The murderer finds out that Anna is still alive and begins the hunt again.
Chapter Eight: Predator Rising:
December 23rd, 1950. She stood off to the side in the snow. Her twin sister, Juriko, skated gracefully on the ice. Her twin stared on bitterly. She had jealousy for her sister. Everyone always focused on Juriko. She was more popular than her sister. Juriko had it all. Looks, charm, grace, brains, and a strong sense of independence. Juriko was the perfect child. However, her sister knew otherwise. Juriko could be as cold as the snow that almost came on their birthday every year. The twin knew because they were just like their mother—sweet and upbeat to the world, but cruel and cold in reality. That’s how the whole Eda clan was. But, we’ll get into them later. Right now, back to the twins.
Juriko’s sister watched her skate on the ice. Despite it being a cold birthday, she was burning hot with envy. Too many years she had been ignored. Sixteen too many to be exact. The girl glared on at her twin. Juriko looked like she was having a good time. She looked like an ideal winter princess. The weak winter sun gently kissed and caressed her long flowing midnight blue hair. The boys from down the street came to gawk at this dark angel as she skated around on the ice she wished so badly for her birthday today.
The twin watched on in hate. Sure, she looked just as beautiful as her sister, but did anyone ever notice? No! It was always about Juriko! Her sister saw her as a burden in her life. Many she killed Juriko in her head. In fact, the twin was having another death vision about her sister right now. She sneered at her current thought. “/It would be funny if the ice were to give way and break under her!/” the twin thought at her highest bitter point.
Then suddenly for no reason at all, the ice cracked and broke under Juriko’s feet. She fell right into the icy black water below. She screamed out in terror. The boys all ran forward to save her.
“Help!” Juriko cried. “Water… too cold! Can’t swim here! Help! Help! Help me!” Two boys ran home to get rescue. Throughout the chaos, Juriko’s twin just stood off in the distance. She didn’t move an inch. Her face was drained of any emotion. The girl just watched on as her twin sister was drowning in the black icy cold water.
By the time rescue arrived, it was too late. The water and cold claimed Juriko’s life. By the time the adults could pull her out, she had already drowned with hypothermia. Eda Juriko was only sixteen on her birthday.
May 2009. “YOU LET HER LIVE?!?” she shirked. “YOU IDIOT!!!” She had a fifty-six year old man levitating off of ground with her powers. She was choking him telepathically as well. The man struggled and gasped for air.
“But mama!” he choked. “I did kill Anna like you said. I strangled her with wire like you said. I even threw the body out the window to make sure she died! I went down and burned our mark into her wrists as you told us to! I did everything you told me! I swear! I swear!” She glared at him crossly.
“THEN WHY IS SHE STILL ALIVE?!?” the old woman screeched. She tightened her grip around her son’s throat. The old man gasped for air as he tried to break away from her grip.
“I choke don’t know!” he forced out. “She must have been resurrected or something! I killed her, I swear! I’m not lying!” The woman’s face changed some. She dropped her son right on the hard tamai floor. He landed with a crash. The man sat on all fours gasping for air. His two younger brothers watched on nervously. That could have been them. Their mother had the temper of a raging bull at times. She had scared and tortured them into submission. The act a few seconds ago was rather tame compared to what she did to them in the past. Couple with her years of witchcraft, that woman was a ticking time bomb waiting to blow! She turned around to her boys, thinking.
“This changes everything then,” she said. She looked at her three remaining sons. They looked at her confused.
“What do you mean?” the youngest asked. She didn’t answer, but she knew. Anna being alive again meant only one thing. “/He’s back again!/” she thought. The woman smirked at that revelation. Her boys watched on nervously. She was plotting something; they could tell.
“Mama,” the middle child said. “What are you up to?” She still didn’t answer. The old woman walked over to the window. She picked a handful of ashes from the old fireplace along the way and chanted over them. The woman opened her eyes and blew on them. They formed into a Hell butterfly. She smirked at her latest creation.
“Go out and seek Anna!” she commanded. “Report back to me as soon as you find her!” The butterfly fluttered away into the night. The woman watched as it did so. She turned back to her boys who were staring on in wonder. She smiled at them kindly.
“Go home to your wives and children,” the woman ordered. “I’ll take it from there tonight!” They still stared on at her. The woman became annoyed.
