Tokyo Demons Book 2: Chapter 7, Part 2
A downloadable package of this chapter (.pdf, .epub, and .mobi) is available in the Sparkler Monthly Issue #007 back issue.
Jo didn’t care what Kado said. He didn’t believe what Kado said. Jo felt so…violated and humiliated that the burning in his stomach swirled into a fireball of rage. He dug his bruised fingers into the phone.
“Leave him!” Jo ordered. “Leave him and run, Ayase!”
He could hear her tiny voice, now painfully far from the receiver. “How is Touya dying?”
“Ayase!” Jo snarled.
“It’s the Pitch,” Kado whimpered. “He’s been on it for years. And it’s…doing things to his body that it doesn’t do to anyone else.”
“Because he’s Malum?” Ayase demanded.
“Maybe. O-or maybe just because he’s the only one who was taking Pitch all through puberty–”
Fucking shit. Jo wanted to put his foot through a wall. He crammed his thumb against the speaker button and slammed the phone on the table.
“This is bullshit,” he hissed. “If Touya’s dying from Pitch, he would’ve told us that. We’re looking for a goddamn cure. And we’re already working with him, so he wouldn’t have planted a spy with us unless he needed something we weren’t already getting him. You’re lying.”
“Touya isn’t working with you!” Kado blurted, his tiny voice fuzzy through the speaker. “He’s using you! And when he gets what he wants–”
“He’s been using us and we’ve been using him! That’s how informants work, Kado! None of us think we’re fucking friends!”
“He doesn’t trust you!” Kado cried back. “He doesn’t trust anyone! He’s at the center of Core and the only way for him to get out is if Core is destroyed! So for that to happen he had to…instigate…”
Kado trailed off. This time, Ayase’s voice wavered from the phone.
“Did he tell Core to kidnap Kiyoshi?”
Jo’s blood went cold. Sachi, by his side, finally choked down whatever was in his throat.
“Did he…tell Core to kidnap Shouri-san?” he breathed. “To attack Kiseki? To get us and Byakko angry enough to unite against Core?”
The phone was silent. Kado’s voice cracked.
Sachi closed his eyes. “Did Touya start this war? Because he knew how it would end?”
Kado didn’t reply. Jo scraped his fingers into his palms.
“We know Touya can see the future, Kado.”
Now it was Ayase’s turn to sound surprised. Jo let out an angry breath before Kado could reply.
“None of this fucking matters. We can’t believe a word coming out of his mouth.” Jo turned. “Detective–”
But Nakajima and Ochi were gone. Jo blinked.
When the hell did they sneak out?
Sachi looked up. “They’ve said they won’t be in the same room as Kado,” he mumbled. “Not since they learned he can hear thoughts.”
“I-it doesn’t work over the phone–”
“Jo’s right.” Sachi’s jaw tightened. “We can’t believe anything you say right now, Kado.”
Jo heard the sound of muffled fabric, of shifting from the other end of the phone. When Kado’s voice came back, it was louder and resonant, his lips finally near the receiver.
“Then touch me,” Kado said evenly.
Jo growled. “No fucking way are we setting foot in that hospital.”
“I’m not…I can’t call Core or Touya to come here and attack you. Talking to you is working against both of them.” His voice went softer. “They would kill me before they killed you.”
“Or this is another fucking trick and Touya wanted you to do this!”
“I would never let him hurt you!” Kado suddenly shouted. “Has he ever hurt you? I only let him hurt ME! He threatened to kill my father and leave the rest of you to Core’s mercy if I didn’t do what he said, and he wanted me to help you. The directions he gave me kept you safe, and gave you back your friends, and I…I-I’ve been trying to stave him off, to figure out a plan to give him what he needs before he turns against us…”
Sachi gripped his temples and squeezed shut his eyes. Jo didn’t like that look.
“Sachi,” he warned. “Don’t listen to him. He’s a liar.”
“Kado, shut up.”
Ayase finally grunted from the other end of the line. “You could’ve told us, Kado. Any of us.”
