Halo Twenty-Six: Widow:
The following twenty-four hours is a record of what happened before the final Gate to the Apocalypse was opened.
Five whole days and she heard nothing. Izaya was the one to call for help and now he wasn’t answering her calls. At one point, Kururi picked up his phone.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“Why do have Izaya’s phone?” the martial artist asked, confused. “Where is your brother?”
“Why do you want to know?” Kururi asked. She hung before Mikage could speak. The martial artist frowned. She tried to dial Izaya again.
“He’s not in right now,” Kururi told her.
“Can I leave him a message?” Mikage asked.
“No,” the younger sister said once again. She hung up before Mikage could say anything else. Why did Kururi have to act like this? Didn’t she care that Izaya might be in danger?
Mikage’s phone rang again.
“Hello?” she asked.
“I apologize for that,” Izaya said.
“Stop playing games here,” Mikage said. “What is going on here?” There was a pause on the other line. She braced herself for Izaya to dodge her questions. He seemed to be whispering something the phone.
“What did you say?” she asked.
“Listen, I have to go,” he said.
“Izaya!” Mikage shouted. He had already hung up—again. She remembered the last time she talked to him.
“Are you trying to tell me something?” Mikage asked him on a Friday.
“What are you saying?” Izaya asked. “Can’t I talk to a dear friend without any motives?”
“Come on,” Mikage said, frowning. “I know how you are. What is going on?”
“I have to go,” he said.
“Izaya!” she shouted. He had already hung up. Mikage tried to call him back, but Kururi wouldn’t let her through.
For the next three days, Mikage didn’t hear from him. He wasn’t in the Dollars chatroom. Nobody had seen him around Ikebukuro. Aoba didn’t tell her where he was.
“How should I know where he is?” he asked. “He just emailed me instructions to come here and get to work.”
“And when was that?” Mikage asked.
“About three nights ago,” Aoba said. He wasn’t much help. Mari didn’t know where he was either.
“When did you say you heard from him last?” she asked.
“About three nights ago,” Mikage said. “Why, did something happen to him?”
“I am not sure,” Mari said. She moved her to her mouth and started biting on her thumbnail. “I have been so busy with work and Kururi won’t tell me anything either.”
“Yeah, she claimed that she didn’t know where he was either,” Mikage said. Mari gave her a strange look.
“You actually talked to her?” she asked. “She wouldn’t even open the door for me.”
“Yeah, his sister is kind of like that,” the martial artist said.
“I know,” Mari muttered.
When she got home that evening, Mikage’s phone rang. It was Izaya’s number.
“Hello?” she asked.
“So this is who Izaya-san’s been communicating with on this phone,” a man’s voice said on the other line. Mikage froze. Her phone landed on the dojo floor. The man on the other line spoke again.
“Oh, where are my manners? My name is Kitano Katsuhiro-sensei. Please to make your acquittances.”
Her phone rang. Hecate already knew that this was coming. She braced herself to suck it up and call.
“Yes, mother?” Hecate asked.
“Where is Lucy?” Allison asked on the other line. The older daughter sighed and rubbed her forehead.
“I’m still working on it,” she said.
“This is not good enough,” her mother said. “That gate needs to be opened by tonight.”
“Yes, I know,” Hecate said. “She might be have sought out protection in this case.”
“Foolish girl,” Allison said. “She knows that she cannot change her fate.” Her daughter just rolled her eyes and nodded. She did agree about the fate thing. But still…
“Get your sister back to open the gate,” her mother hissed.
“Yes, yes,” Hecate said. “I am on it.” She hung up as she sighed. Lucy should’ve stuck with the plan. Why did she have to create headaches for her?
Hecate rose to her feet. Oh well, time to go hunting for her sister. Lucky for her, she had a little bit of help.
“I didn’t want to come to this,” Hecate said to herself. “But time is not on my side right now. Better make this quick.” Hecate pulled out a stick of lipstick and drew a circle on the wall. She took a knife and cut her left hand. The sting didn’t faze her at all. Hecate put her hand in the center and began to chant. The room grew colder. Hecate could hear static between her ears. Her mind pushed through the many voices surrounding it.
Suddenly, her eyes ripped open.
“There!” Hecate shouted. The room felt lighter. Tiny red lights started floating in the air. Her hand never left the wall.
“I need your assistance,” she said. “Bring back my sister.” The lights vanished in a flash. Hecate sat down on the floor, panting. She looked over at the clock by her bed. 10:52 a.m. Just a few more hours to go.
