Clamping my hands over my mouth to avoid groaning, I then use the hem of my loose Tshirt to wipe the sweat and tears from my face, then quietly leave the bed, picking up my cig pack and going on the balcony, using a pillow to make myself comfortable as my back rests on one of the chair's arm rests, while my legs were dangling over another chair. I pour myself a glass of vodka with cherry juice, light up a cigarette, and look up at the starry sky, sighing deeply.
How did it come to this...?
I really shouldn't have gotten involved with this case. It affects me too much. I'm too empathetic for this idiocy. For this...This. But how can I not take things so personal, when I can see myself in those poor girls' shoes, and I even had the misfortune to feel what one of them felt, to that insane intensity, not only of pain and agony, but the fear and confusion, the hopelessness they felt being in that situation, with a psychopath like Miroku.
"Not even I can help you have a proper sleep, can I?" a voice called out, making me jump slightly, only to realise it was Seiji.
"...Sorry." I muttered, looking down and puffing a bit more from the cigarette.
"Don't apologise. It's not your fault those ghosts are messing with you. I just worry. Do you want company? Silence, listening or talking, I'll be here for you, if you want me to." he suggested, and I nodded, waving my hand for him to sit on the chair opposite of mine, at the little table.
"I'm a hypocrite, y'know? I go by that saying...Listen to what I say, not to what I do. I'm a terrible example to live by. I told Ban not to get involved in this case, since it would affect him tons...But look at me now. I never imagined, the first time I stepped into that...That God forsaken house...That I would have to find out such a horrific truth. I mean...All the ghosts so far had really painful stories, hence why they became so vengeful...But this one...This is one of the worst. It's tied with the Love Hotel ghost for the most painful cases...Or the ones that affected me the most." I spoke out, letting my head back, looking at the sky.
"What could possibly be so bad that it made you this weary and exhausted?" he asked in a gentle, shushed voice, as to give me my time.
"...In your time as a Yakuza, have you ever tortured someone? Or witnessed torture? And I mean extreme one, not just some beating up, that's usual and lame." realising that the burn reached the butt of the cigarette, I down the remaining of the glass and light up another cigarette.
"No, I can't say I did see anything worse than that. But my pops mentioned some extreme decisions he had to do, including cutting fingers and such. Not him personally, obviously, but his lackeys." he explained, and I hummed in understanding for a few seconds, before opening my mouth to speak.
"Say, have I ever told you that when I was little, I used to do lots of arts? People in Europe pride themselves for getting their kids to do lots of various extracurricular activities, varying from arts of all kinds, sports and foreign languages. I'm not sure why, but it was really fun, and sometimes, I wish I continued some of them so I could have a higher proficiency, however studying had to become my main activity, and it took most of my time, so for the little leisure time I had, I would either write random things, doodle, go for walks through the forest, or practice more the two musical instruments I chose for my medicine entrance exam." every good story begins with extremely cryptic words, doesn't it?
"That's interesting to find out. No wonder you have such a vast general culture. It's admirable, if you ask me." Seiji gave me a side smile that I caught from the corner of my eye.
"When I was about 8, I used to do dancing, of all sorts. Can you guess which type was my favourite?" I asked, getting up, holding both the glass and the cigarette in the same hand.
"I'm not very knowledgeable in dance types, but I can see you as the romantic one. Something like Waltz or Tango?" he guessed, making me chuckle slightly, before gracefully doing a few arm and legs movements, before doing a clumsy pirouette.
"Ballet...And thankfully, I didn't get dizzy yet, so I didn't fall. Ballet used to be my favourite type. I remember getting so loud and cheerful when my teacher finally allowed me to get my first pair of pointe shoes. They were pink! Just like the ones the Barbie doll did. Barbie as the Sugar Plum Fairy. From the Nutcracker ballet. I was so happy. And then, my mum even managed to get a tailor do create the doll's costume. I let my hair long, so by the time I would wear the dress, which was a Christmas present...Well, I danced the Sugar Plum Fairy's little part for them. I even had a cute little tiara. Albeit, I wasn't the best, clearly, I was just a child...But...Actually, I think my brother's parents still have the cassettes my parents filmed when I was little." I smiled, letting nostalgia paint my lips, as I leaned my back on the rail of the balcony.
"Aww, that sounds cute. I'd like to see them some day, if possible. Actually, my father made me do some dancing too, but more recently. He said it's an important skill for people like us, and I think I'm inclined to agree." he mentioned as a matter of fact, which made me smirk.
