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Cherry

By Noizchild

Mystery / Horror

Prologue

Cherry

Prologue:

Halloween 1999.

Kimoto Daisuke and his sixteen-year-old daughter, Anna, were in for the night. The little trick-or-treaters outside began winding down. Most of the houses had already closed their blinds and turned off their lights. The night sky looked like it would give way to rain at any time now. Father and daughter hadn't planned to do much for the night. She had just finished her homework and Daisuke still had some paperwork to do on his laptop. They had planned to take a bath and go to bed, but then fate took a cruel twist for them.

Anna had finished closing the blinds when the doorbell rang. The girl looked up in Daisuke's office while he was still typing away at his work.

"Papa," she said, "There's someone at the door. What should I do?" Daisuke didn't look up from his laptop screen.

"Just tell them to go away," he replied as he waved her off.

"Okay," Anna replied in a small voice. She walked over to the front door as the bell rang again. The girl opened it a crack and peeked out. A boy with a white and red Kabuki-like mask peeked into the crack. Anna's face twisted into a puzzled one.

"Uh…" she said. "Can I help you?"

"Please Miss!" the boy pleaded as he clutched onto the door. "It's an emergency! We need to use your phone!"

"I'm sorry," Anna replied still rather uncertain of what to make of this situation, "We don't have a phone." This was a lie, of course; that's the best excuse she could come up with at the time. The boy wouldn't leave as she hoped that he would.

"Please!" he pleaded again. "It's matter of life or death, miss! We need to contact help right away!" Anna went quiet for a moment. She looked behind her nervously. Daisuke still stared at his screen working. She doubted that he would really notice if someone walked in the house if she had let him in or not. Once her father was buried in his work, the only thing that would catch his attention was food. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to help this boy out. He did seem to be in trouble and really needed to call for help…

Anna turned back to the boy with her hands trembling by her side. She bit her lip as she gathered together the words that she wanted to say.

"Okay but make it quick," the girl replied with her voice a little bit above a whisper. The boy nodded his head.

"Oh thank you, miss!" he said in one breath. Anna slowly, but reluctantly opened the door. The boy raced inside and grabbed onto her in a bear hug.

"I'm so sorry for this!" he cried out. Suddenly, three men and another boy barged right into the house after him. Anna looked around panicked as the boy laid a gloved hand over her mouth. He clung onto her so tightly that the girl couldn't even try and break away from him. She seemed to have opened the door to a home invasion. The first boy shoved her into the closet and pushed two chairs in front of the door. The girl cried aloud and pounded on the hard wood.

"Hey!" she screamed. "What's going on?! Let me out! Papa! Papa! Help me!"

Daisuke quickly got up at his daughter's cries and ran straight into the living room. The men looked up and saw their true target. Despite their Kabuki-like masks and black clothing, the man recognized them right away. Fire burned in his eyes.

"You!" he hissed. The intruders all smirked at him. The leader took a step forward with a baseball bat in his hands.

"At long last!" he boomed loud enough to disturb the spirit, "Daddy dearest is here!" Daisuke prepared to attack with his kitsune powers. The intruders did likewise with their own powers and weapons. Daisuke threw an ice-fire ball at the leader to start off the fight. The blast broke down into tiny ice shards and stabbed the intruders. One shard ripped the leader's mask, leaving the skin to bleed.

"Bastard!" he snapped. "You think a cheap trick like that will be enough to stop us?!" Daisuke narrowed his eyes at him.

"So, she sent you here?" he asked. "Why can't she just leave us alone?" The head intruder laughed.

"You don't get it, do you?" he asked. "You're in the way and we have to kill you!" He turned to his team.

"Get him before he draws out his full power!" he yelled. Daisuke began to chant another spell when the leader activated another spell to his own kitsune and whacked the father in the head with the baseball bat. Daisuke sank down to the tatami mats with a pain-filled gasp. The other two men piled on him before he had the chance to get up. The leader took off his mask and smirked. He whipped out a knife that he had hidden in his sleeve.

"You're in deep shit now, buddy," he hissed, "You're in deep shit now!" Even when faced with his death, Daisuke refused to give him the satisfaction of fear from their youth together. The leader sneered and stabbed the man in the chest. Anna watched from the closet in horror as her father drew in a breath in pain.

