Match Nineteen/Halo Thirteen/Key Nine: Antebellum:
After Every Party I Die
You’re living but you’ve got no soul. You captivate but you hold no weight at all. So watch as I start to smile.
It was unusually hot that night. Ami lay in her bed feeling like she was going to choke. She felt it getting worse. The spoiled heiress had her hand to her chest. She wished that Lavi stopped avoided her so much. Ami had given up sleeping at this point. Tears ran down her cheeks.
“I want this to stop,” she whispered to herself.
Ami could tell when it was coming at this point. The back of her throat felt like rusty nails sticking through the wet walls. No amount of medicine could chase it away. Ami tightly shut her eyes.
Go away. Please go away. Please go away!
Suddenly, she heard a thump at the window.
Ami yanked open her eyes and turned her head. A figure floated outside her window. The hood hid the face. The heiress held her sheets to her chest. She shook her head.
“No. Get away from me.”
The figure lingered there with its eyes fixed on the mother-to-be. The temperature in her room suddenly dropped. She pulled her blanket close to her body. Ami ducked under her bed. She tried to pray away the hooded figure. Ha! Like any prayer would work. Ami felt the air leave her chest.
Her bedroom door opened. Ami tightly shut her eyes.
Not again. Please leave alone. Leave us alone! What do you want from us?
Heavy panting filled the room. Her eyes shot wide open.
Pounding music filled the air. Ami lifted her head. Flashing lights skipped around her. Black figures danced around her to the pounding music. Sounded to be a loud pounding house brand. The mother-to-be looked around frantic.
“Hello?” she asked. Ami could barely hear herself speak over the pounding music. She clutched her stomach as she felt the pain coming back. The girl sucked in a mouthful of air.
She couldn’t see any of their faces. The music and figures’ laughter made her ears ring in pain. Someone pushed at her back. Ami struggled to keep herself standing.
“Get away from me!” she cried. When she looked around, the person disappeared into the crowd. Ami puffed up her cheeks. Where the hell was she? What was she doing here?
I want to go home.
But where could she go? Too many people were closing in around her. Some of them seemed to be staring at her. Ami turned to see a group of them facing her.
“What?” she asked. “What do you want from me?” Her voice got lost in the void. The music started to clash again the sounds of screaming. Ami covered her ears and screamed as well. Her voice got lost in the music. The baby inside of her seemed to be clawing himself out of her body. Hot tears spilled from her eyes. Low whispers filled her ears.
“Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” she screamed over and over. The mother-to-be tried to turn around and run. She didn’t care where she went. She needed to get out of here. But the crowd seemed to be pushing her back into place. Ami tried to fight them off to the best of her ability.
“Get away from me!” she screamed. More hands started to push her back. Ami tried to fight them off. She had to get back home.
Suddenly, there was a low rumbling noise. Against her better judgment, Ami looked up. The sprinklers started shaking. Suddenly, they started to rain out the dark liquid. A drop hit her face. Ami slowly reached up as she wiped her cheek.
What…What is this?
She looked at the blood on her fingertips. Through the darkness, it didn’t take long for her to recognize what was raining down. Ami screamed in terror. She turned her head to the guests all standing around, looking at the sprinklers. Their jaws were wide open to their throats. Sprays of blood went everywhere. The deranged guests drank up the blood like it was life-giving water. One woman howled aloud and threw back her head. She let off a loud moan. She raked her claws across her chest. Blood started to run out of the wound. The partiers ran over to her like ravenous wolves. Their teeth and nails sank into her pale flesh. The woman moaned as they tore her to pieces. Ami chocked back bile but couldn’t turn away. It felt like something or someone was holding her head in place. She tried to look behind her but saw nothing. Nothing but pure darkness. A low hissing filled her right ear. The young mother-to-be started whimpering.
“Please let me go,” she pleaded. A cold grip tightened on her right arm. She could feel invisible nails sinking into the skin. Laughing buzzed in her right ear. Ami winced with hot tears in her eyes.
That’s when she saw it.
Red glowing eyes stared upon her. The room became so silent that she could hear everyone heavily breathing. There had to be so many of them. Ami quickly shook her head.
“No… no…” she said over and over. The eyes started coming closer. She couldn’t turn and run. Something held her in place. Ami shook her head with wide eyes.
“No… No… Stay back! Stay away from me!”
The eyes started moving closer. Ami tried in vain to escape. The eyes moved closer and closer. They only chanted one thing.
They advanced upon her. So many hands grabbed at her body. Her screaming was drowned out by their chanting. The last thing she could remember was all of those eyes surrounding her as the world sank into black.
Behind her, the Woman in Red laughed like the madwoman everyone feared her to be.
“Ami! Ami, where are you?” Lavi called in the morning as he walked through the downtown cemetery. When he woke up the next morning, Ami wasn’t in bed. The angel already feared the worst. He slipped out of her bed and quietly began the search for the mother of his child. Bookman managed to catch him halfway out the door.
“Lavi, wait!” he shouted. The younger angel turned his head. Bookman flew up to his side.
