Seven wonders overtime – Part 4
“Another major paranormal tale is related to the music room.”
Deep into the night, music from a piano can be heard from a supposedly empty music room – that’s how the tale that anyone can easily think of goes, anyway.
“The mystery-style solution would be that someone left a phone or recorder in the music room, and an alarm or ringtone went off at the designated time.”
Isn’t that too simple?
“If music came from the piano even though no one is playing it, could it be a piano with an automatic play function?” Asahina-san asked.
That’s also possible, but a humble prefecture high school like ours probably wouldn’t have such expensive equipment in the music room.
Asahina-san tilted her head like a small bird and asked a question in an innocent voice.
“By the way, what song is being played?”
Not everything would work, right? It has to be some eerie piece befitting of a supernatural tale. I can’t think of anything besides Schubert’s Erlkönig and Mozart’s Requiem.
“Ah!” Koizumi snapped his fingers again. “I do have a most suitable piece.”
Oh? What is it?
“It’s Four minutes, thirty-three seconds.”
Is that long or short?
“No, I wasn’t referring to its duration, but rather, a piece with that name.”
What a pragmatic title. I can probably listen to it by looking it up on the internet, so I guess I’ll give it a try. I was about to boot up the notebook computer – one of those plundered from the Computer Research Society after we beat them in a computer game in the past, but Koizumi stopped me.
“That isn’t necessary. Or rather, you cannot listen to it.”
He smiled and continued.
“The style of this piece, or rather, the entire performance entails the performer sitting in front of the piano and doing absolutely nothing for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.”
So it’s an impractical, avant-garde piece, huh.
“Whether this counts as a musical composition is up for debate, but there is no better piece to use for a paranormal story in the music room.”
Since it’s a silent piece of music, even if there was a spirit playing, it wouldn’t reach anyone’s ears. That’s a terribly harmless spirit. I’m even starting to feel sorry for it now.
“Asahina-san,” I spoke as the thought hit my mind. “Will the existence of ghosts have been proven in the future?”
Asahina-san stared on in puzzlement, with her coquettish lips open for a few seconds.
“That’s classified information, fufu.”
Why are you looking so happy about it?
“It pains me to be unable to tell you, but not being able to tell you whether the answer is yes or no or both will not cause any big problems here, so I can say proudly that it’s classified information.”
I’d prepared a partial response to her interpretation that the existence of ghosts didn’t matter at all, but since she was wearing the maid outfit that emphasized her curvaceous upper bodyline, I reservedly looked away, only to see Koizumi shrugging.
Come to think of it, this guy has been excessively wanting to bring occult stories into mystery, and while he’s been constructing sound logic for the plan against Haruhi, could it be that he’s bad with the topics of ghosts, monsters and paranormal tales? That could be why he wants the Seven Wonders to be mild, given that they might be brought into reality by Haruhi.
Using a mechanical pencil, Koizumi assiduously wrote a second movement in the notebook.
Wonder of the Music Room – In the dead of a night with a new moon, the sounds of John Cage’s Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds can be heard from the empty music room. The door to the music room was locked, and the music room was a complete locked-room mystery. No one could enter or leave the music room.
“The bit about the locked room is unnecessary, isn’t it?”
“It’s just to set the atmosphere,” Koizumi replied.
“As for the next Wonder…… how about this? At some point in time, a staircase somewhere in school gains an extra step, or loses a step. In other words, it’s a supernatural story linked to storeys.”
That’s also a commonly told story. Also, it’s a pun that everyone probably thought of before. A supernatural story about storeys1.
I ran through my thoughts. What would Haruhi do with a staircase? Koizumi answered that question first, although both of us thought of it at the same time.
“How about all of the school’s staircases turning into escalators?”
As I said, I’d rather have air-conditioners installed in all classrooms. But thanks to the jerry-built nature of our school, the walls are thin, our classrooms are hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We might as well be studying in outdoor classrooms. We should only have escalators after something’s done about that.
“We’re supposed to be discussing paranormal tales, not plans to improve the school’s facilities and amenities.”
At this point, it’s worth thinking about things we want to make a reality through Haruhi’s uncanny powers. It won’t trouble anyone for air conditioners and escalators to suddenly appear overnight. In fact, it would make everyone happy.
Koizumi lightly shook his head exasperatedly.
“If you think about it, all staircases changing into escalators could mean that really quick renovation work was done. If we think too extremely, the story could, contrary to our expectations, turn out to be far from mysterious. Let us consider simpler situations with simple honesty.”
