I guess this story was inspired when I recently read the Japanese short story In a Grove by Akutagawa Ryuunosuke. Then I realized that this was the source for Kurosawa Akira's classic film Rashomon.
Disclaimer: All characters contained within are property of 07th Expansion.
In a Shrine
The Testimony of a Transfer Student as Questioned by a Special Investigator for Hinamizawa from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
Oh Akasaka-san, yes, I did find the corpse. Rika-chan hadn't gone to school today and Chie-sensei had immediately given into her worries and tasked me to look her up after school earlier. I found the body in the interior of the Furude Shrine, amidst all the torture devices that Mion and Shion had told me about. It's not exactly a nice place to be, even during the Watanagashi festival.
Crows were pecking away at the innards of the body that was spread-eagled across the wooden floorboards. The body was dressed in a green dress, one of Rika-chan's favorite articles of clothing. As I've said, the innards were spread all over the abdomen, which appeared to have been ripped open with a hook not too dissimilar from the typical ones used for loading and unloading at docks.
The blood was no longer flowing freely, and my academic knowledge bade me not to approach any more than I already had, for the dried blood of the corpse would no doubt harbor pathogens and bearers of disease.
You ask if I had found the object used to rip the body's abdomen open? Sir, that is a foolish question, for the entirety of the interior of Furude Shrine is, as I've already said, filled all over with torture devices. Finding the murder weapon in there would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I did notice a black beret and a taser on the dais of the chamber though.
The Testimony of the Village Physician as Questioned by a Special Investigator for Hinamizawa from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
You ask how I discovered this? I will tell you sir; I was worried that Rika-chan did not come to the clinic along with Satoko-chan today, who came to the clinic weekly to replenish her vitamin shots. I had decided to visit the small shack that Satoko-chan and Rika-chan lived in; both of them had lost their parents to the curse of the Watanagashi in previous years.
I arrived at the shack and saw that Satoko-chan was there; crying in the arms of Sonozaki Shion-chan. She said that Rika-chan had been missing since the previous night and she had tried her hardest to find her. Across them at the small table was Maebara-san, who had apparently told them the grim news.
I must admit that Satoko-chan looks even cuter when she's in despair and I wish she would truly marry me someday, but that's beside the point I believe.
Without bothering to interrupt their melancholy, I decided to see for myself the crime scene before the Okinomiya police and Detective Ooishi had arrived to seal the area off to outsiders. I stepped on the dais and in my haste, slipped on an object and fell onto the floor.
Cursing, I stood up, dusted off my white coat and looked around for the offending object. I saw a black beret two meters in front of the dais and a foot away from it was the decaying corpse of the shrine maiden, Furude Rika-chan. Finally, I noticed a black taser on the floorboards in a small alcove by the double doors.
I was very much saddened by the loss, taking the situation in with the mindset of a physician. The Sonozakis would rule this as the Watanagashi curse catching up to the final living member of the Furude line.
Truly, human life can be taken away at the drop of a hat or a flash of lightning. I have no words to express my sorrow for the death of the village's beloved shrine maiden.
The Testimony of a Detective from the Okinomiya Police Department as Questioned by a Special Investigator for Hinamizawa from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
The woman I arrested? She is the twin sister of the heir to the Sonozaki family, a girl by the name of Sonozaki Shion. You say that she was comforting Houjou-san when she received the news? That matters not, for the taser that was at the scene of the crime undoubtedly belonged to her.
No one else in the village would own that taser other than Sonozaki Shion. She was brought up away from Hinamizawa along with her bodyguard Kasai as instructed by the current Sonozaki head Sonozaki Oryou. You see, it was her twin sister Mion that received the tattoo of the oni, thus signifying that she was the heir to the family. Shion was put on a bus and grew up in a boarding school away from Hinamizawa. With the isolation of Hinamizawa from most of the urban cities of Japan with the exception of the small town Okinomiya, no one else would have the means to acquire a taser.
I had received the word of Furude-san's demise from Irie Kyousuke-sensei, the village physician. He phoned me, saying that he had seen the corpse of Furude Rika inside the forbidden chamber of Furude Shrine. He added that apparently, the first person to discover the crime was Maebara-san. I cursed my luck, as I was currently winning a mahjong game with two other police officers and Ryuuguu Rena.
