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Ghost Girl

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When I woke up, I was cold. There was a calming numbness surrounding me which didn't scare me as much as it probably should have. I didn’t really care all too much… I was just drifting in my own universe.

"... Is she... dead...?"

I had no recollection of where I was... I tried to rack my brain for any memory of where I was but nothing came up. My mind drew a major blank which left me wondering exactly what was going on. Should I be scared?

"No, she's alive. She's still breathing."

There were voices... they sounded familiar... I was scared. I definitely wasn't at home anymore. Was I still in school? Did I take a nap? It seemed plausible but unlikely... Nobody spoke to me at school. Why can’t I remember where I am?

"Then why the fuck won't she wake up? We're wasting time. We don’t need to pick up everyone we pass…”

I didn't want to wake up... I was content not knowing where I was or who I was with. I liked this cold numbness… It made me forget all the horrors I had to face in everyday life. I almost felt... normal. Was that weird? … it probably was.

"Shimada-san! Don't say things like that! We have to stick together in a place like this…"

Shimada-san... that surname sounds familiar. Did I know it? Perhaps from around... They most certainly aren't my friends. Were they a classmate? Maybe they're neighbours? I… just can’t remember right now.

"Tch... Don't you realize who this is, Kirisaki-san? It's that ghost girl! You know, that freak who claims she sees ghosts? Probably all bullshit anyway."

Shimada-san... He… seems adequately aware of my gifts… But who is Shimada-san? His voice sounds strikingly familiar. As well as that girl, Kirisaki-san. I must have met them before as well. Her female tone is even more recognizable than Shimada-san's male one… I’m thinking classmates from school.

"Back me up, Kizami-san. Tell her it's time to get going. This school gives me the creeps as much as it is…”

Shimada-san. Kirisaki-san. Kizami-san. Names so familiar... but at the same time aren't. I must be acquaintances with them. I might have helped them in the past if they were of the spirit realm... Or maybe I go to school with them? No... I just… Why can’t I remember?

There was a sigh. It was long and tired, obviously annoyed with the situation. "We can't leave her, Shimada-san. Kirisaki-san, help me get her on my back."

"Of course, Kizami-san."

Without warning, something fiery hot grasped my arm. It felt like it was burning me; melting my skin alive. It sent painful waves of burning agony down my arm; constant as if I were being touched by the Sun. Instantly, I shot up. My green eyes were wide with fear and I bit my tongue to hold back the scream that was caught in my mouth. The group collectively gasped, jumping back in surprise. Words spilled out of one of their mouths; colourful words that sounded distinctly like another language.

I realized, with a silent gasp, that the three teenagers in front of me went to my school. My stomach knotted as I recognized the three; they were all in the eleventh grade while I had only started high school that year.

A pregnant silence draped over us. No one moved as they stared at me with suspicious glares.

I took this opportunity to look around. It was fairly dark, my eyes having a hard time adjusting. From what I could tell, I was currently half sitting in a long, ominous hallway. The wooden floorboards beneath me were dirty and full of holes and splinters. They would squeak at any small movement any of us made. The walls were chipping their paint, revealing the wooden structure underneath. It took a moment of staring to realize that the walls looked suspiciously like that of an older school.

"... Are you okay...?"

I blinked, taking a harsh inhale in as a feminine voice brought me back to the current situation at hand.

It was the girl, Kirisaki-senpai, who voiced her concerns for me. She wore the same school uniform as me; a white blouse sailor-style fuku - which had a few dirt spots - with green collar and red tie. She also had a green pleated skirt, in which both of her hands were rested on. Her greyish-green hair was pulled back into a pony tail with a white bow. Her turquoise eyes studied me hard, swirling with emotions. Her lips were parted slightly with worry.

I nod meekly, in my own state of shock. I couldn’t grasp how I got here, nor where this place was. A part of me was touched that they would think to make sure I was okay… Wherever we are, it didn’t look safe, nor did it feel like it. I tried my best not to bite my lip as I curled in on myself, feeling the heavy atmosphere of the school crush me.

