Back to the horror searies...Hehehe.XD
“Me first! She’s been glaring at me ever since we’re out of the library.” Risa volunteered. She took out her cell phone and scrolled its features. She clicked the ‘Records’ folder and played what she had recorded earlier. The others were silent throughout the entire time.
“You had a guard watching you right? How come he didn’t take away your phone?” Maki asked curiously after they were finished listening. Risa grinned.
“It’s because I’m a genius. I just pretended that I’m reading it out loud. I’m such a great actress. I still can’t believe that small black history book, can contain this information about that girl”
“Matte... small black book?” Rika looked at Hitomi questioningly. “What’s the title of the book?”
“Hidden Past of our Country by Jin… something. Why did you ask?” Maki replied. She can feel that Rika must have some information about it. She can clearly see it on Rika’s facial reaction as Risa mentioned the book.
“Hitomi, when we got the journal, the book on top of it was written by Jin Murakami right? And its title is like what Risa mentioned earlier.”
“Yeah, I guess it’s not a big surprise considering that Sayumi’s father is a History professor… and also has this journal.” Hitomi took out from her knapsack the journal that they’ve seen in the introduction of the game. “And you know what, if we have to read the lines in the journal to activate the game, this one must be activated by blood.”
“What do you mean by that?” Risa inquired. Rika pointed at the fangs of the metal snake.
“Hitomi tried to open this lock but to no avail. And then, she passed her fingers on this fangs and it somewhat ‘bit’ her. The blood dripped from her fingers and fell straight into its mouth. And then, it just opened up.” All of them became silent. Anxiety, confusion and fear were etched on their faces.
“And we’ve seen the original case of the CD. We went to the place where it was manufactured after reading the address in the case. You won’t believe the pictures that Rika captured. Maki and Risa scanned the pictures one by one. A look of amazement and at the same time, dread can be clearly seen on their faces.
“This is insane! This is the palace in the game!” Risa blurted out. Hitomi nodded.
“Yes, it’s not just related to your perceptive reality… it really exists in reality. So, the correct question is, how can we fight something that shouldn’t exist in reality but was able to do so?”
“I think…” Maki’s answer to Hitomi’s question was abruptly stopped when her phone rang. She took it out from her pocket to answer it.
“Moshi-moshi…. Ka-san?.... Hai… I’m with Yocchan… We’re eating our lunch… Hai… What?!?” Maki looked at the others in disbelief. “Hai… I understand… Ja!” Maki turned off her phone and looked at her friends, still unable to grasp what her step-mom said to her. “I have something to confess.”
“WHAT?!? You let her play that game?!” Rika pulled down Hitomi’s shirt for her to sit down. When Maki said the their vice- principal talked and played the game in the library, Hitomi stood up and pounded the table with her own fist, making the other customers of that restaurant look in their direction. Maki just nodded in response. Rika kept pulling down Hitomi’s shirt. When the other noticed the prying eyes of the people around them, she immediately sat down; her face was red due to embarrassment. “You shouldn’t have let her play that game! It’s dangerous.” Hitomi whispered.
“I don’t know what to do that time! I was cornered. They were watching out every move. I can’t deny what’s caught on tape.” The others gave her a surprised look.
“We… we we’re caught?” Risa asked nervously. Maki looked at her sadly.
“Yeah, they’ve been watching you since you first entered the computer room last week. She told me that we must meet them this Monday to discuss our expulsion from our school.”
“What?!? Expulsion? This is bad…” Risa blurted out. Maki remained calm which Hitomi quickly noticed.
“You’re bluffing right? If we were going to be expelled from our school, you will react just like what Risa’s doing right now. What’s the real score?”
“You really know me…” Maki smiled. “Actually, it was you, Miki and I who were caught in the surveillance camera yesterday. You know, the time when we were searching for my sister.”
“So? Are we really expelled?” Risa asked, panic was written all over her face.
“She didn’t mention that.” Maki replied honestly. Risa sighed out; tension left her body. She leaned comfortably in the chair. “I thought I was done for!”
“And now that our vice-principal is dead, I don’t know whether our principal will do something to us.”
“WHAT?!? She’s dead!!! W… wha… How did it happen?” Hitomi grabbed Maki’s shoulders.
“Will you calm down? Let her talk first.” Rika reprimanded. Hitomi released her grip on Maki’s shoulder.
“Principal Iida called our house. She said, that Vice-principal Abe was seen, dead, inside her car on a parking lot of a game store. Expect Iida-san to keep an eye on us from now on.” Maki casually said.
