Today's second update. Here's more Etsusa Bridge.
Final Chapter: Etsusa Bridge Dogs
A man was dozing off on a jetboat bound for the mainland.
The jetboat ferries ran once an hour, and these new models traveled at over 100 kilometers an hour—which meant they only took about forty minutes to reach the mainland. Water spouted spectacularly from the back of the boat to propel it forward, which probably meant that quite a few people from the artificial island would watch the ferries.
Putting on a seatbelt and listening to the end-of-year special programming on the television, Hayato Inui reflected on his past five years on the artificial island.
Having fled to Sado on Iizuka’s boat, he made a small sum of money and decided to return to the mainland. Once he got to Tokyo, he would buy a forged passport and tickets to someplace like Southeast Asia.
“Man… didn’t stay long, but Sado was pretty sweet. Shoulda gone sooner.”
That was when a high school-aged girl suddenly came up to him.
“Um… Excuse me?”
Hayato raised an eyebrow, surprised. As usual, he had rainbow-tinted hair and safety pin piercings. Did he have the wrong seat, he wondered, and quickly stood. The girl hesitated as she continued.
“Were you, by any chance, at the observation tower in Niigata five years ago?”
Confused, he thought for a second. And he smacked his own forehead.
“Ah… yeah! I did! On my first day here. Yeah. I was there. I was.”
“I knew it! I was sure I’d seen your hair before.”
With a smile, the girl sat down next to Hayato.
“No way… you’re the kid who gave me her snacks?” Hayato replied in disbelief.
The girl smiled and nodded.
“Ah… Aha! I see now! Look at you, all grown up!”
As he gaped in surprise, the boat started.
The jet engines roared almost like an airplane, and the boat slowly began to move.
“Oh right. Here. Someone in the waiting lobby asked me to give this to the person in your seat.” The girl said curiously, holding out a small envelope.
“A woman. I think she might have been part caucasian…”
Hayato had a bad feeling about this.
“She better not have laced it with poison…”
He carefully opened it. Inside was a piece of paper.
As he read the contents of the note, Hayato’s eyes went wide—and his mouth soon curled in amusement.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. It’s just a love letter. That’s it.”
The girl burst into laughter.
“Wow! No way, from someone that pretty?”
“Heh! Lucky me, huh?”
It had been twenty minutes since the boat started. An announcement came over the speakers.
<We will soon be passing by the center of the Etsusa Bridge—the artificial island, which is still in development.>
The bridge and the artificial island were sightseeing spots for ferry tours. Being slower, ferries generally kept their distance for safety’s sake. But the jetboat was able to get much closer.
“Hm? What are you doing?”
“Something bad. Heh.”
As the boat traveled parallel to the bridge, the entire island came into sight. A small commotion began in the seats, and some passengers took out their cell phone cameras.
A second later, the cabin was overwhelmed by a roar.
Most of the passengers looked around, their eyes searching for the source of the sound.
The cause of the sound was simple.
The door at the back had opened, allowing the roar of the engines into the cabin. Those who had been on jetboats before did not care, as they knew things like this happened on occasion.
And as they expected, the door soon closed and the cabin was quiet again. Of course, the passengers only thought it was quiet because the roar of the engines had been cut down so suddenly.
As the passengers lost interest in the door and turned to the island, only the girl who had been sitting next to Hayato stared curiously.
‘I wonder why he went outside?’
“Sir, the deck is off-limits to passengers—”
“Whoops! Sorry. Sorry ‘bout this.”
Hayato apologized sincerely as he landed a chop on the crew member’s neck.
And just like in the movies, the crew member instantly lost consciousness.
“No one gets how long I had to practice to get this right…” Hayato muttered, taking out his handgun. After falling into the sea, he had taken it apart completely and cleaned out every last corner, making sure it would work. All he could do now was trust that the rounds were waterproof enough.
Enduring the violent shaking, he stood at the very back of the boat—in a blind spot from the passenger cabin.
The boat didn’t shake quite as much as fishing boats did, but the wind and the water prevented him from standing properly. It was like getting onto a car driving down the highway. He remembered that the crew member who had tried to stop him was wearing a seatbelt as well.
When the boat drew nearest to the artificial island, he saw.
Standing on an aboveground point that jutted into sea was a man. Hayato recognized Seiichi.
‘Look at the southern dock’
That was the message in the envelope from Yili.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me. The same dock I used when I first came five years ago? Is this some kinda revenge plot?”
He did not know why Seiichi had sent the message. But he had an idea.
“So he wants to really wake up and snap outta his dream. Guess it’s kinda my fault for dragging him into a dream in the first place. Makes sense.”
Amused, Hayato held up his gun and took aim at the docks. At his foe’s forehead.
And as though answering Hayato’s horizontal grip, the figure on the docks held out his arm.
Though Hayato’s eyesight wasn’t spectacular, he thought he saw a grin on his opponent’s face. At the same time, he felt like he had been beaten.
‘Then who’s the protagonist that gets to live? Me? Him? Or do we both die and the credits start rolling?’
At that point, Hayato realized that was a foolish question.
‘Me and him, neither of us are the main characters in that city. The city itself is the star.’
The boat moved forward, and the moment the gap was at its narrowest, the two men opened fire at exactly the same time.
Under the endlessly clear blue sky, the gunshot resonated into the air.