I do not own Ghost Hunt.
Chapter 6 – The Cost of Silence
"Well your vitals look good my dear," said Dr. Renegar cheerily. I gave him a smile as he wrapped up his portable equipment. Naru stood a couple of feet off, not even pretending he wasn't listening; the recorder of my vision gripped tightly in his right hand.
I grabbed my thin sweater and draped it across my shoulders as Dr. Renegar inserted a, "but." I turned to look at him.
"I would like to get you back to the office and run a few scans to be sure there was no real damage or concerns."
My shoulders drooped a little bit because if Dr. Renegar thought that it was necessary than I really did need to go.
"Very well, Lin and I will drive her that way," said Naru before I could concede.
Without looking at my boss I said, "It would be professional for you to remain here and inform the others of what has occurred. I'm quite capable of getting there on my own."
Dr. Renegar cocked with eyebrow at me with a wry smile and I quickly back tracked.
"I mean, Lin is quite capable of driving me there without you."
Dr. Renegar nodded and gave me a fatherly clap on the shoulder before walking out with a, "See you in two hours."
As soon as he was gone, Naru turned and tried to catch my attention.
"Mai, we need to talk," he said sternly.
"No we don't," I chimed, false cheer keeping my pitch high as I gathered my things.
"What did you mean in this recording?" Naru asked. I shrugged nonchalantly, avoiding his and, in truth, everyone's eyes in the room.
Why was I hiding this?
Well, in truth, I knew why. If Naru knew the threat behind the words, he would definitely propose an intense and new form of protection which would undoubtedly mean more personal time between us.
But was that a good enough reason?
While these people seemed to be focused on me that did not mean other psychics would be safe. I would be naïve to believe that the whole of this brotherhood's attention would solely focus on me.
Was there a compromise?
Lin opened the door for me and I walked towards the van, Naru staring after me with that usual unreadable expression.
As soon as I had shut the door and Lin kicked the van into gear and we left Naru behind. I let out my captive breath before it caught again. I thought back to better times where I had sat just one seat over between Lin and Naru. Driving these memories and my accompanying tears away, I looked out the window at the grey skies. When would the sun shine again? I missed it.
My thoughts wandered back to Taku.
"Lin," I began, not entirely sure how to phrase this. He looked at me as I hesitated. "I think we both know psychics are not safe in that school. Have you told Naru?"
"I will soon," he said. I nodded, throat tight.
"Or did you mean to bring this up in reference to yourself?" he asked keenly. I was thrown by just how dead on he was.
"N-no," I said, sounding somewhat strangled. Lin did not seem convinced, but let that matter drop as they pulled up to the hospital.
An MRI, three tests, and one EKG later I was cleared of any abnormal damage besides being overly stressed and tired. Instead of taking me back to base, Lin drove me home for which I had to admit I was grateful.
As I was getting out, Lin called me back. I turned to look at him as he reached for the glove box. From its depths, Lin produced a small cell phone. This he handed to me. I looked at him in shock.
"It has Naru's and my numbers programmed in. If you need one of us that is," he said. I took the little phone from him, thanks plain on my face. I shut the door and he watched me disappear safely into my building before he drove away.
Once inside my door, I stared down at the phone resting on my palm with slight disbelief. Most people my age already had a cell phone, but, living on my own, I never saw fit to spend the money on one. Food and rent always came first.
I flipped open the top and pressed the contacts button. In the list was two numbers and I realized neither had a name. Great, so to find out which was Lin's I would have to play a guessing game.
Deciding not to ever need their help, I placed the phone on the counter and reached out for my pills before heading for the bath.
The hot water was all I needed to unwind. I smiled, remembering my and Yasu's joke from earlier as I lathered my hair. Then, holding my nose, I ducked my head beneath the water. When I emerged, there was a loud bang. I paused and looked around. Another bang and I was out of the water, pulling on my underwear and a robe.
I walked to my front door in confusion and undid the lock, peering into the hall.
Five guys were down the hall, busting into a door. I let my hand cover my mouth as I watched and a sickening notion fell over my brain.
These men were here for me.
