Okay, this is the first half of my formerly one-shot now two-shot urban legend fic. Both chapters will be rather long, but I still hope you guys like the story anyway. And I 'borrowed' the title of my story from a Japanese horror movie! Muahahahahahaha!
Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon and I borrowed the title because it sounded interesting :)
A large group of students watched as the gurney was rolled out of the girls' bathroom, the person lying on it covered in a sheet. The sheet was soaked crimson, indicating a large amount of blood on the body. Whispers amongst students could be heard, and the paramedics gravely wheeled the gurney down the corridor. Looks of disgust of horror were present on everyone's face, and a few drops of blood trickled to the white floor as the corpse was sent down the hallway.
"Nothing to see here! Come on, get to class," a teacher said sternly, trying to break up the spectacle that had caused the students to gather in the hallway. "Get to class now before I start handing out detentions."
As the students began to disperse, seventeen year-old Takuya Kanbara looked as his three friends. "This is the fourth person within eight days."
Kouji Minamoto, Takuya's best friend, sighed and shook his head. "And they all took place in the girls' bathroom. Strikes you as kind of odd, doesn't it?"
Kouichi Kimura, Kouji's brother, finally tore his gaze away from the bloody sheet on the corpse. "Why hasn't there been an investigation already? Or better yet, wouldn't the school have been closed temporarily? You would think that they would shut down this building to find whoever's responsible."
"But the first two deaths were deemed as suicides," Zoe Orimoto said. "The police looked into each of the accidents, but were unable to find any evidence suggesting foul play."
"I'm not sure if I buy it though," Takuya muttered as he and the other three made their way to their next class, which was only a study period. "I know what they said about the evidence, but I'm still kind of suspicious. Yukari Anno was the first girl who was found dead, and it seems that a chain of deaths keeps taking place in the same location."
The deaths of students had began on Tuedsay of the previous week, the first victim being found shortly before the end of the school day. Seventeen year-old Yukari Anno had been discovered on the floor of the girls' bathroom, her throat slit open. She had already been dead by the time her body was found, and bloody scalpel lay a few feet away from her. The only fingerprints on it belonged to Yukari herself, indicating that she had done the deed herself.
"Takuya, they never found any suspects or fingerprints belonging to anyone other than Yukari's," Kouichi pointed out.
The brunette picked a piece of fuzz off the shirt of his school uniform. "But why would a girl just randomly slit her own throat open? I didn't know Yukari that well, but from what I heard, she was getting good grades, got along with her parents, and didn't seem to have any problems going on."
Takuya's uniform, as well as the other guys', consisted of black pants, a black shirt with a standing collar, and black shoes. Gold trimming and a school patch on the left breast of the shirt accented the uniform. Zoe and the other girls wore white collared shirts, short form-fitting black skirts, white thigh-highs, and black flats. Over their shirts they had on light yellow blazers with gold accents on the collar and a belt to keep it closed along with its gold buttons. Girls also wore black ties tucked under their blazers, which had a gold school symbol on them.
"Just because her problems weren't obvious, it doesn't mean that she didn't have any," Kouji pointed out.
Zoe sighed, tucking a strand of blond hair behind her ear. "Well, what about Kayako Hayashida?"
The second victim, sixteen year-old Kayako Hayashida had been found only two days after the first death, on Thursday. Like Yukari, her corpse had been found in the girls' bathroom. Yet unlike the other girl, Kayako hadn't died in the same manner. Instead, she had been found hanging from the ceiling by a rope fastened around her neck. The school was rather old, consisting of high ceilings that would've made it plausible for such a death. By the time Kayako had been found, her skin had turned blue from lack of oxygen, and a stool was toppled over nearby. Her death had been ruled as a suicide as well, since there had been no evidence to prove otherwise.
"It's obvious that she hanged herself," Kouji stated. "There was a stool there and everything. She threw one end of the rope over the rafters and secured then. Then she stood on the stool, tied the other end into a noose, put it around her neck, and let the fucking stool fall over."
"Kayako was in my Calculus class," Zoe said quietly as they approached the library. "She didn't seem to be acting out of the ordinary by any means the last time I saw her."
