Taro Kagami decided that he wasn't feeling hungry enough to eat dinner, so he went up to his room. And who could blame him for not having an appetite? The ordeal of the past few days would have shaken anyone, especially a 13-year-old.
In the four days since he had picked up that notebook lying in the street, he had wielded more power than he could have possibly imagined: control over life and death. With the Death Note, he could have struck down any person in the world, just like that. He could have brought a world of peace by killing criminals, or he could have become a fearsome dictator, destroying anyone who got in his way.
But he couldn't do it. He was just a kid, and those deaths would have haunted his nightmares. And then there was his own trip beyond death. Even thinking about that made him shudder; just those few moments of existing in total nothingness had been…too horrible to describe.
At least now, it was all over. All of the dead people had been brought back to life, and the note Miura had used had been destroyed by the police.
Only one thing to left do.
He opened the drawer he kept the notebook in. Such an ordinary looking thing…a simple, black notebook, just like any that one might find in school. But such a dangerous thing…
"So, you still have it."
Taro turned around. Despite Ryuk's terrifying appearance, he had finally gotten used to seeing the shinigami.
Ryuk went on. "You'd think those detectives would have realized that you only gave them one of the notebooks. But you've still got one of them. What are you going to do with it?"
Taro had an answer ready. "Nothing. I'm giving it back to you."
Ryuk obviously wasn't suspecting this answer. "But why? You can do anything you want."
"No. Those two detectives know about the Death Note. If I kill anybody, they'll be sure to know it was me."
Ryuk shrugged. "So kill them first."
Taro shook his head. "I don't want to kill anyone. I just want it to all be over."
Ryuk stroked his chin. "Well, the standard rule is that whoever gives up the Death Note must also relinquish their memories of it. You would forget everything you ever did with the notebook."
Forget everything that happened? That might not be too bad, Taro thought.
Then he noticed Ryuk's face, and the look of excitement that was on it. That was bad, because Taro was sure that Ryuk had just left the Death Note lying around for the fun of it. So anything that would make him excited was bound to be bad news.
"Hmm…I suppose I could bend the rules a little bit," Ryuk said. "Might be fun." Then he began to fly away, laughing as he went.
"Wait," Taro called out. "I don't want to remember this!"
Then Ryuk stopped.
"By the way," he said. "I've noticed that death doesn't mean much to you humans if you can just use the eraser and bring someone back to life afterwards." Ryuk then tossed Taro the magic eraser. "So, I'll leave this with you; I won't be needing it."
"What will you do?" Taro asked.
"I'll find someone who's less boring," Ryuk said. "And I might…forget…to tell them there's a way to undo what's written in the Death Note."
Then the death god flew away, leaving Taro with only an eraser that was powerless without the notebook, and hellish memories he would never be able to forget.
That was November, 2002.
On July 15th, 2003, Taro's friend Miura drowned while on vacation with his family. His death was deemed an accident.
On July 17th, when Taro picked up the morning paper and learned of Miura's death, he realized what was going on; everyone who knew about the notebook was now dead. Except for anyone Ryuk might have given it to since he left. And Taro himself. It was likely that Ryuk had been the one to kill them, but Taro couldn't know for sure, and there wasn't really anything that could be done even if he was sure.
Would Ryuk kill him, now? Or had he left Taro alive just so he could have his fun? Taro waited...
By September of 2003, the issue was beginning to pass from Taro's mind. Whenever he did think about Ryuk, he concluded that Ryuk must have left him alive on purpose. And even if he hadn't, Taro couldn't really do anything about it, so he just tried to put the past behind him.
Then, near the end of November, 2003, it happened.
The news became flooded with reports of people all over the world who were suddenly dropping dead of heart attacks. Every national police force on the planet was in an uproar. There was no explanation, no suspects, no leads, and no patterns except that all the people who died were criminals or suspected of being a criminal.
News reports and other media reported the incidents as they occurred, but had no idea what could be causing the string of mysterious executions. Speculation was rampant. Some people thought it was coincidence. Some people suspected that the police had found some new, effective way to crack down on crime. The most popular theory was that all the sinful people were being punished by a vengeful god, who was quickly dubbed "Kira" by the internet.
But Taro Kagami knew the truth. Ryuk had found another person.
The Death Note was in the human world once again.