Halo Twenty-Three: Hisayo:
Two diaries have returned. One of schoolgirl innocence of love. The other the love of a housewife. Both led to the downfall of the woman.
Junko looked up from her desk.
“Yui, Kawaguchi,” she said. “Come here.” Her interns walked up to their boss. She held out her hand.
“Do you have your lists of who you want to enter into the Angel Project?” the nurse asked. The interns wordlessly handed in their lists.
“Thank you,” Junko said. She read over the lists. The interns stood silent. Their boss looked up.
“Very good,” she said. Junko turned to Yui. “Are you ready to go open the gate?”
“Yes,” Yui said, nodding.
“That’s good,” the nurse said. She turned to her laptop and typed up the names.
“Sensei,” Yui said.
“Hm?” Junko asked.
“What happens now?” the intern asked.
“What do you mean?” her boss asked. Yui turned to Kawaguchi. His face didn’t change.
“After the gate opens, what do we do?” he asked. Junko paused with her typing. She turned with a wide grin on her face.
“Sit back and watch,” the nurse said. “We just need to keep making and studying the angels.” The interns looked at her with no emotion on their faces. Junko turned back to her laptop and resumed typing.
The whole time, angels howled before them.
-Noriko and Michiko-
“Do I know him?” Noriko asked.
“Yes,” Michiko said.
“Do I know you?”
“Yes.” Michiko kept her gaze on the teenaged girl. They’ve done this before. She braced herself for what was coming next.
“Your diary,” the young girl said. “Have they sent it to you?” Michiko bit down on her lower lip. Maybe it was in vain, but part of her hoped that the answer would be no. But deep down she knew. It was going to be too late to turn back now.
“Yes,” Noriko said in a low voice. Michiko’s stomach dropped as the stoic look on her face betrayed what she was really feeling.
“How much do you remember?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Noriko said.
“We’re you married?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you remember the countryside?”
“I don’t know.”
“What about your family?”
“I had a mom and a dad.”
“What are their names?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where were they born?”
“I don’t know.” Next came the question that would be a total gut punch. Michiko braced herself. She took in a deep breath.
“Do you remember your son?” she asked. Noriko froze.
“My… son…?” she asked. Her eyes welled up with tears. “My… son…” Noriko started to tremble. Michiko’s heart sank.
“Oh Noriko,” she said. The girl fell to her knees as the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. Michiko bit her lower lip.
“Okay, listen to me,” she said. She walked over and grabbed the girl by the wrists. Michiko lifted her head. Noriko stared at her with big eyes.
“Listen to me,” Michiko said again. “We do not have much time. The final gate is about to be opened. You and Makoto have to help me stop the game from reaching its climax.” Noriko sat blinking.
“Huh?” she asked. “What do you mean?” This was what Michiko feared. Noriko still didn’t have her memories back. The young-looking girl found herself in a sticky position. Under normal situations, she would be happy to let Noriko live in this life with none of the memories from the previous cycles. But recent events pushed her to make the decision that she had to make.
“Take me back to your place,” Michiko said.
“What for?” Noriko asked.
“We can’t talk here,” the young-looking girl said. “Take me back to your place. Do it now.” Noriko quickly nodded as she wiped away her tears.
“Okay,” she murmured. Michiko followed her back to her apartment.
Kadota had wrapped up remodeling the activity room of the main Kinko Sekai Apartment building. Strange things kept happening around this building. Some of the work staff complained about hearing footsteps and whispering at night. So far, Kadota hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary.
That was until that November night.
He was about to leave for the day when he heard a soft thud hit the floor. Kadota turned his head.
“Huh?” he asked. “Who’s there?” No answer. Kadota frowned as he took a look around. Something caught his eye as he looked down on the floor. A brown notebook lay near an empty cubby hole. Curious, Kadota walked over to the book and picked it up. There was no title on the cover. Just all brown. He flipped it over to the back.
“Hm? Who is Isobe Hisayo?” he asked. Kadota looked up to when he heard footsteps running. He jerked his head upwards and froze.
“What am I doing?” he asked. “I should be home by now.” Kadota stuffed the diary into his bag and walked out of the abandoned building.
That diary has been sitting in Kadota’s apartment for months now. He didn’t have the time to get back to it.
That all changed tonight.
Kadota had just gotten home for the day when he heard a soft thud hit the floor. He turned to see that notebook lying on the floor. A confused look came over his face.