"That's good. Do you know how you got here..." she paused as if trying to think of my name.

"Minoto Aika," I offered. I didn't feel offended at the fact she didn't know my real name; hardly anyone did. "But no... I don't remember how I got here. Do you happen to know where "here" is?"

The raven-haired male regained his composure, answering my question, "We're not exactly sure. But from the clues we found, this is Heavenly Host Elementary. Although… it’s not what it seems to be.”

The larger male of the two was also kneeling, next to the girl. He had short black hair, unkempt. On his shoulder was his standard Byakudan School maroon blazer. His white dress shirt was untucked and unbuttoned at the top, the sleeves rolled up as well. There was a silver chain hooked onto his black slacks. His eyes sent terrified shivers down my spine. They calculated me carefully, his dark orbs void of any emotion.

I swallowed to myself, trying to ignore the uneasiness I felt under his stare. His eyes enraptured me; I lost myself in the swirling pools of darkness before I tore myself away. I blinked towards the ground as I racked my brain for any mention of a Heaven Host. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the school, although I never really paid attention to other schools in the area of my own. The harder I thought, the more I realized I still couldn't remember how I got here.

"I… Never heard of it...” I admitted softly. “… and I have no memory of how I got here."

A snicker came from the redhead, "Probably one of your ghost friends."

My green eyes met the standing figure’s icy blue eyes as he stared indifferently at me. They were swirling with emotions like Kirisaki-senpai's, but evidently darker ones than his female companion. His untamed, wild red hair draped down the back of his neck to his maroon blazer collar. He had a black choker and a winged pendant around his neck. His blazer itself had the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, unbuttoned to reveal his unbuttoned collared dress shirt and a black t-shirt. He had a golden belt buckle that shone brightly on his person, holding his black slacks up. There was a silver chain that hung off his waist.

"Shimada-san!"

Kirisaki-senpai made a move towards Shimada-senpai but I found myself reaching out to grab her skirt, "It's okay, Kirisaki-senpai...” She seemed confused with my actions, but I turned my head away from them as I acknowledged Shimada-senpai, “Uh... N-No Shimada-senpai… I’m not really sure how I got here… and I doubt ghosts would have the strength to take me here…”

The group looked dumbfounded when I addressed, senpai honorific and all. I sighed, straightening myself up and letting go of Kirisaki-senpai. "I go to your school... Your... names pop up quite frequently among my grade so it wasn't hard to put names to faces...” I left out the part of hearing them referring to each other by names… it didn’t seem all that important.

Both Shimada-senpai and Kizami-senpai fell silent. Kirisaki-senpai had a guilty look on her face as if she regretted not knowing my name.

"Um... Minoto-kouhai," the girl began, forcing the term kouhai from her mouth, "You're okay with calling me Kirisaki-san if you want. I mean, we’re all friends here, right? I don’t think it’ll really matter here anyway… we’re all in the same boat.”

Kizami-senpai nodded, agreeing with Kirisaki-senpai's statement. Shimada-senpai, on the other hand, snorted, obviously not pleased with that.

"I don't give a fuck what she calls you, but you better use senpai, got it, kouhai?" he spat viciously.

"Shimada-san!"

"Let it go, Kirisaki-san... We don't have time for arguing." Kizami-senpai spoke up. "Anyway, seeing that you're here, you should come with us. Better chance of surviving if we stick together."

It took me a second to register Kizami-senpai’s words, "Survive? You mean... we can die here?"

Kizami-senpai helped both myself and Kirisaki-senpai up as Shimada-senpai looked at me like I was a freak. I couldn't blame him though… I was a freak. How many people do I know with my... gifts? No one… exactly. I would want to avoid me like the plague too…

"What he meant," Shimada-senpai's voice was suddenly dangerously low. It sent shivers down my spine with the intensity. "This fucked up school kills - without mercy. It's full of corpses... Like a corpse party almost. Minus the booze, drugs and the party atmosphere... And it has ghosts... Lots and lots of fucked up ghosts. Then again, that's your turf, ain't it? Ghosts?"

