Feb 20, 2011

Chapter Eight

Chapter 8

Not a Perfect Storybook

Shinichi's POV

*I accidently spelled apoptosis wrong in the last chapter. Sorry!*

The night had passed silently, and no matter how much I wished it wouldn't, the morning came. The morning of my funeral. Seeing my parents cry over my death again, seeing my friends grieve, watching people hurt because I died. I wanted to say the truth so badly, that I was inside of Ran, but, if just one person let out the word at the wrong place, Ran would be in danger, as well as the person who said it. I wasn't going to let anyone get hurt because of me.

The alarm clock sounded, and Ran turned over and slammed the reset button. She yawned, got up, and stretched. Today's the day, Shinichi. Are you ready?

As ready as I'll ever be. Do you have your black dress?

Give me a moment to myself to change into it. I felt her blush a little bit, and I smiled. Don't peek.

I won't, promise. Closing my eyes, or whatever I was seeing through, I relaxed for a couple minutes. I wondered who was coming, maybe my classmates, probably Inspector Megure, and a couple of others. Some of them would be able to get over it in a couple of days, others, maybe not for weeks. But they would be able to get on with their life, go to college, get a job, get married… All of which had been stolen from me. How could I have been so stupid to forget that the stocky man had had a companion? So many ways I could have evaded death; if I hadn't looked that way when the man walked into the alley, if I hadn't suspected him, if I hadn't followed him, if I had heard the footsteps of the man who came from behind me, so many ways.

Shinichi! I'm finished! Ran stood in front of the mirror; but black didn't suit her very well. It was too dark, and a little bit too sinister for her. Really, Shinichi?

I'm also a bit blackophobic right now. Who killed me? Two men dressed in black, that's who.

There's something I'm really worried about. Ran's expression was very uncomfortable. I should be grieving over you, and crying endless tears at the funeral. But, you're still here, so I can't feel upset. And I'm a terrible actress when it comes to sad emotions.

Could you possibly pretend that I'm not here? I suggested, after all, it would seem kind of weird how my best friend and supposedly girlfriend wasn't crying when I died.

No, because if you're quiet, all I can think about is what you're thinking. If you're talking, I have to listen, I can't help it.

Pretend you're still in a state of shock where you can't accept my death. Just don't smile, that would throw it off.

Okay.

My parents came by to pick Ran up in a long black hearse. Ran held a bouquet of white roses to lay by my coffin. My mother's eyes were red and puffy, and my father seemed no better. They didn't greet Ran, I guessed it was too hard for them to speak. They clung to each other, as if that was the only thing that kept them whole. My heard ached, to see my parents in such a pitiful state. When I had last seen them in America, my mother was all smiles, and my dad was full of pranks. There was no trace of their playful selves left.

The funeral home came into sight, we got off the hearse, and we walked into the chamber where my body was. The black coffin was open, and as we walked closer, I saw my face, eyes closed as if I were sleeping, my face clean of blood, and my arms formed an X over my chest. Seeing myself dead, was just so strange. It was me, without me in myself. It sounds confusing, but, it's hard not to feel a little confused when you stare at your corpse.

Ran lay her bouquet of roses next to my coffin, real tears running down her face as she looked at my pale, still face. You're dead, but you're alive. I guess I don't have to fake cry anymore, Shinichi.

She stared back at the people who had came to grieve. A girl with light tea-brown hair came up to Ran and hugged her. Ran's best friend, Sonoko Suzuki. "Ran, are you okay?" Her eyes had tears in them, and they were also full of worry for her friend. "I'm so sorry."

"You don't have to be sorry," she replied. "No one could have stopped him, except maybe me. If I had stopped him from running into that alleyway, then this would never have happened."

"It's not your fault either, Ran." Sonoko gave her a tighter squeeze. "If there was a mystery to solve, then he wouldn't have let you stop him. You would have only been killed as well."

Ran nodded, and wiped her eyes. She looked around, and I saw some of my other classmates, and surprisingly, Hattori Heiji and Kazuha Tooyama. They came up to her, and Hattori started talking.

"Mouri," he started talking. "Did you see what happened on the interview with Inspector Megure and I yesterday? I think we have a new theory on how Kudo was killed. A poison that causes apoptosis."

"Apoptosis?" Ran tilted her head to one side. Shinichi, do you know what apoptosis is?

I think its programmed cell death. It occurs naturally, it's basically getting old. But it seems like a pretty good theory if it killed all the cells. As for the no trace left part, it would be because it would be normal for all my cells to die.

"Apoptosis is a programmed cell death. In other words, it killed his cells. It wouldn't be like other poisons that kill by latching onto essential tissues and keeping them from performing vital functions." His expression reminded me of my own when I'd announce a seemingly random bit of trivia that was very important. A frown, mixed with confidence.

"Who came up with the theory?" Ran asked.

"I recently read an article about it, so I suggested it at the interview. It was the most probable theory, so that's the supposed cause of death at the moment. However, it would take a lot of money to create the poison, and a lot of trouble to hide it from public knowledge which leaves us with one kind of group. A mafia would be among the few capable of creating such a poison."

"There was something I didn't say earlier," Ran started hesitantly. "I think I know who the primary suspects are. During the rollercoaster murder case, Shinichi had his eyes on these two men in black. And afterwards, when he left me, I caught a glimpse of one of them."

"That helps." Hattori had a thoughtful expression on his face. "Can you describe them?"

"One was a tall long-haired blonde, with blue eyes. The other was slightly shorter, stockier, and had black hair. Both were dressed completely in black."

"I'll go tell Inspector Megure. I hope it wouldn't be considered rude if I left right now." He was looking in the direction of my parents.

"Can I go with you?" Ran pleaded. "I want to tell him myself. And I can't stand another minute in here." The tears running down her face, and the sorrow and desperate need to get out that I could feel, showed she wasn't lying.

"Tell his parents." He looked over at Kazuha. "Are you coming with us?"

"I am." She started to cling to his arm again. "I don't like it here either, it's too sad for me."

Ran explained her want to leave to my parents, and they nodded in acceptance. No words once again.

This was good, within a day, they had figured out a likely cause of death, and narrowed down the types of criminals to a mafia. In other words, an organization.

Ran, are you better yet? I questioned her.

Now that you're talking again. It feels less lonely now.

This would be the part of the story where the boy kisses the girl to comfort her. But, it was impossible. We were in love, with no method of showing it but words and thoughts.

I wish it too, Shinichi. I felt what must have been a mental hug, and I returned it. Dying was so much more than losing your life. It's losing everything that came with it. My nonexistent tears ran down my face…

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