Connections #5-6

*Saito*

As a therapist, I get bizarre cases all of the time. Some more so than others. Tonight’s session will always stand out in my mind.

Her name is Tojo Karen. She was the picture of a battered woman. Karen suffered heavy abuse from her father. He was a monster, no way around that. That man tormented that poor woman. He saw her more as a mistress than a daughter. Did so since she was twelve or thirteen. Sick bastard indeed. Because of this, Karen had grown highly unstable. She turns to me for help. The sessions are interesting. Some days are okay. Others are hard for her. And then, a few are just weird. Tonight was really strange.

It started out normal. I waited until three for her to arrive. Karen is a little late at times. It depends on her job. I wait patiently. My shoulder began to hurt again. I tried to ignore the pain like I had been doing for weeks. But now, it’s getting worse. I have to recover before she gets here.

“Something wrong?” I heard a woman ask. I looked up and saw the patient. Her caramel eyes blinked at me, confused. I quickly shook my head.

“No, it’s nothing,” I said. “Come in, take a seat.” Karen nodded once.

“Okay…” Then, she walked in and closed the door behind her. I watched her as she sat down in front of me.

“Ready?” I asked. She gave me a quick nod. I hit record on the tape player.

“How are you today, Tojo-san?”

“Confused.”

“Why is that?”

“How’s your shoulder?”

“Fine.”

“I’ve been having the same pains in my shoulder too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Does it burn for you?”

“Why yes.”

“It burns me too. And look.”

“Fourteen?”

“Yes.”

Silence.

“Plus, I heard a woman say that I was going to die on the Fire Festival next years with thirty-six other people.”

Pause.

“Am I going crazy?”

Pause.

“No. I have it too.”

“Twenty-nine. You mean…”

“Yes. I am cursed to die too.”

Silence.

I found one of the other thirty-six cured to die. One down, thirty-six more to go. Who were the others?

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