Here is the first chapter of It Takes Two to Tango: A Hanazawa Eiji Mystery. You can find all chapters on this page.
Before the evolution of speech, there were already lies.
You can imagine it for yourself. Cro-Magnons and neanderthals combing through an ancient European landscape, each fending for themselves in a wild land. Whilst sharing the land, a group of cro-magnons find a resources that would benefit everyone, things like fresh water and fruit trees. Do they share this information with neaderthals, or even with other cro-magnons? No. Are they too stupid to do so? Possibly. Or they have an idea that consuming this resource will benefit them and the longer one is able to benefit from something, the better. Therefore, they keep the information to themselves instead of sharing it with others in order to preserve their advantage. Thus, the first deception is born.
Now you may say to yourself, “Well that’s no lie. That is merely a concealment.” You are an idiot. A lie is just the absence of the truth. Concealment is just another form of hiding a truth, thus producing an absence where it ought to be. Therefore, it is a lie. Any child would understand this much.
Moving on. With the evolution of the human brain came more and varied types of lies. There is pure falsehood, there are illusions and slight of hand, rumors etc. The last lie to be created is probably the most harmful. That is the unintentional lie. In actual fact, it is not the speakers fault, but when you learn the truth you can’t help but despise them. Like a friend asking you if their dress is pretty, and you say, “I’m sure it looks fine” before actually taking a look. Like a politician promising change to his supporters, only to find out that he is even more powerless after being elected. Like a husband telling a wife that today’s meeting with the boss holds the promise of promotion, only to find out that he is getting fired.
Like a parent telling a child that they are just going to the store, only to have that child be brought the news of their parent’s death in a tragic accident. No matter how many times you insisted that they stay home, that you felt something strange, they just shrugged it off. These lies hurt the most because they hold out hope for a future, or at the very least the hope that everything will stay the same. But when you open your eyes-
“Eiji-kun, wake up!”
I open my eyes. I’m lying in bed staring up. A grey manila ceiling hangs above, a domed light fixture in the center. I look around. My room is in perfect order, as it should be. A desktop computer sits on a mahogany credenza in a corner. In the adjacent corner, my bookshelf stands lined with classics by authors like Nietzsche, Goethe, Conrad, Twain, Huxley, Asimov and Orwell. The walls are completely bare, painted a dull shade of pink. The carpet on the floor resembles the fleece of a lamb, just as dirty and unruly at times, always in need of a thorough cleaning.
As I raise myself off the canvas, I realize that I’m still wearing my school uniform. I must have dozed off the night before. I look across the room, where my door stands open slightly ajar. Another cry comes forth: “Eiji-kun!” It’s my next-door neighbor and constant annoyance Miyamoto Ami. She has the key to my home and feels the need to come to my home every morning, wake me up and feed me. Foolish girl, I’ll never understand her.
I get up a do a few stretches before I lumber down to the kitchen where Ami stands in her apron over the stove with some fried eggs. While many things about Ami are a pain to endure, her cooking is truly a blessing. I’ve found myself addicted to her regular servings of eggs, sausage, toast and salad in the morning. As I approach the dining table behind her and pull out my chair, she turns and shouts, “Eiji-kun! How many times do I need to call you? Geez, can’t you look at your alarm clock even once? We’re going to be late for school!” Another annoying thing about Ami? She shouts when she’s excited.
As I sat and ate, she continued her verbal assault. After I was done, I handed my plate to her and grabbed the bento she had made before making my way to the door. Placing my shoes on, I opened the door. The sun was mostly hidden behind dark gray clouds that hung together as if to threaten us into running back inside our homes. I sat and waited, breathing in that disgusting salty air that promised a storm in the near future. The droning wind dulled the sounds of the street. Neighbors walked their dogs and put out their garbage, salarymen resigned themselves to their fate, and students like us made our regular pilgrimage up the hill to school.
Ami came out and we walked together down the same route as we had for the past month. High school did not hold the promise of bigger and better things, and this was confirmed when I saw my class list. My class is composed almost completely with people who were in my Grade 5 class. I will explain what this means later, but just understand that I want nothing to do with the people of that class. Besides Ami, I have found a way to avoid everyone from that class over the years, until now.
To make matters worse, the principal has insisted that I meet with a psychiatrist every day after school. This “doctor” needn’t trouble himself, I told the principal. They are probably going to regret trying to talk with me.
As we came closer to the front of the school, the shape of a banner was starting to become visible. It was hanging from the top of the building and was draped down over the front, with red lettering paint that looked to be the color of blood. I was soon able to understand what was written. Two words.
Ami stopped and looked over at me, with her brow furrowed in worry. “Eiji-kun? We can go another way…”
I sighed and continued to walk through the front doors. Yes, it was going to be a terrible year. And I was going to make sure everyone else thought so too.
Ah, finally. Sadly this is all I can write for now. I hope you like it, and if you have any thoughts of your own put them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and have a great day!