Halo Six: Aoba:
“If you’re so worried about them, call your little gang to protect you,” Kaori said. “Oh wait, you can’t! I killed them!” She hung up her phone, smirking.
“You know, you don’t have time to be toying with that boy,” a voice spoke up. She looked up to see Etsuko standing in the doorway of her bedroom. Kaori said up on her bed, smiling.
“But I’m bored,” she whined. “I want to kill something! When do I get to kill people again?” Etsuko walked in and patted her on the head.
“There, there, my dear,” she said. “You will get plenty of time to kill again.” The girl looked up at her with big eyes.
“Do you promise?” she asked.
“Yes,” the doctor said. “Come look at something with me. You’re going to like this.” Kaori tilted her head.
“Oh?” she asked. “What is it?”
“Let me show you,” Etsuko said. She took her “daughter” by her hand and walked down to her room.
“I found this a while back when we were looking for the Gates to Apocalypse around the city,” the doctor said when they reached her room. “I was in the library looking for that book where I hid a couple of formulas a few cycles ago. Along with the formulas, I found a little reminder stuffed between the pages.” “Mother” and “daughter” approached her desk. Kaori’s red eyes widened as her jaw dropped. Etsuko broke into a little smile.
“I believe this is one of your favorite toys,” she said. Kaori walked up to the desk. A glowing gold tree-shaped stand the size of a desk lamp with countless number of bright red threads hanging from the “branches” sat in the middle. The loli goth girl walked over and ran her fingers along the glass. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the thread growing by an inch inside. She turned to Etsuko, panting.
“Where did you find this?” Kaori asked.
“A safety deposit box in the bank,” the doctor said. “Do you remember the Moirai?”
“Uh-huh. One spins the thread of human life, another measures it, and the third cuts that thread to kill those humans.”
“That’s right. Now look in my top drawer on the right.”
Kaori’s heart pounded as she reached for the round, bass knob of the drawer. When she looked inside, she felt like flying to the moon.
“My scissors!” she exclaimed as she pulled out a part of golden scissors.
“Yes,” Etsuko said. “You wanted to kill again, so you get to play Atrops again.” Kaori tilted her head.
“That’s the one who kills the humans, right?” she asked.
“That’s correct,” her “mother” said. Kaori stared at the threads growing inside the glass container. Her eyes happened to catch two familiar threads growing. It didn’t take long for a twisted new plot to form in her head.
“Mama?” she asked.
“Hm?” Etsuko asked. Kaori turned with a wide grin on her face.
“What happens if I cut a thread from the top?” she asked. “Like I went to the beginning of it and snip?” The doctor shrugged.
“I cannot tell you that,” she said. Her “daughter” pouted.
“Aw, why not?” she asked.
“Because there is no record of it being tried before,” the doctor said. Those words alone were enough to grant Kaori “permission” to go ahead with her latest plan. She had her infamous smile as she tilted her head.
“Mama, I want to try something,” she said. “Please let me do it with Aoba? I promise I will leave him alone until my siblings arrive. Please? Please? At least hear me out. Please? Please? Please?” Etsuko sighed and rubbed her forehead.
“What is it you want to do?” she asked. Kaori broke down in a very-detailed explanation of her idea. Etsuko took a minute to think about it when she was finished.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in the outcome of this,” she said at last. Kaori squealed as she twirled around.
“You’re the best Mama!” she shouted. Etsuko patted her on the head. The things we do to spoil our children, she thought.
Aoba awoke to pitch black around him.
Wait? Where am I? What’s going on here?
A giant spotlight flashed in his eyes. The blue-haired boy tried to shield himself from the intense brightness.
“Gah!” he complained. A person dressed up in black and white bear suit appeared in front of Aoba. He about jumped back when he saw the sewed-on smile on the face.
“What the hell?!” he asked.
“You’re on in five minutes,” the bear said.
“What?” Aoba asked. The bear grabbed hold of his black t-shirt and hooked a little microphone to the collar. He tried to swat its hand away.
