Caged Wonderland


Halo Twelve: Hospital:

Mikado, Masaomi, Anri, and Noriko sat in the hallway of the hospital. Tatsuya was the one who contacted them.

“What exactly happened?” Anri asked.

“Apparently she collapsed after a dog bit her,” Noriko said. “The owner treated the wound.”

“Did the dog have some sort of a disease?” Masaomi asked.

“No,” Mikado said. “She’s being poisoned.” The other three friends turned their heads.

“What do you mean?” Masaomi asked.

“It’s Tandeki,” Mikado said. “They’re doing the same thing to her like they are doing to me.” Masaomi and Anri had alarmed looks on their face. Noriko, on the other hand, looked so confused.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“It’s nothing,” Mikado said. “I’m just spit-balling here.” Noriko didn’t say anything at first.

“Spit-balling?” she asked.

“Yeah, it’s okay,” the tadpole boy lied. “We don’t know exactly what happened yet. We’re just waiting until the nurse is done examining her.” Mikado couldn’t really tell Noriko what was going on.

“I don’t think we should get Ishikawa-san and Hashimoto-san mixed up in this,” he told Masaomi and Anri at the beginning of the summer. “It’s enough that you two know about the condition I’m in. I don’t know how they would take it.” His friends agreed, but now the situation had changed for Chiharu.

“Alright,” Noriko said. Mikado took a breath. But, Masaomi and Anri kept their eyes on him. Mikado could already hear what they were thinking.

What are they doing to Chiharu?

Mikado leaned back in his chair. He wanted to tell his friends everything. But, the tadpole couldn’t come up with a way to get her out of the hallway. Still, that wasn’t the only thing that had him worried.

Chiharu lay half-asleep in her bed. She had an IV hooked up to her arm. It looked just like the medicine she had been taking over the past few weeks. Something told her that something was off. She shouldn’t have fainted from a dog bite. Rabies were non-existent in Japan. What type of disease did that dog have?

That wasn’t her only problem, however.

Nurse Brooker stood over her. She never spoke to the patient. Chiharu couldn’t get a good look at her face, but the nurse was always smirking at her. The pen writing made Chiharu’s ears hurt. She could never see what Brooker was doing over her body. The nurse did say something this morning, but Chiharu couldn’t understand what she was saying.

The patient alone in her room made things worse.

Mikado was about to doze off when he heard something or someone whispering. He opened his eyes.

“Hello?” he whispered. The tadpole glanced around his surroundings. Masaomi and the girls had already dozed off. Not good. Uzuki had warned him to ignore any ghosts or demons trying to make contact with him. The hospital gave him creepy vibes when he first walked in. Some of the spirits of patients were staring at him. The receptionist didn’t seem to notice at all. He didn’t need to hear her inner demon complaining about not being able to get married by next ear. The rest of the inner demons in the hospital made Mikado’s ears hurt. Masaomi put his hand on his shoulder at the front desk.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. Mikado nodded once.

Now, Mikado could hear footsteps. His eyes trailed from left to right. Already, he saw a lady with cuts up and down her pale arms. Her long black hair hung in front of her face. The tadpole puffed up his cheeks.

I don’t see you. I don’t see you. I don’t see you!

Mikado froze when he heard the elevator doors opening down the hall. He whipped his head around. A shadowy figure floated in front of the empty open doors. Mikado reached for Masaomi’s arm.

“Kida-kun! Kida-kun, wake up!” he said. The blonde-haired boy wouldn’t budge. Mikado bit on his thumb and looked back at the shadowy figure in front of the open elevator. In a flash it disappeared. Mikado got up and ran over to the elevator. Before he knew it, he had run in at lighting speeds. When he turned around, the doors were closing.

“No, no, no!” he said. Mikado pushed the open door button, but the doors wouldn’t open.

“Come on! Come on!” he said, pushing it faster. The doors would not give. Mikado finally gave up and pulled out his phone. A confused look came over his face.

No bars? That can’t be right. He had better reception when he first got to the hospital.

