Ghost Hunt:Volume 5 Chapter 3
 Ghost Hunt Volume 5 Chapter 3 ‘Hide and Seek’
(tl/n: I know the title on the front page says 'Hidden Ghost', but the Chinese raw does say 'Hide and Seek'. I'm not too sure which to go with.)
“Has anyone seen Suzuki-san? Hey, has no one seen her?” It was Igarashi-sensei who asked us, who were gathered in the dining room, that, with an embarrassed look in the morning.
“It shouldn’t be that she ran home on her own. And there wasn’t anyone who saw her leave. Her luggage is also left in the room. Even her contact lens case is also…”
Yasuhara had Igarashi-sensei seated next to him. He had the servants bring forth a cup of red tea, then placed the red tea in front of Igarashi-sensei.
“Please calm down. Are you a little better? Breathe deeply. Do you take sugar or milk with you tea?”
Igarashi-sensei shook her head.
“Just take a sip. Ok, drink, then breathe deeply. Ok?”
Igarashi followed Yasuhara’s instructions to the letter. She took a deep breath.
“I’m really sorry. I gave in completely to panic…”
“No need to apologize. I understand that you are very worried about Suzuki-san. When did Suzuki-san’s absence start?”
“She wasn’t around when I got up this morning. Due to my advanced age she is always by my side. When I woke up at daybreak, she was still sleeping soundly. Then…”
“About what time was ‘daybreak’?”
Vaguely mumbling to herself, Igrashi-sensei shook her head.
“And what time did you get up?”
“7 am this morning.”
It was now 10 am. She had already disappeared for at least 3 hours.
Yasuhara summoned the head servant, and asked if he had seen Suzuki-san. Including Ohashi-san, not a single servant had seen Suzuki-san. ‘What was the possibility that she had left the mansion?’ was what was put to Ohashi-san.
“Basically, the front door is locked from the inside, and there hasn’t been a scenario where the lock has been opened. I think it’s impossible that she has gone outside.”
“What should we do?”
Igarashi-sensei covered her face with both hands. Yasuhara gently patted sensei’s shoulder.
“If that’s the case, Suzuki-san must be somewhere in this mansion. Perhaps she only got lost, and is daydreaming where she stands now. It’s still too early to consider her missing. In conclusion, let us search a little first.”
Yasuhara said that then turned towards Naru.
“Narumi-kun, is that all right?”
Before noon, we shouted Suzuki-san’s name while splitting up to comb the house. Even after playing the tapes recorded the previous night did not show a hint of Suzuki-san. Furthermore, for some unknown reason, the cameras were cut off their power source at 7am this morning. As a result, the night vision cameras were of practically no use in our search for Suzuki-san.
We walked through countless rooms, and even opened things like cabinets to search. Listening closely after shouting for Suzuki-san brought no reply. We couldn’t find her anywhere. Igarashi-sensei and I went to wake the other psychics up, and questioned them about Suzuki-san. Not a single person in the mansion had encountered Suzuki-san.
“I haven’t seen her since the séance.”
This was Minami-san’s reply. Igarashi-sensei grasped his pajamas and refused to let go.
“Can you ask the Professor, Professor Davies? If it’s the Professor, he might know of something…”
Saying that, Igarashi-sensei started frantically searching for something in her shirt pocket.
“Right, I’ve been always carrying this…”
Igarashi-sensei produced a small, cylindrical object from her pocket. That was a contact lens case.
“Take this to the Professor. If it’s the Professor he should know where Suzuki-san is right…?”
Oh yes, the Professor is a clairvoyant – a psychic who, through an object, can read its owners’ past and future.
Minami-san accepted the contact lens case with a grudging expression, and took it towards the Professor who was sitting on his bed looking over. Minami-san handed the case to the Professor, then exchanged a few words with him in English. The Professor shook his head.
“Apparently he can’t see from this type of object.”
“If that’s the case… what type of object can he…”
“The Professors’ clairvoyance is limited to items that were worn on the person at the time of disappearance.”
Items that are worn on the person at the time of disappearance… we couldn’t possibly have something like that, unless we were exceptionally lucky!
I massaged Igarashi-sensei’s – who had covered her face with both hands – shoulders.
Whatever, although saying such is a little insulting to Bou-san, but the Professor is a completely unimpressive person. At the very least he should have taken the case, and tried his best to see for us, couldn’t he? If something that was worn at the time of disappearance could have been easily found, even the police could have done something.
In the end, even after searching into the afternoon, we couldn’t find a trace of Suzuki-san.
“She could have fled home after last night’s séance left some frightening memories.”
“Young people these days all lack a sense of responsibility.”
Although I felt very angry, I couldn’t tell them they were wrong. If that were the case then everything would be fine, was what I thought in my heart. Compared to believing that Suzuki-san had vanished, it would be better to simply believe she was irresponsible.
“… perhaps it could be that way.”
It wasn’t just anyone who said that, but Igarashi-sensei.
“Yeah. Perhaps she’d gone back. Ah, I’ll give her home a call after I get back to check. I really must scold her properly…”
In the end, those words marked a turning point, and brought the search for Suzuki-san to a close.
“Is doing this all right?”
Everyone was gathered at the Base, and it was Bou-san who spoke.
“There isn’t any choice either. The fact is that we couldn’t find Suzuki-san too…”
“We could have possibly missed her. Can anyone say for certain that we’ve searched this idiotically huge house completely?”
“How is that possible? Then are you saying that Suzuki-san has hid herself? If that’s not the case, we’ve already shouted for her, at the very least she’d respond a little, right?”
“And there’s the possibility she couldn’t respond to us.”
“This, I don’t know either.”
While Bou-san mumbled to himself, Naru spoke softly.
“Only the case for the contact lenses were left; by her own will she got up and went to a certain place – this point is undisputed. Of course, there’s also the possibility of leaving through the window or some other method…”
“What concerns me are those blank spaces… If there are some entry into those hidden rooms, Suzuki-san may have gotten lost there. Whether it is actually errors in measurement or some other reason, it is better to check it once more.”
We checked last night’s tapes once more, but there weren’t any signs of suspicious activity. Having lost the trail, we could only measure the house once more. This time even the thicknesses of the walls were accurately measured. If this still did not match the diagram, then proper measuring equipment would be needed.
“Where could she have run off to?”
We were currently in a second floor room. Bou-san suddenly asked me this. I was speechless for a moment.
While I replied as such, I used a safety pin and knocked on the wall. It was exactly 1 meter from the floor. Drawing a string from the diagonal of the room, Bou-san picked up a compass.
“Aah. Why do you think she would vanish?”
“What do you mean by ‘why’?”
“Did she vanish of her own will, or was she forced to disappear?”
“Haven’t 2 persons already disappeared from this place? Suzuki-san is the third. … As expected this is the good work of spirits. – How many degrees?”
Bou-san measured the angle between the torch-light illuminated compass and the string.
“26°. – That spirit, didn’t it say last night, ‘save me’ or something.”
I drew a diagonal on the diagram, and recorded the angle, while saying, “And there was also, ‘I don’t want to die’. That spirits actually not want to die and what not, really makes one think it strange.”
“Yeah, the supposed spirits could also possibly not know that they are already dead and loiter in this world.”
“What I’m concerned about is the discontinuity between the pleading of the spirits to humans for rescue and the action of the spirits that cause people to vanish.”
John, who was measuring the floor with a ruler, nodded somewhere in the darkness.
“Spirits that hope for help basically want to get noticed by others in order to do something. And then, there’re the spirits that are overly impatient and have done something bad. Because hoping for help after calling thus for and summoning people is also normal.”
“Really? What would it do after making people disappear? If there aren’t any people in this house, there wouldn’t be anyone who can help it.”
Yasuhara, who was helping John, who was holding the torch, stood up.
“3.21 meters. – This ‘spirit’, could it possibly take such theoretical actions?”
