Caged Wonderland

Madoka

Halo Nineteen: Madoka:

The phone call came about ten in the morning on a Sunday. Madoka’s grandma was out visiting friends in the countryside for the day.

“Hello?” Madoka asked.

“Is Kurosawa-san in right now?” a man’s voice asked.

“My grandmother’s not in right now,” the tadpole said. “I can take a message if you want.”

“Oh,” the man said. “Is this her granddaughter?”

“Yes, did something happen?” Madoka asked.

“Your grandfather’s condition has changed,” the man said. “He’s able to speak again and is conscious.” The receiver hit the kitchen floor.

“Hello? Hello?” the man asked. Madoka trembled as she picked up the phone again.

“W-W-When did this happen?” she asked.

“Last night,” the man said. “We couldn’t believe it ourselves. This morning, he asked a nurse for water. She was so shocked that she ran out his room and called the doctor. He answered our questions and knew he name, family, where he was, and what the date was.”

“How did this happen?” Madoka asked.

“We don’t know,” the man said. “But he asked to you especially.” Her eyes widened.

“Me?” she asked. “What for?”

“He wouldn’t say,” he said. “Your grandfather just said that he needed to talk to you as soon as he can.” Madoka pressed her lips together as the opportunity that just fell into her lap.

“Okay,” she said. “Thank you.” The young woman hung up with trembling hands. She packed up a bag, left a note for her grandmother, and headed out the door.


-Mikado, Chiharu, and Masaomi-

Mikado started feel more of his memories coming back. The tests back in Chou Mori. The electric shocks to the head. Pills and strange liquid down his throat. Needles going into his body. Being strapped down to a metal bed. A gag strapped around his mouth and head. Yayoi trying to get into his pants. The overpowering smell of bleach. Remembering those hellish months in Chou Mori made his skin crawl.

But, that wasn’t the only memory he had.

Chiharu sometimes had headphones on while sitting in a corner of the room. But, she wasn’t playing any music. They weren’t even plugged up to anything.

Mikado had to find out what that was about.

He and Masaomi made it back to Chiharu’s apartment. Mikado knocked on the door. They’ve done this before, haven’t they?

“Hey Kida-kun,” Mikado said.

“Hm?” his friend asked. The tadpole boy shifted his shoulders for a bit.

“Have you been having strange memories lately?” he asked. Masaomi narrowed his eyes.

“Strange memories?” he asked. Mikado slowly nodded.

“Yes,” his friend said. Masaomi took a moment to think.

“No,” he said.

“You haven’t?” Mikado asked. His friend shook his head.

“Hm…” the tadpole boy said. Masaomi’s thoughts didn’t indicate that he was hiding the truth from his best friend. Mostly, he thought about Saki. Mikado put his hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“She will be fine,” he said. Masaomi stared at him with big eyes. He was about to speak when they heard the door opening. Both boys were in for a shock. Chiharu looked like death walking on two legs. She looked pale that she could almost be mistaken for a ghost. She was barely holding onto the door frame. Did she lose weight? No, she was just wearing clothes this morning. The bags under her eyes aged her face by thirty years.

“Masaomi? Mikado?” she asked. Her voice was so hoarse that it barely came above a whisper. The boys struggled to speak at first.

“How have you been?” Masaomi asked.

“I want to die,” Chiharu muttered.

“Oh…” he said.

“Uh… I got a box of tapes just before Christmas,” Mikado said. “Did you get the same thing?” Masaomi turned his heard when he heard “box of tapes”. Chiharu looked at her friends with a tired look on her face.

“Follow me,” she mumbled. Mikado and Masaomi followed Chiharu inside.

“How are you holding up really?” Mikado asked as they walked down the hall.

“I want to die,” she said again.

“I figured that,” he said. “But have you been having any strange memories lately?” Chiharu froze at his question.

“Memories?” she asked.

“Yes,” Mikado said. They reached her bedroom door.

“Yeah,” Chiharu mumbled. She turned the metal door knob and pushed open the door. Inside looked so dim. She didn’t even have the blinds open.

“Why is it so dark in here?” Masaomi asked as he looked around. He walked over to the window above her bed and reached out for the light green curtains.

