Halo Twenty-One: Mikado:
Anri had to keep watch over Mikado. Masaomi gave her strict instructions.
“You have to remember that he’s not exactly in a stable place,” he told her. “Mikado is not as okay as he pretends to be. He’s starting to remember when he was in Chou Mori. He’s starting to have nightmares. Just stay by his side. If there are any problems, call me.”
“Yes,” Anri said. Masaomi took a slow breath out.
“Thank you,” he said.
“He will be okay with me,” Anri said. The blonde-haired boy looked uneasy about this, but he had to go check on Saki.
“It’s okay,” Saika’s mother insisted. “Just go.” Masaomi didn’t move at first before he slowly nodded.
“Right,” he said. “I will be back by Sunday.” It took the boy a few more minutes to finally let go of Anri’s hands and walk out of the apartment.
So far, everything had been calm for the past three days close to the end of June. Anri figured that she would just keep everything as simple as possible. She would try and talk to him when her dear friend started to have a panic attack. They did summer homework together and talked about some of the school plans. Mikado smiled and acted like his old self. Sometimes he would get flustered at the thought of being alone with his crush in his apartment. Even through all of this, she began to notice how serious the problem was with Mikado. He had the eyes of a broken down man. What did he see when he was in Chou Mori? The tadpole boy tried to sound like everything was normal. But, Anri could tell that he was scared of something. She put her hand on his.
“It’s going to be okay,” the girl whispered. Mikado gave her a desperate look in her eyes.
“Please… don’t leave me,” he pleaded. Anri pulled him into her arms.
“I won’t,” she whispered. Mikado would usually go to sleep in her lap. Anri didn’t know how to handle this.
It probably wasn’t a good idea to be alone with Anri. Mikado struggled not to look at her demon on her shoulder. He tried to ignore its voice.
“Are you feeling okay?” Anri asked.
“Yes,” he said. He heard her thoughts and she wasn’t convinced.
“I won’t leave you,” was all that she said. Mikado believed her, but he had other problems to worry about.
More memories flooded his head. On the first night, they manifested in his nightmares. He found himself strapped down to another table in the darkness. A light flashed into his eyes. What were they going to do to him now? Injections? Focusing pulls down his throat? Or the electric shock therapy?
He heard the door opening. Footsteps walked over to the metal bed. They stopped with two pairs of eyes looking down at him. One figure held a long, sharp needle over his victim. Mikado could only stare on with horror. He can’t scream out or move. Where was that needle going to go now?
Back in reality, Mikado can’t hide his pain anymore.
“You’re always crying in your sleep,” Anri said.
“What?” he asked. Mikado touched under his right eye. Leftover tears ran down his cheek. They didn’t seem to stop.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Mikado kept saying. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Anri pulled him into her arms. He cried against her chest.
The day goes on the same. Mikado was able to calm down enough to act normal. But, the mask was already starting to crack. The memories kept piling on top of each other one by one. He could still feel every shock. His limbs and body ached through the needles going into the veins. Sometimes, he would huddle up in ball, trembling. Mikado would let out a voiceless scream. Anri watched him worried. She would call and talk to Mika on the phone.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said on the phone outside of the apartment.
“Just stay by him,” Mika said. “He needs you.”
“I don’t know if I can help him though,” her friend said. “He’s been crying in his sleep.”
“Has he been having any panic attacks?”
“Yes.” Anri hesitated for a moment. “I’m really worried for him. I don’t want to trouble Kida-kun when he’s worried about Saki.”
“It will be okay,” her friend said. “I will help you through this.” Anri closed her eyes.
“Thank you,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mikado could hear every word from inside.
“Aw, she’s worried about you,” a voice cooed. “Too bad it will all go badly for you both.” Mikado gritted his teeth.
“Why can’t you leave me alone?” he asked. Satoshi smiled and shook his head.
“And miss you wallowing in the misery that felt?” he asked. “Like hell I will.” The dead tadpole tilted his head.
“Don’t tell me… Oh!” Satoshi said. “You’re in love with her, aren’t you?” Mikado’s face turned bright red as he froze. The dead tadpole tried not to laugh.
“My, my, my, my,” he said. “The little golden prince gets everything. High praises, powerful gang in Ikebukuro, friends who adore you, thousands of girls who love you, and a cute girlfriend.” Satoshi sneered.
“It’s going to be a tragedy when it’s all ripped away from you,” he said.
“Don’t you ever shut up?” Mikado asked.
“Excuse me?” Satoshi asked. The living tadpole turned to him with a cold look in his eyes.
“You are dead,” he said. “Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
“You’re why I am this way.”
“You were trying to kill me!”
