Chapter 10 Through a Crack in the Wall
That woman with the black hair and horns sticking out of her temples walked in that day. She looked familiar, and not just because the horns looked too much like Yomi's. She practically kicked down the door to the office and tottered her way awkwardly on her high heels, obviously not used to walking in them (or, option B, she had been walking a long distance and wasn't used to doing that much walking in her heels). She almost tripped over the long skirt she wore that reached her ankles and it was painted on her starting from just below her asscrack. When she leaned in close to Mukuro's face, she saw the finer features- a face covered in thick layers of makeup three shades too light and ostentatious for her skin tone, the eyebrows tattooed on, and her hair which looked as if it where glued flat against her head under a thousand layers of gel and a fog of hair spray. She smelled terribly like sweat and body odor covered up with perfume. (Hell, you could practically see a mist of the damn stuff floating around her.) She knew she had Mukuro's attention, slammed her hands on the desk when Mukuro went back to her computer after the door shut with a thundering bang. She still didn't look at her. Much like a child trying to get a parent's attention, she shoved the papers off the desk. Mukuro finally looked up at her, cocking a brow and then looked down at the papers that were knocked down.
"What is your problem? Pick that shit up," Mukuro said.
"Bitch, I'm not doing nothing for you," the woman replied.
"Then, don't knock it over if you don't want to pick it back up. I would also appreciate it if you didn't break the door or the desk. I have to work here." The woman was staring at her. She shuttered and felt a headache starting to come on. Why? She rubbed a temple, shutting her eyes. Something flashed across her eyes and she opened them. She looked back at the woman again. "Well? You have any business here? Otherwise, you should just leave instead of wasting your, and more importantly, my time."
"Is this that Lovecrafter's HP place?"
"This isn't a porn shop if that's what you're asking me. There's a Suzie's if you drive three blocks away from Cannery Row that I'm pretty sure fulls any of your... Needs." She made shooing motions. The woman stepped closer and took Mukuro's chin so she could look into her eyes. Shit, those eyes... She's looked into them before. She's touched that... Mukuro swatted her hand away. "What the hell is your problem? Get out."
The woman grabbed Mukuro by the collar and pulled her closer. She didn't give the woman a chance. She brought her other arm in the woman's direction, balling her hand into a fist on the way to make contact with the woman's face. The woman dropped to the ground. She stepped over the desk, hand on her hostler. The woman stayed on the ground, crying over the inevitable bruise that would be on her face. Mukuro knew it would be worse than that. It would turn into a black eye. Actually, she was lucky she was still conscious. The woman looked up at her, malice in her eyes now, she stood up, hand raised to slap Mukuro, who sighed and roundhouse kicked her in the ribs so she would drop back to the ground, taking more than a little satisfaction in hearing some ribs crack. The woman curled into a ball, moaning and cursing under her breath in French.
Mukuro dropped to one knee, gun pointed to the woman's head now. "Try one more move on me, and I will put a bullet into your brains. You hear me? Now, you're going to tell me who sent you and/or your business in this building." The woman glared at her. "You wanna play this game with me? I can still kick harder, you know that? I've been known to dent cars and break down doors with just one kick and with only fifty percent effort."
"You are such... A little cunt... You're still the same. I know it's you."
"Fuck... you." Mukuro brought down an elbow in the small of the woman's back. "Oh my god! No one sent me, okay, you bitch? I went here on my own. That's all I'm telling you." Mukuro raised her hand again. "What's this place called?"
"It's Lovecraft. You know what we do here?" Mukuro took a paper from the ground and a pen and dropped it by the woman's face. She stood up, still holding the gun at the ready to make another kick if needed, and stepped back. She went to a more diplomatic tone, "You need to fill out a form before you even get your problem investigated. And that would take some time to find after your case gets mixed with everything else. We just go by urgency of the situation. Just write your name, surname first, and then give a brief explanation of your problem."
"Fine. I'll play police with you then." The woman tried to get into a comfortable sitting position but only managed to sit in an awkward squatting position. "What if I can't give a brief explanation of a problem?"
"Just do it."
"What's a surname?"
"Just put your name. I'll figure it out."
She moaned, mostly because of pain and also because of frustration, as she wrote, sounding out everything as she did so. "Um... Chih... Err... Ee... My problem... Um..." She took a brief glance at Mukuro. "Yee-ooh..." She held it before her eyes.
"I have no idea what you're trying to say. I don't speak gibberish."