“You’re getting used to this scene…” Rika commented before drinking the last drops of her soda. “We have to stop this by all means. Let’s stop playing that game as a precaution.”
“So, your parents are still not here?”
“I guess you can see that we’re the only ones here.”
“Are you mocking me?”
“No, I’m teasing you.” Rika replied. She grinned at Hitomi who’s sitting on her bed. “My little sister liked Hokkaido very much so they decided to extend their vacation for two more days.”
“If you’re tired, you can take a nap while I’m showering.” Rika took her towel from her cabinet and walked towards her door. “If you’re still hungry, there are some bagels in the kitchen. “ Rika reminded before getting out of the room. Hitomi chose to rest her mind and body instead.
“Rika is that you? Are you already done?” Hitomi asked without opening her eyes. She can feel someone sat near her feet. A cold hand caressed her legs.
“That’s not funny! You know that waking up a sleepy person is a really, REALLY bad idea!” Hitomi bolted up from her laying position. Her first line of thought was to hit her friend with the pillows. She can see her ‘target’ through her sleepy eyes but her eyes immediately widened when she saw the ‘killer’ in the game. She looked at the place where she felt that someone touched her.
“Oh no…. Snakes…. I don’t like this ….” She took a good look at the face behind the hood. She saw a beautiful girl, contrasting to the hideous image they’ve seen in Asami’s picture. Her focus diverted back to the snakes crawling up her feet. Hitomi used the bed sheet to remove it and hugged her knees. She couldn’t move; she couldn’t run away. Her whole body was frozen from fear; both from the snakes and to the girl standing at the base of the bed.
“Tasukete…. Rika…. TASUKETE!!!!”
“Hitomi! Wake up!” Hitomi saw Rika’s hand moving towards her face. Rika managed to stop her hand from slapping her friend when she saw that she’s already conscious.
“Great! You’re awake now. Twenty minutes had passed and you’re already in the nightmare mode? You’re really weird.” Rika tried to laugh at the scary incident that had happen. The bathroom was beside her room so she can clearly hear Hitomi’s scream. She quickly grabbed her towel, draped it over her naked body and run back to her room to wake up her friend. She reverted back to her concerned face. “I’ll get you some water. Then tell me what happened to you.”
Hitomi remained still on Rika’s bed. She looked around to see whether the girl and the snakes were still there.
“What a scary dream…” Rika came back and gave her a glass of water. As Hitomi drank it, she took the chance to put on some clothes. She sat beside Hitomi after dressing up. “So what happened?”
“I dreamt about snakes… and that ‘girl’.” Rika stopped drying her hair with the towel. She raised her eyebrow at Hitomi.
“That girl? You mean…”
“The girl with the hood.” Hitomi replied. She took another sip at her glass of water.
Rika tried to remember what she’d seen in the picture. “That hideous-looking girl we’ve seen behind Konno-san in the picture?”
“I think so… but the one I’ve seen is a beautiful girl.”
“Ehh? Beautiful? Is she not the….”
“I don’t know… come on. Let’s go back to Maki’s place.”
“What time did she say she’s going back?” Hitomi inquired Risa. Risa stayed in Maki’s house. Unknowingly, she was getting hooked in read Maki’s ‘type’ of books. She got the journal from Hitomi before they went out of the restaurant. Maki was scanning it while they were in the train going to their house. When they arrived Maki freshen up a bit before going out of the house. Risa stayed and read the journal.
“I don’t know. She just said that she’s going somewhere. I’ve learned something new.” Risa grinned and got the journal. “This journal is made by the shaman whom I think is the one responsible for Eri’s death by burning. It turns out that this shaman, Nakazawa Yuuko, was Eri’s mother.”
Rika thought for a while. “Nakazawa Yuuko…. Nakazawa Yuuko…Naka… Yuuko… NAKAKO Games Incorporated!” Hitomi and Risa were surprised at the revelation.
“You’re right! Eri might have used her mother’s name in revenge for her death… And listen at this” Risa paused for a while. She flipped the pages of the journal in search for something. “Eri doesn’t like snakes, specifically the one we’re using in the game. It’s the reason why she became ugly. She drinks the blood of those girls whom she killed to restore her face together with black magic. She also hates mirrors and it is also said here that she has pet… wolves. After burning, her ashes were put in the tower of a shrine.”
“So, I guess, she’s really the one who visited me in my dreams earlier.” Hitomi said to Rika who was walking towards the laptop. “So, in order to kill her, we need to drive three nails and then, surround her with that kind of snakes?”
“I guess so, but the question is; where we can find her body… because… as it said in the book, they put the ‘ashes’ in the tower… and that type of snakes. I haven’t seen that one before. Only in this game.”
