I don't own these characters or profit from them. For the record I am basing this fic on the first season of the anime. I am well aware of the demon girl in the manga and other discrepencies between this and season 2. But I figure there's so many time lines in this series I can do wharever I want.

Also remember if you like my writing I have written several books which are available on Amazon, Target, and their affiliates. These include such books as Outside the Circle, Yes Virginia, There is a Bogeyman, Mystery Girl, Shaw, Magical Moments: A Collection of Short Stories, How to Be an Anime Character, and more.

(Episode 26 of When they Cry ends)

Wayne: Whoa, weird ending.

Garth: Yeah, it kinda freaked me out.

Wayne: Hey, how about we do the "tie up all the loose ends" ending.

Garth: Sounds good.

Both: (Wave their fingers) Doodly-do doodly-do…

When they Cry: Final escape

By, Clayton Overstreet

Chapter 1: Reset

Keiichi woke up and stared at his ceiling. It was all happening again. But hopefully, for the last time.

From downstairs his mother called out, "Keiichi, wake up! Rena is here to walk you to school."

He sighed. This was the twelfth time he had lived through this June. At least, the twelfth time he could remember. There was no way to tell how many times he had gone through these motions. It was amazing he could remember anything at all. Only Rika was able to remember all of them.

It was tempting to just give up. Or to kill himself. But he had died several times now in a variety of ways and they all hurt. Besides, he knew they could get through this alive, he was sure of it. It had been done before, the time he had stopped Rena from blowing up the school.

As he got up he went over his plan in his head and worked out the details in his head. His problem was Rika. She wanted everyone to stay in town. She had been living this month over for so long that she knew practically what everyone was doing every moment of the day. Chaos theory kept her from being right about everything, since even the smallest change could have unseen consequences. But she was used to that and was also good at improvising. And she was dead set on, whatever else happened, keeping everyone in town. He knew for a fact that if push came to shove she could make anyone from Hinamizawa do anythign she wanted, including killing him. And if she thought he was a threat she would, even though she was his friend, because time would just reset and he would be fine again.

So he needed to do this without letting her know. At the same time he needed help if he wanted to get his plan to work. Not easy because June was the critical juncture. He had moved into the area the month before, so while he had made friends they barely knew him. They certaily didn't know what he had done back home with the girls and the BB guns and he could not get them to believe in everything he had to say without some proof.

At least, not all of them.

Acting casual he walked downstairs and grabbed some dumplings off of the table. "See you later mom." She said goodbye and he hurried out to where Rena was working. He handed her a dumpling and she smiled at him. "Enjoy."

"Thanks a lot Keiichi," she said and took a bite. "Mmm, yummy!"

"Hey Rena, I got you a present," he said. "You know that statue that used to be outside the restaurant in town? Well I heard that it was taken to the dump and I was wondering if you'd like it. I know right where it is."

"Me too! I was going to ask you to help me get it this afternoon!"

"Really?" He said, pretending to be surprised.

"Yeah! You know where the dump is?"

"Oh I know where everything is," Keiichi said. "I know I haven't been in town that long but for me it feels like I've been around a year."

Rena smiled at him nervously. Then impulsively she reached out and took his arm. Keiichi smirked and said, "So it's a date?"

Blushing she looked down and nodded. "Yeah. A date." She looked up at him. "If you want…"

"I'd be happy to have a cute girlfriend like you," Keiichi said. "Oh look, there's Mion!"

The green haired girl saw them and made a face. "What's this? You two getting all lovey dovey?"

Rena started to stammer but Keiichi said, "Yep."

"Boy you sure work fast Keiichi," Mion said. Then she sighed. "It's so unfair. This town is so small I'll never get a boyfriend." She pointed a finger at Keiichi. "You never said you liked Rena! And don't you think it's a little soon to be picking favorites?"

Keiichi shrugged. "You never know."

Rena said, "Come on Mion, let's get to school."

"I guess," she said. Putting her arms up and lacing them behind he head she lead the way down the road.

That afternoon the girls stared in shock as Keiichi won his tenth straight game of cards. Mion was fuming. "You're cheating!"

"How can I be cheating? You're the one who is dealing and I've never seen these cards before." He saw Rika studying him. "But since I win that means I get to decide a punishment, right?"

Satoko asked, "How did you know about that? You only just joined the club this afternoon and we never told you."

"I've been asking around," Keiichi said. He reached for a marker. "Don't worry Mion, I'll go easy on you…" Mion tried to talk he way out of it, but three minutes later her face was marked like a panda bear.

Still trying to keep her cool Mion said, "How about we show you around town? You're still new here, right Keiichi."

"Sorry Mion," he said. "I promised Rena I'd take her on a date. But how about tomorrow we all go out to Angel Mort? Your sister works there right?"

Mion's eyes widened. "You know about my sister?"

"Of course," he said. "I told you guys, I've been asking around."

"I… I guess," she said. Outside the bell rang. "Oops, time to go."

"Right," they all agreed.

Outside they split up to go their separate ways, but Keiichi noticed someone watching him from the side. "Hey Rena, you go on ahead okay. I forgot something in the classroom."

"I can wait," she said.

"No, I'll be right there. Besides, that doll we're after is stuck under a lot of rubble. We had better save as much time as possible if we want to get it out by sundown."

"Oh, you're right." She looked up at his eyes. "You'll come right away right?"

"Go," he said. She nodded and hurried off.

Rika came out from around the corner behind him. "What are you doing Keiichi?"

"What do you mean?"

"You're acting… different," she said. He could tell she was testing the waters. Things changed every time the month reset, but usually not this early. She wanted to know if this was one of the times he remembered the reset or not. For Keiichi it was a grab bag.

"You think so?" He smiled and reached out to pat her head. "Don't worry Rika, I'll do my best to be myself. I just… for some reason I thought Rena was cute and I asked her out on a date. But it's sweet of you to worry about your friend." He grinned playfully. "Or are you jealous? I understand if you have a little crush on me."