“Oh, what is it, old man?” Lavi complained.
“You will not find her in time,” the older angel said.
“But…” his student said. Bookman stuck up his hand.
“Let me help you,” he said. The older angel held up his hand and waved them in the air. He pulled out Ami’s toothbrush and threw it into the forming circle of hot white. Lavi looked around as his body felt lighter. He vanished into thin air.
Lavi spent most of the morning looking for the mother of his child.
“Ami! Ami!” he shouted as he ran between the rows. His heart pounded against his chest. The angel tried to push out the worst from his head. Please be okay. Please be okay. I hope I am not too late.
Lavi happened to look up to see a figure lying in front of an old and crumbling mausoleum surrounded by white, purple, and yellow flowers. The angel ran forward on instinct. He found that the figure was Ami lying unconscious on the ground.
“Ami!” the angel shouted. He ran over to her.
“Ami! Ami! Wake up! Hey! Hey!” Lavi shouted as he shook her by the shoulders. The whole time he hoped that she wasn’t going to die. The girl’s eyes slowly fluttered open. Lavi breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Oh goodness, you’re still alive,” he said.
“Lavi…” Ami croaked in a hoarse voice.
“Shhh, shhh,” the angel whispered. “Don’t talk. Let’s just get you home, okay?” The mother of his child slowly nodded.
“Right,” Lavi said. “Can you stand up?” Ami kind of shook her head.
“Alright,” the angel said. Lavi moved her arm over his shoulders.
“Lean on me, okay?” the angel asked. Ami quickly nodded. He helped the pregnant girl to her feet.
“We’re going to take slow steps, alright?” Lavi said in a low voice. The girl slowly nodded again. At this point, she looked so tired. The angel figured it would be better not to engage her in any more conversation at the moment. Not until she recovered enough to talk.
They slowly made their way out of the cemetery. The whole time, the Woman in Red watched them from the mausoleum with cold dead eyes.
You’re living but you’ve got no soul. You captivate but you hold no weight at all. So watch as I start to smile.
Bring Me Back a Dog
God give a little love. Bring me back a dog in the next life. God give a little love. Wanna be a dog in the next life.
This should be easy. The nightcomers just needed to sacrifice something of high value to them. Sabine already had her choice. Things had been going well between her and Zeno.
“So where are we going tonight?” he asked. She turned back to him with a coy smile on her face. The nightcomer had been playing this game so well. It was easy to feign love when the target is fairly attractive. She might have actually felt something for him. Wasn’t that the point of this ritual though? Sabine turned and kissed Zeno on the lips. He smiled and kissed her back. So sweet. So tender. The nightcomer kissed him on the forehead.
“We’re almost there,” she whispered in his ear. Zeno smiled to himself as she led him through the empty streets.
Allison and her daughters were getting ready for their own ritual. The flat needed to be cleaned first. They did that this morning. Arthur sat on the couch in a daze. Allison went from room to room, checking everything. Her lips curved into a smirk.
“Excellent,” Allison said.
The nightcomers walked around and set up an unlit black candle in each room. They all had to sit in the window. Place seven white stones around the bottom. Draw a circle in the middle of each room. Allison sprinkled brick dust at the doors. Arthur rose to his feet. Hecate turned the head.
“What are you doing?” she asked. “It’s not time yet. Please sit down.” The empty Englishman sat down. Hecate had a curious look on her face. He shouldn’t have been getting up yet. Could it be possible that…?
Hecate shook her head.
Nah, that was just silly. They had broken him. Why would he be asking on his own now?
Sabine and Zeno made it down to the ruins. The lovestruck boy looked around.
“Why are we out here?” he asked. “Is this part of the surprise?”
“Yes,” Sabine said. She had her back to him.
“Okay…” the boy said. “Then what is it?” The nightcomer had her knife hidden in her sleeve.
“Close your eyes for me,” Sabine said aloud. Zeno looked confused.
“What for?” he asked.
“Do you love me?” she asked.
“Huh?” Zeno asked.
“Do you love me?” she asked again. The boy gulped as his cheeks turned bright red.
“Uh… well… we’ve only been together for few days,” he said.
“Do you?” Sabine asked again. Her forceful tone compelled him to make up her mind.
“Yes!” Zeno shouted. “I love you very much!” Sabine chuckled.
“You have no idea how happy that makes me,” she said. The nightcomer turned around and kissed him on the lips. Zeno relaxed and kissed her back. She put her arm around his neck.
All over London, the blinds were closed. The streets had never been so quiet. Parents wouldn’t let their children and pets outside. Even the animals were smart enough to hide. It’s almost like they were expecting something to happen. Everyone and everything could feel it coming.
By sundown, Allison and her daughters went around and lit the candles. One by one, each room is lit. Arthur sat on the chair in a daze. A small smile came across his face.
The nightcomers all gathered on the roof once everything was set up. It was a new moon tonight. All of the daughters joined hands. A red fleshy mass lied in the center. “Arms”, “legs”, and “head” were all splayed out spread eagle. Hecate and Tessa formed the mass from the bodies of dead animals and aborted fetuses. After several attempts, the little body finally came together. Allison put her hands in the air.