Just then, as if my thoughts had called to them, the one still in the hall looked right at me. I slammed my door shut and locked it, sliding the chain into place and propping a chair beneath the door knob for good measure.
Still, that would not hold them forever.
In my panicked frenzy, I grabbed the phone and dialed.
"Hello?" came a voice just as something slammed into the door.
"Naru!" I half shrieked.
"Mai? What is going on?" he asked, his voice suddenly on high alert. I could hear him calling for Lin.
"There are men at my apartment," I hissed as I reinforced the chair with my couch, "They're trying to get in."
I looked up and to my horror the chain was slowly sliding out of its lock. My breath caught as my head began to pound. So not the time for a seizure!
"Mai, stay calm we're coming," he said. "Are you able to get out?"
"I, maybe…" I squeaked, running for my bedroom door. With some effort I slid my bed in front of the door before dashing to the window. My breath was coming in hysterical gasps at this point as I struggled to pull the window up. Just when it was up enough for me to squeeze out, there was a bang from the sitting room. My heart stopped.
Cold calculations told me that I could not make it out the window and down the fire escape before they were able to get to me and I was already overexerting myself. I turned and searched my room.
"Naru, please hurry!" I whispered before slamming the phone shut and throwing it beneath my bed. I ran to my closet.
Many children, when playing the game of Hide and Seek, choose places like under the bed and behind bookshelves to hide. I, however, used to climb up onto the top shelf of my closet and cover myself with whatever I could find.
Now as I clambered ungracefully onto this shelf and covered myself, I hoped my unorthodox tendencies would serve me well.
Just as I had closed the closet to but a crack and completely concealed myself, my bed shot across my room and buried itself into the drywall. The five men burst in.
I watched as they ran to the window and looked out.
"Do you think she got away?" said a squat sandy-headed guy.
A tall, thin man with greasy black hair wearing what looked like a muzzle over his nose pulled the contraption from his face and took a deep sniff. I watched, sure they would hear my heart pounding, as the man straightened and refashioned the muzzle.
"No, her scent stops at the sill," said the nasally man.
He could smell me?
"Well, can you track her in here?" asked a gruff voice from beyond my view. The nasally man shook his head.
"No, her scent is too strong."
"Well she has to be in here," said the squat man. "What about you, can you hear her?"
"I told you before; her thoughts are lost to me. That has not changed," said a formal quiet voice.
The other man—a tall, strong looking man—remained quiet, his eyes searching the room. I prayed they would not land on me.
"Search the room, she has to be here," the gruff voice commanded.
They all began to look—all but the quiet man. He was staring at the knob to my closet. Slowly he walked towards it.
I closed my eyes.
Man an astral projection would be nice right now! Gene, give me a hand here! Surely there's some way I can do it!
I heard a gasp and I opened my eyes to see the five men looking right at me. How had I gotten out of the closet!
I turned and ran for the door as they overcame their shock and started after me. In the hall I heard the voice I had been longing to hear if just for that moment.
I paused and looked up at Lin and Naru as they stopped to look at my wild eyes. I looked back just in time to see the five men stop. The one with the gruff voice stepped forward and lifted his hand.
"Mai, move!" yelled Naru just as wind shot down the hallway out of nowhere. When it hit me I gasped and shut my eyes.
But it wasn't like I had expected. I was not thrown anywhere.
I opened my eyes, coughing and spitting. My hands floated over my chest and then my aching head, confirming the whole of my body was back in the closet.
Had I really astral projected at will? Convenient.
I heard scuffling coming from the hallway and I remembered I had left my boss and Lin in the hall.
"Mai!" I heard Naru yell just as my headache became nearly unbearable.
"In here," I cried weakly.
Next thing I knew my closet door was thrown open and Naru was pulling me into his arms.
My body shook from the pain in my head and I could feel myself on the verge of collapse. Naru swept me into his arms and carried me into the living room where Lin had already pulled my couch back to a reasonable position.
"Lin, she needs an ambulance," said Naru.
"No," I murmured, "my medicine."
Naru and Lin looked towards the counter. Then the bottle was in my hands. I took a dosage dry as police filtered in.