“Guys… I thought that I’ve told you not to play this game?!” Risa and Hitomi bolted up and went beside Rika.
“We’re not pla… ying… that… game…” Risa said slowly as she saw the laptop was open and Maki’s character can be seen in the background. A zombie girl was hiding near the door of a house. “I did not open that game! Promise! It was off even after Maki left this place.”
“So that means,” Hitomi looked at the monitor. They can clearly see how Maki’s character was moving without the controller, as if it was on the ‘autopilot’ mode. “the game is playing by itself.”
“So, this is Sakura St. And that trail leads to the palace.” Maki thought as she approached the clearing in the forest. She didn’t come for the palace itself. She came to find Eri’s real body inside the shrine. After a few minutes of walking, she saw the palace ahead. She can see a shadow underneath the door. She inhaled some air and pushed it open. She didn’t see anyone or anything inside. She walked in with only a flashlight in her hands.
“Kuso! I’ve just told her not to do something stupid!” Hitomi grumbled. Rika and Risa were scared of the fierce looking Hitomi right now. This is the first time that they’ve seen the school’s famous ‘cool’ person in this situation.
“Hey, easy… you’re scaring other people on this train with that face.” Rika observed how the people around them were somewhat petrified at Hitomi’s behaviour, as if she could kill someone anytime. Hitomi looked at the people around them and closed her eyes. Her fists were almost red from the extreme pressure she’s applying to it. She decided to remain quiet for the rest of their journey towards the only place; they know Maki must have gone to.”
“Do they plan to renovate this? Or they want to bring down this place? Maki saw that the place were in a complete chaos; the ceiling’s almost falling from the top, doors split in half and lots broken glasses on the floor. She went to one side of the palace where there is a large mirror. “I didn’t see this mirror before in the game? What’s going on here?” Maki touched it for a while before continuing her search. She walked away but her reflection remained. Maki felt a cold shiver and looked back in the mirror.
“Must be my imagination.” From the reflection of the mirror, she saw a large sledge hammer, cans of paint, ladder, and large nails lying on the floor in one part of the place.
“Nails… I need those.” Maki took it up and the heavy sledge hammer, in case she encountered a zombie, and continued exploring the place.
“You’re so slow… Run faster!” Hitomi shouted as she ran towards the clearing that she and Rika went to earlier.
“Run ahead of us! We’ll catch up with you later!” Risa shouted. She’s holding the laptop of Miki that’s why she’s running slower than usual. She can see Maki walking holding large hammer. Rika looked at it too while still running. She saw a shadow ahead of Maki.
“Look! It’s Eri!”
Maki’s heart started beating very fast as she saw a silhouette of a figure standing near a door. Maki raised her hammer and with all her might, stroke it. The hood of the figure was removed and revealed the face of a beautiful girl.
“Uso… She’s not the one in the game… Why? Although her eyes were damaged, She’s still beautiful…” Maki threw the hammer towards the girl as it moved a step towards her. She turned back and ran as fast as she could towards the exit, but that didn’t happen. Something stabbed her left shoulders. She saw her own ninja weapon in the game, the Kyoketsu-shogei. It is a dagger blade. There’s a second blade hooking out, to which is attached a resilient cord. Maki was suddenly pulled back from where she came from and hanged to the ceiling.
“Maki!!! Maki!!! Open the door!” Hitomi was pounding the door when she heard Maki, screaming. She hit the door even harder. “MAKI!!!! MAKI!!!” Hitomi went towards the window to take a look at what’s happening inside. She can see Maki with another person, the person she saw in her dreams. “MAKI!!!! Wait for me! I’ll save you!” The other two arrived at the destination. They know what was happening inside for they can see it clearly in the monitor.
“She’s going to kill Maki!” Risa blurted out.
Maki was hanged upside down from the ceiling. Maki spitted at the girl in front of her. Blood was mixed on her saliva. The girl licked it and immediately, her eyes were restored.
“You’re a devil, Eri! You killed my sister! You monster!” Eri’s face suddenly became fierce as Maki said those words. She scratched Maki’s face before piercing Maki’s eyes. Maki screamed in pain. Hitomi can vaguely see what’s happening inside because of lack of light. Hitomi grabbed a large rock near her feet and throw it on the window. It seemed that there’s an invisible wall because the rock didn’t even touch it. Hitomi looked inside. She saw how the shadow stabbed her friend on her stomach. She can see Maki’s organs falling off.
