Art: Fū Miyami
On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?
Today is the day that I’m going to rain down my revenge on all those shit-heads, at the top of the caste! Last night, that moment with Akari was idyllic, idyllic and yet I laced her morning tea with benzodiazepines, and she’s knocked out cold on the marble countertop. If anyone could have prevented this suicidal killing spree, it would have been her. But, now, she can’t stop me. No one can. It’s up to me and Ari now, the IA that behold in my aching eye!
There’s a pouch that I’ve strapped around my stomach, I can just pull out the ammunition like strings off taffy from a candy story. Though, during my practice runs, pulling out the rounds felt like stringing out my own intestines on display. Yes, before their deaths, they will see the heart that they’ve run dry. They will see a heart that is hard to find. One that they stole from the innocent IA, they will pay — Hell will reign down on all of us tonight.
I scurry away and rent a hotel near the Diet Building, it happed to be adjacent to that disgusting, faux-Hollywood square. I peer, like a watchdog, from the third floor. I see so many bright-eyed auditioning idols enter the building with hope, as they clutch their tickets. If someone as talented as IA could be so easily, what makes them think that they could make it — it’s impossible in such a parasitic system, even the ones with wealthy connections barely make it alive.
I stroke the muzzle of my AK, like the scruff of a soft cat’s neck. My only remaining companion, the antecedent extension of my pride. Something that existed in my nest, before I knew that my heart could be bruised so completely. I am going mad, Ari’s voice still cries to me, but despite my obsession with vengeance — I still can’t hear what she’s saying!
There’s a motorcade outside is roaring, and as the screaming in my head intensifies, I grit my teeth and start slicing the top of my arms, hoping that the fever dream of death will somehow come to an end! I bite the inside of my gums until they’re raw and tender, but my dull eye is dry and can no longer form the semblance of a tear. Furthermore, I laugh and languish in the pain of pouring pure alcohol on the lacerations. I wonder if those people will cry, I wonder if they’ll beg.
Becoming a chaotic evil character is something that I never intended to be, nor is it something that I really saw inside of myself, I just saw my band and the heavenly visage of IA, that once graced my sight. But, now I’m blind in one eye. I carnivorously devour a protein bar, for energy, eating no longer means a thing to me and my disgust towards television has grown so severe, that it takes everything in my power, not to hurl the television set out of the third-story window.
When I slink down to the mezzanine of the hotel, the cashier is young and innocent-looking. I can’t tell whether she’s human or an android, sometimes it’s impossible to see, until you make them bleed. There’s a wad of crumpled notes in my pocket, I shovel them near here, creating a smile pile of filth next to the register. She grimaces at the dried bloodstains coating my hands and arms, and the gauze over my eye seems strange and foreign to her, and yet — this girl with the freckles and orange-peel hair accepts the cash politely.
My haunting, yet determined dead eye must have appeared more doll-like than human, more machine than man, more monstrous than anthropoid. The small beaded bracelets clack on her wrist as she attempts to soundly count the currency. Dripping with a sense of moribundity and distaste, I begin singing while she’s counting the bills:
A dream-like state of asphyxiation
“It seems like a miracle has happened to me”
Along with this everyday where I am tormented
Here is an upside-down Eden
狂う 平衡感覚 立ちくらみ
A sense of balance has gone awry, lightheadedness
姿見 眺めて 零した。
Showing my feelings, gazing, into the mirror
“I’ll get even!”
Revenge Syndrome, justice without irony
A cold, wicked heroine saying, “Well-suited for an idiot”
What crushed that favor is smeared into people
「くだらない」と君は 吐いた 理想論を？
“Worthless,” you spat. Is that idealism?
Once again, starting a new game
Having bitten the poison apple in a daze？？
苛いじめだ 騙しだ 裏切りだ
It’s bullying, it’s deception, it’s betrayal
Even spice is not allowed
Hateful glares floated around
浮いた インチキ張り札 大セール
A big sale on fake posters
姿見 睨にらんで 叫んだ。
Having glared and yelled into the mirror
“The Retribution Strategy Commencement Signal”
Revenge Syndrome, justice without irony
A dreaming heroine asking, “How do you do?”
Correspondence from me to you, the victim
つまらない言葉を 静かに 添えてさ
Quietly accompanying boring words
姿見 笑って 答えた
The mirror laughed and answered
“Do you really represent justice?”
