Case 2: Street Blood

In Kurosagi’s silent office apartment, Hatori was sweeping the wooden floor. Dust flew in the air making Hatori sneeze. Hatori sighed and muttered, “Does she ever clean this place?” Hatori continued to sweep until he saw Kurosagi exit her kitchen with a tray of double chocolate cookies. Kurosagi sat at her desk and munched on the sweet creations.

“You eat too many sweets, Kurosagi,” reprimanded Hatori. Kurosagi glared at him and stated, “I can eat sweets as much as I want.” With that Kurosagi took a large bite of a cookie. Hatori sighed and looked toward the door.

“You’re a famous detective, but people hardly come to you. Why is that?”

Kurosagi looked at Hatori and stated, “Well my prices are high and I told you before that only the desperate come here.”

“Well I did come to you as a last resort, but what if they are unable to pay you.”

“Well like what I did with you, I take something precious as payment,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori remembered his wedding ring and clenched the handle of the broom. Kurosagi noticed Hatori’s troubled look and sighed.

“If you work hard enough, I’ll return your ring.”

Hatori looked at her with wide eyes and asked, “Do you mean that?” Kurosagi nodded. Hatori smiled and began to clean the place like his life depended on it.

The door to the office suddenly opened making Kurosagi smile.

“A customer has arrived.”

A man around his twenties walked in. He wore a bright red shirt with a skull design in the front and jeans that were tattered at the bottom. His hair was dyed blonde with a red streak. He wore white sneakers that had a “Nike” logo on it. He also had a guitar shaped bag slung on his back.

He stepped into the office and saw Kurosagi and Hatori. He approached Hatori and asked, “Are you the famous detective Kurosagi?” Hatori shook his head.

“I’m just her assistant,” stated Hatori. Hatori held a hand toward Kurosagi, who was munching on a cookie with crumbs on the side of her lips.

“She’s the famous detective Kurosagi.”

The man stared at Kurosagi with wide eyes. The man laughed uneasily and rubbed his right ear.

“I’m sorry, but I think I heard wrong. Did you just say that this little girl eating a cookie is the famous detective Kurosagi?”

Hatori nodded and stated, “You heard right.” The man was silent and then exclaimed, “This brat is Kurosagi?” Kurosagi sighed.

“New comers are always so shocked to see me.”

The man looked at Kurosagi in disbelief.

“This isn’t a joke right?”

Kurosagi shook her head as she wiped the crumbs off her face. Kurosagi smirked and said, “I am the great detective Kurosagi.” The man was still in shock. Kurosagi crossed her arms as she looked at the man.

“I know you are still quite shocked, but you are already here, so why don’t you introduce yourself and tell me the reason why you are here today.”

The man nodded still feeling uneasy about the situation. He pulled out a folder and showed it to Kurosagi.

“My name is Nobu Shuya and I have come here to ask for your assistance in solving this case.”

Kurosagi took the folder from Nobu flipping it open. In the folder was a single file with a picture of a sixteen-year-old black haired boy in a black school uniform. Kurosagi noticed the date and looked at Nobu seriously.

“This file is from four years ago. Is this by chance a cold case?”

Nobu nodded and stated, “That boy is my best friend from four years ago. The detectives and police tried their best, but didn’t find any leads, so it was deemed unsolvable.” Nobu bowed deeply in front of Kurosagi clenching his hands.

“I beg of you, Kurosagi, I know that you are young, but please solve this case?”

Kurosagi looked down at Nobu’s begging form and looked back at the file.

“Hikaru Watanabe, shot in front of a crowd. The weapon was unknown. Sounds interesting, but I am expensive. Are you willing to pay?”

Nobu nodded and said, “I’ll give you anything.” Kurosagi stared down at him and smirked.

“Except money right?”

Nobu looked at Kurosagi with wide eyes. Hatori was just as surprised.

“What are you talking about Kurosagi?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi crossed her arms as she looked down at Nobu.

“The way he is dressed and his manner make it clear to me that he’s in a rebellious stage. He most likely ran away from home at a young age, so he has little money. Am I correct?”

Nobu clenched his hand and nodded.

“I did run away from home to pursue a career in music. I’m not that successful without my dear friend. I’m pretty much low on money.”

“And yet you still came here asking for my help?”

Nobu nodded and bowed his head down again until it touched the floor.

“I’ll give you anything, so please take the case,” begged Nobu. Hatori saw how desperate Nobu was and looked at Kurosagi.

“Just take his case, Kurosagi. Can’t you see he’s suffering from not knowing the truth?” urged Hatori. Kurosagi smirked.

“He is desperate, but I still need a payment, so…”

Kurosagi held her small hand to Nobu making him look up at her.

“I’ll take that guitar of yours.”

Nobu gasped and glanced back at his guitar. Nobu placed a hand on it shaking.

“Are you serious? I’ve always had this with me. Why take this as payment?”

