It was always black.
Once a month, I had a dream of nothing but darkness.
I couldn’t move a finger or even make a sound. I just patiently waited for time to pass in the darkness.
Fear of the darkness.
A feeling of impatience where I couldn’t even cry out.
A state similar to resignation.
This was just a dream, yes, a dream.
A dream that was supposed to have no meaning – or so I thought.
— April 1st
I tear off a page from the daily calendar and throw it away.
Today is April Fool’s Day.
I then check the time on the wall clock. It’s 6:30 in the morning.
Alright, everything is as usual.
I lower my gaze to check my clothes. I’m wearing a plain gray sweatshirt and pants, my favorite pajamas that I always wear.
My feet and hands are wearing handmade anti-cold goods, gloves and socks made by my sister. Even though it’s spring, it’s still chilly in the morning and evening, so I use them every year.
To confirm where he was, he looked around in a circle.
There was a sofa that had lost its cushioning from being sat on too much. The table that could also be used as a kotatsu during the winter. The large TV that he splurged on and connected to the internet, allowing him to watch streaming sites which was very convenient.
In the background, he could see the kitchen.
In front of the counter table installed in the facing kitchen, there were two of his sister’s favorite blue chairs. A large amount of sweets that his sister hoarded were thrown into cardboard boxes.
A coffee maker that his sister bought on impulse and rarely used, was occupying a prominent place.
There were also numerous seasonings that my sister had bought out of curiosity, even though she couldn’t cook.
The furniture and objects in the living room were unchanged, undoubtedly our home’s living room.
Next, I needed the remote control to turn on the TV. However, I had placed it in its designated spot on the table before going to bed, so I didn’t have to search for it.
I picked up the remote control and pressed the power button, and the screen turned on.
The image that appeared was a view of the town from above, most likely from a news helicopter. It seems that there are now many images taken from drones, but helicopters are decreasing in use due to convenience and cost.
Putting aside any irrelevant knowledge, let’s focus on the video.
Flames and smoke were rising from various parts of the town, and small figures seemed to be running and fleeing in panic.
People who looked like dots due to the distance were all running at once, and other dot-like figures were chasing them.
Without zooming in a bit more, the details were unclear, but it looked like a scene from a horror movie.
Remembering what day it was, I doubted whether the TV station was just airing a video made for April Fool’s Day, but the vividness of the image on the screen took my breath away.
“It looks like a terrorist video from overseas.”
I unintentionally let out my voice at the sight that was impossible in Japan.
I suddenly realized and covered my mouth, but it was too late. So, I used the pen and paper that I had prepared on the desk to write down my muttering.
I might as well write down my thouths while I’m at it.
As if in response to my muttering earlier, the announcer’s voice echoed.
“I can hardly believe it, but this is a scene in Japan! Unidentified riots have been occurring all over since last night! Viewers, please do not leave your homes! I repeat—”
The urgency and desperation in the frantic scream conveyed the severity of the situation all too well.
Suddenly, the image changed. This time it seemed to be taken with a smartphone sent by a viewer.
There were screams and cries inside a shopping mall, and people were running in panic.
The video was shaky, possibly due to the person who filmed it trembling. Nevertheless, the smartphone managed to capture an image of a middle-aged man covering a woman who had collapsed.
“What are you doing?!”
Behind the brave young man who stood up to the middle-aged man covering the woman, the man continued to refuse to budge from on top of her, even after being yelled at.
“I said get off…!”
The young man who tried to grab him from behind stopped in his tracks.
He saw the face of the middle-aged man, who had turned his head 180 degrees and was now staring directly at him.
His eyes glowed red, blood spilled from the corner of his smiling mouth, and veins bulged on his face.
It was obvious to anyone that something was seriously wrong with him.
The footage cut off there and switched to the studio set.
“‘No matter how many times I see it, it’s hard to believe. What exactly is going on? And to hear the opinion of the experts on the current emergency situation, we have invited Professor Funakoshi from the medical school today.”
“Thank you for having me.”
A gray suit with white hair mixed in. A man with an obviously intelligent atmosphere is sitting in the commentator’s seat.
“It seems that everyone who has been rampaging in various places since yesterday has similar symptoms, but what exactly is it? It is rumored on the internet that it may be a contagious disease like rabies that spreads when bitten, but…”
“At the moment, the cause is unknown. There are rumors going around like it’s from a movie…like zombies, but please stay calm and avoid being misled by rumors.”
In the studio, where the air conditioning should be working, the only thing that can be felt from the figure wiping their forehead with a handkerchief is agitation. Although they seem like an expert, they may not have a grasp of the current situation.
On TV, they only speak of vague speculations and opinions that don’t offend anyone, so they open their laptop. Normally, they would check stock prices or horse race dividends first, but that’s not their priority now.
They search through news sites and social media one by one. Everywhere is talking about this incident. It seems that the same situation is happening all over the world, and the posts and videos from people who live near the scene are like a hellish picture of screaming and despair.
The news footage from earlier wasn’t a movie preview, but the real deal. Normally, one would be more shocked or flustered, but my mind wasn’t particularly disturbed. It was as if I had mentally prepared for this.
I lifted my gaze from the display and looked back at the wall clock. It was 7:28. It was almost time.
I reviewed the notes I had made on the paper on my desk and committed them to memory. The words I had muttered, my attire, and the information I had researched on the news program and online.
Alright, I’m good to go.