I do not own Ghost Hunt.
Chapter 12 - Empathic
I couldn't say that my dreams were much of any help though. In fact, if I had dreamed, I didn't remember a single aspect when I woke up around noon the next day. Naru had already left.
Lin met my slightly panicked expression as I hurried down the stairs with reassurances that he was in a car heading some two hours away to visit a pond that he learned of from some locals.
I sank into the hard wood of a kitchen chair, staring blankly at the fridge. Lin seemed to debate on hovering over me or returning to his room. Just as he appeared to decide on the latter, I opened my mouth.
"Lin, is it possible for someone to feel someone else's emotions?" I asked, my voice oddly clear. Whatever Lin had expected me to say, it certainly was not that. Well—I hadn't even expected me to say that.
He turned on the spot, gave me a decisive look, and sat in the chair across from me.
"I can't say it isn't," he replied slowly, matching me gaze for gaze with a suspicious curiosity. "Naru and I, personally have never observed the phenomena."
I looked down towards the table, blinking as if that might help open my eyes to a new understanding.
Lin leaned forward, resting his hands on the table.
"Why do you ask?"
I slumped backwards in my chair, suddenly feeling mute.
"But Naru doesn't think it exists?" I asked, not sure what answer I was hoping for. Lin's eyes narrowed a little more.
"I wouldn't say that he puts much stall in the concept of either telepathy or empathy, but that's not to say he would disregard any evidence that validates these abilities. There just has not been much."
I blinked again.
"What's empathy?" I asked. I had heard of telepathy before—heck anyone that read manga had heard of telepathy before.
"An empath is a person who can sense the emotions of another person, just like a telepath can sense thoughts. Although everyone that Naru has examined merely had exceptionally good aptitudes for reading a person's mannerisms."
I swallowed, reaching up to pick the sand from the corner of my eye.
"What about people? Can they be connected in some way?" I asked, cutting him off.
My question, again, seemed to throw Lin for a loop.
"It is my belief—that all people are connected by forces we can neither see nor understand," he began, choosing his words with care, "but that's not what you meant, is it?"
Finally I looked back at him. He knew—I didn't even have to tell him and he already knew.
"No, it's not."
"Mai, whatever it is—even if it ends up not being what you think it is—you don't have to hide it. You are probably surrounded by the most understanding of people you could find—people who have knowledge and experience to help."
I closed my eyes. Somewhere from deep within my chest I managed to pull new courage. I had been the one to start this line of conversation in the first place. Besides, it did no good to go on confused and scared of what was happening.
"I felt Naru's emotions."
The statement hung in the air between us, the both of us knowing that it was coming even before I opened my mouth.
"When?" he asked, calmly.
"Yesterday, before I went to sleep. And earlier—when we stayed up talking. Once before, back on our last case too."
I looked at Lin.
"Am I just imagining it?" I asked, finally some emotion seeping into my voice. Panic.
Lin's head leaned back slightly, his eyes growing to a depth that normally only came with experience. For a moment, Lin looked very old.
"Have you only felt Naru's feelings?" he asked, his voice taking on that clinical tone that Naru often carried. Now I wondered if maybe that tone was a chicken and egg situation.
But his question brought an image before my eyes.
A boy—a greedy boy—sneering at me from across an interview table, jeering at my instinctual fear. I remembered grabbing his hand—seeing—no—feeling more than one spirit inside his body. I had felt his anger—his animosity.
I shook my head.
"The boy that I interviewed—I could feel his emotions. I—I even saw another spirit possessing his body."
Lin steepled his fingers before him, leaning inwards onto his elbows.
Slowly I shook my head, but he didn't miss my uncertainty.
"And this has all started since you hit your head?"
I looked up at him, the shock ringing in my ears.
"Yeah," I breathed shakily.
Lin pressed his lips together, something seeming to make sense to him.
"Have you mentioned this to Naru?" he asked.
Very quickly I shook my head, already able to hear his skeptical taunts.
Lin nodded his head as if things were finally starting to make sense.
"I think you should."
"Mai, Naru is one of the leading experts in this field. He'd be the one I would trust to find answers if he didn't already have them."
I looked down, teeth travelling to my lips. I winced as I grazed the sore there, so I decided against my original plan to chew on the injured skin.
I knew it didn't make sense not to tell Naru. He would find out eventually, but I was afraid what it could mean. What was happening to me?
"I will tell Naru the concerns you have brought to me," Lin said calmly, pulling me back to the conversation.
"What? Why would you…"
"Mai, you're not the first person that has come to me scared of what they can do. Trust me—I understand better than you know, but Naru will know what to do. Even if he doesn't understand what is happening now, he will figure it out."
"Don't want him to see you any differently than he does now," Lin finished for me. I looked at him, the pain and worry I felt showing through my face.
I was surprised to find Lin's expression soft—kind. Kinder than any expression I had ever seen him wear.
"It's hard to tell those that are close to you because you're afraid that something might actually be wrong. You're afraid that they might agree with you—might try to fix you. And when they find out that there is no fixing it, you're afraid that they will leave you. It's easier to tell someone who's not as worried about who you used to be and who you're going to be."
I listened, not really sure what to think or say.
