Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Therapy

Match Fourteen: Therapy:

-Kiku’s Therapist-

Suzuki-sensei knew too much. That was why he had to die.

The answers were all in his notes with Honda Kiku. At first, Suzuki-sensei went along with the paranoid Japanese man’s words and visions. His job was only to listen and take notes.

-Three Years Ago-

Kiku sat on the couch, trembling. At that time, he hadn’t made contact with the Woman in Red yet. He was just having the visions. Across the room, Suzuki-sensei opened his notebook.

“Are you still having the nightmares?” he asked.

“Yes,” Kiku said.

“Has there been any changes?”

“Yes.”

“Describe them to me.” Suzuki-sensei prepared his notes for more disturbing imagery. Kiku looked down at his hands as he began squirming in his seat. The clock ticking in the background did little to help the situation.

“It’s okay,” Suzuki-sensei said. “Take your time if you have to. If you need to, we can extend the session today.” Kiku nodded with his head lowered.

“I hear a voice,” he said at last. His therapist stopped writing.

“Is it the one you heard over the phone on the day of your welcome home party?” he asked.

“No.”

“No?”

“I can’t hear it, but I know it’s calling out to me.”

“What does it sound like?”

“Nothing, but I know it’s calling me and it won’t stop.”

“What is it trying to say?”

Kiku narrowed his eyes as he dug in his brain. “I want to say find me, but it doesn’t feel right.”

“What do you think it’s saying?”

“Find me. I will be waiting.” Kiku looked up when he heard the pen dancing on the paper again. “Do you think I am crazy? You do, don’t you? Don’t you?”

“It is not my place to judge you,” Suzuki-sensei said, looking up from his notes. “I am only here to listen and take notes before I make my assessment.”

“But please tell me the truth,” his patient pleaded. “Do you or do you not think I’m going crazy?”

Suzuki-sensei put down his pen. “I don’t think you are crazy at all.” Kiku lifted his head. His therapist had never seen his eyes get that big.

“Do you really mean that?” his patient asked in a hushed tone. “Are you just saying that to calm me down?”

“Do you want the truth?” Suzuki-sensei asked, pushing up his gold-framed glasses. The other man slowly nodded his head. His therapist turned the page.

“I mean that,” he said. “I am here to help you.” The twinkle in Kiku’s eyes died in a flicker.

“I don’t think you can,” he murmured.

“What do you mean?” Suzuki-sensei asked. His patient trembled with his knees to his chest.

“I’ve already told you too much,” he said. “If I tell you anymore, you could end up dead.” Suzuki-sensei tilted his head.

“Why is that?” he asked. Kiku shook his head.

“Tell me,” the therapist said. “I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.” His patient mumbled something almost inaudible.

“Hm?” Suzuki-sensei asked. He walked over and leaned into the other man’s mouth.

“What did you say?” the therapist asked. Those six words signed his death warrant.

“Don’t let the devil get me,” Kiku said in an almost whisper. Needless to say, the session ended on that evening.

Over the course of eight months, Suzuki-sensei found himself buried in a troubling mystery. On the surface, it looked gibberish. Most of the time, Kiku didn’t talk. The therapist still couldn’t make heads or tails of this. That one phrase stuck out in his mind.

Don’t let the devil get me.

Kiku wasn’t a Christian. Maybe this was some unconscious code of some sort? Suzuki-sensei tried talking to Sena, but she couldn’t give him much.

On the night he would day, Suzuki-sensei placed a phone call to his colleague from his desk.

“Hello?” a woman asked on the other line.

“Ah, Ishida-san,” he said. “You’re still awake. Good.”

“Suzuki-san?” his female colleague asked. “What are you still doing there at work?”

“Yeah,” the therapist said. “This particular patient has me stumped.”

“Is it Honda-san again?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“What is your question?”

Suzuki-sensei sighed and looked over his pages of notes. “Where do I begin?” He turned through each page with narrowed eyes.

“What the most thing that reoccurs?” Ishida-sensei asked.

“Let’s see,” the therapist said. “He keeps hearing a voice calling out to him.”

“He hears voices?” she asked.

“Not exactly. It’s kind of hard to explain. He mostly hears this voice in his dreams.”

“So, it’s a nightmare thing?”