“This, I can’t say for sure. It’s also common for spirits to lie. But it always feels very strange.”
John, too, nodded.
“0.35 meters. – With regards to spirit matters and the existence of spirits, there are really a lot of theories. However, the spirit believes Suzuki-san is someone who could help it; if we think like that, isn’t there a chance that Suzuki-san could have been brought away because of that?”
I wrote the numbers on the diagram, while saying,
“Didn’t the spirits here say ‘save me’? I think it has always said that. However, until now no one has heard it. Then…”
John clapped his hands.
“‘Ah’, the spirit thinks, ‘this person who heard my words last night, this person can help me.’”
“… this, won’t this hypothesis do?”
“Don’t ask me.”
As we moved to the next room, Yasuhara said,
“How about this? The one who heard the spirits’ voices… or rather, the one who wrote them down, was Suzuki-san, and the one who vanished is also Suzuki-san. For example, the words last night weren’t spoken by spirits, but were written randomly by Suzuki-san, hence she ran away because she was afraid of being exposed.”
“Rejected. If that’s the case how would you explain the words written in blood? And the noises?”
“Ah, yes. Then, what about this? Because Suzuki-san wrote those things on her own accord, the spirits threw a tantrum. Because Suzuki-san was afraid of these, she ran away.”
“Even so this does not explain those words written in blood.”
“… Ah, yes. The probability of that being a prank is minute.”
Yasuhara mumbled to himself while he used the tape measure to measure the floor’s dimensions. Just at that time, John suddenly shouted.
Bou-san shone the torch over there. We saw John, who had apparently fallen over and was frantically pacing around.
“Over here, the ground has sunk down.”
Using the torch we looked closely at the place John was pointing to, and saw that beneath the thick layer of dust there was a slight drop.
“What is this?”
Yasuhara gently removed the dust around that area. There was a rectangular cover made of wood. When Yasuhara gently pressed on it, it sank gently a bit more.
“This is already rotten. It’s really lucky that you didn’t fall in.”
While saying that, Yasuhara gently opened the cover.
Beneath the cover we could see a metal ladder, which extended into the darkness beneath.
“… There’s a room beneath.”
Bou-san sprawled at the edge, and shone the torch below.
I looked at the floor plan, relying on the light of John’s torch.
“Isn’t that place near to the wall which we said was strange yesterday? It’s located about at the upper end of that blace.”
“The strange wall… the wall which was 3 meters thick?”
Bou-san stared down the hole without moving.
“Is it because there are hidden rooms? It’s because of these that the diagrams do not match.”
“Could it be… that Suzuki-san is here?”
“That shouldn’t be. If she was there should be footprints or signs of movement in the dust.”
“… and there’s that.”
Bou-san nodded with a tense expression.
“Right, let’s go down to take a look. Young man, could I trouble you to illuminate it.”
Handing the torch to Yasuhara, Bou-san climbed down the ladder calmly. He really has courage.
“How’s it? Is there anyone?”
“No, no one. It feels like it’s a very small room.”
Looking from the top, it was a small and narrow room about 3 tatami’s length. Relying on the illumination of the torch, we could see some soft things scattered on the floor.
“… Bou-san, what are those?”
I pointed at the things that were piled into a mountain. Bou-san used the corner of a table (?!) to prod it.
“… I’m not sure, it looks like bedding.”
Bedding? In that type of room?
“The damp is incredible. These floorboards won’t do either. They’re dripping wet.”
While saying that, Bou-san climbed up the ladder. When he got back to the room above, Bou-san held a rag-like item in a hand.
“I don’t know.”
Bou-san replied while he removed the dust. The strong smell of mould from the narrow room burst forth.
“It’s an overcoat.”
It was a long garment made of thick cloth. It looked, indeed, like an overcoat. Bou-san, who was ruffling through the garment, suddenly stopped.
“There’s a name embroidered here.”
Yasuhara shone the torch on it.
It looked like there was something written on the white cloth on the inside of the collar. The words couldn’t be clearly seen under the light of the torch.
“We can’t see it here. Let’s take it to a brighter place to take a look.”
We brought the over coat to a room facing the outer side of the building. We washed the part of the garment with the label in a nearby washroom. With great difficulty we could finally see the words written in ink on cloth which had changed color.
“Miyama Benevolent Hospital Attached Secured Facility”
“Isn’t that the hospital built 2 generations before?”
He was a great man who even did work in charity.
“Why would this type of thing be in this type of place?”
“Solution 1: That room was used as a rubbish dump for unwanted things.”
Aiyoh, Bou-san had that disdainful look.
“Rejected. Anything else?”
“The patients from that facility lived there in hiding.”
… There were things that appeared like beddings there.
“Why would they live in hiding in such a place?”
“Don’t ask me. Ah, there’s the possibility that room is a sickroom of some sort.”
Although we conjectured like this, of course we didn’t know the truth.
However, we found the existence of the hidden room, and this should also be considered a great feat, right?
We returned to base, and reported the whole story of finding the overcoat to Naru. Naru looked extremely disgusted.
“… hidden rooms… that’s a really thorny problem.”
Yeah, that’s my opinion too.
“And the overcoat in question?”
“This one. It’s filthy.”
Naru paid no attention, and received that overcoat with his white hands. He turned up the label on the collar, and then proceeded to ruffle through the pockets and other places. After repeatedly ruffling through it numerous times,
“There’s something here.”
It was in the inner pocket of the coat. Naru pulled out a thin sheet of something.
It looked like a folded up piece of paper. Naru gently opened that battered sheet.
“Hey, see here.”
Bou-san leaned forward.
Although this paper had turned very black, we could still identify it as a paper currency. Naru held it against the window to allow the sunlight to pass through the note.
“There’re words written on it.”
Saying that, Naru handed the note to Bou-san. Bou-san took the note, and looked at it held to the sunlight as Naru had done. I looked on from the side. Quite a few words could have been seen. At first it looked like two lines of text, however only some disjointed words could be seen. From left to right the words that could be identified were, “吧(ba3, used at the end of a sentence, example: OK, right?)、走(zou3, walk)、了(liao3/le4, already)、浦(pu3, beach)、被(bei4, blanket, or indicates done by)、听(ting1, listen)、死(shi3, die)、都(dou1, capital city, or collective, meaning ‘all’, ‘every’)、这(zhe4, this)、来(lai3, come)…” (tl/n: I’ve given the meanings of the common use of the words here. Where joint with other characters, which are, at this point, unseen, different meanings are possible.)
“The meaning is not clear.”
Bou-san and I unconsciously looked face to face.
Naru showed a very dark look.
“… what was the purpose of doing something like this…?”
Who? And for what?
2 of the words left an impression: “死(shi3, die)、都(dou1, capital city, or collective, meaning ‘all’, ‘every’)”.
(tl/n: the characters here are listed from left to right, but in Chinese and Japanese, the writing is traditionally from right to left. If we put the 2 characters that left an impression on Mai together, we get a fragment that could possibly mean “everyone dies”.)
In the remaining time, we frantically continued measuring. Up until the sun set we finished a part of the first storey. Handing the numbers to Lin-san, we went to the Dining Room. When we were gulping down our food, Igarashi-sensei spoke to us.
Sensei appeared to have spent the day worrying about Suzuki-san. She had called Suzuki-san’s Tokyo home, but found that Suzuki-san did not return home, and was currently very worried. Should she make a missing person report to the police now, was what she asked Yasuhara. Yasuhara would be considered very young even in the role of Sensei’s son. The image of Sensei consulting one so young showed her discomfiture, and was somehow heart wrenching.
Seeing Igrashi-sensei like this made me feel bad, so I quietly left the Dining Room and returned to the base myself. At base, Lin-san continued to work in silence.
“Lin-san, I’m done with dinner, do you want to switch shifts?”
