Chapter Three: Dollhouse:
-July 10th, 2011-
In Odaiba, a woman sat in her darkened bedroom. She had been crying last night.
“What’s wrong, mama?” a small voice asked. The woman shook her head.
“It’s nothing, honey,” she lied. “Mama’s fine.” The woman got up and prepared for the day.
Tsuzuki stood outside the house. A chill ran through his body.
“I can feel it here,” the shinigami said on the phone. “How about you on your end?”
“I’m trailing one right now,” Hisoka said on the other end of the line. “Remember, we have to move fast for these two souls.”
“Alright,” Tsuzuki said. “Keep watch for now, okay? We don’t want to scare them off. I think they’re onto us.”
“Got it,” Hisoka said. Both shinigami hung up. Tsuzuki vanished from in front of the house.
The woman arrived home.
“I’m home,” she whispered.
“Welcome home, mama,” the tiny voice said. The woman smiled and took off her shoes. She kept the house dark. Only the setting sun was allowed through thin lace curtains. It felt good to be home.
“You must be hungry,” the woman said. “It’ll make you something. What would you like to eat?”
“Soba!” the voice cheered. The woman chuckled.
“Okay, okay,” she said. “Calm down.” The woman walked into the kitchen. She hummed as she got to cooking. The sounds of boiling water eased her mind. The steam on her face barely roused her.
Nothing had changed. She didn’t mind. Most of her friends had moved away. Her husband left when their daughter was born. It didn’t matter to the woman. She still had her baby.
“Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” the voice sang. The woman laughed.
“It’s coming,” she said. “Just hold on.” The woman put the dry noodles into the pot. A small smile came across her face. How long was it since she last made this dish? Last night? It didn’t feel like it. Funny thing, soba tasted like nothing. All that mattered was that her daughter enjoying her dinner.
The woman sat at the table with another bowl of soba. Another bowl sat on the other side of the table with many other full bowls of soggy, cold noodles. The woman broke apart the chopsticks.
“Time to eat,” she muttered. She slurped up her noodles and started chewing. There was no taste. When did this happen? There used to be warmth. The woman lowered her chopsticks.
“What’s wrong, Mama?” the voice asked. The woman put her head down on the table and cried. How many times had she done this? Still, the pain wouldn’t go away.
“Mama?” the voice asked.
“Why are you crying?” another voice asked. The woman froze and lifted her head. Tsuzuki stood inches away from her.
“Are you okay, miss?” he asked. At the other end of the table, a pair of deep green eyes glared at the shinigami.
“Who is this man, mama?” the owner’s voice hissed. “I don’t like him.”