-PARASITE EVEScanned by Sephirotto
Copyright © 2005 by Hideaki Sena All rights reserved. Published by Vertical, Inc., New York. Originally published in Japanese as Parasaito Ibu by Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyo, 1995. Notes courtesy of Prof. Shigeo Ohta translated selectively from the Kadokawa paperback edition. ISBN 1-932234-19-5 Manufactured in the United States of America First American Edition Vertical, Inc. www.vertical-inc.com
Everything vanished suddenly before her eyes. Kiyomi Nagashima had no idea what had happened. The houses she passed every day were reflected in the windshield only a moment ago. Just ahead, the street took its familiar slope downward and bore slightly to the right, where a traffic light had just changed to yellow, before vision failed her. Kiyomi tried to blink, but her sight did not return. No matter how much effort she put into it, nothing appeared. They had all gone away: the white sedan driving in front of her; the tail light of the bus waiting at its stop; the cluster of high school girls hastening along the sidewalk. Kiyomi looked down in her confusion to check the steering wheel. Then, she was truly shocked. The steering wheel was gone. In fact, she did not even know where her hands were. She could not feel the seat belt around her waist nor her foot on the gas pedal, for neither was where it was supposed to be. There was only darkness fanning out, continuing endlessly in all directions. There was a churning around her, and she was floating in a warm, viscous liquid. She was naked. Her clothes had vanished without her ever noticing. That dream again. That dream she had once a year, on Christmas Eve, in which she felt herself writhing in some pitch-dark world without beginning or end. She'd always had that strange dream. This was the dream, and she was now entering into it again. But she did not know why she was having it just now. Like the stars' orbits, the dream always came to her with regulated precision. She never dreamt it on any other night but Christmas and had certainly never entered into it while she was awake. Her body was changing profoundly. She lost all feeling in her arms and legs. Maybe they'd actually vanished. Head, torso, and hips gone, a body long and narrow like a worm's, she felt herself to be. Kiyomi shook and slithered ahead through the slightly sticky blackness. What is this place? It was a question she had asked many times before. Her body seemed to recall this place, yet no matter how much she tried, Kiyomi herself could not remember. Once, in some far-off place, Kiyomi was just like this, not understanding anything, just squirming and swimming. That much was true. Had it been yesterday, a recent year, or in the more distant past? She could not tell. To begin with, it was not clear that time flowed in this vast gloom.
Kiyomi felt her body changing again. Something small divided slowly deep inside of her. At the same time, she felt a gentle constriction in her very center, and the ends of her body flowed quietly in opposing directions. She was becoming two. It was a strangely tranquil feeling. Time seemed to pass so gently, slowly. Where am I? When is this? What am I? Such mundane concerns no longer mattered. She wanted only to remain floating like this in the dark. She gradually split in half. There was no pain. Rather, she was insensate and that was bliss. Everything sedate. No turmoil. Dividing like it was natural. Calm. All was calm. Kiyomi let all her nerves relax as she slowly surrendered herself to the flow... Her vision was then completely restored just as unexpectedly as it had abandoned her. She clearly saw now her own two hands grasping the steering wheel. Kiyomi blinked, then looked straight ahead. She was heading straight into a telephone pole.
PART ONE DEVELOPMENT 1 Until the phone rang that morning, it was the beginning of an average, uneventful day for Toshiaki Nagashima. At 8:20 amToshiaki parked his car at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The lot