What I Imagined Upon Seeing a Rock and a Rope

A story from 2ch about pulling.


In the house, there was a stunningly gigantic boulder.
However, consider that the rock was there to begin with, and the house was made to contain it.

The rock had a rope wound around it.
And though no one knew where on the rock the rope came out from, the rope was connected to a girl.

No axe or saw in any man's hand could cut the rope.
So the girl could not move more than a few meters from the rock.
For that reason, it was felt that a house had to be made there.

The rope grew out of the girl's back, so wearing clothes over it would feel itchy.
Thus, all the girl's clothes had a big slit cut out from the neck to the back.

She slept face-down.
She held the rope with her left hand for slack, and fiddled with it with her right.

Her most treasured possession was a telescope her father had bought for her.
When she tired of reading, she would use it to peer outside.
She could rarely see any more than snow and trees, but she looked very closely.

She has a rope... growing out of her...?

With no opportunity to go outside, the girl was rather naïve.
She herself was mindful of this, and so she read many books.

The girl did household chores, was considerate, and made no complaint about the strange rope growing out of her back.
Her family became quite used to the lifestyle.

Coming up with all this just from seeing a rope tied around a rock... Not bad.

One day, there was a fierce snowstorm.
The girl peered outside with her telescope as usual, and sighted something moving.
It trudged through the snow, falling over after every couple of steps. She presumed it was a human.

The figure seemed to be in great pain, so the girl wanted to do something to help.
But as the rope prevented her from leaving the house, she could merely wait for her parents.

The rope was of a length just too short for her to exit the house.
Or to be more accurate, the house was built of a size just too big for the rope.

Perhaps her parents considered that if she could only go just a tiny distance outside, it was better that she couldn't reach outside at all.

The girl waited by an open window and called to the person outside.
She didn't know if they could hear her, but she called again and again until her parents returned.
She enjoyed talking to people.

Leaning on the shoulder of her father, the person was brought into the house.
He was freezing, but seemed alright.

Upon taking off his heavy snow clothes, the girl realized he was about the same age as she.

"You saved my life," the boy said.
The girl's father brought him warm soup.
He took the bowl with shivering hands, and he thanked him.

The boy seemed sick with something, so the girl's mother warned her to keep her distance.
But the girl had no intention of listening to her mother.

It was more or less the first time she'd met someone her own age, after all.

The boy said that he wasn't contagious.
The girl's father seemed to know the sickness by name, as well.

He seemed to be telling the truth.
Unless you were deathly weak, it was a sickness that hardly showed itself.
Though if it was showing symptoms, it was already incurable.

The boy thanked her father again.
But he said, "No, I knew to come help because she noticed you. Give your thanks to her," indicating his daughter.

The girl was fiddling with the rope as usual.
"Dad had to go because I couldn't do anything myself," she smiled.
"So you should thank dad."

What a nice family.

The boy saw the rock.
What was something like that doing in a house?

And then the rope coming from the rock.
Why was that wrapped around it?

And then, the girl at the end of the rope.
His gaze moved to her back.

He could see her pretty, pale back clearly through the big slit in her clothes.
The boy quickly looked away, his face heating up.

"Maybe you need a rope for a girl this cute," the boy thought.
No, no, that's just silly.

But he had a general understanding.
The rope wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

The girl's mother explained the rope to the boy.
Apparently she enjoyed talking about it.
Perhaps because a doctor had told her that the rock was a god.

Indeed, the rock was a sort of guardian deity in the area, and so the girl was said to be chosen by God.
Sounds a bit shady, if you ask me.

Once he was done with his soup, the boy talked to the girl.

Do you want to go outside?

The girl nodded repeatedly.

I do.

Though in truth, they both felt like it was something they shouldn't have said.

The boy unsteadily rose from the chair and walked over to the girl.
He fell over. The girl ran over to him.

The boy rose from the floor and reached for the girl's back.
Her body stiffened. "What?", she asked.

As soon as the boy grabbed the rope, as if losing its energy, it went limp.
When the girl pulled on the rope, it stretched out.

"These are the limits," the boy said to her parents.
"I can't cut it, but I can stretch it."
He turned to the girl and asked.

Do you want to go outside?

