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Keeping Tabs

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The moon is no longer the front-page headline. Sure, there are still scientists studying the causes and effects of the explosion and debating if there ever was a monster like the government claimed or if it was just a conspiracy meant to hide the government’s secrets, but for most people, it’s no longer news. That being said, it doesn’t mean it has entirely gone from society’s mind.

It’s common for new recruits to ask about the conspiracy. With a job in the government, specifically the division that dealt with the so-called monster, how could you not search for the truth? It’s human nature. So you ask around. Most who were in the division at the time of the moon’s demise grimace and recall the speed of the man-turned-octopus while mumbling to themselves, but there are some who smile and lean in close as if they’re giving away a secret.

“Talk to Karasuma,” they say. “he was in charge of the whole thing.”

So you do one day when you bring him paperwork to sign. He doesn’t freeze, per say, but he does slow down in his penmanship, and you can tell his mind has gone elsewhere, at least for a second. Still, when he responds, he doesn’t give anything away. Just claims that the year of the moon’s explosion was a year on the job. Nothing unusual about it, nothing noteworthy.

(He looks you in the eye when he speaks, acting truthfully the whole time, but you get the distinct feeling that there’s more than the eye can see to this particular mystery.)

You aren’t totally convinced by his words, not since that one time when you managed to sneak up on him and caught him looking at the moon’s slowly rebuilding fragments as if he were mentally communicating with it. You notice that he does that a lot.

There are other things too, things that maybe don’t relate to the year of the moon but simply conflict with who you thought Karasuma to be. Things like him going to a baseball game with Irina (despite claiming to dislike the sport, as you heard him say once) or giving a work partner the suggestion to take her date to an acrobatic troupe he’d seen once. He had tabs kept on certain places, like a poor high school and a rebuilt cram school on top of a mountain. Then there were those tickets you’d found sitting on his desk one day. There were two, and they were to an action movie starring an actress you remembered from your childhood because she had become quite popular before disappearing for a few years. She’d just resurfaced recently. For someone who’s all work and no play, Karasuma seems to be a very busy person.

Of course, as with all things, you eventually lose interest in the mystery that is Karasuma, or at least the motivation to try to figure him out. You stop investigating his personal life.

He notices because of course he does. Nothing gets past him.

When he brings it up, it isn’t to be snarky, which is the interesting thing. He simply asks you,

“Did you find your answer?”

You don’t hesitate to return the question.

“Did you find yours?”