Lin, on the other hand, continued to say more words than I think I had ever heard him say in one sitting. "I remember when I was younger this fight I had with my father. I was so upset that I left my family's estate. Eventually I found myself in a park, sitting on a bench. An old man was sitting next to me. After a while I began talking to him. Just small talk at first—but before I knew it, I was telling him everything. Not just about the fight—but about everything I hated in life. And when I got done, you know what happened?"
I shook my head.
"Nothing. I got up and walked away. Never saw him again. That man who I had spilled all of my secrets and worries to had no affect whatsoever on my life. That's why it was easy. But for your own peace of mind, I believe it would be best to have Naru's help in figuring this out."
I looked down, mulling over everything. Lin's story had made me feel oddly okay with Naru knowing. I mean, Naru would care that at the very least I was scared. Trying to center myself, I took a deep breath. Lin was right, that much was sure.
"If you don't want—"
"Okay," I whispered. Lin paused, catching my gaze again. "If you think it'll help, okay. You can—can tell him."
I gave him a little smile as he nodded. A knock on the door made us both freeze. I looked at Lin as he stood up, motioning for me to stay put.
He inched towards the door, checking the peep hole before he relaxed slightly. I stood, confused as Lin turned the knob and revealed one of the detectives. He nodded at Lin and walked across the threshold, his eyes stopping on me.
I stared at him as he turned a few file folders in his hands, nodding his head at me slightly. Suddenly he decided to hand them to me. I took two steps forward and wrapped my fingers around the papers. The folders had a smooth, polished feel to them that I had not expected.
"You wanted to know if any other women had been attacked around the shrine. Well, I found four cases…"
Before he could say anything else, I flicked open the first and second files before tossing them on the table. The third one didn't have anything familiar in it either, but the fourth one—the woman who was reportedly missing.
"It's her," I murmured.
"What's that?" The investigator asked. I pulled the photo of the woman from beneath the paper clip. It was definitely older—a flattened crease ran down the middle and the corners were bent and frayed. The ink under the glossy sheen had taken on a yellow hue.
With two fingers I held it up for Lin and the investigator to see.
"It says here that she went missing," I murmured. "Did anyone ever find her?"
Lin crossed the room and lifted the file from my hands, scrutinizing the data.
"Well—no" the detective admitted, "if it says she's missing then she still is. We would've changed the file otherwise."
I looked at Lin just as he raised his eyebrows and looked up with a pensive look.
"What?" I asked.
"It says here that she was one of the last priestess' of the same shrine where you saw the attack. She disappeared during the time when America began to occupy Okinawa. Mai, the uniforms the men were wearing—could they have been military uniforms?"
I closed my eyes, letting the dream come back to me.
"Maybe—the details are a little fuzzy now, but I would not say that they couldn't have been soldiers," I replied, trying to meet his gaze. However, Lin had returned to examining the case files.
"What does that mean?" the investigator asked, seemingly on edge. I paused, having truly forgotten he was still in the room. He gave us a confused looked. "I mean this happened decades ago. What bearing would it have now?"
At that, Lin looked to me. I bit my lip, reaching for an answer.
"I-I think she may still be there—at the shrine I mean."
"You mean like a ghost?" asked the detective, his voice somewhat more nervous than before.
"But what purpose would she have in the girl's disappearance," Lin asked. I looked at him, my brow puckered.
"I'm not sure, but I think she wants me to come to the shrine. I feel like she has something to tell me."
"But—if she is a ghost—It'd be best to leave her alone," interjected the investigator again. I shot him an annoyed glance.
"Not all ghosts are evil," I snapped. I wasn't the only one shocked by my defensive tone, so quickly I backpedalled.
"I mean—I don't think she wants to hurt anyone. She doesn't make me feel scarred or anything."
The investigator looked skeptical, but Lin nodded. He pulled his phone from his pocket, undoubtedly calling Naru. He stepped away, leaving me and the investigator awkwardly standing across from each other.
"Ghosts, huh?" he muttered, running his fingers through his hair. His jaw was tight with tension, causing me to feel slight remorse.
"It's more common than you would think," I replied. He looked at me in amazement.
"You're so calm about this—I mean ghosts can hurt people."
I leveled a calm look at him that seemed, if possible, to make him more uncomfortable. "They can hurt people," I told him, "but a lot of them are no different than us. Sometimes they are just trying to do the best they can in the best way they know how. A lot of times they're just as scared about their situation as you are."
His eyes seemed to have glazed over.
"So what, she's just hanging out?" he asked.
I shrugged. "I won't know what she wants until I go talk to her. There may be a connection between her and the girl that was attacked."
His eyebrows knitted, concern painted in the line around his eyes. Lin walked back to us, clicking his phone closed.
"Naru is on his way back. He said you're not to go to the shrine without him."
The detective checked his watch and started.
"Damn, I have to get back." He hurried to the door and then paused to look back at us. "Whenever you guys go to the shrine, give me a call. If this—this ghost is involved, we'll need to know."
Lin nodded and the detective left, the door shutting with a click.
So I am happy to say that I have made leaps and bounds in my recovery. I am still not entirely back to normal, but I'm kicking. Thank you for all of the support and well wishes. I don't know about the frequency of my posts (like they were very frequent before the accident ^.-) but I will continue Haunting Life if I have to orate it to another person lol. The overwhelming encouragement keeps me going. Thank you to all of my readers. You are the best.
forgive me if I was supposed to post something about you here as I have forgotten. I do not believe I was as I was not sure when my next post would be.
thank you guys again