prez-san!”

“Yes, Minatsu.”

“Prez-san, do you know this story? The story of a girl who went into a certain bathroom –”

“Wa, ahhahh! Wh, why are you suddenly telling a story like that?! Don’t go off topic!”

“It’s not off topic. Look, to deal with things, shouldn’t you first learn about them in depth?

“Ugu…… Anyway! It’s fine if I don’t hear it!”

We watched over the president’s confused state.

All of the student council members’ eyes gleamed with a suspicious sparkle.

“(This could be interesting!)”

Even Mafuyu-chan was tempted to do something. Aah…… Mafuyu-chan did like things like scary stories, didn’t she? And because she usually took the role of being made fun of, she welcomed this situation with open arms.

Acting like they hadn’t noticed her cowardice, everyone except the president began to discreetly shift the conversation towards avenues the president didn’t want it to go down.

Chizuru-san moved first.

“It’s as Minatsu said. Yes, it’s exactly that. First you have to identify the circulating ghost stories one by one, and then you need to verify them.”

“Eh, eeehh?!”

The president was clearly upset.

I saw an opportunity to jump in and I pounced.

“That’s right. We should talk about each of the ghost stories we know here.”

“Wha-, Sugisaki! There’s no need to do something like–”

“Ma, Mafuyu also thinks we should do it!”

“Even Mafuyu-chan……”

The president winced. At this point, I delivered my finisher.

“Ohh? Prez…… could it be that you’re scared?”

“Wha –”

At my finisher, Chizuru-san followed up with her own final blow.

“Oh, there’s no way Key-kun. There’s just no way that the student council president of all people would be frightened of the school’s ghost stories. Now, aren’t you belittling her too much? Right, Aka-chan?”

“Uh, uuuhh?”

At that, even the Shiina sisters gave pursuit.

“As if anyone is afraid of ghost stories at this age!”

“Ma, Mafuyu has also loved scary stories…… since primary school.”

“Ugu.”

The president began sweating profusely. The ends of her mouth bent downward, tears welled up in her eyes, and her face became extremely pitiful. However…… the president crossed her arms and reclined in her chair. She declared confidently, “Hu, humph!”

“A, as an adult, I wouldn’t be afwaid of something like ghost stories.”

She took the bait…… This is bad. I might awaken my inner sadist. This was too fun. Teasing the president felt too good. If I were to go out with her, would I be able to stand not seeing her troubled face once a day?

I looked at Chizuru-san, and she also had a look of light ecstasy…… A sadist. This person was a genuine sadist. Even though her personality was completely different from the president, I now understand why she was close to her.

While we watched, the president seemed to prepare herself for the worst. She slammed her hands onto the long table with a bang. Chizuru-san and I were even more thrilled as we realized how much those hands were trembling.

“A, alright then, let’s tell them. Ghost stories. B, but since we don’t have a lot of time, how about we keep it to one person per story?”

“Awesome! Then we’ll start with me.”

“Hu, huh? Already?”

“It’s better to get this done quick right? Hm? Prez…… are you scared?”

“Go ahead Minatsu.”

The president acted as bravely as she could. As everyone nonchalantly watched, Minatsu readily leaned in close and began her ghost story.

“So, since I’m up first, I’m fired up and ready to go! Prepare yourself.

“…… In this school’s home economics room, there are no kitchen knives. Do you know why that is? That is because they are all kept in a cupboard in the home ec prep room. But, remember this well. Under the home ec room’s kitchen table, there is a space set for kitchen knives. Normally they would be kept there. If you were to practice cooking, it’s a utensil you would almost definitely need to use, and to prepare them one by one every time from the prep room would be very troublesome, wouldn’t it?

“So then why are the knives in the prep room? That was because …… there was a knife in the home ec room, but because of that a certain tragedy struck.”

Minatsu erased her usual energetic-girl manner and built up her story with a low voice. Considering how Minatsu usually acted, when she spoke seriously, the atmosphere grew increasingly heavier.
The president gulped down her saliva. She seemed fine earlier, but her eyes flit around restlessly, she repeatedly crossed and uncrossed her arms, and she looked to be restless.

Minatsu grinned lightly at the president’s condition. At Minatsu’s expression, the president became even more terrified.

“Once there was a certain schoolgirl…… for now we’ll call her Kurimu-chan……”

“Why do we have to call her Kurimu-chan?!”

The president screamed with tears in her eyes. Minatsu splendidly ignored her.

“Kurimu-chan was a charming young girl. Even though she was short and her body wasn’t quite filled out in various places, well, her face was really pretty, and that got her a bit of attention”

“…… Somehow, I feel like you’re saying mean things about her on purpose.”

“So back to Kurimu-chan. This Kurimu-chan who could only eat half of a banana.”

