I unintentionally scream in a strained high-pitched voice.
An uncomfortable feeling rose up,as I thought my scream was like that of an immature child.
As my hands flailed around, noticed how strangely small.
They were plump, short and tiny hands ….. like those of infant’s.
N- No leaving that aside, that’s a skeleton.
And where am I?
In the midst of my jumbled thoughts and my panic feelings, there was no way I could regain my composure.
Despite my terror, I still try to calm down.
Hohh, calm down, calm down, and assess the situation.
Immediately, bone clattering sound emitted from the skeleton’s jaw. As I looked up at the skeleton, I noticed I was held right at its sternum. In other words, I was being lifted with one hand before the skeleton’s eyes. With nothing but its boney hand, the skeleton began to clumsily caress me. The rows of its teeth that were already stripped away from the gums looked awfully long and grotesque. It won’t be funny if, at any moment, it opens its large mouth and bite me.
“U, a, a, a, a, aaa ……!?”
In such situation I was trying to calm myself down!! I struggle even more while cursing loudly inside my heart.
It’s a frigging moving skeleton.
It’s a frigging ghost.
It’s a monster.
It’s a frigging paranormal phenomenon.
Such an abrupt encounter, anyone would be in terror.
And of course me too.
Moreover, for some unknown reason, I have become small and young.
The me in my memory ….. though it’s kinda vague ….. I had exceptional height and a slender figure. Yet, the memories of how my body operated really don’t work with the senses of this small body move. In a sense, it’s a similar feeling to trying to ride a tricycle after one become an adult.
The skeleton must be worried, as the arm that holds me started to rock me back and forth in a rhythm.
And despite my endless struggle in his arm, he keeps swinging.
Then I finally noticed.
Although the skeleton was kinda clumsy in his rocking, he was extremely gentle. It was rather rough and inexperienced, and its bony arm felt uncomfortable……….
Gahaha, delicious looking baby! With clean/lovely/beautiful skin, should I eat you from the head? Or eat you from the foot?
Such a thought must have crossed this man eating monster’s mind or not.
Of course, it’s impossible to guess when looking at the expressionless skull, and I could not completely let my guard down.
However, the skeleton’s movement remained gentle.
So I was able to calm down only a little.
The flickering blue will-o-wisp on his eyes socket seem to be emitting a calming yet radiated aura somehow.
….. I wonder what’s is going on.
Thinking that, I take off my focus away from the skeleton and look around the surroundings.
Though I can’t move my neck well, I could see a magnificent pillar made of an unknown material and a lot of archways. In the middle of the ceiling, there was a circular aperture for lighting, from whence flowed the weak light. Though we were certainly indoors, the atmosphere was awfully old-fashioned and solemn. Suddenly, I saw a picture that reminded me of something that belonged in an ancient Roman temple or pantheon.
However, I can’t understand anymore. A dead body was moving somehow, and I had become a child.
I confirm those fact in my mind, but as I attempt to search for more clues, my thought starts to blur.
The rocking seems to have made me somewhat drowsy.
The skeleton continued to rock me in its clumsy matter. Rocking my body in a gentle slow tempo. Surrendering myself to the rhythm …..I fall asleep once again.
The next time I awoke, there was a ghost in front of me. It was a transparent old man with an aquiline nose and fiery eyes. It could only be a ghost.
Then I was lifted. When I looked up, what I saw was a woman who was only dried out skin and bones. A mummy woman
Then suddenly I saw something. It was the skeleton guy from before, and his was asleep.
I still screamed.
Was this by any chance God’s punishment, is this the netherworld, or was this place some kind of hell?
Because wasted my previous life, was I now sentenced to a prison like hell?
While crying loudly and thinking about such things, I became hungry.
The old ghost looked at my face, then says something to the female mummy. Then, the female mummy, take out a bowl containing something similar to white rice gruel. She scooped it with a spoon and present it in front of my mouth.
….. I instinctively hesitated. Though was there any reason to hesitate.
Obviously, it was something coming from a mummy, and I didn’t know the true nature of the food she was trying to feed me while making an
However, as a mummy, she made me remember a photo of a monk who practiced austerity to the point of death and was mummified that I saw in an old textbook.
Withered like dried wood; a mere shadow of its previous human body.
Though things may not be as they seem. Moreover, she still tried to feed me with “aaaah”. At the very least, I don’t want to nurture friendship with such fellows.
…… however, I’m hungry.