Takuya shook his head in disbelief. "Two girls just suddenly go and kill themselves...and in the same place for that matter. After Kayako was found dead, the school installed a security camera in the girls' room. The camera doesn't show what's going on inside the stalls, but shows the rest of the bathroom. It's fucking insane."
"You wanna know what's even more insane? The fact that Asuka Shimizu supposedly went into the bathroom two days ago and never came out." Kouichi ran a hand through his black hair.
After the death on Thursday, Friday had gone by without any incident. Yet after the weekend had rolled by and Monday had come along, a third girl had been reported missing. Seventeen year-old Asuka Shimizu had excused herself from one of her classes to use the restroom. She had been seen going into the girls' bathroom, but never returned.
Kouji raised an eyebrow. "How the fuck is that possible? Of course she had to have come out."
"A group of girls were in the hallway at the time of Asuka's bathroom run," Zoe told them. "They were at their lockers at the time and once they had finished up, they went into the bathroom as well. All of the stalls were open and Asuka was no where in sight. The girls knew that they had seen her go in, but were positive that they hadn't seen her come out before they went inside. She's been reported as missing and hasn't been found."
They entered the school library, as they were allowed to go there during study periods. There were a few tables with students either reading, studying, or sleeping. Other students were online, many of them doing projects while others just screwed around playing games. The school librarian was nowhere to be found, though chances were that she had left to go for another coffee run.
Takuya and the other three took a seat at one of the tables, he and Zoe next to each other. One of their friends, J.P. Shibayama, had graduated the year before and was now a freshman in college. Tommy was a sophomore in high school, having skipped a grade two years ago. Yet he hardly had any classes with his older friends. Both had been informed about the three previous incidents, and J.P. was probably not aware of the fourth since he was no longer in the school district.
"If there is a camera in the bathroom, why don't the school officials know what the hell happened to Asuka?" Kouji demanded.
"Either they're not telling anyone what happened or they don't know," Takuya replied after a moment.
Zoe groaned softly, resting her head on the table. "I don't know why they don't just close the school down temporarily. If students are in danger, then school officials should be worried about students' safety. I don't even want to go into the girls' bathroom alone anymore. The teachers have advised us to go with a friend for security purposes."
"The school can't be closed down because they need evidence that the students are in danger." Kouichi shifted in his seat. "So far, the first two girls' deaths were ruled as suicides. Asuka's disappearence is still undetermined. Until they find a threat that could be harmful to the students, or more specifically the girls, since only girls have been the victims, the school won't be shut down."
"But now that a fourth student has been found dead, I wonder what the verdict will be this time," Takuya mumbled.
A male student entered the library a moment later, his face pale and etched with depression. Takuya and the others immediately recognized him as Keita, Yukari Anno's boyfriend. Although they had not known Yukari very well, the twins were in Keita's History class. Giving them a weak nod, Keita settled down in an empty seat at a nearby table. His gaze quickly dropped so that he was looking down at his lap.
"Maybe we should ask Keita if Yukari had been acting strange the day that she died," Takuya suggested as he rose from his seat.
"No, don't do that," Zoe hissed as she grabbed the bottom of his shirt. "His girlfriend died only a week ago. You can't ask him stuff like that. Not now."
The brunette groaned. "But if we don't find out what's going on, how do we know that girls won't stop dying? I've never heard anything like this before."
Zoe remained silent for a moment, but released her friend a second later. "Okay, I'll go with you."
While the twins waited at the table, Takuya and Zoe made their way over to Keita. As they drew closer, they could see that he was looking at his cell phone, tears clouding his eyes. He seemed to be looking at pictures of himself and Yukari.
"Hey, Keita?" Takuya gently tapped the boy on the shoulder.
Keita jumped slightly, but calmed down once he realized who it was. "Oh, it's just you two. What's up?"
Takuya and Zoe took a seat at the table with him, unsure of how to get things rolling. Keita wiped his eyes with the back of sleeve, then sniffled a bit. With Yukari's death still fresh in his mind, he was still reeling from the heartbreak.
"We don't mean to upset you, but we wanted to ask you a few questions," Zoe said carefully. "Do you mind?"
