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Chapter 4: Crystallization

On closer inspection, the crystal resembled a carving of a human hand, like an exquisite work of art. But a sculptor talented and experienced enough to craft something that felt so alive had yet to be born.

It's because this dazzling esmelas crystal really was once Hugo's hand. The effects manifest quickly, crystallizing the body from the tips of one's fingers or toes. Whatever is crystallized doesn't hurt, but remains frozen in place. It continues to spread, and after about a month, it will reach the heart and turn fatal.

This disease is crystallization. Its cause is unknown. And only amputating the crystallized parts can save the victim from a cruel death. Hugo could survive, but at a bleak cost for an aspiring violinist like himself.

Glenn stood transfixed, gaping at the hand. Memories flooded through him like electric jolts. When he was still a respectable doctor, he had tried to take on the crystallization disease.

But all it brought him was--

'Let go of me, big idiooot!'

The boy's scream brought Glenn back to his senses. Wriggling back and forth, Hugo had finally wrenched himself free of the mighty arm. He then launched a verbal assault on Glenn, frustrated that this stranger had seen the state of his hand. His words didn't reach the doctor.

'Damn it, what did you do that for?!' Finally, Sherry comforted the now crying boy. It took a while to settle him down, but eventually he crawled back into his bed, pouting.

Glenn and Sherry left the boy to talk outside.

For a while, the two of them stood and didn't exchange any words. In the end, it was Glenn who broke the silence.

'The brat's crystallization is at an early stage. If he is operated on immediately, his life will be saved. Any surgeon at this hospital can do an amputation,' he paused. 'What do you want from me?' Glenn's voice revealed that his spirit from earlier had evaporated.

'Hugo has more than enough talent to realize his dream of becoming a professional violinist. That very dream defines his life. Doctor Glenn, I want you to cure his crystallization, without sacrificing his hands. I want you to make the impossible possible,' Sherry pleaded.

'Doctors aren't gods.'

Sherry felt abandoned and discouraged. She could not find any more words to convince Glenn. In turn, he said nothing more.

Neither of them would end the silence.

第4回 結晶病





症状を目の当たりにしたグレンは茫然としていた。彼の脳裏に過去の記憶が電流のように迸る。グレンは過去、医者として《結晶病》に挑んだ。そして…… そして……


少年の叫び声で、グレンは我に返った。ヒューゴは体をくねらせて、ようやく筋肉質の腕を振りほどく。よほど手を見られるのが嫌だったらしく、その後は激しい罵倒の言葉を浴びせ続けた。グレンは甘んじてそれを受けた。   「ちくしょう、なんだってんだよっ……!」ついには涙を流しだした少年を、シェリーが慰める。しばらくしてようやく落ち着いた少年は、ふてくされるようにベッドに潜り込んでしまった。