Reconstructing the Another novel – part 1
(Another was originally a book by Yukito Ayatsuji. With news of a translation yet to appear, I’m trying to reconstruct the novel from the first three episodes of the anime series)
I woke up in the hospital. It felt like I had been dreaming, but there was clichéd narration and an awful, terrible song playing. It was still 1998 so I was slightly disappointed I hadn’t time travelled to a future where ALI Project had been outlawed.
Outside the sun was setting and the backwater town I had moved to seemed ready to sleep. My Grandma and Aunt were chilling with me on dialysis. At least I assume it was dialysis, I wasn’t entirely sure what they were doing with tubes in my chest but they had said it was medically relevant. We chatted about my father and late mother, and where I was going to school. Some students came to visit me with all the cheer of a funeral procession. Must be depressants in the drinking water.
Most of the stilted conversation centered around my living in Yomiyama before. The second time I said I had only visited before elicited a handshake which seemed slightly odd, but who am I to question the country folk and their quaint mannerisms?
The hospital is so dark at night, darker than the hole in my heart, both literally and figuratively after that “dialysis”. I questioned whether to phone my wayward father when I noticed the elevator didn’t go to the fourth floor – guess that superstition is taken seriously here. A girl was in the elevator that I hadn’t noticed before given how roomy this glorified metal cupboard was, apparently she goes to the same school. Slipknot must have become the band du-jour here as this girl was just as emotionally vacant as the welcoming committee was previously. If only I could think of an analogy to describe her… Something human-like but inanimate…
I was so elated to be in an elevator I had omitted to select a floor so rode it all the way to the second basement. The girl got off and when I asked her name, she proclaimed it like she had to check her credit card to remember. With all the fluids in my body replaced with… Mountain Dew? I was apparently in tip top condition for going to school! My Dad called me at a thoroughly uncivilised hour beforehand:
“Just think of it as something that’s in the past and go enjoy your life!”
Super advice on my potentially trauma induced condition, thanks Dad. To add to my early morning malady the robot bird seemed to be playing up and trying to tell me something. Stupid bird, Lassie would have been so much more emotive.
My class was positively abuzz with excitement when I arrived! Is what I’d like to say, instead I got the feeling my classmates were all trying to make my head explode with their thoughts. During the interval I was questioned rigorously though it seemed like they were hiding something from me, steering me away from certain topics. As I had the unexplainable urge to fit in with these maladjusted prepubescents and I am chronically daft, I pretended I didn’t notice.
During PE I chatted with a couple of students who seemed especially weird so I ran to the roof to escape the stupefying conversation. The girl I met in the lift in the hospital was there, drawing or perhaps doodling conceptual architectural schematics. I quizzed her on her name. She said my name meant death. I tried to look stunned, like no one had called me “Deathy McDeatherson” before. She said the school was close to death. Definite Slipknot fan. Or perhaps just coming down after watching Evangelion.
“You shouldn’t try to get close to me. You shouldn’t talk to me anymore, either.”
Reverse psychology ey? I’ll show you not talking to you any more! Hey look a bird!
So day one at school: success! I sent one boy to the infirmary (heart condition indeed), freaked out a girl by saying a name and met someone who said I reminded everyone of death. Way better than my last first day!