Halo Five: Haru:
They took everything from me.
I was only four years old when they turned me into a monster. I didn’t want this life. For most of my life, I have only seen the walls of Chou Mori. Our mother never took care of us. She couldn’t. Our mother was only fifteen and wasn’t at all there. I did touch her cheek one time. She nursed Honoka and I, that much was true. But then when we were three years old, they took us and turned us into monsters.
-August 10th, 1989-
My sister and I were taken into a room full of beds. We woke up here and didn’t remember how we got there. I turned my head in the darkness. To my relief, I could see Honoka’s desperate eyes staring back at me. I grabbed onto her hand.
“No cry,” I said. That was all that I could say at the time. My sister started to calm down as I held her hand back. This would be the only thing that would only calm her down. She couldn’t speak or fend for herself. I was more developed than she was. I couldn’t talk well enough but Honoka couldn’t talk or respond to many things. She only knew of me.
Then he walked into the room. He held a giant needle in his hand. A needle filled with deep red liquid. I panicked as I tried to get up. My body was strapped down to my bed. I didn’t let go of my sister’s hand the whole time. They injected her first and then me. Three days of pain and hell awaited us.
It felt like I was being held underwater and being beaten all over. I couldn’t breathe. My body ached everywhere. Sweat covered my skin. The only thing that kept me together was my sister’s hand. She made gurgling noises. Honoka still didn’t let go of my hand. I wanted to talk to her but my throat felt like it was burning. Tears ran down our cheeks.
By three days, most of the other victims in the room were dead. Half of them had rotted away and turned to much. Mouths hung wide open with empty eyes. Some didn’t even have eyes anymore. The man to my right was in his seventies. He never hurt anyone. He just wandered around the activity room mumbling to himself. They took him and brought him here. He didn’t deserve this. Frightened, I turned to my left. To my relief, Honoka was still alive but barely.
A man with dressed in a long black coat with black hair stood over a twenty-five-year-old woman’s body at her feet. Kitano ran down to the lobby. It didn’t take him long to connect the dots as the man looked up at him with dead eyes.
“Hello, sensei,” he said in an intimidating, monotone voice. “Your first born has returned.” Kitano stepped back, shaking.
“Adam?” was all he asked. He could see fire in the man’s eyes.
“That is not my name,” he hissed. “It is Haru. Not, Adam. My name is Noda Haru!” The receptionist stared at him silent behind the desk as she stared at his naked left hand at his side. Kitano ignored him.
“Adam, I understand you are mad,” he said in a calm voice. “But Doi-san has noting to do with your grievance. She’s just a young woman getting over anxiety. You didn’t have to kill her.”
“But I do,” Haru said. “She does not deserve to be poisoned by your false words. I did her a favor by saving her from you.”
“If you want revenge then why not kill me?” Kitano asked. Haru sneered. He looked down at the body.
“No,” he said. “Death is too good for you. I prefer to make you the scape goat.” Haru kicked the body out of his way.
“She won’t be the last,” he said. “Good night.” Haru turned and walked out the door. The receptionist picked up the phone.
“Don’t bother,” Kitano said. The receptionist paused.
“But…” she said. He put up his hand.
“It won’t do any good,” the therapist said. “The police will be useless in this case.” He pulled out his phone.
“Asato-sensei,” the therapist said. “He is back. Yes, it’s that bad.” Kitano turned and walked back to his office.
-August 23rd, 1989-
“She doesn’t really respond,” she said with her flashlight in my sister’s eyes.
“But she survived the Amaterasu test,” Kitano-sensei said. She turned off her flashlight and turned to her partner.
“Could it be a fluke?” she asked.
“No, she’s fits the requirements of to survive the drug,” he said. “Being youth, healthy, and the right genetics.” He turned his attention to me.
“Now him on the other hand,” Kitano-sensei said. He walked over and took me by the cheeks. “He’s developed enough like a normal four-year-old.” She walked over to me and took a look. I could only try and look past them at my sister. Ever since that third drug, Honoka sat silent in a daze. She doesn’t move. She just sits on the floor and doesn’t react. The mean adults could poke her in the arm with needles and she wouldn’t scream.
The partner turned and looked at my sister.
“I think we need to separate them,” she said. I froze. No… Kitano-sensei looked over at Honoka.
“What makes you say that?” he asked. She shrugged.
“I just want to try something,” she said. “It might be helpful to us.” Honoka didn’t respond. Did she even know what could happen? Kitano-sensei walked over to her and looked into her eyes. My heart started pounding. Don’t do this to us. Please!