Kurosagi smirked and stated, “Well you are mostly broke and that guitar of yours might be expensive. Besides, you told me that your music wasn’t doing so well, so why keep it?” Nobu’s hand was shaking as he looked at his guitar.

“Don’t you want me to solve the murder of your friend?”

Nobu remembered the blood he saw four years ago on Hikaru’s face and gulped. He removed the guitar case from his back and held it to Kurosagi with both hands.

“Please solve Hikaru’s case, Kurosagi.”

Kurosagi took the guitar with a smirk. She held it in her lap tracing her fingers around it.

“The deal is done.”

Kurosagi placed the guitar on the side of her desk and pulled out a backpack from under her desk. She slipped it on and then grabbed a cookie. She looked at Hatori and Nobu with the cookie just inches from her mouth.

“Let’s head out together, gentlemen.”

Hatori, Nobu, and Kurosagi walked out of the office and then headed into the noisy street of the city. Kurosagi walked down the sidewalk munching on her cookie. Nobu stared down at Kurosagi and then looked at Hatori.

“I already begged her to solve the case, but please be honest. Is this kid really Kurosagi?”

Hatori nodded and admitted, “I was shocked too, but she says that she’s older than she looks. She also called me child once.” Nobu chuckled. Nobu noticed that he felt lighter and placed a hand to his shoulder. He didn’t feel his guitar and sighed.

“She really took it from me,” muttered Nobu. Hatori placed a hand on the back of Nobu and said, “It’ll be OK. Kurosagi will solve this case for you no problem.” Nobu nodded with hope still in him. Hatori suddenly realized something and looked down at Kurosagi.

“Where are we going?”

Kurosagi tossed the last bit of the cookie into her mouth and then looked up at Hatori.

“I read the file and learned where he was buried, so I am just going to ask a friend to help me out,” stated Kurosagi wiping the remnants of the cookie off her face.

They walked for what seemed like hours. Nobu began to lose patience and asked, “Why can’t you call a Taxi?” Kurosagi scoffed.

“The Taxi drivers never take a bath and they don’t know where they are going,” complained Kurosagi. Hatori sighed, while Nobu glared down at Kurosagi.

After a full hour of walking, Hatori and Nobu were breathing heavily, while Kurosagi looked completely refreshed. Kurosagi pointed at an old funeral home just in the distance.

“That’s where my friend is.”

Kurosagi ran toward the old funeral home. Nobu was gasping as he ran after Kurosagi.

“Hold your horses!” yelled Nobu, but Kurosagi continued her fast pace. Hatori ran after them wondering how Kurosagi could have so much energy.

Kurosagi burst through the doors of the funeral home. She skidded to a stop and called out, “Mimi, are you here?”

A thirty-year-old woman in a brown tattered jacket and hat stepped out of a room. Her black hair was a tangled mess and freckles covered her face. She was smoking on a cigar as she looked at Kurosagi with a shovel fastened to her back. The woman smirked.

“Well if it isn’t my good friend Detective Kurosagi. What brings ya here to my fellow crib?”

The woman had a thick accent as she spoke. Kurosagi smirked and said, “I need you to dig out another body for me, Mimi.” Mimi chuckled sending out a puff of smoke.

“So nothing new mate? Well, where is this body located this time? Not out of this country, right?”

Kurosagi shook her head.

“It’s buried in Mizuho Cemetery. Can you do it?”

Mimi smirked and said, “What do ya take me for? I am the greatest grave digger in all of Japan Mimi Kusanagi. If ya ask for a body, I’ll unbury it for ya, no questions asked.”

Kurosagi nodded. The door suddenly opened making them look back. Nobu and Hatori were gasping for air clinging to the side of the door. Mimi inhaled deep on her cigarette and puffed out smoke rings.

“These two boys ya clients, Kurosagi?”

“Only one of them is my client. The other is my assistant.”

Mimi looked at Kurosagi with wide eyes and said, “Assistant, but I thought ya prefer to be alone in your crib, mate?” Kurosagi smirked and muttered, “I know, but I thought he could be useful.” Mimi shrugged and approached the two men.

“Did ya two just catch up with Kurosagi? Ya brats must be super slow not to keep up.”

Nobu glared at Mimi and said, “That…kid…is too fast…and who… are you?” Mimi smirked and introduced herself as “Mimi Kusanagi” proudly. She looked at Hatori who had caught his breath. She examined him and said, “Ya seem more fit, so I’m guessing that ya are the assistant mate?” Hatori nodded. Mimi examined him again and looked back at Kurosagi with a thumbs-up.

“Good choice mate. I knew ya had a girly side.”

Kurosagi was confused by Mimi’s words. Mimi chuckled and said, “Ya two introduce yourselves later, but we need to head to Mizuho Cemetery.” Mimi smirked with her cigar on the side of her lips as she walked out of the funeral home.

