Silent Inaba:

Written by Lady Lunar Phoenix

Beta By: No one

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"So this 'school' thing. Be it mandatory?"

"Yep, kids go to school to learn before going 'out into the world to make something of themselves'." Souji replied as he saw other students going into the school from the road he turned on as he ran up the street. Why did he have to be late when he woke up extra early?

"How? All thee hast done so far be just sitting in a room. How be it that you think having knowledge told to thee is 'learning'?"

"Well, um it just is really. Information from through out the world is easier to receive and well this is just what the governments declared as necessary."

"Hmph, learn by doing, grow wise by seeing with thine own eyes the state of the thine world. If thine teachers tell thee that the world be round does thou just accept that? Is that enough for thine mind to just accept what others tell thee? Hast the world lost thine spark to learn by its own merit?"

Souji found himself rather stumped by the voice. While it was true that the world 'was' round he could understand the voice's point of view. Just reading books didn't make a person wise, just smart, put in a pressure cooker situation one wanted someone with experience rather then just book knowledge. He reached his locker and changed out his shoes before racing up to the stairs.

"You have a point. But there's nothing really that can be done, this isn't a world that has such things as master/apprentice relationships or anything from the old eras. However; with that said, how old 'are' you? You're talking about things that haven't been in place in centuries..." Souji reached his classroom and found himself confused. He might have been a few minutes late, but well before the teacher would have arrived.

So where was everyone?

Confused he turned around looking down the hallway and found no one nor any sounds of other classes. Apprehensively he walked down to the next class room and knocked on the door while the voice grumbled something.

"They be not here, they art down below in a great number."

"And you know that 'how'?" Souji asked as he opened the door to find it as empty as his own classroom.

"I sense life below us, here I sense not."

Well that was a hint of who he was dealing with but that said, why was the school down stairs? He turned his steps towards the stairway towards the ground floor, wondering why they were down below when he saw one of the office staff walking up it. The man held all the look of a haggard business man in his suit and tie.

"Seta-san? I'm glad to find you here. You were late so you should just go to class, your classmates will be returning shortly."

"May I ask what's going on?" Souji asked as he began leaning against the railing of the stairs.

"There was a death last night one of the students was murdered, since you're an outside there's no reason for you to be involved."

"Excuse me?" Souji retorted in disbelief as he leaned forward a bit in shock. So he was going to be only in Inaba for a year, he wasn't allowed to be part of these things?

"Oh yes, I art learning much."

"Those are the school rules so you best go back to your classroom," the harried man told him before turning his steps back towards the ground floor.

'Someone dies and that's it? Just stay out of it because I'm not a local?' Souji thought to himself. 'There's already been one murder, now another and what? Yosuke mentioned 'monsters', the Junes store, what is with this town?'

The voice was silent while Souji turned back towards his class room. "So 'monsters' are not normal?"

"Noooo. See 'monsters' only exist in books and television, why Yosuke would say that is beyond me. Junes? I've been in that franchises' branches and I've never had that happen. Though it might be because I've never had you in my head... what are you doing?"

"Hmm? That word be most odd, your image makes no sense to I."

"Yeah but it feels weird, what are you, as in just you, doing?" Souji asked, baffled as he finally reached his class door.

"I know not how to explain to thee. That word, that 'fran-chise' that thou spoke of is most odd. I know not how to connect it with what thou art saying."

Souji felt the frustration so keenly that he had to stop walking just to try and think through what the spirit voice was saying.

"I doth not know this language thou speaketh to I. Thine mind is so full of words that I art trying most hard to connect what I know with what thou knows. Tis so difficult to put into words, thou speakth not mine own tongue."

Souji found his hand planted against the door before him like a puppet, but he didn't complain given the subject matter. "In thine mind this image is labeled a 'door' thus I know this word to mean this item and understand."

"But if that's the case, why don't you use modern Japanese? You're speaking so old school that I can barely get over how you talk. It's like Shakespeare's version of the English language, just so very over the top and old," Souji asked, opening the door and stepping into the empty classroom.