I said nothing as Shimada-senpai glared at me with hatred boiling in his eyes. I turned my gaze away, finding a sudden interest in the floorboards. This was going to be a long day.

Kirisaki-senpai grimaced, offering me a small smile, “I… would disagree with him but he’s right… We aren’t exactly sure how we got here ourselves but we’re looking for a way out. I’m pretty sure some of our other friends are here too but we can’t find them… and Katayama-san’s… hurt.”

I moved away from the spot I was lying, brushing the dirt away from my skirt. I felt a shiver run down my spine as the chilliness of the building sank into my bones. I stood next to Kirisaki-senpai, feeling my stomach drop.

Although I couldn’t picture exactly who Katayama-senpai was, although I recognized the name as one of their friends. I felt my mouth go dry at the words of him being hurt and the tone that she used. Kizami-senpai mentioned that we can die in here… so how hurt did she mean…?”

“H-hurt…?”

“The idiot got his leg stuck in some piano wire or something that someone decided to string… His own fault for not paying closer attention.”

“Shimada-san,” Kizami-senpai scolded. “You would’ve walked into it as well if Katayama-san never so you owe him your life…” The male sighed, turning to me with tired eyes, “But regarding his words… essentially that’s true. Katayama-san suffered a serious leg wound so we’re looking for a way out so we can get him medical attention.”

Shimada-senpai snorted, “Maybe you guys. I have places to be.”

“Can you be any more of a jerk?” the green-haired girl spat out hotly, glaring at him darkly.

The redhead merely grinned, putting his arms behind his head as if he had no cares in the world, “I suppose I could, but where’s the fun in that?”

I felt out of place. I felt as if I was viewing things I had no business seeing them interacted between one another. They were friends while I was just an outcast eavesdropping. The fleeting thought of going on my own crossed my mind but the sheer fear of the unknown of this place kept me following them.

 

ꐑ(*ꐌ◡ꐌꐐ*)࿐࿔࿓

 

"Beginning to think there’s no fucking way out…"

It's been about a half hour now we've been walking around in search for clues for a way out. The trio ahead of me were pretty quiet, aside from the small talk of Kirisaki-senpai to Kizami-senpai, Shimada-senpai's flirting with Kirisaki-senpai and his near-constant complaining. It was almost comforting though; their idle chatter kept the emptiness of this school, as they claimed, at bay. It didn’t seem as empty with the subtle sounds of their voices.

I was promptly forgotten about… Kizami-senpai remained diligently silent as if lost in his own world, even ignoring some of Kirisaki-senpai’s attempt to talk with him. Kirisaki-senpai, as sweet as she seemed, forgot about me as she dealt with Shimada-senpai’s unwanted advances instead. Shimada-senpai was generally disinterested in me; he didn’t even bother bullying me, so flirtatious advancements were out of the question…

But not unwanted. My face flushed at the thought of Shimada-senpai. My head drifted down, eyes staring fixated to the rotting floors below me. I tried to push my silly fantasies from my head, trying to keep my head in the real world but I lost myself to my imagination.

He was one of the – if not the most – attractive guys in school. Even though he was more popular among the delinquent girls, he could still make a cheerleader blush… and myself blush as well. The only ones seemingly unaffected by his charms were the females closest to him… especially Kirisaki-senpai who seemed appalled by him. But he still tried… no matter how many times she shot him down…

I sighed inwardly, trying to force the thoughts away. There is no chance for Shimada-senpai to ever flirt with me, so I should probably stop thinking about that while I’m ahead. I'm just some random girl who can see ghosts on a normal basis… what a turn off that must be.

