Part 108: Coco's Route - True End - Part 13TrackDer Mond Das Meer
Their eyes glaring, and mouths half open, she could see their dark wet tongues. It was almost possible for Tsugumi to smell the reek of their excitement. Like the smell of men lusting after flesh....It was a fetid stench, greasy and rotten. For it was Tsugumi's body that they were after.
What they wanted was nothing more that to perform human experiments under the pretext of 'Making the ultimate human dream come true.' By using Tsugumi's body, they were planning to gain knowledge, fame and fortune. That was indeed their desire.
'We've been waiting for you.'
One of them took a deep bow. Behind his veneer of politeness, was an evil that threatened to spill forth, making Tsugumi sick to her stomach. Some of the others in his entourage licked their lips...swallowing their saliva like dogs gone mad with the hunt.
She couldn't turn to the police. She had no place to live, her identity was uncertain, and her age and appearance didn't match....The police would only doubt her. Information regarding Tsugumi had spread through the national police network, it was only a matter of time before Leiblich would find her.
Leiblich's influence even extended to national politics. There was nothing else for Tsugumi to do but continue to hide in back alleys. She hated Leiblich. They had destroyed everything Tsugumi had cared about, and made her life a living hell...what's more....
They had taken away the love of her life...Takeshi Kuranari. She wanted to get revenge on Leiblich with every fiber of her being. Tsugumi came to hate this world, and her heart became even more hardened to it.
She went to visit an illegal doctor who was well-known in the back streets. Tsugumi was pregnant. She was sure it was Takeshi's baby. She'd never been with anyone else. She was pregnant....
At night, she went to the deserted coastal area of a small, nearby town. There were nothing but printing factories and abandoned houses. Unsure if it was a river or the ocean, she sat on a boat dock, looking at a neon sign by the highway. She touched her stomach. She felt a sense of awe and joy, at the fact there was life growing in her stomach, and that it was connected to her.
The neon light glittered and flickered off of the water's surface. Tsugumi looked at the lights...with her hands on her stomach....Realizing that Takeshi's babies were inside her, she couldn't stop crying. They might have only been only an inch big at that time....
But the survival of the two babies outstripped the needs of the mother's body that surrounded them....Tsugumi almost had the illusion that 'it wasn't her who bore the children, but it was actually they who bore her.' Everything that she was, she poured into her two babies.
She felt that she was part of the babies, not the other way around. It was then that Tsugumi decided to sacrifice everything for the two tiny lives. Love was a concept to her, but if love could be brought into physical form, to her, it seemed it must be the babies in her stomach.
That was it, love was growing in her stomach. Takeshi and Tsugumi's babies....Before long, the hatred she had felt towards everything had disappeared without a trace. For the first time, Tsugumi felt as though there were a higher power guiding her life.
She visited a nearby clinic. She had no medical insurance, no identification. Most importantly she had no money...When he found out that she couldn't pay, the doctor beat Tsugumi as though she were a stray animal.
With nowhere else to go, the two babies were born in an old boat shack. An old woman was living there, but Tsugumi could not tell whether she lived there or was just sleeping there temporally. It was this old woman who helped Tsugumi through the birth.
'Ooh how precious, so precious...you done a fine job, deary.'
The old lady repeated this many times, as she gently rinsed the babies in a tin basin. The sweat-covered Tsugumi was lying down, with only a thin towel between her and a hardwood floor. Tsugumi's eyes gazed unfocused out a nearby window.
A bit surprised, she said...
'Both at the same time.... '
Wrapped in an old cloth, Tsugumi gently held them to her chest.
'Not to worry, my deary. I boiled them cloth and the scissors what cut their cord in hot water good, I did.'
Tsugumi thanked her.
'Thank you...thank you very much....'
She gave thanks for the two lives who had been born safely.
And these last words were directed toward the deep darkness beyond the window.
The snow was falling. The two babies pressed to Tsugumi's chest with eyes closed, let out small yawns.
'Let's just call you subspecies 'Cure' for now....Now any kids who were born from 'Takeshi, the Homo Sapiens' and 'Tsugumi, the Cure' would technically be 'hybrids.''
