Sat. Oct. 2nd 8:15 a.m.

A nurse came by room 217. She parked the cart by the door. The nurse knocked on the door.

“Takatori-san!” she called. “I’m coming in to clean your room!” No answer. The nurse knocked on harder. Takatori-san had hearing troubles that grew worse with every year. So the nurses had to be louder for him at times.

“Takatori-san!!!” the nurse yelled again. “I need to clean your room!” Still no answer. The nurse became slightly worried. Something wasn’t right. Takatori-san usually replied after the second knock. Maybe he fell ill and slept in. Or worse…

The nurse toughened up. “No!” she thought. “Maybe’s he’s just sleeping!” Only one way to see… The nurse pilled out her key and unlocked the door. She slowly pushed open the door. The poor soul walked into the room and stepped in… something wet. She slowly looked down. Blood sat around her feet. Cold blood flooded the floor. Fear consumed the nurse. She slowly looked up. The poor soul screamed out loud.


Sat. Oct. 2nd 9:00 a.m.

Police surrounded the Topaz Mental Intuition. Vince walked through the front door. He took the elevator to the crime scene. The head cop turned to him.

“Ah, Inspector Parkman!” he called. “So glad to see you’re here!” Vince came next to him.

“And do we have here?” he asked.

“Sixty-seven year old Ran Takatori,” the cop answered. “Long time patient here at TMI. Suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Nurse found him like that this morning when she went to clean his room.”

“I see,” Vince replied. They turned to the body. Ran sat up dead. Blood flooded the whole place. The victim had his eyes and mouth wide open. Dried drool was on his face. The coroner examined the old man.

“Liver temp puts TOD about five hours ago,” he said. Vince looked closely at the body. Something strange caught his eyes.

“Hey Bill,” Parkman spoke up.

“Yeah?” the coroner asked.

“What’s all of those markings on his body?” he asked.

“Huh?” Bill asked. He put on his glasses for a closer look. His eyes grew big in shock.

“The year 1974 is written all over his body in his blood!” the coronet gasped out. The whole room went silent. Everyone stared on in silent fear. Vince looked around confused.

“What?” he asked. “Why’s everyone freaking out for?” No one wanted to speak at first. Vince looked around again.

“What’s wrong?” he asked again. “Why is 1974 bad?” Everyone began leaving.

“Hey!” Vince yelled. “Where are you all going?”

“We’re dropping this case!” the cop yelled.

“Wait! What?!?” the PI yelled out. “Why?!?” No one answered his question. Pretty soon, Vince stood all alone with the body. He looked around again.

“Right,” he mumbled. “I’m on my own with this one!” Strange…

Vince got right to work with questioning the patients and staff about Takatori-san. The answers all came back the same. The victim didn’t trust anyone in the first place. He wasn’t known as a violent old man. Takatori-san didn’t do much. He just sat in his room and stared out into space. He had mellowed down some since he first came to Topaz. All boring to Vince. Until he came across one statement in particular. A young new nurse laid down some key clues for him.

“Just a few days ago,” she told him. “He started drawing owls all over everywhere. No one noticed at first. But then, they became more frequent. The nurses all tried to take them away from him, but Takatori-san bit and fought them. When they tried to restrain him, he kept screaming out, ‘This is just like in 1974. The dogs will kill us all! The dogs will kill us all!’ He kept screaming that over and over again until we left him alone.”

“Any idea what happened in 1974 to make everyone act strangely?” Vince asked. The nurse shrugged and shook her head.

“No,” she answered. “Nobody wants to talk about it for some reason. I think something so happened that everyone wants to forget about it.”

“Do you still have the drawings?” the PI asked.

“Yes sir,” the nurse said. Then she turned to her cart and pulled them out. She handed them to Vince. He took them right away.

“Thanks,” he said. Then, the PI left to check it out. The nurse watched behind him. “I hope you know what you’re doing, sir!” she thought. Vince looked owls and 1974 with Akai-Chi island on his Blackberry III. Oh, there were plenty of results, all right! But they had all been blocked off. The first couple of pages, easy to understand. But after a while, it started to get ridiculous! Vince sat back in defeat.

“How the hell can that many pages be blocked on one subject?!?” he yelled out loud. “It doesn’t make sense!”

“That’s the first sign of going mad, you know!” a voice called to him. Vince looked up behind him. A woman walked towards him. She looked so elegant. Long cold black hair to her waist. Her piercing blue eyes caught his attention right off the bat. She wore all black. Her cigarette clung to her fingers. Vince looked her up and down.

“And what’s the second sign?” he asked. The woman flicked her cigarette. Ashes fell to the ground.

“Talking to me!” she replied. The woman held out her hand.

“Nina,” she replied.

“Vince,” the PI said likewise. They shook hands. Vince saw a great opportunity.

“Say,” he said. “Do you know anything about this?” He showed her the owl drawings. Nina went quiet at that one. Vince thought that she would avoid the subject like the others. But instead, Nina took off her bracelet and showed it to him. He noticed a small silver owl charm right next to a red geranium. Vince looked up at her in silence. He slowly got an idea about what happened. The old man must have been killed because he remembered something that must have happened in 1974. But what was it? And who wanted him dead because of it? And why? Only one way to see…

From then on, Vince vowed to find out about the truth about 1974. But it doing so, he unearthed some dark and ugly truths in the process.

Black Year