Singing Through The Silence
Part 1 - Captive
Log Series 3 - Cracks
Log Entry - October 8th 2000, 7:24 P.M.
He thought he might be going insane.
He was sitting up against one of the concrete walls in his room, eyes dull as they stared into space, trying not to think about how much his face still hurt. The cuts had scabbed days ago, but there was a dull ache that permeated the skin, seeming to melt down into his scull.
He felt sick when he thought about it, so he tried not to. He couldn't afford to skip any of his rare meals due to a stomach ache. The food was coming less often now, and he guessed it might have been because he skipped some of the meals he was given before. He no longer had that small luxury, and was angry at himself for taking even the disgusting slop they gave him for granted. It kept him alive, and strong enough to stay alive. He should have been mindful of that.
Most of the time, he wondered what was going on. Nothing had happened since the kidnappers had cut his face, despite the fact that a week had passed. He wondered whether he should be relieved that they had missed a week of torture, or nervous that the were probably planning something particularly bad. Not that much could really beat mutilating his face-
He wasn't thinking about that.
It was always late when he would get sick of thinking himself in circles, and usually happened when he let himself think about what people - what his father - were doing. Were they still trying to save him? Had they given up? Was he going to be left for dead?
Then he'd close his eyes hard, and make himself think about something else. Math problems. Old memories. Riddles. Anything that might keep his mind occupied.
It was that day, that he realized something he hadn't, before.
For the first time, he realized that he was talking out loud. Talking to himself, out loud, in his empty room. Like some sort of crazy person.
And the worst part of it all was, even when he realized what he was doing, he couldn't stop. He just kept talking about whatever had been going through his mind the moment before, literally thinking out loud.
And he couldn't fucking stop.
He wanted to cry, but he didn't. His mouth just kept opening and he kept talking, despite the fact that no one was listening. Or maybe the kidnappers were. And wasn't that just even more humiliating, the thought that they were listening to him losing it.
No wonder they had let the last week slide by without doing anything to him; they didn't have to. Let the little crazy sit alone in his room and talk to himself, seems worse than anything we could do to him. It must be hilarious to them, to know that it was finally getting to him. Not the cuts or the scars or the cruelty, but the small little room they had shoved him into for the duration of his confinement.
For a moment he concentrated, trying to listen to himself and what he was saying. He prayed it was nothing that could be used against him. But he couldn't do it, he couldn't control what he was saying, and he couldn't even focus enough to listen to what he was saying. It was like a thick, distorted pane of glass between him and reality, warping what he saw and heard, and preventing him from doing anything about it.
God, he really was going insane.
Even if he got out, he'd go straight to the asylum, the loony bin, the funny farm. He wanted to panic, he wanted to scream, he wanted to rail about how unfair all of this was. He was only fourteen, and he was being driven mad.
He had a single moment of clarity, in which he was able to speak exactly what was on his mind.
"I feel violated."
He felt violated down to his core.
Terminated - October 8th 2000, 8:06 P.M.
L brought the strawberry to his mouth, biting off a chunk and chewing automatically. He didn't really taste it though, and his glazed stare made it clear that his mind wasn't really focused on the food.
Frankly, L was worried.
It had been over three months, quickly closing in on four, and he still had no lead on the case. It was ridiculous. It was insulting. For L, it was unheard of. He never took so long on a case, he was always a few steps ahead of any criminal he came up against. It was a major blow to his professional pride.
But more than that, he was disturbed. Disturbed by the latest video that had been sent by the kidnappers. The video… wasn't what L had come to expect from the kidnappers. And L didn't like surprises, not when it came to cases like this. Not when it came to cases involving children.
The kidnappers had stopped even pretending to give a damn about most of the children, sending brief images of the sniveling, miserable, but unharmed brats almost as an afterthought. No, their attention, and the vast majority of the world's attention, had been focused almost exclusively on the one pillar of resistance they had met in their scheme.
Raito. It had, L was disgusted to say, become a trend for the tapes sent to contain Raito, or rather, Raito being tortured by the kidnappers. Despite the fact that it was now the norm, it wasn't any easier to watch. L could only wonder at how Chief Yagami was holding it together in the face of his child's suffering. It couldn't have been easy, and the lack of progress and media were only making it harder.
The media was having a field day with the entire thing, speculating on whether any effort was truly being expended on the case, and when there would finally be some results. All while waxing poetic about the terrible ordeal of the children, and lamenting the suffering of Raito in particular. Like it saw some sort of tragic novel they felt they had the right to comment on.
It was enough to make L sick. The Chief had stopped watching the news altogether.
But the latest video that had been sent was disturbing on a whole new level for L. He wasn't sure what to make of it. For once, it did not include images of physical harm to Raito's person, which he had been immensely grateful for. At first. Before he understood what he was seeing.
