Two Irises/A Chance Encounter under Red
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I didn’t really want to hang myself. But I had already tried to jump off, take a lot of sleeping pills, sink to the bottom of a pool, cut my wrists while at the bathtub, and I really didn’t want to jump in front of a car or train either, because I would be too much of a bother. In the end, when I was thinking about how to try to kill myself next, I realized hanging was the way to go.

In a deserted apartment, the balcony leads to a view of a gray cityscape under the cold weather. It was a nostalgic scene. 4 years ago, an explosion at an abandoned factory at the edge of the city led to people leaving the area. The explosion happened at a chemical plant, and rumours of contaminants being sprinkled all over spread out. The government compensating the migration costs accelerated the trend, and the rest left following the place becoming a ghost town and the worsening of public order. My family lived in this building, in this apartment. I took the keys when I moved during the mess, and no one said a thing. Since then, this place has been like a secret base.

Creaks under my footsteps. The wooden box I stand on, chosen hurriedly, gives me little assurance. I take a look at the vantage point, much higher than I’m used to from the rope I learnt how to tie from the internet. Tied to a thick pipe running on the roof of the balcony, the rope’s loop is exactly in front of my face thanks to the platform I’m standing on. Basically, if I put the loop around my neck, and I kicked the platform, my feet wouldn’t reach the ground. A plastic tub is right under the rope. I’ve heard hanging corpses can end up looking pretty bad.

I wondered what it would feel like to die by hanging, then quickly stopped. I’d learn now, in any case. Instead, I thought about the suicide note, and my cellphone. The note I’ve been using these past 4 years that I’ll have to rewrite if this fails. The cellphone is set to transmit my GPS location. I don’t know if that’ll tell anyone of my location, but if it helps find me, then it’s worth it. If I were to die, I would like to die alone in a quiet place, but after I’m gone, I’m sure my family would want to know where I died, and it might help those looking for me, that kind of thing. Anyhow, I think all preparations are ready, think I only have one- No, two things left to do.

The first one is to put my head on the noose. I lightly make sure it won’t come off.

And the second, I take a step forward-


I’ve heard that my symptoms are commonly referred to as “Thanatoma Merging.”

Nowadays, “Death Extraction” has become commonplace… Think it’s been two years since the technology to extract death — be it from drowning, bleeding out, being run over, etc. — in the shape of a liquid known as “Thanatoma” has spread to the public. It was already spoken about as the health care of the future, but a sudden global pandemic forced it to become a mandatory treatment. And with a track record of not a single person dying after the treatment, Thanatoma extraction rapidly became accepted by the masses.

I think the story that brought it to light was the one about a man who was crushed and flattened by a car, who managed to get out without issue. Many similar stories surfaced around the web, and soon the government was forced to confirm the existence of Thanatoma Merging. I forget the details, but victims of Thanatoma Merging would be deprived of ways of dying other than the virus. Even now I see pamphlets and commercials about compensations for victims of Thanatoma Merging, but as people usually don’t know they’re victims until they die, less than 10% of the people who are believed to be affected by it come forward. The issue of Thanatoma Merging is quite damaging, as there are people who trick victims and extract their Thanatoma illegally.

Well, basically, it seems I’m also a victim of it. As for myself, I’m somewhat skeptical about the Thanatoma Merging incident in general.


