Riku skidded into the house's rather large kitchen, glancing around with harried motions before cursing and doubling back the way she came, not finding what she was looking for on the first floor and so running up the stairs to the second floor.

There seemed to be no phones anywhere in the house, or if there were phones in the house they weren't where they were supposed to be.

Riku gasped and fell forwards on the sixteenth step, twisting her ankle when she attempted to stop herself and straining her left wrist even more.

She froze in pain for some minutes, her mouth open but no sound coming out. Once she'd collected herself she rose shakily to her feet, grabbing the handrail. She forced herself up the stairs in the hopes of there being a phone in her mother's study, because she absolutely refused to believe that Dark was dead.


Mrs. Harada didn't know what she was doing. She felt herself reaching for the goggles and putting them on, felt herself extend a finger to press the red PRESS TO ACTIVATE button. And yet as she tried to stop herself she knew it was useless.

Everything seemed pointless. She'd seen the open cage door, and knew that no matter what she did something bad would happen to her, but she'd never considered herself suicidal.

The world was a blur. She couldn't see, couldn't hear, couldn't taste, and couldn't feel. Maybe she'd already pressed the button and was now looking at the swirling things she'd forgotten. Maybe now she was pulling the lever to let her see. Or maybe she pulled the wrong lever and now was being burned up like so many falling stars.

She didn't even know what she was looking for.

She'd felt different this past week. More forgetful, fragile, and, although she would only admit this to herself subconsciously, insane. Maybe that meant that she was finally ending and could rest in peace.

But was there truly any peace?

That small amount of energy that had invaded her brain so long ago ate away at her personality, took away her right to exist, and used her body to push the red button.

Then it used her hand to pull a lever. The wrong one.


Risa glanced at her mother and blinked as Mrs. Harada seemingly floated to the scary machine. She didn't look like she was paying much attention anymore, so. . . .

Risa dropped her rag and hurried over to the cage that Daisuke was still unconscious in. She smoothed back his bangs. She frowned, wrinkled her brow, and plugged his nose while holding his mouth shut.

There were approximately ten seconds of silence before Daisuke's eyes popped open and he gave her a wide eyed look. Risa let go of his nose and he breathed in rapid succession, his eyebrows knitting.

"We need to leave," she whispered, glancing at her mother. She blinked as Mrs. Harada pulled on an ugly pair of goggles.

Daisuke nodded and she let go of his mouth while placing a finger to her lips. She helped him up with her right hand as her left hand and right foot felt a phantom pain. She wondered if Riku was alright.

Risa had been worried when she'd realized they'd have to pass within ten feet of Mrs. Harada, but there seemed to be no need for fear. Mrs. Harada was reaching for a throng of levers slowly, as though mentally fighting with herself. Daisuke was being unusually quiet behind her as they rounded the corner that would lead them to the stairs.

The last thing she ever heard was Daisuke's gasp, and the last thing she ever saw was Dark's mutilated body, a lone eye staring at her and glinting a dark red in the light.


Riku panted as she pushed open the door, leaning upon it heavily. Sweat poured down her face in buckets and her red face was set in a grimace. But at least this room had a phone.

She hopped over, using the wall for a support. When she reached the desk she pulled out the rolling chair and plopped herself into it, letting her heart rate get back to normal.

After her brief rest she picked up the phone and dialed the first number that came to her in that moment that might help. 911.

After half a ring there was a click as someone picked up. The person on the other end breathed in as though they were about to say something, but Riku beat them to it.

"Hello. This is Riku Harada, and I—"


There was a pulse, a slight shimmering of air that expanded to the edges of the yard and held for the briefest of moments.

Then the house blew up.


Satoshi scowled to himself as the firemen shut off the spray of water. The house in front of him was little more than a skeleton now, and only a few shrubs had survived at all. The neighbors, curious about what started the fire, gathered around the irate detective.

He said something about having no evidence to go on yet before crossing the yellow tape just to get away from them.

A news van pulled up.

"SATOSHI!" yelled the ever excitable Takeshi. He jumped over the yellow tape, pulling out a microphone from thin air and exclaiming to the camera man, "Hello! We're here at the Harada house fire. Mr. Harada has been dead some years now, and his wife and two daughters are—"

"Miyuki, Yuuji, detain him, please," said Elliot, scratching his head. He glanced over at the young detective, sighing. "So . . . what do you think?"

Satoshi glanced at him from the corner of his eye.

"Don't give me that look," Elliot commanded. "Even my Freedert knows that you can figure things out in a glance if you want to."

Satoshi blinked his blue eyes back towards the house. He'd been a little distracted since his brother's call earlier, exclaiming something very loudly that sounded suspiciously like, "MY PICTURE WAS DEAD!"

Although he couldn't be sure because he'd hung up less than three seconds after picking up.

"It could have been electric, since Saga said he got a call from Harada Riku earlier, but. . . ." His eyes mover from the ground up, to the nearly untouched attic. "That wouldn't make sense, since the fire started from below the ground." He started to mutter to himself, and then got really quiet. His eyes narrowed. "Is there a basement to this house?"

Elliot blinked, thought about it, and shook his head. "Not in the original planning, no. And there's no record of one ever being built."

Satoshi nodded, but still looked thoughtful. "I'd like a clean-up crew to move this stuff as soon as you can get them."

Elliot nodded. "Okay."


The only body they ever found turned out to be Riku's, her charred remains holding a phone to her head. There was no sign of Dark, Daisuke, Risa, or Mrs. Harada. It seemed as though they'd vanished from the earth.

Satoshi tried everything he could think of. He even looked into their dead lawyer's family, although they were either very secretive and wouldn't give him any answers or sidetracked him with their kindness or, on one occasion, thought he was very hot and nearly killed him.

Even years later, when he looked back at it, he ended up with dead ends everywhere he turned to for answers.

By the time he died, it was still the only case he hadn't solved.


Fin


AN: . . . In my defense, I never was very good at endings.