They had sent a tape they had made that just showed Raito sitting in what had to be his cell, calmly speaking. It wasn't until a few minutes in that L realized he wasn't talking to one of his kidnappers. Raito was talking to himself.
He had kept his cool, determined to get through the entire video, no matter how difficult it was. Difficult to watch the brilliant young man be degraded in such a manner, his growing mental instability broadcast to the whole world. But the worst part had been when Raito had stopped talking.
He had fallen silent for a few seconds, and his eyes had cleared from the insensible glaze they sported. They had flickered around, and you could practically feel the awareness in the boy. He knew what was happening, but there was nothing he could do about it.
The eyes had focused straight ahead, and his face had been completely blank when he said it.
"I feel violated."
Behind him, the Chief had gotten up and left the room.
Log Entry - October 17th 2000, 4: 10 P.M.
The first thing they did when they took him to the usual room, was make him look at his face. He had tried to bite, to keep his eyes closed, to look somewhere else, anything to keep him from seeing what exactly they had done to him.
But he hadn't been able to avoid it for long, and he soon found himself staring at his own reflection. His own face, covered in gruesome red lines spanning the flesh of his cheeks.
They had carved a pair of wings onto his face. And that had to be the most ironic twist of fate Raito had ever seen.
He would never be free of this place, these men, or those marks. He would carry them with him his whole life.
So fucking ironic.
But he hadn't said a word, after they had taken the mirror away. He wasn't interested in talking to any of them, and wouldn't give them the satisfaction of a reaction. And wasn't that just ironic too? He no longer had a problem talking to himself, alone in his little cell, but he wasn't interested in talking to other human beings when they were around. Even if they were his kidnappers. What did that say about him now, he wondered?
Caught up in his own thoughts, he jerked in surprise as the door to the room opened once more. Turning in the chair they had him tied to, his eyes widened when another kidnapper came through the door.
His hand on the shoulder of a small girl.
She was repulsively dirty, though Raito supposed he couldn't be much better, and her clothes were beyond all repair. It was obvious she had been crying, though she wasn't physically harmed as far as Raito could see. She was so small, and Raito felt a pang in his chest.
Then she looked up, meeting her gaze, and her eyes went wide and horrified. For a second, he didn't understand. But then it hit him.
She was staring at the scars. At the scars that had been cut across his face. She was staring at his face as though he were some sort of monster.
He turned away. Suddenly he didn't feel sorry for her. Not one bit.
He did pay attention as they led her to the middle of the room though, wondering what they were going to do. It was obvious that she was one of the other children they had kidnapped, and they were both included in the camera shot, only about three feet apart. H kept his eyes on the girl even as they started the camera up, trying to figure out what was going on.
The kidnapper began to speak into the microphone, as per usual, and Raito's shoulders tensed.
"As you can probably see, it is not the usual scene we are presenting to you tonight. It turns out that we actually have a bit of surprise for you today, so pay attention; you won't want to miss a second of it." Raito clenched his teeth, his stomach beginning to clench in nervous anticipation. This couldn't be good, he didn't know what they were planning. Only that it had to be bad for him and the little girl. She was beginning to catch on to that too, her face going even more pale and terrified.
"We're getting a little impatient you see, since you all seem to be taking your sweet time to meet our demands. So we thought we'd offer you a little more incentive. We're sure you'll understand."
He stopped speaking, and there was a long pause. The air was thick with tension, and the room was silent enough to hear a pin drop.
And then an abrupt roar of sound that nearly deafened Raito, and brought it all crashing down on his head.
A gunshot, and the thump of a small body hitting the floor.
He looked down, and there was the little girl at his feet. Her eyes were blank, and staring, her face startlingly pale against the dark concrete.
A bloody hole in the center of her forehead.
He felt some blood on his face, in his hair and clothes. Probably landed there from the force of the bullet through her brain, he thought numbly. If his hands had been free, he might have tried to wipe it off. Maybe. He wasn't sure.
But he didn't speak. He didn't say a thing.
Not. One. Fucking. Thing.
Terminated - October 17th 2000, 4:24 P.M.
It had only been a matter of time before it happened, but L still wasn't ready for it when it did. Logically, he knew he should have been ready for it, with the direction things were heading, but he wasn't sure if anyone could really prepare themselves for something like that.
They had finally killed a child. The girl from Britain. With a single shot to the head.
The news would be broadcast all around the world that evening. The parents had already been informed.
That was all part of the process, and L had let other people deal with it. In the meantime, he had done as he always did, and watched the tape over and over, looking for any clue as to where the kidnappers' base might be located. But he was having trouble concentrating, every time the gunshot rang out, and the small body hit the floor. It was sickening, seeing a child killed in cold blood.
