Chapter Twenty-One: Life Line:

This would not be easy. But, Anna would need him. She would have to make up for the mess she made somehow. She waited for him to come home.

“I’m home,” Tsuzuki said. Anna lifted her head as he walked into the living room.

“Welcome home,” she said. Tsuzuki stood in the doorway, smiling.

“How are you?” he asked. Anna pressed her lips together.

“I need your help,” she said.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. Anna trembled at first.

“My old friend has gone missing,” she said. Tsuzuki narrowed his eyes.

“Which friend?” he asked.

“You remember me telling your about Kiko, right?” she asked.

“Vaguely,” Tsuzuki said.

“She was a friend when we were kids,” Anna said. “Her mom called me all worried about her.”

“How did she get your number?”

“Kyoko-san. Look, I’m not sure if it’s a trap or not. That’s why… That’s why I need your help.”


Anna blinked. “You mean it?”

“Yes,” Tsuzuki said. His wife bowed her head.

“Thank you so much,” she said. He patted her head.

“I’m sorry for lying,” Anna added.

“I forgive you,” he said. She looked up at him. He sounded bitter when he said it. But, Tsuzuki did mean it.

“What’s for dinner?” he asked. There is was. His old goofy self asked about food. Anna perked up.

“Cup of Noodle sound good?” she asked.

“Sure,” Tsuzuki said. Kirika-chan cried from her room.

“I’ve got it,” Anna said.

“No, no,” Tsuzuki said. “I’ve got it.” He gave her a quick kiss and walked down the hall. Anna watched him, silent. They would begin their search tomorrow.


Red eyes looked through the gray city. No sound. Shadowy figures walked around. The last meal made things worse.

Drag. Drag. Drag. Drag.

Feet felt so heavy. Barely moving at all. Can’t feel anything else. Must eat fast. Body will break down. Where would the next meal be? Where? Where? Where?

Heavy breathing. Blurry. Must… Eat… Something… Now…

“Excuse me, sir. Are you feeling okay?”

Turn the head. They were female. Maybe male. They weren’t seen too clearly.

“Sir? Is something wrong? Are you okay? What happened to your face?”



Haruka sat in the darkness, drinking. She counted down in her head and smirked.

“Heh,” she said. “So it begins. The old woman took another drink of her wine. Aki watched her across the room. She herself was counting down. Who would see their plan unfold first? Would it be Haruka’s? Would it be Aki’s? Or maybe…