“What is this doing out here?” he asked. Kadota picked up the notebook and looked at the cover. This felt like an invitation to a horror movie situation. He should turn it over to the Lost and Found. What was this notebook doing in that apartment complex? Kadota would’ve chalked it up to kids leaving behind their schoolbooks while cutting class. But something about this diary didn’t feel right. Just by looking at the outside, it looked too old for any high schoolers to own from this time period. Now, the more Kadota looked at this book the more he had to open it up and look inside.
His fingers inched toward the front cover.
Suddenly, his phone rang. Kadota turned his head for the source. Once he returned where he put his phone, he pulled it out of his pocket.
“Hello?” Kadota asked.
“Kadota-san?” a woman’s voice asked on the other line. Despite her voice coming through in a whisper, he already knew who it was. Even so, a confused look came over Kadota’s face.
“Non?” he asked. “What’s the matter? Why are you whispering like this?” She paused for a moment.
“I think something is wrong with Rocchi,” Non said.
“What do you mean?” Kadota asked.
“It’s hard to say, but I don’t think he’s been himself lately,” she said. “Um… I can I meet up with you somewhere?”
“Okay, sure,” he said, eyes narrowed.
“Thank you so much,” Non whispered. There was another pause over the line. “He’s coming back now. I have to go.” She hung up before Kadota could get in another word. He looked at his phone.
It rang again in his hand.
“Hello?” he asked again. All Kadota could hear on the other line was static.
“Hello?” he asked a third time. Somebody tried to speak through the static, but the gangster couldn’t make out who it was.
“I can’t hear you,” Kadota said. “Who is this?” The voice turned into to screaming over the static.
“What are you saying? Who are you?” he asked as he struggled to listen. The line went dead. Kadota was about to try to redial the number when his phone rang again.
“Hello?” he asked. This time, Kadota got a clicking noise over the phone. That was followed by static, something like a death rattle, and then the line went dead again. He stared at my phone. Was it a wrong number? Was it even the same person?
Kadota’s phone buzzed. This time it was a text from Saburo. The whole time, a blackened schoolgirl watched him from the window.
I can’t escape her, can I?
He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Fate just loved to fuck with him. Memories of his wife had been coming back for quite some time. Seeing that girl again made it worse. How did she know who he was? The moment she talked to him; his stomach dropped. It took his current girlfriend to pull him away.
“Do you know that weird girl?” Evie asked as the couple walked away. Makoto only shook his head.
“What was that all about?” she said.
“I don’t know,” he lied. It felt like he was back in the eighties. His wife always asked if he ate or not. He would’ve just chalked it up to an honest mistake. But Makoto knew otherwise.
Michiko’s words started to get to him.
“She’s starting to remember everything,” she warned him. Just like Michiko, Makoto started to fear the worst.
He froze when the phone rang.
“Hello?” Evie asked in the kitchen. “Who is this? Why do you want to talk to my boyfriend? What are you talking about? Who the hell are you?! Hello? Hello?” Evie clicked her tongue as she hung up.
“Who was that?” Makoto asked. He heard the footsteps walk back into the living room. He could tell that Evie was frowning at him.
“Some crazy lady called our apartment asking for you,” she said. “I don’t even know how she got the landline number.” Her boyfriend froze.
“Did this woman have a Scottish accent?” he asked.
“Yes, why?” Evie asked. Makoto’s heart ached in his chest.
“No…” he mumbled. He pulled his knees to his chest.
“Makoto?” his girlfriend asked.
“They won’t let me go. They won’t let me go. They won’t let me go,” he muttered repeatedly. He could feel the Widow’s eyes burning into his body as Evie’s voice sounded so distant.
“I have to see him again,” she said to herself. Noriko couldn’t get Makoto out of her head. Something about him warmed up her heart. Fond memories of him floated through her head. But yet, she always felt so sad at the same time. How did she know him? Why did she feel that why about him? She had to see him again.
Noriko sat up on her bed. There was only one way for her to find out. She didn’t have a plan to go about this. The girl picked up her diary and shoved it into her bag. Noriko just walked out the door in the middle of the night.
Izaya drew in a breath and picked up his phone.
“Mikage, hey!” he said. “I have a little problem. I might need your help with it. Call me as soon as you get this.” Izaya hung up when he heard a knock on his door.