Speaking of ghosts, Shimada-senpai wasn’t kidding when he mentioned the presence of ghosts here. At first, I thought he was kidding, or if anything exaggerating because of the spooky atmosphere this place gave off. But he wasn’t, and before long I nearly ran straight into the floating body of a departed person. They didn’t seem to notice us, rather just an array of blue hues drifting aimlessly in the hall. I could pick out gentle moans that they released as they drifted into the wall without a care for us.

It was unsettling at first; normally the ghosts I saw were more… animated? For lack of better wording. The ghost that just passed seemed lost in their own time and space; I couldn’t catch anything off their appearance aside from the fact that it looked like they were wearing a uniform of sorts – a school uniform?

The school wasn’t that full of ghosts… but enough to keep popping out of nowhere. The others didn’t seem to notice them, except for when Shimada-senpai stepped through one before visibly shivering… then promptly complaining about the temperature of the building. I stifled a smile, weaving around the poor soul who moaned about their head hurting which put a damper on my mood.

I wanted to reach out to these ghosts; I wanted to do my job and appease them. I never really knew why I was granted gifts like mine, but I tried my best to utilize them to the best of my ability. Because of this, rumours about me spread like wild fire throughout the school that I delved in dark arts and magic… All I really did was seek out those who couldn’t pass by themselves and offered my assistance… nothing really more than that; I didn’t think it was fair to study them for my own amusement or fascination.

I sigh to myself, avoiding another ghost. I forced myself to try and go against my every instinct to chase after it in favour of following the seniors that didn’t give any indication knowing I was here.

Not wanting to be completely forgotten, I push past Shimada-senpai and Kirisaki-senpai so I could walk in front of them. I don’t know exactly why I did; perhaps it was just the emptiness of the school was beginning to eat at me. The floor moaned underneath my feet. I tried to force myself to walk through any ghost that would cross my path to seem more normal to the group that was now behind me. For compensation, I whispered them a small apology though.

"Shit... forgot she was here..." Shimada-senpai muttered quietly, confirming my earlier fears.

I bit my lip, trying to ignore the emptiness inside me. Instead, I looked up from the floor, eying another victim wandering aimlessly throughout the halls. I dared not speak to them out of fear of being thought crazy by my companions… Even if they thought I was schizophrenic already. I really shouldn’t be bothered by it… but I guess there was something different about being forced in a confined space with people I hardly knew that I wanted to keep up somewhat of an appearance.

My green orbs drifted to the ghost that drifted into my sight. She offered a blue hue like the others I have seen. Her dead eyes met mine as I stared back at her. Her neck was brutally bent to one side, obviously broken as spit bubbled at the corners of her mouth. I was certain she was wearing a school uniform, a blouse with a skirt but that’s all I grasped before my wrist was suddenly grasped from behind.

I felt my body suddenly snap back from the stopping power of the thing that grabbed me. I gasped out, feeling my arm tug painfully back, almost like it was being pulled from its socket. My mind couldn’t grasp why I was suddenly forced to stop; it immediately ran all sort of weird possibilities of that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

"Watch where you're fucking going!" Shimada-senpai spat harshly into my ear.

I looked down to see nothing. There was an empty abyss below me where I would have walked if Shimada-senpai never stopped me. It was terrifying how black it was – I never saw anything so dark before. At the same time, it almost seemed inviting to jump down... The darkness seemed oddly inviting despite the fear it brought to me.

"You nearly killed yourself..." he muttered angrily, hauling me away from the edge of the hole. "If you're gonna daydream, at least watch where you're heading... or stay behind us." He didn't let go of my wrist as we fell in behind Kirisaki-senpai and Kizami-senpai, who didn't say anything. Kizami-senpai had a weird glint in his eyes as he stalked me. Kirisaki-senpai offered a sheepish smile herself but offered no comment.

"I... I'm sorry... but... you can let go now..." I stuttered, unsure how to proceed with this development. I could feel my cheeks begin to flush red.

