VI

The Mind Wanders

WELCOME TO KISARAGI. HOME OF THE OLD JAPAN. POPULATION 4,965

This world has always been so sad. It makes my eyes tear up just thinking about it. I cry every morning for a multitude of reasons. The main reason being that our world is so pathetic that it can't ever EVER merit another day of life. You may also say that I cry because I simply have no one to love me. I'll concede to this. I have no one. You're right. No one loves me. I have, as you might say, no one to love. Love is a lie though. There is no such thing as emotion or LOVE. Love is just an excuse for pathetic humans to procreate, like they are embarrassed of the act of making kin. So I don't need love to survive. All I need is a head on my shoulders and purpose in life.

A new boy came into town today. Yes… but why does he seem so familiar? It must be my imagination. From some of the reactions of the people who have met up with him, he must have been here before. And yet for some reason I don't remember who he is. It is strange. I must watch him, if only to make sure he is not a threat.

Then again… it is not like he is a super hero anyway. No special powers. I might as well be wasting my time.


"Home of the… old Tokyo?"

The boy with the fiery hair read the sign with dismay. He did a double-take of the city before him like a man unsure of exactly what he was looking at. He sneered. "Was this the place the boss was talking about?" He asked his partner who was cleaning his sunglasses. "IS THIS the place he was making such a big fuss over?"

His partner did not speak for a few seconds as he slipped his sunglasses back onto his face.

"…I suppose it is." He muttered.

"Seriously?" The boy did another double-take. "I was expecting some rundown piece ah' junk town! This place almost looks… pedestrian. NORMAL. No way… this ain't the place."

The man, sporting a rather large trenchcoat, groaned at his partner's clear naivety. "Of course it looks normal. It's always the normal, everyday towns that we get sent to. If we were sent to rundown, crime-infested dumps, we would make no impact. You see what I mean don't you?"

"Well, y'ah, o'course. But the boss made such a big deal about this place, my expectations were high. This place looks boor-iiing."

"And your observations are coming from your first look at Kisaragi, from up here, on a bridge?"

The boy opened his mouth to say something but closed it just as quickly.

"That's what I thought."

The man fished out a notepad from his breast pocket and flipped it open. He began to scribble extensive and exact notes, ignoring his own partner's impatient glares.

"If you think that staring at me is going to get our job done," he said bluntly, "it won't. You can stand there all day if you want though."

"Shaddap." The boy cooed. "The more time we waste, the more pissed the boss gets."

"To be frank, I'm not as worried about him as I am of our target. I think our employer would be most pleased if we come back from this job alive, considering how it's a close to a suicide mission as you could get. Although that is me speaking."

The boy nodded. "Ahh, yeah, I see's whatchu mean. He made a big deal about it to be sure."

"Indeed." The man said, putting the notepad away. "Then let's not waste any more time."


Nami grew quiet, her hands trembling looking down at her feet, not in shame but rather waiting for me to make a move. She was upset and for all intent and purposes I couldn't blame her, despite not quite understanding what she was talking about. However I didn't want to make a move that she would know about, though in this case I really had no choice.

"You… can read minds?"

"Yes. No. I mean." Nami sighed. "I don't understand it Atsuki and it's hard to explain."

"Try me."

"Hah... I doubt you'd even believe me."

I didn't say anything. I didn't like repeating myself, and Nami realized this on my face. She looked down, fidgeting.

"Well..." she hesitated. "Say you were to say something in your head, like a complete sentence. You always talk to yourself in your own mind and I believed that everyone's thoughts ran like that. But... well, I can't hear people's thoughts. I can't hear those people taking in their heads. Yet there's this voice, and it sounds so calm, and it tells me things. Tells me words, not sentences just words and... I don't know what to think of it, but I get the gist... I-I..." She stopped and just looked at me "You can tell can't you? I don't need to say anything else… You can feel it right?"

I nodded.

"So you believe me, right?"

I looked away for only a second. Russell had said something along those lines and Nami somehow knew. So for the time being she was making sense.

I scanned her Shinen quickly for any abnormalities. My arm goes numb in pain. Whenever I scan a person, the pain is beyond all I could imagine but I've learned to ignore it. She didn't appear to have any unusual patterns and her Shinen were as they should be for a teenager. Definitely no Silent, from a first glace. This made the whole thing even stranger. There were a few cases of mind reading within Silent infectees, not to mention many other strange powers. So Nami, a girl who at one time could only speak to animals, can now somehow hear people's thoughts. This was strange. What was even more strange was that I couldn't even feel her trying to read my mind.

"When did you discover you can hear people?" I asked, wanting to only understand the situation.

"Um... I don't remember." Nami looked away.

"Could you make a guess?"

Nami shrugged her tiny shoulders again, looking embarrassed to be admitting it. "Two, three years ago. I'm sorry, I didn't expect that I would ever tell anyone."