"For those art the words that I understand best and most quickly," that voice was so frustrated trying to explain the language barrier between them. A barrier that Souji didn't realize existed and felt a bit of sympathy to the poor guy trying.

"So, what language do 'you' know? Maybe I can try to help bridge the gap between us?" Souji offered while shutting the door behind him. He felt his shoulders shrug without his effort and suddenly a series of 'words' came from the voice that stunned him. Something about those words blew his mind quite literally as he felt his legs give out from under him and the world grow dark.

When the world came back into focus for him, Souji found himself in his chair staring at a book in his hands. King Moron was prattling on at the front of the room, while the voice apparently had taken control of Souji's body. In fact he was very busily writing words that Souji couldn't begin to understand.

"So thine classmates hast returned, and thou art in second period."

The voice sounded very self contained and nervous even, as though it had been trying very hard to perform a task and was unsure if they were doing it right. While Souji 'slipped back in control' as it were of his own body. Saying this was a unique experience was putting it mildly. Then again could the voice read or write the same language as Souji? He was missing so many notes wasn't he? Good thing he had no faith in Morooka.

"I doth... do apologize, I do not understand what happened. I spoke the words in my head and thou collapsed on the ground. I had but seconds to assume control or thee would be missing some blood and rather bruised. Also I thought it be most realistic if I mirrored what thine fellow students be doing. However; I still know not thine own language so there shall be some... changing I think..."

There was this rather uncomfortable pause in the voice's tone, as though he had been trying to think of a way to discuss the topic and not able to find the right words to say. "That is to say, I heard the other students saying that the student who has met a most unfortunate ending was that Konishi girl you met."

Souji sat there feeling bad about the loss of life, but he didn't know Konishi beyond that one meeting. What bothered him more was the way the voice seemed so skittish about the topic.

"Is something the matter?"

"... what happens when one dies?"

"I'll explain after I get some better updates from the classmates and such, ok?"

"I suppose I can wait."

"And I need to think of something to call you."

"Call I?"

"Yeah, I can't keep calling you 'Hey you' or 'Voice'," Souji pointed out in a pragmatic mental tone.

"I art thou, thou art I. Be not my name 'Souji'?"

"In a word? No."

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"They seriously told you not to bother showing up?" Chie asked, momentarily struck still between pulling out a chair and sitting down.

She had arrived at Junes at the suggestion of Yosuke, despite Souji's disconcerting feelings regarding how things looked to him. But he gave in on the fact that Yosuke had been running on automatic since the morning gathering. Souji couldn't bring himself to say anything, and realistically, the upper floor patio wasn't as bad as the inside.

He could handle the dingy seats and tables more then being inside a place and seeing one thing while everyone else was clearly seeing something markedly different. But as Chie shook herself of the shock she settled herself into the seat. Ironically while they sat at the same table they sat before when Souji met Saki. But Saki wouldn't be sitting anywhere anymore, she had been found hanging from more wires.

But no one cared.

The voice in Souji's head made Souji's heart hurt every time he heard that cold indifference. A 'nice' way to die was how it was whispered. 'Better then being found in pieces' was the indifference and neither Souji nor the voice able to understand how that could be possible. What was wrong with this place? Why did his parents send him to a place where life was so casually lost?

"I art with you? I am with you."

"Thanks, but I might not live long here." Souji thought with a sad, rueful smile crossing his face regardless of Chie's curious expression.

"Thou shalt live, I will not allow such loss of life," the Voice replied firmly even if his understanding of modern language was shaky.

"What's wrong? You looked sad all of a sudden," Chie asked, dipping her head down a bit to see his face better. Her bright eyes filled with honest concern that he found touching considering they barely knew each other.

"That voice in my head, we're just talking to each other and he's trying to be reassuring," Souji explained, losing himself to Chies' eyes before the voice forced his head forward a bit, as though he had been smacked in the back of the head. "Chie-chan, seriously, you have to know something about the 'monsters' or why people think that Konishi-san found hanging was a 'better' alternative to being ripped apart. She died."