"Well, what are the questions about?" Keita asked.
Takuya ran a hand through his chestnut hair. "These deaths that have been going on...they seem very strange, don't they?"
"Um, yeah. Of course they're strange. I've never heard of a chain of deaths like this before," Keita replied, his voice cracking a bit. "Is that what you wanted to ask me?"
"Actually, it's about Yukari," the brunette told him. "Uh...was Yukari acting out of the ordinary on the day that she died?"
Keita's eyes quickly darkened and his voice dropped into an angry growl. "What the fuck kind of question is that?"
"We're just trying to figure out what's going on," Zoe hurriedly told him. "No one knows what's happening in this school and Takuya and I want to find out. If this keeps up, more girls could end up dead. They just found a fourth victim in the girls' bathroom only minutes ago."
The teenage boy calmed down, and he let out a sigh. "Yeah, I heard about that on my way here. Yukari acted perfectly normal last Monday. I was at her locker with her and she agreed to meet me outside of school at the end of the day. She told me that she had aced a test, and was looking forward to her brother's wedding that weekend. I gave her a kiss before we parted ways and that was the last time I saw her..."
Keita choked up, and fresh tears welled up in his eyes. Zoe reached over and gave him a comforting hug, letting him get a bit of his grief out. He and Yukari had been dating for nearly two years, and they had seemed like one of the happiest couples in the school.
"Thanks, Keita. I'm sorry if we upset you," Takuya told him. "But we're just trying to get to the bottom of this."
"I-I understand," Keita stammered, them flashed Zoe a weak smile. "Thanks."
After a few moments, Takuya and Zoe began to head back to their own table, where the twins were sitting. To their surprise, a girl was seated there as well, an anxious look on her face. Upon hearing them return, Kouji turned to face them.
"This is Rei Hirano," he explained. "Kayako's best friend. We asked her over to talk to her about what's been going on."
"Hi." Rei seemed hesitant to say anything else as Takuya and Zoe settled back into their seats.
After a long pause, she let out a distressed sigh and buried her face in her hands. However, the others waited patiently as she finally mustered up the courage to speak. Finally, she looked back up at them, brushing a lock of copper-colored hair off her forehead.
"I want to tell you guys something...but you have to promise me that you won't tell anyone else." She let out a quiet humorless laugh. "Hell, you'll probably think that I'm crazy..."
"At this point, we won't find anything to be crazy," Kouji told her. "Four girls either dead or missing within eight school days. That's crazy, so whatever you have to tell us, we won't be that shocked."
Rei nodded solemnly, dropping her gaze to her clasped hands. "Well...last Thursday, on the day of Kayako's death, I was in the bathroom with her at the time."
The others stared at her in surprise, yet did not interrupt her to ask questions. There would be plenty of time for questions once she had finished.
"We ended up meeting in the hallway, both of us on the way to the bathroom. So obviously we went together. I went in one stall while she took a minute to check her hair. While I was inside the stall, I heard Kayako talking, though I couldn't hear who she was talking to," Rei told them.
"So she was out in the open at the time?" Kouichi asked. "Not in a stall?"
"No, not in a stall. I heard her say the most ridiculous thing, and I couldn't figure out why she said it at all." The girl glanced up at them quickly before dropping her gaze back down. "I heard her say 'Blue cloak'. A moment later, I heard her letting out a pained cry, though it only lasted a second. I tried to open the stall to see what was happening, but the door wouldn't open. Since this school is old and designed a certain way, I couldn't crawl out through the bottom or climb over the top. I was stuck in there for God knows how long..."
Zoe hadn't noticed that she had grabbed Takuya's hand under the table. "And what happened once you got out of the stall?"
"I was finally able to get the door open and I rushed out, panicking. As soon as I emerged, though, I saw Kayako hanging from the ceiling with a rope around her neck. Her face was blue and her eyes were bulging out of her head. A stool had been knocked over nearby and she was just swinging there." Rei let out a whimper as she remembered her friend's corpse. "I knew she was dead by then, and I couldn't reach the rope to free her anyway. So I ran out of the bathroom and got a teacher, telling him that I had walked into the bathroom and found her. No one would've believed me if I had told them what had really happened. They probably would've thought that I killed her myself."