"Why the hell did you ask me to write it then? Quit screwing with me."
"I believe you're the one that needs to quit doing so with me."
"Shit, what, cause I'm not a man in bed with you." She looked into Mukuro's eyes again. "You're trying to hard not to remember. Oh god, you're trying so hard and failing... I'm Cherie, and you should know that after the number of times I had to put my hands on you. And you're my problem. I can't even sleep until I know you're out of my life."
"I have lots of people that hate me and would take pleasure in seeing me brutally murdered. What makes you any more special than them? As far as I'm concerned, you're just a sad excuse of an assassin for someone with the most petty of grudges."
"You know what? I'm fucking tired of your bitch ass looking down on me like I'm just a pile of shit. Okay, so I was sent to go see something myself. See one day Daddy was just fine and then he just starts talking about his daughter he misses and I asked him about it like who she was and then he said something about a little one. And I got to thinking and thinking and thinking, what the hell did that mean? And then I remembered that nasty little girl Daddy was always going on about. The one he always liked more than me."
"How does this concern me?"
"Stop. Just stop this innocent act. I know that you do remember all of us since you're the favorite. So I know that if I say anything about it, you'll come and take Daddy away from me just like you always did. I heard there was this girl in this place that's supposed to be the hottest girl any human's ever seen. And that's when I knew I had to look just to make sure."
"Okay, well, telling about this- whatever it is- is just as bad if I really were like that. Which I'm not. Who knows what made you think I'd just cut in on someone like that. I'll make sure I'll stay away from him. And to clear up any misconceptions, I actually hate the attention I get. But I guess it comes with the birth certificate, doesn't it?" She sighed. "So that's it? You're just some jealous girlfriend that wants to make sure I stay away from her man. It can't get any more petty than that. Rest assured, I will not put my hands on anyone's man. Now will you get the hell out?"
"Not going nowhere til I get an answer to my questions." She glanced at the book shelf and was attracted by a book with a plum spine. "Ooh! I wanna read this one!" She reached for it and grabbed it from the shelf. As soon as she opened it, a look of disappointment crossed her face. "What the...? You read this crap? Where're the pictures? And what's with all the huge words?"
"Pictures in books died when we were all around the age of ten. For the record, I've never read many of those. They're mostly psychology and true crime. Besides that, I know everything that I need to for this job so far..."
"Psychocology? You're smart." She snorted at the last word.
Kirin walked in at that moment but stopped to stare at Cherie for a moment. Okay, more than a moment. He was eyeballing her. Mukuro sighed. Great, so she's one of me, too. She cleared her throat to make sure Kirin wouldn't continue to trapped under the woman's aura. He shook his head, went back to his business, and asked, "Reeve... You don't happen to know where Zamyatin is...?"
"He's in New Jersey at the moment on a mission," Mukuro replied. He cocked his head questioningly. "Request from the Aono twins. They're short staff. Needless to say, they're glad I sent Zamyatin out."
"That explains Minamino's absence."
"Why did you want to know?"
"The Colt's missing from the closet. I wanted to find out who walked off with it. Shouldn't have anyone touch it. Don't want it falling into the wrong hands."
"Sure, if anything disappears, blame the communist. I know we fought in Korea, but I'd forgive him just for being born in the Soviet Union. He also believes in the good kind of communism. What, don't look at me like that. I don't like communism, but I have to live with him so I have to be more open minded." She shrugged. "Now about the Colt... I was searching for something the other day and I do remember moving it. I might have taken it out and forgotten to put it back. Yes, as I do recall... I'm sure that's exactly what happened. Too much going on in my mind at the time. Don't worry about that. I'll find it."
"Sure..." He stopped before leaving the room, making sure he was out of the woman's field of vision and pointed at her questioningly. Mukuro shrugged again.
"Ooh, so you're still getting laid, huh? So all that bull that you pulled was nothing back then, huh?" the woman asked. She started trying to wedge the book's corner in between Mukuro's legs.
She took the book and kicked the woman's arm, bending the elbow in the wrong direction. Mukuro dropped to her knees, staring into the woman's eyes, using the compulsion to keep her quiet until she righted the bending. The last thing she wanted for everyone in the damn station to run in. "I've had enough of your bull. Just tell me what you want, you whore."
