Chapter 11 - The Guilty & The AccusedMature

Kenta was near the end of his journey. It was a lonely ride from the stuffed city to the quaint suburbs and Kenta felt ashamed he'd been away for so long. With his past involving the seedy backstreets, spiteful gang members and long hours on the beat, he was happy to stumble into a peaceful area. Even if it wasn't for a happy reason.

He'd been a detective since the mid nineties; his first case involving a J-Pop musician and a strange 'healing music' cult who tried to snare several Visual kei musicians. Even with the shady child abuse charges hanging over them, Kenta never lost his youthful enthusiasm and was brimming with pride when the cult was eventually disbanded. Arrests were made, lives were saved and he was a hero. No, his darkest hour came during the original 'Raining Room' case where teenagers suddenly began dying all over Japan. No matter how hard he tried or how much investigating her undertook, whatever was causing this was one step ahead of him.

It was when the killings stopped, he assured himself it was all over and that he could rest. But the faces of all the kids he had seen were permanently burned into his memories. He dreamed of them sometimes. Their lifeless eyes staring at him as if to say Congratulations detective, you have another grave to dig. He would reach out to them and they'd begin to violently shudder and bleed. After enough of these nightmares, he'd gone into a motel with a gun and a bottle of sake with the intention of never coming out. When he defied this, he had lost a lot of who he was and those who knew him understood. After the first death was reported, he felt a painful weight inside his chest and he did his best to ignore it. The bottle of sake was long gone but his gun was always close by. Every day he was grateful he never used it even though that same painful weight lingered.

Reaching his destination, Kenta pulled up and left his car. The rain had faded to a light drizzle which suited him just fine. He hated the rain but with the recent freak weather, he'd take anything. He knocked on the front door of a large yet unfriendly home. Kenta was reminded of cheap modern art disguised as post modern but then taste was subjective. However, at some point he felt even that excuse wasn't enough.

The disheveled face of Mariko greeted him. She stifled a yawn in place of a greeting before pushing her considerable hair from her eyes. Guilt stung Kenta as he realized he probably just woke her up.

"Hello there, Matsumoto-san. I'm Detective Kenta Orikasa." he flashed his badge as he spoke. Her eyes did not leave his. "I'm here to speak with Toshi. Is he home?"

Mariko remained still. "My son? What do you want with my son?"

"He was at the local hospital earlier today when a fellow student sadly passed away. I wish to ask him some questions as he is a witness."

Kenta was worried she would argue. Often, he had challenged parents of delinquents who were in utter denial their offspring could break the law. Without means of arrest or even a warrant, he was effectively powerless. However Mariko yielded and opened the door. Grateful, he stepped in and followed her lead. She gestured to the kitchen before using the same hand to rub her eyes.

"If this is a bad time, Matsumoto-san." he said before breaking off. Mariko shook her head before trying to smother another yawn. The vague semi circles under her eyes darkened.

"It's fine. I just came off a long shift and.. you know how it is. Please, take a seat Detective. I'll go get him."

Kenta bowed briefly as she shuffled back into the hallway. He sat on a metallic stool (one of four) and surveyed the sleek, shiny kitchen. It appeared quite a lot of money went into making this a love letter to modern design but, with every clean surface there was less and less character. Kenta's own kitchen was cramped, second hand and bustling with various takeout dishes. Yet he preferred his own to this sterile haven.

Toshi appeared almost suddenly. Kenta smiled encouragingly at the boy who dragged his feet over to the opposite stool.

"Ah, Toshi. How are you?" he asked. His voice was warm but he felt the words he chose were insincere. He knew there would be no positive response.

Or any at all. Toshi shrugged and began a menial stare at the empty fruit bowl on the table between them.

"I think you know why I am here. Toshi, were you at the Brookhaven Hospital earlier today?"

A mechanical nod. Toshi's eyes never once met his.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

With no response, Toshi continued his stare. The silence was almost painful; a faint snoring could be heard from the other room which Kenta assumed was Mariko. It was a quaint sound; like the whisper of the breeze.

"The Raining Room." Kenta announced after what felt like an eternity. This time, Toshi did meet his eyes. Kenta saw what he expected to see: a young teenager riddled with guilt and self loathing. But there was something much darker. "Now you've joined the conversation, I think it's time you opened up."

Toshi looked around in desperation. He was losing his nerve.

"Toshi, Kocho Aida tells me you were being bullied. Was Katsu Shirasu the one bullying you?" Kenta asked. It wasn't particularly difficult to guess though he wondered why the school were so slow on the uptake.

Toshi nodded. "I.. I hated him. But I didn't want him dead."

He was pleading. Kenta sat forward on his awkward seating and snapped into business mode.

"It was him. PMR or whatever he's called." he continued.

Kenta frowned. "Who is PMR?"

"The person who runs The Raining Room."

Nodding, Kenta took out a notepad and pen. He knew the big spill was coming.

"Toshi, I want you to tell me everything. To do with Katsu, PMR and especially The Raining Room." Kenta spoke with the precision of a surgeon attempting surgery. With nothing else to lose, Toshi spoke and Kenta took furious notes as minutes flew by.

The End

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