It felt as though everything in the world was detached. Her body weightless and her equilibrium completely off point. Her vision seemed foggy, as if a haze had surrounded her like a blanket. However, this blanket was not the one a person would want around them.
Her senses snapped back into focus in a second and she gasped at the cold that bit at her skin. Her skin crawled as her gut told her to run, to run and run and never turn back. Her gut had never done her wrong, so like many other times; she did what it told her. The sound of her feet pounding against the cold asphalt was the only other sound other than her haggard breathing.
The night was as dark as pitch, the shadows around her clawed at her skin... which she realised wasn't her own...
The hand in front of her was petite, yet calloused; like a child's, only it had been worked till it was thin and flaky. That's when it clicked. She was dreaming she was another person. That she was the victim. She was the one who was running for her life, which, in a short time, would be over. The thought chilled her to the bone and a shiver ran down her spine as she felt cold air wash over her.
Snapping her head up, she looked around and recognised the street almost instantly. The small café to the left and a lone staircase tucked away to the side of it. A dark window on the second floor beckoned her with a false promise of refuge in which she took in a heartbeat.
Bounding up the steps, two at a time, she caught sight of her reflection, and realisation washed through her faster than if someone were to have dumped icy water over her. Staring back at her was the face of a young man, dark hair swept to the side to cover half his face. His dark brown eyes lacked any joy, instead, they were filled with terror and ... recognition.
Glancing back at the empty street, she lost all control of her body as she slammed through the door. Frantically, her head snapped from side to side in search of a hiding place, but the deserted and extremely dusty office offered no such leisure. That was, until her eyes landed on the lone table near the door.
However, reluctant she was, it was her only chance, and so she dived under the lip of the table just as the door burst open, to reveal nothing...
Gasping, Mai bolted upright, panting to regain her lost breath. Her head hung as she tried to decipher her dream without breaking out in goose bumps. She had definitely had past dreams, but none so vivid and ... disturbing. Just the pure, raw emotions she had felt were enough the scare her.
After catching her breath, she looked up, only to reel back in shock as she saw the three men in the small recreation room with her. Akito sat in an armchair to her right while the opposite sofa was occupied by the two suspected criminals. That was when her eyebrows knitted together in thought, causing her partner to laugh.
"We found you passed out in the hallway. You haven't done that in a long time. Mind explaining." It wasn't a question. He was worried and he wanted answers and he wasn't going to let her hide anything. Taking in some much needed oxygen to calm her rapid heartbeat, which had spiked as the dream replayed in her head, she sat properly in her seat and faced them.
"I had a dream. I believe I was the victim we found this morning..." She trailed off, assessing their expressions. Lin looked calm but on edge and Akito looked worried. Naru on the other hand, looked ready to punch the first unsuspecting person to cross his path. As to why, she didn't know. "I remember running down an alley, it was dark and cold. I'd have to say it was more frigid than anything, but I know it wasn't normal. So, I ended up at Shibuya Crossing, right outside the café."
Everyone was silent and none of them made a move towards the young women as she pieced together the pieces of her dream. She shivered as she told them how she ran up the stairs and into the office. Once she was done, they were all puzzled as to what had caused the door to open like she had told them it did. All they did know, was that they did know for certain, was that it was definitely paranormal.
"Well then... I guess I should go tell the Chief the new info and then I'm heading to the crime scene. See ya later!" With that, Akito walked out of the wood panelled room before she could protest. Gaping at the doorway as the door swung closed, she growled before closing her eyes as turning back to the other two in the room.
"So then Mai?" Lin started, relaxing in his seat in a very un-Lin-like manner. "How have you been?"
The sincerity in his voice made it impossible for her to glare at him. Sighing, she leaned back against the couch and let a small smile play on her lips.
"I've been... alright. As you can see, I've definitely made a change in my life... I'm pretty sure Akito told you what happened after you left. Am I right?" She asked. The males sat in silence before Naru finally nodded his head. Smirking, she let her head hang again, her long hair slipping over her shoulder.
"It... was a shock to say the least..." Lin told her, the solemn tone in his voice shocking her slightly.
"I have to agree to Lin, and something else Officer Abari told me is shocking as well..." Naru said, his eyes hardening until she sent him a quizzical look. "About the fact that your powers are as strong as eight people, with full control of their PK."
The statement made Lin freeze and snap his head to the brunette girl who sat stiffly across from them.
"So... If you know what happened and about my powers, maybe you can use those brains of yours to put two and two together." She stated coldly, standing from the leather couch and glaring at the wall filled with papers of missing people and old cases and newspaper clippings.
"You killed the killer. How could your powers have increased so much? You didn't even show signs of anything other than astral projection before we... left." Naru contemplated the possibilities before she let out a bitter laugh.
