Tea Leaves and Silver Rings

Family Visit

Match Twenty-Six: Family Visit:

The taxi dropped Lin Yi in front of Kiku and Sena’s house. For the first time in a long time, the young girl perked up. Ivan’s house suffocated her. Still, he made no advances towards her. He would bring her back small gifts every time he went on a business trip. Even through Ivan trying to make this marriage work and get her to warm up to her, Lin Yi felt like Persephone in the Underworld with Ivan as her Hades.

Today, this Persephone would be allowed back on the earth.

Lin Yi walked up to the front door and knocked. Sena greeted her at the door, looking worn out.

“Are you okay?” her sister-in-law asked. The older woman gripped the door frame as he body trembled. The bags under her eyes looked like sand bags to weigh down the curtains. Sena didn’t get time to fix her hair or put on her trademark red bandana. She smiled and nodded.

“Ah, yeah,” Sena said. “I just didn’t sleep well last night. Come inside.” Lin Yi followed inside with a concerned look on her face. Sena wasn’t acting cranky today, but then again, she was much kinder towards the Taiwanese girl in general.

“Where is Kiku?” Lin Yi asked.

“In his room,” Sena said. “He hasn’t gotten out of bed in weeks. He won’t eat and he keeps mumbling strange things to himself.”

“Can I see him?” the Taiwanese girl asked. Sena sat down next to her on the couch and sighed.

“Sure,” she said. “Come with me.” The older woman got up and walked down the hall. Lin Yi followed behind, silent. Sena gently knocked on the bedroom door.

“Honey,” she said. “Lin Yi is here.” A low mumbling was all that she got in response.

“We’re coming in, okay?” Sena asked. She pushed open the door. Lin Yi gasped when she saw her brother. Kiku sat up in bed, looking so pale. He mumbled something under his breath as he bit on his fingers. The Japanese man hadn’t look like he hadn’t slept in weeks.

“Kiku?” Lin Yi asked. She took slow steps forward. His eyes looked glazed over as he looked to the direction of the sounds coming towards him. The younger girl leaned down to face him.

“Kiku?” she asked.

“Lin Yi?” the older man asked. “Lin Yi, is that you?”

“Yes,” she said. “How are you?” His body broke down trembling. How could she look so cheerful when there was hell coming for them all? Of course, she didn’t know what her union with Ivan has brought. When Kiku looked into her eyes, he could his beloved Tokyo engulfed in red shadows. The Woman in Red’s laughter echoed in his ears.

Sena turned to Lin Yi.

“Oh, where’s Ivan?” she asked. The Taiwanese girl shrugged.

“He said that he had some business to handle with some group based out of Ikebukuro. He just dropped be off here and drove off to some biotech company.”

“Will he be stopping by here?”

“I don’t think so.”

Their voices showed so distant. However, Kiku’s ears caught “biotech company”. His eyes widened as his mind went back to that place. A gentle hand rested atop his head. Against his better judgement, the Japanese man slowly looked upwards. The Woman in Red’s lips curved into a little smirk. Kiku opened his mouth, but she pressed a finger to her lips.

“They can’t see me,” the look in her eyes said.

What do you want from me?

We’ve been over this many times, dearest. She took hold of his cheeks and chin. I will be with as we watch this world be covered in my shadows. Her lips pressed against him in a choking way.

Why can’t you just leave me alone?

Aw, Kiku! You know I can’t do that. You and I are destined to be together. You and I will become one and watch this world’s distraction.

Kiku shook his head. No! I don’t want this.

But you have no choice. This is just how it is.

No! No!

“Kiku?” another woman’s voice asked. Another hand grabbed him by the shoulder. The Japanese man jerked his head upwards. His wife stared him in the eyes. He stumbled backwards, letting off a hoarse scream.

“Kiku! Kiku!” Sena said. “It’s me. Are you okay?” He stared at her, wide-eyed.

“Who are you?” he asked. The younger woman tilted her head.

“It’s me, Sena,” she said. “Your wife, remember? The Japanese man sat, panting. Lin Yi waved her hand in front of his face. Kiku’s vision blurred as fell backwards on the floor.

“Kiku!” the women screamed. The last thing he saw in the dark was the Woman in Red smirking at him.


She floated over the unconscious Japanese man. His misery sent happy chills down her spine. His taste made her heart do little flips in her chest. Whenever he saw her, Kiku’s body would go stiff. Her appearance was enough to freight him. She marveled at his resistance. Sure, he said no now. Once the final approached, he would welcome her with open arms. He would come to accept his role by her side and watch as the world bent to her destruction. The Woman in Red can’t make him do it; he had to do it on his own accord.

Her lips curved into a cat-like smile.

Luckily for her, that time would come sooner. The three beggars were already in Ikebukuro and the fifth gate had been located.

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