Waking Up in Wonderland


Halo Fourteen: Shimamoto-Sensei:

He couldn't understand it. Ten years and he still had no answers to why two of his top therapists just vanished. Koda-sensei's car was found under the overpass. There was nothing stolen and it looked like it hadn't been touched for hours before a homeless person found it. He last saw Mirai-sensei as he saw her leave the building. Her car was found the next morning in the parking lot of the apartment building that was facing the city as one would be leaving.

The police couldn't come up with anything and the cases were still on file. Ten years and Shimamoto-sensei still had nothing. So tonight, he decided to make his own connects. Both women were close to their thirties and lived alone. Yet, that line of thinking wouldn't get him anywhere. He had to look at both cases from another angle. Maybe through their case files. That could work out.

Both therapists had the now seventeen-year-old Ishikawa Noriko. Before her, the women didn't have any problems. What was so different about Noriko-chan? Shimamoto-sensei took out both of their notes that he held onto after the cases. Both sets of notes sat scattered across his desk. At first, they both looked rather normal.

How could a child make two skilled therapists vanish into thin air?, he thought. What did she tell them?

Within four pages, the tone of the notes took a darker tone. His eyes darted around to different words in the notes.

Help me! They keep trampling on me in the crowd. I always see her face standing over me. I don't want to die. They keep watching me in my dreams. I don't know how to stop it. Help me! I am not an animal. I keep seeing the tower. Don't let the devil get me. Tower. Tower. Help me! Tower. Tower. Tower. Help me! I don't want to die. Help me! Don't let the devil get me. Don't let the devil get me. I can hear the tower calling out to me.

Shimamoto-sensei sat rolled back in his chair, panting in shock. What is… all of this?, he thought. There were more notes from Noriko's therapy sessions, but those were far beyond cohort. The words almost seemed to be speaking in tongues. What was this child? What was all of this?

Shimamoto-sensei happened to look up in the hallway and saw a pale little girl about six-years-old walking by. Her long black pigtails swayed back and forth as she moved. Her little red and white school uniform looked neatly ironed if not slightly dusty on the skirt. The footsteps of her little red shoes were what drew the head therapist's attention in the first place. He rose to his feet and peeked out the doorway. His eyes followed her little white stuffed rabbit as she dragged it behind her.

"Excuse me!" Shimamoto-sensei yelled after her. The head therapist rose up from his chair and tried to chase down this little girl. He followed her all the way to the back end of the building. Shimamoto-sensei looked around. The man cursed himself in frustration.

"Damn it," he muttered to himself. "Now where did that child go?" He was about to head back inside when a loud crunch noise caught his attention.

"Hm? What was that?" he asked. The man's eyes shot wide open as soon as that question left his lips. A girl about fifteen with a blackened ghost-like appearance stood before him. He didn't even get a chance to scream out. The ghostly girl opened her mouth to let out a death rattle noise as she reached out to grab his neck.

It all went silent for the rest of the night.

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