Living and the dead

Chapter 11

Fuchu Prison, Tokyo.

It was quiet.

The hallway heading to the visiting room was so quiet and all he could hear was the tapping of his own feet over the white shiny floor with green linings. Cells occupied by criminals aligned quietly on either side.

Fuchu Prison is the largest prison in Japan and contains both Japanese and foreign prisoners, however, it can only housed male offenders twenty six years old or over with prison terms of less than eight years. But sometimes it still depends on the higher up's decision. Prisoners are generally allowed to write and meet only their family, their lawyer and their consul. They are not allowed to correspond with friends.

And Yamaguchi Akira is neither one of those. Not even close. He don't have any relative in this prison nor he is a lawyer or consul to anyone, but the person he's about to meet is someone important. It doesn't matter how he's able to get a pass when it's already past visiting hours.

He quickly opened the door of the visiting room, seeing the isolated area is not surprising since it's almost eight thirty in the evening but one person was seating silently at the end of the room like a loner.

His fatigue green overall was like a lonely spirit draped in his whole thin body. Despite that, the man looks healthy.

"I thought you're not gonna come." He said in a low voice when he neared him. "You're late."

"I mentioned to you the last time that I might be late." He answered, placing his suitcase on the wooden table. "I see the forced labor must have been really exhausting these days."

"Not at all." A small smile formed in his lips. "Compared when I was still working for my family, the work her is easier. It was … almost fun."

"Really?" He asked a little skeptic. "No matter. I'm here for my daily report."

"Didn't I tell you before? You don't have to do this."

"But you keep waiting anyway."

The man chuckled, making the atmosphere lighter. "How is he?"

Yamaki licked his lips before speaking. "He already killed so many people. I don't really know what he's planning but I think he lie low a bit these past few months. Think he's planning something ... big."

"I want to stop him. He's not supposed to do that kind of things." His face became gloomy. "It's my entire fault."

"You don't have to worry about it." He said. "Someone out there will stop him. If not I will do it myself even if it cause my own life."

"I'm sorry ... ... detective."

Yamaki only answered with a sad smile. Ten years ago he was part of the police and ten years ago he's a promising detective but all of that changed when he failed to prove a single case.

It was murder …

But because of the lack of evidences the case didn't move. There's no witness, no suspect and most of all, the whole incident was weird. Though his intuition tells him something, that there's a deeper cause, he cannot simply tell them that it's murder just because he has a gut feeling. That was why he delved into the case deeper despite the objection of his superintendent.

"I wish I could help you." The man in front of him said. "It's okay if I live my whole life inside this place, but I also want to save my son."

And find himself in a perplexing situation he can never escape. That person probably knew what he was and running off from him would only mean death.

The moon is shining brightly in the night sky. Stars are twinkling with different colors, sharing its beauty together with the half moon.

If Naru find something amusing, it was how the scenery differs from Mai's dream world. The sky in 'here' was engulfed with plain darkness, while the sky in the 'now' shows its utmost beauty tonight.

Her surroundings were busy, but silence covered everything. His was nothing but flowers and trees. Nonetheless, it was surrounded by the noise of cicadas along with the soft rustling of leaves.

He turned his attention on the monitor and checked every corner of the house. All is in place and there's still no sign of the ghost.

"How's the temperature?" He asked Lin.

"Everything is normal. The cameras show no signs of activity whatsoever." He replied.

Oliver sighed. Hara Masako couldn't feel any spirits wandering inside the house and according to Oikawa. The said ghost only shows itself outside, commonly in the garden. Also, it moves like a normal person and thinks that it's still alive.

Now, he's regretting accepting this case. This was another waste of time.

"Noll!" Lin alerted him when he noticed something.

He looked at the monitor. The camera in the garden is showing some activity.

"The temperature dropped to 19 degrees." Lin informed.

After a moment a small white light emerged from the dark and formed a human figure, later on the ghost face manifested evidently and now can be seen on the monitor. It's a girl with a long black hair wearing a nightgown.

