The Collected Records of the Mysteries – Solving riddles with the help of demons - Chapter 1
He thought a car had just hit him.
“…So you’d better watch out, too!”
From the sudden impact of his friend slapping his back, Shouma Hanashima rashly sprung up and began to cough violently. He was a little confused, since for a moment he didn’t know what had just happened but he settled down as he took a quick look around.
Shouma was in the classroom of his University.
The seats of the classroom were gradually placed higher as it got farther and farther off the blackboard. Shouma and his friends sat by themselves in one of those furthermost seats. Luckily, the lesson hadn’t even started yet.
“What!? Oh Shouma, were you sleeping? Sorry~!”
Yamato, who sometimes can be easily carried away, laughed without showing any kind of remorse. It wasn’t the cute “hehe…“ kind of laugh, it was more of like a “gahaha” way of laughing.
“Nah, I’m sure you knew he was sleeping. Don’t be this cruel …”
For a moment, the always serious and prudent looking Yoshihiro squinted at them behind his glasses.
Shouma befriended the two men as soon as he got the admission to the University. They met in the first explanatory meeting for the University enrollment and they became some kind of friends to each other from there on.
Shouma was a 19 year old sophomore in University.
He knew the two of them for more than a year now, so they became Shouma’s trusted buddies in a rather short time.
“But I really didn’t notice it!”
“Shouma was obviously lying on the table.”
Yamato’s cheeks puffed up at the sound of Yoshihiro’s reproachful voice.
“Yoshihiro, do you think I’m the kind of a guy who can keep an eye on that too!?”
“Then don’t get so cheesed off!”
“It’s okay Yoshihiro. I just nodded off a little. If anything, it was a great help. If I doze off on the next lecture, I won’t get the attendance points.” said Shouma while scratching his head with a forced smile on his face.
Shouma lightly bracketed his brown hair with wax and paired it with a sweat hoodie. He wore slacks with a military-style MA-1 jacket. He didn’t have a girlfriend at the moment, but it didn’t mean he was ugly in any way. His dependable appearance just seemed to sort him in the ’you would be a great friend” category.
Shouma stifled a yawn.
“Oh? Haven’t been sleeping much lately, have you?”
Because of the situation before, Yamato peered at him with a somewhat apologetic expression written on his face.
“Are you working part-time again? If you don’t slow down for a bit you are gonna ruin your own body.”
As a reaction to Shouma’s vague reply, Yoshihiro just huffed a “he” under his breath.
“You’ve got a scholarship, right? Are you really on this tight of a budget?”
“Well, I have always just lived my life with the bare minimum…”
Surely, Shouma qualified for a scholarship while he went to university, but to earn his living expenses he had to spend all his spare time working part-time. He was the perfect example of the typical self-supporting student.
Even though he inherited a small amount of money from his grandmother, who passed away last year, he didn’t wish to draw on it in case of some emergency. Therefore, he constantly struggled to make ends meet.
However, the reason for his lack of sleep lay in another thing.
(If only I couldn’t see these things …)
While his friends fixed their gaze before themselves, Shouma began to pull a face.
On the head of Yamato, who sat next to him, there was a big white creature which looked similar to a Daifuku. It was scary and mischievous, one could almost call it a playful one eyed ’thing’.
The term, playful, simply denoted that even the drool dripped from the creature’s mouth while its teeth crunched the boy’s head. Yamato must have seemed really delicious in its eyes.
Meanwhile, a black snake coiled around Yoshihiro’s neck.
Even though one could call it a snake, the creature was cloaked in fur instead of scales. From its head, two things similar to antennas stood out, with each one with an eyeball at the end of its tip. With a long but human-like tongue, it licked Yoshihiro’s cheeks for a while now.
No one can see them but me, thought Shouma, while on his shoulders sat a few crabs with lips, about five of them.
There was also another weird thing about them. In the place where their hard pincers should’ve been, soft and flabby human-like meat was instead. To tell the truth, it was kind of a disgusting sight.
This was the origin of Shouma’s lack of sleep.
These apparitions, for some unknown reason, became visible to him no longer than a month ago.
The number of these ’things’ grew with each passing day along with their shapes becoming even more clear. There were creatures from small to big, with various looks and shapes.
It wasn’t the case that these phantoms did anything in particular. They only gathered close to Shouma, whispering to him while crawling and making a racket.
Although they were apparitions, for some reason, they had weight and if one were to graze them, one could feel a sense of touch. The ones which clinged to his feet were plainly annoying, but the real problem was with the ones leaning on his shoulder, putting their weight on him.
They were indeed persistent.
But that was a problem he could easily put up with. The biggest trouble with these phantoms came when he tried to sleep.
When bedtime came, as if they wanted to sleep with Shouma, they tried to crawl under his futon. Even if he drove them away and slipped into the futon alone, the creatures tried to sneak back in by the side and his armpits or just tried to settle themselves on his body as a result.
As he often felt suffocated by their weight, he frequently jumped up. For this reason, he recently started to sleep in a sitting position on the futon.
Even so, the unworldly and constantly rising cries of the apparitions along with the weight on his knees caused his sleep to be shallow, but it was still better than the risk of suffocation.
For the past month or so, because of the before mentioned circumstances, Shouma began to spend his days with a lack of sleep and it definitely began to threaten his everyday life.
Just a few days ago, because he was so sleep deprived, Shouma dozed off in a classroom after a lecture and as a result, he was late for his part-time job. For the past few days in a row, Shouma fell asleep during his University lectures too.
For him, this was a matter of life and death, as he was qualified for a scholarship with no repayment, which only the students with high grades could get.
(At the very least, I have to make sure my grades don’t drop. If my scholarship gets cut off, this situation will not be a joke anymore …)
Just as he was lost in his thoughts, Shouma overheard his Professor address him.