Between Two Worlds

14.2 Ghosts of the Past

Kirino placed a fresh bouquet of lilies in front of the marble tombstone before retreating to Masato’s side. As they stood before his grave, the shell of once beautiful memories echoed around them, only to give way to despair as they mourned the heartfelt loss of their loved one. He will never be forgotten – always lingering in the forefront of their minds in the idle moments of the day and right before bed. They went on with life as best as they could and honored his memory in their own separate ways. But once a year, they promised to mourn together at his final resting place. Only when the memories become too painful to bear would she shed her mask and painted smiles, and allow herself the comfort one can only derive from a lifelong companion.

Masato reminisced as he embraced her who took solace in his arms. She didn’t use to be like this – her pretenses didn’t permeate every corner of their lives. She used to have an infectious laughter, an outgoing personality, and ugly cried after every romantic movie scene. But the day they lost their son, the corners of her lips had trembled and stretched unnaturally wide, while the light in her eyes faded away. From then on, she maintained a flawless facade that masked her private despair. Today, her embrace is genuine since they were visiting Takeo, but if it meant the wound inside still ravaged and tore at her soul, he preferred she remain cold towards him for the rest of their lives.

She suddenly looked up abruptly past his shoulders, prompting Masato to turn towards the unwelcomed source of their disturbance.

He stood underneath the century old willow tree, hands hidden in the pockets of his trench coat. His eyes were calm and observant, his figure unimposing and subdued. He could’ve stood unnoticed for hours, but he made his presence known.

Masato’s eyes instantly darted around them but Kirino answered his wariness. “Two in the immediate vicinity,” she whispered. A man of his status wouldn’t show up by himself. Masato nodded as they approached him.

“Forgive me for intruding on this private moment, especially on his day of remembrance. If I had known any other way to contact you, I would have chosen otherwise,” he said.

Kirino’s glare effused a loathing so powerful that both men turned to her. Her fingers curled as she envisioned a hand circling around his neck. But as their eyes met, her anger wilted into one of sorrow. She questioned him wordlessly, him whom she once trusted and readily placed her life on the line for. He was reliable every single time, until he wasn’t at the one time she needed him to be.

“I’m sorry, Kirino. Please let us speak in private,” he looked away, unable to meet her eye. Masato studied Kirino’s expression – it seemed only the ghosts of the past can bring forth her raw emotions, but it always came from a place of hurt. He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Do as he says.”

She whirled towards Masato, searching his face before leaving the cemetery without a backwards glance.

Masato watched her drive off safely, then glared contemptuously at the man. “To what do I owe this displeasure?”

Thayne Lawrence focused on Masato. Almost two decades have passed, yet he did not look a day older than 40 years while his own hair had turned white and deep wrinkles lined his forehead.

“I was informed of a paternity test run against the intelligence database. A match was found-” he hesitated. “-to me.”

“Ah…” The corners of his lips curled as Masato gathered the reason for the man’s untimely presence. Today was never a good day, but it was about to get better. Thayne observed him.

“You… knew,” Thayne deduced. “You knew this whole time that my son is still alive..!” The tone of his words flitted between question and accusation.

“I did.”

Thayne’s anger mounted to the surface, his blood rushed to his hands. It took every last ounce of his strength not to strike at Masato who knew – who knew yet let him mourn for years, who let him crumble to pieces as the infant casket lowered into the ground. He hadn’t even named the boy. He covered his face, dragging his hand across his cheeks and down the sides of his face as he suppressed the memories along with his rage. He cannot afford to lose control, not when his son lives and remains at stake.

He pressed on, masking his fury behind an almost unperturbed appearance. “Is my son well?”

Masato cocked his head irritably. “And how would I know this?”

“His blood was found at a crime scene. It seems my son is suspected of homicide and gang-related offenses.” Thayne directed his full attention at Masato. “I know what you’ve been up to – how established you are among the crime lords. If I were to ask you their names and locations, you’d be able to produce every single last one of them. You know where my son is right now.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“I am proposing a mutual exchange. We are both men of our word and each possess something beneficial to the other. Tell me where he is and what happened to him, and I’ll arrange a national pardon – for you, Kirino and whoever you wish for, as long as my son returns to me.”

Masato snorted as he lowered his gaze, but it was too much to bear. The nerve of this swine. A torrent of rage consumed him as he fought to stay calm, though his next words dripped with burning acid.

Amusing… Director. You may have the SCIA and law enforcement at your beck and call, but I am not interested in anything you have to offer. And you’d best shut down your tactical communication devices. You don’t want any more people knowing your filthy little secret.” Thayne rose to full height as they came face to face with each other.

