Halo Twenty: Demon:
“No! Wait!” a salaryman shouted as he was cornered in an alley. A woman in a black kimono and an oni mask raised a cleaver above her head.
“No! Please! No!” the man cried. Hack! That shiny blade came down on its victim eight times. The masked woman didn’t respond to the blood flying everywhere. She threw down her cleaver and dragged the body away with her.
The effects of the second gate are still spreading through the city. Most cannot feel it, but more people are starting to remember what happened to them. Some are even starting to sense that something isn’t right…
Nanami and her fiancé went out for lunch on their date.
“Everything looks so good on the menu,” she said. “I don’t know what to choose.”
“Remember, you can pick anything you want, it’s on me today,” her fiancé said. “Just don’t make me go broke.” Nanami laughed.
“Don’t worry, I’m not cruel like that,” she said. The math teacher turned the page in her menu. She had learned how to act like everything was fine with the help of Arisu. Nanami hadn’t tell her fiancé yet and didn’t want to until she and Arisu could go to the police. However now that Keiichi was the only one who could help her, she wondered if that would be a possible.
“I like the cold Thai noodle dish,” her lover said.
“Where?” the teacher asked.
“Right here,” he said. He reached over to point to the item on her menu. However, Nanami froze when she saw her fiancé’s silver wrist watch.
Deep purple beaded curtains surrounded the room. Smoke floated around the dim lights. Three men sat on a leather couch, undressed. One them held a lit cigarette in his hand as he walked over to five women sitting in front of them. These pleasure dolls were naked except for the chains around their wrists, ankles, and necks. They looked high and dazed out. The faces of the men were blurred out in this memory. Nanami could barely hear their voices as they spoke among each other. She could only make out some of the things that they said.
“Which one should we fuck first?” one of the seated men asked, pointing to the slaves behind them. The man with the cigarette walked up to one of the chained-up women. He ran his fingers along her cheeks. The woman’s eyes looked so empty that he could see himself clearly in them. His lips curved into a twisted smirk.
“We can do anything we want to them, right?” he asked.
“Yes,” the other seated man said. “We just can’t leave any visible marks on their bodies.” For some reason, his voice sounded so familiar to her.
“Heh,” the man with the cigarette said. Nanami managed to check a glance of his silver watch as he lifted the first woman by her chin. He whispered something into her ear. The pleasure doll had her mouth agape.
“Heh,” her captor said, smirking. The naked man snubbed out his cigarette behind her ear.
“You little slut!” he said aloud, sneering. “I am going to fuck you so hard! You disgust me!”
Nanami felt the chain being pulled around her neck, pulling her forward into a man’s lap.
“Get down and suck me off, bitch,” that familiar voice commanded in a growl. Nanami’s plump lips slowly drew open and…
“Nanami-chan!” someone shouted back in real life. The teacher jerked her head upwards to see her fiancé shaking her arm with a concerned look on his face. Her eyes widened when they met with his.
“Are you feeling okay?” her fiancé asked. She stared at him, panting.
“You look so pale,” he said. “Are you sick, baby?” Her fellow teacher tried to touch her forehead, but she pushed him off.
“Don’t touch me!” she screamed. The teacher didn’t even make eye contact at the other people in the café as she ran towards the bathroom.
“Nanami… -chan?” her fiancé asked.
Nanami sat in the bathroom stall, pale and panting. That couldn’t have been real. That couldn’t have been real! That couldn’t… She lowered her head, crying. Those images wouldn’t leave her head. Nanami could almost taste that foul cock in her mouth all over again. She was certain that hand was pulling on her hair too. Thinking about it made her skin crawl. Maybe she ended up choking on it at one point.
Nanami shook her head to force the vulgarity out of her head. I don’t want to go back there! I don’t want to go back there! More tears filled her eyes.
The teacher reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her cell phone.
“Keiichi-kun,” she whimpered. “It’s happening again. Please… help me…” Tears started rolling down her cheeks.
“Okay, okay, calm down,” Keiichi said on the other line. “Tell me what happened.” Nanami took in deep breath and started talking.
“Where are you now?” he asked on the other line.
“I’m on a date with my fiancé.”
“And he still doesn’t know the truth?”
“Uh… Okay… Uh… I’ll stay with you on the phone until you feel better, okay?”
Nanami nodded while sobbing. “Uh-hm.”
“I’m not good at comforting a crying girl. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay.” The teacher sniffled. “I just needed someone to talk to. I don’t know how my fiancé will take it if he learned the truth.”
“You have to tell him soon. What if finds out before we have the evidence?”
“I can’t tell him yet. What if he doesn’t believe me?”
“Do you have a good man?”
“Do you have a good man?”
Nanami sniffled. “Yes.”
“Well, if he leaves you after you tell him the truth, then he isn’t a good man,” Keiichi said. Something in how he said that sounded so comforting to him in a way that she couldn’t understand.
“Thank you,” Nanami said.
“For what?” he asked.
“Staying with me through this.”
