Monday, December 13, 2010

Quickening – Chapter 2

After returning from Izanami's burial chamber to the material world, Nakajima had visibly weakened. Under the protection of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, he had been admitted into Kuniritsu-Musashino Hospital, where Charles Feed had questioned him.

"I think that just about covers all that happened, Dr. Feed." Sitting up in bed, Nakajima spoke in a tired voice before going silent. He was as handsome as usual, but his gaze seemed somewhat empty.

Sitting across from Nakajima, Feed got a sense of what was going on. Part of his psyche is refusing to awaken. He probably doesn't want to face the fact that the demon he summoned killed all of his classmates.

"I don't really know what to say. If I had been in America when you first summoned the demon and contacted Craft, this would never have happened. However, that doesn't change the fact that you have committed a grave crime. Whether or not the law can do anything about it, though..." Feed looked over at Narukawa, sitting in a corner of the room listening intently.

"It'd be tough to establish any proof of instigation of murder. About all he could be charged with is misuse of a computer."

Caught by Feed's gaze as he looked at Nakajima's profile, Narukawa gave a somewhat forced legal interpretation of the situation.

Something seemed strange about Nakajima; Narukawa had a strange feeling, as if he had run into a lover or long-lost relative that he had been separated from ages ago. At first he thought that he had just been stricken by the boy's looks, but as time passed, he realized that this was something different, a bizarrely unnatural feeling of nostalgia.

I can't put my finger on it, but I'm sure I've met this boy somewhere...

No matter how hard he racked his brains, however, Narukawa could not think of another moment where he could have seen Nakajima before.

"I would never have expected a genius capable of summoning demons with a computer would be born here in Japan..." Feed's murmuring broke Narukawa's strange sense of deja-vu.

"I think it's less a matter of my ability and more that the conditions in Tokyo are good for summoning demons. I'm sure there are many programs written on the same concept overseas, but I've never heard of an example of one working." Nakajima's words were cool and collected, as if he was speaking of someone else.

"On that note, where is the critical demon summoning program now?"

"It should be on Jusho High's host computer."

"What was the filename?"

"It's DEMON."

Feed and Narukawa looked at each other. Nakajima instantly understood the glance.

"Someone deleted it, didn't they?"

"Who besides you would have been able to do that?"

"Ohara, I bet."

"I will get right on finding Ohara-sensei,” Narukawa interrupted. “I am not saying that I believe everything Nakajima is saying, but it definitely seems that Ohara-sensei holds the key to this puzzle."

Almost as if switching places with Narukawa as he opened the door to the room, Nakajima's mother looked in.

"Feed-san, it's been longer than an hour. Akemi is still not well. Could I possibly ask you to come back some other time?"

Feed shook his head and spoke resolutely. "I'm sorry, Nakajima-san, but for your own son's sake, it's important that I finish my conversation with him."

"Mom, it's OK."

At her son's insistence and with an air of disapproval, Nakajima's mother left. Her silhouette in the frosted glass showed that she was trying to listen in on the conversation.

Smiling bitterly, Feed spoke in a low voice directly into Nakajima's ear.

"You'll work with me, correct?"

"Yes...of course."

"Where do you think we should start from?"

"...Hmm. I think the best thing to do to start would be to rewrite the demon summoning program." As Nakajima whispered, there was a sort of blankness in his expression.

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