Cases of a Different Kind

Chapter 11

Mai sat in the old, musty train car as she waited for Naru and the others to come back. It started out as a normal day. SPR heading out for a case and all. The only problem was, they had to take a train to the site as there were no roads they could take. The snow frosted the window outside the dusty window.

Naru, having become annoyed at waiting for the train to be fixed, made a few calls and got a train, the one Mai was currently sitting in, and had magically disappeared... Along with everyone else. John and Takigawa were helping Lin load the equipment into the other cart while Masako, Ayako and Yasuhara had run to the shops to get food as it was a day and a half trip to the secluded village. Naru was... well, she didn't know where he was, but she hardly ever knew where the narcissist went, so that was relatively normal.

The cabin was that akin to what you saw high classed socialites sitting in while travelling in the 90's. Yellow and gold coloured bench seats filled one end of the cabin, soft material cushioning Mai as she sat. The other half of the cart was a small dining area that also lead to a bathroom and then the drivers cart. There were two more couches behind Mai's, the one immediately through the door was one with covered furniture and seemed to have been an entertainment area, after that, was storage. That cart was were the guys should have been.

A sneeze broke the silence as the brunette sniffled, the very reason why Mai was sitting all by herself in a dusty, half lit train cart, shivering in the new jacket Naru had gotten her. It was thick black wool with a high collar and cuffed sleeves. Big buttons helped Mai close the jacket when she wore her gloves and the belt around her waist fit snug against her comfortably as she shifted in her seat, knees drawn up to her chest. The hem of the jacket went mid-thigh and acted as a blanket.

The sound of the door at the far end of the cabin drew her attention and she sat up, looking around for the cause of the sound. After a few seconds, she brushed it off as her imagination and turned back to the window. Only to gasp.

A pale man stood behind her in the reflection, clothes torn and bloody as he smiled a twisted smile at her. Swinging around, she jumped from the seat and drew her gun from the thigh holster she had strapped on. Stepping into the isle, the once calm upholstery and moth eaten curtains gave the room an eerie malevolence that made Mai want to bolt. Placing one foot infront of the other, she cast quick glances at the spaces under and between seats to make sure nothing would jump at her. Reaching to door to the drivers compartment, she took a deep breath and grabbed the handle.

It was freezing cold...

Mai reached the door open and was faced with a wall of darkness, evil slapping her in the face as she took a step back. Her head, already fuzzy from her cold, became unbelievably clouded the longer she stayed in the doorway.

"Mai!" A familiar voice called out to her, but it sounded distant.

"Mai! Wake up!" More voices joined the first and her head swam, the world tilting as everything went black.

"Mai!" The brunette jolted up in her seat, panting and covered in sweat, she looked around with panicked eyes. Naru knelt beside her, hand on her shoulders while he took in her frantic behaviour. "It's okay Mai. It was just a dream."

The rest of the SPR team had gathered around Mai's bench, each holding an expression of equal concern to their boss'.

"No..." She panted, head shaking as the dream sent chills down her spine. "That... It wasn't just a dream. It... It was too real. There's something on this train with us... And it's not happy."

Her comment chilled them.

"What do you mean Mai?" Naru asked, lifting her legs and placing them on top of his after he sat down beside her.

She looked at him before closing her eyes, consciously refusing to look at the window beside her. She explained her dream and asked Ayako to make a charm for the driver. From what she could gather, the drivers cabin was not a safe place to be... not in the least...

"Well, we can't gather information and we can't exactly stop the train in the middle of no where. Who knows how badly things could turn out." Naru pondered, Mai nodding slowly as he continued, "We'll just have to take precautions, maybe get some equipment out. Mai. Get your mind of the dream and get two of the new camera's, a few recorders and one of the laptops."

She nodded shakily, dreading the thought of walking through the dark cabins to get the required items. Standing, she took the torch Lin held out for her and smiled at him before opening the door. Flicking on the light, Mai took comfort in the heat her fever gave her as she made her way through the crowded room. Each step send dust flying and she coughed when she opened to door to the storage area. Aside from the few pieces of original furniture, the rest of the items belonged to SPR. Carefully opening some of the cases, Mai pulled out a spare bag and placed the items in it.

Closing the container with a loud 'click,' she stood up and checked the bag to make sure she had everything.

"Laptop..." She mumbled, looking around for the leather bag Lin kept the electronic device in. Spotting it by the door, she stumbled over to it, her fever making her oblivious to how the temperature began to drop.

The sound of scraping met her ears and she spun around, the flashlight beam moving sporadically as she tried to find the source of the noise.

'Got you...'

The voice chilled her feverish skin and she spin around to face the corner. The same person from her dream stood there, wavering in and out of sight. She backed away before running out of the room, the items Naru had asked her to get held tightly to her chest as she dodged furniture in her way. Halfway across to lounge area, the storage door slammed shut and the cabin grew frigid.

"Mai! What are you doing?" Naru called, the door opening and letting light stream in. He, along with Masako and Lin walked in. Just as they made it past the threshold, the door slammed, leaving Takigawa to pound against it in an attempt to gain entry.

The phantom tackled Mai, causing her to fall onto a sheet covered couch and roll to the floor. Glancing up, she made sure the equipment was safely placed on the sofa before standing.