"It also makes one conjure a certain degree of inner sensuality and gracefulness that most people lack by default." I made a little playful jab, knowing very well he'd catch, as he chuckled in agreement. "Do you know that there is a dream that is shared pretty commonly among all girls who do ballet and want to perform on stage? There is a certain role they all wish to be able to do on stage and perform in front of everyone. It acts as a badge of honour and accomplishment for all the hard work, blood and tears you put into this hobby that became a full job." I continued my idea, despite the confusion on his face.
"No, I cannot say that I know, but I can only guess it would have to do with some pretty princess from a very popular classical ballet?" he threw his theory very carefully.
"Did you know that there were tons of people who told me that I should have pursued drama and become an actress? Yes, I know, I'm very anxious and an introvert...However...There is a sort of...Born, natural theatrical talent that I have, that I discovered when I was forced to do public speeches and presentations in front of people, and I would go all out with them, which made me pretty successful among my peers. Then, it continued with impersonations of different characters and little skits on the stage, whenever I had the chance...So you could say that I also had this dream...Of performing Odette from Swan Lake. Being so great that I could be both Odette and Odile on stage...Do you think I did it? It is one of the hardest roles in ballet, but the question still stands." I challenged him as I tried to remember some of the movements, and I body moved automatically, although not as graceful, especially barefoot, but still close enough.
"Judging by the way you move, and the way you inspire confidence, yes, I think you did. Maybe not to professional degree, but close to that. Do you have a film of you on stage? It must have been an incredible stage performance." Seiji crossed his ankle over his knee, listening intently.
"Yes, I did, and yes, I do, I reckon. I think I'd like to see them again, as well, if my heart can take the nostalgia. You see, I'm not the best at controlling my emotions. I'm either too emotional, or completely devoid of them. But...Here's the deal. I did become Odette. Those little girls didn't. And here comes the result to the build up I did just now. We are investigating the case of the Screaming Author, at Yakumo Miroku's house. Have you heard of him?" I asked, and at this point, Seiji's eyes became sharp and attentive.
"I believe my father may have mentioned his name some time ago. Something about a horror novelist, I believe? I was never interested in the supernatural, or the occult, so I never bothered to remember or research. But what is it about him?" he got up, crossing his arms.
"When I got into his house, we found a girl's Sailor Uniform...And a flyer that advertised a children variation of Swan Lake - Lac des canes, Duck Lake, for children too young to wear pointe shoes. And then...We found a tape. A tape that was actually a police report, mentioning young girls under the age of 13 that got kidnapped around this are...Did you know that Miroku was known for his exemplary descriptions of gorey stuff, like bones, flesh, wounds and blood?" I asked rhetorically, as he approached me, frowning.
"Did he kidnap them, then? And killed them, which is why the ghosts were made?" his voice was softer now, almost afraid, and I could only nod my head slowly, my mouth open, yet unable to speak for a few seconds.
"Today...We found something more. We found...Three dolls that needed appeasing. One of them was crying that she was famished. Another that she was cold and wanted her mummy...And the other was so desperate...Scared...In agony...That she wanted to go to school, thinking that it would change everything...And...That's not even the worst part. The children knew they were going to die. They knew they were helpless, hopeless, and that the inevitable was going to happen sooner than expected. But the parents didn't have this kindness. The kindness of having a closure. They may still hold hope in their hearts, even now, that somehow, their child will return home. They may still be blaming themselves for letting their little girl go home from school or extracurricular classes by herself and getting kidnapped. They don't know their child got killed...And they will never know the pain they went through, nor will they see how mutilated their little princess' body became." I took a sharp breath, looking up at the sky again.
"Mutilated...? What do you mean, Kisara? What in the world did you find there?!" his voice became alarmed, as he gently put his hands on his arms, trying to give me a sense of security and comfort.
"We also found...Three different tapes...And...Three different girls were talking...But...It wasn't 'talking'...It was more like...Shrieking in agony from the pain...And asking to have things given back...But...Those things...Were...Their limbs. Miroku...Was cutting off their limbs...With a handsaw. The girls were begging him to kill them already. One girl had all four limbs cut off, and he said...That he'd like to keep her alive, but with all her limbs missing, it would be impossible. Another girl had her arm half-cut, and she was begging him to let her go...But he said...That she should shut up and let him continue cutting her arm..." I didn't even realise my bottom lip was quivering until I got pulled into a hug.
"You don't have to talk if it makes you uncomfortable, Kisara, okay? Take it easy, you've already been through enough." Seiji spoke soothing words, trying to comfort me.
"That tape...Had blood on it. And I didn't realise it when I picked it up, to put in the boombox to play. And...And I became her. Tied to the chair...Both my legs cut off...Staring Miroku right in the face...As he spoke with a menacing, psychopathic tone...Saying that...He needs her alive...And that he will treat her wounds, so he can cut her arms next...And the pain...God, the pain...It was so terrible that I found myself screaming in the real world, and that never happened before. When Ban and Akira came to check on me, I tried to get up, but my strength was all gone, and an electrifying, numb pain was still running through me, and I needed Ban's support to stand up." a few tears fell down my face, but the boy was there to wipe them away.
