Tonight is going to be a very special night for me. It is the night that I get to take my revenge on the ones who murdered me ten years ago.
I have waited so long for this.
It starts now, right here in this lonely little junkyard on the edge of town. The security camera should be up and running and it is going to capture the moment of my death perfectly. Except I'm already dead, but no matter. It will still look like murder to those who are unaware of my secret.
This body is only a shell. My spirit was separated from it ten years ago, in that accursed park. It is frozen in time, constantly regenerating to the state at which it was just before my death. Existing in a body like this, being an officially dead man, has been sheer hell. I am quite possibly the loneliest man in the world but that is soon going to change. There are just some things I have to do first.
At least Sissel has been there for me. He's inside the bag right now. I hope he's going to be okay stuck in that bag all night. I'll be sure to give him some chicken when I meet my contacts at the Chicken Kitchen later. He will like that.
I swing round to face the detective standing behind me. Lynne.
Her face betrays a mix of curiosity and eagerness. Heh. She must really believe that I am going to give her a lead on Detective Jowd's case, just like I told her over the phone yesterday. The poor, foolish girl snapped the bait up and landed in my trap.
Not that I feel any pity for her. She is one of the people responsible for my death. Had that brat not been there in that park, I never would have thought to take her hostage and that meteorite wouldn't have pierced my heart.
A surge of anger flows through me as I recall the moment I lost it and snatched the little girl up in my arms. Her terrified scream pierced my ears but I paid no heed to her fear.
"S-Stay back! If you come any closer... I'll shoot her!"
Easy now, Yomiel. Don't go losing your composure. Don't want to go making this look like justified self-defence, do you?
I wonder if she knows the truth about her so-called "hero". He is a murderer, just like her. Execution is what he deserves and it's all thanks to me that his life is going to end tonight. I simply "persuaded" the justice minister to sign the execution order for him. Now this girl standing before me is running around desperately trying to prove him innocent and save him from execution.
Does this girl know what she did on that day? Is she aware that she sent an innocent man to his death? Probably not, considering that she was so young at the time. Detective Jowd and Inspector Cabanela, on the other hand, they know fully well what they did.
And that is why the two of them are going to die.
Lynne, on the other hand, is going to suffer behind bars for the rest of her life.
I smile as I prepare to tell her the news that will shock her. It will be satisfying to see the look in her eyes when she realises she is standing face to face with the man who took her hostage. What will she feel? Fear? Confusion? I can't wait to see.
"Before I give you the information, let's talk about ten years ago."
"Huh?" Her eyebrows shoot right up and her mouth parts slightly. This obviously isn't where she was expecting things to go.
"You were taken hostage in a park, weren't you? By a man."
"H-how did you know?" Her voice has suddenly become so quiet and there's a little quiver in it. Obviously, she doesn't like to be reminded about that day ten years ago. It must have been a traumatic experience for her.
Well, it was a traumatising day for me too, as well as the ten years that follow. Her trauma is nothing compared to mine.
At least she was able to go home, back to a loving family, and be comforted in their arms. She didn't end up lying on a mortuary slab and fleeing the morgue to find that her loved one had killed themselves in her absence. She was alive, she didn't have to spend the next ten years suffering. No, she had caused an innocent person to suffer and now she was going to pay for it.
I jerk a thumb toward myself. "I was that man."
There is a loud gasp in response to my statement. I stare intently at her eyes, seeing that the irises have shrunk down to mere pinpricks. She's shocked, alright. I'm sure I was the last person Lynne was ever expecting to see here.
After all, why was I, who was wronged by Detective Jowd, want to help him? Easy. I don't.
"I don't believe it." Lynne lowers her gaze, her bangs shielding her eyes. What a pity. I was enjoying seeing the shock and confusion in them. "But why? Why would you call me here?"
I lifted my shoulders in a shrug and backed up until my body came to rest against the fence. I needed it to stay in that position while I manipulated Lynne. It would be the bullet from her gun that would make my body to the ground and look just like a corpse.
Now to enter the Ghost World and attach myself to the core on Lynne's body. It's time for her to become a murderer and suffer just like Jowd.
Huh? Did I just hear my own name being spoken? Surely I must have been imagining things, but it really sounded like Lynne had just said my name. I looked up, right into her eyes, which were filled with a burning intensity which didn't actually seem to belong to her.
"What... how do you know my name?"
Had she read it in the news after that incident? Why would she even remember the name of the man who had taken her hostage? It didn't make any sense.
"Yomi, it's me."
It's like I just got drenched with cold water. I can practically feel it surging through me, through those veins where not even my blood has run for the past ten years.
Only she ever called me that.
Why... why would Lynne... is this really Lynne standing before me? I could swear it's like she's become someone else...