“Please!” Chiharu shouted. “Don’t do that.” She trembled as she grabbed her right arm. “It… It hurts my eyes.” Masaomi drew back his hand.

“That bad, how?” he asked. Chiharu shivered.

“Where did you put the box?” Mikado asked.

“It’s under my bed,” she answered.

“Thanks,” he said. Mikado walked over to the bed for a look. Chiharu turned her head.

“Yes,” she said. The girl paused. “I have been having… strange memories.” Mikado reached for the back-left corner of the bed.

“Like what?” he asked in a serious tone. Chiharu looked down at her arm.

“I was in a cage in a basement,” she said. “It was dark. And… And…” Chiharu’s stomach turned. The next words out of her mouth felt like metal spiking the inside. Her nails dug into her arm.

“I could smell blood,” she muttered. Chiharu felt like dry heaving. Mikado stood up with the cardboard box in his arms.

“Was it at Chou Mori?” he asked.

“Yes,” Chiharu said. Masaomi looked back and forth between his friends.

“Wait… were you both at Chou Mori together?” he asked.

“No,” Chiharu and Mikado were quick to say. She shook her head.

“I think I was there earlier than he was,” Chiharu said. Suddenly, her right hand broke down into trembling on its own. Her fingers twitched spider-like by her side.

“Chi?” Masaomi asked when he took notice. Chiharu grabbed her hand and nervously chuckled.

“Oh,” she said. “You just saw my little hand trick.”

“Hashimoto…” Mikado said. She sadly shook her head.

“No, no,” she said. “It’s really just the first sign of me reverting back. Next it will be incoherent screaming and pretty soon I will be turned back into an animal-like creature unable to think or act human anymore.” Tears began to form in her eyes.

“I can’t even eat people food anymore,” Chiharu lamented. “I tried to eat, but I end up throwing it up. I can’t even eat hamburger anymore.”

“Isn’t there any way to fix it?” Masaomi asked.

“No,” she said. She felt her body trembling all over as she sat back onto her body. “I will be stuck like this forever.” Mikado took his seat next to her.

“We will at least try to find something out about all of this,” he said in a low voice. The tadpole held up his hand before she could speak.

“Let’s just got through your tapes first, okay?” Mikado said. Chiharu looked down at her hands.

“Alright,” she said.

“Very good,” Mikado said. The whole time, Masaomi felt out of place. He too started to have his own questions about all of this. Maybe this could help him find a way to save Saki before it was too late. He walked over to the bed and sat down with his friends.


-Madoka-

While on the train, Madoka’s own memories started to come back to her. Before she ended up at Chou Mori, there was another old man who hung around the house. She couldn’t see his face, but something about him made her so nervous at a young age.

Madoka rubbed her forehead.

“Excuse me,” a lady’s voice said beside her. “Excuse me.” Madoka turned her head. A woman in her thirties held her briefcase to her chest.

“Um… Is this seat taken?” she asked. Madoka shook her head. She looked out the window as the train whizzed by. Being able to see every detail in front of her reminded her of more memories swimming to the surface. Her little head was tilted back as a small plastic cup of pink liquid was poured down her throat. Wires were connected to the sides of her head. An injection placed under her tongue. Pills being put into the little girl’s mouth.

Madoka shivered at the thought. She had to find out what her grandfather had to say.

She made it Tsukiji just a little bit after noon. This place felt so peaceful. Tsukiji looked like the place where nothing bad happened. An elderly couple smiled and waved at her as they walked by. Madoka awkwardly smiled back and waved. There was no time to get lost in the peaceful façade.

Madoka made her way to Shintomi Nursing Home. She could hear and feel her heart pounding against her chest. The home was busy inside from what she could hear. Her grandfather sat in his room with an anxious look on his face. Room 108. That shouldn’t be much of a problem. She was his granddaughter after all. Madoka took a breath and walked inside. The receptionist looked up and noticed her walk up to the desk.

“Good afternoon,” she said.

“I am just here to see my grandfather,” Madoka said. She turned and walked down the hall before the receptionist could say at word.