“Get off!” the boy snapped. “Don’t touch me!” When the bear stepped aside, Aoba found himself in a game show set-up as he stood behind a black and pink podium. In fact, everything was black, pink, and purple. Light purple curtains covered the back of the wall. Five monitors were mounted on the back wall above a giant black and pink sign that was turned off. Another black and white bear danced around on the middle screen like as if it had too much caffeine. It appeared hungry for blood as it waved two giant knives in the air. A giant wheel stood inches away between him and another empty podium. A black katana held it in place in the middle. Bright lights stayed fixed on Aoba and the rest of the setting. Many different-colored teddy bears with fangs sat in the audience, waiting while they held glasses of bloody wine in their hands.
“What the fuck is this?!” Aoba asked. Four plushy foxes stood behind old-style cameras all pointed to the set in front of them. He began to slowly back away as if to flee the set. But, a bright pink bunny pushed him back into place. It locked the podium behind the boy.
“No, no,” it said, wagging its finger. “We’re about to go live.”
“What the-?!” Aoba shouted.
“In five… four… three… two… one!” the black and white bear shouted.
“Live from the Nightmare Dimension!” an announcer shouted overhead. “Welcome to another exciting night of…!”
“Midnight Wheel of Misfortune!” the audience shouted. Aoba whipped around as the giant sign next to him lit up. The pink bulbs flashed downwards in a hyper rhythm. The former leader of the Blue Squares blinked with a confused look on his face.
“What the fuck is this?!” he asked.
“And here’s your host, the lovely and talented, Kaori!” the announcer shouted. The floor behind the empty podium opened and up rose Kaori herself. Tonight, her dress was lowcut, showing off her cleavage, and a black tiara on her head that match said dress. Her black skull choker was the only thing that kept the top of her dress in place. She didn’t have her signature pigtails tonight. Kaori had a long silver sword instead of her umbrella.
“Good evening, everybody!” she said with a wink. “And welcome to another night of…”
“Midnight Wheel of Misfortune!” the audience shouted again.
“I’m Kaori and I’ll be your host tonight!” Kaori said. She smiled and winked at the camera. Her audience cheered like wild animals. It didn’t long for Aoba’s bewilderment to change into rage.
“You!” he snapped. “What the fuck is all of this?!” Kaori flipped back her long black hair.
“You’re in my realm of my little game show,” she said. The hostess turned back to the camera.
“We’ve got an exciting show for you tonight!” she said. “Let’s meet our new contestant! He’s a second-year student at Raira Academy and used to be the founder of the notorious gang in Ikebukuro, the Blue Squares, before their tragic deaths. Give it up for Kuronuma Aoba!” The audience went crazy with their cheering. Aoba rolled his eyes and groaned.
“This is bullshit,” he muttered. He tried to turn around and walk away, but the gate behind him was locked.
“What the hell?!” he asked. Kaori giggled.
“Sorry, it doesn’t work that way,” she said. “You will be a good boy and play along with my games, because if you don’t…”
I will hunt you down and kill you in the real world, you little shit.
A quick shot raced through the contestant’s body. Kaori resisted the urge to squeal when she heard him screaming. He opened his mouth again only to be zapped a second time.
“Aw, what’s the matter?” Kaori asked. “Can’t take little shocks? Oh, I almost forgot. If you don’t play my game or if you mess up at any point, you will be shocked by my Usagi-san over there.” Aoba turned to see the pink bunny holding up a small remote control. He looked back at Kaori with her smug smile.
“It would be in your best interest to play along,” she said. “We’ve only gotten started too.” Aoba quickly closed his mouth, but glared at the host. Kaori smiled like a little angel.
“Perfect!” she said. “Now, let’s go onto our first round!” The dancing bear on the monitor swung its knives around ahead its head before dropping them on the ground. It disappeared to leave Katakana characters dripping red.
“Life in Jeopardy!” Kaori shouted.
“Life in Jeopardy!” the audience repeated. Kaori held up a stack of black and purple cards.
“Contestants have to press the button in front of them to answer questions,” she said. “They will have a set amount of time to complete this round. Contests need at least twenty-five points to win. Let us begin!” Aoba had a bored look on his face.
Better get this over with, he thought. How bad can she be with this? A glint flashed in Kaori’s eye.
“Question number one,” she said. “Why did your brother beat you up and rape you?” Aoba about stumbled backwards. Where did that question come from? He should’ve expect this being Kaori, his tormentor. Aoba gritted his teeth. He was just about to reach for the buzzer when a ringing sound filled the air.
“Time’s up!” Kaori shouted. “The answer is, jealousy!” The boy looked around off-guard. When did his time run out?
