Halo Twenty-Three: Hisayo:
-June, last year-
There was a man in New York who ran a successful company. About January of last year, he decided to branch out. After months of business negotiations with his business partners in Japan, England, Russia, and Canada, his team sealed a deal with building their branch out in Japan. The man would be taking his young wife with him for a year, permanently if everything went right. Initially, she didn’t want to leave the states.
“This will be a new start for us,” the man insisted. “I am tired of American life.”
“Well, I’m not,” she said at her vanity. “We have everything that we could need here in New York. What’s so great about Japan anyway?”
“Japan has always had always a good business record with foreign companies,” the man reasoned. “We will prosper overseas with this new business branch. Plus, Japan is rich with culture and history. I thought you would love this because you study history so much. You’ve always prided yourself on being a history major.” She tried to hide her smile as her ears twitched at the words “rich with culture and history”. He did have a point there. History had always been her weakness. She loved to study it as a little girl. Maybe moving to Japan wouldn’t be so bad.
Yet, she couldn’t let her husband see that he had won her over so easily.
His wife puffed up her cheeks and frowned.
“Yes, I do like history, but…” she said.
“But?” he asked.
Her lips trembled as she tried to think of a good reason for going against Japan. “What about all of our friends? Most of my life is here in New York.”
“This new adventure won’t mean anything without you,” her husband said. “Besides, it’s an assignment so we have to go, so let’s make the best of it.” His wife felt her true feelings starting to break through the cracks as she fought to keep her frown.
“I’ll do it, but I won’t like it,” she said. The man took her into his arm and cuddled with her.
“You’re going to love it, I promise,” he whispered in her hair. His wife tried not to smile as she shook her head.
“No, I won’t,” she lied.
There is another important thing to keep in mind. This woman named Mollie Dylan was interested in dark magic. Their neighbors, friends, and even her own husband didn’t know about this secret hobby of hers. In truth, she heard about Japan’s mythology and superstitions. Mollie even predicted that her husband would extend his branch out to the country before the year was over. However, the wife had to keep that side of her hidden from their high society world.
Back to the story at hand.
-July, last year-
Evie, the real estate agent showed them around apartment number 27 at Kinko Sekai Apartment Complex.
“Good afternoon,” she greeted them at the door. “Welcome!” The husband looked at her with a stoic look on his face. Evie clapped her hands together.
“Right,” she said. “Shall we get going?” The couple followed her into the living room. She turned to them in the sunlight.
“As you can see here,” the realtor began. “Well-lit to reflect on your wife’s lovely complexion.” The other woman smiled. Her husband wanted more than that. Evie stood up straight.
“This apartment’s been renovated to keep with the modern fit to the rest of the apartments in this neighborhood,” she added.
“Is it stable enough?” the husband asked. Evie gave him a sharp nod.
“Yes, sir!” she said. His wife turned to her husband. They whispered between each other for a moment. Mr. Dylan turned back to the realtor. Evie read the look on his face.
“Shall we go on?” she asked. The woman didn’t wait for an answer as she walked down the hall. They came into an empty room that faced the city. She looked around at the freshly-painted white walls.
“This is a nice room for your guests or children,” the realtor went on. The wife ran her fingertips around the metal doorknob. Her husband knocked on the door with his right knuckles. Evie passed the window to walk over to the other side of the room. But when she passed the glass, she could’ve sworn there was a black shadow passing along with her moments. Evie passed and backed up for a better look. This time, she only saw her reflection. The realtor blinked at the window.
What the hell? Evie kept staring at the window in front of her as she tried to figure out if what she saw was an illusion or something else.
“Something wrong?” the man asked her. The realtor stood up straight at his words.
“No,” she lied. “Just thought I saw something outside.” The realtor walked to the doorway.
“Shall we continue?” she asked. Then, Evie walked into the hallway. The couple followed behind with uneasiness about how she said that.
Overall, the tour turned out to be a success and the couple ended up buying the apartment. The whole time, a blackened schoolgirl stood in the parking lot, watching.
-August, last year-
Mollie stood out more than other gaijin in Japan. Her husband worked at his company during the day and came in late for dinner. As their possessions were being moved into the apartment, Mollie found herself bored. Sure, the help socialized with her as they worked around the apartment, but they didn’t seem to fond of her.
