Chapter 10 - Rivers ConvergeMature

Kocho Aida watched as Akira and Hideo worked studiously with their broken laptops. An assortment of wires and cables connected to other electronic devices like one technological patchwork. Aida had no idea what they were doing and it frustrated her; a dark cloud loomed in her mind and refused to dissolve. Sensing her anxiety, both Akira and Hideo looked to each other in the hopes the other would say something.

Akira was the bravest. "Kocho Aida-" he began.

"Are you any closer to retrieving that link?" she asked. Her voice was as cold as the Osaka winter.

"Y-yes." stammered Hideo. "The hardware it self seems fine it's just.. the wires are a little frazzled."

"We're going to transfer some of the data over to a different computer. We'll be able to look into the files easier." continued Akira. He looked back at Aida in hopes her mood had softened. She nodded curtly and he felt encouraged.

The laptops both spring into life suddenly. A blue screen spills behind the cracked glass and a spidery font cuts slowly. The Raining Room's link flashes several times on the screen as the trio look on confused.

Akira hits a few keys to return to his desktop. He succeeds but the blue screen remains. Every one of his files is deleted.

"Well.. this was unexpected." he said. Hideo hit the same keys on his laptop and was greeted with the same response.

Kocho Aida was confused. "What has happened?"

The lights above explode suddenly. The dusty remnants of glass shower upon them. Looking up at this, the trio say nothing but their thoughts read the same.

"It's a virus. Nothing like we've ever seen though." said Hideo. Noticing Aida's expression, he continued. "Most viruses just slow your PC down or hit you with pop ups. This one.. appears to have wiped everything and installed this weird blue thing."

Aida looked at the two blue screens and an ancient hatred welled up inside of her. She rarely exhibited anger even when she deemed it necessary. Her mother had raised her to be analytical and cold; she was under the belief wearing your heart on your sleeve was foolish. Aida never wanted to ascribe to this way of thinking but working as the Kocho for a large school changed her mind. Right then, Aida wanted to reach through the blue screens and strangle whoever was causing this strife. However, she did not. Instead she took a deep breath and announced she was going to make a quick phone call. After she had left, Hideo and Akira sighed in relief.

"She makes me nervous sometimes.. what is her deal with this virus site?" said Hideo. Free of his boss, his sardonic edge resurfaced.

"Someone's afraid of Yoko." teased Akira. "What's the deal with that?" He pointed up at the broken lights.

Hideo shrugged. "It's been happening all over the building. Probably an electric charge or something."


Kenta Orikasa was stepping out of a cafe when Kocho Aida called. He was having a particularly bad day and seeing her name flash on his phone did not lift his spirits. He walked between the raindrops as best he could, as he juggled his phone and coffee. He'd not long left the hospital where a young student had succumbed to a violent brain embolism. The father had been near inconsolable and had begged Kenta between watery sobs to help him. Kenta found himself unable to answer and left hurriedly after taking his statement. The medics and a fellow officer took charge as he ran for his car.

Kenta swiped at his phone's screen. Instantly, Aida's voice spilled from the speaker

"Detective Orikasa. I want to speak with you regarding our conversation the other day. Are you free to talk?" Aida asked. Her voice was all business but Kenta could sense a chink in her haughty armour.

"I might be later as I have to come to your school again anyway." Kenta felt the dead weight in his voice and spoke more softly. He was no wordsmith but he needed to tell her the truth."I guess I should let you know one of your students perished earlier today. Katsu Shirasu. I am so sorry, Kocho. Something is not right."

Kenta felt numb as he spoke. He was worried he'd sound uncaring but long ago he learned to keep some emotional distance. If you bleed for everyone, eventually you'll have no heart left.

"But I will be coming by tomorrow. I need to question some of the students who were present when Katsu had his first embolism. With your permission, of course." he continued.

He didn't need her permission but he felt it was respectful. After their frosty first meeting, he didn't want to make things worse.

"Okay." replied Aida. A lump rose in the back of her throat. She steadied herself before continuing. "I have news that may be of some help. it's probably nothing but..."

Kenta was suddenly interested. He knocked back some coffee and winced at its heat.

"What news would this be?" he asked.

"We may have found a link to that wretched site. I know it may just be an urban legend but it's worth covering all our bases."

An urban legend that refused to die. He wanted to dismiss this with annoyance; how great it would be just to laugh and ignore it like a poor tale of woe. But something inside him knew this wasn't so. He wanted to meet Aida now and delve deeper but he had work to do.

"I'll be in touch." he finished. He swiped off before she could speak and pocketed his phone. He gave a forlorn glance at his coffee and knocked back another boiling mouthful. God knows, he was going to need it

The End

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