(Short Story) It Doesn't Reflect in the Mirror Preview

Chapter 1

It all began on a Sunday.

I was out buying something that day. The tip of the G pencil I had been carefully using had finally reached its limit. I intended to stock up on carbon paper, and had also been stricken with a sudden, inexplicable desire to purchase a brand new compass. After visiting the general store I always went to, I made my way to the electronics store. I had started thinking about drawing on a computer, and so I decided to go and take a look at the prices. Even though my parents had an unused one at home, the computer’s storage space was too small, making it unsuitable for art.

Though everyone said that the cost of computers was always dropping, my allowance was still too little for me to afford one. If I were to include a tablet to complete the set, there was no way that I could pay for all that. Fuku-chan might know of ways to make it cheaper, but even if the price was halved, I still couldn’t afford it all. There went my hopes of advancing into the digital age -– as my ambition and I began to leave the store, a familiar face appeared in front of me.

“Well, if it isn’t Ibara? Long time no see!”

Although they managed to recognise me straightaway, it took me a while longer to reciprocate the gesture. It was my middle school classmate, Ikehira. Because she had dyed her hair and was wearing make-up, I couldn’t tell who she was at first.

In middle school, Ikehira had always made an effort to get along with everyone in class, and she hadn’t been a flashy person. I felt that she had changed since then, and it wasn’t due to the coloured hair or the make-up.

“Ah, long time no see.” I waved as I spoke. I wouldn’t call us close friends, but our relationship wasn’t sour by any means She was a normal friend I just happened to be classmates with in my third year of middle school. But, as expected, seeing her after such a long time made me nostalgic.

“What’re you doing?”

“I was thinking about buying a computer.”

“Woah~? Which kind?”

“They’re too expensive here, so I’ll probably decide next time.”

“Right? It’s all too expensive, huh!”

Ikehira gave an exaggerated reply before looking at my shopping bag.

“What did you buy then?”

“Um, it’s…”

The moment I was hit with this unforeseen question, I was at a loss for words. I’d kept my manga-drawing a secret from my middle school classmates. The only people who knew about it were Fuku-chan, Oreki, and a few good friends. It wasn’t a bad hobby, but if someone found out about it, more often than not, they’d ask, “can I take a look?’. That was just too embarrassing.


It wasn’t a lie.

Despite the dull reply, Ikehira nodded with an easygoing expression.

“Oh, of course. You were always a smart one, Ibara.”

If these words had been said back in middle school, they would have contained a lot of hidden feelings. When the jealousy towards good grades mixed with the inferiority of poor grades, there was bound to be an indescribable dejection.

However, Ikehira’s voice was light and indifferent. There was no need for me to be apprehensive anymore. Though I didn’t consider myself all that smart, my high school was more difficult to enter than Ikehira’s - being modest now would just invite contempt. It had already been over a year since middle school graduation, and yet, here we were, having a natural conversation. Perhaps we’d matured a bit since then.

There was still the issue of my shopping bag containing things that weren’t for school work, but instead, special ‘stationery’. I felt like I had lied, and was somewhat guilty as I asked,

“What did you buy, Ikehira?”

“Oh. Initially, I wanted to get a video camera, but the price is 1000 yen more than what I expected.”

“A video camera?”

“Yeah!” Her tone perked up. “I’m playing in a band now, you know? But, my technique sucks. So, I decided to record myself while practicing. I’m pretty hardworking, aren’t I?”

I laughed in response. If we were to talk about drawing manga, there were countless people who’d blithely say “I want to draw” and yet never put in time to practice. Compared to those people, Ikehira was indeed hardworking.

“What do you play?”

“Bass. But, our lead singer left us….”

As she said this, Ikehira’s expression suddenly brightened.

“That’s right! Ibara, you’re good at singing! Have you joined a club?”

How did this become the topic?!

I’m good at singing? Where had this misconception come from? The only reason I could think of was that I had been the conductor for the choir once. That was only because no one else had been willing to do it.

I hastily replied, “Yes, yes, I have. I’m so busy after school that I don’t even have time to rest at home. Also, I’ve never been good at singing.”

“Ah? Really? Is it a sports club?”

“Nope. It’s a literary club. You know some of the other members too.”

“Oh? Who?”

“There’s Fukube… and Oreki,” I said, mentioning their names casually.

As I spoke, Ikehira raised her eyebrows in shock. It was too late to regret it –

“Oreki? That guy’s there too?” Ikehira retorted with scorn.

Then, she seemed to misunderstand, because she spoke with worry in her voice, “So that’s how it is… Oreki’s around too. That’s just super unlucky.”

“Ah. Mm.”

Ikehira stepped closer, lowering her volume to speak softly. “Although I don’t know what club this is… if he gets too… you know… you should just kick him out. I can’t do anything to help you, but I’m sure there must be someone who’ll lend you a hand.”

Swallowing down the words in my throat, I could only give a silent nod.


After that, we exchanged a few more words before bidding each other farewell. On the way home, my thoughts couldn’t help but drift to Oreki.

Ikehira’s response wasn’t an overreaction. That year, the third years of Kaburaya Middle School had all had a reason for despising Oreki.

Or, to phrase it more accurately, the graduating students had all had a reason to despise him.

I hadn’t forgotten what had happened back then. But…

I could still feel Ikehira’s harsh, chilling response as I plodded along. That incident must have occurred right around graduation but, as I recalled, it hadn’t been in January or February. My memory was a little hazy, but it seemed to have happened at the end of November.


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7: (Short Story) It Doesn't Reflect in the Mirror