Halo Twenty-Two: Hisayo:
-July 10th, 1987-
She used to have a happy home life. Her dad’s political career strangled that peace with its heavy hands. She couldn’t remember a night where her parents weren’t fighting about her father’s career.
“You’re never home!” her mother complained.
“I have to work!” he shot back.
“We did we have to leave Kitashiobara?”
“You wanted a new start, remember?”
“But not like this!”
Their daughter could already predict where this argument was going next. They always fought about the same things. When she was younger, they rarely fought. She used to be able to ignore them. Now, she wanted an escape.
She would get her wish, twice.
The first was her younger sister. All her mother wanted was a happy home life. Having many children seemed like a misguided attempt. The husband didn’t complain. Although, he knew that more children wouldn’t fix the problem.
“You sure you want this?” he asked.
“Yes!” his wife insisted. “I want more children.” Her husband complied just to keep her happy. Hisayo on the other hand, didn’t complain. The long lost quiet was welcomed with open arms. Things improved when her mother, Asuka, got pregnant again. Her husband, Takumi, was more attentive. He came home more often. Takumi even helped Hisayo with her homework. Asuka looked so much better when she smiled. Maybe peaceful times would finally come back. I looked like it would head that way too. Toshiko was born in the summer of 1981. Nine-year-old Hisayo couldn’t help but stare at that cute little round face. Asuka and Takumi loved their new baby. Sadly, it didn’t take long for reality to sink in again.
Takumi already saw the reality coming fast. Two daughters meant more money was needed to support the whole family. By the time Toshiko was four, it was back to work with Takumi. With it, the fights grew worse. Dinners became awkward and silent. Asuka glared at her daughters as if she resented their existence. She tried to convince them otherwise, but her tone never matched her words.
“What’s wrong, Mama?” Toshiko asked days before Christmas at dinner. For once, both parents sat at the table. Asuka looked at her daughter with her frozen eyes.
“What are you talking about?” she asked. She tried to smile, but sounded like she wanted to scream. Takumi tried to hold her hand under the table, but she slapped it away. Toshiko looked down at her plate.
“What is it?” Asuka asked. The little girl began to tremble.
“Come on, spit it out!” her mother said with her voice rising. “Why are you asking me what’s wrong? Whatever gave you the idea that something was wrong? Everything is fine, isn’t it? Isn’t it?” Toshiko’s eyes welled up with tears as she shook her head. Hisayo rubbed her on her the back.
“How can you say that?!” Asuka asked, standing up from the table. “We’re a happy family! Aren’t we? Aren’t we?!” Takumi grabbed her by the wrist.
“That’s enough, dear!” he said. His wife slapped away his hand.
“I was not asking you!” she snapped.
“You’re scaring the girls!” Takumi shouted back. Asuka turned her cold glare on her husband.
“Oh, now you want to act like a father?!” she asked.
“Honey, don’t do this!”
Hisayo grabbed hold of Toshiko and ran back to their rooms. Things had gotten worse ever since the younger sister was born. Takumi worked lower hours due to big election coming up within months. Asuka became more stressed and lonely as the months dragged on. It didn’t help that the candidate that her husband worked won the nomination.
“Why can’t you be happy for me?” Takumi asked after he broke the news.
“Why can’t you be home more often?!” Asuka shouted back. Hisayo and Toshiko hid in their room as the fight began again. The older sister began to wish for a distraction to get away from the crushing reality crawling towards her again.
The second was her teacher. This started to create more problems between mother and older daughter. Asuka in her twisted, jealous mind got the idea that Abe-sensei was sleeping with Hisayo. Naturally, both teacher and student denied the charges.
“Where do you keep getting these strange ideas in your head?” Abe-sensei asked outside of the apartment one day.
“I’ve seen the way you look at her!” Asuka shouted through the door. “You have not changed at all!”
“Hisayo-chan and I are not in a relationship!” the teacher yelled. “I’m happily married!”
“Does your wife know that you’re playing around with my daughter?!” she yelled. “You men are all the same!”
“I don’t want to hear it!”
Again, Hisayo hid in her room, covering her ears. At the time, she, Toshiko, Abe-sensei, and Asuka had no idea that they would be playing a bigger role in the game called the Wasteland. For now, Hisayo would just get lost in her fantasies about her beloved teacher and try to ignore her parents’ increasing fights.
She closed her eyes and wished that her teacher or mother would give up and close the door.
Kaori stared at her phone. She stopped in the middle of the street.
“How long have you been following me?” she asked. The loli goth turned around and smirked.
“Ah, Azazeal,” Kaori said. “How long have you been following me like this?” A man in a black suit and tie smiled.
“Nice to see you as sharp as ever,” the gentleman said in an elegant tone. Kaori’s eyes shifted to his right.
“And you’re here too, Kai?” she asked. A man dressed in a gold kimono with his long blue hair tied back into a ponytail appeared next to Azazeal.
“Still can’t get past you, can I?” he asked. Kaori smiled like a little angel.
“I missed you, gentlemen,” she said. “How long has it been since the last cycle?”
“I believe in a technical sense, about fifty or sixty years if the cycle was on a normal track of time,” Azazeal said. Kaori whistled.
“It really doesn’t feel like it,” she said. “Oh, that’s right. We keep going back to different points.” Kaori giggled and stuck out her tongue.
“Have they found the fifth gate yet?” Kai asked.
“Not yet,” she said. “But they will be getting really close this time. Let’s just say that I gave them a little bit of help this time.”
“What did you do?” Azazeal asked. Kaori smiled and winked.
“You will have to see with your own eyes,” she said.
“Again with the games?” Kai asked. Kaori giggled as she turned around with her parasol.
“It makes this game more interesting that way,” she said. Across the street, a little ghost girl about six years old watched the three scheming figures silently. She held her little teddy bear to her chest. Kaori looked at her out of the corner of her eye. She mouthed only one word towards the child.
The little ghost girl opened her mouth and let off a meowing noise.
How did two little girls cause a huge mess for a city? Whether they know they are being used as a catalyst for the apocalypse game, it doesn’t matter to Tandeki, Vozrozhdeniye, and Mam.
They aren’t the only ones using Toshiko and her older sister.