Mitsuhide was trying to separate the looks he remembered from his mother and the one the young woman named Rine had given him. He couldn’t help it, though. It was the same look. It was also the color of the eyes. Rine had the same blue his mother had. At least when he could remember of his mother. He had been rather young when he had watched his father beat the life out of her. He couldn’t even remember what the fight had been about. Not that it had mattered to him. His father had then been taken away to jail, and he was left with an uncle who gave him the bare amount of anything to survive. There hadn’t been a day since Mitsuhide wished that he had died along with his mother that day. The best part of him did. He knew that, as well.
Now he was left behind to seek out what he could do to help people. He found it when he joined the ARMY when he turned eighteen. He was good at what he did. Then the deployment happened. He wasn’t ready for the things he saw. The things that were asked of him. He did them all. He paid for it as he lost even more of himself during that time. He had found his niche in the world, and he fought with himself every day to try to be better than what he had to do. He was a survivor. He would continue doing so even if he was not sane anymore. It was simply the last thing he could do for his mother.
He sat down and began to ferret out who this woman was. As her records came up on the screen, he was not really that surprised at what he was seeing. She was a normal young woman in her home town, which was a small rural town in the middle of the state. She had been a good student as she had four scholarships lined up when she graduated a year ago. None of the schools were here, though. Her father, a respected blue-collar man who looked the part, had given a statement about her disappearance at the time she had turned eighteen. Her mother, a woman who was in a wheelchair, was next to him in the picture. Mitsuhide wondered what had happened to make Rine run away from that. To him, it seemed like a perfect life.
Mitsuhide also knew a perfect life on the outside was often a cover for something else. It was never what it seemed. He continued to look for more things on the woman. He found a sub-thread from her town where it seemed all the young people had posted.
Did you see that she left? -Mj443
She ran away. That is hilarious!-kill all the parents
The bitch is finally gone. -Goodbyeworld
Don’t you guys think you pushed her to leave? -Firebrand
Whatever. She wasn’t good enough to be here. -Goodbyeworld
She was a liar. -Mj443
You know they dated. You saw them. -Firebrand
He was too good for her. -Goodbyeworld
Jealous much? -Firebrand
Well, you don’t have to worry now. -Firebrand
He had to wonder what actually happened to get that conversation started. He dug some more only to find out she had dated the star basketball player for the entirety of their high school careers. Surprisingly the young man was drafted right out of high school for the NBA, and he had been right before her disappearance hit the papers. He read the conversation again, and then it hit him. She had waited for the young man, and he chose someone else when he was drafted. She had been left there in the dust after wasting four years of her life. People had doubted the relationship. Small town gossip had driven her to leave.
That was how she ended up here in the middle of nowhere. It was starting to make sense. It also made sense that she would end up with someone who would end up hurting her. She was alone. She was small. She was the most vulnerable, and this monster had laid out his trap for her.
He could see it now. He continued to look when he found the online dating ad attached to the account through her phone. He pulled up the ad and read it. He chuckled at the tag line, “Tiny bio student wants late-night study partner.” Though the ad itself there was nothing even remotely sexual in it was a standard online dating ad. It listed her likes and dislikes. She gave well-articulated answers, and he wasn’t surprised.
“Looking for a late night study partner?” Shingen asked as he walked by.
“It is her ad,” Mitsuhide said in response to the other man.
“Whoa.” Shingen said as he made a full stop and turned around, “That’s her?”
“Yes,” Mitsuhide said.
“Well, god damn. She is beautiful.” Shingen said as he looked at the picture on the screen. “Is that how she ended up here?”
“I think so,” Mitsuhide responded as he tried to ignore the man at his back and continued to dig through her life. “I need to know who he is, though, so I can see the conversations between them if there are any. She did get a lot of interest in the ad.”
“That isn’t hard to see why,” Shingen said as he began to walk away.
“I know,” Mitsuhide said to himself as he was having a hard time concentrating on doing more on finding things out about her. He really wanted to just look at her picture. Right now, it was much more pleasing to look at than she was in her present state.