“Michael, come to us!” she said. “Hear our cries! We offer up the blood of England to you. Come to us, dear Michael! Come to us and open up the Kingdom of Blood upon us!” The nightcomers joined in with the chanting. The night breeze grew higher around them. The fleshy mass started to move around as if in pain. Low moans escaped from its non-existent mouth. The “head” turned completely around so fast that it looked like it would break off. The nightcomers chanted faster. Allison held a big silver knife above her head.
“Come into this body, Michael!” she yelled. “We await your awakening!”
The knife came down into the mass’s chest. The living creature wiggled around before it fell limp. Black liquid ran out all over the roof. Allison threw back her head and howled.
“Come to us, Michael!” she shouted. Her laughter drowned out the howls of her daughters. The black liquid began to glow and fly up into the sky into glow-like balls. One by one, they disappeared into dark embers. Hot air surrounded the nightcomers. When the last ball exploded, everything became still. All of the nightcomer daughters had collapsed onto the roof. Allison stood alone in the center with a cold smirk on her face. His eyes glowed a hazy red.
Meanwhile downstairs, Arthur smiled to himself as a little life came back into his eyes.
Her blade went across his throat so deep that she nearly cut off his head. Zeno didn’t even get time to react. His beloved had such a cold look on her face. The look of terror flooded his beautiful green eyes as he gagged. Blood gushed everywhere. Sabine just waited for the ritual to be complete. A single tear ran down Zeno’s cheek as he fell to her feet.
High-pitched wailing filled the early morning air. Sabine looked up at the sky and held out her arms.
“Come to me, Michael!” the nightcomer screamed. Deep dark waves formed in the sky and started moving rapidly. Blood began raining down over the city. Sabine threw back her head and laughed like the sanity had left her mind. Locusts formed from the ground and took flight through the blood.
Then the world sank into silent darkness.
Sabine didn’t fully let him go. Michael just needed Zeno’s blood after all. They didn’t say that she could keep parts of him for herself. She only wanted three things from her dead lover. The nightcomer took her knife and cut out his heart. She then took his beautiful dead green eyes. When she was done with the knife, she wiped the blade on the green and put it back in her sleeve. There was one more thing that she just had to have. This one was going to take some time. Sabine pulled out her pliers.
“Sorry to do this to you, love,” she whispered over the body. “You will be used to the fullest.” The nightcomer pushed open his mouth and placed her pliers on the first top front tooth. She took her time pulling out each tooth. She would pause and look around. So far, there was no one in sight. The nightcomer made sure that she and Zeno were nowhere in sight in the coliseum. But she couldn’t be too careful.
One by one, each tooth came out of the gum. Blood started to fill the open mouth. The front was easy. It became more difficult when she moved further back. Her grip kept slipping on the handles. But Sabine wasn’t going to give up. She had to have his teeth. Her little bag filled up with each tooth. After she got the last tooth, Sabine rose to her feet. She breathed out and wiped the sweat from her brow. She looked down at the mutilated corpse of her beloved. He still managed to look somewhat beautiful without his teeth and eyes. There was no need to do anything else to the body. Let the police find him. They will probably think some serial killer did it. Let them chase a phantom killer until the End of Days arrived. By the time they got a clue, Sabine would be long gone back to England.
The nightcomer blew what used to be her lover one last kiss.
“Good night,” Sabine whispered. She turned and walked down the hill. The bloody-covered sand and grass crunched under her feet. The nightcomer would be gone from Italy by morning.
God give a little love. Bring me back a dog in the next life. God give a little love. Wanna be a dog in the next life.
I Come with Knives
Kinder und sterne küssen und verlieren sich. Greifen leise meine hand und führen mich. Die traumgötter brachten mich in eine landschaft. Schmetterlinge flatterten durch meine seele,
This latest mess started with a text.
Mikado was in the shower when his phone buzzed. He didn’t see the message until he walked into his room. The tadpole noticed his screen. He didn’t recognize the number.
Mikado opened the text. One quick read told him everything that he needed to know.
I have a little proposal for you.
Let’s play a game.
I am going to claim someone you care about in the next few hours. You have to until three in the morning to stop me. You are going to have to try and guess who it is. You have to guess who I am. If you catch me before time runs out, I will stop. But if my target dies, it will be just the beginning. Do not turn off your phone.
I wish you luck.
Love you! Xoxo
Mikado’s blood ran cold. He wanted to believe that this was a prank. But deep down in his gut, he knew otherwise.
“Who are you? What do you mean?” he typed. It didn’t take long for him to get a response.
“Uh-uh-uh! I can’t tell you who I am. That would defeat the purpose. You have to play my game. The clock is ticking. You better get on it. Love you! Xoxo,” the reply read. Mikado’s stomach dropped. Right away, he began calling up everyone in his contact list.
First was his beloved Anri.
“Hello?” Anri asked on the other line. Mikado breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Anri-chan, where are you right now?” he asked.
“I’m at home, why?” she asked. The tadpole took a breath.