"Don't worry about it." I told her. "So, I guess I have to assume that no one knows about it other than me."

She shook her head. "No, just you." Nami tilted her head, looking me straight in the eyes. "So. Are you going to explain to me why you're here? It's about Rui right?"

I sighed. "Alright... alright... It is about Rui dying. That's all I can say."

Nami blinked. "That's all you're willing to give up? Come on Atsuki." She puffed her cheeks out. "I told you my big secret. You're here to investigate the murder right?"

"We're still not sure if it is a murder or not."

"Atsuki. Listen to yourself. Now you only knew Rui for a month but she was a fortune teller, a person who reads fortunes. Rui lived her life to help others. She was sad, yeah, sure, but she was never depressed. She was never suicidal. No matter how much you fling the excuse around, you have to admit that Rui would have never killed herself... Not until she saw you again."

At the edges of my lips, I could feel myself begin to frown.

"Oh, she was never in love with you Atsuki," Nami waved a hand to stop my train of thought. She smiled. "Not like that. Rui just liked you for who you were. You were mysterious. You listened. She thought that she had found someone who understood her."

"..."

"She never got to say goodbye you know." Nami continued. "I was the lucky one. I got to see you leave. She chased after you, all the way up to the bridge and she just missed you. She was very heartbroken over that."

"You say all of that as though she told you herself."

Nami poked the side of her head, her tongue between her teeth. "She did tell me... technically. Without her knowing about it."

"Hmph. That doesn't change the fact that I'm not letting you help me."

"Ahh, wait!" Nami grinned. I didn't like that grin. "I see how it is. Alright, I think I get it." She waved her hand around. "You're investigating a death. So the first person you would want to speak to is the next-to-kin right? But you can't get to her, right?"

"..."

"Heehee. Believe me now? I can read minds! And it just so happens that I know Yui personally." She giggled. "She doesn't remember who you are, I don't think. I could help you get in to speak to her. And if I can't do that, well," she poked her forehead, "I can see what's on her mind myself."

"..."

"Come on Atsuki!" Nami told me, tilting her head. "I wanna find what really happened to Rui as much as you. Let me help however I can."

I sigh. "I don't know Nami. This is all so sudden." I looked at her. "You promise not to tell a soul."

"Aww come on Atsuki? When have I ever broken a promise?"

"I really wouldn't know that. We barely know each other."

Nami shrugged. "That's a matter of opinion. Don't be so suspicious! You know I would do anything for you!"

I nod. "Alright. Alright. You got it."

Nami bounced on her toes. "Okay!

Just then a cascade of barks filled the air. Nami opened her eyes in surprise, fishing into her pocket. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked it. "Oh! Alright! I'll see you tommorrow!"

"Huh... what?" I stared at her. "Why are you leaving so suddenly?"

Nami frowned. "Well..." She sputtered. "I-I should have gone home like a hour ago. I was staying out too long. Sorry Atsuki!"

The girl turned and ran down the street. It was all very sudden but I didn't care. Not really. She would find me somehow. She always does. I sighed again and just headed away from the playground.


"Where were you?"

"Nowhere."

"Nowhere? Nami, it's seven at night!"

"Don't worry. I was just hanging out with Mayuri."

"...Really?"

"Yeah! Well, bye!"

"... but... Nami, you couldn't... ahh... nevermind."


Paris was a very pretty city, Mika had noticed once she?

Mika Nozaki stretched and felt a slight pop somewhere in her back. She closed her eyes as she tried to wiggle out of the heavy blankets she found herself in. Last night had been the best sleep she had ever experience. She definitely had to thank the higher ups for getting her a classy room for once. Even though she felt very refreshed, she was up pretty damn early. She looked at the clock dismissively as she got up from the plush bed. Mika didn't really want to get up… but it wasn't her choice to make. She was so used to sleeping in too!

Mika wandered into the bathroom and flicked the light on. She smiled into the mirror and thought about just how lucky she was. There were bags under her eyes, her complexion looked terrible and her make up from the night before was running (she had not cleaned up from before) but she still smiled. At least her blue hair was as straight as always. She ran a hand through her flowing locks.

Life was great for Mika. Her dream had come true – she was working for a news agency! The youngest person there! How cool was that? Of course she was only an assistant, a lowly lackey who got no credit for any stories she would ever happen to break However Mika was perfectly happy with this. It would serve her quite well in the task of climbing the news food chain. At least she hoped.

Of course, one of the things that Mika was not so thrilled about was how early she had to wake up every morning. Tonight was unusual - it was later than she usually managed. She would usually wake up at two AM if she were lucky! Tonight she was lucky enough to get a few hours extra sleep. She yawned. Even with the extra sleep, it didn't help matters. She still had to get ready. She left the bathroom and went over to the phone on the desk. Mika picked it up and dialed valet parking.

