Halo Six: Angels:
Junko sat back in her chair and stared at the ceiling.
“We need more meat,” she complained. The nurse looked around at the angels hissing and scratching at the bars. Yui and Naoki stood, nervously. Their boss eyed the female intern in a cold way.
“Have you destroyed all of those dolls yet?” she asked.
“No,” Yui said, shaking her head. Junko narrowed her eyes.
“And how many dolls are left?” she asked. Her intern counted on her fingers.
“115,” she said. “I think…” Junko threw back her head and groaned.
“Seriously?!” she asked.
“I’m so sorry,” Yui said, bowing her head. Naoki patted her on the shoulder. Their boss rubbed her forehead and looked around at all the angels in the cages.
“We can’t go further with the experiments unless they are fed properly,” she complained. The hissing and growling rose around them.
“Oh shut up!” Junko shouted. Suddenly, her phone rang. She took a breath and picked it up.
“Hello?” she asked.
“You sound tense,” Kitano said on the other line. Junko sighed and rolled her eyes.
“We’re running out of meat,” she said.
“Why don’t you go get some?” he asked. The nurse frowned as she looked at her two interns staring at her.
“I can’t do that without drawing too much attention, remember?” she asked. “The last thing I need is to have the police poking around here asking questions of people disappearing.”
“Fair enough,” the therapist said. “I call to check up on how your branch was doing. Since you got F to awaken, I am willing to help you. I will take care of it. You will have more meat for the angels in one day’s time.” Junko bowed her head.
“Thank you, Kitano,” she said. “Is there anything you want me to do for you?”
“No,” he said. “That is all. Goodbye.”
“Thank you, goodbye,” Junko said. She hung up but frowned. Kitano brought up another issue on hand. Sure, F had reverted. But she wasn’t feeding. Her brother and her friends kept a close watch over her. This would not do.
“Kawaguchi,” Junko said. Naoki lifted his head.
“Yes, sensei?” he asked.
“I have a small job for you to do,” she said. The nurse leaned forward with a smirk on her face. “I am going to need you to take a little field trip. Are you up for that?” The male intern slowly nodded.
“Good,” his boss said. “You already have some idea of what I want. How you choose to execute it is at your discretion.”
“Yes, sensei,” Kawaguchi said. Junko pulled out her phone.
“I have F’s address right here,” she said.
The pain grew worse. She felt like her body was on fire. Chiharu couldn’t eat or drink anything. Her friends would come by and check on her.
“You have to fight this,” Mikado whispered. “We couldn’t stop you before but maybe it isn’t too late.” The angel shook her head.
“No?” Mikado asked. Chiharu’s right hand gave into trimmers again. The tadpole held it into place. He saw the desperation in her eyes.
“I… can’t… hold… on…” she muttered. Her speech started getting slower. Tears of pain formed in her eyes.
“You can’t think that way,” Mikado said. His words sounded so hollow. Both of them knew it was lie. Chiharu fought the good fight of not feeding on anyone. But how long was that going to last?
“You know what?” Mikado asked at last. “Let’s not focus on that right now. The tadpole looked around for a bit.
“There have been strange things going on around here lately,” he said in a whisper. He didn’t care if that was not a way to start a conversation. Mikado needed to keep Chiharu’s mind off of her current situation. She looked at him with those blank eyes filled with tears.
“I keep seeing more children with those orange lanterns around lately,” Mikado added. “I don’t think those will do anymore.” His mind went back to that Amanojaku with the knife. Because of that attack, Chiharu was like this. It was because of him that Chiharu gave into her bloodlust. It was because of him that things were going to get worse.
“Don’t… think… you… are… to… blame…” she spoke up. Mikado turned his head. Chiharu looked him in the eye but said nothing. He wanted to believe her but he had so much more on his mind.
“Hashimoto-san,” Mikado said at last. “I’m going to stay with you for a little bit longer. Does that sound good to you? That sounds good to me.” They didn’t say anymore as Mikado sat down next to her. Instinct told him to stay by as long as he could.
Kana stood in the darkened bathroom in her nightgown. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days. She felt so numb all over. The dreams started coming back. Only this time, she hadn’t been drinking in weeks. It was her therapist’s idea.
“Are you still having visions?” Aya asked. Kana froze with her head down.