"Ooh... I'm so scared. Goddammit, you're so boring. You have nothing that I want. I mean, your face is screwed up even before you threw shit on it. You're hair's an ugly color, though I thought it was so pretty when it was darker. You're tiny and you look older than dirt even though I'm older than you. Not by a lot but I am. And then you're all military. No one wants to be anywhere a soldier anymore. Actually before people started thinking they were asses they were already nasty. Don't know what those humans see in you. Then again, one of us... We'll make anyone get em up, won't we? Even if we look like a dried up hag even when you..." She started cackling. "Hey, maybe that's why you're doing a commie, cause he doesn't know any better. Bet he's nasty looking too. Or did you pop his cherry so he doesn't know better? That's it, isn't it? Popped his cherry." Her laughter came to an abrupt end when she saw Mukuro coming over to make another blow. "Quit your damn China man moves on me already. If you really can't remember then... Then... Remember when you touched that one girl and you freaked her out by looking in her head and then you kept doing it all those times? You knew that Daddy was gonna do something to you cause you saw it in her head? Do it right now." She held out her had. Mukuro didn't touch her. "Do it!"
"I don't want to catch the syph."
"Oh, shut up, and do it."
Reluctantly she grabbed her hand, though she was already dreading what was going to happen. She was flooded with memories and the same face appeared in all of them. The balding man with the grey mustache. His skin was a sort of dirty white like the fading paint of an off white wall. His cheeks were wide over the fat cheeks which rolled over the corners of his mouth like the gills of a goldfish. He had an extremely large belly, large thighs and legs like a newborn baby. Throughout the images there was the same gleeful look on his face (and a few times she heard the squeal like a baby's). Hanging overhead and staring down at her. His eyes were blue. The same shade... Shit, shit, shit, SHIT. The same shade shit shit shit the same shit. His hair used to be a bright shade of auburn seen in between the grey of his hair. It was the shit shit oh fucking... It was shit shit shit.... She immediately let go when she saw the beginning memory of him commanding the girl and another to do some obscene act. Mukuro practically slammed her head on the desk.
Cherie giggled and dropped the book. She grabbed the corner of the desk and hoisted herself up. "Like I said, you stay away from Daddy."
"What in the name of anything holy makes you think I want to go back to that godforsaken whorehouse! You get the fuck out of this office or so help me I will rip out your heart!" Cherie giggled again and walked out. Mukuro swallowed vomit down her throat. No, she didn't think she was going to hold it back. She crawled to the trashcan and heaved into it. Her head was pounding. She wanted to kill him. Stay away? Fuck th-
But still... The field. He took her out of the prison one day and held her up in a way she didn't remember. Let her piggyback ride on him. He made her a daisy chain and put it in her hair. And he said... She leaned back to the trashcan and heaved again. She didn't remember eating this much.
"Hey. Hey, hey... Mukuro..." Fingers brushed against her shoulder and she twisted around, holding the gun out, finger on the trigger. Kirin was crouched next to her. He backed away. Shit, she didn't even hear him come in. He stepped to the desk and took a tissue and handed it to her. As she wiped the dribble and the chunk of whatever bile mixture off her chin. "I heard some crashing and then what sounded like you... Well, you know. I wanted to make sure you were okay. She didn't slip anything on you, did she?" She shook her head. "You look like a damn ghost. You sure you should be here at work?"
"Can you leave? I've got a horrible headache, and I think I need to sit in silence."
He nodded. "If you need anything, make sure you let me know. And if you need the rest of the day off, I'll take over no problem, okay? I'll pick this up."
"I'll get to it." He shrugged and left the room. She sighed, put her head in her hands. Jesus Christ, what the hell am I going to do? Should I leave the city? The country? Maybe I should just go back. Haven't been in a hundred years... And they seem like they need me back. Me or... Damn him. The phone rang and she snatched it. "What?"
"I haven't even said anything yet. Calm down," Hiei said.
"Oh... Right. I just have a really bad migraine. You would-" She froze, feeling her eye spasm for a moment. "...You wouldn't welcome a phone call if you had one either. What do you need?"
"...You should take a medication for that."
"I've been getting along fine without needing medication. Don't forget that you also refuse to take any meds too. Now stop stalling and ask me whatever it is that you're going to be asking me."
"Kurama got knocked out or something. He was pulled in the river by something and when he came back up, his eyes were white. I dunno what to do about it."
"His eyes were rolled back, you mean?" She added more to herself, "That's impossible though. He's already occupying a human body though. There can't be another one there... About that- is he moving at all?"
"No. Not even twitching. Are you talking about possession?"
