Listen carefully, everything is going to be fine! We’ll take care of you! You’ll take care of us!
The voices in his head reassured him. Sometimes he remembered images that upset him and that he didn’t understand, but every time he heard this mantra in his head and he became calm again.
The first time in his room when he looked in the mirror he was startled. How did he look? His own words sounded strange in his ears and still he got their meaning. His face wasn’t the trusted face, he remembered.
You’re a new person now. You’re reborn. A new chance, a new life. You’re the chosen one.
Indeed, he felt new in all the aspect of the word. Somewhere he remembered a mother. And the pain. Pain which belonged to the rebirth he presumed, just like a mother who belongs to be with her child. He saw fractions of images, a lost and desolate place, and a plane. People who carried a stretcher with a woman on it.
Your mother is now with us. We’ll take care of her. Take care of us and we’ll look after you as we also do for your mother. At some time, when you’re worthy you’ll see each other again. You’re the chosen one.
Tranquillity spread from his head through his whole body. It felt so good. He heard strange words in his head and still he understood what they meant and he felt blessed.
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictis.
When the accused are confounded,
And doomed to flames of woe,
Call me among the blessed.
Without knowing why, he pushed the button on his modest music installation and the intro of a gloomy and still promising music piece filled the space. His brain recorded the inscription on the LCD-display of the device: ‘Requiem, W.A. Mozart’.
He sat down on his sofa and with closed eyes, he listened to the words. He understood them. He would have an important role to play. He was reborn and The Lord was merciful. He absorbed the words in him, felt the music as a second skin, he knew it was true. The White Angel was talking to him.
You’re the Angel who has to lead them to the holy light. You have to save those sheep from the bucks. You have to search for the he-goats, the cursed ones and punish them. You’re our Avenging Angel.
Beside him on the table, he saw his Nihonto laying in a holder. The weapon which he would use to execute his task. He closed his eyes. Images blended into each other… a woman on a stretcher… he and his beloved Nihonto… the woman they revived… his anger which flamed in him, his pain and blood, a lot of blood.
So sweet was the revenge of the Angel. Sweet as the blood that clung to his Nihonto. The blood of his mother, the blood of his reincarnation.
After the brainstorming at Gerekko Dai’s place, we had decided to visit the crime scenes in the following days. Not that I expected a lot of it, but it was better than doing nothing. Empty-handed after the allocation of duties everyone returned to their house or apartment. I was a bit disappointed about the images Eagle Eye had shown us and the reports of the Security Service hadn’t made us much wiser. These services had visited all the manufacturers of such swords, but nothing positive had come out of it. Another possibility could be that the sword was of old mintage and not registered. There were a lot of swords that were stolen in the last decades. Probably it was a murder weapon of that kind. This trail had been a dead end for the Security Service.
We also had decided Gekko now and then would look at the file with the Security Service at one condition he wouldn’t take unnecessary risks. On the one hand, it could utterly be dangerous for him and on the other hand, maybe it would lead to and also end our private investigation before it really had begun. We had to avoid that at all costs.
Ji Lang and Eagle Eye got the mission to approach the family of Myo and Dakai about possible enemies and if they had problems with anybody lately. Maybe this would give a useful trace we could follow.
My first task was to make an appointment with Stephen Marc. As far Gekko had told me, he was an influential person in the Old Words. A prominent diplomat who maintained good contacts for many years with important people of the New World. Also, according to Gekko, he had a family relationship with someone of the New World. Stephen March’s father had been married to a certain Kathy Chang. Because of the fact that Kathy Chang was one of the victims of the Akai-murders, as he had reported, enlarged the chance he was a well-informed source who could tell them more.
When I called the embassy, they told me after a lot of urging that the diplomatic corps already had left. I cursed under my breath. Too late. Always too late! Frustrated, I closed my mobile phone. So to speak, I stood before a wall. Every time I thought to learn something more about the Akai-murders I was fishing beside the nets. I had sworn my blood oath, but the execution nonetheless the help of a few friends didn’t seem to run smoothly.
Could Gekko contact Stephen March by telephone? Maybe I had to ask him to hack a computer of the embassy of the Old Word, now that we already used illegal means to gather some information. A bit less or more wouldn’t make the difference. I decided to call it a day and hoped that after a good night’s rest and with a fresh spirit, I would be time again for the gloves to come off. My head hardly touched the pillow or I already dozed off into a restless sleep.
I don’t really know if it was the sound of the door of the bedroom that had waked me up or if it was my sixth sense that did some overtime? Considering that I, half asleep still being somewhere in a nightmare, I couldn’t fall back on my natural reaction velocity, this professional captured me. A person who could overpower me so quickly, handcuffed and blindfolded me without I could do something about it, had to be made of the right stuff. Although the lamp I had given a smack in my panic probably didn’t survive I rather had seen it broken on the nose of my attacker. The robber turned me on my belly and I felt his breath upon my neck.
Just stay calm, Yu, I said to myself. But my breathing and my heart who went into overdrive, witnessed of the opposite. We had finally been busted for sticking our nose where it wasn’t wanted. The fear that I would become the next victim of the Akai-murderer scorched my thoughts like a burning arrow. I called for help as hard as I could, but after only one cry this was prevented already and I tasted a dirty gag in my mouth.
