This next experiment was kept on a private record away from the rest of the records away from the Tadpole files.
An intern suggested an idea for an experiment. Fukushima Akihito walked up to the offices of both Kitano and Etsuko and knocked on the door. He had only one question to ask them.
“How do you feel about age regression therapy?” the intern asked.
“Age regression therapy?” the doctors each asked.
“Yes,” Akihito said. Kitano sat back, thinking.
“I’m not a fan of it personally,” he said. “It has been proven to have the potential to produce false memories. Why do you ask?” The intern shrugged his shoulders.
“I just figured that it might be useful in this project that we’re working on,” he whispered. Etsuko reached an eyebrow.
“How?” she asked.
“I don’t know… maybe gain so insight on the test subjects or something,” Akihito said.
“And you are aware of the risks of false memories?” Kitano asked.
“Yes,” the intern said. Both mangers thought about this proposal.
“If Kitano-sensei is okay with this, then I will be okay with it as well,” Etsuko said. Kitano rested his hand on his desk.
“We will give this a try,” he said. “But, it will be off the records.” Akihito quickly bowed.
“Thank you!” he said.
The sessions began in December. Etsuko created a device to ensure that the test subjects would stay under. Eight thin, long needles into the spine. Each would pump a mild sedative into the patient. Kitano would do the rest.
One by one, the tadpoles were introduced into age regression therapy. The team received plenty of interesting pieces of their pasts. Etsuko sat in the other room, taking notes. She and Kitano fell in love with the results. Still, the results and experiment was kept in a separate file and off record. Kitano kept them in a very isolated and private file.
There was one more patient left.
Etsuko walked Mikado into the dimly lit office. The patient didn’t response as they sat him on the couch. He could only guess where this was headed. Etsuko stuck in the needles in Mikado’s spine through the holes in his shirt. Each one felt like a tight pinch through the skin. They weren’t anything compared to the other experiments. Etsuko ran through one more check.
“Everything set?” Kitano asked.
“Yes, sir,” she said.
“Excellent,” he said. The doctor headed into the other room and took her place at her desk. Kitano placed his focus on Chirin. He clicked on his flashlight.
“Can you hear me, Chirin-kun?” the therapist asked. Mikado gave off a groggy mumble. Kitano lifted the boy’s chin.
“Focus on my light,” he said in a low voice. “While you do that, listen to the sound of my voice, okay?”
“Yes,” Mikado mumbled. Kitano began to slowly move his flashlight back and forth like the steady pengulu of clock. Etsuko opened up her notebook and clicked on her pen.
“Relax,” Kitano said. “Take a deep breath.” The patient complied. Kitano watched Mikado’s chest rise and fall.
“Relax,” the therapist said. “Imagine that you’re floating on a big, big ocean. Your body is sinking down in the ocean. But… Breathing is not difficult. You’re feeling much lighter than before.” Slowly, Mikado began closing his eyes and sinking into a snooze. Under normal circumstances, he would try and fight it. But the sedative pumped into his spine gave him a disadvantage.
“And you are sinking deeper and deeper,” Kitano said. “And you are getting close to the bottom of this deep ocean.” Through the last vain resistance, Mikado was out cold. Etsuko took down notes the whole time. Kitano lowered his light.
“Let reach back into your memories to a time when you were smaller,” he picked up. “How old are you now?”
“Six…” Mikado answered. His voice sounded so innocent and childlike
“What do you see?”
“And what are you doing there?”
“Catching beetles with Masaomi-kun…”
“Catching beetles, huh?”
“It’s really dark.”
Etsuko took down notes as fast as her mind went. She never grew tired of watching how the tadpoles reacted to Kitano’s questions. She could tell that her partner was enjoying every second of this particular session. The doctor couldn’t understand her therapist’s fascination with this patient. Etsuko decided to look more into Mikado’s background when they wrapped up.
“Good, good,” Kitano said. “Now let’s go back even further in time. Let’s go back to when you were inside your mother’s belly. What do you say?”
“Warm…” Chirin murmured.
“Good. Anything else?” Kitano paused. “What did you say?”
“Have you had enough of this bullshit?” Mikado asked in an almost growl. Etsuko froze with her pen as the patient lifted his head. There was nothing in his eyes. Kitano gave him a strange look. Physically, the patient was still sedated and under hypnosis.
“Are you… Chirin-kun?” Kitano asked.
“No,” Mikado said in cold tone.
“Then… What shall I call you?”
“My name would be nice.”
“And what would that be?”
Etsuko strained to listen to the boy’s muffled words. She rose to her feet and headed to the door. Her fingertips barely touched the handle when Kitano waved her off. The doctor hesitated, but sat back down at the metal table.
“I see,” Kitano said to the sedated patient. “Are you there two of you in there?”
“You could say that. I barely ever get out much.”
“So what is your purpose?”
“Why would I want to tell you that?”
“Because… We just met. I think it is only proper that we get to know each other as patient and therapist.”
“Kuro” Chirin, as Kitano already decided to call him, all but laughed at this notion. “We are not patient and therapist. You are just a mad man who likes abusing your patients. Mikado would be dead if it wasn’t for me. I’m the only thing that’s keeping him alive. You don’t know anything about me!”
“Well then, enlighten me.”
Kuro Chirin had his eyes locked on his captor. “There is so much you don’t know about me.”
For some reason, this first session got cut off abruptly. It was unclear it the tape malfunctioned or if it was deliberately cut off. There is a rumor that Kitano had a second secret tape of this session that only he carried around.
He, however, refused to confirm or deny this. There is no other record of how long this experiment was carried out or if it was ever done again.