After their last case, Naru had been relatively aggravated. Not only was he not getting interesting cases, but he seemed to be turning down clients left and right the second he found the report or sighting boring. Mai had to go between the precinct and the newly refurbished SPR office to keep her sanity from the narcissist's snippy attitude that had occurred sometime after Gene went back to the spirit plane.
The walls had been, again, painted a pale, champagne colour with deep, polished oak flooring. The doors, their frames and the window sills were accented by a dusty white coat of paint. The kitchenette had been expanded so that the room was twice as big, fitting a love seat and a table for four. A white tile floor matched the wooden cabinets of the room as well as the stainless steel appliances that had been put in, courtesy of Madoka's persistence.
The sitting area for clients remained mostly the same with furniture layout, the only difference was that the blinds over the windows were less industrial with soft, grey fabric instead if the sheets of rough material that would have done nothing to hide the snow covered world outside.
Three doors lined the wall opposite the kitchen. The first, closest to the window, was the newest attachment, Mai's office. Beside it was the relatively untouched office of Naru's. Also fondly referred to as his dungeon. Beside that, was Lin's who was closest to the new small hallway that lead to a store room. At the end of it was a bathroom with a window opposite the new storeroom. Mai had dubbed it the spy window, as now it was easier for them to catch any of the team members that tried to run when they had to load equipment into the van before a case.
Our favourite narcissist was currently helping Mai with the lounge area for clients, screwing the clothes rack to the floor. He didn't think there would be a repeat performance of the killer ghost that had wanted Mai, but he didn't care. Better safe than sorry, right?
Said man whipped his head around to see Mai, curiosity flashing across her face before she smiled warmly at him, trying her best to hide her previous quizzical expression.
"Yes Mai?" He asked, standing from his place on the ground and dusting the imaginary dirt from his suit.
"I made tea for you." She told him quietly while holding out the said tea, "Also, Ayako called. She said she had a case you might be interested in."
An hour later had Naru, Mai and Lin sitting in the new, dusty black coloured seats in the lounge, waiting for the now forty-five minute late Ayako and Monk. As if on cue, the sound of pounding footsteps rang through the air and before they knew it, the door smashed open, slamming into the newly painted wall with a resounding bang.
Groaning under his breathe, Naru made a mental note to either kill Monk or place something behind the door to prevent any future damage . Thought the first option sounded pleasing, it would upset Mai and that was something he did not want to do any time soon. Not only was she giving him a place to stay, but her food was to die for… Not that he would ever let her know that… maybe…
Subconsciously licking his lips, Naru cleared his throat as Monk tackled Mai in a hug, lifting her from the couch.
"Mai!" I missed you!" He squeezed the poor brunette girl to the point where she was gasping for breath.
"Its… only… been… three... da-days…" She wheezed. Not a second after the last word left her lips, a familiar but welcome whack entered her ears. Ayako's purse connecting with the back of Monk's head with practiced precision.
"Leave the poor girl alone!" Ayako huffed glancing around before her eyes widened, "But we don't have time for this! Come on!"
With that, she reached forward and grabbed Naru and Lin by their collars and dragged them out the door, while Monk just carried Mai out. She resisted long enough to grab her coat and bag, a great feat when she was still being crushed by the over bearing monk.
The three were then forced into the back seat of Ayako's car before said women got in the drivers' side and revved the engine, tearing out onto the seat before Monk could fasten his seat belt.
"What's going on?" Naru snapped, the only thing making the predicament better was that Mai was next to him. The sadistic side of him glad that it was her squished between himself and Lin.
"The place I wanted you to check out... It's scheduled for demolition." Ayako said, pulling onto the highway carefully so as to not slip of the frozen roads.
"Then what's the rush?" Lin asked casually, looking at Ayako through the rear view mirror.
"A better question is, why are we going in the first place if it's scheduled for demolition?" Naru sneered, annoyed at having been dragged out of the office without his coat.
"That's just it. Every time they tried to take it down, something went wrong. The first time they tried using dynamite, only to have it thrown at them from a window two storeys higher than where they had placed it. It ended up killing three people and injuring most of the others. We've tried multiple times since then, but the results only got worse." Ayako stated grimly, pulling into the exit road and into a more desolate one.
"We?" Mai asked quizzically, watching the scenery pass with growing curiosity as well as something else... Dread? Anxiety? Fear?
