It was another icy cold day in Hokkaido but it didn't faze the people there at all, they were used to the cold. In fact, they kind of liked it. One girl in particular loved playing in the cold air and in the snow. She jumped about throwing snow balls at snow covered hedges as she had no friends to play with. It wasn't that she didn't have friends, they were just all in the house by now. After all, they were only 10, but this girl lived with her mother who worked until late at night so she was really able to stay out for however long she wanted. That is until her mother came back. The girl continued to play until she saw a figure appear at the end of the path. It was a young woman who looked exhausted. Her feet were dragging across the ground as she struggled to pull herself along the path.
The girl got the feeling that it was just a matter of time until that woman collapsed so she done the one thing she was told never to do. She talked to a stranger.
"Ano. You look tired and it's supposed to get colder tonight, so do you want to come into my house and rest for the night. I'm sure my okaa-san won't mind."
The woman looked at the girl with sad eyes. Eyes that held so much pain. "Didn't your okaa-san ever tell you not to talk to strangers?"
The girl nodded. "But you look like you're going to collapse, besides she is going to come home soon."
The young woman thought for a second before expressing her gratitude and following the girl to the house. When they got in the warmth enveloped them and the young woman could never be more grateful.
They took off their jackets and scarf and such before the young woman sat down on the couch while the little girl went to fix them a cup of hot chocolate. The girl came back with two steaming mugs of hot chocolate and handed one to the young woman.
"What's your name?" The little girl asked, curiosity evident in her voice.
"Well, what's yours?"
"I asked you first!"
"I never tell someone my name unless I know their name. Just like I normally don't trust people."
"But won't that be awfully lonely. I mean you will never meet anyone new."
"I had to become like this. It's something I learned."
The girl nodded but you could tell she didn't quite get it. "My name is Aiko Nagasawa."
"I'm Mao. Mao Inoue."
"Mao's a pretty name. Your parents picked a really pretty name for you."
Mao looked down at the ground. "Both my parents are dead."
"It's alright you didn't know."
"Aiko. Who's this?" Mao and Aiko turned around to see a woman carrying shopping bags standing in the doorway of the living room.
"Okaa-san. It's alright this is-"
"Why is Inoue-san here, Aiko?"
"Because she looked like she was going to collapse."
"It's alright. I'll leave if you want me to."
"No...I guess it's alright. Inoue-san do you have anywhere to go?"
"What about parents? Any other family members?"
"I guess it's alright to stay the night then. I'm Masami Nagasawa."
Once Aiko was asleep in bed, Masami took this as a chance to find out more about this Mao Inoue. "Inoue-san. Where do you originally come from?"
"Eh?! You came all this way! How?"
"No wonder you were tired. Why walk all the way to Hokkaido?"
"I needed to get away."
"From something that happened."
"I don't suppose you could tell me?"
Mao looked into Masami's eyes. Masami could tell that Mao was debating whether or not to tell a complete stranger her problems. But Mao must have decided that Masami looked like a trustworthy person because she decided to tell her.
"Do you know about the stream of mass murders that hit Tokyo 2 years ago?"
"H-hai. It was pretty big news all over Japan because of how many died and how gruesome it was."
"Well I was involved in those killings. A little more than I'd like to be."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you know the laboratory that got destroyed?"
"Ah hai. It got burned to the ground and all the workers died in the fire. If I remember correctly it was around that time that the murders started."
"Well, the scientists didn't die in the fire."
"They were killed before that. By something they had created. An experiment that got out of control. That experiment is the cause of the murders. Those scientists created a monster and that monster killed my younger brother. And that is what I am running away from."
Masami just sat there utterly shocked. But just like her daughter, she was curious, so decided to find out more.
"What exactly happened in Tokyo 2 years ago?"
"You really want to know?"
"Yes. Besides, they say that talking about the past can sometimes help people deal with it."
Mao thought for a second. "Fine. I'll tell you. But just so you know, this isn't going to be a story with a happy ending like in fairytales. Are you prepared for what I'm about to tell you?"
"Yes. I'm ready!"
"Fine. Then I'll begin..."