As a result, the following supernatural story of storeys was created:
Secret of the Staircase – In the dead of a night with a crescent moon, the staircase to the roof of the south school building gains an additional step for one hour. Anyone who treads on that step will be temporarily worried that the big toe on their right foot has its nails cut too deep. In addition, leaving that aside, they will be unable to ignore the incredibly inexplicable and miraculous possibility that all of the school’s classrooms have been fitted with air conditioning units.
The latter half was the addition of my hopes, of course.
“The meanings of the two halves don’t match at all. Also, no one reading the passage can help but point out that the phrases ‘in addition’ and ‘leaving that aside’ are used wrongly.”
It should be fine. It’s a paranormal tale, so it feels more real that it has some inconsistencies.
“Suzumiya-san does not want to have the feeling of reality, though.”
Leaving behind his objections, Koizumi flipped through the pages of information.
“It seems that supernatural stories about mirrors are also relatively popular. The story usually goes like this: when one looks in the mirror at a specific time, they can see their future self reflected in the mirror, or they are drawn into the mirror and go missing.”
Which mirror should we use? I ran a search through all locations of school mirrors in my memory.
“There’s a full-length mirror installed in the passage from the central school building to the gymnasium. Let’s go with that.”
I’ve seen a pitcher from the baseball club practicing shadow pitching in front of that mirror on a rainy day, probably to check his form. I’m sure that no one knows what it’s used for, besides for that shadow pitching. It certainly is a mysterious mirror.
So what happens when someone looks at the mirror at the dead of night? Koizumi, you’re up.
“Thinking about it normally, there could be a slight discrepancy between the actually body’s movements and the reflection’s movements.”
What do you think, Asahina-san?
“Umm, the person’s reflection comes out of the mirror…… would something like that do?”
A doppelganger, huh. I’m personally quite fed up with the story of witnessing another self, though……
I should ask Nagato too, just to be sure. Do you have any opinions about this?
Nagato raised her two eyes which had been lost in juvenile fiction.
“If a person is reflected in the mirror, the amino acids their body is composed of are changed from L-form to D-form2.”
She made a scientific proposal. Perhaps because I was silent and she felt the necessity for further explanation, Nagato added a word.
She spoke in a plain voice, but since I had no clue as to how the phenomenon would be considered bizarre, I had no measures to take except for maintaining my silence and pretending to sip the tea that I had finished long ago. Looking around, I noticed Asahina-san also bringing the teacup unnaturally to her lips. Seems like I’ve found a comrade.
“Ah, I see.”
Koizumi clapped his hands together. And there we have a traitor.
“It’s a similar phenomenon to that of the statue, right? There’s no change to the outer appearance of the person, but some components of their body are reflected. That’s quite interesting, I think. You could say that this is also a sensible paranormal story that causes no harm.”
To hell with paranormal stories and them being sensible, but are there really no problems? If so, then we should use it.
Before Nagato returned to her book yet again, I thought I heard her mutter something like “……Jam.” However, there were no snacks or bread, and the contents of her cup could not have been Russian Tea, so I must have misheard.
Ah, you want to know my suggestion? If you take a peek at the mirror, your personality will become the exact opposite. Haruhi would become like Nagato, Nagato would become like Haruhi, and— ooh, I’m getting giddy just trying to imagine it. Running more simulations in my head would be dangerous, so it’s time to stop.
“Shall we leave it like this, then?” Koizumi asked smoothly.
Reflecting Mirror in the Passageway – In the dead of a night with a first quarter moon, if a person’s whole body is reflected in the full-length mirror in the passageway, the molecule structures of their body’s amino acids are reflected. Also, if they execute the second exercise of radio calisthenics3, the reflection in the mirror will have a slight discrepancy in the stopping action at the final moment. Occasionally, a doppelganger might come out of the mirror, but chance of that happening is very low. It is rumored that even if the doppelganger does show up, it immediately disappears.
I asked a question after the exalted Deputy Chief completed his rough, messy draft.
“Which one is this?”
“This is the fourth Wonder. We have three more to go.”
As expected, he seemed tired.
“Shall we wrap it up, then? There is a limit to how long we can make Suzumiya-san wait, after all.”
I was wondering how exactly they were delaying Haruhi, but I suppose I should leave it to the professionals. I’m fine with staying as a mere amateur.
Read at pigcow-translations dot com
- In Japanese staircase and story are both pronounced as “kaidan”. Storey was the only thing I could think of to fit the pun. I also left it in British English to reduce confusion.
- I gave up on biology long ago, so I believe this website will explain better than I can: http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/biocoach/bioprop/landd.html