"Lin, call Hara-san, we need to talk to this ghost right away." He stood up and quickly run to the garden.

Oliver was a tad out of breath when he arrived at the garden, just in time to see the ghost girl leaning over the flower bed and smelling it scents. He eyed her for a while, not making any noise to avoid disturbing the ghost.

She picked a small blue flower and looked at it with so much fascination. A smile formed in her lips, she looks satisfied.

"Where is she?" Ask Masako. Behind her was the whole team with Oikawa and Umina's presence.

He gesture for them to be quiet. It won't be good if the ghost gets startled and disappears.

"Hara-san, can you talk to her?" John asked.

"Yes, please leave it to me." Masako said and carefully walked closer to the ghost.

Masako observed the ghost. Despite the paleness of her skin, she looks pretty. Her nightgown was simple, she's also barefooted.

"Excuse me." Masako said getting the ghost girl's attention.

The ghost turned to look at her. She tilts her head and gives Masako a confused look.

"Ano. . .My name is Hara Masako, I was just wondering, why do you keep wandering in this place?" She asked, balancing her words carefully. "Did you lose something in here that's needed to be found?"

She shook her head and pointed at the flowers. 'That's a Wasurenagusa.'

Masako gaze at the flower. It is indeed a wasurenagusa, in western countries they call it 'forget-me-not' and symbolizes true love. Is this ghost perhaps looking for her true love?

'Ojou-sama has taken a liking on that flower. And it's my greatest pleasure to put one on her pillow every night so she could see it when she wakes up.' She said, and then smells the flower she's holding.

'This girl. . .'

"I regret to say this but . . . you're not one of the living anymore." Masako said. "You already . . . pass away."

In Masako's surprised the ghost girl didn't seem to mind what she said. She just smiled at her and hand her the blue Wasurenagusa.

'Ojou-sama likes that color very much. I'm sure it reminds her of something precious. . . .' She said. 'I know why you're here Miss. You're here to convince me to move on isn't that right?'

"-Yes." She answered.

"Then I have to say sorry Miss, for I will not move on until my duty is fulfilled. But if you wish for me to never wander in here again, I will simply follow."

Masako became worried. This isn't what she's expecting. "You don't understand! Staying here would be dangerous for you. Some spirits are malevolent and the emotion in this world is overbearing." She reasoned. "A kind spirit like you might get corrupted and when you become an evil spirit, there's no other choice but to exorcise you."

"And what made you think the spirit world is the safest place for us?" She questioned. "Have you been there before?"

"No one have." Bou-san interposed, suddenly standing beside Masako. "But that's the place where you should go. It's a kind of place purposely made for spirits." He said. "The dead can no longer exist between the living and the living can't co-exist with the dead. That's one of the rules in this world."

The ghost girl chuckled. 'I fully understand your words, sir. But as I've said, I will not leave until I carry out my duty. It's a promise I need to fulfill.'

"Promise?" Masako asked.

'Yes, my promise is to free ojou-sama from that cage.' She said, her face turning sad. 'She doesn't deserve to be locked up in a mansion full of ghost. She's a nice girl.' She turned to others and bowed deeply. 'I apologized for being a hindrance. I promise not to wander in this place ever again.'

"Don't you really want to move on?" Ayako asked.

'I want to but it's not time for me yet.' She answered. 'And please don't think that this encounter is purely coincidence. As I already knew this would happen.'

"What do you mean?" Masako asked again.

She smiled sweetly. 'Fate.'

Every each of them stared at the ghost, confused. After a moment, the ghost girl immediately vanished.

Naru sighed. He respects the ghost decision. That's better than to chase her and put her where the dead should reside.

"That's it?" Ruri complained. "I was expecting a battle between a ghost and a medium. Not that, it's boring."

Ayako snapped. "If you want to see something like that, try calling a demon and challenge him into a wrestling!"