Kurosagi followed her. Nobu looked at the back of Kurosagi and asked, “Are we moving again?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “We have to get there fast, Shuya-San.” Nobu was shaking in his anger. Hatori patted his back and said, “Calm down. Kurosagi will solve your case.” Nobu sighed and nodded.

As they walked, Hatori noticed a long shovel on Mimi’s back. Hatori pointed at it and asked, “Why is there a shovel on your back, Kusanagi-San?”

Mimi smiled and said, “Well, this here shovel is my partner in business. I wouldn’t be a grave digger without it mate.”

“Grave digger?”

Mimi nodded and said, “I unbury bodies here and there. It’s my job.” Hatori and Nobu stared at Mimi with wide eyes as she puffed on her cigarette. Kurosagi smirked and said, “She’s helped me uncover bodies and she does it with permission from the Bureau.” Nobu placed a hand to his forehead wondering if he would meet more strange people.

They soon reached Mizuho Cemetery. The gates creaked as the wind blew. Mimi discarded her cigar as she looked at the gates.

“Gloomy as ever.”

Kurosagi nodded in agreement. Mimi kicked the gates open and strolled in with the others behind her. Mimi looked at Kurosagi and asked, “So where’s the grave ya looking for?”

“Hikaru Watanabe is the name, but he could be buried anywhere.”

Kurosagi looked at Nobu and asked, “Do you remember where he was buried?” Nobu nodded and said, “It was toward the middle near a dead tree, but the cemetery might have changed over the years.” Kurosagi smirked.

“Well it’s a good start. Let’s head forward toward the middle.”

They walked through the cemetery seeing many tomb stones with different names. Some of the graves had fresh flowers, while others had none. Hatori looked toward Kurosagi and noticed smoke under her bare feet.

“Kurosagi, your feet,” said Hatori. Kurosagi stared down at her feet and noticed the smoke. She lifted one of her feet revealing the redness under it. Kurosagi sighed and said, “Guess I forgot again.” Mimi stopped in her tracks looking back at Kurosagi.

“That’s why ya need to wear shoes, Kurosagi.”

Kurosagi nodded and looked up at Hatori. She held her arms up at him and asked, “Can you please carry me for now?” Hatori nodded and picked up Kurosagi. He carried her in his arms with her leaning against his chest. Nobu looked at Kurosagi and said, “You really are a kid.” Kurosagi sighed and said, “I only ask when I need to be carried.”

They continued to walk as Kurosagi began to search through her bag. Kurosagi soon pulled out a pair of small shoes and began to slip them on. She nodded in approval and jumped down from Hatori’s arms making him gasp.

“I can walk as long as I have these on,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and watched her walk to Mimi’s side.

They walked all the way to the center of the graveyard. Kurosagi looked at Nobu and asked, “Does anything look familiar?” Nobu looked around and shook his head.

“They must have cut down the tree,” stated Nobu. Kurosagi sighed.

“That’s troubling.”

Mimi smirked down at Kurosagi and asked, “How about using one of those secrets, Kurosagi?” Kurosagi sighed and said, “I guess that’s the only way.” Kurosagi glanced up at Nobu and held her small hand to him.

“I need a strand of your hair, Shuya-San.”

“My hair; what for?”

“Just do it.”

Nobu yanked out a strand of hair and handed it to Kurosagi. Kurosagi took it and said, “Don’t tell anyone about what you see.” Nobu was confused by her words, but nodded. Hatori watched Kurosagi closely waiting to see another secret of hers.

Kurosagi placed the strand of hair in her mouth and swallowed it. She shut her eyes as her heart began to pound against her chest.

Hikaru?

Kurosagi clenched her fist as they looked down at her.

Kurosagi began to see an image through the darkness. When the image cleared, she saw Hikaru looking at her with a wide smile.

“What’s up Nobu?”

“Are we really going to start our own band?”

“That’s right. We just need to get some money. No problem.”

Kurosagi shook her head and muttered, “Not this one.” Kurosagi’s eyebrow twitched. The scene changed and she saw a black coffin with Hikaru’s name upon it.

“Don’t worry, Hikaru. They’ll find your murderer soon.”

She saw the tree Nobu was talking about and saw the positions of the tombstones. She also saw the church in the distance from where she stood. She watched the coffin lowered into the empty grave and then opened her eyes with a gasp.

Hatori held her back for support and asked, “Are you OK?” Kurosagi nodded and said, “I know where he’s buried.” Kurosagi fixed herself and began to walk around the cemetery. Mimi chuckled and said, “Kurosagi knows best.” Mimi followed Kurosagi with Nobu and Hatori behind her.

Nobu looked at Hatori and asked, “What just happened?” Hatori sighed and admitted that he didn’t know.

Kurosagi stopped in front of a stump of a tree. She looked at the tombs around her and then looked into the distance. She saw the church and smirked.

“He’s here.”

