Halo Eleven: Chikako:
-August 3rd, 1996-
Chikako sat on the floor of her living room coloring pictures. She moved with her father to Ikebukuro six months ago. Aside from his strange behavior everything was going great for the little girl. Chikako could make friends easily. She made good grades and the teachers adored her.
Her social life was great but her home life was vastly different.
She looked up when she heard the front door at about one in the morning. Her father staggered in, muttering to himself.
“I’m home,” he mumbled. At first, Chikako didn’t know how to react. She wouldn’t know what state her father would be in when he came home. Sometimes, he would be so drunk that he would be asking who she was. Other times, he would just pass out on the floor just as the door opened. Chikako would have the daunting task of dragging him to bed. Tonight, he was sober and wide awake.
But, there was something different.
A look a fear spread across the little girl’s face. She saw a woman bloodied and beaten sitting on her father’s shoulders. Big red handprints were around her neck. Her red provocative dress was torn to shreds. Chikako’s father stood in the doorway panting.
“What?” he asked. Chikako stood up and started backing away with big eyes. She turned and ran away, panting.
-August 15th, 2015-
“Thank you for your hard work!” Chikako called from the doorway of the police station.
“Get home safe, okay?” one of the cops said.
“Sure will,” she said. Chikako bowed and started heading home. Still to this day, she pretends that everything is normal. Sure, the police force knew about her abilities and visions. That didn’t change how she felt about her life. Chikako used to be normal. Trying to be now wasn’t much help.
Suddenly, she paused when she heard footsteps. The coroner glanced behind her.
“I know you’re there!” she said. “Come out and show yourself!” She slipped her hand into her purse to her stun gun. When the coroner turned around, there was no one in site. Chikako didn’t let down her ground.
“Come on,” she said. “Don’t hide from me. I already know you are here. Just come out already and get it over with!” Chikako started to pull out her stun gun as the footsteps grew closer. But then, she froze. A tall pale man can into her line of vision. Long white hair came down to his ribcage. His white robes were open, exposing his bare chest. Chikako’s face turned bright red as she stared at the muscles on his body.
“Oh…” was all she could say. The silent man walked closer to her. The coroner didn’t know how to react. He didn’t seem human but there was no malice present. She took a step back as he moved closer. Now, he towered over her. There was nothing in his small black eyes.
“W-W-Who are you?” Chikako asked. “What do you want from me?” The man didn’t answer. He stood stared her in the eye. Suddenly, the man vanished right before her. Chikako backed away with big eyes.
“What the hell was that?” she asked. The coroner shook her head and forced herself to keep walking.
Moments later, Chikako walked down to the crosswalk. She felt much better being surrounded by people. Ever since she had haunting dreams, the coroner would try to surround herself with crowds. The more people around the more she could breathe. At home, she didn’t want to be around her father with that woman on his back.
Her name was Tsubaki. That wasn’t her real name but that doesn’t matter for this story. Not much was known about her past. She was a call girl working in the seedier parts of Ikebukuro at the time. Her roommate reported her missing the morning after the third of August. Tsubaki’s body was found three days later in an alley behind the hotel where she was last seen. She had died from strangulation. Tsubaki had been beaten about the head, face, and torso. Her dress had been torn to shreds. At the time, the police had no leads. Witnesses couldn’t give any details. There was only one security camera in the back alley running. The video was grainy but it showed a man about 5′10" to 6′1" carrying what was thought to be Tsubaki’s body out into the alley and dumping her behind a trash bin. Fingerprints didn’t come up to a match to anyone in system. The DNA would take time. The usual johns all had alibies. The case looked like it would run cold.
But Chikako knew the truth. She saw the victim on her father’s shoulders. He complained about his neck and shoulders hurting. Her father knew saw his victim on his back. No one but Chikako could.
The coroner’s thoughts were interrupted when she came across three thugs. She looked at the hungry looks in their eyes as they snickered at her. Chikako took a step back.
“Uh… Can I help you gentlemen?” she asked. One of the thugs stepped forward, licking his lips.
“Hey baby, you looking for a good time tonight?” he asked. Chikako wrinkled her nose as the heavy stench of booze and pot on him. He tried to grab her back she managed to move out of his reach.
“I’m flattered,” she lied. “But I have to get home. Maybe some other time. Excuse me.” Chikako tried to leave but another thug grabbed her by the arm.
“Hey!” she shouted.
“Come on, baby,” his friend said. “You can come home with us. We’ll be really nice to you.” The third thug took hold of Chikako’s other arm. The coroner tried to break away.
“I said no,” she said. “I have to get home. Please get off me.” The thugs wouldn’t let up on her. Their leader clicked his tongue at her struggling.
“Give up already, bitch!” he snapped. “We’re just trying to have a good time with you.”
“And I said no. Now get off me!” Chikako shouted. She spat in the leader’s face. The man’s face looked like an angry demon.
“Bitch!” he screamed. The thug about to strike her in the face when…
When Chikako looked up, she was in the arm of the man in white. He held her tight to his body as if to try and protect her. His grip about made her rib cage ache. Where did he even come from? The man gave the thugs demonic face as he glared at them. The thugs started backing away.
“Oh, we didn’t know you had a boyfriend,” the leader said. “Our bad. We’re sorry.” They turned around and ran. The man in white wouldn’t let go of Chikako as they fled. When they were gone, he let go of her. The coroner took a deep breath.