It was sickening the way they had made Raito watch.
It had become obvious what they were doing. Since they couldn't get to the child physically, the kidnappers were attacking Raito's mind. The death of the girl had been inevitable, but they had used it to push Raito further into instability. The whole thing was a continuous mind fuck.
The death of the little girl might have been merciful, in comparison. Not that he could ever say that, since the little girl had parents, parents whose world had just been shot point blank through the scull. Without even a body to bury.
He paused the video and turned in his chair to face the rest of the room. It was Matsuda that had spoken, and L took a minute just to look the man over. He didn't look good - not at all the upbeat and energetic young investigator that had come in weeks ago, more enthusiasm than brains. Now there were dark bags beneath tired eyes, and a sober expression on his face. He looked bad.
But none of them looked as bad as the Chief.
L shook his head. "Yes, Matsuda-san?"
"I just noticed; we've gone over all the passenger names and security videos in all the airports the kidnappers might have used, but we haven't gone over the luggage records."
L could have wasted his time telling Matsuda that it was a chance in a million that they would find anything they could use in such inaccurate records. Most of the time such records weren't even taken, since it was impossible to distinguish every piece of luggage individually. Mainly, only the more valuable or fragile luggage was noted, so the loaders knew to make sure it was safe. But explaining all that would have been a waste of time, and there wasn't much else for the investigation team to do.
Besides watch the tapes.
"You are correct Matsuda, we have not gone over the luggage records. A horrible oversight. However, I am currently occupied, so I will ask for you to be the one to look into the matter. Inform me if you find anything unusual."
"Yes sir!" And Matsuda showed some of his old personality, looking excited and happy to be doing something he considered important. Who was L to ruin that?
He watched Matsuda hurry back to his computer, mumbling under his breath. Before he again turned back to his laptop, and pressed the play button.
A gunshot. A small thump as a body hit the floor.
Raito staring down at the dead body.
Log Entry - October 24th 2000, 6:02 P.M.
He hadn't spoken at all, not even alone in his cell, for three days after the little girl had died. What could he say, when all he could see were those eyes staring up at him?
Still managing to look at him like he was a monster, even after the girl was dead.
Dead. The little girl was dead, and he had watched it happen. And he hadn't so much as screamed, or gasped, or made a move to try and help her.
What was wrong with him?
He was going crazy.
And it was quiet.
He was going crazy, and it was all because it was so damn quiet.
On the forth day, he opened his mouth to speak. He was horrified when instead, he started to sing.
It was an American lullaby, one his mother had sung to him when he was little. It had always been comforting to listen to, right before he fell asleep. And now, he was sitting there in his tiny cell, thinking about the death of a little girl, singing a lullaby of all things.
He hated it. He hated the little girl. He hated those dead eyes. He hated his cold, empty cell. He hated the maddening silence.
Most of all, he hated how he sounded, singing the lullaby.
He had never been a singer, having found himself more inclined towards academics than the arts. But he never had to sing, so it didn't bother him overly much.
But he was singing now, and it was awful.
His voice was off pitch, and he wasn't hitting a single note right.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word…"
His voice would crack and break and squeak in odd places, and completely give out in others.
"Mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird…"
He sounded deranged. Insane. Completely out of his mind. And he was, he realized. He was completely out of his mind.
"And if that mocking bird don't sing…"
He didn't even feel human any more.
He only stopped when they came, taking him to the room and tying him to the chair. He didn't look up when they brought in the little boy. He closed his eyes when, again, there was a gunshot, and a soft thump.
He opened his mouth, taking a shaky breath.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird…"
Terminated - October 24th 2000, 7: 30 P.M.
Another child dead, and still, nothing.
The task force was gathered around a meeting table, sipping their coffee. No one said anything. There wasn't really anything to say.
Only Matsuda seemed preoccupied, still looking at the luggage records from the airports. L left him to it. At least he had the work to take his mind off of everything, and L wasn't going to begrudge him that.
For once, it was everyone else that was sitting around, feeling useless.
He ate a bite of his cake, depressed.
He didn't know what to do. He was L, the greatest detective in the world, and he didn't know what to do. It was a new feeling for him, and not at all pleasant. In fact, he was quite sure that he hated the feeling with everything in him.
But that didn't change it, or help anything.
But the task force was looking at him, looking to him, eyes begging him to give them a job, any job. Just so they could feel like they were doing something. Even if it wouldn't really help anything. They just needed to do something. Especially the Chief. L didn't even look over to Chief Yagami, knowing what he would see.
An old man, aged and broken before his time. Forced to watch his child suffer the unimaginable, and unable to do anything about it. A man losing faith.