On the first day, Mollie lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling. She turned her head towards a twenty-something Japanese man setting up her internet connection.
“Are you done yet?” she complained.
“No,” the young man answered. Mollie frowned and rolled over onto her stomach. She pouted as she stared at his back. The top of her dress happened to expose cleavage. The young man was hooking up the box to the computer when he froze at the feeling of boobs pressed against his back. He broke out into sweat as his eyes slowly looked behind him. Mollie eyed him like a cat about to devour a mouse.
“M-M-Miss, w-w-what are you doing?” he asked. Her breasts rubbed upwards on his back.
“I’m bored,” she murmured. “Entertain me.”
“En. Ter. Tain. Me.” She licked him on the bottom of his ear lobe after she said that. The young man quickly pushed her off. He stared at her with big eyes. Mollie smiled like a cat as she eyed him.
“What’s the matter, baby?” she asked. “Don’t tell me that you are a virgin.” The young man gulped and went to hooking up the box to the computer. The American woman sat on the floor, pouting.
“You’re no fun,” she said. Mollie rose to her feet and walked to her bedroom. The hallway felt cold despite the air conditioning being turned off. Once in her room, she pulled out her cell phone.
“Hello?” Mollie asked. “About that offer you gave me the other day. I’ll take it.” The blackened schoolgirl stood in the corner watching. She appeared to be waiting for something. A little girl with little black pigtails stood by her and leaned her head on her leg. The older girl patted her on the head.
Meanwhile, Mollie lowered her phone.
“Okay, I will be right there,” she said. The woman hung up and walked out of the room.
-October, last year-
Something didn’t seem right.
Mollie barely left her room anymore. She hadn’t been eating or sleeping. Last month, she excused her behavior as doing research on the history of Japanese mythology. Mollie kissed her husband on the lips.
“I’m going to be working on another book,” she said. Her husband smiled in their bed.
“I can’t wait to read it when you finish,” he said. Ever since then, he hasn’t heard much from her. Then again, he had his company to grow and expand. The hired help didn’t bother to go and bother Mollie while she was working in her room.
In reality, she was working on her dark magic. Mollie could feel a powerful vibe from Ikebukuro and couldn’t pass it up. Here in this city she could practice and not feel like she would have to hide her true self. Sure, she was still part of high society and she had to keep it from her husband, but she felt more open to practice her craft. In the summer, she managed to score a connection to expand her craft.
On Halloween, Mollie sat at her desk with her copy of the Book of Amida. The skull on the cover seemed to speak to her. She had to stretch all of her connections to get a hold of this book. Not many wanted to talk to her about the book itself.
“Not many of us dare to tread with that book,” an underground book merchant told her three days earlier.
“I am willing to take that risk,” Mollie told him in the shop. Today, she ran her fingers along the skull on the cover. Chills ran down her spine. The woman counted down and took a deep breath before opening the book. She began to read the tiny print on the pristine pages.
Around three in the morning, a low rattling noise caught Mollie’s ear. She got up from her desk and opened her bedroom door.
“Honey, are you home yet?” Mollie asked. She looked around in the hallway. The lights weren’t on and it felt colder than usual. All of the hired help already went home for the evening. Mollie narrowed her eyes.
“Hello?” she asked. The woman then noticed 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. Her little white stuffed rabbit hit her little white socks as she dragged it behind her.
“Excuse me!” Mollie shouted. The woman reached down the hall after the little girl. The child kept her eyes downwards as she kept walking. Mollie ended up at the door to the other empty room in the apartment. The chill of death ran through her body as she touched the thick paper. That didn’t stop her from opening the door. Mollie slowly walked into the room. Her eyes shifted around as her steps grew slower.
“Hello?” she asked. “Where did you go?” The woman froze when she heard a crunching noise to her left. Mollie turned to see the blackened school girl just inches away from her face. The woman only said one thing.
“Hisayo?” she asked. The blackened ghost girl lifted her hand.
-December, last year-
Mr. Dylan began to pick up that something wasn’t right with their apartment. The hired help would look for excuses not to come by and check on Mollie. That being because of one particular incident that happened two weeks before Christmas.
The night before, Mr. Dylan noticed there were footsteps leading up to the back way of the apartment complex, but not going back out. At first, he didn’t think much about it. Not many people lived in this building. Maybe it was one of the tenants coming home from a late night.