"You should know why very well Mr Davis. You wrote a book on it." She waited to see if he understood. After a minute, she let out an aggravated sigh before explaining, "'Any person, psychic or otherwise, may experience a revelation or awakening to either their purpose in life or dormant powers. Usually this awakening, is unexpected and the result is unknown until the person either understands what happened or feel after the initial awakening happens. This incident occurs when the person or persons' have suffered severe emotional stress'... I think that's about right."
The two males sat in shock after Mai finished quoting one of Naru's latest books. After a minute of silence, someone cleared their throat, causing the three occupants of the room to turn around to face the doorway.
"Good evening Dr Davis, Mr Lin." The man said. He wore a baby blue office shirt with dress pants, suspenders hanging loose from his belt. He seemed no older than fifty but was actually sixty-one years old.
"Chief! Good evening!" Mai practically yelled in shock, bowing quickly from the waist. He stepped forward and placed a hand on her shoulder, smiling warmly as she looked up.
"I told you Mai, just call me Ryo," He told her, forcing her to stand up straight and then turning to look at the other men in the room. "I have a proposition for you gentlemen."
Mai snapped her head to the side to look at her father figure as he stood calmly at her side. The sudden offer even affected the ever stoic Naru as his eyes widened. Lin sat stiffly beside his charge as he waited to hear to so called proposition.
"And what would this proposition be?" Naru asked, sitting forward and resting his head in the palm of his hand.
"I assume that you no longer have a place to stay." He stated, not waiting to see if it was true or not. "You are also witnesses to the case which means we must stay in close contact with you. Also, I know that Akito already told you about the special sector that Mai is apart of. Due to this, we deal with a lot of paranormal cases... However, we do not have real professionals or people with experience like Mai." Naru, Mai and Lin remained silent at the older man's words.
"What... are you getting at?" Lin asked, his voice weary at what Ryo was inquiring about.
"What I'm getting at, is that I would like to offer you a position here at the force. To be more precise, I would like you to work together with Mai. She may be talented, but she needs more people that she can relate to," He told them, earning a sharp gasp from Mai, but before she could oppose his decision, he shot her a look. "You would still be allowed to run your business and ask Mai to accompany you. I would gladly let her go. In fact, I'd make her and in return, you help us on cases of our own..." When he noticed that they were decline, he added slyly, "You'd also be paid a lot of money and your identity will remain hidden."
That seemed to catch their attention and Mai's face drained of colour, causing Naru to smirk before he stood and walked up to Ryo.
"You have yourself a deal. But, I can't help but ask, why did you inquire about our lodging?" The narcissistic man stared quizzically between Mai and her chief as the two in question stared at each other. Mai with a look of sadness and quiet rage, while Ryo had a knowing, authoritative look.
"Because as I told you, we need to stay in contact with you, to do this, you two will be living with Mai."
The sentence hung in the air like a heavy blanket that seemed to smother the young women as she struggled to form a coherent come back in protest to Ryo's decision, but the anger in her was over powered by her numbness, and the words of denial died on her tongue. Nodding sullenly, she turned to Naru and Lin before nodding.
"I'll just get my things and I'll take you home."
With that, she walked out of the room, her head hung as she thought of things that she really didn't want to acknowledge.
At the sudden plea that left Ryo's lips, the dark haired males looked at the older man.
"Please be good to her... She's suffered so much and only you can help her. We've tried our best, but the only people that can help her are those that left her." This time, it was Ryo who turned to them, his pale grey eyes glazed, as if he were looking through them instead of at them. It was quiet after that, Naru pondering over the man's words. They were so cryptic but they made his chest tighten in guilt. Why though, he had no idea.
"Noll? We should go out and see if Mai needs help getting her things." It wasn't a question. Before Naru could comprehend what was happening, the older Chinese man was dragging him out of the room by his collar.
Stepping into the corridor, they saw the wood panelled walls glowed softly in the dim light. The dark oak flooring under their feet creaking slightly as they walked to the end of the hall where the light from a lamp, instead of the street light outside the window, lit a room.
Stepping into the dimly lit room, the two males saw Mai, resting in her seat, her eyebrows meeting as she focused on the document in her hands. The black manila folder, much like what Naru had used on cases, showed signs of age and continual use as she turned another page.
Looking up, she quickly stood and grabbed her bag and folder. Slipping a few loose pages into her folder and grabbing her phone off the desk, she beckoned them over.
"Do you have your luggage with you or did you leave it at the office?" She asked, her voice straining with hidden emotions.
"We left it outside the office door. But we can wait until-" Lin started to explain only to be cut off as Mai raised her hand and shook her head.
"We'll get it now. I have to drive by on the way home anyway." She told them, closing her eyes before opening the top draw of her desk and pulling out a gun with a flashlight attached. "Better to be safe than sorry, ne?"