“I know the reason why you refrain from contacting me for the past 17 years; the reason why you don’t turn me in despite knowing what I do, and the reason why you went against your own principles and appear here… at my son’s grave.” Thayne disengaged his covert earpieces – his suspicion of Masato had been right the entire time. He knew.

“It isn’t guilt that brought you to me today, but fear – fear of the truth being discovered. The truth of how you sold us out – me, Kirino, Lucian, ALL OF US!!!” Masato grabbed Thayne by the lapels of his coat and yanked the man forward that they were nose to nose with each other.

“The boy’s living,” Masato spat. “-is proof of your sabotage of our last mission, your betrayal to the entire agency and to those you swore to protect and serve! I will not trade your son like some cattle at a farm, like how you did us! And if you propose anything like this to me again, I will ensure that the next test done in the database will reveal you for the traitor you really are!”

Thayne broke out of his grasp. He adjusted his coat coolly and returned Masato’s penetrative stare with his own uncompromising gaze. “I see you’ve spoken to Lucian. The man is deluded by grief – I did not betray anyone! I did my best to defect all of you! You were my best men after all. We arranged an immediate exfiltration of every agent in Selvadorada, but our system and communications were compromised!”

“We understood, Director,” Masato’s voice tinged with a dark undercurrent. “We do not hold our captivity against you. But how is it that we survived months of torture and still managed to drag our broken bodies back to you, but Takeo…” His expression contorted; his voice rose once again. “How did my 5-year-old son DIE when he doesn’t even know what we do, was under the agency’s protection, and the system we’ve sworn our lives to?!”

“You owe us answers, Thayne.”

Kirino emerged from the back of the mausoleum, flexing her fingers. A sudden realisation came upon him as Thayne switched on his earpiece, piecing together what must have transpired during their conversation. Static greeted him on the other end. Kirino’s presence dispelled any lingering hope of reasoning with Masato. Thayne fell silent while the pair waited for answers which never came.

“As I see it,” Masato finally broke the silence. “You failed to protect your men, their families and your own son. Or, you betrayed us, and the only reason you so desperately look for your son is because every single cell in his body is evidence of your ‘fraternising’ with the enemy!! How do I know you are not planning to sacrifice the boy to save your own skin?!”

“I am NOT as ruthless as you make me out to be! I made a mistake, and I paid dearly for it,” Thayne’s voice cracked as he fell backwards onto the bench and buried his face in his hands. “My agents uncovered and executed, the few of you who survived refuse to return to service – and then my son.. You will never forgive me, I know that. But my boy… I’ve never even seen him, not even once…” A single tear rolled down his cheek.

“Do not look for us again,” Masato warned, unfazed by Thayne’s displays as he put an arm around Kirino. “You will hear from me to ‘negotiate’ the terms of my silence. And you are free to contact Calypso too. Yes, that’s his name. But whether the boy will forgive you, who has the power to issue pardons at a whim, but left him to fend for himself for almost 18 years, that is another story. And if you plan to coerce the boy, I will eliminate you.”

“Good day, Director.”

16 thoughts on “14.2 Ghosts of the Past

  1. So Thorne is the big boss? Or was it a governmental agency?
    This gives so many answers, but also opens so many new questions omg

  2. This is super cool! I love getting some history, because I’m kind of reading your blog backwards, lol

    It’s sooo cool how Kirino is so damn dangerous, and you don’t even think about it! wow!

    Is there a chapter that explains more about their son’s death? And Thayne’s son’s perceived death?

    I would love to read it, or perhaps you could briefly explain here. it sounds like Masato and his wife (?) used to work in the same agency with Thanye. It sounds like it got a bit messed up, to put it mildly

    1. I have it in my head what happened, but I think now that you’ve read a few chapters in, you know how dark my story is 😅 So I scrapped the idea of writing it but I did think I’ll do a ‘Other Stories’ section and put a short story about what happened. 🙂 Thank you for commenting! Its nice to know that you find them intriguing.

      1. Ahhhh, well, you see my user name. Lol. I generally want every bit of information that exists. So, I hope you write that off chapter. Or even just knowing if it happened at the same time, or for the same reason. It possible the answer to that is here and I’m not seeing it. That’s part of the reason I’ve gone back as far as I’ve gone.

        I guess I’m looking for more information on how Masato and Thanye were affiliated, and what broke them apart, and how it involved their children. I don’t know if that is written anywhere. If it is I’ve missed it. 😊

      2. It’s not written because I love children and writing about their death is horrible to me. (And yet I write about teenagers and YA go figure) There’s a bit (ok quite a chunk) that will be shown in the epilogue. I’m actually re-working on it now! (Re working because I actually finished it with pics and story, read it a few times, didn’t like it, and scrapped the entire thing 😭 ) I think it will pose more questions for you but at least I think the uh entertainment value is high 😀

  3. Holy smokes!!! My brain is going to malfunction haha! But this was incredible!

    For starters, I just wanted to say how beautiful it was to see Kirino, and even Masato to a degree, so vulnerable, fragile, almost! The loss of their son must have been very tragic, and there definitely is some twisted irony in the fact they’ve almost become like weird surrogate parent figures to the son of the person they blame for their son’s death – though knowing Masato, that is no accident. (At least that’s how I’m interpreting what I read!)

