Black Swan Wonderland
Halo Zero: Rapture:
Kitano sat at his desk and hit record on his tape player.
“Sunday, August 2nd, 2015. We are going to try something a little bit different with this latest experiment today. Asato-sensei and I have sent out a few of our interns to inject a handful of the test subjects with the new drug, Ugajin. Interns Yayoi, Yuka, and Rumi came up with the idea. So I figured I would try and see which method works best. Should we keep using the Heartseed? Should we do this personally? Or should we do a combination or both? We are going to find out.”
Yuka, Yayoi, and Rumi all sat in a booth at McDonalds. Yayoi finished up her coffee.
“So how do we start?” Rumi asked.
“Go in, inject Chirin with the drug, and stay around the apartment to monitor him,” Yayoi said without missing a beat. Yuka frowned at such a simple answer.
“But how do we get in?” she asked. “He already remembers your and my faces. There’s no way Chirin will open the door for us.” She pointed to Yayoi and herself as she said, “he already remembers your and my faces”. The busty intern snickered and grinned.
“But do have a way in,” she pointed out. Yayoi pointed over at Rumi sitting across from them. The newbie looked at her with big eyes.
“Me?” she asked.
“Yes!” Yayoi said. “He’s never really met you. You weren’t even with us in our orderly days. You’ll be the perfect way in.”
“But how do I even get him to open the door?” Rumi asked.
“You’re a smart girl,” Yayoi said. “You can think of some way to get in. In fact…” She reached forward and grabbed Rumi’s hood.
“Hey!” she shouted. Her fellow intern pulled the grey hood up.
“Now lower your head slightly,” Yayoi said.
“What are you doing?” Yuka asked. The busty intern put up her hand. Rumi lowered her chin slightly, the hood obscuring her face.
“Like this?” she asked.
“Perfect!” Yayoi said. She clapped her hands together.
“Remember what sensei said,” Yuka said. “We have thirty seconds to subdue him and get on with it.”
“Yes, yes,” the busty intern said. “Can we go now?” The medical student sighed.
“Yes, we can go,” she said.
“Sweet!” Yayoi said. The ladies cleaned up their trash and made their way to their target’s apartment.
Mikado doesn’t sleep anymore. That has left him to be alone in his thoughts against his will. Ever since last night “earthquake”, he started to get more unsettling visions. Something was coming. Something beyond anyone’s nightmare. Mikado stared off into space at his sleeping monitor. Who was even going to believe him? There he had Masaomi and Anri, but he wasn’t too sure if they were enough anymore.
Suddenly, a knock on the door brought him back to earth. Mikado’s heart jumped in his chest. At first, he wanted to run over and throw open the door in relief. But then a sinking feeling washed over him. Maybe he should sneak out the window and run.
“Uh… Who is it?” the tadpole boy asked. No answer came from outside. Mikado approached the door with caution. He opened it a crack. A young woman stood outside with her hood on her head, looking downwards. A confused look came over his face.
“Can I help you?” Mikado asked. The woman seemed to be mumbling something under her breath.
“I’m sorry?” the tadpole asked. He managed to catch something about a boyfriend beating her and she needed to use the phone. He took a step back.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you,” Mikado said. The woman started whimpering at him.
“Please leave me alone,” the tadpole boy pleaded. He tried to slam the door in her face. But the woman grabbed him by the wrist quicker than he could move. His whole body went stiff. Mikado didn’t get a chance to scream for help. His body sank down to the floor. Yuka and Yayoi followed the woman into the apartment. Fear filled Mikado’s eyes as he realized what was happening. The hooded woman laid him down in the middle of his apartment. Yuka pulled out her kit.
“Take off his pants,” she said. Mikado’s eyes widened at the command.
“Delighted!” Yayoi said. She unzipped his jeans and slid them down to his ankles. The intern stripped them off as if she were about to have sex with the boy. Rumi turned her head, blushing. Yayoi’s hands went for his boxers.
“That’s good enough,” Yuka spoke up. Yayoi turned and pouted.
