Deep Blue Wonderland

Nanami

Halo Four: Nanami:

Arisu pulled out her pink and white iPhone as she stood in the alley behind Red Rabbit and dialed the last number she would make for a while. For about a year, she had been so careful with her investigation. Tonight, she had just about reached the end that blow everything wide open.

“Hey, Nanami-san,” she said. “I just about have all the evidence that we need. I just have to get it to the police.” Arisu paused and shifted her eyes back and forth. “Don’t worry, I will be careful. I promise.”

The undercover waitress paused when she felt bright headlights on her back. She only glanced behind her for one second before she figured it out.

“Uh... I’m going to call you right back.”

Arisu hung up and turned around. The waitress lowered her phone.

-Nanami-

That was the last time I heard from Arisu. I feared that they might have done something to her. I waited until morning by my phone, but she never called back. She was the only person I could talk about the mess that I am in now.

I met Arisu on a Sunday back in July. I had just gotten up when my doorbell buzzed.

“Just a minute!” I said. I couldn’t figure out who was coming to see me that day. When I looked out the peep hole, I became even more confused. A young woman with long dark hair stood outside looking in.

“Hello?” she asked. I blinked as I opened the door.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Are you Yamazaki Nanami?” she asked.

“Yes… may I ask who you are?”

This young lady shuffled her feet as she quickly looked around. “May I come in?” Something about her whispering told me that she was about to deliver some bad news.

“Sure,” I said.

“Thank you, Nanami-san,” she said, bowing. I sat in my kitchen in shock when she told me everything. The pictures that she showed me on her phone made it even worse.

“W-What?” I asked when I could speak again.

“I am so sorry,” this young woman named Honda Arisu told me. I dropped my cup of tea all over my table before running to the toilet.

“Nanami-san?” Arisu asked as I started throwing up. That began to explain all the creepy visions that I had been having since May. So, I really was…

I sank down on the bathroom floor, trembling.

“Nanami-san?” Arisu asked as she knocked on the door. “I know this is much for you. I am here to stop it. So far, I have managed to track you down. I am still trying to find the other women that Red Rabbit has been drugging up night after night. I have been gathering up evidence against the club ever since I started working there last year. If I can find more victims, I know can help all of you!” I opened the bathroom door with a tired look in my eyes.

“You want to help me?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. I collapsed at her feet, sobbing. Arisu knelt down and rubbed my back.

“How could this have happened to me?” I whimpered. “I’ve only slept with my fiancé. I don’t even drink or party.” I lifted my head. “My fiancé could dump me if he found out. My family would disown me and my friends would desert me. I could use my job if this got out!”

“I won’t let it,” she said. Her face came within inches of mine. “You are the victim here. You didn’t ask to drugged and sexually assaulted night after night. When I have enough evidence, I will take it to the police and everyone will see that you and the other women are victims too.” I began to speak when Arisu put her finger to my lips.

“You won’t have to say anything to your fiancé until you are ready to,” she said in a low voice. I rested my head on her lap.

Arisu stayed with me for the rest of the day. She and I pretty much became friends as the weeks wore on. We talked on the phone almost every night. I don’t know how I would’ve managed if it wasn’t for her. Arisu would keep me up to date on what she was doing.

“We’ll get through this,” she said every day.

“What happens after all of this is over?” I asked her in the park days before she went missing. Arisu took me by the hands.

“We will work that out when we come to that point,” she said. When she said that, I trusted her.


Today, I sat in Keiichi-kun’s apartment. He has to pick up where Arisu left off. Keiichi pushed up his glasses. I held out my bandaged wrists.

“If you don’t do this,” I said. “How can you be sure that I won’t try to take mine own life again? What if another woman has found and decided to kill herself? What about her?” I had my attention on the young-looking girl dressed in a school uniform sitting next to Keiichi when I said “her”. I remembered seeing her walking up to a room as I was being taken to another one. It was a safe bet to say that she was in the same boat as I was.

I clenched my fists. Part of me wished that Keiichi-kun and the Headless Rider had just left me to die on my kitchen floor. Maybe then I wouldn’t have to suffer more sickening memories. I looked Keiichi-kun in the eyes.

