Chapter Thirty-Two: Akio II:
Tsuzuki came to a psychiatric center in Nara. He found out what he needed from a slip from younger Gushoshin.
Tsuzuki made his way back to the library for more information on Akio. The front desk looked empty at the time.
�Hello?� the shinigami asked as he walked closer. �Anyone in?� He peeked around when he received no answer. �Anybody?� he whispered. Suddenly, his ear caught murmuring from the back room. Curious, Tsuzuki went around the desk. He found the Gushoshin twins talking in the office.
�Is she visiting him today?� the younger brother asked. The older twin shook his head.
�She�s going tomorrow,� he answered.
�Think we�ll finally see a change?� the younger brother inquired.
�I have no idea,� the older Gushoshin answered. The younger sibling shook his head in disbelief.
�All those years in Nara and nothing?� he asked. �How long has he been in�?� His brother tried to cover his mouth, but it was too late. They looked and saw Tsuzuki watching them from the cracked open door. Younger Gushoshin realized his mistake when he saw the look in the shinigami�s eye.
�Oh no�� he murmured. Tsuzuki turned and hurried away with this new information.
It took him about an hour to track down exactly where in Nara the old man was. Tsuzuki pushed open the glass doors Happy Castle Mental Institution. He walked straight up to the front desk. A young man on the other side looked up from his manga and gave him a big fake smile.
�Welcome!� he greeted Tsuzuki. �How can I help you today?� The shinigami gave him a warm smile.
�Hi, I�m looking for a patient here,� he said.
�Okay,� the receptionist said. �May I ask why?�
�I would like to visit him,� Tsuzuki replied.
�Okay,� the young man replied, �What�s the name?�
�Kimoto Akio,� the shinigami answered in confidence. The receptionist�s face looked so pale.
�Why?� he asked in a low voice, �Only family members can visit.�
�I�m his grandson-in-law,� Tsuzuki replied.
�No one told me he had any other relatives,� the young man said. �Hang on.� He got on the computer and typed up Akio�s name. �He�s in today,� the receptionist replied, �But it�s 7:35 now, so he would be in the laundry room now.�
�Thank you,� Tsuzuki said with a bow.
�The laundry room is down the hall to your right near the exit,� the young man explained as he pointed to the right.
�Alright,� the shinigami said before heading that direction.
He found Akio folding clothes he just pulled out of the dryer. He paused and stared at a dark gray shirt.
�Oh my,� the old man muttered t himself. �I�m just not used to dryers.� Tsuzuki knocked on the open door. Akio looked up to see the young-looking gentleman watching him.
�Hello?� he asked. �I don�t think I�ve seen you around before.� Tsuzuki gave him a little smile.
�Oh,� he said. �I was just passing by.� The handsome-looking old man didn�t seem to believe him, but said nothing. Tsuzuki watched him fold clothes.
�Do you do this every day?� he asked.
�Yes,� the old man replied as he finished up another shirt. �Aren�t you going to ask my name?�
�Excuse me?� Tsuzuki asked. The old man looked at him through his silver-framed glasses.
�You didn�t come here just to chat, did you?� he asked. There was something so menacing in his voice. Tsuzuki did his best to keep a brave face.
�Actually,� he spoke. �I have a few questions for you.� Akio folded up another shirt.
�Okay then,� he said. �That�s much better. What would you like to ask?� Tsuzuki put his thoughts together in his head.
�Are you Kimoto Akio?� he asked. The old man chuckled to himself quietly.
�How did you know?� he asked. Tsuzuki focused on his target. Akio certainly didn�t look like the man he pictured for months. Haruka�s husband looked frail and plaid. He struggled with doing the laundry at it was.
�Need any help?� Tsuzuki asked as he walked over to the old man who could barely stand up straight.
�No, no,� Akio insisted. �I�ve got it.�
�You sure?� Tsuzuki asked.
�Yes,� the old man insisted. �It calms me down in the mornings.�
�Ah,� the other man said with a nod. �How long have you been here?�
�Oh gosh,� Akio said, taking a minute to think, �Haruka-chan dropped me off here just before Kirika-chan was born.�
�Was Kirika your daughter?� the shinigami asked.
�Of course,� Akio replied as he finished the first load. �I�m the only man Haruka-chan has even slept with.� Tsuzuki somehow doubted this, but said nothing.
�So, why are you here?� he asked instead. Akio passed after he closed the dryer.
�Aki drove me to this point,� he explained quietly. Tsuzuki didn�t get what he was saying.
�Aki?� he asked. �You mean her kitsune?� Akio put his fist to his chest.
�She loved me passionately, madly, desperately, deadly�� he murmured. Tsuzuki didn�t like the picture of events that led to this man being committed forming in his head.
�And you�ve been here ever since?�
�Don�t you miss your family?�
�No,� Akio sat as he sat on the table.
�No?� the other man asked. The old patient shook his head.
�I find it much calmer here,� he went on. �Nothing to worry about. I just keep to myself and do laundry day after day. It�s all I need really.� He turned to Tsuzuki staring at him more puzzled than ever. �Anything else?� he asked.
�No,� Tsuzuki said as he shook his head. �Have a good day.� He bowed and got up to leave. However as he headed out the door, the man heard the most chilling thing.
�You will not win,� he heard someone say. Tsuzuki turned to see Akio with his back facing him.
�Excuse me?� the shinigami asked. The old man smirked to himself coldly.�You will not win against my wife,� he repeated. �She is already onto the show unfolding.