No! This is ridiculous! How could this possibly be happening?
I'm not going to fall for this evil trick. I don't know what sick and twisted game this detective is trying to play, but it won't work. I'm not going to let her mess with my mind like this.
"Don't call me that. Don't you dare."
She flinches as if I had just raised my hand and smacked her across the face.
"I was allowed to do this, just for a short while. I don't have long, so please listen to me. I know you've been so lonely these ten years-"
"Stop it, just stop it! What is wrong with you?" I clenched my fists tightly, glaring at her through the shades though she can't see it. She can't see the fury that must be radiating in my eyes right now.
"I thought I was going to join you when I chose to leave this world behind, but I was wrong. I'm so sorry."
She even knew about that? Anger is bubbling up inside me, threatening to spill over, but I struggle to hold it back. I can't go losing it now and screwing up this plan. I don't know why she is doing this. Is she really that kind of person?
A small seed of doubt has planted itself in the back of my mind. I try to ignore it.
This can't be happening. I don't want to believe it. It doesn't make sense. She has been gone for ten years. Why would she turn up now, on the night I was going to get revenge for both of us?
"I wish I could go back and change things. Then you wouldn't have ended up doing this. You've been so unhappy, haven't you... Yomi?"
"That's enough! I'm not listening to you anymore!" I unclench my fists and loosen my body. It's important that I try to look like I'm calm, so that this will look like a senseless murder. If the police see any reason why Lynne might have been justified in shooting me, then that's it. She could be looking at a more lenient charge and I can't have that.
"Do you remember the night we were last together? It was the day before that incident happened. You came over in the evening after a hard day at work and I made you a lasagna for dinner. It was a little bit burned but you didn't complain. You were always so considerate and never complained about anything I did, even when I made mistakes. You were always so sweet, caring and gentle... I love you more than anything in the world. I couldn't live without you."
A single tear falls free, gliding down Lynne's cheek and dropping off her chin.
It doesn't seem like she's acting anymore.
"You proposed to me in the summer of that year. We had been dating since college. You took me out to this really fancy restaurant and we had champagne. After the meal, you got down on one knee and proposed. The whole restaurant was cheering and clapping. The ring had this huge diamond on it. It was a very happy day for me. I was looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together. Do you believe me now?"
Suddenly, I'm laughing.
This is ridiculous. There's no way that Sissel is really here, possessing Lynne and talking to me. The very idea of it is completely absurd.
It's me. I must have completely lost my marbles and now I'm imagining her here, recalling memories that were precious to me. The day I proposed to her, the last night the two of us spent together... I have never allowed myself to forget them.
Okay, enough of this. I go slack again and smile. I won't let even my demented mind stop me from doing this.
The entire world changes; a blue wave sweeps over everything and an array of cores glow softly. I fix my attention on the core positioned on Lynne's body and reach out to it.
Now I'm in her body, looking at my own.
"I can't stop you from doing this, can I? I understand..."
This isn't Lynne's voice anymore. It's hers. I haven't heard that voice in so long and just hearing it fills me with a warmth I haven't felt in forever. I have to remind myself that this is just my imagination, playing tricks on me.
It isn't her. It can't be. She's in the afterlife and I couldn't even follow her.
When I get that new life, I will finally be able to go, but not until many years into the future. First, I intend to live my new life out to the fullest, to have a family... and then one day I will die and reunite with her in the afterlife. I hope she won't be upset about having to wait so long.
I begin manipulating Lynne's body, removing the gun from the holster at her waist, and I take a step back. One hand is on the gun, the other is on her wrist to keep it steady. Her arms are a bit shaky. No doubt she wants to stop me from doing this, but she won't be able to. I am the manipulator and I control everything.
"No matter what choices you make... I still love you. I will always love you."
Then I feel it. Something warm and soft is embracing my soul.
For a second, it's almost like I'm in Sissel's arms. I can practically feel her warmth spreading to me. But it's not enough to ease away the anger and pain that I have languished in for a decade. She isn't really there.
I don't want to believe she is. It isn't the right time for this to be happening, not when I'm finally about to avenge our deaths.
Then the sensation is gone just as quickly as it came.
I feel cold and empty again. Even though I'm used to it, this gut wrenching sadness tear into me and I want to scream out loud in grief. I compose myself and focus on the task ahead of me.
I start to squeeze the trigger.
Lynne's arms jerk to the side, aiming down, and the gun roars. I can't believe it, that this girl could have resisted me, but it won't be enough. I force her arms back up and squeeze the trigger a second time.
This time, my body falls down. I drop the gun next to it and enter the Ghost World.
Then I see Sissel's body inside the bag, outlined in dark blue which identifies it as a corpse, and the awful truth sinks in.
Tonight, I lost another Sissel.