One Thousand Mornings: Chapter 2: Rebirth
Hunched over on the chair, with her head folded into her arms, Chiasa popped open one eye to get a good look at whom had entered the room. “Where is my cellphone?” were the only words to come out of her mouth. “We have it in the evidence lockup,” Kawamura told her as he stripped his jacket off and sat down at his desk.
“That was some answer you gave that agent,” he then went on to mention. Pulling herself back upright, Chiasa slumped her arms into her lap, “I was telling the truth.”
“I don’t doubt that you were.”
“. . .
“Am I just going to be here all day?”
“Frankly put; yes.”
“You know, you can’t just force me to stay here.”
Leaning back in his seat, and flicking his wedding band around his finger, Kawamura staunchly stared Chiasa in the eye. “Fine! Then there’s the door.”
. . .
“I guess you’re not so sure after all… Anyways, you may still have a headache from last night. The doctor gave us a prescription for painkillers. I can escort you to go grab them if you want.”
“I feel fine right now. But since we’re talking about it, You guys took something from my room the other day.”
“My prescription. I had them in my room, and now they’re gone. They went missing after you ransacked through my apartment.”
“… I’m lost. What prescription?”
“I have prescribed medicine. Sometimes it helps me stay focused.”
“So, you have some sort of pills—-and you think we took them. Why?”
“I got them the night I went to the drugstore. I figured you were going to use it to check my alibi.”
“We don’t need to take the pills in order to do that. But, if you did pick up those pills that night, then your information would be in their system. It would have helped to confirm that you were there.
“You’re sure that they weren’t in your apartment?”
“I’m positive! You guys turned the place inside out. I had to reorganize everything. It wasn’t there.”
“How long have you been taking prescription drugs?”
“I don’t know. . . Since around High School I guess.”
“That’s a bit long... And did you take any that night you picked them up?”
“Yes, I did— Why are you asking me this?”
“Just for confirmation”
“— Ok, well… will you give them back?”
Kawamura twirled his chair sideways, facing the bookshelf that stood left of his desk. “What are you thinking right now?”
“Please, I am so sick of the interrogations.”
“It’s not an interrogation, Chiasa. It’s just a question.”
Chiasa fell on to the back of her chair and began tracing the lines on the palm of her hand with her finger.
“Do you feel scared?” Kawamura asked her.
She then gripped her finger as she lightly bit down on her bottom lip. Turning to look away from Kawamura, Chiasa once again set her sights on the scroll hanging above the door.
“My father used to collect a bunch of calligraphy just like that one. He’d hang them all over the house back in Kyoto. He always had this weird obsession with old Chinese philosophy and religion. To be honest, with all my years I’ve spent studying in college, I still don’t really understand why he was always so worked up about it.
“I’m not too fond of it myself. That scroll was here when I got this office. I figured I would leave it there to bring some character to the room. I don’t even know what it says.”
Chiasa glanced back over towards Kawamura, resting her hands onto the arms of the chair.
“It means Standstill. It’s an old hexagon interpretation from the I-Ching. One of those things about being patient and waiting for the right time.”
“Was your father a spiritual person?”
“Not sure. I never really know what to think or feel about him.”
“Okay… well, I guess at least I’m a lot smarter now than I was before.”
Kawamura got out of his seat and began heading towards the exit. “Give me a sec while I go double check for those pills.”
The door swung closed, and Chiasa zeroed in on Kawamura’s distancing footsteps. Listening closely as each foot made its way in front of the other. Once the sound had seemingly vanished, Chiasa leapt over to the opposite side of his desk and fixated herself right in front of the detective’s computer. She had no clue what she was looking for, but anything would be better than the wall of silence that they had her held behind. If she could find so much as one piece of information related to Yuki or Reiko, then the risk would be worth it.
After darting around from hall to hall, Lee finally managed to catch up to Agent Saori. She was leaned on the desk of another officer while watching him file through information on his computer. Lee crept in closer, when suddenly the officer stood up from his seat and began escorting Saori towards Lee’s direction. As the three of them all met face to face, Lee sarcastically mentioned that if it was a tour guide that she’d been looking for, then he would have gladly taken on the job. Uninterested, Saori simply batted her eyelashes. Lee then gestured them onwards while saying, “I guess we’re a trio now.”
The officer led them down to the lower level. Lee followed behind Saori as they approached a metal door surrounded by narrow cement walls. As the door eased open, they were presented with a large space, housing all of Kouto Fujioka’s belongings. Saori slowly canvased the items in the room. Painting her own picture of how the supposed recluse must have led his life. She approached the board that was once hanging from Fujioka’s apartment wall and began studying it carefully. Standing behind her without making much of an effort to say much, Lee noticed one thing absent from the board.
The picture of Chiasa.
“Any idea what this all means?” asked the officer. “I don’t know. It still feels like a bunch of confused rambling,” inputted Lee. “He’s clearly involved in something. We just need to connect the dots,” added Saori while slowly navigating herself through the piles of books, notes, and cardboard boxes.
“Yea well, good luck. Even with the two of you, this’ll take weeks.” The officer left Saori and Lee to continue on with their investigation by themselves. Saori slumped her eyebrows as she impassively picked up a book and tossed it back down, “Why don’t you start first, detective, and I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines.”
