OK, I just finished up the second draft of the first chapter. Actually, it’s part 1 of 5 of the first chapter. I’m going to do one for each of the principle characters at the start of the story. They will all come to the same point (with one exception) from which I envision the storylines will merge. So, without further ado, here is Chapter 1-Miyuki
**Bokuto Precinct of the DEAD
That morning started like almost any other for Miyuki Kobayakawa. She woke up early as she always did, and enjoyed a nice long shower as she prepared for the day ahead. She ate a modest breakfast, one that gave her plenty of energy but wouldn't add to her weight, and washed her breakfast dishes so she wouldn't have to worry about them when she returned home.
Walking up to her roommate's door, Miyuki stopped and listened for a minute. All she heard was the soft snoring of her friend, Natsumi Tsujimoto. Letting out a quiet sigh, Miyuki rapped on the door and called out “Natsumi, wake up.” The only reply she got was a snort from the other side of the door.
A frown crossed Miyuki's face as, knocking on the door harder, she again called, “Natsumi, wake up. You'll be late again!” This time, the response from the room was a loud “Snx-x-x-x-x.” With her frown blossoming into a look of consternation, Miyuki balled her fist and pounded on the door. “Natsumi, WAKE UP! You're going to make us both late!” No sound emanated from behind the door.
Turning abruptly, Miyuki walked down the hall to the front door, calling out over her shoulder, “I don't know why I have to treat you like you're my teenage daughter!” Releasing the lock, she stepped into the hallway and pulled the door shut.
Walking to the station, Miyuki fumed over her partner's tardiness habit. She mused that while Natsumi was a good partner, her constant lateness served to reduce the luster her many achievements had earned her. She decided that they were going to have to have yet another “heart-to-heart” talk. With that matter settled, Miyuki began to relax and enjoy the sights on her walk to the Bokuto Police Station.
Miyuki changed into her uniform in the woman's locker room, exchanging pleasantries with Yorkio Nikaido and some of the other policewomen, then walked over to the squad room, where the Chief and Aoi Futaba were already hard at work. Looking up, the Chief beckoned to Miyuki to come to his desk.
“Officer Kobayakawa, I've made a change to the duty roster today,” he started. “I'm sending out Officers Futaba and Nikaido in your place this morning. It seems that Headquarters has moved up the date for that report you're working on so you'll have to work on it this morning.”
“When do they want the report turned in now, Chief?” Miyuki inquired.
“Oh, right, I didn't say” the Chief said, a bit nonplussed. “They want it today.”
“Today? I just got the raw data two days ago! Do they think I'm a human computer?” Miyuki moaned.
“I'm sorry, Kobayakawa. I know how hard this request is. I'm trying to get them to adjust the date to a more reasonable one” the Chief assured Miyuki.
“Thank you for trying to get me some more time, Chief. Well, I guess I better stop complaining and start working.” With that, Miyuki turned around and went to her desk, turning her computer on as she sat down. When she opened up her programs, she saw that some of the data was already entered into the program. Aoi looked up and called over, “Miyuki, when the Chief asked Yoriko and me to stand in, I offered to start entering in the data to give you a head start.”
“Thank you, Aoi! You're a big help. How much did you get put in?'
“I'm not as fast as you, Miyuki, so I've only gotten through the first 12 pages.”
That's OK, Aoi. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.”
Officer Yoriko Nikaido entered the squad room with a handful of mail. She called out “Good morning, Miyuki, good morning, Aoi” as she walked over to the Chiefs desk.
“You're in a particularly good mood today, Officer Nikaido” the Chief observed with a grin.
“Good morning Chief” Yoriko said breezily. She put all but one letter on his desk. She then turned to face her two fellow policewomen and held up the letter. “Guess who’s got mail today!” she said with her usual conspiratorial glee.
“Let's see... Is it Inspector Tokuno? Perhaps it's that cute guy in the radio dispatch room...” Aoi mused. Miyuki just laughed.
Crossing over to Officer Tsujimoto's desk, Yoriko exclaimed, “No, it's Natsumi!” as she dropped the letter on the computer keyboard.
“So Yoriko, did you steam the letter open?” Miyuki teased.
“Miyuki, what are you saying? You're trying to make me out to be a busybody” Yoriko said with mock disappointment. “Besides, there was somebody else in the break room when I went by, so I couldn't get to the tea kettle!” All three women giggled as the Chief, sitting with his head down like he was reading, let a sly smile cross his face.