Already, she could feel the rapture coming. This time, it came more violent than other. Old memories started to fill her head.
This morning, she awoke to the smell of blood. She wrinkled her nose as she fluttered her eyes. The young girl quickly sat up.
“Oh no,” she said to herself. “No, no, no!” Michiko jumped out her bed and ran out of the room. The night before, she started to have visions again.
A woman in a white kimono stained in blood sat on the dirt floor holding her deceased baby in her arms. A man sat up, leaning against a bamboo wall with his stomach slit wide open. Seven little children sat on the ground covered in blood. Michiko covered her mouth as she started backing away. All of their eyes locked onto her.
Stay away… Stay away… Michiko’s legs started to shake.
But then more footsteps came into the room. Her stomach bean to drop. She knew what was coming next. She wanted to scream but no sound came out.
There she was. A pale, disheveled woman dragged her feet into the bamboo room. Her long black hair hadn’t been washed or combed in weeks. Her bloodied fingernail stood out against her dark jeans. A large white sweater covered her torso. She had her eyes on the ground. Michiko’s heart started pounding against her chest. She slowly shook her head.
“No… No… No!” Michiko shouted.
A car zipped by her.
The girl turned her head. She found herself standing on the sidewalk in the middle of the busy street. It took her a moment to realize where she was. Michiko looked around for a clock. Six in the evening? It was morning when she left the apartment that she was staying in. Where had the time gone? What was that? She hadn’t experience a vision like that before. Right then, Michiko knew what she had to do.
The young girl started running towards Raira Academy.
He knew he wasn’t alone when the room got cold.
It can’t be…
He couldn’t see her but he knew that she was there. She stood inches in front of him, in fact.
“Please leave me alone,” Makoto pleaded. “I don’t have anything to do with you. Why won’t you leave me alone?” She never speaks. He could still feel her wrath. Makoto broke down shivering. Evie couldn’t save him this time. Especially since that Noriko girl first talked to him. He couldn’t understand her. Why did she sound like her? At first, he thought that she found him again. But that couldn’t be possible. She was long gone. Wasn’t she?
Michiko’s voice rang in his head. Makoto quickly shook his head.
“No,” he whispered. “Don’t make me do this again. I’m too tired. We can’t win this. They will keep crushing us. It’s going to be the same thing all over again.” Makoto covered his ears and gritted his teeth. A loud whimper came out of his mouth.
Meanwhile, that disheveled woman stood in front of him. He could never see her face. But he knew that she was smirking at him. She fed off of his misery that way. Even through that, Makoto realized what had to be done. As much as he hated to come to that, he didn’t have a choice.
Suddenly, a soft singing voice filled his ears. As if in a trance, Makoto rose to his feet. He walked past the widow and walked out of the apartment.
She doesn’t know how to find him but she has to find him no matter what. His soul was calling out to her. She’s seen this before. But why was he so afraid of her? They only just met. But Noriko felt like she had known him forever.
She took one more look around her living room. Whatever happened next would prove that everything she knew would never go back to how it was. Noriko might not see this apartment again either.
“Goodbye,” she whispered. Then she walked out the door and closed it behind her.
Noriko had no direction in mind. She just had to keep walking until she found him again. But she wouldn’t be alone.
An icy breath started breathing down her neck. Her body started to tense up. Noriko took in slower breaths. The sound of wailing or laughing filled the air.
This was happening again.
Noriko turned her head against her better judgement. There was no one on the empty streets this early in the morning. No one that is except for a lone figure in the distance. Noriko took slow steps backwards. Only one name came out of her mouth.
The figure slowly turned her head. She didn’t move. She didn’t need to move. There she was. That damned widow. She was the one who drove them to this. Noriko moved her hand to her chest.
“What do you want from me?” she asked. “Stay away from me. Stay away! Stay away!” There came the footsteps again. The widow was getting closer. She didn’t have to move fast. It didn’t look like she was moving at all. Noriko wanted to scream but no sound came out. This had happened before.
Suddenly, the widow stopped. Noriko’s eyes widened. More and more memories pieced themselves together in her head. This woman was her end before.
“Please… don’t kill me,” Noriko murmured. “I have to find him again. So please… Spare me long enough to find him.” The widow didn’t speak. But Noriko knew that she had to move fast. There was only one place she had in mind to go.
Asuka remained standing as Noriko walked by.
