Cases of a Different Kind

Chapter 19

They sat in the darkness, torches tucked away to avoid attention. The two sat huddled together, hidden between a half destroyed wall and a row of boxes. The smell of rot was heavy in the air, strong and suffocating… And the longer they sat there, the more prominent it became.

Even though it was dark, Mai squeezed her eyes shut, holding her hands over her mouth the try muffle her heavy breathing. Fear coursed a trail of ice through her veins, terror firm in her mind. She couldn't remember the last time she was so frightened, and thinking of the past, that's when she felt it, or rather, heard it. Another voice in her head, a presence within her conscious. The very same from her dream. Mai blinked suddenly, the sound of something more sinister entering her mind. Something that dragged heavily across the ground, and she felt herself start to shale terribly, her heart running a mile a minute as she tried to figure out what was causing the horrible sound. Memories, that weren't her own, played in rapid succession and she had to resist the groan that almost left her throat as she swallowed the urge to vomit. Nausea settled in her gut and it took hold almost as easily as the fear did.

She must have shifted, she thought, as Naru pulled her closer to him, his shoulder muffling her surprised gasp.

The dragging was getting louder and Naru stiffened as the vibrations raced up his spine; the creature was on the other side of the wall. The cause of the foul smell only millimetres from him. He felt Mai cringe against him and held her a little tighter, his emotions getting the better of him as the chill from her skin seared his hands.

'Damn!' He thought, gathering his PK in his mind, his blood already heating when he felt a rush of energy pass through him, a soothing aura he had never felt before. Even in the darkness, he looked down at Mai. There was something different about her power, and the uncanny likeness to him as he took more time to examine the aura was startling.

Then, as quickly as their fear had built, it dissipated, along with the putrid smell of rot and decay. The air felt lighter, as if nothing had been there in the first place. But there was still an undercurrent of evil. The sense of being watched…

They shifted against each other, each unsure of whether it was safe to speak or not so when Naru gave Mai a nudge, the brunette moved so that they could stand, a bit of a blush burning across her cheeks and she was thankful for the darkness. Naru took it upon himself to guide them through the floor to the stairwell, making sure to go slowly so that they didn't knock anything over. Once at the door, he tried his best to open it quietly, but the sound of the lock clicking open echoed through the half demolished rooms and the pair was filled with dread.

The sound of heavy running feet, strong and loud, reverberated through their very bones as Naru through caution to the wind and flung the door open. If it was there, then it knew where they were. There was no time to lose. He pulled Mai after him into the decaying stairwell, the smell of rot stronger than it was before as they raced down the narrow stairs. Things, tools and stands, flew past them as an unearthly winded kicked up around them, trying to slow them down.

"Naru!" Monk's voice echoed up to them from the doorway to base, "In here, quick!"

The pair flew through the doorway just in time for Monk to slam the door shut, his Tokkosho already imbedded in the wood as he started chanting, "Namaku San Ba-"

They listened to Monk raise a barrier on the door, catching their breath. Adrenaline pumped through their veins and Mai fell to her knees in tears, her body shaking in fear as the feeling of not being alone in her mind once again came about.

"Mai!" Ayako drew the brunette's attention, "My god! What happened?"

Tears continued to fall from the young woman's eyes, her lisp moving without sound.

"Mai?" The concern in Naru's voice shocked the team, but the firmness of his tone made her look at him.

"I'm sorry!" The voice was soft and light, not Mai's at all, "This is all my fault! He just made it so hard! Then, I found this book. It helped. But then-"

A shuddering gasp suddenly left her lips as her eyes rolled back into her skull, her body jerking violently before collapsing to the ground completely.

"Mai!" Ayako yelled, cradling the brunette's head in her lap, providing something soft to protect her, "Someone! Call an ambulance! She's having a seizure!"

'Beep. Beep. Beep.'

The steady mechanical rhythm was the first thing to penetrate through the fog of sleep. Then, the murmur of voices invaded her conscious.

"It seemed that the spirit is unwilling to speak while Mai is resting." The voice was quiet, as if muffled.

"But, is that even possible Miss Hara?" The Australian accent was unmistakable.

"She's right. It's rare, but some spirits understand the strain a possession can place on the hosts body-" A door open and the speaker turned stopped.

"Lin. Naru wants you." A new voice called, the sound of footsteps both leaving and entering making her head spin. "Geez Mai, how do you get yourself into situations like this?"

"Calm down Monk. She'll be ok. And hopefully, she can tell us what's going on."

The room fell silent after that, and Mai fell back into the abyss.

To say he was confused was an understatement. He fisted his hand, watching for any signs of shaking, but when he relaxed it, nothing happened. The door to base opened and the tension seemed to evaporate from his body. He lent back in his chair, a tired sigh leaving his lips.

"Naru?" Lin's voice was firm, a familiar comfort in a world of uncertainties. "Is something the matter?"

"In a sense… I suppose." The young CEO responded, turning his chair around to face the omnioji, "But first, how is she?"

Lin took in the young man's appearance. Clothes from the incident more than six hours prior, bags under his eyes stormy blue eyes and messy hair, most probably from having run his fingers through them as he worried. The older man chose his words carefully, "She's stable. She hasn't woken, but Ms Matsuzaki says that she should be fine. The others are waiting by her side."

The young CEO gave a cautious nod, taking in everything that Lin told him.

"Good. I'm… Glad." Lin picked up on the hesitance and crossed his arms.

"Oliver. What aren't you telling me? What happened?"

"She can do it. She can do what Gene did…"

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