“We will try it for a day,” Kitano-sensei said at last.
“Yes sir,” she said. No… Please don’t. She can’t survive without me. No. Don’t do this. No. No…
She walked and took Honoka by the hand. She walked my sister out of the room. That would be the last time I would see her for the day.
Etsuko met up with Kitano on the roof of Rampo Biotech. Kitano stood over the railing looking out. He looked up when he heard the footsteps.
“Are you sure it was Adam?” Etsuko asked.
“Yes,” Kitano said. The doctor walked over to join him.
“Who did he kill this time?” she asked. The therapist sighed.
“Doi-san,” he replied.
“Aw, that’s the shame,” Etsuko said. “I actually did like her.”
“Yeah,” Kitano said.
“What should we do?” the doctor asked. The therapist turned his head.
“Nothing,” he said.
“What?” Etsuko asked, looking confused. Her partner put up his hand.
“What can we do against Adam?” he asked. “He can kill with just one touch from his left hand. We can’t get close enough. Besides, we can’t take the time to stop and deal with Adam. We still have to find that last gate.”
“So… what are you suggesting?” Etsuko asked.
“Keep watch over him. Track him,” Kitano suggested. “He’ll lead us back to the other pets. And even Eve.”
“Oh yes,” the doctor said. “I almost forgot about her.”
“He’ll find her again,” Kitano said. “He always does.”
-September 8th, 1989-
“Point to the red rectangle.”
We have done this test for three days now. This was not normal. Then again, Honoka and I never had a normal childhood. We never saw our mother again. To this day, I still can’t remember her face, not even with this new perfect memory I have. We never met our father either.
“Point to the red rectangle.”
I slowly reached out to the piece of paper in front of me. My fingertip touched the red rectangle.
I would hear this about six more times. I wouldn’t know it at the time. They didn’t teach me much like any normal child. I couldn’t tell what a character or a number was. They would just tell me if I was right or not. I didn’t care. I just wanted to sleep.
“Point to the red rectangle.”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. I didn’t look up as it opened. The footsteps walked over to my table.
“Come on, Adam,” Kitano-sensei said. He took me by the arm and dragged me along. I didn’t have a choice. And why did he call me Adam? He would take me away for more experiments.
Shinra awoke to a cell phone ringing on his desk. Faintly at first, with each buzz reverberating his ears raucous enough to jolt up from his seat. Rubbing his forehead slightly, he looked around to find his phone. A stale sigh escape from Shinra’s lips when he noticed the time from seeing the clock. He had fallen asleep in front of the computer once again.
“Hello?” Shinra says groggily.
“Yeah. Is this Kishitani-sensei?” the voice of an unknown man asked.
“Who’s asking?” he asked. “And which sensei?” The unknown man paused for a few seconds before replying back. ”
“The son, of course,” he said. “Is this him I’m talking to?” Shinra narrowed his eyes.
“And who is this?” he asked. Something felt wrong despite being a harmless question. His next line confirms this suspicion.
“My name is Azuma Shuichi,” the man on the other line said. His tone had shifted into something more strident. “You have something that we want.”
“And what would that be?” Shinra asked. Instinctively, he reaches for a scalpel. Peering down at the dark hall, he could slightly see their room. Right now, Celty was still in bed. Not wanting to get her involved, he decided for himself that this is a matter that should be resolved alone.
“Names,” Shuichi said. “Give us the names of the former Chou Mori staff.”
“And why would I want to do that?” Shinra asked. There was a pause on the other line.
“Look, you and we have a common enemy,” Shuichi said. “We have some information but it is not complete. You have what we need with the rest of the staff. They turned us into monsters.” That last word caught Shinra’s ear.
“Monsters, huh?” he asked. “Tell me, would you happen to be tadpoles?” There was another pause on the other line.
“And why would we tell you that?” Shuichi asked. Shinra smiled and shrugged.
“Oh, I was thinking that if you were, my dad and I could help you,” he said. The man all but laughed on the other line.
“You? Help us? That’s real rich!” he shouted. “Why would we believe you?”
“And how can I believe you?” Shinra asked. “We could keep going in circles like this. Or you could us help you. The way I see it, you clearly want revenge. Why else would you want the names of former Chou Mori staff? So what do you say?” Shinra could hear whispering on the other line. He watched the screen saver on his computer.
“Fine,” Shuichi said at last. “We will let you help us. But if you betray us, we will not hesitate to kill you.” Shinra smiled to himself.
“What do you want to know?” he asked.