“Time for the penalty!” the host shouted. “Usagi-san!” The pink bunny pressed a red button on the remote. A sharp shock struck him in the chest. It felt like getting shot with a stun gun. Kaori covered her mouth as Aoba screamed. The contestant grabbed the podium, panting.
“What the hell was that?!” he shouted. Kaori flipped back her hair.
“The penalty,” she said. “Failure to answer a question results in getting shocked in different places all over your body. Also, you have fifteen seconds to answer these questions.” Aoba didn’t know whether to scream or cry.
“Next question,” she said. “Why did you set Izumi Ran’s room on fire?” The boy gritted his teeth. If that’s how she wants to play it…
Aoba reached forward and hit the buzzer. He winced as the sensation of a spike going through his hand. Kaori raised her eyebrow.
“Aoba?” she asked.
“He beat me up so badly that I couldn’t walk straight for days,” Aoba answered. It annoyed him to come out and say it. A bell rang in the air.
“That’s correct!” Kaori shouted. “Two points!” The monitor above his head flashed the number two.
“Next question,” the host said. For the most part, Aoba had hits and misses with the questions. Needless to say, Kaori got under his skin asking questions about Ran and the home life they shared before their parents divorced. She even asked him about his brother and the Blue Squares.
But then, Kaori’s questions took a turn into the brutal.
“Next question,” the host said. “Who is responsible for the deaths of the Blue Squares?” Aoba was quick on the buzzer.
“Aoba?” Kaori asked.
“You!” he shouted. A buzzing sound ripped through the air.
“Ooo, wrong!” the host said.
“What?!” Aoba shouted. The bell rang above his head.
“Time’s up!” Kaori said. “The answer is… you, Aoba!” The boy with blue hair narrowed his eyes at her.
“But you killed them!” he shouted.
“Yeah, but because you were in the way, they had to die,” the host said. “Usagi-san!” The pink bunny pressed the button again after waiting for the past seven questions. This time, Aoba got a shock to his throat. The gagging noise wasn’t as thrilling as his screaming, but with Kaori as the host, what did it matter? Aoba patted and glared at her. It took all of his self-control not to jump over his podium and choke the living daylights out of her. He wondered why he hadn’t attempted to do that yet. That question was answered when he could feel that bunny’s black eyes on his back. Whoever was in that bunny suit was a little too happy with that remote.
“Don’t worry, folks,” Kaori said. “He’s fine. We can still keep playing.” She flipped the next card in her hand.
“Oh,” she said. “We’re down to the last question. And this will add ten points to the final score!” Aoba looked up. His eyes locked on his tormentor.
“Last question!” Kaori shouted. “Who did you ask to lead the Blue Squares in a plot for you to take over the Dollars? Here’s a hint: He stabbed you in the hand with a ballpoint pen when he decided to form a contract with you. You’ve got twenty seconds to answer.” Aoba gave her a blank stare. Something about the words “ballpoint pen” triggered something in his mind. That event felt strangely familiar to him. The name was on the tip of his tongue.
Aoba reached for the buzzer.
“Aoba?” Kaori asked. The contestant was just about to open his mouth when a sharp pain shot through his head. Aoba gasped as he grabbed his head. Kaori’s smile turned cold as she watched him struggle. She counted down for the attack to pass. Aoba finally looked at his tormentor with another blank stare.
“I don’t know…” he said in a tiny voice. The final buzz ripped through the air.
“Wrong!” Kaori said. “The answer is… Chirin! And that’s the end of Life in Jeopardy! Let’s see how many points our contestant has!” The camera turned to the monitor above Aoba’s head. The number twelve flashed on the screen.
“Aww!” the audience said.
“Ooo, too bad,” Kaori said. “He didn’t make it to twenty-five points. Looks like he’ll have to play our batsu game!”
“Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game!” the audience chanted. Aoba smiled and shook his head.
“And what are you going to pull now?” he asked.
“Delighted you asked!” she said. “It’s time for…”
“Pock Horror Pictures Show!” the audience yelled. Kaori giggled as she held up a little black clicker and pressed the switch. Aoba vanished into thin air before he could say another word.
Aoba looked around and saw pitch black again.
“What is it now?” he asked. The blue-haired boy turned around when he heard what sounded the click of a switch. A projector light hit the blackened background behind him.