I calmly opened my eyes, as if waking up from slumber. I vaguely remember the rope wedging into my neck, and my consciousness slipping away as I suffocated. My body is still hanging, and the sensation of not being able to breathe torments my thoughts. Still, I feel somewhat refreshed… Ah, I see. It felt like waking up from a dream because I was sleeping, no? With a bitter smile, he grabs the rope with his arms. With the incompetent arm strength of a high-school girl, I lift myself. Getting out of this didn’t seem impossible. Losing my composure, tears in my eyes from the pain in my jaw, I change my position little by little. I might be the first person to fall asleep while hanging themselves. It was a trivial yet unforgettable experience, having such carefree thoughts, I was suddenly calm: The suicidal person was thinking about the future. It was laughable. Or did I know, deep inside, that the time for my life to end would never come? The rope comes off the chin, and in a moment of peace of mind, I feel like I’m levitating; dangerous, I think, but there’s nothing I can do about it, my feet hitting the ground from such a height, I fall down, bruising my lower body all over. It hurts. I feel so overwhelmingly alive I can’t help but also feel ashamed. As I clean up my sucide tools, the shame increases. I stand up and look out the balcony, staring down. Those unpopular streets, perfect for the mood of the city… They remind me of ‘that day’.


It was a gritty and rainy day. Unlike now, many people lived here, but there was no traffic, as one would expect from a rainy day during a holiday. I stared at the scenery, but many memories floated up into my mind. The teacher saying we should start thinking about our career paths. My dad saying I should get into a good high school and not worry about the house. My grades being the opposite of what people expected. Always doing what I’m told, having no self-direction. And yet vague fears about the future still plague my mind. As I focused on the view of the rainy asphalt alley in front of me, I was already tilting my center of gravity, climbing over the handrail.

I don’t remember ‘the moment’. I found myself lying on the wet ground, rain soaking me. A tiresome pain enveloped my body, stopping me from feeling the cold rain. Rather than being unable to move, I felt the tiredness take over my body, making me want to just lie down. At that time, I very vividly remember something starting to flow down from my body, and I thought ‘Ahhh, this is it. I’m dying’. It flowed and flowed and flowed; suddenly, my body became hot. There was no time for bewilderment: the fever quickly turned into extreme pain. There was no screaming, merely the writhing in pain and the tearing and battering pain throughout all my body, and the waiting for it all to pass. I don’t know how much time passed, but eventually the pain decreased; I was finally able to think about something, about being annoyed at my body being riddled with despondency. My clothes were covered in blood, mud, and filth, and I poked around my body, trying my best to bear with the discomfort. I touched my face, caressed the back of my head, carefully checking my armpits, patted my breasts, and finally looked over my arms and legs. My body was intact, not a single bone broken. The rain washed me away.

That was 4 years ago. Snce then, all my suicide attempts have ended up failing. Although they’ve been fatal, all returns to normal, only feeling the unique sensation of something flowing out of my body. Four years ago, the time before the spread of Thanatoma and Thanatoma Merging, and right after the chemical plant explosion. I can’t help but have a ridiculous conspiracy theory about it.


I put away all my tools, and look out the balcony, lonely as ever. It’s around 2 o’clock, and the low sunlight of the winter sky feels warm. Gradually warming up in the cold air has an immediate effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. Still, I had just had a nap while attempting my eternal sleep, so I readied myself to go back home.

I walked down the shopping district, lined with shutters. Vagrants covered in cardboard laid down here and there, no one to blame for it. Even though it’s an unsafe place, few lawless people roamed during daytime. It’s not unusual to hear crashes and loud noises coming from the alleys that branch off from the main street, but it’s not a problem as long as you don’t come near. Walking past the shut down shops, past the small factories and old houses demolished to give way to parking lots, past all this that has become ‘everyday’… Or maybe this journey has become routine to me.

“Eh? Hello, boss? Did it run out of battery, really?!”

I heard a hysterical voice coming from an alley in between two stores. I know I shouldn’t be too careless around this place, but worry and a tinge of curiosity won over me, and looked over where the voice had come from. There he was, a young boy. Dressed from head to toes in loose, black clothes, and wearing a hoodie jacket that covered his eyes, he blended well with the darkness of the small street. Leaning against the alley’s wall, he was absorbed in his smartphone, and didn’t seem to notice me. It looked like a small scene of everyday life, but in the middle of this abandoned town, it was quite bizarre.