Although I asked him like this, he replied,
It was a very cool answer. Really…
I say, if two persons are together but do not speak, the atmosphere would become very tense, so I told Lin-san about Igarashi-sensei’s problem. In response, Lin-san’s replies were very cool. He only nodded in acknowledgement, and didn’t even grunt.
“… now that we’re at it, you’re Chinese.”
I said that bitterly. Lin-san stared at me.
So… with this response even I feel very difficult.
“I always feel, ‘it’s very incredible’, is what I think. (tl/n: come on, think or feel- which?) If you could have told me earlier I would be great –”
Lin-san looked at me with a very cold expression.
“What ‘why’… I don’t say this with any deep meaning…”
I don’t. I only wanted to say so.
“… no warmth at all…”
“I hate the Japanese.”
To be said to be hated by someone all of a sudden, I jumped. I looked blankly at Lin-san.
Why did he make such a general statement of hate?
“Don’t you know what the Japanese did in China previously?”
Wuuu. That is, in the past the Japanese committed all sorts of atrocities. And the adults, till today, still refuse to apologize, and continue to play the fool.
Lin-san continued to show no expression.
“Since I hate the Japanese, I don’t feel happy living surrounded by Japanese.”
… does he need to say it like that?
“I completely understand what you are saying, and I think it should be like this. However, aren’t these things all already past?”
“Excuses like this make one even more unhappy.”
Wuuuu. Japan was indeed in the wrong. As to that, it is forcing entry into someone else’s home, then forcing the people there to do some terrible things. For example, it’s like a vicious bandit. – Despite this,
“However, didn’t China have things like the Mongol Invasion? Europe too, has a history of invading and being invaded; isn’t history repeatedly like that?”
“Therefore the things done by the Japanese can be forgiven?”
“I didn’t say that! A mistake is a mistake! Japan was wrong to invade China. But if a grudge is continued to be borne like this, even Japan has a right to hate. If the world is filled with vengeance, won’t all the countries have to hate each other for eternity?”
Lin-san did not speak.
“I think this type of things have no good. Facts are facts. Japan did a bad thing, this is a fact, and I think is something that we need to remember. However, to hate or detest other people as a result, and to always say this type of words, then wouldn’t we never be able to get along? Wouldn’t that end in a cycle of hate?”
Aaah, that wasn’t said well at all.
“If you say such hateful words to me because you hate me then it can’t be helped. However, I can’t accept it if you hate me simply because I’m Japanese. Was your father or mother killed then? Was it not like that? I think it’s probably something long ago like that. To be constrained by something so long ago, and say that you hate so many people en mass, is foolish behavior. I know that as Japanese, I don’t have the right to say such things. Despite that, for problems between you and me, if you hate me, then I wish you can hate me because of me. I don’t want to be hated for reasons such as me being Japanese, a female or an orphan – these reasons being beyond my own control.”
Wuu, otherwise I would be very sad. But if I were to be asked, why did we start the war, I can only say it was foolishness on my ancestor’s part.
Suddenly, Lin-san let out a laugh.
“… that one…”
“said the same things.”
“In the past someone told me something similar. I only recalled that.”
Waah, this is but the first time I’ve ever seen Lin-san smile.
“That person, is it Naru?”
“How could it. If it were Naru, he would say a single line, ‘how foolish’.”
If it were Naru, perhaps it would be like that.
“If it was Madoka, it would be trouble once she was made to cry.”
… Aaah, I feel I somehow understand.
“—and that too, I don’t actually dislike you. And I don’t exceptionally hate all Japanese. It’s only the inborn dislike couldn’t be completely diminished.”
“I also think that to bring the troubles between countries into an interpersonal problem is a very foolish thing. I’ve said some immature words. But people always have their own personal quirks, this is something you should take note of.”
“… I will try to think on that.”
Lin-san smiled lightly.
“I’ve said some rude words, I’m sorry.”
“… No. I should be the one to apologize.”
What exactly we were apologizing for, I’m not too sure myself.
The world is filled with deep problems. This is such.
After everyone finished dinner, we had a meeting at the base. Lin-san produced the floor plan constructed from today’s measurements. It was nearly touching the outer perimeter of the house. However,
“There are still blank spaces.”
Naru pointed at the blue colored blanks on the diagram. Large and small, they totaled 18. The small ones were about 1 tatami’s size; the large ones could be the size of a few rooms.
“Ignoring the small spaces, I’m very concerned about this large empty space.”
That large blank space was at the heart of this mansion. Jutting in and out it formed an ‘L’ shape. Although it’s size couldn’t be accurately determined, from the look of the surrounding rooms it was clearly the size of a few rooms.
Naru took the floor plan for the second floor and made a comparison.
“The second floor hasn’t been accurately measured, so it’s better not to say anything now… it looks like there is that blank space on the second floor too.”
I pulled out the floor plan made from today’s measurements. Indeed, at approximately the same location on the second floor was also a large blank space. Compared to the corresponding part on the first floor, it was probably only half its size. I happened to think to compare the first and second floors’ plans to the thirds, and found out that the third floor was only a part of the house. It covered almost exactly the blank area from above, so I understood that the blank area did not extend into the third floor.
“… Isn’t it a hidden room? If it isn’t then it’s a little too large to imagine.”
Indeed, if we were to think that the blank space was created as a result of it being convenient for construction, it would be overly large. The question was how to enter it…
“Isn’t the third floor very suspicious? There’s also entry from the second floor, I think there’s the possibility of gaining access from above.”
“But surrounding this blank space there are a lot of strange and weird rooms, furthermore aren’t they more complicated than at other places? Or rather the area surrounding the blank areas are strange areas.”
Just as we were talking like this and randomly comparing the diagrams, ‘knock knock’.
The majority of the members unconsciously stood up. We frantically searched for the source of the sound; it was the window facing the courtyard. A person’s face was plastered to the glass; I couldn’t help starting to get scared. It was really frightening before I understood that there was someone outside the window, and that someone was knocking on the glass.
Naru stood up.
Cough cough. Was it Mori-san?
Opening the windo, Mori-san climbed through to enter. What an energetic person.
“How’s it going?”
“Yeah. I wanted to tell you all about the results of the investigation. It’s freezing…”
“How did you come?”
“I rented a car to get nearby, and then I walked over. It’s very cold outside.”
It should be. Because the elevation here is quite high.
Wearing the jacket Naru handed her, Mori-san sat down on a chair. Rubbing her hands together for warmth, she looked like a squirrel, and appeared very pathetic.
“… Why would you do something so dangerous? What would you do if something happened?”
“Ah lah, Naru will come to rescue me right?”
Wu. This person, is unexptectedly so incredible.
Naru’s face was filled with displeasure. Mori-san took out a large notebook from beneath her jacket.
“First is this morning’s incident of calling Suzuki-san’s home.”
He~, so it was all communicated.
“Buses pass regularly along the road beneath this place. And then, I tried asking the bus and car rental companies. I thought that when she left this building, which mode of public transport would she take? Although it’s not impossible to hitchhike.”
Mori-san spoke while she flipped open her notebook.
“The result of my questioning was that there didn’t appear to be any drivers who had seen or met such a person. As expected, Suzuki-san probably never left this building.”
… huh u.
“Regarding this issue, this is all I know. Then about the 2 people who disappeared in this house.”
… he~. So she’s already investigated that.
“The first to disappear was Matsunuma Eiki (松沼英树), 18 years old, unemployed. That happened on the 13th of February. He and 7 friends, 8 in total, came here at night; no news of him has been heard since. Although they came here frequently, it was the first time they did so at night. They planned a test of courage by exploring the mansion, then when they had a feast within one of the rooms, Matsunuma Eiki left the room, apparently to look for a toilet. Following that he never came back.”
Mori-san flipped over a page.