“Yoriko, don't get too comfortable” Aoi advised her. “The Chief's switched us with Miyuki and Natsumi and we're going on patrol first today.”
“Aw, rats! I wanted to be here when Natsumi opened her letter!” Yoriko whined.
“Officer Nikaido, Officer Kobayakawa has had the completion date moved up on her report, so she needs to be in the office as much as possible today” the Chief told Yoriko. “I'm sure she'll be better able to concentrate on her work if she's not thinking about your being upset.”
Yoriko blushed and bowed in the Chief's direction. “I'm sorry, Chief!” She then turned to Miyuki and and bowed again, “I'm sorry, Miyuki! I wasn't complaining. I know that is a very important report for you!”
Miyuki chuckled. “It's alright, Yoriko. I knew you were just kidding. Besides, I promise I'll give you a detailed report when you get back.”
“Thanks, Miyuki! You're the best!” Yoriko beamed.
Officer Ken Nakajima and two other motorcycle officers walked into the squad room just then. They greeted the Chief and the policewomen as they went to their desks. Kenny, however, came over to Miyuki's desk. “Um, Kobayakawa, may I ask you a question?” he said nervously.
“Sure, Nakajima, you may” Miyuki replied.
“I was thinking, um, you know that new udon restaurant over by the train station? I would like to, um, meet you and Tsujimoto there for lunch today.”
“Well, I don't know if I'll be able to make it, “Miyuki mused, a slight frown forming on her lips. “I'm working on a report that's become a rush job and I'll probably have to work through lunch.”
The Chief looked up from his paperwork and smiled at Miyuki and Ken. “I'm not that much of a slave driver that I'd make you miss a lunch date with Nakajima” he chuckled, “and beside, that way you won't have to worry about Tsujimoto.”
“Thank you, Chief” Miyuki replied, beaming. Turning to Kenny, she said “See you there at noon?”
“I'll be there!” Kenny said with a big grin on his face as he sat down at his desk. He went over the morning paperwork with obvious joy, so much so that Miyuki chuckled, wondering if this meant a new breakthrough in their relationship. She returned to her data entry, oblivious to the big smile she, too, had on her face.
The rest of the Bokuto Precinct Traffic Section day shift came in over the next few minutes, each patrolman or woman reviewing the previous night's report's and working on various projects and reports of their own. Before long, the Chief stood up and cleared his throat.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there's not much that is going on today. The only change to the patrol roster is that Officers Futaba and Nikaido are substituting for Officers Kobayakawa and Tsujimoto this morning. Just remember, you are representing the finest Traffic section in Tokyo-Bokuto!”
With a chorus of “Yeses” from the officers, they stood up and proceeded to their vehicles. Soon, the only two people in the room were Miyuki and the Chief. Miyuki continued to enter the information into her computer while the Chief signed the reports from the previous day. A measure of peace returned to the squad room.
All of a sudden, they heard someone running down the hallway. The door to the squad room flew open and Officer Tsujimoto stood there, breathing heavily as she leaned against the door jamb. “I-I-I was on my way to work when I heard a woman calling for help. Her baby had crawled out on a ledge, so I had to go out there to rescue it...”
“Officer Tsujimoto, I believe that is the third time this year you've saved a baby that crawled out on a ledge-and it's barely Spring,” said the Chief dryly, struggling to suppress a smile. “I hope it wasn't the same child.” Miyuki stifled a chuckle.
“No, Chief, it was a different child” Natsumi replied, with a crimson blush starting to rise on her cheeks. “I guess it's just fortunate that I am passing by when these things happen. I will write my apology when I get back from patrol.”
“Actually, Natsumi, you can begin it now,” Officer Kobayakawa Miyuki suggested. “Aoi and Yoriko have gone on the morning patrol in our place.”
Natsumi, a look of surprise and concern on her face, bowed to the Chief. “I will write apologies to them as well. I did not mean for...”
The Chief interrupted her. “That will not be necessary, Officer Tsujimoto. I had decided to switch the patrols around anyway as Officer Kobayakawa has a report that needs to be completed this morning. You and she will cover the afternoon patrol.”
“I understand, Chief” Natsumi replied, moving to her desk. As she sat down, she spotted the letter that was placed on her keyboard. She knew immediately it was from Lieutenant Toukairin Shouji, even before she read the return address on the envelope. She broke into a big grin as she pounced on the letter. Tearing it open, her eyes lit up as they darted across the page. Her smile widened as she read.
