Living and the dead

Chapter 15

After their meeting from Naru's office, Yasuhara and Takigawa agreed to walk home together. Over the years Takigawa gotten used to Yasuhara's odd way of teasing, but sometimes, this boy gets excited and gives him chills. Well, Yasuhara seems normal when he's not thinking of something out of this world. He is a great researcher and respectful student if he may add.

"Good Job Yasuhara!" Takigawa said, patting Yasu's shoulder and grinning a little.

"I don't really have psychic powers but if it's getting information for the investigation, leave it to me!" Yasuhara gave him a mischievous smile. "So, my honey decided to admire me, huh?" His face intentionally sadden. "Sob. sniff. sob. do you know how painful it is to work far away from you?"

"Do you also want me to cry?"

The monk always thought that he was lucky to have the whole team as his colleagues. They're fun to be with that sometimes he forgets that they are working to hunt ghosts. Then there's Mai. She was like a little sister to him. The monk almost lost it when he learned that she was abducted. He prayed to the gods to keep her safe until they find her.

Yasu clasped his hands and looked up. "You're hurting my feelings! Why do you have to deny everything?"

"I'm not denying anything coz I'm not saying anything!" He snapped at him.

Yasu just smiled and with a cheerful voice he said. "If you love your wife you won't betray her."

"Ha-a? What is that supposed to mean?"

"You are afraid of Ayako that's why you can't accept my proposal." He said. "Isn't that right?"

Bou-san stepped back. "You. . .You're kidding me right?"

"Of course!" He laughed heartily. "Though, I really admire you for saying something like that to boss-chan. The word 'Surprise' is understatement for what I felt when boss-chan didn't say anything."

The monk scratched the back of his head. "I thought I was gonna die back there!" He chuckled. "I have a feeling he does that on purposed to get away from further questioning. He didn't admit it but didn't deny it either. What do you think?"

"Do you really want my opinion regarding that?"

"E, depends. If it's something I can agree with; then let's hear it."

Yasu laugh. "Looks like you didn't think much of what you've said. Do you want my opinion or my agreement that what you think is right?"

"I'll choose the latter."

The boy's glasses earn a glint when he pushed it up. "Then tell me about what you think. I'll give my opinion after."

Bou-san closed his eyes and cross his arms, thinking a bit. "Hmmm-It's obvious... ...wasn't it? Naru-chan's feelings for our dear Mai still, I wonder why he keeps silent about it."

"E?" Yasu looked surprised. "Hoy, Bou-san did you really think about what you're saying?" Yasuhara sighed. He felt like he just heard the most nonsense joke in his whole life. "Do you really think Boss would say something about that? It'll rain ghost first before you can hear him say 'I love Mai, do you have problem with that?' You're wishing for the impossible!"

The monk grimace. "Point taken, but not saying anything was like silence means yes, right?"

"Aren't you aware that you already answered your own question?" Yasu said. "Boss is not an average kind of person. He is Oliver Davis, being cheeky is beyond his characteristics."

"I know, I know." Takigawa said nodding. "I'm just worried that I'm assuming Naru-chan's feelings for Mai. What if I'm wrong?"

Yasuhara laugh. "I didn't know that you're this dense! Can't you see it, boss actions concerning Mai?"

"Sorry, I'm not the one working with them in the office." He said frowning.

"I get you." Yasu said to him. "You're not wrong though. Boss doesn't have to say anything because his actions were vivid like a clear sky." He fixed his glasses. "He will say it... ...eventually, but not to you!"

"You seem to be in a bad mood, did something happen between you and Shibuya-san?" Ayane sat beside Ruri and handed her a can of cold coffee.

Ruri arrived at the location of their photo shoot two hours ago from Shibuya's office. Since then her face was as sour as vinegar and her mood was bad as the typhoon yet to arrive in their country. It was useless to ask her what have happened because she was sure she won't spill the beans. But Ruri always wanted to feel that she's important, that's why someone has to ask her before she snaps and walk out on them.

"Say, do you know something about Taniyama Mai?" She heard her asked.

Ayane glanced at her friend. She's just watching the staff prepare everything but she knew her mind is in somewhere else. "Taniyama Mai?" She put a finger under her chin and looked up.


"I think I do. Shibuya-san's workmates were talking about her when they're investigating your house." She said. "I remember them calling Shibuya-san 'Naru' and that Mai as his other assistant." She turned to Ruri. "Why are you asking?"

"None of your business."