“Huh?” Aoba asked. On the screen, Gin sitting on the of his bedroom in a daze. He pulled out a knife and slit his right arm from wrist to fold of his elbow. The sounds of the knife plunging into his skin made Aoba jump. He repeated the process with his left arm collapsed on the floor. The former leader of the Blue Squares’ face twisted into shock and horror.
Don’t tell me…
Yoshikiri’s video came up next. He looked just as dazed as Gin did as he held up that bottle of bleach. Aoba already knew what was coming next, it still made him shudder. He shook his head when Yoshikiri showed off the label. The boy in the video opened the bottle and put it to his lips. Each gulp was hard to sit through. Foam started to come up from the Yoshikiri ’s throat as he kept drinking it. The gagging noises were turned up at full volume. Aoba covered his ears as he sank to his knees.
“You will not break me like this!” he shouted.
At last, Yoshikiri dropped the empty bottle of bleach and collapsed on the floor with foam around his mouth. The next video’s was Yatsufusa’s death.
He was writing something on the bathroom wall with what looked like lipstick. Aoba could read what his former fledging was writing.
I do not deserve to live.
Scum of the earth.
I am shit.
When he was done, Yatsufusa turned and climbed into a bathtub filled to the top with water. Just like Gin and Yoshikri, the boy also had a dazed look in his eyes. He held a hair dryer plugged into the wall in his right hand. He threw the dryer into the water. The screaming made Aoba’s stomach turn. He wasn’t sure if he was shaking or if it was all in his head.
“You will not get me, you bitch!” the blue-haired boy shouted.
He vanished into thin air as the film drew to a close.
Kaori stood at her podium with a huge smile on her face.
“Welcome back!” she said. Aoba looked up to see that he was back in the game show setting. He gritted his teeth as he held back the urge to scream. Kaori’s smug smile might as well be a kick to the groin. What was her goal for this? Why was he here? The more he thought about, the more it pissed Aoba off. Kaori clapped her hands together.
“Right!” she said. “Looks like it’s time for our next game. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for…!”
The dancing bear on the monitor swung its knives around ahead its head before dropping them on the ground. It disappeared to leave Katakana characters dripping red.
“Breaking Wheel!” Kaori shouted with her arms in the air.
“Breaking Wheel!” the audience repeated.
“That’s right!” Kaori said. She walked over to the giant black and purple wheel.
“With this game,” the hose said. “Contestants have to spin the Wheel of Despair and complete seven challenges. Failure to do this will result in another batsu game!” Aoba looked like he wanted to slap Kaori as the audience cheered like wild animals. The host turned her focus onto him.
“Go ahead,” she said. “Spin the wheel! Spin! Spin! Spin!” Aoba could feel the pink bunny’s glass eyes on his back. The contestant glared as he walked up to the wheel. He reached up and gave the heavy wheel a spin. The room sat with bated breath as the purple and black disappeared in a blur. Aoba gritted his teeth as the clacking floated through the room. He stared with narrowed eyes. Why hadn’t he thought about a way to escape from this cartoonish hell? Oh yeah, that psycho rabbit and the crazy host running this circus. For now, he would have to endure this sick game for her amusement.
Finally, the wheel stopped. Kaori looked up at the skull bunny’s pointer.
“Fish Trap!” she shouted. A life-sized girl that looked like a rag doll wheeled a full tank into the center. Aoba cringed at the murky water in the tank. Kaori walked over to said tank.
“The rules are really simple,” she said. “The contestant must reach into this tank and grab the fish in thirty seconds. There are many other things in the water too. Be careful!” Aoba looked like he wanted to shout, “Are you fucking serious?” Kaori stuck up her arm in the air.
“Begin!” she shouted.
“Begin?” Aoba asked. “I can’t see anything in that water!” The host slapped him on the back hard enough to make him stumble over.
“Do the best you can!” she said. Kaori pushed him over to the tank. Aoba sneered and rolled his eyes.
“Fine, whatever,” he muttered. Lucky that for him that he was wearing a short-sleeve shirt tonight. Kaori watched as he stuck his hand in the water. Right away, Aoba cringed.
“Yuck,” he mumbled. The boy made faces as he reached around in the greenish-brown water. Ten seconds in, something bit him on his right index finger.
