Halo Eight: Fragments:
Mikado felt the sharp pain in his head while on the phone tonight. It's gotten worse lately. The visions in his head began to feel more read than they ever had in the past. He could smell the bleach as he felt himself strapped down the hospital bed. New details came with this latest brutal attack.
The other patients moaned in pain their beds. A man, no two men, in grey scrubs walked around injecting god knows what into their arms. He couldn't tell if this was from a dream or his own memories. When would he have been in a hospital? But, it didn't look like any hospital that he had seen been. That place looked like some sort of an institution or prison. It would probably explain why he was strapped down in the bed. Mikado took in deep breaths as the bleach smell was powerful enough to knock him out tonight.
"I'm sorry," he said, gulping. "I don't think I can continue this conversation anymore. I don't feel well. Good night." Mikado hung up before the caller could ask questions. He sank to the floor, panting. Strangely, he began to feel better.
He's not the only one who feels it.
He felt his own pain. It started three weeks ago with a sharp ache just below his left shoulder. Today, the Yellow Scarves' leader felt it to the pain that he had to grit his teeth to keep himself from screaming. This time, right under his shoulder to his fingers felt numb. I can't feel arm! I can't feel my arm! He broke into a sweat as he panicked. Masaomi took a deep breath when the pain subsided. He flexed his fingers to feel any sensation. The Yellow Scarves' Leader looked at his arm. Everything looked fine and he hadn't done anything strenuous to cause such injury.
Before his pains, Masaomi noticed something about his phone. At first, the screen went pitch black. He smacked his phone and took out the battery. Sure the screen would come back up, but Saki's picture would be fainted, blurry, or look wavy. The weirdest thing was the people at the cell phone store said nothing was wrong with his phone.
"Are you sure?" Masaomi asked.
"Yeah," the guy at the desk said. "Everything looks fine. How long have you had this phone?"
Masaomi did a quick count in his head. "About… four or five years?"
"Wow! This phone's in great condition!" The guy behind the desk handed Masaomi his phone back. "I don't what to tell you." The Yellow Scarves' Leader found himself stuck as his looked at his phone acting normal for a change.
As for his arm, Masaomi went to the school nurse to have it examined. Junko looked at his left arm up and down.
"It looks barry to me," she said. "How long have you had these pains?"
"I see." Junko wrote down some notes on her clipboard. "Think it might be a psychological cause?"
Masaomi's eyes trailed over to the nurse. "Huh?"
"You know, something you feel guilty about and maybe that's why you're imaging the pain and numbness in your arm."
He shook his head, confused. "No…"
Junko raised an eyebrow. "No?"
"I don't have any guilt and the pain in my arm is real."
"Are you sure about that?"
Masaomi gritted his teeth in a painful-looking smile. She's just as bad as Izaya. "Yes, I am."
Junko closed up her pen. "You aren't a good liar, Kida-kun. But then again, you already knew that, didn't you?"
Masaomi tilted his head. Hasn't she told me that before?
She started getting her own set of clues as to what was going on. The first one came in an e-mail from what looked like a fake address just like the one with the first line of the poem, The Waste Land. No subject line, just a single link to old unsolved murder cases.
First case related back to a brutal of a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl right in the city in 1987. The police went to apartment number 27 when the staff at Raira Academy reported one of their teachers, Abe-sensei, didn't show up for work for three days. The found the teacher's body lying cold on the living room floor. Anri found herself going further down this rabbit hole as she read more reports about the schoolgirl, Abe-sensei, and her family.
The girl in question, Isobe Hisayo, was found dead with a bloodied plastic trash bag. Cause of death was officially ruled as exsanguination from multiple stab wounds. Her neck had been snapped at a ninety-degree angle and her stomach was cut wide open. The police believed her mother went insane, murdered her older daughter, and stuffed her body in the ceiling.
The next set of articles revealed that Hisayo had a younger sister, Toshiko. The police never found her body or the family's pet cat, Mao. Their mother, Asuka, was found dead days later in the street. As the mother of the Saika army looked at the pictures, couldn't help but get the feeling that she had seem the victims in question. It couldn't be possible. How could someone be back from the dead? Okay, there was Chiharu, but this was different. Anri became remembering that she saw Hisayo staring her down, reaching for her neck. She had nothing in her eyes. The most chilling part was that the dead girl looked as dark as coal.
Anri put her hand to her thought as she tried to think about something else. Right then, she decided to look at the other article that had been plaguing her.
Another case sounded closer to her time. A doctor and a secretary had been murdered in said doctor's office. The crime scene was a mess with huge amounts of blood on the wall and floor and papers scattered everywhere. Nothing was stolen and the bodies were never found. The only known suspect was the doctor's wife and she fled the country. To this day, the case had never been. What stood out to Anri were the surname of the doctor and his wife and the wife's image itself.
"Yukimura-sensei," Anri said in the nurse's office. Junko didn't look up from her paperwork.
"Uh-hm?" she asked.
"Do you know anything about the deaths of Nakahara-sensei and his secretary?"
Junko froze. "No, why would you ask such a thing?" Anri noted the strained tone in her voice followed by the nervous chuckling. She wasn't sure of how to bring this up without making it more uncomfortable.
"Uh… well… I was looking at articles of old cases and I came across that case."
"And?" Junko gritted her teeth.
"The doctor's wife looked like you. Was she your mother or something?" The nurse whipped around with blood in her eyes.
"You've asked too many questions today!" she snapped. Junko leapt out of her chair and pushed Anri out of the nurse's office.
"What did I say?" Saika's mother asked. All she got was a slamming door in reply.