“You never let me have any fun!” she complained. The medical student frowned and rolled her eyes.
“We don’t have time to screw around,” she said. “Just get the door.”
“Fine!” her coworker shouted. She got up and walked over to the front door. Yuka opened her kit and pull out a syringe filled with this bright neon green fluid. Mikado took one look at that and began to panic. Rumi crawled over and pinned the boy down by his arms. Yuka walked up to the boy and sat down on her knees. Her fingertips ran along Mikado’s right inner thigh. The tadpole started to have Vietnam-like flashbacks to his time back in Chou Mori.
“Ah!” Yuka said with a smile as her fingers found the right vain that she needed. She took the cap off of the needle and injected Mikado with the liquid. Almost immediately, his body went stiff. It felt as if something heavy was sitting on his chest. Mikado started to breathe heavily as if his throat was closing up. His heart started pounding against his chest. He could hear his blood running through his body.
Yayoi stuck up a sign on the front door and locked it.
“We’re all set,” she whispered. Yuka nodded once.
“Good,” she said. “Now close the blinds and we can truly begin.” Mikado could hear his captors walking around the small apartment, closing the blinds. His stomach turned as his eardrums started to ring. Yuka stood over him as she pulled out her phone. She pulled up a recording app and hit record.
“August 2nd, 2015,” the intern said. “Test Subject: Chirin. Project Tadpole will begin with experiment… Sixty-five? Yeah, let’s go with that. Time is now 10:48. We can now begin.” Yuka hit stop and looked down at their prisoner. Mikado could only lie there breathing heavily as the latest drug ran through his veins.
Emily waited around in the train station. She was supposed to meet up with a kid she was tutoring in another city. Her mother didn’t understand why she had to go far for this job.
“Can’t you do this online?” she asked last night.
“His mother doesn’t trust technology too well,” Emily said. “I will be fine. I’ll call you as soon as I get there.”
She hadn’t expected much to happen on this particular Sunday.
-Three Days Earlier-
Kitano came out to Roc while he was filing out paperwork.
“Segawa,” the therapist said. Roc looked up.
“Sensei?” he asked. “Did you need something?”
“In my office, now,” the older man said. The intern gave him a strange look.
“Am I in trouble?” he asked.
“Why would you think that?” Kitano asked. Roc shook his head.
“Never mind, I’ll come with you,” he said. The intern followed his boss.
Once they got into the office, Kitano sat down at his desk. He pulled out the tadpole folder and opened it up.
“Pick which one you like the most,” he said. Roc looked down at pictures on the desk. It didn’t take long for him to think.
“This one,” he said. Kitano looked down to see Roc pointing at the picture of Emily.
“Good choice,” he said.
“Sensei,” the intern said. “May I ask what the point of this was?” Kitano had his usual resting stoic face.
“I will talk to all of you in two days,” he said.
“Heh,” Roc said.
Roc stood near the ticket booth. His eyes were on Emily’s back. He had her schedule memorized. (Thank goodness for Tandeki’s connections with the city for these tadpole freaks.) The intern would have to act on his plans with great care. His eyes shifted back and forth.
Roc looked at his cell phone. 10:15. He took a breath and walked up to his target.
It didn’t take long for Emily to notice out of her peripheral vision. Roc stood next to her, looking ahead. Memories began to fill her head. But running would not be smart. Plus, there were also CTV and crowds of people around. Now like he would try anything out in public, right?
“Oh Shoujo E,” Roc whispered in a sing-songy voice. “I found you.” Emily’s eyes widened as he skin started to crawl. She shifted her gaze over to her right. Taiyou stood beside her with his sword out, ready to attack.
Emily just had to give him the word.
Roc smirked to himself. He reached out and grabbed her wrist before she could say a word. He pulled her close to his chest, finding her under a big coat before dragging her away. The intern used his arm to muzzle her voice. Emily found herself unable to move as she was dragged out of the camera’s blind spot.