"Yeah. But that's really strange. If it's a true possession, he should be looking like he's having some kind of a seizure at the least. ...He's not even talking?"
"No. Nothing. He's just sitting here drooling like he's brain dead or in a coma or something."
"I can't give you a straight answer right now. Could be a delayed reaction, I suppose. He told me something about him coming into a human before it was born. I don't know if the souls were able to merge together if the soul was there at that point. I haven't heard of a case like this before. In fact, I don't think a human and a demon's souls are even compatible with us being from different worlds. If there was no soul in the body, then I would be able to make more sense of this, but from what I'm understanding, he must have come into that body late in the pregnancy. I'm thinking the souls were unable to completely merge and in a case like that then that would make him appear to have MPD. Actually, if he is possessed, then that would probably cause the soul- or souls- to become more unstable. That's all I can say about that."
"Okay... So what do I have to do?"
"I dunno. Do an exorcism or something along the lines of that. Something that would rule out the possibility of a possession. Wait... Did you see any smoke? Smell sulfur? Any weird noises? Or any creature that looked at all abnormal, even for our standards?"
"Okay, that might be... You haven't used the Colt, have you?"
"Haven't even touched it. I don't think I have it with me right now."
"Idiot. That's the point of having it. Keep it with you in case you really need it. But on the other hand, I suggest that you put some gloves on or something when you use it. I didn't give it to you loaded so you have to do it yourself. I was actually counting on Kurama using it. He has human hands but there's a small chance that he'll feel any after affects or if he'll even get as bad when he loads it. But then, there's that demon side..."
"Quit beating around the bush and tell me what you're gonna tell me."
"Well, if you touch it with your bare hands, it will actually burn your skin. I didn't even think about it, and it burned my hands. I could see my skin sizzle when I touched it. Not something I'm completely new to, as you can tell, though. I'm sure you don't have any gloves, though. I should have mentioned it earlier. I wasn't exactly counting on having you use it."
"I don't have any fingernails and more scars than I can count or even make sense of. I can take a burn."
"I'm sure. But don't use the Colt if you can help it. It's bad enough it's in your hands, but if you use it enough times, Spirit World's going to know something's up. So far they still haven't finished investigating its whereabouts."
"Why did you give something like that to us?" He paused, as though realizing his voice was raised. Actually Mukuro wouldn't have minded if he got hit by something if only to have him stop talking so she can have this headache go away. His voice was softer now. "I know. You know if you keep repeating yourself like that, people'll stop listening."
"Yeah. I'm sure of that too. Keep an eye on him. Anything else to report?"
"Headaches get better with cayenne pepper. I have something in the drawer of my desk that you could use. It's some herb from the Otherside. It can cure anything, so I've been told."
"I'm not drinking alcohol. I... I have something here I can use."
"Just don't give yourself a tumor over it."
Mukuro stared at the phone. Do you know, Hiei? Or do you know where I am right now...?
Hiei hung up and glanced at Kurama, who was slumped over in the passenger's seat. His head rolled over to his left shoulder, then switched sides with every bump. Just as Hiei was sure that he wouldn't make any other movements, Kurama sat up straight, though he still had the dazed look on his face. But his irises were back. That was an improvement, at least. His mouth hung wide open, spit slowly dripping out his mouth.
Feeling a bit stupid he grumbled to him, "Close your mouth. You'll swallow a fly." Hiei continued driving for a few minutes, then growled and pushed Kurama's jaw up, catching the tongue on his teeth. "Damn you, put that back in your mouth." He thought about what he was doing again and shook his head. "Why am I so st..." He knew the other man was still drooling. He tried really hard not to think about it or the drool that got on his hand.
Kurama lifted his right hand and started slamming on the window, still starting straight forward. He other hand reached over awkwardly without turning his body and tried to push the door open.
"The door... What am I saying...?" He reached into his pocket, flipped through a few of the dog-eared pages of his notepad and saw the address to the station. In about ten minutes, he pulled up to the parking lot and got out. He paused for a moment, locked the doors and went inside. Immediately he was greeted by Kujou.
"Himmelstoss. So you've already gotten into a jam? Where's your partner?" he asked.
Hiei was appalled, feeling the blood rush to his face and sure that his face was as red as a Coke can, he growled, "I'm not Himmelstoss. I'm not even German. You're not close. I'm Zamyatin, get it right."
"Oh... I thought your name was Himmelstoss because I remember it starting with an H. So you're... H... H... I'm horrible with remembering names."
