Halo Thirteen: Winter:
Ophelia could only see an endless sea of black. Her body float in the emptiness. The only thing company was the judgmental voices around her, screaming at her.
However below her, she heard different voices that did little to ease her nerves.
December 23rd, 2013.
Zhong Junjie sat in a noodle bar having a late dinner. Tonight was a rather slow night. For weeks, his father nagged him about getting married some.
"You are twenty-four years old!" his old man said. "You can't be fooling around and doing useless crap anymore! Get married and live up to the family name!" Junjie frowned and rolled his eyes. Stupid old man! He stuck up his hand in the air.
"Oi!" he shouted. "I want a doggie bag!"
"Coming up!" the cook shouted back. Thinking about his father made Junjie lose his appetite. He didn't feel doing much anymore and he didn't want to go home either. The cook walked over to his table.
"Here you are," he said. Junjie paid for his dinner and walked out of the restaurant.
"Hey, Zhong," the cook spoke up. "What happened to that pretty little thing you were always with?" Junjie rolled his eyes and walked out the door.
Shirley stood backstage of the main part of Red Bunny. She waited with bated breath in her black suit. Keiichi went over the plan with her before she left the house.
"You sure you want to do this?" he asked at their apartment. "You can back out of it if you want." Shirley shook her head.
"I'll be fine," she assured him. "I can do this." Keiichi pressed his forehead against hers.
"Please be careful," he told her. Shirley nodded.
"I will," she said back. Sliver Dreamer waited for the MC to call her up on stage tonight.
Meanwhile, Mairu turned to her sister.
"Kurumi-chan!" she said. Her sister looked up from the TV. Mairu came within inches of her face, grinning.
"You know what we should do?" She didn't even wait for her twin to answer. "We should sleep with Aoba-kun. I bet he's virgin." Kurumi broke into a little smile. That alone told Mairu that she was keen on the plan.
"I'll call him," she said. The younger twin got on her phone and called up Aoba.
Mikado had his earbuds in as he lay on his futon. This would be the fifteenth time that he had heard these tapes. This time, he was looking for something in particular. Tape number sixty-four sounded low if you didn't know what you were looking for. Mikado tried to focus on through the muzzled silence on the tape.
There it was. That small message, only two words, made Mikado sit up every time. He tried to figure out the identity of the speaker. From what Mikado could gather, this was probably a young woman tied up in Chou Mori Institution. She could be a potential victim in the Angel Project. He rewound the tape and took another listen.
This one mystery was driving him crazy. It didn't help that he didn't have all of the tapes. His friends had some of the audio tapes just like he had some of their memory sticks and said tapes. He figured it was about time to another exchange to have a full picture of Chou Mori Institution and "Angel Tadpole Heaven".
Outside of the noodle bar, Wang Jia Long stepped towards Junjie to ask him for directions. When he opened his mouth to speak, Junjie shoved his leftover dinner in the Hong Kong man's hand. Jia Long gave him a rather confused looked as the spoiled heir walked away.
Junjie continued his walk down the empty street. He didn't want to get home just yet, but he couldn't think of anywhere else to go. Thinking about his dad kill whatever good mood he had. Suddenly, a black van pulled up and stopped in the middle of the road. Four men in black climbed out and trailed the bratty heir.
"Oi!" their big, bald-headed leader shouted. They followed Junjie before he stopped and turned around. Just by the looks on the men's faces, he started to freak out. His first thought was that they were drug dealers coming to collect on the money that he had stiffed them over months ago.
"Gentlemen, lovely to see you," he said. "Anything I can do for you tonight?" The leader in the black hoodie walked closer. The spoiled heir gulped.
"The money is on its way, I promise," he said. "I just need to get some…" The men in black glared daggers. Right off the bat, Junjie saw that talking to them wasn't going to work. It got worse when the leader was inches away from him.
"No, no," the heir tried pleading with them. But the leader punched him right in the face. Once Junjie hit the ground, the other three men pounded him and began punching him. The heir struggled to escape as the men dragged him across the street.
Shirley walked out onto the glittered stage of the Red Rabbit. The plan was for her to be a decoy while Keiichi gathered evidence of the club's abuse and enslavement of the missing women are the city. She volunteered to do her part. Her potential boyfriend had reservations about this.
"I want to help you," Shirley insisted three days ago.
"It's too risky," Keiichi said. "I can't involve you with them any further."
She grabbed him by the arm. "I want to do this. Please?"
In the end, he finally let her help him out. Tonight, Shirley took a deep breath. I will not fail you, Keiichi-kun. She took the microphone and began to sing. The club rained red and green glitter as the cocktail waitress were sexy Santas. On the surface, everything looked normal. The girls served drinks, sat with the patrons, and flirted with them.
Meanwhile, Keiichi used his VIP pass to gain entry into the backway. Nanami, Shirley, and the other victims were counting on him to carry out Arisu's work and save them. He looked around in the hall. Hearing Shirley's sweet voice through the speakers gave him the courage to execute his plan. I can do this, he thought. Keiichi reached into his bag and pulled out his equipment.
