Antique Shop『BEAR』 - Chapter 44
Chapter 44 – Luring Scissors
Kawaguchi Akari was awakened at 2 a.m. by the sound of scissors.
How strange… Here is hardly the workplace though. Looking around drowsily, the scissors on the mirror stand caught her eyes. Involuntarily, her eyes snapped open. The scissors were operating by themselves. At the moment the scissors softly floated up in the air from the mirror stand, it flew right at her brain.
Upon opening her eyes, the scissors were still on the mirror stand. Apparently, she had fallen asleep. Akari shut her eyes again and drifted off to sleep, feeling eerie.
Since today was an early shift, Akari reached the store by 9 o’clock. The beauty parlor “Green” located at the end of the bridge through the shopping street before Hosho Station was Akari’s workplace. The interior of the store was designed to resemble a botanical garden, with greenery and succulents surrounding the decorations. Tending to these plants was also the job of Akari, a low-ranking employee. Having graduated from a beauty school, she was employed by another company, and after leaving that company, she found a new job as a beautician. Once she arrived at the store, she had to clean up, take care of the greens, and answer the phone. Akari’s debut day as a hairdresser was drawing near. On her debut day, she was scheduled to have her long-time best friend as her first customer, and she felt both joyous and tense as if she wanted to run away.
As today was Monday, the traffic was slow throughout the day, thus the day ended with a demonstration of haircutting with the manager in between the work. Near the closing time, she was approached by the manager.
“Since this is your debut as a hairdresser, what do you think about next week, Kawaguchi?”
Akari swallowed a breath. “Y-Yes…! It would be my pleasure.”
“I believe you said you were going to ask your friend to come? Can you check with your friend and see if she can come after business hours on Thursday?
“Okay! Thank you very much!”
In this store, the day before the debut, the first customer is given a haircut, and the next day the debut begins.
“Well, good night.”
Akari left the store at 7 o’clock.
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Last night, Akari, who was working the late shift, was heading to the station after a strenuous day of work when she unexpectedly spotted a young man wearing a kimono. Sneaking a look from behind, she watched as he made a turn between a liquor store and a coffee shop and proceeded to the stone pavement. There used to be a take-out coffee shop nearby, so she assumed he was heading to that store, but the place had changed. The man lifted the shutters and switched on the lights within, and in a flash, an antique shop enveloped in warm light was revealed. Akari stepped out of the stone pavement and as if under a spell, entered the shop.
It was the man from earlier. He was dressed in a brown kimono.
“Is it open?”
“It’s just opened for business. Please come in.”
Upon her entry into the shop, Akari’s eyes were glued to a spot on the shelf. In the middle of the second shelf from the top, at the height of Akari’s eyes, was a pair of scissors. It was a pair of antique gold scissors with a rose pattern on the end of the handle. Unlike ordinary scissors, there was a protrusion on the handle and she recognized it immediately as haircutting scissors. Haircutting scissors are different from ordinary scissors in terms of the length and thickness of the blades on each side, and hairstylists use them to perform hair cutting.
“Excuse me! These scissors… are for haircutting, right?”
“I’ll be right there.”
The owner rose to his feet and came next to Akari, putting on a pair of white gloves and taking out the scissors.
“Yes. These are stainless steel scissors for haircutting.”
“Are they new?”
“Yes. However, they used to belong to a private individual… so it’s treated as unused.”
“I’ve never seen such… wonderful scissors before!”
“This one was owned by a collector of scissors. There are also regular scissors over here.”
The regular scissors were the ones with the rabbit decoration on the end of the handle. The cutting edge was cute with ear-shaped rabbits, but ordinary scissors were superfluous. Putting on a pair of gloves, she asked him to allow her to cut a piece of paper with the haircutting scissors, and the paper went through with a sharp jerk.
“How much are these haircutting scissors?”
“These cost 3,000 yen.”
Akari bought them with no hesitation. The moment she held the scissors in her bare hands, they fit her hands in a bizarre way, and she felt the urge to perform a haircut straight away.