Chie looked guilty and resigned as she shrugged, looking up at the sky as though the clouds would shape themselves into an explanation. "I know it's hard to believe, but I honestly don't know. The old stories have always been that after the coming of age ceremony we can not stay up late on nights with fog. People die, yes, violently, yes, but as a town we're not allowed to discuss this with outsiders. The world isn't allowed to know about it; as to why, I don't know it's just ancient history."

Souji shook his head, a glance out of the corner of his eye showed Yosuke walking towards the table. His glance turning into a full look seemed to get Chie's attention as she turned to look at Yosuke, even her face softened.

Yosuke looked like a kicked puppy while he walked towards the table, pulling out a chair and sitting down as though it was all he could do. But perhaps that 'was' all he could do as he folded his arms and rested his head on them.

"Yosuke-kun?" Chie called out gently, reaching out to touch Yosukes' arm while looking at Souji. A look that indicated she wasn't good at having to be the emotional shoulder to cry on.

Souji shook his head, not from a lack of understanding, but from the knowledge that Yosuke would talk when he was ready. Men weren't raised to be open with their feelings and it had been clear that Yosuke had some feelings for Konishi. After a few more moments, Yosuke began stirring on his own, sluggishly pushing his head up.

"Saki-senpai was schedule to work today, and um yeah..." His eyes shone with tears he couldn't let fall. "They came to pick up her things, and ah well..."

"Yosuke-kun..." Chie didn't take her hand away from his arm, squeezing it a little. She was fortunate that her parents didn't have a job damaged by having Junes in town, but she could imagine what he heard. The Konishis' ran a liquor store that was slowly dying out. Going to the store that was driving them out of the business to pick up their daughters' belong? Rough.

"I've been thinking. We found Yamanos' room in the other world, maybe... maybe we can find a clue as to who killed Saki-senpai?" Yosuke suggested, his voice quiet.

"But we never found a clue," Chie pointed out, leaning closer in concern for Yosukes' point of view. "Besides we couldn't even see in that place clearly, and it tried to killed Souji-kun! What if it tries to kill one of us as well?"

"We weren't trying to find out if there was a connection. But it's just too ironic that there would be full replica of the apartment complex complete with her room there!" Yosuke argued, which Souji couldn't deny.

"But we don't know if it's an exact replica," Chie noted stubbornly. "Wouldn't we know by now? After all she had all those posters up against the walls, people talk, it would have reached the news even if the police kept a hush on that..."

The pair seemed to suddenly remember that there 'was' someone who would know the answer to that question. They both turned to look at Souji for a confirm or denial of such information, but the silver haired teen could only shake his head 'no'. "Uncle doesn't talk about his cases at his house, mostly because of Nanako-chan I think. But even so I've heard nothing, since my arrival."

Souij noted the look in both their eyes and sighed as he turned his head to look at Junes. He didn't have a lot to go on, the Other World tried to kill him after all, even the afternoon sun couldn't hide the smudges and stains on the windows that only he could apparently see. Junes might as well been a massive sized doorway unto itself to the gateway of his death. His mom only warned him about the fog, she only felt that was what was important enough for him to know.

She knew about this town, but given what Chie said it would be quite possible that even she didn't know more. But how could the world not know about this town? Why was it never featured on television, books or radio? How could a town be considered so utterly boring from the eyes of the outside world and be so blood soaked insane on the inside?

"I do not like all this talk of death. Can you not talk of something else?"

And Souji realized that being distracted came with another problem. Apparently the Voice would speak with his mouth. Yosuke and Chie were both looking at him with confusion that grew into mild alarm.

"Uh Souji-kun your eyes are uh..."

"Sorry he doesn't like the topic..." Souji explained, feeling embarrassed by the sudden interruption. Around them were people shopping for their families, settling for a light snack and to enjoy the day like they weren't in a filthy building with a demonic television. Then again only Souji saw it, and even then he might have only have been seeing it because of the voice in his head. But then there was Igor and his cryptic messages that he tried to send. Raising a good question.

Was this all in Souji's head? Had he gone mad or was he in the mouth of hell itself?