That day, a man died.
“Uwah…… This is ruthless…… A shot through the head, huh……”
In front of the old man stretched out before his eyes, he grumbled with a terribly fed up mood. He was really unlucky. Truly unlucky. But I suppose there wasn’t any need to suicide on such a lovely day.
A refreshing summer breeze blew in from the open window. But dispelling the gloomy atmosphere filling the inside of this room seemed a little out of depth even for this welcome breeze which brought along the scent of fresh verdure.
In the rear, a pallid-faced newcomer was desperately trying to resist the urge to vomit.
“Oi. It’s fine to vomit, but don’t throw up here. Forensics still hasn’t come yet. Don’t you contaminate the crime scene.”
“Yes…… I-I’m.. alright……”
Replying with a face like they were going to collapse at any time, the newcomer’s state didn’t seem to be alright at all no matter how conservatively I viewed it. In deference to that willpower, I’ll pretend not to have seen it. Certainly, to suddenly have a corpse with grey matter spilling out at your first crime scene might be harsh. It’s just, well, if you compare this to a drowned body, it’s much better.
“Well, I guess this is suicide. It’s declared to be suicide. After all, it was a locked room, and there’s a suicide note on the table too. There are no signs of a fight either…… Yup. It’s certainly a textbook suicide.”
“But……Why this person wanted to kill himself?”
It was an ideal speedy resolution. That well-known, famous detective didn’t even need to make an appearance. It was a conclusion with no room for questions, but that pale-faced newcomer―― I pretended not to see the vomit bag in his hand――muttered in curiosity.
“Look…… Even though this suicide note has the employment processes and how to handle the inheritance issues written down, the fundamental motive isn’t there. For that famous professor to use such a method to die……”
“Ah, the guy who discusses the transmigration of souls or something. He was all over the news some time ago, on TV and in the newspapers. I mean, don’t go looking at the suicide note on your own accord…… Woah, holy smokes! He even prepared a grave and posthumous name before he died!? This is the first time I’ve seen such a thorough suicide……”
“It’s the systems theory on the circle of transmigration! He’s the reclusive super genius who scientifically verified the concept of an afterlife in the metaphysical world, the existence of souls, as well as reincarnation after death and the existence of other worlds!! The introduction he wrote on reincarnation is my bible! When I first read that, I was so deeply moved that I couldn’t even eat for a while though……”
“Is zat so. Then it’ll be good if you’re able to eat lunch today. Anyhow, he didn’t even have any money troubles, so why would he come all the way out to the mountains to kill himself in isolation……Is it the loneliness of genius…..Hm?”
And there, he leaned over as if noticing something. To be honest, I would never think of wanting to draw near a corpse haunted with the scent of death, job notwithstanding――but it couldn’t be helped if he came to discover something grasped in the hand of that corpse.
It was a photo. It was quite an old photo. A family of three, smiling happily as the photo was taken. Of them, one was the man currently lying dead here. Killing himself with a revolver after having grown old and turning into a corpse, he was now but a mere shadow of his former self. The man in the photo was smiling gently, oblivious to his own tragic future. He had one arm wrapped around the shoulder of the woman beside him, who appeared to be his wife, and the other was carefully cradling a plump, chubby baby like a prized possession.
No matter where and how you looked at it, it was a mundane and ordinary photo of a happy family. The corpse of the already-departed old man was still firmly embracing the photo, as if saying it was the only thing he treasured in this world. I felt the that strength preventing others from simply deprive him of the photo differed from rigor mortis, and was something similar to tenacity.
“……Apparently the professor’s wife passed away in an accident when they were young. And his daughter was also abducted as a child and had been missing the whole time……”
This lonely old man. In the end, will his soul be able to reunite with his family after death?
“I don’t know about that circle of transmigration or whatever but……if there’s an afterlife, then it’ll be good if he could spend it together with his family.”
He mutters quietly, looking down on the corpse. Naturally, there was no response from the already expired corpse. However――
With a hole running straight through his skull, revealing his grey matter, the old man should have killed himself, and yet he appeared to be smiling with satisfaction.