“Miss?” the older woman asked after her. Madoka waved her off as she kept walking faster. She finally made it to Room 108 and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” an old man’s voice said. Madoka held her breath and opened the door. She found her grandfather sitting on his bed. Haruki’s eyes lit up when he saw the young woman standing in the doorway.

“Madoka-chan? Madoka-chan, is that you?” he asked. The young woman bowed her head.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s me. I am here.” Haruki looked overjoyed at first, but then he drew back, frowning.

“Is she with you?” he asked. Madoka shook her head.

“I came here alone,” she said. “She doesn’t even know about your condition. Grandma’s out with some friends in the countryside. How are you able to talk and move around like this?”

“It’s so weird,” Haruki said. “A man dressed in a black coat touched me on the forehead.” He touched his own forehead.

“A jolt shot through my body and suddenly I felt better,” he said. Madoka’s stomach filled with unease.

“Right…” she said. “What did you want to tell me?” Haruki’s face became grim.

“Please close the door behind you and come closer,” he said. His granddaughter closed the door behind her and walked over to the bed. The old man didn’t hold back.

“I don’t know how long I am going to stay like this,” he said. “So I am going to say this now.”

“Grandpa…” Madoka said.

“No, listen!” he said. Haruki slammed his fist on the bed.

“First off, I am sorry for what happened to you when you were a child,” he said. “I never thought that it would turn out like this.”

“What are you talking about?” the young woman asked. Haruki’s eyes shifted away.

“When you were seven, there was an old classmate of mine who stopped by to visit,” he said. “His name was Yodogiri Jinnai. I hadn’t seen him in years. When he stopped by my door, I found it quite odd. I didn’t know who he was at first. But, Yodogiri-san insisted on reconnecting. The whole time, I couldn’t understand why. We were never that close in that one year of school that we were in together. That didn’t stop him from coming by to visit. In the end, your grandma and I tolerated it.” Haruki looked out the window.

“You never seemed to like Yodogiri-san,” he added. “I guess what they say is true. Children do have a good insight to people. You definitely could tell when someone was a bad person or not.”

“Did he kidnap me?” Madoka asked.

“Yes,” Haruki said. “Or his people took you. You went missing for a year. Some of our neighbors thought you were dead. Your grandmother blamed me for it. ‘How could you have brought that man into ours lives! He’s taken our granddaughter. How will I face her mother in psych ward?!’ I started to blame myself for it.” He turned to Madoka, smiling.

“We were so relived when you came home,” he said. “But, your grandmother still never forgave me for letting Yodogiri-san itself our lives.”

“And that’s when she started poisoning you out of revenge and to keep you quiet?” Madoka asked.

“Yes,” he said. The missing pieces started to come together in her head. It was around spring back in the mid-90′s. She was playing in her grandparents’ vegetable garden on the day before school was going to start. Haruki was inside talking to Yodogiri-san at the time. Madoka saw a cat near the fence. She went over to go play with it. The cat ran through the hole in the fence. When she reached through said hole, someone grabbed her by the arm. Madoka screamed and tried to break free. Then, someone snuck up behind her and placed a cloth over her mouth. The little girl lost consciousness instantly. The next thing she could remember was waking up in a white room with bright blinding lights.

Haruki lowered his head.

“I am so sorry, Madoka-chan,” he said. “I should’ve seen the signs. Yodogiri-san just showed up and wouldn’t leave. He kept pushing himself into our lives and wouldn’t give up. One of his associates kept asking questions about you. I should’ve seen it. Why didn’t I see it before?” Madoka touched his hand. He looked up to see her smiling.

“It’s okay,” she said. “I am here now. Just come home with me.” Haruki shook his head.

“No,” he said. “I’m much safer here. Your grandmother will never forgive. I can’t ever go home.” It was then Madoka knew what she had to do.

“I will make it right,” she said.

“But how?” Haruki asked. His granddaughter let go of his hand.

“I don’t fully know, but I know where I can start,” Madoka said. She turned and walked to the door. The tadpole turned and looked over her shoulder.

“I will call you when I get started,” she said. Madoka walked out of the room before Haruki could say another word.