The next morning, he awoke to strange noises in the ceiling. Mr. Dylan frowned as he lay in bed.
“What the hell is that?” he asked. He reached for his cell phone and made a call to the maintenance man.
“Hello?” he asked. “I think there something in our ceiling. Could you come and check it out?” By the time the maintenance man reached apartment 27, he was greeted at the door by Mollie. At first, she broke into a little smile.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Hello, your husband called me to look around in the ceiling because of a noise complaint,” the man in the dusty grey overalls said. “Is he in?”
“He already left for work,” she said. “Do come in.” The woman moved aside and let the maintenance man inside.
“Where exactly did your husband say the noise was coming from?” he asked. “Which room?”
“Our room,” she said.
“Thank you,” the big man said. Mollie’s face shaded over as he disappeared down the hall.
“This place is cursed, you know?” she asked in a low voice.
“What did you say?” the maintenance man said. Mollie slowly walked down the hall to her bedroom. She closed the door behind her.
“I practice dark magic,” Mollie said.
“Okay…” the maintenance man said.
“I have been able to see ghosts and demons trapped in the gates.”
“The gates, ma’am?”
“The gates to the apocalypse.”
Mollie walked closer to the bed. “The ending is coming for us all.” The maintenance man turned and gave her a strange look.
“What?” he asked. The American woman’s face resembled a demon as she lowered her head and lit her eyes roll upwards.
“We’re all going to die,” she said. “The Woman in Red will kill us all once she is freed.”
“Are you crazy, lady?”
“I have only one question to ask you.”
By now, Mollie only stood inches away from him. “Are you prepared to die for her?” Needless to say, that maintenance man didn’t come back to that apartment.
Mollie sat on the floor of her bedroom, smirking. She could tell that she had some guests standing outside of her apartment. Maybe she should go out to the balcony and see who they were.
The woman rose to her feet and walked over to the glass doors.
By afternoon, Masaomi went by the hospital to visit Saki again. However, he ran into another little “friend” on the way inside. The gang leader found Michiko sitting in front of the hospital. Her face perked up when she saw him.
“Hey!” she chirped. The boy tried to remain calm in front of her.
“You’re looking well,” he said.
“Ne!” Michiko cheered. Masaomi tried to keep calm. We’re back that again? The young girl leaned in, smiling.
“So,” she said. “What’s been going on?” The boy gave her an odd look.
“Why?” he asked.
“I want to know,” she said. “Please?” Masaomi dropped his shoulders.
“Fine,” he said. “The apartment outside of the city has been sold.” Michiko paused at that statement.
“What did you say?” she asked in a low voice.
“Some real estate agent sold that apartment outside of the city,” Masaomi repeated. The young girl broke down into trembling as she grabbed onto her knees.
“Take me there,” she said in a small voice. The boy looked at her for a moment.
“What?” he asked. Michiko leapt forward and grabbed onto his jacket.
“Take me to the apartment now!” she yelled. Masaomi put up his hands.
“Okay, okay,” he said. In an hour, they made it down to Kinko Sekai Apartments. Michiko looked up at the windows. Her older “friend” still didn’t get what she was looking for.
“Why are we here?” he asked.
“Shhh!” Michiko hissed as she kept looking up at the balconies on the side facing the city. She took slow steps to that one apartment that she had encountered one too many times before. The girl finally stopped at the exact one she was looking for. A pale look washed over her face. Masaomi tried to look with her.
“What is it, Michiko-chan?” he asked. She only pointed upwards in her panicked silence. The boy looked to see a woman about thirty with curly dark hair looking down at them. Her facial expression looked so dead as she looked down at the children below. The woman didn’t even say a word as she turned and walked back into her apartment. Michiko’s heart sank in worry as she knew what would be unfolding next.
“Don’t tell me Hisayo already…” she mumbled. The young girl sank to her knees as she began panting with her hands to her chest.
“Michi? Michi?” Masaomi asked. His voice sounded so distant to her ears as the fear took over her mind once again.
In the early morning hours, Masaomi’s phone buzzed. The boy grumbled to himself as he reached for his phone. He noticed a new text in his inbox. Masaomi pressed the bold envelope icon. The baffling text was enough to wake him up.
“Please meet me down at the library. This is urgent. There is something that I have to desperately show you.”