I wonder if I should speak to him, he seemed troubled. But I look suspicious, I think to myself, and suddenly became aware of that fact. I was wearing my high school uniform with a light winter jacket over it, and was carrying a lot of luggage on my back. Objectively speaking, I looked extremely shady. Ah, if we’re suspicious of each other, then I guess that’s fine; with this baseless confidence that felt more like resignation, I walked up to the boy.

“Hey, is everything alright?”

“Uwah, er… Uh, it’s… Miss, can I help you with anything?”

Caught off guard, the boy almost dropped his smartphone. He holds his phone close to him, bending back before turning to me. His gaze and posture exposed his distrust, covering his reaction with a smile.

“You ran out of battery, no? Want to use my portable charger?”


“Ahhh, thanks for helping. Can’t believe I’d make such a stupid mistake like forgetting to charge my phone.”

“I totally get that. That has happened to me so many times I just carry a battery with me now.”

We were crouching in front of a store turned into an abandoned building, holding our phones which were connected to a charger, waiting for it to reboot. At first, the boy kept a friendly demeanor while being attentive of his surroundings, but as we talked, his attitude softened. I myself don’t have too many friends, so I let the conversation flow.

“So why were you making a phone call here?”

“Ah, that’s because I was asked to run an errand.”

“Look at the street, practically all stores are closed, no?”

“It seems that way. I don’t really know where I was going, to be honest… And as soon as I thought about it, I made the call… And then it cut off.”

“Your charge ran out.”

“Yeah. Which, uh, which is why I would… I’d like to charge it up to a decent amount if, er, if possible…”

I check the time on my smartphone as the boy smiles apologetically. It was almost 3:00, and with the winter seasons almost here, the sun would start setting anytime now.

“I have to get back home before it gets dark.”

“Ah, I see, well, sorry then, miss. But to meet nice people in a place like this… Maybe the world’s worth living in still.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“Hah, yeah, it is. But I’m sure you’re nice, right?… Er, I mean, why were you around these parts? You haven’t said anything.”

Of course, there’s no way I was gonna tell him I came here to hang myself.

“I used to live here. I moved out, but I still come here from time to time… I miss it.”

It wasn’t a lie. Nostalgia was certainly one of the reasons I still visited my ‘secret base’.

“Huh, this town… Must have changed a lot since you lived here.”

“… It has, yeah. This area used to be really crowded before. This… Where we’re sitting right now, it used to be a grocery store… And right across was a candy store. I used to get cola-flavored gummies there…”

When I started talking, the memories began flooding out, those memories spilling out of my mouth, bringing other memories along. I often compared sweets with my friends, and the shopkeeper of a deep-fried stand would give me fried chicken, I once stopped a fight between neighbors, and when I told my dad, he praised me; my feelings towards this city kept flooding out, taking me by surprise. But as the recollections gathered and time passed, the scenery gradually lost its color, and not because of the accident 4 years ago. I was acting differently. I was so preoccupied with myself, I didn’t pay attention to those around me.

I stood up and turned to the main street in between the rows of shutters. The cold wind blew past me, towards the arcade.

“Well, as you can see, these streets are ruins, and safety’s been getting worse and worse. You shouldn’t stay for long, if I say so myself.”

“Ahaha, don’t worry… It seems I have enough charge now.”

on the display, shining on the boy’s hand, one could see a ‘58%’ on big lettering. The boy quickly unplugs it from the mobile battery and rapidly gets up, handing it over. With the other hand he firmly held the phone to his head, already trying to make a phone call.

“Thanks, and know that I’ll make it up to you someday… But for now, it’s back to running errands.”

“Don’t mention it.”

If you think about it, the chances we’ll meet again are remarkably low, not giving each other our names, let alone our addresses; we’re just two people who had never met before today. Still, it was weird to keep the boy in a hurry waiting, so I sent him off with a vague reply. I watched his back move further away down the shopping district, then turned to go home-

“Hey, uh, don’t think you should come here ever again. Dunno how to say this, but…”

When I immediately turned around at the sound of his voice, the boy was no longer there.