"But you didn't kill her," Kouichi stated. "Did you?"
Rei shook her head vehemently, tears welling in her eyes. "Kayako and I have been friends since the third grade. Never in a million years would I have ever done something to her. Hell, even if we hated each other and weren't friends, I never would've hurt her."
"Was someone holding the door to your stall closed while someone else attacked Kayako?" Takuya asked. "Or was it just jammed?"
"You're really going to think I'm nuts for this, but I'll tell you anyway." Rei took a deep breath. "The door wasn't jammed, but instead felt as though someone were holding it closed to keep me inside. I ducked down to look through the small opening between the floor and the bottom of the door, but there wasn't anyone there. No shadows, no feet, nothing. It was almost like it was being closed by a supernatural force since there was no one standing there."
She abruptly rose, gathering her books and small shoulder bag off the floor. Rei shook her head in disbelief, looking as though she regretted telling them anything. Before the others could say anything, she hurriedly made one last request.
"Look, don't tell anyone what I just told you. They'll probably lock me away in an insane asylum or arrest me for Kayako's murder. So whatever you do, don't repeat what I've just told you. Please," she practically begged.
"We promise," Kouji said after a moment. "If we figure out what's going on around here, we'll tell you."
Rei nodded. "Remember...Kayako said 'Blue cloak', if that means anything."
With that, she rushed away from the table, disappearing behind a shelf of books on the other end of the library. Once she was out of sight, Takuya turned to face his friends.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm not doubting what she said," he told them.
"I'm not either." Zoe had by now released the brunette's hand and had a faint blush on her face. "The deaths that have been happening are already peculiar. She looked too scared to be making any of this up."
Kouji frowned. "Yeah, but I don't know if I would go as far as saying that everything that has happened was caused by something supernatural."
"Really?" Kouichi raised an eyebrow. "Think about it, though. Four girls within eight days have gone into the girls' bathroom without coming back out. Two girls were found dead by suspected suicide. A third was never found and according to the school's blueprints, there are no windows, vents, or anything else where Asuka could've exited through. Everything other than the restroom entrance itself leads to a concrete wall."
"You know what's even weirder? The fact that each girl has met their demise two school days apart," Zoe revealed. "Yukari was found dead last Tuesday, and Kayako was found on Thursday, two days later."
Takuya's eyes narrowed as he realized the pattern as well. "Friday went without incident and there's no school over the weekend. But two school days after Kayako's death, Asuka disappeared on Monday. Two days later, which would be today, Wednesday, another girl was found dead."
"Something is definitely going on around here, and I don't think that it's just a chain of suicides." The blond smoothed her black skirt down. "Rei's account of everything makes it even stranger if what she says is true."
Other students were seated at other tables, most of them whispering amongst each other. It was obvious that nearly every conversation consisted of the most recent body found in the bathroom.
"Do any of these girls have something in common?" Kouichi asked, ignoring the hushed whispers. "I mean, are their deaths connected in any way?"
Without speaking, Zoe rose from her seat and made her way to one of the book shelves. The guys exchanged puzzled looks, but remained quiet as the girl made her way back over clutching a book in her hands.
"What's that?" Takuya inquired as she sat back down.
"Last year's yearbook," she replied, quickly opening it. "I wasn't sure what else to do, but maybe we can find some type of answer if we look at their pictures."
Kouji shrugged. "It's worth a shot."
He and Kouichi got up out of their seats and stood behind Takuya and Zoe to get a better looki inside the yearbook. Zoe flipped through the pages until she found Yukari Anno's school picture.
"This is probably a stupid idea," Zoe muttered. "I doubt we'll be able to find any similarities between the girls based on this."
"It's not stupid," Takuya said, stealing a glance at her. "None of us thought of any other ideas anyway."
Yukari had dark brown hair that cascaded down her back in waves, and turquoise eyes. Unable to find anything in particular, Zoe went to the picture of the second victim. Kayako Hayashida had shiny, curly blond hair and jade eyes. There seemed to be no similarities between her and Yukari, so Takuya took the liberty of finding Asuka Shimizu's yearbook picture. Asuka had jet black hair that was a few inches above her shoulders and onyx eyes.
