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No Lights; Open For One
Topic Started: Sep 2 2017, 12:32 AM (220 Views)
Muchi
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No lights remained.

In a dark alleyway, when the cold moon looked down upon a sleepless town, there was a scene of gruesome murder.

A man in a dark hoodie held a bloodied kitchen knife in his trembling hands, panting heavily. A look of pure madness could be seen in his eyes, but his lips remained sealed in a strict frown. His androgynous, well-sculptured face betrayed none of his inner turmoil.

A girl sat at his feet, clutching a bleeding abdomen that has been stabbed numerous times. Her serene and peaceful face contrasted against the tragic sight of a life that came to an end too soon. Her eyes weren’t filled with scorn or righteous anger, but with a relief.

“You,” the murderer pressed his knife against the victim’s throat. “Why aren’t you screaming? Why aren’t you despairing? Why aren’t you sad? Doesn’t that hurt even a bit?” His voice was deadly cold and, rather than a threat of some kind, sounded more like an honest plea. It was a question born out of curiosity, not sadism.

“I suppose, it should,” the girl smiled. “But I am an idiot, you see.” Her smile was full of love and unconditional affection. “An idiot that forgot how to feel any pain.”

Then, the girl chuckled slightly, making the man more confused. Finally, he prepared to strike again and end this farce once and for all.
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
Things had been pretty busy for Takeshi, at least on the 762 Productions side of things. With the reopening of Kaneshima High School came the event that was the joint festival to celebrate the opening of KHS' new campus, and their integration into Senki Academy. And after the end of a busy day at the office planning the upcoming concert that was scheduled to be part of the joint festival's itinerary, the SERAPH agent producer decided to drop by at Kaneshima Broadway for a late night snack.

At least, until he came across a scene he wasn't expecting to find. Takeshi's hand instinctively went for his gun, kept in a holster hidden under his suit jacket, but decided against drawing his weapon. This wasn't exactly SERAPH business, and there'd be a long, troublesome report to write if he discharged a firearm. So instead, he would simply point at the man with the knife and call out to him in a loud, authoritative voice.

"You! What do you think you're doing, creep!?" Takeshi shouted as he pointed at the man; being a rather large, burly man, the agent's frame easily took up the entrance to the alleyway, making it hard for the perpetrator to try to slip past him.
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Muchi
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The man turned his head to see from whom the voice came. If he had a chance of succeeding, he would simply kill the witness and resume his boring, uneventful life. Maybe, his next victim would be someone more suited for helping him find the answer he longed for. Alas, the person that witnessed him commit a crime was too much for him to handle.

“I am searching for answers,” he pulled the girl up, not minding the fact that she was bleeding profusely. “Mine is a life without a meaning.” He put a knife next to the girl’s slender neck and applied enough pressure to draw some blood. “Why do people find tasty food tasty? Why does the pain hurt? Why do humans feel emotions and where do they all come from? I don’t understand.”

The man used the girl’s body as a shield. “This girl has been stabbed twelve times. She’s bled out a lot by now. But if you get her to the hospital quickly, she probably won’t die.” The girl herself felt too weak to say anything. Her body felt too heavy, and her eyes were half-shut already.

“Let me go, and I won’t hurt you. Move even a bit, and I’ll slit her throat. I watched a documentary before. If you slit someone’s throat a certain way, they won’t die immediately. They will choke on their own blood.” The man’s voice remained calm and calculated to the end. “Do you want her to suffer? Or, do you want to save this girl?”
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
"Jeez, he's an even bigger creep than I thought," Takeshi thought at the knife-wielding man's response. He'd initially imagined the stabbing was the result of a botched mugging, but apparently what drove him to commit his crime was... nihilism? Still, the agent wasn't the sort to be unnerved so easily. "I don't think an innocent girl is going to have the answers you seek," he added, although he made no further attempt to try to stop the man as he held up the barely-conscious girl as a hostage shield.

"Alright, you win," Takeshi remarked as he held up his hands, keeping them where the stranger can see them to ensure that he wouldn't attempt any tricks. He was right, unfortunately. And being a military veteran Takeshi was well aware of how much blood the average human can lose, and from the looks of it this girl hasn't got long, and every second was critical. "Just don't hurt the girl any further, you're free to go," he commented as he shifted his frame to the side to allow the knife-wielding man to pass if so he wanted.