"Bonjour." She said into the phone.

"Bonjour madame. Comment allez-vous?"

Mika blinked, rubbing her arm. "Pourriez-vous conduire ma voiture à l'avant? "

The voice on the other end hesitated in his response. "Naturellement." The young sounding male responded in an oddly cheerful falsetto. "Laquelle nombre est votre coup manqué de voiture?"

Mika furrowed her eyebrows. "Umm… 43?" She stammered. Mika wasn't exactly sure of what the valet boy had said and was only guessing. She fished the valet tag from her pocket. "A-Ahh! Quarante-trois. O-Oui, quarante-trois."

The voice on the other end chuckled. Obviously it was common to see an English speaking woman attempting to speak French if only for the sake of being polite. "Très bon." The voice said slowly, and Mika imagined the boy bowing. "Avec plasir. Au revoir."

Mika hung up and let out a sigh. She rubbed her eyes. It was time to get up Mika, enough of this wasting time.

That was when her cell phone rang. So much for getting up. Mika let out a loud sigh as she reached back to the desk. She grabbed her phone and flicked it open without looking at who was calling. She pressed it against her ear, rolling her eyes.

"Hello?" She said impatiently. She heard the voice on the other end. "Oh! A-Akira! Hi!" She laughed nervously. "Sorry that I haven't called in so long. They've been running me ragged, haha! I'm sorry that I haven't called in awhile… hmm? Akira, what's wrong? You sound down… what?"


I reached my assigned apartment after walking a few blocks away from the other apartments. It was a small cubbyhole built next to an even smaller candy shop. It looked alright on the outside, decent enough for me to sleep in. My memories drifted back to the apartment I used to share right next to Ryo's shop. I wondered if he still worked here. Was that shop still open? I shook my head. Now was not the time to think. Maybe when I had free time. Not now though. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my key. I unlocked the door. I opened it.

To say that the apartment was a dump would be the biggest act of leniency one could ever commit.

The wallpaper was torn and the parts that still remained were stained with brown splotches. The floor seemed to have a layer of dust covering it until I realized that the floor was a rug, a dirty gray looking rug that disgusted me to even THINK of walking across it barefoot. Even though the outside looked small, the inside was even smaller. The bed was the worst - it looked like it was made out of brick. I pressed down on it with my hand. It was as hard as brick.

I sighed. No reason to complain. You had to adapt to these kinds of situations. Even so, I figured that the FORT would accommodate me for a mission like this. I rolled my eyes and dropped my bag and contemplated about my day. About my job.

My job? If you could call it that. It is more like a place for me to go. I've got nowhere else to be and there is definitely no one who would ever want me. The FORT is the only place that would accept me and it isn'tn't my place to go and complain. It's sad but it's true. Perhaps Kisaragi would have accepted me years ago but that's as far as I would go with that.

My mind wanders.


Akira growled as he walked the streets with his hands dug deep in his pockets. He really wanted to kick himself, hard. How could he have been so heartless? He had been so blunt in his approach of Rui, and look at what happen! Now Mika was probably crumpled on the floor, crying her heart out, and it was all his fault. Akira had a habit of being blunt, and normally if someone's feelings were hurt he would just write it all away. It's better to find out his way than finding out months later or something. But this was Mika. She was like a sister to him, a close friend for years and he made her cry like that! What was he thinking?

"Ahh… damn it. I'm really stupid sometimes…"

He stopped at a corner, rubbing his hands together. Even though it was getting close to summer, the air was cold. Akira had only gone out in a light shirt that did nothing to shield him from the bitter cold outside. It wasn't even realistic, this cold! The sun was still out! Jeez!

Akira looked up. Huh. He had stopped in front of Rui's building. She had never lived with her sister – her home was with her sister but Rui always slept in her office. Akira felt a little awkward standing here. It was bringing up memories of Rui, and the last thing Akira wanted was to even think about Rui. He couldn't help himself though. All the happy times with the blonde flooded his mind and soon she was the only thing ON his mind. He grew frustrated. Rui had always been an open friend, but there was always this veil of secrecy that she kept with all of her friends. It was like he knew her without really knowing her. Damn it. Was the Rui so depressed that she would take her own life in an alley of all places?

"Damn it Rui… you knew you could have talked to us. We would have listened."

Rui was a fortune teller. Every day after school, she would head back to this very apartment and set up shop. As far as fortune tellers go, she was pretty popular with the townsfolk. She always had clients coming in, and plenty of regulars. The only problem with her abilities, apparently, was that she could see everyone's future but her own. Akira found this extremely ironic for some reason. What would she do if she found out that she would go down this road? Would she just shrug it off? Say that was how it worked?