At the Orihara apartment, the twins were waiting by the door when it buzzed. Mairu opened the door.
"Hiya!" she said. Aoba blinked as he used her grinning like a cat and Kurumi smiling.
"You wanted to see me?" he asked.
"We just wanted to give you your Christmas present early," Mairu said.
"Okay… where is it?" Instead of an answer, the twins grabbed him by the wrists and pulled him inside. The door slammed shut behind him.
Back at Rampo Biotech, Mari sat at the main computer typing away in the basement. This super machine ran so hot that the room had to be kept below zero in temperature. Mari shivered as she typed out the latest code for the latest program. Her fingers were sore and numb as they moved across the laptop. She would've rather been home in bed instead of furthering her mother's twisted ambition on their project on unpaid overtime.
We can't keep doing this. Too bad her mother, the boss, everyone else in Tandeki wouldn't listen.
Szu was only fifteen years old. She had only met Junjie once. He asked her for directions to get to a certain bar that escapes his name at the time.
"Excuse me," he said. "Do you know how to get to this address?" He handed the girl a sheet of paper. Szu and her friends read over the sheet.
"I know where it is," she said. The girl tried her best to get him the right directions, but he only pretended to be listening. He kept his eyes on her the whole time like he hadn't eaten in days. Her friends took baby steps backwards. Junjie had other things on his mind. Most of them involved Szu. He would just have to have her.
"Was that helpful?" Szu asked at last.
"Yeah, yeah," he said. "Thank you, so much." They bowed and parted ways. That wouldn't be the end of it, however.
He trailed her back to her house. It didn't matter if she wanted him or not. Junjie only saw her as the flavor for the night. To him, girls were just his toys to fuck. If they didn't want him, too bad! He was going to have her whether she wanted it or not.
Shirley's voice had so much woeful soul in it tonight. The men had their eyes glued on her as they took their drinks. One of the cocktail waitresses sat with a patron as he pulled her in closer. He turned her face for a kiss.
In the mood of the song, Shirley began to dance. The colored lights spun around the room. She needed to go for broke with this performance for Keiichi. The goddess reached behind her head and unpinned her long light brown hair and shook it lose as the music began to rise. Shirley undid her tie and threw it aside. After flipping back her hair, her blazer and shirt hit the floor. Eyes were fixed unto her lacy black bra.
Chiharu sat at her laptop watching another video on the memory card. Like Mikado, she too was looking for something. In fact, it was Mikado who exchanged this card for five of the audio tapes she had in her box.
"I really think you need to see this," Mikado told her last night. Judging by the tone of his voice, this had to be urgent.
"Okay, thanks," Chiharu said. Once she was sure that she was home alone, the girl hit play on her laptop. On this clip, a woman about nineteen or twenty years sat on the floor chained to the wall by her ankle. Her rapid breathing made her sound animalistic. Nothing in her empty eyes suggested any trace of humanity. She was naked except for a collar around her neck.
A man in a white lab coat walked into the frame with a tape recorder in his hand. Chiharu raised an eyebrow. What is this? The man reached down and pat the girl on the head.
"This is Day Forty-Seven of Project Angel," the man spoke into the recorder. "Subject F has grown more stable once we fed her the human remains of three failed test subjects. It seems that in order to survive, these angels need to consume human flesh. My team and I have not looked into why this is so yet." The man turned and lifted Subject F's head. Chiharu's jaw dropped.
Is that… me? She grabbed her phone and typed, "Mikado, what the hell did you just give me? Who is this girl in the clip?" Chiharu hit send. Against her better judgement, she resumed watching the rest of the clip.
Meanwhile, Noriko sat on her living room floor trapped in her own turmoil. Her memories felt scattered up in her head. She looked at her right arm. There used to be horizontal scars going down her arm. Noriko remembered cutting herself with the urge to die. They couldn't be false memories, felt too real.
Despite putting on an actress-worthy performance at school, her friends could tell this was happening again. She overheard Mikado and Masaomi talking last week at school.
"It's happening again," Mikado said in a hushed tone.
"Do you mean…?" Masaomi began to ask. He shook his head, frowning. "No…"
"Yes, I don't know how long before she begins to lose it again."
"Has she started…?" The blonde moved his right hand in back and forth motion above his left arm as if cutting himself.
"No, not yet."
"How can you tell?"
"I kind of looked at her arms when she rolled up her sleeves to clean the floor today. She's still eating too."
"That's good," Masaomi said. Hearing them say those things only confirmed what Noriko feared. Even they know I'm not imagining it.
She drew her knees to her chest. Noriko lifted her head when she heard her cell phone ring. Her hand crept over and picked it up.
"Hello?" she asked in a trembling voice.
"Ishikawa-chan, are you okay? You sound worried about something?" Mikado asked. Noriko about fell backwards as she shook her head.
