One Week of Evil -- Chapter 1 "Monday"

I'll never forget them, the things that happened that time I was still in my fifth year of grade school. It was coming into the rainy season. Even at the best of times I was walking to school, which took over an hour along the countryside paths that were wrapped in an undescribable suspicious feeling. I think it's difficult to imagine, but in a way, at that time my school zone changed completely to a hellish image, because on the small highway wet by the rain, there were countless remains of frogs and snakes spanned out all over the place. So I wouldn't see it all, I'd face straight ahead as I walked, although once in a while I'd hear 'SPLAT' like gunshots. If I looked down at all, I'd see tossed-about frog guts at my feet, twitching around. I felt calling this hell was a reasonable expression... And that's not all. If I walked carefully I'd be taking my time. At the foot of the school's outer gate, there were "fifty monsters" who would materialize, but a lot quicker than usual would pass alongside me. These "fifty monsters" as I call them, would pass into the school neighborhood's parking lot at 7:50 for the bus. A student without a watch, I stayed outside as late as I could be until there was an alarm. I was that guy whose never made it in time for homeroom even when I left earlier than planned, so instead of chimes, I'd start the day with my teacher's angry voices lecturing me.

There were never any good memories in the rain. But even that day, the bed of hydrangeas I could see from the classroom window reversed my melancholic mood. Those flowers were blooming, and the more wet they became the happier they became.
Athletics and art were not among my lessons that Monday. From 1:00 I continued with arithmetic, science, and social studies, so that the day was full of class work up until 6:00, and nothing at all of interest happened. The gap of Saturday and Sunday rest days, along with Monday, I deeply felt were the worst ones, my hated days of the week. The incident happened during second period of that Monday, in science class.

We weren't in the classroom for science, but we were being moved to the new science laboratory, our feet trampling in the corridors with squeaking sounds, to stand erratically around the desks there. Beside the desks, there was a small washbasin where utensils used for experiments were to be washed, but since I hated that kind of work, I always forced it upon someone else.
That day's experiment involved the use of an alcohol lamp. I was bumbling into the people around me without a care as I prepared the experiment and set the fire. I laid my elbows on the surface and rubbed my hands together, and I was watching intently, remembering when I had a little too much time to spare.

"Which reminds me, can you do this?"
It was when I was hanging out in the neighborhood with my cousin's older brother, who was a senior student.
"Hey, I said anyone can, you know," I said, and opened the window in my room. We lit our cigarettes, and they flared up. Then he said,
"Let me show you something cool. Look!" and, holding a 100 yen lighter in his right hand, he put the index finger of his left hand into and out of the fire, without it burning!
"Ohhh!" I was largely surprised at much of the world, and when I saw that, I was surprised much the same way.
"I'm gonna try!"
So I snatched that lighter, and just like the older brother, I crossed the fire many times with my own finger.
"It isn't hot!"
At that instant when I couldn't feel the heat from the flame at all, I was deeply moved. So I lit the fire again and again and kept doing it.

I called out to the people around me to bring attention to the same strange thing.
"You just look at this!" I said, and for an instant thrust my finger into the blaze from the alcohol lamp.
"Ohhh!"
I was pleased that I got the reaction I'd hoped for, and grazed it above the lamp one more time. It was my plan...
"Grr...."
I had planned to just touch the fire with my finger, but then I felt my finger touch the alcohol lamp itself and in an instant there was a sea of flame on the desk.
The area around me was overcome with screams. Naturally, nobody noticed the column of fire rising. But it wasn't just a nightmare. Something happened to the girl sitting beside me too, her sweater caught fire.
"But it's catching fire to my sweater!!"
And the teacher thought quickly, grabbed the fire extinguisher and came rushing to put out all the flames.

After this, I called my mother and she scolded me harshly, that if I came home from school my father who looked like an angry demon would be waiting with a wooden sword in one hand. I was to go alone to apologize to the girl who was crying because her sweater burned, but as a matter of fact, this incident was only the beginning of "one week of evil"...

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