“That’s what I believed at first.” Suzuki-sensei rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know what to make of this anymore.”

“Describe it to me the best that you can.”

“Alright.” Suzuki-sensei turned to page eight. “At first, he had dreams about a tower.”

“A tower?”

“He says it’s menacing and reaches the sky in the middle of a dead city. It took sixty days for this tower to be built. It’s so tall that it blocks out the sun.” Suzuki-sensei’s eyes scrolled down the page.

“There’s more are the creepy tower. He basically repeats the same thing about forty times.”

“You said he heard voices. What are they saying to him? Are they telling him to hurt himself?”

“No. They are cries of pain and they keep saying this one phrases over and over. Well, they say a few other things. But this one phrase keeps popping up all over my notes.”

“And what would that be?” Ishida-sensei asked.

“Don’t let the devil get me,” Suzuki-sensei said in a hushed tone.

“What? What does that mean?”

“I don’t really know.” Suzuki-sensei paused when he heard footsteps. “Hm?” He stood up and peeked out his door.

“Is something wrong?” his colleague asked.

“Uh… Listen, I will call you right back,” the therapist said. “I thought I saw someone in the building.”

“It’s probably the janitor,” Ishida-sensei said. Suzuki-sensei shook his head.

“That’s not the janitor,” he said.

“What are you talking about?” his colleague asked. “Hello? Hello?” Suzuki-sensei hung up his phone and wandered into the hallway when he spotted a little girl at the other end. He only caught her long ponytails and her fluffy pink bunny following her.

“Hey!” the therapist shouted. Suzuki-sensei ran down the hall after her.


By morning, the janitor started his daily cleaning. When he opened the men’s bathroom, he was greeted by a dried red substance sticking to the floor. As he followed the trail along the floor, the janitor uneasy feeling as he looked up at the closed stall. He ran over and pushed open the door. His mop hit the floor with a smack as Suzuki-sensei’s body was found lying face down in a pool of blood.

Sena and Kiku would learn about his death by eight a.m.


-Tse and Man’s Love Story, Beginning-

-Seventeen Years Ago-

Lew Tse hadn’t left her room in two months. She still hadn’t gotten over the loss of her husband, the father of their unborn child. This was the love of her life. They had been together since they were fifteen years old. Lew Qing was her first love. She lost her virginity to him. They got married and now she was pregnant with their first child. When Tse got that phone around her fifth month of pregnancy that Qing had died in a car accident because of a drunk driver, she fell to pieces. Tse couldn’t climb out her black hole such a loss caused her. The mothers of the clan tried to help the young widow get over her depression. Seven months into her pregnancy and her current condition couldn’t be a good mix. Tse hadn’t been eating much and wouldn’t get out of bed. Bik tried to get her to go to doctors’ appointments, but the young widow turned her down.

“There’s no point to living or having this baby without my Qing!” Despite her declining health, Daiyu showed her own concerns.

“If see keeps this up, she’ll end up losing a baby up instead having one,” she said.

“I know,” Bik said. “I will try to get her some help.” Daiyu opened her mouth, but the nurse gently put her finger to her lips.

“We will handle it,” she said. “You just rest and enjoy your baby.” Daiyu closed her mouth and eyes. It was Wan who came up with the therapy solution.

“A couple of friends of mine went downtown to this depression clinic,” she said outside of Tse’s bedroom door. “They are working on their problems and the therapists there are very skilled.”

“Are you sure we need to resort to that?” Cai asked.

“If this keeps up, she’ll be without a husband or child,” Bik said. “We have no choice if she wants to have a healthy baby.” The nurse knocked on the bedroom door.

“Tse,” she said. “Could you come out? We want to talk to you.”

“No! Go away!” the young widow cried.

“Either come to the door or I will pick the lock,” Bik said. “Take your picture. You have until five to do it. Five… Four… Three…” She backed up when the door opened a crack. Tse peeked outside.

“What?” she whimpered.

“Get dressed,” Bik said. “We’re heading out. I will not take no for an answer, missy. Get dressed and come on!” The nurse pushed her way into Tse’s room and gathered up some clothes for the mother-to-be.


Bik took Tse to the depression clinic around noon. The younger woman looked out the taxi window in a daze.

