Chapter Twenty-Three: A Lesson in Hiding Part A
I can’t believe how badly I miss him already, and it’s only been twenty-four hours. The investigation room seems empty and cold, the people in it dull and quiet. I keep looking over to where he was sat yesterday and there’s just nothing. Matsuda returned at some point during the night and is sleeping off the journey in another room, and only Near seems happy at the new spaces. The new boy, Yamamoto, keeps turning to say something and then having to close his mouth; I hear he’s only ever worked on cases with Matsuda, so I suppose he can empathise with me today. Only, Matsuda is still in Japan.
I’m supposed to be doing this stupid fake Kira fan thing, trying to get information, but honestly, I don’t see how it’s going to help at all. Plus someone has to take over Matt’s job. I glance sideways at Near and consider asking him, but I’m not his puppy, doing what he says all the time and begging to go outside. No, I made up my mind already, so I’m just going to go right ahead and do it.
I type out a little bit and click enter, then wait; the page reloads and I look at my handiwork proudly, enjoying the moment, feeling pretty good for having posted it to all those Kira idiots.
All of you guys here are fucking idiots. Kira is dead. The Japanese police force found him and killed him, it’s over. Whoever is killing people now is just a copycat. Kira is wrong and sinful. I hope he burns in hell for ten thousand years, along with anyone who tries to copy him. The new Kira is a pale, sad, pathetic imitation of the real Kira.’
I leave it a minute or so and press refresh; I already have no less than five angry replies. Like shooting fish in a barrel, really. I stretch out my arms over my head comfortably, swing myself out of my chair and walk over to Near.
“Hey, Near. So apparently my cover’s blown on the fansites. Can I check stuff instead, like Matt was doing?”
Near looks up at me. His expression is blank, but I know he realises it was on purpose and I know he hates it. He nods once, and I smirk and walk back, relishing that little tiny victory.
It’s a little dusty on this extra floor, I have to admit. On the one hand that reassures me that no one comes up here ever, but on the other hand, it’s as much as I can do to keep from coughing every thirty seconds. I try to make as little noise as possible. I’ve found part of the old security system here; I have a faint suspicion that this used to be Wammy’s floor. Watari. I’m never really know how I’m supposed to refer to him, now he’s gone.
Anyway, there’s a few big screens and some massive headphones, the type you see in recording studios, really high-tech. Of course I couldn’t resist powering it all up and having a look. It turns out there’s surveillance for every room in the building; and before I know it I’ve spent half of my first day in hiding just watching Mello.
This obviously being an entirely unprofitable exercise, I eventually tear myself away and go searching through the rest of the floor. In one room, more of an enlarged storage cupboard than anything else, I find boxes and boxes of archived records of the first investigation. I thought all the notes had been destroyed at the time of Wammy and L’s deaths, but obviously they wanted someone to find them, because they’re all right here. Details of time, cause, date of death of thousands upon thousands of people, chronologically, starting with Kira’s first victims. Everything is here, pictures, minute details of any subtle difference in the way they died, everything you could possibly think of. The investigation was nothing if not thorough.
I spend most of the day checking through the files, looking for anything that might be of use this time around, making notes of anything that could conceivably be important. By the time the others are calling it a day I’m back in front of the screens, with the headphones plugged in, watching everyone go their separate ways. Mello goes up to our floor in the lift. I wish I could be there with him.
Motherfucker. I shouldn’t have sent him away. I know I did it for the right reasons, I know it was to keep him safe, but I miss him so much already it’s really, really easy to forget that. We haven’t been apart even one night in years. I slouch against the side of the lift, wiping my hands over my face, trying to think of something else. Chocolate. Yes, that’s what I need. I check all of my pockets and discover half a bar, and start eating it right away. I try and lose myself in that all-too-familiar taste, try and forget everything but that. Even so I can’t help but notice that it tastes a little different without the tang of smoke in my nose. I remember that trip we took out into the snowy woods and sigh, wishing we could just go back to that and ignore Kira and not have to be apart like this.
