"Dreams catch us with our armour off."
~Victoria Schwab


Chapter One

Numbers

Oliver, or Naru as he was once called, was not one to have nightmares. Dreams were for children who needed to be held in the dark. He wasn't a snotty-nosed kid who needed to be coddled. No, he was far too mature for that. It was more enjoyable to fight against the darkness rather than succumb to it. That was the only reason why he sought out the paranormal in the first place. He refused to surrender to the emotions that nearly ate him alive.

Tonight however, was quite different. He had dreamed of something that couldn't be erased. Images filled with terror were now burned into his skull. If Naru hadn't known any better, he would have believed that they were tattooed against the back of his head. What he had seen was permanent. It would remain despite the time that constantly slipped by. It was almost worrisome, but he wasn't one to let anything get that far with ease.

With a faint sense of frustration, Naru ran a hand through his unruly black hair. His fingertips quivered within the darkness, shaking at a pace which resembled that of a leaf. For the first time in years, he realized one foolish and terrifying thing: he was actually filled with fear. The emotion, usually foreign, flowed throughout his veins like a drug. It stimulated his senses and made his vision blur. Understanding the feeling seemed impossible, but Naru wasn't an idiot. He knew where it came from. He could picture the place, or rather, the person it had been created for.

Without thinking, Naru jumped out of his bed, whipping the covers back like they were some kind of beast. When his feet touched the wooden floorboards, he suppressed a wince filled with discomfort. He needed to get to a phone. It didn't matter where it was—in his room, on the kitchen counter, or in a hallway across Britain. All he knew, was that getting to a phone was a necessity. The reason was quite simple; Naru never had dreams, especially ones that were vivid and completely astounding. Sure, he had visions when he was using his gift, but that was a different story. Unfortunately, his current situation was different. It was wrong.

A hiss slipped though Naru's lips as his foot came into contact with a thick leather book. He didn't know how it had found a place along the floor, but that hardly mattered now. In annoyance he picked up the hardcover and threw it on a nearby couch. When the novel cracked against the floorboards, he knew that it had failed to meet its target. He didn't know what was more frustrating—dealing with a stubbed toe or a pathetic failure. Luckily, that also held no importance. He had more urgent things to worry about, like finding a dependable phone.

It seemed to take forever, but Naru eventually found a mobile device. It had been jammed under the cushions placed along his couch. It's location was questionable, but more likely than not, he had placed it there himself. His phone was a nuisance—every time it rang, he was forced to simply talk. It was honestly a waste of time. He had better things to do, most of which involved silence and a nice cup of tea.

Naru sighed wearily and pushed away his unnecessary thoughts. There was no time to waste. What he had seen was far from normal. The images within his mind only served to make his skin crawl. He wasn't one to admit defeat in any shape or form, but if he didn't attempt to remedy the situation soon, he would fall apart. In three seconds flat, Naru dialled a familiar number and waited for an answer. Of course, he had difficultly remaining completely still. He tapped his foot rapidly, matching the frantic beat of his heart. He didn't stop, not until a voice erupted from the other end of the line.

"Hello?"

"Lin, I need numbers." Naru said in what he thought was a steady tone. His foot continued to smack against the hardwood floor.

"Oliver?" Lin questioned in a sleepy voice. "Why are you calling in the middle of the—"

Naru cut his friend off. He didn't have time for inconvenient small talk. There was a problem that desperately needed to be solved. "I need numbers."

A loud and miserable sigh erupted through the line. Lin was obviously unhappy with Naru's behaviour, but in all honesty, he could care less. It was hardly important, not compared to the situation at hand. "What numbers? Are you alright?"

"Fine," Naru paused, hoping his friend wouldn't misinterpret the situation. "I just need her number."

Silence hung throughout the room like a discarded coat. It wasn't difficult to understand why. Naru was asking for something that he had rejected months—no, years ago. He had refused to maintain a connection with Mai after she had pleaded for his phone number. In reality, he didn't really know why. Perhaps she just annoyed him, but Naru wasn't too sure. After his brother's death, he had pushed everyone away. Returning to Britain after his search in Japan was just an extension to his previous actions. Loneliness was far better than becoming a broken record. Driving Mai away was a form of protection, one that he needed in order to survive.

"Why? Did something happen?"

"No." He lied.

"Then why do you need it?"

A rush of panic seeped through Naru's veins. He ran a hand throughout his hair and tried to breathe calmly. "Just give me the number. I have a problem to solve."

"What problem do you need Mai Taniyama to solve? You haven't talked to her in years." Lin paused, his voice cracking within the air. "What happened? Oliver, are you alright?"