Though in secret, Takeshi has performed a scan of the man's facial features, uploading the captured image onto the CHOIR network where the picture was being matched with government databases SERAPH has access to - immigration records, criminal records, citizenship registries, etc. in order to get an ID on the man, all taking place on the Augmented Reality interface that was inconspicuous designed as a pair of sunglasses.

Sure, he may get away with his crime this time, but should Takeshi manage to get an ID on the perpetrator it would be easier to pull his connections with the city's law enforcement to put out a manhunt later. But for now, an innocent's life hangs in the balance and that takes priority.
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Muchi
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“That is acceptable,” the man dropped the girl on the floor and started running. In a few minutes, his fleeting back merged with his surroundings. He thought about his next target and the best methods to find his answers. He would return home, take a shower, go to bed and attend his work as if the events that took place that night never happened.

Meanwhile, the girl managed to assume a sitting position, using wall to support her body. She held her bleeding wounds with one arm and covered her mouth with the other one, coughing profusely. “He was wrong,” the girl moved her arm away from her mouth. “I will die either way.”

“My wounds won’t close. It’s a fact,” she shrugged, looking eerily calm and collected. As she looked up and smiled weakly. “The moon sure is beautiful tonight,” she said. “Hey, mister,” she looked at the man that decided to save her life. “Thanks a lot for helping me.”

“Say, what time is it?”
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
"Just you wait; it ain't over, I swear," Takeshi thought, giving the man a stink-eye as he slipped past him and out of the alley - but thankfully he lived up to his end of the bargain. As soon as he was out of sight the agent would attend to the girl; who quite understandably wasn't optimistic about her chances of survival, but seemed to be pretty accepting of the fate that awaited her.

However, Takeshi wasn't one to believe in fate to begin with - seeing how as far as his own life was concerned, fate had generally dealt him a cruel hand early in life, and had generally seen himself fighting against the concept of destiny. "Don't say that, if we hurry, we can get you to emergency medical attention," Takeshi remarked as he opened an automap on his AR interface to set the quickest route to the nearest medical facility.

At the same time, the agent would throw off his jacket before wrapping it around the girl's waist, pressing the fabric against her abdomen in an attempt to arrest some of the blood flow as she picked her up, even as she tried to engage in a conversation. "What?" Takeshi was somewhat taken aback as she tried to talk about how beautiful the moon was, causing him to briefly take a glimpse at the sky.

"Right, keep her talking, don't let her fall unconscious," Takeshi thought as he made his way with the girl in his arms towards his car which was parked somewhere nearby. "Yeah, sure is a beautiful moonlit night; and you're welcome," he remarked, before muttering a stream of apologies as the moment they left the alleyway and almost bumped into a couple, who almost jumped back with a scream at the sight of the blood splattered girl and agent.

"It's... about half an hour to midnight," Takeshi remarked, taking note of the clock display on the top right-hand corner of his AR interface as he took a hand off the girl to open the front door of his car on the passenger side to carefully place her next to him. "Keep your hands pressed down on the fabric," he instructed, before getting into the driver's seat and starting the engine.

"Jeez, don't you die on me," he muttered.
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Muchi
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“I’ll try not to,” she smiled weakly, sitting on the passenger seat and barely breathing. As she pressed the man’s clothes against her body, the wounds that, as she predicted, showed no signs of closing, kept bleeding.

“I am sorry about your jacket,” the girl told the man. “And for spoiling such a beautiful night, too.”

The sights on the other side of the car window rapidly changed, which coupled with the blood loss-induced hallucination, made quite a peculiar image. The lights shifted, mixed together and reappeared again. Futaba could only mutter like a child in wonder. “How pretty.”

Her gaze fell on the man and she smiled, touched by his kindness. He was in a hurry to save her, a complete stranger. “Mister,” she said, “you’re really kind.”

“I wish we could meet again…”

The girl closed her eyes, her body slumped against the door. In a few seconds, she stopped breathing, but a serene smile remained on her youthful face.
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
"Wait, no..." And despite Takeshi's best efforts the girl's condition quickly deteriorated, and it was at this point that the revelation sunk in that she was clearly not going to make it. "Sh-!" And with a muffled curse the agent would slam the brakes of the car causing it to screech to a halt before lurching violently.

"Fu- don't give up, damnit!" he remarked as he exited the vehicle and laid her out on the sidewalk, though as he placed a finger over her nostrils it was clear that the girl was beyond saving. "Fuc-" and with that he would open the phone app on his AR interface, making a call to the police and also referring to the operator to send for an ambulance as well.

