Halo Fourteen: Nanami:
-Six Months Ago-
"Tell me something," Mikado said on the phone. "What do you know about Chou Mori? Yes, the mental hospital. What can you tell me about it?" He expected some bullshit to fill his ears again. Why should he expect anything new from whoever this was? However, tonight sound different. Mikado paused with his typing as his eyes grew wide.
"What did you say?" he asked. The caller started with their own question. Mikado dropped the phone on the floor.
Keiichi awoke to his cell phone ringing. He reached out of his bed and felt around for it.
"Hello?" he mumbled.
"Is this Minami?" a woman's voice asked, trembling. Keiichi narrowed his eyes.
"Uh… who is this?" he mumbled.
"You don't know me, but I can't seem to reach Arisu-san."
Keiichi sat up in bed. "Who are you? How do you know Arisu?"
"Uh… my name is Yamazaki Nanami," the woman said. "She told me to get in touch with you if I couldn't reach her."
Nanami couldn't understand why this was happening. She was a normal woman in her twenties. She taught math at an elementary school. Nanami was described as cheerful and energetic among her students and colleagues. That youthful energy was what drew her boyfriend to her in the first place. But lately, disturbing visions began to frighten her.
Last month, she received a bouquet of flowers at her apartment. The delivery man walked up to door and rang the bell.
"Yes?" Nanami asked when she opened the door.
"Are you Yamazaki Nanami?" the delivery man asked with is cap, covering his face.
"Yes?" the grade school teacher asked. The delivery man gave her a bouquet of white flowers.
"These are for you," he said. The perky teacher took the flower with a smile on her face.
"Oh thank you!" she said. "Who are these from?"
"A secret admirer," the delivery man said. Nanami didn't listen as she took a sniff of the bright white flowers. It all disappeared into a haze after that. Hours later, Nanami awoke in her own bed. She couldn't remember what happened in those lost hours.
Five weeks ago, the first vision appeared while she was teaching her class. She began to have visions herself being naked and on fours. The images only came in bits and pieces, but they were so strong that they made her tremble. She could see a pair of strong hands around her throat from behind, her ankles and wrists tied down to a bed, and her mouth around a huge, throbbing…
"Yamazaki-sensei, are you feeling okay?" Awakusu Akane asked from her desk. The teacher pressed her hand to her head as she shook it.
"No," she said. "Everyone… study group for the rest of the period." The students whispered amongst themselves as Yamazaki-sensei dragged herself out of the classroom in a cold sweat with more visions skipping around in her head.
These visions grew worse as the days wore on. Nanami could almost feel the hands around her neck. She thought there might have been a mirror involved with this. These "memories" made her skin crawl. It didn't help that one certain teacher kept staring at her. Ah yes, him.
"Yamazaki-san!" he said in the hallway this morning. Nanami about jumped when he appeared in her face, grinning.
"Hi, Fujihara-san," she said. Her coworker gave her a funny look.
"You look so pale, are you feeling okay?"
"Uh… yeah, yeah. I'm sorry, is there something you want?"
"Oh, we have a staff meeting at three today."
"Huh?" she asked. Nanami realized what he said and waved him off. "Oh, I don't think I'm going to go. I don't feel too good."
"Are you sick?"
"I'm not too sure. It's a long story. Excuse me." She bowed and walked down the hall. However, Nanami paused and turned around when something caught her ear.
"What did you say?" she asked. Fujihara-san blinked with a strange look on his face.
"Wha? I didn't say anything," he said.
"I guess not," Nanami said. She turned and walked down the hall. Part of her was sure that Fujihara-san said something to the effect of, "I'll see you this evening, bitch." But really, why would a meek, awkward guy say something like that?
Mikado sat down at his computer. Today, he had to look at what was on the memory sticks in the box he had for days. His friends had already started investigating contents of their own boxes. Anri already asked about Noriko's suicidal tendencies three days ago. The others began to question when certain occurred.
"Would you kill somebody if you had to?" Chiharu asked this morning on the way to school.
"No…" Mikado said, shaking his head. "Why would ask something like that?" Chiharu faced forward.
"Just a simple question," she mumbled under her breath. His friends' observations made his skin crawl. There was no way that any of those things could be real. Still, Mikado found himself plugging in one of the memory sticks into the computer.
The video was from the point of view from a patient strapped down to a bed. A man in a white coat walked into the room with a tape recorder in his hand.
"January seventh," he said. "Observation of patient Chirin begins." The man turned to the door and opened it a crack. A young-looking female orderly poked her head inside.
"It's okay," the man said. "Chirin won't bite. He's pretty much a vegetable at the moment." [Something about the name "Chirin" sent a chill up Mikado's spine as he watched the clip.] The female orderly walked into the room.
"There you go," the supposed doctor said. "Let's start what we have come into the room to do." The pair walked over to the patient strapped down in the bed.
"Chirin came to us three months ago," he said. "So far, we still don't have any reason for his crime or punishment. Part of which is due to him being a minor. To tell the truth, the motives and reasons mean nothing to me."
"What are we going to do with this Chirin patient today?" the orderly asked.
"Delighted you asked!" the doctor said. "Read off his stats." The orderly looked at the patient's chart.