“Listen to me, Anri-chan,” her boyfriend pleaded. “Don’t open the door for anyone tonight.”
“Why? What’s the matter?” his girl asked. Mikado paused. How could he explain this without freaking her out? The tadpole rubbed his forehead.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “But please be careful. Promise me that.”
“Mikado-kun, what’s going on?” she asked. Suddenly, Mikado’s phone buzzed by his cheek. Against his better judgment, he looked at the screen. Another text. The tadpole just had to tap the screen. A confused look came over his face.
This was the outside of his apartment. A chill ran up his spine.
“What’s going on, Mikado-kun?” Anri asked on the other line. “Hello? Hello?” Her voice sounded so distant as he walked over to the window. There was no one in sight at first.
“Are you still there?” Anri asked. “Mikado-kun? Mikado-kun?” That’s when the tadpole caught a flashing light in the distance. It became clear to him what he needed to do.
“Mikado-kun?” his girlfriend asked again. Her voice was enough to bring him back to reality.
“Anri-chan? Oh. Listen, I have to go,” the tadpole said.
“Mikado-kun? Mikado-kun?” Anri asked. Mikado hung up without a word. It didn’t take him long to go running out the door.
At this point, Emily couldn’t take it anymore. She saw Roc’s face everywhere. Lately, it had gotten worse. He knew where she went to school. He’s followed her home. He even called her up on her phone. Her old methods of keeping herself grounded had long stopped working. Even Taiyou couldn’t help her.
Emily pulled out her phone. They were all too busy to notice her pain. This would be her last chance to save herself. She dialed up the first number she could think of.
“Hello?” Mikado asked. The tadpole sniffled.
“I can’t get away from him,” she whimpered. “I don’t know what to do. He’s in my head and I can’t get him out.” Her eyes began to well up with tears.
“Aw, Emily,” he said. She started biting on her thumb. A single tear rolled down her cheek.
“Where are you now?” Mikado asked.
“Home,” she whimpered. Emily hiccupped a sob. Taiyou watched her across the room.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered.
“No, it’s not your fault,” the other tadpole insisted. She’s lost count of how many times she’s heard them all say this. But it didn’t make it any better.
“I’m so tired,” Emily whispered. “So tired.”
“Do you want me to come over?” he asked. Thin tears ran down her cheeks.
“Yes,” she whimpered.
“Okay, I will be over really soon,” Mikado said. Emily took a breath and closed her eyes.
“Thank you,” she whispered. More tears ran down to her cheeks before hanging up. It didn’t take Emily long to break down weeping again. She already knew what was going to happen again. Their comfort did little to put her at ease anymore. What was the point?
Emily already saw how she was going to die.
Meanwhile, the Tandeki Group got to work preparing for the activation of Michael.
Kitano picked up his phone in his office.
“Ah, yes,” he said. “So glad that I could finally catch up to you. Are you ready to talk business?” There was a pause as he listened.
“Great,” he said. “Then we can begin.”
Meanwhile, Daichi and Osamu were ready to send off the next patch. The older of the two men looked up.
“Have you felt anything different lately?” he asked.
“Not really,” Daichi said. His partner looked through his mask.
“Have you noticed that Segawa has been acting weird lately?” he asked. The younger man looked up at him.
“How weird?” Daichi asked. Osamu took a moment to think.
“This morning, I saw him intently checking his phone,” he said. “That grin on his face looked rather creepy. I asked what he was doing here since the interns had the day off today.”
“And what did he say?” the younger man asked. Osamu shrugged and shook his head.
“He didn’t really say anything at first,” he said. “Just gave me a strange look that reminded me of a wild dog looking for food. Then he just walked away. Gave me the creeps.” Daichi lowered his tools.
“Come to think of it,” he said. “I did hear him heavily breathing over the phone in the men’s room a couple of days back.”
“Did you say something to him?” Osamu asked.
“I cleared my throat and asked if he should be working right now,” Daichi said. “He turned to me and said nothing.” The younger man paused for a moment.
“Think we should report him?” he asked.
“And say what?” Osamu asked. “That he’s acting creepy?” Daichi shrugged and shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It might be the altar getting to him.” Osamu paused.
“Then what does that mean for us?” he asked. His partner didn’t have an answer. The older man had to force himself to get back to work for the day. These flowers weren’t going to blend themselves.
Aya had her part to do. It would be a matter of time before she had to step up next. But first, she needed to wake up the blood knights. One was already active.
She turned to her patient. “How does free feel?”
The woman with the long brown hair and glasses smiled. “Excellent.”
“Are you ready for the next target?”
“Why yes. Who should I kill need?”
“That’s up to you.”
“Yes. That’s what freedom is. You make your own choices.”
The patient couldn’t help but smile. “I know. I just want to hear it said out loud.”
The latest murder hit the news. This time, it was an old widow. Everyone sat down to a shock for their dinner. She reveled in the gory details that the newscasters tried to dance around. The body was censored. Won’t someone think of the children? She didn’t need to see it anyway. She was thereafter all. It was her handy work. People were already talking.