"No!" She said, blushing. "That's not it. I'm happy Rena's happy."

Satoko waved from across the playground, "Rika, hurry up!"

"Okay then. I'll see you tomorrow," Keiichi said.

Rika nodded and smiled happily. She ran off Keiichi smiled, watching her go, and then turned to follow Rena to the dump.

Chapter 2 New Old Friends

Mion sat at the table at Angel Mort and checked her watch. Her sister Shion came over in her waitress outfit and said, "Are you ready to order yet, miss?" She smiled playfully.

"No, I'm waiting for some friends of mine. They wanted to meet you." She sighed.

"Are you okay sis?"

"I'm fine, it's just… well there's this new guy in town named Keiichi," she said. "He's kind of cute and… well I was going to ask him out. But then yesterday he just up and asked out my friend Rena."

Shion raised an eyebrow. "Really? You liked this boy?"

"Yeah, but you know, it's too late now. I guess I'll just have to settle for being friends." She looked up. "Oh, there they are!"

Keiichi and Rena came in along with Rika and Satoko. They walked in and right up to the table. Keiichi smiled and extended his hand to Shion. "You must be Mion's sister."

She smiled and shook it. "Yeah, I'm Shion."

"It's nice to meet you," Rena said. "You look so cute in that waitress outfit! Mion you have to wear one too! Ou'll look so adorable!"

"Sorry, I already have a job at my uncle's toy store," Mion said.

"I've heard all about you all from Mion," Shion said. "You're Rena, Rika, and Satoko, right?" They nodded. "So what would you like to eat?"

They ordered and Rena said, "Why don't you eat with us?"
"Sorry, but I'm working."

"Your shift ends at five though," Keiichi said. "How about we all go out to a movie when we're done?"

Shion blinked at him. "How did you know when I get off?"

Rena said, "Keiichi knows a lot for a new kid."

"Since I'm living here now I've been doing a lot of research on the town. I bet I know more about it than you guys do."

"Oh really?" A female voice said behind him. They turned and saw a man in a baseball cap with a camera around his neck and a pretty blond lady standing there."

"Mr. Tomitake! Miss Takano!" Rena said. She turned to Keiichi. "Mr. Tomitake takes pictures around town and Miss Takano is…"

"A nurse at the hospital," he finished for her. "She works with Dr. Irie right?"

"Yes, that's right," she said. "And I couldn't help overhearing. If what you say is true, then surely you know the story of the cuse of Oyashiro."

"Keiichi doesn't want to hear about that…" Mion began.

"Of course," Keiichi said. "All those people dying at the Cotton Festival." The nurse smiled, but it quickly faded when he said, "I think it's just a coincidence."

"Really? All those deaths on the same night?" Mr. Tomitake said.

"Well since this town only has one festival then it's not surprising that something would happen on that night, is it? A bunch of people getting drunk and everything accidents are bound to happen."

"Well I'll have you know this town has a long history of…"

"I know all about the history," Keiichi said.

She sniffed and nodded at Tomitake. "Come on. I've lost my appetite."

"Really? Uih, okay," he said and followed her out.

Mion shook her head. "Wow Keiichi, you sure rubbed them the wrong way."

"Well when people think they know everything they don't like it when you tell them they are wrong." He saw Rika looking at him. "What?"

"You remember, right?" She said it softly, her voice taking on an adult tone. Keiichi winked at her and she frowned.

"Remember what?" Satoko asked.

"Oh, yesterday Rika looked upset, but I promised to buy her a snack when we came here today. In fact, let's make the whole meal on me."

"Alright!" The other three shouted. He saw surprise in Rika's eyes, but she smiled and went along with it. Keiichi hoped he had not tipped his hand too soon, but then remembered that Rika had probably been reliving this summer for up to a century. Anything new was probably good for her and she had not killed him in a long time.

He suspected the times she had was when he had first arrived and she had done it because she A: barely knew him and B: thought that taking him out early might stop what happened with Shion and Mion. He doubted it had though. If for no other reason than Rika had eventually taken a shine to him and more importantly, stopped turning Rena and Mion into zombies to kill him.

After they finished eating they waited for Shion to get off and change out of her waitress uniform. On their way out the door they ran into a tall tough looking man in a suit wearing dark sunglasses. Shion smiled at him and said, "Kasai, I'm going out to a movie with Mion and her friends so I won't need a ride home today."

He nodded. "Understood. I'll see you later then." He turned and walked away.

"Who was that?" Rena asked.

"My bodyguard, though he's more like a father to me really."

"You see, in our family we have rules about inheritance and grandma sent Shion away to private school while I learned how to be the family head."

"Really?" Keiichi asked. "I knew you, Rika, and Satoko were the heads of the three main families in the village. The Hojos were in charge of business, the Sonozaki family was in charge of maintaining order, and the Furude family is in charge of religion, right?"

"Wow, you are a fast learner Keiichi," Shion said. They stepped outside and she led the way down the sidewalk. "It's like you've known us for- ow!" She bumped into a motorcycle parked on the sidewalk, knocking it down.

Suddenly three thugs, one of them with a swastika chaved into his head. "Hey bitch! You scratched our bikes!"

"You're gonna pay for that!"

"Yeah!"

They moved forward menacingly and everyone backed away. Rena grabbed Keiichi's arm. "Keiichi, do something!"

He said, "Mion!" She turned to look at him, shocked. Then he nodded to the gun she wore on her shoulder.

"Duh," she said, drawing it quickly and pointing it at the bad guys who stopped in their tracks. "Thanks Keiichi. I always forget I'm wearing this thing." She stepped forward and the punks backed up, staring at the weapon. "You guys get the hell away from my sister or I'll pump a bullet into each of your skulls!"

