Red Heart

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Chapter 9

Thinking it would be beneficial to reintroduce Minami to the outside world, Yuko took her to a nearby playground.

The two were fortunate enough to find that no one had already laid claim to the swing set. As Yuko swung from her swing, Minami remained still in hers. The girl did little more than stare blankly at the ground. Realizing this, Yuko stopped swinging. She knew it wasn’t fair for her to have a good time when Minami was clearly in no similar mood.

“Minami-chan, after this do you want to get some ice cream?” asked Yuko. No reply was given, not even was there the slightest of movements. “How about candy? Do you want some candy?” Again, Minami gave no response.

“I wish I knew how to make you feel better,” said Yuko. “I don’t know what to do. How can I tell your mother that I think your house is haunted? She’ll think I’m crazy. To be honest, I’m starting to think the same thing about myself.”

“I had a dream last night,” said Minami.

It came as an utter shock to Yuko that Minami had spoken. She had assumed she would remain mute the whole time in her care. “You did? What did you dream about?”

“It wasn’t my dream. It was Sayaka’s.”

“Sayaka's? What did you see?”

“I saw how she died,” replied Minami.

Yuko couldn’t help but think back to the newspaper she had seen in Mrs. Watanabe’s home. The headline about a mother strangling her daughter to death in the Suzuki home had sent a chill down her spine the first time she saw it, but if Minami told her that Sayaka had been strangled to death by her mother, then she would know that there was more to the house than the mere eye could see.

“How?” asked Yuko. “How did Sayaka die?”

“Her mommy killed her,” replied Minami. “She got mad at her because Sayaka drew a heart on the wall. Sayaka said she was sorry, but her mommy killed her anyway.”

The breath escaped from Yuko’ lungs at that moment. She knew things were falling too perfectly into place for the situation to be mere coincidence.

“Have you told your mother about this?” asked Yuko.

“No, she wouldn’t believe me if I told her. That’s why I told you. Because you’re the only who believes me. Will you tell my mommy? She’ll believe you if you tell her.”

“I don’t think that would be a very good idea, Minami-chan. Your mother hasn’t been feeling well the last few days. Telling her something like this could make her feel worse.” The illness Yuko had mentioned had nothing to do with the body, but with the mind. Yuko could tell that Mrs. Suzuki was extremely stressed from what was happening with her daughter, and if news as preposterous as her house being haunted was presented to her, then it very well could push her over the edge. The news could also lead to the expulsion of Yuko from the Suzuki home for creating another problem.

“Did you take your medicine today?” asked Yuko.

Minami nodded to show that she had.

“How does it make you feel?”

“I don’t feel anything,” replied Minami.

“Do you still see Sayaka?”

“Sometimes. But it’s not like it was before. She’s harder to see and sometimes I can’t hear what she’s saying.”

“How about Kazumi?” asked Yuko.

“I don’t hear her anymore. When I close my eyes, I don’t feel anything.”

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