Episode 3 Under the Cherry Blossom Tree…
“Wowwwwwwww, so cool! You can really drink!!”
A man who was in a dark blue denim jacket was pouring Japanese sake into his mouth from a paper cup with momentum.
The surrounding men and women watched him joyfully, clapping their hands enthusiastically.
“Hah!! This sake is so good!! Although the temperature got lower when the night arrived, the sake warmed my body from the inside. Hey, you have to drink it too!!”
The man in the denim jacket offered a dainty lady who had a down jacket draped over her shoulders and sat next to him to have a drink.
“I can’t drink that much.”
Ignoring what the lady had just said, he ruthlessly poured the sake into the cup until it was about to overflow.
“Then I’m gonna drink it~”
Probably because of either the karaoke or sake, the man with a remarkably raucous voice and red face took the paper cup from the lady’s hand and started to pour the sake into his mouth.
Another stylish man with a pair of glasses on him saw that and provoked the man in the denim jacket into drinking boldly. As a response to that, the man with a raucous voice finished the sake in the cup quickly and said,
“Hanamizake1 is especially delicious.”
“It’s not even hanamizake. You haven’t looked at the flowers even once since we came here at noon.”
A petite girl with blond twintails commented without caring about the difference in their size.
After saying that, the two laughed passionately.
A wind blew through the space in between the five people.
The cherry blossoms above them were disturbed by the wind and floated down as if they were dancing.
“Cherry blossoms are really beautiful.”
The dainty lady draping a down jacket over her shoulders covered herself from the wind murmured while watching the petals dancing in the air.
“By the way, isn’t it so great that we could find a place right under such a giant cherry blossom tree? It looks like everyone wants to enjoy the blossoms right here.”
“Yeah, yeah! Even people like us, who enrolled in college just for playing, could find this kind of place.”
The lady with blond twintails said nonchalantly and courageously.
“‘For playing’ is really impolite!!”
After saying that, the man pushed his glasses slightly and said elegantly,
“It is for drinking sake boldly as a club.”
“There is no difference!!”
When the man with a raucous voice laughed out loud, the man wearing glasses clapped his hands boldly with a smug face. At that moment, there was a series of conte that his glasses, whose position had just been fixed, slanted again, entertaining everyone there with the momentum from the sake.
“By the way, didn’t you say cherry blossoms were beautiful before?”
The man in a denim jacket started a conversation with the lady in a down jacket.
“I said that, but what about it?”
Different from the moment before, the man lowered his voice and squeezed the words out.
“Cherry blossoms are beautiful… Because… There are corpses buried under the cherry blossom trees.”
The other four stiffened at the bizarre atmosphere created by the man.
“A, are you kidding?”
“No… I’m not kidding. Do you know? Once upon a time, a great literary giant wrote that ‘There are corpses buried under the cherry blossom trees.’ Then, it was spread throughout the world and it became something similar to a rumor or a urban legend. It is said that the more beautiful the cherry blossoms are, the greater the number of corpses buried under the tree.”
Saying that, the man laughed and the other four looked at him silently.
“One day… I found something interesting when I was on Twitter. Then I decided to do that. ”
The man crossed his hands in front of his face and spoke slowly with a mysterious look.
“There are many rumors spreading around the world. This is one of them. It seems like no one knows to whom the place around this cherry blossom tree belongs to since several decades ago. So everyone is allowed to appreciate this gigantic cherry blossom tree; however… There isn’t a single person coming… Do you know the reason?”
The four were so nervous that they made sounds from their throat.
“There is a saying that if there are corpses buried under a cherry blossom tree, the sobbing voice of a woman from a long time ago can be heard every night during the season when the cherry blossoms bloom.”
The five people and the cherry blossoms trembled due to the strong wind.
Everyone was fighting with their fears and listened carefully if the sound coming from the broken branches was the sobbing sound of a woman.
“… Humans are afraid of what they don’t know about…”
The man in the denim jacket murmured quietly but with force.