"Okay, fine! Just don't shoot!" They quickly gathered up their bikes and rode off down the street.

"Way to go sis!" Shion said, throwing her arms around Mion and hugging her tightly.

"I'd do anything to keep you safe Shion. But you should thank Keiichi for reminding me about the gun," she said. But she smiled. "Just don't tell grandma I let those punks ruffled me. The family head is supposed to be able to handle things like that."

"Mum's the word," Keiichi promised and the others followed his lead. Then they began heading back down the road to the movies.

Chapter 3 The Festival

Rika caught up with Keiichi at the Cotton Drifting festival while he made a break for the bathroom. Mion had been making them compete at all the booths if it was a game or food and he needed the break.

When he edited the stall he found her waiting for him. "Hello Rika."

"What are you doing Keiichi?" He looked at her and she narrowed her eyes at him. "You've been changing things."

"So have you." He smiled at her. "You know I was watching when you headed to Mion's house. What was in the syringe you took with you?"

"Tranquilizer," she admitted. "I usually try to get there before Mion gets hurt. If I can give Shion a shot and knock her out before it goes too far I can usually stop things from spiraling out of control. Sometimes she gets lucky and knocks me out. I am just a little girl after all. When that happens I find it's best to kill myself rather than let her torture me for weeks." She tilted her head. "How much do you remember?"

"Enough," he said. "But not everything. I had to work a lot of it out. Rena helped me once, but Shion killed you, Satoko, and Mion while we were busy before we could stop her."

"That time you two disappeared for a week…" She nodded. "So what do you think you know?"

"I think that the deaths on the cotton festival night have nothing to do with the curse." He shook his head. "And I think I can get us all out of this."

"No," she said.

"Why not?"

"Because I've tried it. Every possible way." She shook her head. "Either everyone dies or we all leave and never see each other again and either way is unacceptable."

Keiichi smiled and knelt down to look her in the eye. "Funny, I thought you were the one who remembered everything."

"I do," she said with a frown. "Every time the town resets itself. It's like some twisted video game."

"Then you should remember what we all promised before. That we'd help and trust one another." He put a hand on her shoulder. "Just let me try. If I'm wrong the town will just start all over again, right?" She looked uncertain. "Rika, I think I know what you did, but I'd like the details. It might help." He looked at her. "There has to be some truth to the old legends about Oyashiro, right? Maybe you guys really are descended from demon wizards or a god or whatever. The Hojo family were merchants. They handled the town's finances. The Sonozakis were in charge of police work, but quickly got corrupted into a small yakuza branch. And the Furude's were the ones who knew your ancestors old rituals and spells. I don't know what happened, but you used one to cause all of this, right?"

Rika nodded. "The first time…" She shook her head. "It's been so long I almost can't remember. I was just a little girl when they came in to build the dam. And I did nothing about it. I remember being sad that I had to leave my friends and wishing the dam was gone, but that was it. So everyone was moving out, you never came to town. My family is in charge of the shrine and the antiques inside so we were one of the last ones out. They had already started construction when they hit a huge pocket of gas out in the swamp." She held her arms around herself. "Everyone started dying. But to keep me busy my mom and dad had given me an old family book…"

"The Furude family spells," he said.

She nodded. "I was copying a symbol out of the book with my crayons. And then we all died and… I woke up as a baby."

"I see. So everyone dying probably fueled the spell right? A big sacrifice or maybe Oyashiro does it to protect everyone," he said. "So what did you do?"

"Uh, not much," she said. "I thought… wel it was weird but I thought it was like a dream or something. And it was hard to remember everything that happened all those years. But I was an eleven year old in a baby's body so as I grew up I tried to fix things. My father supported the dam and nobody listened to me when I tried telling them about the gas. But then something happened and Satoko's parents had their accident and fell in the river. They found her father, but her mother's body must have washed away in the river. At least I think it was an accident."

"I don't buy that," Keiichi said. "I'll bet that her aunt and uncle did it. Their parents probably left the money to their kids since they knew what scum those two were. Then the aunt and uncle kept the kids because it would have looked suspicious if they died too."

"I think so, but I don't know for sure," she said. "I tried to convince my father and mother to look for the gas pocket. I think they found it because the next day he was dead and my mother vanished into the swamp. Maybe it was an accident or maybe she went to see what made father so sick."

"Sounds about right," he said.

"I was so upset that I forgot about what happened to the village until the last moment. So I raced to the book and drew the symbol again. Only I messed it up and was only sent back a few years, to just before the Hojo's deaths. I tried to stop it, but nobody knew where they were before the bodies were found and nobody wanted to talk about it to a little girl." She shook her head. "There was one man I told about what was going to happen, but nothing ever came of it."

"So you studied the spellbook to see if there was anything else you could do."

"I learned lots of spells. Even ones to control people. But in the end all I could do was make the reset shorter, taking to down to a single month eventually. I picked this one because it's the last and because we were all friends."

"You killed me…"

"And you've killed me. And Shion and Mion and Rena. We've all died killing each other." She shook her head. "Every time something changes."

"Chaos theory," he said. "Like when a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and it rains in Nevada."

"Right. I try, but things… always go wrong in the end." She smiled. "The best one so far was where you and Rena fought on the school roof and even then she was still arrested and we all died again."

"Yeah, I know," he said.

She shook her head. "You… I still don't understand how you can remember. I've seen it happen a few times, but I still don't understand. Nobody else remembers."

He shrugged. "I looked it up when I was doing research. According to my family history back durring the Feudal Era one of my ancestors was a girl names Rin who everyone said was the servant of some evil dog demon. If the people of this town can be descended from demons I guess other people can too. Maybe it's true." He shook his head. "I don't really understand it either.

"But Rika, you can't do this forever," he said. "No matter how old you get in here…" He put a finger on her forehead. "You'll never live a full life until this spell is broken."