Ruri ignored her and walks closer to Shibuya and linked her arms on his. "Ne, Shibuya-kun? Do you want to have a cup of tea with me? I'm a bit tired."

Naru ignored her.

"He doesn't drink tea unless it was made by his assistant." Yasuhara said jokingly.

"Then order him to make one for us." She said, pertaining to Lin.

The Chinese man raised a brow and glance at the girl. She reminds him a lot of those admirers Noll had back in England, clingy and desperate.

"If you're tired, why don't you go to sleep in lieu of drinking tea? It might do something about your brain." Oliver said. He's already tired and he has no time for this.

But Ruri just turn a blind eye to what he says. "Then, how about we go out somewhere and have a date? It won't be a problem for us since I'm beautiful and yes, I admit, you're handsome. We'll be a perfect match, ne?" She said and giggled.

Masako glared at Ruri. How dare she flirt with Naru in front of them? Is that how a famous actress should act?

"I wonder how Mai would react if she sees this." Yasuhara said, grinning.

Ayako glance at Yasu. "As if Naru would let that girl get close to him in Mai's precense." She said.

"I agree." John said, smiling.

"So, your faith in Naru-bou is that strong?" Bou-san said. "Once I see Mai, I will never give her to him!"

"Really?" Ayako raised a brow at the monk. "Say someone who gets easily scared in Naru's anger."

Ayane, who secretly listening scowled at the group, 'Who's Mai? And who's Naru?' She asked herself. 'Hmmm... This Mai seems to be important to that Naru. I wonder who they are... ...'

"Ne, Shibuya-kuuun~ let's go on a date after this!" Ruri insist.

"Ask somebody else." They heard Naru said. "I've got no interest in having a date. Right now my best interest is myself. Idols could have blur faces for all I care. Besides, I'm contented just by watching myself in front of the mirror." 'And pulling my hair out of frustration' but he kept his last sentence to himself.

Bou-san, Ayako and Yasuhara burst into laughter. John's smile widen, Lin cleared his throat while Masako cover half of her face using her sleeve.

"Don't think I'll give up that easily!" Ruri shouted in embarrassment.

"I'm delighted." Naru said sarcastically. "All of you should rest for the night. We'll leave tomorrow morning." Naru told his team. He then removed Ruri's arm and went inside the house.

"That's Naru-bou for you." Bou-san said, grinning.

"Ano, Takagiwa-san." Ayane called the tall man. "That Mai and Naru...are they also someone who work for Shibuya-san?"

"Ah! Naru is Kazuya Shibuya and Mai is one of his assistants." He explained.

"Then, why is she not here? Where is she?"

"-I wonder about that." Takigawa said thinking.

Oliver woke up at the sound of the ticking clock. For some reason he felt strange. Despite the heat of the summer, a cold wind was softly circulating around his body. First, he felt the wind on his face, then it slowly goes down to his feet, creating a slight turmoil inside his stomach.

He then looked around the room. It's still dark and the moonlight found a way to lighten the room a little through the window. He turnabout and saw Lin sleeping on the other bed. They were still at Umina's house, he remembered.

Oliver swallowed, suddenly noticing how dry his throat was. He decided to get some water but his action faltered when his eyes pass by the wall clock.

He frowned. The time is 9:01 but that's not what got his attention. It's the clock itself. It was inversed! It was as though he's inside of a mirror. He checks his wristwatch.

No difference . . . It only means that the time is not 9:01 but 3:01 am. Is this perhaps the ushimitsu? It is the double-hour of the bull from one to three at night used for a curse. This time was the best to make a wish or place a curse with the help of the deities, be it Buddhist or Shinto, a time when the spirits of the dead and the gods are alive too.

Naru's steps are unusually loud as he made steps toward Lin's bed and check his assistant. Oliver move his ear to Lin's face, he can't hear the sound of his companion's breathing.

"Is this a dream?" He asked to no one, continuing his steps to the door.