Help… me… Taiyou… Mama… Anybody…
Roc took his target into the bathroom and shoved her down onto the floor. Emily stared up at him with tears in her eyes. Her captor stood over her with the syringe filled with the bright neon green fluid. He snickered as he got down on his knees.
“You brought this on yourself, Little Girl,” Roc said. He uncapped the syringe and flipped up her skirt. The intern felt along her thigh and gave her the injection. Emily’s body went stiff as the drug took hold. Tears streamed down her face as she watched him do his recording log.
-Three Hours Earlier-
Kitano had all of his and Etsuko’s interns gathered around his desk. Etsuko herself stood beside him.
“For this experiment,” Kitano said. “We are going to try something a little bit different. Asato-sensei will man the Heartseed. You all will go to your respective targets and administer the drug in person.”
“But how will we be able to get close enough to them, sensei?” Yuzuru asked. “They are getting their memories back by this point. They will not even trust us to open the doors for us.”
“We have given that much thought,” Kitano said. “And we have a way to work around that.” Etsuko pulled out eight small plastic boxes and handed them to Kitano.
“Hold out your hands,” he said. The interns all complied.
“We have been working on a way to neutralize our pets,” the therapist said. “We used Celty’s DNA as the base. It’s still not stable as we are still trying to get the formula exactly right for future use. Right now, you only have thirty seconds to use these. One touch will only be needed. Do not waste any time. Understood?”
“Yes, sensei,” the interns said.
“You will all start around ten,” Kitano said. “Get going.”
“Yes, sensei,” they said. The interns bowed and handed out the door.
The latest experiment had begun. The tadpoles all lay on the ground looking like they were having seizures.
“Anzu-san? Anzu-san?” Maiko asked as she shook her friend. The girls in the dojo frantically all called for an ambulance.
“119, what’s your emergency?” the operator asked.
“There’s something wrong with my girlfriend!” Kenji said on the phone. “I don’t know what happened. She was fine one moment now she’s shaking uncontrollably. Please send help!” Naomi lay on their bedroom, shaking but she could still hear everything going on around her.
Meanwhile, Kitano sat in his office with his tape recorder in his hand. Now all they had to do was wait.
“You left me in jail,” Izaya complained. Kitano sat at his desk doing paperwork. He wasn’t even looking up at the information broker. Izaya walked over to the window.
“They didn’t even tell me what they were charging me with,” he said. “One of them kicked me in the stomach, you know?” Kitano didn’t look up. Izaya frowned.
“I didn’t do anything,” he said. “Well, nothing illegal. There was no reason for them to kick me and throw me into a cell like that! They wouldn’t give me anything to eat or drink either. They kept asking me questions that didn’t make any sense. When I tried to ask what was going on, one of those cops smacked me in the face. They kept yelling at me and shoving things in my face.” By now, the therapist rolled his eyes. He just stopped pretending to work.
“Oh hush,” he said at last. “You were only in jail for six hours.” The information broker whipped his head around. Kitano had that old stoic look on his face.
“I have been in an interrogation room for fifteen hours. You do not get to complain,” he said. “Were you even charged with anything?”
“No, they dropped the charges,” the information broker said.
“So, what’s the big problem?” the therapist asked. Izaya looked as if his feeling had been hurt.
“But…” he said. Kitano raised his eyebrow.
“And no I had nothing to do with you getting arrested,” he said. “It was convenient. We just needed you out of the way for the final gate to be open.” The information broker looked ready to scream with rage.
“We are also not behind you being stalked either,” the therapist said. “Sorry to disappoint you. I know how much you want to pin this all on me. But you were not a priority to me. And you still aren’t?” Izaya’s frowned and furrowed his brows. He tried to think of something to say but nothing was coming out.
“Why did you even have my phone?” he asked at last. The older man shrugged.
“It was just there and I figured, why not use it for the night?” he said. “Not like you were going to miss it anyway. You’ve got lie two more phone on you, don’t you?” The more he spoke, the more Izaya felt his ears burn.
“That’s not point,” he hissed. He pouted at the therapist like a hurt little puppy. Kitano leaned back in his chair.