"Health is in good condition, brain activity is normal, he has no known history of diseases," she read off. She looked at her boss. "This is a healthy boy."
"Exactly," the doctor said. He reached over to the table by the bed and picked up a syringe filled with clear liquid. The female orderly's eyes widened.
"What are you going to do to him?" she asked.
"Another little experiment on him," the doctor said. "Don't worry, Chirin may be able to see and hear us, but I have immobile for the time being."
"What is in that?"
"Oh… just a special little drug I whipped together last week."
The orderly raised an eyebrow. "Isn't this unethical?"
"It's fine. I'm doing this to make him better." [Mikado and the patient didn't like the sound of that.]
"Sensei, I can't…" the orderly said.
"Don't back out on me now!" the doctor hissed. The female orderly shut her mouth as her boss turned to the patient. He smiled as he patted him on the head.
"Good morning, Chirin-kun," he said. "How are you feeling today?" The doctor turned back to the nervous orderly.
"Come here," he said. "How are you with giving injections to a patient?"
"What?" she asked.
"I am not only a skilled doctor; I do like giving teacher opportunities to potential protégés."
"So I'm a protégé now?"
"That will depend on you." The doctor picked up Chirin's arm and wrapped a leather chord around near the shoulder. "Here, I'll give you a handicap just for today." The orderly hesitated at first before walking over to the patient.
"Good, good," the doctor said. "Now, locate a vein and put in the needle." She walked over and looked at the patient's skinny twig of an arm.
"Do a good job," the doctor said. "A number of interns and orderlies already screwed up with this part. I can't keep track of all of the patients that have bruises on their arms. God knows how those little idiots managed to pass medical school." The orderly pressed down on Chirin's arm to feel for a vein.
"There," the orderly said. She took the syringe and stuck it into the patient's arm. The doctor stood over her as he watched inject Chirin with the clear liquid.
"Very good," he said. "You got it on the first try." The orderly stood back.
"What is this drug of yours supposed to do?" she asked. The doctor broke into a nightmarish grin.
"Let's just say it's like giving him a liquid lobotomy, minus the tools."
"Not real one, he'll experience the symptoms of one for a few days and then the real fun will begin."
"I see…" The video file ended with the orderly have a demented, curious look on her face. All of the color drained from Mikado's face. Something about hearing the name "Chirin" made him cringe. Still, this video alone pulled him further down the rabbit hole.
Keiichi sat at the counter in Russia Sushi waiting. He didn't know why he agreed to meet with Nanami. He barely knew this woman that called him up at two in the morning. She insisted on this agreement and hung up before he had a chance to argue. Keiichi lowered his head and sighed. At least she might be able to give me some clues as to what happened to Arisu-sempai.
"Keiichi-kun?" a woman's voice asked. The journalist student lifted his head to see Nanami standing inches away from him.
"Are you… Keiichi?" she asked.
"That's me," he said. Nanami breathed out as she put her hand to her chest.
"Oh, good," she said. "I can't reach Arisu-san." Keiichi tilted his head.
"You knew my friend?" he asked. Nanami sat down on a stool next to him.
"She tried to save me," she explained.
Nanami looked down at her hands. "About six weeks, I started having this strange visions. Really bad."
"What do you mean?"
"Please don't make me go into detail." Nanami pressed her lips together and looked him into the eye. "I thought I was going crazy, like I imagined it. Then Arisu-san tracked me down at my apartment and told me that she was working at this club called Red Rabbit."
That could his attention. "Go on."
"She said I wasn't imaging it. All of the things I was seeing did happen to me in Red Rabbit." Nanami moved her hands to her throat. Keiichi remembered seeing all of those women possibly being raped with those blank expressions on their face as he walked with the men to the auction room. Thinking about them made him shudder.
"So, Arisu told you that you were being raped in the club," he said. "Then what? Did you go to the police?"
"And tell them what?" the teacher asked. "I think I was raped in a club? I don't remember what happened or who did it to me. Who else would believe me?"
"What did Arisu plan to do once she told you were a rape victim?"
"She was gathering evidence to expose Red Rabbit to the public. She called me on the night that she disappeared. When she didn't call back, I remembered that she gave me your number."
"Okay, why me?" he asked. "Why would you come me with all of this?"
"She told me that if anything were to happen to her that you were to finish her work." Nanami grabbed Keiichi by the hands. "Please, I want to get my life back!"
Keiichi stared at her with blank eyes. The teacher looked at him so desperate.
After the exchange, Keiichi walked back to his apartment. He pressed his hand against the door. How did this happen? First, Arisu turned up missing and now he had to deal with a girl that he "bought" last night and now a woman was begging him to continue an impossible crusade that his missing friend began. Keiichi sighed. Could this get any messier? He unlocked the door and walked inside.
"Welcome home," a girl's voice said in his living room. Keiichi dropped his bag when he saw the goddess sitting on the couch, waiting. What the hell…? He backed out of the apartment and closed the door. Keiichi reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Arisu, where are you? What did you drag me into? I don't think I can do what Yamazaki-san is asking me to do! Help me!
Across the city, Arisu's pink and white iPhone rang in the dumpster behind Red Rabbit.