Chapter 2:

A Twisted Mind

Happy Sweet Magical Girl Life

“So, commissioner, how’s the West Prefecture murder case going? I know that it’s only been half a day, but it’s such hot news that their police chief is going to burst a vein if you don’t have some tidbit of information to offer him by this afternoon.”
The Tokyo Police commissioner, Jizo Hinewa, sighed and put down the file that he was aggressively studying. He took off his reading glasses and massaged his forehead.Bookmark here

“Kishinami, you think I didn’t know that already?” He asked his junior wryly. “That blasted Honda is going to be the death of me! He’s been nothing but a stick up my ass ever since the call came in from the fire inspectors last night!” He closed the file. “They hardly ever have any major crimes over in his prefecture, let alone a random murder so he’s having a real fit. Doesn’t want any sort of blowback or bad publicity from this. Could hurt his career and jeopardize his chance for an early, cushy retirement. Real champion of the people, he is.” He rolled his eyes. “And he’s expecting us to hurry this up before people start panicking and hurting each other by accident. Everyone over there is sure that this isn’t a Yakuza hit and is losing their minds because they’re sure that there’s a serial killer on the loose, even though we had only had one body.”Bookmark here

The young officer stared, unmoving, at his superior. “So, what you are saying is that you would like more coffee, sir?” Hinewa forced himself to keep a straight face. “Yes, that would be great, if you don’t mind?” “Sure! I’ll right back, and then you can tell me what you’ve figured out by staring at that file.” The younger man ducked out of the Commissioner’s office.Bookmark here

Hinewa let himself smiled once he was alone. Kishinami was a good kid. He was still really green, but he was good-natured and respectful. Hinewa hoped that the newbie officer would be able to keep his cheerfulness going forward. Police work was heavy and draining, and all the bureaucracy was no joke. Even if it didn’t break you, it would definitely change you and make you more and more jaded the longer you spent trapped inside the system and the more crap you had to deal with. Kishinami was one of the few junior officers he’d taken on that didn’t get on his nerves in some way, so he’d hate to see him change into someone angry, pushy, and annoying.Bookmark here

Hinewa opened the file again, browsing it one last time to get his thoughts together before talking to Kishinami. The official autopsy had been their number one priority and was completed two hours ago but, since they hadn’t identified the body yet, there wasn’t much else in the file.Bookmark here

The man had been rendered helpless by two blows. The first was one to the chest that had knocked all the air out of him and made it hard for him to breath. Once he was occupied by struggling to breathe, the killer delivered a second one to the back of the man’s neck that had nearly knocked him out. Nearly, but not quite. While he would have been very woozy, out of it, and unable to understand what was going on around him, he would have still been able to feel pain. He would have been able to tell that he was being attacked, but unable to do anything to protect himself. Considering what had followed, rendering the man aware but helpless but conscious was probably the perp’s goal all along. The killer had proceeded to utterly torture the man. He had been cut up with an unidentified blade that the corner believed to be some type of portable knife. Tiny cuts and deeper ones, but not enough to cause severe harm or lead to him quickly bleeding out. The cuts were to sensitive areas: his face, lips, ears, neck, armpits, and hands. Even if they were small, they would have hurt like hell and made the man scared of what his attacker would have done next. That was bad enough but….Hinewa’s stomach churned.Bookmark here

The killer had battered the victim. Through a combination of fists, feet, and an unidentified object, they had slowly, systematically broken the man’s bones. The damage was almost incomprehensible. His arms and legs…. the bones in all four limbs had been basically shattered into pieces. You hadn’t been able to tell that anything was broken or out of place just by looking at the corpse, as the fire hadn’t exactly left much external evidence or identifying marks intact, but he had needed to call the corner to confirm that an error hadn’t been made. But the corner was sure; the guy’s arms and legs basically had no bones because they had been completely shattered and splintered. Worse, very few ligaments and joints were left fully intact. The man’s nose had been broken, as well as fifteen of his ribs. The other nine ribs had all been cracked and bruised. Eight of his teeth had been knocked out, but the corner was unsure if it was a result of the killer intentionally trying to knock out or damage the victims teeth, or if it had simply happened as an effect of the killer hitting the victim in the face or occurred unintentionally while the killer was harming other parts of the victims face.Bookmark here

