Halo Seventeen: Makoto:
He started to recover more memories after the first gate was opened.
Makoto remembered his wife lying on the ground, crying. He couldn’t see her face, but he could feel her pain. His heart ached to hold her. She seems so sad. I wish I could help her. But why is she crying. Makoto felt like he should be able to remember the reason. Every time he tried to recover more of his memories about her misery, his heart turned in pain. Almost as if something was repressing her pain.
However, Makoto had more problems to deal with.
“Makoto! Makoto! Makoto!” someone called in the dark apartment. The man drew his knees to his chest.
Leave me alone, Michiko! I can’t do this anymore.
You have no choice anymore. Tandeki has already started to drag us back in again. They opened the first gate.
You know how they are. They won’t stop this game until she is freed.
Please leave me out of this fight. I can’t take this anymore.
We can’t let these people die. You felt it too, didn’t you?
Makoto felt himself trembling. He tried to stay quiet and force himself in his black hole. He had hoped that the mess would go away if he didn’t try anything. Michiko snorted in his head.
So that’s it then? How long are you going to be a little bitch about this? How long before they come after us? How long before they come after her?
Makoto lifted his head. She’s back? They found my wife?
Not yet. But you know they will.
Makoto shook his head. I don’t believe you!
I’m not lying. You can stay in your hole if you want, but Tandeki will not let us go.
Leave me alone, Michiko! I can’t take this anymore. I don’t have it in to fight anymore.
So you’re just going to keep running away?!
He froze where he sat. Run… away? Makoto didn’t want to run away anymore, but what choice did he have? Tandeki already took everything from him. Michiko snorted in his head again.
You can hide and block me all you want, but I won’t stop until you agree to help me again!
Makoto shut his blind eyes and clenched his teeth. He froze when he heard the front door open.
“I’m home,” Evie said. His heart jumped in his chest as footsteps walked closer to him. Fingertips ran through his hair.
“What’s the matter, babe?” she asked. Makoto grabbed her arms.
“Babe?” Evie asked. The distraught man pulled her down towards him and into his arms.
“Evie, please,” he said. “Just let me hold you like this. It will make me feel better.”
“Did something happen, Makoto?”
Evie dropped her shoulders in his grasp. “Fine.”
“Thank you.” Tears ran down his cheeks and nose.
“Are you… crying?” she asked. Makoto rested his head on her shoulder. He’s done this before with his wife. Only… she was the one crying and he was the one letting her hold him. He couldn’t help but to chuckle at himself.
What a pathetic sight I have become…
-Michiko and Masaomi-
Michiko paced around in front of pachinko parlor. She bit on her finger nails. How could I have been so careless this time? The girl didn’t find the first gate in time Tandeki found it. At least Tiresias managed to find their gate on the same day. Still, Michiko wasn’t sure how that would hold.
“What are you looking at?” she asked the bakeneko sitting on the ground, staring at her. The black cat demon stared at her with innocent eyes as it meowed loud enough to shake the ground. Michiko wrinkled her nose and snorted.
“You don’t scare me,” she said. “I have seen worse. Oh trust me, I have seen greater horrors than you can ever wish to be. You are just an annoying like cat demon. You don’t even look that intimidating!”
“What are you talking to?” someone asked behind her. The young-looking girl froze and whipped around. Masaomi stood inches away, giving her a strange look. Michiko cleared her throat. I suppose it has hit him yet. I guess I can take comfort in that for now. She rubbed her forehead, shaking her head.
“Never mind that,” the child was quick to say. “There is something that I have to tell you.”
“Okay, what is it?” Masaomi asked. Michiko’s face turned grim as her eyes darkened.
“Can you feel it?” she asked.
“Feel what?” he asked.
“Are strange memories starting to come back?” the child asked in a low voice. Masaomi froze as images flashed in his head. First there was Mikado picking broken glass out of his hands. Saki and her smiling face. Saki lying dead in the morgue. All of his guys from the Yellow Scarves lying on the ground covered in blood. Saki lying dead in their apartment with her face bashed in. Mikado standing over a faceless dead body with a bloody knife in his hand…
Michiko grabbed his hand.
“Masaomi-kun!” she shouted. “I’m going to need you to keep calm and listen to me. Can you do that for me?” He stared blankly at her.
“Can you do that?” Michiko asked. Masaomi pressed his lips together and nodded once. The young girl breathed out. They’ve done this before. She’s lost count of how many times she had to tell him everything. Ideally, Michiko would’ve been happy to never have to tell any of this at all. However, her latest visions told her that Tandeki had their sights locked on him. She would be damned if they were going to drag him into their twisted game.
Michiko clenched her teeth.
“Something bad is coming,” she said.
“What do you mean?” Masaomi asked.
“You and your friends are being targeted.”
Each word hurt to say it again, but she had to do it or this mess would never end. Her grip tightened around the blonde boy’s wrist.
“Are you familiar with a group called Tandeki?” she asked. Masaomi shook his head.
“Those guys are bad news,” Michiko said. “They are the ones behind the strange things happening to this city. Have you noticed that people are turning up dead or missing lately?”
“Yes… but what does that have to with this Tandeki Group?”
“You heard about the Blue Square suicides?”
“What about those?”
Michiko’s gaze turned darker. “Those weren’t suicides. They were murdered because of their ties to Mikado.” The whole time she spoke, she examined his face. His lack of response made her stomach turn. She hoped that he would say that she was crazy or that she was making all of this up.
