Takakura took another deep breath, turned and spoke to the recorder on his side. "Number 0098 has generated another personality called Mr. F, a reasoning novelist. Mr. F has a super-realistic conception symptom, very different from the host personality—Shuichi Hirata. He thinks that he’s a creature who came from a pretty high dimension, and now he’s possessing the body."
Feng Bujue had waited until he had finished to ask what he really wanted to ask. "Doctor, if it’s the year 2005, Hirata’s case should have been settled. What is the final result?"
"He planned to murder two people, one of them was a policeman. The details of this case are very serious. Anyway, considering his purpose and his mental status, he was sentenced to be jailed for the rest of his life," Takakura answered.
"Is it an asylum?" asked Feng Bujue.
"This is one of the cells specified for mentally-ill inmates," Takakura continued, "we will carry out quarterly assessments for all inmates here." He paused for a while before continuing, "It’s also why we are talking now."
"What Hirata has been like during this period of 15 years?" asked Feng Bujue.
"More ordinary than you are now," Takakura answered, "when Hirata-kun could gather his mind, he told me that whenever he recalled the details of the case that year, he would enter a black-and-white world. No matter how many times he has been through, he would still see the memories of those ghosts. Sometimes, Watanabe and Tachibana will appear. At that time, Hirata-kun will mumble and grunt a lot. I’ve been trying to talk to the other two personalities. What they know about the case are the same with what the police had recorded. I think that these two personalities didn’t remember what actually happened that day as they have just made what the police told Hirata their memories." His eyes shifted from the documents to Feng Bujue’s face. "How about you, Mr. F? You seem to be very interested in that case, which means, you don’t actually know what had happened, right?"
"Yeah, I was about to ask, it’s been 15 years already, and if the judge had concluded that he had murdered two, so… have they found Officer Yamada’s body?" asked Feng Bujue.
"Seven years after the case had happened, Officer Yamada’s body was found," Takakura answered, "it was also the time I’ve started to contact you."
"So… that year, even though they hadn’t found Yamada’s body yet, how could they have convicted him with ‘murdered two people’?" Feng Bujue asked.
"It is…" Takakura said, "from the situation at that time, the details of the case were obvious. Hirata-Kun’s mentality was cracked. Moreover, no barristers had stood up for him. Even the attorney the court had appointed for him also said that he was guilty. So… basically, whatever the prosecutor said are all considered as facts, and all the evidences were pointed to one truth. Killed the officer, took the gun, murdered another one then gone crazy."
"Bullsh*t," Feng Bujue said, "when they haven’t excluded all the possibilities, how could they be sure that it’s the only truth? Perhaps Yamada had killed Fukui, hid the gun in Hirata’s house, then strangled Haruko Sato, who was in the house at that time to death, and made it look like a suicide case. Afterwards, he ran away… And that’s how we can explain why Hirata was going to work as usual on November 27."
Takakura gazed at him for the whole two seconds. "Ha, ha, ha. Mr. F, if you appeared 15 years ago, you could have used Shuichi Hirata’s identity to defend yourself. Perhaps you could get rid of this." He picked up another file on the table. "Unfortunately, at this moment, there are two points that could turn your assumption upside down. First, there’s no relationship between Yamada and the other three Fukui, Hirata, and Haruko. Police had soon investigated this. No relative relationship or business affair… Since they weren’t related, he didn't have any purposes to do this. Sec
ond, the place where Yamada’s body was found was under the ruins of Hirata’s house, which was damaged by the storm. After seven years, they had finally sold that property, and when they had excavated the place to construct the foundation for a new building, they found the body. The time of his death was estimated to be seven years ago. Although the body was just a skeleton at that time, the fatal external wounds were still clear. No doubt that this was a case of murder and hiding the dead body."
"Yeah," Feng Bujue mused for a while. "Alright, in fact, I’m only dissatisfied with the trial process, so I have just made up a presumption to defend myself."
"Hirata-Kun’s crime is obvious, Mr. F," Takakura said, "so, if I have satisfied your curiosity, how about you cooperate with me now and answer some of my questions?"
"Indeed, you are not real, either," Feng Bujue interrupted Takakura. He mumbled in his mind, "I finally got the meaning of this scenario."
Takakura’s face darkened as he didn’t say another word.
"You said that not long after they found Yamada’s body, you’ve begun to contact Hirata. I got it when I heard that," Feng Bujue said, "seven years after the case, when Hirata knew they had found Yamada’s body, he has generated another personality… it’s you."