“The missing person report was made a week later. The police who heard of this incident recruited the young people in this area to search for Matsunuga Eiki. Although they separately searched the building and its surrounds, they did not find Matsunuma-kun. Furthermore when they prepared to leave and did a head count, they realized they were missing one person. The missing one was Yoshikawa Masaya (吉川雅也), 21 years old, farmer. Everyone frantically searched the house again; not only did they not find him, because some of the people saw spirits floating through the corridors and created a ruckus, they gave up the search and went back.”
While she spoke, Mori-san retrieved a few mini tapes from her pocket, and scattered them on the tabletop.
“These are recordings from witnesses. The fact is, not a hint was found in here.”
“… so that’s what happened.”
Saying that, Mori-san hugged her elbows and looked at her notebook.
“Regarding the owners of this house. The one who built this house was Miyama Kaneyuki. For generations, the Miyama family was rich and powerful in Suwa (the region). Kaneyuki was the eldest son; at 16 he became the head of the Miyama family. At that time income was practically limited to that from farmers. This place is apparently the location of the Miyama family’s mountain villa. When Kaneyuki was 18, he went to Europe for a tour. He returned at age 20. Apparently, after he came back he immediately changed this place into a western villa. That happened in 1877.”
Mori-san flipped over a page.
“From that time onwards, up until his death from kidney disease in 1910 he always lived here. It should be said that he wasn’t good with getting along with other people, because besides leaving a few times on trips, he was always closed in here. He let his wife live in the city residence, but he himself hardly every went back. And despite his dabbling in charity, overall he has never appeared to be a society man.”
This was really surprising. I always thought that this Mr Kaneyuki was a great person who treated the ones around him very well. Could it be he was unexpectedly a shy person?
Bou-san spoke to Madoka-san, who had stopped for a breath.
“Don’t call me ‘Madam’. I’m not such an old fashioned person.”
“Didn’t Mr Miyama own a hospital called ‘Miyama Benevolent Hospital’?”
Mori-san flipped through her notebook to search.
“Yes. Miyama Benevolent Hospital. Located at the edge of the city, it was an extremely large hospital.”
“What about a secured facility in the vicinity of the hospital?”
“There was one. You do know quite a bit. Patient’s family members, or recovering patients who do not stay in the hospital, and people who have recovered but have difficulty in their daily living – it was a relatively large facility which accepted these types of people.”
While she said that, a complicated expression showed on Mori-san’s face.
“There were quite a number of assistants there. Apparently it was a place with excellent service. Admission into the facility was free of charge. Meals were also free. Apparently they also distributed necessities to those they did not admit. As long as one lived in that facility, one need not worry about clothing, food or lodging.”
Oooh, how gracious.
“People who could work apparently helped with the cleaning of the Hospital, and logistics etc. Although half of Miyama’s fortune was lost due to the Panic of 1907, before that, this facility had already consumed a significant portion of the fortune.”
That overcoat belonged to someone at that facility. I’m afraid it was a rationed overcoat. However, why would this overcoat be at that type of place? And then, there’s the paper note with words written on it. It definitely wasn’t a rich person who would wear that rationed overcoat. Yet what exactly was written on that note?
“There were also hospices and orphanages, a center for tuberculosis sufferers etc. In the end, in Meiji 41 (1908), Mr Miyama started giving up of various industries one by one. When Kaneyuki died, besides farmland and forests, there was practically nothing left.”
Hu, this should be what they call charitable poverty. Still it’s quite queer.
“Kaneyuki’s eldest son was Hiroyuki. Besides giving this building various strange renovations, Hiroyuki’s history is comparatively normal. I’ve brought the detailed histories of his and Kaneyuki’s along.”
Mori-san handed the notes sandwiched in her notebook to Naru.
“Tomorrow it’s regarding the characters of this father and son. I feel that this needs in-depth investigation.”
Mori-san said that with a school teacher’s tone; Naru looked clearly unpleased.
“Madoka, this is very dangerous. It will do to make a call, don’t come near this place.”
Mori-san tilted her head.
“But isn’t meeting face to face better?”
“In any case do not come here.”
Being told off so severely by Naru, Mori-san nodded.
Somehow it was a tone used to humor a child.
Lin-san used the car to send Mori-san back. When we were discussing this strange philanthropist, Lin-san returned through the window, and then we discussed it in greater detail. It was 11 when the meeting adjourned and we returned to our own rooms. – Then that night, Atsugi Hideo-san vanished.
Suddenly being woken up, I looked at my watch; it was still 3 am.
“Have you all seen Atsugi-kun?”
圣-san’s face was stark.
Who was that?
“He’s my assistant. He’s a medium.”
I tilted my head and turned towards Ayako and Masako. Both of them were also seated on their beds, with heads tilted.
“I haven’t seen him since glancing him during the exorcism. Have you guys seen him? He’s been gone for 2 hours already.”
2 hours already.
“Please wait a moment.”
I put on a sweater on top of my pajamas then I sprinted out of the room.
“Let’s go to the base.”
Bringing 圣-san along, I went to the base. Naru and Lin-san had already gathered inside the base much earlier.
“Naru, Atsugi-san, he – “
“I’ve heard it. We’re playing the recordings now.”
This time, the night vision cameras were still running. Perhaps one of the cameras might have caught Atsugi-san.
“Naru, we have it.”
This monitor was for Camera Number 4. I pulled out a floor plan from the mountainous pile of papers on the table, and confirmed the position of Camera Number 4.
“The location is?”
“The west side of the building, near the center.”
“Even if you say it out I wouldn’t know where it is.”
How long winded; in this extreme situation.
“There’re no blank spaces nearby, and there’re no strange rooms nearby either. Based on the diagram, that shouldn’t be a suspicious location.”
The monitor for Camera Number 4 showed the figure of Atsugi-san gradually moving down the corridor. The corridor where the camera was located ran east wards; the corridor at the very end ran northwards.
“That corridor is a blind alley; there are no branches.”
“Good, we will go take a look. Lin, let’s go. Mai, stay here. Bou-san and the rest will soon be here.”
Practically brushing by Naru etc, Bou-san, John and Yasuhara had all risen and arrived at the base.
“What about Naru-chi?”
“Gone to look for Atsugi-san.”
“Good, we will go to, John.”
Bou-san, who spoke to John, also began to leave.
“Young man, I’ll leave Mai to you.”
“I will try my utmost best.”
“Will you only try?”
“Because if Taniyama-kun goes on a stampede, there’s no one here that can stop her.”
Really… Bou-san left smiling with that said. I glared at Yasuhara-kun who was smiling lightly.
“Who did you say will go on a stampede? Who are you calling Ohmu (tl/n: see Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Ohmu are tank sized cross between a caterpillar and a beetle that stampede when enraged)?”
I couldn’t help brandishing my fists.
“Aiyah, Taniyama-kun is thoughtful, mature, honest and gentle, I really like her~~”
“Are you mocking me? You’re mocking me, aren’t you?”
“That’s why I said that, right? And you don’t like it when I lie to you.”
“Yeah, that’s right… not!”
Just as I was about to lose control and beat up Yasuhara, Ayako and Masako had both gotten up and arrived at base. The four of us waited nervously; before 7, Naru and co returned. They said they couldn’t find Atsugi-san. And that corridor was clearly a blind alley.
After breakfast we had a meeting; this time the decision was to have everyone search that blind alley for secret passages. There should be a path somewhere. If that wasn’t the case then Atsugi-san’s disappearance would be incomprehensible. Knocking on the walls, and searching all the rooms – even those with furniture – thoroughly; even like this we couldn’t find the path.
As though appointed, all of the psychics had gathered at the Dining Room. Twenty people less two. Everyone looked exhausted.
“Really, what exactly is going on in this house?”
Imura-san said in a disdainful tone.
Igarashi-sensei looked towards Minami-san.
“Can’t Professor Davies do anything for us?”
圣-san looked up at once.