Over three hours. That’s how long the corner had determined that it had been between the victim’s first injury and the official time of death. Even adjusting for a slight margin of error and taking into account that the killer likely needed to take breaks to catch their breath, that was still over two hours that the man had been subjected to an unbelievable amount of pain and agony. Unable to move or call for help, he’d been forced to lie there and watch as his killer systematically smashed his bones and cut him open. By the time the killer had had their “fun”, the victim was just hanging on; despite how young he was, the pain and terror of the torture session had triggered a massive heart attack, but he still clung to life. Then the killer took the blunt object and bashed his head in. The entire upper part of his skull was totally caved in and shattered; that’s how the first responders from the prefecture police force had been able to establish a tentative cause of death. Between that, the posture of the body, and the horrified expression that the man’s skull was frozen in, even that stupid Honda couldn’t jump to any other conclusion but foul play. Bookmark here

Even with his heart attack, the man still managed to hang on. The first blow hadn’t killed him; it was the fourth one that burst a vein and quickly did him in. But the killer had continued their attack, delivering a minimum of ten blows. It was likely more, due to how shattered the skull cap was and how…messed up…the victim’s brain had been but, at a certain point, the corner couldn’t tell because everything was so mangled. Bookmark here

Hinewa had seen some pretty unpleasant things in the ten years he had worked for the Tokyo police force. Currently in his mid-thirties and a life-long bachelor who planned to keel over dead on the job as an old man, his entire life revolved around being an officer and serving the people. The cultural environment of Japan meant that high-profile crimes either didn’t happen in the first place or were hidden and ignored. Sure, some big stuff did happen, but the particularly brutal, cruel, and nauseating cases were related to the Yakuza and organized crime 80-90% of the time. Sure; the cruelty enraged him and there were plenty of times when he had thrown-up because it was that bad, but it was just the Yakuza. They were hardened criminals who brought their deaths on themselves and knew that their illegal choices could come back to bite them in the rear. It was the rare case where the victims actually were asking for it and, and most victims were just as awful as the men who killed them. But at least once a year, there was always one truly horrible, high-profile case that made its way around the world because it involved totally normal people who didn’t take any risks or deserve anything bad happening to them. For instance: the still unsolved murders of a young family of four; the kidnaping, rape, torture, and murder of a high school girl that was talked about online as the most gruesome true crime story in the world and the top crime that you should never search for on Wikipedia; and an infamous unsolved case of corporate extortion that had recently passed the statute of limitations with no perpetrator ever identified. But there were many similar cases that went unknown outside of the country. This case was shaping up to be one of those high-profile ones that would haunt him. Bookmark here

Even if it wasn’t anything all that crazy compared to the cases that made it into the global crime awareness machine…this was the brutal torture and murder of a man who had no visible or forensic signs of being connected to gangs or criminal activities. The corner’s estimated age of the victim was 23-25; he was basically still a kid and had his whole life ahead of him until he had the misfortune of running into a truly evil individual. Even though he’d been beaten, sliced up, broken, crippled, and had a heart attack, the victim still held on. He must have had an iron will and boundless desire to survive. But he’d lost; he had no way to win. The killer smashed his brains out and then walked away like nothing had happened. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t right. Bookmark here

Hinewa flipped to the other pages in the file; he’d had enough of studying what the victim had suffered. The body of a murder victim usually provided the most insightful clues into the crime and its perpetrator, but he doubted that there would be any DNA evidence or anything tangible. While he could get insight into the criminal’s mindset from the murder’s details, he’d leave that to the profilers and psychologists. What even a cursory glance at the corners report had to say about the killer was already too horrifying and grotesque. He didn’t want to dig into the mind of the type of person who could do this to another human being.Bookmark here

They had tried to gather video footage from the industrial district, but all the cameras in the immediate area of the crime had been destroyed in the fire, leaving no trace of their recordings behind. Of the buildings and factories that had external security cameras, 80% of them had granted access to the files. While a more exhaustive review had just begun, a quick, 3x speed peek into the three hours prior to and one hour after the fire showed that there had quite literally been no one present in the industrial district. Well, almost no one. Bookmark here