"Ah, are you saying that me, Watanabe, and Tachibana are the same existence?" said Takakura.
"No, I think that your level is higher than theirs. I think… Hirata’s mental world has four levels," Feng Bujue continued casually, "November 1990, after Shuichi Hirata had killed two people and saw his wife suicide with his own eyes, he got insane. Since then, his thought has been confined to a very deep and dark level, a world of chaos and intimidation."
"One month later, the case had been developed. Hirata had been through many interrogations, and he also got a certain amount of information from the course hearing. Then, he had generated two other personalities—Doctor Watanabe and Tachibana-Keibu. They are the two personalities that could drag him out of the deep memory of a twisted, disorderly black-and-white world, and bring him to the second level of his world, giving him time to gasp for breath. Moreover, they have assisted and urged him to erase the memories of those bizarre, monstrous things, trying to find a way to restore his true memories."
Feng Bujue licked his dry lips. "A psychiatrist can only hypnotize the suspect to carry out interrogations. He can’t do such recording stuff. I should have known sooner that the space of Watanabe and Tachibana is from his mental world… That place is hidden deeper than your place here, mingled between the logical thoughts and distorted memories." He stared at Takakura’s eyes. "And you, or the cell we are sitting, is the third level."
"What am I representing?" asked Takakura.
"Also memories," Feng Bujue said, "you represent the period of this eight years… the normal, reliable memories in Hirata’s mind." He leaned against the backrest, faced up and attempted to rub his nose as an old habit, but suddenly realized he was cuffed, so he had to continue, "Time has worn out something. Throughout the seven years of receiving treatment for his mental illness, the other two personalities have also helped him reduce the pressure, plus the news of finding Yamada and his death time, all have led Hirata to the third level."
"At this level, he can talk to you. Also, he can be objective and calm enough to analyze the situation and accept his current status. If Hirata could stay here, at your level, and he wouldn’t return to the other deep levels, even if he could never restore his memory, at least he could live as a normal person." Feng Bujue’s eyes shifted to the recorder. "In the recorder are the conversations between you and him... or, the memories that he has arranged himself. So I say these memories are the normal ones, and they are reliable. He doesn’t want to blend them with other things, but the existence of the recorder speaks up the fact that Hirata’s time in here is limited."
Takakura expressed a begrudging complexion. "Mr. F, what you’ve said are true. However, I’m sorry to tell you that there are only three levels here," he sighed, "my place is the level that is nearest to reality." His eyes raked through the room. "The recorder… those files on the table are all from Hirata’s memory. And this room is the projection of the real cell that confines Hirata. By the way, there is no table, chair or lamp in his real cell."
"Only three levels?" Feng Bujue said, "How could it be…" He wore a suspicious face, thinking, "Hirata could have a purpose to restore the missing memory, and he has restored the part where he had killed Fukui even though it’s distorted. It’s the same with the part where Haruko Sato hung herself. Perhaps those had been appearing gradually before he got convicted; but why did he have no impression about the memory regarding Yamada and his death? This personality named Takakura could only prove a limited information. He has no clue about the details of his murder case…"
"Impossible, if there’s no more levels, it means that the death of Yamada isn’t related to Hirata," Feng Bujue said determinedly, "that memory doesn't exist in his head, thus, no matter which level it is, we can’t find it."
Takakura shook his head. "The truth has been pointed out…"
"Give me a mirror," Feng Bujue stopped him.
"What do you want?" asked Takakura.
"I need to get out of here," answered Feng Bujue.
"At most, you can only return to your real world. And when you go there, it means that Hirata will return here to me or fall deep into the other two levels." Takakura looked like he was giving him a piece of advice.
"I don’t want to go up there," Feng Bujue said, "I want to go to the next door."
"The next door? What do you mean?" Takakura asked.
"You won’t understand," Feng Bujue finally showed the posture of a living form who came from another higher dimension, "just give me a mirror."
In just a blink of an eye, Doctor Takakura disappeared, leaving Feng Bujue alone in the room. A small framed mirror appeared on the table in front of him. There was a plastic support behind the mirror to help it stand still, and the mirror was leaning against its stand.
Feng Bujue moved his chair twice to adjust the angle that he could face the mirror at a close distance. He looked into the mirror. The man reflected there wasn’t him. It was a man who looked more than 40 years old, bearded and paled.
"Shuichi Hirata, we finally met," Feng Bujue talked to the face in the mirror. In the black-and-white world, he had read about Hirata’s profile, which had a small photo of him. Although the face in front of his eyes was a dozen years older, he could still recognize him.