* 38 *

My sister seemed to count on my word, as three days later, she visited me again.

As for what she did at my place, she studied, read, and, when she felt like it, went through a laundry list of insults concluded with “You’re hopeless, big brother.”
Then she enjoyed my dinner, occupied my bed, and snoozed away.

The next day, our father came and took my sister home.
I didn't know how he treated her, but he didn't show any intent to scold or be nice to her; he just drove her home in silence. Yeah, it looked awkward, alright.
This only made me certain that she’d come right back. As predicted, she was knocking on my door again five days later.

But I didn't really mind. Having my sister around brought more regularity to my life, and seemed to alleviate the loneliness of living alone.
She seemed to be doing independent studies, so rather than force her to go to high school when she didn't want to, why not let her read what she likes for a while?
Misanthropy isn't something easily fixed.

"Big brother, you don't go to college, do you?", she asked one night. And not in a harsh or ridiculing way.
"...Nah," I replied.
"I see," she said with a slight satisfied smile. "Daddy's going to kill you if he finds out."
"That's likely."
"He'll kill you!"
I scratched my head. After taking a sip of cocoa, she put her cup down and said "I'll keep it a secret. But in return, I expect you to be more polite to me."
"...You have my gratitude."

I lowered my head. "He'll kill you" was an exaggeration of my sister's design, but "he'll beat you" was a certainty.
As far as my sister skipping school went, even my thickheaded parents felt they were responsible, so they didn't speak much of it.
But me not going to college, that would put them in a fiery rage. They had lots of pent-up energy from not scolding my sister.

While I pulled the sheets over my sister, who'd fallen asleep on the bed sideways with a half-finished book in hand, I had a thought.
If I were arrested for Tokiwa's murder, how would this girl react?
Or else, what if I failed in murdering him, gave up on it all, and commit suicide?

I didn't have any intention of that at the moment, but I couldn't keep myself from imagining the possibilities.
And objectively speaking, if I were to commit suicide, it could be very persuasive.
At the very least, it seemed easier to think about death than imagine what living would be like from here on.

Chapter 39

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