“Thanks, I guess…” she said. The man didn’t speak. Despite the crowded streets, it felt like they were the only two in the world. Chikako backed away, shook her head.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “Who are you?” The man didn’t answer. His gaze made her feel like she was shrinking.
“Are you stalking me or something?” Chikako asked. He suddenly disappeared before her very eyes. The coroner just stood there with a confused look over her face. She looked around in the crowd but no one seemed to notice a thing. The coroner grabbed the sides of her head.
“Am I losing my mind?” she asked herself. Chikako slowly shook her head. “No, I just need to get home, take a bath, and go to bed. Right, I can do this.” The coroner took a breath and resumed her walk home.
Things grew worse for her father. He started drinking more. The pain in his neck and shoulders grew worse. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Her father even lost his job. Grandma had to move in and take care of the family. Meanwhile, Chikako had been sitting on this secret for months. She knew who killed Tsubaki but who even believe her? But there are times when the dam breaks. Secrets will eventually have to come out.
Her big secret would come out around Christmas.
Here came the longest stretch to home. The crowd started to thin out. This shouldn’t be any different from any other night. Chikako shoved her hands into her pockets. What was up with that weird white man who followed her around? She had never seen him before in her life. Who was he and what did he want with her? The coroner took a look behind her. She could see the lights of the city fading as she walked further down the street. Just thirty more minutes.
Her mind started to wander back to her father. They caught him through his fingerprints just before Christmas. He was arrested on Christmas Eve for drunk and disorderly. Drunk and disorderly. That was all it took to bring him to justice. That and one of the receptionists at that hotel recognized him. At the time, she was bailing out a friend from jail. When the receptionist saw Chikako’s father, she told the cops right away. He was held for questioning and put in a cell overnight.
At Christmas, everything came spilling out. Chikako told her grandmother everything.
Suddenly, someone grabbed the coroner from behind. She whipped her head around with a gasp. Low and behold, there was that White man again. He was holding her inches off of the ground. Her shoes fell off onto the pavement.
“Uh… What are you doing?” Chikako asked. The man didn’t answer. He started to pull her backwards. She noticed that she was about to walk into the street. A car rushed by them. The man placed Chikako back onto the ground.
“Uh… Thank you, I guess,” she said. The man still didn’t respond. Chikako looked like a doll dangling in midair.
“Uh… Can you… put me down?” she asked. The man gently put her back on the ground. Chikako quietly put her sandals back on her feet.
“Thank you,” she said. The man didn’t say anything else. Chikako reached out to try and touch him. Her eyes widened with shock.
“I can touch you,” she said. “You’re real.” She lowered her hand to her side.
“But why?” the coroner asked. “Who are you? What are you?” Just as predicted, the man didn’t answer. Instead, he just vanished into thin air. Chikako just stood there with her mouth agape. All of the color drained from her face as she took off running for home.
Chikako never did find out why her father killed Tsubaki that night. She visited him in prison several times. He never gave her an answer.
“You look so pretty, dear,” he would tell her. His daughter never gave up trying to get the truth from him.
“Why did you do it?” she would ask. “Why did you kill her?” He sat there, silent behind the glass.
“Did she make you mad or something?” Chikako asked. “Did she try to cheat? What happened? This isn’t you.” He never gave her an answer. She doubted that he would give her an answer tomorrow either.
Michiko stood around the park. The girl tried her best to keep herself calm. She kept a charm by her side. She turned when she heard footsteps approach her. Tiresias stood under the moonlight with her cane.
“Oh good,” Michiko said with her hand to her chest. “You got my message.”
“Is it what I think it is?” the blind woman asked.
“Yes,” the young girl said. Tiresias cursed under her breath.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” she said. “Do we know who it is yet?”
“No,” Michiko said. She grabbed her wrist as she started to shake. She took in another breath.
“What do you plan to do with her?” Tiresias asked. Her younger companion rubbed her forehead.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “There is so much that we have to do. We can’t let them open that last gate.”
“I know,” the blind woman said. Michiko sank down onto the ground. She grabbed the sides of her head. Tiresias rubbed her on the back.
“Shhh,” she whispered. “Shhh. Shhh.” The younger girl lowered her hands and lifted her head. Tiresias began to smile.
“The game isn’t over yet,” she said. “We will do everything in our power to stop the Woman in Red.”
“But will the Gates of Light even be enough?” Michiko asked. “What if it will take more than that? Could we even pull it off?”
“We are going to have to try,” her blind friend said.
“We can’t even get Makoto and Hya-chan to even take up the fight again,” Michiko said. “Makoto has lost the will and we don’t even know who Hya-chan is.”
“They will come to us,” Tiresias said. “He may try to avoid her but she will find him again like she always does. When that happens, we have to act and stop this mess from going any further.” She could feel the desperation pouring out from Michiko as she stared up at her.
“We will keep Kida safe from this game,” the blind woman added. The young girl froze.
“You promise?” she asked.
“Yes,” Tiresias said. Michiko rose to her feet.
“Then, we know what we need to do first,” she said. Her blind companion had a grin on her face.
“Where shall we start looking?” she asked.
Junko sat in her basement office, looking at her phone. Her lips curved into a little smile.
“It is just about time,” she said to herself. “Just a few more seconds.” Her clock changed to midnight.
“Show time,” the nurse said to herself.
Down at the Hashimoto apartment, Kawaguchi held a small dog whistle in his hand. He took a deep breath and blew the whistle.