Chapter Nineteen: Karma Police:
Sixteen-year-old Kimoto Kaoru waited outside dressed in black. That was a cold night with a strong chance of rain back then. He’d rather be in bed right about now. His dad said that they had to be out tonight. Why? His grandmother, Haruka, ordered her oldest son, his father, out on a hit tonight. His father was more than happy to do so, but he needed some help. So it was the dad, his two younger brothers, Kaoru, and his cousin.
Kaoru felt someone nudge him in the back. He slowly looked up to see his dad wearing a Kabuki mask of a priest.
“What’s on your mind?” he asked. Kaoru shook his head.
“Nothing,” he lied, “Nothing at all.” His father slapped the boy in the face. Kaoru winced in pain, but said nothing. He learned the hard way that crying makes things worse. His father learned that from his grandmother. The boy bit his lip hard to fight back tears. His father glared at him through his mask.
“You can’t get cold feet on this mission!” he barked, “We have to do this! It is the only way that I… er… we can get mom to finally appreciate me after so long!” Kaoru looked at him coldly. His dad wanted his mother’s approval after all of these years. Nothing he did was ever good enough for her. He kept trying to impress Haruka with more killings and blood sacrifices. Kaoru didn’t understand his father. Part of the problem was that the father never bonded with the son. A relationship between them never existed. Except for the fights and occasional beatings, the boys hardly interacted with each other. Kaoru said nothing to his dad and always tried to avoid him whenever possible, but sometimes like tonight, that didn’t turn out that way. Kaoru looked at his father begrudgingly.
“Fine,” he mumbled, “I’ll do it!” His father turned to the other boys.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Okay,” the oldest said, “Let’s go!” The men headed towards the manor when the road was clear. Kaoru sighed discontent.
“Right…” he mumbled. Then the boy put on his mask and walked up to the crew. They all made it into the yard. The father turned to his son.
“Okay Kaoru,” he said, “Just go up to the door and convince your cousin to let you in.” His son looked confused.
“How?” he asked.
“Just… make up something!” his father hissed, “Say it’s an emergency!”
“Okay…” Kaoru replied uneasily. The boy walked up to the Kimoto Manor door and rang the bell. Anna opened the door a crack.
“Uh… can I help you?” she asked.
“Please miss!” he pleaded, “It’s an emergency! We need to use your phone!” Anna looked at him slightly confused.
“I’m sorry, we don’t have a phone,” she lied.
“Please!” Kaoru insisted, “It’s a matter of life or death! We need to contact help right away!” Anna paused for a moment before looking inside. She turned back to Kaoru and nervously bit her lip.
“Okay,” Anna said at last, “But please make it quick.” Kaoru nodded his head.
“Oh thank you, miss!” he said. Anna slowly pulled open the door, but then Kaoru, his father, uncles, and cousin rushed inside to attack. Anna screamed as Kaoru shoved her in the closet and blocked it off. The girl pounded on the door yelling for help. Her cousin lowered his head.
/I’m so sorry, Anna/, he thought. He counted down what would happen next in his heart. Daisuke ran into the living room and spotted the intruders.
“You!” he barked. The men looked up and saw their target.
“At long last!” Kaoru’s father announced, “Daddy dearest is here!” Kaoru didn’t participate in the following battle and slaughter; he stood against the back wall and watched. He never had the stomach for killing. The boy was even worried for Anna being trapped in the closet while her dad was dying. He hoped that he could make it up to her one day.
On the same night Kato died, Anna heard the doorbell ring. She looked up from her laptop.
>Hm?/, the woman thought, /Who’s that at this hour? Rihoko had a night class tonight and Yoko-chan and Seita were in their beds sound asleep. Tsuzuki and Hisoka already left. Maybe it’s the killer?
Anna got up from her desk and walked out of Daisuke’s office. As she silently crept down the hall, a strange feeling came over her.
I feel like I’ve done this before, she thought, Don’t know why… Anna made it to the door and slid it open a crack. A man about her age stood on the other side looking in. He seemed to be homeless. The beard on his face made him look like a Japanese version of the Unabomber. He looked so pale and wore all black. Anna looked at him rather confused.
“Can I… help you?” she asked. The man looked at her with helpless eyes.
“Please miss,” he pleaded, “My car ran out of gas on my way home and I don’t have any spare tanks. May I stay the night here?” Anna stared on uneasily; this all felt too familiar, almost like déjà vu. Something told her not to let him in.
“Sure…” Anna replied uneasily. The man bowed his head.
“Thank you, miss,” he said. The woman reluctantly let him in and the man walked into the manor. Anna closed the door behind them.
Her new guest looked around his new surroundings. Anna observed him still uneasy. There was an odd feeling in her gut.
Where have I seen him before?/, she thought, /Where? Where? Her answer came when the man turned to her.
“How it really been that long?” he asked, “I remember when this place didn’t have a phone. Anna paused and looked at him on that question.
“What did you say?” she asked.