-Lost Child-

The red-haired little girl with one eye made her way to Shinjuku. She still didn’t know where she was going or anything about herself. The child just had to keep going north. Nightfall was starting to set. She looked up when a drop touched her cheek. When the little girl looked up, it started to rain. She didn’t seem to react normally. She held out her hands as the drops poured heavily.

“Hey!” a man yelled. The child about jumped and turned. A man in a white apron and a chef hat peered out of the closet shop.

“What are you doing out here in the rain?” he asked. The child tilted her head. The man, a cook of some sort, gave her a strange look.

“Where are your parents?” he asked. No answer.

“Are you lost?” No answer.

“What are you doing out here at this time of night?” No answer. The cook sighed and rubbed his forehead. He started to think that this child couldn’t talk. Maybe she had some mental illness of some sort. The cook decided to changed tactics.

“Are you hungry?” he asked. The little child turned her body to face him.

“Come in, I will fix you up something to eat,” the cook said. He moved from the door and child walked into the shop. The man shook his head and closed the door behind her. Looked like he would be staying at the shop a little bit longer time.


-Madoka-

She rode back to Ikebukuro planning out what to do next. The more Madoka thought about what she had learned, the angrier she became. Kitano’s voice rang in her ears from the day of her awakening. If her grandfather had told her the truth sooner, maybe they could’ve found a way to stop this mess before it got out of hand. But instead, grandma chose to hide the truth and poison her husband to keep him quiet and twisted revenge.

I will fix all of this!

When Madoka came home, she found that grandma hadn’t come home yet. Good. She headed to her room and started packing up a large bag. Madoka grabbed some clothes, her charge chord, text books, school supplies, and toiletries. In the middle of packing, Madoka heard the front door open.

“I’m home,” her grandmother said. The tadpole could feel her rage building up again. She marched out of her room with fire in her eyes.

“Kimura-san just wouldn’t stop talking about her grandbaby,” the grandmother said as she took off her shoes at the entrance. “She just loves that baby so much. How was your…” The old lady looked up to see Madoka standing the doorway of the kitchen, glaring at her with her bag on her shoulder.

“Grandpa got better last night,” she said. A look of fear came into her grandmother’s eyes.

“That can’t be right…” she mumbled.

“Oh yes,” Madoka said. “He told me everything.” Her grandmother took a step back.

“I didn’t mean to harm him,” she said. “I was only trying to protect you. You didn’t remember what happened to after you came home and I wanted to keep it that way.”

“Well it’s too late,” the tadpole said. “I already started remembering everything.”

“Sweetheart…”

“No.”

Her grandmother started trembling. “Sweetie, you’re just sick. I will make you some tea and then we’ll talk.”

“Are you going to try and poison me too to make me forget?”

“Sweetheart, it’s just the sickness talking. This isn’t you.” The more the old lady spoke, the angrier Madoka got.

“I am not sick,” she hissed. “You are the sick one!” Madoka walked past her grandma and started putting on her shoes.

“Where are you going?” the old lady asked.

“I am leaving,” her granddaughter said. “I will have someone else get the rest of my things later. Grandpa doesn’t want to come home because he’s scared of you. I can’t stay here anymore either. I can’t stand to see your face anymore. If I hear you make any more excuse I will snap.” She walked over to the front door. The old lady trembled.

“You can’t mean that,” she said. “You can’t have to do this. I’m sorry! I just did it all for you. You didn’t need to know about all of the bad things that happened to you back then. I just wanted to go back to how everything was. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at your grandfather. He’s the one who brought that evil man into our lives. You have to blame him. He caused all of this!” Madoka gritted her teeth. She muttered something under her breath.

“What?” the old lady asked.

“Shut up,” her granddaughter said. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Madoka raced forward and beat the old lady down with a framed family photo she grabbed off of the wall. She screamed as she beat her in the head. When she was done, her grandmother lay unconscious with a bloody face. Madoka backed up, trembling as she panted. It took a while for it all to sink in. She covered her mouth as she gasped. The tadpole turned and ran out of the apartment.

