The siren lights flash through the raindrops on my window and paint my office walls red. My phone won’t stop buzzing. I won’t pick it up. It’s the same damn message every time. I grab the bottle of water and pour it into a glass. It’s not my job to fix their mistake.
The rain almost drowns out the knock on my door. I walk up to the door and open it. I almost drop my glass. Those same, ageless black eyes stare at me through the strands of black hair. “O’Brien, right?” Akira asks.
“You’re the girl.” I bring my hand down to my gun, “The police looking all over for you.”
“I’ll go back.” She says, “Eventually. Can I come in?” I pull the door fully open. I can’t let her go. As long as she’s with me, she can’t hurt anyone. Her hair drips water into the room as she strolls through it, “Aren’t you going to ask me?”
“Ask you what?”
“How I escaped.”
“What’s the use if you are not going to answer?”
She sits on my desk and plays with the bottle, “What makes you think I won’t answer?”
“You’re thirty.” I justify as I approach her and snap the bottle away from her hands, “Not seventeen.”
“Age is but a number. What does it matter?”
“You lied. It means you have something to hide.”
“Don’t we all?” she smiles, “I know you do.” She climbs off my desk and walks over to the window, “I’m here to hire you, Mr. O’Brien. I want you to help me catch my parents’ killer.”
I pour myself a drink, “You want me to help someone I was hired to send to jail. What could you possibly have to convince me?”
“A murder confession.” She replies, “And it seems you forgot I used to be a Maiko. I’ve got contacts all over the world, contacts that told me just how to get to you.” I take a short sip, but pull the glass away as I taste the bitter drink. “If they are right, then I’ll see you in a minute or so. If not, well, let’s just hope they are right.” My vision blurs. I drop the glass. The shattering sound stings my ears. My legs can’t stand anymore. I fall to the ground and the world goes black.
The rain has stopped and only soft drops fall onto the window. Something beneath my head holds it up just slightly, soft like cloth. I grunt. My head is swirling. I don’t know how long my heart stopped. It couldn’t be more than a couple of minutes. “Two minutes, twenty-nine seconds.” A voice says. I roll my head to the left. Akira is sitting on my desk again, flipping through a black notebook. “You were beginning to scare me. But it might have been my fault. That poison, after all, could kill an elephant with one drop. Yet you are still alive.” She walks up to me and extends her hand. I pull myself up, my vision slowly coming into focus but the pounding in my head ceaseless. “You know I’m thirty. How old are you?”
I don’t dare take a step. I don’t have enough balance to keep standing. I don’t answer. “Maybe you should be the one to ask the questions first.” She suggests, “Why don’t you ask me how long I’ve been seventeen.” She runs her fingers through my elbow and walks behind me. There is a shift in her grasp. More weight falls over me.
“Or maybe,” she continues. Her voice is softer, higher, I dare to say younger. I turn around. Her same features have turned softer and she has lost an inch or two. Her figure is a lot flatter. “Maybe you should ask how long I was fifteen.” She winks at me and gives me her back. She throws her head back. Her hair grows shorter and so does her height. My heart is beating intensely. Could she be something different? Something like me? She turns around and a little girl stands in front of me. “Or maybe how long I was seven. But that is a silly question to ask, isn’t it?” she says, her voice high like the one of a little girl. What am I saying? She is a little girl. At this moment, I’m talking to a seven-year-old girl.
I watch as her features change. Her lips grow longer and eyes smaller, or maybe they remain the same size and it is her face that grows. Her body elongates and the curves that mark her body appear once more. I can’t believe what I am watching, but it is real. I’m not alone. “One hundred and forty-seven.” I state.
“Excuse me?” Akira runs her fingers through her hair, seventeen again.
“That’s my age. One hundred and forty-seven.” I take a short step forward. Then another. “How did you know about me?”
“I told you, I’ve got contacts.” She replies, “They showed me pictures of you in 1992, then 1989, 1957, 1931, and up to 1916. Seems like every single man in your family grows up to look exactly the same. Or, like me, you can be young for as long as you wish.”
“I’ve been young for a lot longer than I wish.” I reply, “You’re immortal.”
“In a way,” she admits, “I can never die from old age if that’s what you mean. But I’m sure I wouldn’t survive a knife wound or a poisoned drink.”
“You’re not like me.”
“I’m somewhat like you.” She says, “And I know you want answers as much as I do. I’ll I help you find them if you help me.”
I look down. I must be going mad. I never thought I’d be forced to help a serial killer, but I don’t have much choice. I’m so tired of this. After all this time alive, all that’s left to do is die. I nod, “I’ll help you.”
Akira flashes a smile at me, “That’s great.” She strolls to the door and places her hand on the knob. She shoots a glance back at me, “Meet me at midnight at the airport.”
“Airport?” I ask.
“My parents died in Japan. You wouldn’t be much help halfway around the world.” She stated, “Bring a suitcase.”
“Where are you going?”
“To get a fake passport. I killed twelve people in under a minute. I’d be worried if anyone’d let me on a plane.” Her smile lingers on me as she steps out and closes the door behind her.
I lean back on my desk and run my fingers through my hair. I’m flying to Japan with a serial killer. I can’t believe I agreed to this.
I close my eyes and hear the air push on the glass of my window. Eliza’s laugh echoes in my ears. I have to it for her. I’ll find a way to be with her once again.