Yakuza Girl: Truth and Consequences by Mark

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    The brush made a soft swishing sound as it moved through Rei’s hair. Saori continuously swept the brush through the hair, generating an almost hypnotic sensation that made Rei’s eyes start to grow heavy as she was sat in the comfortable chair. Wrapped in an oversized bathrobe, she fought off the urge to fall asleep as Saori stood behind her, continuing to groom her hair. The air in the room was tinged with jasmine as each sweep of the bristles released microscopic particles of fragrance from the shampoo Rei had used when washing her hair.

    “Where did you learn to fight like that?” Rei asked, her mind trying to focus on the events of the evening at the dojo.

    “Were you surprised?” Saori countered.

    “Uhmm…no, not really…” Rei’s voice sounded sleepy as Saori continued to sweep the brush through her hair. “Well…maybe a little…” She let out a small sigh. “Your form…seemed…”

    “Familiar?” Saori completed her question for her. “Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret; you’re not the only orphan from the Monastery that the Yamaguchi family have employed over the years.”

    Rei’s eyes suddenly became wide, her senses reacting to Saori’s response. She got up from the chair, moving away and turning to face Saori.

    “You were at the Monastery as well?” Saori nodded in response, still holding the brush in her hand as Rei tried to take in the revelation.

    “Twenty years ago Takahara Yamaguchi chose me to work for him in the same way that Shinobu chose you.” Saori motioned for Rei to sit down again, which the younger woman did albeit reluctantly. “I was a few years younger than you are now, and I have a gift for recalling information…a human computer Takahara called me…five years after I arrived in Tokyo I met a man called Ryoehi. We were married and we had a daughter…” The sweeping of the brush through Rei’s hair stopped. “Do you know the tale of Hideki Ono, the swordsmith?”

    “No,” Rei murmured.

    “Hideki was a swordsmith, like his father was before him,” Saori explained. “He learned at the feet of his father how to craft a blade to have perfect balance and to temper it at the heart of a fire to make it almost unbreakable. However, Hideki failed to heed the most important lesson his father instilled in him which was to only make swords for those who followed the samurai code of bushido; to only deal with those men who acted with honour.” The sensation of the bristles of the brush against Rei’s head continued as she closed her eyes. “One day, Hideki went to the Imperial Palace to deliver a sword the Emperor asked him to make. It was the crowning achievement of his career and promised to make him a legend in his own lifetime, surpassing the name of his father even. Upon returning home though, Hideki found his wife and son dead; murdered by a cowardly man without honour using one of his own swords.”

    The brushing stopped as Saori divided Rei’s hair into three segments and began to weave it into a complex pigtail construction. “Hideki swore that he would find the man and kill him; he found him in a brothel and attacked him, only to find that he was a far better swordsmith than swordsman. Left for dead, the whores in the brothel treated Hideki’s wounds and he swore to not only hunt down and kill the man responsible for killing his family but to also recover all the swords he had sold to men without honour.”

    “I am no swordsmith,” Saori continued. “However, whilst obtaining information for Takahara, a member of the Inagawa-gumi who I thought I could trust betrayed me. I found my husband and daughter dead when I returned home and a gunman waiting for me. Shinobu found me, nursed me back to health and aided me in my task in finding those responsible and executing them,” she finished braiding Rei’s hair. When she looked at the younger woman’s face, she saw tears in her eyes.

    “I am sorry for your loss Minami-sama.”

    “Thank you,” Saori replied. “However, that is the past; it’s the present that intrigues me at the moment. Now, you should get to bed; you’ve had a busy night and I’m sure that tomorrow will present us with fresh challenges.”

    Mark Sep 29th 2009
    Shinjuku Gyoen

    The morning sunlight cast a familiar shadow across the bench as Rei approached it. As she did, she saw a figure sitting expectantly, holding two Styrofoam cups in his hands. Nomo looked to his left and immediately smiled when he saw her approaching him. Her black trench coat was pulled close around her body, covering up the dark coloured top and blue jeans she wore. Her trainers were white, contrasting sharply with the rest of her attire.

    “I didn’t know what you liked,” he said, offering a cup to her. “So I just got you a hot chocolate…”

    “Oh, thank you.” Rei said, slightly taken aback by his gift. She sat down next to him.Â

    “I’m afraid I don’t even know your name,” Nomo said as he looked sheepishly at the ground.

    “Rei.” The answer was simple and straightforward. She took a sip from the cup; the liquid was just at the right temperature to drink without scalding the interior of her mouth. Neither of them spoke for a minute. Rei took another sip from the Styrofoam cup, savouring the taste. “Do you come here often?”