“Who would do that to an elderly woman?”
“With that many stab wounds, how angry were they?”
“That boiling blood was scary.”
“Look at all of those knives.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Who could do such a thing to a sweet old lady?”
“I hope they catch that monster soon.”
“Who could be so evil?”
“That poor old lady.”
She sneered to herself over her ramen. Only she knew the truth. Her mother was not a sweet old lady. Her crime scene was fitting for how she lived. That old evil bitch deserved to boil in that blood in her tub. Well, it was over now. That was that.
She paid her pull and walked out of the coffee shop. She still had so much work to do.
“Come on, come on,” Mikado silently prayed as he held the phone to his ear. “Pick up! Pick up!” The ringing on the other line didn’t make it any easier.
“Hello?” Masaomi asked on the other line. The tadpole breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Oh good!” he said. “Kida-kun, where are you right now?”
“I’m at home with Saki,” he said. “Are you feeling okay? Anri called me and that you were freaking out. What’s going on? Did they try to experiment on you again?” Mikado swallowed a mouthful of air.
“Listen,” he forced himself to say. “You are all in serious danger. There is someone stalking me. They said they are going to kill someone I care about. I don’t know who it is or who is the killer is!”
“Mikado?” Kida-kun asked.
“I know, I know it doesn’t make any sense,” the tadpole said. “But please believe me.” There was a pause on the other line.
“It’s okay, I believe you,” Masaomi said like he was talking to an upset child. Mikado shut his eyes for a moment for swallowing another mouthful of air.
“Just please be careful,” he pleaded. “Promise me you will.”
“Okay, I will,” his best friend said. “We both will.” Mikado breathed out and sank down to his knees.
“Thank you,” he said. But relief didn’t last long as his phone buzzed in his hand. Mikado froze as he pulled the phone in front of his face. One next text from that damned unknown number. Why didn’t just ignore it? This could’ve just stopped right where it was.
Mikado had a puzzled look on his face with the next text.
“Ladybird, ladybird. Fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children all gone.”
The tadpole looked confused by the message but he kept scrolling down. Another picture popped up on the screen. The tadpole tilted his head. Where was this taken? This had to be from an alley of some sort. But where?
Three little dots in a speech bubble popped up. Mikado held his breath. That speech bubble seemed to mock him with every ticking second. The text finally popped up.
“I can see you! Come out and play!”
The tadpole quickly looked around. He couldn’t see anyone but something inside of him told him it was time to go. Mikado took off running. He went back to his contact list. Who else could be the target?
Kururi had the connections for her plan to work. She felt like going out tonight. But she wasn’t going to go alone. The girl pulled out her phone and dialed out that one number she needed tonight.
“Hello?” Chiyomi asked on the other line. Kururi put a fake smile on her face.
“Chiyomi!” she said. “How are you, dear?” There was a pause on the other line.
“Fine…” she mumbled. Kururi leaned back onto her bed, smirking.
“Let’s go out tonight,” she said.
“Go out where?” her clueless friend asked. Kururi shook her head. Not a virgin and still naïve.
“I’ll come by and pick you up,” she said. “You’re really going to enjoy this.” There was another pause on the line.
“Okay,” Chiyomi said at last. Kururi smirked to herself.
“Great,” she said. “I will see you in twenty minutes.” The queen bee hung up before her victim could say another word. She turned to her mirror.
“Heh, I could use a bit of a touch-up,” the girl said. Kururi climbed off of her bed and walked over to her bathroom.
Emily couldn’t stay in her apartment. He knew where she lived. Home wasn’t safe anymore. She voiced this concern to Mikado this morning. The tadpole drew her knees to her chest.
“Why can’t he leave me alone?” she asked. More tears welled up in her eyes.
“Did you go to the police?” Mikado asked. Emily shook her head.
“What go will that do?” she asked. “I can’t prove that it’s him. He’s smart enough to get away from the police if he wants to.” The tadpole boy stared at her. The others were doing their best to keep her safe.
“Are the others still calling in to check on you?” he asked. Emily slowly nodded.
“Good,” Mikado said. “Has anyone been staying with you at night? Besides Taiyou.” She slowly shook her head.
“Do you have anywhere to stay?” Mikado asked.
“Not really,” she mumbled. He grabbed her by the shoulders. Emily looked up at him.
“Look at me,” he said. “You should stay with one of the others. It is not good for you to stay alone like this. I will see if Naomi-san will take you.” He grinned her by the cheeks.
“You are going to okay,” Mikado said. “Got it?” Emily didn’t speak at first.
“Got it?” he repeated.
“Yes,” Emily said in a soft voice. Mikado lowered his hands.
“Good,” he said. “Call any of us if things get really bad.”
In present day, Emily stared at her phone. How did she not have any bars in the city? She kept trying no but no luck. Something or someone kept jamming her phone. Her stomach dropped as she had an idea who.
“And you still can’t find him?” Emily whispered to Taiyou.
“No, my lady,” he said. She started biting on her nails. Oh no… Not good. Not good at all. Roc could be anywhere. Even in this large crowd, the tadpole girl was not safe.