He opened his mouth to give them something to do, even if it was meaningless. And he was cut off by an offhand comment by a busily immersed Matsuda, mumbling over the useless records.
"Didn't know there were that many cello players in the entire world, let alone India… must have been a big music festival or something…"
He felt something itching in the back of his head. "What was that, Matsuda-san?"
Matsuda looked up, blinking in surprise at being addressed. L had pretty much left him to himself on his little project, and he had thought the man wasn't interested. But if he was… "Well, it's just odd is all. In about eight of the airports whose records I've looked at, they have noted that they had very valuable cello's on board, to be handled with extreme care. And all of the flights the cellos were on were headed to India. I just found it odd is all. Thought there must be some festival or convention or something there…"
Matsuda continued to ramble on, but L wasn't listening. He was processing the information he had just received, turning it over in his head and fitting the pieces together in a complicated puzzle.
Cello's transported from airports from the different countries, all on the same day and headed to the same place.
Cello's cases were large and broad, large enough to contain children, curled up. Too large to put through the x-ray machine, and harmless enough not to be checked thoroughly by security.
They were handled with care, tied down away from the other luggage so they wouldn't shift around and harm the instrument inside.
That was it. He had it.
He had it.
"- and then I - what? Huh?" The man was looking at L, confused, as were the rest of the task force.
L took a small sip of his tea.
"Gentlemen. We have a lead."
Log Entry - October 31st 2000, 11:41 P.M.
"You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You'll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don't take
My sunshine away"
They were back. Raito stopped singing as the door swung open, and automatically got to his feet. They began the familiar trek to the camera room, and Raito tried to work up the energy to feel nervous, or scared, or anything about going back there, probably to see another child dead.
But when he was shoved into the room, he didn't see his usual chair. Instead, there was what looked like a coffin lying in the middle of the floor.
After a moment, he noticed that it wasn't a coffin. It was too unadorned, and wasn't particularly pretty. Made out of heavy iron, it had bolts on one side of the lid, keeping it shut tight.
It was one of the soundproof boxes the blind sometimes used, he realized. Since their eyes didn't work, blind people had superhuman hearing, and it sometimes got overwhelming. So they would get in such boxes, close the lid, and give their ears a break before they went into overload. Free to sleep or relax in complete and utter silence.
It took a moment for that to sink in. A moment in which he was grabbed by a kidnapper, who began to drag him towards the box.
The box that was being opened by another kidnapper.
It was a blur of motion. He knew he had kicked, clawed, even bitten one of the men, trying to get away. He fingers felt wet with what he was sure was blood, but he was still thrashing, his feet and arms lashing out more violently, the closet he was taken to the iron monstrosity.
A kidnapper's fist lashed out, clipping him across the temple. He stopped struggling, dazed, blinking hazily as he was laid down. He only came to himself as the lid slammed down with a heavy crash, blocking out all the light.
It was the last sound he heard.
He was left alone in the dark and silence.
Dark and silence.
Terminated - November 1st 2000, 12:00 A.M.
For the first time, the case had been looking up.
L had followed the lead on the cello cases, and had his suspicions confirmed. One airport in each of the countries with a kidnapped child had a flight to India on the day of the kidnappings. What was more, the flights were within a few hours of the time of the kidnappings, further proving his theory.
That each of the flights had a cello case noted in the luggage records cemented it.
He had already called every agent he had at his disposal to India, and informed all major intelligence agencies of his finding. They had immediately offered their assistance, sending agents of their own.
The task force had been working double time, looking through all the information the airport in India could give them for any further leads. They were busy, they felt like they were actually doing something to help.
Chief Yagami had let himself begin to hope again. That maybe, if not completely whole, he could at least get his son out of this alive.
L was solving his case. He was no longer powerless. He had the answers.
They had felt stronger, more prepared, when the next video had come.
But nothing could have prepared them. Nothing could have prepared him.
It had been confusing when they were first presented with the image. All they saw was a soundproof unit in the middle of the familiar cement room, one commonly used by the blind to block out overwhelming auditory signals. It hadn't made sense.
The kidnapper had illuminated what exactly was going on.
"What you are looking at is your little martyr Raito Yagami. Or, should I say, your little martyr Raito Yagami in a soundproof unit."
L exchanged a glance with the Chief, and saw his bafflement mirrored in his gaze. What was the kidnappers point?
"Boys, go ahead and turn on the sound."
And then, the screams.
A/N: Sorry everyone, it's been a really long time... I'm afraid some real shit went down at the beginning of the year, and I've been in really bad shape for a while, but I'm doing better now. I can't guarrentee that I'll be updating on a regular basis, but I'll do my best. It's good to be back, I hope you all enjoy the chapter. ^ ^