“It’s something Arisu-senpai would do.”
“You two seemed really close.”
“Yeah, she was my mentor, in fact.”
“Tell me more about you and Arisu-chan.” Nanami leaned against the stall wall and let Keiichi tell her stories about how he and Arisu first met.
When Nanami returned to her table, her fiancé looked up.
“Are you feeling better?” he asked.
“Yes,” Nanami said. She sat down in her seat. “Listen, Nobuo-san. I have to tell you something.”
“What?” he asked. Nanami pressed her lips together.
“Not here, okay?” she asked. “Can you please let me tell you when the time is right?”
“Nanami-chan…” Nobuo said.
“Please?” she asked. “Please?” Her fiancé gently took her by the hand.
“I’ll wait as long as you want me to,” he said. Nanami stared at him with big eyes. Maybe Arisu and Keiichi were right about her fiancé. Maybe he would understand her secret pain when the time was right.
She isn’t herself lately.
Her friends noticed that something was about her.
“Hikari-chan!” someone yelled as she was leaving school. The girl with the black pigtails turned to see Mamiya Manami jogging to catch up with her. She turned to her friend with no emotion on her face.
“Yeah?” she asked. The other girl took a moment to get her breath back.
“Are you okay?” Manami finally asked. Hikari tilted her head.
“Huh?” she asked.
“You left me a voice message last night crying because Seita cheated on you and you said that you couldn’t take it anymore. You threatened to jump from the Tokyo Hands building.” The other girl didn’t react at first. Her face then lit up with realization.
“Oh!” she said. “That. Well, I was upset last night. I was going to kill myself, but I changed my mind. I’m fine now. Thanks for asking.” Something about Hikari’s smile made Manami shiver. Her friend turned and walked away before she could ask any more questions. The other girl reached out, but lowered her hand.
The possessed girl had her own plans.
Ever since last night, she couldn’t chase out that image of the information broker in the black coat. Something about him lured her to him. The possessed girl aimed to find out why.
But first, that demon would have to get used to his new vessel.
-Aoba and Kaori-
Ever since he got out of the hospital, Kaori had been taunting Aoba.
It all started with texts.
The first was a picture of Gin in his casket. Kaori had crashed the funeral days after the police released his body. She kept her eyes lowered the whole time, looking sad. She made her way to the open casket and snapped a picture.
The next morning, Aoba got a text from Kaori. Seeing her number made him tremble and grit his teeth. She already killed his gang and put him in the hospital. What the hell else could she do to him? Against his better judgement, the boy opened the text message. There was the picture of Gin’s dead body in his casket. Kaori had photoshopped cartoony flames around him. “Help me, I’m in hell!” the caption read. Aoba screamed in rage as he tossed his phone across the room.
The taunting and mind games didn’t stop there.
Kaori could be anywhere. If she could take down Yoshikri with no problems, she could do the same to the Orihara Twins. Aoba had resolved to stay with them and keep his eyes out for Mairu and Kururi. But who was watching over him?
Lately, Aoba couldn’t be sure if he was imagining it or not, but more and more gangsters were giving him dirty looks. A couple of them seemed to be muttering something to each other. Aoba stuck up his nose.
She wouldn’t be that stupid to use the same trick on me, he thought. Aoba could survive this. He had the wits and skills to survive—with or without his gang. As much as he hated to admit, he was like a miniature version of Izaya. Aoba grimaced as that thought crossed his head.
“Is something wrong?” Mairu asked as they walked to Rakuei Gym. The blue-haired boy looked up from his thoughts.
“Oh, nothing,” he said. “I’ve just had a lot on my mind.”
“You know, you should make up with Mikado,” she said. “It’s not good to hold a grudge over a falling out.” Aoba stared at her, looking confused.
“Who’s Mikado?” he asked.
“How long are you going to pretend like you don’t know who he is?” Mairu asked.
“I’m not pretending,” Aoba insisted. “I don’t know who you are talking about? Everyone keeps saying that I need to make up with this Mikado-guy. But I really don’t know why they are telling me this?” Mairu and Kururi looked at each other.
“He’s not making this up,” Kururi said. She and her sister turned back to Aoba.
“Did something happen between you and Mikado?” the older twin asked.
“No,” Aoba said, getting annoyed with hearing Mikado’s name. Why did everyone keep asking him about him and that guy anyway? Aoba took in a deep breath.
“I have so much on my mind,” he said. “I guess I’ll talk to this Mikado-guy or whatever.”
“Great!” Mairu said. Kururi smiled. The boy sighed and rubbed his forehead. Right…
That evening, Aoba walked home alone. He had just called the Orihara twins and made sure that they made it home alright. Once again, they insisted that he talk to Mikado and make up with him. Aoba had just reached the front door when he heard someone yell, “Hey shithead!” He turned around and…
When he came to, Aoba reached up and touched his head. The warm liquid made him draw back his hand. A red fluid ran down his fingers. Aoba chuckled to himself. So she did go and pull the same trick again.