“It’s like Kurimu-chan came out of a nursery rhyme.”

“One day, she forgot something at school. Even though she realized this in the middle of the night, she needed it that day no matter what. And since her home was actually in the same neighborhood, she went to school to get it.

“Even though the school at night was definitely scary, because Kurimu-chan has done this several times before, she was already used to it.

“That day also, as usual, Kurimu-chan was going back to get something she forgot.

“And then.

“The next day, her cold body was found.”

“Eek.”

The president reacted with surprise…… It was good narration. A sudden development. I don’t know exactly what happened, but for now, I just know something extremely bad happened. Minatsu…… Minatsu was unexpectedly used to telling stories.

“Kurimu-chan…… died in the home ec room. Her whole body was completely stabbed.”

“For some reason, I more and more don’t want the setting to have the name Kurimu-chan in it……”

Kurimu-chan (the real one) became pale. However, Minatsu just blatantly ignored that as well.

“The criminal was caught immediately. Lately, that degenerate had been frequently appearing in the outskirts of town. Kurimu-chan happened to come across him just where he was gloating after being able to trespass into the school. It was then that she became easy prey.

Of course, Kurimu-chan ran, but was steadily driven to her end. In the end, she took refuge in the home ec room. However…… that was a mistake. The man noticed that it was the home ec room, took a kitchen knife out from the space under the kitchen table, and then –“

“…………”

The president was silent. When I looked closely at her, she looked as if she was trying to block reality out, so I clapped my hands in front of her face to bring her back. (2)

The president cleared her throat with a cough and stared at Minatsu.

“O-Oh, so that’s it? After that sort of murder incident, the kitchen knives were just moved to a different place, big deal……”

“No, that’s not it Prez-san. That wasn’t the real reason the knives were moved to the prep room.”

“Eh?”

“Something terrible happened…… After the incident, a student who stayed in the home ec room after school……”

“Wh…… what happened?”

The president gulped down her saliva. The story was getting closer to its climax.

“After the incident, a student who stayed in the home ec room after school also died….. This time –”

“This time?”

Minatsu waited a painfully long time and told us.

“All the knives in the home ec room were stabbed into him.”

“…!”

The president was scared stiff. Even we were all a bit nervous from the overwhelming atmosphere. However…… everyone understood.

(There’s no way that’s real.)

Aside from the president, everyone properly understood. If such a bizarre incident happened, there’s no way we wouldn’t have heard about it up until now. However…… it seemed to have an immediate effect on the president. With a serious look, she asked Minatsu “A, and the criminal?” …… Well, that’s what Minatsu was waiting to be asked.

“Isn’t it obvious? It was……”

“It was……?”

“It was……”

Minatsu went silent for a moment and the student council room quieted down.

And then.

“You!”

“Eeeeeek!”

Minatsu suddenly pointed at the president and shouted. That also gave us a bit of a scare, but because we expected her to use that sort of end, the shock wasn’t as much as it could’ve been.

But the president……

“…………”

Her soul slightly slipped out her mouth…… This person was horrified. Everyone waited with grins for the president’s revival. The president regained consciousness after a while and, for some reason, angrily said “Wh, why would you do that?!”

“Th, there’s no way that I’m the criminal! D, don’t make fun of me!”

Minatsu smiled wryly at the president’s remark.

“No, no, that wasn’t it at all. Basically, the criminal was the one we wanted to call Kurimu-chan. Yeah…… the Kurimu-chan who became a ghost.”

“Ooh……”

The president once again became speechless at the word “ghost.”

Minatsu wrapped up her story.

“That way of dying really couldn’t be done by human hands. The knives stabbed the entire body almost simultaneously. It’s like…… as if all the knives floated in the air and flew all at once.

…… So, after that. That was how knives came to be strictly stored in the prep room and are no longer in the home ec room…… Prez-san. The student council activities have run late, so be careful. Suppose someone left behind their knife from class in the home ec room…… and if for some reason you enter the home ec room…… I can’t guarantee your safety.”

“…………”

Once again, the president’s soul floated out of her mouth…… She seemed considerably afraid. After taking a short trip to the other side, she returned to her own body and gave a completely unconvincing bluff, saying “Th, that sure is some worthless gossip there.”

……The president gave some amusing reactions. Chizuru-san, Minatsu, Mafuyu-chan and I all grinned.

Even after that, we continued to tell ghost stories to the president. Of course, for all of the stories, we named the protagonist Kurimu-chan. We’re so kind.

Mafuyu-chan scared the president by vividly telling a story about an evil spirit that would enter a person’s body and cause them to commit suicide, known as the “It’s Inside You” ghost. Chizuru-san developed a cruel story of the truth of the “flayed face” serial killing incident from several years ago, and made everything clear by interpreting it as the work of ghosts. Although the story was fantasy, the fact that she used logic and theory in it made it convincing. The president was pushed down to the bottom of the pit of fear.

