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"When I located Gene and Peter's belongings in your barn, I saw that they contained mostly the events surrounding you." Naru said.
"But you said about his research mentioning stories about the Suzushimas and their ancestral home." Mai asked.
"Those had been collected before he had left for his trip." Naru said. "He had copies of those made and left behind. He could be very thorough when it came to documentation, which is why I thought it was strange that I could not located any other documentation he left behind."
"Did you ask Peter?" Mai asked. "What did he have to say?"
"He mentioned that they traveled to a lot of places and they had separated for a short time." Naru explained. "He doesn't know what Gene did with all his notes and journals during that time."
"Did Gene ever say anything?" Mai asked. "I mean I would think that his notes would be important to him."
"I had thought maybe they were confiscated and destroyed, but that wouldn't make any sense." Naru said. "His things were left in the barn so, why not destroy all the evidence. Especially…" he trailed off.
"Especially?" Mai looked at him. "Oh…" She understood now. "I didn't read it all, but I guess he mentions me bailing him out the day after I was attacked by Katsumi." Mai said. Naru gave her a sad pained look.
She may have come to terms with what had happened to her that summer, but it still hurt Naru to imagine it. He had only read what Gene had recorded in his journal. Mai had lived it. The evidence left behind still made Naru sick.
While the victims of such horrible crimes should never be forgotten, Naru wished she could forget. The cottage had been destroyed after the investigation had finished and a monument put in place to remember the victims. Mai and Naru had gone back after they returned from New York.
"Are you ok with this?" Mai had turned to the silent Naru as the car drove over the bridge near where Gene and Katsumi's bodies were found.
"Why are you asking me this?" he raised his eyebrow at her in disbelief.
"I'm just making sure you can do this." Mai said as she gave his hand a squeeze.
"Are you ok with this?" he asked her. She was the one who had gone through hell here.
"Yes and no." Mai said as she looked out the window. "It's something that I have to do. Not just for me, but for everyone."
The car had pulled up to the stables. There were no roads there only a dirt path. The driver stayed with the car as Mai and Naru mounted the horses that had been readied for them. They followed the path through the woods till the came to the clearing.
The cottage was gone and what left in its place a serene looking garden. There was stone court yard looking structure. Open archways surrounded the perimeter of what had once been the foundation of the cottage. Cobblestones created a path through the flowers shrubs within. Located in the center of the courtyard was a large stone fountain.
"It uses the water from the spring nearby." Mai said. Naru gazed down at the rim of the fountain. It had the names and birthdays of the victim. One name that stood out to him was Gene's.
He walked over to it and traced the letters with the tips of his fingers. Mai watched him from behind, before striding over to the opposite side of the fountain and looking up at the top of it. The water cascading over the top two basins before filling the large surrounding stone pool.
"Mai?" Naru said her name.
"I remember Gene's constantly talking about Emerson." Mai smiled. "In fact he was always quoting from it when he got the chance." Naru smiled. He was familiar with Gene's obsession with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Then she began to recite:
"Sleep is not, death is not;
Who seem to die live,
House you were born in,
Friends of your spring-time,
Old man and young maid,
Day's toil and its guerdon,
They are all vanishing,
Fleeing to Fables
Cannot be moored."
Naru could only stare at her. She looked so calm. Had she already made her peace? Could anyone really be this strong? Every day he spent with her he filled his life with a new meaning. As corny as it sounds or seems, she filled the places left behind. She filled the places where hope and love had long vacated.
He walked to where she stood. She looked up into his eyes and smiled, taking his hands into hers. He leaned down and kissed her. Whether the timing was appropriate or not, he didn't care. He just wanted to kiss her.
"Naru?" Mai was calling his name bringing him back to the present. "Are you spacing out on me? You can't call me out on that anymore now." She joked.
"Sorry, I just got lost in my thoughts." He said getting back to the topic at hand.
"So he talks about what happened to me?" Mai asked.
"Yes, not in details, but enough to be considered evidence." Naru said. "So if Gene had more materials he must have lost them before that."
"I guess we had better get Yasuhara researching as soon as possible." Mai said as she picked up the phone and dialed. "Hey, Yasu. Still looking for a job?"
