Lost to Tomorrow
Note: I've categorized this story as Romance/Horror, but it also has quite a bit of Mystery in it as well. So, if you're confused as to where it's going after the first chapter. Be patient. You will be rewarded.
This story is rated T for the most part. M chapters will be duly marked.
Also, visit my profile to read about any upcoming updates and for links to some great S/R (and general Inuyasha) art.
Chapter I Mr. Ishikawa
Mr. Kenta Sato was a small man; poor nutrition had stunted his growth during the war. While his father had been a proud 5'7, he unfortunately only rose to a measly 5'1. He was shorter than most of his employees, but despite his small stature he maintained a commanding presence over the staff of the Bright Fields Hotel. He'd run Bright Fields for the past five years, and absolutely nothing within the building escaped him. In fact he fancied himself quite the detective. He found a secret pleasure in observing the trysts and potential scandals of his many guests. Unseen glances, ring imprints on naked fingers, wrinkled shirts, crooked hair ornaments, a blush, told him much more than his guests would ever want him to know. Running a hotel, while respectable, could be quite an entertaining, even lascivious business.
He was in the middle of just one of these very observations when he was interrupted. Haru, one of Mr. Sato's bellboys, came up to him behind the registration desk. He'd just been wondering whether the man signing into room 403, at two in the afternoon mind you, was sweating so much because he would be cavorting with the school girl who'd been wringing her skirt in the lobby for the past half hour or the prostitute in the tight floral dress by the bar. She'd been nursing that tomato juice for the past three hours. Maybe it was spiked with something. Her eyelids seemed heavy, and not just with eye shadow.
"Excuse me? Sir?"
Mr. Sato snapped out of his thoughts and looked up abruptly at the bellboy.
"Yes? What is it?"
"A messenger just came by the back entrance. He said to give this to you."
Looking down at the small rectangular piece of paper, Mr. Sato froze. It was not sealed, only folded in half. He took a deep breath and nodded gravely at the boy, accepting the note. He knew exactly who'd sent it.
The Ox is expecting me. 3pm. - Mr. Ishikawa.
Looking up he caught the bellboy trying to read the note. He cleared his throat and Haru, startled, stepped back and bowed, "Excuse me Mr. Sato. I -"
"You're excused. Go make yourself useful."
He watched as the boy gave a quick, nervous glance and walked briskly around the front desk to help another bellboy with a family of western tourists. Sighing, he then returned his attention to the note in his hand. Mr. Ishikawa. He hadn't seen him in a while. He was a strange man, but by no means a problem for Mr. Sato.
Before he'd come to work at Bright Fields, he'd never met anyone quite like Mr. Ishikawa. In all actuality, before he'd come to meet the hotel owner, a Mr. No, he'd never known that men like Mr. Ishikawa even existed.
Mr. No was as round as a melon. He had two tufts of coal black hair on either side of his mouth, and wore large gold rings on each of his plump fingers. When he'd first met him, Mr. Sato was most struck by how agile Mr. No was despite his girth. And there was yet another eccentricity to his relationship with his boss. Till this day, he still did not know Mr. No's first name.
When he'd first approached Mr. Sato, Mr. No had been all niceness and pleasantries as he described the position at The Hotel. He never liked to call it by its advertised name. He spoke solemnly and respectfully of the past manager, who'd died recently in a most unfortunate accident. He gave no details, and at the time Mr. Sato felt no need to ask. He didn't even think of the peculiar circumstances of his predecessor's untimely death until three weeks later, when he sat across from Mr. No in his private rooms.
"I'm pleased you decided to consider my offer. I've actually been in quite a state of anticipation for your arrival."
Mr. No was leaning back in a plush, Western style armchair. His apartments were a strange mix of the ancient and the new. While they were both seated in modern western furniture and drank their brandy from chilled glass cups, Mr. Sato could only assume that his future employer had a weakness for the very old. He must have been a collector of some kind. His walls were covered in ancient scrolls and luxurious kimono. Strange scenes of carnage and gentility flowed into one another across every inch of the apartment's walls. There were no windows, and Mr. Sato could not help but feel that he was at the mercy of the smiling man before him.
"Now for the contract." Mr. No rose from his chair and walked over to a small cabinet. Mr. Sato could hear his companion shuffling papers behind him. He took a long swig from his glass and then placed the drink on a small green table situated between the two chairs. As Mr. No brushed past him, he felt something drop into his lap. Looking down, he saw the contract.
"It's heavy." He said lifting it.