    “I walk through here most mornings,” Nomo said. “I work for a software company over in the Nakata Building,” He pointed to a squat silvery grey construction that peeked over the other side of the park. “I mostly do graphic design and concept imagery…” Something flashed across his face; Rei thought he looked sad almost.

    “Is that why you draw?” Rei interrupted his train of thoughts.

    “I want to be a painter,” There was defiance in his voice that inwardly thrilled Rei – a desire, a determination to succeed. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a child.” Nomo held Rei’s gaze as he spoke to her, the intensity in his expression mesmerising. “My mother wants me to be a lawyer or a banker like my father, but I only ever feel happy when I’m painting.” He took a drink from his cup. “What about you? Are you studying here in the city?”

    “No, I’m living with my…aunt at the moment.” Rei spoke softly. “I’ve been working for my uncle in his office as a secretary,” she lied, recalling the cover story she had been instructed to use by Saori on her first day in Tokyo.

    “Do you enjoy your work?”

    “I wouldn’t say that I enjoy it,” She replied. “But I’m good at my job and I take pride in being the best at what I do.” Nomo could hear the conviction in her voice. He nodded understandingly.

    “How do your parent’s feel about that?”

    “I was raised in an orphanage; I’ve never known my parents.” Rei replied. The forthright nature of her response immediately stunned Nomo.

    “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t…”

    “It’s okay Nomo, you weren’t to know.” He nodded although he still felt his cheeks burning with embarrassment. Another pause followed before Nomo broke the silence.

    “How do you feel about ice skating?” Rei looked at him quizzically.

    “I’ve never tried it.” Nomo’s grin grew wide at her response.

    ”So, today would be a good day to start.”

    Apartment 228

    The Yoyogi Building

    Within fifteen minutes of Rei leaving the apartment, Saori had made a phone call to Shinobu to fill him in on the events at the dojo the previous evening. She already knew that he would have heard rumours of the massacre in the dojo; however it was a matter of professional pride on her part to ensure that Shinobu was briefed on exactly what transpired.

    Upon completing her call to Shinobu, she turned her attention to the morning newspaper. Making her way back to the kitchen, Saori reached out and grabbed for the coffee pot sitting in the corner. Her love of the beverage had been generated when she had worked for Shinobu in the United States for two years. She returned with a masterful command of English as well as a caffeine habit that would put a New York police officer to shame.

    Looking through the articles, the telephone extension in the kitchen rang. Cursing under her breath, Saori picked up the receiver.

    “Hello…yes, this is she…I see. I’ll be there within the hour.” Saori took a deep breath as she returned the receiver to its cradle. Grabbing the pen and the notepad from beside the phone, Saori scribbled a note for Rei to read upon her return that she attached to the door of the fridge before she grabbed her jacket and car keys, leaving the apartment without a moment’s hesitation.

    Mark Sep 29th 2009
    The chair was positioned to provide a view over the bay. From behind the toughened glass he sat and watched the boats slowly moving in and out of the harbour, passing the time of day with the other inhabitants of the nursing home. His fingers struggled to grip the lighter as he tried to light the cigarette perched between his lips.

    “I thought they told you to stop smoking Ichiro?” Saori said as she observed him from the door of his room. Looking back over his shoulder, he smiled.

    “You wouldn’t deny a dying man his last earthly pleasure would you?” He held the lighter up as she entered, placing her coat on his bed. She stood next to his wheelchair and took the lighter from him, striking it to ignite the flame. As he sucked on the white stick between his lips Saori noticed that the smoke detector had a plastic bag tapped across its sensor. “I didn’t think you’d make it in time.”

    “What are you talking about?” Saori answered, pulling a chair from beside his bed to sit next to him. “You’re nowhere near as ill as they say you are.” Saori’s reply made Ichiro laugh – which was quickly replaced by a rasping cough. The tissue was at his mouth before Saori could react; she saw the droplets of blood that the older man tried to wipe away before she spotted them.

    “My time is short my dear,” he said, taking as deep a breath as he dared and looking at Saori with pain-racked eyes. “I’m sorry that I failed you.”

    “What?” Saori was shocked. “You didn’t fail me…”

    “Yes I did!” Ichiro spat. “I promised you that I would find the people that murdered your family and bring them to justice. I failed in that task.” Saori bit her lip as Ichiro looked out over the bay once more. She placed her hand on his – she could feel the bones of his fingers through his flesh, the skeletal structure distressingly close to the surface.