'Now, by the way I guess I should tell you that the Cure Virus only infects pure humans, the 'Homo Sapiens.' So, there's no way the Cure Virus possibly affect your two 'little hybrids' there. While not much is known about the Cure Virus, some of the unique functions scientists have discovered, such as 'regenerating telomeres' and 'regenerative healing' are inherited recessively.'
'For blood types, without exception all children born from a 'type AA father' and a 'type OO mother,' for instance, can only be 'type AO,' with a 'type A' predisposition. Why? Because type A factors are inherited dominantly, and type O factors are inherited recessively.'
'In order for a child's blood type to be 'type O'....you'd have to have a mixture of either 'AO x AO', 'AO x BO', 'AO x OO', 'BO x BO', 'BO x OO', or 'OO x OO'....it can only be one of the above, meaning that BOTH the parents gotta add that type 'O' factor to the genetic milkshake. Same goes for the Cure Virus. Any child born from a pureblooded 'Sapiens' and 'Cure' will...all be 'Sapiens-Cure,' and inherit the dominant physical traits of both.'
'For them rug rats to become full-blooded 'Cure.'....the parents'd have be 'Cure x Cure', 'Sapiens Cure x Cure', or 'Sapiens Cure x Sapiens Cure.'...any of those combinations, meaning that both parents have to be part or all Cure. And since these two little critters were born from a 'pure Sapiens' and 'pure Cure...' They'll have the same physical traits as a pure human, and won't possess the Cure traits like perpetual youth. So, you don't have nothing to worry about, alright?'
The doctor held up the two babies Tsugumi had brought, and laughed again. Tsugumi didn't know his background. It was probable that he had been part of Leiblich's laboratory staff in the past, since he knew so much about the Cure Virus. But he didn't seem to be one of them. Tsugumi figured she could trust him.
Among outcasts, there is an unspoken law: You don't go nosing around in other people's pasts.Tsugumi didn't ask him anything more, and he didn't demand to know about her either.
During the day, Tsugumi worked for next to nothing at a sewing factory, while the babies stayed at a daycare center. She spent every day, glued to a sewing machine from early morning to 4 p.m., and after that she would spend time with the babies. Her wages were very low and of course they were poor. She couldn't even afford disposable diapers.
Tsugumi collected small scraps of cloth, leftovers from the factory and sewed diapers and clothes for the babies. Despite the harsh living conditions, the babies were growing healthily. Their life was a peaceful one, and although they were poor, the poverty didn't threaten them. They were content. The three of them were always smiling.
'Momma...momma....' 'Oh... Chammiii, Chammiii...'
They were already beginning to talk. The boy had starting walking a few steps at a time. The was girl able to stand, barely, as she held onto things.
The girl had begun to speak 'Oh...Chammiii, Chammiii....' which was very unusual for a one-year-old. The boy, it seemed, grew faster physically and the girl grew faster intellectually. Tsugumi tenderly watched over their cute gestures. She was filled with happiness.
The boy ran around the sand, falling and getting back up over and over. The girl was sitting by the water putting her hands in the waves....She was giggling saying 'Cooold...so cold....'
Watching out over the flat surface of the ocean, Tsugumi's thoughts turned to Takeshi. 'So live! As long as you're alive, live! Don't worry...I'm not going to die - those were Takeshi's last words to her. It had been two years already.
'I'm not going to die.'
After saying that, he sunk to the bottom of the ocean, protecting the woman he loved, protecting the children right in front of her.
'You fool, you're a liar.' Tsugumi whispered to the ocean. But at the same time, she still hadn't given up hope.
'No...He must be alive somewhere. He's a man of his word.'
A wave swallowed the girl, who had been playing near the edge of the water. For an adult, it would hardly have reached their shin, but for a one-year-old baby, it was as big as tsunami. The girl disappeared in a splash of water and was sucked out into the ocean like a piece of driftwood by the tide.
Tsugumi ran as hard as she could, held back by the resistance of the sand. But before she could get there, something unbelievable happened. The boy, who was only one year and three months old, jumped into the water and saved the girl. Hardly able to believe what she had seen, Tsugumi rushed toward them.
She carried them to dry sand. The girl started crying. The boy, seemingly unaware of what had happened, looked at his sister crying.
A few seconds later...he fell over as all his strength had left him. That night, both of them came down with a high fever.