"Damn right you're sorry...” he snorted. “And why would I let go? So you can go off and jump into the next hole you see? What am I, stupid? I’d rather not be scarred for life by watching some stupid girl fall to her death because she wasn’t paying attention…”

I started to blush harder, looking away from his face. I tried to pull my hand away, straying off to the side in attempts to dislodge his hand from my wrist. I heard him grunt at my effort before I felt myself being tugged back towards him, my face being smothered by his attire.

He scoffed into my ear before he allowed me a little leeway so I could see where he decided to point towards. “Clearly, you’re incapable of walking by yourself, little Kouhai. You nearly fell into another crevasse…”

I felt my voice caught in the back of my throat. My face flushed red as I nodded against his chest. I hated how he was right, although the heat of his skin against mine felt… pleasant. I shouldn’t be relishing in the feeling of it but I found myself submitting to his advances due to my own selfish desires.

As we walked away, Shimada-senpai still clutched my wrist tightly. It caused a pleasant pool of heat in my heart but I couldn't help but wonder why he was being so protective so suddenly. At first, it seemed he seemed so indifferent about my survival, clearly voicing that he would rather leave me behind. But here he was now… making sure I didn't fall into my death... My mind swirled with so many thoughts but I couldn’t flag one down long enough for me to focus on it.

"Is... this an exit?" Kirisaki-senpai’s voice tore me away from my thoughts.

She ran ahead of our group, towards the door that apparently appeared. I quickly looked around, not realizing where we were. The small lockers and benches indicated a foyer of some sort... fitting for an elementary school. From where I was standing, it looks like it was raining through the window that allowed a bit of light to seep into the darkness of the school. It wasn’t until now that I realized how dark it really was in here until I saw the light illuminating the floor. Every so often, there would be a bright flash of lightning, quickly followed by a loud clap of thunder. I was somewhat shocked I never noticed the thunderous sound above us before.

The grip on my wrist tightened as Kirisaki-senpai opened the door. Shimada-senpai seemed to be anticipating something… perhaps going home so he could text his girlfriend or something…

The thought left a sour taste in my mouth.

"Eek! It's pouring!" she exclaimed, pulling back. She was already wet just by opening them. Her fuku grew a darker colour as the water was soaked up into it. She looked miserable as she wrung out the bottom of her shirt, wiping the drops off her face with her sleeve. “Ugh… I’m soaked…”

"Hey, Kirisaki-san! You look good while wet," Shimada-senpai smirked devilishly, letting go of my hand. He stalked towards her, his intents very clear. I almost reached out to grab his hand again. His touch was comforting to me; I never realized how much I would miss his touch until I lost it…

Kirisaki-senpai rolled her eyes, deciding to ignore his perverted comment. "We should go back to the others and tell them."

Others…? Oh right… Kirisaki-senpai mentioned that their other friends were here and that Katayama-senpai was waiting for them to return with a way out so he could receive medical treatment. I felt a weight lift off my heart at the thought of their friend getting help. Although I wasn’t aware of the extent of his wounds, he must be in a lot of pain if what I was told was true…

Who would string piano wire up anyway?

Kizami-senpai nodded, agreeing with the girl. Shimada-senpai merely scoffed at them, turning towards the open door where the rain down poured, "Are you fucking kidding me? No way am I headin' back into that hell!"

"Shimada-san... We have to tell them," Kirisaki-senpai hissed. “We can’t just let Katayama-senpai die! And we have to find the others as well!”

"Fuck that. It's their fault for staying in the first place!" he snapped. “Why should I get myself killed for their incompetence?”

He paused briefly, something dangerous flashing in his icy eyes. He carefully analyzed Kirisaki-senpai with a hungry expression. "You... should come with me. You're special to me and I'd hate to see you wound up dead. I’m sure everyone else will make it out all right…”

I felt an odd anger begin to pool in the bit of my stomach. I've felt this feeling many times before but on different subjects. This burning feeling was a permanent part of my life but it never came up in a situation like this before.