“Ouch!” he shouted. “What the hell?!”
“Keep looking,” Kaori said. Her sugary-sweet tone made him want to vomit. Despite that, Aoba kept fishing around in that murky tank for that damned fish. It couldn’t be healthy for him with his fingers getting bitten in that filthy water. He probably need a shot after this.
“Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” the audience shouted. The buzzer rang through the air.
“Time’s up!” Kaori shouted. “Let’s see if he’s caught that fish or not!” She turned to her victim.
“Well?” she asked. Aoba groaned as he pulled his empty hand covered in slime and bite marks. He made a disgusted face when he saw the end result of his fruitless challenge. The buzzer sounded overhead again.
“Ooo!” Kaori said. “No points for our contestant. Usagi-san!” Aoba braces himself for another zap on a random part of his body. Instead, the pink bunny decided to get a little creative.
“Ow!” Aoba shouted. Something like sharp fangs bit him in his lower back. He tried to look down and push the sensation off.
“What did that thing just do?!” he yelled.
“Penalty,” Kaori said. “Ready for the next challenge?”
“No,” Aoba said.
“Great!” the host cheered. “Spin the wheel!” The boy glared at her.
“I hate you, you know that?” he asked. Kaori shrugged.
“Can’t be helped,” she said. “Just spin the pretty wheel.” Aoba sneered and gave the wheel another spin. The audience waited for the next challenge. Meanwhile, the contestant scanned the room an exit. He would be damned if he had to play this stupid game any longer.
Finally, the wheel came to its second stop. Kaori looked up, excited.
“School lunch!” she yelled.
“Yay!” the audience shouted.
“Dollie!” Kaori shouted. The rag doll girl came out with another cart with a covered tray as purple bears took the fish tank away.
“In this challenge, you have thirty seconds to finish this meal without vomiting,” the host said. Kaori lifted the cover with her clown-like grin. Aoba’s face was covered in disgusted at maggot and worm-filled rice porridge. Was Kaori just fucking with him now? He walked over and picked up a spoon.
“Remember,” Kaori said. “Forfeiting will lead to another round of…”
“Pocky Horror Picture Show!” the audience shouted. Aoba gritted his teeth. Might as well get this over with. The first bite was enough to make his stomach turn. Forget the bugs and the creepy-crawlies! How old was this rice porridge? He glanced up at Kaori who was waiting for him to vomit. The boy narrowed his eyes. I will not give her the satisfaction. Aoba shoved a big spoonful in his mouth.
He finished the bowl in under twenty seconds. The bell rang as he tried to stomach the foul meal. Aoba forced himself to smile as he stuck up his middle finger.
“Congrats to Aoba!” Kaori said as she waved off the gesture. “Time for the next challenge! Spin the wheel!” The former leader of the Blue Squares tried not to throw up as he gave the wheel another spin. What was she going to plan now? Come on, bitch! Do your worst!
The wheel came to a stop and Kaori looked up.
“Play Ball!” she shouted. The crowd went wild. The purple bears took away the cart. Kaori walked over to a giant glass batting cage. Another pink bunny grabbed Aoba by the arms and followed the host.
“Hey! Get your hands off of-!” the contestant shouted. He closed his mouth to keep himself from throwing up.
“Careful there,” Kaori said. “You just had a big meal.” Aoba cursed himself under his breath as the rabbit put him down. The host smiled as she unlocked the glass door.
“This game is straight-forward,” she said. “The contestant has to dodge all of my fast balls in sixty seconds!” The bunny pushed Aoba into the cage. The contestant tried to stand without feeling his sick traveling upwards. Dodging would be one thing. Dodging and trying not to puke would take walking a tight-rope.
“Dollie!” Kaori shouted. The rag doll girl came out with a ball cannon. Aoba smirked. Kaori threw her hand up in the air.
“Play ball!” she shouted. The host picked up a remote and pressed the button. One baseball came flying out like a rocket. Aoba jumped out of the way just in time. The second ball shot out and he dodged that one too. But the third ball caught him right in the chest. Aoba fell back against the glass wall with a crash. Kaori covered her laughed as she snickered. She turned up the knob on the remote and the balls fired out in rapid succession. Aoba had a time ducking and dodging each fast ball. All the while trying not to throw up.
Well… that didn’t last long, needless to say.