Hinewa pulled out a dark, blurry print-out from the folder. There was one person seen, just one. A young, blond girl who was wearing a red, pink, and white lacey dress. She was walking down the sidewalk and appeared to be conversing with someone who wasn’t there, talking and throwing annoyed looks at the area above her left shoulder. Her presence was odd, as it was pushing past midnight at the time, but he didn’t think she had anything to do with the murder. So far, she only appeared on this one camera and, unfortunately, the video quality was atrocious. There was only one decent frame in the film, and it was also one of the only times where her face was seen, as she was walking away from the camera. Unfortunately, after the best forensic technology expert had tinkered with it, he came away exasperated and declared that there was no way in hell that he could enhance the photograph or improve it in any way. Despite all the technology that the Tokyo Police Headquarters had access to, they didn’t have the ability to fix things that were already messed up. The stupid camera was ancient and way too outdated. The company would have been better off having no cameras at all as their cameras produced horribly distorted and degraded images. Of all places, this murder just had to happen in the industrial district! Unlike the more professional areas of Tokyo, the industrial area was more old-fashioned in some ways. A lot of the owners were older men who didn’t believe in video cameras or guards. They had security systems, but nothing like many of the bigger, more modern industrial plants in other parts of the city.Bookmark here

Hinewa didn’t think that they would find much on the video cameras. They were still trying to contact the last 20% of the places that had cameras, but he was pretty sure they would turn up empty. None of the cameras near the scene had caught the victim on them. It was frustrating, as everyone knew it would be a gift from the heavens if anything of use was on a single camera. The photo of the girl couldn’t be enhanced and, while her hair color was less common, this was Tokyo. There were people from all over the world and people who liked to follow crazy trends, so she literally could be anyone. Her dress was normal for anyone into the loli cosplay style and it wasn’t like a school uniform, which they may have been able to track. In Hinewa’s opinion, trying to find her would be a total waste of time and resources. First of all, while she was headed towards the general area of the crime scene, if she had continued on the path that would have taken her directly there would have led past two other security cameras that, while similarly of poor quality, should have caught her. She wasn’t on them. Strange as her presence was, he found it unlikely that she had witnessed anything, and he knew for a fact that she couldn’t have been their killer. She was a petite, tiny little thing. Her arms and legs were skinny. She didn’t have the build to cause the injuries they were dealing with, much less cause them as efficiently as the murderer had. Hinewa had learned to trust his gut on things like this, and his current feeling was that, whatever that girl had been doing, she had nothing to do with the murder. She was just a coincidence, a red hearing. There was an almost zero-percent chance of even managing to identify her, anyway, so why waste time on something that wouldn’t go anywhere. He turned the blow-up over and moved on.
The only other things in the fire were the fire reports; statements and paperwork from the first responders, firefighters and fire investigators; and the pictures and statements from the crime scene. Basically, a whole lot of nothing, aside from the crime scene pictures. The crime scene analysis wouldn’t be fully complete for a week or two at best. The issue was that there was hardly any evidence at the scene. Not only had the fire burned everything, but the body wasn’t found in the empty lot until after the fire had been put out, meaning that the scene was doused with water and any evidence they could have found was quite literally washed down the drain. Though, from what one of the techs had said, Hinewa was relieved that he didn’t have to see the scene when it was fresh. One of the techs, a long-time friend of his, commented that there was a burnt, semi-rubbery substance on the ground under the body that added a whole other layer of gruesome to the crime. It used to be blood, tissue, and brain matter. Though it had all melded together in the fire…the whole area around the body was spattered with gore. They were testing samples to see if there happened to be any DNA from the killer anywhere, but Hinewa wasn’t holding his breath. Honestly, this whole crime made no sense. He hoped that they’d be able to identify the body soon; the only shot they had at coming up with any suspects was to look at the victim’s life and everyone in it. The crime scene said more than was needed about the type of person the killer was and the dark state of their mind but was silent as to their actual identity.Bookmark here

There was a knock on the door, and, after a moment, Akko Kishinami reentered the office with two large cups of coffee. “Here you go, sir. Your usual ‘I am stressed, tired, angry, and hitting a wall’ drink.” Translation; an extra-dark roast with high caffeine content, triple espresso shots, and a large shot of a tasteless supplement syrup meant to improve concentration and alertness, all in the biggest size you could buy. Bookmark here

Hinewa gratefully took the cup from his junior and then froze, pressing his nose to the lid and sniffing it. “Why does this smell funny? And sweet? You aren’t trying to poison me, are you?” Hinewa joked. Bookmark here