Meanwhile, Roc watched her from a Starbucks across the street. He saw her walk by with her head down with her hands in her short’s pockets. By now, reason had abandoned the car. Raw instinct took over. That time bomb kept ticking loudly.
“Katsuhiro, we need to talk,” Etsuko said in his office. He raised his eyebrow at his desk.
“Is this about Segawa-san?” he asked.
“You’ve noticed it too?” the doctor asked.
“Yes,” the therapist said. “Most unfortunate.”
“What do you want to do?” she asked. Kitano took a moment to think.
“Knowing him, he would know how to work around our usual surveillance,” he said. “Plus, one of the lab tech assistants has reported some equipment has gone missing.” Etsuko gave him a look of concern.
“Don’t tell me that… But how did he even get security clearance to the labs on the top floors?” she asked.
“He may not look it but Segawa-san is really intelligent,” Kitano said. “Give him half a chance and he will figure out anything to get his way. I didn’t think his fixation on Shoujo E would resurface with such further. I didn’t even take Segawa-san to be susceptible to the influences. Knowing him, he’s found a way to evade being caught.” He pulled out his phone.
“Which is why I took the liberty of downloading a tracking Trojan Horse and installed it onto his phone. Well, I had one of the hackers to do it,” he added. The therapist turned the phone screen to Etsuko. She saw the orange dot moving along a road on the map. It looked like Roc was on the move in the streets.
“That’s a start,” the doctor said. “What do we do next?”
“I have someone following close behind for an extra measure,” Kitano added. “For now, we can only track him. We can’t prove what he could do to her. The best we could do is keep tabs on him. We will figure out how to deal with him in the morning.” Etsuko nodded once.
“Agreed,” she said.
“Is your branch ready for what’s coming next?” Kitano asked.
“Yes,” Etsuko said.
“Good,” the therapist said.
Chiyomi followed Kururi down the street. Both of them looked like they were ready to hit the town. Okay, Kururi did. Chiyomi… Well… she could still use some work. The queen bee glanced over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. That red skirt and white tube top would have to do. Her hair and make-up were a saving grace at least.
“So where are we going?” Chiyomi asked again. Kururi sighed.
“A party,” she said. “Now stop asking questions.” Her friend drew her mouth closed.
“Okay,” she said in a quiet voice. Her confident friend’s mood changed. Ikki gave her a little “gift” to make the night more interesting. Kururi couldn’t help but smirk to herself.
The girls made it up to Club Pink Kiss. Chiyomi saw the bouncer standing outside. There wasn’t a line tonight. Kururi swayed up the twenty-something man. The bouncer looked up at her. The girl broke into a charming smile.
“Hey,” Kururi said in a flirty tone. She reached out and pulled Chiyomi towards her. The other girl squeaked as the queen bee groped her breasts. Kururi grinned at the bouncer.
“My friend and I are looking for a good time tonight,” she said. “Care to help us out?” Kururi kept fondling on Chiyomi’s breasts. Her right hand slowly began creeping downwards. The other girl took in deep breaths as she squirmed in Kururi’s arms. Her cheeks flushed bright red. The bouncer smirked at this display.
“I don’t see a thing,” he said. The man turned away as if something else caught his attention. Kururi grabbed Chiyomi by the hand and led her into the club before she could say another word.
“Why did you do that to me?” Chiyomi asked her friend. “I don’t really like you like that.” The queen bee panted her on the shoulder.
“Oh dear Chiyomi-chan,” she said. “You have so much to learn.”
“Huh?” the other girl asked. Kururi smirked under the flashing lights.
“Why don’t you come with me and see,” she said. She held up her hand to her friend. As if under a spell, Chiyomi took her by the hand.
Mikado had been through his contact list. So far, everyone was safe and well. Even the tadpoles were okay. But there was one person unaccounted for.
The tadpole dialed Emily’s number. By now, he stood outside of Russia Sushi pacing around. The other line rang.
“Come on,” Mikado said to himself. “Pick up. Pick up!” There came a pause over the other line.
“The number you are trying to reach is either out of range or turned off,” the operator said. Mikado’s stomach dropped. He tried her number again. The same results told him that something was really wrong. The tadpole dialed another number.
“Hello?” Nami asked on the other line.
“Hey Nami,” Mikado said. “Have you heard from Emily lately?”
“No… what’s the matter? Did something happen?” the water tadpole asked. Mikado pressed his lips together.
“Listen,” he said. “I think something bad is going to happen to her. We need to try and find her as soon as possible.”
“Okay, I will call the others to look for her,” Nami said.
“Thank you,” Mikado said.
“Should I call Celty too?” she asked.
“Yes!” the other tadpole said. As if on cue, his phone buzzed.
“Excuse me,” Mikado said. He looked at his screen. Another text message. His stomach turned as he tapped the screen.
“No cheating! I can see what you are doing!”
The color drained from Mikado’s face as he looked around. When were there so many people out here tonight? Too many demons blocked his view. The laughing and howling made his ears hurt. He tried to choke down his bile.
What… What is this?