And as for me –

“There once was a girl named Kurimu-chan. She…… was hired as a maid for a boy named Sugisaki Ken. The end.”

“Eeeeeeeek!”

Just that one sentence scared the president the most.

For some reason it felt like everyone’s eyes were saying “Are you satisfied now?,” but I didn’t care.

After coming all this way, I was going to continue telling all these short stories.

“Kurimu-chan dropped a required class.”

“Eeek!”

“Kurimu-chan was forced to resign from being student council president because she said something inappropriate.”

“Aaah!”

“Kurimu-chan fruitlessly prayed and afterwards she did not grow taller.”

“Nooooo!”

“Sugisaki Ken licked Kurimu-chan’s toothbrush all over and secretly put it back.”

“Gaaaaaaaah!”

“Kurimu-chan’s last words were ‘phew, that was close.’”

“That was careless!”

“Kurimu-chan’s life was all just a dream.”

“Whose?!”

“Kurimu-chan was called ‘that airheaded dunce’ behind her back and never realized.”

“So cruel!”

“Kurimu-chan actually wasn’t Kurimu-chan at all.”

“Somehow that’s the scariest one!”

One after another I told “scary stories” to Kurimu-chan…… I mean the president, until she was completely knocked down. Also, she even forgot to stay calm and keep up her appearance.

For some reason, even Chizuru-san and the Shiina sisters were afraid of my stories. The three of them muttered things like “That’s terrifying……” or “Ma, Mafuyu can’t stop trembling……” or “Such cruel ideas……” My stories were big hits.

Fully satisfied with teasing the president, we took a break for an hour.

Now that the president was no longer any use to us, I talked to Chizuru-san.

“But you know, everyone loves scary stories. I wonder why that is. No matter how you say it, ‘scary’ has a negative connotation.”

Chizuru-san ran her fingers through her hair and smiled.

“There’s also the word ‘thrill.’ It’s like enjoying danger even though you know you will be safe. Maybe like a roller coaster?”

“But even that ‘thrill’ is a fairly mysterious feeling. No matter how many times they guarantee safety, it’s somehow backwards to have something scary become something fun. Because everyone naturally enjoys it, no one says anything, but isn’t that certain outlook very twisted? If the world were different, I get the feeling that those people who had fun with those kinds of things wouldn’t be able to avoid being called strange.

At my words, with a nod, Mafuyu-chan said “That does seem to be true.” Chizuru-san thought about it with a “Hmm,” and Minatsu crossed her arms and said, “Well, it looks that way when you think about it.”

While I watched the president who was the only one still trembling, I felt that if anything, the president was the only honest person here. It’s normal to dislike and be afraid of scary stories…… the majority of people like scary stories, but isn’t the side that thinks “fear is amusing,” really strange and twisted?

“When you put it that way…… It makes me feel as if the current situation in schol itself is somehow really scary.”

“Yes…… That does seem to be the case.”

Chizuru-san agreed.

“If it is strange to truly enjoy scary stories…… This school…… no, this planet is bustling with communities of strange humans. If you think about it, it’s really scary.”

“B, both of you, stop thinking like that.”

Minatsu was a bit scared. However, Mafuyu-chan muttered “That’s true……”

“Mafuyu loves scary stories, but…… But Mafuyu can’t find an explanation as to why Mafuyu loves them so much. Is it maybe… could it be that that in itself is a scary, inexplicable thing?”

We went silent…… I felt that it was fundamentally impossible to suppress an inexplicable sense of enjoyment. Changing this school’s situation was… very difficult.

During this silence, an unexpected person raised her voice…… it was the president.

“See, that’s what I was saying! The scariest things are humans!”

For some reason, the president was very proudly sticking her chest out. Even though we smiled bitterly…… somewhere in our hearts we definitely felt that what she said was true.

“Humans…… they sure are scary. I just don’t understand ‘em.”

Minatsu’s mutter strangely resounded through the student council room.

The conclusion of today’s agenda:

Stopping the circulation of scary stories is simply impossible.

…… However. We came to this conclusion, but I was worried about the dejected and worn-out president…… Did we do something bad? Did we tease her too much? People who didn’t like scary stories…… really didn’t like them.

Moreover, if you looked at it from the view of people like the president, scary stories themselves are of course scary, but seeing people around them having fun telling scary stories might also have been scary.

…………

A way to stop scary stories, huh?

***

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TRANSLATOR’S NOTES
(1) The text gives “Biohazard,” the Japanese name for the Resident Evil series.
(2) The actual term used here was “nekodamashi.” A literal translation gives “cat deception,” but it’s actually a sumo technique where one claps their hands in front of their opponent’s face to disorient them.

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