We can’t be normal anymore. They took that from us. My left hand has become a devil hand. Everything I touch with that hand dies. I accidentally killed the only person to help me once I left Chou Mori. She said I reminded her of her son. After Chou Mori closed down, most of the tadpole patients went home. But where were Honoka and I going to go? Chou Mori was the place that we called home. We never saw our mother again. We don’t even know what happened to her. My sister and I went in different directions. For two years, I didn’t know where Honoka went. I was alone. I ended up wandering around in the Northern part of Japan. I didn’t have any plans of what I would do next. I thought that I didn’t have anything left. Still, I couldn’t die. Something inside of me wouldn’t let that happen. I found myself stuck.
But then, there was Yuka-san.
Her son died ten years ago. A car accident from what I heard. Her husband died years earlier on the job. Yuka-san didn’t have any other family left. She found me when she was walking home from a local market. I probably looked like a ghost walking down the road with the sun setting. This old lady didn’t scream as she looked me up and down. My mouth felt so dry that I couldn’t open it. Then, this woman asked me a question that threw me for a loop.
“Would you like something to eat?”
I stared at her with big eyes. She didn’t look at me in disgust or fake sympathy. This lady wanted to give me something to eat. I could only nod.
“Why don’t you come home with me?” she asked. That old woman didn’t have to ask me twice. She lived in a small house near the highway. Rice and salmon were a welcome meal from the food in Chou Mori or nothing at all.
“Wow, you really haven’t eaten in days, have?” she asked. I gave her a sheepish look over my bowl.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured.
“No, it’s okay,” this old lady said. “What is your name?”
“Ad—” I started to say. No, that wasn’t my name. That monster called me that when he tortured me with his experiments. But now I was free. I had what was left of my life back. I had my name back.
“Haru,” I said. “My name is Haru.” The old lady smiled.
“Nice to meet you, Haru,” the old lady said. “My name is Yuka.” I ended up living with her for two years. I did everything to repay her. I helped her with chores around the house. I didn’t have to do it. But I wanted to. She was the one who fed me and put a roof over my head. Yuka-san even helped be to more sociable and know how to act in the outside world. Everything I had lacked in Chou Mori was given to me in the short two years I lived with Yuka-san. This was the first time I knew what love was. I still had the nightmares of my past. But those started to lessen over time. Pretty soon, I could sleep well. That was the first time I slept peacefully. Apparently I slept so well that I didn’t wake up for three days. When I woke up, I found Yuka-san sitting on my bed.
“Did you sleep well?” she asked. I blinked at first.
“Yeah, I guess…” I said. “How long had I been asleep?”
“Three days,” she said in a calm voice.
“Three days? Wow!” I said. I noticed her staring at me in a longing way.
“What is it?” I asked. “Do I have something on my face?” The old lady snapped out of it and shook her head.
“Oh, I am so sorry,” she said. “It’s just…” I raised my eyebrow.
“What?” I asked. I noticed the somber look on her face.
“You look so much like him,” Yuka-san told me.
“Like who?” I asked.
“My son, Sanjiro,” she said. “He would’ve been your age this year.”
“What happened to him?” I asked. Yuka-san lowered her head.
“He died in an accident,” she said. “It was New Year’s Eve. He and his fiancée were driving home from a party. It was late and no one was on the road. There were near their apartment when they came across a car stalled in the road. Sanjiro couldn’t stop and he swerved to miss. He lost control and crashed into a ditch.” Tears welled up in Yuka-san’s eyes.
“They didn’t make it,” she said. I lowered the sheet I was folding.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. Yuka-san smiled and shook her head.
“It’s fine,” she said. “It’s taken me years. But I can finally let go and let him be at peace.” My hostess walked over to the shrine and lit fresh incense for her son, would’ve-been daughter-in-law, and husband. I walked over and paid my respects.
Aside from that moment, I wished that my current situation could go on like this. But on January of this year ended all of this.
I can’t remember exactly what led to my “awakening”. Or rather I didn’t want to remember. But I had felt sick the night before. I couldn’t even get out of bed. The smell of bleach was enough to make me vomit.
“Haru? Haru, are you okay in there?” I heard Yuka-san ask as she knocked on my bedroom door. “What’s wrong?” The sounds made me writhe in my bed as I tried to cover my head. I know I must have scared her off with my screaming. I hadn’t felt this much pain since I was back in Chou Mori under those horrible experiments. In my misery, I had awful thought. What if…
I tried to chase out memories of my childhood there to no avail.
By midnight, I was able to get out of bed. Well, more like sit up and fall out of bed. My strength hadn’t come back. I lay on the tatami mats, panting.