“How?” Masaomi asked instead. Michiko stepped back with big eyes.
“Huh?” she asked.
“If what you are saying and the Blue Squares were murdered like you say, how did they do it?” he asked. His tone told her that he wasn’t joking around.
“I think they were under a spell and made to commit suicide,” she answered. “I don’t have an answer on why they erased Aoba’s memories of Mikado instead of killing him. I couldn’t stop them in time.” Michiko should her head.
“Your gang is next,” she said.
“What? Why?” Masaomi asked. Michiko’s tight became so tight that her nails dug into his skin.
“You are their next target,” she said.
“Well then… I’ll be ready to fight them off,” he said.
“No! You can’t fight this war! Tandeki does not play fair! They will rob you of everything precious and your sanity! I can’t have you get mixed up in their game! You cannot win against them! If you fight them, you will play into their hands! You’ll already lose your gang and Saki! I just… I just can’t…” Michiko grip loosened as she fell to her feet. She trembled as she shook her head.
“I can’t let you know the pain that we have been through,” she murmured. The girl kept her head down as to hide her tears.
“What are you talking about?” Masaomi asked.
“Just get your friends and run,” she said. “Please, I am begging you. Do it for my sake?” The Yellow Scarves’ leader lifted her head. In a normal situation, he would think that she had gone crazy. However, something about her words struck something deep inside of him.
Now Masaomi would have to protect Saki, Mikado, and Michiko from this war that was heading for Ikebukuro.
Aya waited at her desk as the door opened. She sat up with a stern look on her face.
“Ah, Yamaguchi-san,” she said. “Close the door behind you.” The younger woman slowly closed the door behind her.
“Take a seat,” the older woman said. She watched as the therapist with long black hair and a white dress suit walk up to the chair and sit down.
“Y-Y-You wanted to see me?” she asked. Aya leaned forward on her desk.
“I want to talk about your plan,” she said. Sadako’s eyes grew big.
“You’re not going to turn me in, are you?” she asked.
“That will depend on your answer,” Aya said. “Why did you come to me? Do you want me to stop you or encourage you?” She held up her hand when Sadako opened her mouth to speak.
“Wait,” she said. “Before you answer, think long and hard about what you are going to say. You have to be certain in your answer before I make my decision.” Sadako closed her mouth and thought about her reply.
“I want you to encourage me,” she said at last. “I mean, I have the confidence to do it, but I hate when those nagging morals pop up in my head. You know those, right?”
“I believe I have an idea what you are getting across,” Aya said.
“If I can shut down that nagging, I know that I can do it,” Sadako said. She looked the older woman in the eye.
“What happens to me now?” she asked in a small voice. Aya sat back in her chair.
“How would you push the idea of suicide into this dancer’s head?” she asked. “Does she have any history of depression? Has she tried to kill herself before? Does she ever talk about harming herself?” Sadako stared at her with the eyes of a deer about to meet its demise with an oncoming truck.
“I’m still working on how to push the idea into her head, but I asked her she wants to kill herself,” she said. “I am planning to have write down ways she wants to kill herself. She does have a history of depression stemming back from her grandmother on her father’s side. My patient hasn’t tried to kill herself because she was too scared to go through with it. She frequently talks about harming herself in our sessions.” Aya thought about this new information.
“You have a good start,” she said. The older therapist reached into her desk and pulled out her notepad.
“Let me give you some suggestions to make your plan sure to work,” Aya said. She picked up her pen and began making notes. Sadako watched with the glee of a little girl getting her first puppy.
Shingen laid down a map on the table. His son looked up half-bored.
“What is this?” he asked.
“A map of the city,” his dad answered. “Tandeki is on the move again.” Already, the underground doctor was planning on coming up with a good excuse to make up to escape and spend the day with Celty.
“What are they doing now?” he asked, humoring the older masked man.
“They are looking for something!” Shingen said.
“Looking for what?”
Shingen leaned in so close that Shinra about fell out his chair. The younger man struggled to remain in his seat.
“Don’t do that!” he shouted. Shingen cleared his throat.
“There are seven gates held around the city,” he said. “Tandeki already opened the first one this morning.” He took a pen and circled the Tokyo Hands building.
“Okay…” Shinra said, adjusting his glasses. “I’m assuming that this is a bad thing.”
“Very bad!” his father said. “If the other six are found, the Woman in Red will be freed.” His son gave him a strange look.
“The Woman in Red?” he asked. “Who is that?” His father held up his hand.
“I cannot tell you that,” he said. “You already know too much. The last thing I want is to have my test subject complaining if something were to happen to you.” Shinra frowned as he remembered the day that he planned with Celty. Well, better wrap this up and get his father out of the apartment before his girlfriend came back.
“And does Tandeki know where the other six gates are?” he asked.
“Not yet,” Shingen said. “It won’t be long until they find them.” The underground doctor sat back in his chair and rubbed his forehead.
“And the tadpoles?” he asked.
“We haven’t figured out their purpose for Tandeki or what they plan to do with them,” his father answered. Something told Shinra that getting the older man out of the house wasn’t going to be as easy as he had hoped.
His heart pounded is his chest as he began breathing heavily.
It’s already begun. Makoto drew his knees to his chest. He could feel the game starting and if Michiko was right, that would mean that his lovely Hya-chan could be alive and about to be pulled into this nightmare game once again.