Chapter Eighteen: Love or Confusion:

Anna sat at her desk lost in thought. Hotaru’s question plagued her since morning. Why did she fight? Anna thought she knew the answer, but now she wasn’t so sure anymore.

She pulled open the top desk drawer on her right and took out her journal. The light pink cherry blossom petals stood out from the red and black fabric cover. She felt along the stitched in design. This notebook was a year old now and her fifteenth actual journal. When she first came to California, the school therapist suggested that she write about feelings to clear her head. Anna had been doing so ever since. When she didn’t have a journal, any piece of paper did just fine. Some events of her life were even on napkins and toilet paper.

Anna opened her notebook. The pages smelt of the museum gift shop and secrets. Anna turned to a blank page and set the journal down below her. She reached over and drew out a red pen. Anna drew in a deep breath and started writing.

Why do I fight? Survival? Winning? Honor? No. So, why do I fight? I used to know. No, I assumed I knew why. Now, I’m not sure anymore. I’m not sure about anything anymore. Why do I fight? Why do I fight? Why? Why?

Anna sat back in her chair to think about this for a while. Hotaru was right; she had been fighting since Daisuke died. Her battles in her head had led to her appearing distant to everyone in San Diego. Her friends tried to get to know her, but she always blocked them out with her “invisible glass box” as Becky called it. Her best friend never gave up on Anna at all. The woman was determined to reach her no matter what. Wonder if Becky would still feel the same if she knew that Anna was a descendant of murderous kitsune-tsukai.

A strange thought crossed her mind. Anna’s eyes widened at its intrusion as she rolled back in her chair. Why am I thinking about Tsuzuki at a time like this?, she thought. This wasn’t the first time either. Tsuzuki had been on her mind lately and she couldn’t understand why. Another thought followed her first one.

Am I… in love with him?, Anna wondered with startling shock. She quickly shook her head. No! That can’t be! Could it? It was nice to see Tsuzuki again after ten years. He was goofy at times, but he took time listening to her. Plus, Tsuzuki was so good to her. Maybe a romantic relationship could be possible between them.

Reality or rather, doubt slowly sank in. Anna shook her head. No, that would be too weird. It was a silly crush ten years ago. Plus… Anna looked down at her chest. The Hell Stone was like a pacemaker to her soul. Once it gave out, she was done; just white ash to her very soul and nothing else. Despite all the facts in front of her, Anna couldn’t help but wonder about that reoccurring possibility.

Suddenly, something on her computer screen caught her eye. Curious, Anna clicked on the message icon. The sender was from Why won’t they come out and show themselves? It didn’t make sense. Never the less, Anna clicked on the e-mail. The message content made her eyes widen.

Listen to tape entry #18.

Anna rushed over to the box of tapes and dug through them. After many listens, she found tape with entry #18. She rewound the tape to the beginning of the dated recording and hit play. The content removed all doubts about Yumiko and Kirika’s murders. She got on her cell phone and dialed up Tsuzuki about the discovery.