The girl nodded again and again.
Her mother was going to stop her, but her father stopped her in turn.

The boy still holding the rope, he opened the door and went out.
And the girl set foot outside.

The girl, who had not spent two seconds outside and wore clothes with a big hole in the back, trudged slowly around the mountain with snow piled up to her hips.

She figured she might never get such an opportunity again.

The girl looked up at a tree and touched the trunk.
"It's rugged," the girl said.
Just then, a branch above gave in to the weight of the snow, and a pile of snow dropped on her head.

"C-C-Cold!", the girl shivered, hurrying away from the tree.
She collided with the boy, who was running over to help her with the snow.

The boy released his hand from the rope, and instantly, the rope returned to normal.
He hurried after the girl.

The rope had pulled the girl along, slamming her into a tree, then got caught on a branch.

While the girl bled slightly from her forehead, she looked up at the tree she'd collided with.

The boy was beside himself with worry.
"I'm so sorry! Are you okay?", he asked.
The girl replied entirely too happily, "I got hurt!"

"It's just like something out of a book."

"What is?"

"Getting injured by slamming into a tree."

"No, books imitate reality.
Someone in real life slammed into a tree, so that's why someone wrote it in a book. Reality came first."

"Well. To me, though, it's like being in a book."

The two went back to the house to treat the girl.
Her parents were flustered when they saw her wounded, but the girl kept a smile throughout.
When she met eyes with the boy, she lowered her head.

Out of breath, the boy thought, "Oh, man..."
Because he'd gotten her hurt in under an hour.

Once her treatment was done, the girl said, "Pull! Pull!"

From then on, the two would periodically go on walks together.

Her parents were beyond worried by the idea of their daughter going on walks with a wizard boy with an incurable disease.
But as discomforting as it was to them, they could say nothing in the face of her delight.

So that's how our daughter smiles, huh.

"What's that?"

"That's a fox."

"How far out can we go?"

"I don't know. It might be up to you, or up to me too."

"So, what other fancy things can you do?"

"Well, I can't do anything else while I'm stretching the rope."

"Is stretching the rope that hard?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if I was the only one who could do it," the boy replied.

Of course, he really just hoped he was the only one.

"Oh, a fox!"

"That's a person."

"Oh. That's a person, then."

"It's going to be hard leaving the forest..."

"Yeah... I guess it's not possible to walk to town?"

"Either way, I can't go to town."

"Why not?"

"Because the people there don't like me."

"Hmm. Would they allow a person attached to a rope in?"

"Who knows." Perhaps not.

"So they don't let wizards into town?"

"Wizard, huh? Who said I was a wizard?"

"Well, is there anyone else who can do things like this?"

"True, I guess I am a wizard.
But it's not that wizards aren't allowed in town.
Rather, people not allowed in town might become wizards. I guess."

"But I can't use magic."

"Then maybe you can go into town."


"You fell again. Are you okay?"

"I just tripped. It's no big deal."

"What's your sickness like?"

"Sometimes I just lose feeling, that's all."
Though this had been happening increasingly often.

"Hmm. Right."

"Right what?"

"When that happens, I'll pull to help you out."

"Err... thanks."

"Oh, right. Yeah. Thanks to you, too."

"You know, I wish I'd gotten to know you sooner."

"So you could go outside sooner, yeah."

"Well, there's that, but..."

"Something else?"

"I've never been able to make friends with any other people my age."

"Same here." To be precise, he meant making friends with people in particular.

"Of course, if I didn't have the rope, then..."

Then perhaps they wouldn't have ended up friends.
The boy was glad for the rope, sorry as he was to feel that way.

The girl not knowing much at all, she was excited by just about anything.
As she walked through the snowy forest she had never had a clear view of, the trees, the snow, the stars through the branches, all brought her joy.
Even if there was little in the way of things she had truly never seen.

She had never seen trees from below, so she enjoyed it.
Difficult to understand, perhaps.
And she enjoyed how there was so much snow to walk through.
A little easier to understand.

"Um... You know, it's really amazing seeing the branches swaying and stars twinkling when you look up."

"Yeah. It's really great."

"But the light from the town is even more amazing.
Can we really not go there?"

"When spring comes and the snow melts, maybe we can."

"I wonder if that can happen soon..."