“Yes,” she said in a quiet voice. The therapist took a moment to think.
“Why not try to stop drinking for a while and then see what happens,” she suggested. Kana looked up at her with a weary look on her face. Aya’s angelic smile didn’t put her at ease.
“Are you sure?” Kana asked dryly. Aya gently put her hand on hers.
“Do you want to get better?” she asked. Kana stared at her wide-eyed.
“Y-Y-Yes,” she whimpered. Aya leaned in close to her face.
“Let me help you,” she said. “Stop drinking for a while. Clear your mind. You don’t need alcohol in your life. Think of how much more your life can be without it.” Kana blinked for a moment.
“Do you think the drinking is causing my visions?” she asked.
“It might,” her therapist said. “Only one way to find out, isn’t there?”
That only made things even worse.
Now, the visions grew stronger. So strong that Kana could still feel them crawling on her skin. The alcohol would numb everything. But now, she had nothing else to fall back on.
Last night’s the worst that she experienced.
Her skin felt like I was burning. The thin air hurt her lungs. The different flashes in the sky made her watering eyes hurt. Those four dragons circled the sky. The eyes of paranoia could see the destruction of Ikebukuro. The burning religious symbols of intolerance held her attention captive to the horrors around her. The mirrors of vanity made it impossible for her to tun away. The gold of greed shined over the crumbling buildings.
She wasn’t alone, however.
At one end of the city stood a woman with a long red flowing dress. Blood couldn’t rival the color of her dress. Speaking of which, blood streaked her arms and face. She laughed as she reveled in the carnage and destruction.
“Rise!” she screamed above the flames. “Join me in my dance of the destruction!” Her voice alone set Kana running away. She tried to look for any sign of life in vain. But then she saw her…
At the other end of the city stood another woman. Kana couldn’t see her face. The black hoodie this woman wore did an excellent job of that. She kept her hands in the pockets of her black jeans. Despite not seeing her face, Kana could still hear what the woman was saying.
Such a dream sent Kana running to the bathroom in a panic. After washing her face with cold water, the distressed woman happened to look down. It was then she noticed her anti-anxiety meds spilled out all over the wet sink. Kana didn’t even remember reaching into the medicine cabinet, pulling out the bottle, and dropping it with shaking hands.
Shinra and Celty sat on the couch in their living room. Yamato and his crew sat across from them. The doctor didn’t want to drag his girlfriend into this. But was needed for his own protect against these rogue tadpoles. He decided to try and make it up to her later.
[Are you sure this is a good idea?], Celty typed on her PDA.
“This was the only way to get them to come here,” Shinra whispered.
[Can you even trust them?], she typed.
“That’s why I have you with me,” the doctor whispered back. His dullahan girlfriend poked him hard in the side with her shadow.
“Ow,” Shinra said, clenching his teeth. He turned to see his girlfriend frowning with her non-existent face. The doctor pressed his palms together and bowed his head.
“I am so sorry!” he said. “Please let me make it up to you later.” Someone cleared their throat across from them. The couple looked up to see their guests giving them judgmental looks.
“Are you done?” Yamato asked. Shinra cleared his throat.
“I apologize,” he said. “I’m sure you all have plenty of questions for me. Let’s get started, shall we? Who wants to go first?” None of the tadpoles spoke.
“Okay then…” Shinra said.
“Why is she here?” Shuichi asked, pointing to Celty. The doctor put his hand on her shoulder.
“This is my lovely girlfriend,” he said proudly. “She’s here to protect me.” That statement was met with questionable looks.
“You’re that scared of us?” Yamato asked.
“No,” Shinra said. “But I don’t need to have tadpole powers to tell that you are afraid of me.” The lead tadpole of the group wrinkled his nose.
“Like hell we are,” he muttered. The doctor chose not to comment.
“Is this what you want?” he asked. Shinra reached into a bag on the floor and pulled out a light brown folder. He slid it across the table. Yamato picked up the folder. The tadpoles read the information as he opened it. They noticed the first page was filled with a long list of names of people worked in Chou Mori before it shut down.
“How far back does this go?” Shuichi asked.
“All the way back to 1965,” Shinra said in a matter of fact tone. Yamato flipped through all of the pages.
“He’s telling the truth,” he said. The doctor paced himself as he watched them.
“Before you ask, there are more tadpoles here,” he said aloud. Everyone looked up at him.
