Moon Phase: Waning Full Moon
Far as Naoki could tell his parents had spent the night making frantic phone calls and crying. He wanted to tell them he knew how to help, but he honestly didn’t and, even if he did, they wouldn’t believe him. After all, he had to take care of himself first.
The markings had remained through the night and his horn had poked a hole through his mattress. Naoki had bought out the local convenience store’s makeup supply and still wasn’t sure how he could make it through a day. Even just doing his face yesterday had taken a whole bottle to hide the glow.
And that didn’t solve the problem of the yellow eyes. Would those color eye drops work? Probably not and, frankly, as someone who had been blessed with perfect vision his whole life he didn’t relish the thought of shoving something in his eyes.
Besides, the magatama probably wouldn’t like that.
He’d experimented a bit last night, slowly working the parasite down from wherever it liked to hide and out his mouth. Five had come out, and he could still feel more. No wonder he had headaches. To make matters worse they had, far as he could tell, begun to shrivel in the air and he’d been forced to take them in again. He could just about feel the base of his neck squirming.
“Naoki?” his mother called from the door.
The handle turned, but she stopped before she actually opened it. “The police will be here soon to talk to us. Please, be honest with them.”
“Do you know anything?”
I know that he’s been kidnapped by the voice of god, Metatron. I also know that’s not an answer that will work. “Only where I found his phone.”
“I wonder what smashed it. I heard you and then it stopped. Did you…?”
Naoki wasn’t honestly sure how to explain last night. It would have been one thing to fabricate a story if he hadn’t fallen and broken the bench, but with that on record he wasn’t sure what explanation to give.
If he gave the truth they’d think he was crazy. If he lied they’d probably notice. Insanity or suspicion. Which would be worse?
“I’ll be ready.”
He could hear his mother’s slow footsteps.
Naoki stared at himself in the small mirror again. He still had no idea what to do, but he knew he had to do something.
“Don’t suppose any of you can shapechange?” he whispered to himself. Naturally, the demonic parasites didn’t respond.
He looked at the array of creams and powders on his desk. YouTube. He needed YouTube, and maybe pinterest, and perhaps…he glanced at his LINE app. It wasn’t like he didn’t have any female friends. Idea shot down as he remembered that he couldn’t tell her anything either.
He picked up a cream and a cotton ball. Nothing else for it but to do it.
Naoki had never felt like such a delinquent in the entirety of his young life. He sat in his own home being stared down by police on one end and getting holes bored into him from the other. His mother had just about had a heart attack when he’d come out of his room in the dark hoodies and gloves. He’d settled on fingerless gloves since that counted as a fashion statement, but that met he had to pretty much keep his hands carefully in his pockets. He’d managed to get the tops covered, but the makeup came off pretty easily if he actually wanted to us them.
For bonus points it had taken him so long to get everything on just so, and sneak the tape he needed to secure to hood to his horn, that his hair remained completely disheveled. Basically he looked like he had grabbed the most suspicious looking clothes he could find out of his closet and rushed downstairs with no regards to hygiene.
If anything the hours he’d spent of makeup just make him look worse. He knew things weren’t blended right, making it clear he was wearing makeup in the first place, and he highly doubted every little black line remained concealed.
“Sorry I’m late.” Most awkward, ridiculous, thing to say ever, but someone had to break this irritating silence.
“It’s fine,” the plainclothes detective assured him. “I know you’re all very upset right now.” The more normal looking officer beside him, the one who’d reported the bench last night, looked less sure.
“I guess. Honestly, it’s all been so fast I don’t know how to feel.” Naoki could see his father shaking out the corner of his eye. “It just doesn’t feel real.”
“I understand.” The detective slide a business card across the table. “I already gave this to your parents, but you should have one too. I’m Detective Daisuke Sakamoto. I’ll be handling things for a while.”
Naoki took the card with both hands. Why was a homicide detective here?
“I specialize in cases which have grown cold, or which simply have no leads. In this case, I’m most interested in you.”
“That bench was steel and fresh wood,” the policeman grumbled. “And you glowed.”
“Glowed? Bench? Naoki, what is this?”
“Said he was cosplaying.”
“Officer Tanaka,” Detective Sakamoto snapped. “If you would refrain. I want to hear his side of the story before anything else.”
“Thank you. Now, Kashima-kun, could you tell us what happened last night? How did the bench break? And why didn’t you tell Officer Tanaka about your missing brother? Just take your time and give it to us best you can.”
This one actually seemed competent.
Naoki took a deep breath. He’d have to mix fact and fiction if he stood any chance of escaping excess scrutiny. The last thing he wanted was to throw a bunch of normal humans into a fight against angels.
“I went looking for my brother, to where he’d called. Figured mom could stay and wait for him. You know how these things are. It’s easy to overreact, so we didn’t want to call him in just yet.”
“We do appreciate it when people keep their fears in check, but you must remember your own safety as well.”