"I hope it does."

"If he comes by the house again, turn him away."

These, too, were words uttered with the girl's feelings in mind.

The boy came to visit the girl as usual, but was told by her father, "Unfortunately, you can't meet with her today."
He was told the same thing his next visit, and the next.

"Did something happen?"
"Our daughter is sick."

The boy thought on his way back.
Why can't I meet with her?
Her father told me she was sick.

"Sick?", he thought. My sickness?
It doesn't show symptoms until you're close to death.

But what about her?
You can't think of her like a normal girl, can you?

And is the reason her parents are unwilling to let me see her because they don't want me to see her with my sickness?
Or is it her own wish that I'm not to meet with her again?

Now, he began to recall her devout mother.
She had always considered the rock as a god.

Shortly after the girl was born, she was somehow attached to the rope while her parents weren't looking.
This baffling occurrence led the townspeople to consider her a child of ill omen.

Then a doctor appeared - or rather, a priest.
Thanks to his shady story, the girl was overlooked. Guardian deity this and that.
Her parents were delighted. Their daughter was saved.

Who knows if the priest truly believed his own story.
But the girl's mother had taken it very seriously.

Thinking about all this together, could using enigmatic magic to extend the rope connecting the deity rock and the girl beyond its original length be considered sacrilege?

And rumors about the boy had reached the girl's father.
Rumors about how he was driven out of town for using mysterious arts.
No, he thought, I shouldn't let that boy see my daughter anymore.

The boy thought.
I've been living with this sickness, and if she has the same thing, it can't be long now for me.

But I had been incredibly careful to ensure that this wouldn't happen.
Incredibly so.

Yet all I did was bring ruin to her peaceful life and happy family.

The boy stopped going to the girl's house.
The sickness began to advance.

The girl could always look forward to peering outside with her telescope and seeing the boy come by.
But she was shocked to hear he wouldn't be coming, and lost all interest in looking outside.

"That boy isn't coming here anymore.
It seems his sickness is getting worse, so he can't make it."

Indeed, his sickness was worsening, and he couldn't make it. Shortly after this lie was told, that is.

The girl thought.
What if mom and dad are lying to me?

Did the boy lose interest in me?
Or worse than that, maybe he hates me.
Did I do something wrong?
Did I make a mistake?

That can't be it. He was glad to do what he could about the rope.
In fact, perhaps he paid too much of a price in doing it.
And that's why his sickness is getting worse.

Whatever the case, she didn't like it.

The girl wanted to meet him directly to know the truth.
But her parents were even more worried for her than usual.
She thought it would be a burden on her parents to say or think anything more about the boy.

So the girl gave up questioning about the boy, and tried to act like everything was as it had been.

But she couldn't help feeling that her rope was shorter than ever.

Sometimes the boy would wake up, touch a piece of rope by his bed, and fall back asleep.
Just a useless, ordinary piece of rope.

Once, when snow blew in through the window her mother had opened, chilling the back of her neck, she wondered if the rope could be pruned down.

While her parents were out working or shopping, the girl would endeavor to cut the rope.
Her hands became covered with blisters. Seeing this, her mother was enraged.
"The rope is holy!"

"What's going on?!"
It seemed that the girl had cut away the flesh around where the rope came out.

"I got hurt..."
What she'd learned from doing this was that the rope was connected to her heart.

Her parents grieved.
She shouldn't have learned about the outside world.
In exchange for temporary happiness, she was burdened with a lifetime of sorrow.

On top of her wounds, the girl bore a terrible sickness.
Indeed, a sickness the boy had infected her with.
Now her parents' lies had been fully realized.
And now, just as the boy said, it wouldn't be long.

The girl's parents came to visit the boy, and were surprised to see his condition much like their daughter's.
At the same time, they came to understand a number of things.

The father spoke.
"Yes, we've been thoughtless and foolish.
We've gone and ruined something that should have been left be."

The girl's parents spoke about everything with the boy.
"Though I know it's very selfish to ask to see your daughter now, would you let me?"

In the next moment, the boy vanished.
When the parents returned home, the girl was also nowhere to be seen.
The rope connected to her extended outside the house.
When they followed its trail, they found it frayed halfway.

Pull. Pull.

Posted October 6th, 2012

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