Besides, there are no other means of food.
What’s more, thanks to the influence of my young body, the strong craving for sleep and food is very hard to oppose.
EEE, it because of that! I open my mouth and eat it, and realized it tasted quite delicious.
From my recollection, infant tastes rather plain, though I guess it’s suitable for a tongue of my age. Then, the skeleton came near me and caressed my head.
Simultaneously, I noticed something unexpected. There were no teeth in my mouth. I first realized this when the food was put in my mouth. It would be somewhat strange if I could talk in this condition.
….. that is to say, infants lack teeth. I just realized it for the first time.
I know I was having a something like a child-like experience, by now and with this clue, I understood what stage of development I was in.
Haha, I can say with confidence, that it has not been that long since my birth because I still could only drink milk and haven’t grown teeth yet.
However, in my foggy memory, I don’t recall experiencing familial warmth in my upbringing.
And of course, I couldn’t remember anything like a brother, sister or relative either. At best, I could only catch a fleeting glimpse of something like a tv program about a childbirth game show event.
Normally adult’s should have a rough understanding to some degree.
Though it would be rather shallow …….., I think.
I, who only absorbed shallow knowledge from in front of a monitor and let it pile up year after year, died without even able to make use of it
“Ah, ah, ….”
If there is a God, could this be their punishment? To be left surrounded by moving corpses, and to know nothing about these circumstances.
Perhaps, it’s because of me only reading a lot of shallow knowledge day by day………
It might be a punishment to make me realize my own stupidity.
….. About half a year has passed.
My only progress so far has just been eating and sleeping, again and again, day after day. Infants really need a lot of sleep, and after waking up the hunger comes.
I’m convinced that this situation I’m in is no dream. The situation is too vivid and too realistic to be a dream. Besides a fantasy where dirty diapers were taken care of by moving corpses, was the sort of thing I can’t even begin to understand and such an occurrence would be beyond maniac.
…. And so I, who am only a baby could only crawl with limited mobility, and spend my days with nothing but the help of the three undead. When they are together the three undead would talk with one another, quite a bit actually. It reached the point where I was starting to understand them.
Even I was surprised that I could learn so fast.
As a newborn baby, or rather because I’m still a newborn, my ability to construct systematic language came naturally, and would I would keep acquiring language originating from the auditory input. At least that was a theory expressed by a certain Chomsky, whose surname given a somewhat funny impression.
It was something like a universal grammar …… not good, I can only remember trivial things from my somewhat shallow knowledge. Even my knowledge about this subject was shallow.
“Dahh, dahhh ….”
Using the throat and tongue that I have yet to master, I tried to mutter some words.
The memory of my previous language and the mechanisms of my previous body were causing some problems in my progress. Recently I was able to stand up in a satisfactory manner, though walking is still a bit difficult.
“There, there. Kuci kuci ku” \\this where adult usually cuddle baby!!!\\
It was the female mummy saying that. She was called Marie by the other two. She also wore an ancient looking robe, that was similar to a Shinto priest’s
Whether the female mummy was a beauty or ugly I can’t judge, but I think she was a beautiful woman when she was alive. She had a slender figure, her eyes were always concealed by her eyelids, and she had a graceful appearance. There is no conspicuous damage on her dried wood-like skin, and all I could say was that she was someone who maintains her appearance well. Her golden wavy hair, though darkened by the passage of time still looks beautiful and abundant.
“Today, shall we walk outside a little?”
…..! She’s taking me out!?
“Fufu, you look happy.”
Without me realizing it, my excitement showed on my face. For a while now, I’ve been curious about the situation outside of this temple. But, because of this body could not yet move, saying “I’ll go out a for a while”, was impossible, and for a while now, so I was waiting for them to take me out.
“Heiho.” \\tln: the sound Maria makes picking him up.\\
I was holding in her arm. I slightly smelt something coming from Marie’s body, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
Something like …… burnt wood incense?
It gave off a smell similar to an incense stick a tender grandma lite, that kind of feeling.
The smell gave me peace of mind while I surrendered myself to her grasp. Inside this gloomy temple, Marie walked step by step while holding me in her arms. The floor’s tiles were different colors and arranged in some kind of pattern. The awfully large and high ceiling had a hemisphere shape, with an opening in its top that was similar to an eyeball that let daylight enter the building.
I saw a large ornament wall that had a group of people niche into it; they were probably the Gods that was enshrined in this temple. Wherever we walked I saw these ornament walls everywhere.