    “Ichiro…I need to tell you something…” Saori’s voice was quiet, barely above a whisper. “I killed them.” Ichiro looked at her, nodding his head knowingly.

    “I know,” He replied. “I’ve always known. That’s why I know that I failed you – if we had been able to prosecute them…you would never have found yourself in that position.”

    “We both know that was never going to happen,” Saori said, relief in her voice at telling him the truth after all these years. “They’re alibis were cast iron – everyone saw them at the Nakoma club that night, right?” She looked down at the floor, then out of the window at the bay. She could see the storm clouds rolling in from the ocean and her thoughts drifted away…

    The sky was filled with rain, like the heavens were trying to wash away the stain of the blood on her soul. It seemed oddly appropriate to her as she gripped the slick rope between her hands. She counted to ten before intentionally allowed it to slip through her gloved hands slightly.

    “I don’t know how much longer I can hold on for Gugo,” Saori made sure he heard her above the storm. “So if you want me to pull you up you’d better talk fast. Let’s try it one more time – where can I find Hayotama?”

    “The Nakoma!” Gugo screamed as he stared down at the concrete some eighty feet below him. The blood continued to rush to his head as the rope bit into his ankle; his jacket was around his ears and his tie flapped around in the wind – were it not for the fact he was upside down and held above one of the busiest streets in Tokyo in the middle of a thunderstorm it would have been annoying. “He’s in the Nakoma! It’s where he always goes!”

    “Are you sure?” Saori asked. “You aren’t lying to me are you Gugo?” She let the rope slip through her grip a little more, prompting another piercing shriek from her captive. She had trusted him once – and found her faith in him misplaced in the worst possible way.

    “Nonononononono!” He screamed. “He’s in the Nakoma – I swear! Now please, pull me up!”

    “Okay Gugo, I believe you.” Saori said. “You say Hayotama is at the Nakoma then he’s at the Nakoma.”

    “Oh thank you, thank you thank you thank you!” Gugo’s voice was filled with relief. “Now please, pull me up and we can just forget about all this!”

    “I trusted you Gugo,” Saori said. “I won’t be making that mistake again.” Saori released her grip on the rope, watching it spool away over the edge of the building parapet to the soundtrack of Gugo’s fading screams. As she walked back to the fire exit she was sure that she heard the soft, squishy sound of his impact being accompanied by other screams from the people in the street below.
    Mark Sep 29th 2009
    An hour later she entered the Nakoma nightclub. This was the place where Yukio Hayotama and his gang hung out. Shinobu had warned her about taking this course of action; begged her not to walk into the mouth of the dragon, telling her that her best option was to be patient and to take them down one at a time, but Saori wasn’t interested. He said she had a death wish – she knew he was probably right. She hoped that in the course of her actions she would find the release she was looking for. He had offered to get his father’s best men to deal with the situation; she had responded by kindly rebuffing his offer, explaining that this path was hers and hers alone to follow.

    The wound in her shoulder had healed according to the doctor but she still felt the pain coursing through her like the flesh was still bloodied and raw. There was something inside her that burned; an unquenchable thirst to feel the sweet taste of revenge, no matter how hollow it would feel later. The detective Ichiro had told her that there was nothing they could do; Hayotama’s lawyers had provided alibis for him and his group for the night her family were slaughtered and that the National Police Association was looking for new leads in the case.

    Although Ichiro was certain of Hayotama’s involvement and guilt, he had explained to her that his hands were tied. Saori had taken this to mean that she should seek resolution to her problem elsewhere, through less civilised means.

    Saori made her way straight to the bar. The Nakoma was a fashionable nightclub modelled on places like Studio 54 and The Roxbury. Home to a hip, alternative crowd of youngsters and pumping out a steady stream of bass-heavy dance music, her dark red trench coat flowed in her wake like the trail of a blood stained wedding dress as she approached the bar. The young man behind it looked at her and immediately felt uneasy. There was an air of danger about her as the music in the club pounded away, the monotonous pounding tone of the song making conversation almost impossible. He asked her what she wanted, expecting her to order a drink. Her reply was blunt and forthright.


    “He’s in the back room.” He spluttered as loudly as he dared. Saori turned to walk away. “But he doesn’t like to be disturbed when he’s there.”

    “Oh, don’t worry,” Saori replied. “I don’t intend to disturb him; I just want to kill him.” The look in her eyes convinced the barman that now would be a good time to take his nightly cigarette break.

    The door to the back room of the club was a flimsy plywood affair and was currently shut. Her boot slammed into the handle with enough force to cause the wood to splinter and break, the training at the Monastery flooding back into her mind. The broken barrier swung open, revealing five figures sitting around a table, playing poker.