“Hahaha! You can’t just run away from me!”

I hear a coarse voice behind me. But, no, there was no time to shout, only time to run down the intricate-looking alleys. I’d thrown away my luggage and jacket somewhere, and even though I am agile, I have the stamina of a high school girl, and the distance between me and the owner of the voice wasn’t getting longer; wasn’t getting shorter either. I was being played with, I was sure of it, but the fear drove me to keep running.

It all started 10 minutes ago. It was a dumb story, but after I parted with the boy, I realized I left my commuter pass and wallet in my pouch back at the ‘secret base’, so I went back to get them.

“Yo, ‘miss’, you seem in a hurry. Mind if I join you?”

The call of a dirty-looking man in gold-dyed hair made me stop, then back away. The man’s stubborn, evil looking grin deepened.

“Aw, what a hurtful reaction. I just wanna talk to you for a bit… That kid… What were you doing with that ‘pneuma’ guy?”

That low, coercive voice gave me chills. And a knife shined on his hand. Before I realized it, I turned around and ran.

The city’s main street appears reasonable, but behind it there’s a complex housing district (Well, a ‘former’ complex housing district), connected with one another. It’s been ten years since I’ve played around, running about with confidence, but now I speed down the small streets, faint memories helping me navigate. I don’t think I can simply run away from him, so I guess that if I lost him using my knowledge of the area, then-

“Ugh, another chain link fence!…”

I was wrong. This city had changed more than I expected. Here and there, fencing and rubbish stood in the way unnaturally, and I often ran into dead ends. I try to avoid running into obstacles as much as possible, not wanting to stop, but every street I go down to, every path I take, I run into them. I realize it then. This is a trap. It’s a hunter’s den.The more you run, the deeper you’re lured into. Then you reach the core.

A space surrounded by barbed wire and chain fencing. This is the end of the road.

“Gotcha now! Had fun, running around?”

The voice that crawls up my spine stops me, and I fall to the ground. The edge of the sky is red-coloured. The sound of footsteps cramping the ground approaching me makes me turn around in fear. A man with a curved smirk is right behind me.

“You made me chase you here… God, why did you run away? Do you have something to hide, hm?”

“Th-the knife… It’s…”

“Oh, this?”

Its cold touch pressing against the back of my neck forced a shriek out of me. The next second, the sensation changed to a warm one, warm liquid running down my cheek.

“If you reply obediently, I won’t resort to violence… So, what did you tell that ‘pneuma’ guy? And what did he tell you? What do you know?”

I don’t know what you’re saying, it’s a misunderstanding, forgive me please… No sound was coming out of my throat. I just shook my head as best I could. Before long, his expression was gone, staring down at me with emotionless eyes. Eventually, he lets out a sigh in disappointment. It didn’t pass through my head in any way that they’d given up on me.

“I’ll just cut you apart and bring back whatever is of use.”

The knife left my cheek, and soon the sound of cutting through air reached me-


The man collapsed down with force.

After a delay, a black shadow lands. This was definitely the boy, and now, looking up, I could finally see what was under his hood, I could see how brave he looked.

“We meet again, miss. A rather useless advice, to tell me not to come back on the day you get attacked.”


I desperately try to speak up. I can’t keep up with what’s happening.

“Well, I was worried about you, miss. My boss told me about some ‘bluenecks’ rats messing around. I had a bad feeling about it, so I went for a walk, and found your clothes on the ground.

“I’m… I’m sorry… So- so-sorry…”

“No, no, let me apologize for getting you involved in this. I dunno how I could even repay- Oop.”

The man slowly stands up, being gazed at by the boy.

“Tch, that hurt! ‘Pneuma’ has no discipline, I swear… Do they teach brats that ‘If you see an adult, you kick him in the face’, huh?”

