"Hah! I got you now Teme!"
"Baka Naruto! You can't touch Sasuke-kun!" A muted flutter of paper marked the only sound of the silver haired teacher to the three as he turned a page in his book. Below and a little a ways from his tree in their training ground a short blonde boy sparred against an average height raven haired boy whilst a pink haired girl shouted loathing and praise towards them respectively.
So busy the team had been this was the first time they had spared here in weeks.
"THERE!" Naruto flung his kunai with surprising force and had his teammate not activated his bloodline he would have been beheaded by the blade. With a skilled dodge Sasuke and the others watched the Kunai sail through the undergrowth and long out of sight. "Aww man, that was my best Kunai too!"
"YOU MORON! You could have hurt Sasuke-kun with that, what where you thinking!" Sakura demanded indignantly. Naruto merely scratched his cheek in thought. A strong breeze buffeted his hair as it suddenly took a sharp change in direction and temperature.
"I thought you said I couldn't touch teme…" He mumbled then brightened. "Then that means Sakura-chan thinks I'm better than Sasuke!"
"Wrong!" She didn't even give him a moment to gloat and even as his demeanor fell she continued. "Sasuke is still a hundred times more awesome than you, Naruto!"
"Awww man Sakura-chAAAAAGHKK!" The smell of decay hit Naruto first, and he jerked back from the source, over Sasuke and landed, alert ready for an attack, his hackles raised. The others at first looked confused then they all reacted gagging a little then looking around for a reason.
"What is that STENCH?" Sakura demanded clenching her nose shut.
"It reminds me…" Sasuke started.
"…Of a rotting body." Kakashi was in full seriousness now, his body now tense and ready. "Team Seven!"
True to form they all snapped to attention. "Hai!" they chorused.
"We need to investigate the smell, someone may be in need of assistance. Split up and take a quarter of the training ground." he quickly pointed out the areas for each person. "Your radios to channel four, report every five minutes. Go!"
Each genin wandered about the changed and charged atmosphere of the grounds, as if something had awoken, and it was driving Naruto insane with anxiety. Every thing in him mind told him to turn and run away, but he stubbornly refused.
The true turn in the feeling of the training ground came when a cloud shifted over all of the training ground and in the sudden dimming light shadows began moving around them. Coming from nowhere and yet everywhere at once rose whispers that shifted around the darkened trees that could not be distinguished above the murmur of the leaves, scrapping of leaves in the deadfall that went against the directions of the wind.
"Uzumaki here, no signs."
"Uchiha here, negative."
"zhhhhh-ant y-shhhk-u to re-!" Who ever was talking was cut off.
"Kakashi-sensei, Sakura-chan, respond." Naruto pleaded, his nerve running dry. Static was all that could be heard. "Anyone hear me?"
There was a scream that cut the static on the radio. It was female and definitely not Sakura's. "…shhhhhhhhhh-EEEEEEEllllPPP… MEEEEEE-zzzsshhhhhhhh…" It brought a chill through all of Team seven.
"NARUTO SASUKE SAKURA REPORT!" Kakashi demanded, his signal now unhindered, over the communicators to his team.
"S-sakura-chan, t-that wasn't you w-was it?" Naruto stuttered, his hand trembling against his communicator's talk button.
"It wasn't the Dobe or I." Sasuke calmly remarked.
"Team seven assemble at the logs right now!" Kakashi received four replies three complies and then in the same horrible tone as the last scream. "Zsssshhhhh-NOOOOOOOOOOO!-zzzzzhk." The radio in Kakashi's hand went dead. With great haste the leader of team seven raced back to the logs where they ended their first test, only to find three terrified genin back to back with one another. Each with a kunai poised ready to strike. Kakashi watched the nasty storm overhead grew in intensity and decided to call it a day, Naruto was going with Jiraiya the Gama Sennin to find Tsunade tomorrow after all. Things would be fine for now and they could always investigate when he got back, Kakashi thought to himself.
"Mah mah. The weather turned so quickly. All the better then. We need to call it a day anyway I believe the council had made an announcement about Naruto being called on a mission with Jiraiya-sama tomorrow." Naruto blushed as everyone's eyes fell onto him making him forget his unease about the smell and feeling to the unease at being the center of attention. Team Seven quickly disbanded for the day and began to head home.
Naruto turned one last time at the now dark and ominous training ground behind them. At the edge of the forest, just outside of view, stood a figure. Naruto blinked trying to focus on it but as soon as his eyes opened again the form was gone. Naruto shivered against the unseasonably cold wind that filled his bones and rushed to his teammates putting the figure and the strangeness aside.
It was the last time that team seven would train together, and for almost three years the training ground was left unused. Rumors of shadows roaming the grounds, voices amongst the trees and an always cold wind despite any heat grew, the haunting of Training ground 3 became a small legend amongst the ninja of the leaf. The grounds themselves after a few searches from Anbu remained unperturbed until the return of a certain blonde haired boy from a two and a half year training journey.
The Haunting of Training Ground Three
All rights to Kishimoto Masashi
"Well… first I'm a bit curious on how you two have developed." Kakashi remarked as he held up his pair of sliver bells as Sakura and Naruto watched with a nostalgic grin. "The rules are the same as when I first met you… and if you don't come at me with the intent to kill, you will never succeed in getting the bells."
