Must read: This is a sequel of my first Ghost Hunt installment, The Cult, but it wouldn't be necessary to read it first before this one. Although, doing it would mean so much to me. Or, another great idea, you can read it together with this one. I felt responsible on giving you the information that you need.
Story and Plot: The idea is not new to me anymore. When I was a kid I was dreaming about a European couple every night. It bothered my mother so much that she decided to consult a child psychiatrist. She said that it was just a manifestation of my conscious being on how I keep my fears on myself too much but we shouldn't worry about it. She suggested that I should channel these thoughts in a medium and I choose writing. I write about it often at school. The dreams lessen but my teacher was disturbed and keeps asking me if my mom is a battered wife, which is impossible because my dad wouldn't even kill a mouse when I ask him to. Why is she asking that? You'll about to find out!
Special thanks to: pOp-ViRg097, sweetymai90, bittersweetpersonal and bbhelen3162
Standard disclaimer applied.
On my closed eyes I can see a bright light coming from the sun. It was yellow and warm. Light breeze is blowing sending me the opaque scent of grass and thousands of unidentified flowers. The sparrows are chirping merrily on the sky and squirrels are squeaking in delight. It felt like morning after you turned off the annoying alarm clock. Minutes passed by and I became weary and restless that I can just only feel not see. And sure enough as I opened my eyes I saw all the things I have been imagining. It was breath taking. . .
The unidentified flowers are made out of garlands, freesia and roses. All of them red and proud next to the white carpet in the middle of golden chairs, rowed in exaggerating straight line. People are wearing white and smiles that are anticipating something entertaining from me. Why am I wearing a long red dress? And why am I walking in the white carpet? I looked up and there on the end of the aisle is a priest and Naru, wearing a white military uniform, his long arm stretched his palm waiting for mine. He was smiling at me beautifully and his blue eyes are creaking in delight. I on the other hand was concentrating hard on not tripping, remembering how to breathe while torn between a head debate if this is Naru or Gene.
Not long before I reached him, I become certain that this is Naru. For he opened his mouth with another smile and say, "Mai, Tea."
The whole thing vanished like smoke, only the yellow light remained. It was replaced by silent giggles that rung loudly in my ears. Oh no, somebody realized I was dreaming about getting married to Naru! I was thinking while groaning. I'm not planning to open up my eyes until I die. Not with this people around. And I ground further. But I have to. Somebody is calling me and seems determine to wake me up from my humiliating dream. Deciding that this has to stop soon, I bravely parted my leads. Blurry image of a mousy haired lady welcome my sight.
"Who's Naru?" The lady asked politely. She turned out to be my literature teacher waking me up from slacking at her class. More loud laughter followed her question.
Luckily, God loves me so much and didn't want my classmate to humiliate me further. The bell rung and we all got up noisily from our feet.
"Mai, can I have a word?" Ms. Miyuki politely called.
My classmate gave me a look that says, "Oooooh! Taniyama's in trouble!"
Ms. Miyuki waited until all of them are out of earshot and begun, "Mai, this is the second time you fell asleep from my class." I opened my mouth to apologize but she added. "I'm concerned, Mai. You are working two jobs now, am I correct?"
I answered surprised. "Three ma'am. I'm working in a psychic research and a bookstore downtown plus I walk dogs during my free time."
"Well it seems these jobs are stressing you out. Your grades are slipping and you always look worn out." She got up from her desk and holds me on my shoulder. "I know how hard it is to not have parents to support your school but doing three jobs is too much." Her brown eyes were full of concern and I wish I could agree with her.
"Ma'am the thing is I have to pay for a medical bill that I got a month ago and two jobs are not enough to pay for all of them." I dropped my gaze so I couldn't see the shock on her face. "But I promised to leave at least two of them as soon as I pay for It." then smiled encouragingly.
Sure enough, she looked disappointed but nonetheless smiling kindly at me. That's why Ms. Miyuki is my favorite teacher. She was a good teacher and has compassion for all her students. Her passion for literature was so infectious that all of her students caught a crazy faze of wanting to dissect every story she assigned for us to read. Her classes were like bedtime stories but falling asleep in one of them is humiliating.