Madoka would end up checking into a hotel room for the night. She would look for a cheap apartment to live in the morning.Halo Nineteen: Madoka:

The phone call came about ten in the morning on a Sunday. Madoka’s grandma was out visiting friends in the countryside for the day.

“Hello?” Madoka asked.

“Is Kurosawa-san in right now?” a man’s voice asked.

“My grandmother’s not in right now,” the tadpole said. “I can take a message if you want.”

“Oh,” the man said. “Is this her granddaughter?”

“Yes, did something happen?” Madoka asked.

“Your grandfather’s condition has changed,” the man said. “He’s able to speak again and is conscious.” The receiver hit the kitchen floor.

“Hello? Hello?” the man asked. Madoka trembled as she picked up the phone again.

“W-W-When did this happen?” she asked.

“Last night,” the man said. “We couldn’t believe it ourselves. This morning, he asked a nurse for water. She was so shocked that she ran out his room and called the doctor. He answered our questions and knew he name, family, where he was, and what the date was.”

“How did this happen?” Madoka asked.

“We don’t know,” the man said. “But he asked to you especially.” Her eyes widened.

“Me?” she asked. “What for?”

“He wouldn’t say,” he said. “Your grandfather just said that he needed to talk to you as soon as he can.” Madoka pressed her lips together as the opportunity that just fell into her lap.

“Okay,” she said. “Thank you.” The young woman hung up with trembling hands. She packed up a bag, left a note for her grandmother, and headed out the door.


-Mikado, Chiharu, and Masaomi-

Mikado started feel more of his memories coming back. The tests back in Chou Mori. The electric shocks to the head. Pills and strange liquid down his throat. Needles going into his body. Being strapped down to a metal bed. A gag strapped around his mouth and head. Yayoi trying to get into his pants. The overpowering smell of bleach. Remembering those hellish months in Chou Mori made his skin crawl.

But, that wasn’t the only memory he had.

Chiharu sometimes had headphones on while sitting in a corner of the room. But, she wasn’t playing any music. They weren’t even plugged up to anything.

Mikado had to find out what that was about.

He and Masaomi made it back to Chiharu’s apartment. Mikado knocked on the door. They’ve done this before, haven’t they?

“Hey Kida-kun,” Mikado said.

“Hm?” his friend asked. The tadpole boy shifted his shoulders for a bit.

“Have you been having strange memories lately?” he asked. Masaomi narrowed his eyes.

“Strange memories?” he asked. Mikado slowly nodded.

“Yes,” his friend said. Masaomi took a moment to think.

“No,” he said.

“You haven’t?” Mikado asked. His friend shook his head.

“Hm…” the tadpole boy said. Masaomi’s thoughts didn’t indicate that he was hiding the truth from his best friend. Mostly, he thought about Saki. Mikado put his hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“She will be fine,” he said. Masaomi stared at him with big eyes. He was about to speak when they heard the door opening. Both boys were in for a shock. Chiharu looked like death walking on two legs. She looked pale that she could almost be mistaken for a ghost. She was barely holding onto the door frame. Did she lose weight? No, she was just wearing clothes this morning. The bags under her eyes aged her face by thirty years.

“Masaomi? Mikado?” she asked. Her voice was so hoarse that it barely came above a whisper. The boys struggled to speak at first.

“How have you been?” Masaomi asked.

“I want to die,” Chiharu muttered.

“Oh…” he said.

“Uh… I got a box of tapes just before Christmas,” Mikado said. “Did you get the same thing?” Masaomi turned his heard when he heard “box of tapes”. Chiharu looked at her friends with a tired look on her face.

“Follow me,” she mumbled. Mikado and Masaomi followed Chiharu inside.

“How are you holding up really?” Mikado asked as they walked down the hall.

“I want to die,” she said again.

“I figured that,” he said. “But have you been having any strange memories lately?” Chiharu froze at his question.

“Memories?” she asked.

“Yes,” Mikado said. They reached her bedroom door.

“Yeah,” Chiharu mumbled. She turned the metal door knob and pushed open the door. Inside looked so dim. She didn’t even have the blinds open.

“Why is it so dark in here?” Masaomi asked as he looked around. He walked over to the window above her bed and reached out for the light green curtains.