“Did you just come here to complain?” he asked. Izaya tried to hide the sheepish look on his face.
“Then get out of my office,” the therapist said. “Go on, shoo.” The information broker stared at him.
“Go on,” Kitano said again. “Get going.” Izaya frowned and turned around. The therapist watched as he walked towards the door.
“Oh and Izaya,” he spoke up. The information broker’s hand touched the metal of the door as he glanced over his shoulder.
“You should thank her,” he said. “She was the one who bailed you out. Why she has any semblance of affection towards you is beyond me.” Izaya forced himself to smile.
“I will remember to do that,” he said. He walked out the door. After that little exchange, Izaya started to like Kitano-sensei even less.
“I don’t know this happened!” Miiko wailed back in Purgatory. She dropped her head on her desk and wept. “We’re all screwed because of me!” Vanessa gently patted her on the head.
“Shhh,” the manager whispered. “We haven’t lost just yet. We just have a long war to fight before time runs out.” The receptionist lifted her head. Tears ran from her deep brown eyes.
“But I was so close!” she wailed. Miiko positioned her thumb and index finger like a gun. She aimed at an invisible target.
“They were right there,” the receptionist said. “I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. Maybe I was trying to get the knife out of Hecate’s hand. I really don’t know what happened.” More tears welled up in her eyes as she sniffled.
“It’s all my fault!” Miiko wailed. “I doomed them all. I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!” She broke down crying again. Vanessa pulled her into her arms.
“We haven’t fully lost yet,” she whispered. “We have to keep fighting. It will be much harder but we can’t quit.” Miiko was too busy crying to hear most of what the manager said. Still, Vanessa had her own questions. What exactly made Miiko draw a gun in the first place? Any about of blood would cause the gate to react. The receptionist must have known this. But still out came the gun. As Vanessa put the pieces of Miiko’s account together, a grim realization washed over her.
“Miiko-san,” the manger said. The receptionist looked up with leftover tears in her eyes.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I am going to need you to listen to me and try to remember when I ask you this,” Vanessa said, holding her by the cheeks. “When you pulled out your gun, did you hear any voices in your head? Try to remember. Think hard and try to remember.” Miiko took a moment to think. She pressed her lips together.
“I… I don’t know,” she admitted. “I don’t really know.” Vanessa furrowed her brow.
“You knew that that gate would react to the blood of a nightcomer, don’t know?” she asked. Miiko’s round face grew pale.
“Are you saying that-?” she asked. Vanessa held up her hand.
“I’m not saying that at all,” she said. Miiko blinked away her tears. The manager brushed away the remaining from her plump cheeks.
“I think you were influenced to pull out your gun,” she said. The receptionist had a confused look on her face.
“What do you mean?” she asked. Vanessa had a stern look on her face.
“Come with me,” she said. The manager turned and walked down the hall. Miiko tilted her head.
“What are you talking about?” she asked. The receptionist followed behind her manager. Meanwhile Vanessa quickened her pace. If she was right about this, this war just got so much harder.
Kitano was doing more paperwork when he heard a knock on his door.
“Enter,” he said. He looked up as the door opened.
“Ah, Etsuko,” the therapist said. “Are you here to deliver the status updates about our pets?” She closed the door behind her.
“They have made the first check-in,” Etsuko said. “Since then, everything is going stable so far.”
“Good, good,” Kitano said. He lowered his pen.
“This is the first time that we’ve made it this far in the game,” the therapist said.
“Yes,” Etsuko said.
“We don’t know where this game could turn.”
“This is true.” Etsuko looked up at her partner. “Speaking of which, are we to send out the Blood Knights.” Kitano pulled out his tablet and tapped the screen.
“Oh,” he said. “Looks like one of them has hatched out of their cocoon early.” Kitano turned his tablet for Etsuko to have a look.
“Oh,” she said. “This should be rather interesting to observe.”
