From Yoshiasu’s flat the collected data were sent to the crime labs. Detective Harrows talked to the neighbors; fortunately one of the ladies remembered a bulky man with strong jaws and bushy eyebrows who was dragging a stumbling young man. She gave the police the best description she could, adding some important clues to the already piling data.
Just as he expected, the lab results confirmed some of the detective’s suspicions; the blood belonged to Fuyuki but the body fluid and the unknown fingerprints lead them to a man named Jack Rogers. The guy was known to have a record of violent behavior and a number of domestic violence complaints. Each time he escaped justice because his wife wasn’t willing to testify against him.
Then, searching deeper in this guy’s personal history, detective Harrows found the piece of information he needed for the whole picture. Jack Roger had three children: a girl and two boys. His wife died years ago and the now grown-up children moved out from the family house. But in its early years of the past the Roger family had had a sixth member: a little boy named…Fuyuki. The child was reported missing when he was about five years old and he was never found. There were rumors about Jack Roger being the culprit in the child’s disappearance but despite all efforts police couldn’t find solid evidence against him.
Detective Harrows was getting seriously worried: this was definitely a dangerous guy and Fuyuki’s life was hanging on a thread.
Police traced down the Roger siblings and asked them about their father’s whereabouts but they knew almost nothing. Since they have left the family they were in no contact with him. As for their former brother, all they knew was that he had disappeared and that he was probably dead. Their old home was probably deserted and locked up. Dead end.
But neither the detective, nor Yoshiasu were giving up. Yoshiasu contacted the Roger siblings and asked them to meet him. He waited for them at the hotel where he stayed. The first who came was Janice, a pleasant looking woman in her early thirties. Despite her calm composure, Yoshiasu was able to detect that there was something bothering her deep inside. The two brothers, Peter and Michael arrived together; they were more restrained and distant. Yoshiasu invited them to have a seat and placed some juice and coffee on the table; this looked like a difficult meeting for all of them.
Janice and her two brothers sat in silence, watching and listening to Yoshiasu. He took out two photos and handed them out.
-This is Fuyuki, your brother. The first picture was taken at the hospital shortly after I found him dumped in Central Park. The other photo was taken while he was living in my flat. Help me find him! Please!!!
Watching them Yoshiasu could see horror and disbelief washing over each of the three faces. The young men looked skeptical but Janice was deeply touched and troubled by what she has just seen. She was still holding the photos when Peter, the elder brother spoke:
-I’m sorry to disappoint you. I don’t think we can help you. We’ve already told to the police: our little brother died when he was about five years old. Our father was a strict person, there’s not much love lost between us but I’m sure he has nothing to do with this. So, you have to excuse us but we have nothing else to say.
The two men stood up ready to go when Janice broke the silence.
-SIT DOWN!- she said firmly.
-I said sit down! You know nothing because you were too young at the time. You Peter, you were 7 at the time and Michael was 6; but I…I remember everything.
I’m sorry Mr. Tanaka that I never had the courage to speak about this, but now I’m ready to come clear with everything.
Peter and Michael watched her in disbelief. It was clear that they knew nothing and that they dreaded what might come out of their older sister’s recounting.
-Fuyuki was in fact our first cousin. His mother was our mom’s favorite sister. She died in childbirth, while the baby’s father died previously in a car accident. They loved each other but they didn’t have the chance to marry because of the accident, so Fuyuki was…an illegitimate child. Mother insisted that we take him in our family, much to our father’s displeasure. He has hated his sister-in-law but after à while he gave in to mom’s pleas.
-Fuyuki was a beautiful baby and he grew into an even lovelier child. He was a very good child, mild, pleasant and cheerful. Everybody loved him…except father. Day by day he came harder and harder on him. Despite that, Fuyuki loved him and never disobeyed him.
And while Peter and Michael liked boy’s rough-and-tumble, Fuyuki spent most of his time in the garden, watching the butterflies and drawing them. He was gifted- a real talent.