“You should’ve let me die in that hellhole! It would’ve been much easier for me!”
“Look, I don’t know why I pushed Roc off of you. It just happened, okay. I’m sorry I saved you. I’m sorry you had a miserable life after Chou Mori. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. What more do you want from me?”
“Heh,” was all Satoshi said. Then, he vanished.
Anri saw the whole thing. Mikado was talking to somebody, but no one was there. This wasn’t the first time she had witnessed this happen either. Days before Masaomi went to go check on Saki, Anri woke up so see Mikado arguing with himself in the kitchen area of his apartment. Masaomi saw the same thing for himself one night. The leader of the Yellow Scarves had a grim look on his face.
“I will have to tell you about Satoshi,” he said.
“Who is Satoshi?” Anri asked. Masaomi ended up leading her further into the city to tell her the story about the night Satoshi died.
Still, Mikado’s misery didn’t stop there.
Today felt like an uneasy day. Mikado barely spoke anymore. He stared off into space that morning. Another nightmare last night. He didn’t want to go to sleep anymore. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He barely even touched his food.
“Mikado… -kun?” Anri asked. He only said one thing.
“They can’t hear me scream,” he muttered. Then, the tadpole rose to his feet and walked out of his apartment.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked. The door closed behind him. Anri felt that sinking feeling in her stomach getting worse. If this kept up, she was afraid that he would end up hurting himself or somebody else. Anri crawled over and reached for her phone.
He had that dream again last night.
Mikado stood in a crowd of people. Their faces all looked so empty. They walked by him without making eye contact.
“Hey! Can you hear me?” he asked. “Hey! Hey!” They all kept walking. Fear seized every being in Mikado’s body. The people were gray and seemed to be walking aimlessly. Suddenly a sharp pain struck Mikado in the chest. The tadpole gasped as he clutched his chest and stumbled backwards.
“Someone… Please… help… me…” he pleaded, breathless. Mikado sank to his knees, screaming. He huddled onto the ground as the pain spread through his body. To his horror, everyone walking around were covering their ears, not making eye contact.
This night led to Mikado sitting on the bathroom floor, crying. The tears didn’t seem to know how to stop.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked outside, knocking on the door. “Are you okay in there?”
“No!” he said, sobbing. Mikado drew his knees to his chest. He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. Anri put on a brave face around him. The tadpole started biting on his thumb. His stomach turned. He closed his eyes, wishing that it wasn’t like this.
It would all come to a head by the third night.
The night question was unusually hot that week. Anri slept in the same room with Mikado like she had done for the past few nights. It had been a quiet day. He had finally managed to calm down. They didn’t say this morning either. Probably best not to go to school today. Junko would somehow make it worse. Sure, she moved onto harassing Chiharu, but Anri didn’t want to take her chances.
Mikado still wouldn’t eat much. He just stared out into space. All of the color was drained from his face. Anri didn’t want to know what was going through his mind.
“I’m sorry to put you through this,” Mikado said at the table. Anri shook her head.
“It’s going to be okay,” she said. “I’m here for you.” He wanted to believe her. She had been staying with him for the past two days. She could’ve run away, but she didn’t. Mikado lowered his eyes.
“I don’t get it,” he said.
“Get what?” Anri asked. Mikado trembled as he looked down at his bowl of rice.
“How can you stay with someone who’s as broken as me?” he asked. Anri gently took his hand.
“Because I’m worried about you,” she said. “I really do care about you and I really like you.” He could look into her eyes and know that she was telling the truth. But suddenly, he could hear Saika whispering inside of her.
Monster. Freak. Not human. Not human. Not human!
Mikado drew back his hands.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked.
“It hates me, doesn’t?” he asked in a whisper. Saika’s mother looked so pale as she remembered him asking the same question before.
“She called me a monster,” Mikado said. “Am I…?” Anri grabbed him by the hands.
“You are still human to me,” she said. “You will always be human to be.” Mikado knew her words were sincere, but Saika wasn’t having any of it.
Not human. Not human. Not human! You are not human!
Mikado drew back his hand. He forced himself to smile as he started backing away.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked. The tadpole boy shook his head.
“I’m just tired,” he lied. He set down his chopsticks and stood up. Mikado walked past her to his room.
“But you haven’t even touched your food…” she said. He flopped down onto his futon and closed his eyes. Anri watched with her head tilted. He hadn’t really been eating much over the past two days. She did manage to get him to eat a little bit of miso and rice last night. Maybe she could take him to a doctor.
“That won’t work,” Mikado said. “They won’t know what to do. Besides, she’s there too.”
“She?” Saika’s mother asked. He didn’t answer her as he tried to go to sleep.
