Match Three: Chibiusa Enoki:
Fujiwara Mihoko-sensei looked through her files. This didn’t make any sense. She had been listening to the tapes, reading the notes, and watching the videos. But none of it made sense.
“What am I missing here?” Fujiwara asked. She picked up one of the tapes and put it in the recorder. The therapist hit play.
Session #38: Honda Kiku
“Tell me again,” Fujiwara-sensei said. Kiku’s panting filled the room.
“Catch your breath,” she said. Her patient took a small gulp.
“Take your time if you need to.”
-There is a long pause here-
“Talk to me. What did you see back in December. Take your time if you have to.”
“Okay…” -Pause- “I was in bed at home. Sena was visiting her family at the time.”
“Why didn’t you go with her?”
Fujiwara-sensei hit stop on the tape player. She heard it again. Every time he answers questions like that, the therapist would hear a low whispering on the recording. At first, Fujiwara-sensei thought she was hearing things. She’s played this tape about twenty times now. There came that voice again.
The therapist couldn’t make out what it said. Here’s what she knew so far. The voice sounded like a girl to her. Every attempt to decipher what was sound led to dead ends. Her colleagues couldn’t figure it out either.
“Maybe there’s a malfunction in the tape?” her boss offered. There was no way a whole pack of tapes could malfunction like that. That voice would appear at random spots but only when Kiku spoke.
That wasn’t the only thing, however.
Kiku kept talking about the End of Days. Under normal circumstances, Fujiwara-sensei would’ve chalked it up to demented babble of a tormented man. But something didn’t feel right about this.
She fast forward through the tape and hit play.
Session #38: Honda Kiku
“Tell me about the seven seals.”
-He can be heard biting on his nails-
-Kiku mumbled an answer-
“The righteous man will fall to sin.”
“The righteous man will fall to sin? What does that mean?”
-That damned voice whispers over his answer-
Fujiwara-sensei hit stop. Kiku wouldn’t stop talking about them. She can’t make heads or tails of it. Her colleagues couldn’t answer her questions. Some even tried to change the subject. Funny. They all seemed scared of something.
“Do you know what happened to his last therapist?” another psychiatrist asked.
“Wasn’t he murdered?” Fujiwara-sensei asked.
“Yes,” she said. “They never caught the people who did it.” The older woman’s eyes widened.
“Are you serious?” she asked. The other woman nodded once.
“Oh no,” Fujiwara-sensei said. “But what does that have to do with Honda-san?” The younger woman looked around for a moment.
“You didn’t hear this from me,” she said. “But it is rumored that he might have heard something that he shouldn’t have.” Fujiwara-sensei gave her a confused look.
“What do you mean?” she asked. “What did Honda-san say?” The younger therapist lowered her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I’ve said too much,” she whispered. “Forget I said anything.” The young therapist hurried back to her office. Fujiwara-sensei was just left standing there, blinking.
“But why?” she asked. The therapist never got an answer.
Fujiwara-sensei rubbed her forehead. None of this made any sense. Then there were the nightmares.
Oh sweet kami.
She keeps seeing her. Just the mere sight of her filled the therapist with dread. Her hair floated around her. She held out her arms as if to welcome Fujiwara-sensei. Her eyes looked do dead. But that smile… Oh kami that damned smile!
The therapist would wake up in a cold sweat. It didn’t make any sense. Lately, she couldn’t get that damned smile out of her head. Fujiwara-sensei had to get to the bottom of this. She got all of the notes from the previous therapists. Her boss wasn’t too sure about this.
“Please, do not get involved,” he pleaded her. Fujiwara-sensei gave him a strange look.
“But he is my patient,” she said. “I can’t abandon Honda-san now. He needs my help.” Her boss gave her a sympathetic look.
“Some people are beyond help,” he told her. The old man reluctantly handed over the files.
“Thank you,” was all Fujiwara-sensei said. She gathered up the files and walked out of her boss’ office.
That was five days ago.
Fujiwara-sensei couldn’t stop reading over her predecessor’s notes. At first, they didn’t make any sense. If it was any other “normal” situation, she would’ve thought that Kiku was just having a nervous breakdown. But nothing seemed to have triggered it. His home life was normal. Sena may have been wild and was too much for his age but she loved him, nevertheless. Retirement was going great for him. His friends were good to him.
Fujiwara-sensei froze. Friends?
She pulled out the box of tapes and looked through each one. Let’s see. Which one was it? Which one was it? Her finger went down to the last tape at the bottom.
August 29, 2014
Fujiwara-sensei looked at the box front and back. She began to piece together what this session was about. Sena managed to get Kiku back into therapy. Fujiwara-sensei didn’t know why she was looking at this. There wasn’t much out of this session that stuck out in her mind. But it couldn’t hurt but to take a listen, right?
The therapist opened the tape box and replace the tape with the other one in the player. She pressed play.