Suddenly, he heard a beeping noise.

“Huh?” Mikado asked. He looked up to see the cab moving up. The tadpole boy began freaking out. What the hell? Why am I going up? Mikado hit stop as fast as he could, but the elevator would not give. The cab went up as smooth and slow like nothing was out of the ordinary. First floor. Second floor. Third floor.

Suddenly, the cab stopped.

Mikado looked up to see what floor he was on now. His stomach dropped as he turned pale. This hospital never had a fourth floor. Mikado backed up, shaking his head.

“Oh no,” he said. “I am not falling for this.”

“Too late!” a girl’s voice shouted.

“Huh?” Mikado asked. A small pair of hands pushed him out of the elevator. The tadpole boy stumbled out of the cab. He managed to catch himself before falling. The doors slid closed. Mikado ran over to open the doors. As predicted, the doors wouldn’t open.


Mikado froze when he heard a low moaning sound. Now, this was a pitch where only dogs could hear it. Against his better judgement, he looked over his shoulder. The hall was mostly dark. The windows looked like they were painted black. He could feel the cold crushing on his body. Mikado shivered as he grabbed onto his arms. He turned when he heard wheels coming towards him. A young-looking nurse pushed a patient in a wheelchair. The nurse looked around eighteen or nineteen years old. Her left eye was covered in an eye patch. Her patient looked out in a daze with long white hair. She had lost both of her legs with the stumps wrapped in bandages. The nurse pushed her past Mikado.

“Excuse me,” he said, trying to flag them down. “Excuse me! Excuse me! I’m trying to get back down to the ground floor but…” The nurse and patient wheeled past him to the elevator and disappeared. Mikado lowered his hand.

“Um…” he said. The crying of babies filled the air. The tadpole boy turned around. His nose curled as he began to smell rotting flesh.

“What is this?” he asked, covering his nose. Mikado could feel his eyes watering. “Why am I here?” He froze when he heard giggling behind him.

“Who’s there?” he asked.

“Take a guess,” a woman with an English accent said. Mikado quickly whipped around. Joe stood at the other end of the darkened hallway. The dim lighting through the cracks of the paint made her look like an evil witch. Mikado took slow steps backwards.

Arisa looked around at the nurse’s station. “Guys, have you noticed Joe acting strangely lately?” Kiki and Himeko looked up at her.

“How do you mean?” Himeko asked.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Arisa said. “But, she seems a bit colder now.”

“Colder?” Kiki asked.

“Yeah, she hasn’t been smiling lately and she seems distracted,” Arisa said. Her co-workers thought about this for a moment.

“Come to think of it, something does seem off about her now,” Himeko said. “She doesn’t seem to like the light too well anymore. Plus, she seems to be mumbling to herself when she walks the halls.”

“You too?” Arisa asked.

“Yeah,” Himeko said. Kiki lowered her eyes.

“Uh, well…” she said. The other two nurses looked at her.

“What is it?” Himeko asked. The younger nurse looked away, biting on her finger.

“She has been a bit rough on the patients lately,” Kiki muttered. “I saw her rip the stitches out of an elderly patient last night. He screamed in pain, but she had no emotion on her face. I have never known her to do such a thing like that.”

“And you’re sure it was here?” Arisa asked.

“Yes,” the young nurse said without pause. All three nurses went quiet. Joe seemed to be the only one not fazed by the cold spots scattered all over the hospital. The children were scared of her now. Even some of the elderly patients started to fear her.

“Should we say something to her?” Kiki asked.

“Like what?” Himeko asked. The younger nurse shrugged.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe ask if she’s doing okay?” The other two nurses had nothing to say as they looked at each other.

“No good?” Kiki asked.

“No, no, it’s fine,” Arisa said. “I’ll do it.”

“Thank you,” the young nurse said.

“Yeah…” Arisa said. She didn’t sound too certain of her own words.

Meanwhile, the nurse smirked at Mikado. “What’s the matter? You look like I’m about to kill you and eat you.”

