(will work on title later)
There was no doubt about it. He was dead.
Kojiki jerked his hand away from the man’s throat as if the sudden absence of a pulse had made it red hot. He stared at him for a while. The kingpin’s eyes were still open and stared right back, clouded over and unblinking, set in a clammy, ashen face. And yet he could have been sleeping- his perfect executive hair had been ruffled only slightly and his suit remained as spotless as ever if you didn’t focus on the great red stain spreading over his shoulder and smeared onto his cheek.
“Kojiki? Is he…?”
The man hesitated, almost unable to tear his eyes away from the body. It felt like if he were to turn and confirm this, it would become irreversible. As if by standing and staring at the mobster’s corpse, it would lurch to life and begin to rant at him with renewed vigour.
Kojiki started violently and then nodded. His hands were shaking. “Y-Yeah. He’s gone. Meiji’s gone.”
The first speaker, Okada, let out a roar and kicked the cupboard so hard the cheap plastic bowl on it rattled and nearly fell off. He was a tall man, nearly broader than the doorway, with dark hair slicked back out of his face and a mouth that split into a grimace of white teeth. In fact, there was something distinctly shark-like about him, even down to the grey suit he was wearing.
“This is all your fucking fault, you fucking jinx!” he snarled, rounding furiously on the last man, who up until this point had been leaning silently against the window with a cigarette. “He’s dead, you hear? Nice going. What the fuck are we going to do now?”
Kojiki sat down heavily in a chair. “Okada, back off, it’s not his fault,” he muttered, “You’re the one who shot him.”
Okada laughed harshly, this time turning his anger to the other, smaller man. “Gimme a fucking break, Kojiki, I wasn’t aiming for him,” he said.
Finally, the man at the window spoke. “You used my gun though, didn’t you?” he said, watching the both of them through his sunglasses. There was nothing inherently accusing in his tone but the question itself sent a chill through the room.
None of them knew what to say for a while. Even Okada was taken aback. He clenched his fists and fixed his eyes firmly on the bed frame. “So what if I did? I was out of bullets.”
“It doesn’t matter whose gun it was!” said Kojiki, “We’re all screwed when the boss finds out anyway.”
“We wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for that goddamn jinx over there,” snarled Okada, “It was all set out for us- a five year old could do it. It was just a fucking kidnapping. He fucked this up. He always fucks it up. I’m sick of it.”
The man with the cigarette visibly flinched. “Okada… shut up. I’m trying to think.”
“You might be in charge, Kazama, but you’re finished. I’ll make sure of that. This just proves what I’ve been saying all along,” he said vehemently, “You’re a no good-”
“I said shut up!”
Kazama’s voice rang around the stuffy little room, rising above the sound of rain bouncing off the gutter outside. His shoulders heaved up and down as he tried to regain his cool but he was trembling furiously. “Shut up,” he repeated through gritted teeth, “Shut up, or I swear you’ll be joining Meiji,”
Okada narrowed his eyes at him, “What did you just say?”
Kojiki stared from one to the other. This had been coming for a long time but now it looked it was actually going to happen and he wasn’t about to get in the way. They were at each other’s throats at the best of times but now? Now he wasn’t even sure whether they’d leave the hotel with one corpse or two. Or even three.
And then something did happen, although it wasn’t quite what any of them had expected.
Maybe, somewhere, in the thunderstorm outside, some benevolent god or spirit took pity on a trio of gangsters and decided that, in spite of everything, it would intervene. Maybe it was just blind, old-fashioned luck. But whatever it was, none of them were prepared for it.
Maybe it was by this possible god-sent wind that, just as Kazama and Okada were about to tear each other to pieces, the door of the hotel room swung open.