When I get into the bedroom I just take off my jacket and go to the bed, not bothered about food or getting changed or anything like that, just wanting to sleep for as long as possible. One thing stops me.
Why the fuck is there a half-eaten apple on my bed?
I was here all night last night and there was nothing. No one left the investigation room all day, not even for thirty seconds, we worked right through lunch and everything. Who could have put it here? I go over to it cautiously and pick it up by the stalk, turning it around to examine it. There is only one bite missing, sliced perfectly through the skin straight through to the core. A big bite. What really worries me, though, is the fact that whoever put this here has carved the letter “L” on the back, in the same lettering as the man himself used. What does this mean? Why was it here?
I don’t understand anything, but more than ever now I’m sure that sending Matt away was the right choice. He doesn’t need to be involved in this kind of creepy shit. He’s safe in England, so far away it almost makes me want to break down, but also so far away that he’s safe. I don’t worry about myself, only him. I can deal with this knowing that he is safe.
There is nothing to be gained by revealing to everyone what I’ve found. I take the apple to the fridge and store it in there, hoping that it might be preserved a little longer that way. Then, resolutely, not letting this whole thing get to me, I get into bed and go to sleep.
I’m watching Mello when he finds the apple, and I’m fucking creeped out. He deals with it so calmly! I want to go down there and see him and tell him I know, tell him it scares me that someone got into his bedroom just like that. If they can get into his bedroom then they can also kill him. There must be some kind of security breach.
I rewind the video for the camera in his room (our room, yesterday) and search for any sign of the person who put it there. I search for hours, backwards and forwards, looking even for a shadow that might hint, but no matter what I do I can only come to one conclusion. The apple just appears there, out of nowhere, right before lunchtime. If it just appears, that means one of two things. First, something is going on here that is beyond our depth, and I don’t believe that for a second. Second, someone has managed to put a loop of footage into the camera, so that their entrance is covered. That must be the answer, but if someone’s managed to hack L’s security system… woah. I mean, I had a chance to play around with it a long while back and I was blown away with how secure it is. Really secure. Plus there was no sign of an alarm or any kind of reaction from the system, so whoever did this was good enough that the system didn’t even notice them doing it. I’m not even sure that I’m that good.
It also worries me that whoever did this used L’s name as a… what? A taunt? It means that they know what this building is, they know who we are and what we’re doing here, what we failed to do last time… so what else do they know? Our origins, our dates of birth? Our names?
We may just be in more trouble than we think.
Waking up I almost forget for a second; then it all comes back to me. Matt is gone, someone planted an apple in my room, Kira is back. Everything crashing into my consciousness like someone’s punching me in the face. Probably Kira.
Then I recognise the reason that I’m awake. My alarm hasn’t gone off - it’s still pre-dawn - but my phone is ringing on the bedside table. I pick it up and see Roger’s name on the caller display; probably ringing to let me know that Matt has arrived.
“Yeah, hi?” I say, sitting up and running a hand through my hair to keep it out of my face.
“M, you didn’t call me. Has there been some kind of complication?”
“What? Why should I call you? Isn’t… the other M with you?”
A pause on the other end of the line; Roger’s voice suddenly seems more resigned, less agitated. “No. I was hoping you had delayed his flight for some reason. He was not on the plane, nor did we receive confirmation of his ever getting on it.”
“Shit.” I swear, rubbing at my eyes to wake myself up. “Where do you think he is? Matsuda said he took him to the airport.”
“He may have been… compromised.”
“You mean kidnapped.” I spit through gritted teeth. “Say what you mean.”
“Yes, kidnapped. We’re trying to coordinate with airport security, but you’ll have more effect when going through the correct Japanese channels.”
“Yeah, got it. I’ll keep you posted.” I reply, putting the phone down and swinging myself out of the bed to go over to the intercom. It must work both ways. I press send, and hope that Near wasn’t enjoying a nice dream.
“Near? Wake the fuck up. We have a problem.”