(本名)
(本名) 粉薬-唇-殺人鬼
       

白色光

俺の最初の記憶は唇だ。母親の、ねっとりとした分厚い唇だ。それがストローを咥えて立ち上る煙を吸い尽くそうとしている。
煙を吸うと決まって母親は上機嫌になる。
俺はそんな母親が好きだった。単純に優しかったからだ。
俺たちは団地の片隅で暮らしていた。親父は他に女を作って出て行ってしまったから、俺が母親を守る必要があった。弟はまだ赤ん坊だった。
当時、公民館の裏手によく薬屋が来ていた。小さな町だったから、遠い街の薬局よりも近くまで来てくれる薬売りが重宝しているのだとガキの俺は思っていた。
母親はそいつからよく粉薬を買った。その粉薬をアルミホイルで包んで、炙って、出てくる煙を換気扇の下でよく吸っていた。
俺は母親と同じになりたくて煙を吸おうとしたが、決まって煙と粉薬から遠ざけられた。
これは苦い薬だからと飲ませなかったやさしさに、俺は感謝をするべきなのかもしれない。
気がつくと男が転がり込んでいた。よく分からないおっさんだったけれど、母親にも俺にも優しくて弟をよくあやしてくれた。

だけど、いい時ばかりではなかった。

粉薬がなくなると母親は虚な目で天井を見続けた。やがておっさんも来なくなり、母親は荒れに荒れた。荒れているか、スイッチが切れたようになっているかの二択しかなかった。
育児放棄の果てに弟は死んだ。栄養失調だった。身体は腐ってハエがたかっていたが、母親は気にも止めずにあんぐりと口を開けていた。
粉薬のせいだ。俺は確信を持っていた。町には同じような人間がゴロゴロいた。
そんな折、また薬屋が町へやってきた。薬屋は白衣を着ているからよく目立った。
俺には薬屋が人を殺す鬼に見えた。文字通りの殺人鬼だ。
公民館の裏で準備を始めた薬屋を俺は後ろから襲った。
「お前が殺人鬼なんだ!! 母ちゃんを返せ!」
顔を見られたらマズいと、背中から包丁で刺した。白衣に血が滲みていった。無我夢中でめたくそに刺した。やがて、薬売りは動かなくなり、夕日が団地に深い影を作った。血溜まりがどす黒かった。
「母ちゃん、やったよ!!あいつはもう来ないんだ!!」
俺は急いで母親を公民館の裏へ連れていくと、息を弾ませながら報告した。
これで母親は元に戻るはずだ。弟は死んでしまったけれど、また1からやり直せるはずだ!
光のない目で涎を垂らしながらぼんやりと死体を見ていた母親は、その顔を見て目を見張る。
なんのことはない。薬屋は家によく来ていたおっさんだった。
「アンタ、なんてことするの!!」
左頬に熱を感じると、俺は弾き飛ばされていた。そして、母親はおっさんの死体に駆け寄り悪鬼のような凄まじい目で俺を睨みつけていた。
「アンタなんか、産まれて来なけりゃよかったのよ!!!」
その瞬間、俺の中の何かがフッ……と切れた。
絶叫した母親の声は、しかし、すぐに悲鳴へと変わり、やがて途絶えた。
俺は逆手に持った包丁でひたすら顔を刺していた。その時、俺は涙を流していたと思う。きっと。

***

今の俺には、母親がシャブを手に入れる術をなくしたから俺を睨みつけたのか、愛する人を殺したから睨みつけたのか、その理由が分からない。
分からないがしかし、あの日からずっと俺には母親の目が、あの鋭い目がずっとついて回っているんじゃないかという強迫観念があった。それを拭うことができなかった。
それ以来、俺を睨んだやつは全員殺した。
結局、殺人鬼は俺だった。
あの時、母親の目は抉り出したはずだったのになぜかその目が忘れられなかったのだ。
「時間だ。出ろーー」
執行人の声ががらんとした独居房へと響く。
独居房の扉が少しだけ開いて、そこから光が縦横に差した。
まるで十字架だな、と思いながら俺は絞首台へと向かった。

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