“Oh yes… if it’s the Professor…”
Minami-san looked obviously unhappy.
“The Professor’s clairvoyance has limited scope. I asked just now, the Professor said he couldn’t feel a thing.”
“In that case, could you please call other people here.”
Igarashi-sensei said forcefully.
“Don’t you have other friends? Won’t it do to call anyone who could help?”
“Even if you suddenly tell me so, I can’t do anything: because everyone lives overseas.”
“This is an urgent situation. If it’s you then won’t there always be a way? Or are you saying that on the first day, the things that you said about being able to get the help of Geller or Taunus was all hot air?”
Sensei’s interrogating questions were incredible. Minami-san looked angered.
“Alright. In conclusion let me make an appointment first. However, as they are all busy people, it would be very troubling to organize a time for them to come here.”
“Are you making excuses and shirking responsibility?”
It was Imura-san who spoke.
“What did you say?”
“You’re planning to say that then run away, right? Even if you say you will call them here, they will not come. Because you won’t call them at all. You don’t even know them at all, isn’t that right?”
“You’re insulting me.”
圣-san stood up and spoke.
“Please make an appointment then, Minami-san. If you’ll tell me the telephone number, I’ll make the call, shall I?”
With that said, 圣-san stood there and laughed.
“That’s great, I’ll make the call. Please tell me the telephone number. Because the one missing is my medium, it’s only polite that I make the appeal to them.”
“I can’t tell the telephone number to other people.”
“If that’s the case, you make the call, then allow me to speak. Because it’s only polite for me to make the request.”
Minami-san put on a shocking expression and stood up.
“You’re dishonoring me. This is an extreme insult. If you all are still suspicious then so be it. Regardless, I refuse to allow my busy friends to be worried over this. I think that this issue is one I can solve on my own.”
Minami-san urged the Professor, who was looking around, perplexed.
“Let’s go. I’d let it go if it were only me, but they even insulted the Professor. Really, it makes one exceedingly unhappy.”
With that parting shot, Minami-san left the Dining Room. Behind him followed his 3 assistants and the Professor.
And suspicion was left behind. A strong suspicion of Minami-san.
Can that person be trusted?
After the unpleasant breakfast, the psychics said they’d search through Atsugi-san’s belongings while separating to exorcise the building. We returned to the base.
Bou-san hugged his head.
“This is the entrance to the blind alley. How and where should we search?”
This is what they call ‘exhausting all means’. He clearly should be within this building, but there’s nowhere to search.
When everyone hung their heads in deep thought, Lin-san spoke.
Lin-san had used the figures from our measurements and constructed a 3-D image of the mansion.
“Please look at this.”
The monitor showed the vertical aspect of the west side of the mansion. The stones on the wall were white; the window frames and glasses, folding doors etc were drawn with blue lines. Lin-san brought up a photo taken with an idiot-proof camera next to the diagram. He used a similar angle to view the house. Ignoring the minor details, the building in the picture and the diagram were practically the same.
“It’s this part.”
Lin-san pointed to the block that had stuck out from the northern side.
Bou-san shouted and ran over.
“… It’s taller than the rest.”
Said Naru calmly.
Indeed, the photo and the 3D image were similar structures. That is, besides the protrusion of the roof height on the northern aspect.
In the photo, the roof at that part was slightly higher than the surroundings. However, on the computer image, the height of the roof was lower than that of the rest.
“Is it an error in measurement… or…”
Following Naru’s words, was Bou-san,
“A hidden room.”
“There’s that possibility.”
“However,” Yasuhara cut in.
“We’ve really checked that part all the way till the attics before. Look, outside the attic window, isn’t there a narrow balcony? When we were making the floor plan, even standing on that balcony, we couldn’t see the roof. Haven’t we tried that already?”
“Now that you mention it, such a thing did happen.”
Exactly. Furthermore, the one who performed this unfortunate task was John, who risked falling down too.
“If that’s the case, then it’s below.”
Naru mumbled. He asked Lin-san to bring out the floor plans.
The image on the monitor changed; the first floors’ floor plan appeared. The troublesome area was enlarged. Naru looked at it with intense concentration.
“An extremely large blind alley was built around the North block. Here and here… in total there are 8 sites where there are stairs. Up to the end of the corridor, there are 4 that ascend, and 4 that descend. We have been confused by the stairs. Count it carefully. There are more steps that ascend.”
Looking closely at the diagram, there were indeed more ascending steps.
“I’m afraid this area isn’t a 3 storey structure, but a 4 storey structure. We had planned to walk around the first floor, but without knowing we’d ended up on the second. There are rooms beneath this first floor.”
We rushed to the North Block, and once again measured accurately the number of steps and the height of the steps.
And the conclusion was:
There were 26 ascending steps, and 18 descending. And, compared to normal staircases, each ascending step was 2cms taller, and each descending step 2cm shorter.
That is to say, in the course of ascending and descending the 8 flights of stairs in the corridor in the North Block, we had ascended approximately 4.5m, and descended a little over 2m. As the building was itself about 1m above the ground, there would be about 3m of empty space between the floor of the north block and the ground.
“What in the world is going on with this house?”
Bou-san hugged his head, and said those obvious words.
In the end, it turned out that we had to re-measure all the stairs in the house.
We frustratedly re-measured the various locations. Because there was also the possibility only some steps had different heights from others, we measured every single step. Aah, it was getting annoying.
Furthermore, to add to our troubles, upon measuring, there really were some steps that had a different height at certain parts.
Naru etc should at this point still be finding an entrance to the empty space on X level. The empty space that was the X level, and hidden rooms. 3 persons had disappeared in this mansion. If they were closed inside by someone else, and did not have any way to communicate with the outside world, they could only wait there for rescue.
Perhaps destroying this wall by force would be faster, because this might be a matter of human life.
… What? –Ha!
Bou-san wore a shocked expression.
“What are you spacing out for. 16.52cm.”
I hurriedly entered the number onto the little black board. Although I frequently do get anxious, when I was writing on the black board, my hand slipped, and the pen was flung away.
It rolled and rolled and rolled. Chasing after the pen which rolled further away, I pathetically started running.
“I – have – caught – you.”
Pant pant. I glared at the pen I had finally picked up.
“What are you playing at?”
Bou-san shouted from the end of the corridor.
“The pen played a trick on me.”
I hurriedly ran to the corridor.
“That, how many centimeters was it?”
Just as I wrote the figure on the black board, Yasuhara suddenly spoke.
“Taniyama-kun, did you just chase that ball pen?”
“Yes, I’m exhausted, really~”
“All the way to the other end of the corridor?”
“… it’s exactly as you’ve seen.”
Yasuhara eyed the corridor.
“If that’s the case, could the floor of this corridor be slanting?”
Bou-san and John and I shouted in unison.
I turned to the corridor. It was approximately 20m long. If it was slanting, the slope was imperceptible even when walked on.
“Don’t we have a spirit-level?”
“I recall that we have one.”
We hurried back to base, explained the situation to Lin-san, who remained behind to take care of things, took the spirit level, and ran towards the troublesome corridor in the darkening house.
And then we measured.
The corridor that caused my ballpoint pen to roll away had a slope of around 5 degrees. According to what Yasuhara said, with a 20m corridor sloping at 5 degrees, one end of the corridor would be about 2m higher than the other.
And if all the corridors in this house were sloping?
Although I can’t imagine such a structure, I could only think that. Tomorrow we would have to place the spirit level all over the building’s floors.
In the end, before sunset neared, we went to measure the stairs. Step by step, we carefully measured, then recorded it faithfully on the diagram. Then, during this process, John found that.
That was near the center of the building, in the middle of a short flight of stairs. Along the corridor there were about 10 steps ascending. There was a room directly facing the top of this flight of stairs. From there onwards, the corridor split into slightly narrow left and right branches. Where the corridor was wider; the walls on both sides were covered with whitewash. From where I stood, up to my chest height, there was a 10cm wide protruding panel. It was engraved beautifully with a relief sculpture of creepers. Beneath that decoration…
“There’s a door here.”