Why was I suddenly jealous? This isn’t the first time that Shimada-senpai flirted with a girl… especially not the first time he flirted with Kirisaki-senpai in such a manner. He saved my life… and he seemed to care for me even if that time was so brief… For once, I felt like someone was genuinely concerned for me, so I suppose it was sort of a slap in the face when he still decided to go after Kirisaki-senpai… I guess I was just forgotten about once more.

I almost wanted to laugh at myself. Why was I so gullible? I fall head over heels for the first person to show any sort of acknowledgement of me? I really needed my head checked.

"Forget it, Shimada-san. How many times have you said that in the mirror?"

Shimada-senpai scoffed, almost chuckling. He muttered something in another language – English maybe? - before eying Kizami-senpai darkly. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a knife.

He twirled it in his fingers, playing with the dangerous weapon. I caught Kirisaki-senpai’s expression: she was wondering where he got it from and possibly why he had it to begin with. He kept twirling it as if he was trying to make a point, although I wasn’t sure what that point was. The blade glinted as a flash of lightning illuminated the blade, shining brightly into the darkness.

Why did Shimada-senpai have a knife on him? I knew he was more of a delinquent and liked to vandalize, but was there a need to have a knife? And judging by everyone’s attire, they were plucked straight out of school or just after it, meaning that he had it in school. I felt unsettled with the fact that the redhead felt a need to bring such a dangerous weapon to school for no apparent reason other than to look more intimidating to others.

"Bought this yesterday," he commented softly. He threw it up into the air once more, catching the handle while the tip of the blade was aimed in Kizami-senpai’s direction. There was a brief pause before, "I can't wait to try it..."

His words were not as lost on me as I would like them to have been.

I turned to Kizami-senpai who stood motionless. I scanned his face for any sort of indication of what he was thinking. His dark eyes merely calculated the threat, his gaze unwavering as he studied Shimada-senpai intensely. After perhaps a full minute, a small smile formed on his face.

"Haha. You are amusing."

I gulped, watching the duo bewildered as my eyes drifted to Kirisaki-senpai. She had moved in front of the doors so the light made it difficult to see her expression. I couldn’t pick out on her features if I was the only one that got an odd vibe from that statement. The tone seemed twisted; it was mixed between genuinely amused with a darker undertone that wasn't so easy to detect. Nevertheless, whatever Kizami-senpai was trying to get at, it sent shivers down my spine.

Shimada-senpai narrowed his eyes suspiciously at him before sheathing his knife in a belt loop instead of his breast pocket. He remained motionless for a moment, perhaps wondering what was going through the raven-haired male’s head before he turned to me with a lazy tilt of the head, "What about you, Ghost-kouhai?"

I froze where I stood, my heart hammering in my ears. I was certain I was forgotten about once more as the exchange took place. I didn’t move, nor did I make a sound so it struck me that the model remembered I was observing them as well. I was too shocked to call him out on the derogatory use of my “nickname”.

"M-Me?" I squeaked.

The redhead rolled his eyes, "Who else, Kouhai?... Are you coming with me or what? I don't have all day."

I felt my mouth dry as I tried to comprehend his words. He… wanted me to go with him. Kirisaki-senpai didn’t want to, so I assumed he was just going to go by himself as he didn’t seem to keen with asking Kizami-senpai. Instead, he surprised me with offering to take me with him, although I wasn’t exactly sure where we would go. We didn’t know exactly where we were, except for the location’s name. It was thundering outside although I don’t remember the forecast calling for any sort of rain all week…

For a moment, I fantasized about going with him. We would travel through the freezing downpour to the nearest town to ask for some help in rescuing our friends from some haunted abandoned school. We’d save them all and for some odd reason, Shimada-senpai would insist on staying my friend. Everything would blossom from there and by my last year of high school, we would be happy in a relationship with plans of living together after I got out of school…

Before my fantasy could continue any further, a large gust of wind blew from outside. The force caused rain to splash in, earning a curse from Shimada-senpai who was standing closest to the open doors. Kizami-senpai shielded Kirisaki-senpai from the blast as she cuddled into him as I turned my back, hoping to spare my face from the onslaught of the icy gale.

