Chapter Thirty-Six: Sacrifice to War:

Jotaro would’ve been twenty in a few days. He was found in a dumpster behind the bar. A bartender was taking out the trash at eleven at night. He opened the lid to the dumpster and looked inside.

The police arrived. The crime scene was taped off.

-11:42 p.m.-

Anna and Tsuzuki made it the crime scene. The shinigami grabbed her by the shoulder.

“Anna-chan,” he said. Anna stopped in her tracks. Her heart sank. An officer turned and saw her standing alone.

“Miss, you can’t be here,” he said. She tried to look over his shoulder.

“What happened?” she asked. Her voice trembled as she spoke. She moved her to her chest.

“We found a body,” the officer said. “Bartender called it in an hour ago.”

“Who was it?” Anna sked. The officer tried to push her back as she tried to look.

“We are not inclined to say at the moment,” he told her. “Miss. Miss.”

“I think I know the victim!” Anna blurted out. The officer raised his eyebrow.

“What did you say?” he asked. Anna lowered her eyes.

“Is it Jotaro?” I asked. “Please tell me. Please!” The officer looked at the detectives examining the crime scene. He bit on his lower lip. The officer turned back to Anna.

“What did say the name was again?” he asked.

Jotaro,” she said. “Ikeda Jotaro.” The officer didn’t have to say anything. Anna’s eyes welled up with tears.

“I’m so sorry” the officer said.

“How did he die?” she asked.

“We’re still investigating that,” he said. “Can you please move along? We don’t need more on-lookers. Goodbye, miss.” Anna pressed her lips together as she was pushed along.


She didn’t go far though. Anna disappeared around the corner of another alley. Tsuzuki stood in front of her. Anna broke down, shivering.

“He’s dead,” she whispered. “He’s really dead. Tsuzuki pulled her into his arms.

The killing was gruesome too. Eyes and tongue ripped out. The coroner lost count of all the stab wounds. The boy’s throat had been ripped out. The body was covered in blood. Almost all of his bones were broken. The detectives were shocked at the state he was in. This wasn’t just a rage killing. Rumors began to circle Shibaya. Yakuza hit? Cult sacrifice? Eda-Kimoto kill?

Ju-Oh-Cho didn’t receive Jotaro’s soul. There had been no indication that he was to be judged. His soul didn’t go to Heaven or Hell. Ikeda Jotaro’s soul had just vanished.


Three days later, the Tsuzuki apartment received a package. Tsuzuki and Anna were having a quiet night in when the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it,” Anna said. She leapt up and walked over to the door. She looked through the peep hole. A confused look came over her face.

“Huh?” she asked. There was nobody outside. Anna slowly looked around as she opened the door.

“Hello?” Anna asked. When she looked down, a curious item caught her eye. A small manila envelope sat before her feet.

“Who is it?” Tsuzuki asked. Anna picked up the package.

“No one,” she said. Anna closed the door. Her husband sat on the couch holding Kirika-chan in his arms.

“What do you have there?” he asked. Anna looked in her hand.

“Oh,” she said. “I found this outside.” Anna looked at the package back and forth. “There’s no name on it.” She reached for the flap.

“Careful,” Tsuzuki said. “It could be a trap.”

“Thanks,” Anna said. She found the tape on the flap. She opened it with a flick. Tsuzuki held his breath as she opened the package. He held the baby to his chest.

“Huh?” Anna asked.

“What is it?” Tsuzuki asked. She pulled out a DVD case. There was no cover. Just a note.

“It’s addressed to me,” she said. Tsuzuki narrowed his eyes. He put Kirika-chan down on the couch and drew out his fuda. Anna walked over to the DVD player and put the disc in. She turned on the TV and pressed play.

The static disappeared to a room painted black. Jotaro sat chained up in a metal chair. He looked seriously injured. The boy breathed heavily.

Jotaro-kun!” Anna said with a gasp. Tsuzuki held her hand. The boy began to speak.

“By the time you see this, I will be dead,” he said. “I, Ikeda Jotaro, will be the sacrifice to end this war. The question will be who will win—you or Haruka-san? Haruka-san has a proposal.” His voice was slow and trembling. But his words sounded so scripted, almost forced. Anna’s stomach turned.

“She wants to play a game,” Jotaro said. “You will be given thirteen challenge to do. You will be given the first one in three days’ time. If you complete all thirteen without fail, you will win this war. She will not let you back out of this. Either play alone or you will be forced into it. Starting… now.”

“No!” Anna shouted. Tsuzuki had to hold her in place.

“Calm down,” he said. “You can’t help him.”

“Any last words?” a woman asked on the video. Jotaro looked up, glaring.

“Yes,” he said in a hoarse voice. “Fuck you!” A figure in a black dress walked in front of the camera. And then the video ended.

Anna fell out of Tsuzuki’s grip to her knees, trembling. But it wasn’t out of fear.

Instead, she felt rage.