The pain started to form in his head. His phone fell to the ground as he gasped aloud.
“What’s going on? Are you still there? Mikado? Mikado? Hello? Hello?” Nami asked on the phone. Her voice was drowned out by the laughing and howling.
Meanwhile, Kururi and Chiyomi sat at the bar. The naïve girl was starting to warm up to her fast-paced surroundings. She wasn’t used to this much attention on her. Her brazen friend took it all in. She had already ordered their drinks. Chiyomi sat bobbing around and enjoying the music. Kururi nudged her on the air. Her friend turned her head.
“What?” she asked. Kururi looked around for a bit before leaning in close.
“I brought us a little treat for us to try tonight,” she said. The girl reached into her purse and pulled out a small baggie. Chiyomi’s eyes grew wide.
“Are those-?” she began to ask. Kururi gently put her finger to her lips. She opened the baggie and pulled out two small white pills. The queen bee handed her one. Chiyomi blinked at first.
“You want me to take one?” she asked.
“Uh-huh,” Kururi said. “You just take it and put it on your tongue. Like this.” She put the little white pill on her tongue. The queen bee put her tongue back into her mouth. Feeling like it was okay, Chiyomi did the same.
“Now what?” she asked. Kururi gave her a catlike smirk.
“We wait,” she said. Already, Chiyomi had a starry-eyed daze.
“Okay,” she said. Her friend smirked as she couldn’t wait to see where this would be heading tonight.
Emily tried not to look behind her. She knew that Roc was around, tailing her. The tadpole held her as she kept her eyes down. Emily tried losing him but that intern was relentless. She could hear him breathing heavily behind her. The signal on her phone was jammed beyond use. Trying again would be no use. Emily shut her eyes and started praying in her head.
Please leave me alone. I don’t want any trouble. I just want to go home!
Meanwhile, Roc had the look of a wild animal in his eyes. He started breathing heavily. The intern had worked so hard for this plan tonight. It was so easy to swipe a copy of the lab worker’s key. They had been so busy with preparing to play through this round that they could get so careless at times. Roc grinned to himself. Worked perfectly for him. Add in jamming his target’s phone and tracking device, nothing could be better.
Emily gulped as she picked up her pace. She already knew what was coming. He just had to have her. Still, something inside of her wouldn’t let her go down that easily. Emily ended up leading him to a graveyard. The tadpole paused before looking left and right.
“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” she asked. Roc stopped but didn’t respond. She clenched her fists by her sides.
“Please leave me alone,” she pleaded.
“You know I can’t do that,” Roc hissed. Emily shivered as she tried not to cry. It was just like her days in Chou Mori. She could already feel him pulling her into his grasp. His tongue licking on her cheek. Memories of hickies on her neck made her want to vomit. Emily counted down in her head.
“Taiyou, make him go away,” she said with her eyes shut. She waited as she counted up her options. The silence made her open her eyes.
“Taiyou?” she asked, looking around. “Taiyou, where are you? Taiyou? Taiyou?” She whipped around at the sound of laughter. Roc gave her a cold smirk. Emily started backing away.
“Haven’t you noticed it?” he asked.
“Noticed what?” the tadpole asked. Roc licked his lips as he moved closer. His hand was closer enough to reach her chest. Emily tried to run away but the intern proved himself to be much stronger. She had no idea when he had time to leap forward and grab her by the wrists. The crazed look in his eyes made her panic.
“Remember when that waiter bumped into you while you were trying to get away from me?” he asked. Emily’s eyes widened as her mind retraced her steps.
“No…” she said.
“Yes,” he said. “And you can thank your dullahan friend for giving me a way to subdue you long enough.” He pressed his hand down onto her neck. Emily’s body went limp. She couldn’t move but she could still breathe. She could still move her eyes. Roc smirked as he unzipped his jeans. Many times he dreamt about doing this. But now, he would get his chance. Emily’s eyes welled up with tears. Her lips murmured pleading to him. That only granted her smack across the face.
“Shut up!” Roc hissed. “Shut up, you little whore!” He smacked her across the face again. Tears welled up in his victim’s eyes. The intern smirked and licked his lips.
“Yes,” he muttered. Roc unzipped her shorts. Thick tears ran down her cheeks.
Taiyou! Taiyou! Taiyou!
By the time Roc took off her panties and forced her thighs open, she knew that no one was coming for her. No one would hear her out here in this graveyard. When Roc’s heavy hand covered her mouth, she knew it was over.
Mikado tried his best to fight through the mental pains drumming in his head. His eyes watered as more and more inner demons turned to look at him. It didn’t help that his phone mocked him with the constant buzzed. It became his ball and chain today. His tormentor kept leading him all over the neighborhood. And he still couldn’t out who was doing this.
Because of this sensory overload, Mikado ended up wandering aimlessly.
When it cleared enough for him to see where he was, Mikado looked. First, there were people packed close and dancing to the music pounding above his head. It didn’t take him long through the flashing lights and smell of salty to figure out he was in a dance club. He deduced that his pain and misery led him to this place. Mikado looked around but could only see demons and people in the crowd around him. He couldn’t hear his phone buzzing at his side. The tadpole covered his ears to block out the painfully loud music. No wonder Megumi couldn’t stand clubs anymore.
