Ghost Hunt:Volume 8 Chapter 9
Ghost Hunt Volume 8 Chapter 9: August 14 12 midnight – 1am
Abruptly, I returned to my body. Looking around after regaining consciousness, it was still pitch-black. Then I looked at myself: I was sprawled extremely inelegantly by the door.
I did not think that there were any words that could persuade one as obstinate as him.
I understood his pain, but I couldn’t leave him like this.
If that were to continue, the children would be very pitiable. Their deaths brought them a world of pain, hence the children, with nowhere to go, because of loneliness, because they desired something to escape this loneliness… Hence they recruited friends, but this did not give them any succor: all they got was the relentless sorrow inflicted upon them.
It was necessary to cleanse these children. I could not let more children die here. I had to stop this tragedy from continuing.
And there was Kirishima sensei.
The pain of losing one’s own life, combined with the sorrow of witnessing the children lose their lives; because all was lost; he turned into an obstinate person.
I could comprehend his feelings. Because I know he must have been a gentle person.
However, just as he treasured his students, I also treasure my companions. I want to be with them, to walk out of the school with them, and say ‘goodbye’.
At this time, I recalled the words Naru said to me.
“I completely forgot—”
I really am an idiot.
“Naru had clearly mentioned to me that I could not use sympathy or pity.”
I knocked my own head.
There was no point in admonishment. I had to fill them with light.
“That’s what I’ll do!”
I said to myself, as I sprang back up from the floor.
“Right! I’ll challenge him once more!”
I opened the door of the classroom – there’ll be a way somehow. There was no use screaming however loudly here.
– off to the classroom, then.
That was the place that bound Kirishima-sensei and the children. It must have been because that place – to the children and the teacher – still held a bit of comfort.
In the darkness, after I groped my way down the stairs, I heard a small clattering sound. Halting my steps, the sound was right in front of me.
After standing in wait for a moment, a small black figure appeared by the wall. My heart pounded a little faster.
There were 3 figures that appeared by the corner. Although they looked approximately child sized, they were, however I looked at them, distorted paper-cut silhouettes. Small heads, stick-like limbs, and abnormally disproportionately large belly; I did not know if it was because the stick-like legs could not support the body, the children appeared bent over, squatting, and walked with a strange posture using their hands (as well).
I don’t know if caution is a positive ‘feeling’ or a negative ‘feeling’.
I took a deep breath.
“Ne! –Let’s go to the classroom together.”
I approached tentatively. The figures stopped.
“That is – are you guys going back to the classroom?”
I squatted down as well.
I could not take what I saw in front of me as abominations – these were the children. If people have a ‘body’ and a ‘spirit’, then they were only children without bodies.
– I really do love the children.
Holding a small, gentle grudge; or vehemently and aggressively hating – but these were all done by the children to keep people away.
I recalled the numerous children I had encountered while working at ‘Shibuya Psychic Research’, and could not help laughing.
While we were at Noto I had also encountered some children. While waiting for Naru to be discharged, we became good friends. When we left, they even had tear-filled expressions, but once I said, ‘we’ll be back’, they were happy once more. What is everyone doing now?
– Hn, at this time, they definitely are asleep.
A genuine smile appeared on my face.
“That is – are you guys going to the classroom? Let’s go together?”
The children tilted their heads slightly in thought. This action really is something unique to children – it’s really cute.
“I want to meet the other students in the class. I want to meet Kirishima sensei. Just now I did something bad, so I want to apologize to them. – ah, was just now a dream or a reality?”
As expected, the children still had their heads inclined in thought, and did not move a step.
“Nee-san isn’t very clear, but no matter what you want to apologize, so you want to go to the classroom. Can we bring nee-san there?”
The children exchanged glances, then started moving with their backs facing me. One moved in the direction of the staircase. The other two also started moving.
At the stairs, I could see quite a few children at the floor below. I descended the stairs without much worry – none of the children had any intention to hurt me, and I gradually relaxed. – Indeed, this innocence is what is most precious in children.
There were another two children in the vestibule. They smiled while walking towards the classroom, then started skipping along. There were about 10 children around me, and they appeared very happy. At this time, the smallest child beside me reached out a fragile hand and pulled me to a stop.