Kurosagi glanced at the gravestone:

                        Hikaru Watanabe

                 April 1, 3900- July 21, 3916

                          Beloved Friend

Mimi glanced down at the grave and chuckled.

“Ya a genius Kurosagi.”

Hatori and Nobu looked at the grave in shock. Nobu looked at Kurosagi and asked, “How did you find his grave?” Kurosagi smirked and pointed at Nobu.

“I used your memories to find him.”

“My memories?”

“That’s right. When I eat a strand of hair from a living person, I can see their past memories. It doesn’t work on the dead and it can tire me out, if I look in the memories for too long.”

Nobu was in shock as was Hatori who had discovered another one of her secrets. Mimi chuckled and said, “That Kurosagi for ya.” Mimi removed her shovel from her back and added, “Now let’s unbury this friend of ya.” With that, she began to dig the grave of Hikaru. Nobu looked at Kurosagi in shock.

“Now that I think about it, why are you digging out my friend?” asked Nobu. Kurosagi looked at her hand and said, “I need to get the three clues to solve this case.” Nobu was confused, but Hatori knew what she was talking about. Hatori placed a hand on Nobu’s shoulder making him look at him.

“When she touches a dead body she will be given three clues from the victim. The clues will lead her to the truth of their cause of death. That’s another of her secrets.”

Nobu couldn’t believe what he was hearing. If he didn’t know better, he would have believed that he was in a horror movie.

Mimi hit the lid of the coffin creating a “thunk” sound. She looked at Kurosagi and stated, “I found the coffin mate.” Kurosagi nodded and said, “Could you please open it?” Mimi began to pry the lid open using her trusty shovel. Mimi gave it one final push flipping the lid open. A ghastly smell erupted forcing Hatori and Nobu to cover their noses. Kurosagi remained indifferent as Mimi burst out laughing.

“Bloody buggers did their job,” chuckled Mimi. In the coffin was the corpse of Hikaru. There were still larvae crawling out of the mouth. The skin looked like a mix of green and gray and the hair still black, but with traces of dirt on it.

Nobu covered his mouth trying to prevent himself from throwing up. Kurosagi leaped into the coffin and reached out to his face.

“Are you really going to touch the body?” asked Hatori still covering his nose. Kurosagi nodded and said, “I need to solve this case.” Kurosagi held her hand over the corpse of Hikaru.

“Speak the three clues that will help solve this case, Hikaru Watanabe.”

Kurosagi touched the face and felt a rush of heat enter her body. Kurosagi gasped as her eyes became glazed.

“Police, camera, music.”

            Kurosagi removed her hand and fell on top of the corpse. Mimi helped Kurosagi up and said, “Don’t go passing out on the dead mate.” Kurosagi nodded holding her head. Mimi helped Kurosagi out of the grave and then said, “Well I better bury this here body before someone decides to complain.” Kurosagi nodded and began to walk off with Hatori and Nobu.

Kurosagi looked at her hand as she walked and said, “Police, camera, and music: the three clues I need to solve this case.” Kurosagi looked up at Nobu and said, “Can you take me to the police you spoke with four years ago?” Nobu nodded.

“I go there when I have the chance. It’s how I got my friend’s file.”

Kurosagi nodded and said, “I think they might know something more.”

As they walked, Hatori stared at her hand. Kurosagi looked at Hatori and asked, “Is something wrong, Ogami-San?” Hatori suddenly grabbed Kurosagi’s hand and began to drag her making her confused. He pulled her to a nearby water fountain and began to splash water on her hands.

“You should wash your hands after touching a corpse,” reprimanded Hatori. Kurosagi glanced up at Hatori and stated, “You treat me like a child.” Hatori finished washing her hands allowing her to look at them.

“Now we can go,” said Hatori. Kurosagi frowned and went back to where Nobu was waiting for them.

After an hour, they reached “Suoh Police Station.” Nobu pointed at it and said, “This is it.” Kurosagi nodded and approached the station with Nobu and Hatori by her side.

Inside, they saw a policeman at the front desk typing on a computer. The policeman looked up when he heard the door open and greeted them. He noticed Nobu and waved to him.

“Back here again, Nobu?”

Nobu nodded and said, “Yes, but this time with acquaintances, Shigure-San.” The policeman, Shigure, noticed Hatori and said, “So you’re a friend of Nobu’s.” Hatori rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

“I guess.”

“Excuse me?”

Shigure looked confused as he looked at Nobu and Hatori.

“Did you two say something?” asked Shigure. Nobu and Hatori shook their heads. Hatori pointed down toward Kurosagi and said, “She’s the one who spoke.” Shigure looked over his desk and gasped when he saw Kurosagi.

“Sorry young lady, but I didn’t see you at all,” apologized Shigure. Kurosagi sighed and said, “Don’t worry about it, but you should make sure that you are looking at all the visitors or you will hurt people’s feelings, especially the short ones.”