"My parents own the place. They wanted to make it into a small clinic so that those with little money could still get the health care they need. Only, something got in the way. I think it's paranormal." The red head answer before turning another corner. From the car, the passengers could see a monstrous building of crumbling stone and broken windows taking over the horizon.
Pulling up, Ayako jumped out of the car with Monk following her example while Mai practically kicked Naru out so she could go after the red head woman.
"What are they going to use this time?" Mai yelled, running after the older pair as they rushed down the broken drive-way.
"Look up!" Monk replied, turning off the road and cutting through the dead flower bed that had once acted as a beautiful sign for the entrance of the now run down hospital. Glancing up at the top of the building, she saw a giant crane, a wrecking ball a scant meter from the condemned building.
"Stop!" Ayako yelled, slamming the gate open and running up to one of the workers. "You've got to stop!"
Once the others caught up, they listened as Ayako yelled at the workers to leave, but they were too late.
The wrecking ball slammed into the side of the building, small chips of rumble raining down on the team and workers.
Monk tried to pull Ayako before things got out of hand but Mai's attention was drawn to something else that she could barely make out.
Mai shuddered, the bodiless screech chilling her to her bones, even the snow was warmer. But it seemed only she had heard the horrible sound and she gasped when she looked back at the building. Running forward, she pushed past Ayako and grabbed the front of the Foreman's shirt.
"Stop this! Stop it now! You've got to stop!" She yelled, her panic and fear making her voice quiver and her eyes to widen. The worker twisted out of her grip and ran to a small group of men and began shouting orders while Mai rung her hands together, nervously eying the ball of destruction a few storeys up.
"Mai?" Ayako asked the girl, blinking as she saw Naru go up and rest a hand on her shoulder. With a nudge of his head, he signalled her to move away and she obeyed without question.
If anyone could get Mai to talk, it as Naru.
"Please no… No. Don't do it." She whispered.
"What is it Mai?" He asked her gently, causing her to swing around and nearly lose her balance until Naru stretched out his arm and caught her around the waist.
"Naru!" Mai yelled, shocked at the care he was showing.
"What is it Mai? This isn't like you." He told her softly, gingerly holding her up as he moved to stand in front of her.
"I… Have this feeling… It's unlike anything I've ever felt before. It's… evil…" She whispered, looking at him, but he felt as though she was staring through him, to something else.
"Evil? Mai, we deal with evil spirits most of the time. How could it be different?" He jumped when she gasped, her hand grabbing his shoulder and her nails digging into the material of his jacket.
Twisting his body so that he was still holding onto Mai, he followed her wide eyed gaze and watched on in silent horror as the wrecking ball swung at the building again, only the wire holding it to the crane seemed to shake before it hit the wall again, producing a loud, high pitched, mechanical snap, which echoed through the air.
Moving his hand to grab Mai's arm, Naru ran as fast as his legs could carry him after making sure the others were following. Once they got back to the fence, they turned around just as another snap rang through the air and Naru pulled Mai to his chest.
The workers cries of shock and fear chilled them all to the bone as Mai hid her face in Naru's jacket while Ayako clung to Monk. In a split second, a deafening bang reached their ears and the cries were silenced.
Looking up, they coughed, dust that had been lifted from the objects' fall filling their lungs and making their eyes water.
"Lin! Call emergency services!" Naru yelled, trying to keep Mai from looking up, but it proved futile when she pushed him away and looked back towards the building before she went rigid, her hands clenching in his shirt.
"No…" She whispered, slowly letting him go and taking a shaky step forward. "No!"
She bolted forward, Naru reacting a second later and following after her with Ayako and Monk close behind him.
Mai skidded to her knees by the wrecking ball that sat in a crater, tenderly reaching forward to the bloody hand that stuck out from underneath it. A sob escaped her lips and she clenched her eyes shut when she heard Ayako gasp, tears falling silently down her pale cheeks.
"Dear god!" The red head exclaimed, about to continue when they heard a pain filled whimper.
"What?" Monk asked, looking around for the source. "How could anyone have survived that?"
Following Lin's voice to the other side of the destructive ball, they found the Chinese man tending to a worker that had his leg trapped underneath the heavy mass. The worker let out a pain filled yell as he shifted in a poor attempt to free himself.
"Stay still! You could damage your leg further!" Ayako told him, kneeling next to him and examining as much as she could of the bloody, crushed leg without touching it.