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
At first, everyone thought it was someone popping firecrackers in the street. It was only when they saw the broken glass mixed with the blood and heard someone screaming when people started to panic.
Two women were killed. Six more people were injured. Everyone was going fine in the little cafe until people heard the gun shots. Screaming and chaos filled the café. No one saw where the shots came from. The eyewitnesses weren’t clear about how many shots were fired in the first place. CTV cameras were jammed at the time. The police couldn’t get any footage from video. The two murdered victims were in their mid-thirties. They and three more of their friends were just having a nice girls’ afternoon of shopping and nice lunch. They didn’t expect it to end in a hail of bullets. Another friend, three more patrons, and waiter got caught in the blaze.
One of the victims was the wife of Awakusu Mikiya. She was taken to the hospital along with the other wounded. She’s currently in surgery to remove the bullets and save her life. The internet was already whispering about how this was a hit against the Awakusu. They would be half-right. Awakusu-san was indeed targeted.
Just not in the way that they thought.
However, there is rumor of cell phone footage of the events unfolding. The police are asking the public to come forward with any information to help crack the case.
Another thought crossed Kitano’s mind.
“I took the liberty of doing some armchair research while I was waiting for the final gate to open,” he spoke up. “You will want to take a look at this.” Etsuko walked around to his computer. She read the title of the archived webpage on the screen.
“We aren’t the only ones who have played this game,” Kitano said. He scrolled up to show her a picture of a wrapped up corpse nailed to a cross. Chains held the cloth down are the body. Blood seemed to be seeping out from where the torso should be. Something black stained where the nose and mouth came from.
“This is Michael,” Kitano said. “He is an archangel.”
“The Wrath of Heaven?” the doctor asked.
“This was one version of our game as we know it today,” the therapist said. Etsuko turned to her partner.
“Why are you showing me this?” she asked. Kitano scrolled further down on the page.
“A little birdie told me that Mam is using the archangels to get the upper hand,” he said. “They already found two of them.”
“What do you suggest that we do?” the doctor asked. Kitano closed the page.
“Dig as much information as we can on them,” he said. “And then we will work from there.” The therapist had a gleam in his eye.
“Besides, they do not know where Gabriel is,” he said.
Yuka glanced over at Mikado. Nine full hours. Mikado had been hanging on. Yayoi had her fun with sticking her hand down his boxers.
“Don’t you do it, slut!” Yuka said. The other intern turned to her, pouting.
“Aw, you never let me have any fun!” she complained. The medical student gave her a judgmental look. The whole time, Rumi peeked out at the tadpole through the cracks of her fingers. Her cheeks turned bright red.
It was love at first sight.
Rumi had only seen him in the archive films that her boss, Kitano-sensei, had kept over the years. Her fellow intern, Yayoi, called her in for work at Rampo Biotech during the nightshift for some “paperwork”. Instead, she and Yuka showed the new intern footage of Chirin being experimented on during his days as a mental patient.
By the end of the film, Rumi’s heart pounded as she breathed heavily. She just had to meet him in person and asked when that was possible with stars in her eyes. Her much older interns had worked with the teenaged patient two years prior as orderlies. Yayoi still wanted to sleep with him and Yuka was finding herself beginning to want him too as well. This patient, affectionately called Chirin by all of the interns and Kitano-sensei, was about sixteen or seventeen when he was first committed to Chou Mori Institution.
Initially, Kitano-sensei didn’t have much hope for him surviving the first trial of their experiment. In fact, he had planned to tell his parents that the boy had died in a tragic accident and that the body was never found. But when Chirin survived the first trial, things changed. Over time, Yuka and Yayoi grew fond of the patient while their boss became intrigued.
And now two years later after Chou Mori was gone and the Apocalypse Game was starting a new round again, Rumi hoped that even she would get to meet Chirin in personal for the new round of experiments in the resurrected Tadpole Project.
“He does have nice thighs,” Rumi mumbled to herself. Her cheeks flushed bright red. Yuka herself gulped as she looked at Mikado’s legs. Her mouth may have been protesting Yayoi playing with the boy’s boxers but her own body felt hot for the patient. In a way, Yuka couldn’t fault her fellow intern.