    So Kirino and Masato were once agents before they came over to “the dark side”. We only got snippets of the story here, but I bet the whole thing was not black and white at all.

    Curtis’s father looks so much like him. I do hope they get to reunite somehow. Sounds like he has enough influence to even arrange for Curtis’s crimes to go away (though a weird part of me kind of wants Curt to go to prison for a few years for some reason… I do love him, but I think he should serve some time for the lives he took, as much as it pains me… I can’t explain why I feel that way exactly, I guess I feel that if he doesn’t pay for his crimes a part of his humanity will be forever chipped away, whereas if he does his time, he can start with a blank slate after. I dunno.)

    1. Ahh you’re definitely right about weird surrogate and no accident part.

      Yeah! It was pretty messy and their backstory would’ve taken an entire chapter or more (4 sub posts) .

      Yes! I’m so annoyed at game genetics. I don’t think the genes vary enough because parents and children look like clones of each other 😦 Thayne has a lot of influence on the legal system. So yes he can bend the rules some. 😅

      Oof definitely. I can see your pov! You described it perfectly how his humanity is getting chipped away at this point. He’s getting lured to the dark side bit by bit. 😔

  4. Oh hey! I totally missed that Kirino and Masato were involved, though I’m sure you left some evidence for us that went over my head. And, I have to say, I’m not surprised at how messed-up the police in this town seem to be. Makes Jules more likeable because at least he’s trying to do the right thing. Thayne is… yeah, someone had to be gaming the system, considering how much drug activity there seems to be here.

    Did Kirino just casually kill someone? Hahaha.

    1. Ah.. I don’t think I left any evidence of those two together at some point. Imo, they’re not the kind of couple that expresses their personal business during working hours. c: Drugs is not part of Thayne’s jurisdiction. But yeah B2W’s law enforcement leaves a lot to be desired. 😆

      Kirino totally did. 😂

  5. Oh wow! I was on the edge of my seat here. Such an intense chapter! I read this one first and then the next, and went back to 14.1, and now I’m rereading this one again because it’s so good. This makes a bit more sense in order. Haha.

    First of all, Kirino and Matsuo were a couple? Are a couple? Had a child together? Somehow I missed that… or we are just now finding out about the son. Forgive my slowness. That cemetery was absolutely gorgeous. I loved the muted colors. So fitting giving the grave tone of this chapter. Okay, sorry, I couldn’t help myself with that pun.

    Second, Calypso’s real dad??? Is the Director of the SCIA and sold out his men/women… his team… and accidentally got Masato’s and Kirino’s son killed? Or purposely?? I have a feeling there’s a lot of history there and probably another side of the story. Thayne screwed someone from the other side and ended up with a son, but didn’t know that, or if he did, he didn’t care and left him behind also? Talk about messed up! I mean, I still think Scorcher is a sick bastard and that he’s probably far worse than Curtis’ bio father.

    Is anyone in law enforcement good? I mean, every single one of them seem corrupt. I may not like what Masato and Kirino do, and they may seem cold, but they still look a bit better than the boys in blue… and federal agencies.

    1. No worries you didn’t miss anything. Kirino and Masato’s relationship has always been business associates/partners than lovers and I’m only presenting that here. I suppose I could’ve hinted it better but they were so hardened I couldn’t fit it in. Something I’ll take note for the future though. 🙂

      You’re right there’s a lot of history between Masato, Kirino and Thayne, Scorcher too. And each person is holding on to their version of truth.

      Personally I can relate to the ‘good’ that each character has, so I don’t know if anyone of them is inherently good or bad. They’re all flawed, make mistakes and have their own (extreme) worldviews, each believing themselves to be the hero of their own story. I think its up to you to relate to any of them, or none of them. 😄

  6. I loved seeing Masato and Kirino seem human, mourning the loss of their son. And then the one person who should have protected him, shows up and rains on their parade. So she kills his back up. Lol. So now we know who is Curtis’s father. Some big guy at the top of the house. And somehow I think Masato knew and took Curtis in because of it.

    1. Some big guy at the top of the house is right. Oof you have interesting predictions. ❤ I love predictions if you don't know already. 😄 Aww. Masato and Kirino have a pretty complicated relationship i suppose.

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