Rika shook her head. "It's impossible Keiichi. You can try your best, but some things can't be changed."

"Not alone," he said. "But I think that with a little help they can." He smiled. "For example, I think I've changed something already."

"What?"

"Well you know that biker gang that we had a run in with the other day? Well you would be amazed what guys like that will do if you get a pretty woman to offer them a thousand yen and a chance to cause a little trouble."

"What do you…" She was interrupted as Mion and the others came running forward.

"Keiichi! Rika! Guess what happened?"

False innocence all over his face Keiichi said, "What?"

"Three guys on motorcycles just drove up and grabbed Miss Takano. She and Mr. Tomitake were appearenly trying to break into the Oyashiro shrine when they came out of the woods, grabbed her, and drove off! He already called the cops who are after them and the village headman is giving Mr. Tomitake an ear full about trying to break into the shrine."

Rika stared in shock. "But… but they… they're supposed to…"

Keiichi put a hand on her shoulder. "Rika sounds tired. How about I walk her and Satoko home?"

"We'll come too," Shion, Rena, and Mion all said.

"No, you three stay here and enjoy the festival." He smiled and leaned in whicpering. "But I was thinking, after the noise about Takano dies down, how about we break into the shrine and look around? I'd like to see what he was looking for in there."

"But it's not allowed," Satoko said. "We'll be cursed by Oyashiro!"

Rika looked between her and Keiichi who winked at her. "Oh that's not true," she found herself saying. "They just tell people that because its full of old torture equipment that nobody uses any more. They just think it will scare people."

"Yeah," Mion said as she and Shion grabbed their hands, squeazing the fingers where three of their nails had grown in slightly crooked. "Nobody would use those things any more."

"Well I'd like to see in there," Shion said. "I bet that's where the bodies of everyone who went missing from Oyashiro's curse are." She and the other girls shared a look.

"So it's decided. In three days we'll sneak in. Until then everyone just act normal and don't tell anyone."

Mion smiled and elbowed him in the ribs. "You can be a pretty bad guy when you want to be Keiichi."

He frowned. "You have no idea." He looked at them. "If we get caught though, you should all tell them it's my idea. They'll believe you."

Rena hugged his arm. "We wouldn't do that to you Keiichi."

"Why would they believe us anyway?" Shion asked. "Mion and I are older, we'll get blamed."

"No, we will," Satoko said. "Rika and I are orphans. No real parental supervision…" She covered the large bruise on her arm with her hand and Keiichi's mouth tightened. Her uncle had been hitting her again, in the weeks since he had turned up again.

"I trashed my school before we moved back to Hinamizawa," Rena admitted. "Oyashiro made me do it after he made my mom leave my dad."

Keiichi reached over and squeazed her shoulder. "Oyashiro may or may not exist, but he's supposed to be a protector. I don't think he would do that Rena. I think your mom…" She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. "Anyway there's a lot of bad people out there. You just have to pick your friends carefully, right."

She nodded and wiped her eyes. "I just wish my dad picked girls better. Right now he's…" She shook her head.

"Anyway I was arrested for armed assault a while back," he said. "I'll take the blame."

"Assault?" Mion asked. Keiichi started to say something and she held up her hand. "No need to go into the details Keiichi."

"Right," Shion said. "What's past is past." Though her eyes got a cold hard look as she said that.

Keiichi nodded and smiled at them all. "Right. What's past is past." He put a hand on Rika and Satoko's heads and they smiled up at him. "We need to focus on the future."

After they left Satoko at home, her uncle passed out drunk on the couch, Keiichi walked with Rika back towards the shrine.

"So do you think you've stopped the curse of Oyashiro?" Rika asked.

"This year's deaths," he said. "That was one of the easier parts to figure out. I just hired those punks to drag off the nurse before she could kill Tomitake."

"She killed him?"

"I found out by sneaking into the police station a while ago."

"I thought he clawed out his own throat…"

Keiichi shook his head. "That's just what that fat cop Oishi tells us when he comes to question us. Everyone in town is a suspect, remember? So he lies to see if we're involved by how we react."

"I never thought of that…" She said.

"I got suspicious when he told us that she was found burned to death in a barrel instead of vanishing. If there really was a curse then either she would vanish or me and Shion would on the same night those two died. But she turned up dead. The cops never finish their investigation, but the working theory is that for some reason she tore Tomitake's throat out, probably looking for bloody maggots, and then got spooked and hid in the barrel…. Which as it turns out is part of the fireworks display for the ceremony."

"Okay that explains this year… if you're right. But what about last year's death and disappearance?"

"I still have to work that out. It's kind of why we need to get into the shrine." He looked at her. "I hope that Shion won't get so paranoid this time, without the murders. But she needs another push to get past her part in this."

"That's not the only problem."

Keiichi chuckled. "Oh I think I've got the rest of that all taken care of." He smiled at her as they stopped at the huge stone stairs leading up to the shrine.

"You seem really smart this time around," Rika said.

"I'm older than I look," Keiichi said. He looked at Rika. "You look upset."

She looked down and bit her lip. "I don't know. I've lived in this one month for so long. So much longer than I lived the rest of my life. Sometimes I wished it would all end, but I couldn't let my friends die. Not when I ccould save them." She looked up at him. "I'm not sure if I'm afraid you'll fail or f you will succeed."

He stared into her eyes for a moment. "Rika, we may be alive and everyone may forget what happened, but this isn't life. It's a prison." He smiled at her. "Trust me, things will get better, if we do this right."

"The spell is already set up," she said. "I carved it into a rock in the woods a long time ago."

"Then if I fail we start over again." He extended a hand to her. "That's the club rule, remember? We don't settle for anything but winning, right? And I think you and I can beat this thing."

Rika couldn't help grinning up at him. She took Keiichi's hand and shook it. "Right."

