Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura Read Online (FREE)
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“IT’S SAFE TO say you killed them … Isn’t that right?”
The man’s expression does not change when I say this to him. He is wearing a black sweat suit, his body leaning lazily in his chair. If the transparent acrylic glass weren’t between us, would I be afraid? His cheeks are hollow, his eyes slightly sunken.
“I’ve had my doubts all along but … why did you … after the murder, Akiko’s …”
—Don’t jump to conclusions, he says.
He remains expressionless. He seems neither sad nor angry. He just seems tired. The man had been born tired.
—I think I’ll ask the questions, for a change.
I can hear his voice quite clearly even through the acrylic glass.
—Are you … prepared?
The air suddenly grows chilly.
—I’m asking if you’re prepared.
The man is looking straight at me. He hasn’t shifted his gaze once, not for some time now.
—You want to know what’s inside my mind. Isn’t that right?… Why I committed a crime like that. You want to know about the deepest reaches of my heart. But up till now, nobody has come to see me in person … Do you know what that means?
He moves only his mouth—otherwise not a single muscle in his face shifts.
—That I would talk to you. And probably eagerly. Loneliness can turn a person into a great talker. You seem like you can manage to sit with me as long as you’re on the other side of this acrylic glass. But here’s what it feels like to me. Like we’re sitting face to face in a small enclosed room, having a chat. Try to imagine it. Having a conversation with a person who committed a bizarre crime, and at such close range, listening to everything that’s inside his mind … It would be as if I were putting myself inside of you.
“… Inside me?”
—That’s right. Whatever’s inside me, it would end up inside you. Whatever’s inside you would probably be activated by the process … As if I—a man who’s going to be executed—as if I could go on living inside of you. Are you okay with that?
“I don’t know,” I say honestly. “But I’ve decided to write a book about you.”
The room grows chilly again. The place must be cleaned daily; although the floor is worn, there isn’t a speck of dust on it.
—Why?… Because you’re also a member of K2?
The guard in uniform behind him is staring at me. The walls of the room are starting to get to me. It’s as though, little by little, the room is closing in around the man. I draw in my breath. I am conscious of the acrylic glass in front of me. It’s all right, I murmur inside my head. This is surely an opening in the conversation. But the gap is small. We aren’t even alone. And there is a time limit.
“… I’m just interested in K2.”
—Interested … That could be dangerous.