There was a man with a majestic appearance, that seemed to be in the prime of his life, raising a thunderbolt-shaped sword in his right hand. In the background, a woman with a well-rounded figure was standing in a ripen rice field and was smiling affectionately while holding a baby in her arms. Besides her was a man with a short stature and splendid beard, that was holding a large hammer with flames burning brightly behind his back. Riding on the wind, and flaunting excellent smile full of charm, a youth overflowing with charisma was holding gold coins and a wine cup. Soaked up to the waist in a clear stream, with a bow in one hand, and a fairy or something in the other was a young beautiful woman wearing thin clothes. In a corridor full of scroll-like items in the background, stood a wise looking old man with a cane and who was looking down at an open book.
I think it was a pantheon. Seeing this images, I kind of understand what kind of gods were in this faith. However, I can’t seem to understand the next image.
There is nothing in the background. Having an extremely gloomy atmosphere and wearing a robe that only revealed a mouth and nose making it unclear whether it’s a man or woman. The only feature that stood out was an unusual lamp with a long handle.\\tln: something like this\\
…..That lamp made me a little anxious.
Of course, Marie didn’t notice what I was thinking as she walks with me in her arms. Though I tried to focus on the image with my eyes, but I lost sight of them before long. When I come back I’ll observe it in detail.
As we leave the area with eye-like skylight, the surrounding area steadily darkened. Approaching the farthest wall, an arched iron doorway with complex vine carved into came into view while Marie slowly extends her hand. As she pushed them open, a creaking sound came from the iron doors, and light began to flow in from the slowly opening door.
Then, when it spread wide enough, Marie stepped through.
The scenery instantaneously opened up, and a refreshing wind was blowing.
The bottom of the hill was covered in a little morning mist, and a stone city extends out like a vast lake.
From its appearance, it was created in ancient or medieval times. With larger towers and beautiful looking aqueduct bridges could be seen in the distance.
However……, everything looks old and run down.
A few of the buildings’ roofs were already collapsed and a few plaster walls were collapsed here and there. The grass was growing from the crevices of the stone pavement; moss and plants vines were clinging to the building. The streets that were surely full of people before, where now decaying and giving way to the plant life. Everything was easily illuminated by the rising morning sun.
My eyes were wide open.
The hauntingly beautiful scene, with picturesque scenery, can’t be compared to the things that I glanced at on a monitor during my previous lifetime.
I felt the wind blowing from the top of my head to the tips of my feet. It quickly and wondrously cleared my mind. My whole body, my whole being felt connected to the world.
…… Something important that I had left behind some time ago, I was finally able to recall it.
It was that kind of feeling.
Without knowing why tears started to flow uncontrollably. Though I clenched my mouth and tried to endure it, my tears keep flowing.
There was no other way for me to bid farewell to my previous vague life.
As I died in the midst of haze, I thought that waking in this world might have been God’s punishment.
However, this was no punishment.
I don’t know where this is. I also don’t know what happened. However, this surely was a blessing. And this blessing was surprisingly wonderful.
I’ll throw away the useless me, and though it may not necessarily be good, I’ll use this second chance. This blessing feels warm. It was a very warm and happy gift. I was convinced of so without any real reason.
“Isn’t it beautiful, Will. …… you cute little boy.”
I heard Marie’s voice.
William. Shortened to Will. That is my new name. Marie and the others gave it to me.
My name before I die has been drowning in vagueness. Therefore, I shall carry on with William as my name from now on. This small body is my body. Suddenly, the name that was heard like someone else’s, and body that feels like it belongs to another people, with a click, started to feel familiar.
“Ah, ah ー…………”
A shout similar to a baby’s first cry and mixed in with tears, came out as I tried to say something.
Nevertheless, I still raised my voice desperately with my immature vocal cords.
…… I’ll do it.
I, from now on, will live my life properly. While in the midst of Marie’s rocking, as she tried to comfort me, I made my mind up.
I still don’t understand everything now. What kind of world this, and why I was born here?
However, I’ll proceed to learn these things from now on. I can do nothing with mere shallow knowledge, but now I can reach for what is possible.
Having been stagnant, this is all I know. Cowering and giving up are the things I’ve done a lot of in the past.
This time, I will live. Even if I fail.
I might land face down in the mud.
Although it might be unsightly, that would also be fine.
But this time, I will live my life. In this world, I will live!
With a shout similar to a baby’s cry, I vowed such.