When I arrested her, she was playing zombie tag with the branch school's club that included her sister and their friends, minus Ryuuguu-san who decided to accompany me when she heard that it was her good friend Furude-san who was found. She denied every allegation I laid against her… that is, until I showed her the taser contained within an evidence bag. Her stunned silence was everything and proved, without a doubt, to me that she was the murderer.
Her background isn't too helpful to her case either. Ever since the disappearance of Houjou Satoshi, she was more uptight, violent and unpleasant, even physically assaulting Houjou Satoko once, though this has tapered off in recent months.
You wish to speak to her? No problem; I'm sure you're a well respected investigator in your own right, eh?
The Testimony of the Sonozaki Heir as Questioned by a Special Investigator for Hinamizawa from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
I'm definitely surprised, Akasaka-san. I knew that Shion was really affected by Satoshi-kun's disappearance, but I didn't realize that she had gone off the deep end already.
It doesn't make any sense to me though; why would she murder the best friend of Satoshi-kun's sister?
I guess the toll of her distinction finally got to Shion. What a shame, even if I had a few fingernails ripped off too just to share her pain…
As for Rika-chan, it's a very big loss to the village and I don't know whether or not I should be sad for my own sister. If you'll excuse me, I shall go offer incense now…
Yes, Akasaka-san, I indeed, killed Furude Rika-chan. However, I didn't do it alone. I convinced Satoko-chan to turn on Rika-chan and the two of us did it; she was the one who told me where Rika-chan kept the keys to the Furude Shrine's interior.
At this point, I have nothing more to hide, so I will tell you everything as it happened. I will hide nothing from you because hiding anything will not help me in any way whatsoever.
Yesterday, a few minutes past four in the afternoon, me, Mion, Kei-chan, Rena, Rika-chan and Satoko-chan were playing hide and seek in the forest. No one knew how much I hated Rika-chan; she was the symbol of everything unfair in this world. Both of us lost what was most valuable to us. She lost her parents, while I lost Satoshi-kun. It was the unfairness of this world that I had to perform a distinction to satisfy my demon grandmother, losing a few fingernails in a torturous manner, as well as being spirited away once more to that hell you call a boarding school. As for Rika-chan? She got promoted to the head of the Furude family, and she even had a say during village council meetings.
It was power, and that she symbolized what I had not. I had reached my boiling point, and decided to dispose of her. The three of us were the last ones not yet caught by Kei-chan, who was it. Taking note of how happy Rika-chan was, I felt completely incensed and right then and there decided that her life had to be ended.
I was carrying my purse with me, and inside was my trusty taser and a kitchen knife that I had taken to carrying around with me. The nurse at the village clinic, Takano-san, had convinced me to carry one around for personal protection after she had given me an anti-influenza shot the other day. On another note, I was pissed off by that influenza shot, because for some reason, it's caused an allergic reaction in me, especially around my neck area.
- scratches neck -
When I had reached a secluded area that would take Kei-chan forever to get to by virtue of being new to Hinamizawa, I then made my move. Grabbing the taser from my purse, I tackled Rika-chan to a tree just as Satoko cried "Shion-san!" in shock.
Surprisingly, the little girl was seemingly unfazed by my actions; as though she had seen it coming, as though she had been expecting me to make my move. Her dark lavender eyes stared at me in a hollow manner, as if they were mocking me, daring me to make my move.
"Shion-san, stop this or else I'll call Ooishi-san!" Satoko-chan had threatened.
I turned to her with a piercing look and said, "Oh? Well, then go ahead, Satoko-chan. If you do that though… You'll never find out where Satoshi-kun is…"
At that statement, Satoko-chan's demeanor completely changed. As though she had been waiting for this day for years, she calmly replied.
"Do you speak truth, Shion-san?"
"I speak truth, Satoko-chan. In fact, I will lead you there right now, if you assist me in tying Rika-chan over here up as well."
I glanced over at the Furude girl while Satoko obediently tied her arms behind her back with rope. "Sorry, Rika-chan," the blonde whispered, and I was somewhat surprised by the reply that came from the shrine maiden.
"No big deal, Satoko, this world's all done for anyway," said Furude Rika in a deep, monotonous voice.