“Tell me again what you mean by ‘the righteous man will fall to sin.’”
“Come on. Take your time if you need to. It’s just going to be you and me today. I have no other clients today. You have my full attention.”
-Kiku chews on his nails-
“What do you mean that the righteous man will fall to sin?”
“What about it?”
“What about your friend?”
Fujiwara-sensei sat up when she heard that damned whispering again. She should be used to it by now. It wasn’t like she hadn’t heard it every session. But this one was different. The therapist caught it just as Kiku was about to answer her. The words came through loud and clear.
“You don’t know what you are digging for, doc.”
The whispering almost made her fall out of her chair. She back, panting. A determined look on her face. No, she was not going to get scared off from this. Fujiwara had listened to these tapes many times. She read over the notes. She had many years of experience. Nothing should have surprised her as such.
Fujiwara-sensei stretched her neck from side to side. She was going to tackle this tonight. The therapist took a breath and rewound the tape back.
“What about your friend?”
-Kiku started mumbling to himself-
“He sold his soul.”
“He sold his soul?”
“What does that mean?”
-Kiku started to make small choking noises-
-The gagging noises grew louder-
“Oh god! Someone call 119! Call 119!”
-The gagging noises grew worse-
Suddenly, the power went out. Fujiwara-sensei jerked her head upwards when the tape player cut off and the lights shut out.
“Huh?! What’s going on?!” she shouted. The therapist’s eyes slowly shifted to her left when she heard the door creak open.
“Hello?” she asked. A shadowy figure stood in the doorway. The therapist narrowed her eyes for a better look. The figure looked to be a small child looking in from the doorway. They looked like they were wearing a hat with pigtails. Fujiwara-sensei tilted her head.
“Are you lost?” she asked. No answer.
“Where are your parents?” the therapist asked. No answer. The child-shaped figure stepped away from the doorway.
“Hey!” Fujiwara-sensei shouted. She jumped to her feet and ran over to the door. The darkened hallway was empty. She rubbed her forehead and frowned.
“Am I losing it?” Fujiwara asked herself. The therapist happened to look when she heard footsteps running away at the end of the hall. She could only see a glimpse before it turned the corner.
“Hey!” Fujiwara-sensei shouted. “Come back here!” The therapist took off running after the figure. In the darkness, she could make out the backside of a little girl. The black ponytails swung back and forth. She kept her head down and didn’t stop walking. The child seemed to get further away from the therapist. She tried to reach out to the little girl.
“Come back here!” Fujiwara-sensei shouted at her. The girl didn’t slow down. The therapist gritted her teeth. Damn it.
The little girl opened the lady’s washroom door and walked inside. Fujiwara-sensei followed her inside. Suddenly, the therapist paused.
“Are you in here?” she asked. Only her voice echoed against the walls. Despite the power being out, Fujiwara-sensei could hear a low buzzing behind her. She whipped her head around.
There was no one there.
It was then that Fujiwara-sensei regretted not bringing her cell phone with her. She realized this when she reached into her pocket. It didn’t help that she was probably the only one left in the building. Her boss left hours ago. Maybe the janitor was still left. Fujiwara-sensei turned to walked out of the bathroom.
Huh? When was this door locked? She didn’t remember ever locking it on her way in. Fujiwara-sensei turned the handle harder.
“Hey!” the therapist shouted. “Is there anyone out there? I’m locked in! Can you please let me out? Help! Help!” She started pounding on the door while shouting. Suddenly, she heard a crunching noise. Fujiwara froze. Before she could move, something or someone grabbed onto her right arm. Against her better judgement, Fujiwara-sensei looked down. A girl of age six dug her tiny little nails into the skin. Her red and white dress stood out against her cold skin. Her black bangs couldn’t hide her dead eyes. The little girl opened her mouth wide enough to be a black hole.
A loud meowing name filled the dark bathroom.
In the morning, her colleagues began looking for her. Her car had been parked in the parking lot all night. Fujiwara-sensei didn’t pick up her phone. Already, everyone feared the worst.
A morning janitor was making his rounds around the building. The last spot that he hadn’t cleaned was the bathrooms. He walked up to the ladies’ room and turned the handle.
“Did I lock this last night?” he asked himself. The old man shrugged to himself and unlocked the door. No sooner had he opened the door a wash of horror coated his face. Fujiwara-sensei’s body lay on the floor with her arms out like she was being crucified. All of the color had drained from her face. Her jaw was wide open with her eyes looking blank. The janitor gasped and ran down the hall.
It didn’t take long for the police to arrive. They wrapped up the body and took it away. Her colleagues stood outside watching as she was being loaded into a silent ambulance. They whispered about how this was happening all over again. All therapy sessions were canceled for the day.
In Fujiwara-sensei’s office, her tape player hit play by itself. The final message of session fifty filled the room.
-Long moments of silent-
“It’s coming. It’s coming. I’m coming!”
The tape and rewound itself back to the beginning.