Chapter 14:

Things Proceed Without Consent

X = Y

It is nothing short of a bright, glorious day. The autumn breeze brought in hope and longevity, whilst the falling leaves signified the cycle of rebirth. The polychromatic orange leaves with their red shades merging alongside the once vibrant green hue danced vividly in the wind past the face of Kei Hirojima.Bookmark here

It was Saturday, the 26th of August, 2017. Within the precinct of the police department, in the town which he inhabited, Kei was walking around with a uniform similar to one a detective would wear, though there did not seem to be a strict dress code. He was wearing a regular blue jacket with black elastic cuffs and a black collar. His trousers were black, and he was wearing comfortable trainers.Bookmark here

Officer Sukiga turned around at the corner of a hallway, bumping into Kei. He was wearing a standard uniform police officers would wear.Bookmark here

"Kei! What are you doing here? Did you get the place?" Sukiga exclaimed, expressing hope and surprise.Bookmark here

"Yeah. I'm supposed to be shadowing a detective, but I don't know where he is. Thank you for referring me. I didn't know I could work at the precinct this early." Kei said with a smile.Bookmark here

"Oh, right! I'll take you there. Is there anything else you need?" Officer Sukiga spoke loudly, boisterously.Bookmark here

"I know this may be impossible, but how far has the case on my family been going? Can I take a look?" Kei inquired.Bookmark here

To Rei's surprise, Sukiga had a perplexed look. He raised his eyebrows, and his jaw slightly dropped. His gestures were demonstrating his apprehensiveness.Bookmark here

"Look. I know you want it? It's been cold for quite some time. After we gathered the evidence at the scene, we don't have much of a lead. The elements are the best killers. So is nature. Who are you looking for anyway?"Bookmark here

Sukiga swayed the conversation to alleviate the tension between them.Bookmark here

"Detective Ryotaro Nabeshima."Bookmark here

Upon processing that name, Sukiga's eyes exploded with emotion. He was both astounded and proud.Bookmark here

"Him. You're with the big officials now! He's the best detective here! I'm a regular Police Officer. I'll introduce you to him and the Superintendent. You'll probably be working here, so I might as well."Bookmark here

"Okay!" Kei exclaimed.Bookmark here

They walked down a corridor lined with doors. Sukiga stopped to knock on one. There was a golden sign that read 'Superintendent Masazaki Hamabe'. There was a single thin window looking into that room made of shatter-resistant glass. It was warped and blurry, and the gridded wires made it difficult to peer inside.Bookmark here

"It doesn't look like there's anyone inside," Kei spoke with a curious tone as he continued to walk away, leaving Sukiga behind.Bookmark here

Sukiga peered into the window and placed his hands on the glass to try and make the room visible using his reflection.Bookmark here

"I guess not." Sukiga added.Bookmark here

Whilst walking down the corridor, Kei stared at the walls — scrupulously. Large wooden boards covered with glass exhibited the achievements of the precinct. There were old newspapers depicting vandals they caught and their accomplishments for the community. In the corner of his eye, Kei noticed a plaque with the detective's name on it. He walked up to the door and waited for Sukiga.Bookmark here

"That's his room. Knock and see if anyone is inside." Sukiga said eagerly, supportively.Bookmark here

Kei knocked and waited momentarily before hearing footsteps. The door opened, and a man in his thirties, who was about the same height as Kei, stood boldly. He had a strong posture which created an ambience of authority. With sharp black eyes that pierced into his soul, Kei became unnerved. He had black hair and wore a long brown trench coat that flowed down to his knees, with a striped red and black tie. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and black shoes that became sharp at the toes.Bookmark here

"Hello, detective. This is Kei Hirojima. He's supposed to be shadowing you. Am I right in saying that?" said Sukiga.Bookmark here

"You are. Come on in, Kei. I was going to look for you if you didn't show up!" the detective responded smiling.Bookmark here

"Thank you for having me, detective," Kei said with a smile.Bookmark here

"Yeah. You haven't had the easiest of times. I know that for sure." Detective Ryotaro replied.Bookmark here

Kei sat inside Detective Ryotaro Nabeshima's office, across him, over the desk. On the desk were many sheets and documents in files organised neatly. The desk was brown with many drawers, and the detective sat in a regular office chair that swivelled.Bookmark here

There were a plethora of filing cabinets that laced the entire edge of the room. There were large bookshelves with a multitude of books and frames with pictures scattered around the room.Bookmark here

"So, Kei. I understand why you want to be a detective, and you want to know where the case on your parents is, right? Well, we've tasked that up to a private investigator. He's still working on the case, but there are no leads. We have all the evidence he's gathered, but it's inconclusive." Ryotaro spoke with positivity on his face.Bookmark here

"However, you can always open up on the case yourself. I've interviewed employee's from your father's company and citizens who lived close to you-"Bookmark here

Abruptly ending the conversation, he received a radio call on the walkie talkie in his pocket. He took it out, and the person on the other end said a code and proceeded to speak.Bookmark here

"Dead body. We're going to need a detective on the scene." the officer said through the walkie talkie.Bookmark here

"Roger that. I'll be moving out as the detective." Ryotaro responded.Bookmark here

"What happened? There's already a dead body in town." Kei responded in confusion, hinting at excitement.Bookmark here

"Yeah. We'll get the information once we're in the car. It's unmarked, but there's a radio to the police station in there. Let's go!" Detective Ryotaro spoke with great confidence. He plucked the keys from his pockets and began to swing them around his fingers.Bookmark here

At the crime scene, Ryotaro parked closely near the yellow and black tape, which prevented entry into the proximity of the crime. Both of them got out of the car, and Ryotaro grabbed two black wallets from his pockets.Bookmark here