Janice stopped for a moment; she fumbled through her wallet and took out a small, yellow piece of paper folded in four. She handed it to Yoshiasu; he unfolded it and almost cried out: it was one of Fuyuki’s butterfly drawings.
-Keep it-said Janice. I had kept it since that horrible night when Fuyuki…disappeared from our family.
I was ten years old so I clearly remember everything. I wasn’t very sleepy that night and I was thirsty, so I went down to the kitchen to pour myself some water. I walked in silence not to disturb the others when I heard father’s voice in Fuyuki’s room. The door was cracked open so I hid and watched what was happening. Father was towering above poor Fuyuki, holding the belt in his hands. Fuyuki was sobbing. Father was telling him that it was about time that he paid for all he’s got from the family…then he ordered him to get naked. He stood there with that evil smile over his face and…
Janice’s voice dropped. She stood silently for a moment then took a deep breath and continued:
-Our father…raped our five years old brother. I was so frighten that I couldn’t move so I had to watch and listen to all. For years Fuyuki’s screams and cries haunted me. I don’t remember how I got back my room; but I remember seeing him as he carried Fuyuki’s body in a blanket to the backyard. We had an old shed that our father kept as his “personal headquarters”. Nobody dared to go there, not even mom. It was strictly forbidden.
The next day, father declared that Fuyuki was in the hospital and then we never spoke about him again. That was the day when mom stopped smiling and from that moment, her health slowly declined. Night after night,I kept hearing her crying. I married early and escaped from the hell. Mother died a little bit later. The boys moved out eventually, leaving our ”honest businessman” father alone in his fortress. He lives now in different places but we don’t keep in touch.
This is the TRUTH and I’m ready to testify against this monster that happens to be our father.
-Janice!! You can’t!- protested the boys.
-The hell I can’t! I can and I will! I don’t blame you if you don’t support me; you were too young and you knew nothing. But I knew and I loved Fuyuki and I couldn’t save him when I was a child.
Now I’m a grown-up and I won’t let father destroy my baby-brother entirely. This man is a vampire feeding on the innocents! Mr. Tanaka!-she said turning to Yoshiasu. This is my card; give it please to detective Harrows and tell him: he can call me anytime for any help. Please, hurry! Find my brother and bring him back to me. I miss him so much and for so long!
Yoshiasu left the Roger siblings to set things between them and hurried to catch the detective at work. They talked on the phone and Yoshiasu sent the data via internet. Soon after that, detective Harrows set the search for Fuyuki and Jack Rogers in motion.
Jack Roger was put on nationwide pursuit and he was finally cornered in his hometown. The neighbors spotted him at his old house late at night; police caught him and searched the house and the whole backyard thoroughly. They found a lot of incriminating evidence of what the “honest businessman” was doing but Fuyuki was nowhere to find. Evidently, Jack Roger wasn’t eager to speak either. At the enquiries he kept smirking and saying:
-You won’t find him! Never! He’s mine!
Desperate, Yoshiasu called Janice and asked her to come down to the city to help them in the search. First hours of the morning she was already there and met Yoshiasu and the police. They kept searching for clues together. Returning there after à long time, Janice looked around and sighed:
-What a dreadful place…I never thought I’d come back here.
-Do you have any idea about a hiding place?-asked the detective. Until now, we couldn’t find anything.
-Let me see-said Janice. Things have changed here, at least some of them. Let me recall the old days, maybe I’ll come up with something.
-Please go around as you wish. But remember, time is short. Your father is in our custody for two days now which means that Fuyuki is in danger of dehydration or running out of oxygen-said the detective.