Akira found himself staring up at the building for who knows how long. He was so deeply in thought that he didn't realize that someone had snuck up behind him. Not until the person started talking to him.

"Nice night ain't it?" The boy with the fiery red hair said, his hands dug into his pockets.

Akira just looked over at the boy with half interest, half annoyance. This kid was weird looking, and that smile on his face was creeping him out. He certainly didn't look like he was from around here. Damn punk. Even so, Akira kept his cool. He had to work hard to keep himself bottled. He used to go off the handle constantly but now he was cool.

"Yeah," Akira closed his eyes. "Though it depends on your definition of night. Sun's still out."

The boy just shrugged. "Night enough for me." He grinned.

Akira did not like that grin. It made him nervous. The boy quickly reached into the back pocket of his pants and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He unfolded it, straightening it out before showing it to Akira. "I'm going to cut to the chase. Have you seen this girl before?"

Akira looked at the photo. His blood went cold. There... what? The photo was of two people, a boy with green hair waving in the background and a girl leaning over a motorcycle, a big silly grin on her face. Her skin was tanned deeply, to the point that her whole body took a brown hue. Her eyes were wide with surprise, as though someone had caught her by surprise. Her light blonde hair was flipped, covering her thick forehead with her locks. Her lips pale, her nails colored deep red and her teeth white. Akira didn't answer the man for a very long time, staring down at the picture. He'd know that bike anywhere. He'd know that FACE anywhere. And

"Well?" The boy asked, exuding impatience.

"Who wants to know?" Akira responded coldly.

"I do," The boy smirked. "Why tha' hell would I ask you if I didn't want to know?"

"I don't know anyone like that."

"I'd beg to differ." He pointed to the boy way back in the picture. "This is you, right?"

Akira sighed. He was a terrible liar. "Alright, yeah, yeah, you've got me. That's me."

The boy with the red haired beamed. "See? We worked something out. Now, do you know anything about the girl?"

"Why?"

The boy rolled his eyes. "Feh. Lissen', I ain't got time for this shit alight? The girl is named Rui Yamase, and while I don't know your name, I DO know that you knew this young lady right here." He grit his teeth

"She's dead."

The boy stopped. He looked confused. "Um, what?"

Akira stared at the boy, his eyes cold. "I said she was dead.

The boy looked pained. "Wait, really? Oh shit." He looked down. "Oh... shit..."

Akira kept going. "She killed herself last night. Don't ask me how. Don't ask me why. I don't know anything else. And I'm not a fan of repeating myself. So if there isn't anything else, I think I'll just leave." Akira turned his head away. "Have a nice night."

Akira left as quickly as he could. Under normal circumstances, he would have beat the crap out of the freak. That look the guy gave him though... it looked like he hadn't been expecting to hear that she was dead. That filled Akira's chest with a weird feeling of despair and he knew right away that he had to leave. He gulped. Who was that guy, and how the hell did he know Rui?


"That girl," the man spoke slowly, trying to understand everything. "is dead."

The boy nodded. "That green haired guy, said she killed herself!"

The man adjusted his sunglasses. He would have been annoyed at his partner. Not that the boy had did anything wrong. In fact he actually did everything right. However, he would most definitely take his own frustrations out on him, both for the failed assignment and just how nervous his partner had become. He looked down at his watch, his face mixed between that of confusion and dismay. He turned back up to his partner, pushing his sleeve back over his watch.

"That's impossible." He said. "She wouldn't have ever killed herself."

The boy growled. "A'course I know that! You told me that while we were coming over here!"

"Then... why would she be dead?"

The boy's grew more aggravated. "The hell am I supposed to know that? The green haired guy said she was dead, that she killed herself and ran off!"

"It would explain the police tape over her office," The man said, taking out his notepad and taking a few notes in it. "Still, the fact of the matter was that our target was not depressed at all. And if she was, she wouldn't have killed herself. She was quite aware of her own role."

"Unless she were really stupid." The boy nodded. "And forgot."

The man shook his head. "She could see into the future. I find it highly unlikely if she just 'forgot', as you say."

"Then how the hell is she dead Krauss?" The boy spat. "Not unless someone casually fucking cut her from ear to ear, I don't see how it's possible. She had no enemies, never went out at night, and the building she stayed in was under surveillance. No one could break in without someone else noticing. So how do you suppose she died? Why don't you try explaining it to me, cuz I don't see how the hell this is possible."

Krauss just shook his head. "You've got me..." He paused. "Unless..."

"Unless?"

Krauss grew grim. "... This is bad. We might have to report back. Looks like things aren't as in the dark as we first imagined. Though with that hair, I wouldn't be surprised if our whole cover was blown."

"Yah really think it's that ba- Hey! I like my hair!"

Krauss grinned. "Shut up and start dialing."