"Oh, Kisara...You should really stop getting yourself in such horrible situations. I hate seeing you so pained. But don't worry, I know you'll be able to give those girls the closure they deserve. Shhh, it will be alright, I'm here." he continued reassuring me, hugging me tighter.
"The night before...I and Ban went to have a drink and lick each other's wounds. We told each other the traumas we suffered from...I told him not to get involved in this, because he will feel terrible. He used to have a wife and a young son, who died because of a ghost. I can only imagine, as a father, how terrible it must feel to have your family killed by ghosts, and then, to have to get in a situation like this. But I'm a hypocrite. I...I got home. I became Odette. I am here, alive, with a future...But they are not. And I can't stop seeing myself when I was little, in my ballet clothes...And then that happens. What if that were me? Miroku didn't just die recently, these disappearances aren't from now. They could have even been from 10-15 years ago...And then, I was the same age they were." I kept rambling on, and before I knew it, I left his arms, getting back in the chair, pouring more vodka and lighting up another cigarette.
"You're trying to get somewhere with the story, aren't you?" he asked, looking down at me, most likely debating whether or not should he take away those vices from me, or if he should let me mourn in peace.
"We got drunk...And...I spoke out about some things that happened 5 years ago...At the Love Hotel. I ended up vomiting from the horrible memories...Because I never told this story to anyone until now. My brother and the others there already knew what happened since they were there, so there was nobody else to tell, that would actually believe me anyway...But this wasn't the first time I got memory-tortured...But that one took its toll on me mentally, pretty damn hard, since it played on my greatest fears. Darkness, Insects...And Myself." I muttered the ending, looking own at the red mixed vodka for a few seconds, before downing it and pouring more, finishing the cigarette and puffing another, as if I was an old steam train.
"What do you mean by that...?" he frowned, leaning a bit over the table, sitting back on his chair.
"I had just moved to Japan and my brother got accused of some...Terrible accusations. I know how a sexual harasser is like, and I know very well he wasn't one, so I was dead set on helping him abolish those rumours and get back his position as a detective. At the same time, his mentor and best friend was killed by some cult...But as we investigated, we got marked by a ghost, and gradually, we started losing our memories, and we would have died, just like Akira...But Yashiki came by and we saved each other. We continued helping him on and off, until he finally got rid of his own Death Mark...And then, some time afterwards...Do you remember Moe Watanabe, the girl who wrote occult articles on OOPArts Monthly, that Hazuki mentioned when we first met?" I asked, turning to look at him.
"The one talking about The Knight, your occult persona, was it?" he raised his eyebrow, confused, yet intrigued, of why I was bringing her up.
"The article Hazuki found was from the Love Hotel incident. And...The ghost was a Spider Spirit. I'm...THAT kind of girl whose sight isn't the best, had frequent nightmares, sleep paralysis, got scared of what monster could lurk in the dark, and shrieked like hell whenever spiders or any gross insects were in sight. And...This Love Hotel was a place underage girls would go to for fast money...And there was a secret level that had no stairs, but you needed a secret code on the elevator buttons so access it...And...It was a place where wealthy men would go and indulge in incredibly psychopathic fetishes...Including brutal tortures. And...This Spider Spirit...Was a goody two shoes girl whose role model was her teacher, and she had conflict in her heart, seeing her schoolmates go to such an immoral place, and she wanted to tell her teacher...But she found the teacher in Masquerade...And he kidnapped her...And got her to the secret place...And...Tortured her..." I trailed on, not realising how the cigarette was rapidly burning, and the ashes were falling on the table.
"...And you touched her blood, didn't you?" Seiji blinked, taking the cig from my hand, putting it off on the ash tray.
"...They stripped her down...And restrained her wrists...And had her mouth forced open with one of those dentist tools, blindfolded her...And...Then...Well, she's a Spider Spirit for a reason...I'm sure...You can guess..." I stumbled over my words, mimicking the spider getting in her mouth, and then, trailing my index and middle finger down my neck, I noticed him shuddering in disgust and shock.
"They put a spider in her mouth, and it crawled in her throat?!" the disbelief on his face obvious.
"...Those long, hairy legs going down and tickling all the way and...Gahhhhh, I don't want to remember again. Remembering that scene made me vomit two days ago...And it made me have a huge breakdown when it happened, so bad that it took both Yashiki and my brother to drag me the hell out of there and try to stop me from being hysterical." resting my elbows on the table, I rest my face on my hands, groaning.