“Umm, no! Of course not, sir!” Kishinami fidgeted and looked at the floor, clearly afraid he would get in trouble with his boss. “I know you like plain coffee, but I…umm…had them add a shot of mint. I just thought-well…you’re stressed, and mint usually helps me relax so…if you don’t like it or are mad, I can go back and get something else and fix it!”Bookmark here

Hinewa rolled his eyes. “Jeez, kid! It’s fine! Don’t worry yourself to death! I’m not a big fan of sweet stuff or flavoring in my coffee, but I’m not going to waste this drink and your money by tossing this over something so petty! It’s not the end of the world.” He let his face relax into a slight smile. “Besides, you’re clearly worried about me and trying to help in your own way, so why would I get angry? Thank you for your concern, but I’m your superior. It’s my job to worry about you, not the other way around!”Bookmark here

Kishinami relaxed and sat in the chair on the other side of Hinewa’s desk. “Okay, so, what’s going through your head, sir? What are you thinking about this case?”Bookmark here

Hinewa took a deep breath. “To start with, this is an incredibly abnormal case. I don’t believe that the Yazuka is involved in any way. You read through your copy of the file entirely, correct?” The younger man nodded. “It doesn’t seem to me that this man was connected to them. No tattoos, no signs of large amounts of money, no drugs found on his possession. We’ll have to wait for the ID and toxicology to come back to be sure that he wasn’t just some poor idiot with gambling debts or bad loans or something, but I believe that organized crime isn’t in the picture here. What are your thoughts?”Bookmark here

Kishinami went silent for a few moments, clearly putting together his thoughts. “Well…” He said softly. “I feel a bit unsure saying this, as a crime of that sort is so rare around here but…my sense is that this killer wasn’t motivated by any sort of personal motive towards the victim. I read what the preliminary autopsy said and…” He went silent, clearly uncomfortable.Bookmark here

“Just so you know, this is one of the most gruesome things I’ve seen in a few years.” Hinewa interjected empathetically. “If you’re worried about compromising yourself or being ineffective because you’re repulsed by this, don’t. I understand and I’m not going to judge you for having a human response to this crime. I just want to pick your brain, so please, be fully honest and share whatever’s going on in your head with me.Bookmark here

“Well…the killer killed this man for fun, for the enjoyment and thrill of harming another and seeing their prolonged pain and suffering. I’m sure of that.” Kishinami bluntly lay his thoughts out in the open. Bookmark here

“There wasn’t any reason for what they did. They systematically broke different parts of his body and took their sweet time doing it. They were strong enough to do it efficiently. While it wasn’t necessarily messy, it still wasn’t efficient or clean. There was still…biological matter…everywhere, even though the most obvious signs of injury were erased by the fire. This wasn’t…I don’t know how to say what I’m thinking but…I get the sense that this person…the murder, hadn’t actually killed before this. Or, if they had, they didn’t intentionally do it. They may have gotten into a fight, or something like that, and unintentionally dealt a fatal blow or killed them in a frenzy without realizing what they were doing or intentionally thinking that they wanted to kill them. That’s mere speculation on my part, but this was such an awful crime that it’s unthinkable to me that the perpetrator didn’t have some sort of prior history with rage or sadism or something like that. This killer…is clearly not a normal person. They didn’t do this out of hate, or revenge, or a desire to achieve or receive something, and I don’t think that they even laid eyes on the man before last night.” Kishinami sounded emotion and was clearly distressed. Bookmark here

Dealing with crime, murder, people suffering and hurting each other…it was the worst. He hated his job immensely, ironically, it’s why he’d wanted to become a police officer in the first place. He’d dreamed of getting a job at the central law enforcement agency in Tokyo ever since he was a little kid. The things he saw on the job bothered him so much, that he felt the need to do something about it. When he was younger, he was pretty disgusted with the world and how humans could be the worst. He was a rather intersective loner who preferred to be lost in his own head and read nonfiction books all the time for enjoyment; a major weirdo in the eyes of most of his peers. But he was so disgusted that he felt the need to do something. He just wanted to help ease people’s suffering, even just a little bit, if he could. Besides, the only way that justice could prevail was for a culture who valued it to intentionally support a system that would enact justice and the only way for a system to be supported and functional, people who valued the virtues of justice and order had to get off their butts and enforce it. He wanted to be a gear in the machine so he could something to make his ideal world happen with his own hands, that was all. Nothing all that spectacular; he didn’t have any major goals beyond that, no plans to try and climb the chain of command in the police hierarchy. Though, if he ever found that there was something he really wanted to do, something specific he wanted to change, that meant that he had to do so, he’d be open to that. But currently, Kishinami was devoted the job itself, not his position.Bookmark here