John, who had squatted down to measure the height of the step, spoke. Looking closely at it, on the wall, next to where John was squatting, beneath the relief sculpture, half a door could be seen.
The door was the same color as the white wash. Due to the protrusion of the relief sculpture, it blocked our vision of this door previously.
Half of the door was covered by the stairs. Even like this, from a higher position, a small door handle could be seen. John grabbed this handle and pushed. The door opened easily inwards.
I shone the torch into the dark room.
That was a narrow room about 3 tatami’s size. The floor was covered with dust; there wasn’t a thing that looked like furniture. Although there was a window on the inside, no light shone through it. It was clearly sealed from the outside.
John jumped into that room. The dust was all stirred up; John coughed a few times gently.
“Is there anything inside?”
Although Bou-san spoke to John like that, the room was just like what we saw with our first brief sweep with the torch: besides the dust, there was nothing. No.
“There’s a frame hung on the wall.”
We stretched our necks to see the large frame pointed out by John.
“Besides that, there isn’t anything else, is there?”
John removed the frame and passed it back out of the room. I took the dust covered frame, then Bou-san and Yasuhara pulled John up from the room.
There, I carefully rubbed the dust on the frame. It looked like a portrait.
After rubbing the dust even more carefully, the canvas became uneven, and the remnants of an oil painting appeared. A male was drawn on it: a frail, shrewd looking man of about 40. His hair was neatly combed, and he wore a black overcoat over his black kimono.
“There’s a signature here.”
Bou-san pointed to the bottom left corner of the portrait. Sloping yellow lines were written there. Rather than calling them lines, they should be called patterns made from lines. As for what was written above, we all couldn’t see clearly.
“… this is the Kaō.”
“Aah, a Japanese style signature. It’s a stylized method of writing Kanji etc. … I really can’t see a thing on this one.”
Bou-san tilted the frame. He turned the portrait around to look at its back.
“There’s something written here.”
On the frame was a row of black words written vertically.
“March, Meiji 32. Self Portrait. 浦户(Urado)”
These words were written in neat calligraphy.
“March, Meiji 32. Self Portrait. Urado. Is it?”
Bou-san looked a few times at the signature on the right side.
“No wonder. This word looks like the word ‘浦’ (Ura).”
That is to say the Kaō was designed from the character ‘浦’.
Yasuhara thought for a moment.
“That’s really strange. Normally aren’t signatures made from first names? ‘俊树(Toshioki?)’ and what not. This is a surname, right?”
“There’s that too.”
It was Urado-san’s self portrait. But who was this person called Urado?
Yasuhara also thought the same things as I did,
“If the self portrait of this person is here as decoration, this Urado person should be a relative of Mr Miyama.”
“Was he an artist of relative fame?”
Yeah~, but I’ve never heard the name ‘Urado’.
“It’d be better to ask Ohashi-san about this one.”
Bou-san returned the portrait to its frame as he said that. Then, he patted John’s shoulder.
“Come, John. Let’s go measure this room.”
… Thank you guys.
The two of them carried tape measures, crawled into that narrow room and measured the dimensions and direction of the room. Then they started measuring if the floor was sloping or not, and what height the floor was from the staircase.
While they were measuring, I looked once more at that picture. Mr “Urado” somehow looked like a cold person. He had a thin face, sunken eyes, a mouth that was closed into a straight line, and a long and narrow nose; perhaps it was this external appearance that gave me that impression.
When we returned to base, the sun had long set; hence we were severely scolded by Naru. He said, didn’t he tell us to return before dusk etc. Whatever~, we were clearly working desperately. He’s really such a grouse.
Only when I quietly asked Ayako, did I find out that no one had found the entry to the X level yet. That was why his mood was so bad. This person is really headstrong.
Regardless, we still told Naru etc about John finding a hidden room. After I showed the frame in question to Naru, his attitude changed slightly.
“March, Meiji 32, Self Portrait, Urado.”
“The signature… Ura.”
Naru suddenly raised his head. He searched the tabletop and pulled out an envelope. He pulled out the paper money from the envelope.
“It is ‘浦Ura’.”
Naru let the light shine through the note.
… ah. There was indeed the word ‘浦Ura’ written on the note.
Naru handed the note to me. I looked at the note with light shining through it. Bou-san’s head also moved closer.
Amidst the overlapping blotches were words written with a fountain pen or something. Near the center was the word ‘浦Ura’. After looking at the words nearby…
“Isn’t this ‘户(do?)’, next to it?”
“It’s true. This is ‘户’.”
So that’s what it was. Bou-san picked up the envelope on the table as he spoke. The characters we had seen yesterday were written on it.
‘吧(ba) 走(walk) 了(already) 浦(Ura) 被(by) 听(hear) 死(die) 都(all) 这(this) 来(come)’
Bou-san wrote the word ‘户’ next to the word ‘浦’.
‘吧(ba) 走(walk) 了(already) 浦户(Urado) 被(by) 听(hear) 死(die) 都(all) 这(this) 来(come)’
“Why are these words written…? ‘被(by) 听(hear)’… this is ‘被 听(listened by)’ right? ‘浦户(Urado)’ ‘死(die)’ ‘都(all) 这(this) 来(come)’… ‘来这里的都 (all who came to this place)’…?”
“What type of speech is this considered?”
Bou-san and I let out a sigh.
“And I was still thinking there could be some clue.”
At this time, Yasuhara spoke.
“Wait a moment. This is wrong. ‘户(do)’ is on the left side.”
Yasuahara took the envelope, rubbed off Bou-san’s words, then rewrote the word:
“吧(ba) 走(walk) 了(already) 户浦(do-ura?) 被(by) 听(hear) 死(die) 都(all) 这(this) 来(come)”
Everyone tilted their heads.
“I’ve got it!”
Yasuhara snapped his fingers.
“This is read from right to left.”
Bou-san also agreed.
“It’s like this. If you think about it from the perspective of the era when these words were written, it’s actually more natural this way.”
Yasuhara rewrote the words on the note.
“来(come) 这(this) 都(all) 死(die) 听(hear) 被(by) 浦户(Urado) 了(already) 走(walk) 吧(ba)”
We looked at the note with light shining through it several more times.
“This and this are joined together… between these two words there is a word…”
We mumbled to ourselves while we re-wrote the words beneath it again.
“来(Come)? 这里(This place)? 全都死了(Have all died) 听说是被浦户(heard it was Urado who)?? 的(particle)? 走吧(go)”
“How is it?”
We took turns reading the paper passed around by Yasuhara.
Wuu, even if it’s like this, we still don’t understand anything.
“The first sentence should be comprehensible.”
Yasuhara mumbled. Bou-san spoke with a stiff voice.
“I think it’s comprehensible too.”
“Isn’t this ‘come to this place… have all died’?”
“Perhaps it refers to the people who came to this place. But it’s not too clear if there are 2 or 3 words in the space in between.”
The people who came to this place have all died…
“If that’s the case then the last sentence should be simple.”
Ayako said with extreme displeasure.
“This is a message left for a certain person. ‘The people who came to this place have all died. … run away’…”
(tl/n: this incomplete is actually ridiculously difficult to translate, since the word order used in Chinese is different from English.
The sentence in Chinese with the missing words replaced by a question mark goes:
来? 这里? 全都死了。 听说是被浦户?? 的。? 走吧。
If I take the liberty of filling in the missing words, I can get:
来到这里的全都死了。 听说是被浦户杀 的。 逃走吧。
Translating that to English:
Those who came to this place have all died. Heard they were killed by Urado. Run away. )
A warning. A message left. Who wanted to communicate this, and to whom? The owner of that overcoat must have wanted to pass this message to someone. It’s also possible it was something received from someone else.