“Please!” Chiharu shouted. “Don’t do that.” She trembled as she grabbed her right arm. “It… It hurts my eyes.” Masaomi drew back his hand.

“That bad, how?” he asked. Chiharu shivered.

“Where did you put the box?” Mikado asked.

“It’s under my bed,” she answered.

“Thanks,” he said. Mikado walked over to the bed for a look. Chiharu turned her head.

“Yes,” she said. The girl paused. “I have been having… strange memories.” Mikado reached for the back-left corner of the bed.

“Like what?” he asked in a serious tone. Chiharu looked down at her arm.

“I was in a cage in a basement,” she said. “It was dark. And… And…” Chiharu’s stomach turned. The next words out of her mouth felt like metal spiking the inside. Her nails dug into her arm.

“I could smell blood,” she muttered. Chiharu felt like dry heaving. Mikado stood up with the cardboard box in his arms.

“Was it at Chou Mori?” he asked.

“Yes,” Chiharu said. Masaomi looked back and forth between his friends.

“Wait… were you both at Chou Mori together?” he asked.

“No,” Chiharu and Mikado were quick to say. She shook her head.

“I think I was there earlier than he was,” Chiharu said. Suddenly, her right hand broke down into trembling on its own. Her fingers twitched spider-like by her side.

“Chi?” Masaomi asked when he took notice. Chiharu grabbed her hand and nervously chuckled.

“Oh,” she said. “You just saw my little hand trick.”

“Hashimoto…” Mikado said. She sadly shook her head.

“No, no,” she said. “It’s really just the first sign of me reverting back. Next it will be incoherent screaming and pretty soon I will be turned back into an animal-like creature unable to think or act human anymore.” Tears began to form in her eyes.

“I can’t even eat people food anymore,” Chiharu lamented. “I tried to eat, but I end up throwing it up. I can’t even eat hamburger anymore.”

“Isn’t there any way to fix it?” Masaomi asked.

“No,” she said. She felt her body trembling all over as she sat back onto her body. “I will be stuck like this forever.” Mikado took his seat next to her.

“We will at least try to find something out about all of this,” he said in a low voice. The tadpole held up his hand before she could speak.

“Let’s just got through your tapes first, okay?” Mikado said. Chiharu looked down at her hands.

“Alright,” she said.

“Very good,” Mikado said. The whole time, Masaomi felt out of place. He too started to have his own questions about all of this. Maybe this could help him find a way to save Saki before it was too late. He walked over to the bed and sat down with his friends.


-Madoka-

While on the train, Madoka’s own memories started to come back to her. Before she ended up at Chou Mori, there was another old man who hung around the house. She couldn’t see his face, but something about him made her so nervous at a young age.

Madoka rubbed her forehead.

“Excuse me,” a lady’s voice said beside her. “Excuse me.” Madoka turned her head. A woman in her thirties held her briefcase to her chest.

“Um… Is this seat taken?” she asked. Madoka shook her head. She looked out the window as the train whizzed by. Being able to see every detail in front of her reminded her of more memories swimming to the surface. Her little head was tilted back as a small plastic cup of pink liquid was poured down her throat. Wires were connected to the sides of her head. An injection placed under her tongue. Pills being put into the little girl’s mouth.

Madoka shivered at the thought. She had to find out what her grandfather had to say.

She made it Tsukiji just a little bit after noon. This place felt so peaceful. Tsukiji looked like the place where nothing bad happened. An elderly couple smiled and waved at her as they walked by. Madoka awkwardly smiled back and waved. There was no time to get lost in the peaceful façade.

Madoka made her way to Shintomi Nursing Home. She could hear and feel her heart pounding against her chest. The home was busy inside from what she could hear. Her grandfather sat in his room with an anxious look on his face. Room 108. That shouldn’t be much of a problem. She was his granddaughter after all. Madoka took a breath and walked inside. The receptionist looked up and noticed her walk up to the desk.

“Good afternoon,” she said.

“I am just here to see my grandfather,” Madoka said. She turned and walked down the hall before the receptionist could say at word.