Naru sat in bed reading a book. The twins had been put to bed and were so far quiet. Mai was getting ready for bed. She walked out of the bathroom and plopped down on the bed. She pulled the covers over herself.
"I'm so tired." Mai muffled by the pillow.
"Well now Yasuhara has full access to everything." Naru said not glancing up from his book.
"You don't know how much of a pain in the ass it was to arrange that." Mai turned and looked at him.
"All you did was call people." He said still reading.
"All I did was call people?" Mai argued. "First I had to call Yasu and convince him to do this. Then I had to call around the different offices to authorize access for him. You can not even begin to imagine the runaround those people give you and its my companies!"
"Yes, Mai." Naru said still reading. Mai reached over and grabbed his book. It was an analysis on the effects of energy fields on individuals study done by some scientist Mai had never heard of. "Alright I am listening now." Mai grudgingly handed him back his book.
"Yasu better find some skeletons in the closet for all the hassle of getting anyone to do what I say." Mai grumbled before turning off the lamp and snuggling up to Naru.
Mai was standing outside a small run down farm. She didn't know why, but she felt like she was being pulled in the direction behind the house. She followed the path there in the distance she saw them or at least she thought she did. They looked much younger, but she was sure it was them. She moved closer to them.
"He thinks he's so smart." The boy grumbled as he sat on the fence of the pig sty while the girl did her chores. "I promise I will beat him. One of these days I am going to outsmart him. Completely humiliate him too!"
"Akira, the more you focus on beating your brother the more you will miss out in life." the girl said.
"You could beat him easily." Akira said.
"Why do you think that?" the girl looked at him.
"Because you are the smartest person I know." He said. She blushed at this. "Way smarter than Akito. Can't you take a break? I brought you a treat." He reached into the leather bag and pulled out bento box and chopsticks.
"Akira, this is amazing!" She said as she took a bite.
"So I haven't seen your mom out today." Akira looked around. The girl grimaced. "So she's sick again."
"You could say that again." She grumbled.
"No way!" Akira knew what that meant. "Again? So Usako's going to be a big sister again!" he sang out.
"I hope it's not twins again." She groaned. "Two more mouths to feed."
"Oh and there's the matter of my 14th birthday coming up." Akira said "There's a party and I want you to come. Its European style formal dress. You are invited."
"I don't have anything that would be even remotely appropriate." Sachiko exclaimed.
"Maybe you will get a fairy god mother like in the story Cinderella." He teased. "Come to the house early. You'll see what I mean. You deserve this Usako."
"Sachiko!" Her mother called. She appeared in the doorway. "I need you now!" Akira took his leave as Sachiko rushed to the house.
Then the dream changed. Mai was still standing outside the farm, but it was empty looking now. There was a heavy depression surrounding it. She feel the despair radiating from all around her. Then felt herself pulled. She was moving towards the house. She could hear screaming. Someone was screaming in pain.
Then it was dark. Mai could hear the screaming still. She felt her heart beating fast. Then she saw the twisted form of the pregnant girl on the floor withering in pain. She was in her nightgown. Instead of being white it was a fade and patched.
She wanted to reach out and help her but Mai was frozen. She could only stand and watch the girl suffer.
The pregnant girl continue to scream and cry in pain. "Oh god please kill me!" she cried. Mai could see she was bleeding out. So much blood… It was pooling around her.
Then it went dark again. This time she was walking towards a bloody sheet. It lay draped on a long table. She grasped the corner in her hand and pulled. There she came face to face with the mangled body of the girl. She stared into her lifeless eyes then she looked down the table.
Mai gasped and covered her mouth. Her eyes welled up as she looked upon three tiny forms. The babies were dead. "Oh no." Mai cried. She turned away and covered her face with her hands, but she felt something sticky on her hands and face.
She looked down and saw her hands covered in blood. She frantically tried to wipe it off, but it only came back and spread. As she looked up, she realized she was standing in front of a mirror. She was covered in blood. It was spattered and smeared all over. Then Akira stood behind her. She could feel the hatred he was focusing on her. He was distorted by his anger and rage.
"Their blood is on your hands." He spat at her.
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