The instance the twig-like hand touched mine, my heart filled with tenderness.
After entering the classroom, I saw a flock of children: a group seated facing the table, a cluster gathered at the back of the classroom, and children walking around the classroom. There were many, many children. It was as though I had really entered a classroom during recess.
Seated at the table adjacent to the teaching podium was a very large shadow – about the size of an adult. Like a devil without horns, sensei stood up. He just stood there, motionless, and looked at me without making a sound.
“About what happened just now, I’m sorry—”
I lowered my head gently towards sensei, after that I bowed towards the children who looked at me.
Saying that, I glanced around the classroom.
“Just now, I said something unforgivable, I’m really very sorry. But I still have to say this: please don’t look for more friends anymore!”
Sensei took a step forward. I looked straight towards sensei, who was glaring at me.
“Please return my companions to me!”
I took a step forwards myself. The distance between us decreased.
“Just as sensei values everyone’s feelings, I treasure my companions.”
I glanced at the children in the classroom and continued,
“Like how everyone, like how sensei loves your companions, I love my companions very much too!”
Naru and Lin-san; Ayako and Masako; Bou-san and John as well as Yasuhara. By chance we met and got along until now; many things have happened: things that let one feel warmth and comfort.
“Although Naru appears to be very cold, in reality there are parts of him that are very gentle. And he also knows how to perform magic. He previously showed me in order to encourage me.”
In the blink of an eye, a ray of light shone into the classroom. Although it was merely moonlight, in my point of view it was a type of encouragement.
“And there is Lin-san. Although he is an expressionless, taciturn man of few words all day long, he is actually a very gentle person. Even a person of this sort still smiles at me occasionally. I feel like I’ve been accepted by him. I feel this is a good beginning, it really makes me extremely happy.”
– Even though the number of times he has smiled at me can be counted on one hand.
“The one who made the worst first impression was Masako – her words were always filled with thorns. But she is actually a very reliable fellow – very capable, but she’s still bad tempered. Because I’m like a wild child, I’ve always wanted to be feminine like Masako. That’s why I’m really very happy to be able to become friends with Masako. – Yeah, my first impressions of Bou-san and Ayako were no good either, but in reality they are all very good people.”
Really, thinking about it, practically all the first impressions made by everyone’s appearances were not very good.
“Ayako is actually a person who loves to look after others. Although she is a little long winded, I still like it when she nags and looks after me. It reminds me of my mother.”
– Although my mother was a little quieter.
“Every time I speak with Ayako, I’ll be filled with energy, that’s why I love Ayako. Bou-san’s father-like lectures also makes me feel very fortunate. He knocks me with his large hands, and pats my head all the time. Really, I love it very, very much. But this is my secret!”
If this were to come out, that man would be too proudly happy.
“I love John’s slightly weird Kansai accent. He is a very conscientious and very honest person. When I suddenly think of him and turn around, I can always feel those gentle eyes – I’ve already felt this feeling many times. I also love Yasuhara’s optimistic personality – being with him makes me forget unhappy events. Regardless of how severe the circumstances are, once I hear Yasuhara’s jokes or the comedic dialogue between him and Bou-san, I will relax at once.”
–Yeah, I really love everyone.
“That’s why, I hope you can return everyone to me. They are all very important to me! I love being with everyone! I want to be together with them, walk out of this school together, and go back to Tokyo together. Despite the eminent closure of the offices, it’s not like we would never meet again.”
At this point, I smiled embarrassedly.
“—Yeah, I think, perhaps I won’t be meeting them again. With the offices closed, to still say that I want to continue to be friends, everyone might laugh at me – but I think they won’t do that.
“Everyone treats me very well. Even at this time, they are all still protecting me. If it was for the sake of a fellow who I don’t want to meet for a second time, or even one with whom a second meeting was of no importance to me, a very good fellow (tl/n:???), I think everyone wouldn’t do this. Right now I’m also trying my best for everyone. Like everyone, they are all desperately protecting me like this. They are concerned about my situation – this makes me feel rather proud!”
Kirishima-sensei looked at me.
All the children in the classroom looked at me.
“Therefore, please return everyone to me! And please don’t continue this sort of thing anymore.”
