Headphone Actor

BOOK: Headphone Actor
2.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


riginal novel published
by Shizen no Teki-P

Translations by: amesubs,
/renna Afterwards by withered

Story plotline by JIN




(translated by Amesubs)


Only me and my shadow stand still in the corridor of sunset.


Earlier, I could overhear music broadcasted by the radio from the headphones that hung around my neck.

But now, I hear noise, as well as something resembling a person’s voice.

The atmosphere was obviously different, so I put on my headphones, curious.


The intermittent voice gradually began to form words.

It seemed like a news interview of some country’s president.

It was like a performance, with an exaggerated voice, and a slightly delayed simultaneous translation.

There was quite a lot of noise mixed in, but I could somehow make out a few parts.

it’s a very unfortunate……thing……but……today……the world is going to…….end”


Once those words had been said, I could hear many screams and an enumeration of words I couldn’t understand.

Even if I removed the headphones, the appearance of pandemonium was conveyed so clearly it hurt.

Outside the red-stained window, a crescent moon was afloat in the deep purple sky, obscured by so many birds; it was almost like a cluster of black ants.

Removing my headphones, I went back to my room, and glanced around; a half finished game and a mountain of textbooks reflected the sunset, glowing orange.


I wonder what I was doing until now.

I had a vague feeling that I was talking with someone a few moments ago, but I couldn’t remember anything more.


It’s surely just some kind of joke”


I whispered, in an attempt to persuade myself; opening one of the windows lining the corridor. Once I did so, I heard a loud siren I’d never heard before, along with the cries of people.


That noise slowly becomes louder and louder, engulfing the whole city.


My lips are shaking, my teeth are chattering.

I am alone.


There’s no one left here anymore.

And soon, I too will cease to exist.

My heartbeat quickens, and my tears tell my cheek.

I hate being alone, being alone is scary.

So I can run away from a world being swallowed up by a whirlpool of despair, so I can separate myself, I wear the soundproof headphones once again.


The sound of the radio has stopped, and I can’t hear anything but noise now.

Shall I just give up on everything already……”

The minute I murmured that, I felt like I heard something.

When I listened carefully, it seemed to be a voice talking specifically to me.

And finally, I realized.

That voice, it was none other than my own.


Hey, can you hear me? You still have a place you want to go to, and something you want to say, don’t you?”


I couldn’t remember what those things were.

But, for some reason, I felt like I understood the meaning of those words.


It’s alright, trust me. If you can just reach that hill, you’ll learn the significance of this, even if you don’t want to. If you stay here, you’ll just disappear. Hey——————“

As I wiped away the tears that threatened to fall again, I took a deep breath.

You want to survive, yes?”

That day, when the world ended.

With my own voice as my guide, I ran with all my strength on the trembling ground.




















(translated by Amesubs
and Miss-Simplicity



I woke up to the piercing noise of my alarm.

I stretched my hand out beside my bed, fumbling to reach for my mobile phone.

After turning off the alarm, I checked the time, and let out a large sigh.


… This is strange. No, this is really, really, strange. It is definitely strange.

After all, I should’ve slept for at least eleven hours.

Yet, why in the world am I so sleepy? This is way too unfair. Even though I paid a beautiful high school girl’s “Late-Night Time” as compensation, the satisfaction my body got in return was way too little.

Something wasn’t right. Are you trying to say that I’m just not beautiful enough …? Though once I’m awake, I’ll just end up playing that online game; but even so, I did pay compensation.


A sense of fatigue flows through my entire body, “Wait! If you don’t sleep some more, you’re gonna die. Think about it again!”; that danger signal is emitted.

My brain received the warning, and began thinking of “A way to comfortably stay in the futon”.


For example, Strategy 1: Feigning Illness


Right now, I’m living with my grandmother, so it’s just the two of us. If I tell her “I don’t really feel very well today, so…” I’ll be able to skip school pretty easily.

I’ll feel pretty ashamed about deceiving my grandmother, but on this occasion, I suppose you could say it can’t be helped.


But, this strategy isn’t good at all.

To say I’m “not feeling well” is quite untactful, as my grandmother will find it best to immediately send me to the hospital.

Ugh, there’ll be a medical examination, and then I’ll be hospitalized … When I think of these things, a chill runs down my spine.

Also, in the ward, I’ll barely be able to play my game, and I’m sorry, but I’d rather not spend my free time just doing absolutely nothing.

The thing is, everyone’s just too nervous about it. Even with the symptoms of this “illness”, I don’t think it’s something that life threatening. Everyone’s just exaggerating it.