By the end of the challenge, Kaori turned off the ball cannon. She looked down at her target. Aoba lay on the ground, semi-conscious. His pajamas were covered in vomit and blood. He had bruises all over his body.
“You still alive?” Kaori asked. She gently kicked him in the head. Aoba let out a low groan.
“He seems fine, folks,” the host said. “Let’s just give him about ten minutes to recover, shall we?”
*Please Stand By*
“And we’re back!” Kaori said. Aoba stood by the Wheel of Despair, glaring with a black eye.
“It’s a good thing our contestant didn’t die on us,” the host said. “That would be boring if we lost him. Anyway…” She turned her attention back to Aoba.
“Now, spin the wheel again!” Kaori shouted. The battered boy could’ve said no and stormed off. Let him take his chance on her killing him in the real world. Aoba gave the wheel another spin. Kaori resisted the urge to break into a happy dance. Especially since she already had the final round of this game planned out.
The wheel slowed to a stop. The host looked up at the results.
“Fire Walk!” she shouted. Aoba froze. She can’t mean… Kaori turned to a mini bridge made of ropes on top of fire. On the other side hung a key from a metal arch.
“The contestant has to run across this rope bridge over this fire the key!” the host said. “What does that key lead to? He’ll just have to cross that bridge and see?” Aoba backed away, shaking his head.
“Fuck this!” he shouted. “I won’t do it!” Kaori raised her eyebrow.
“Is that a forfeit?” she asked.
“Yes!” Aoba snapped. Kaori broke into a goofy grin.
“Oh?” she asked. “Our contestant just called forfeit! You know what that means?”
“Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game! Batsu game!” the audience chanted. Aoba fought to keep from going insane by now.
“Go ahead,” he said. “Do your worst. You can’t really hurt me anymore.” Kaori showed a little crack in her smile, but regained her composure.
“Fine,” she said. “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s going to be a slight change in the program right after our batsu game!” Kaori held up her little black clicker and pressed the switch. Aoba vanished into thin air, predicting what was coming next.
He found himself back in that darkened room. Aoba could already predict what was coming in the Pocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, he counted down to the gory show around him as the projector clicked on.
The Nitari twins came up first on the screen. Both boys looked dazed like the other three members of the Blue Squares. The older twin looked into the camera before walking over to a noose hanging behind him. He stepped up a small stool, put the noose around his neck, and kicked away the stool. The video fast forwarded until the boy was hanging dead.
Aoba didn’t even flinch this time. “Is that the best you can come up with?!”
The younger brother stood outside of his apartment with a can of gasoline in his hand in the next video. He opened the cap and poured it all over himself. The boy took a match and set himself on fire. The last clip showed Neko staring at the camera with a dazed look on his face on top of what used to be their hideout. He gave the lenses a little wave goodbye. The boy turned, walked to the edge, and jumped off. Aoba didn’t even flinch as the last of the Blue Squares hit the ground. Instead, he smirked and shook his head.
“Come on!” the former leader shouted. “This doesn’t faze me at all! You think you can scare with all of your little games and creepy videos! I’ve been through much worse! This is nothing covered to what aneki did to me!” Aoba vanished into thin air again.
He reappeared back in the game show. This time, Kaori stood on a tall purple platform with her golden scissors in her hand. Aoba chuckled when he saw her.
“And what are you going to pull now?” he asked. Kaori’s smug smile didn’t faze him.
“Think I can’t get under your skin?” she asked. “I’ve got something for you!” The host turned to the camera.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” Kaori said. “We’ve come to our final round of the night…
The dancing bear on the monitor swung its knives around ahead its head before dropping them on the ground. It disappeared to leave Katakana characters dripping red.
“Scale of Judecca!” the host announced.
“Scale of Judecca!” the audience repeated.
“And for tonight we’ve got a very special guest!” Kaori shouted. “Usagi-san!” The pink bunny pressed another button on his remote. The stage next to the host opened, giving off a rumbling noise. All of Aoba’s smug bravado crumbled like a decaying building. Mairu and Kururi were standing under the gallows, bound and gagged. They struggled to free themselves with no avail. On a small table between the three girls sat Kaori’s stand with two skinny red threads hanging from the top.
“No!” Aoba cried. “Let them go right now!” Kaori shook her head.