Shigure looked at Nobu and asked, “Did you need something again?” Nobu nodded and said, “Kurosagi needs to speak with you guys about my friend’s murder case.”

Shigure’s eyes widen at the mention of Kurosagi’s name. Shigure stood up from his chair abruptly and exclaimed, “Kurosagi? You actually got the famous Kurosagi to work on the case? That’s amazing?” Shigure looked around them and asked, “Where is she?” Nobu pointed down at Kurosagi. Kurosagi did a single wave at Shigure.

“That would be me.”

Shigure was shocked as he looked down at Kurosagi. Kurosagi sighed used to the reaction. Shigure stared down at Kurosagi and asked, “Are you really her?” Kurosagi nodded. Shigure sighed and said, “I was expecting Kurosagi to be super sexy.” Nobu and Hatori stifled a laugh. Kurosagi did feel insulted but tried her best to hide it. Kurosagi stood on her tip toes, so she was just a few inches from Shigure’s face.

“Can I please speak with your higher up, Shi~gu~re~San?” Kurosagi asked slowly. Shigure nodded as he stared into her red eyes. He began to lead them into the station.

Shigure led them to the commissioner’s office. Shigure knocked on the door saying, “Suiji-Sama, someone needs to see you.”

“If it’s about a job, then don’t let them in. I already have enough work.”

Nobu groaned and said, “That guy is always like that.” Shigure was about to say something else, but another policeman pushed pass him swinging the door open with a wide smile on his face.

“Suiji-Sama, I brought your coffee!” he announced in a jolly voice. Suiji groaned as the policeman entered and said, “Knock like everybody else, Kouga.” Kouga chuckled.

Kurosagi took this chance to slip into the room with everyone behind her.  Kurosagi dusted herself off and looked at the commissioner, a man around his thirties in a white shirt.

“Are you the commissioner of Suoh Police Station?”

Suiji, the commissioner, nodded and stated, “That’s right, but I never gave you permission to come in little girl.” Kurosagi sighed and pulled out a badge from her bag. She showed it to the commissioner and said, “Well, I need to speak with you about a cold case, Suiji-San.” Suiji stared at the badge and gasped.

“The Bureau?”

Kurosagi nodded with a smirk. The badge was suddenly yanked from her hands. She looked at the offender, Kouga, who was looking at the badge with excitement in his eyes.

“This is just incredible. How can a little girl obtain a badge from the bureau?” said Kouga excitedly. Kurosagi jumped up trying to grab the badge from Kouga.

“Give it back, child,” scolded Kurosagi. Kouga dangled above her making Kurosagi jump up and down attempting to get it. Kouga chuckled and said, “So cute.” Nobu and Shigure were trying not to laugh. Hatori, being the adult he was, yanked the badge from Kouga’s grasp and handed it to Kurosagi.

“Don’t tease Kurosagi like that,” reprimanded Hatori. Kouga chuckled apologizing repeatedly.

Suiji gasped again and asked, “So you’re Kurosagi, little girl?” Kurosagi nodded stuffing her badge into her bag. Suiji bowed to her and said, “It is an honor to meet you and I apologize for Kouga’s rude behavior.”

“None taken, now please tell me everything you know about Hikaru Watanabe’s murder case.”

“You want to know about that case?”

“That’s right because Shuya-San has paid for my services,” stated Kurosagi. Suiji sighed and nodded.

“I believe you read the file that I gave Nobu-San. According to Nobu-San, Hikaru Watanabe and him were doing a street performance on Matsu Street Side. They gathered quite a crowd. During their third song, Watanabe-San was shot in the head killing him instantly. No one saw where the bullet came from and the bullet recovered from his head was homemade and couldn’t be traced. We found no motive for him to be killed and the weapon wasn’t found, so we met a dead end.”

Kurosagi thought awhile and asked, “Do you still have the bullet?”

“We keep them in the back with the other cold case files that were assigned to our station.”

“Let me see it.”

Suiji nodded and stood up. He began to lead Kurosagi to the back, but stopped in his tracks when he noticed Nobu, Hatori, Shigure, and Kouga following too.

“Only Kurosagi can follow me,” stated Suiji. Shigure and Kouga pouted. Nobu groaned and said, “Just let me come along.”

“You are definitely not allowed in the back Nobu-San,” stated Suiji. Nobu groaned again. Hatori raised his hand and asked, “Kurosagi might need my assistance so can I come along?” Suiji thought awhile and looked at Kurosagi.

“Do you need that guy with you?” asked Suiji. Kurosagi glanced at Hatori.

“He might be able to help besides he wants to know all my secrets.”

Suiji looked confused, but all he did was nod in approval. Hatori smiled and followed Kurosagi and Suiji into the back. In the back room were white boxes labeled with different names of murder victims.