It was the voice that creeped me out; I was completely stymied at how such a deep, tired and adult-like voice could be coming from the mouth of a little girl like her. Shaking the shock off, I led the two girls off the hill through a forested path that led to the back of the village furthest from Okinomiya. It also happened to be the location of the Irie Clinic, where I had discovered, thanks to Takano-san, that Satoshi-kun was being kept sedated underground, tied down to a hospital bed because he had gone insane and was in a coma.
Naturally, I kept that last bit from Satoko-chan, and I then realized that my actions were, in a way, my way of joining him in insanity.
- scratches neck –
What's that Akasaka-san? How did I find Satoshi-kun? Like I said, Takano-san showed it to me. She had given me the anti-influenza shot when she said that there was something she had to show me. Curious, I followed her through a deserted hallway past Irie-sensei's office and we stopped at a door that was locked with an electronic locking system.
The blonde nurse beside me took out a card from her pocket and slid it along the indentation beside the door. The door then opened and when she opened it, I saw a staircase that went downwards. We descended for what seemed to be five floors until we reached an underground part of the clinic.
Takano-san then led me to an isolated room and I saw Houjou Satoshi-kun in the flesh, strapped down to the hospital bed with belts, a mask covering his face. There was a large stuffed bear on the table, and after allowing me three minutes to take it all in, Takano-san led me back up the stairs and admonished me to tell no one of this.
Why am I telling you this now? Because I've got nothing to lose, Akasaka-san. Anyway, I took both Satoko-chan and Rika-chan to that place, taking Takano-san's keycard from her nurse uniform when she changed into her normal clothing, and I led them to Satoshi-kun's room.
Satoko-chan was shocked at the condition of her brother, and before she could shout, I clamped my hands over her mouth and muttered menacingly in her ear.
"Shout now or tell anyone about this and I will kill you along with Rika-chan. You are going to do exactly as I say, Satoko-chan, if you want to stay alive."
She nodded and I continued. "When we've disposed of Rika-chan, you are going to act as though nothing happened. Tomorrow, if anyone asks, just say that Rika-chan went missing and that you tried your hardest to find her last night."
The girl followed my instructions to the letter earlier today, so I was a little bit proud that she did so. Anyway, after I had shown both of them Satoshi-kun, I led them back out the clinic under threat of immediate death if they made a commotion. Surprisingly, Rika-chan remained uninterested in attempting to escape, simply muttering over and over things like "this world is doomed" and "I wish the next world would be better."
Night had fallen and we went to their shack to pick up the keys to the interior of Furude Shrine, as that was where I planned to leave her body for everyone to find. When we arrived there, I let Satoko-chan go and told her to head back to the shack in accordance to the instructions I had given to her earlier. I felt a severe migraine come over me and my memory of what happened next was a bit fazed.
Of course, I was completely surprised to find Rika-chan still standing there; she obviously hadn't even attempted to escape. She suddenly opened her mouth in fear at something that was behind me. Cursing, I turned around, brandishing the kitchen knife and the taser in both hands, ready to take on whoever was keeping me from my prey.
Finding no one, I returned to Rika-chan and tased her in the neck, which immediately rendered her unconscious. After that, I untied her and then drove the kitchen knife without remorse into her abdomen, taking great care to tear her innards apart. She didn't respond in any form after the first stab had pierced her; her body convulsing involuntarily as blood spilled all over the floor.
When I was done defiling her corpse, I made my way to leave when something hit me hard on the head, after which I fell unconscious.
When I woke up, I realized that I was in a classroom in the branch school, with the kitchen knife on the floor beside me. To my horror, I realized that my taser was missing, but when I tried to leave the establishment, I saw that I was locked in.
I bathed in the school's bathroom and washed my clothes of the bloodstains and slept there that night.
Well, that's my entire confession, make what you want of it.
The Confession of the Little Girl Who Had Gone to Furude Shrine
Actually, Akasaka-san, most of what Shion-san said was right, except that she wasn't the one who killed Rika. I was the one that killed my best friend.
Why did I do this sir? Well, that's because when Shion-san showed nii-nii (Houjou Satoshi) to me and Rika, I was surprised to note that Rika wasn't surprised at all by this revelation.