“I think it’s more impolite to mess with people during the ‘day’.”

“You were the first one she got involved with. If anyone’s getting a grudge held against ‘em, it’s gotta be you for being careless.”

“… That’s true, yeah.”

The boy and my eyes meet. His brave look was hidden behind a serious gaze, staring intently into my eyes. Without a reason, I was confused as to why he stared at me so. The gaze ends instantaneously, and he turns around, pulling out something that looked like a toy gun out of his pockets. Regardless of whatever reaction the man had, he pulled the trigger. With a ‘pshoo’, an almost disappointing sound, the man stopped moving, a red stain spreading across his chest…

… Making then man laugh. He kicks the now-surprised boy’s face. The man leaned towards his now collapsed opponent, still clasping the grey knife, and jams it into the boy’s chest. The next moment, the knife is lifted, then falls back down, then is lifted, then falls, lifted, falls; I cannot understand what’s happening in front of my eyes. Everything felt so unreal, my brain had given up trying to interpret the scene.

“Haha, you didn’t extract death by stabbing?! You’re so careless, damn! No wonder your famous Thanatoma rounds ain’t working, eh, Pneuma? The Thanatoma you use, the system you use, the extraction efficiency! The seed’s all broken!”

I can hear him yelling. He looked extremely happy. The was a guttural sound. It made me sick. It strongly smelled of iron. It made me sick. Soon, that sound will be no more. But the smell won’t go away. A red shadow rose before my eyes. Only the first half was red.

“You sure regret getting a piece of shit trinket that only extracts the most inadequate parts… Now…”

A red shadow approached.

“There’s no point in a hostage now… And I’m not feeling like taking them home either… Haven’t killed in a while. My face’s getting all itchy and shit…”

The red shadow approached. It got closer, and stretched out its arms.

“… Guh, hwah?!”

The shadow bent up, then turned around. The messy red thing that had fallen down tightly grasped its gun, slowly rising, standing up, breathing heavily, but with a certain smile on its face.

“What? You’re alive?!”

The boy was here.

“I’m a tad special, you see. Well, to tell the truth, I’m actually surprised.”

The man winced at the boy’s attitude, not seeming to care about its body, which had such a messy chest and abdomen, his silhouette had crumbled apart. The boy was checking his abdomen’s injury — More ‘flesh’ than ‘wound’ — concerned about it, before realizing it. Every time the boy moved his hand to wipe away the blood that stuck to him, clean skin would appear in its place. And so, the surface of his body regained its shape with each sputter of blood falling off his various organs. Soon enough, there was an unhurt person with only small clots of blood clinging to him.

“What the hell, man!”

“Surprised you there? I’m returning the favor. That being said, maybe you should worry more about yourself, rather than about me.”


I wonder what the man was about to say: He opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, his eyes suddenly turned white, and he collapsed. He seemed to be breathing somewhat, but other than that, he didn’t move an inch.

“It’s just anesthesia… Thanatoma can’t be extracted if you’re dead… Now, are you okay, miss?”

“Eh… Er, uh, I… I’m ok, I think…”

When he calls out to me, I’m finally freed from the bystander effect. Little by little, I understood the scene that unfolded before me: I’d been saved. If he hadn’t come, I would have been killed-

I began crying. I had no time to keep up appearances, merely to cry on and on.


After enough crying, I began regaining my composure, at least internally. The next thing that came to my mind were many, many questions. The boy seemed to be making a phone call, but once he noticed me, his expression brightened. He looks at me as I sit back up, putting his phone down before rushing to me.

“Feeling better?”

“Yeah, but… But still… I’m… I’m so sorry… I must look so miserable.”

“There’s no need to apologize! You’ve been through a lot; it’s understandable.”

“Yeah… God, I have so many questions.”

“About things you aren’t meant to know.”

“It’s too late for that. At least… At least I didn’t meet my end here.”

