6. Smoke and Blood
A playback video is projected on the monitor.
The numbers floating on the corner of the screen that the video is 23 hours ago.
The early summer sky on the roof of the high school building. The sunlight of the afternoon when the day is sinking. Past 4 o’clock…
It seems that the image is taken with a hidden camera.
A duo who’s practicing from baseball club has come.
One is a fat man and the other is a tall man.
The fat one is Sugiyama and the tall one is Koizumi…Both of them are second year students.
They’re second year but they’re second string players…and in addition, a reserve of reserve.
It seems that they don’t have the possibility to have the firepower like the others to be a regular.
The two of them doesn’t notice the hidden camera at all.
The fat Sugiyama took a cigarette from his pocket.
The brand is Lucky Strike
Could it be that they’re attracted to the word strike because they’re baseball club members.
He took one out with his finger soiled with mud then he passed it to tall Koizumi.
The two second years of the baseball club are having cigarette at the same time.
Sugiyama used his fat fingers to light up the cheap oil lighter.
After his own cigarette lit up, he urged Koizumi with his eyes.
Koizumi bends his tall body and placed the cigarette tip on the flame…
The two of them breathed in and exhaled at the same time…
The tobacco smoke goes up on the rooftop…
Suddenly, a voice was heard from outside of the screen!
「Sugiyama-san and Koizumi-san, you were hiding here?」
Another silhouette appears into the screen.
That’s Kenji Endou who’s wearing baseball’s practicewear.
Endou doesn’t notice the camera either…
「…What the hell Endou?」
The fat Sugiyama mutters expressionlessly while exhaling smoke.
「Don’t be like that! Coach is looking for you. Sugiyama-san and Koizumi-san had disappeared even though it’s training. I’ve been ordered by the captain to look for the two of you…Or rather, it’s bad time to smoke」
「…Tsk, shut up」said Koizumi.
「…We sneaked out just to have a short rest for a while」
The two senpai were expressionlessly sucking the cigarette.
On the other side, Endou doesn’t look like he has enough composure at all.
「Anyway, please hurry up and return to the ground immediately. It’s dangerous. Coach is already on the verge of bursting」
「Is that so? Well fine. We’ll return after we finish smoking this cigarette…right, Sugiyama?」
「Right, let’s do that Koizumi」
The two breathed in and exhaled smoke again.
They’re not seen rushing at all.
Rather, Endou is the only one who’s come to call the two in hurry.
「No, you see senpai…please spare me already!!」
「…I told you to wait for us until we finish smoking」
「Isn’t smoking dangerous?!!!!」
「Huh? You, why are you so frolic?」
With the two Senpai not shaken at all, Endou lost his temper.
「Please stop this already!! The district meet is already near. Isn’t that obvious that it’s dangerous for you two to take your time and smoke!? Do you even understand that!?」
Endou strongly denounces the two.
「…That’s what Endou-chan said but, what to do Koizumi-chan?」
「…What to do, Sugiyama-chan?」
The two of them exhaled smoke.
「…In other words, Endou…you disagree with the two of us smoking?!」
「…In the first place, isn’t it bad for a high school baseball player to smoke?」
「T-That’s…not on that level of disagreement…If we’re found out that we’re smoking at this time, we would be leaving the summer meet. That won’t just be the senpai but our whole school would be blacklisted, what would you do? You do know that the whole high school baseball is all in the hands of the upperclassmen!…Please. Stop smoking already!」
「Oh…Isn’t that fine if we don’t participate anymore?」
「Right, right…It might not be bad for us to take a rest from an official game for a year」
Endou desperately persuades them but the two second years just lightly wash it away.
「Please don’t joke with me!! I’m seriously saying it!」
Endou finally presses the two senpai with a serious face.
「…Hey Endou. You’re opposing a senior even though you’re just a first year?」
「…Could it be that you’re underestimating us?」
The fat and tall man’s attitude became threatening suddenly.
「Uhm…That’s not it, I’m just thinking about the team」
「Hmm, well, of course you will be. Even though you’re a first year, it’s possible for you to get off the bench and become a regular」
「However , we can’t participate the game if we’re kicked」
「We’re going to support you from the audience instead of the bench」
「We’re truant and we don’t need to be there so at least let us off when we skip practice and smoke」
「Really really, seriously」
「No, but, that…I’m sorry if my attitude seem arrogant. Forgive me. But please. Please stop smoking. It’s because like this」
Saying that, Endou takes of his had and bows in front of the two people deeply.