"Don't... Go..."

My head snapped up to the voice that suddenly my head. Floating in the once vacant doorway was a blue ghost who appeared. Water dripped from his lanky figure as he bobbed up and down in his spot, shivering as he wrapped his arms around his soaking body. His collared shirt stuck to his arms as he attempted to rub himself warm, his slacks hanging low from the excess water. His tie was tied around his forehead, perhaps to keep water from dripping into his eyes.

"Endless sea of trees... On cursed grounds I see..."

“Well, Kouhai?”

"There's no way out..." the ghost moaned again, this time looking directly at me. I could see the terror in his eyes as I imagined him running through the sea of trees he spoke of. He jumped over fallen logs and busted through branches, perhaps even falling down a few times, maybe even twisting an ankle. Eventually, the excess amount of rain and cold would kill him off as pneumonia set in before he even made it back to the school for cover.

I shivered, gulping audibly.

I turned to my seniors who were staring at me weirdly. I felt my voice caught in my throat again as Shimada-senpai rose an eyebrow in a questioning manner. I had to remind myself that they probably couldn’t see or hear what I did, so I looked like I was just staring off into space for no good reason.

"There isn't a way out..." I finally said after gathering enough courage to do so. I could feel Shimada-senpai’s heated stare on my figure.

"How the fuck do you know that?"

"There's... a spirit who told me...”

“Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me…”

The redhead cursed in a language I was certain was English as he turned towards the door. I couldn’t see his expression but I assumed he was debating whether to listen to me. I mean, it did sound really strange, a ghost telling some random girl that it’s not possible to get out through the forest.

He turned back towards me, his face unreadable. He studied me carefully as everyone remained quiet, even the ghost who was there to warn me seemed to have wandered off. The redhead appeared to be in some sort of battle with himself as he calculated me cooly.

“And you trust this ghost, do you?”

“I…”

Looking back at it, it did seem weird. I mean, how long was he out in the forest before he suddenly keeled over and died? This is a school after all… so they wouldn’t build a school out in the middle of nowhere, right? It would have to be nearby for someone to kidnap so many students to put them in this haunted freak show just to kill them… I almost wanted to say that I was mistaken, that the ghost was just a figment of my imagination but something gnawed at the back of my skull, urging me to trust the ghost as if my life depended on it.

Unfortunately for me, my life did depend on it.

“Yes… I do. I trust him.”

Stealing one last look at the door, the model sighed, walking towards it. For a second, I feared that he was going to go out anyway but he closed the doors instead, effectively staying inside with the rest of us. I offered him a sheepish smile as he gave me one last look, his eyes ever calculating before muttering something to himself in another tongue.

The other two were silent during our exchange, having moved out of the front hall back to the main hall in preparation to find the rest of their friends. Kirisaki-senpai seemed surprised to find that Shimada-senpai was coming with us after all, while Kizami-senpai remained indifferent about the whole thing.

We fell in behind them, Kirisaki-senpai leading the way with Kizami-senpai following closely behind her. I didn’t pay much attention to where we were going, I was merely trapped in my own thoughts as I tried to piece together exactly just transpired.

"For the damned record," Shimada-senpai suddenly called out in my direction, his voice filling the soundless void. I nearly jumped from the suddenness of it. "The only reason I didn't go wasn't because of your stupid warning, Ghost-kouhai. I just didn't want to get wet; I have a photo shoot later and I didn't want to get my hair ruined… Besides, I don’t feel like walking through the bush either.”

I heard a snort, presumably from Kirisaki-senpai who was shaking her head no. Shimada-senpai sneered in response, scoffing to the side but no words were exchanged.

A smile came to my lips. I couldn't help but wonder if he was only saying that so we wouldn't get the wrong idea of him believing me… it seemed like something he would do just to prove a point. Whatever his reasoning though, his excuse still made me laugh quietly under my breath.