Suddenly, his cell phone rang. He already had a guess of who was calling him.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Oh, you’re still alive!” a girl’s voice cheered on the other line. Aoba gritted his teeth. If he had to hear her voice one more time…
“What do you want?” he asked.
“That was a little warning,” Kaori said.
“If you try to talk to Chirin, you will receive much worse.”
Aoba furrowed his brow. “Who the hell is Chirin?”
“That is no concern of yours. I might go after the twins if you refuse to listen.”
He gritted his teeth. “You better not!”
“If you’re so worried about them, call your little gang to protect you,” Kaori said. “Oh wait, you can’t! I killed them!” Aoba hung up as she laughed on the other line. He cursed himself for not being able to battle this alone and curse Kaori for being a thorn in his side.
Kaori hung up her phone, smirking.
“You know, you don’t have time to be toying with that boy,” a voice spoke up. She looked up to see Etsuko standing in the doorway of her bedroom. Kaori said up on her bed, smiling.
“But I’m bored,” she whined. “I want to kill something! When do I get to kill people again?” Etsuko walked in and patted her on the head.
“There, there, my dear,” she said. “You will get plenty of time to kill again.” The girl looked up at her with big eyes.
“Do you promise?” she asked.
“Yes,” the doctor said. “Come look at something with me. You’re going to like this.” Kaori tilted her head.
“Oh?” she asked. “What is it?”
“Let me show you,” Etsuko said. She took her “daughter” by her hand and walked down to her room.
-Kana and Mikado-
Mikado had his head back against the bench, looking up at the night sky.
“To be truthful, I don’t know why I sought you out or how,” he said. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you. But then again, you knew that, didn’t you Kana-san?” The older woman sat with her hand to her chest.
“But how do you know me?” she asked. Mikado shrugged his shoulders.
“I can’t really explain that myself,” he said. “I was back at home when I felt that I had to find you.”
Mikado glanced over at Kana’s hand trembling against her chest. “You’re trying not to reach into your purse and take your pills in front of me, aren’t you?” He took her uncomfortable silence as a “yes”. The demon stumbling around on her shoulder kept chanting, “Take it! Take it! Take it!”
“Anyway, I have been starting to remember things that have happened to me,” Mikado said, ignoring the demon. “They come back in bits and pieces. Last night, I think I had a dream about one of those memories.”
Mikado focused his mind as if trying to recover every detail to tell the story.
“I wake up in this bright red room with a bad headache. At first, everything seems blurry. Once my eye sight clears, I realize that I am in some sort of a bar. This placed looked like that vampire café in Ginza that a friend of mine was dragged to by a friend of hers one time. The bar itself is one black coffin with a silver cross on the top. The skulls, crosses, and demonic masks creep me out. I was trying to figure out why I was there when I hear footsteps walk into the room. I looked up and see a woman in a kimono walking towards the bar. When she gets to where I am sitting, she takes a good look at me. She gives me this strange look.
“‘You’re too young to be in a bar,’ this lady said.
“‘I don’t know how I got here,’ I tell her.
“‘You don’t know how you go here?’ she asked. I shake my head at her.
“‘Well, I can’t serve alcohol to minors here. Would you like something non-alcoholic to drink?’
“I reached into my pockets, but I realized that I don’t have anything in them.
“‘I’m sorry, but I don’t have any money.’
“‘Then you can’t stay here,’ the lady tells me. ‘You’re going to have to leave. I’m about to close up.’ I look over at the door and suddenly I start to panic.
“‘No!’ I shout. ‘Please don’t make me leave! I’ll help you close! Just don’t make me go out that door!’ I start trying to clean the bar. This lady grabs my hands, shaking her head.
“‘Stop, just stop,’ she says. ‘You don’t have to do that. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to leave.’ She takes me by the arm and pushes me out the door. I keep begging not to go, but she pushes me out of the bar anyway.
“When I end up outside, I come out of another woman’s stomach covered in blood.”
Kana stared at him with an uneasy look on her face. “I don’t understand.”
“Don’t understand what?” Mikado asked.
“Why are you telling me all of this?”
He shrugged and shook his head. “I don’t really know why yet. But somehow, I feel like I can trust you.” Kana’s phone rang in her purse. The boy looked over at her.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” he asked. The woman stared at him with big eyes.
“Go ahead,” Mikado said. “I don’t mind. I won’t be here by the time you finish your call anyway. I have to get home before my friend starts freaking out.” Kana hesitated at first, then reached into her purse and pulled out her dark purple phone.
“Hello?” she asked. As Kana talked with her husband, Mikado stood up and walked away, smiling and feeling at ease with himself.
Kitano sat in his office while making another call.
“Ah yes,” he said. “I think it’s about time that she got her memories back. Hm? Don’t do anything just yet. Observe her, but don’t interact with her.” His lips curved into a smile.
“She will make contact with Makoto-san again,” Kitano said. “She always has no matter how many times he tries to push her away.”