Chapter 3

“Why didn’t he come today?”
  Eric looked at the clock and talking to himself while polishing glasses. It was already late at night and dawn almost came. Time to close the shop. Eric was disappointed unexpectedly. Eric found he was looking forward to chatting with Alan.
  I didn’t notice him when he came to the shop for the first time…he said he had been to the shop before.
Eric closed the shop and walked out. The stars were twinkling in the sky. 
“Eric.”
“Ah?”
Alan was waiting in front of the shop. Eric didn’t think much and he felt happy.
“Alan, why…”
“I want to show you something. Could you come with me?”
“Yes, sir.”
“By the way, from now on I’m not your customer. You don’t have to talk to me in such formal way.”
“Ok.”
*    *    *
The time was between midnight and dawn. They arrived at a hospital. The hospital was well-equipped and very large. Eric watched Alan walked directly into the entrance.
“It’s locked.”
Alan kept silent and pushed the door. The door was open now.
“What?”
“We arrived.”
  Eric couldn’t conceal his surprise. Alan led him into the hospital. In the early morning, it should have been quiet in the hospital. However, people’s sound leaked out from one room. Without hesitation, Alan walked toward that room.
  Eric was astonished. He didn’t notice when Alan held a weapon-like thing in his hand. It looked like a hatchet(*1) attached to a long handle.
“Alan, what’s that?”
“Deathsythe…a grim reaper’s tool. I’m going to reap a soul. A patient in the hospital. Stay here and wait for me, Eric.”
  As soon as Alan finished his word, he walked to the door. Eric held his breath. Alan opened the locked door and entered the room.
“Migic…”
  Later, glaring light leaked out from the gap of the door to the hallway. Eric raised a hand and sheltered his eyes. Then, the room was noisy. Eric heard a girl screamed, “Grandfather, don’t leave us.”
Then, Alan opened the door and got out of the room. Eric saw what happened with his own eyes. He was perplexed at what he saw just now.
  “Let’s go.”
Alan held Eric’s wrist and dragged him out of the hospital. They walked toward Eric’s apartment. After a short silence, little by little Alan began to talk.
  “It’s an old man who have been sick for a long time. He was accompanied by his family when he died without pain.”
  “You said deathsythe just now ?”
  “Yeah.”
  “Alan, you are a shinigami?”
  “Yes.”
  You were, too. Alan repressed the urge to speak that fact out. Before spitting these words, Alan stopped.
  “Do you believe me now?”
  “Seeing is believing.”
  “Take a leave…no, resign, and go to visit your friends living far away.”
  Without second thought, Eric accepted his suggestion immediately.
  “Ok…I’ll sleep for a while and set off today”
  Eric looked at Alan’s face and he was shocked. Alan tried to hide his tears while crying. Alan found Eric was looking at him. Alan smiled a little, took off his glasses and wiped tears off.
I have ever seen this before. How familiar it looks to me!
  Eric unconsciously stuck out arms.
  “Eric?”
  Glasses and Alan’s deathsythe dropped to the ground. Eric wrapped his arms around Alan.
  “Don’t cry.”
  Alan closed his eyes and put his arms around Eric. Alan frowned and his arms trembled. He put glasses on and picked up his deathsythe.
  “That’s all right. It has been long before I reap souls again. I feel sad.”
Eric noticed Alan’s arms wrapping him.
  “Why? I think it isn’t the first time we meet.”
  “…”
  “Well,”
  “I’ll wait for you in front of the station tonight.”
  Alan held Eric’s hand gently as if they were shaking hands. Then, Alan stepped back. “Good night,” said Alan. He loosed Eric’s hand, which was still staying in the air. He walked away and left.

 (*1)ナタ
The Japanese name of Alan’s deathsythe.
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