Kujou Manor remained empty. Kazuo Yashiki, the first and only child of the house, wandered the halls in observance of his daily ritual. Wake up, scout the house, eat breakfast, and so on. It put his restless mind at ease knowing he was the only one there; that the house was entirely empty.
He kept the name once everything was over. Professionally, he was still Masamune Kujou, but to everyone he knew during the cases, he was still Yashiki or old man. They visited once in a while, but in the end, he still bid them a polite goodbye and returned to his silent halls. This day was no different.
Moe had stopped by to get his opinion on some photos she had taken. In the last week, she had heard rumors of a new haunt in an apartment building and was scoping it out for credibility. And so, she wanted Yashiki to search for any sign of paranormal activity within the photographs. Unfortunately for her, but luckily for everyone else, there were no ghosts in the windows. She pouted and took the photos back before leaving, promising to return with better leads next time. It was only after she was gone that Yashiki noticed that she left one photograph behind.
He picked it up and turned it over a few times, staring at the windows of the standard, two-story apartment building. If it were really a haunting, the ghost would be there, but he still didn’t see anything. Nor were there any strange strobes of light or blurry figures that happened to be walking by the trees. There was only a cat.
“The rumor goes that a group of teenagers were telling ghost stories and conducting séances there when they contacted a malicious ghost. One of the girls got possessed and attacked her friends, but then she ran out of the apartment and wasn’t seen for the rest of the night. And then, she came back to school the next day like nothing had happened. She didn’t remember a thing! The rest of the group decided not to talk about it to her, but someone overheard them and the rumor spread quickly that that building was haunted,” she’d told him.
“Who told you this story?”
“I’m friends with someone who knows a girl that goes to that school, so you could say I heard it through the grapevine.”
Typical Moe. Still, he wouldn’t have been surprised if it was a real ghost. He considered investigating the site later. At that moment, he took the photo and climbed the stairs, intending to deposit it in his room for safekeeping.
A noise startled him. He turned to the left to see someone exiting a guest room. A teenager in a baggy sweatshirt with the hood pulled up and jeans.
“Hey!” He shouted at the intruder.
Startled, the teen sprinted at him and tried to dodge out of his way, but Yashiki caught him. The two collided. It was a short struggle since the teen was younger and more able-bodied. He’d swiped his foot under him and caught him at the ankle, tripping him. Yashiki fell, but not where either of them would have expected. They were, after all, fighting at the top of a staircase.
Yashiki tumbled down the stairs. The last thing he saw was the teen’s face. He was horrified, and on his cheek, there was a mark that looked like a cat's scratch.
“Yashiki. Hey, Yashiki!”
He knew that surly tone anywhere. With a small moan, he opened his eyes. Mashita was staring at him, looking like he was ready to kill him for having the gall to die before he did. A quick, unsteady glance to the side revealed Moe leaning over his shoulder.
“Shit!” Mashita smacked his own forehead, “What the hell happened? I thought you’d followed Kujou Saya to the afterlife.”
Yashiki felt a sharp pain in his head and his limbs were sore. Seeing as Mashita wasn’t going to extend a helping hand, he looked to Moe. She quickly stepped in and helped him up.
“Tsk. Are you blind now?” Mashita hissed and then backed off. The detective-turned-private-eye stood up and brushed off his pants before wandering around the crime scene. Could he call it that? It technically was. “Did you just fall because you’re old and stupid? Or what happened?”
Someone was upset. “A kid broke in. We fought at the top of the stairs, and he tripped me.”
Mashita and Moe gasped in unison, “What!?”
“I came back because I forgot a photo, a-and I just saw you lying on the ground, and I panicked, a-and…and I didn’t think…I just called Mr. Mashita right away. I didn’t think to be looking for clues. I’m sorry, Mister!” Moe clapped her hands together and bowed in an apology, but Yashiki waved his hand.
“Don’t worry about it. No one could have guessed that that was what happened. Honestly, Mashita’s guess sounded like the best answer.”
Mashita clicked his tongue again and crossed his arms, “You’re seriously lucky he didn’t kill you.” Then, he seemed to soften up, “It’s dangerous to be living alone in this big house with all the ghosts. Look where that road lead Saya. You should seriously consider retiring this place and finding somewhere smaller.”
“You know I can’t do that,” Yashiki sighed. Mashita sighed too.
“Don’t say I never tried. Anyway, what do you want to do about this?”
Both guests looked at him, and Yashiki rubbed his aching shoulder, “We need to find him.”
“Great, we agree for once.” Mashita smirked, but Yashiki cut him off before he could say anything more.
“He has a mark.”