After she turned off the light, she led them out of the building and half way down the block. They passed multiple groups of people that waved in greeting to Mai. Each step she took made her shoes click and it acted like a magnet, drawing Naru attention to the women he barely knew.
Her long hair swayed from on top of her head from a high ponytail, the end brushing against the middle of her black shirt clad back. Her laugher echoing in his ears as she returned the welcome gestures from other pedestrians with an upbeat attitude, which seemed rather forced to him. He caught on to the fact that when she turned to smile at passers' by, it wouldn't reach her eyes. He found himself missing the warm glow that used to shine in her eyes whenever she spoke to people.
"-ru? Naru? Naru!"
Snapping out of his daze, said man blinked lazily before focusing on the person who had been calling him.
"I asked if you were going to get in the car anytime soon." She told him, her hands resting on her hips as she tapped her foot impatiently. Her lips were pulled into a slight pout and her brows knitted together as she waited for him. He then noticed he was standing next to a slim, silver convertible that was so dark in shade that if you didn't look closely, you'd think it was black. The cover was lowered to show Lin seated in the back, looking around the street as if he was completely oblivious to the two young adults beside him.
"This is yours?" He asked, getting into the front passenger seat as Mai got in the driver's side. Buckling up, she nodded before starting the engine. It roared to life and she zipped out into the street in seconds, not even checking for other cars. "Are you trying to kill us?"
She just shot him a look that said shut up or walk. It took a total of five minutes to reach the old SPR office. Unbuckling, Mai opened her door and got out, glaring when the sound of two other belts unlatching sounded through the quiet night.
"What do you think you're doing?" She asked them, her glare intensifying when Naru just scoffed at her and got out of the convertible.
"Really Mai? It's well past nine and your heading to a dark office in which a mysterious, possible ghost caused a murder just a few hours ago. Do you honestly think we're just going to let you go alone?" The tone he used made her anger dissipate as she let out an exasperated sigh as she pulled a gun from her belt and turned on the torch under the muzzle.
"Then stay behind me and don't make a sound."
The three of them walked up the steps and what they found shocked them...
The door was smashed open, splinters lay scattered on the concrete floor among the torn remains of the police tape. A light shuffling came from inside the darkness of the office beyond and Mai took a tentative step forward, her heel clicking before an arm grabbed hers. Shotting a glare at the offending limb, she followed it up to the owner of said 'offending limb'. Naru gazed at her with a hard look, his stoic expression cracked ever so slightly to reveal the concern he held for her. Her glare softened before she let a small smile break her own hard looks.
"I'll be fine Naru. But if it makes you feel better... here," She gently pulled her arm from his hold and reached into her jacket which he didn't remember her putting on, it swept around her ankles as she pulled a gun from its inner pocket and handed it to him, "You do know how to shoot, right?"
He nodded stiffly before grabbing the small metal revolver. Glancing at Lin, she stepped into the dark office, moving out of the doorway so that they could walk in too...
"Mai!" Two twin yells came from within the dark room. She felt, more than saw, Naru and Lin walk in behind her. Raising her gun so that her torch lit up the office room... Only to gasp loudly at the scene in front of her.
Monk stood a few feet ahead of her, a dusty chair held over his head as if he were about to throw it at her. Behind him, her purse clutched tightly in her hands, was Ayako.
"Monk? Ayako?" She asked, praying to any higher power listening to say this was a cruel joke. After five years of no communication with the old S.P.R group, she reunites with not one, but four of the members... Fate had a twisted sense of humour...
"Mai!' Ayako gasped in shock, "Don't wave that thing at us. Do you even know how to use it?"
Scoffing, Mai rolled her eyes before turning her torch to the wall and flicking the light switch by the door. The bright light, for the second time that day, blinded everyone in the room. The champagne coloured walls making the area that much brighter. With the darkness dealt with, Mai turned her torch off and holstered her gun.
"Ms. Matsuzaki. Takigawa. May I ask what you are doing in my office?" Naru questioned them, his glare going unnoticed by Monk. There was an odd silence between the group, before Mai's head twisted sharply to the door of Naru's door.
"Everyone! Outside, now!" She yelled, watching as the gold CEO plate on the wood began to shake.
"Wha-" Monk started, only to be bodily dragged across the room and toward the broken doorway. Her tried to pull away but all his attempts were stopped when he caught sight of her glare, the silent plea showing clearly in her amber eyes. Their route remained undeterred until they tried to step through the doorway... only to be stopped by an invisible force.
"Ow! What the hell?" Ayako exclaimed. Just as she was about to reach forward, Lin was beside her, his palm flat against the 'invisible force'. It was as if someone had placed a glass screen across the doorway while they were busy trading questions. Before another word could be uttered though, the lights went out and the temperature dropped dramatically.
"We're not alone..." Was the last thing to leave Mai's mouth before all hell broke loose...