That night, Anri decided to stay by Mikado as he slept. Most of the day was a little bit easier than the past two. He didn’t argue with himself today. No panic attack or breaking down sobbing. Despite him not really eating much, today seemed rather mellow. Still, there was always that feeling of an episode rearing its ugly head when she least expected it. It amazed Anri that she stayed with him through the whole two days. She wondered how she was able to do it.
Around two in the morning, Anri was woken up by animalistic screaming. She leapt up and looked around. The girl turned to see Mikado screaming in his sleep. His body writhed under his sheets as he grabbed his pillow. She had never seen him do this before. In fact, it frightened her. Anri raced over to his futon.
“Mikado-kun! Mikado-kun! Wake up! Wake up!” she said, shaking him as hard as she could. “Hey! Hey!”
Anri ended up falling back against the wall. She whimpered as she rubbed her nose. It was a good thing that she didn’t have her glasses on. Mikado awoke panting and covered in sweat. He looked up to see Anri groaning in pain, holding her nose.
“Anri?” the tadpole asked. It didn’t take him long to realized what just happened. All of the color drained from his face.
“Oh gosh!” Mikado yelped as he raced over to her. “I’m so sorry. Are you okay? I didn’t hurt you too bad, did I?”
“I’m fine,” Anri whispered. Mikado got one look into her brown eyes and his mind ended up in a strange place. The tadpole leaned forward and gave her an open-mouthed kiss. Anri didn’t get time to react. She didn’t know whether to push him off or let him go through with it. She remembered the time he forcefully kissed her back in April when they were about to leave school. Masaomi had to explain what happened that day. She wondered if the same thing was happening again. Mikado finally pulled away with his face so red. He sat, panting.
“Mikado… -kun…?” Anri asked. He stared at her, wide-eyed. The tadpole could hear and feel his heart pounding against his chest. He couldn’t understand in his state of mind why he was doing this or what was happening. Anri didn’t seem to try and stop him either. Mikado moved forward and kissed her again in his haze. This time, he dragged her onto the futon.
Why isn’t she stopping me?
He looked down at Anri. He had expected, even hoped, that she was looking at him in fear. But, no. The blank expression on her face scared him even more.
Please… Say something. Stop me before I do something I regret.
She reached up and touched his cheek. That was enough to kill him inside. Mikado sat up and took off his shirt. Anri’s cheeks turned bright pink. She still wouldn’t move to stop him. This didn’t feel right. Was it because of his ability to attract the opposite sex was why Anri wasn’t resisting him? Did she really want this or was this out of sympathy?
Both of them ended up undressed. Mikado at first tried not to look at Anri’s naked body underneath him. He found himself unable to turn back at this point. Saika’s mother even helped him undress her. The whole time, she had no emotion on her face. She didn’t speak up either. Mikado’s eyes darted around anywhere, but her face. This night had occurred before. Both of them started to remember this happening.
Then, he looked at her right shoulder.
A small shadowy demon stared up at him with red eyes. Little silver chains were wrapped around its body. When it opened its mouth, it only said two things repeatedly.
Love me. Parasite. Parasite. Parasite. Love me. Love me.
“I don’t think you are a parasite,” Mikado said.
“What?” Anri asked. He pushed hair out of her eye, ignoring Saika’s voice of disgust yelling at him.
“You are not a parasite,” Mikado said. “You should be loved.” Without another word, he pushed himself into her. The breaking through the hymen brought back more memories of this night and of Yayoi running her hands all over his bare skin. He began to remember a woman who looked like Anri lying underneath him too. She had a look of loving lust in her eyes. That look was absent in Anri’s eyes. Mikado tried his best not to look at her.
Why don’t you stop me? Push me off. Slap me. Do something!
She still wouldn’t react in the way that he had hoped.
His body moved on autopilot. With each thrust he felt nothing. Even when Anri looked into his eyes, she could see nothing. She reached up and touched his cheek. Tears ran down his cheeks. His moans filled the room, but she didn’t make a sound. Saika wouldn’t even cut him. Mikado’s hand went through the demon’s small body.
Forgive me, Anri-chan…
Mikado didn’t even feel anything as he reached his climax. He lay beside her, panting. Anri tried to reach out and touch his shoulder, but he shoved back her hand.
“Don’t… please…” Mikado whimpered with his head turned away.
“I won’t leave you, Mikado-kun,” she whispered. Her words drove the knife deeper into his chest. Part of him whispered that she would.
What have I done?
Mikado could already see the Waste Land crawling closer towards him and Anri with its giant mouth wide open. Tears streamed down his face.
I am so sorry. Forgive me, Anri-chan.