Chapter Twenty-Four: Silent Spring:
December 23rd, 2009. 7 a.m.
Mike received some shocking news the next morning. His phone rang before sunrise.
"Hello?" he asked in a tired voice.
"Mike-san?" a woman's voice asked on the other line.
"Yes?" he asked. "What is it?"
"Yamamoto-san's condition has changed!" the woman announced. Mike's eyes opened wide.
"Nurse Yamaha?" he asked. "What did you say?"
"Yamamoto-san's condition has changed," the nurse repeated. The demon sat up in bed.
"Changed?" he asked. "Changed how?"
"It's hard to say," the nurse said. "She kept asking for you. Only…"
"Only what?" Mike asked. The nurse paused on the other line.
"She kept asking for 'Mike-kun' not 'Mikey,'" she said. Mike froze at that revelation.
"I'll be right over," he said. The demon leapt out of bed and raced to get dressed. In an hour, Tatsumi and Mike made it to the hospital. They rushed all the way to Hana's room. The woman sat up in bed, staring at them. Gone was the child-like glow in her face. She had no emotion.
"Mike-kun?" she asked. The demon stepped forward.
"Hana?" he asked. "Hana, what happened?" His ex clutched her sheets.
"It's been so long," she said.
"Yes, it has," Mike said.
"I've been sick, haven't I?"
Mike lowered his head. "Yes." Neither one spoke as Tatsumi sensed a change in the woman.
Hana grabbed her sheets tighter. "I don't know how much longer I'll be here," she said. "So I have to say this now."
"Hana…" Mike said.
"No, listen!" she cried. The woman breathed heavily.
"I forgive you," Hana said. The color drained from Mike's face.
"Hana…" he said.
"I forgive you for Izumi-chan's death and everything that happened between us," she said. Mike felt like breaking down inside.
"Hana…" he murmured.
"Excuse me," Tatsumi cut in. Hana and Mike looked up at him. The secretary pushed up his glasses.
"What exactly happened to you, Yamamoto-san?" he asked. "Please try to remember." Hana dug into her mind for the answer for a moment.
"There was something last night," she said.
"What?" Mike asked.
"An angel came in my room," Hana answered.
"An angel?" Mike asked.
Hana nodded. "Yeah."
"What did this angel look like?" Tatsumi asked. The woman closed her eyes.
"He had the most beautiful violet eyes and he wore a lone black trench coat," she said. Both men froze in shock.
"He's been here!" Tatsumi gasped.
"Hana, did this angel do anything to the tape?" Mike asked.
"I don't know," she said. "I fell asleep." The men rushed over to the tape player and hit play.
"Tell me, you are a good girl."
"I need to go to the hospital Asato-kun."
"Good, it's still here," Mike said. However as the tape continued, their hearts sank.
"Please Asato-kun. Let me go to -"
New Message on Tape:
"That's enough out of you, Anna-chan!"
Mike and Tatsumi paused.
"No," the shinigami said. "He's taped over it."
New Message on Tape:
"It seems there is a leak in my little game. (He snickered on the recording.) Doesn't change things for me. I have Anna-san. Don't bother retrieving her. I'll give her back when I'm ready. If you disobey me, well… Let's just say, I can't guarantee her well-being afterwards. Good day, gentlemen."
*End of Tape*
Tatsumi and Mike stood there in silence. The jaded version of Tsuzuki's voice just confirmed everything they suspected. Unbeknownst to them, they had a little help on the outside with them, but for right now…