Someone tugged my hand gently; only then did I recall that the children still held my hand. Having gotten used to the moonlight, my eyes could see clearly: the child in front of me really did not appear human.
The little ghost holding my hand looked up at me; I smiled.
“I think the friends you’ve brought here definitely have people like me, to whom they are important. Like me, they have people who love them very much. If it is an extremely painful thing not to be able to meet the people one loves, one will be very sad if one’s loved ones die. – Therefore, I want to be together with (my friends)!”
It was the child who held my hand who spoke.
“Yeah. What is your name?”
Ryoya straightened his back – he had stood up without my noticing. The slender hand from just now had turned somewhat chubbier, and it felt softer holding it.
“Do you love your father?”
“Do you love your mother?”
“I love her too!”
“I also love my companions, the same as you do.”
“Yeah. Do you love sensei too?”
“I love him a lot!”
“Because sensei is a gentle and good teacher, right?”
A nodding head and the face of an approximately 10 year old girl overlapped. (tl/n:???)
“But he’s very scary when he gets angry!”
“Is that so!”
“But sensei knows how to do the horizontal bars!”
“But he’s a little tone deaf!”
I smiled, and looked at the children in the classroom.
“Everyone loves sensei as well, right?”
Immediately after I finished, everyone replied in one voice: we love sensei!
“If sensei were to disappear, you would feel lonely, right? You don’t wish for this to happen, right?”
The little faces nodded.
“If it’s like this, if the transfer students were to disappear, there will also be people who feel lonely.”
– Everyone became silent.
“Everyone brought the children here because of loneliness, right? But the children who were brought here also have teachers whom they love. – Therefore, don’t do this anymore.”
The children seated at their seats; the classroom filled with moonlight.
“Because I have my companions, therefore although my parents are no longer around, I don’t feel lonely. Will you still be lonely because you are just one class even though sensei is here?”
Hearing that voice, I turned. It was Tsumura.
I patted his head.
“You’re really incredible. Because Tsumura is a brave young boy.”
Tsumura smiled. I looked at Kirishima sensei. I no longer saw the appearance of a ghost, merely a man who hung his head.
“Everyone really loves you very much, sensei.”
“With the teacher whom the students love a lot around, and the students whom the teacher loves a lot around, I think this is really a type of happiness.”
“—Isn’t this so?”
Sensei was silent for a long while before saying a single line:
“Could it be… I could be a really lucky person…”
“… You are.”
When I nodded, a light shone from behind me. Turning, from behind me, a bright light shone through the crack between the doors. Opening the door – it was as bright as day outside.
Up till just now it was clearly a dark place, but I did not feel this was glaring at all. Outside the door was not the corridor but a field; beautifully green, soft grass stretched endlessly, bright light shone from the heavens above.
Waah! – I heard the soft exclamations of the children.
Sensei looked outside, then around the classroom.
“—Children, do you want to go on a field trip?”
It was a din of happy elation.
“Are we taking a bus there?”
Mariko asked uneasily.
“No, we aren’t taking a bus. We are walking there!”
“That’s a relief then, sensei.”
“Yeah, it’ll be fine!”
Kirishima-sensei smiled while walking towards the door. I quietly moved to the empty space by the side.
Sensei stood at the side of the door.
“We’re setting off. The younger children must hold on to the older children’s hands. Look out, don’t fall behind.”
‘We got it,’ the children replied in one voice.
Then the children skipped on by themselves, or holding another little hand, and exited the classroom in order.
Sensei always looked at them, and then he reached out to Ryoya, who did not release my hand.
“Ryoya, it’s time to go too!”
Ryoya let go of my hand and held sensei’s hand. He took a few steps then turned and waved to me.
“Nee-san, bye bye!”
Kirishima sensei nodded to me, then, holding Ryoya’s hand, walked out of the classroom.
The door closed. – I was the only one left in the classroom.
Only the dust covered floor, chairs and tables were left in the empty classroom flooded with the pale blue light of the moon.
I cried – but they were definitely not tears of sadness.
Reaching the corridor, I stopped for a moment, looking at the closed window in front of me.
Reaching out I pushed tentatively. Creaking, it opened a crack. A gentle wind blew in, bringing in the fragrance of fresh grass.
