Chapter Eight: Fox Mother:

Tsuzuki awoke to Airi sitting atop him. He sat up with eyes narrowed.

“Airi-chan?” he asked.

“We’ve got a problem,” she said.

“I know,” the shinigami said. Airi hit him on the side.

“Ow,” Tsuzuki said.

“I’m serious here,” she said. “That bastard did something to me.” She looked down at her wrist.

“I keep seeing strange things,” Airi said.

“Like what?” Tsuzuki asked. Airi shrugged her shoulders.

“Those woods Anna sees,” she said. “Plus there’s more.”

“What?” he asked. The Mother pressed her lips together.

“Someone’s calling me,” she admitted. “I don’t know who it is. It’s so creepy. All childlike and shit. I don’t like it.”

“Wait, childlike?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Yeah,” Airi said. “I can’t children. They are just… yuck!” She glanced at Tsuzuki in a cold way.

“Don’t mention that little rug rat asleep in the next room,” she hissed.

“Why?” he asked. “She’s your daughter too.” Airi folded her arms across her chest.

“I won’t claim her,” she hissed. Tsuzuki gave her an innocent puppy-like look. The Mother sighed.

“That’s not the point!” she barked. “Someone’s watching us!”

“Are they tied to the mark on your core?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Yes,” Airi said. “I tried to remove it, but it won’t come off. It’s creeping me out!” He gently reached up and touched her shoulder.

“It’s okay,” Tsuzuki said. “We’ll get through this.” Airi wrinkled her nose.

“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered. “That’s not all.”

“What do you mean?” he asked. She leaned in closer to his face.

“I have flashes of weird images of village drowning in bold red colors,” she admitted in a low voice. “I hear screaming and crying. There’s always fire and then… nothing.”

“Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?” Tsuzuki asked. Airi shook her head.

“It felt too real to me,” she said. Airi clutched her arm. The shinigami held the Mother in his arms.

“What do you want to do?” he asked. She looked into his eyes.

“Get rid of this damned mark!” Airi said. “Track down that bastard and kill them.” Her husband nodded.

“Alright then,” Tsuzuki said. “I will stand by both of you.” His wife smirked.

“Good to know,” she said. “I’m starting to plan out how to catch those bastards.” Tsuzuki raised his eyebrow.

“How?” he asked. Airi broke into a devilish grin.

“How much do you love Anna and I?” she asked.

“Huh?” he asked.

“In order for this to work, we have to know,” the Mother said. “Now be honest, how much do you love us?” Tsuzuki gulped.

“I love you both more than anything,” he said.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. Airi caressed his cheek.

“Good,” she said. “Here’s what I have so far.” The Mother leaned in and whispered her plan in the baby stages. As she predicted, Tsuzuki didn’t like where it was heading. He slowly shook his head.

“I can’t let you do that,” the shinigami said.

“Do you have any other ideas?” Airi asked. Tsuzuki drew his mouth closed.

“I won’t accept it,” he whispered. Airi grabbed him by the cheeks.

“It will be fine,” she said. “You have to trust me on this. Do you understand me?”


“Do you understand me?”

Her husband lowered his eyes. “Does Anna-chan know about this?”

“I will talk to her about it,” Airi said through gritted teeth. “Just go with me on this.” She dug Anna’s nails into his cheeks. Tsuzuki sucked in a mouthful of air.

“I will go with what Anna-chan decides,” he said. Airi loosened her grip.

“Good,” she said. She gave a quick kiss before laying down next to him. Tsuzuki watched as she pulled up the sheets. What did I just agree to?