“Miss?” the older woman asked after her. Madoka waved her off as she kept walking faster. She finally made it to Room 108 and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” an old man’s voice said. Madoka held her breath and opened the door. She found her grandfather sitting on his bed. Haruki’s eyes lit up when he saw the young woman standing in the doorway.

“Madoka-chan? Madoka-chan, is that you?” he asked. The young woman bowed her head.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s me. I am here.” Haruki looked overjoyed at first, but then he drew back, frowning.

“Is she with you?” he asked. Madoka shook her head.

“I came here alone,” she said. “She doesn’t even know about your condition. Grandma’s out with some friends in the countryside. How are you able to talk and move around like this?”

“It’s so weird,” Haruki said. “A man dressed in a black coat touched me on the forehead.” He touched his own forehead.

“A jolt shot through my body and suddenly I felt better,” he said. Madoka’s stomach filled with unease.

“Right…” she said. “What did you want to tell me?” Haruki’s face became grim.

“Please close the door behind you and come closer,” he said. His granddaughter closed the door behind her and walked over to the bed. The old man didn’t hold back.

“I don’t know how long I am going to stay like this,” he said. “So I am going to say this now.”

“Grandpa…” Madoka said.

“No, listen!” he said. Haruki slammed his fist on the bed.

“First off, I am sorry for what happened to you when you were a child,” he said. “I never thought that it would turn out like this.”

“What are you talking about?” the young woman asked. Haruki’s eyes shifted away.

“When you were seven, there was an old classmate of mine who stopped by to visit,” he said. “His name was Yodogiri Jinnai. I hadn’t seen him in years. When he stopped by my door, I found it quite odd. I didn’t know who he was at first. But, Yodogiri-san insisted on reconnecting. The whole time, I couldn’t understand why. We were never that close in that one year of school that we were in together. That didn’t stop him from coming by to visit. In the end, your grandma and I tolerated it.” Haruki looked out the window.

“You never seemed to like Yodogiri-san,” he added. “I guess what they say is true. Children do have a good insight to people. You definitely could tell when someone was a bad person or not.”

“Did he kidnap me?” Madoka asked.

“Yes,” Haruki said. “Or his people took you. You went missing for a year. Some of our neighbors thought you were dead. Your grandmother blamed me for it. ‘How could you have brought that man into ours lives! He’s taken our granddaughter. How will I face her mother in psych ward?!’ I started to blame myself for it.” He turned to Madoka, smiling.

“We were so relived when you came home,” he said. “But, your grandmother still never forgave me for letting Yodogiri-san itself our lives.”

“And that’s when she started poisoning you out of revenge and to keep you quiet?” Madoka asked.

“Yes,” he said. The missing pieces started to come together in her head. It was around spring back in the mid-90′s. She was playing in her grandparents’ vegetable garden on the day before school was going to start. Haruki was inside talking to Yodogiri-san at the time. Madoka saw a cat near the fence. She went over to go play with it. The cat ran through the hole in the fence. When she reached through said hole, someone grabbed her by the arm. Madoka screamed and tried to break free. Then, someone snuck up behind her and placed a cloth over her mouth. The little girl lost consciousness instantly. The next thing she could remember was waking up in a white room with bright blinding lights.

Haruki lowered his head.

“I am so sorry, Madoka-chan,” he said. “I should’ve seen the signs. Yodogiri-san just showed up and wouldn’t leave. He kept pushing himself into our lives and wouldn’t give up. One of his associates kept asking questions about you. I should’ve seen it. Why didn’t I see it before?” Madoka touched his hand. He looked up to see her smiling.

“It’s okay,” she said. “I am here now. Just come home with me.” Haruki shook his head.

“No,” he said. “I’m much safer here. Your grandmother will never forgive. I can’t ever go home.” It was then Madoka knew what she had to do.

“I will make it right,” she said.

“But how?” Haruki asked. His granddaughter let go of his hand.

“I don’t fully know, but I know where I can start,” Madoka said. She turned and walked to the door. The tadpole turned and looked over her shoulder.

“I will call you when I get started,” she said. Madoka walked out of the room before Haruki could say another word.


