Chapter Thirty-Seven: Akio III:

Haruka got off the train at Nara early the next morning. She had to see him today. This made the thirtieth visit since he was first committed here. Her children never knew. Many thought she killed her husband all of those years ago. So why has she never said otherwise? Haruka smiled to herself as she kept her reasons well-hidden. The old woman hailed for a taxi.

Back at Ju-Oh-Cho, the shinigami waited.

�She�s to visit him today, correct?� a Tokyo agent asked.

�Precisely,� his partner answered.

�What�s the time now?� he asked. His partner looked at her watch.

�8:47,� she replied. �She should be there approximately at nine.�

�I see,� the agent replied. He turned to another agent at the computer. �Status report on both?� he asked. The guy at the computer moved his mouse.

�She�s hailing a cab and he�s doing laundry today,� he answered.

On the street a cab pulled up to Haruka.

�Need a ride, miss?� the driver asked.

�Yes,� Haruka replied.

�Where to?� he asked.

�The Happy Castle,� she answered somberly. The man already knew the situation.

�Hop in,� he said.

�Thank you,� Haruka replied with a bow. She climbed in and rode off. The driver glanced over at her.

�Thirty years, huh?� he asked.

�Yes,� the old woman remarked.

�How is he?�

Haruka kept her eyes downwards. �I don�t know. The driver decided to change the subject.

�I�m retiring this year,� he said. She looked up rather intrigued.

�You are?� the old lady asked.

�That�s right,� the old man answered.

�What will you do?� Haruka asked. The old man shrugged as he tapped his wedding band against the steering wheel.

�Go stay with my children in Nagasaki,� he said. �Other than that, I don�t know.� He glanced over at his loyal passenger.

�What about you?� he asked. Haruka glanced up at him.

�What about me?� she asked.

�What will you do when your husband dies?� the driver asked. Haruka shook her head.

�I hadn�t thought about that,� she admitted.

�I understand,� the driver answered. They made it to the mental institution. Haruka paid the driver and went inside. The three agents in Ju-Oh-Cho snapped to attention once she entered the building.

�Subject has gone inside,� the main agent said, �I repeat, subject has gone inside.�

�Keep monitoring her,� Konoe told them on the phone.

�Yes sir,� the agent replied. He hung up and turned to the other two.

�Don�t lose track,� he ordered.

�Right!� they replied. Meanwhile, Haruka made it to the front desk. The young man looked up from his manga.

�Kimoto-san,� he said, �It�s so nice to see you again.�

�He�s doing laundry today, am I correct?� the old lady asked.

�Yes ma�am,� the receptionist answered as he handed her the paperwork. She filled it out with a silent frown.

�Have a good day,� she remarked. The old woman walked down to the laundry room.

Akio folded up another towel when he saw his wife in the doorway.

�It�s you,� he said. His wife walked into the room.

�How are you?� she whispered. Akio glanced away as he nodded.

�I�m good,� he murmured. Haruka slid the door closed behind her. Her husband folded up another towel.

�I had another visitor last week,� he quietly admitted. His wife glanced up at him with a perplexed look.

�Who?� she asked. Her husband paused with his work.

�He said he was my grandson-in-law,� he answered. His wife raised an eyebrow at him.

�What did this grandson-in-law look like?� she asked.

�Oh,� Akio admitted, �Really handsome young man. He had a nice trench coat and lovely violet eyes.�

�Did this grandson-in-law ask any questions?� Haruka asked.

�Yes, but I didn�t say anything,� her husband replied. Haruka put aside her relief to act on why she came here in the first place.

�Alright, Akio,� she said, �Listen closely to what I have to say.� Her husband moved aside the finished load to be taken away.

�What?� he asked. The agents listened in at their headquarters. Haruka walked over to Akio and leaned in close to his ear.

�The Mother has awoken,� she whispered. �I feel her.� Her husband glanced over at her.

�What?� the old man asked in total shock. Haruka shut her eyes.

�I�m afraid,� she declared. �This will be our end. Our number is about up.� The agents took in each word and paused.

�The Mother�s� back?� the female agent asked.

�Since when?� her partner asked. The computer agent looked through the tracking log. A confusing surprise greeted him.

�Boss?� he asked.

�Yeah?� the other man responded.

�Tsuzuki�s wife is under his care in this investigation, right?�

�That is correct.�

�He�s supposed to report her and the Mother�s statuses, right?�

�Yes, what are you getting at?�

The tech agent moved his screen to show his boss. �Then why do the results look like this and Tsuzuki�s last report was the first of July?� he asked.

�What are you talking about?� his boss as he looked at the screen. His jaw dropped while he grabbed his phone and dialed Konoe back. Meanwhile, Akio looked panic-stricken.

�What do you mean?� he asked. �What should we do?� His wife dropped her head.

�She means to exterminate us,� Haruka answered. �I don�t know if you�ll be safe in the end or not. So please for my sake, tread lightly.� A tear rolled down her cheek with trembling lips.