"Papa…" she whimpered. One of the intruders looked at the closet.

"What about his daughter?" he asked. The leader snorted.

"Forget about her!" he barked, "She doesn't matter tonight! We weren't ordered to touch her; we just need to kill her father." The leader intruder stabbed Daisuke again in the chest.

In two hours, the intruders all killed Daisuke by stabbing him fifty-two times in the chest, legs, torso, and neck. They strangled and beat him as an extra measure. The leader took delight in finishing their victim off with the final blow. Anna watched the whole thing from the closet in terror. She couldn't see their faces, but she saw all of the blood on the tatami mats. Daisuke's daughter couldn't understand what was happening. Who were these people and how did her father know them? And why were they killing him? She hugged her knees to her chest and closed her eyes, hoping that the violence would just stop. The long quiet hours that followed only made the waiting much worse for her to stomach.

Around eleven o'clock at night, Tsuzuki Asato and Kurosaki Hisoka came by the Kimoto manor to investigate Daisuke's murder. Ju-Oh-Cho sent them over because of a strong interest in the case due to the violent nature of the crime and Daisuke's dark history. Tsuzuki and Hisoka first investigated the body. The older Shinigami turned to his brash partner.

"It's them, alright," Tsuzuki said as he looked at the Kanji "Eda-Kimoto" and "bear" burned into Daisuke's wrists. Hisoka pondered the whole scene as he looked at the wounds on the body and the blood all over the tatami.

"It doesn't make sense," he said, looking up at his partner, "Why would they turn on their own after so long. They had the opportunity to kill him at any time, but now?" Tsuzuki was about to speak when they heard a sound from inside the closet. The men looked up right away.

"What was that?" Hisoka asked. His partner put up his hand and listened in closer. Thinking they had another victim, Tsuzuki slowly approached the closet. He moved aside the two chairs and opened the door.

Anna looked up at him with her knees to her chest. She trembled as she looked up at him with big, blank eyes. He took pity on the young girl.

"It's okay," he whispered as stuck out his hand to help her out of the closet. "They're gone now. We won't hurt you. We're only here to find out what happened to your dad." The girl stared at him for a long while uncertain. Anna looked so pale with freight from what happened hours before. She tried to look over at the body. Despite Tsuzuki's best attempts to hide it from her, she still saw Daisuke lying on the floor. Blood soaked through his clothes, leaving his white shirt dyed bright red. His open eyes looked glazed over with the last moments before he took his last breath. The chord marks around his neck and his open mouth made it worse. Anna broke down into shaking as she fell to her knees. Heavy tears formed in her eyes.

"Miss?" Tsuzuki asked. A strangled out scream came out of Anna's mouth.

"Papa!" she shouted in her blinding tears. "Papa!" Anna broke down into heavy sobs. Tsuzuki turned to Hisoka for help. He watched in pity as well.

"Just take her away from here," the boy replied, "I'll finish up here." Tsuzuki nodded.

"Come on," he whispered to the girl as he helped her to her feet. She nodded and headed outside to the garden with him. He stayed with her in under the gazebo for the whole time. Tsuzuki held the crying teenage girl to his chest as she wept. She looked up at him with big, despair-filled eyes. Tsuzuki tried to search for something to say to her. He looked out in the thick darkness and noticed that they had a downpour at the moment. He turned his attention back to her.

"Do you miss the rain?" he asked out of the blue. Anna looked at him lost in her sorrow. Tsuzuki nervously laughed. Okay, that didn't work out as he had envisioned it in his head. The Shinigami sat silent as he held onto the victim's daughter. Anna's cheeks turned a rosy pink as she looked into those violet eyes of his. She even felt her own heart beating against her chest. In the middle of the midnight hour, Tsuzuki leaned in and gave her a light kiss on the lips. Anna's heart flipped in her chest as she let her eyes slowly sink closed in the gentle peck. His kiss seemed to promise her something that would bloom into something deeper later on in life.

Noting really became of the kiss after that. The Kimoto case went cold to the Chijou police and Ju-Oh-Cho. Anna moved overseas to America to live with her aunt, Allison Parkman in San Diego, California. That seemed to be it from there, but then, ten years passed…

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