With a notepad of information from the first time he and Lee showed up at Chiasa’s door in hand, Kawamura pulled up the video footage from his interrogation of Chiasa on the same day. While skimming through each frame; listening closely to each question, and taking note of every response, one thing managed to tickle his curiosity. Chiasa kept losing track of the days. Be it between Friday night and Saturday, or just remembering the surprised look on her face when she realized it was Sunday. Something was odd for sure. Something that he should have pressed Chiasa much harder about from the start.
Feeling an odd sensation, Kawamura reached for his cellphone and immediately dialed the number for the Kusuri drugstore.
“Hi, my name is Detective Kawamura. I was on scene with the recent incident that took place over by the neighboring train station.”
“Ah! Hai! How can I help you?”
“I just wanted to confirm some information. Is it possible for you to check if a Ms. Chiasa Nakamura picked up prescription pills at your store sometime between 1:30am and 2am on April 3rd?”
“Ahh! Moshiwake gozaimasen! I’m terribly sorry, but we’re not allowed to share that kind of information over the phone. If it does help, I can confirm that our pharmacy closes every day at 11pm.
“We never take customers after that time.”
Kawamura leaned back in his chair and placed one leg over the other. “Is that so?” “Yes!” the employee confirmed before continuing, “Maybe there was just some confusion with the times. If you were to come down to the store with a proper request, or send one properly through your precinct, then I’m sure we could help you even further.” Sitting back upright, Kawamura replied, “I specifically spoke with your employees at the store a few days ago and they gave me a different story.”
“I don’t think that’s possible sir,” the employee reaffirmed, “We’ve been closed for the past week while renovations took place.”
Kawamura gripped the phone tightly as a strange feeling cascaded his body. The employee on the other end of the call then added, “I am only an employee, so if you’d like to speak with my manager when he returns then perhaps, he could clear things up a bit?”
With a brief pause, Kawamura replied, “No, that’s alright. I think I have what I need for now. Sorry to bother you!”
“Shouchiitashimashita; I understand. Shitsureishimasu.”
Placing his phone down, Kawamura rested his elbow on top of the table and propped his head up in the palm of his hand. He quietly observed Chiasa in the video footage, conjuring up his next course of action.
Just then he received a phone call. He couldn’t recognize the number, and upon answering, was left with nothing more than the click of an ended phone call. Staring back down at his phone, he had not a single productive thought pass through his mind. Reaching over for the nearby com system, he requested for the number to be checked. The operator on the other end then quickly informed him that the phone number was registered to Ms. Honshou, Reiko’s mother. This case was getting more bizarre by the second, and Kawamura was at a loss on how to work it.
If anything was certain, it was that he expected nothing but bad news from here on out.
While file searching anything that had Yuki’s, Reiko’s, her father’s, or even her own name on it, Chiasa stumbled across the newspaper documents of the April 14th incident. Extremely hesitant to click on the file at first, Chiasa managed to muster up the courage to open it. As the document began loading, she started to feel a familiar uneasiness pour through her veins. The blue wheel spun on and on as Chiasa stared into it vacantly. She held the mouse pointer over the small ‘x’ in the upper right-hand corner; prepping for an easy way out. Just as her fingers began to tremble, the document finally loaded onto the screen. But it wasn’t anything like what she was expecting.
“Remember who you are.”
Was all that was written across the computer. Caught in a spiral, Chiasa immediately tried to close the window. However, her actions only prompted another message to pop up. Soon after, hundreds of windows cluttered the screen sending off a strange humming sound that dug deep into Chiasa’s ear canal.
The message then disappeared, and the original document she intended to view had already exited off the screen. Chiasa couldn’t comprehend what she’d just saw and was frozen stiff in her chair. As if caught in a trance.
Lee stepped to the side as he answered a call from Kawamura. He looked back over his shoulder at Saori who was still filing through hordes of papers. “Well, it didn’t take very long for things to get interesting all over again,” commented Lee. “I’ll keep you up to date.” Lee stepped forward; his more serious demeanor drawing Saori’s attention. “Come on, we’re going on a road trip,” were his only words.
Yuhna hawked over the scattered debris covering every corner of Chiasa’s apartment. She tossed the backpack to the side and canvased all the loose contents that made a once welcoming home feel like a warzone. Tattered, scuffed and covered in blood stains, every item bore evidence of tribulations that plagued the past couple of days. Scouring the room, Yuhna noticed a red piece of paper sticking partially out from underneath Chiasa’s capsized nightstand. She swiftly snatched the piece of paper only to be surprised to find that it had nothing on its surface. She analyzed the paper carefully, making sure not to miss a single centimeter. Why was this so important to Chiasa? was the one question Yuhna had to ask herself. She contemplated for a moment, until a swift realization came over her. She then lifted a lighter from her purse and lit its edge on fire. After letting it burn for a few moments, she blew out the flames; revealing that the paper had been left unscathed. Before a single thought could pass, a sudden pain ripped through her head. She cringed in agony, praying for it to stop.
Kawamura marched his way back to his office, only to find Chiasa missing. She’d vanished without a trace. Alarmed, Kawamura dashed around the precinct in search of her, but his efforts were growing increasingly futile. As he entered the main lobby, he made a last-ditch attempt at locating Chiasa’s whereabouts. “Listen up!” he chanted, but before he continued any further, the power to the entire building suddenly shut down.
As he stood there in the center of what would come to be a brewing chaos, only one thought filled his head. . . Oh shit.