Ayane shrugged then stood up. "We're starting in five minutes." She said, then walked toward the props and costumes and touched a velvet gown. She looked back at her friend. "Why is it so hard to be your assistant?" She whispers sighing.

Ruri's grasped tightened. Almost crashing the poor can in her hands. She watched as the lights switched on, illuminating the whole studio, reminding her that her world as a model and star actress was different from Shibuya's world. He's out of her league yet she wants, she's wrong...she's the one who's out of his league. He may be a simple investigator but he made her feel like he's the one on top.

Naru? Where did that funny nick name came from? It doesn't suit him. Ruri felt a panged in her chest when she recalled Shibuya calling that Taniyama on her first name.

'Is Taniyama Mai important? Does Shibuya like her? What kind of person is she?' She asked herself.

Now that she decided to pursue her feelings toward Shibuya Kazuya, why does someone have to be a hindrance? Shibuya is not an easy person but she knew that she could change that. She can manage to melt his cold personality. If she's always with him, one day he might look at her. He might change...! He will change! He will love Ruri...he will!

She'll make sure of that! If Taniyama is indeed important to Shibuya then may the best girl win! That if they'll find her.

'What Ruri wants Ruri gets.' She said, glaring at the white background for her photo shoot.

May_ _ _

_ _ _Four days before full moon


Number 23 looked up when she heard a faint voice inside her head. She saw the wisp, floating softly a few inches above her head. She smiled at it and lifted the cloth she was holding.

"I saw a sewing kit inside one of the wardrobe's drawer. I'm bored so, I'm making a blanket out of the old clothes I found." She answered.

'Why … dark colors?' He asked.

She smiled. "We can use this. I noticed all my clothes were in light colors. If I escape wearing a light colored dress, it would be easy to spot me, isn't it?" She took the needle and struggles to put a new thread.

'You...not...scared?' The wisp asked.

She shook her head. "I've already decided. I don't know what will happen to me out there but I have to get away."

'leave...everything to me..need to possess your body..'

Her head snap up. "What? Why?" She asked, confused.

'Make… escape easier... don't know the way.'

The girl fell in silence, gazing at the wisp.

He's right. She doesn't know the way outside and they only have one hour to make things work out. It would be a real hassle if she gets lost in the mansion.

If she makes just one wrong move her life will be over so are her friends chance to leave this place.

"Would it be okay? Would it hurt?" She asked again.

'No...' Was his only answer.

She pouted a little and gives him a half smile. "No, what? No, it won't be okay or no, it won't hurt?"

'It will be won't hurt..'

"You sure?"


"I've wanted to ask you." The girl said reaching for the blue flower beside her and showed him. "Where did this flower came from? I always woke up and see this flower every morning."

Wisp flew in circle. 'Flower. . name. .wasurenagusa...came from a her outside.'

Putting down the cloth she heaved a sigh and gave wisp a grateful look. In a prison like this someone needs something to believe in. Her stay in this cold and dull place was never easy. Each day she has to deal with loneliness and fear. Sometimes, her dreams give her terror. Nightmares that almost took away her thought that she would live a better life someday. But her supernatural friends gave their best to cheer her up every day. If not for them, she may lose her hope and live as dull as the wall of this cell.

"Thank you for everything." She whispers. "I'll make sure to repay you someday."

"Please! Let it reach you!" Mai shouted with a frustrated voice. She glared at the grayish shield covering a certain building and frown. She was currently trying to go through the shield, but all of her attempt was a failure.

She flew down to the street clock and surveyed the whole place. The place in 'here' hasn't gotten any better. Unfortunately it has gotten worst! There's a huge black void that was gradually sucking up the whole place, erasing the only fragments of the real Mai memories.

She turned to the bridge where Naru stood when Gene pulled him in the astral plane. The banister was covered in rust. Cracks everywhere that made it look like an abandon bridge. It's only a matter of time before the void eats the whole bridge. Half of the place was already erased, they need to protect the remaining fragments because if these continue. . . .All of her memories will be lost... ...lost forever.

"I won't lose!" She declared, charging at the shield once again.

'Naru...' Wisp whisper.

The girl raised a brow at him "What?" She looked surprise. "What did you say?"

'Naru... ...I met...Naru's brother.'

The girl blinked in confusion. She didn't know a spirit or a person named Naru. . .Then a sudden flashed of scene played in her mind and she remember the man in her dream. How she carry him in her arms and how she smiled at him with warmth.

A blush decided to show on her cheeks. Why the hell did she remember that? She heard the wisp chuckle when she held her face.