She looked the two large scars on her back. They appeared to be in place of where two wings would be. I have had these since I was born. Chiharu spent years trying to figure out what they were. When she was a little girl, her mother told her they were marks for being her little angel.
"I'm an angel?" Chiharu asked. Her mother set down the hair brush and hugged her from behind.
"You're my little miracle," she whispered in the little girl's ear. Today, something about the angel bit sent a violent shiver down Chiharu's spine. Along with that, she had another weird memory reoccurring in her head. She remembered talking to a woman sitting on a bench near a hospital. The conversation sounded muzzled in her head, but she remembered said woman crying. Also, the angle was "normal". Was I floating in the air? Chiharu had to find the hospital in question and maybe settle the questions in her head.
Her and Junko didn't exactly get along on friendly terms. The school nurse raised an eyebrow at the no-nonsense girl.
"Why, Hashimoto-chan," she said. "I have no idea what you are accusing me of." Chiharu snorted.
"Cut the crap!" she snapped. "What did you do to all of us?"
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Don't lie to me. We've been acting strange ever since you first came here!"
Junko raised an eyebrow. "Strange? Strange how?"
"Stop playing dumb! Kida-kun's arm been in pain, Ryugamine-kun keeps having visions and violent headaches. Sonohara and I keep having visions too. And Nori-chan—!"
Junko waved her off. "Okay, okay. What's point you're trying to make?"
Chiharu puffed up her cheeks. "If I find out that you're doing anything to us, I'll-!"
"You'll do what?"
Chiharu opened her mouth when the door opened behind her. She whipped around to see a teacher poking his head inside.
"Did I come at a bad time?" he asked. Junko rose to her feet, clapping her hands.
"No, sir," she said. "In fact, Hashimoto-chan was just leaving. Isn't that right?" Chiharu glared at the smiling nurse.
"Why yes," she said. The student headed over to the door. Before leaving, she turned her head.
"This isn't over yet," she mouthed. Junko smiled and waved her off with grace. Chiharu forced herself to smile as she walked out the door.
She felt it the worst. Like Mikado, her nightmares started to bleed into her waking life. Noriko fought to keep hallucination and reality separate. However, nightmares and hallucinations weren't the only things in her mind as of late.
Noriko was in her bathroom back at her apartment when she spotted something out of place. Hm? What is this? She reached behind her bathroom sink and picked up a razor blade. While looking at it, memories of her cutting herself and slitting her wrists floated her mind. Blood swirled down the drain with the water in the shower. During those times, Noriko would beg for death to come and take her faster. However, someone always pulled her back. She couldn't remember who it was. That can't right. I'm not suicidal. Why would I be thinking about something like that? Noriko shook her head as she put the razor back in its original spot. She backed out of the bathroom, trembling. The girl jerked her head upwards when she heard her phone ringing.
"Hello?" she answered.
"Nori-chan?" Mikado asked on the other line. Noriko felt her heard relax as she sat down on the floor.
"Mikado," she said. "It's you."
"Are you feeling okay?"
"Yeah, yeah. I just go out of the shower when you called." However, her mood changed when Mikado asked a rather random question.
"Have you eaten today?" Mikado asked. Noriko frowned over the phone.
"Excuse me?" she asked.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I don't know why I asked you something like that," he said. The damage had already been done. At school, Junko was more than happy to pour the salt on the opening wounds.
"Still having dreams?" the nurse asked in her office. Noriko felt so tiny under Junko's hungry gaze.
"Yes," she said with her eyes looking down at her hands.
"What kind of dreams?"
Noriko gulped. "There is a protest."
"So many people are shouting and then…"
"Someone is drugging me through the crowd before they erupted into screaming?"
"Do you know why?"
Noriko shook her head. "It all goes too fast for me to see."
Junko leaned in with a cat-like grin on her face. "How did you feel during this crowd panic?"
Her victim pressed her lips together. "I…" Her stomach turned as she hoped for someone or something to come to her rescue. She got her wish when Junko's cell phone rang.
"Excuse me," she said. As the nurse took her call, Noriko pressed her lips together as she slipped out of the nurse's office.
Back at his apartment, Mikado looked at his cell phone. Thirty nights in a row and he still had no answers for "Angel Tadpole Heaven". He didn't know whether to be annoyed with the run-around that the anonymous caller gave him or worried for his friends falling into the same boat as he was. Junko didn't help when she toyed with him just like she did with his friends during the week. Today, she tilted her head and smirked.
"You know what you remind me of?" she asked in her office. Mikado gave her a strange look.
"What?" he asked. Junko leaned forward with her creepy catlike smile on her face.
"There was one this patient I observed in a mental institution where I used to work," she said. "He was about your age. The details are rather hazy. They accused this boy of a horrible murder. They found him in an alley with his clothes covered in blood. He wouldn't talk in the police station. The patient didn't talk on the first few days he was institutionalized with him. Still, this boy intrigued my boss and he just had to learn more about him.
"What does this have to do with me?" Mikado asked. Junko pushed her hair behind her ear.
"Tell me something, Ryugamine-kun," she said. "Does Chou Mori Institution ring any bells?" Mikado shook his head.
The nurse sat back with a little smile on her face. "Of course not. You're a good boy. Why would anyone like you end up in a psychiatric ward for the criminally sane?" Something about her tone made his skin crawl.
Tonight, Mikado looked around at all of the notes increasing and invading his apartment. These notes meant nothing to him so far. If only I had some way to push this forward.
He lifted his head when he heard pounding on his front door. Mikado lifted his head with a puzzled look on his face. Who is that? When he got up and opened the door, no one was in sight. Mikado was about to go back inside when he noticed a box addressed to him sitting on the ground.
"Huh?" Mikado asked. "What is this?"