She blushed as she slapped herself in the cheeks.
Damn it, you can’t be dreaming like this! You are working right now!
Yayoi burst out laughing. Yuka shot a cold glare at her.
“What?” she asked. Her coworker smiled and shook her head. She smiled at her like a wild cat.
“Come on!” Yayoi said. “You feel it too, don’t you?” Yuka’s face turned even redder.
“Shut up!” she shouted. Her fellow intern only laughed louder. Rumi looked at her older coworkers.
“How long are we supposed to stay here?” she asked. Yuka and Yayoi looked up. The former counted up in her head.
“About midnight,” she said. “Maybe longer.” Rumi crawled over and laid her head on Mikado’s chest.
“I can’t tell if he’s still breathing or not,” she said.
“Move over,” Yayoi said. She crawled over to Mikado, shoving the newbie out of the way. The older intern pulled out a small compact mirror and held it under the boy’s nose. The glass began to fog up.
“He’s still with us,” she said.
“Check for a pulse,” Yuka said. Yayoi picked up the patient’s left wrist.
“He’s still with us,” she said again. The intern playfully slapped Mikado on the cheek.
“You are doing good, Chirin-kun,” Yayoi purred in his ear. “Hang in there.” She licked him on the cheek and ear.
“Yayoi!” Yuka shouted. The thirsty intern sat back giggling. Yuka groaned and rolled her eyes. Rumi sat between them looking back and forward.
The whole time, Mikado laid there unable to move. He could see everything. He could still feel every sensation all over his body. He could hear everything. Boy did these women talk so much too.
“What about his friends?”
“I’ve already got it.” Yuka pulled out the boy’s cell phone. “I sent texts to his friends saying that he was going to be getting caught up on some homework. I asked not to be disturbed for the whole day. I even turned it off for good measure.”
“I put up a ‘Don’t disturb sign;’ too just to keep people from trying to pry.”
“But we still need to be on the lookout in case someone comes to the apartment anyway.”
“We’ll all take shifts. Two of us will keep watch over Chirin-kun while we watch over outside.”
“What if we have to use the bathroom?”
“We’ll gone one at a time. The other two will watch over him. I brought food for us so that we don’t have to leave. Plus, he probably has something to eat as well.”
“What do we do for sleeping?”
“A quick nap will do just fine.”
Mikado couldn’t scream at them to get out. He had to choke back bile in his throat every time Yayoi touched him. This was just like being at Chou Mori again. The new drug in his body made it that much worse. His throat and lungs felt like they were on fire. Sweat broke out all over his body. His only saving grace was Yuka barking at Yayoi to get off of him when she tried to molest him. But that didn’t help that everyone looked so thirsty around him.
At one point in the late afternoon, Yayoi blinked outside through the blinds.
“Hang on, there’s somebody outside,” she said. The other two interns looked up.
“Who is it?” Yuka whispered.
“Just some lady looking up at the apartment,” Yayoi said. The other two came around for a look. A woman in a cotton grey dress and curly black hair seemed to be looking up at the apartment.
“Do you think she can see us?” Rumi asked.
“I’m not sure,” Yuka said.
“She keeps looking up at us,” Yayoi said. She reached forward to tap the glass. The med student grabbed her wrist.
“Don’t!” she said. Suddenly, the lady outside turned and walked away.
“Oh she’s leaving,” Yayoi said. Yuka breathed out.
“Thank goodness!” she said. She leaned back against the window, her head pushing against the blinds. In that moment, Mikado had wished that the woman could’ve at least walked up the stairs to his door.
Other than that little panic, nobody else interrupted them.
“How long has it been?” Rumi asked later in the evening. Yuka looked at her phone.
“It’s 18:03 now,” she said. Yayoi checked Mikado’s pulse again.
“He’s still with us,” she said.
“Good,” Yuka said. “Six more hours to go.”
“Ah,” Yayoi said. Mikado felt like dying when he heard that.