"S-Stop laughing! I, I just remember something embarrassing from my dream..." She calmed herself and turned to him again. "So, who are Naru and his brother? Someone you knew before?"

'Friends. . .new friends...' He said then flew closer to her. 'His brother was nice...he knew ... barier...dangerous.'

"Really? He's someone from outside then?"

'Yeah.' The wisp said remembering what Gene said before he left.

"I need to go now." Gene said.

"Do you have somewhere else to go?" He asked.

"I need to checked on my brother, need to make sure he's not thinking of killing himself out of frustration." He smiled. "I think we are much alike, are we not? We are both dead but we still have to look after our stubborn brother."

Chou shrugged. "I couldn't agree more. Everything is for their sake." He said. "Well, it's their fault anyway that we have to stay here and look after them."

Gene's face became serious. "Both of them were victims of this harsh world, the reason why we can't blame them if they are doing the wrong thing." Gene said.

Chou nod. "But... ...I'm here to stop my brother from his wrong doing." He declared. "He had done so much evil things and I don't want someone to get in danger anymore."

"Yeah." It's funny how a ghost imagined that he could still sigh when they're already stopped from breathing. "Anywise, tell that girl that you met Naru's brother."

"Naru?" Chou inquired.

"Just tell her."

Chou smiled and nodded.

"So you made a new friend?"

The girl said, pulling the wisp's thoughts back. He looked at the girl who was now smiling at her.

"I'm glad that you made a new friend." She said. "But you know, the name Naru seems familiar. I wonder who he is."

Mai stood above the street clock motionless, eyes wide in shock and mouth slightly gaped. She couldn't believe it. She actually damaged the shield.

Frowning, Mai move toward the building and observed the small crack. It's just a minor crack, about seven inches long. Nevertheless it could help her reach the other.

"Mai." A gentle voice called behind her back.

Seemingly bit startled, Mai wheeled. Gene was floating there, greeting her with a gentle smile.

"Gene!" She said. "I made a crack! The shield had a crack!"

Gene gave her a knowing look. "That's good." He said, and then floats near the shield to observe the crack. "This will do, listen to me Mai..."

Mai straightened her full attention on Gene.

"I want you to enter a certain memory in this crack." He said, pointing at the crack.

"A certain memory?" She inclined her head, confused.

"Yes." Gene said. "A certain memory that can help the other Mai to find her way back."

Her whole world was silent yet boisterous. Everything was dark and the cold steam coming from the niche of the wall basically makes her shuddered.

The loud cacophony of shrieking and steal clamoring were so loud in her ears, she felt as though her brain will burst any moment now. It was way beyond horrible.

The tortured souls seek help yet she couldn't do anything for them. The girl hugged her knees and places her chin above it, feeling ashamed of herself.

They're all dead but she's scared of them. She was supposed to help but she's afraid to die.

'Is this the feeling of the last person who died in this place?' She asked herself and looked down.

'I'm scared...'

'I'm scared...'

'I'm scared!'

'I'm scared the footsteps are coming closer!'

'It's as if he can hear my heartbeat outside! What should I do? I don't want to die! I don't want to die! I DON'T WANT TO DIE! SOMEBODY HELP ME! PLEASE! SOMEONE…'

She can feel his every move outside and she has a feeling that the man was about to found her. His hands were slowly lifting to touch the handle of the closet where she hides. An amused smirk caused by excitement on his face, the anticipation of killing someone.

'Go away!' She closed her eyes tight and covers her mouth. 'Go away! Go away! Go away!'

Whoever he is, he's persistent in finding her. A loud crash startled her and in an instant all the cells in her bodies reacted in fear. She was frozen on the spot.

"Found you..." The man grinned in delight when he saw her trembling in fear in that small closet. "You may have gotten away from me for a while but you can never escape this place. Now then, as a compensation for your stubbornness I won't take my time killing you."

Her eyes widen in terror. "I-I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Please don't kill me! I don't want to die!"

The man looked at her with disgust. "Well, I apologized too..." He took out a dagger and plunged it into the woman's heart. "But I must."

Everything fell in darkness...Deafening silent engulfed her world, it's as though she was tossed inside a box. So in that dream, someone was stabbed and died inside her closet and the one who ends that woman's life was ... Kagiri.

Why did he do it? What's his purpose for taking someone's life? If what wisp told her was right, that he wanted to bring him back … then isn't it too much to kill someone just to be with the one you love? You will surely end up in a never ending nightmare for the rest of your life.