Chapter 4 Hatred's Lament

The days after the Cotton Drifting Festival were the most interesting in local history and the news was on everybody's lips. First off it was the first time in several years that nobody had actually died durring the festival. Which everyone attributed to all traces of the plan to dam the river being long gone. Oyashiro was appeased they said.

Second Miyo Takano was found abandoned in the woods and was currently locked up in a mental hospital under observation. Apparently she had been found in the woods after being kidnapped and was rambling about curses. On her were several notebooks full of crazy ramblings about everything from blood maggots and demonic diseases to aliens and underground monsters. She had also been stealing medicines from Dr. Irie's offices and self medicating, but badly which had not helped her condition.

Third they found the motocycle gang who was responsible for grabbing her and they said that they had been hired by a woman later identified as Ritsuko by Oishi who had been given the case. She claimed she had been told to hire the boys to do it by a highschool kid who wanted to play a joke on her. Unfortunately she could not remember what he looked like. However an annonymous tip, also from a highschool boy, let the police know that hidden in the wall of a booth at Angel Mort behind one of the pictures was a camera. Inside was a tape of Ritsuko and her boyfriend not only extorrting money from three boys, but also discussing something called a "badger game" they were playing on a man in Hinamizawa in an attempt to extort money from him.

"Well I think Oyashiro really is watching out for us," Rena said firmly. "And I'm glad that woman got what she had coming. If I had known what she was doing to my dad I would have killed her myself."

"And now my uncle got arrested," Satoko said. "They came and hauled him out of there in front of me and I'm living with Rika again." She smiled happily.

Rika hugged her. "I'm glad to have you back." She looked at Keiichi who was smirking openly.

Mion stood up straight and said, "Everythings coming up roses. You know things are going so good I don't even feel worried about what we're doing…" She held up a key. "I snagged this from my grandma's room last night.

Shion snatched it away. "Come on! We have to go now!"

"Man sis, you sure are in a hurry."
"I just… I want to see if we can find the missing people," she said. "You know Rika and Satoko's mothers… and… and…"

"And you think Satoshi might be there too," Satoko said.

"I…" She looked down.

Mion shook her head. "I don't believe it. I can't believe anyone in this town would kill someone like that. Especially for some ancient god."

Shion glared at her. "You know what happened Mion. You know our family is head of the local yakuza. You honestly think they wouldn't kill someone? Especially after what they did to us. You know grandma hated Satoshi."

"No, she agreed to let you two be together," Mion said. "She swore!"

"You're being groomed to be head of the family. You walk around with a gun!"

"For protection. You saw what happened with those biker punks. If I'd been unarmed we'd probably have been the ones dumped in the woods."

Shion frowned and looked away. "Maybe, but I want to look."

"Me too," Satoko said. "I want to know what happened."

"Satoko, if your brother is in there…" Rena said. "Maybe you and Rika should wait out here."

"No!" Both girls yelled. Rika said, "We're going in!"

"Right!"

Keiichi said, "I think Mion's right, but we'd better look just in case, don't you think?"

Shion didn't wait for an answer. She stomped towards the door and opened it with the key. Taking a deep breath she threw the doors open. Everyone crowded up behind her and they walked inside.

"This is so cool," Satoko said happily. She examined the tools and torture devices inside. "Did they really use this stuff on people?"

"Animals mostly," Rika said. "They only used it on people if the village elders decided they needed to be punished for either trying to leave or breaking the village rules."

"What's this for?" Rena asked.

"Ripping out fingernails," Mion and Shion said. Rena flinched.

Shion said, "Isn't that the tool you used in your dance at the festival?" She pointed to something that looked like a hoe covered in streamers. Rika nodded.

Keiichi waited until everyone was looking elsewhere and then said, "Hey, look what I found!" With that he opened the secret passage leading down into the ground.

"Neat!" Satoko said. "Let's go in!"

"I have a flashlight," Shion said. She turned it on and led the way. "I think I see some torches up ahead."

Soon they were deep under ground in a huge empty cavern. Keiichi looked at Mion. "Did you know about this place?"

"Sure, grandma took me here years ago. But we have a entrance back at my house. I didn't know there was one here."

"These look like prison cells," Shion whispered.

Keiichi looked closely. "I think so."

"There seem to be a lot of them," Rena said.

Keiichi said, "I don't think they're for prisoners. Look at the size of this place and all those marks on the wall. Plus I think I can hear water."

"So what do you think it is then?" Mion asked.

Shion was going cell to cell, looking inside frantically. "Nothing, there's nothing here."

"My guess," Keiichi said. "Is that this used to be a mine. I saw these same kinds of cages when I watched an old movie a few years back. They used slaves to dig the mine and kept them in the holes they dug so they couldn't run away. It's probably why the town had all those old rules about never leaving. The slaves and their descendants would have been forbidden from letting anyone know by the three head families. It also explains why they have two shrines to Oryshiro and why this one is off limits. It's a cover."

"My family probably sold whatever was mined here," Satoko said.

Mion nodded. "That makes sense. We don't have too many records, but if anybody had known there was a mine out here this little village would have been overrun in a week." She shook her head. "No wonder my family insisted on private law."

"So is the stuff about Oyashiro all fake?" Satoko asked.

"No," Keiichi said, looking at Rika. "I'll bet they really were descended from wizards or demons. Rika's side of the family being priests probably were the brains behind the whole thing. Using their powers they kept everyone connected with their spells while Mion's side protected them and the Hojo side handled the business."

"So where are the bodies?" Shion asked nastily.

"I doubt there are any. The only water around here is the river so they can't drop dead people in there. They'd poison it. Having a swamp so close is bad enough."

"I hear the water now too," Shion said.

"There's a deeper part of the cave this way," Mion said, "In one of the cells."

"I want to go see," Shion said. The others shrugged and followed Mion.