“Haru?” I heard from downstairs. “Haru, is that you? Are you okay up there?”
“Uh… yeah!” I shouted. “Just give me a minute!” I counted to three to myself before slowly helping myself to my feet. I grunted and struggled but finally I was standing up. I took baby steps towards my door. Just in time for Yuka-san to open it wide.
“Yuka-san?” she asked. She moved her hand to her chest.
“You’re up,” she said. “I’m so glad. Are you feeling better?”
“A little bit,” I said. I started to take a step forward but I lost my balance.
“Whoa!” I shouted.
“Haru!” Yuka-san shouted. She ran and grabbed my left hand to break my fall. Suddenly, Yuka-san froze and collapsed at my feet. I fell back on the floor in horror.
“Yuka-san?” I asked. I crawled over and shook her on the shoulder. “Yuka-san? Yuka-san?” I shook her as hard as I could but she didn’t stir. The realization didn’t take long to hit me.
“No…” I murmured. I started shaking my head. Suddenly, my phone rang. (Yuka-san gave me that phone for Christmas the year before.) I turned and found it on the floor from it falling over when I tried to break my fall.
“H-H-Hello?” I asked.
“Hello, Adam,” I heard on the other line. My blood ran cold.
“You!” I hissed. “How did you even get this number?!” That chuckling on the other line made me want to vomit again.
“I will find you, no matter what,” Kitano-sensei said in a low voice. “All of you.” I should’ve hung up the phone then and there. It would’ve saved the misery that would soon fall.
“Do you want to know why I am calling you, Adam?” that bastard asked. I trembled as I started shaking my head.
“No…” I said.
“Congratulations,” Kitano-sensei went on as if I had never answered him. “You are the last one to experience your awakening. It took you long enough but here we are.”
“Awakening?” I asked. “What are you talking about?!”
“You kind of surprised me, Adam,” he said. “I expected you to awaken first. Oh well, it is what it is.”
“What did you do to me?!” I asked.
“It’s just the fruits of the Tadpole Project starting to bloom,” Kitano-sensei said.
“What do you mean?!” I asked. I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I started panting and looking around the room.
“We will be in touch soon,” was all that he said before hanging up. I stared at my phone and gulped. I knew that I couldn’t stay in that house. I forced myself to get up and ran out of the house as best as I could. When I was a good distance away, I called for an ambulance to take the body away. They official ruled her death as nature causes with a broken heart. Only I knew the truth but couldn’t say anything. They wouldn’t believe me anyway.
Ever since then, my life has been hell. I have to wear gloves to keep my demon hand from killing anyone. I tried to cut off my left hand but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had the knife in my hand. I even bit down on a towel and got myself drunk to numb the pain. In the end, I could not do it. So, I ended up isolating myself and wandering Japan again.
I did find my sister three months ago. Honoka had been wandering on the streets of Japan alone for two years since Chou Mori was shut down. It amazed me to see her down in Okinawa. She looked like she had been fed well. I worried about Honoka every day. She maybe a grown woman but she still had the mind of a child. I didn’t know who was taking care of her. All I could do was hope that she found a good person to live with like I did.
I found her when I come up to a meat shop on the beach. I was hungry at the time but I didn’t have much money. I figured that I would just pick up the scraps in the kitchen. I would in and out with no one the wiser.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp chill go up my spine. What was that just now? I looked around for a bit with my heart pounding. Wait… Was he…?
“Nii-san?” I heard behind me. No way. That can’t be… I turned around and my jaw just dropped. My darling younger sister stood inches away from me. I was more surprised that she could remember who I was. Seeing her again filled me with so much joy.
“Haru? Nii-san is that you?” she asked, sounding excited. But then a sadness crept into my heart. She was a monster like me now. It wouldn’t be long before the world started to turn on us and treated as such. I couldn’t let Honoka suffer that fate. It hurt me to come to this. I drew a breath as I took my left glove off. Tears filled my eyes as I walked up to Honoka.
“I’m so sorry, Honoka,” I whispered to her. I rested my hand against her chest.
But nothing happened.
“Huh?” I asked. I touched her again. Still nothing. My dear sister was still alive. Honoka stared up at me with those big eyes of hers.
“Nii-san?” she asked. I dropped my naked hand at my side and laughed. My demon hand betrayed me when I needed it the most. I couldn’t kill my sister.
I couldn’t get rid of my demon hand or spare my sister from the coming hell. Killing that devil’s patients and saving them from his poison is my own way to get revenge.