The fat Sugiyama called him out and Endou raised his face.
「You’re really pampered even though you’re just a first year, you don’t know a think on how to respect your seniors」
「He’s really no good」
The tall Koizumi had an amazed expression and threw his cigarette on Endou’s feet.
The cigarette hits the floor and made a spark.
「T-Thank you very much!」
Endou seems to have misunderstood that 『Koizumi abandoned smoking』
「…That’s not it idiot.」
Koizumi received a new cigarette from Sugiyama and lit it up.
「…Then, should I take my second too?」
Sugiyama lit up his second cigarette too.
Endou instinctively looked at the two people with strong hatred.
「…Look, it’s that kind of eyes.」
「…Eyes that look at people like a fool, not thinking that it’s his seniour」
「…First years with talent are so different」
The two of them exhaled smoke again
「How can I stop the two of you from smoking?」
Endou asks the two people calmly
「…Say something Sugiyama-chan」
「…The voice is too small that I didn’t hear it Koizumi-chan」
「…He asked how to make us『Stop smoking』」
「…He doesn’t have a brain does he?」
「…It might be hindered by his big pride?」
「…Even earlier, he bowed his head just for a bit and 『Like this?』he asked」
「…He doesn’t even have the resolve to dogeza does he?」
「…Probably none. He’s a first year overflowing with talent that’s aiming to become a regular after all」
The fat and tall man laughed while puffing smoke out.[
「Should I just kneel on the ground?…」
Endou’s voice is shaking
The two said 「Dogeza」but it seems that there’s strong anger felt from the two.
「…It’s a problem if you don’t understand unless you’re told to」
「…Well, isn’t that fine if you just at least kneel? I don’t know whether we would stop smoking though.」
「…He surely won’t, his pride is too high after all」
「…Right, he’s a bit of narcissist after all」
「…He even had a cute girlfriend recently」
「…well, ikemen riajuu will never kneel on the ground of course」
Everyone knows what will happen to a guy like Endou after all of this.
「Okay! I’ll dogeza」
He got on all fours then placed his hand on the floor.
「I beg the two of you! Please stop smoking!!!」
Rubbing his forehead on the ground, Endou begs the two…!
At that time…!
I opened the iron door of the rooftop and jumped out!
I’m holding a digital camera on the ground.
Then I took the photograph of what’s going on!!
Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click…!
The baseball club seniors are smoking on the roof…!
And Endou kneeling in front of the two of them…!
I recorded the image in my camera…!!
Endou who noticed me was taken aback…!!
He had a foolish look of surprise in his face…!
「Aryayaya, I came to the roof by coincidence and I saw something unbelievable!!」
I murmured some foolish lines from something like Cagliostro’s castle.
I feel ashamed from my miserable acting when I saw the recording.
Endou who confirmed it was me stood up!
「…Endou, destroy his camera!!」
Endou who has his blood completely gone up to his head obeyed Sugiyama’s instruction from the series of events.
He jumped to me and take the digital camera from my hand!!
Then, he threw it to the ground with all of his strength!!
The camera was squashed and breaks!!
「…Endou…Shut him up so he won’t talk!」
「…Anyway, hit him twice or thrice!!」
Endou who’s already on his limit hits me reflexively!!
One! Two! Three hits…!!
It’s hard to watch myself being beaten in the video…!
The pain from 23 hours ago came back…!
The taste of blood spreads in my mouth…
I was lying down on the rooftop grounds.
Then Endou bends over and grabs my collar to raise me!!
Several buttons on my uniform popped and flewl…!!
「Hey Yoshida!! Don’t even think of talking about this!! If you do, I’ll kill you!!」
Endou’s face isn’t normal already.
He’s helplessly excited already.
The image of me yesterday asks Endou while bleeding at the mouth.
「…The smoking? You breaking my camera? Beating me up?…Or」
I’m looking at Endou filled with scorn while speaking.
「…That you kneeled on the floor?」
Endu hit me once again.
One! Two! Three hits…!
Endou’s anger isn’t calming down!!
Four! Five! Six hits…!!
……The video stops suddenly.
The black haired female teacher…Yuzuki sensei stopped the video.
The teacher smiles and turned to the two students who are watching the video.
The first one is of course me. My head is rolled on bandage and plasters are pasted on my face.
And the other one is…Shirasaka Yukino.
She completely lost blood from seeing the video of her own boyfriend’s violence.