He continued to comb through her life, and he had built a file already on her from the time she could access the internet to now. She had fallen off the grid about four months ago. He could almost pinpoint the day the first beating had occurred. She had been strong then. She had done the research on how to getaway. Something happened, though. He assumed another beating. He had seen the search terms begin to fade away, and then they turned dark. She had begun to search for ways to die.
It had only taken six months for her to change from someone who loved life and had nearly everything to someone who was googling non-messy ways to die. It was the non-messy that got him. Death was always messy. Only a woman who still cared would want that. He got up and walked tot eh exam room she was laid out in. The IV still in her arm. Her arms had splints on them, and in a day or so, she would have a cast on them. Her leg was the same way. She had tape going over her nose.
Yasu wasn’t in the room. Mitsuhide walked around her, looking down. She was not only tiny; she was underweight. In the pictures he had seen, she was a good size, now looking at her she was boney and ghostly pale. “Looking at something?” Yasu’s voice asked as he walked into the room.
“Comparing pictures to the real thing,” Mitsuhide said.
“She is not well,” Yasu said. “I think she was either starved or was starving herself.”
“Probably a combo of the two,” Mitsuhide said. “I have to wait for more information on him, but I will go ahead and say he was a douche bag who probably told her she was fat or something.”
“Probably,” Yasu said. “Then, of course, the pregnancy as well didn’t help, I am sure.”
“How far is she?” Mitsuhide asked. He had forgotten the child completely.
“Almost eighteen weeks,” Yasu said as he shook his head.
“Is it okay?” Mitsuhide asked.
“As far as I could see,” Yasu replied as he walked over to the pictures he had scanned. “It looks to be a good-sized baby girl. Nothing broken. However, if you look at the mother, she does not look to be almost halfway through a pregnancy.”
“Wait, she is?” Mitsuhide asked as his eyes widened, and he looked back and forth between the pictures Yasu had in his hand to the woman on the table. He had carried her. She weighed next to nothing when he did.
“Forty weeks in a pregnancy, Akechi.” Yasu said, “She is nearing week nineteen. I think you can do the math.”
“Funny,” Mitsuhide said. “When will she wake up?”
“I think I want to keep her under until I cast her later tomorrow if the swelling has gone down enough. It will give her body a little time to heal before she starts fighting again.”
“Will that be okay for the baby?” Mitsuhide asked.
“It is a mild sedative. It won’t affect the baby.” Yasu said. “So I am also giving you a chance to sleep now. She will probably give you a run for your money when she wakes up.”
“Probably. But she will have two casts on her arms and one on her leg. I doubt she will get that far away.” Mitsuhide said as he chuckled. Yasu walked back out of the room as Mitsuhide stood over her, looking down at her.
“So Rine, I will be watching over you for a while. My name is Mitsuhide Akechi. You can call me Akechi as well. We have some things to discuss, and I have a feeling neither of us is going to like it.” Mitsuhide said softly as he touched her hand, “I will be straight with you if you are with me, okay?” though she didn’t move, he thought he felt a tremor through her hand. He placed his on top of it. It was right next to her non-existent stomach. He saw the shirt move again, and he touched her stomach with the palm of his hand. It was the first time in his life he had felt a baby move within its mother. “Looks like your daughter has a fighting spirit as well.”
He watched his hand be kicked for a few minutes as he thought for the first time that he was now going to be watching two women, not just one. He was not known to have experience with women nor with a pregnant one. This was going to be interesting. It was time for him to go back and start making another file.
He had a lot of research to do.
Rine was going in, and out of being aware, there were people around her. Though she knew she was not in a hospital, someone was treating her broken bones. He was nowhere near her. She could sense that. She was safe from him.
She was coming out of her fog when she heard a voice, “So Rine, I will be watching over you for a while. My name is Mitsuhide Akechi. You can call me Akechi as well. We have some things to discuss, and I have a feeling neither of us is going to like it.” The voice paused as he spoke. The deep voice filled the room, and the space around her. Somehow in those few words, she knew she wasn’t going to like talking with him, but she was still safe with him around. She wondered who this Mitsuhide Akechi was and what did he want from her. She felt his touch on her stomach. She felt the baby move. He did, as well. “Looks like your daughter has a fighting spirit as well.”
All Rine could think about was she hoped her daughter had more of one, and then she fell asleep.