"Take it home. Look it over. Once you sign, just bring it to the hotel and you will start that day."
"Is there nothing you would like to go over now, sir?" Mr. Sato looked up from the contract in surprise.
"Oh nothing really my little friend. It's all in the contract. And I dare say you will do magnificently without much guidance from me." Mr. No sat grinning for a few too many seconds after this statement.
"Ah." Mr. Sato nodded and tried to ignore his future employer's accumulating eccentricities. He folded the contract and tried to say as confidently as he could, "Well good day to you then, sir. I look forward to reading the contract. I'll hopefully start for you within the week." He bowed and turned to leave the room.
"Excellent, excellent!" Mr. No clapped his hands together and springing from his chair, he offered his hand out to clinch the deal. Feeling obligated to accept, Mr. Sato grasped the round man's plump hand and tried to mask his unease. It felt overly smooth and much too dry for a man so fat. He could feel Mr. No's eyes on his back as he strode to the door and opened it to leave. He'd just shut it behind him and breathed a sigh of relief when Mr. No suddenly wrenched it open again and leaned his head against the wooden frame.
With a chuckle he said, "Mr. Sato, I do beg your apology. I almost forgot to tell you. Please pay special attention to Page 62, Section C, would you? I'll rest much easier knowing that you've understood those particular rules of my establishment. We wouldn't want you or any of the staff to get into trouble now would we?" He looked almost nervous saying this, but when Mr. Sato gave a quick nod and repeated, "Page 62, Section C," his features softened and he gave a great laugh. After he'd shut the door Mr. Sato stood there bewildered. What a strange man. What a strange place! Mr. No had been laughing so loudly, but now there was no trace of sound in the building's hallway. Shaking himself, Mr. Sato set off for home.
That night, sitting with a meal of pickled plums, rice and tea, he read the contract from front to back, paying special attention to Page 62, Section C. Page 62 was the start of a long section on all of Mr. No's various codes of conduct for the hotel. He seemed to have a particular distaste for beggars. Section A was a rather thorough list of scenarios and rules ranging from the predictable to the outlandish on how to deal with any beggar who came into the lobby. Section B had only one rule. It read:
In the event of a violent crime being committed within the hotel, under no circumstance will the current manager contact the police without notifying Mr. No first.
He paused when he read this, but his eye couldn't help wandering further down the page when he saw the content of Section C.
The typeface was so small, he had to go find a magnifying glass to read it properly. And not finding one in his cramped apartment, he'd had to run to the convenience store around the corner to acquire one. Reading the contract had become a minor ordeal. But finally, he was able to sit down and examine Mr. No's labyrinthine Section C.
In all, there were forty-two rules, all pertaining to an unnumbered floor, which Mr. No only referred to as the Ox, and a mysterious list of one hundred and sixty three of Mr. No's closest friends. Mr. Sato was not to associate with or even help any of the people on that list if they chose to visit the hotel. His instructions were clear. If one of Mr. No's friends should arrive, he should alert the elevator operator on the green phone by the front desk, and simply go about his business as if no one had come at all. The hotel staff would require no training in this regard. They were all well aware of their responsibilities.
Mr. Sato ended up reading Section C four times that night. The list made him nervous, and his already uneasy impression of Mr. No was now strained even further. In the end however, he felt that it would be easier and more than likely much safer for him to simply agree to the contract and move forward with the offer.
In the five years after Mr. Sato signed Mr. No's contract, he'd seen many of Mr. No's friends enter the hotel. He'd followed the rules to a tee, never once speaking to any of these guests and diligently alerting the elevator operator to their presence. They never came without being announced, always sending a note or a messenger. Some would look at him and smile knowingly. On those occasions he preferred to return their attentions with a simple nod and move on with his work. Others, such as Mr. Ishikawa, simply strode past, never paying him any mind.
He much preferred guests like Mr. Ishikawa. For one, he never had to worry about them forcing him to break one of Mr. No's many intricate rules of conduct. But there was an even better reason for why he preferred these silent friends. Simply put, with the silent ones, he didn't need to worry about meeting them. In truth he was terrified of Mr. No and his guests. They were hiding something that he could not quite grasp. And it was nothing like the simple affairs he liked to keep track of in the hotel lobby.
Mr. Sato squared his shoulders and folded the message small and tight between his fingers. Stuffing it into the inner pocket of his suit jacket, he whispered, "Mr. Ishikawa. We will be ready for you."
Preview: Chapter II
Lunch With Newts
Mr. Ishikawa is invited to tea and an old companion reappears.
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