When everyone was deep in thought, someone lightly tapped the window.
When everyone turned to look at the window, Mori-san was already standing there.
“Madoka! … Haven’t I already told you how dangerous this is, and not to come near to this place?”
Opening the window, Naru spoke in a cool voice.
Mori-san raised her hand.
“Stop. How about letting me in first?”
Naru pulled Mori-san in with an extremely displeased expression. Mori-san, who jumped in with a thump, said, “Greetings to everyone”, and smiled.
“Madoka. I should have already told you not to come.”
“Ah la, of course it’s because there’s no danger that I’m here. I’m not as stupid as Naru.”
… Stupid. And that referred to Naru. She really has guts.
Mori-san, who had sat down, took out a few cans of coffee from a convenience store bag and distributed it to us.
“… and then?”
While Naru’s cold gaze observed these, Mori-san, who had loosened the tab on the can, passed the can towards Naru.
“Help me open it (heart).”
Stiff-faced, Naru pulled open the can. After passing the can back to Mori-san,
“Why is there no danger?”
Mori-san did not hesitate at all.
“This is a child’s playground.”
“… What do you mean?”
“I say, isn’t the front garden of this house a large field? It looks like the children all come here to play.”
She said that and flashed a smile.
“Apparently that place was suitable for the neighborhood children to practice baseball or soccer, so that location was often used. It looks like because of the disappearance incident around February that those activities ceased. Of course, there hasn’t been any incident of a child disappearing. That’s why I said that there’s no danger up to the gardens.”
Mori-san shrugged as she said that.
“Apparently they’ve always forbidden children from entering the house. This place is also a famous haunted house, so although incidents of children secretly entering the house out of curiosity have happened before, no one had gone into the depths of the house. At the most they took a turn around the room by the window, and then stopped their activities just like that.”
Mori-san stared at Naru with a challenging look.
“That’s why I said, the dangerous part is the inside of this house. The outside of the house is safe.”
“That’s only for the day time right?”
“Ah la, one will inevitably tangle with a little danger in the work of a ghost hunter. I haven’t done anything more dangerous than living in a house with a bad record.”
… well said.
“… and then?”
“You aren’t here just to see our faces, are you?”
“Ah, right, right.”
Mori-san clapped her hands and retrieved a notebook from her sweater pocket.
“That… Atsugi-san hasn’t been sighted nearby too. He hasn’t taken a bus or rented a car either.”
Mori-san said that while she turned a page.
“And about the Miyama father and son situation. First up is Mr Kaneyuki.”
Naru’s cold gaze somehow makes one feel that he isn’t listening at all.
“He was apparently severely mysophobic. It was said that there was a dishonest incident at the silk factory. Apparently one of the staff misappropriated the wages of a worker or something. Then, that worker was dismissed for no good reason. His eldest son was also working in the same factory and was also sacked. His third son was a staff member of the hospital, and was also sacked. And the owner of the house they lived in was Kaneyuki, so they were all evicted. – it doesn’t stop here.”
Bou-san was shocked speechless. Mori-san nodded, smiling.
“There is. His married daughter and her husband also rented their house from Kaneyuki, so they were also evicted. The convict’s parents were also Kaneyuki’s tenant farmers, and were also evicted.”
“That’s really despicable…”
“Isn’t it? This is turning into a theme here.”
Saying that, Mori-san flipped over a page.
“Therefore, Mr Kaneyuki really disliked interacting with people, and completely did not allow anyone to come near this mountain villa. Apparently even if there was an urgent matter he would also be unreachable. Unless Mr Kaneyuki contacted the outside, there would be practically no way otherwise.”
“Apparently he had employed a maid, but it’s said that she wasn’t employed from Suwa but from somewhere else; it was something like that. The son, Mr Hiroyuki, was also a famous eccentric. However one puts it he is the person who renovated this building endlessly. Regarding the renovations, Mr Hiroyuki had said some words that made others concerned…”
“Words that made others concerned?”
“Yeah. When he was asked about the reason for the renovations, apparently he said: ‘Because there are spirits escaping; this is to make sure they don’t escape.’.”
… Because there are spirits escaping, this is to make sure they don’t escape…
“That’s all I’ve found out.”
With a clap, Mori-san closed the notebook. She tilted her head as though very troubled.
“However we put this, these events are of days long past, and there are already very few people who remember these incidents. Because of the era, I think it is already very good that I’ve found out this much.”
Naru did not speak. A ‘thank you’ would have been good at least.
Bou-san cut in.
“Miss, do you know of Kaneyuki’s friends?”
“I’ve investigated it a little… But I’ve heard he practically has no one he would call a friend.”
“I’m afraid there should be a person called Urado amongst them.”
Bou-san picked up the frame which was sitting in a corner of the room.
“The person in this painting. According to the date on the back as to when this was painted, this should be somebody Mr Kaneyuki knew…”
Bou-san’s words had not reached the end. Mori-san glanced at that painting,
“Ah la, that is Mr Kaneyuki.”
And said that.
“Was Mr Kaneyuki’s pseudonym Urado?”
Bou-san looked repeatedly through the photocopies of the photos Mori-san had left behind.
It was a photo of a person standing beside a door post hung with a plaque, ‘Miyama Weaving Factory’. Regardless of how one looked at it, one could see the model for the self-portrait was definitely Mr Kaneyuki.
“Although he’s a philanthropist, he’s also an eccentric – this man.”
Naru’s expression turned a little severe.
“He’s only an eccentric. ‘The people who came to this place have all died’. ‘This place’ would definitely have to be this mountain villa, right? What happened here? ‘Heard they were ?? by Urado’ – If we don’t know the meaning of that sentence we can’t figure it out.”
Somehow Naru’s tone of voice was strangely unsettling.
“But one thing is clear for sure.”
“Ah la, have you forgotten already? It’s what the spirits said during the séance.”
“‘Save me’ ‘I don’t want to die’ – Those were definitely the spirits of the people who died here.”
Ayako’s words made me feel even more uneasy.
Cloaked in uneasiness that night, I returned to my room.
– Then I had a dream.
Even I didn’t know why I woke up.
I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. Just as I thought, ‘Oh dear’, I realized my arms and legs were stiff and could not move. Naru told me that being physically unable to move is not a psychic phenomenon but a physiological occurrence. When the body is very tired but the mind very excited, such things would happen.
So it’s only that my body cannot move, I thought; I was actually very calm. As though nothing was wrong, I looked around and confirmed that Ayako and Masako were both fast asleep. After confirming that, I thought to myself that this time, my head was large. (tl/n:eh… cross-check this please)(anon: if you got this from a Chinese raw, then it probably means "I have a big problem / difficult problem" But I don't see how it fits here). My head could move. It’s very normal to discover one’s body is completely unable to move after dozing off.
My back rapidly turned cold. I wanted to call Ayako and Masako. Of course, I could not make a sound. At the very least it’d have been good to have been able to make some vague or muffled call; as that thought passed through my head even breathing started becoming difficult. Cold sweat covered me from head to toe; I felt dizzy and disorientated. Inside I told myself, calm down, calm down; I started chanting the incantation.
My body suddenly turned light. When I slowly relaxed my body, a soft sound came from the outside; the room’s door opened.
My body still could not move as I wished. Only my head turned towards the door. Black figures entered the room.
Due to the abruptness of the situation I was slightly stunned. Because they were unquestionably human figures. There were 2 of them. Those 2 figures quietly approached me.
Who was it? Just as I thought that, I recalled that I had locked the door before going to sleep. Because Naru had nagged many times about being more careful, that I should lock the door properly.
… Why can they open the door?
The figures stood on my two sides. In the darkness, I could vaguely see their faces. Male. They were 2 complete strangers. At once, in my mind appeared the thought that they were robbers or nymphomaniacs. As I was desperately calling out to Ayako and Masako silently, those 2 men grabbed my arms.
