Halo Eighteen: Chiharu:
Three girls from a private high school were walking home from a karaoke bar in the early hours of the morning. They were a bit tipsy and giggling as they stumbled down the street.
"That was crazy last night!" one of the girls said.
"I have never seen you drink that much," her friend said. The main girl laughed aloud and leaned against a wall.
"I am queen of the world!" she shouted. The girls howled aloud. However, they went quiet when they heard a crashing noise. They slowly turned their heads.
"What was that?" the main girl's other friend asked. The trio followed the sounds of chomping around a corner and down a dimly-lit alley. The girls froze, color draining from their faces. They stared at the pale, wild-looking girl. Bright red blood stained her white dress. Long black hair covered her face as she chomped what looked like a human arm. She made grunting noises as she ate. The three girls backed away, trembling.
"What… is that?" the lead girl asked. The creature finished up the arm before she moved to the hand.
I remember the night when Mom and Dad died. Tatsuya was fourteen and I was seven at the time. July tenth, 2003. That night was our parents' wedding anniversary. I forgot what number it was, but that's not relevant to this story.
I remember that night well. Mom and Dad had just come home some dinner party they were having some friends to celebrate another successful marriage. They were acting all sweet and icky like most happy couples do. Mom kissed Dad on the cheek. She said that she wanted something sweet.
"Please, honey?" Mom pleaded as she nibbled on his ear. My Dad chuckled.
"Okay, okay," he said. "I'll take you by your favorite bakery."
"Are you sure that it's open at this time of night?"
"Sure it is, it's open twenty-four hours a day, remember?" He gave her a kiss on the neck. Mom giggled.
"Okay," she said. "I love you, honey."
"I love you too," Mom said. I was sitting in the living room drawing pictures that night. My Dad walked over and looked over my shoulder.
"What are you drawing, Chi-chan?" he asked.
"Us," I said. I pointed to every person in the picture. "That's you, Mama, Tatsu-nii, and me." Dad chuckled and kissed me on the cheek.
"I love you, honey," he said.
"I love you too, Papa!" I said.
"Honey!" Mom whimpered. "I want to get my cake now!" Dad smiled and sighed.
"Yes, your highness," he said. Dad joined Mom near the living room doorway. Tatsuya was playing some video game at the time.
"Tatsuya-kun!" Mom said. "Dad and I are going to make a quick trip to Hirota."
"Yeah," Tatsuya said, not looking up.
"Please put your sister bed on time," Dad said.
"Yeah!" Aniki said.
"Love you, kids!" Mom said.
"Love you!" Tatsuya and I said back. She blew us a kiss and Mom and Dad walked out the door. That was the last time we saw them. At eight o'clock, Aniki bathed me and put me to bed. Tatsuya didn't notice that Mom and Dad hadn't come back hours later.
By morning, we learned of the horrible truth. Mom and Dad were killed in a traffic accident on the way home. We were eating breakfast when Tatsuya got the call from our aunt. When I looked up from my rice, Aniki was sitting on the kitchen floor, crying.
"What's wrong, Tatsu-nii?" I asked. Tatsuya looked up with big tears in his eyes.
"Mama and Papa are nothing coming back," he said in a choked-up voice.
"What do you mean?" I asked. Tatsuya explained the whole concept of death to me. I couldn't remember how I reacted that morning. The funeral was days later and Tatsuya ended up raising me on his own.
I didn't ever think that Mom and Dad's deaths would ever play into the mess that my friends and I were getting dragged into.
Around eleven in the morning, a black Toyota jeep pulled up to the alley. Junko stepped out with a stun gun in her hand. She looked around and spotted the pale girl eating the liver of her victim. The wild creature looked up and saw Junko through her tangled, matted black hair. Junko whistled.
"My, my, my, my," she said. "You have caused such a headache for my branch. Breaking out to have a little snack in the early morning hours." The creature panted. Her finger-like claws punctured the liver in her hand. Rowena lowered her shoulders.
"Still, it amazes that you managed to escape from the lab," Junko said. "Your brother was too stupid to escape." The creature tried to crawl away with empty, wide eyes.
"I suppose coming back with me quietly is out of the question, yeah?" the nurse asked. The creature panting as she looked around for an escape. Junko sighed with hand to her forehead.
"You leave me no choice," she said. The nurse raced over to the creature with the stun gun turned on. "Come on. Come to auntie." She took one step forward and the creature jumped back. The nurse smirked.
"Got yeah," she said. Junko rushed forward and jumped on her. After wrestling on the ground, the nurse got the creature on her stomach. One zap to the nape and it was over. Junko stood up and panted.
"That's it," she said, turning off the stun gun. "Take a long nap." Junko pulled out her smart phone.
"It's me," she said. "I have Z secured. What do I do with her…?" The nurse looked down at the blood carnage at her feet. "Ooo… Dinner?"
"Leave it," Kitano said on the other line.
"Are you serious, boss?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "This will give people something to talk about as we unfold phase two of our game. Just get Z back to the lab."
"Yes, sir," Junko said. She shoved her phone into her coat pocket and kicked away the bloodied shark mask on the ground. The paperwork was going to be a pain in the ass. Junko shook her head, picked up Z, and dragged her into the jeep. Junko buckled her into the passenger seat instead of tossing her in the back. What a pain, the nurse thought. She got into the driver side and drove away.
Later that evening, Mikado got a text from an unknown number.
"Meet out at the karaoke bar tonight."