“I know, but it’s just our neighborhood, you know? How could anything bad happen here?”
The officer nodded proudly. The detective smiled slightly, likely running through a list of bad things that had happened in this neighborhood.
“Anyway, I went and found his phone. Still on, like he’d dropped it, so I picked it up.” Now what? Up to here was pretty straightforward, but how could he explain seeing his brother there? Or how the phone had gotten smashed? And even worse, that stupid bench?
“And at what point did it break?”
“Looked like someone stepped on it,” Officer Tanaka added.
Naoki resolved to ignore the incompetent policeman and simply direct his commentary towards the detective. “I was holding the phone when I thought I saw my brother. Then, I realized he was slung over someone’s shoulder.”
“Slung over a shoulder?” Officer Tanaka scoffed.
Detective Sakamoto held up a hand to signal the end of anymore such outbursts. “Please, continue.”
At least his parents weren’t verbal about it.
“Maybe I screwed up. I don’t know, but I thought I saw him and went closer, just to get a look, right? And, and I think it really was my brother. Someone jumped me before I got a good look though, must have damaged the bench and stomped on the phone.”
“Why damage the bench?”
“Well, I do have a bench-shaped bruise on my back.” Or would, if it hadn’t healed up already.
“Do you remember anything about the person you think had your brother? Or your attacker?”
Naoki thought for a moment. Maybe he could set them on a route where he’d get more information out of it?
Detective Sakamoto sighed. “Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Kashima, but I’d like a word with your son,” he turned to Officer Tanaka, “in private.” He then regarded Naoki again. “Would it be alright if we talked in your room?”
On the one hand, this could end horribly. On the other hand, Naoki figured he and Detective Sakamoto comprised the entire list of competent people in the room.
“Is that alright with you?”
Naoki could see his father bristle, but in the end he agreed. Personally, Naoki was pretty proud of himself for not smiling to see his father knocked down a peg in his own home.
He led the detective fairly happily to the room he and Yukio shared.
“Your brother sleeps in here as well?”
“Yes.” Naoki closed the door. “I’m on this side of the bunk and he’s on the other.”
“And you’re on the top bunk?”
“Always have been.”
“Do you like it?”
“Alright. Makes me a little claustrophobic sometimes though.”
“One thing if it’s curtains or more bed, but there’s something creepy about a ceiling that close to my nose.”
“I see.” He glanced over at Naoki’s desk. “You wear makeup?”
“And apply an entire convenience store’s supply at once?”
“Kashima-kun, would you please take off your gloves?”
“Just humor me.”
“I get cold easily. No circulation to my extremities.”
“Just one glove?”
Naoki held out his left hand. Terrible idea. Horrible, terrible, idea. “Go for it.”
Detective Sakamoto easily slipped the glove off. “Black lines. Glow in the dark outlines. Must take a while to apply.”
Maybe he still had an out. “My parents don’t want me cosplaying. Think it means you’re crazy.”
“You have a job then?”
“No, you don’t. So, how do you pay for all of this?”
“You’ve been eating my parents’ stories, haven’t you?”
“They’ve been trying. It takes work for a child to turn his parents so against him.”
“I grew opinions.”
Naoki did his best to provide a perverted grin. “Puberty.”
“You’re fifteen. Such things should be well underway.”
“Couldn’t hold it down forever.”
Detective Sakamoto backed off. “You refuse to tell me.”
“You’re a detective, not a counselor.”
“Just tell me what you think happened. Tell me straight and I’ll leave.”
“You won’t believe me.”
“I won’t say one way or another. I’ll just leave.”
Naoki shook his head. “Sorry, but I can’t tell you.”
How could he explain this? “You’ll get hurt.”
“I put myself in harm’s way nearly every day. That’s not a good enough reason.”
Naoki looked the detective in the eyes. “I think I can find him. My brother. I think I can find him and rescue him.”
“Don’t endanger yourself.”
“I’m fine.” Naoki held out his ungloved hand. “I can do this. I just need to find him first.”
“I won’t be an enabler.”
“Then just don’t get in my way. I can find him. I can rescue him.”
“And what of the kidnappers?”
“They won’t hurt me.”
“Who said it’s you I’m worried about?”
“They don’t deserve your concern.”
“I protect all citizens of Japan.”
“And they’re not citizens.”
Detective Sakamoto stepped back, leaning against the ajar closet. “You really mean it.”
“Told you I grew opinions.”
The detective shook his head, grinning. “Well, you’re something. Just, call me if you get in over your head. You shouldn’t do this alone.”
“Very well.” Detective Sakamoto dropped a shallow bow. “Please, don’t get hurt.”
“No promise there.” Naoki returned the bow. “Good to know someone competent is helping bring my brother safely home.”
Detective Sakamoto nodded. “I’ll head out on my own then. You have, makeup to apply.”
He shrugged, but Naoki detected a glimmer in the eye. “Until next time.”
With that he headed out the room.