My late grandfather was particularly nervous, and was always worried about my illness. He pulled a lot of strings and arranged things so that the high school I’m entering this year will treat me with great caution.

… Well, I guess if I suddenly collapsed in the classroom with a crash, it would be troublesome to people around me, and above all, it would be quite embarrassing.

“Thinking about it, this current situation is probably the best.”

——Living while thinking in this way, half a year passed. Ever since I entered the school, I have yet to make real friends, but it’s not like I have any problems with this.


Anyway, after this and that, Strategy 1 is a failure.

The time it took to compute all this was about two minutes. Considering the “law of the speed that time elapses in the morning,” it would probably be said that my speed of thinking was overwhelmingly fast.


Strategy 2: “Actually, school is closed today.”


I could tell my grandmother that school’s actually closed today… but thinking about it, yesterday evening, when she asked me; “Should I make you a packed lunch tomorrow?” I remember replying, “Yep, I want to eat tamagoyaki!”

… I’m such an idiot! Why tamagoyaki!? Rather than a packed lunch, I should’ve requested an “Extended Sleeping Hours Ticket” or something. Although such a thing obviously doesn’t exist.

Almost contrary to my thoughts, the wonderful scent of eggs wafted up to my room. In response to yesterday’s request, “Chef Grandmother” was surely preparing my packed lunch wholeheartedly.


Feeling guilty for trying so desperately to find an excuse to skip school, I sighed, “Ugh…” I wonder how much misfortune I am to my grandmother.


Turning around, I dive back into my futon for a while, resetting my thoughts.

… Even so, I wonder how my grandmother manages to wake up so early like clockwork, day after day. I can’t think of anything other than the possibility that she’s some kind of super precise computer. Literally, a computer grandmother …


——While I was pondering such nonsense, I could hear a creaking noise of footsteps as someone walked up the stairs. This noise in an old, peculiarly constructed wooden building, created a horror movie-like atmosphere, scaring me. No, this was certainly a person arriving to wake me up.

I instantly cover myself with my futon, and attempt to find one last way to resist.

Ah… There’s no more time… Strategy 3… Strategy… Strate…

“How long are you going to sleep for!! Hurry up and get ready before you’re late!”

“Uuuu …. aahh”


Mission Failed.

As the intensely bright sunlight rains down on me from the opened curtain, in my head, I imagined red letters flashing: “GAME OVER”


Mid-late autumn weather. 

The hot summer days where the heat haze shimmered ended, autumn passed, and the landscape of the school route starts to look completely like winter. 

Winter clothes also began to appear among the students on their way to school; sweater-wearing boys and girls that seemed to get along, flickered into my field of vision. 


——While showing a blatant disgust towards those students, completely shutting out their conversation that set my teeth on edge, and aiming to head to school in silence, I, Enomoto Takane, was in a very bad mood. 

But this probably wasn’t something to be particularly noted on. This was my default. 

Because I had the habit of staying up late at night, when I was woken up by the morning sun, I would get irritated by my drowsiness. 

Once the afternoon came around, I would be irritated by the attitude of my classmates and teachers. 

Because of that, the expression in my eyes always looked bad, and I was often asked, “Are you angry?” 

And each time, I would get irritated again; it was a vicious cycle. 


Although that made me seem silly and frivolous, and likely to spend all my time fooling around, I didn’t think my personality would become like that, nor did I want it to. 

Becoming irritated at such a stupid delusion of my own future, I trudged on towards school in my usual grumpy mood.


However, because the distance from home to school was rather close, there wasn’t any need to use the bus or the train, or better said, it was help to no one.

At any rate, I never had to bother to use any strength to go to school, and more importantly, I could sleep in until the last minute.

Because of that, in the time that would probably be spent rushing to transfer lines in the train commute to school, today as well, I could leisurely wake up, and easily pass through the school gates fourteen minutes before homeroom.


Reaching the straight path in front of the school gates, the number of students wearing the same school uniform increased at once.

Naturally, I increased my walking speed, and the look in my eyes became even worse.


At the side of the school gate, I removed my headphones, wound up the cord, and put them in my bag.

I had come to rather like the headphones that my grandmother bought for my birthday. The looks were cute, and the sound was good. Although I say, “the sound is good,” ever since the time I borrowed my classmate’s earphones, I’ve thought, “Somehow, the sound is dull”; they really weren’t any kind of high-quality product.

However, to me, who had gotten used to them, they were my one and only partner.