"Gosh, that's horrible. I can't even begin to imagine...I have no words. I can't even comfort you in any way since there's no way to comfort something of this magnitude. That's the worst." he put his hands over mine, and I grabbed them, intertwining my fingers with his.
"My ex, that I also saw two days ago, did some pretty nasty things to me...And they were pretty recent, 5 years ago. My brother was the only person I ever told. And...A trauma so recent, and feeling those hands all over me in that memory...It just made it so much worse. But then, when I got dragged in the elevator so we could run the hell away from there...It got suck and spiders started filling it, crawling all over us. I lost it completely. I was an irrational mess...And were it not for them...I don't think I would have been able to save myself, nor regain my sanity...But if that wasn't enough...Remember what I told you about Hazuki's coma? I...Got possessed by the Spider Spirit girl...I was made to seduce Yashiki...But when he took away the webs from my back, I fell into a coma, and until they purified her, I wouldn't wake up, no matter what Daimon would try...That's why...If I can allow myself to be so selfish to say so...I...I'm happy that it wasn't you. It may sound terrible and selfish a-and...The complete opposite of altruistic and whatever...But...I was so...Beyond happy when I saw Akira choosing you over her. I was so relieved when I saw you opening your eyes and being the same sarcastic little jerk that you are. I almost lost it when I saw you like that...It feels like whenever I make a step forwards, I take 10 backwards, and take a dive into those traumas that hold me back...That's why I told you...Don't stay around me. I'm a mess. And you deserve so much more than...This." I sighed, closing my eyes, feeling at ease for finally being able to let out all the pent up frustrations I held onto over the years.
"Kisara. Never speak like that about yourself, okay? And it's human to be selfish. You did absolutely nothing wrong. What happened to you would have traumatised everyone. It doesn't mean you're weak, in any way. Come on, look at me." he got up, pulling at my hands to get me into a hug, before cupping my face and looked me in the eyes, making me look away, bashfully.
"Don't even think about kissing me when I stink of alcohol and cigarettes. Trust me, it's disgusting. I don't even have mint gum or something." I chuckled awkwardly, putting my hands over his.
"You're being silly and worrying too much." with a gentle smile, his fingers found their way into my hair as he leaned down to kiss me, and I could only pull him closer, deepening it, just by a little bit, before we parted, and shyly looked away for a split second.
"Y'know you're the best, don't you? You have to know that by now." I scoffed in amusement, looking away with an amused smirk.
"Of course I do. And now that you said it, there's truly no way for doubt. Let's go back inside, it's getting cold. Let's eat that cake and try to relax...It sucks I can't be there for you tomorrow, but promise me, no matter what, you'll try to take care of yourself tomorrow. I hate seeing you suffering like that. Please, take care of yourself, and I promise you, if there is a next time, I will be there to make sure you're okay. Until then...Stick to Ban and Akira and try to stay away from the ghost. I understand you want closure and revenge for the victims, and we have to save Akira and Amy...But don't get yourself killed in the process, okay? I don't want to lose my Little Knight." he chuckled lightly, putting his arm around my shoulder, pulling me close to his side.
"I...Can't promise anything. But I can at least promise that I will try. I want to come back too. I'm afraid of ghosts...And I hope that after the whole problem with Akira is over, I won't have to see ghosts anymore, or anything supernatural. I'm really exhausted by all of this and I just want to get back to my normal life. And then...Things will get better. I'm sure of that." I smiled at him, leaning on his shoulder, on the best, as we both enjoyed the chocolate cake from yesterday.
"That's what I like to hear, Kisara. Keep your head up, and you'll pull through. There is only one Knight, and that is you. Besides...I don't know which of us will get more pissed off at you getting hurt, but I'm sure your brother will go livid." Seiji chuckled, which made me turn my head, looking at him with eyes wide.
"Mashita Satoru is the rudest person in the world, while also being the sweetest. Likewise, he's also the scariest, in an aloof, eerie way, especially considering that intimidating, detective stare of his, and the brute strength he has...And the tricks he knows. Trust me, he taught me some self-defense techniques, and let me tell you, I do NOT want to practice them with him again." I burst into fits of laughter, remembering the thousands of times I got thrown to the ground and many more as I tried to practice basic police-level self-defense stuff.
"At least I'm sure if you need to wrestle a ghost, you'll win the fight, unlike me, bringing a gun to an exorcism." he grinned, musing at what he's done.
"Why do I feel like things are going to get much more fun from now on, hmm~?" I mused playfully, turning to give him a mischievous side-glance.
"Because they are definitely going to get fun." he retorted with just as much cheek as me.
There's still a lot of time until tonight when we return to the Miroku residence, and the Sun barely rose, so I still can sleep until noon and gather enough strength for this insanity that's going to happen.
Things will get fun, clearly.