I smiled slightly, then after using a little strength and pushing repeatedly, the window opened fully.
The school compound was also flooded with moonlight; the incomparable brightness.
I climbed onto the window sill.
I shouted as I jumped into the school field.
After I hit the ground I picked up my pace immediately. Stepping on the wet grass, I made a squelching sound. I turned and took in the entirety of the wooden school building.
The tiled roof that flashed a silver glow, the windows which were like dark holes, the grey walls; a slight breeze blew, the insects sang loudly.
Just as I heard the sound, a second floor window was exaggeratedly shattered and fell to the ground.
Together with the fallen window, I could see Bou-san’s figure.
I waved to Bou-san, then I felt my head start to hurt.
“I’m thinking about the problem of age and appearances.”
Bou-san’s voice passed very clearly into my ear.
“Nothing. Forget it!”
I meant that I did not expect him to actually jump down through the window – at that mature age he still doesn’t think before he acts. Saying that, he just jumped down from a second floor window. In reality there isn’t anything much wrong with doing this at his age, but when he landed he didn’t land steadily, therefore points are deducted!
“Ya—you really are still young!”
Hearing the voice I saw Yasuhara stick his head out from the second floor.
Bou-san turned towards the school.
“Then show me the skills of a young man!”
“Ai—do you want me to jump down from here?”
“You really are still young, are you not?”
“Then can you catch me, Bou-san?”
“Whatever! The pair of you are behaving shamelessly.”
This was the voice of Ayako, who stuck her head out from the first floor.
“Wa! Ayako – it’s been a long time since we’ve met!”
“Really, long time indeed. I was just thinking about where you disappeared to.”
“I did not disappear. It was you who disappeared—”
“Ah, ha ha ha ha.”
The truth of what really happened –
The door to the vestibule opened. The first one to come out was Naru, who waved his hand before walking uninterestedly in the other direction.
Following him was the tall figure of Lin-san.
“Lin-san, it’s also been a long time!”
Hearing my voice, Lin-san stopped momentarily and nodded to me. Following closely behind was Masako, taking quick little steps.
“Yo—hey! Masako, how are you?”
“What in the world happened? I should be asking you—”
Saying that, Masako stopped in her tracks. She was originally running in my direction, but when she saw Naru she immediately changed course. Such is the friendship between girls – that honest fellow!
“Mai, are you alright?”
That was John, who said that while jumping out from a first floor window. Really, John is still the gentlest, wu lu lu!
“Yeah – I’m fine!”
“That’s great, everyone’s alright!”
Ayako and Yasuhara, who had decided against jumping out through a window, also exited through the vestibule.
– Thus, everyone was accounted for.
“Ne? Who did it?”
Once Bou-san spoke, everyone started thinking.
Hey hey hey hey hey – this, only I know.
“Since you asked, it looks like it wasn’t you, Takigawa-san.”
Without skipping a beat, Bou-san replied to Yasuhara’s words embarrassedly.
“—Then it wouldn’t be because of this young man either.”
“If it were me, then wouldn’t that mean that you guys have no foot to stand on?”
“It looks like it wasn’t Shibuya either, looking at how you walked out so orderly.”
Naru shrugged in agreement.
“I think it shouldn’t be Lin-san or Brown, because I saw the light of spirit cleansing, so it was not an exorcism, but a spirit cleansing.”
“Indeed. I didn’t help out at all.”
After that, everyone looked towards Ayako.
See, not a single person was of any use. Pu chi pu chi!
Ayako pointed at herself, wide-eyed.
“It wasn’t me! There aren’t any living trees near this place.”
Momentarily, everyone exchanged glances.
Ne—why did they leave only me out?
“—That leaves one person only.”
It was Yasuhara who spoke.
“Could it be, that they cleansed themselves?!”
The one who said this sentence that made me so mad my teeth itched was Ayako.
“Alright, it’s all over, let’s go back!”
Too much! It’s pissing me off! Even Bou-san also—
Bou-san walked in the direction of the car while caressing my head; Ayako and Masako patted my back; John and Yasuhara smiled by the side; Lin-san also smiled slightly.
Then, Naru said a line,
“—Thanks for your hard work!”
– Ma, forget it.
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