The boy looks away, scratching his head through his hoodie. I knew I was troubling him, but it was impossible to ignore the reality I’ve been forced to face. After some hesitation, the boy sighs, then turns to me.

“Alright then. The boss did want to meet you miss, so… Basically, you won’t be able to return to the ‘daylight’; to your daily life. Also, this might sound funny, but I also have a question for you. You’ll have to answer me later.”

I quietly nod. Now, what should I ask first? As one could guess, this boy’s background was like an abyss, and some question wouldn’t have an answer, and questions that shouldn’t even be asked. If possible, I want to annoy the boy as little as possible…

“Well, for starters… Why do you dress like a boy?”

The boy- No, the girl fell down.

“T-that’s what you’re asking me?! Why do you even wanna know?!”

“Is that your question? Should I answer first?”

“God, you’re so obnoxious. Fine, I’ll answer first!”

The girl clears her throat, as if saying ‘let’s start over’.

“Well, it’s not a big deal. In this line of work, getting groped is a real danger, although this guy didn’t seem too tough, so I guess it’s fine that I roughed him up a bit.”

I look over at the fainted guy on the ground.

“So that way, even if I can’t hide the fact I’m a kid, I can hide the fact I’m a woman. Thankfully, I’ve been able to deceive people by being seen as a fairly-androgynous child… Didn’t think a complete stranger would see past the ruse.”

Her embarrassed look and the way she looks away are exactly what you’d expect from a girl of her age, making her words harder to ignore.

“Understood. Now, second, is it okay? My question is more of a confirmation… But your work… It’s… It’s basically illegal activities, no?”


That reply was too direct.

“This time, an organization hostile to ‘Pneuma’ known as ‘Blueneck’ became aware of my contact with you, and were planning on getting information out of you, or using you… Which means, this is my fault. I know it’s something I can’t really apologize for, but I’m really sorry for all of this.”

“N-no, don’t apologize! That- It’s… I’m paying the consequences of my actions.”

I quickly follow her as she deeply bows. I was the one who talked to her in the first place, and also the one who thought knew the dangers of the city, when I clearly didn’t know anything at all. It’s obviously my fault, I thought. After enough back and forth, we agreed that both of us were at fault, and reached a conclusion.

Again, I thought about what else I wanted to know. Perhaps the best way to have my doubts resolved would be to ask this ‘Pneuma’ boss of hers, but he may not give me any answers. On the other hand, I hesitated about directly asking the girl questions like what was she doing in such a dangerous place, or how did she get those amazing regenerative powers that surprised even those working underground like her, and if it was also some type of Thanatoma Merging. Well, there’s one thing-

“Er, you see, mind if I ask one last question?”

“Ask away.”

“Why did you bother to look for me?”

If she was sure I’d end up involved in something like this, she should have avoided me from the beginning. As I questioned the stranger, I noticed she was staring at me with eyes with color I couldn’t get a read on.

“Well… That has to do with something I’m wondering too. Mind if I ask you a question first?”


“Alright, let me go straight to the point then: Miss, why did you try to kill yourself? And why, if you tried to commit suicide, did you look so scared by the idea of dying?”

For a moment, I couldn’t understand what the girl had said. Without thinking, I reach for my neck: Not the neck with superficial wounds caused by that man, but the neck that but half a day ago was being dug into by a thick rope.

“People commit suicide because they want to die, no? And yet, that fear of death… I can’t really wrap my head around it.”

Why, I wonder. I didn’t know the answer myself. Why do I want to die, and why do I not want to die? What did death mean to me?


Digging into my heart, bit by bit, frantically assimilating it to get the message across as best as possible, I slowly began putting my words together. I shouldn’t say ‘I don’t know’. I had to answer properly.

“I’ve… I’ve lost sight of what ‘dying’ means. I… Yes, I have an unusual physique, just like you.”

“Like me?”

