He awoke painlessly. The numbness was spread throughout his body. His lips were dry. This dryness was on the borderline of irritation. An exploratory lick of his lips discovered a substance much to sweet to be attached to the flesh.
He bit down hard.
The blood continued to flow.
Why would he bite down on his own lips? A massive chunk was missing. However, the blood flow itself seemed to slow to a trickle. A pair of eyes were on him quite quickly. He didn’t understand. He wasn’t hungry.
“What happened?” The lack of honourifics was a growing habit. The situation only worsened the need for answers and panic within the young man.
“Please. Please. Tell me.”
He was at a loss, the apartment smelled disgusting. When did he start noticing that? The smell was both localised, yet paradoxically permeating the entirety of the room.
Raising his arms slowly into his field of vision, trying to grasp the origin of the smell. Blood. His hands were stained. Dark oxygenated blood, lighter and more pale red blood. Even some blood that wasn’t blood at all. It all stained his hands and his shirt. Fading and entering the fabric in different permutations of a bloody existence.
The next thing was a sprint to the mirror. A mad dash worthy of anyone in such panic. The entrails the adorned his black pants and button shirt were worthy of any murderer.
“I didn’t do this.” He muttered to himself.
“He had to deny it, because he was scared” he heard mockingly. “You ate. You killed. You cried? One of those doesn’t belong.” the voice continued.
The burning in his chest was anger, remorse and sadness. The sheer disregard he heard for his plight frustrated him. He was trapped in the apartment.
“You could have left you know.” the voice somehow knew his thoughts.
“I may have been mistaken, when I made you believe your stay was forced.” the voice continued.
Now that he had calmed he remembered who his benefactor was.
The situation that Rize returned to was not pretty. Neither was it an easy fix. A corpse that was devoid of any blood or substance. A flailing Kaneki-ken, his kagune seemingly twisting aggressively at any movement that happened close to him.
The stark realisation had hit her one week too late. She was torturing him. What else was starving a ghoul called. The corpse was not the priority, in this part of the 20th, bodies were often found left over after the more feisty ghouls such as herself. Not everyone loved peace, ‘but everyone loved living’, she though to herself sarcastically, thinking of the manager’s subtle warnings and threats.
“Kaneki” a pause “Stop!” The sternness of her voice and her recognisability seemed to made him tilt his head up, seeing his face filled with anguish, it angered her. This was however not the time for that.
In his moment of hesitation, she instantly quartered his limbs, walking up to him. The lack of struggle despite the pain he was supposed to be in surprised her. Perhaps there was hope for this weakling yet. However, she was slightly confused, the corpse of that human, the extent of the damage wrought seemed to be done by someone that was anything but weak.
With a purpose, she knocked him out. For his own safety of course. Little did she realise that she was being observed by Hide. He saw everything.
He left without making a sound.
The dove. A creature of peace and tranquility. It takes a fantastically twisted sense of irony to title the organisation that is single handedly charged with murdering without remorse after a creature with the symbolic history of a dove.
The CCG office was buzzing with activity. The Special Class investigator Arima Kishou was personally conducting an inspection of the ward. With him an unnamed member of the 0 squad. This was a usual occurrence, done by an unusual person. He refused to make any sound or state any opinion. This visit was not about Kishou Arima, it was about the 20th ward and he planned to keep it as such.
Briefing him on the affairs of the ward was Kousuke Houji, a rigid man with a demeanour made of silk. The Associate Special Class investigator along with First Class Mado were the highest ranking officials in the 20th ward CCG office. Arima was impressed by the diligence and organisation by the leadership and their subordinates. Not that he would personally ever acknowledge or even mention this. The incompetence of many in the CCG was seen by Arima, perhaps from a bird’s eye view. Not that this was undeserved given his reputation and prowess as a lethal bureaucrat and killing machine.
“The Gourmet and Binge Eater investigations have narrowed down the hunting zones of the ghouls to the approximate areas that converge upon the streets here and here” the continued meeting filled with briefing was protocol. Houji was a master of protocol.
However, on an unspoken level, Arima always arrived for a ward inspection as an unofficial way for assisting in the affairs and investigation at that particular ward. This was something that was left from his youth, where his prowess was required to defeat violent ghouls in the 4th ward and so on forth.
“Besides the Gourmet and Binge Eater investigations, the ghoul activity in the 20th is minimum, with the ward ranking last in missing persons cases and violent deaths attributed to ghouls.” the soft knocking of a pen onto the table in the office came from the young Seidou Takizawa.
No mind was given to the youthful investigator. Instead, the focus was predominantly on Arima, what he was thinking and his opinion were quite important to many of the investigators at the 20th. Especially to those like Takizawa that were still gaining experience and learning from veterans.
The viel was pierced as soon as the eyes turned.
“What do you know about the Aogiri Tree?”
“Hideyoshi Nagachika, what you saw today, it is imperative that no one finds out.” the manager said to the boy seated silently in front of him in the talking room above the Anteiku store.
“This is important for the survival of the only non-violent community of ghouls in this part of Tokyo, we believe that even if it must be our fate to devour your kind, we can do so without the brutality that we are so known for.” The conviction with which this was spoken seemed to move the young man, or at least that was what anyone would have thought.
The large impressionable eyes, the serious demeanour, Hide knew what was at stake. He knew what he wanted.
“Yoshimura-san, in exchange for this information being kept secret, would you tell me what happened to my friend?”