“A-A-Are you a ghost?” he asked. The nurse took a step forward.

“No,” she said. “I work here. And I am very much alive.” Mikado reached for his phone. The nurse smiled and shook her head.

“Don’t bother,” she said. “You’re in a dead zone. Cell phones don’t work here. You can’t contact your little friends with tadpole radio.” The tadpole’s eyes widened but tried to stay still. The nurse walked over and circled Mikado with a sharp eye on him.

“Interesting,” she said. “What do we have here? Something human, but yet not human at the same time. So this is what an actual tadpole looks like.” Mikado flinched as he jumped backwards.

“Who are you?!” he asked. “How do you know about me?” The nurse smirked and took a step back.

“Oh, where are my manners?” she asked. “My name is Joe Brooker. I am the nurse tending to your little friend downstairs. And which one are you?”

“Ryugamine Mikado,” the tadpole said. “Why am I up here? There is no fourth floor in this hospital. Where is this place?” Joe smirked as tossed a small knife at him. Mikado caught it without blinking.

“Ah, quick with your reflexes,” she said. “Just as I pictured.”

“What did you mean before?” he asked.

“Excuse me?” Joe asked back. Mikado pressed his lips together.

“What you said before,” he said. “You said I was human, but not human. What do you mean by that?”

“You don’t know?” the nurse asked.

“No…” Mikado said. Joe smirked and tried not to laugh.

“What?” he asked. The nurse flipped back her long black hair.

“You are being watched,” she said.

“What?!” Mikado asked.

“Oh yes,” Joe said. ”We all are! We have been watching you since your awakening. We want to see all that you can do. Some of us want to see you as gods of the new world. You have been growing up nicely. I myself am so curious you.” She walked up and caressed his right cheek.

“You are all still so young,” she said. “You’re like sweet little prepubescent children. So young, so tender. You still have more growth.” Joe wrapped her arms around the boy. Her hot breath touched his ear.

“Please… stop touching me,” Mikado said. The tadpole began trembling. Joe looked him in the eye.

“Now, why are you here?” she asked. “I brought you here because I wanted to see you for myself.” Mikado’s body screamed to push her off. Why couldn’t he move?

“Let me go,” he said.

“Sorry,” the nurse said. “My hands are in control of themselves.” It was then Mikado got a good look at the nurse’s eyes. There were red cloudy rings around the irises. Her eyes looked really dull and lifeless. The tadpole wrinkled his nose.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I’m a nurse,” Joe said.

“Who are you really?” the tadpole asked. The nurse smirked.

“Heh,” she said. “This has been fun, but I have to get back to work.” Joe let go of him. She started walking back down the opposite end of the hall. But then, she paused and looked over her shoulder.

“Oh and may I remind you that there are some of us that hate you,” Joe said. “Oh yes. They are crying out for your blood. So I would watch your back if I was you.” Mikado didn’t have to stick around for anymore. He turned and bolted towards the elevator. The tadpole pressed the down button as fast as he could. To his surprise, the doors finally opened. Mikado ran in as fast as he could. He closed the doors behind and hit the down button. The tadpole’s head tried to keep up with what was happening. He closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead.

I have to warn the others before it’s too late.

Mikado hurried back to his friends in the hallway. He grabbed Masaomi on the arm, shaking him.

“Kida-kun, wake up!” he shouted. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” His best friend slowly opened his eyes. He noticed the worried look on Mikado’s face.

“Mikado?” Masaomi asked. “What’s the matter? What’s going on?” The tadpole moved his hand to his chest.

“I am in trouble,” Mikado said. “Serious trouble. We all are.” Masaomi leaned forward with a concerned look on his face.

“What are you talking about?” he asked. “What happened?” His best friend broke down trembling.

Back at Rampo Biotech, Junko finished up with the last batch of Biddy Early needed to complete phase one of the Angel Project. She smiled as she looked at the capped needle.

“I will be reclaiming you really soon, F,” the nurse said to herself. She snickered as she packed the filled needle into a small silver case.

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