Oliver held the door knob and slowly pushed the door open.

"-get the letter?" He heard a female voice asked.

And he was completely astounded when he got a better view of the place he was in.

"Why am I here?" His voice sounded like a person inside a crystal jar. It sounded round and has echoes.

Moment later, Oliver heard a knock and his eyes widened when he saw Mai come out of her room, combing her hair using her hand.

A sudden fear rushed through Oliver's body and he felt his body shivered. It was there! A feeling that warns him something terrible is about to happen.

He noticed Mai stopped a few steps near the door. She clutched her pants and he could tell that she's scared.

It then dawn to him what was happening. This is exactly what happened on the night Mai got kidnap. He quickly looked down on his hands. They're almost transparent.

Does that mean he's having an out of the body experience and he traveled to the past? But Gene is the one who can do astral projecting whereas his ability are psychometry and PK, so how is this possible?

But that's not the problem right now. He has to do something.

Useless it may be, Oliver decided to do what he can to save Mai. He knew that doing this might not save her for this was already happens in the past. Yet he felt a strong urge to go and save her.

"Mai!" He called, but it seems like she couldn't hear him. "Mai!" He called out again. "Don't open the door you idiot!"

Mai looked behind her.

"She heard me?" Oliver asked with hope. "Mai! Listen! Please don't open the door!"

He heard a click and got an idea of what was it. He quickly run toward the door and tried to push it back but to his utter shocked he just pass through it, ending him up in the pathway hall.

"Blast it!" Oliver turned back and run pass through the door again, just in time to see Mai's frightened face while standing in front of a shadow.

He could see the shadow's mouth moving but he can't hear what he was saying. Same goes to Mai.

Oliver saw Mai motioned for the shadow to come in. Yet her expression shows fright.

"No Mai! Get away!" He yelled.

The shadow spoke and Mai nodded and went to the kitchen.

He needs to think of a way to help her, Oliver thought about distracting them so he went inside the bathroom and tried to open the faucet. It no use, he can't touch it.

He thought of something, he center all of his energy to his hand and tried touching the faucet again. It works! He held it and opened it.

A moment after he saw Mai entering the bathroom. She looks at the faucet, confused.

"Get away from him Mai!" He shouts, getting her attention.

"How?" He heard her say inside his mind.

Mai looked at the bathroom window. Oliver figured she's thinking of going through that small window. "Do you want me to play dead?" She asked.

"You're going to end up dead if you don't run away!" He said.

"Then help me whoever you are!" She said, voice in panicked.

Mai closed the faucet and got out of the bathroom.

"Don't worry! I'll think of a way! Hang in there Mai!"

Oliver followed Mai and he was there while they're talking, still thinking of what to do.

Never in his whole life did Oliver feel that he's useless. But in his state right now, he don't know . . . he have no knowledge how to change everything that's already happened.

Suddenly Mai's face paled and she seems struggling to breath. Oliver saw her hand loosen it grip on the glass she's holding and dropped it.

The shadow stood up, walked and stop in front of Mai.

"Leave her alone! Don't touch her!" Oliver shouted in anger.

This is the first time he felt an enormous anger stirring inside his chest, and the first time he felt he wanted to blast someone far off to the spirit world.

The shadow laughed maniacally, while watching Mai slowly losing her senses. She tried to stand but she couldn't and Oliver was trying everything as to not let his PK unleash. It would probably be a big problem if his powers run unruly while he's sleeping. Moreover, he's not positive if he can use it in his state. He can't even touch a thing.

"... ...Na...Nar-ru!" He heard Mai whimper.

Oliver clenched his fist until his knuckles whiten and with gritted teeth he said. "... ...You've done something unforgivable. I hope you are prepared to suffer the consequences. I'll do everything to find you, and when I do . . . You'll fall by my hands!"

Mai's body suddenly limp, her eyes lose its shine and became empty. Oliver shouted her name more than he can imagine but she's not responding. It's like she's in a state of trance.