Mikado knew that he couldn’t stay here much longer. He needed to get out of here and find Emily before it was too long. The fact that none of the tadpoles could reach out to her telepathically became a red flag. Did whoever taunt him with texts finally reach her? Was Taiyou trying his best to protect her?
However, his thoughts became distracted when Mikado noticed something not right at the bar. Wait… Was that who he thought it was? The young man teleported through the crowd and made his way over to Chiyomi and Kururi at the bar. The girls looked up when he slammed his hand down.
“What are you doing here?” Mikado hissed through the music. The queen bee looked up at him with a catlike smile on her face.
“I could ask you the same thing, Mikado!” she said. She put emphasis on his name. Chiyomi looked up at him, giggling. The tadpole looked so flustered.
“You shouldn’t be here! Does Izaya even know where you are right now?” he shouted. “You’re both underaged! And who is this?” Chiyomi looked up with a high smile.
“You’re pretty!” she said. Mikado narrowed his eyes.
“Wait… are you two high?” he asked. Kururi giggled.
“Yeah!” Chiyomi shouted, pumping her fist in the air. She broke down into loud laughter. The tadpole smacked his hand against his forehead. He didn’t have time for this but he couldn’t leave the girls there.
“Okay, that’s it,” he said. “I am taking you both home!” Mikado grabbed them by the wrists and teleported out of the club. He didn’t care if anyone saw him or not. The tadpole got both girls out to the front.
“Stay right there!” Mikado said. He pulled out his phone and called a taxicab. Chiyomi was staring up at the sky. Kururi frowned as her fun was over.
The life from Emily’s eyes had gone out. She lay on the ground covered in dirt and bruises. Blood had dried between her thighs. Her cute shorts were dirty and ripped. Tears ran down her cheeks. She couldn’t even feel the pain. Smacking her leg did no good anymore. Laughter and crying filled the night sky. Was this how it’s going to be? Would Roc keep tormenting her like this?
She shivered and shook her head. No. The tadpole couldn’t take this anymore. This wasn’t how this was going to be. There was only one way to end the nightmare.
Emily dragged herself to her feet and wandered out of the graveyard. Heh, what a fitting place for such a graceless end. But Emily felt too numb to make the connection.
Mikado looked behind him through the rearview mirror in the taxicab. Kururi and Chiyomi sat in the back rather quiet. He didn’t have time for this. First, he had to try and shove the girls into the back. Chiyomi had trouble staying balanced as he and the driver got her inside. The intoxicated girl lifted her head.
“My wallet!” she shouted. “I can’t find my wallet!” Mikado threw back his head and groaned. He told the driver to hang on and hurried back into the club. The tadpole came back with the wallet in his hand.
“Let’s go!” he shouted. Now, they were heading back home. Mikado rubbed his forehead. He really didn’t need this. Emily needed him, someone, anyone. Roc could be torturing her or worse by now. None of the other tadpoles could track her down. He hadn’t even heard back from Celty about anything.
“Stop the car!” Chiyomi shouted. Mikado turned his head.
“Excuse me?” the driver asked.
“Stop the car!” Chiyomi shouted. The tadpole groaned as the cab pulled to a stop. The girl jumped out of the cab and started vomiting on the street. Kururi smiled and shook her head.
“Guess she couldn’t take her liquor,” she said to herself. Mikado frowned and looked at his phone. It was then it started ringing.
“Hello?” Mikado asked. He heard sobbing on the other end of the line. His stomach turned as he had a guess of who this was.
“Emily?” he asked.
“I can’t take this anymore,” she whimpered.
“Emily, calm down,” Mikado said. “Tell me what happened.” He could barely get most of the story out of her.
“Where are you now?” the tadpole asked.
“I’m at the top of the Tokyo Hands Building and I’m about to jump” she blurted out. That was enough to send him into alarm.
“Don’t do it!” Mikado said. “I will be there. Don’t do anything stupid!” There was no response on the other line.
“Hello? Hello?” he asked. The line went dead. The tadpole started at his phone as his heart sank. He turned to the driver.
“Please get them home,” Mikado pleaded, bowing his head. “I have to go!” He paid the driver and jumped out of the cab. The tadpole didn’t even listen as the driver yelled out to him.
Sadly by the time Mikado made it to the building, he saw Emily falling to her death. The tadpole didn’t even get time to respond to his sister falling to her death. The sound of her body hitting the ground made for an unpleasant noise through the early hours of the morning.
“Emily!” he shouted. By the time he ran over to her, she was already dead. Mikado sank down to his knees. Right in that instance, his phone buzzed. He felt drained as he lifted his phone to see a new text message. Two words just added insult to injury.
Mikado’s phone hit the ground.
Kinder und sterne küssen und verlieren sich. Greifen leise meine hand und führen mich. Die traumgötter brachten mich in eine landschaft. Schmetterlinge flatterten durch meine seele.