“I don’t know if you believe me… But apparently, I can’t die by suicide. Jumping off heighs, overdosing, drowning… Hanging myself. None of them worked. It’s not gonna work, I thought, but I keep trying; suicide. I hope I can die someday, I thought, focusing on suicidal ideations… But I was wrong.”

When I think about it this way, once again, I realize I don’t know what I want to do. The way I go along with this without really understanding anything has not developed since that rainy day, 4 years ago.

“Maybe today I was forced to face death in the truest sense of the word. Until then, I had evaded death for a long time… I didn’t want to die then, not even a little. Now that I face it for real… Frankly, I still don’t know. I still haven’t reached a conclusion on what death means to me, sorry.”

As I finish speaking, I feel my face grow hot. From the outside, it feels like what I’m saying makes no sense, but the girl listened to me intently. It was both embarrassing and heartwarming.

“I see. Well, that’s fine, it’s the answer I was looking for. And… I’ll surely help you, miss.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t mean to brag, but Pneuma has the best selection of Thanatoma. We handle various Thanatomas both legal and illegal, and we make sure to examine their origins in detail, or rather I do. So, miss… I’m not asking you to help me with any crimes… But I want you to join me in my search for ‘death’.”

“Search… for ‘death’…”

“You’ll surely find it here.”

The girl looks up to the sky. The evening sky is completely dyed in orange, with some bits of azure to the east. Will my death be under this sky? I don’t know, which is why I wanted to know. Not by circumstances, but by my own decision would I find death, I decided.

I stand up, my body still not recovered from today’s fatigue. I turned to the girl, and held out my hand.

“I dunno what I can do in this situation… But I want to find out. My name is Iris Mizuka. A pleasure to meet you.”

The girl, surprised, moves her small palm to touch mine, and grasps it.

“What an odd coincidence. My name is also iris. It’s the alias I use to get along with the world of the ‘night’.”

“Ah, well… Iris-chan, then? Feels kinda weird.”

“Ahahaha. I’ll call you Miss Iris, then.”

Iris loudly clears her throat, her cheerful expression stiffening. Yeah, that’s true, the current situation is not welcoming at all. I got careless and got involved with the underground, and there’s no going back now. But I also found a certain kind of hope here. My cheeks stiffen at the tension as well. The setting vermillion sky looked down upon us.

“I’m not gonna say ‘welcome back’. From here on out, this is not the world you knew; this is not the city you knew. Welcome to the city where ‘day’ and ‘night’ overlaps… Welcome to KureinaiTwilight.”





Two Irises/A Chance Encounter under Red





“Now that I think about it, I just remembered something that’s bothering me… Mind if I ask you something, Iris-chan?”

“Hm? What is it?”

“How did you know I had tried to commit suicide?”

“Ah, well, that’s an easy thing…”

iris makes a gesture of patting her neck.

“After trying to hang yourself, you become aware of the kind of bruises the rope makes on your body.”

A dumb sounding ‘ah’ escaped my mouth. In other words, I’d been wandering around with rope marks around my neck. Thinking about it brought me a certain kind of embarrassment, my face reddening.

“… Ah, that’s right, I have a question for you too. How did you know I was a woman?”

Oh yeah, I remember her saying she was quite confident in her male clothes. Actually, I’d been the first one to figure it out, and it happened when-

“… Well, that guy stabbed you repeatedly, but you came back from that.”


“At that time… I saw it.”

“Hm? See what?”

“What’s inside.”


Iris gives me a confused look at my poor wording, but I was hesitant at saying anything more specific, so instead I silently gestured towards my lower abdomen. She ketp the same gesture, as if there was a question mark over her head, but after a few seconds, she suddenly stopped moving. Her face immediately turned scarlet red, and an impossible to discern groan came out her mouth. As the scene unfolded, I reminisced about it… It looked just like how it’s drawn in textbooks.

The two of them stood together, under the red sky, their faces the color of sunset.

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