“Well, I came to this place when I was sixteen and the previous owner said that they didn’t have a phone,” he explained, “I guess you installed a new one.” That little sentence triggered a chain reaction. Anna’s eyes widened as her brain instantly made the connection.
/Oh shit, it’s him!/, she thought. This man was the boy who was at her door that fateful Halloween night. This was the boy who tricked her into opening the door for him and the other intruders to lock her away and kill Daisuke. The memories flooded her head again.
“Miss,” a voice spoke up. “Is something wrong?” Anna quickly returned to earth. The boy, now a man, stared at her, looking concerned.
“Are you okay?” he asked. Anna quickly nodded.
“Y-Yes!” she lied, “Just remembered something.” The man kept his eyes locked dead on her. Anna decided to put on a brave front.
“Really, I’m fine!” she lied. “Look, you’re hungry, aren’t you?” The man blinked in confusion.
“Uh, yeah, I guess…” he replied.
“Great!” Anna chirped, “I’ll heat you something to eat and work from there.” The man gave her a blank stare.
“Are you sure?” he asked, “I don’t want to cause any trouble.”
“Oh not at all!” his hostess lied, “It’s a joy to have new people here at times.”
“Okay…” he said uneasily.
“Good!” Anna said with a rich smile, “Take a seat at the table and I’ll get you something to eat shortly!” She pushed him to the dining room table. The man had no choice but to comply.
In the kitchen, Anna began plotting. He must pay for what he did!/, she thought, /I have to make him pay for Papa’s death! An idea for this formed in her head. Her psychology minor came into good use. She needed to study her target and then work from there. Before that, she needed to look for food.
Anna began looking in the cabinets. She spotted some instant ramen. The woman breathed for a moment. Okay/, she thought, /Good enough. Anna turned back to the dining room.
“Uh… all we have is ramen at the moment,” she lied, “That okay?”
“Sure,” the guest said, “That’s fine!” Vengeance took over her mind from there. Anna set up the kitchen to start cooking. As the ramen cooked, she looked around in the cabinet with the pills. It took a minute to find what she was looking for. Anna found some sleeping pills in the very back.
/Gotcha!/, she thought. She hurried back to the pot and dropped four sleeping pills in the ramen and mixed them in. Payback would be sweet tonight.
When the ramen was done, Anna took it off the stove. She put the food in a bowl and carried the trap to her guest.
“Here you are,” she said, “Nice hot ramen!” The man became overjoyed.
“Thanks, miss!” he said. Anna joined him at the table as the man began eating. The hostess watched for a moment.
“So,” she spoke up, “Tell me about yourself. Where did you come from?” The man glanced at her. Anna gave him a kind little smile.
“Well,” he started, “I just got divorced; we grew apart. One of those things, you know?”
“I see,” she said with a nod. Her guest took another bite. Lucky for her, he was in a talking mood.
“It’s funny,” he went on, “My life has always been a screw-up. My dad and I never got along. He was too busy kissing up to grandma.” The man shook his head.
“So pathetic really,” he went on, “Dad never paid any attention to me. It was always about what grandma wanted. That’s part of the reason why we never got along. It’s so stupid! He used to beat me all of the time, you know? When he got angry, dad would lock me in the closet for a long time. That’s why I’m… oh, what’s the word?”
“Claustrophobic?” Anna suggested.
“Yeah,” the man said, nodding.
“I see…” the hostess replied in thought. She had just found a fitting punishment for her guest. All needed to do was wait.
In one hour, the guest passed out on the table. Anna rose to her feet and walked over to the target. He was out cold; now for the next part. She reached into her pocket and drew out her cell phone. She dialed a familiar number.
Come on/, she thought as she waited, /Don’t pick up. Just as expected, voice-mail.
“Hey Tsuzuki, it’s me,” she said. “I found one of the guys that killed Papa,” She laughed in the middle of the message, “Come and get me before I do something really bad. Bye.” Anna hung up the phone. She turned back to the man. The woman breathed some.
In a few minutes, the man awoke to see pitch black all around. Panic came over him as he began to fear the worst. The man slowly felt all around him. It was then he knew that he was in a tight closed space of a closet. The panic increased as he started pounding on the door.
“Let me out!” he cried, “I’m scared in here. Let me out!”
“No!” Anna yelled on the outside as she sat across from the closet door. The man became bewildered as well. He pounded on the door harder.
“Why are you doing this?!?” he yelped, “Have I offended you somehow?!?”
“Oh yes!” Anna replied like a mad woman, “Ten years ago on Halloween!” The man tried his best to remember. Suddenly, it hit him.
“Anna?” the man asked. “Cousin?” The woman didn’t think about the last part. She wanted to make him suffer. She wanted to make him feel the pain she felt that night. He needed to pay for what he did.
“I don’t get it, Anna!” the poor man yelped, “Why are you doing this to me? Please, let me out! I’m scared!”
“Are you now?” the woman asked.
“Yes!” he victim yelped. Anna took in his breathlessness with made delight. He deserved to feel the terror she felt that night years ago. Insanity continued to eat at her logic.