"Damn it, damn it all," he muttered, and when the police arrived, they would find Takeshi's car parked alongside the street, with the agent sitting next to the unmoving girl. He'd signed on with SERAPH because of his belief that he could make a difference - that he could protect the innocent, and bring wrongdoers to justice.

And tonight, he had failed in this regard. How could he make a difference, when he couldn't make a difference to whether one girl lived or died? And regardless, this was something that would weigh down heavily on him for a long time to come.
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Muchi
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“It is only obvious that favoritism exists,” the girl flipped another page, reading the book aloud. “It would have been useless to complain to human beings.”

This particular book was not something she picked up to read on her own: it was a present from a kind nurse from the hospital that helped her get a set of fresh, non-bloodstained clothes, the one that did not mind the fact that the girl was dead literally a few minutes before. Such bizarre happenings slowly became as regular happenstance as any other.

“So I said nothing of the truth.” Tired from the events that took place the night before, the girl decided to give her family a call and tell them not to worry since she would have a sleepover at her friend’s house. It was only a blessing that it was a weekend and therefore no need to worry about the school.

Futaba decided to wander around the city, searching for the man that attempted and succeeded in taking her life, if only temporary, to no success: his face was far too nondescript for her to remember clearly, which was only worsened by the extreme blood loss she suffered.

“I felt I had no choice but to endure whatever came my way and go on playing the clown,” she said and closed the book. For now, her break was over, so she stood up from the bench she was sitting on and started walking again.
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
"No wait... it can't be..." and as the girl got up from the bench a face from the night before happened to be nearby. "You're the girl from the night before... there's no mistaking your face, and your voice," and right in front of her stood Takeshi, and although he never caught her name nor did she catch hers, he recalled her face. And hopefully, so would she.

"But... how?" Takeshi asked. Either she had some kind of supernatural healing factor, or it was just his guilt weighing down on him and causing him to hallucinate. Or she'd come back as a yurei, a restless soul. After all, murder victims don't rest in peace, do they? Except who's ever heard of ghosts in broad daylight?

Except that a cursory scan of the girl would reveal on his AR interface that she was very much a living, biological entity as the scans read positive on vital signs. "I saw you die that night... but now here you are in front of me, alive and well. How's that possible?"
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Muchi
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“I cannot die,” she smiled at the man. “No, that is not correct. I am unable die.”

“Even if someone kills or I die because of an accident, my body will simply awake the following day without a scratch,” the girl admitted. “This is my abnormality.”

As she looked into the man’s eyes, her smile became wider than before. “I’m glad: we have met again.” It was nice to meet a person so kind by a simple stroke of luck. Maybe, he could lend a hand second time.

“The circumstances this time are much better, I should admit. Now then, do you perchance have some free time you’re willing to sacrifice?” she asked him. “I’m searching for that poor man from the other night, you see. And, to tell you the truth, I have no recollection of what he looked like. All that blood loss...”

“By the way,”
she said. “My name is Futaba. Aoyama Futaba. It is nice to meet you.”
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Lawman
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Hold still, your sideburns are uneven...
"I see, resurrective immortality," Takeshi remarked plainly as the girl said that her power is basically immortality - that every time she experiences death, she would simply be revived good as new the following day. The agent raised an eyebrow as the girl - who introduced herself as Aoyama Futaba - asked for his help in locating the man who killed her last night.

"Name's Matsumoto Takeshi," came the agent's curt reply, before he scratched his head slightly in bewilderment. "And I want to ask, why would you do that?" he wondered, his voice bearing a tone of concern for Futaba's safety.

"Immortal you may be, but it's probably not a stretch to say the process of dying and resurrecting is pretty unpleasant," he added, taking a few seconds of silence to contemplate before looking at Futaba in the eyes and nodded. "Very well, I will help you. The police wasn't able to get a positive ID based on the snapshot I took last night."

And with that the agent would show Futaba his phone, displaying a photo of the man he'd captured last night via the image capture on his AR device - but alas, the police weren't able to get the man's identity due to his face being largely hidden, compounded by the poor lighting conditions and the graininess of the photo due to the high ISO on the image sensor.

"So, let's go. I won't let him harm you again, or anyone else for that matter," Takeshi remarked, giving Futaba the go-ahead to start their search for the man who killed her.
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