Meanwhile, Emily wasn’t having it so good either. She didn’t have three thirsty interns lusting after her body but her situation was no better. Roc had to deal with her himself.
He too came prepared. The intern already set up a bathroom being cleaned signed outside the door and locked it. He brought a backpack filled with food and drink to tide him over. Plus, he could easily the bathroom without having to go anywhere.
Roc sneered down at Emily.
“You think you’re so much better than me, don’t you?” he asked. She and him had history in Chou Mori. Disgust and attraction always ran wild in his head. He wanted to stomp her in the face. He wanted to strangle her. All so tenderly.
Tears welled up in Emily’s eyes.
The intern clicked his tongue.
“Don’t look at me like that, you little whore,” he hissed. “You brought this on yourself. You are just a lowlife freak. Why should it be you that survives the end? Why? Why?” She couldn’t answer him. The drug had her trapped in her own body. For hours, she had to endure verbal abuse from her captor. Roc insulted and berated her while circling her in the bathroom. Granted, he did still check to see if she was still alive. What’s the point of hauling abuse if your target can’t hear you?
Roc squatted down over her head. He gave her look of fake sympathy.
“Aw, what?” he asked. “Are you going to cry again?” The intern clicked his tongue.
“Pathetic,” he muttered. The intern lightly kicked her in the head. He checked for a pulse once again. Roc turned up his nose.
“You freaks are pretty tough to kill, aren’t you?” he asked. It didn’t help that Taiyou was across the room. Her spirit familiar vanished the moment Roc grabbed Emily’s wrist. He had just now reappeared near the locked door. She could cry out to him and her thoughts couldn’t reach him. Taiyou just sat there, watching her suffer. But still, Emily wouldn’t stop calling out to him in her mind.
Taiyou… Please… Save me… Go get help… Help me…
Suddenly, Roc climbed on top of her. Emily looked up at him with worry in her eyes. His hands came on either side of her head on the ground. His knees came on either side of her waist. She couldn’t see if he was stiff in his pants or not. The intern looked like a hungry wild animal. Roc smirked at her.
“You know what annoys me the most about you?” he asked. “The fact that you are so adorable. Even back then you are that attractive.” Years of sexual frustration came back in waves in his head.
Emily was always in a daze back then. Roc had to tend to her on his shift. Kitano was the one who pulled him into the Tadpole Project. And Emily ended up being one of the test subjects as well. Being near someone many hours of day can create a relationship—positive or negative. For Roc, this create problems. He wasn’t like Yayoi who didn’t care who knew that she would try to sleep with the patients. Roc never liked the tadpoles but Emily put him in a difficult position.
Roc clicked his tongue back in present.
“Do you know how many times I wanted to do this?” he asked. “Do you? Do you?” She couldn’t answer him because of the drug. The intern snickered and shook his head.
“Many, many times,” he said. “You make me want to do this. You can’t blame anyone but yourself.” Roc licked her on the face like a rabid animal. He didn’t stop at one either. Two. Three. Four. Five. Eight times. Roc licked her eight times. He put his whole tongue into it too. Emily wanted to throw up in his face.
Roc sat up on his knees.
“That’s it for now,” he said. The intern stood up and walked back over to the bathroom door. The look of contempt filled his eyes now. Almost like he was disgusted with himself for what he did. Emily lay on the floor watching him as her skin crawled. Taiyou sat by Roc, disconnected from his mistress. The intern looked at his phone.
Roc groaned and rolled his eyes. Three more hours of this shit? The interns rubbed his forehead and sighed.
Why did those girls have to come up with this dumb method for this experiment?
The hours ticked down in the experiment. Most of the tadpoles ended up in the hospital. Etsuko left for the hospital before dinner.
Once again, Kitano was alone. He had just hit stop on his recorder. The gates were opened and the Dis Program’s progress was coming along nicely. The therapist sat back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. So it begins. The curtains for Act Two have been lifted.
Kitano pulled out his phone.