“What are you doing?!”
I shouted in my heart, but I could not make a sound. Grabbing both my arms, I was pulled into sitting position. My body could move. However, it wouldn’t move according to my wishes. I wanted to resist but could not. I couldn’t even move a finger as I pleased. It was clearly my body but it was controlled by someone else.
I was dragged into standing position; my 2 arms were held separately by the 2 men as they walked. Horror and fear rose within me as I was dragged out of the room.
It was pitch-black outside the room. The corridors clearly should not have any electrical lighting. I was dragged down the corridor where I could not tell left from right due to the darkness. After walking a long distance, the men opened a door.
I didn’t know which room this was. It was a relatively spacious room. I’m not sure where the light came from; there was a magical glow as though being under a full moon. The furniture in the room was arranged neatly. In any case it looked like very expensive furniture; it really made one feel that there was someone living here. However, there was no one in the room.
The men dragged me into the room. They silently brought me in front of a closet on the right. After opening the closet, there was a corridor inside. The long, dark, narrow corridor extended endlessly inwards. Its narrowness and darkness was somehow nauseating. I desperately thought of struggling free of their hands; of course, I still could not make a sound.
My arms were grabbed and pulled inwards. Gradually, the corridor became a long narrow gravel path sandwiched by hedgerows.
Step by step I walked on the gravel path; I lifted my head and looked at the 2 men on both sides. The surroundings were clearly very bright but I could not see their faces. No, although I could actually see their faces, I could not understand what they actually looked like.
… This is a dream.
That’s right; if this isn’t a dream such a thing wouldn’t be possible.
I lifted my head and looked at the hedge rows on both sides. Those hedgerows were made very tall; they extended upwards far above my head.
If this is a dream then I should collect information properly. I made this resolution, but somehow felt strange.
Following the hedgerows twisting and turning we walked forwards. The path once again gradually turned into a corridor. A faint scent of blood wafted through the air. That wasn’t all. The stench of something rotting also permeated the air.
There was a door in a jutting out portion of the corridor. I cringed silently. I don’t want to go inside. I could feel there was a hateful smell inside. I felt it diffused from the door.
The men opened the door. Inside there, too, was a spacious room.
This room should be the main hall. In the spacious room there was a staircase and countless doors. Suddenly I smelt a strong scent of blood. I was dragged up the stairs, and inwards the distance of about 3 doors, and brought into the innermost room.
That room looked like a bathroom of sorts. It was a small room laid with white tiles. On the wooden planked floor, the 2 men let go of my arms, then suddenly started taking off my clothes.
I shouted out loud in my heart. I realized that the clothes I was wearing had somehow turned into a kimono. It was a dark blue kimono. Yes, this is a dream.
Although that was what I thought, to have someone else strip one’s clothing like that is definitely an uncomfortable experience. After I was stripped naked, I was brought into a deeper room.
That was a room about 12 tatami’s size. Like the small room, it was covered with white tiles. In the middle of the room, there was a bathtub that was as white as the walls. It was like those seen in foreign films; an antique bathtub placed on the floor.
Then, a red colored substance flowed on the floor.
An overwhelming smell of blood and a sharp stench of decomposition made me unable to breathe. I forcefully held back my nausea. My feet stepped on a lukewarm fluid. Stepping on that sticky substance I trembled with fear. A whole face of that wide room was stained red. With much difficulty, I stepped once more onto the white tiles; a red foot print remained on the tile. Looking closely, I could see there were some white fluffy things in the blood. It looked like minced pieces of meat.
Even if this was a dream, it was disgusting enough to make me vomit. I looked towards the inside of the bathtub; inside there were some red things. After the red fluid dripped onto the floor, long blood stains detailed the white shiny porcelain surface.
I don’t want to dream this type of dream.
The men took me into the depth of the room. There was a small bed. It was just like the metal beds used in the hospital. Tiles covered the place where there should have been a mattress. Both the metal and the tiles had turned mushy because of the red substance.
I could make a sound. I was pulled backwards.
I don’t want to sleep on that type of place. What is that large basin placed directly beneath the bed? What is the deep bucket like container placed by the leg of the bed? Why are there tiles laid on a bed? Why are there ropes tied to the metal posts of the bed? Why is this place so dirty?
The men forcefully dragged me onto the bed. I screamed and started to resist. I desperately bit the 2 hands grabbing me, but I was still forcefully pulled onto those tiles. After being pulled onto those tiles, my back felt the cold, slippery sensation of the tiles. The disgusting sensation of slippery, lukewarm blood and the soft fragment of something unknown – it was almost like slabs of meat or something – against my back caused a sensation of horror.
I wanted to escape and tried to move my body, but the blood in my body had apparently solidified. As though my whole body was drenched in blood, an overwhelming stench surrounded me.
They placed me in the opposite direction of the bed, with my head going where the feet usually go, then pressed me down with a force that made my bones and joints groan.
“No! Let me go!”
This is a dream…
They pulled my hands as though trying to break it then tied my hands to the metal post with rope.
This situation is only a dream.
Both my legs were also secured.
“No! Save me!”
A coarse rope went around my chest, and my upper body was also tied down. It had turned into a position with my throat facing backwards, and my head dangling off the end of the bed.
Crap. This type of position is very frightening. Even desperately twisting my body, I could not budge. The men left. I was abandoned there, tied securely to the bed, maintaining a posture with my head dangled backwards. I felt the blood which had solidified in my body rush to my head due to gravity.
Calm down. This is only a dream. This is definitely a dream. Because such a thing could not possibly happen. I will wake up shortly. I will definitely wake up. Then, I thought, Ah I’m dreaming.
Despite thinking like this my teeth were still chattering. I opened my closed eyes; I was stunned.
– White light.
What is that thing that looks like a huge vegetable cleaver?
What are they going to use that thing for? What do they want to do with me?
One of the men stood by my side; the other stood besides my face. The man beside my face grabbed my hair. He pushed down forcefully; as though convulsing, my neck bent backwards.
I was already unable to speak. I told myself, this is a dream – therefore nothing will happen. Such horrible things will no longer happen. It will definitely be OK.
I was unable to close my eyes or move my body. I could only shiver there and look on blankly at the things passing in front of my eyes.
White porcelain. Red fluid spurted onto the ceiling. It was in the shape of a blotch.
Suddenly that man let go of my hair. The man straightened slightly.
Look, it’s all right. As expected nothing horrible will happen. Because this is a dream.
I sensed the man bending his waist to check the position of the bucket. The gleam of the knife he held in his hand flashed across my eyes.
I want to wake up already. I don’t want to remain in this place anymore.
The man looked up.
It’s all right, nothing so horrible will happen again. This fellow will leave this place. Definitely.
The man reached out and grabbed my hair. He used a force as though attempting to break my neck to pull me into a posture where my neck was exposed. – Once again.
White light flashed across my eyes.
I don’t want to die.
The man reached out.
Ice cold fingers touched my exposed throat.
I don’t want to die
The man lifted his hands. An ice-cold item pressed against my throat. It was a thin, sharp item.
This man will definitely maintain this position and not move. He will leave this place like this. Otherwise time will definitely stop. Someone will definitely save me. I will definitely wake up. Definitely.
I was terrified. I didn’t want to look. I wanted to shut my eyes but was unable. I stared at the tiled walls in my stiff body.
The man’s hands started moving.
Why aren’t I waking up?! Please, hurry and wake up!
I sensed the thin, ice-cold item sliding on my throat. A biting pain washed through my entire body.
At once a warm wet substance rushed forth from my throat and down my neck. My vision was stained bright red. Finally I sensed the pain of my neck being cut; I used all the strength I had to call out loudly.
Save me! I don’t want to be killed!!
|Back to Previous Chapter||Return to Main Page||Forward to Next Chapter|