Chapter Twenty-Eight: Walk to the Western Church:

The payback was here. Tsuzuki and Hisoka arrived at the park. The older shinigami looked around.

“I don’t see her yet, do you?” he asked.

“No,” Hisoka replied. He turned to his partner. “I only have only one shot to end this.”

“I understand,” Tsuzuki replied. “I will support you.”

“Thank you,” Hisoka replied. The boys looked up when they heard a squawking noise. A crow flew down carrying something in its beak. Hisoka held out his finger as it flew closer. Upon closer inspection, he noticed a golden thread dangling from the bird’s beak.

“Are you playing messenger with us?” he asked. Tsuzuki ran his thumb and finger through the thread. Hisoka froze as images flooded his mind. He traveled through a blackened hall up to heavy steel doors. He snapped back to reality just as the doors were opening.

“She’s there!” Hisoka shouted. His head whipped around to Tsuzuki. “I know where she is.”

“Where?” the older shinigami asked.

“Jessie’s being held in some sort of an arena.”

“Okay… so… where is it?”

Before Hisoka could speak, a violent wave of pitch black ripped through them. The crow on the boy’s finger broke down into coal dust. The thread landed on Hisoka’s shoe. He and Tsuzuki looked around when everything settled down. They couldn’t see a thing in the dark.

“I guess that’s how,” Tsuzuki said. Howling ripped through the air over their heads.

“What is that?” Tsuzuki asked. Hisoka listened through the darkness.

“Demons,” he whispered.

“What?” his partner asked. The younger shinigami pointed upwards.

“Look up,” he said. His partner complied. A sea of yellow eyes looked down upon them. A chill raced up Tsuzuki’s spine.

“What do you suppose they want?” he whispered.

“Just ignore them,” Hisoka whispered.

“Which way do we go?”

“I don’t know yet.” Hisoka’s fingers happened to touch something of a thread-like material. “Hm?” When he grabbed it, the string lit up.

“Tsuzuki, look!” he exclaimed. The other shinigami spotted the lit up golden thread in his partner’s hand. He trailed it all the way down the hall. Right then, the shinigami put the pieces together. With bated breath, they walked down the hall with thread in their hands. The howling grew louder as they headed down the hall. They remained the boys of wild monkeys. It didn’t take long for the howling to start forming words.

Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!

Tsuzuki shuddered at the ice in their tone. His eyes shifted to Hisoka’s back.

“Hisoka?” he whispered.

“Just ignore them,” the boy whispered. “Keep walking until we see the doors.”

“How much longer until we get there?”

“Just keep following the thread.”

Tsuzuki nodded uneasily. He kept his head ducked as he walked.

“Don’t show fear,” Hisoka whispered over his shoulder. “They can smell it and will attack.” Tsuzuki tried to toughen up.

“Right…” he mumbled. The howling made his stomach turn. Hisoka tuned out everything around him. Hang on, Jessie, he thought. I will end this for both of us.

The boys arrived at the big steel doors at the end of the hall. Tsuzuki could finally breathe.

“She’s behind those doors, isn’t she?” he asked.

“Yes,” Hisoka answered with a nod. He walked up to the doors. Before he could react, they drew open in a slow motion. The boys’ jaws dropped at what they saw. Jessie stood before them, unharmed.

“Welcome, boys,” she purred in an icy tone. “I’m so glad you found me.”