It was gone. They looked around for it until Masako screamed. The ghost had her by the hair and punched Naru away when he tried to he tried to get to her. Lin tried to use his shiki but was slammed into the wall when the ghost lifted its hand. It turned to Mai and grinned before lifting Masako from the ground, her pained cry falling on deaf ears as he chuckled her at Naru and charged at the brunette.

Slipping into a protective stance, the phantom passed through her and Mai felt as though she had frozen in place. Her body was numb and she didn't have time to move when the ghost passed through her again, this time, pain exploded behind her eyes as her head began to pound, a cut found its way across her cheek and she hissed, dropping painfully to the ground to dodge another sweep.

Lin whistled again and drew the ghosts attention. It hissed at him before attacking the Omnioji like it had Mai. The Chinese man cursed as he was forced to the ground.

"Lin!" Naru yelled, supporting Masako since she fainted.

"Nau-maku san manda bazara-dan kan!" Monk charge into the room, talisman in hand as he glared at the phantom that had attacked his friends. It shrieked in rage before evaporating, the darkness reeking of hate as everyone got their bearings.

Not liking the room, Mai grabbed the electronics and ran into the lit cabin, not stopping till she was in the middle of the cart. The others followed, placing Masako on the bench closest to Mai before taking their seats around a dining table. Ayako attended to the unconscious psychic while Naru bent down to look at Mai. His thumb ran gently over her cut cheek and her cheeks flushed, which she would later say was due to fever.

"I'm fine!" She snapped, slapping his hand away before guilt slammed into her like a tonne of bricks. "I... I'm sorry Naru. That was uncalled for."

The narcissist just shook his head before helping her up and guiding her to a seat before sitting next to her.

"It's understandable. No matter how long you work in the paranormal business, it never stops being scary. Besides, you're sick. No need to worry." His compassion started Mai, as well as all the others in the area.

"Naru! How come you never care for me so much?" Yasu yelled, his voice full of the dramatic tone that usually cause Monk to run the other way. Naru shot him a glare before turning to the equipment bag.

"Good work Mai ." Again, Naru said something nice to her and she was about to thank him when he told her, "Now make some tea."

Puffing out her cheeks, she stood up and went to the counter to fulfil the request.

The rest of the night had been uneventful, except for Yasu chasing Monk around the cabin, Masako sleep walking and kissing John on the cheek which caused the blonde to panic. The scene caused Ayako to laugh so hard that she fell off her seat. Lin had fallen asleep reading, to which Mai covered him with a spare blanket and then she too, proceeded to fall asleep, head resting on Naru's shoulder. The oddest think however, was that he didn't push her off.

Casting her a glance every now and then, Naru relaxed as he watched the scenes on the laptop. One half of the screen showed the storage cart while the other half showed the lounge. He just started dozing off when the camera showing the storage area shut off, static filling the screen before the lounge went blank. Cursing, he grabbed Mai by the shoulder and sat up, careful not to wake her in case it was a false alarm. Battery camera's usually ran out quickly, right?

The lights in the room flickered as the temperature dropped, a loud screech filled the air, causing Lin and Mai to wake and the others to huddle closer to the centre of the moving room. The bag Mai had used to carry the equipment into the room flew at Takigawa and he clawed at it as it blinded him.

"Get it off! Get it off!" He ran around, screaming at the ghost while trying his best to start chanting his mantra. Ayako tried to help when her hair started floating. She froze in place as the air whipped around her. The next second, the wind stopped and Ayako looked at her hair before screaming, running to her bag for a brush and tore it through the knots in her hair.

"Um... Naru?" Mai asked, tilting her head at the scene before her.

"Yes Mai."

"I... I don't think this is the same ghost we saw earlier." She told him. He quirked a brow in her direction as they watched the phantom play with the rest of the team. It was now currently tickling Masako.

"I suppose it's not. But then... Where is the one from earlier?" The question went unanswered as the playful ghost let out a shriek and Mai felt a chill go down her spine. Snapping her head to look down, she gasped when she saw transparent hands wrap around her ankles and pull.

Mai hit the ground with a loud and painful 'thump'. She let out a squeak of pain and clawed at the ground as it pulled her under the seat and past the rows of benches toward the door.

"Mai!" Monk yelled. He got to the door before them and stabbed the poltergeist with his talisman, chanting while trying to maintain his grip against the ghost. Ayako came up behind him to perform the nine cuts and John prayed. It was Lin's shiki that killed the spirit however, the shining orbs cutting through it like a knife to hot butter.

Once it was gone, the playful spirit, who had fled in fear, floated casually back into the room before trying its best to hug everyone. The last one he hugged was Mai and she gasped when it pulled away.

"You! You're the one from my dream! You weren't evil. You were just the entertainer!" Her realisation caused the spirit to smile and clap enthusiastically before glowing a bright golden colour and disappearing just as the sun came up and shone through the window. Everyone shared a laugh as Naru helped Mai up.

Over the intercom, an elderly mans voice said, 'Village of Kage coming up.'

It was then that Naru spun around and raced to the drivers compartment. Mai followed and gasped when the door opened. No one was driving the train.

"Well, this was an interesting few hours." Yasu's voice rang out, like this kind of incident was the most casual thing ever.

Everyone turned to him in disbelief.

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