Disclaimer: I do not own Gakkou no Kaidan (aka Ghosts at School), w/c may be translated as School Ghost Stories. Credits go to Hiroshi Hashimoto (the story editor), Studio Pierrot (studio producer), and also the various Japanese ghost stories that inspired the making of this anime. There is only room for me to make fan fiction. Please don't sue me!

This is probably the first Gakkou no Kaidan fic on ffnet so please... do enjoy yourselves! ;-)




Pact with the Crimson Devil

Prologue





Silence had never been so deafening. Just a moment ago, his shallow breathing had resonated through that same cold evening air, and she had been alive with false hope.

A tear fell on her cheek as she lifelessly brushed the dark wavy locks from his moist face. He was dead now, and nothing could ever bring him back. Wrapping her arms around herself, she continued to stare at his face. It was so pale, drained of all life, and it had been her fault! Anguished sobs erupted from her chest as she began to tremble. How could she let such a thing happen? Is this... Is this what she truly wanted? Shaking her head in denial, a look of raw terror on her face, she tore her gaze away from his empty stare.

Shivering uncontrollably, she forced herself to look at his face again. His tormented face.

She tentatively reached out to touch him, but something stopped her midway. His eyes...

Her heart began pounding as she realized. He... He was accusing her! She could see it in the void depths of those blue black eyes.

No! She did not want this. She did not want any of this!

She scrambled to her feet and backed away from his corpse. Why wouldn't he stop looking at her?! She did not want this. She... she did not want him to die... None of this made sense! She grabbed her head as she let out a frightened shriek. Please just stop! Stop looking at me! she screamed in her mind.

For a brief instant, her heart stopped, then a small gasp escaped her lips.

Standing near his limp body was a crimson ogre. She took a step back, wobbling as her knees almost gave way. It was that accursed thing. That thing made her do it! Clenching her fist into a tight ball, she glowered at the sneering demon, breathing heavily and trembling with fear.

"You made me do this," she hissed, quivering slightly as it regarded her with its pasty gaze.

Its black lip curled upward.

She clutched the dangling locket hanging loosely from her neck. I have to destroy this, she thought hastily, determined to release herself from that horrid pact -- the same pact that had tempted her with its untapped power.

With a swift movement, the demon snatched the locket from her grasp and began pulling on it, suffocating her, until the metal chain broke and there were deep red marks on her neck.

Its hollow laughter vibrated, repeating over and over again in her frantic mind. Slowly, she looked up in fright at the red demon. It was saying something to her. Soundlessly. Her thin brows met as she tried to understand.

O. Wa. Ri.

Her body jerked. Eyes widening in shock, she moved laboriously, bit by bit, to lay a hand on her lower abdomen. Mouth forming a horrified O, her hands began to shake violently as she touched something viscous and wet.

Blood...

Her blood.

She fell to the ground, her eyes wide and white. Beside her, fresh blood splattered where the locket was dropped. Its ruby pendant shone as the red fluid touched its polished surface.

Cackling, the demon vanished as the ruby continued to absorb her flowing blood.

It was a pact of blood, and by blood it will be broken.

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Days like these never failed to put Satsuki in a good mood. Cold and humid, the bright morning sun seemed to illuminate the surroundings with a soft glow that was pleasant to the eye. Sunlight did not penetrate her skin the way it does during the heat of summer. Instead, its gentle warmth provided a nice contrast to the suspended chill in the breeze.

She sighed in contentment.

Walking leisurely on the sidewalk, the girl in uniform did not seem to be in any hurry, which is not at all surprising since it was still rather early in the morning. Six to be exact. And homeroom was not even until seven.

Regardless, Satsuki always woke up at around five to cook their breakfast and do some quick chores. Considering that she was pretty much the only female in the household, that much can be expected.

Her brother Keiichiro did not make things any easier for her though. Sweet tempered and vulnerable before, he had grown into what Satsuki called a menace. In any case, Satsuki could never stay angry with him even if she tried. After all, she still cared for her younger brother just as much as she cared for him back then.

Besides, she'd rather blame it on puberty.

"Satsuki!" she heard someone call her.

Automatically, the girl with jade eyes turned around to see her childhood friend running towards her. Satsuki regarded the newcomer by raising her brow. "Early for a change, aren't we?" she supposed tartly.

"Cold, Satsuki. Real cold." Hajime brought his hands to the back of his head, falling in step with her. "Isn't it a bit too early for you to head towards school?"

Satsuki returned her gaze to the pathway. "I could ask you the same question."

"Unlike some people, I have every reason to be at school so early in the morning," he retorted. Hajime stopped walking and enunciated, "Two syllables, Satsuki. Ren-shuu." [Renshū = Japanese word for training or practice]

She let out a groan and rolled her eyes. "Right. How could I forget?" she answered, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

Each time the opportunity presented itself, Hajime always managed to slip in the conversation the fact that he was part of the baseball and soccer varsity team in their high school. He did it mainly because Satsuki had once scoffed at the prospect of him being able to get into any team at all. And of course, because it always managed to annoy her every time he did so.

