Chapter 12 - PromiseMature

When Toshi finished speaking he felt a huge weight lift from his shoulders. Kenta listened and did not interject to judge. He knew nothing had changed though; Kenta was there to do his job and he was only to speak when expected. With a tired shrug, Toshi had cleaned his slate and now his secrets were in Kenta's domain.

"So." began Kenta. His notepad was filled with enough notes to constitute a novel. "All this comes down to is a website. And this... PMR guy?"

Toshi nodded. He was maintaining eye contact now. Quite a turnaround.

"Do you have your laptop? So I can talk to this guy?"

Again, Toshi nodded and swiftly left the kitchen. Kenta felt absurd asking this but he couldn't think of a saner way to inquire. Part of him believed this to be a dark joke while another part of him hoped it was.

Toshi returned and placed his slim laptop on the table before Kenta. It's sleek design threw him; the old, blocky white ones were more up his alley.

"Do these things get smaller by the year or something?" asked Kenta. Toshi didn't answer as he switched it on. A small loading time later and he was greeted with an Overdose Girl screensaver.

"My sister's kid loved that comic series." Kenta spoke with a casual tone. Apparently Toshi's favourite subject was The Raining Room as had said nothing. A few more clicks and the familiar shade of light blue flooded the screen. A shiver ran down Kenta's spine as he read the spindly typeface. The same names appeared: PMR, Desperate Angel, Black Flower and Pulp Fiction (who was still greyed out).

Toshi's back! Yay. Black Flower had begun. Desperate Angel followed up with a similar message: What up?

Toshi receded from the screen. Kenta gave him a pensive look before beginning to type. He didn't know how to proceed but felt enthralled all the same. As he began to type, an angry wall of text cut through his text box. Words formed, bitter and vicious.

You're not invited.

The laptop began to vibrate. The internal fan whirred at an ungodly speed before spitting little sparks. The screen violently shook as though the laptop were suffering a convulsion. A final message shimmered briefly for Kenta.

See you soon.

It shut down leaving nothing but dead air. Toshi gaped at his now useless laptop.

"What the Hell was that?" asked Kenta. He knew he wouldn't get an answer.

Ignoring him, Toshi reached out for his laptop before Kenta closed the lid and tucked it under his arm.

"I'm sorry Toshi but I need to take this in as evidence. Here." Kenta opened his wallet and pulled out a wad of yen. "Take some of this and buy yourself a new one. Go nuts."

The money hung in the air. Reluctantly, Toshi took it and slipped into his inside pocket. Kenta felt an urge to say something strange just to get a reaction. He'd dealt with withdrawn teenagers before but none that carried their demons around so willingly.

Breaking this silence, the door slid open to reveal a rested Mariko who looked at both Toshi and Kenta inquiringly.

"Detective. Is everything okay?" she asked. She rubbed her eyes as she glanced at Toshi. His dreadful moods had been a concern to her but she had been a teenager herself. The moodiness ran in the family; ask Toshi senior.

Kenta stood and stepped over to Mariko. The laptop was light in his grasp but her gaze added an unneeded weight.

"Matsumoto-san. I'll be taking my leave now." he weighed his words in his usual 'cop talk'. Just a colloquial term he hated yet sprung to mind. "Unfortunately, I'll need to take your son's laptop as evidence."

He saw her expression as he'd seen other parents before. The same spiel of 'My child would never break the law." Often, this would lead to a verbal onslaught. But, perhaps it was fatigue but she said nothing. This did nothing to alleviate Kenta's guilt though.

"Toshi is not a suspect, Matsumoto-san. In fact, he's helped us get a little closer to our  suspect." Kenta continued. The faint glimmer of pride in Mariko's eyes told him he had said the right thing. Just play to their perception, kid. You'll make less noise on the parent front said his old mentor back in the day.

He was expecting Mariko to inquire further but she merely shrugged and patted her son on the shoulder.

"I guess we'll have to buy you another one then."

Toshi shook his head and revealed the wad of yen that Kenta had given to him. She frowned but said nothing. Taking this as his cue, Kenta bowed to the both of them and bade them farewell. The laptop was burning in his grasp as for the first time, he had an actual lead.

The End

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