He’d seen some bad things, even though, as a total newb, he knew he understood nothing, not like Mr. Hinewa, who was an incredibly seasoned veteran and often warned him about how unpleasant things could get. Like his mentor, this the single most awful thing he had ever witnessed or even heard of in his entire life. He couldn’t comprehend the mind and heart of someone who could do something like this to another human and enjoy it. It honestly made him feel sick…literally. He’d thrown up when he had first seen the crime scene pictures. He was grateful that he hadn’t actually been called to the scene, though he knew that his superior would probably force him to go examine the body in-person before the day was out. Bookmark here

“Excellent, that’s exactly what I was thinking.” Hinewa nodded. “This is a bizarre crime in that it only makes sense in the mind of the perpetrator. If I had to declare a motive right now, I’d say that our killer had a twisted mind a felt the need to do this for their own enjoyment. They’re a sadist who gets off on hurting others.”Bookmark here

“I don’t necessarily disagree with you, sir, but…This was clearly purposeful and methodical but, at the same time, disorganized. This person knew how to torture and harm another human, but their knowledge wasn’t that deep or extensive. They wanted to torture someone to death, but I don’t believe that they intentionally studied up on torture or anything. Their knowledge of the human body is basic and more…intuitive or based on basic logic, I think. You aren’t wrong that the killer is a sadist, but It’s very clear that they aren’t extensively experienced in violence, torture, or human anatomy.” Kishinami pointed out. “You can disagree, but I don’t think we should be getting the idea that we are looking at a pro here.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, too. Though I was hoping I’d be wrong.” Hinewa leaned back in his chair. “If they were a doctor or career criminal, or in the military or, heck, even in the Yakuza, it would be easier to track them down. But at this point, I’d say that we are looking at a sick person who looks normal on the outside and can pass for an average citizen. Until we find out who the guy is, basically all of Tokyo could be a suspect in this case.”Bookmark here

“Well…Honda was right about one thing; this definitely isn’t a serial killer…yet.” Kishinami said seriously. “Though at this point…since the killer finally acted out on their hidden desires so frankly and publicly, what are the chances that they are just going to kill this once and be done with it?”Bookmark here

“I’d say nearly zero.” Hinewa took a massive swig of his coffee. “Sure, maybe it could happen but, logically, since they hit their breaking point and acted, it’s probably safe to assume that they enjoyed it, from how slow and systematic the victim’s death was. In that case, we need to assume the worst because, logically, what are the chances that someone not bound by conventional logic or morality, who finally got an actual taste of blood, who enjoyed torture and murder, is just going to turn their “dark side” off and never do anything like that again? I’d say it’s very unlikely. This person is a threat to others and it’s a massive risk to society to let them roam free.”Bookmark here

“Yes, so, what do we do now? The fire was clearly an accident, and the only person near the scene can’t be identified. What’s next? Oh, and are we going to try and find the girl from the footage or not?”Bookmark here

Hinewa shook his head. “Nah, there’s no way she’s involved in this and, while she may have seen something, I don’t think she did because she wasn’t close enough to the actual scene of the crime. It’d be a waste of our time to try and find her, and honestly, there’s no angle to work to identify her since she wasn’t picked up on any other camera’s and the shot is awful. Right now, all we can really do is wait to get something back from the morgue or the techs. I think the only way we’ll be able to have a place to start is to know who the guy is, so we’re stuck waiting for –“ He was cut off by the ringing of the phone on his desk. Bookmark here

“Yes, this is Commissioner Hinewa.” ‘Hey, this is Xue from the morgue. We got an ID on the corpse found in the fire last night. It’s a kid who just graduated university and entered the workforce. Totally clean record, not a criminal or anything. I’d like you to come down here. I can show you the file and stuff on the victim in person, but there’s a couple of things from the autopsy I want to go over with you, too.”Bookmark here

“Got it. I’m on my way. I’ll bring Kishinami with me and we’ll be there in fifteen minutes, tops.” Hinewa declared, hanging up the phone.Bookmark here

Finally, now they might get some answers! Or they might end up with nothing but more questions…Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
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