The TormentedPrologue The Daydream
June 7th, 1988
"I love you…" 25 year old Yuu Aso whispered to his new fiancé, 23 year old Rei Kurosawa.
"I love you too." She whispered back, smiling. Rei was an attractive young woman, with a mole below her right eye. She was wearing a blue long sleeved shirt that parted at the bottom, showing her belly button. There was a white frilly lace around her sleeves and shoulders area. She was wearing black pants and cheap silver high heels. She was driving down a dark and extremely rainy highway to their newly purchased home in Nagoya Japan. "It's really coming down isn't it?" Yuu said, squinting through the opaque windshield. Rei was having trouble maintaining control of the vehicle during each water filled pothole they hit. "You got it hunny?" Yuu said, squeezing her arm. She nodded, biting her bottom lip. She turned the wipers to ultra as she came to a sharp right turn. A streetlight suddenly came into view, and Rei closed her eyes for a brief second.
"Rei watch out!"
Yuu screamed as the wheel turned left and she hit another hole and careened out of control, sliding on the water and crashing into a steel guardrail. Her car went over the ditch and they rolled several feet into the forest. The deafening sound of crashing glass and crunching metal filled her ear as the hood suddenly caved in and pinned her to the steering wheel. The car stopped, and all Rei could hear was her quick breathing. She pushed up and felt the hood lessen a bit. Tiny puddles filled the upturned car as the rain fell even harder. There was a flash of lightning, and then a loud rumble of thunder. She felt her window, and notices that it was shattered. She wriggled to the side, feeling her body move a bit. She grabbed at the ground outside, feeling the water soaked dirt sink into her fingernails. She clawed and pulled, finally freeing her left arm and shoulder. She wriggled her right arm free and clawed, pulling her torso out. "Yuu, hold on! I'm coming!" Rei screamed through the pounding rain. She didn't hear a reply. She kicked her feet, pulling them from the pinned steering wheel and felt the pressure leave her body. Her leg was bleeding, and the black pants she was wearing were ripped. She touched at the warm spot at her shoulder, and felt her finger go into her shoulder a bit. She jerked away in a howl of pain. She had been cut bad. She looked around. The highway was empty, and the only light was the ominous glow of the car's headlights. She looked back toward the car, and saw rows and rows of dark trees. Her new Toyota was halfway in the ditch, and halfway through the twisted guardrail. Rain lashed down on the smashed car, glass glinting eerily from the street lamp nearby. "Yuu!" She called, rushing to his side of the car. She slipped and felt her legs almost buckle. She saw an arm lying haphazardly out of the shattered window. "Oh no…" She felt the dread knot up in her stomach. A flash of lightning showed her all she needed to know. Yuu's head was crushed between the hood and part of the guardrail, a piece disappearing into his skull. Blood dripped onto his expressionless face. Yuu Aso had breathed his last. Rei dropped to her knees, mud caking her lower body. The tears that were absent before came. Her anguished sobs rose above the steady drum of rainfall. She uttered the only word in her mind.
2 months later
Rei snapped another picture with her 35mm camera. The dust danced in the glimpse of sunlight beams coming through several large cracks in the old house. She turned to her right a bit, getting a good angle of a ceiling beam hanging from the ceiling going through the old wooden floor, and a boarded up window behind that. She snapped another photo. "That was a good one…" She thought. Rei backed up a little, closing her left eye for another shot. She heard a rustling and footsteps behind her, and felt a breeze. Her heart quickened a bit.
"This house IS supposed to be haunted…"
She heard the soft, gentle voice of Miku Hinasaki. She gasped, the sudden voice startling her. Miku came up behind her, her auburn hair bobbing in its usual hairpin. She bent down and picked up her equipment. "Should we get going?" She asked, holding the metal case with her cameras lenses and flash bulbs with two hands against her body. Rei glanced around, giving a little sigh.
"I heard this house was haunted," she gave another quick sigh, "to bad it's not…" Miku's gentle, innocent face gave a flash of fright. "Well, rumors are just rumors." Her voice quivered a bit. She quickly added in the same tone, grabbing the tripod to her left, "I'm gonna load these up." She walked briskly toward the entrance of the house.
Rei took one final picture of a long, dark hallway that turned left at the end. "Huh…?" She looked up-
-and saw a man standing at the end of the hall. She took several steps forward. "…!" Rei's voice was choked in her throat. It was Yuu Aso. "Yuu…?" Rei called shakily. He turned, walking down past the hall and out of sight. Rei felt drawled to him. She clutched her camera and jogged down the hall. "Yuu! Wait!" She rounded the corner, and suddenly everything changed. Snow was falling heavily, and the air grew cold. She was outside, and stretched before her was rows and rows of nameless gravestones. The place had no resemblance to the abandoned manor where she was taking pictures. "Where am I?" She was in a tiny courtyard. Ahead past the stones was a set of double doors, and all around her was the house lined with a balcony and windows. She stepped forward, clutching her camera. There were tiny candles lit on each side of the door. She reached for the handle and pulled. The door opened up, and inside was dim. On the ground was a glow. She stepped inside from the cold and picked it up. It was a flashlight. "Whose is this? Who else is here?" Rei thought. There was a split partition screen in front of her, and the room continued left or right. She suddenly hears raspy breath, as though a man was having an asthma attack. She saw no one around, and then thought.
