Chapter 7:

Investigation, Clues, Questioned Sanity

The Ginger Death

Ichiro sits at his desk at the police station looking at the report of the judge's death on his computer as he thinks "The judge that sent that serial killer to the gallows is dead, someone may have made an attempt on my Brothers life and for some reason I can't shake the feeling that HE is behind it and that He's still out there and plotting to kill us all."Bookmark here

"If the man we executed wasn't him then what could be his true identify and if by some chance we actually got the right man how could he murder from beyond the grave?" Ichiro asks himself as he thinks over the issue of how it could be possible as he reads over the report that says "Preliminary Cause of Death, Anaphylaxis brought on by an extreme reaction to a peanut allergy, source unknown, suspected source in the form of a partly eaten Egg Fried Rice with a side of Chicken Balls."Bookmark here

"Do you believe this could be the work of that guy?" A female detective with glasses and her hair tied in a hair bun on the back asks with a concerned look as she looks at Ichiro's concerned look and the report before saying "The MO's for this and his murders are strikingly similar but how could it be him when we executed him?"Bookmark here

"I can't say it isn't a possibility Kuromoto, there is also the possibility that it's a copycat as well." Ichiro replies calmly while looking right at her before saying "The problem is the likelihood it is the original and not a copycat is high as someone may be after my Brother and the original had a safe house in his neighbourhood."Bookmark here

Kuromoto looks at Ichiro calmly as she hears his explanation before saying "Then you sound fairly sure it's the real one and not a copycat, but does that mean that the guy the gamer fingered was a copycat and not the real deal?"Bookmark here

"I can't say for sure given the evidence, there was so much tying him to the crimes he'd have to have been framed to not be the original." Ichiro replies calmly with a serious look on his face before looking at the monitor and bringing up the file on the serial killer and says "My gut said he was guilty and the evidence agreed yet now my gut says he's the one behind this incident and the attempt on my Brother, I just don't know how he did it when I saw his dead body go from the Gallows to the Incinerator."Bookmark here

"If you saw his carcass go from noose to incinerator then there should be no doubt he's dead." A man in a cheap suit says as he walks over joining the conversation before looking at the file and saying "That serial killer shouldn't be the one behind this latest murder but whoever is will be getting hung just like that filth from before!"Bookmark here

"Weren't you the one who said he had to be some kind of Nurarihyon to pull off his murders and that he wasn't within our jurisdiction?" Ichiro asks with a sharp accusing tone as he looks at the man as if trying to imply something with a stare colder than a Hokkaido Winter Blizzard.Bookmark here

"Just what are you accusing me of here Tanisuzu?" The man asks with a defensive tone and a look of a cornered mouse as he backs away slightly.Bookmark here

As Kuromoto turns to the man she looks at him with utter disdain for him as she replies "Maybe because you're guilty as sin Hanabara."Bookmark here

Hanabara looks at her with displeasure before clicking his tongue at her and walking away saying "I know when I'm not wanted..."Bookmark here

After Hanabara leaves Ichiro gets an email alert on his computer and opens it seeing a message from a detective named Matsukami which reads "We confirmed the spiked Egg Fried Rice and Chicken Balls came from the Golden Woke, we've gotten their security videos from their closed circuit security system but some moron was charging their phone off the systems USB ports with the Wifi and Bluetooth turned on so it might have been tampered with." with an attachment of the security footage.Bookmark here

"We've got the CSI guys going over the place looking for evidence of who could have done it but so far we're coming up short on evidence of outside parties." The email continues as Kuromoto looks over Ichiro's shoulder upon reading it says "Moron's is too nice of a word for them, complete and utter imbeciles is more like it, anyone who bothers watching American TV should know that the metal pins in your phone charger are also for data, haven't these people heard of Juice Jacking before?"Bookmark here

"You youths and your gadgets, the guy probably had about as much idea about that hocus pocus as my grandparents." Ichiro replies calmly as he looks at the video before pausing a section and pointing at part of the screen and saying "Do you see that right there?"Bookmark here

"There's some ginger fur, what about it, it could be rat fur." Kuromoto replies with a surprised look.Bookmark here

Ichiro rewinds the video and suddenly the fur disappears and after hitting play it soon reappears with no apparent source anywhere in view like it just materialised out of thin air before he says "You see how it just appears out of nowhere? Do you think the video was momentarily looped there?"Bookmark here

Kuromoto leans in close, staring intently at the screen as she notices the way the image of the fur cuts in out of nowhere with no apparent reason on screen for it to appear before saying "You're right, it does seem like the fur just materialises out of thin air."Bookmark here

"The camera feed was clearly tampered with but why would the fur appear, do you think it was from a trained animal?" Kuromoto asks pointedly as she looks at the fur.Bookmark here

"Not sure but possibly, whoever it was that killed the Judge might have used some kind of animal to plant the poison assuming the fur isn't a decoy." Ichiro says calmly as he looks at the fur before picking up the phone and dialling a number and says "Put me through to the CSI team at the Golden Wok please, I need them to check something."Bookmark here

After a moment someone from the CSI team answers and says "Detective Tanisuzu, what do you need?"Bookmark here

"There's a tuft of orange fur stuck on part of the set of makeshift shelves near the back door of the Restaurant, collect it and test it." Ichiro says as he holds the phone with a serious look as he looks at the fur on the monitor.Bookmark here

"We've found and collected it but without something to compare it to we won't know what it came from." The CSI tech on the other side of the phone say’s, confused by Ichiro's request.Bookmark here

"Compare it to the blood samples collected from that apartment we found recently that we believed to belong to the Serial Killer sentenced to death by the Judge." Ichiro states calmly as he pulls up a DNA report on the blood and says "If I'm right then it'll be a match."Bookmark here

The CSI tech goes silent on the other end of the phone for a moment before saying "Understood Detective Tanisuzu, we'll update you when the results are in."Bookmark here

"Sounds like we might have hit a jackpot!" Kuromoto says as she witnesses the conversation before turning to walk away and says "If it turns out that the guy we thought was the Serial Killer was just a fall guy do you have a game plan before the Lawyers and Pseudo Politicians come looking to cover their butts?"Bookmark here

"It's the usual plan when that happens." Ichiro replies as he opens up the related files on the matter before saying "We just need all our fact and evidence in order to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the fall guy was in on it and possibly paid to take the fall for the crimes of the serial killer assuming it wasn't the man himself we executed."Bookmark here

"I understand, that's how it's done." Kuromoto replies calmly before she begins to walk away saying "Maybe those techniques are also used by the less reputable officers and the like too."Bookmark here

"I never know what she's thinking when she says such things." Ichiro thinks as he watches Kuromoto walk away before turning back to the computer and thinking "She's always been one to not talk about herself even after learning to trust me."Bookmark here

As Ichiro opens up a document template for a findings report for what he found in the video Ichiro thinks "Whatever's going on with her, I can only hope that if it's something she needs my help with, she'll trust me enough to come to me with it."Bookmark here

After leaving Ichiro, Kuromoto heads to the bathroom and upon entering the stall simply sits down and pulls out a second phone, turns it on and writes a text that reads "Icey, I've been out of contact lately but there's something you and the Rock need to know, someone off’d the Judge who sentenced You Know Who to Death."Bookmark here

A sudden flush in the stall two doors down makes Kuromoto stop typing for a moment as she hears the other female officer exit her stall before washing her hands saying "We all know that Kuromoto is strange the way she doesn't talk openly to anyone other than Tanisuzu but you think they're like THAT?"Bookmark here

"We're not high school girls, we can have relationships if we fill out the HR forms, but the way she only approaches him..." Another answers before flushing and exiting her stall.Bookmark here

"Right, me and Kobayakawa asked if she wanted to join us for drinks after work and she just stared at us coldly and said, 'I have no interest in drinking with you.' like she thinks we were hitting on her." The first woman replies casually, completely unaware of Kuromoto's presence.Bookmark here

"Maybe she's only interested in Tanisuzu for the credit she can steal if she hangs around with him, that's if she doesn't actually want him." The second says as they finish washing their hands and exit the women's toilet all the while Kuromoto hears every word.Bookmark here

"What you just said about me is just one reason I don't interact with you..." Kuromoto thinks hating every word out of their mouths before she thinks "If you bothered to learn what your people among others did to mine you'd understand why I avoid interacting with you Humans as much as possible..."Bookmark here

As Kuromoto removes her glasses her eyes are revealed to be orange with a nonhuman eyeris pattern to them as she thinks "They got me so worked up my eyes changed again, if I didn't have these glasses due to my Dyslexia I'd probably have been found out as a 'Witch' years ago."Bookmark here

"After what those Police Officers did to my Mother without anyone finding out I've never liked the Officially Recognised Human Races one bit..." Kuromoto thinks with a fairly angry look on her face as she thinks "Even though he doesn't know the truth that Tanisuzu guy is the only Cop I even partially trust."Bookmark here

"But if he ever learned the truth..." Kuromoto thinks as her pupils narrow changing to the most narrow shape they can before she thinks "If that happened, I might have to kill him and flee this country just to survive without ever getting justice for my Mother..."Bookmark here

Kuromoto puts her glasses back on as her eyes return to their usual shade of blue and her pupils become circles again she thinks "That aside, I need to get this text finished before anyone questions what I'm doing in here."Bookmark here

"Level with me Icey, is he REALLY dead or did you pull some kind of bait and switch with a body double or something?" Kuromoto continues with the text before continuing "Even if he's not alive, the investigation into what he did is progressing and either you're involved in that Judge getting offed or we have a copycat."Bookmark here

"Text me back with the details around the next contact Window." Kuromoto finishes the text before signing it "Kuromotoma", hitting send, turning off the phone and putting it away.Bookmark here

As soon as she puts the phone away Kuromoto gets up and flushes the toilet before washing her hands as she thinks "I don't think I'll ever get used to putting my full last name complete with the 'Ma' in those messages."Bookmark here

"It's almost like some kind of sick joke." Kuromoto thinks as she dries her hands calmly on the surface but beneath utterly seething with disgust for the two Women who were talking about her as she continues "Me, a 'Witch', a member of a race of Humans robbed of our Racial Name and Human Rights and forced to hide actually found friendship and acceptance with a Serial Killer, a Psychopath and a Underworld Fixer..."Bookmark here

"And to top it all off..." She thinks as she heads toward the door wearing a poker face good enough to fool just about anyone who goes by surface appearances only.Bookmark here

As she returns to her desk she calmly and casually glances over at Ichiro and thinks "I actually feel I could be friends with that guy over there!"Bookmark here

While managing to work away seemingly calm but on the inside Kuromoto is raging and grabbing her mental self's head shaking it back and forth pulling at its hair as she thinks "WHY DO I NEED TO BE CONFLICTED REGARDING A GUY I HAVE EVERY REASON TO HATE!!!???"Bookmark here

While Kuromoto is busy working and dealing with her internal conflicts, a well dressed man walks up to Ichiro and says "Tanisuzu! I got a report from the CSI techs that you told them to compare a fur sample from the Golden Wok to a blood sample from a cat! Explain yourself!"Bookmark here

"Inspector Suzuhana, I have a hunch, if the blood sample and the fur sample are from the same animal it links the Animal and Culprits to the Serial Killer we executed." Ichiro explains to the man in shock at the fact he came all the way there to talk to him about such a subject.Bookmark here

The Inspector looks at him displeased by his actions and says "You may have put the cuffs on that serial killer but just because of that doesn't mean you've got the right to waste police resources on a wild goose chase!"Bookmark here

"But sir..." Ichiro tries to say but before he can finish the Inspector says "But Nothing Tanisuzu!"Bookmark here

"The Death of the Judge is not for you to waste resources on!" The Inspector states clearly with a note of authority in an attempt to exhort his power over Ichiro as he continues "Either find a Human Suspect and chase leads on such suspects or take a leave of absence, this is not a Request, it is an Order..."Bookmark here

After hearing that Ichiro returns his work before saying "Understood sir, I'll finish up my paperwork and comply with your order as long as the evidence leads where you've ordered me to look but if not I'll take that leave of Absence after telling the Superintendent why I'm taking a leave of absence."Bookmark here

"You do that and you're finished!!" The Inspector replies angrily as he glares at Ichiro before Ichiro replies "I'll be fine with that as long as I know I'm right and if proven so then you'll be as finished as I am."Bookmark here

The Inspector goes pale in some spots and red in others like he's both shocked and enraged at the same time unable to say anything from it before walking away clearly angry that anyone has the nerve to say such things to him as he mutters "Damn upstart of a detective, he'll one day find himself alone when he needs backup, that's for sure..."Bookmark here

"That scumbag actually tried the same stuff when Tanisuzu was hunting that serial killer." Kuromoto thinks as she watches the Inspector walking away muttering before continuing "That guy is My Target for what him and some of his friends did to my Mother."Bookmark here

As Kuromoto continues to do her paperwork on her computer she glances at the fake picture of her Mother on her desk as she thinks "I want to see that man and his friends burn the way my Mother burned..."Bookmark here

"But if Tanisuzu were to figure them out I'd settle for watching them choke." Kuromoto finishes as she glances over at Tanisuzu before thinking "If he could find my friend and prove he existed then he could probably do the same for my people if he had a lead."Bookmark here

"But trusting him to be the saviour of my race would be naïve of me." Kuromoto thinks as she looks back at the screen thinking "He could just as easily be the extinction of my Race if I trusted him with the secret of our existence hoping he'd rescue us from our lives of fear in the shadows."Bookmark here

While Kuromoto is busy with her thoughts and paperwork Ichiro sits at his computer doing his own paperwork as he thinks "I get it, it's insane to believe this animal that left the blood and fur could be the culprit or just their trained animal, but still, every instinct I have as a cop is telling me it is so."Bookmark here

As Ichiro finishes the current document he takes a second to check his email inbox for messages from the CSI team and Uniformed Officers he sent to Yasuo's house to keep him safe and investigate the refrigerator before thinking "I don't know why, but I suspect that the animal responsible for the fur and Blood may actually be my own Brothers Cat of all creatures."Bookmark here

Ichiro wheels his chair back from the desk before getting up and collecting his jacket off of the back of it and putting the chair back under the desk and turning off the computer.Bookmark here

As Kuromoto notices this as he's walking away he looks at her and says "I'm heading to my Brother's House to be sure he's safe."Bookmark here

"Is this about the near miss with the refrigerator?" Kuromoto asks as she stares at him curious as she thinks "This does fit with his methods but he should be dead."Bookmark here

"I'll come with you, more eyes will help and I'm done with my Paperwork too anyway." Kuromoto says turning off her computer, getting up and grabbing her jacket and handbag as she thinks "I need to see this for myself, if he was actually involved then I can discreetly make contact!"Bookmark here

"Ok, just remember that my Brother has a Cat." Ichiro mentions, remembering that Kuromoto has shown a dislike of cats in the past.Bookmark here

After driving to Yasuo's house Ichiro rings the doorbell and waits for an answer as Kuromoto thinks "I generally give people the impression I don't like cats but I'm actually fine with them, it's just that they are risky for me as they can cause me to be exposed."Bookmark here

As the doors handle moves indicating someone is opening the door Kuromoto looks at it calm on the surface but under bracing herself just in case as she thinks "It's not that my innate magic causes cats to be attracted to me or anything but my natural Animal Communication allows cats to talk to me."Bookmark here

"They just always come over and start talking to me when they hear my mind's voice unless I give them a good reason to steer clear." Kuromoto thinks as the door opens revealing another officer and Yasuo on the other side.Bookmark here

Yasuo looks at Ichiro displeased at the sight of him before saying "While your officers take care of the investigation I want a word with you brother..."Bookmark here

"Agreed, we need to talk Brother." Ichiro replies before looking at Kuromoto and saying "Please show Kuromoto to your cat."Bookmark here

"Fine, I'll show her to Haji." Yasuo replies as he looks at Kuromoto and says "Follow me, I'll meet my Brother in my Office."Bookmark here

Yasuo shows Kuromoto to the guest room he has Haji in and lets Kuromoto in before closing the door behind her.Bookmark here

Kuromoto looks around the room and notices Haji sitting on a floor cushion just casually looking out a nearby window dead to the world as Kuromoto thinks "So this is 'Haji', Tanisuzu'sBookmark here

Brother’s cat."Bookmark here

"Guess I'll just sit next to it, if it's going to ignore me then no reason to antagonise it." Kuromoto thinks as she sits down next to the cat on a different cushion with her left hand on the ground palm up but suddenly she feels a strange patting on her hand that feels too deliberate to be random.Bookmark here

"-.- ..- .-. --- -- --- - --- -- .-, .- -.-- .- -- . -.- ..- .-. --- -- --- - --- -- .- ..--.." The taping goes, causing Kuromotoma to recognise it immediately as Morse Code that would translate to "Kuromotoma, Ayame Kuromotoma?" causing her to look directly at the source of the tapping before saying with her mind's voice "Shimawa!!!???"Bookmark here

Haji hears his Human Last Name and nods in surprise at the sound of his friend's voice in his head and instinctively replies with his mind's voice "Yes, it's me... in the fur... I guess..."Bookmark here

Kuromotoma stares at him in utter shock and surprise, her emotions clearly visible all over her face as she uses her mind's voice to say "You've become a Ghost and are Possessing Tanisuzu's Brother's Cat!?"Bookmark here

"No, I was reborn as a Cat and now have to bear the indignity of being the pet of one of my Targets..., Augh..., that evil god who arranged this has a sick sense of humour..." Haji replies with his mind's voice as he looks up at her, clearly upset by his own situation before looking directly at her and saying "By the way, your poker face has disappeared."Bookmark here

The moment she hears what he said Kuromotoma immediately goes red faced as she sits back and fixes her poker face causing her face to return to normal and uses her mind's voice to say "That was embarrassing, though you being in this state would probably take just about anyone aback."Bookmark here

"I know how you feel, I woke up a few months ago in this new body regaining my memories of who I am and realising I was now a Cat once my brain developed enough." Haji replies with his mind's voice as he jumps up on the table and sits in front of her and says "So, have you contacted Yukio?"Bookmark here

"I have but haven't heard back yet." Kuromotoma replies with her mind's voice as she looks him in the eye calmly before saying "Is he aware you're alive?"Bookmark here

Haji nods calmly acknowledging that he has told him that he's alive before using his mind's voice to reply "I emailed Isi a little while after ending up living here via the safe house that got discovered after I made contact."Bookmark here

"So you've made contact, at least THEY know you're still alive, wish they'd have been considerate enough to have told me too." Kuromotoma replies with her mind's voice as she sits back looking like she wishes Yasuo had been polite enough to provide tea and snacks as she looks at Haji and asks with her mind's voice "Did you kill off the judge today?"Bookmark here

Haji nods calmly with a serious look before he uses his mind's voice to say "I actually personally applied the Peanut Dust to his Egg Fried Rice."Bookmark here

"With Yukio's help no doubt." Kuromotoma says calmly with her mind's voice before looking at the door and using her mind's voice to say "Was this whole ruckus over the Refrigerator also your doing?"Bookmark here

"You're pretty on the money for someone who's been out of the loop since my Execution." Haji sighs calmly as he replies with his mind's voice before using it to say "That whole thing was nearly a disaster, when I got back someone had turned on the water and I nearly fell face first into my own trap."Bookmark here

"Wow, you having a near miss with your own attempt to kill someone never would have happened when you were human." Kuromotoma says with her mind's voice with a note of shock and surprise in her voice as she says it before continuing "Then your attempt to kill your target gets blown by another stroke of bad luck?"Bookmark here

"He managed to see the dead rat floating in the water." Haji replies with his mind's voice as he gets off the table and says "We should stop now, we'll get our covers blown if we don't."Bookmark here

Just as he says that Ichiro and Yasuo walk into the room and Ichiro looks at Kuromoto and says "We're done here, we're headed back to the station."Bookmark here

Kuromoto stands up and gets ready to leave as though nothing ever happened but before leaving the room uses her mind's voice to say "I'll be in touch later, Shimawa."Bookmark here

To Be ContinuedBookmark here

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