Wonderland Carnival

Brother

Halo Eight: Brother:

Ringo greeted her friends at the doors. "Welcome! I'm so glad you made it!"

"Are you okay?" Noriko asked.

"Yes," the freshman girl said. "Why do you ask?"

"You don't look so well," the other girl pointed out. "You're shaking."

"Oh! It's nothing," she lied. "I'm fine! Fuyuki-kun is probably waiting for us. Let's go inside." Michiko tried to scream out to them as Ringo led the girls inside. She cursed herself pinned up against the wall.

The girls approached the first desk. The receptionist perked up when she saw Ringo's face.

"Oh, Ringo-chan!" she perked up. "I didn't expect to see you here today!" The freshman girl gave her a bright smile.

"Yep!" she replied. "I'm here to see my little brother with my friends." Anri, Noriko, and Chiharu looked rather awkward at the woman behind the desk.

"I see," the receptionist said.

"Is he in his room?" Ringo asked.

"I believe so. He just got in from his check-up. Go and see."

"Thank you, miss." The freshman girl bowed. She and the girls headed down the hall. Ringo pressed the down button on the elevator.

"Why are we going down?" Chiharu asked.

"Fuyuki-kun's in a special ward," the freshman girl answered.

"What do you mean?" Anri asked. Ringo lowered her head as the numbers beeped for the cab approaching them. Her lips mumbled something that wasn't supposed to be heard with human ears.

"Excuse me?" Chiharu asked. Ringo lifted her head, looking like she was about to cry.

"He's just really sick," she whimpered.

"I am so sorry," the other girl said just before the doors slid open. The four of them proceeded inside. The elevator doors opened when they reached down the ground floor. Ringo's guests didn't look so sure at the set-up on the outside.

"Uh… Ringo," Noriko spoke up. "Are you sure we are in the right place?"

"Sure," the freshman girl answered.

"Why does it look… abandoned like this?" the older girl asked. Outside of the elevator was pitch black with torn plastic covering on the walls. The pipes and wires doubled as a low ceiling. The spark sounds and the electrical hum in the darkness did light to ease nerves.

"It's a special ward," Ringo repeated. "Only really bad cases come down here."

"How bad are you talking? Like terminal?" Anri asked.

"You can say that…" the freshman girl mumbled. She led them down the vacant hall. Let's see, Junko-sensei said he was in room 009, Ringo thought. "It' just up ahead." She hurried down the hall.

"Wait up!" Chiharu yelled. The others girls raced to keep up in pace. They all arrived at Room 009. Ringo turned around to her guests with a little smile.

"You have to be careful," she warned them. "Fuyuki-kun's a little shy." Ringo pushed open the door. "Fuyuki-kun," she said with a whisper. "It's me, Ringo, your older sister." When she looked into the room, she saw a figure hiding under a sheet. The freshman girl giggled.

"Fuyuki-kun!" she said aloud. "You're still doing that old hiding thing? Come out, you silly boy!" Ringo reached forward and pulled the sheet. However, joy turned into a look of a deer caught in bright lights.

"Oh…" she said in a low voice.

Outside, Michiko dropped to the ground with a plop. "What the-?" she asked. The girl looked down at her hands and noticed Ringo's ribbons, now bright red, "bleeding" out through her fingers. Her eyes widened in shocked.

No way, she thought. Then that must mean… Michiko ran inside of the hospital.

Noriko, Anri, and Chiharu stood in horror as Ringo's decapitated body dropped to the floor underneath a dandelion clown-like caterpillar monster sitting on the bed. Those girls ran away as fast as they could from the run.

"What are that?!" Noriko cried.

"Shit if I know!" Chiharu shouted as they raced back to the elevator. As they went up to the lobby, Michiko took the stairs to the ground floor. When she made it to Room 009, she already knew what had happened. The "child" pulled out a purple pin from her hair and stabbed the monster in the chest after it hissed at her, showing off his bloody fangs. She didn't even budge when the black blood splashed everywhere. Michiko looked down at the headless body and shook her head.

"You stupid girl," she muttered to herself.

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