"I'm fine." Naru said angrily. He was tired and didn't want to deal with Lin's unnecessary compassion in the middle of the night. The whole situation was simply irrational and he was mad—not at Lin, but at himself. After remaining isolated for six years, one terrifying incident had to ruin everything. What made things worse, was that it revolved around a girl that made him want to tear his hair out. Perhaps he was just kind. In the end, he would never know. He had to make sure she was alright. Something inside his chest, a painful tugging on his ribs, told him that it was necessary to make sure.

Another sigh crackled across the phone line. "Alright. I'll give you the number."

"Good." Naru snapped, his patience slowly withering away. He released a fist full of hair and began to pace around his couch. It was dark, but he didn't really care. He doubted that another book had found its way onto the ground, and it wasn't like the floor was suddenly going to cave in. He needed to walk and burn away some stress. Otherwise, he would explode.

Lin appeared to be moving around, as rustling sounds quickly filled the air. Unfortunately, the volume on Naru's phone was extraordinarily high, so in order to survive the sudden explosion of noise, he was forced to hold the device a meter away from his head. The experience only served to enforce his distaste for phones in general. There was no reason why he should have to sacrifice his eardrums for a conversation. It was incredibly stupid and annoying. If it was any other day, he would have resisted the urge to turn the device off.

"I can't promise that it's the right one. I'm not exactly the right person to have called about this issue."

"It will be good enough."

Lin muttered something under his breath, but it was nearly undetectable to Naru's ears. He assumed it was some form of rude comment or insult, but he couldn't be too sure. After all, his hearing was slightly impaired due to the phone. Instead of talking he chose to wait silently, his feet continuing to clatter against the floorboards. He counted his steps and forced every negative thought from his head. Forgetting the dream was something that would occur at a later time. Now, he only had to be concerned with memorizing a number. Of course, that came relatively easy, as Naru was a genius.

"Here is the number." Lin stated quietly before he listed off a series of random digits. "Do you have it?"

"Yes."

Silence dominated the room once again, but quickly faded. "It's been an absolute wonder talking to you," Lin muttered sarcastically, "but I think it's time that I go. You have taken up enough of my time at two in the morning."

Naru didn't get to reply as his friend had already hung up the phone. The action wasn't characteristic of Lin, but it was incredibly late, so it made some sort of sense. In all honesty, he was usually the one to suddenly end a conversation, not the other way around. He supposed Lin was similar to himself. He could act cold and distant, but become relatively friendly when desperately needed.

Rather than wallow in his thoughts, Naru turned off his phone. He took some pleasure in watching the screen grow dark before jamming it underneath a variety of cushions. The device was meant to be lost, hence the reason why he had returned it to the dark abyss within the sofa. For now, he was content with allowing the device to remain hidden. He would deal with with it the next day, when he had cultivated some sort of response. It was funny, but he couldn't call Mai without a plan in mind. His reasoning was quite simple.

In his dream, she had died. The worst part, was that he had to watch it happen.

He could remember every detail—the smell of blood, the fear scrawled across her face, the sound of her screams—it bothered Naru, more than he was willing to admit. The weird part was that it felt real, tangible in a way that was terribly disturbing. If he touched anything, he knew it would have travelled with him to the living world. He had played with the thought that perhaps Mai had sent him a message as she was usually the one who had issues with dreams, but for some reason, he believed that to be quite unlikely. She had no reason to contact him, let alone randomly start a conversation. If she had a chance he was certain that she would punch him in the face.

In frustration, Naru clenched his fists. He sat on the couch and turned on a nearby lampshade, watching the light slowly filter across the floorboards. Something was about to go wrong. He had a sixth sense, a feeling that always told him when a disaster was about to occur. The same thing had occurred on the night of Gene's death. He had felt an odd sensation and elected to ignore it, deeming it unworthy of his attention. That of course, had horrible implications, ones he did not wish to repeat. It would be in the best interests of everyone to make sure Mai was alright. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to sleep at night. That was the only reason he chose to remain awake, fighting against the drowsiness that plagued his brain. The light, despite its small size, was his salvation. It fought his fears and drowned his sorrows. It protected him from the darkness, which truly seemed to dance throughout the air.

For a moment, a mere instant in time, Naru was truly a child. He needed to be coddled and held against someone's chest. Never, in his entire life would he admit it, but he was afraid. Something was coming. He didn't know what.


A/N: Hello, everyone! This is my first story for 'Ghost Hunt'! I have been battling with this idea for quite awhile, and finally decided to put it into words! This first chapter is a sort of introduction or prelude to what may or may not occur in the future. It's relatively simple and easy to understand. Well, at least that's what I hope! I had fun putting this together on a cloudy afternoon! Exams are coming, so I needed some inspiration to relieve some stress!

I hope this piece is enjoyable despite it's short length! I would appreciate some feedback, so please feel free to leave a review!

*I do not own anything! If so, I would have jammed Naru and Mai together in five seconds flat!

~IronEclipse