Aya looked through her notes and smiled. Right now, it was noon. Twelve more hours to go. Her part in this game was starting. But the main role wasn’t ready. Right now, she had to screen for blood knights. She and Kitano had been hard at work in this area. Between the two of them, they have five candidates on their hands. They had one more in-training. (So far, that part was going well.) They had to put that on hold until that final gate was found. After tonight, it would be business as usual for her.
Aya’s phone buzzed on her desk.
“Hello?” she asked.
“How are you doing on your end?” Kitano asked. The therapist became flustered but managed to straighten herself up.
“I am just about done with my notes,” Aya said. “I’m about to head over to the hospital to check on the vessel.”
“Good, good, good,” the older therapist said.
“How about you?” Aya asked. “Are you players just about gathered? Who is going to be the fourth?”
“I am still working on that,” Kitano said. “Right now, we need to focus on the opening the gate. I will need you to drop something off at the hospital for Etsuko-sensei.”
“What would that be?” she asked.
“Can you come by the office and pick it up?” he asked.
“Sure,” Aya said. “I will be down there in twenty minutes.” She hung with a catlike smile on her face. In her mind, she had what she was going to do tomorrow. One particular candidate stood out in her mind.
Once she was satisfied with her notes, Aya closed up the folder and packed up her things for the day. She had a short delivery to make.
Mikado sat in front of his computer as it booted up. Already, he had one message in the right-hand corner of the screen. Just by looking at the username told him who this was. He clicked on the blinking box.
“Daniel wants to chat with you.”
Daniel. That username seemed so familiar. Mikado tried to look up name before. The only luck he had was one profile on 2-Chan and that was marked private. Somehow, Daniel was the who reached out to him.
It started with attached document with a list of names. None of them were in Japanese. Still, these names started to ring a bell to the tadpole.
Those three stood out to him. Somehow, they might have helped him along at some point in the past. But who was “Daniel”? There would be two more times before this point that Daniel would try and contact him. Well, not so much contact him as much as send Mikado attached document. The second one was just a list of dates with no context. The last one was of a map of Germany. For weeks, Mikado tried to put the pieces together. He did track down Jessie Goodwin all the way in Seattle, Washington. She seemed too young to talk to at the moment. The other two were too hard to trace currently. Mikado set his mind on the dates in the second file.
Today’s message proved to be more urgent.
Mikado clicked on accepted. Instead of an attached file, there was only one sentence on the message.
“Hurry and get down to Raira Academy before midnight!”
That message stirred something in Mikado’s mind. He grabbed his phone as it started to buzz.
“Kida-kun?” the tadpole boy asked.
“Did you get it too?” Masaomi asked.
“Yeah,” Mikado said. “Where are you now?”
“I’m heading to the school now,” the Yellow Scarves’ shogun said. Mikado rose to his feet.
“I will meet you right there!” he said. The tadpole hung up and ran out the door. He didn’t notice that more messages started to appear on his computer screen.
Lucy had been holed up in a hotel room. She had planned to ride out the day and then escape to parts unknown. Harley would call and check in every hour. The nightcomer was about to fall asleep when her phone rang.
“Hello?” Lucy asked.
“Hey ya!” Harley shouted on the other line. The nightcomer had to hold the phone away from her ear.
“Hi, Harley,” she said, frowning.
“You still alive?” the possessed woman asked.
“Of course I am,” Lucy said. “What do you think?”
“Hey, you don’t know these days. You could be dead and I wouldn’t know it.”
The nightcomer rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m still alive.”
“I can hear that. You need anything?”
“No. I’m good.”
Lucy laid back onto her bed. “Yeah.”
“Okay. I’ll call you later.” Harley giggled as she hung up. Lucy made a face as she looked at her phone. What was with that woman? Reminded of Hecate in a sense. Lucy shivered at the image of her sister in her head. Harley wasn’t really her first choice but this would have to do for the day. Lucy turned off her phone screen and closed her eyes for a nap.
Hours later, a soft humming filled her ears. Lucy sat up as if in a daze. Her eyes looked so empty as she rose to her feet. She walked over to the door and disappeared outside. The nightcomer followed the sound of gentle singing. Small red lights floated around her head but she didn’t see them. There were probably people calling out to her but Lucy didn’t hear them.
What is this?
Her mind seemed to be miles away. The nightcomer’s body moved on its own. Even the warm summer air around her didn’t faze her.
It would take a loud slamming down to snap her out of it. Lucy looked around. She could only see darkness around her. The nightcomer covered her nose as she noticed a musty smell around her.
“What the fuck?” she asked. Lucy then noticed old gym equipment and cleaning supplies on many selves. Rags hung from the ceiling. She noticed an old desk sitting in the corner. Lucy’s eyes widened as the realization hit her in the face.