“MAKIIII!!!!” Hitomi mustered all her strength to break open the door. As soon as the shadow left Maki, the door opened without any of them touching it. Hitomi raced towards her friend who fell on the ground from the ceiling. She was still breathing when Hitomi approached her.
“Maki! Kuso…. Wait… Ano… Shit! It’s bleeding bad….” Hitomi frantically searched for something useful to stop her friend’s bleeding. She didn’t have any choice but to grab her shirt to tear it. With Maki’s almost cold hands, she stopped Hitomi from doing it.
“Bo..dy… Eri’s… body... must… be… in… the…… shrine… back…” Maki slowly said. She was having a hard time to breathe. Blood was coming out from her mouth. Rika couldn’t look at her directly. She hugged Risa who was standing behind Hitomi, rather shocked at what she’s seeing right now.
“Journal… kill… he…er” Maki stopped breathing and closed her eyes. Rika was shaking uncontrollably on Risa’s shoulders. Hitomi shook Maki’s body; tears were falling from her eyes.
“Hey… come on… It’s not a good joke… Wake up… Maki… Please… wake up…” Hitomi knew her best friend passed away at that time. She didn’t mind whether her clothes will be stained by blood. All that she wanted to do that time is to embrace her friend, whom she knew she will not see again.
“MAKI!!!!” Hitomi screamed to the top of her lungs. Maki was not responding to Hitomi’s calls. Risa tightened her hug on Rika who was now crying like a child. Rika can’t take looking at real blood. She didn’t know whether it’s a mild case of homophobia but that’s not the real case as to why she’s crying. Even though she only met them almost three days ago, she immediately became close with this group. She has known Maki, the mysterious on-line gamer who sometimes gives her some useful tips about the game that she’s playing. Although she’s closer with Kabutomushi, the fact still remains that Goth-Chick has been a part of her life.
So, what are we going to do this time?” Risa asked. After the crying session, Risa helped the two get back on their feet. She might look like she didn’t care about what happened, the truth is that she’s just hiding the fact that she also wanted to cry. Seeing the school’s tough and cool girl burst into tears is really something. She must stand up this time. She mustn’t cry. Those two need her strength for now. They were outside the palace right now. They left Maki’s body inside the hall, much to Hitomi’s disagreement.
“What else. We’ll kill her.” Hitomi replied angrily. She’s feeling what her best friend felt when Miki died; pain, anger, despair… and revenge. Risa got the laptop from her bag and opened it.
“I have an idea. It may seem impossible but… since we’ve already seen some ‘impossible’ things… It might not be that impossible.”
“You’re making my head, dizzy. Please explain it clearly.” Rika pleaded.
“I’m going to play this game.” Hitomi and Rika’s eyes widened at the sudden decision.
“Are you insane?! Haven’t you have enough of that game? Do you really want to die like our friends?!” Hitomi shouted at her. Risa just smiled before covering her sempai’s mouth.
“I’m not finished yet. I think this game will be very helpful to us while searching for Eri’s body.”
“What? Will you get to the point?” Hitomi said as she removed Risa’s hands on her mouth.
“Just go in there and I’ll help you, using my character. We need to move fast before she can kill us. Maki said that her body might be on the tower. And when we were playing that game, we found a way that leads to the back part of the palace. The two of you must to go there.”
“Ok, it’s alright for us to go there… but in the game, we’re able to survive because of those creepy looking snakes. Where can we find that here?” Rika butt in. Risa opened the journal. She saw a map earlier as she was reading it. She scanned every page for it.
“It’s somewhere around…” Risa looked around for a huge tree near the left wing of the palace. “There! Let’s go!” Risa ran quickly as soon as she saw an old store house which was indicated in the map. Risa kicked the door open.
“Hey! Don’t do that! You’re destroying someone’s property!” Rika reprimanded. They couldn’t see anything at first because of the dust.
“This is ‘her’ property so I’ll do what I like to do as a small form of revenge on what she did to our friends. There’s a hidden door underneath that corner…” When the dusts have already settled down, they went inside and started the search. Risa told them to search for a handle. Hitomi walked towards Risa to look at the exact place of handle but she fell down hard.
“Awww... My foot was caught by.... hey! It’s the handle!” Hitomi said cheerily. Rika quickly went near Hitomi’s left foot. She was about to pull it and open the door when Risa stopped her.
“Wait! There are snakes in there!’ We’ll need to find its special box first.” Hitomi stood up and dusted herself. They began to search for the box that they were using in the game. Rika saw what they’ve been looking for on the east side of the entrance; a wooden black box with a cover made from a rough textile. Risa grinned when she saw it. “So… who will grab the snakes?”