Chapter 1: Tick Tock

Under a moonlit winter sky, a lone officer keeps watch at his koban at the edge of a bridge not far from Ginza Avenue. One a.m. has already come and gone. Without all of the hustle and bustle of trains, buses and bicycles whizzing around in every which direction, one might easily confuse this big-city intersection with a field on the edge of nowhere. The city lies still other than the faint twinkling of 4 steel train rails in the moonlight. It is as if the entire population of Tokyo had simply ceased to exist.

Like a crimson statue, our officer surveys the area from his position under the large red koban lantern. What appears to be puffs of white smoke escaping into the air from under his thick moustache with each breath he takes shows us the freezing temperature. “Uh-oh, here we go. What is it going to be tonight, a drunk?”, he mutters to himself as he notices a man walking down the center of the glittering tracks.

The man, in a blue suit and matching blue fedora, continues to approach. Despite the cold, he wears no overcoat. There is nothing normal about the way he walks. It’s no surprise that the police man thinks he is dealing with a drunk. Upon closer inspection, however, it is plain to see that this is no ordinary vagrant. Rather than stumbling back and forth under the influence of alcohol, it looks more like he is walking on two prosthetic limbs. Indeed there is nothing human about his stride. The details of his face are indistiguishable under the shadow of his hat, yet his dark, ghoulish gaze never seems to falter as he trods along in an apparent sleepwalk.

Even more peculiar than his tramp are the beautifully shimmering silver objects dangling from each of his hands like bunches of bejeweled grapes, swaying back and forth with each step he takes. And not just in his hands. The pockets of his blue suit are overflowing with the things, his whole body coruscating in the moonlight.

The officer is too far away to place the objects; they may be strips of silver paper or strung glass beads for all he knows. With no real reason to stop him, the officer decides to just watch him plod on until he takes notice of something odd. All of those sparkles were coming from wristwatches, dozens of them hanging from his grip with more pouring out of pockets. What kind of a man would walk by a police station with  two fist-fulls of watches without a care in the world at a time like this? He is either a fool or a madman, or something far worse.

Just then, the officer has a strange thought. “There is really no mistake about it, those were watches he was carrying. I could hear them going even from all the way over here. I guess if you get enough of those little gears in one place, they can make one hell of a racket.” Yet, could this really have been the noise of a bunch of tiny gears? If so, surely the tick-tock of the second hands would having been much louder. Instead, what our officer heard was much more akin to the grinding teeth of a giant.

Chapter 2: Steel Fingers

Moments prior, a heinous occurrence disrupted a premier watch store on the Ginza strip. At 10 o’clock, the shopkeepers at Hakuhoto fit wooden storm shutters into the windows and settled into their storeroom beds. With the building under construction, they were not able to pull down the steel shutters that usually cover the glass showroom.

KRRRRRRASH! A young employee sprang out of his futon, startled by a tremendous explosion in the unprotected showroom. Grabbing an all but burnt-out lantern, he clumsily dashed to the storefront to investigate. In the dim light, he found long, blue objects rustling about the display and causing quite a ruckus.

The young man, petrified and rendered speechless by what was before him, looked on in horror. In time, he came to realize that what he had first mistaken for giant caterpillars were in fact human arms. The arms of a human wearing a blue suit. Arms that were now grabbing the most impressive watches the store had to offer hand over fist from their shelves. A large hole had been made in the thick showroom glass, the wooden shutters on the other side completely shattered, explaining the eruption of sound which sent the young man flying out of bed in the middle of the night.

“THIEF!”, the boy suddenly screamed, nearly choking on the word as it came out. “What? WHAT?! Where’s the thief?!” shouted another young employee who had also been roused from his slumber, purposely loud enough for the perpetrator to take notice. From there, all hell broke loose.

6 Responses to “The Bronze Demon”

  1. haz said

    wow. you translated one whole chapter already!? this is a great excuse for me to read an english book, which i haven’t done for a loooong time. i am looking forward to the next chapter!!

  2. drsenbei said

    Field on the edge of nowhere, sleepwalk… pretty cool stuff. This is already much more bizzare then the book I read. I think I need to get back on the bandwagon!

  3. shadowoverkoshigaya said

    cha-chan: yeah, it only took an hour or so to do it, but i found so many typos that i have to fix. i also want to change a few expressions. thanks for reading it!

  4. shadowoverkoshigaya said

    dr. senbei: i really forced/embellished some of the stranger sayings like with the field. you should translate the phantom of the circus

  5. mikiaraki said

    wow, seriously, you’re really good! the third paragraph is so powerful. i like how you repeat blue suit, blue fedora, no overcoat, no surprise, no ordinary vagrant, there is nothing normal about, there is nothing human about etcetcetc. dan-chan, i’m amazed. keep translatin’!

  6. shadowoverkoshigaya said

    thanks m!k!. unfortunately, i am afraid that a limited vocabulary and working on it at 2 am are responsible for the repetitive nature of the writing, not literary technique. i am glad that you think it works, though. Thanks! I will try to imitate myself for the rest of the book and hope it doesn’t get old. I will do the next chapter in the next few days.

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