“Please,” I said, slamming my hands down on the coffee table. “I don’t know how much more I can take of this! If I have to see myself doing something so depraved against my will, I don’t know what I will do. Can’t you help me?” Keiichi-kun closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead.

“Alright,” he said. “I will see what I can do.” I had some many reactions running around in my head to show my gratitude, but I just couldn’t show them. I sat there, lowering my head. The difference between him and Arisu is almost glaring. She was eager to help me and tried to connect and comfort me.

“I’m sorry if I sound like a burden to you,” I said.

“No, no!” Keiichi-kun was quick to say. “I just want to find Arisu-sempai. I need to bring her home to Sora-kun.” I resisted saying anything. If what Arisu said was true about the people who run Red Rabbit, chances are he’s never even going to find her body. I bit down on my fingers.

I just hope for his sake that I am wrong.

-Aoba-

-January-

By New Year’s Day, Aoba received another e-mail from the same person that sent him Gin’s suicide video. The subject title left him just as confused as the last one.

“Bleach, Yummy!” Aoba read to himself as he got out of bed. Just like the last message on Christmas, the body contained only a link. Aoba’s gut had a guess as to where this was heading. That didn’t stop his finger from hitting the link. Again, he came to that web site similar to YouTube.

This time, the video starred Yoshikiri. Like Gin in the previous video, he too had a dazed look on his face. He held about a gallon bottle of bleach in his hand, the label visible to the camera. As Aoba watched, he shook his head.

“Don’t do it, Yoshikiri,” he muttered. But, the boy in the video opened the bottle and put it to his lips. Each gulp was hard to sit through. Foam started to come up from the boy’s throat as he kept drinking it. The gagging noise Yoshikiri made almost made Aoba want to vomit. It seemed that this video would go on for hours.

At last, Yoshikiri dropped the empty bottle of bleach and collapsed on the floor with foam around his mouth. The video started and began to loop back to the beginning. Aoba dropped his phone and raced out of his room.

Just as he expected, the paramedics were carrying out Yoshikiri’s body under a sheet to the silent ambulance parked outside. Aoba walked up to a police officer.

“Excuse me,” he said. “What happened to my friend in there?” The police officer pushed up his hat.

“Your friend decided to drink a whole gallon of bleach last night,” he said.

“No way…” Aoba said in a low voice.

“His dad found him this morning,” the cop added. “He had no idea why his son would take his own life.” The founder of the Blue Squares cursed himself. First Hojo gets eaten alive by some psychotic cannibalistic killer. Then Gin takes a knife down his arms. Now, Yoshikiri decided to down a gallon of bleach. None of this made any sense. Who was out to kill the Blue Squares? He doubted that the Yellow Scarves would pull off something this sick.

However, Aoba had yet to look on the internet at the rumor mill up and running.

-Izaya-

Izaya stood waiting in the lobby of Rampo Biotech. His usual methods of gathering information wouldn’t work out this time. The inner circle was on to him. So, he to rely on a more low tech source. Lucky for the information broker, he had the perfect way in.

About ten o’clock, Otomo Mari, came out into the lobby, heading home. She carried her bag at her side with her scarf around her neck. The woman about the informant’s age kept her eyes to her feet. Izaya smirked to himself as she walked by.

“Oh Mari-chan!” he called. Mari jumped as she gasped and turned around. Izaya stepped out from the shadows, smiling.

“Aw, don’t be like that, Mari-chan,” he said. “I won’t bite.” She stared at him, wide-eyed. The serpent had made contact with the woman. Izaya stepped forward.

“Where are you going tonight?” he asked.

“Home,” she answered in low voice. “What do you want from me, Orihara-san?” She might have looked startled, but her tone told him that she was expecting him to make contact with her. Her words almost sounded like they were rehearsed even.

“Aw, Mari-chan,” the information broker said. “You don’t have to be so formal with me. Call me Izaya. I-za-ya. Can you say that?” The serpent’s gaze locked her made her feel so tiny. She pressed her lips together as if to refuse giving in.

They have done this before.

Mari lowered her eyes.

“I…za…ya…” she muttered. He patted her on the head.

“Good,” he said. “Now, let’s take a little walk, shall we?”

“Why?”

“We have so much to talk about…”

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