The girl wasn't quite as much of a challenge, since she moved about less, but still Tsugumi had to put up with her stubbornness. She refused to eat things she didn't like, and when she got in a bad mood, she wouldn't stop fussing...And no matter how much Tsugumi warned her, she wouldn't stop playing with her brother's hair. And she would always demand for 'More Chami! More Chami!'
Those days were filled with being buffeted about by her two rambunctious children....But no matter how challenging, even those days were filled with happiness.
At night, all three of them slept together cuddled up on a thin mattress.
Talking in their sleep, the two babies sought their mother's touch. Looking down at their sweet innocent gestures, Tsugumi felt bliss she had never know.
With no time to collect anything, all Tsugumi could bring with her was her two babies and her hamster as she fled. So they ran, but....It was obvious to Tsugumi that eventually Leiblich would hunt them down. As they continued running, Tsugumi thought to herself.
'Even if I could keep escaping, would it really be happiness for the two children? They wouldn't be able to go to school. And it would be too hard on them to keep moving from town to town. Besides...if we ever get caught, what would they do to my children at Leiblich?'
'It's too dangerous for them to be with me....'
Tsugumi made up her mind.
She researched an orphanage she could trust and decided to leave them there. The two children were just too young...Even if Tsugumi had tried to explain, they couldn't have understood.
With no other option, she left the pendant she had kept with her, making a wish as she gave it.
'I will come back for you. I will come to get you, I promise.'
Being too young to understand the situation, the two children just stared at their mother crying. Weeping bitter tears, Tsugumi looked back many times as she walked away.
She never once mentioned the names 'Hokuto' or 'Sara' in the story. Because those names weren't the names Tsugumi had given them. Someone else had named them 'Hokuto' and 'Sara'.
If I could, I wanted to stay with them forever, but it wasn't possible. There were still many unsolved matters that I needed to take care of. Listening to Tsugumi's story had caused me to suddenly remember something. I had received a phone call before coming to LeMU. Over the phone, a voice had said to me.
'If you come to LeMU, you can see your mother and sister.'
"Oh, so that was it....Before the accident took place, I had been waiting for someone at the rest area. It must have been my mother and Sara...."
Tsugumi must have been roped in to coming to LeMU in the same way I was.
Wait, roped in!?
I still didn't know the answer to that. But I had some clues....The voice on the phone had been male. Without a doubt I knew whose voice it had been. I ran to him.
"You aren't Takeshi Kuranari!"
Barging into the rest area I demanded an answer from the man in front of me. I couldn't call him 'Takeshi' anymore. This guy had been deceiving us the whole time.
"Look I don't have any clue what you're talking about...?"
"Don't play dumb! I know that the real Takeshi is Sara's and my father!"
"Father? Me? You and Sara's?"
"No, not you! Sara and I are the children of Takeshi and Tsugumi."
"Wait, so Tsugumi and I...."
"I keep telling you, you're not Takeshi! I'm talking about Takeshi from the other world!"
"Other world? What the heck's that supposed to mean?"
"The world back in 2017!"
"Um...2017, huh...? And when were you born?"
"On January 21, 16 years ago."
"In what year?"
"I see. So, how could you possibly know what happened in 2017?"
"I dunno, I just do! What do you expect me to do about it?"
"Besides, we're not talking about me now. Who...who are you anyway!? And why did you lie about the year 2017!? Why are you pretending to be 'Takeshi Kuranari!?' What was the reason you tried to trick us by repeating the same incident as 17 years ago and by using the same words!?"
"To trick you...to trick you, huh...?"
"Think twice, will you, Kid? For instance, if I was repeating the incident in 2017, how could I possibly trick you who were born in 2018? Practically speaking, it is impossible to trick you into believing 'the same incident from 17 years ago is taking place.' Do you get it?"
"Besides, how could you tell it was the same incident? How could you tell that I'm using the same phrase? How could you know the history before you were even born!?"
"Why don't you appear your true self? Who are you anyway!?"
Somehow, I couldn't say a word.
(Who am I anyway...?)
The same question was repeated in my mind.
"Oh, I see, when it comes to your story, you clam up, huh...? Alright then."
"I'll tell you my real name. Yes, as you said, I am not Takeshi Kuranari. My real name is....Kaburaki. Ryogo Kaburaki."