“Then knowing the truth will solve all the problems! It is now the time for us Mystery Club to ignite our souls!!”
After declaring that in a loud voice, he finished the rest of the Japanese sake inside the one sho bottle2.
“W, wait. What are you going to do?”
Feeling the sake permeate his stomach, the man in the denim jacket increased his volume.
“Of course! I want to verify it, with my eyes!! Whether there really are corpses under the cherry blossom tree or not.”
Having said that, the man started to search within his big rucksack, quickly found three metal pieces, and threw them onto the vinyl sheet.
“What are those? Are they the home plates used in baseball?”
“That’s such a stupid question. They are obviously the foldable scoops!!”
“Ah, are you serious!?”
“Why are you so scared? There will be no problem! If we can’t dig out any corpses, this rumor will disappear and people will become happy. If we can dig out corpses, then this case will fit for the best mystery! To our Mystery Club, this will become an anecdote what we can tell our juniors!! Either way, this will be a good thing!!”
“… Yeah… You are probably correct.”
Murmuring, the man picked up a scoop while his eyes were ignited by his curiosity and shining behind his eyeglass lenses even if he knew what the other man had just said was sophistry.
Then another man reached his hand towards a scoop as well and started to assemble it efficiently.
“Wow~ I’m excited! Do your best~!!”
While pouring the cup containing Japanese sake into her own mouth, the girl with twintails cheered for the three men happily. Then the lady sitting right next to her covered her dainty body up with a down coat and stared at the four whose curiosity could not be stopped.
“Alright, then we’re starting now! Ready, go!!”
With that cheer, the three men stabbed the scoops into the places under the cherry blossom tree simultaneously.
“Hurray, hurray, Mystery Club! Come on, come on, Mystery Club!!”
The cheer, which became more optimistic, was covered up by the dim darkness with only the moonlight and disappeared.
Since there were no houses near this tree, no matter how loud the noise they made, no one would be annoyed.
“By the way, the ground is so hard.”
By the time the giant with a raucous voice had scooped about four or five times, he began to complain.
“You loser!! How can a person with more brawn than brains like you give up in front of a mystery!!”
Saying that, the man digged into the ground with the scoop intently, not even caring about his denim jacket getting dirty.
“Oh… here. I think this place is softer.”
Two men met each other’s eyes.
His voice came from the opposite side of the thick tree trunk of the cherry blossom tree.
They quickly went there and restarted the scooping.
Then contrary to until now, the blade was drawn into the ground smoothly.
“Wow, this is so great! Okay, let’s dig into this place!!”
Their unstoppable curiosity intensified. They speeded up, digging into the ground while yelling ‘Yeah!!’
The cold night wind wiped the men’s sweat away several times.
The women who were drinking sake and intently watching them digging from a distance seemed to get bored and came close to watch them.
“Hey, what’s happening? Half of your bodies are buried in the ground!?”
Twenty to thirty minutes after they started digging.
Under the cherry blossom tree, there was a large hole that could cover up half of an adult male’s body.
“We’ve been digging for a long time, but nothing came out”
The man said while putting on the dirty denim jacket
“I think it’s time to stop. It is inevitable that the rumor is a lie…”
“Wait a second.”
The man with a raucous voice interrupted.
The scoop seemed be stucked in the ground when it was stabbed into the ground.
“… What is this… It feels different from before…”
Saying that, the giant digged repeatedly with all his force in order to find out what hooked the scoop.
The ground that was scooped out.
The dirt that was swirled up.
And there was…
A soil-colored human hand with five fingers that was dug out.
The passionate curiosity transformed into true fear in an instant. Five screams echoed in the jet black darkness.
1. Hanamizake – drinking sake while enjoying the cherry blossoms. It is a traditional custom in Japan during spring.↩
2. One sho bottle – a glass bottle that contains liquids in Japan. Its volume is about 1,800 mL.↩