“Good news, Natsumi?” Miyuki asked. “What is happening with Shouji?'
“He's returned from that assignment in Sapporo and is at the Mountain Rescue training center outside of Azumino. He said he should be able to make it to Tokyo this weekend,” Natsumi chortled.
“That's great news, Natsumi! Should the four of us make plans, or do you want to catch up with him first?” Miyuki wondered.
Natsumi cocked her head at Miyuki. “I know we're partners and best friends and all, but what do you think I want to do this weekend?” It was Miyuki's turn to blush.
The policewomen turned to their tasks. Miyuki completed the data input and started “crunching the numbers,” looking for patterns in the recent incident reports that would lead to suggestions to improve the effectiveness of the traffic patrols in the Sumito Ward.
Meanwhile, Natsumi worked on what seemed to be her 1,000th apology letter, trying to make it sound sincere. She was struggling with her writing, however, as her mind kept wandering into a fantasy of what the weekend would be like when she could finally see her Shouji-kun. She stared down at her paper for what seemed like an eternity. “How do you spell 'profoundly', Miyuki?” she asked, a bit dreamily.
“Um, Natsumi, I think you need to snap out of it. It's a long way until the weekend,” Miyuki offered. Just then the phone rang.
The Chief answered it. “Traffic Section, Kachou speaking. Yes. What? How many? Contact all patrols and advise them to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity until we figure out what's happening. Yes, right now.” He hung up the phone as the two policewomen looked at him.
“Is something happening, Chief?” Natsumi asked.
“Dispatch says they're getting a rash of calls from people claiming there are those who are assaulting others by biting them,” the Chief said. It doesn't seem to be anything to worry about just yet but I want the patrols to be the lookout for anyone who is doing that so we can determine what is happening.”
“People biting other people?” Miyuki mused. “What a strange thing to be doing.” Is it some kind of practical joke, like on those TV shows?”
Just then Natsumi's phone rang. She picked it up, listened for about 20-30 seconds, then asked “Who is this?” Her look of puzzlement turned into a look of concern tinged with alarm.
“I understand, Mrs. Kurusugawa. Could you hold for just a second?” Natsumi covered the mouthpiece and called to the Chief, “I have someone on the phone right now. She says her husband was bitten by another person and is coughing up blood. I'll see if I can find out what's going on.”
Uncovering the mouthpiece, Natsumi said, “Can you tell me what happened, and why you're calling me?” She listened intently for what now seemed an eternity, then her eyes went wide as Miyuki heard a blood-curdling “NOOOOO!” emit from the earpiece of Natsumi's phone.
“Mrs. Kurusugawa, are you alright? What's going on?” Natsumi yelled into the phone. “Did something happen to you?” Both the Chief and Miyuki looked up startled. Natsumi listened some more. Then she asked urgently, “Did the man come back and do something to your husband, Mrs. Kurusugawa?” After e few seconds a look of horror swept Natsumi's face.
“You killed the man?” Natsumi said breathlessly. Then she sat transfixed as Miyuki could plainly hear screams from the other end of the line, followed by silence.
“Mrs. Kurusugawa! Mrs. Kurusugawa!” Natsumi screamed into the handset even as the dial tone buzzed in her ear. Tears welled up in her eyes and her face was white as a sheet.
“Whats' wrong, Natsumi?” Miyuki asked, getting up from her chair with a concerned look on her face. The Chief stared intently at Natsumi.
“The woman I was talking to said her husband had died, but then she said he hadn't died and he was getting up but then he attacked her and bit her and then the phone went dead...” Natsumi just sat there, staring at the phone in disbelief at what she had just heard.
The Chief picked up the phone and began dialing. “I'm going to call Headquarters to see just what's going on.”
There was a sudden screech of tires from outside that was clearly audible even in the squad room. Miyuki ran to the window and looked down. She saw a police car parked haphazardly by the front entrance of the station and what looked to be Officer Futaba Aoi running towards the door. Something glinted in her right hand.
A few minutes later, they heard footsteps running down the hall in their direction. Aoi burst into the squad room panting, with her hair disheveled, her eyes red from crying and her uniform splattered with blood. In her right hand she held a Sig Sauer P232.
The Chief put the phone down and stood up. “What is the meaning of this, Officer Futaba? What are you doing back here, and where is Officer Nikaido?” he barked.
“Yoriko is dead,” Aoi said said flatly. “I shot her.”