Whispers rose from the trees Naruto tensed as old memories almost forgotten arose form his subconscious. At least with Sakura close he would be okay. But the demand for help, he felt the urge to assist. But he had to get rid of Kakashi-sensei's onslaught. What could let them win before it got too late? Icha icha~! Right!
"Hey I'll see you tomorrow Sakura-chan! There is something I forgot back at the training ground."
"oh… uh sure." Sakura remarked but her blonde teammate was already nowhere to be found.
"Okay…. I know you're here somewhere." The whispers traveled across the canopy of the surrounding trees. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto, future Hokage! I'm here to help you!"
Here. Just under a whisper against his ear a voice called out.
"Where are you! I can't see you!" At once the sounds stopped, leaving the distant rumble of the approaching storm. Sshff shff A foot whispering against the grass one after another and Naruto followed the sounds, yet unable to see a figure making them. "I can't see you still, I need to see you in order to help you, dattebayo~!" The sounds moved towards a clearing and that, to his growing anxiety, allowed him to find his guide.
From the clear spot a patch of blood sprouted from the ground until the red fluid had grown to form a bloodstained footprint, Naruto swallowed vainly to remove the lump forming in his throat. As soon as one footprint finished another began and soon Naruto was following the macabre trail as it ran past the familiar parts of the grounds towards a secluded area even he was certain Kakashi didn't know about. The wind had grown cold as it intensified, along with the smell of rain, but almost heedless of the approaching thunderstorm the blond haired boy pressed onward, fighting his fear of this being in order to help the girl who had asked for his help.
He slid to a stop as the footprints slowed then finally stopped in a dark and unnerving clearing. The grass was crisp and fading under his feet as countless dead leaves littered the ground. At the center a swirling vortex of the leaves rose up from an almost unnoticeable depression at the clearings center.
Here. The voice called out again.
Naruto gulped and hesitantly moved forward through the eddy of leaves until he stood, shakily, above the hollow. Lightning flashed against an object in the ground as a crackle of thunder ripped through the air like a cannon's roar. His missing Kunai that he had thrown against Sasuke when all of this began, all those years ago.
The wind was howling and all light was being obscured by the clouds as he knelt and to pull the rusted blade out. It wouldn't budge, and despite his might, wiggling only made a soggy slurp as he tried to force it. The sound of liquid confused him, because the storm overhead was the fist one after the long dry season, there was no way that the dint was filled with-!
Naruto was sprayed with a warm, viscous, red liquid as the Kunai pulled free, bowling him over. A coppery taste filled his mouth with disgust as his nose overflowed with a metallic tang. From the now opened hole flooded blood with incredible speed to fill the cavity. Naruto gasped for air as he struggled to remove himself from the terrifying sight. It was then something bobbed to the surface beside the frozen blood soaked Genin.
Her naked form was pale, even as beads of red trailed over her flawless looking skin, her black hair swayed against the lapping crimson waves that made her un-breathing form shift. From the gentle curves of her chest and her height he assumed she was no older than he… had been no older than he.
The urge to touch her, to shake her awake escalated inside of Naruto's terrified mind, but dread rose with the urge just as strong. Something terrible would happen if he touched her, he could sense it. Yet against his will his hand rose reaching for her shoulder. With every fiber of his being Naruto fought his body but ever still his hand continued until he held it just barely over her shoulder.
It was then pale lavender eyes, those of a Hyuga, snapped open and her body jerked as if struggling to breath. It continued agonizingly slow until her head tilted back and a flap of skin slid away from the rest. Naruto could easily see as no blood flowed from it that her throat was split, as the long thin slash opened and spasmed. He clenched his eyes shut trying to ignore the ruined throat that was burned into his retinas. He could feel the maddening touch of her gaze upon his skin.
"KHhhaaan yuuuuuuuuuoh seeeeeeeeehhhh meeeeehhhhhhahhhhhhh naaaahhhhoooowwwwwww?"
The voice was both so quiet it was barely heard, yet at the same time so loud it almost shattered his eardrums as it rasped out from her ruined neck in an unnatural unspeakably drawn scratch. He nodded trying not to scream in fear as he cursed his luck. Why did he, the boy afraid of ghosts, have to run headlong into one…
"-Eeeeelppppp… Meeeeeeeehhhh-" An icy hand grabbed at his jacket sleeve and his terror reached it's peak. He screamed, his whole body lunging with adrenaline away from the dead girl and her bloody puddle, through the trees, her ruined voice crying out for help chasing after his blood-soaked form long after he was out of sight, into the rain drenched city, the fox container didn't stop until he was safe inside his apartment. It would be a long and sleepless night for Naruto.
(To Be concluded in part two)
This is something that popped into my head for a while and despite trying to focus on my memories story this forced itself to the forefront as I reworked my Memories ending (the original one sucked and made little sense.)
This is a two part story, a murder mystery with a twist if you will, for one such as myself I dislike gore and pain of the physical sort preferring emotional things, this was to push my boundaries and see if I could write something like this. Not to mention parts of this story just nagging in the back of my head till I put them to paper…. Or word processor if you will. With any luck I can continue the others and get back working on the rest of the stories without this popping up saying 'write me write me!' like AJG or Fakers! Did.