"Baka." She muttered before she continued walking. "I can't believe you're still upset about that." [Baka = Idiot]

"And I can't believe it still annoys you to be reminded of it," he shot back, grinning playfully at her.

Satsuki flushed at this. "I am not annoyed," she huffed, denial obvious in her facial expression.

"Right. Whatever you say, Satsuki." He gestured towards the building just ahead of them. "Well... we're here." His lips curled upward into a smirk. Winking, he said, "Try not to get lost, okay?"

Slightly exasperated, she watched as the black haired boy hurried inside the school grounds.

With him gone, Satsuki was again left alone with her thoughts.

Hmph. Who wouldn't get annoyed? she told herself, silently voicing out what she couldn't say in front of her childhood friend. Ever since he got accepted into the varsity team, Hajime unexpectedly became quite popular in their school -- especially with the female population, much to her dismay. "Hajime no baka," she mumbled incoherently under her breath.

Satsuki bit her lip as she caught herself. Spoken like a jealous girlfriend. Satsuki, you idiot. She shook her head, feeling the sudden urge to whap herself silly.

"Satsuki-chan," a soft voice greeted. "Ohayou." [Ohayou = (good) morning]

Satsuki snapped back to reality and realized that she was already in her classroom. She turned to where the voice came from and saw a petite girl smiling at her.

"Ohayou, Kyoko-chan!" she greeted back energetically. "You're earlier than usual today."

The girl with short pink hair giggled. "You too."

Satsuki felt an amused smile form on her lips. "Okay, spill already. I'm sure you didn't ask me to come here this early in the morning just to chat about mindless things." She sat on the chair across Kyoko, who was sitting by the window aisle.

Kyoko let out another giggle and blushed. "Actually... I wanted you to assist me with someone..."

Satsuki crinkled her nose. "Don't tell me it's another guy," she complained. "You know what happened the last time I assisted you."

This time, Kyoko burst out laughing. "Hai, hai. Wakatta yo." [Hai = yes; Wakatta yo = I understand] "You won't have to peep through windows this time," she giggled. "Besides... this is different. I think I really like this guy..." Another blush rose on her cheeks.

Satsuki raised her brows. "Different, how?"

"Well, he's the nicest guy I know... and his eyes... when you look into them, you can't help but feel tingly all over..." Kyoko touched her warm cheeks and closed her eyes as she mused. "And when he looks at you, it's like he can see right into your soul..." She let out a dreamy sigh. "And his tousled hair... it makes you want to run your fingers through those adorable unruly locks..."

Satsuki rubbed her temples, feigning a headache. "Okay, enough with the details." She steered the conversation back to the subject at hand. "How did you want me to assist you in the first place? Who is this guy anyway?"

Kyoko smiled and stood from her seat. "Take a look outside the window for me."

Satsuki wordlessly followed then gazed at the baseball field below where their school team was having a practice game. "It's the baseball team... so what?" Then her eyes widened in realization. "Wait a minute... you don't mean to tell me..."

The other girl blushed furiously. "He's in the baseball team."

Satsuki gaped at the pink haired girl. Now I get it... She knows I'm friends with Hajime, so she knows I have easy access to the baseball team. "Well, you'll have to tell me his name first," she told her friend.

Kyoko turned into a deeper shade of red. "Promise not to laugh at me..."

The girl with jade eyes only blinked at this. "Why would I?"

"Because you dislike him," came the embarrassed reply.

"I... dislike him? But that would mean..." I know him, Satsuki finished in her mind. She frowned. But the only person I know in the baseball team is...

"Hajime..."

Kyoko blushed again, nodding her head. "You will help me, right?"

Satsuki swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. "I don't know, Kyoko... Hajime can be a real jerk most of the time," she reasoned. "What do you people see in him, anyway?"

"Please, Satsuki-chan! I'll be forever in your debt!"

Satsuki cringed at the puppy dog eyes Kyoko was giving her. "I guess I'll do what I can."

The pink haired girl squealed in delight. "Arigatou, Satsuki-chan! I really owe you one!" [Arigatou = thank you] She skipped off happily and took something from her bag. "First of all, I'll need you to give this to him."

Satsuki stared helplessly at the pink envelope in her hand, its heart-shaped seal mocking her as random scenarios of her murdering Hajime flew into mind.

"I'm going to my own classroom. I'll leave that in your care, Satsuki-chan!" chirped Kyoko as she ran out the door.

Satsuki fell back into her chair. "Great. Just great." Lowering her eyes, she glared at the offending letter. She could practically feel her heart constrict as she hissed in frustration, "Hajime no baka!"

Sighing, she took another look at the pink envelope.

Her eyes glazed, she whispered again. "Hajime... no baka..."










To Be Continued