“Hello, it’s me,” he said. “I am calling into that favor I am going to need now.”
Izaya finally made it home.
“I’m home,” he mumbled to no one in particular. There was nobody in the apartment. He shouldn’t be surprised. The information broker walked over to his couch and flopped down. Six whole hours in a small cell. This was spiraling out of his comfortable. But he won’t let him back out. Oh no.
“It was to save them all from the apocalypse.”
Izaya slammed his face into the pillow. That damned apocalypse! No thanks to him, the information broker’s life is now hell.
Suddenly his phone rang. Izaya laughed to himself dryly. Who was it now? He dug around in his pocket.
“Hello?” he asked. Heavy breathing came over on the other line. Izaya narrowed his eyes.
“Who is this?” he asked. The breathing grew heavier. Izaya frowned as he looked at his phone. He had a guess of where this was heading.
“If you’re not going to say anything, I’m going to hang up,” he said. The breathing turned into crackling. Izaya looked at his phone.
“What the hell?” he asked himself. But then the voice gave him a message in a chilling way.
“Welcome home, information broker-san!” a voice said in a raspy childlike sing-songy voice. And then the line went dead.
The latest experiment drew to a close. Kitano looked at the clock on his computer screen. The interns should be making their final logs and packing up by now. Kitano himself would check in on the Heartseed in the lab. All of the flowers were bright neon green. Even the ones that got the injections in person.
Another crossed his mind.
They have been down this path before. Only once. But that was a long time ago. The therapist tried to remember what came next. Oh yes, they should be coming soon. Piece by piece the ritual came together in his head.
Suddenly, his email notification pinged on his computer. Kitano turned his head.
“Hm?” he asked. The therapist clicked on the notification. One new message from beyond the grave.
“Yoemon-sensei,” Kitano said to himself. “What have you been able to send me now?” He clicked on the new message.
This is Kenji’s widow. I was cleaning through his things in his apartment when I came across his files on his computer. (I’m planning to have it formatted and give it to our daughter for college.) They were all in a folder named after you. I put them in attachments. I didn’t read any of them but they looked important. I think they were meant for you.
“Heh,” Kitano said. He clicked on the first attachment that he saw. A Word document popped up on the screen. He read through what he already learned about the archangels and the “Wrath of Heaven”. Kitano had the conclusion that his late colleague must have fallen down the same paths of research that he did. He came down to the locations of where Michael and Raphael were.
But then, something else caught Kitano’s eye.
Earlier in the document, it said that Gabriel’s location was unknown. But when he scrolled down to the last page at the bottom, Kitano found text in really small font highlighted in black. He dragged the cursor over the message and magnified the page. A huge smile spread across his face. Kitano sat back laughing aloud. He shook his head to himself.
“Oh, Yoemon-sensei,” the therapist said to himself. “How did you manage to pull through once again?” Now, Tandeki could stay on top for now.
Around one in the morning, three drunk guys wandered around in the streets. There was no one else around. The hoodlums were shouting and laughing the whole time. One of them put his arm around his buddy. They looked for another bar that was still open. The last place kicked them out. Too loud and drunk. What a joke. Wasn’t that the point of a bar?
One of the guys froze in their tracks. His friends stopped and turned to him.
“What’s the matter, Hojo?” one of them asked. Hojo pointed forward with his jaw to the ground. His friends looked in the direction in question. A large deer stood off in the distance. He just as black as night. Strange white symbols covered the thin fur. They could only see glowing red eyes in the alley. It stared at the three men. Hojo couldn’t speak.
“I think I’m really drunk,” one of his friends said. The third friend waved his hand in front of the creature. Neither the men nor the deer moved.
“Where did this deer come from?” Hojo asked at last. His friends had no answer.
“What is a deer even doing in Ikebukuro?” the third guy slurred out. Again, the men had no answers. Suddenly, the deer turned and walked down a narrow alleyway. The three men stumbled over each other to try and get a look. By the time they got to the alley, the deer was already gone. What was that? Was it the alcohol?
Or something else…?