Diagnosis: Dreaming Disease
“The cold, wicked heroine is me.”
Revenge Syndrome, justice without irony
The dreaming heroine asks, “How do you do?”
Smeared onto others, as a result of misunderstanding
“Worthless,” you said―
Revenge Syndrome, with the slightest bit of irony
But I cannot abandon it, so I will leap out
さよなら 皆さん どうかお元気で
Goodbye everyone, please be well
Taking the tickets, from that day and running off
The cashier blinks twice and seems genuinely taken aback by my singing ability, she speaks at last, saying, “Wow! You have a beautiful voice! I take it, from the guitar case on your back, that you’re in a band?”
“Was,” I said prophetically, scratching an invisible scab on my face, “I’m, what would you say, a freelance artist now.”
“A shame!” she chimes in cheerfully, “I’m sure you’re very talented… here’s the change back.”
“Keep it,” I muttered through a tight opening in my lips, “the rest is a tip.”
I must have come off as menacing because the bubbly redhead froze for a minute and then says in an alarmed voice, “No! Wait, miss! This is way too much!”
“I’m not going to be needing it where I’m going,” I reply with a sneer and sling the guitar case from my back to my chest, hugging it close to my person as the plastic grocery bag rustles and sways.
“One more thing!” the young woman calls out to me.
“Yeah?” I inquire with a steely, reptilian gaze.
“What was that song called? The one that you were singing?”
“It’s a song called Revenge Syndrome,” I answer with contempt playing upon the deadening inflection of my voice, “it’s a song from a VOCALOID named IA.”
“IA?” the cheerful maiden gasps with an excited voice, “I love her! My friend recently got me into her, but I thought she only made pop records. The lyrics to that song sounded… well, dark?”
I turned my heel and faced her, I was far taller than the stout young girl, and my eyes bore into her — I said without blinking, “The old Aria is dead.”
I walk away, and I left that girl looking concerned and confused. What else could I have said? It’s only the truth, the truth that the public doesn’t know, the truth that was administered before my very eyes. They will pay for what they’ve done! I’ll make them dance, as I riddle their pathetic, little bodies… in a hail of bullets.
I cackled to myself and I didn’t even feel filthy enough in my sin, to wash it away in a warm shower, I felt no regret through in my decision to destroy. The more I dedicated myself to the mission, the less the concealed eye ached. In my pocket, my smartphone kept vibrating, annoying! Buzzing like a bee in my ear!
I winced when I saw a picture of Akari holding a bundle of varicolored macarons on the screen — she had been so proud upon finally making the perfect batch, so I had always had that as her contact photo. I plugged the drain in the hotel sink and let my cellphone drown, until the screen had turned completely black. My inner voice hisses, I thought that those benzos would have kept her down for longer than half a day! Fuck!
Despite all of my hatred and madness, I was well-aware that I felt disdain towards myself, and every time Akari came knocking on my door, there was a ray of sanity in the dark. Aria’s voice wept in my head and I clutched my skull with both hands, to control the influx of thoughts, but they were raging like a wave.
Hamlet must have known this pain, I tell myself, is the only way to escape the sinfulness, to give into the psychosis completely. Let the demons devour me? Offer my soul, in a contract of blood?
As if something was there to answer my waking and aching mind, a message of blood appeared before my eyes and was smeared on the mirror, it reads: It is done.
The shivering of my dilating pupils suddenly ceases, and answer brings about a cool resolve. IA’s bloody countenance is reflected in the mirror, but does not exist in the corporeality of our world. The dress is thin and sticky with gore, and her figure droops down, her flaxen locks covering her face.
“Ari? Is that you?” I slip into a rattle of quivers, but swallow them down.
The phantom does not answer, but her head drops down and off of her shoulders; it plummets to the ground and rolls to my feet like a spinning watermelon. As her countenance comes into plain view, the eyes of the ghost are black and pecked bare. I’m just shy of screaming, but the appellation mutes the howls. When I blink again, the apparition and the blood on the mirror are gone, and with staid dedication, I look into the looking glass and declare, “Tonight — I will kill them all!”
An infectious laughter shook my fragile frame and I knew by that point, that I was already too far gone to find salvation.
TO BE CONTINUED