"That reminds me. Kei. Catch." Ryotaro said.Bookmark here

He threw the wallet underarm, and Kei caught it. He opened it to find an identification card with his name and his role being a junior detective. Ryotaro went into the back of the trunk and drew out a massive duffle bag and a briefcase. They entered the area, and Kei could see a body lying on the ground. There was no blood around the body, but he immediately looked up. They found the body near a warehouse, and the drop from the roof seemed large enough to kill a person. To Kei, it seemed a bit too convenient.Bookmark here

"If you're not first to respond to the call, then you're not going to be able to do the fun stuff. Waiting around is boring. We have to be quick on our feet!" Ryotaro lectured Kei.Bookmark here

Ryotaro opened the duffle bag and took out two pairs of disposable plastic gloves, handing a pair of gloves to Kei.Bookmark here

"Put these on." Ryotaro instructed Kei.Bookmark here

"Okay." Kei put the gloves on with ease and stretched the fingers out, perfectly fitting his hand.Bookmark here

"This feels like the laboratory experiments I did when dissecting a sheep's eyeball..." Kei said casually.Bookmark here

"Now, what do you notice about this body?" The detective said. He was provoking Kei's observation skills so he could understand the level of knowledge he had.Bookmark here

"Aren't we supposed to take the pictures first?" Kei asked.Bookmark here

"That's already been done. That was a very prudent observation. You get points for that. You can touch the body but do not get your DNA on it." The detective said.Bookmark here

Kei began to feel the bone structure on the arms of the man. He looked around his body but didn't remove any clothing. He took a glance around the body and saw bits of blood, along with bruises on the man's front and back.Bookmark here

"He fell to his death. His bones, broken. He died from internal bleeding. This body is sign of temperature change, no algor mortis. No flies or insect eggs. His muscles aren't locked yet from rigor mortis. He has no pulse. The blood around his body reinforces the notion he died from a fall. The blood in his body exploded outwards as his arteries ripped open. Someone pushed him off the roof of this warehouse. Or, they put him on an extending crane and dropped him." Kei spoke to himself aloud, and Ryotaro was nonplussed.Bookmark here

Another police officer came by with an electronic tablet. It was state of the art — completely brand new.Bookmark here

"Detective. Who's this? No civilians allowed?" The officer said.Bookmark here

Kei took the glove off his hand and pulled out his identification card. "Kei Hirojima. Junior detective." He said with a smile.Bookmark here

"Oh, forgive me. You have a protege, Ryotaro? I must say that is quite impressive."Bookmark here

Kei slid the identification card back in his pocket and put the glove back on.Bookmark here

"We've identified the man. He's a previous offender. Okari Rintanabo. Gang history flows through his veins. Multiple offences, he was a re-offender. He was last known to be the leader of a gang. You could think of him as a Superintendent if he was working at the precinct." The officer said whilst reading the tablet promptly.Bookmark here

"It must have been an internal struggle. Why would they kill a Superintendent? Unless someone was trying to usurp him? Killing someone would be the easiest way to take their position." Detective Ryotaro pondered to himself.Bookmark here

"How?" Kei wondered.Bookmark here

"Can I talk about your case, Kei? Are you okay with that?" Detective Ryotaro asked with concern, sympathising with Kei.Bookmark here

"What? Sure. I don't mind. I've gotten past most of it now. I just have a single goal in mind now. Nothing else." Kei responded empathetically.Bookmark here

"Good to hear! When I was handed your case, many killings like this happened. It's like the one you saw about a year ago. That man there was also like a higher ranking gangster. But the levels of crime only increased. There's someone new playing with their strings." the detective added.Bookmark here

"I'll leave you to continue work." The officer said before leaving.Bookmark here

The detective began to unclothe the dead criminal. He did it carefully and took out a plastic bag that could be air sealed from the duffle bag. He placed the clothing into the bag, closing and placing it into the duffle bag.Bookmark here

"As soon as I got the case, your brother went missing, and they put me on that. The department decided to give the arson case to a private investigator so I was on it no longer than I was off it."Bookmark here

Kei listened to the words of the detective. Glancing at the body and analysing it meticulously, Rei turned the body over, finding a minute stab wound behind the neck. It already scabbed over.Bookmark here

"We'll check for DNA using his clothes. What did you find? I was going to do that next, but the younger generation is so keen to learn." The detective spoke with a smile.Bookmark here

"Look, detective." Kei indicated.Bookmark here

He went around the body and kneeled next to Kei. His eyes widened slightly, and he inspected the neck of the criminal.Bookmark here

"He didn't die from the fall. He died before it. They paralysed him from the neck down and then threw him off." Kei said.Bookmark here

"Good work for today. We'll let the police handle the rest." The detective stood up and wiped his brow. "Have you learnt any self-defence? What about shooting a gun?"Bookmark here

"No, I haven't." Kei replied.Bookmark here

"Ask Officer Sukiga. He can teach you. There's a shooting range he can take you to for practice. He's the best long shot and fighter there is at the precinct. I'll give him a message." Detective Ryotaro spoke affirmatively.Bookmark here

"Isn't that mandatory for me to learn?" Kei questioned back.Bookmark here

"Yes! It is. But you might want to start earlier. If you're adamant about finding the criminal who burnt your house down, then do as much as you can. Criminology studies take three to four years depending on the course. Then training to become a police officer and then a detective takes more time after that. If you can do it all at once, then do it. Just some friendly advice. Let's get back to the precinct." Detective Ryotaro advised Kei with an understanding he had not felt in a long time.Bookmark here

Thus, Kei would proceed steadily by following a plan brought to his attention through Detective Ryotaro Nabeshima. Adamantly working with his head down and blocking the outside world from view, Kei spent his final year in school studying hard and learning what it meant to be a detective.Bookmark here

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