    Time seemed to stand still for a moment as Saori took in their faces. Her hand was already pulling her pistol out of her jacket as the door finished swinging open. Garbled voices filled the air as everyone saw the firearm in her grasp.

    The first bullet struck the obese Tsutomu Hata in the head before he had chance to react; the impact made his skull explode like a melon hitting the sidewalk. Her second shot tore into the back of Katsuya Okada, ruining the muscles of his heart as it passed through his chest; the cards in his hand fell to the table as his body dropped to the floor. As she moved her aim to the right she realised he was holding a Dead Man’s Hand.

    How appropriate, she mused.

    Less than thirty seconds had elapsed since Saori had announced her entrance to the back room, but the other three occupants were reacting to her presence. With the skill and precision borne from years of training, Saori dived to her left, firing twice upwards through the table as she hit the floor. The bullets struck the cagey, insecure Azuma Koshiishi first in the leg – severing his femoral artery – and secondly in his chest. The sound of his glasses shattering as they hit the floor seemed to ring out in Saori’s mind as she rolled away from the doorway.

    Springing back to her feet, she saw that Sejii Maehara was bolting towards another door at the far side of the room. Her gun roared again, the shot catching him in the centre of his back. His momentum kept him on his feet for a few steps before he slammed uncontrollably into the door.

    Movement from the corner of her eye made Saori spin – just in time to see Yukio Hatoyama bringing his own firearm to bear upon her. A fraction of a second later he had squeezed the trigger, sending the bullet searing through the air and sizzling perilously close to Saori’s ear. The motion of adjusting her aim after taking down Maehara was just enough to ruin his aim and provide her with a window of opportunity. Her pistol spat once more, the bullet striking Hatoyama in the chest and knocking him off his feet.

    The sound of the music continued to penetrate the room. Saori looked back at the door, expecting the security staff to come barging in at any moment. However, the anticipated response never came. Brushing a few flecks of fluff off the sleeve of her coat, she walked around the table. Hatoyama was lying on the floor, coughing up blood. His lips moved; the sound of his dying words drowned out by the music from the club. Saori lifted her pistol once more and looked into his eyes as she fired one final time.

    Mark Sep 29th 2009
    Standing in an alley at the rear of the Nakoma club, the barman struggled to light his cigarette. Eventually his Zippo lighter complied with his fingers and he took a long drag from it. The sound of the back door opening startled him, and his immediate reaction was to think about ditching the stick of nicotine behind one of the oversized trashcans.

    That’s when he saw her – the woman who had entered the bar that night saying she was there to kill Hatoyama. The barman felt sick; she was cradling the gun in her hands as she stepped out into the alley. She looked lost, almost as if she didn’t know what to do with herself now. As she half-staggered out into the night, she saw the barman standing beside the large waste depository.

    “You might want to start looking for another job.” She said, her tone flat and even. He nodded, instantly understanding her comment and then offered her a cigarette. Saori looked at the packet for a moment before shaking her head. “No thanks, I’ve quit.” With those words, the barman watched as the woman walked out of the alley and melted away into the night. He heard the first sirens wailing in the middle distance less than a minute later and decided it might be time for him to disappear as well.

    The rasping, choking cough emanating from Ichiro’s lungs drew Saori’s thoughts back to the present. Rather than linger on the events of 12 years ago, she helped the older man out of his chair and back into his bed. Once he was comfortable again, he looked at her with watery eyes.

    “Is there anything I can do for you Ichiro?” Saori asked. He shook his head as best as he could before taking hold of her hand.

    “Just stay with me.”

    Apartment 228

    The Yoyogi Building

    Entering the apartment, Rei’s legs were burning. After spending the morning and early part of the afternoon with Nomo at the ice rink, she felt like she had been running on the treadmill for two hours straight. She slumped down in a chair in the living room for a moment, leaning her head back and closing her eyes.

    It was then that she realised that the apartment was unusually quiet.

    Ever since she had moved into the apartment, Saori Minami had been a constant fixture – whenever Rei returned from her morning walks, Saori had greeted her shortly after her arrival. However right now, the abode was deafeningly quiet.

    Rei got up from the chair and carefully paced into the kitchen. Pausing only to scoop up a knife from the knife block, she turned to head back into living room before moving through the upper floor of the apartment. The piece of paper attached to the door of the refrigerator caught her attention and Rei felt immediately foolish as she read the note. Returning the knife to the block, the shrill sound of the telephone pierced the kitchen.