“There’s so many,” said Hatori as he looked around. Kurosagi, with a blank face, said, “This is just a hand full if you compare it with the cold cases in the bureau vault.”

Suiji pulled out a white box labeled “Hikaru Watanabe” and placed it on the ground, so Kurosagi could see into it. In the box were the clothes that Hikaru was wearing the day; cassette tapes labeled for each interview day; and a plastic bag with a single round bullet in it. Suiji pulled the plastic with the bullet out and showed it to Kurosagi.

“This is the bullet found in Watanabe’s head.”

Kurosagi took it from Suiji’s hands and examined it closely. Hatori looked over Kurosagi’s shoulder staring at the bullet.

“The bullet looks kind of big. I’m surprised no one saw it coming,” inquired Hatori. Kurosagi examined the bullet and realized there was a black stain on it.

“Was the bullet washed completely?” asked Kurosagi.

“I think so. I wasn’t there when they cleaned it,” stated Suiji. Kurosagi opened the bag and slid the bullet onto her hand. Kurosagi examined the stain closely and said, “It looked like dried up blood when viewed in the bag, but now that it is out, it looks like paint.”

“Paint?”

Kurosagi nodded and added, “I think that when the bullet was shot, it scrapped along the murder weapon itself making a permanent mark.”

“Why didn’t we see that before?” Suiji asked himself. Kurosagi rubbed her chin in thought.

“That’s true. The one who did the autopsy would have seen that the bullet had paint on it and it could have helped locate the weapon. This is just a guess, but I think that someone was pulling the strings from the background.”

“Someone tampered with the evidence?”

Kurosagi nodded and placed the bullet back in the plastic bag. She tossed it into her bag and said, “I’ll keep this for a while.” Suiji nodded his approval.

Kurosagi and the other two began to walk out, but stopped in their tracks when they heard crashing noises from the other side of the door. Suiji on impulse drew his gun and charged at the door saying, “Stay behind me.” Suiji kicked the door open and saw five men in black suits beating Nobu and Shigure. Suiji pointed his gun at them and yelled, “Step away from them right now!”

The five men glared at Suiji. They drew their guns and pointed them at Suiji making him flinch.

“I think you should put your gun down Mr. Officer.”

Suiji growled and lowered his gun. One of the men smirked and said, “Now can you please show us the great Kurosagi. We have our orders to dispose of her.” Suiji glanced at Kurosagi and Hatori, who were hiding behind the frame of the door. Suiji clenched his fist and muttered, “I won’t let you touch her.”

One of the men growled and redirected his gun to Shigure’s head making Shigure twitch.

“Bring her out.”

Before Suiji could say anything, Kurosagi stepped out with Hatori by her side.

“Don’t point your gun at him. I’m right here,” stated Kurosagi. The men looked at Kurosagi questioningly.

“You’re Kurosagi?”

“That’s right,” stated Kurosagi. The men burst out laughing.

“You’re just a kid.”

Kurosagi glared at them. One of the men pointed his gun at her and said, “Might as well kill you now.” Before the man could pull the trigger, she grabbed a vial filled with gray powder from Hatori’s hand and popped open the lid. She tossed some of the powder into her mouth and then smirked. She tossed the vial back to Hatori dodging the bullet from the gun. She grabbed Suiji’s gun and immediately began to fire at the men with incredible accuracy. She shot the guns out of their hands with a smirk upon her lips. The men gripped their hands cringing in pain. Kurosagi placed the barrel of the gun upon her lips and said, “Now run along children before I get serious.” Kurosagi’s red eyes seemed to glow as she looked at the men.

The men ran out of the station leaving behind their guns. Kurosagi sighed and fell to her knees. Hatori ran to her side and asked if she was OK. Kurosagi nodded and handed Suiji back his gun.

“Thanks for the gun, Suiji-San.”

“No problem, but what just happened?”

Kurosagi chuckled taking the vial from Hatori’s grasp. She placed the vial back in her bag and said, “Check on Shigure-San and Shuya-San first before you ask about me, Suiji-San.” Suiji nodded and ran to Shigure and Nobu.

“Are you two OK?” asked Suiji. Shigure nodded.

“How did this happen and where’s Kouga?”

“When you guys went to the back, Kouga went out to get you a new coffee because he spilled it on the floor. The minute he got back, those men appeared and began to demand where Kurosagi was and then started to beat us. Kouga got away. I hope he’s OK.”

Suiji sighed and said, “As long as you guys are fine, but who were those men?” Nobu, who had a few bruises, groaned making them look at him.

“And you guys call yourself cops? Those men are from the mafia. They’re the Natsumi Clan. I could tell because they had the symbol of the raven on their neck ties.”

Kurosagi looked at Nobu and asked, “How do you know this?”

Nobu sighed and said, “Hikaru and I saw them by chance when we were still in school, but we weren’t involved with them.”

“You never spoke with them?”

“Never.”