“Sorry, it’s part of the game,” she said. “You see, these threads right here symbolize your precious twins’ lives. If I cut them, Izaya’s sisters will die.” Kaori pouted.
“But sadly, my poor little scissors can only cut one thread at a time,” she said. “So, you’re going to have to pick which twin lives and which one dies. Failure to choose will result in both girls’ deaths. You have until this yen coin reaches the bottom of this glass!” Kaori dropped a yen coin into a small tank of water. Aoba’s stomach dropped as his eyes widened. Mairu and Kururi’s eyes pleaded for him to rescue them as he looked back and forth between them. He had expected Kaori to sink this low. His gang was one thing, but these girls were dearer to him than his own life.
That coin was sinking faster than he could keep up. Aoba looked back and forth faster. The panicked rush wouldn’t allow him to think straight. He would have to do something before he lost them both.
“Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four!” the audience shouted. “Three! Two!” Aoba shut his eyes.
“Kururi-chan!” he shouted. The coin reached the aqua pebbles at the bottom of the tank. Kaori’s eyes lit up.
“You heard the boy!” she shouted. “Dollie!” The rag doll girl came up behind Kururi and cut her free. Aoba raced over to her as she fell to the cold floor. Kaori took her scissors and cut Mairu’s thread at the very top. The younger twin froze with a gasp because her gag before her she collapsed.
“Mairu!” Aoba screamed. Kaori laughed as he ran over to the pile of clothes hitting the floor. The boy reached into a saw a little fetus shape creature before it turned into ash and crumbled. Shock took over Aoba’s mind and his body wouldn’t move no matter how much his brain commanded it to.
“That’s our game, folks!” Kaori shouted. “Hope you had a fun time! Good night!” She blew big kiss to the audience.
Aoba awoke in his bed, panting. Judging by how messy his clothes look and how sore his body felt, he knew it wasn’t a dream. Despite that, he knew there were bigger things to worry about.
I have to see if the twins are alright! Aoba jumped out of bed, got dressed, and ran out of his room.
He pounded on the door as hard as he could.
“Mairu! Kururi!” he shouted. “Wake up! Please tell me you’re still okay! The boy backed up when the door open. Kururi stood in front of him in pajamas with a confused look on her face. Aoba put his hand to his chest.
“Oh, good, you’re alright,” he said.
“Of course I am,” Kururi said. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Oh,” Aoba was quick to say. “Uh… No reason, I just missed you, that’s all.” The girl tilted her head.
“Babe, why are you all sweaty?” Kururi asked. “And what happened to your face? And where’s your bracelet?” Her questions were enough to jolt him back into reality.
“Bracelet?” Aoba asked. “Babe? What are you talking?”
“You know, we got matching blue and white crystal-beaded bracelets over the New Year,” she said. “Are you feeling okay, Babe?” Kururi reached over to feel his forehead. Aoba pushed away her hand.
“I’m fine, never mind,” he said. “Where’s Mairu?” Kururi gave him a confused look.
“Heh?” she asked. The color drained from Aoba’s face as he pushed past the older girl.
“What are you talking about? Who’s Mairu?” Kururi asked as she followed him down the hall. Aoba came to the twins’ bedroom and turned on the light. To his horror, there was only evidence of one girl ever inhabiting the room. It looked like a typical teenager’s room without the pictures of Heiwajima Kasuka all over the wall or a shrine in his honor. Aoba took a step back, shaking his head.
“No… No!” he said. “This isn’t right!” The former leader of the Blue Squares noticed a picture by Kururi’s bed. When he picked it up and looked at it, his fears were confirmed. There were only the parents, a young Izaya, and a child Kururi smiling in front of their apartment in the picture. No Mairu in sight. Aoba sank to his knees with big eyes of sinking despair. He snapped out of it when his cell phone rang.
“H-H-H-Hello?” he asked.
“Hello!” Kaori cheered over the other end of the line. Aoba’s shock turned into rage.
“What the fuck did you do to Mairu?!” he screamed. She giggled.
“Oh, just ended her life before it began,” Kaori said.
“Because I could! I wanted to see what would happen if I cut a human’s life thread from the beginning and she go bye-bye!”
Aoba gritted his teeth. “What’s going to happen to Kururi-chan now?!”
“You’ll have to see. Bye-bye!” Kaori hung up before her victim could say another word. Aoba’s cell phone hit the floor.