“Nishihara-san, is it over there? That Jizo statue?”
Nishihara, who had stopped because Hiroto wasn’t following him, climbed the steps again to stand next to Hiroto. Then he turned his attention to the place Hiroto was pointing at. On the left from the main street, there was a narrow road that seemed to head towards the back of the shrine, and there was a small park just ahead of it. Hiroto was pointing towards the direction of that park.
“That’s right. How did you know? Could it be that the Jizo bodhisattva is visible even from this distance?”
“No, that’s not it. It’s just that…”
“Hm? Should we hurry?”
Maybe Nishihara had sensed something from Hiroto’s words. Knowing where the statue was without being able to see it, he slightly narrowed his eyes with furrowed brows.
“Yeah, I have a feeling that we should.”
Hiroto was the first to start descending the stairway and Nishihara followed him, half jogging to keep up. Maybe because Hiroto had discovered where the Jizo statue was, he slipped under the yellow tape himself and started running. Since he knew the place without seeing it beforehand, there really must be something there.
Hiroto felt an oddly unpleasant sensation, his heart hammering in his chest. Dodging pedestrians carrying shopping bags, he continued to run. The sight of a youth in a parka and a man in a suit running together was slightly eye-catching, so people paused and turned to look at the two.
When they approached the vicinity of the narrow road, for some reason they felt like the temperature dropped. When they turned towards the road, they saw from the top of the stone steps that there was no pedestrian traffic on it. Could it be because it was separated from the main road? There was one car, but the street was so narrow that it could barely pass, and on both its sides were private houses. The park that was their target was also immediately visible before their eyes.
Hiroto, who was feeling an odd sense of discomfort, made a surprised noise and suddenly stopped, grasping the arm of Nishihara, who was following him from behind.
“Eh? What is it with you all of a sudden?”
“Maybe we shouldn’t have come here.”