“No. H-he knew I would try. So he…” Kado’s voice cracked again. “P-please don’t make me tell you that part, I can’t…”
“Son of a bitch!” Jo snarled. “Ayase, drop him. We caught him red-handed and he’s still trying to play you. You’re…” Jo hesitated. “You’re putting the entire team at risk by staying there. We need you. Are you coming back to your friends, or are you staying with a traitor?”
The other end of the phone went silent. Sachi opened his eyes.
Jo heard the fuzzy, terrible theme of Space Lightning Rangers in the distance.
Ayase jerked at the tinny music. It snaked like poison into her ears.
Kado stiffened under her hands. “Y-you can listen to me talk to him,” he offered, his voice rising slightly in pitch. “Okay? Since you know now?”
“FUCK NO!” Jo shouted from the phone.
Ayase’s palms began to sweat over Kadoyuki’s eyes. He dropped her open phone and scrambled blindly for his personal mobile. She heard Jo’s tiny, muffled cries from the other end of the line.
The upbeat song was like a countdown, beeping toward their doom. The world swam before her. Every cell in her body screamed for release, to burst into powerful, comforting insects that could flood that room and suffocate the lies within.
But…it wouldn’t help her. It wouldn’t solve this. For all her raw power, she couldn’t crush her enemy if she didn’t even know who that was.
Ayase’s pride had been torn to shreds, littering the gaping hole in her chest. All she could feel was Kadoyuki’s eyelashes against her palms, that miserable song in her ears, and a desperate, aching need for some kind of truth.
Her eyes fell on the baseball cap they’d brought as a disguise. She released Kadoyuki, grabbed the cap, and rammed it onto his head before he could say anything. She tugged the brim down hard, tilting down his head and blocking his eyes from her sight.
Jo cursed fluidly.
“Keep it down,” Ayase snapped. “Or Touya will hear you, Jo.”
Kadoyuki took a long breath. He flipped open the musical phone and tucked it under the cap.
“Senpai?” he breathed.
Ayase tightened her jaw. She heard a rumble from the other end of the phone, but couldn’t hear it against Kadoyuki’s ear.
“No, I just…someone was coming. A nurse. I panicked.”
More murmuring. Ayase strained her ears, but she couldn’t make out what Touya was saying. She caught a few words: hesitate, punish, time.
“I couldn’t ask her what hospital I’m in. I pretended to be asleep.” His voice weakened. “No one from the church is here anymore. I don’t know if they just stepped out or actually left me…I-I’m scared, senpai.”
A chill ran down Ayase’s spine. As Touya rumbled something back, one of Kadoyuki’s hands wandered back down to the bed. He nodded and mumbled an affirmative.
And dug his nails into the sheets.
“I-I’m sorry. I’m sorry I dropped my phone and…I wish the GPS was working. If I find out where I am, will you come get me?” His voice wavered. “I don’t think I can do this anymore!”
Touya replied, and Kadoyuki hiccupped. He rubbed at his hidden eyes.
“They’re still trying to detox her. I think they’ll tell me if anything changes. They weren’t answering before, but I can try calling again. Is that okay? And I’ll call you back?” His voice weakened. “Please?”
The tone of his voice made Ayase’s stomach turn. She’d heard that tone before. The way he breathed out the tiny plea.
He’d used that on her.
She swallowed down the mix of loathing and self-loathing that welled up her throat.
Kadoyuki nodded again under her grip. “Okay. Okay, that’s fine. And…and senpai?” He paused. “You were right. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll do whatever you say, just…please don’t lose faith in me. I can still do this, I swear.”
Words rumbled on the line. Then the phone clicked out.
Kadoyuki snapped it shut. He rubbed a fist across his eyes.
“I need the briefcase,” he said evenly.
Ayase took a second to process that. “The Pitch?” she blurted at last.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Jo shrieked over the phone.
“Touya knows we have it, but he doesn’t know what’s in it. I told him I didn’t know.” Kadoyuki gripped the bed sheet draped over him. “If Touya has that much Pitch, he may be able to wean himself off. He’ll follow it to the ends of the earth. Our only chance is to let him know about it, and then set it somewhere for him as a trap.”