Kurosagi thought awhile. She looked at Suiji and said, “I need you to call all the officers around the area and tell them to report to the Natsumi Clan base.”

“I can do that, but why?” asked Suiji. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “You’ll see.” With that Kurosagi began to walk off with Hatori and Nobu.

When outside she saw Kouga leaning against the wall shaking. Kurosagi walked to his side and asked, “Are you OK, Kou-ga-San?” Kouga flinched and looked at Kurosagi. Kouga’s face was bruised and tears were running down his cheeks.

“Kurosagi, you’re all right?”

Kurosagi nodded and said, “The men ran off.” Kouga sighed in relief.

“That’s great.”

Kurosagi began to walk past Kouga, but stopped when he asked, “Are you going somewhere?” Kurosagi nodded.

“I’m heading to the Natsumi Clan’s base.”

“I can take you there no problem,” said Kouga. Kurosagi nodded and thanked him. Kouga replied with a smile and began to lead the way.

As they walked, Nobu looked at Hatori and asked, “Why are we going there directly?”

“I’m not quite sure,” replied Hatori. Kurosagi suddenly tugged on Nobu’s pant leg making him look down at her. Kurosagi smirked up at him and muttered, “Are you ready to follow me into the darkness and know the truth?” Nobu’s eyes widen. He remembered Hikaru’s laughing face and clenched his hand.

“Absolutely.”

They soon reached the Natsumi Clan base, a mansion with countless rooms. In front of the doors were members of the mafia.

“We can’t go through the front door obviously,” whispered Hatori. Kurosagi, Kouga, and Nobu nodded. Kouga walked behind a tree and said, “Let’s go this way to see if we can find a way in.” They nodded in agreement and followed Kouga. They ended up in a yard and found an open window. Kouga peeked through it and said, “It’s clear.”

They climbed through the window and found themselves in a huge room. Kurosagi examined her surroundings and said, “This is a dojo no doubt.” Hatori noticed a camera in the middle of the room and pointed it out.

“Kurosagi.”

Kurosagi saw the camera and went up to it. She picked it up and examined it closely. She saw a scratch mark on the shutter. She dug in her bag and pulled out the bullet. She compared the scratches to the paint on the bullet and smirked.

“I think we found our murder weapon.”

Nobu gasped and asked, “Murder weapon, but that’s a camera. How can it be a murder weapon?” Kurosagi chuckled and looked toward Kouga.

“Why don’t we ask Kouga-San or should I say Kouga Natsumi?”

Hatori and Nobu looked at Kouga in shock. Kouga cocked his head to the side and asked, “What do you mean Kurosagi?”

“Don’t play dumb. Back at the station when you went to get a new coffee, you came back with the men and miraculously escaped. When the men ran off, they would have past you, but you never mentioned it. You didn’t report to Suiji-San to let him know that you were OK, which would have been practical, but you immediately decided to come with us. You also knew your way around the Natsumi clan base and led us to a convenient open window where the weapon was conveniently placed. It’s too much of a coincidence.”

Kouga chuckled and looked at Kurosagi with amusement in his eyes.

“You sure are observant.”

Nobu clenched his hand and asked, “Were you the one responsible for Hikaru’s death?” Kouga nodded.

“But why? We never bothered you guys,” stated Nobu. Kouga sighed.

“Well YOU never bothered us, but your friend Hikaru did. He spoke with us begging for money. We gave him the money which he never paid back. We tracked him down and had him eliminated using that camera, the untraceable weapon.”

Kouga pointed at the camera in Kurosagi’s hands and added, “That camera is actually a hidden gun used by assassins. The film is replaced by bullet pellets that have to be made using raw steel. You just focus the lens on the victim and click. The bullet exits the shutter and the victim has his last picture taken. The bullet moves so fast that no one can see it. The picture perfect kill.”

Nobu growled and was ready to run at Kouga, but Hatori held him back. Tears were escaping from Nobu’s eyes as he glared at Kouga.

“You monster! Hikaru would never borrow money from you!”

“He did.”

Nobu and Hatori looked down at Kurosagi. Kurosagi looked up at Nobu with seriousness in her eyes.

“Watanabe-San made a promise with you when you two were still in school. He promised that you two would start a band together and that all you needed was money. Did you ever ask him where he got the money for you two to start singing in the street?”

Nobu was shaking and said, “He said that the money was from his savings. He lied?” Kurosagi nodded.

“I think he had a feeling that he might be killed for not paying back, so he kept it a secret from you, so you would be safe.”

Nobu was crying as he whispered Hikaru’s name.

Kurosagi then looked at Kouga and showed the camera to him.

“You left this here intentionally for me to find, so you must be confident that you won’t be caught.”

Kouga chuckled and said, “You are very observant. I left it there, so you can solve the case because you won’t be leaving alive.” Kouga snapped his fingers. The doors to the dojo opened revealing the mafia members. They ran into the room holding various weapons. Kouga cackled.