"It's stuck under this thing lady! How much worse could it get?" The man asked, coughing through his aggravation before groaning.
"You could bleed out! Now stop moving so we can help you!" Mai snapped, drying her tears quickly before removing her belt from her jeans. "Naru, I need you to tighten this around his leg as tight as you can. Monk, see if there is anyone else who… survived. Lin, I want you to wait for the paramedics to get here and guide them straight to this man when they do. Ayako, if you have a medical box in the car, go get it."
Everyone blinked at Mai before nodding, going about their given jobs with renewed fever.
Two hours later found the SPR team at the old hospital, setting up base in a large camp-like tent with walls made of netting so they could see out but a cover on the outside so they could close it when it got dark.
Mai was currently talking with other police officers on the scene with Naru, while Monk and Lin moved the work lights from the construction site so they would be of better use.
Ayako had gone off to pick up John and Masako; Naru had decided that the decrepit hospital was something he could not overlook and that something had to be done about the spirits inside. After what Mai had said, the sooner it was over, the better.
The emergency crews arrived a few minutes after Lin called, getting straight to work on removing the injured man Mai and Ayako had tried so hard to save. Naru had gotten to work finding long pieces of fabric and placed them over the workers that didn't make it, covering the bloody body had Mai had seen first.
Mai, with her authority as an specialised officer, was giving orders to the police that showed up, much like Ayako was doing to the medics.
Once things settled down, both Naru and Mai were sitting on an old bench by the dead flower bed, watching the police photograph and remove the dead from the scene.
"Mai?" He asked, turning away from the morbid scene to stare at the brunette beside him. She showed that she was listening by humming softly, tilting her head in his direction to signal him to continue. "Earlier, when you panicked… What happened?"
She pondered the question, opening and closing her mouth before she sighed, closing her eyes and leaning back against the seat, hesitating when it creaked ominously under her weight.
"I guess, in a way, it's like what Masako can do. She can hear and see spirits. But… I can see their true forms, demon or not and earlier... I saw a dark mist, a small mass of the dark spirit here, cover the length of the wrecking ball and steel rope just before it... it fell. There was this loud, high pitched scream too... I don't think I've ever heard anything so... so sinister."
"How many spirits do you think there are?" He asked quieter than he asked the last question.
"From what I can tell… too many for me to count. All I can say is that there are good spirits here, but the evil in the building is too strong, they're rushing around in there and by the looks of it... I'd say we've just pissed them off... Now... They won't hold back.
Night had fallen at the abandoned hospital, the wrecking ball and any signs of the earlier accident having been cleaned up some time earlier in the afternoon. They all sat in some of the camping chairs Monk had brought from his place after Ayako had returned with the priest and medium who promptly fainted upon gazing upon the monstrous building.
Now, Lin was setting up monitors that would get feeds from cameras with leads and without which would be set up in the morning. Naru was trying to get information about the site and patients that had been in the hospital and Mai was filling out police reports about the day's events while also going through past accident reports.
Masako groaned as she was sat up in her seat, her nausea coming and going as the night dragged on. Naru asked a question which she barely caught, but just managed to understand the gist of what he was inquiring about.
"The spirits of the men that died this afternoon have not left yet." She told them, her voice wavering as she looked towards the darkened crater under the work light. "Their being held here by something. It so vile…"
"Could we exorcise them?" John asked, tenderly rubbing her shoulder.
"That would be impossible according to Mai." Lin chided, turning away from the final monitor he had finished wiring on the shelf.
"Mai?" The blonde priest asked, turning to look at the brunette sitting on the ground surrounded by stacks of papers and pens.
"Well, compared to earlier, even during the day they were active enough to… well… you know. When I looked inside one of the windows… It was pitch black, and imagine now, if you went in there, there would be a whole lot more activity and even darker that you wouldn't be able to see your hand infront of your face without a light. When I first went to SPR and then my career in the special police unit, nothing was like this..." She answered calmly, a small shiver rolling down her spine as she picked up another paper.
"So, what do we do now Naru?" Lin asked.
Naru however, didn't... or rather, he couldn't answer, as the sound of smashing glass echoed from outside and the light that had been coming from outside was cut out. Mai reached into her jacket for her gun and turned on the torch under the barrel before edging towards the flap of the large tent, stopping only to see if the others were following her, which they were.
Taking a deep breath, she steeled her nerves and pulled the flap aside...