“Come on,” the nurse said. “We’re about there. Listen, we really do care about you. We don’t want you end up losing your baby too.”

“Mmm,” Tse mumbled. The taxi pulled up to the front of the building. Bik walked the young widow to the glass doors. She took care of the signing in.

“Do you want me to go in with you?” the nurse asked. Tse shook her head.

“No?” Bik asked. The young widow shook her head.

“Alright,” the nurse said. “I’ll stay with you until your name is called.” Bik dragged Tse to her seat. When the widow’s name was called, she walked down the hall alone.

“Call me when you’re done,” Bik said. She turned and walked out the door. An assistant led Tse down the hall.


The whole time, Tse sat in a fog. Bik and the other mothers dragged her out of her room and into a place where a strange would make her talk about her feelings and maybe give her some pills to “cure her blues”. She would have been back in her room. Tse couldn’t even imagine who this therapist would be. Probably some old stuffy man with judgmental eyes. Tse closed her eyes.

I want to go home, she thought.

Then, the door opened.

When Tse looked up, the therapist was a man her age with long black and glasses. The long white coat made him look more professional. Tse could only stare at him in a blank fog.

“Good afternoon,” the therapist greeted.

“Uh… hello…” Tse mumbled. The psychiatrist sat down in front of her.

“My name is Sun Man,” he said. “You must be Lew Tse.”

“That’s right,” the young widow mumbled with her arms over her belly as if to protect her unborn child from this man.

“How far along are you, of you don’t mind me asking?” Man asked.

“Seven months.” She looked him dead in the eye. “Are you going to drug me up with pills until I can’t feel anything? I don’t anything that is going to harm my baby.” Man chuckled.

“No,” he said. “We’re going to talk.”

“Talk?” Tse asked.

“That’s right. You will talk and I will listen and talk notes.”

Tse blinked as she tilted her head. “That’s it.”

“Yes. And then, I will assess the type of treatment you will need.”

“But no pills?”

“We will have to see.”

Tse stared at him with a confused look on her face. Something inside of her didn’t trust where this could possibly go. Still, the other mothers practically forced her to come to this center for the baby’s sake. She figured that she might as well suck it up and try to get help. Man pulled out his notebook and opened it.

“Do you know the cause of your depression?” he asked. “You can take your time if you need to.” Tse bit on her thumb as she looked down into her lap.

“My husband was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work,” she said in a low voice. The widow waited for the therapist to comment. She trembled when he kept his eyes locked on her.

“He was my everything,” Tse said. “We’ve been together since we were fifteen. He was my first love and the only man that I’ve ever slept with.”

“When did you get married?” Man asked.

“Four years ago,” she said. “We were really young.” The widow’s eyes welled up with tears. Despite her best efforts, she broke down sobbing. Tse buried her head in her hands.

“It’s okay,” Man said. “You can let it all out if you have if to. Take as much time as you need to cry.”

“I miss Qing so much!” she wailed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without him!” Man rubbed her on the shoulder and shushed her. The pregnant widow spent the rest of the first session crying and talking all about Qing. Man kept to his word and listened the whole time.

“Would you like me to schedule another session?” he asked when time was up.

“Yes,” Tse whimpered as she nodded. The therapist handed her his handkerchief.

“How does next Wednesday at two sound?” he asked. His patient wiped her eyes as she nodded. Man wrote down the appointment in his book.

“Alright,” he said. “Would you like me to walk you to the lobby?” She nodded before blowing her nose.

“Okay,” Man said. He walked her out of his office. At the time, Tse didn’t know that his patient and caring manner would leave a lasting impression on her and the same way to him. For now, they were just patient and therapist.


-Im Yong’s Therapist-

-Present Day-

Im Yong crossed the street to the public library parking lot with his hands in his pockets. He walked up to a bright candy red Hyundai and knocked on the driver’s side window. The teenaged boy looked inside as the driver rolled down the window.

“I am so sorry to call you out here this late,” Im Yong said in soft voice.

“It’s okay,” a woman said. “You haven’t started self-harm again, have you?” The Korean boy shook his head.

“Good, good,” she said.

“Can I get in?” Im Yong asked.

“Of course,” the woman said. She unlocked her car doors.

“Thank you,” the boy said, bowing. He walked around and climbed into the passenger side of the car.

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