Yoru Morino could cleave him open, peel back his abdomen and create a butterfly of it—and he would experience ecstasy for it. The quiet-type, which is filled with awe more than pleasure; which turns the blood to ice as it sears through the body in its deathly intensity. At present, she does nothing of the sort. Rather, she sits beneath the wiry, twisting branches of a cherry-tree with doe-wide eyes that see with as much clarity as an oracle, a prophetess, and says: “Kamiyama-san, when did you stop coveting my hand?”
The truth is that he has not.
Will not, for as long as it dances within his reach.
He ignores the question, sidestepping it with practiced ease. There’s some honesty betrayed in his comment, nonetheless: “You’ll lose fingers if you keep burying them in the snow.” Admonishment layered with a simple need for her to safeguard her beauty. She cannot lose herself to nature, not when he would so much rather take it for himself. He understands how to honor her, nothing—no-one—else.
She returns her hands to her lap, folds them over one another. A blush paints her knuckles—first, second, and third—as well as the apple of her cheeks and the tip of her nose. Her lips, deep as pomegranate wine from how she has chewed them while deliberating in the silence. “You saw the paper?” She asks, tone flippant with whimsy.
A lie. She is more the whimsy beneath the surface.
She is sharp as a blade, and he knows it.
The televisions had told a separate story. There is no lack of monsters crawling among the streets; no lack of wolves among the sheep. This latest bears similarity to one of the first they had obsessed over together. The one in which Kamiyama teased Morino with injury. Dismemberment holds a certain torch for the both of them.
“Hearts feel so tired,” Morino comments, bringing Kamiyama back into focus.
He doesn’t disagree: “Maybe, there’s more to it.”
Morino shines beneath the moonlight, much like a ghost—a spirit. She looks like the most beautiful corpse, the girl who passed too young. More specifically, the girl who was stolen from the world at too juvenile an age. Keyword: stolen. Her scars are like latticework running up her wrists, her arms. They’re paler in the silver light, look like if the moon’s rays turned into blades and sliced across them itself. Of course, it had not. Nor had Kamiyama. Morino would not be Morino if she did not have her own tendency for violence, her own fetish for the macabre.
Morino assumes the dead like a god. She takes them and becomes them in facets, in tangential lines and places. Kamiyama sees corpses in her. He sees life, too. So much life.
She crouches in the mess, her black shoes soaking any of the color which splashes onto them. Her pale fingers dance from out of her obsidian sleeves and she reaches, forward, forward, forward until she is pinching the grey-tinged skin of a cadaver’s deadened ear. And from that ear, she plucks an earring—pearl, simple but classic. Then, she tips the head with her knuckles—and god there is rougey-maroon streaking the place the skin pulls across the bone—and takes the other earring too.
“Is that all you’ll take?” Kamiyama watches distantly, caught between fantasy and reality. He should observe the scene—and he has seen Morino take from a corpse before—but something about this has thrown him off-kilter. It has awakened something not dormant, but previously more reserved.
Morino glances at him. Her gaze evaluates.
She sees through his eyes. She consumes his desires, his obsessions.
When she looks away, it is back to the disembodied head. She moors one of her delicate hands in the victim’s hair and then uses the other to reach into the eye. Her nails slip under the eyelids. Her hand acts as the machine. And she plucks the eye forth from the socket—bloody tail and all. “She doesn’t need it.”
“No, but I think you might.”
She wraps it in tissue, pillowing the organ in all its bloodied tears, and straightens up. She hands it to him like a priest delivering the host to a faithful communicant.
Kamiyama’s gaze lingers on her hand all the while she bestows it upon him. And then, watches as she smoothes the blood off on her night-black clothes. The moment passes: “How will we solve this one? Now that we’ve changed it…” But, Kamiyama’s been enlightened. The change has only created a theory. It has brought the sleeping hypothesis in his brain to wakefulness. He shrugs, offers Morino a smile which he knows she will see through and says: “I wouldn’t worry.”
Kamiyama understands the killer only once he sees Morino’s gift in his dreams. It is the taking of the eye, the delivering it unto him. Except, rather than take it in his hand and safely put it to his pocket, he takes it upon his tongue—he chews, he swallows.
The dream changes over the course of the night. He wakes once and then goes back down. This time, Morino plucks her own eye from the socket. She offers it to him. She holds his throat as he swallows, as though to trace this piece of her as it is consumed. He wakes again and then goes back down. This time, she gives him both eyes and holds his throat with both hands—seeing through touch. Her fingers return to herself, to her skin, to peel open the taut part just beneath the breast-bone just as Kamiyama would allow her to do unto him.
She gives him her heart, this time. Gore drips down her wrist, pools in the crook of her elbow before it rolls out and down her bicep, into her black clothes. Meat sticks under her manicured nails. And the heart beats as she holds it. “Do you need it?” She asks, like a whisper in his ear.
He wakes. This time, he does not sleep again.
“He eats the girls,” Kamiyama tells her, once they are back together, back alone. “He wants to consume them—body and mind.” He does not love his victims, but he is obsessed with them. He cannot live without them. Kamiyama cannot live without Morino. She must be alive, and near him, or dead at his hand. Forever emblazoned upon his memory, upon his sin.
“Don’t you want the same?”
Morino sees him.
He hasn’t an answer for her, not one to put aloud to words. Instead, he listens to her laugh—not because it is a joke, but because she knows she’s sussed his desire, his core. The laugh is like a knife. And god does it cut. Finding this killer will not be difficult. It has paled now. Morino consumes him more than the scenes. She is death, in her own little way. And Kamiyama knows yet what to make of it.
But that is a difficulty for another day.