Once I nodded to the rugged PE teacher standing in front of the gate and entered the school, I saw the lively bustle of activity because of the school culture festival that was now one week away.

In the very center of the roughly ten-meter wide road that extended from the school gate to the main entrance, there were preparation spaces set up for each class’ act.

I saw strangely-written warning signs, like “Wet paint!! Don’t you dare sit!” and material-requesting posters that said things like, “Looking for cardboard! If you can offer any, please contact 2-A Executive Committee!”


As I looked around, I wondered from how early in the morning everyone had started working from. There was already students with paint-smeared clothes, students dressed in some kind of monster costumes, and even things like “’It’s the school culture festival, so let’s all do our best together’-type of girl” that seemed like she was about to cry, saying “Because the guys won’t do it properly …” The scene that I saw was exactly like the “Realization of Youth.”


——However, for me, who was the “type of girl that usually hands out snide remarks and quarrels, and only during times like these, will work together with her fellow students,” preparations for the school culture festival was nothing but a hindrance.


Furthermore, during the period of preparation, the school gate would become increasingly noisy from the festival excitement; there would be detention until midnight, and people that would be flirting and breaking the rules, so it was generally not good.

And after the actual day of the culture festival, there would be an abnormal pile of trash left behind.

What was with this unproductive event? It was ridiculous.

Now that I thought about it, in the newspaper that had been distributed yesterday, I had written that the first year B-class I was “temporarily” a member of, was going to do the traditional event that had probably been done to death in this world: “maid cafe.”

Far from having planning meetings, this event hadn’t even come up in normal classes; to me, this was a completely irrelevant thing, and was even something of a convenience.

If I actually put on maid clothes because of a sudden impulse at one am, I would become burdened by the work of a memory that couldn’t be wiped away in a lifetime.

Thinking and worrying endlessly about that kind of thing, I passed under a huge model of a dinosaur, dodged and glared at a stupid-faced boy fooling around in the middle of the road, and headed for the main entrance.


Pushing the door handle of the door that was so weathered the words “push” couldn’t even be read, the school building I set foot in was at a quite adequate temperature due to the power of central heating.

I took off my outdoor shoes, and looking at the indoor shoes that were to be taken out of cupboard, this wooden foot locker was also considerably old.

I had heard that the school building itself was equivalent to a historical building, and was proud of producing many students, including famous people like politicians and celebrities.

Although, to be honest, before bragging about its history, I wanted to them to hurry up with the renovations. Rather, this was the demand of the majority of the students.

The school building we were proud of had a hole in the gymnasium roof, left from the summer typhoon, and the bottom of the drinking fountain had fallen out; it had become a rather painful incident.

Particularly, around the first really hot day of summer, the incident where all the air conditioning in the school had broken was very problematic, leading the students to roll out complaints like, “I want to change schools as soon as possible.”

However, during summer vacation, the apology-filled air conditioning repairs resurrected the cooling and heating.

The students that tried to devise an extension to summer vacation to shield the complaints towards the school facilities, too, were obligated to reluctantly attend two semesters of school.


On top of the drain board, I changed into my indoor shoes, and hurriedly exited to the hallway.

In my school life, this moment was the most bitter.

While everyone harmoniously turned left in the hallway in front of the shoe cupboards and proceeded to the second floor where the normal classrooms were, I was the only one that turned right towards the classroom zone for subjects with few students. In particular, I headed for the classroom that always had the foreign scent of chemicals drifting around.

Yes, my “normal classroom” was the “Science Preparation Room” with a nursing homeroom teacher.

In recent years, because of the development of the nearby city and the rapid increase of students that came with this, the normal classrooms were all relocated for other classes, and presently there was no classroom to use for the “special needs class”; That was the reason.

As far as equipment went, having desks and a teacher’s desk was enough to call it a classroom, but I’d like you to try thinking about it. Most of my time in these wonderful three years of high school life would be spent in a classroom breathing in the smell of formalin. Thinking about that, it made me feel rather depressed. However, currently, including me, the students that attended that class were only two, so that made it fairly easy to spend with how quiet and peaceful it was. About the illness I had, if I were transferred to a normal classroom now, there was that concern about becoming some kind of burden, which was why I was my current situation without any complaints.

BOOK: Headphone Actor
2.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Retribution by Burgess, B. C.
Date with a Dead Man by Brett Halliday
You & Me by Padgett Powell
The Ghost House by Phifer, Helen
William Again by Richmal Crompton
Beyond Definition by Wilder, Jenni