‘Stay still and you will get a chance to live another day… to survive this if you understand what I mean,’ the man whispered silently in my left ear. The short but powerful knock I gave with my head wasn’t the reaction he expected, but to my great satisfaction I heard a smothered cry.
After a few minutes of silence which seemed much longer, he responded. ‘You give me still one such an irresponsible answer to my questions, Miss Mitsukai and I’ll cut your pretty little throat open from here to here,’ he said making a movement with his thumb over my throat while pushing his knee roughly into my back. A statue could learn from my sudden immobility. I tried to ask politely what he wanted from me, but I heard myself mumbling: ‘mmm, hmm, mmm’. Obviously I seemed to make some universal sounds, a language which mostly was used by people who were gagged I presumed because he answered instantly my question. Although not before he had given and extra painful poke with his knee in my back.
‘I want you to stop your private investigation. Close it down, go further and don’t look back. Do you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the woman of Lot, my dear Yukiko? Try to withstand the temptation. Go on and don’t look behind. To become a column of salt is hardly enviable. The name of the woman of Lot hasn’t been mentioned in the bible, don’t let her make history under the name of Yukiko Mitsukai. I’m sure you understand what I mean. A corpse or a column of salt, for me there’s not much difference, they both are dead.’
The pressure in my back disappeared and a treacherous silence filled the room. I stayed lying on the ground for a quarter of an hour till I got cramps in my calf. Then I knew for sure the man had left my room. It took at least another half hour before I had freed myself of my cuffs. I realized I was very lucky, I would have the possibility to retell my adventure. But to whom? Had it been the murderer of my parents or was it somebody who had an interest in the fact that the killer could proceed as he liked to destabilize the state of the city and suburban area?
How in heaven’s name had he entered? I checked the door and saw it wasn’t forced. After a control of the log files of my security system, I noticed the perpetrator had used my code to end up in my apartment and he had erased some files! I couldn’t identify him. How was this possible?
At the same moment, a memory shot through my mind about an action movie I once had seen in the Megaskoop. Gangsters in that movie used a sort of lamp to discover the most used button combinations. Was it a sort of infrared lamp or fluorescence or maybe even the traces of wear and tear of the buttons? Gekko would know the answer, but it didn’t make any difference now anymore. If the guy thought this stunt would stop me and I would put the research on hold, he didn’t yet know Yukiko Mitsukai.
At the Sutimoto Bank & Insurance Company Stephen March had been received by the adjunct director. Mister Ayumu had been briefed by Ayaka Sato of the Fijutso Building Company. That’s why the closed doors unlocked before Stephen, just like in the fairy tale ‘Thousand and one night’. Open Sesame, Stephen thought while at the same time he wondered about the locker and the key he showed to Mister Ayumu.
Hajimemashite! Pleased to meet you! Mister March, if you will follow me? We’ll go using the elevator down to the floor where the locker room is situated. There I’ll give at your disposal the locker that fits your key.’
They went into an elevator that was so big, at least a dozen people could party in it. A light music made the descent a bit more pleasant. Nonetheless mister Ayumu put a seemingly polite smile on his face, Stephen doubted the righteousness of this man.
Well, bankers, they were a breed apart, also in the Old World. They were the reason of the destabilization of the economy during the 21st century, of which ‘The Big War’ was one of the most important consequences. They made the poor poorer and screwed the rich people with a smile on their face. They had more faces than the god Janus from the Roman mythology.
The elevator stopped and for a moment Stephen the movement made his stomach and intestines protest. What would he discover? He followed the still smiling banker through the corridor. Mister Ayumu shoved a door open and pointed to the room on his left side.
The place was totally different from the modern design in the entrance of the bank. He saw a classical designed Japanese room in Sukiya style with sliding fusuma doors which were on both sides covered with not-transparent paper. Inside the room was decorated with tatami mats of crimped rice-straw and a tokonoma, an important focal point in a Japanese room. In the past, many centuries ago, they constructed a little altar inside this tokonoma. In the 21st century, it was evolved in a built-in niche, where they put a special object, a well-chosen object. Here it was a sculpture out of ceramic that carried the name ‘Security’. A relevant name for the feeling a bank had to give to his investors.
Usually, these places were locked behind shoji doors which only filtered the light. Such doors were less fitted here because they were not as private as the fusuma doors. Shoji doors existed out of a wooden latticework that was covered on one side with transparent paper. Mister Ayumu asked me to wait for a moment and I sat down at the low teburu, the traditional Japanese low table. It made Stephen think about the Japanese tea ceremony. Maybe he could expect the smiling man to come back with two cups and a pot of tea instead of the locker as he hoped.
It only took him ten minutes before mister Ayumu appeared with an oblong shaped metal box in the form of a bar with a length of about forty centimeters and a fifteen centimeter high. On the front side, there were two little round eyes the size of the tip an RFID-tagged key. Stephen took his key and pointed it at the left eye above which the word ‘tenant’ was printed. Mister Ayumu used a similar key for the second eye. It had to be right because Stephen heard a click and the front panel opened.
‘I’ll give you some privacy, Mister March, if you want me to come back, just put your hand on the sculpture. It will give an electronic signal in such a way I’ll know you are ready.’ With that eternal smile on his Asiatic face, the man left the room after greeting with a bow.
Stephen hesitated. Would he finally get an answer to his questions? Who was Suzy’s sister? As a result of what had she got into trouble that killed her? His hand pulled the inside drawer out of the locker.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere