One Thousand Mornings: Chapter 2: Rebirth
On the other side of town, Kawamura and Lee stood side to side, hawking over the hospital bed where their attacker from last night laid hooked to an oxygen tank. Two more officers stood along each side of the bed with their postures firm. The man took a deep breath as his eyes passed across the four men standing in front of him. The room felt as tight as two bricks in a wall.
“My name is Detective Kawamura; this is Detective Lee. It’s nice to see that you’ve regained consciousness. . . for what it’s worth.”
The man watched closely as Kawamura stepped towards his bedside and began reaching into his pocket. Lee’s eyes squinted as he studied him. As Kawamura stepped closer towards the man, his heart monitor picked up pace a notch. The man’s eyes were dead center on Kawamura who now held three photos in between his fingers. Kawamura then tossed them on the bed in front of him. The man waveringly glanced down at the photos, one slightly overlapping the other. One picture was of Chiasa, one of Yuki, and the other one of Reiko. As he looked back up at Kawamura, the detective reached over and gently pulled the oxygen mask from his face, then placed his finger firmly down onto the photo of Chiasa.
“Why would anybody do what you did, just to get to one girl?
“I could think of a million easier ways of accomplishing the same goal with not even half the risk.”
The man sat in contemplation while studying the photographs. He closed his eyes and tilted his head over to the side as he reclined himself backwards just a bit.
“If you can’t answer that, then let’s start with something a bit more—easy. How about we start with your name?”
As the man wept in a strong gust of air through his nose, he curled his fists tightly and nudged his arms upwards. Chains rattled as his hands were stopped short by the shackles cuffed firmly around his wrists.
“Freedom is a thing of the past for you. That’s never going to change no matter what you say here today. So, you might as well tell the truth.”
As he gradually released the tight curl from his hands; wiggling his fingers slowly as though his body was an unusual vessel, he turned his attention towards Kawamura whom was now, once again, standing at the foot of his bed alongside Lee.
“The truth?” the man said in a raised tone while tilting his head back against the frame of his bed. In this world no one moves fast enough to keep up with the truth. Anything I tell you now will be completely irrelevant before you even make it out that door.”
“Then you should have nothing to worry about,” Kawamura quipped with veracity. With a slight furl of his lips and a condescending glare in eyes, the man continued.
“I’ve been working in this field for over a decade. Seen and done the type of shit that makes the inside of your stomach bleed. And the only reason why I was able to walk through all that and not go insane is because I knew where I stood in this universe. You have no idea how insignificant we all are.”
“Well, clearly not everyone is so insignificant. Given that you’ve been around the city snatching young girls up like loose change.”
The man only chuckled at Kawamura before retorting, “You don’t understand a damn thing!” Frustrated, Kawamura heckled back, “What I understand is that I will skin you by the centimeter until you tell me what I want to hear!” With a slight pause, his voice then lowered, but his stance was just as powerful. “You and your dead partners killed a lot of people yesterday; people that deserved better, and right now you’re the only person with the answers as to why. And I promise you, you piece of shit, that I will pry that answer out of you.”
The man lowered his gaze towards the photos laying in front of him once more. He curled his hands into a ball, grazing his thumbs across the sides of his index fingers.
“Everything happening is from the direct orders of Shén,” he calmly stated. “And with its twelve hands, it will soon show you that truth which you are so eagerly in search of.” He then looked Kawamura straight in his face. “You’re eventually bound to find what it is that you are looking for, but you won’t like the outcome. When that happens, there is not much I, or the world for that matter, can do for you. You’ll just have to suffer as you sink into the depths of your own realization of how pointless you really are.”
With a moment of emptiness passing like a breeze through an open window, the uptick tension seemingly began to fade.
Lee took this moment as an opening to try and roll the dice himself. “Tell me, does this god of yours grant forgiveness? Because for your sake I hope it does.” The man held a perturbed glare in his eyes. “Whatever your mission was yesterday; that divine order sent from ‘god’, you failed it. You never made it out of the apartment. You took her to an empty basement where we found the both of you laid out on the floor. I guess your target was a lot stronger than you thought she was. Or perhaps this ‘Deus’ individual made the wrong decision when choosing you for the job.”
“Unfortunately, detective, my mission was very much complete. I fulfilled my duty. That much I know for sure. What took place afterwards, in all honesty is no longer of my concern. In fact, what happens from now on is not any of our concern anymore. We’re just bystanders.”
Before Kawamura could formulate a way to respond, Lee rested his hand on his shoulder, snatching his attention away. “It’s time for us to move her,” he whispered into Kawamura’s ear. Kawamura nodded his head slightly, and then turned to face the man one last time.
“You still haven’t told me your name.”
“. . . My name is Agent 24613. I couldn’t offer you any further information even if I wanted to. It’s all that I know.”
Kawamura peered over at Lee and made his way quietly towards the exit, with Lee slowly following behind. The man watched them with his eyes shot open, and the rapid beep of his heart monitor echoing through the hospital halls.
Yuhna slid the door open with Chiasa’s backpack strapped over her shoulders. “Don’t forget,” Chiasa bellowed from behind. Barely looking in her direction, Yuhna collectively replied, “I won’t.” She walked off down the hallway, letting the door slide shut behind her. Pacing herself, she made her way through the vigorous hospital corridors. All converging into a staunch image of birth, life, and death. A child, just born into the ever-changing world; the living person, clinging so desperately to their already fractured selves; and the deceased, ridded of the pain brought on by the horrors of society. Yuhna could feel a pin digging deep into her chest. The walls began to wane, and all sense of direction dissipated. Standing in a containment of her own pity, she felt a presence. Light and warm, almost as though she could feel its soft touch against her body. She closed her eyes and felt the world emerge around her. Those suffocating walls stretched towards the face of an enlarged set of double doors. Minutes, no… hours, passed by endlessly as she waited for a voice of reprieve to save her, but none came. She was stuck in silence, confused, and powerless. Everything began to darken, cloaking her sight and sealing off the path to the doorway. What was it that she’d been waiting for again? She could no longer remember.
Yuhna stared right into the eyes of Detective Kawamura. He stood calm, arms in his pockets and his shoulders relaxed. He looked upon Yuhna patiently as she repositioned herself in his presence. “I’m fine,” she whispered as she maneuvered her way around him. He clutched her arm as she passed by, holding her in her tracks. Somehow, to Yuhna, the stagnation felt familiar. “Why are you in such a hurry?”
Yuhna wrapped her fingers around the straps of her bag as she slightly reversed her steps. “What?”
Kawamura released his clasp as he tried to roll back his pressing conduct. “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to get off on the wrong foot. I don’t think I’ve formally introduced myself yet. I’m Detective Kawamura.” He cited with the bow of his head.
“Yea, I know who you are. They told me at the police station that you were taking care of the case tied to my car.”
He let an odd silence pass between the two of them before replying “Yea, that’s me.” Yuhna found herself bouncing her eyesight from one random thing to another, trying to avoid direct eye contact.
“You have any questions that you wanna ask?” Kawamura inquired with his hands still tucked away in his pockets.
“No, not really. . . I mean, there’s obviously more important things that should take priority, right?”
Kawamura still beheld his gaze directly upon Yuhna, having given up on easing his tenacious aura. With a nod of his head, he stepped around Yuhna and began making his way down the hallway, while inserting, “Yea, I’ll keep that in mind.
Yuhna fixed her bag over her shoulder as she took another glimpse at Kawamura, watching closely at his attempt to disguise the limp in his right leg. As she squinted her eyes, she slowly turned away and made off in the opposite direction.