“Go on!” she snapped. “Go home! I’m sick of seeing your faces tonight! Go on, shoo!” The sons left as fast as they could. She watched them run away. Once they were gone, the woman turned back to the window. She sneered as she looked out onto the night. “/You won’t cheat death this time, Anna!/” she thought. “/I will kill you, with all of my being!/” That was a promise!
Meanwhile at a bath house, Kato sensed her again. “/She’s going to kill Malchik!/” he thought in alarm. He knew how far she would go to kill anyone she hated. Kato had always known since that morning in 1950. He always believed that she caused the ice to break under Juriko’s feet that day. He knew, but never told anyone. How could he? He didn’t have any proof and the whole thing was dismissed as a tragic accident. If she could get away with murdering her own twin sister, Anna’s death would be ten times worse! No, he could let that happen! Kato came to a decision right there.
“/I have to warn Malchik!/” he thought. The man quickly leapt out of the bath, put on his robe, and hurried to the locker room.
At the hotel bar, Tsuzuki noticed someone standing next to him. He looked up and saw Anna standing over him.
“Is this seat taken?” she asked calmly. Tsuzuki smiled as he shook his head.
“No,” the Shinigami said, upbeat. Anna smiled at him warmly.
“Thanks,” she said. The woman sat down next to the man. She ordered a cherry soda. Tsuzuki watched her with a smile on his face. Finally, someone not chewing him out or confusing/annoying him to death. Just a normal person to talk to for a change. Anna got her soda and took a drink. She turned to the Shinigami, looking happy.
“Oh dear,” Anna broke the silence with. “What a mess this has all turned into!” Tsuzuki looked up at her on that comment.
“Hm?” he asked. She gave him a little shrug.
“I mean,” the woman went on. “I’m supposed to be dead, my friends are here looking for me, and my killer could come back and attack me once they realize I’m alive again.” Tsuzuki looked on at her in new interest.
“Hisoka-kun told you everything?” he asked.
“Yeah, she said with a now. “Loud and clear to no end!” Both went silent. What could they say? Hisoka did have a point there. Tsuzuki screwed up BIG time on this one. Konoe and them wouldn’t let him live this one down any time soon. But, what could the Shinigami do? Tsuzuki stared deep into Anna’s rich greenish-brown eyes.
“So, what do you want to do?” he asked. Anna thought about that for a moment. She lightly took his hand. Tsuzuki stared on at her.
“My fate is up to you,” the woman said confidentially. “If you want to end this now, I’m fine with it. My life’s yours to deal with in the end.” Tsuzuki stared at her for a moment. She sounded dead serious here. He tried to piece her offer together in his head. She basically told him that he was her savior or executioner. But, which one would he be? Without thinking, he reached a rash answer. Tsuzuki embraced Anna’s hands as well.
“Well then, I’ll let you live until we can find out who killed you and your father!” he declared. Anna looked genuinely surprised.
“Y-You mean it?” she asked. “You would actually do that?” Tsuzuki nodded once.
“It’s like you said,” he answered. “Your life is in my hands. So, I will do my best to keep you safe until we find the truth!” Anna’s eyes lit up.
“I think you, Tsuzuki!” she breathed out. The Shinigami smiled at her kindly.
“It’s nothing,” he said. The man and woman let go of each others’ hands. A moment of silence passed. Tsuzuki smiled at her again.
“Photo club, huh?” he asked. Anna gave him a modest little smile.
“Yeah,” she admitted humbly. “I was kind of drafted by Becky my freshman year of college.”
“I see,” her guardian said. They spent the rest of the night at the bar talking about Anna’s college days over drinks. Tsuzuki seemed to be enjoying learning more about the girl he had stayed with and kissed ten years ago on that fateful Halloween night. Each word was an invitation to take Kimoto Anna apart and learn more about her in the past and present. See, it was good for him to talk to someone normal for a change. No lectures or annoying trivia. Just a normal conversation with a normal person.
However outside of the hotel, the predator had risen again. The Hell butterfly perched itself against the window. It had found Anna. The messenger hung around for a few more seconds and flew off. It made it back to the old woman. She awaited the results.
“Well?” she asked the butterfly. The butterfly landed on her finger.
“I have found Anna!” it exclaimed. “She is at the bar in Shiba Park Hotel. She’s staying at the old Kimoto Manor. Anna also has Shinigami protecting her!” The old woman took this newfound information to heart. A smirk came across her face.
“Shinigami, huh?” she asked. “Things just took an interesting twist.” The butterfly faded back into ash. The old woman grinned in the darkness. The predator had found her prey again. Now, it was time to move in for the hunt, again.