Two days later, she left me.
I had a feeling when I reached the office after school. Alice was packing up the dolls on the bed, and it shocked me.
“Hurry up and help me! Uu, it’s depressing thinking about how I have to to stuff so many of my friends into this small box…”
Even though Alice was somewhat teary, she stuffed the dolls, numbering more than a hundred, into the cardboard box. She asked me for help, so I could only do so. But no matter how I did it, it made her unhappy. And she continued to grumble “The back of the dolphin’s bent!”, “The Capybara’s no different from burnt bread if you squash it like this!” “Don’t put the puppy together with the monkey! They’re not on good terms!”
An hour later, the packing of the cardboard boxes were finally done. There was so many of them that it filled the entire kitchen; Alice and I laid side by side on the bed. Looking at the wide white mattress, I realized that it was so big, and it was a refreshing feeling.
“What do we do with the plushies?”
I asked as I looked at Alice. The sleeves of her pajamas were black, probably because the plushies in the corner of the room were covered with some dust. She stared at the ceiling for a while, her long black hair covering the bed like spilled honey.
“I’ll probably leave them to Kei nii-sama. The place I’m going to next might not be one where I can bring friends to.”
These words finally forced out an unbearable heat out of my chest. No, perhaps it had been there for a while, but only recently did I dare to admit it.
Alice reached her hand out, picking up a rectangular object the size of her palm from the gadget rack.
It was the remote control.
Her finger tapped at it, and the buzzing of the air conditioner, injecting cold air into this detective agency all year long, vanished as though it was sucked into the abyss.
It died. It was over. Such a lament surged up within me, unable to be held back.
Alice turned her face to the side, and I followed her eyes to look at the 6 security cameras on the monitor by her bed. There were two cars parked in front of the ‘Hanamaru Ramen Shop’. One of them was painted black and white, while the other was a reddish orange.
Several men in trench coats could be seen getting off the cars. Min-san left the shop to talk to them.
“…Looks like nee-sama surrendered yesterday.”
Alice muttered as she looked up at the ceiling.
I too nodded as I faced the ceiling.
“I never did pay heed to the laws of this country, and now I ended up like this. How laughable…but I guess I have no choice.”
Without the sounds of the air conditioner phasing us out, Alice’s words echoed in my chest mercilessly.
“Can I say something embarrassing?”
“Is there anything you say normally that isn’t embarrassing?”
I couldn’t laugh. Maybe this really is the case.
“I really don’t wish that you go with them.”
That might be the one time this detective ever told me off so lightly.
“This is the sin you chose to reveal yourself. Even if you’re the replacement, it is a case you solved. No matter how much it hurts, you have to bear it. I experienced this a few times already.”
I wanted to answer, but I didn’t know what to say. Alice’s voice melted in this thin air,
“But for me–I guess it’s a little easier for me now. I have an assistant who can shoulder some of my load.”
Don’t say this now. I can’t even look at you now.
“Narumi. If you repeat everything again while having remembered everything, will you choose a different path?”
Hearing this, I raised my hands to block the bluish-white lights, affirming,
My reply was so clear even I was taken aback by it.
“I’ll definitely do the same thing.”
I sat up, wanting to get off the bed, but my legs could not exert strength, and I sprawled back on the icy bed. Alice leaned over, sitting on the side of the bed, and this useless me couldn’t lift my head to look at her.
“Alice. So many things happened till now. It feels like–”
I said as I stared at her knees in front of my eyes,
“It feels like everything was written down from the very beginning, in a certain place, and that we’re following the script every day.”
At this point, Alice must be looking at me with her warm, fleeting smile. Soon after, the tender voice of the girl drifted to me,
“I suppose. However, it is a story belonging to you alone. Your courage, your exploits, your failures. No matter whatever you choose, whether you engrave it on a stone tablet, so what? In any case, I feel happy that you’re able to face me like this right now. What about you?”
I stared at Alice’s face, but suddenly, my eyes reddened, and I couldn’t lift my head.
“So, what will you do in the future?”
As for me–what will I do from now on?
I had decided.
It was the one thing worth doing.
“I’m going to write my story.”
With a trembling voice, I answered,
“I’m going to write everything that had happened to this point, so that a certain me in the past is able to find its path.”
This is also for the sake of allowing me to remember Alice forever.
A little hand reached out before my eyes.
Finally, I was able to lift my head. I felt that it was unfair that I was the only one crying, but I grabbed her hand.
“Now then, this is a present from the detective to the author.”
“I shall name this for you. “God’s Notebook” It shall be. Isn’t this a sharp title?”
–In other words, it is the book you are currently holding.