When they got there it was a deep dark pit. You could hear water below. Keiichi said, "Miners needed a fresh source of water so this is a well. Look there's a ladder."

"I'm going down," Shion said.

Mion said, "No Shion, it's too dangerous."

"I don't care!" She moved to the ladder.

"Then I'm going with you." She looked at the others. "You all wait here. This ladder is old and I don't want to overweigh it." They nodded and watched as the twins descended.

Satoko looked at Rika. "Do you think my nii-nii is really down there?"

"No, I think Keiichi is right."

Rena bent down to give Satoko a hug. "I miss him too."

Satoko frowned. "But isn't Keiichi your boyfriend now?" She looked nervously up at him.

Keiichio smiled. "The past is past. Just because you come to care about someone doesn't mean that they take someone else's place. You understand. You love Rika and Mion and Shion and Rena right? But that doesn't mean you don't love your brother too."

She got tears in her eyes and threw herself at his leg, hugging him. "You'd be a good big brother too Keiichi."

He smiled and patted her head. "Thanks. If I had a little sister I'd want her to be just like you."

"How touching," a voice said. Everyone turned and saw Mion's grandmother standing there. "And just what do you all think you're doing down here? Do you know how dangerous this place is? If you'd fallen in that pit-" She was interrupted by a loud scream from deep down inside the hole.

Back at Mion's house the kids sat in a row at a short table while Mion's grandmother drank tea. She looked at Shion who was crying in her sister's arms. "I couldn't believe it. There was nothing down there. The water was so clean…"

"Yes," Grandma Sonozaki said. "We were planning to talk to Satoko about that when she was older. When they were still alive her parents suggested we sell our local spring water. We think that's why they were near the waterfall when they died."

"What about Satoshi?" Mion asked.

The old lady sighed. "I was hoping you would move on from that. The truth is… not nice."

"You… you broke your word to me," Shion sobbed. "You killed him!" She looked like she was about to snap.

"I did no such thing!" Shion flinched in the face of her grandmother's anger. "Had you refused to go through the test I gave you I would simply have ordered you to leave that boy alone. That is what I expected to happen. But when you did it and your sister did it too, I decided I had gone too far." She shook her head. "I was so proud of you two, showing such strength. I thought that any boy who could inspire such love was worthy of my grandaughter."

"Then where is he? What did you do with him?"

"I did nothing, as I promised. That boy sealed his own fate." She sipped her tea. "Everyone in town knows that he killed his aunt to protect his sister." Satoko frowned but stared straight ahead, refusing to cry. "When the police started to get close he went into hiding. He hid himself away in the dump."

Rena gasped. "Oh my gosh." They looked at her. "A while ago Satoshi was the one who got me interested in treasure hunting. He's the one who set up that van in the dump as a hiding place. When he vanished I promised I'd take care of it until he got back."

"I thought the police said some crazed drug user killed his aunt," Rika said.

"We had them say that. The truth is Satoshi was dead. I don't know if he did it himself or if it really was an accident. Some of the village counsel members thought it may have been Oyashiro's curse. But we found him half buried under a pile of garbage. When we did we had him buried in the Hojo family crypt. Our contacts with the police put out the story to save his family's honor and we kept it quiet for… his family."

Satoko nodded. "I get it. You couldn't let the Hojo family be known to have a family killer."

"History can be unkind," the grandmother said. "And the Hojo family is meant to be our village's businessmen. Such a stigma…" She looked at Satoko. "Besides, we thought it best if you did not know." Shion sobbed and buried her face in Mion's shoulder. "I see that the lies may have done more harm than good. I'm sorry."

Mion said, "Thank you for telling us grandmother. I think… I think I'll take Shion home." She looked at the others and smiled at them. Without another word she and Shion left the room.

When they were gone Mrs. Sonozaki said, "Now, whose idea exactly was it to go snooping around in there?" Everyone immediately raised their hands. She sighed and said, "Fine, whatever. Go home and keep your mouthes shut. We've just gotten over the last curse of Oyashiro, we don't need people claiming that you've brought down another one on our heads."

"Yes ma'am," they all said.

Kasai had already been called and he gave the twins a ride to Shion's apartment. When they arrived Mion sent him away with a nod, letting him know that she would handle Shion. He nodded back and got in to his car. Before he pulled out he rolled down the window. "Call me if you need me."

"I will," Shion said softly.

They walked upstairs and Shion opened the door. She stumbled inside and went to the couch. Mion shut the door. When it closed Shion said, "I owe you an apology."

"For what?"

"For suspecting you. I… I guess deep down I thought that maybe you had something to do with Satoshi's disappearance. I know you liked him too and I thought… maybe after grandma gave her blessing that you encouraged the villagers to kill him. Or that you went along with it. I…" She buried her face in her hands. "I don't know! I mean all I know about our family is that we're involved with the yakuza. What was I supposed to think?

"But then I remember what you've done for me. Helping me, taking on the same punishments as me… protecting me. And I feel so ashamed."

Mion smiled and shook her head. "Boy you have issues. Shion I can't be mad at you. I know how you felt about Satoshi. If I were you I'd be going crazy too, especially after all you'd done for him."

"But…" Mion held up a hand, silencing her.

"Plus we've protected you a little too well little sister." She sat down on the couch. "Yes our family is in the yakuza, but whatever they did hundreds of years ago, these days we don't kill anyone.

"The truth is we run the towns… um…" She blushed. "We run a bordello."

"Ah… what?"

"Strippers, hookers, and gambling," Mion said. "Nude ventriloquists and bubble dancers… the whole thing." She smiled. "Think about it sis. This town is so small you can fit all the kids into one classroom. It's not like you could kill anyone without anybody noticing." She saw her sisters eyes widening. "The entrance is actually in the back of uncle's toy shop."

"Oh… oh my." Shion was blushing too now. "You don't… you know… go on stage there?"