"Hiei. Enough about that." He groaned. "Listen, we need an exorcist or something. My partner might be possessed."
"Might be? He is or he isn't. I leave you alone for a few hours and you already f-ah... Not really. Well, you've already made a huge mess, how's that sound? Quit biting your lip, you'll make it bleed and that's just disgusting. We can fix it." He looked out the window and raised an eyebrow. "What is he...?" He practically kicked down the door. "You. What're you doing over there? Are you drunk or something?"
Kurama looked limp but he still continued to take large steps, his eyes and mouth still wide open. Looks like he evolved into door opening.
Hiei said, "He wasn't moving like that a few minutes ago. For a while, he wasn't even moving..." He shook his head and grabbed him by the arm. Kurama tried to tug back and pull away, but he was too weak to overpower Hiei.
Kujou came and got Kurama in a headlock. He took a look into his eyes. "Yeah... I think he might be possessed. Disregard what I said earlier."
"Get him trapped somewhere. I don't like where this is going. I know he'll find a way out if he keep him in the car."
"I'll lock him in my office. Tell me what happened."
He sighed irritably. "Look, we were at the river investigating this stuff and then he went in the river, something grabbed him and pulled him under. He came back up but he ended up like this."
"What were you doing over there in the first place?"
"I thought you knew the legend."
"Bits and pieces. I'm not a native either, you know. I remember something about a thirteenth child but the rest didn't make sense to me at the time... Wasn't there a bad movie about that thing a while back?"
"Uh... Well, there's this part of the legend that says something like the child wasn't beautiful and got thrown into the river... Or something like that. That one looks like it's pretty close to the truth right now. Or the damn thing likes being in the water."
"Okay, so let's say he is after beautiful people. Why would it go for Minamino instead of you? I'm not a girl or anything but I think I'd rather be seen with you. With him it's like a beauty contest. It'll be sad when a boyfriend's the prettier one."
"I'm not even five feet. Lesser of two evils. And I'm not pretty."
"Hey, so that means in the state of Texas, you'd be considered a 'little person'."
"And in Texas there's also George W Bush and people on death row actually do get executed- what's it matter? What're we going to do with this then? I'm not coming home with a zombie partner. Reeve'll make sure I join him... In a state of zombie-ness anyway."
"Yeah, that's true. Always been like that. From all those meetings I've seen her, I really get that vibe from her. Probably why she gets along with my sister. They're pretty similar I say. Or she might just be sick of living like everyone else that gets up to a thousand."
"Someone... Did something to her. Don't ask me what it is, cause I don't know and even if I did know, she'd kill me for telling you too. She gutted a guy so I doubt she'd feel remorse for me. I just know that... That's not important. Don't know how Santiago was able to stand it."
"Sa- Oh, right. Are you sure he it wasn't that he was too busy dreaming of retirement that he didn't care about anything else...? Say, you ever get word from him? He promised me that when he gets home to Nuevo Laredo, he'd get us a bunch of postcards and candy for us but he never did send us stuff."
"I was wondering that too. Unless he realized he didn't remember anyone's address without having it written down in front of him. And he said he would come back and visit us when he gets the chance but that I understand. Texas and California aren't that close. Well, no one here would be willing to allow him to come back. But for some reason, I want to say I remember him saying when he goes he would never come back and would never want too... But that doesn't make sense. He wanted to keep seeing us... Like the dogs..."
"Now that you mention it... And what about the dogs?" He shrugged when Hiei didn't say anything. "Back to the case now. So let's say you are right and this thing isn't possessing him and it's actually trying to take him away. What're we supposed to do?"
"You should know. You're running this place."
"Yeah, I've dealt with possessions but not with whatever it is is going on. Shoot, you have that Jagan thing, if anything, you should be a master of manipulation."
"The only way I can figure is that we get rid of the thing. I don't like the sound of this at all. Go where a devil wants, and well, you're done for. That is if that's even what this bastard is. I'm thinking it might just be a vengeful spirit. It's weird that this is happening now all of a sudden. He can't be the best looking guy that's ever stepped foot in Pine Barrens."
"I really don't know. Got no judgement really. Or maybe he's got some sort of allure to him that they like. By the way, you don't have a window in there, do you?"
"Oh, crap, that's right...!" He opened the door and there the window was wide open. He smacked his forehead with a fist. "Natsume and Mukuro are going to kill me."
/And there was none.