"Worried?" she asked. "No, no! I'm fine! Why would you say that?"
"Listen, we all need to talk. Can we meet at your place?"
"We'll talk when we get there." Mikado hung up before she could speak. Noriko's stomach turned as she stared at her phone. She hoped it would be that…
The bald-headed leader, only known in the underground as Snake, punched Junjie on the ground. The heir's arms flailed about as the other three men punched him on the ground.
"Come on!" one of them yelled before stomping him in the face. Junjie tried to bite at one of the one guys as the held him down for the beating. He finally managed to break away and hold out his arms as if challenging them to fight. The spoiled heir punched one of Snake's goons in the face before running away. The men in black gave chase down the alley.
Later on that night, Szu put the key into the lock. He watched her from the bushes across in the Liao clan's garden. Ever since that brief encounter just last week, he watched her in his obsession. He timed everything down to their second encounter. Up to this point, no day felt right for him. Szu was never really alone. Tonight, her parents weren't home and her friends didn't accompany her. He licked his lips as he watched her open the door from inside.
Szu reached over to turn on the living room light. Before her fingers touched the switch, a heavy hand grabbed her onto her wrist. Another hand covered her mouth as she forced to the ground. Her eyes darted around in panic. She couldn't see Junjie's face.
"Please let me go!" she begged. "I can give you money, if you want." The big hand smacked her across her face. Junjie growled something to the effect of threating to have her friends murdered if she ever went to the police, but fear kept her from understanding what he was saying. Szu whimpered as he ripped open her blouse.
"Please let me go," she pleaded. "I won't tell anyone, I promise." His hand covered her mouth as he ripped off her pantyhose's. He pushed apart her thighs and broke her. Thrust after thrust tore her up inside as tears began streaming down her cheeks. He wanted her to know that he had her and loved it. Junjie broke her and ended it with a kiss. Szu lay there with wide, empty eyes and crushed soul. He smirked as his obsession was fulfilled.
"Good night," he hissed. Szu didn't move a muscle as she heard him walk out the door.
Shirley fell back on the stage, crying out. As she got deeper into the song, tears streamed down her face as she writhed around in pain in her dancing. It felt as if someone was beating her up. During while, Keiichi worked to set up mini cameras around the secret rooms. He didn't slow down for a rest. The public had to know the truth.
You're doing good, Shirley. Keep it up, I'm just about done on my end. Keiichi walked further down the hall.
Hentai made sex look so much easier. Mairu and Kurumi were learning this the hard way as they were looking up sexual positions for a three-way with two girls and a guy on the internet. Aoba sat on their naked and waiting. The twins were only in their panties.
"I can't find anything on here," Mairu complained.
"How about this one?" Kurumi asked, pointing to the screen. Mairu looked at the picture and frowned.
"My butt would be in his face," she complained. They would have all night to figure it out.
Three months after Szu was assaulted, Qian took matters into his own hands when Ju and Yao were dragging their feet on the issue. He turned to his secret DJ friend, Gang, for help. Qian even went as far as to pay him 1,280.72 yuan for the job.
Gang took that money and added about 3158.20 yuan when he spoke with Snake in his garage. The secret hitman counted the money as Gang explained the problem.
"You in?" he asked at last. Because Snake despised Junjie just like everyone else did, he nodded. Gang smiled.
"One more thing," he said. "Don't get too happy. I don't want too much attention. My old man works in morgue."
"Yes, yes," Snake said.
Snake slammed Junjie against a brick wall in alley and punched a good ten times. He kneed the spoiled heir in the stomach before throwing him back on the ground. He stomped him right in the chest before him and his boys kicked punched him. Junjie tried in vain to shield himself as the beating grew more serve.
When they were done, the three goons ran off, but Snake stood over a beaten Junjie and smirked.
"That was for her!" he shouted. The hitman spat on the target before walking away. Junjie pulled himself onto his knees and broke down sobbing.
As the music got more intense, Shirley lay on the stage, screaming. At one point, her body jumped as if someone had stomped her in the chest. She rolled on the floor screaming. Somehow, the men in the audience enjoyed the show. When she rose to her feet, Shirley tore down the thin silver streamers behind her. At the end of the song, she sank down to her knees in tears. How did I do, Keiichi-kun? Did I do great? Please praise me.
Keiichi installed the last camera in the main office. He stood back, smiling. There, that should do it. The journalist student turned on the cameras with his cell phone and walked out. He would pick up Shirley when the show was over.
When Mari was finished typing the code, she got up and walked out of the room. That should keep her group happy for the time being.
As Aoba and the twins slept from there threesome last night, Mikado and his friends met in the streets at sunrise. Nobody slept for the whole night.
From one of the apartment buildings above, Gang watched the whole show. When it was over, he pulled out his phone and wrote, "It's done." He smirked as he hit send.
In the distance, someone was calling out to Ophelia.