    “Hello…no Yamaguchi-san, she’s not here at the moment – she’s visiting a friend in hospital according to the note she left on the fridge…very well, what time do you want me to be there?”

    Mark Sep 29th 2009
    The Nakano Sun Plaza Hotel


    Bunbei Saito was a happy man.

    As he sat in the hot tub in his suite at the Nakano Sun Plaza Hotel, he marvelled at the two young women in the water with him. He couldn’t remember their names – Suzi and Suki sounded familiar – but he wasn’t bothered. A colleague at the bank had presented this impromptu trip to him after securing the transfer of the UDT Industries account. Okay, so he’d stolen it from some junior clerk in the office, but the higher-ups didn’t care and frankly, right now, neither did he.

    The door to the room opened and a young woman entered, dressed in a hotel issue white bathrobe and carrying additional towels. Bunbei looked up at her and gestured for her to put them down on the side. Once she had placed them exactly where he had indicated, she disrobed, revealing a flawless figure encased in a black swimsuit. No one in the tub spoke as the stranger carefully stepped into the hot tub, her dark cherry-red hair tied up in an intricate construction to avoid it getting wet. Her focus was completely fixated on the rotund figure of Bunbei, who couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.

    “Hey, the more the merrier, right?” He chuckled as she moved towards him. Suzi and Suki were visibly upset by the presence of this interloper; even more so when the women wrapped her arms around Bunbei and began kissing his neck. Bunbei couldn’t believe the way his day was turning out.

    Could it be any better than this?

    “Did Komatsu tell you about this?” Suki whined. Suzi shook her head, glaring at Rei.

    “No,” Suzi huffed. “This bitch had better not be getting paid more than us.”

    Rei could hear Suzi and Suki complaining about her presence but ignored them. Her attention was focused on the ring on her right index finger. Continuing to kiss Bunbei’s neck, she managed to swivel it around so the complex star-shaped decoration that dominated it was facing inwards. Rei initially thought the piece to be vulgar and ostentatious, however Saori had explained that it’s bulky nature simply acted to cover its true purpose.

    Pressing her hand against the side of his neck, Rei felt the small mechanism inside the ring discharge a tiny yet deadly dose of neuro-toxin into Bunbei’s bloodstream. Designed to activate upon contact between human skin and the apex of the protruding star motif, Rei had dismissed the practicality of the device up until this evening. Releasing her arms from Bunbei’s neck, she stepped back.

    The muscle spasm in the side of his face occurred a few seconds before his eyes rolled back into his head. Bunbei then fell face-first into the water, creating a wave either side of his orca-like body with the impact. The sudden turn of events made Suki scream, however Suzi’s reaction was more unexpected. She grabbed Rei’s left arm, pulling her around to face her.

    “What have you done to him bitch?” She screeched, making to as if to slap Rei. “He was worth a fortune…” With the ring still in position, Rei grabbed Suzi’s wrist with her right hand, pressing the ring against her skin. Suzi managed a garbled half-squeal, a mixture of fear and realisation, before the toxin took effect. Suki’s scream cut through Rei’s detached evaluation of Suzi; she turned, seeing the other woman wading towards the steps.

    Reaching for her discarded robe, Rei snagged the belt free as Suki started up the steps. With her foot reaching the top one she knew she was mere feet from safety. The white material of the towel belt flashed before her eyes a moment before it bit into her neck. Rei pulled back on the improvised garrotte, dragging Suki backwards into the water. Quickly turning her facedown and placing her knee into her back, Rei pushed her victim into the foaming water of the hot tub. Suki’s arms and legs thrashed around, adding to the churning waters. Over the course of the next three minutes Suki’s flailing limbs died down until they were still. Rei released her grip on Suki, letting her body bob up to the surface of the tub as she surveyed her work.

    Rei felt a moment of remorse for the two women as she climbed out of the hot tub; however Shinobu’s instructions to her had been clear on the matter. Komatsu had provided two of his least productive girls on the understanding that they were ultimately expendable. Suki and Suzi were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bunbei had crossed the Yamaguchi family through his actions in taking away the lucrative banking transaction and had to pay the price. Picking up her robe she repositioned the wet belt around her waist before leaving the room. As she closed the door one of the resort staff stopped her.

    “Do you have everything you need?” Rei nodded as she placed a sign on the door stating Do Not Disturb.

    “Yes, thankyou.” She politely replied. “Although I think the gentleman wanted to be left alone.” The assistant nodded and walked away down the hall. Rei made her way to the changing rooms and got dressed without drawing undue attention to herself before disappearing into the early evening air.

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