[Shinra! What are you doing?!] Celty typed PDA.
“It’s okay, Celty,” Shinra said. “They were going to look it up anyway. Might as well tell them.” He turned back to Yamato’s group.
“Now my question is are you going to recruit them for your revenge hunt?” he asked.
[What?!] his girlfriend typed frantically.
“I apologize for not telling you earlier,” Shinra said. “I had hoped not to involve you any further in this.” The doctor sighed.
“That looks like that’s not going to happen, now is it?” he asked. “Well, might as well get it all out there.” Shinra focused on their guests.
“I am going to come out and say it,” he added. “I don’t know if they all are on board with the whole murder thing. Some of them might think about it. I definitely know one who will do it. The others, not so much.” The male tadpoles frowned.
“And your point is?” Tomoya asked. Shinra leaned forward.
“You might as well stay in Ikebukuro,” he said. “Whether you do or not is your choice. But my father will want a word with you sooner or later.”
“And you are telling us this, why?” Shuichi asked. The doctor shrugged.
“Might as well, I guess,” he said. “After all, you are going to find all of this out anyway.” The small group of tadpoles frowned. Who was this doctor?
Mizuho walked up to Tatsuya’s apartment and knocked on the door. She paced around as she thought about what she wanted to say. Mizuho happened to look over to my right. A man and a child stood at the door of that apartment. At first, she thought nothing of it. The man was wearing a long black coat despite it being summer. His hat was tilted to the back.
Then, there was the kid.
Mizuho couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl. They were playing around with a stuffed white doll that had no face. But, there was that expression on that child’s face. There was just… nothing. This kid’s eyes looked so dead. No smile or delight as they played with that doll. They didn’t look like they were enjoying that doll in their hands. That child looked up at Mizuho.
Mizuho turned her head when the door opened. Tatsuya stood in the doorframe.
“Hello,” she said in a low voice.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“I came to see you,” Mizuho said.
“Why?” Tatsuya asked. She clenched her fists at her sides.
“You barely talk to me anymore! What am I supposed to think?” Mizuho asked. She felt herself shaking.
“I do not have time for this,” Tatsuya muttered. He tried to close the door on her, but Mizuho stuck her foot inside.
“Hey!” he said.
“Let me in!” Mizuho screamed.
“Go away!” Tatsuya shouted.
“Why do you keep shutting me out?!” she yelled. “I want to help you! Just let me in!”
“No!” Tatsuya shouted. He tried to push her out, but Mizuho managed to force herself in.
“Get out of here!” her old friend yelled. But then, Mizuho froze. Chiharu sat in the corner, trembling and looking disheveled. She looked like heroin addict the way she bit on her hand. All of the color was drained from her skin. Her shirt hung off of her right shoulder. She had her knees to her chest. Never had Mizuho seen her eyes look so vacant. her jaw dropped.
“What happened to her?” she asked. Tatsuya sighed and flopped down on the couch.
“I don’t really know myself,” he said. “Mikado and Masaomi didn’t fully explain anything to me when they brought her home.” Mizuho walked over and sat down with him.
“Is there anything I can do?” she asked. Tatsuya shrugged and shook his head.
“What can you do?” he asked. “I don’t even know what’s wrong with her. What can you do?” Mizuho took hold of his arm.
“Let me stay by your side,” she said. “Please?” Tatsuya rolled his eyes.
“Whatever,” he muttered.
“Thank you,” Mizuho said with a bow. Her old friend frowned. Meanwhile, Chiharu still chewed on her hand.
-Izaya and Mari-
Izaya sat back on Mari’s bed.
“I’m bored,” he complained.
“Uh-huh,” Mari said as she typed away more code on her laptop. He rolled over onto his stomach.
“Did I tell you about the police coming to my place at two in the morning?” Izaya asked.
“Uh-huh,” she said. The programmer didn’t even turn around. The information broker frowned.
“Come to bed with me,” he said.
“Can’t,” Mari said.
“Working again?” Izaya asked.
“Uh-huh,” she said. Her sex friend walked over to her desk. He got a good look at her screen. So many zero’s and one’s. This was why she never answered his calls anymore. Izaya frowned.
“Did you want something?” Mari asked. Izaya sighed and dropped his shoulders.