Janice took the visibly shaken Yoshiasu with her and made a quick tour of the house then they went out in the backyard. The old shed had been demolished and the whole place was leveled. Only a couple of small molds lay scattered in the yard and there was nothing else to be seen. Janice paced up and down, brows furrowed in deep concentration…Suddenly she shouted:
-Bring a police dog here! Quickly! This is where the entrance to the cellar under the old shed was. I clearly remember the tree from the opposite side of the fence to be in line with that. I’ve been here once and got caught and I cannot forget the spank Father gave me for meddling around his “private space”!
The dog was brought to the spot and in a short while, he became restless and whined, trying to dig in. People gathered and with collective effort, they unraveled the cellar door that was hidden under the bricks of grass. The row of stairs was dark and the air was stale but breathable. The molds seen from the outside were in fact camouflaged air holes from where the entire underground facility was continuously aired. It was the dog that led them to the door of a particular room. It was locked from outside but they broke in. There was a commuter near the door-frame and they turned up the light.
Fuyuki was inside, tied to the bed and blindfolded. His breath was shallow and he had already lost conscience. Detective Harrows called for the paramedics to come as close as possible; he then untied the young man, lifted him up and carried him out.
-He’s alive, thanks God!- he shouted to Yoshiasu and Janice, who were anxiously waiting in the yard. Go to the hospital! I’ll be there later!
The paramedics took Fuyuki and put him an IV and an oxygen mask. Janice and Yoshiasu followed the ambulance in her car.
It took Fuyuki three days after being rushed to the hospital to regain his senses. Re- hydrated, rebalanced, sedated into a deep sleep to aid the recovery, he was was waking up totally confused. Through his eyelids he could sense that it was light around him and the air was clear and it smelled differently.
There were also muffled sounds around and he had the distinct feeling of not being alone in the room. Uncertain about his whereabouts, Fuyuki wasn’t willing to open his eyes. He tried to pick up the thread of his memory from the last tangible event. Well, those were disturbing events but at least they were certainties. The last customers came in pair and they played a cruel game of cat-and- mouse with him, until confused and totally shattered he fainted. After that, there were scattered moments of feverish state and darkness, agonizing thirst and deadly silence. For a split second Fuyuki hoped that he had died and that he was in a place beyond any more hurt.
But somewhere deep inside him, the grain of light refused to die out. It was the only light that had kept him alive those days and weeks of horror. Yoshiasu’s name and the memory of his love erupted in his mind and Fuyuki burst into tears.
He woke up sobbing violently and shaking. He curled into fetal position, burying his face into the pillow. He was unable to control the flow of feelings and he was struggling to catch his breath. A hand touched him gently and the voice speaking him was soft and soothing:
-Fuyuki, stop crying. I’m here; you’re safe now. Fuyuki, please…
Fuyuki turned up brusquely, eyes wide of shock. Yoshiasu was sitting on the edge of the bed and caught his hands.
-Your father is in police custody; he cannot hurt you anymore! Never!
He embraced Fuyuki and held him close; the younger man was trying to understand what his love was saying. His sobs subsided a little and he buried his face in Yoshiasu’s shoulder whispering:
-I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I’ve tried…I’m sorry…Oh,God!…Don’t leave me, please…
-I AM SORRY!-said Yoshiasu almost shouting. I have promised to protect you and I wasn’t there when you needed me! You have to forgive ME…
-You were with me…in my mind…my only hope…
Yoshiasu sighed and squeezed Fuyuki. He wasn’t sure how much emotion could the fragile young man handle but he had to give a try; Janice was waiting for a chance to meet her little brother again after so much time.
-Fuyuki, there is someone who actually helped us to find you in the underground cell. She is waiting outside to see you. Do you think you can handle it?
-I…I think so-he nodded. His eyes lit up as he saw the woman.
-Ja…niss…-he murmured and took a deep breath.
Janice swallowed hard but it was no use; tears were running freely down her cheeks as she rushed to embrace and kiss Fuyuki.
-How?! How did you know?!-she asked incredulously.
-Your eyes and your smile are still the same, sis.
-And you’re as kind and beautiful as ever, baby-brother. Oh, how I longed to see you again…