"Mai! Snap out of it!"

Mai let out a deep breath before her consciousness left her.

"Help! Someone! Please help her! Anyone! Please..." Oliver landed on his knees while his surroundings were slowly fading away. That's all they want to show him isn't it?

It was like torture. Not able to save someone in front of you. Telling right in your face that no matter how smart you are, there were things you can't do.

"... ...Gene...where are you? Show yourself you stupid medium!" He said not even noticing how cracked his voice was.

"Masako?" Ayako's sleep was interrupted by Masako's rustling. When she opened her eyes, she saw her standing beside the window. "Is something wrong?"

She nodded and became worried. "There are three strong spiritual auras outside."

"Is it a bad spirit?" Ayako rose from her bed and sit. "Are we in any danger?"

Masako shook her head. "We're not. The first one is faint, the second bears the emotion of sadness, and the last one is confused."

Ayako thought about it for a while. "Do you think it's that ghost and her ojou-sama?"

"I'm not positive but I can feel it near the forest."

A loud knocking startled the both of them. Ayako was the one who open the door and saw Lin with disheveled look.

"Lin-san?" She said, confused to have Lin knocking in their room at 3am in the morning.

"Naru is missing."

"What!?" She and Masako exclaimed.

"Idiot scientist." Oliver heard someone says.

He looked up and found his big brother peering down at him. "Aniki..."

"Idiot! How am I supposed to move on when you're looking like a dog abandoned by its owner?" He said. "...but-this is a first seeing the great Oliver Davis down on his knees."

The younger twin stood up and looked at her brother with sad eyes.

"I know how difficult for you to see what happened, dear brother. I'm sorry for arriving late."

"I never wish for anything Gene." Oliver said. "Not once did I wish for something because I knew that the more I hope, the more it's difficult for me to get what I wanted. That's why I already stop wishing. But Gene ... ... just this once."

Gene's eyes sadden. He was the reason why Noll felt that way. Even if he's silent and introverted, Gene knew that inside him he also longed for something.

Back in the orphanage Noll also wants a family but he's the one being chosen all the time. Despite that, he didn't left her brother. He's always the one people admire while Noll gets all the badmouthing.

People don't want to get close to him because they know Gene was more approachable. And he's always being compared to his big brother despite what he already accomplished.

But Gene was thankful that Luella and Martin were there. They treat him and Noll equally. They loved them even if they have a different personality.

"Just this me find Mai." Oliver said looking directly at his brother.

Gene smiled. "Hatred and sadness are a part of being human too." He said "You must try and turn those feelings in to power to keep moving forward. I'm always here to help you, dear brother." He step forward and pat his shoulder. "I'll help you find her."

Gene didn't know that Noll's desire to see Mai was this bad that he managed to become an Ikiryo. Not all Ikiryo are bad and full of hatred. Essentially, the soul leaves the body to go and do something else. There are a number of ways Ikiryo can appear out of the body: during near- death-experience, fainting, intense hatred, or even to deliver the same sort of grudge-curse.

The Ikiryo is pretty straightforward- it is an apparition of currently living person which appears to someone. However, since Noll didn't have any out of the body experience, he couldn't appear in front of Mai. And his intense passion and need to see someone made everything possible.

'The passionate mind is so selfish. It only focus on something it truly desires.' But what's more amazing for Gene is the fact that his younger brother is already out of his shell.

A sound of rustling leaves woke Naru up. He felt really cold and the bed where he lies is somewhat hard. When he opened his eyes he found himself lying cold on the damp soil. There are small plants, trees everywhere.

He frowned. He's sleeping near the edge of a cliff?

'Great! Sleepwalking' He silently chastised himself for being so careless.

Then he remembered something. He remembered seeing what happen to Mai on the night before she got kidnapped. And it already dawn to him that he's the one Gene referring to as 'that someone'.

He was the one who called his own brother for help. And he's the reason why Eugene came back...