"I didn't see anything in common about them." Kouji adjusted his bandana, although bandanas were not permitted in the school
"Only thing I could see is the fact that they were all really pretty," Kouichi speculated. "Not to come off as a creep or anything."
Zoe closed the book. "No, I agree with you; all three of them were extremely attractive. Do you think maybe that has something to do with their deaths?"
"Guys, maybe we're just looking into this a bit too much," Kouji said with a sigh. "Why can't we just accept the fact that these girls commited suicide and get on with our lives?"
Takuya glared at him. "Because if this chain of events keeps happening, how many more girls could end up the same way? For all we know, Zoe could be the next victim."
The blond paled and her eyes widened. "Uh...let's not go there."
"Oh, sorry." Takuya rubbed the back of his head, flashing her a sheepish grin. "I was just making a point."
"And he wanted to point out the fact that he thinks you're pretty," Kouichi teased.
Takuya and Zoe both turned red, with the brunette nervously trying to cover up the fact that Kouichi was right. However, before things got too awkward, Kouji had risen from his seat.
"Hey, where are you going?" Takuya asked as his raven-haired friend walked away.
Without replying, Kouji made his way over to the other end of the library where the laptops were kept. He signed online, vaguely aware of the others approaching him with curiosity.
"What are you doing?" Takuya asked again.
"Trying to find answers," Kouji mumbled as a search engine popped up on the screen. "I don't know if I'll be able to find anything, but it's worth a try."
After a few failed attempts to find anything useful, Zoe tapped him on the shoulder. "Mind if I try something?"
"Go for it." He got out of the seat and allowed Zoe to take his place.
Thinking to herself, the girl stared at the blank bar on the screen, trying to decide what exactly she should type in. After a moment, she finally settled on typing in 'blue cloak bathroom deaths'.
Takuya chuckled. "Zoe, I don't know what kinds of results you'll get from something like that."
Yet to everyone's surprise, a page of results popped up with the key words. Zoe clicked on the first one, casting back a playful glance to her friend.
"You were saying?" she quipped.
Kouichi snickered. "She got you."
"Shut up," Takuya muttered. "What does that page say?"
The long-haired twin snorted after reading a few sentences. "Zoe, you kind of picked something that sounds like it should belong in a horror movie."
"I know, but it fit in with the key words," Zoe replied. "Let's just give it a chance."
"The urban legend of Aka Manto?" Kouichi questioned, but shrugged nonetheless. "Eh, let's see what it says."
Takuya, leaning over Zoe's shoulder to see the screen, began to read the text aloud. "Aka Manto is a Japanese ghost who haunts the girls' bathroom. He appears wearing a red cloak and a white mask and is said to be so charming that girls are unable to resist him. Aka Manto roughly means either red cape or red cloak, and he is sometimes referred to Aoi Manto, which would refer the color blue."
"Jeez, I wish I could attract the girls like he can," Kouji quipped, only to receive a smack upside the head by his brother. "Ow...bastard..."
"Aka Manto hides in the last stall of the girls' bathroom and when you enter the bathroom, he steps out and asks, 'Which do you prefer, Red Cloak or Blue Cloak?' If you say 'Red', he slits your throat or chops off your head and blood flows down your back, making it look like you're wearing a red cloak. If you say 'Blue', he grabs you by the neck and chokes you until your face turns blue and you die of suffocation," Takuya continued. "Don't even think about asking for a third color or try to trick him by purposesly choosing a different color. If you do, the floor will open up beneath you and pale white hands will reach up and drag you down to Hell."
Kouji scoffed. "This is insane. What type of idiot wrote this? Some horror story fanatic with two much spare time on his hands?"
Ignoring his friend's comment, Takuya finished reading the article out loud. "Some people say that, years ago, Aka Manto was a young man who was so handsome that every girl immediately fell in love with him. He was so attractive, that girls would faint whenever he looked at them. It got to the point where he had to hide his face behind a white mask, which gave him a creepy appearance. At another point in time, he kidnapped a beautiful young girl and she was never seen again."