“It comes with a case, so I’ll wrap it up for you.”
Akari was awestruck and handed the scissors to the owner.
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On her way home, she passed by the antique shop again today, but the stone pavement was pitch black and the shutters were closed. She felt somewhat disappointed, but there was nothing she could do. When Akari came home, she immediately sent a message to her best friend Kyoko, telling her that her debut as a hairdresser had been confirmed.
Shortly after, she received a reply from Kyoko.
“So, it’s kind of urgent, but I was wondering if you could be my first customer on Thursday.”
“I’ll be there after work if that’s okay.”
“Thanks! What time can you come?”
“I can be there at 9pm. Will that be fine?”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Kyoko was a classmate of hers from kindergarten and was currently a piano teacher. Originally, she went to music college with the aim of becoming a professional pianist, but that didn’t happen and she ended up as a piano teacher. Akari has always viewed Kyoko with envy, as she was slim, beautiful, and had an aesthetic sense.
At midnight, Akari was at home, holding her scissors and doing some image training. She had intended not to use the newly purchased scissors, but somehow she couldn’t get them out of her mind. The scissors on the mirror stand had a peculiar way of capturing her attention and refusing to let go. It was not only the beauty of the appearance. The first time she held the scissors, she discovered that they fit perfectly in her hands as if they were specially made for her. Imagining Kyoko’s head in her mind, she opened and closed the scissors, and the room reverberated with the sound of the scissors.
Kyoko’s hair was long and black. At first glance, her hair seemed to be straight, but her bangs had a habit of swirling easily, and if she kept the back of her hair too short, it would swirl, leaving her to keep it light and trim the ends to achieve a lighter effect. As Akari cut her hair, she was reminded of Kyoko’s face. She was fair and had dark eyes. Her nose was small and her mouth was full and plump.
With an envious feeling, she thought of Kyoko. She had a beautiful face by nature, and her style was one that she lacked.
In fact, she knew that Kyoko had been dieting for a long time and that her beautiful white skin was now the result of makeup, but she was jealous of all of it.
The reason Kyoko was unable to become a professional pianist or win any competitions while in college, was due to her fooling around with men.
On the contrary, Kyoko knew about Akari’s past. In the past, Akari was overweight. Back in elementary school, boys would call her fat and girls would talk about her behind her back and ignore her simply for her weight, but Kyoko was not one of them. She allowed her to be in the same group as her and would sit next to her on the bus.
However, to her, it appeared that Kyoko was just trying to show off that she could be nice to someone who was fat and ugly, and she enjoyed mounting the conversation.
Akari started dieting and wearing makeup in high school, and at her coming-of-age ceremony she was able to impress all of her friends from back then, but Kyoko still seemed to be looking down on Akari and continuing to mount her. In the past, Akari’s boyfriend had been a cuckold. The following day, after a fight with him, she went to his house and found him and Kyoko sleeping naked. He had told Kyoko that he had ‘broken up with Akari’.
Akari swung the blade of her scissors to her fullest. She then sliced a thin layer of Kyoko’s white skin and slashed her lips. Kyoko didn’t twitch a bit as she was being cut into pieces. A burning desire to kill sprouted in Akari. She thrust the scissors into her throat with the utmost force and pulled them out, causing blood to spurt out.
“… How do you like it…?”
Akari reflected the back of her head in the mirror. Kyoko’s hair was shaggy and roughly cut.
“Wow. It’s beautiful. As expected of Akari!”
That’s what Kyoko said. There she was, sitting there, bloodstained and with her mouth slashed by scissors.
At the precise second Akari dropped the scissors, the chair was empty and the mirror stand displayed a reflection of herself with a hideous face.
“What the… heck… was I thinking…!” Akari half-cried and kept the scissors in the cabinet. “Just now… was simply a delusion. Kyoko is my best friend.”
Akari wiped away her cold sweat and headed for the shower.
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