Ayase regripped the edge of his cap, forcing Kadoyuki’s head down further. He curled down, bunched up his sheets, and buried his chin in them.
“Touya can see the future,” Jo snapped. “He wouldn’t fall for a trap.”
“He can’t see the future if it involves him. Seeing the future affects the timeline, so he can only see everyone else’s future in a place, based on events he already set in motion. But if we set a trap and only trigger it when he does something–like touch the briefcase–he won’t see us coming.”
Ayase stared at Kadoyuki. Sachi’s voice finally came on over the speakerphone.
“How do you know his power has that weak point?”
Kadoyuki buried his face in the sheets. “No one can hide anything from me,” he mumbled. “And Touya knew that. So he…told me everything, and just made sure he could control me.”
“Bullshit!” Jo repeated.
Kadoyuki didn’t reply. He slowly picked up Ayase’s mobile and brought it closer to his mouth.
“Sachi,” he said again. “Touch me. Then you’ll know that I’m telling the truth.”
Ayase heard Sachi mumbled something incoherent. Kadoyuki clenched his teeth.
“Touch me,” he breathed again, his voice cracking. “I…I want you to.”
“STOP IT,” Sachi snapped.
Kadoyuki hiccupped and bit his lip.
After a long moment of silence, Ayase heard something scrape from the other end of the line.
“Kado,” Sachi said, his voice thin. “Is that hospital safe? You didn’t call anyone and your GPS isn’t working?”
Kadoyuki took a shaky breath. “When I…threw my phone into the wall, the GPS chip popped out. I crushed it.” He ran a hand up his face. “Touya had a lot of reasons to be furious at me.”
“Do you swear? Do you swear to your God?”
Kadoyuki twitched. “I…yes. I swear to God in heaven.” He clutched the phone tighter. “I swear to God, Jesus, and Mary.”
Sachi was silent for a second. “Kado,” he said, his voice trembling. “If you’re putting Ayase in danger…”
“I-I’m not. I swear to God.”
“Don’t you dare hurt her, Kado.”
Kadoyuki buried his face in his hands. “I didn’t want to hurt any of you,” he said weakly. “I was trying to save us.”
Ayase heard the phone go dead.
Sachi clapped the phone shut, his face red. He handed it back to Jo.
“Jo,” he said quickly, “I need to confess something.”
Jo sighed in exasperation. “What now?”
“Kado and I have some…things in our past. Maybe it was blinding me to the fact that…” Sachi grunted weakly. “Dammit, I don’t know what he was lying to me about. Maybe everything.”
Jo desperately wanted a cigarette, but knew better than to light up in a police station. His nerves tingled with need.
“Whatever,” he muttered at last. “Everyone knows you were desperate to be some sort of savior to that kid.”
“It’s…more than that.” Sachi hesitated. “This is a little personal, but I…had some confusing feelings about Kado back in middle school. And they’ve sorta…lingered. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I also didn’t know Kado could hear every thought in my head. Which means he knew I had those feelings, and maybe he…I don’t know.” He wiped his palms on his shirt. “Took advantage of that? Played to my, uh…”
Jo scowled. “Confusing feelings?” he repeated.
Sachi looked away. “Yeah. So I’m sorry, okay? Maybe I was ignoring warning signs because I…y’know.”
Jo tried to untangle Sachi’s half-assed confession. “What?” he asked at last. “You had a crush on him?”
Sachi quickly flipped up his hands. “No! I mean, yes? I don’t know!”
“Sachi, having a gay crush in middle school had nothing to do with–”
“It wasn’t just in middle school!”
Jo sighed angrily. “Sachi, who the fuck cares?”
“Don’t tell anyone, okay? I just wanted to tell you because…I-I’m sorry, and now I feel guilty. I shouldn’t have let my…personal crisis put the team in jeopardy. I…dammit…” His voice weakened as he squeezed his eyes shut.
Jo’s fingertips twitched. Goddammit, he needed nicotine. This was too much shit at once.