"As crazy as it sounds, it does sound somewhat believable if you really think about it," Zoe whispered after a moment.
She turned around to face the others, forgetting how close Takuya was. She came face-to-face with the brunette, her lips almost close enough to touch his. Turning bright red, Takuya quickly moved away, nearly falling on his ass. He hummed nervously, while Zoe blushed as well.
"How does this sound believable?" Kouji rolled his eyes. "This is just some crazy guy's imagination."
"Zoe's right, though," Kouichi shot back, keeping his voice hushed. "Yukari could've picked red, which is how her throat was slit. Kayako picked blue, which would explain her death. Asuka most likely would've picked a third color, therefore being dragged down to Hell and disappearing. And the fourth girl was covered in a bloody sheet, so that indicates that she could've picked the color red. Everything could've been staged to look like suicides, which would twart any attempt to close the school down."
"You three are on crack if you seriously believe this," his twin muttered.
Takuya threw him an annoyed look. "Well either way, I think we should still get to the bottom of this. I don't care if any of you join me in this, but tomorrow night I'm going to sneak into the school and find those videos that should've been taken from the girls' bathroom. This has gone far enough, especially when another girl's life could be at stake soon."
After a long pause, Zoe flashed him a smile. "I'll go with you. I want to find out as well, though it'll be tough to get inside."
"I'll find a way to do it," Takuya replied, then looked at the twins. "What about you two?"
"I'll go," Kouichi stated. "I don't want any more girls dying around here. If this keeps up, half the girls in the school will be dead by the end of the school year."
Groaning in contempt, Kouji mumbled his own reply. "Fine, whatever. I still think this is ridiculous, though..."
"Then it's settled." Takuya and his friends made their way back to their table, where they sat back down in their seats. "Tomorrow night, we'll sneak inside and get to the bottom of things. If it really is Aka Manto who's causing this chain of deaths, then we'll avoid his two-day cycle. Also, if he's supposed to be really good-looking, then it makes sense that he's targeting attractive girls."
After a mutual nod of agreement, the teacher who had broken up the spectacle in the corridor, Mr. Takano, entered the library looking pale. The librarian entered with him, obviously shaken up by the incident involving the newest victim. Mr. Takano gravely began to make his way over to one of the book shelves, where he began to browse the selection. He apparently was not teaching a class that period, and seemed to be trying to find a way to keep himself preoccupied. Takuya and the others rose from their seats, quietly approaching the teacher.
"Mr. Takano," Takuya said. "Do you know what happened in the girls' bathroom?"
"It's not my place to speak of what happened, Mr. Kanbara. I'm sorry, but until we find out more information, none of us teachers can tell you students anything," Mr. Takano replied grimly.
The man nervously tugged at his tie to loosen it, clearly uncomfortable about his position. Glancing around to make sure the other students weren't paying attention, Kouichi decided to ask the teacher one last question.
"Can you at least tell us the name of the student?" he inquired. "Please?"
His three friends stared at the man, their faces almost pleading with him to answer. Mr. Takano looked hesitant, but took a quick glance around the room as Kouichi had done.
"Don't tell anyone I told you this," he finally said in a hushed voice. "I could lose my job for this."
"We promise we won't," the four students told him unanimously.
Mr. Takano took a deep breath, then answered the sought-after question. "The victim was Narimi Shibayama."
With that, he hurried away from the teenagers, exiting the library. Takuya and the others stood there speechless for several long seconds, too shocked to say anything. The twins exchanged surprised looks, unable to muster up anything to say. Zoe let out a whimper of grief, burying her face in Takuya's chest, who put an arm around her in return. After a long pause, the brunette had finally found his voice.
"I can't believe the girl who just died was J.P.'s cousin," he murmured.
And that wraps up the first half of my urban legend two-shot! I hope it doesn't suck too bad :p Sorry for the long chapter, but I didn't want to rush through anything too quickly or make it drag too bad. Please review to let me know what you think, and I'll try to finish the second half by Tuesday or Wednesday night. And for the record, the school uniforms look like the ones from Code Geass, though I've never even watched it before ^_^;