Her victim panicked inside his cell. Sweat broke out all over his body as he broke down trembling. His heart raced out of control.
“Cousin!” he pleaded, “Dear cousin! You don’t want to kill me! I-I-I’m not your enemy! I didn’t kill your dad!”
“LIAR!” Anna screamed, “You’re just as guilty as they are!” The man panted even worse now. Thoughts of dying and going crazy invaded his mind. The poor soul felt the dark wall closing in on him, cutting off his air. Anna was choking him with her cold cruelty.
“Really, I didn’t touch him!” he begged in between breaths, “I-I-I didn’t want to do it! My dad dragged me along! He told me to get you to let us in! After that, I didn’t do anything, I swear! I just stood near the wall. I’m telling the truth! I swear! I swear! Please let me out of here! I think I might die in here!” Anna didn’t hear his voice anymore. All she heard was her own sixteen-year-old voice crying for help as Daisuke was being beaten to death. This bastard deserved to suffer until he died. The jury in her head had reached that verdict.
Death breathed down the victim’s neck. Derealization took over his mind. He felt cold and hot all over. The poor soul soon felt light-headed. He soon couldn’t think straight anymore.
“I’m sorry, dad!” he cried from his childhood, “I’ll be good! Please help me somebody!”
“Anna!” a voice yelled at his captor. The woman looked up to Tsuzuki and the boys stood in the doorway. The Shinigami saw Anna with worried horror. Her eyes were red with hate. She looked possessed by the devil. Her body was there, but her mind had vanished. Hisoka could feel her wrath without touching her. Tsuzuki stepped forward.
“Anna, what’s going on?” he asked, “Where is the man that killed your father?” Anna pointed to the blocked off closet. The boys got a clear picture of what happened. Tsuzuki tried to stay calm.
“Anna,” he said, “Let him go.”
“NO!” the woman screamed. “HE DESERVES TO DIE!”
“Why?” the Shinigami questioned. Anna froze; that question was strong enough to snap her back into reality. The woman’s hands began to tremble. She looked down at her feet.
“I… I…” Anna stammered out. She finally sank down to the floor crying. The vengeance left her mind and took all of her energy with it. In the end, the whole punishment trap proved rather pointless. Tsuzuki walked over to her and knelt down beside of her.
“Shhh! It’s okay. It’s okay,” he whispered, trying to calm her down. Anna said nothing and wept. Tatsumi and Watari walked over to the closet. They moved the chairs aside and opened the door. The man sat on the floor in a frightened daze. The Shinigami looked at him in pity.
“It’s okay,” Tatsumi said calmly, “We’re not going to hurt you.” She really gave it her all with the man. The Shinigami had to physically take him out of the closet.
Once he calmed down, the man sat at the kitchen table again. The Shinigami had their own questions for him. They kept Anna away from their suspect in fear that she would harm him again. The boys got the man some tea to help him keep calm.
“Here,” Tsuzuki said as he handed the man the cup.
“Thanks,” the suspect said nodding. He slowly took a drink. Tsuzuki sat at the table with him.
“How are you involved in all of this mess?” he asked. The man looked down, nervous.
“I’m Anna’s cousin,” he mumbled. The Shinigami all listened on in shock. This man was Anna’s cousin? They suspected that Daisuke was killed by his family all those years ago, but they hadn’t thought of children joining the kills.
“What’s your name?” Tatsumi asked.
“Ueda Kaoru,” he answered.
“Why did you come back here?” Tsuzuki questioned, “Was it to finish the clan’s job?” Kaoru shook his head.
“My car broke down a few miles down the road. I just needed a place to stay for the night!” he justified, “Look, I left my dad’s family years ago. I changed surname to my mom’s maiden name, Ueda, and went to live with my grandparents. I was there the night they killed Uncle Daisuke, but I only tricked Anna into letting us in. I didn’t participate in the killing. I only watched, I swear. I’m not lying!” The Shinigami sat silence. He could be telling the truth…
“Why did they kill your uncle?” Hisoka asked. Kaoru shrugged as he shook his head.
“No idea,” he replied, “Dad never told me why.” He shook his head at his answer. “He just dragged me out of bed and said that we had to do this for grandma,” the man went on, “That’s all ever cared about! He spent most of my childhood trying to make grandma happy and love him. Dad never cared about me!” Kaoru finished his tea bitterly. That certainly drew up a clear picture of what they were all up against.
After a few more questions, the boys let Kaoru go. He walked into the living room and paused at the front door. He turned and looked into the room. Anna was heading back to Daisuke’s office when she pauses and saw her cousin. The woman glared at him. The Shinigami stayed by in case Anna would try to attack him again.
“Cousin, I’m so sorry!” Kaoru pleaded to her. His cousin looked him up and down. Anna took a couple of steps closer to Kaoru. Tsuzuki prepared to break up a confrontation. Instead, Anna spat on her cousin and walked off. Tsuzuki and the boys breathed out in slight relief. At least, tonight they had a new lead after many years of searching for a way to bring down the Eda-Kimoto clan for good.
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