He sighed and stood up. Naru scratched his head and turned to his surroundings with an annoyed looked on his face. How was he supposed to go back? Because of the dark, he couldn't find a path back to the house. He glanced at his watch, 3:10 am. Seems the time stopped in his dream.

Naru looked around, there's no other choice but to wait for the sun to rise. He sat on a tree root and rested himself while waiting for the time to pass. He was already feeling a tad comfortable when a white light with a figure of a person slowly walked pass in front of him.

It was like the time stops yet again, the rustling of leaves sounds stronger than before but he could hear the fast beating of his heart.

The figure turns to him and stretched its mouth widely. Blood slowly drips from her head and stitches on her neck. Her hollow eyes bore into him and she let out a loud shrilling shriek.

Naru winced at the sound of her voice. He tried to stand but the ghost acts fast and grasp his legs, pulling him on the edge of the cliff.

... ... . . .Drip-

Her eyes unintentionally blink and again she found herself floating together with so many will-o-wisps. Usually, these white lights don't stay in one place. Sometimes they pull her in different places she's unfamiliar with. But most of the time she's having a very very very not nice time with death.

Though now is different. They're just floating around with ease, she wonder if they are taking a rest from jumping anywhere as they please.

Tired of looking at the wisps, she decided to wander around, looking for some place to spend her time in this mysterious void.

Honestly, this place is still a mystery to her. She's thinking as to why this place exists and what its purpose? Or why she always ends up here?

A sudden turmoil in the place made her step back. Everything started to wave and whirl, changing everything. From dark and void, her surroundings were replaced by trees. The transparent ground became a damp soil and the empty sky now shows stars.

Her eyes widened a little when the place completely changed.

'Another foreign place?'

She turned her head to her left when she heard a voice. It's...calling for help!

Naru hold on to a root that he managed to grabbed when the ghost pulled him. Now, the stupid ghost is clutching on his leg and trying her best to drag him down the cliff while he on the other hand trying his best to shove her off.

He can fire his PK yet he's worried on his current situation. It might drain his energy in the process and probably he will end up falling.

He looked down, the ghost smiled at him, showing her void mouth.

"Blast it!" This is not what he thought would happen when he decided to accept this case. But it's too late to regret anything now.

The root might snap anytime and he doesn't know if Lin already noticed his disappearance. No! He won't die in this place, he won't die... ...he'll fulfill his promise to Gene, his promise to Mai. . .

He heard a small cracking sound. Naru's eyes widened, the edge is about to break apart!

Enough of having to see her prey hanging, the ghost pulled him with so much force, breaking the edge and making the root snap taut.

Naru fell together with the ghost. He felt a strange feeling in his stomach, a sick feeling of fright. He knew. He closed his eyes and waited for his body to reach the bottom of the cliff.

Suddenly. . .

A white light engulfed his body and stopped him from falling. It was warm and assuring. He felt his body floating in the air and when he opened his eyes, he saw the only girl who managed to enter his heart in her most odd way.

"... ...Mai. . ."

"I made it in time!" She said in relief. "Don't you know it's dangerous out here?"

'Another dream' He thought.

"Hmmm... ..." He buried his face between her neck and shoulder.

"What are you ..." He heard her say.

Oliver felt nauseous and the warmth of her body is making him comfortable. He closed his eyes and let himself surrender in Mai's arms.

Mai confusingly hugged him back and hold him tightly. She felt like she knew this man from somewhere before. Holding him like this is new to her yet there's a part of her saying that's she dreamt of this to happen so many times.

... ...Yeah...this is only a dream but she let herself hold him for a little while. She let herself hugged him while floating in the air.

The stillness of the night made everything peaceful and their only witness is the half moon who shines brightly at the night sky.

After what it seems a long time she decided to brought him back above the cliff and laid his unconscious body on the cold ground. She combed his hair away from his face, he opened his eyes a little and she gave him a warm smile before she decided to leave him.

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