“I think I am being targeted,” he admitted. She paused with her typing.
“Who do you think it is this time?” the programmer asked.
“I have no idea,” Izaya said. “I doubt the Awakusu would go that far to fake a kidnapping over at my place and bomb the other apartment.”
“Is that right?” Mari asked. “It’s not us.” The information broker raised his eyebrow.
“You sound so certain of that,” he said.
“That’s because I am,” she said in a low voice. Mari turned and looked him in the eye. “We’ve been too busy with the game to focus on you.” The way she said made her sound like she was telling the truth. But in his line of work, he couldn’t be trusting.
“If you say so,” Izaya said, putting up his hands. Mari’s gaze didn’t break. Her sex friend sighed.
“Yes, you can get back to work,” he said.
“Thank you,” Mari said. She turned back to her laptop and went back to typing. Izaya watched her while in thought. Mari sounded like she was telling the truth. But then again, she could be instructed to lie to him.
He walked down the street with his earbuds in. Things still were unease between him and Anri. Masaomi was out checking on Saki again. Mikado just wanted to be alone. His eyes needed a break from all of that porn Cheri had him watch nightly.
Why did she want me to “improve” in bed so much?
Mikado shuddered at the thought. He didn’t need more problems added onto his plate. There were more pressing issues on his hands.
“Since when you wear earbuds out in public?” a voice asked. Mikado froze and jerked his head upwards. A woman stood in front of him, smiling. Her dark purple and black hair came down to her waist. Those caramel-colored lips begged for a kiss. He couldn’t tell if she was wearing make-up or not. Mikado tried not to look at the large lacy black bra under the woman’s long white dress.
“Fuyuko?” he asked. The woman smiled.
“So happy that you remember me,” she said. Mikado’s right eye started to twitch as started to remember, yes, he slept with her too.
“Aw, what’s the matter?” Fuyuko asked. His face turned bright red.
“How did you find me?” he asked. She flipped back her long purple and black hair.
“We’re always going to you, Mikado-kun,” Fuyuko said. The tadpole boy frowned. Fuyuko tilted her head.
“What’s with those earbuds in your ears?” she asked. Mikado felt the black earbud in his right ear.
“Oh,” he said. “It’s to keep them out.”
“What are you playing?” Fuyuko asked.
“Just Top 40′s music, variety stuff, anything really,” he said. She patted him on the shoulder.
“Baby,” Fuyuko said. “I know you are having a hard time with this but you will need something stronger.” She took hold of his arm.
“Come hang out with me for a bit,” Fuyuko purred in his ear. “You’ll be much safer. At least until you get home.” Mikado gave her a nervous look. Like he had much of a choice. She gave a little smile.
“I want to get to know you again,” Fuyuko said. She pulled him along with him down the street.
More people started having visions they couldn’t explain. Some them more clearly than others.
Shoichi found himself standing in heavy of a heavy oak door. He could hear a low humming noise from inside. When the IT tech went up to touch the door, he might as well have been touching a sheet of ice. A sense of dread washed over him.
Shoichi slowly lifted his hand for the brass knob. Sweat formed on his brow as the knob creaked loose. Too late to turn back now. Cold air hit his face. The bright lights blinded him. Shoichi had to shield his eyes.
The room inside was pure white. Three metal chairs sat in the middle. The IT Guy looked up when he heard another door opening on the other side of the room. Three men in black dress suits walking over to the chairs and sat down. Heavy, violent winds blew up around the first man. Ravens and crows began to fight around his head. The wind and feathers didn’t faze him.
Flames engulfed the second man. He didn’t scream out. He sat as calmly as the first man. Icy water splashed down upon the third man and he didn’t respond. The site itself was baffling. But then Shoichi saw it. A large black dog stared at him from across the room. This animal wasn’t hard to miss. The silver glowing eyes locked on the IT guy. The dog began to growl. Though it didn’t charge, it was enough to make to Shoichi back out of the room.
Shoichi wasn’t the only having strange visions.
Elsewhere, Saki kept hearing scratching at her first door at 3:27 in the morning every day.
Kitano looked at his phone. “Oh well, looks like I will have to call him again.”
Meanwhile, Mikado’s phone rang. He reached for it next to his computer.
“Hello?” the tadpole asked.
“Chiharu has gone missing,” Tatsuya said on the other line.