"Well yeah," Mion said. "You have to. As family head I don't have to do the whole hooker thing, but they expect you to perform. It builds trust with the girls. Every one of the family heads does it. Mom used to."

"Even grandmother?" Shion said. They both shivered.

"Not anymore," Mion said.

"So that's what the whole thing was about? Not telling me and training you as family head?"

"Well I have to learn how to run the business, send people out to collect on debts and protect the girls, and take care of rival businesses. But usually a good beating is enough to do all that. You know how close and protective everyone in town is."

"Yeah…" Shion wiped her cheeks. Her eyes were still red. "You know after all this time it feels strange, letting Satoshi go. Knowing that he really is dead. I guess I always believed he'd come back some day."

"We all did," Mion said. "But if you want I'll go with you to put some flowers at his grave."

Shion smiled and said, "Thanks sis." She raised an eyebrow.

"What?"

"Sorry, but with the way you always blush I can't imagine you working in a bordello."

Mion sniffed. "It's just acting. Still I can understand. I mean you could neverget up on stage with people watching you."

"Oh come on. We're twins. I can do anything you could do. Have you seen the outfit I have to wear at my job?"

"So? That's nothing. Getting up on stageand flashing your tits at a whole audience is different."

Shion looked skeptical. "You really do that?"

Mion smirked and reached down, pulling up her shirt and bra. With a flick she threw them aside. "No problem." Shion was blushing and looked away. "See? You can't even look. If you tried that in front of people you'd probably faint."

"I could too do it," Shion said angrily. She reached for her own shirt. She hesitated and Mion was about to say something when she stripped the cloth off and threw it on top of Mion's. "See?"

Mion leaned forward. "There's no way you'd do this in front of strangers!"

Shion leaned forward. "If you could do it I can do it. Probably pays better than my job."

"True and we have guys to keep them from groping you." Mion moved and then they both gasped as their chests brushed against one another.

Shion looked down to where her chest was pressed against Mion's. Then she looked up at her sister who was doing the same. Their eyes met. They both giggled a little.

Shion, her mouth dry said, "Um, sorry sis."

"Don't worry." She looked down. They flinched a little, but even pulling back sent a shover down their spines. "It um, it's not like it feels bad or anything. Right?"

"Right… I mean it feels…" She paused. She was looking anywhere but at Mion, but when her eyes looked back she saw Mion staring at her chest. Automatically she covered herself. "Hey!"

Mion blushed. "Sorry. It's just… well strange. Since we're twins and all. It's like looking in a mirror."

"Well it iss a bg fantasy for a lot of people," Shion said. "And we are beautiful."

"Yeah," Mion said. "And it's strange because of how we were raised apart. Sometimes it's hard to think of you as my sister, you know? Even though we look alike."

"I know what you mean." Shion noticed that Mion was still sitting there topless. "maybe we should get dressed."

Yeah." Neither of them moved. "Hey uh, Shion. I was wondering. Did you and Shioshi ever… you know, kiss?"

"No!" She looked at Mion. "Have you ever-?"

Mion shook her head. "I thought that maybe with Keiichi, but he's got Rena now. And I'm not going to try stealing a guy from my friend."

"Kinda stinks though, since he's about the only boy in town our age."

"Actually he's younger than us. So it really stinks that he's ahead of us on that."

"Yeah." Shion looked at Mion's eyes. Mion looked back. Slowly they leaned in and gave each other a quick kiss on the lips. "Well that was…"

"Funny. Just something to do so we could do it, right?"

"Right…" Suddenly they both moved forward again and wrapped their arms around each other. Eyes open they kissed again, this time longer. On impulse Mion flicked her tongue out into Shion's mouth. Shion moaned and arched her body against Mion's.

Mion broke the kiss and moved her mouth next to Shion's ear. "You know we shouldn't be doing this. We are so seriously screwed up. If we aren't out to kill each other we want to hump each other."

Shion reached up and roughly groped Mion's right breast squeasing the whole thing in her hand and then tugging on the nipple. "Mion… shut up and help me get my pants off." She stuck out her tongue and licked Mion's mouth and kissed the tip of her nose.

"Right!" She did as instructed, her fingers fidgeting with a writhing Shion's button and zipper. As the zipper went doing Mion looked up and bit her lip, staring at her sister. "Uh, later could you, you know, wear that waitress outfit of yours? I always thought it made you look hot."

"Only if you do too. I have a spare. And I want to see you in red high heels."

Soon the rest of their clothes hit the floor. They followed soon after.

Epilogue

Rika, wearing her priestess robes, stared down from the shrine steps and watched in joy as the snow fell. The same way she had since late October. How many years had she lived in the sweltering summer heat? Seeing snow fall was a miracle.

Having gained the trust of the other girls Keiichi had told them that Rika had predicted a terrible disaster for the town. He had agreed that the girls did not need to know the details of the spell. There was nothing they could do about it anyway and they had all agreed before that what was past was past.

The town had been saved when, with the help of the vilalge counsel, Satoko Hojo had used her family's contacts and money to call in a specialized drilling team. With less than a week to spare the gas people had erected a well in the swamp and were pumping out hundreds of gallons of natural gas every day. The three families were raking in the money and on agreement from the official heads (all three girls), they split it with both Rena and Keicchi too. They were planning to do the same when the water bottling equipment was done setting up in the old mine. Satoko was written up in magazines as the youngest entrepreneur since the Olsen twins.

The gas company had opened up new jobs and Hinamazaw was now slowly growing larger. They were beginning construction on a new school for all the new students. Rika and Satoko were looking forward to getting new friends, though they made Rena, Keiichi, and Mion promise to keep the club together.

"Of course," Keiichi promised. "We're your friends after all."