She raised the camera-
-and was shocked to see a man with his back turned and his shoulder rising and falling quickly. She snapped a photo, and he disappeared. Rei then felt her own fear building. A ghost… She turned left and walked down and took a right, going up several steps that led into the main part of the room. Ahead were rows of shelves, the tiny sliding white doors broken and crumbling. Nothing was too useful there. Ahead was a set of stairs and she could see up into the room above. To the left was a roped off door. To the right was the part of the room surrounded by the partition screen. Where the man stood was a little Buddhist altar. She looked past the steps and saw a long and dark hallway. The dust swirled around the beam of the flashlight. She stepped forward-
-and a figure appeared in the dark hall. Rei knew who it was instantly. Yuu. She jogged forward and took the left turn. Ahead was a door and to the right, the hall branched. She went through the door ahead. "Yuu?!" She called, not really expecting an answer. On the left wall was a large mirror that went down the hall a bit. At the end the hall went right, then a sharp left. She heard the sound of a woman's breathing. She raised the camera and saw a woman with ropes through her eyes and needles pierced in her hands standing on the other side, pressing her eyeless face to the lattice. Rei snapped a photo and she disappeared. Rei continued walking down the hall. Snow was falling through the roof and cold air was blowing through. She looked up and saw a hole in the roof and the snow filled starlight sky.
Rei heard a man scream. She spun around-
-and saw a priest running at her with a raised bloody cleaver. "AHHH!" Rei screamed and turned running. To the left was a door and to the right was a staircase. She went up the stairs, pumping her legs as hard as she could. The ghost followed, slashing at her with the bloody weapon. She crashed through the door on the right wall and pressed her back up against it. Her breathing slowed a bit, and she took in her new surroundings. It was cold again, and ahead was a little garden. A skinny tree was in the middle and a paper doll was tied to the trunk. It was a square garden, with a soft blue lantern and double doors ahead past the garden and two branching hallways on the left and right sides. A large, withered tree was in the middle of the little garden. She then saw Yuu walking through the double doors. Her heart jumped and she ran around toward the double doors. As she passed the left branch, a little girl in a white dress appeared, holding a stake and hammer. She bowed to Rei, whispering,
Rei ignored her and kept running to the double doors. She pulled them open, and was awed at the site she saw. A large shrine was up ahead, and off the right was another one. They were both huge. The ground was white from snow, and large pillars held up the shrine ahead. Rei stepped down the wooden steps and started toward the shrine ahead on the black marble path. Yuu then appeared, standing there and staring at her with such sad eyes. He then turned and walked into the shrine. "Wait! There's still something I need to say! Please Yuu, don't go!" She felt the tears again as her mind played the tragic scene from two months ago. She ran up the path and pulled at the shrine door. Her mind blanked, and suddenly she was standing in a dark corridor. Open wooden windows lined the wall to her left. Decorative red cloths swayed in the constant cold breeze, followed by the snow. She peered through the cloths as she got a glimpse of a figure walking toward her. "Yuu?" She called, the flashlight giving her minimal light in the dark enshrouded hall. Suddenly the figure disappeared, and then appeared in front of her. It was a woman, with long black hair. She was wearing a blue kimono, but the top had ripped away, exposing her chest. Her arms, neck, body, face, even her eyes, were covered in a glowing blue snake tattoo. Rei backed up, her breathing quick. She hit a wall, and the woman stepped closer, extending her arms and wrapping herself around Rei. She screamed, and before Rei closed her eyes, she saw the glistening tattooed eyes of the moaning woman. She then felt herself lying down, freezing cold. She was only covered in a thin white sheet. She tried to move, but then saw that her limbs were tied down. She gasped, and her voice echoed in the large dark cavern. The blue lantern beside her offered her a view of the four little girls surrounding Rei. Their dark hair covered most of the children's facial features. They kneeled down, each at her four limbs. They began chanting what sounded like a lullaby.
"…Perform the Rite of Stakes, her limbs pinned tight…"
Their voices were almost peaceful, if it wasn't for the stakes and hammers in their hands. They each place a stake over her palm and ankle. She then felt excruciating pain start at her feet and work up her body. She wanted to scream, to stop the etching pain going through her body. She then saw the blue snake tattoo creeping up her skin, etching into her veins. That's what was causing the pain, and it was the exact one that covered the tattooed woman. The girls continued their chant, each one raising their stakes…and smiling. Rei felt the pain enter her eyes, and her vision was blurred by blue pain. The girls brought the stakes, and she felt them pierce the flesh and crack the bone. She screamed, looking up. She was back in the hall in the abandoned mansion. She looked at her hands as though she was seeing them for the first time. No holes, no tattoo. "It was all, a daydream?" She thought.
"Rei?!" She heard Miku call. Miku's light footsteps came up behind her. "Rei, are you okay? What happened?" Miku's eyes were filled with concern. Rei looked down the hall again. Tattered red cloths hung loosely.
"Was it a daydream?"
"Oh, it was nothing." She hurried past Miku, hoping she didn't see the terrified look or tears on her face.
She took another sip of her green tea, still recovering from the events of earlier that day. "Was I just imagining…Yuu?" She set her tea down as the last of her photo's developed. It was of the long hallway. She saw something unusual, and grabbed her tongs. She picked it up, shaking the chemicals from it. She gasped as she saw what was at the end of the hall.
It was Yuu.
"I did imagine that…didn't I…?"
She walked upstairs and quickly changed into her pale blue nightgown. "I need sleep, that's all." She lay down, and almost instantly fell asleep as she was overcome with drowsiness. She saw herself standing in snow, candles and lanterns lighting the snowy grounds. Ahead were steps leading to a huge manor. Snow fell gently over the old Japanese manor, the small flakes glittering like crystals in the flickering candlelight of the courtyard. Several gravestones were piled on top of each other, the words carved into them so faded that they were now impossible to read. She blinked, and at the same time felt that she needed to go in the manor. It looked familiar. She had been there, but when?
She steps up to the front door, and slowly opens it.
"This place is…"