"Well I know you didn't hear half of what we discuss including the assignment." I gave her a guilty smile while she handed me a hand out. "I want you to make a book report about The Diary of Alexandra Harty. Why am I excited you should ask?" she laughed as if giving assignment to your students is a punishable crime. "This book was pulled out from all libraries in 1700 because readers mysteriously fall in coma state. But this book is so good that summaries are written all over the world. Since you said you been working in a bookstore and a psychic research I think these jobs can help you."
She dismissed me and I happily walked out.
My friends, Michiro and Hinata, are waiting for me outside the door. They are both sporting a worried look but both of them sighed in relief the moment they seen me smiling like a student who got busted but didn't get a detention slip.
"Whoa, Mai! We thought you had it!" Hinata exclaimed while we were walking out of the campus.
"Isn't it convenient that Mai fell asleep in Miyuki-sensei's class, the coolest teacher around, and not on the other notorious one?" Michiro observed.
I scratched my chin wondering the same. "Maybe because Miyuki-sensai's class is my last period and all my remaining energy are drained."
We all laughed at my comment.
"Well Mai, we need to go." Michiro declared when we reached the school gate. "Are you going at to the bookstore today?"
"No. I only work there during weekends. I'm going at the SPR today. Why?"
"Well I was hoping I can get my book research for Miyuki-sensei's while you're there before me and Hinata can go to work." Michiro and Hinata were also working student. But unlike me, they are only working in an ice cream parlor nearby. They both have parents that can support their school needs anyway.
"Mai, you should totally check out the new boy in the ice cream shop." Hinata was almost squeaking in delight. She was looking at Michiro for support on how to describe this mysterious "ice cream boy". "He was tall and has the cutest green eyes ever!"
"I think they're blue." Michiro was shaking her brunette head on Hinata. "Anyway he has a maw hawk." The way she said "maw hawk" gives me the impression that any boy that possessed a maw hawk does not deserve a description that says "cute".
We parted our ways and I walked to the SPR office silently.
It has been a month since we solve our last case on which the head of the College of Medicine and Nursing in Tokyo University has asked us to investigate the mysterious death of their students. During the lapse period, we had had a case of a haunted mansion where in the food vanished like smoke but turn out to be, the mansion was being haunted by an army of mice. Ayako leaved while screaming. We also investigated a rich family when the wife asked us to find his husband. All we found out was he was hiding in his mistress house leaving clue about his "fake" death. All that and series of possessed objects that Lin-san, Bou-san, Ayako and John exorcist in about a day. Yes, the team has experienced a boring month. But thank God nobody got rabies from the mice.
I found Bou-san, Ayako and John sitting on the function room when I arrive. Only John look up from what they were reading which are news papers and magazine from Naru's nightstand. I watched them, amused, for a second, trying to decipher the peculiar action they were having.
Finally I gave up and broke their silence. "What are you doing?"
"Shhhhhhhhh!" They chorused.
"Would you like some tea?" I whispered with almost inaudible sound. Bou-san and Ayako rolled their eyes on me but said yes in almost hush anyways.
Moments later I was sitting beside them, drinking tea. I still cannot help myself but to ask what are they doing. Mostly, they spend their energy arguing about something loudly with a bit of physical violence, well in the case of Bou-san and Ayako that is.
"What's going on?" I blurted out.
"Masako is in Naru's office." Bou-san pointed in his index fingers on Naru's office door.
I cocked one of my eyebrows hiding my annoyance. It wasn't secret to everyone anymore that I have a huge crush on Naru and Masako are giving me the run for it. So I said, "So?"
The three of them snapped their heads on my direction. I can almost hear the creaking of their neck treating to fall down.
"Oooooh!" Bou-san teased like a highschool girl. "Mai's not interested, you guys." He was smirking at me but I stand my ground.
"She's not here last weekend. That means she doesn't see where Naru and Masako is or where they didn't go." Ayako teased further with her chin up and eyes that's looking sideways at me.
"Are you going to explain it or not?" I sounded a little cranky even in my ears.
"Oooooh!" Ayako and Bou-san chorused.
Finally John took a pity on me. "Masako was accusing Naru on having a er, cold feet when it comes to accepting cases."
"Cold feet?" Bou-san was shock. "You're being modest son, she called her a coward!"
"Coward?" I barked. "Sorry, go on."