“Look,” he muttered at last. “However you feel about him, Sachi, this isn’t on you. None of us thought that blubbering asshole would pull something like this.”
“Don’t call him that.”
Jo blinked. “Are you fucking defending him?”
“No! I mean…” Sachi chewed on his lip. “It’s not like I’ve never touched him before. I know the misery isn’t an act. If Touya threatened him–”
“Hey!” Jo snarled. “Like the rest of us haven’t had to deal with Touya! Touya was stalking me, too! Fuck!” Jo’s hands started to shake. “I turned Touya down, because I didn’t want to screw you guys over–and I didn’t have you chasing me down, offering me a safe space if I would just fucking take it. I can’t believe I’m the one coming up clean in this.
“You coddled the hell out of him, Sachi, and he took advantage of you. He could’ve confessed and you would’ve taken care of him–and he’s the best person in the world to know that. But no, we had to fucking catch him in the act. And you heard Ayase–Kado won’t even tell us why he hid this from us.”
“Touya threatened to kill his father,” Sachi replied weakly.
“We could’ve gotten him out. We could’ve dealt with this.” Jo shook his head. “You know what I think happened? He couldn’t stand up to Touya, and he got in too deep. And then he didn’t have the guts to make things right, since as long as he played both sides, we would protect him, and Touya would protect him.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Sachi suddenly snapped. “Touya crushed his leg in front of you. You think that’s the kind of protection Kado wanted?!”
Jo opened his mouth, but the seething rage in his belly bubbled down for a moment. Jo sucked his teeth.
“Fine,” he muttered. “I won’t speculate what the fuck is going through Kado’s head. But he’s a snake. And if Touya’s behind this whole goddamn drug war, that makes Kado complicit in the dozens of people who have died in it.”
Sachi’s mouth turned into a thin line. He dropped his eyes to the floor.
“We need to…find out if what he said is true. And we need any other information he can give us. I’ll take a cab to the hospital.” He furrowed his brow. “Go back to the church, Jo. Leave Kado to Ayase and me.”
Jo cursed. “We do need that information,” he snapped, “but not like this. Not when it could be a trap.”
“I don’t think it is.”
“Sachi, this isn’t the time to trust your gut!”
“I’m not trusting my gut! I’m trusting every other sense I’ve got!” Sachi’s face flushed in unusual anger. “Kado can’t fake everything about himself. Have you ever listened to the way he talks? The way he prays to himself? He goes off in these trances when he shuts down, and it’s the same pleas over and over. I used to wonder why he wasn’t reaching out to us, but now…” He trailed off, his voice cracking on the last words. “No wonder he was clinging to a higher power. He swore to the Christian God when we interrogated him about Wipe, and that wasn’t a lie. So if he’s swearing to that now…it’s enough for me. At least until I get there.”
“I know. I’m being reckless, he’s a traitor, and we should probably abandon him.” He swallowed. “But I won’t. And you know that, right?”
Jo ground his teeth together. “You’re monopolizing Ayase,” he spat. “We need her. We can’t consider the church safe anymore and I need to get everyone out of there.”
“I’ll be as fast as I can.”
“Jo, please.” Sachi’s eyes flicked up from the floor. “Let me do this.”
Jo’s frustration clawed at his searing nerves. He stared into Sachi’s dark eyes, unwavering behind the thin, smeared lenses of his glasses.
Jo clenched his hand around the mobile phone in his grip. He looked away to break contact with those eyes.
“Nngh.” Jo angrily waved a hand. “It’s your call.”
Sachi clapped Jo on the shoulder, once, before running for the exit. Then he disappeared, the door closing behind him with a choonk.
Jo stood in the silence for a long moment. He rubbed his sinuses.
He flipped open his phone and pressed one of the speed dials. He sighed, his eyes rolling to the stark ceiling of the interrogation room.
“Jo?” Mitsuko asked, her sweet voice like a healing salve over the line. Jo heard the dim thumps of a bass line behind her.
Jo swallowed. “Hey,” he began. “I need your help.”
Proceed to Chapter 7, Part 2, page 2–>