-Lost Child-

The red-haired little girl with one eye made her way to Shinjuku. She still didn’t know where she was going or anything about herself. The child just had to keep going north. Nightfall was starting to set. She looked up when a drop touched her cheek. When the little girl looked up, it started to rain. She didn’t seem to react normally. She held out her hands as the drops poured heavily.

“Hey!” a man yelled. The child about jumped and turned. A man in a white apron and a chef hat peered out of the closet shop.

“What are you doing out here in the rain?” he asked. The child tilted her head. The man, a cook of some sort, gave her a strange look.

“Where are your parents?” he asked. No answer.

“Are you lost?” No answer.

“What are you doing out here at this time of night?” No answer. The cook sighed and rubbed his forehead. He started to think that this child couldn’t talk. Maybe she had some mental illness of some sort. The cook decided to changed tactics.

“Are you hungry?” he asked. The little child turned her body to face him.

“Come in, I will fix you up something to eat,” the cook said. He moved from the door and child walked into the shop. The man shook his head and closed the door behind her. Looked like he would be staying at the shop a little bit longer time.


-Madoka-

She rode back to Ikebukuro planning out what to do next. The more Madoka thought about what she had learned, the angrier she became. Kitano’s voice rang in her ears from the day of her awakening. If her grandfather had told her the truth sooner, maybe they could’ve found a way to stop this mess before it got out of hand. But instead, grandma chose to hide the truth and poison her husband to keep him quiet and twisted revenge.

I will fix all of this!

When Madoka came home, she found that grandma hadn’t come home yet. Good. She headed to her room and started packing up a large bag. Madoka grabbed some clothes, her charge chord, text books, school supplies, and toiletries. In the middle of packing, Madoka heard the front door open.

“I’m home,” her grandmother said. The tadpole could feel her rage building up again. She marched out of her room with fire in her eyes.

“Kimura-san just wouldn’t stop talking about her grandbaby,” the grandmother said as she took off her shoes at the entrance. “She just loves that baby so much. How was your…” The old lady looked up to see Madoka standing the doorway of the kitchen, glaring at her with her bag on her shoulder.

“Grandpa got better last night,” she said. A look of fear came into her grandmother’s eyes.

“That can’t be right…” she mumbled.

“Oh yes,” Madoka said. “He told me everything.” Her grandmother took a step back.

“I didn’t mean to harm him,” she said. “I was only trying to protect you. You didn’t remember what happened to after you came home and I wanted to keep it that way.”

“Well it’s too late,” the tadpole said. “I already started remembering everything.”

“Sweetheart…”

“No.”

Her grandmother started trembling. “Sweetie, you’re just sick. I will make you some tea and then we’ll talk.”

“Are you going to try and poison me too to make me forget?”

“Sweetheart, it’s just the sickness talking. This isn’t you.” The more the old lady spoke, the angrier Madoka got.

“I am not sick,” she hissed. “You are the sick one!” Madoka walked past her grandma and started putting on her shoes.

“Where are you going?” the old lady asked.

“I am leaving,” her granddaughter said. “I will have someone else get the rest of my things later. Grandpa doesn’t want to come home because he’s scared of you. I can’t stay here anymore either. I can’t stand to see your face anymore. If I hear you make any more excuse I will snap.” She walked over to the front door. The old lady trembled.

“You can’t mean that,” she said. “You can’t have to do this. I’m sorry! I just did it all for you. You didn’t need to know about all of the bad things that happened to you back then. I just wanted to go back to how everything was. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at your grandfather. He’s the one who brought that evil man into our lives. You have to blame him. He caused all of this!” Madoka gritted her teeth. She muttered something under her breath.

“What?” the old lady asked.

“Shut up,” her granddaughter said. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Madoka raced forward and beat the old lady down with a framed family photo she grabbed off of the wall. She screamed as she beat her in the head. When she was done, her grandmother lay unconscious with a bloody face. Madoka backed up, trembling as she panted. It took a while for it all to sink in. She covered her mouth as she gasped. The tadpole turned and ran out of the apartment.

Madoka would end up checking into a hotel room for the night. She would look for a cheap apartment to live in the morning.

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