Book two: Chapter six, 2016, summer's end

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Midsummer's eve,2040, sunset

Christina left the barbecue behind her. She needed some time on her own and climbed up the small hill she had visited earlier that evening.

The sun was finally setting. Half past ten already? Yukio will go bonkers. For some reason that thought was hilarious and she laughed into the summer evening.

With the sun setting temperature dropped rapidly. It wasn't like Japan where summer nights were warm, even though you couldn't trust June at all. A lot like April in Sweden with the weather gods playing the lottery most every day.

A clean slab of weather-beaten stone made do as a bench, and she stared across the sea. Seeing everyone back together like this brought a lot of memories to her. Some good and some not so good.

Right now she mulled over some of the latter. What she had done, and how those deeds eventually found her here a quarter of a century later, because there was a connection between what she had done as a teenager and where she ended up as an adult.

Christina pulled her shawl tighter around her. A lingering wind brought salt and sea to her nose, but she couldn't feel as childishly nostalgic as she had done earlier. Because of what had happened back then.

Some had been accidents, but some had been poor and selfish choices from her part, and those haunted her still. She had paid for them in full, but redemption was still an open question.

Did she want them undone? Yes, but she had already been given a second chance at life, so she had no right to complain.

Still, what if?

Chapter six,2016, summer's end

The first call came around ten in the evening, and after the third Yukio convinced his mother to drive him to Kuri's apartment.

For a while he thought of calling Kyoko, but her parents would most likely have gone ballistic if he tried a stunt like that.

Traffic was bad with a lot of people in their twenties driving to parties celebrating that summer was about to end. A lot of university students flocked the streets as well. All in all it took his mother the better part of half an hour to get there. Eleven pm.

It was still warm in the air, so the shuddering couldn't be because he was freezing.

Yukio heard the sounds of walking feet above him. So he's outside her door. Yukio ran up the stairs and found his friend where he had guessed. He grabbed Urufu's shoulders and stared into a rabid face. "What's wrong, man?"

"She's not here. She doesn't take calls and she doesn't reply to emails. I don't know where she's gone. Amaya's coming. She's a police and there has to be something she can do."

Yukio let the flood of words roll over him. Urufu was frantic, and he probably didn't even know he was talking constantly.

"Man, calm down. Mom's here and Sato-sensei is coming. We'll be fine," he said. Truth be told he didn't have a clue what the emergency was about. Kuri was out. She had flipped her phone off and thus she couldn't be reached. End of problem. Both Urufu and Kuri were grown-ups anyway. They just looked like high schoolers.

But then crap with Urufu seldom was that easy.

Yukio looked down the stairs. His mother stood there looking back up. She pointed towards a line of vending machines and Yukio nodded. Then she vanished out of sight, and Yukio sat down beside his friend. There wasn't much else to do?

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