John continued. "Masako thinks that Naru was slightly unnerved The Cult case and now he was taking ridiculous cases. She also thinks it was out of character Naru because the one she knew loves challenge and actions."
"I totally agree with Masako." Ayako sniffed like saying she agreed on our psychic pain in her so much.
"And I totally agree on who doesn't agree with you." Bou-san barked loudly. "Ok, first of all Naru is not a coward. He was just being cautious because we almost had it on the cult case. And second if calling him a coward is her ways of making Naru take whatever case she's presenting him then that's a cheap skate."
"I don't know. Maybe Masako is right." I have to give my opinion and all of them snapped their head on me again. "Ok, can you please stop doing that? I can hear your vertebrae creak!" then I added. "I think Naru needs to go back on what he was doing before he admitted the cult case. I mean all of us are still alive right?"
Bou-san sighed loudly. "I don't know kiddo! This one is different. We solved the case but it looks like Naru didn't have a plan on how to catch the offender. Our escape are just plain lucky."
All of us froze, silently thinking about what Bou-san said. That was partially true. We were kidnapped before the authority came in. If it wasn't for a miracle, a literal miracle that involved a real angel, we would be all dead before the sun shines. I passed out and woke up in a hospital later on and they told me I almost died because of blood lost. Naru was so sorry he apologized to me sincerely and after that we never had a case, a real case that needs a real psychic research. Maybe this is my fault.
I have to talk to Naru. I decided.
"Well I have to go!" Bou-san declared after a long pause. "Just let me know if Naru decided to investigate about this Diary of Alexander Heart book thingy."
"You mean The Diary of Alexandra Harty?" I asked surprised.
"Yeah! That one! How did you know?" Bou-san was surprised too. He paused on buttoning his winter cloak.
"I have to do a book report about that in school." I mused. Then I noticed that Bou-san was caring his bass guitar and a large suite case on his other hand. "Where are you going?"
"We have a gid Okinawa for a week." Bou-san is a bass guitar player and a monk at the same time. "But you can give me a call if you need anything."
"Does Naru know you're leaving?"
"Totally. I'm just waiting for you kiddo." With that, he smiled and bestowed me a kiss on the forehead. He vanished at the door before we can say anything.
"Disgusting pedophile maniac." Ayako muttered by herself. "Well I need to go to! See you in a week!" and she vanished too.
I look around for an explanation and John was the only one who can give me the answer."Oh her family's having a vacation." He informed me.
"Don't tell me you're leaving too?" I whine.
"Mai, my family is in Australia."
We both laugh out loud at the obvious information but if the truth was about to be told, I'm sad that the two leave. I'm so used to them being around the SPR office a lot that imagining them gone even for a week was ridiculous. I'm just glad that at least John stayed. He was the only talkative guy left in our team.
With that, I sighed loudly and look at the door wondering what's taking Naru and Masako so long.
A soon as John and I finished our tea, the two emerged still arguing about something. Well, Masako is talking. They both look at us and stopped abruptly. Then without even saying anything, Naru went back to the office again. Masako sighed exasperatedly while watching the back of the office door for a long period. The she said, "Mai, can I talk you for a moment?"
And I said sure while wondering what I did to deserve Masako's time for chitchat.
She led the way outside, leaving John alone in the function room.
She sighed loudly again but nonetheless started on what she wanted to tell me. "Mai, I want you to talk Naru on accepting a case about a haunted book, The Diary of Alexandra Harty."
Oy. I smacked my head mentally.
Unless my ears are deceiving me, the great Masako is asking for my help. And not just any help, she wanted me to talk to Naru. Maybe I was dreaming on which the universe was altered with such oddity. Everybody seems to be out of character anyway.
"You want me to talk to Naru?" I repeated as if saying it with my own mouth would give me a conviction.
She glared at me at least convincing me that she's still Hara Masako and still hates me. "Yes I want you to talk to Naru."
"But why me? You're the one who always gets her way around Naru. Surely he will listen to you."
"Well, not anymore." She looked at a fly to avoid looking straight in my eyes. "He was acting weird ever since the cult case. He was not my Naru anymore." Her voice trailed and for a moment we didn't say anything. Then she looked at me and talked again. "Mai, please. This is important to me. If you promise to talk to Naru I'll explain everything to you."
Her baby blue eyes were full of determination. I nodded and she departed without saying goodbye.