Chapter Fifteen: The Timed Details:
Look for the pattern.
Tsuzuki pulled up the photos on the laptop. "Fourteen so far," he said.
"The murders looked to have started around August," Hisoka stated. Tsuzuki started up the slideshow.
"Kurasawa Jin," his partner read. "Age sixteen, first victim, found floating along the river." He clicked the next slide.
"Miyazaki Kaoru, age sixteen, second victim." Tsuzuki went to the next slide.
"Amuro Saji, age seventeen, third victim."
"Okomoto Makoto, age eighteen and fourth victim. No defensive wounds, suggests that he knew the killer."
"Victims five through nine are unknown. Safe to assume they are around sixteen to seventeen years old. They might not be from Nagasaki."
"Victims ten and eleven are missing and suspected to be murdered too."
"Komoi Ken, age seventeen and twelfth victim."
"Ono Ichigo, age seventeen, thirteenth victim."
"Kanno Kaoru, age seventeen, latest victim." Tsuzuki turned to Hisoka. "Most of them went to Nagasaki Nihon University," he said.
"At least two of them moved to this area," Hisoka said.
"But, what else do they have in common?" his partner asked.
"The students said that they all dated Asahi-chan," Hisoka said with a shrug. Tsuzuki's face became dead serious.
"Hisoka," he said.
"Hm?" the young boy asked.
"Why were you in the nurse's office the other day?" the older shinigami asked. Hisoka went quiet as he clenched his fists.
"I saw evil when I touched her," he murmured. Tsuzuki raised an eyebrow at him.
"From who, Sayako?" he asked. Hisoka shook his head.
"No, from Naomi," he said. Violet eyes shot wide open.
"What?" he asked.
"I can't explain it," his young partner went on. "I got nothing from Sayako, but Naomi seemed worried about something."
"How do you mean?" the older shinigami asked.
"Well," Hisoka said. "I saw blood and the corpses within Naomi."
Hisoka shrugged. "I couldn't sense anything from her, she's empty."
Tsuzuki thought about all of this. "So we have two suspects in this case."
"It seems that way," Hisoka replied.
"But who do we question first?" the older shinigami asked. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Who's there?" Tsuzuki asked. The shinigami looked at each other and cautiously approached the door.
"Who is that?" he asked.
"Delivery!" a muffled female's voice shouted.
"What is it?" Hisoka asked.
"Open the door and see!" the woman said. The boys looked at each other.
"What should we do?" Tsuzuki mouthed. Hisoka gave him a serious nod. The older shinigami opened the door crack and peeked out. A container hot, fresh takoyaki greeted him. Excited, Tsuzuki threw open the door. That joy died when he saw who was on the giving end of the container.
"Oh," the shinigami said. "It's you." Thanatos grinned at him.
"Hi!" she cheered. Hisoka glanced at her.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"Oh, just to give you this fresh takoyaki," she said. "My little way of saying, ï¿½Goodbye.'"
"Goodbye?" Tsuzuki asked.
"That's right," Thanatos said. "I know about the Nagasaki Case. Back off, I'm taking the girl. Her soul is enough to buy a high-priced meal!"
"That's not going to happen!" Tsuzuki snapped.
"Says who?" she challenged.
"Both of us," Tsuzuki said. "We are in charge of Kyushu and this is our case!"
"I don't care, unless you want me to take your sweet little girlfriend's soul instead." Tsuzuki saw burning red.
"What did you say?" he snapped.
"Oh, don't you know?" the bounty hunter asked. "Your little blow-up doll is here in Nagasaki. Didn't she tell you?"
"You're lying!" he snapped.
"If I am, then how do you explain that bento you had today?" she asked.
"What?!ï¿½ the shinigami snapped. Thanatos shrugged her shoulders.
"Would you look at that?" she asked. "Your little dolly is keeping secrets from you. Anyway, I'm either getting the demon or your toy. Take your pick!"
"You're not getting Anna!" Tsuzuki snapped.
"And you're not getting the suspects either!" Hisoka barked.
"Fine," Thanatos said. "I'll go over your heads, but until thenï¿½" She handed the takoyaki to Hisoka. He gave her a cold stare as Thanatos smirked at the boys.
"Ta-ta!" she said with a little wave. The bounty hunter walked away. The shinigami happened to look up and see Eros standing feet away. His pale, emotionless face filled their heads with questions.
"What do you see in her?" Tsuzuki asked. Eros bowed and walked away. Oh great, not only did they have this case to deal with, but now Thanatos and Eros were after one of the girls' souls.
Suddenly, Tsuzuki's cell phone buzzed. The older shinigami pulled it out and went out the door in a flash. Hisoka looked up, confused.
"Tsuzuki?" he asked. "Where are you going?" The older shinigami was already gone.