So I asked her if she knew about it.
"Rika, did you know about this? Why aren't you surprised?"
I was met with the disinterested stare of purple colored irises and silence.
"Why didn't you tell me that you knew about nii-nii?"
Again, more silence.
When Shion-san finally brought us to Furude Shrine, when she let her guard down, I grabbed the knife in her hand and threw it at Rika's stomach in rage. I was completely blinded by wrath; wrath that I felt because she didn't tell me that nii-nii was alive. I tore at her stomach, causing her insides to spill out onto the floor. Behind me, Shion-san laughed, scratching at her neck all the while.
Eventually, guilt came over me when Shion-san had left, but not after she had told me that she would keep her silence for me when word got out of Rika's death.
I walked home, spattered in blood, and contemplated drowning myself in a heated bath as atonement for what I had done in my rage to my best friend. However, I was a coward, afraid to do what was right, and so I went to bed, weeping until I fell asleep.
The Story of Furude Rika's death as told by Frederica Bernkastel, the Witch of Miracles
Note: The entire transcript below was spoken in gold text.
After Shion had pinned me to the tree, Satoko shouted at her to let me go. Shion's eyes were drowned in rage. I immediately looked at her neck and true enough, there were scratch marks there, a positive sign that in this world, she was the one afflicted with Hinamizawa Syndrome.
Having learned from the past, and by that I mean that every world where Sonozaki Shion had been afflicted with Hinamizawa Syndrome has ended up to be a dead end for me, Furude Rika.
I let events unfold; to my surprise, she led Satoko and I back to the Irie Clinic, and she met Takano Miyo in her office, asking her for a key. When Takano saw that Satoko and I were in tow, she handed a keycard over to Shion and Shion led the two of us down to where Satoshi was located.
I wasn't surprised to find Satoshi there, because I had seen him deep below the Irie Clinic once, in another world. Satoko asked me whether or not I had known of this and I wanted to say "No, I didn't know about this" but the words just wouldn't leave my mouth.
Satoko took my silence as acknowledgement of the fact that I had hidden Satoshi from her, and I didn't bother correcting her because I honestly no longer cared, knowing that this kakera was doomed.
Shion then led us to Furude Shrine after taking the keys to the interior from my possessions. I was still tied up and Satoko was standing on the dais leading to the interior while Shion was ready to make her move when to my surprise, a gunshot pierced the silence of the evening.
A figure stepped out of the darkness, wearing a black dress with a matching black cloak fastened in place with a green brooch. She was wearing a black beret on her head and she was holding what appeared to be a Heckler and Koch P7 in her right hand, pointing at the ceiling. She took the beret off of her head and threw it onto the floor.
"Sonozaki-san, put your taser on the floor beside the beret or I will shoot you," said Takano sweetly.
Shion was obviously afraid, because her rage disappeared and was replaced with fear in her eyes, her body shivering as she set down the taser on the floorboards beside the beret with a loud clack.
"Houjou-san, go home to your shack and tell no one of this or else I will hunt you down and kill you."
Satoko nodded. She then turned on her heels and ran, looking back at me with a look of apology on her face.
"Sonozaki-san, head to your classroom in the branch school and lock yourself in the building. You know what will happen if you don't obey my orders," said Takano, pointing the pistol at Shion.
Shion nodded, a look of understanding on her face, as she wordlessly turned and left the shrine, leaving me tied up on the floor while I stared up at Takano, who was now regarding me with a look of glee.
"Oh yes, Rika-chan, you are definitely the key to my godhood."
I burned her face into my mind, hoping that I would remember that she was the mastermind in the next kakera. When the scalpel pierced my abdomen, I let out a long scream that pierced the silence of the night. My eyes were seeing nothing but red, my body knowing nothing but pain.
When she yanked the intestines out of my abdomen, everything went black and silent.
So, my dear reader, if you are wondering why I'm telling you this and not Akasaka Mamoru, that's because everyone in Hinamizawa is dead. Got gassed about half an hour ago by Takano.
Author's notes: Unlike the source material, where the account of the murdered samurai is not the definitive true account of what happened, I made Bernkastel's account the true story here.
Hope you liked it! Please leave comments, criticism, etc. in a review if you can.