But … would she do the same thing if ever she were in his place? Can she take away one's life in order to get what she really wanted? She doesn't know the answer … moreover she doesn't understand what Kagiri's feeling while he slowly murdering that woman. Was he sad? Did he feel remorse for what he had done? Is he suffering?

I don't understand … I don't want to feel the same thing … …

After a while of floating in that dark void a sudden flash of white light flashed before her, blinding what's left in her already unclear vision. She blinked then slightly scratched her eyes. When her vision begins to clear she noticed something.

"E? Ee...Eeeeee?!" She yelled in surprise. "Where in the world am I?" She looked around at her new surroundings.

Establishments were now standing erect all over the place. Street lights made it easy to see everything. Yet despite the store and other restaurants being open, she didn't see any single person. It was as though the place was in isolation. She saw a sign that carry the name of the place. says.

"Am I ejected in a foreign place again?" She asked. But hey! That sign is written in kanji, so that means, she's still in Japan.

She turned to her front. A two-story building stood there. It was perfectly covered with red tiled brick that gives a semi familiar feeling. There's a mini fountain in front of the cafe on the first level that was surrounded by three tables. Each has two chairs. On its left side was a boutique with an 'OPEN' signage hanged on the glass pane of its door.

She can see an escalator on the right side leading to the second level.

The girl didn't know why but her feet started to move on its own, heading to where the building was. Curious, she let her feet carry her where they wanted to go. She rode the escalator and went up to the second floor.

"There's nothing interesting." She said to herself when she reached the second level. There were only a few offices, a dental clinic, an interior design shop and a planning company. A grayish blue wooden door behind the planning company caught her attention. The girl stopped her feet and looked closely at the door. It was a simple wooden door with a designed glass pane and a logo that was frosted on it.

The logo displayed 'Shibuya Psychic Research' written in a stylish font.

Again, there's nothing special about it, however, her curiosity was eating her up. She knew there's a chance that danger might wait to happen inside this door. But she's eager to learn what's inside of this office.

They say that 'curiosity kills the cat' but she's not a cat and she felt like someone is telling her that it would be alright and it's safe to go on.

With a slight doubt inside her chest, the girl held the door knob and slowly pushed the door open. She was startled when she heard a rung. Looking up she saw a bell.

She sighed in relief. "It's just a bell ... that surprised me."

She continue opening the door and peered inside, when she saw no one, she silently walked inside.

A sudden beat in her heart made her froze. She stopped moving and looked back at the door. Why did she felt like she had done that move before?

"Must be my imagination." She said to herself.

The girl frowned and turned to her front. She just stood there motionless while slowly scrutinizing the not so large office.

Four shelves with so many files and books was the first thing she saw inside. There were blinds hanging on the window. She walked further, still looking around.

A plant near the door added a color to the caramel painted wall, giving it a slight natural look. The two black upholstered couches were neatly aligned with a table on the centre.

To her left, a small door can be seen but she's not sure where it leads. There's also a wooden desk near the window, the type that was used by a secretary.

She tilts her head and sat on the couch. A moment after she decided to lie down.

"I wonder what are they doing in this office?" She breathe in. "The aura in this place is light. Perhaps, the employees were happy working in this place."

She noticed another two plain looking doors. She got up and decided to take a peek on the first. She step closer and open it really carefully as if afraid that someone might catch her trespassing. Well, she already trespassed so she might as well look.

"So, what do we have here?"

The office was dark, lit only by the soft glow of the brass lamp on the desk. Still, she can see another few shelves and furnitures inside. Closing the door behind her, she walked toward the desk. It confused her that someone left the lamp open. Maybe someone was in here before she enters.

A white unpowered monitor was resting silently on the desk. There's a small can full of pencils, ball pens and other markers. She saw an expensive looking reclining chair and decided to sit on it.

The girl placed both her arms on the desk. "So, what do you have in store for me tonight?" She said, acting like a professional boss. "How are our businesses? Are they doing great?" She laughed at what she's doing.

After that, her laugh faded. She leaned on the desk and surveyed the whole room. Heaving a sigh she said. "It's lonely."

"Your acting was not convincing." A small voice said out of nowhere. "Who are you? Who gave you permission to enter?"

The girl's head jerked up and quickly looked around the room, feeling a little frightened. She's doom! Someone caught her trespassing!

She scowled when she saw no sign of any living creature inside the room. No human present.

"I'm here!" She heard the voice said again. This time her eyes caught a small movement above the table.

Her eyes widened in surprise. There's a coin dancing on the table! The girl leaned closer and looked at the coin with so much curiosity.

"A coin?" A talking coin?

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