“My men will kill you right here and don’t expect the police to come. One of my men has been working in the police station with me and he will dispose of Suiji-San for me.”

Kurosagi clenched her fist and said, “You’re very clever. To cover up your crimes, you had some of your members working in the police in secret. That’s why most of the cases have become cold just like Watanabe’s.” Kouga nodded.

“You’re a great detective, but too bad that you will die today.”

Kouga snapped his fingers. The men charged at Kurosagi, Hatori, and Nobu. Kurosagi glanced at Nobu and Hatori and yelled, “Now!” Hatori and Nobu pulled out three vials from their pockets. They tossed them to Kurosagi in unison. Kurosagi grabbed the vials in midair and popped open their lids. She swallowed the contents of the vials and smirked. She glared at the men and charged at them at an incredible speed.

One of the men tried to cut her down with his blade, but she dodged and leapt up high. She kicked his face with a flying kick sending him flying into the air. He collided into some of the men sending them into the ground. Another man tried to slam a pole into her, but Kurosagi used her left arm to block. The force of her arm was so strong that the pole shattered. The man’s eyes widen in surprise. Kurosagi elbowed his stomach making him gasp and pass out.

Hatori was able to keep the men away using Kurosagi’s bag as a shield, while Nobu stayed behind him.

The men fell one by one at Kurosagi’s hands. Kouga couldn’t believe it. The last of his men fell as Kurosagi rubbed her hands together. She smirked at Kouga as she walked toward him stepping on the men’s fallen bodies. Kouga backed away with fear in his eyes.

“What are you?”

Kurosagi chuckled as she brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Kouga heard sirens outside the mansion.

“But how?”

Kurosagi smirked and said, “I have connections too you know. I contacted Suiji-San before we reached your base and warned him of a potential traitor.”

Fangs seemed to show in Kurosagi’s mouth as she smirked at Kouga. Kouga gulped falling on his bottom.

“What are you monster?”

Kurosagi chuckled and held her hand at Kouga as a dark presence seemed to surround her very being.

“Police was the connection to the murderer; camera was the murder weapon; music was the promise and the reason for the murder. The connection has been made, so fall into the darkness, Kouga Natsumi.”

Kouga stared into Kurosagi’s red eyes and screamed so loud that it could wake the dead.

The next day, Kurosagi, Hatori, and Nobu were in her office. Kurosagi was munching on a new tray of chocolate chip cookies. She looked at Nobu and asked, “Is everything all right now, Shuya-San?” Nobu nodded.

“Kouga and the entire Natsumi clan were taken in by the police. They will be put on trial for the murders they committed that includes Hikaru’s.”

Hatori nodded and added, “The camera and the bullet is good proof of the murder.” Kurosagi nodded with a piece of cookie in her mouth.

“They also found the other traitor in the police force I presume,” said Kurosagi. Nobu nodded.

“It turned out to be Shigure. He’s been sabotaging the files secretly and planned to kill Suiji by Kouga’s orders. Too bad, Suiji found out.”

Kurosagi and Hatori nodded. Kurosagi bit her cookie again and said, “I’m glad the case is closed, but what will you do now?” Nobu sighed.

“I called my father and decided to return home. We came to an agreement that until I have a stable job, I am not allowed to touch an instrument. It’s all I could do.”

Nobu’s face was filled with sadness. Kurosagi sighed and held chocolate chip cookie to him making him confused.

“When I saw your memories I could hear your music faintly in the background. Your music is beautiful, so play it once for your father and maybe he will understand.”

Nobu smiled and took the cookie from Kurosagi. He bit out of it and said, “I’ll see you when I can, Kurosagi.” Kurosagi nodded and wished Nobu goodbye.

When Nobu was gone, Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Now can you tell me what those vials were?” Kurosagi nodded.

“Those vials were filled with different ashes. When I eat the ashes of a cremated body, I can gain their ability. The ashes I ate in order to fight were three animals: Cheetah, rabbit, and Elephant. I used the speed of the cheetah; jumping power of a rabbit; and strength of an elephant. I have many ashes in my bag that I use only when I need them.”

“That’s amazing, but where did you get the cremated bodies?”

“Anyone can find road kill. I just take them here and burn them to ashes in my corpse lab. The more advanced animals are from my other friend, who you have yet to meet.”

Hatori nodded, but then paused. He looked at Kurosagi and asked, “You have a corpse lab?”

“It’s in the back of my office.”

Now Hatori wondered what other rooms were in Kurosagi’s office apartment for he only slept on her sofa. Hatori suddenly remembered the smoke under her feet at the cemetery and asked, “Why were your feet burning in the cemetery?”

Kurosagi smirked and said, “Let’s just call it an allergic reaction.” Kurosagi picked up another cookie and held it to Hatori.

“Now let’s enjoy our time before another case arrives.”

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