“No…” she murmured. Suddenly another whisper filled her ears. The voice sounded like her own mother.
You cannot escape your fate.
Vanessa and everyone from Purgatory had been circled around the circle since three in the morning. Miiko cocked her gun. She had been itching to use this in every loop. The receptionist even went out of her way to get out the special bullets. Her finger caressed her trigger. A hand rested on her shoulder. Miiko turned her head. Cheri gave her a little smile. The receptionist relaxed.
“What time do we attack?” a man dressed in a fancy Victorian-style suit asked behind Vanessa. The manager had a serious look on her face.
“We have to stop them before midnight,” she said.
“Tell me again why we can’t just destroy the gate again,” Cheri said.
“It doesn’t work that way,” Vanessa said. “That would take up too much power just to destroy one gate. We would risk causing the Living World to collapse.”
“Uh-huh,” Cheri said in a flat tone.
“Shhh, there’s someone coming,” Fuyuko whispered. Everyone looked down from the trees. They spotted Michiko running up to the gate. Vanessa smiled to herself.
“Hello, Michiko-san!” she shouted. The young girl stopped in her tracks, panting. She looked up, wide-eyed. Vanessa jumped down in front of her.
“Who are you?” Michiko asked. The manager calmly held out her hand.
“My people and I are here to help you,” she said. “The other two and the nightcomer are already inside.” The young girl covered her mouth.
“No…” she murmured.
“It’s okay,” Vanessa said in a low voice. “There is still time. Come with us.” Michiko slowly nodded as she was trembling. The manager had to grab her hand and vanish with her. The rest of Purgatory disappeared with her.
Meanwhile inside, Lucy tried to move her feet from the spot to be sacrificed but they wouldn’t move.
“Come on! Come on! Come on!” she shouted. But then, the nightcomer froze when she heard laughter behind her. Against her better judgement, Lucy turned her head. Hecate stepped out of the shadows with a knife in her hand. Yui and Yuzuru followed behind her. Lucy gritted her teeth.
“You did this!” she snapped. Hecate smirked at her like a hungry cat.
“Hey, we are doing what we have to do here,” she said. “And besides…” The older sister twirled the knife in her hand.
“You cannot escape your fate,” she said. Lucy growled as she tried to free herself again in vain. Hecate could only smirk at her struggles. But then, she frowned.
“Who’s there?” she asked as she whipped around. Michiko, Makoto, Noriko, and the Purgatory crew walked into the basement. Hecate threw back her head and rolled her eyes.
“You again?” she asked. “Why don’t you just give up already? It’s too late. You can’t stop what is already in motion!” Michiko gritted her teeth.
“I will not let you open that gate!” she screamed. The young girl ran forward, screaming. The older nightcomer shook her head.
“My, my, my,” she said. Hecate waved her free hand in the arm and began to chant. Particles of dust started falling from the sky and taking shape.
“Not this again!” Naho shouted. Miiko aimed her gun. Fifty dust monsters became solid.
“Go!” Hecate shouted. The monsters rushed forward in an attack. Both sides broken down into battle. Michiko tried to push the monster aside to get to Hecate. The nightcomer just stood there with her infamous smirk. Her eyes seemed to be laughing at her. No more, Michiko decided. This cycle had to end one way or another. Hecate made it over to her sister. She raised her knife above her head.
“Hello?” Kitano asked. “Are you still there? Hello? Hello?” Mikage quickly picked up the phone.
“What did you do with Izaya?!” she demanded.
“Oh, nothing,” the therapist said. “He’s just in jail at the moment. Don’t worry, he will probably be released by morning.”
“Why is he in jail?!” the martial artist asked.
“I just needed him out of the way long enough,” Kitano said.
“For what?” Mikage asked.
“Look out the window,” he said.
“Huh?” she asked. Mikage walked over to the window for a look. Suddenly, the ground started to shake. This shaking was so bad that she thought the city was in the middle of an earthquake.
“What the hell is happening?!” she yelled. The shaking stopped as soon as it started.
“Welcome to the new dawn,” Kitano said. He hung up before she had a chance to speak.
“No!” Michiko cried when she stood up and looked behind her.
The dust monsters fell to the ground. Everyone looked up in silence. Miiko dropped her gun in silence. Hecate smirked at the end results. Lucy’s body lay slumped on the floor with a bullet hole to the head. Her blood ran out everywhere on the invisible lines of the final gate.
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