Rena's father had eventually gotten back most of the money he spent on Ritsuko, once the trials were over. By the time she got out of prison her scamming days would be long over. She had managed to get her sentence cut down to twenty years though, by selling out Satoko's uncle. Apparently he divulged certain secrets to the woman involving Satoko's parents and their demise. Satoko decided she did not need to know anything except that he was going to be summarily executed. She had been told she was the sole heir, but had refused to have anything to do with his money and had donated it all to Dr. Irie's hospital.

Mion and Shion were both now working at their uncle's "Toy Store", but despite having many admirers of various ages, neither girl was ever seen in public with another boy. They told their friends enough details about their relationship to satisfy their curiocity, but everyone respected their privacy.

"Besides, "Mion said. "If you work in our kind of business you soon realize that most men are total pigs. Right Keiichi?"

"We're just messed up," Shion said. "No way around it."

"Of course we're thinking of having kids one day. We'll just have to go the test tube route. As head of the family I have to."

Rena said, "I want to be a mother one day! Babies are so cute!"

"Hey!" Keiichi said. "Let's wait until we finish college before we start that kind of thinking!" Everyone had laughed at him.

Rika smiled at these memories as she stared out across the cold white landscape. Things were so different now. But different was good.

Behind her Satoko came out and snarled, "What are you doing out here?" She wore a pink suit lined with fake fur. Her hands were jammed under her arms.

"Watching the snow," Rika said. She had stopped talking like a child. Satoko did not seem to mind and nobody had brought it up.

"You have been doing that a lot. It's like you haven't ever seen snow before."

Rika smiled. "It seems like such a long time since I did."

"You can see the snow just as well isnide. Come on, everyone is getting worried. You said you were just going to be ten minutes."

"Sorry."

They went inside, both stopping by the statue of Oyashiro, clapping their hands and praying. "Thank you for your blessings." Then they entered the main house.

Keiichi, Mion, Shion, and Rena sat around a small table drinking tea and talking. When the girls came back they all stopped and looked to them. "Welcome back!"

They were dressed in winter clothes. Keiichi was wearing sweats and a t-shirt, his jacket hanging by the door. Rena was wearing a white dress with a pair of mittens hanging from it. The twins were both dressed in skimpy Santa costumes.

"Does this mean we can open the presents now?" Rena asked.

Mion slapped a deck of cards on the table. "No! We're going to play to see who gets to open the presents first. The loser has to let the rest of us pick through their gifts to decide what they want to keep!"

"Deal!" Everyone shouted.

Rika sat down next to Keiichi and picked up her cards. Keiichi whispered to her, "How does it feel, knowing that time is moving on now?"

"A little scary," she said. "It's strange, not knowing what's going to happen." She smiled widely. "But I think I can get used to it."

Wayne: Now bad

Garth: Let's to the big mystery ending…

Both: (Wave their fingers) Doodly-do doodly-do…

When They Cry: Clue Ending

By, Clayton Overstreet

(If you've seen Season one of Higurashi: When They Cry then you know that's how it could have happened. It could have also gone like this!)

Rika raced through the halls of the mansion with the others following her. "And then Miss Scarlet (Ritsuko) opened up this secret passageway and killed the cop!" She pointed to Oishi's blood splattered by the phone. "Because the cop was on your payroll and kept your bordello under wraps!"

Ritsuko grinned. "Who are you, Perry Mason?"

Rika ignored her and they hurried off down the hall. "And then there was a ring at the door. And you Rena had picked up the gun and shot Miyo Takano the singing telegraph woman!" She hurried off to the kitched with the others racing after her. "And you Proffessor Plum," she looked at Keiichi. "You recognized the cook as your former teacher from back where you used to go to school."

"Why would I do that?"

"Because she could have told everyone about how you used to shoot gradeschool girls with a BB gun!"

"That was you?" Mion (Miss Green) asked.

He covered his eyes. "I turned myself in and my family used their money to hush it up and we moved out here."

Out in the hallway by the door Rika said, "Then you Colonel Mustard," she said to Satoko. "You killed the mototrist because he was the man you hired to kill your parents!"

"Yes, I admit it!" She shouted. Then she glared at Rika. "And when the cops get here you'll expose us all."

Rika grinned. "Why would the police come? Nobody's called them." Everyone stared as she whipped out the pistol. "You all assumed you knew who your blackmailer was, but you never met them before tonight."

"You're the real Mr. Body!" Mion said.

"Indeed."

Keichi blinked. "Then who did I stab in the dark?" (See evil Uncle Hojo)

"My butler," Rika said. "And now we can all leave."

"And you'll keep blackmailing us," Mion said.

"Of course. And since I have the gun there's nothing you can do about it."

"Oh no?" Mion reached under her shirt and pulled out a pistol. In one quick movement she shot Rika.

Rika gasped, dropping the gun. "Nice shot Miss Green…" She coughed a bit and slid down the wall. "Very nice."

"What was that?"

"I'm really an agent of the FBI," Mion said grandly. "I told you I didn't do it!"

Suddenly a bunch of cops burst into the room lead by Kasai. "Alright, who done it!" Everyone began blaming each other.

"They all did it!" Mion said. "But if you want to know who shot Mr. Body, I did. In the hallway. With the gun." She smiled at Kasai. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go home and sleep with my sister!"

Author's Note

Okay if you noticed any spelling errors there's a good reason I did not fix them. It's because my spellcheck uses ENGLISH software and I don't want to spend the time and effort explaining to it why the names of this cast are not misspelled.

As for the sister-sister makeout scene, not one complaint. It's not like it was my original idea. Anyone who sees the cover of this series' DVD set knows the creators had the same idea. Also there are plenty of official pics of it online too. And you have to admit, it's a step up from them gutting one another like carp.

Speaking of which I considered having a few fight or killing scenes, but it wouldn't have really jived with the story and you got a ton of that from the series already.

The Waynes World and Clue thing at the beginning was just something I had to do because that's all I could think of once I saw the series.

Tell me what you think. And remember to buy my books!