Hello everyone =)
Sorry for letting ou wait for so long, but here is the next chap^^ Please enjoy :)
I don't own Uraboku or any characters out of it.
„What was that?", Touko asks after a second of silence and shock.
"Seemed like a breaking window to me" Shusei says, his voice calm but his eyes narrowed and fixed on the door to the entrance hall.
"Hotsuma?" Aya shouts hesitantly.
A cursing is the answer, together with angry steps returning to them. "Oh man, how boring. Not even a shadow or so, absolutely nothing" he barks.
"Damnit, haven't you heard the window bursting?" Kuroto wants to know, standing up, his hands crashing onto the table.
"Oh, c'mon, it's stormy outside; maybe just a branch or so that hit the window" the blond replies.
"Well, I will go take a look. In the end, it was my room or so…" Yuki mutters.
Somehow he doesn't want to see them all, now. Before anyone can stop him, he stands up from the table and leaves the dining room.
He can't find the light switch. The door closes behind him, with the heavy sound of thick, old vicious wood, spitefully timbered, from a long time ago. His feet seem to be screwed into the floor. He wants to move, but his thundering heart paralyses him. He knows that he is frightened. But of what, he cannot tell. Nor for what exactly. And to know that he doesn't know at all, frightens him the most. C'mon, just move, there's nothing, just move…
The stairs are just over there and there's only one meaningless door that separates him from the others. Just one door… as he looks, he can't even see the slightest traces of light reaching to him through the door frame. As though the wood was swallowing it up all; leaving nothing for him.
With all his might he succeeds to lift one foot and makes a shaky, stumbling step toward his destination. He memorizes the entrance hall much smaller, much lighter, no waves or hills in the carpet. But suddenly, his left foot hits a carpet hill and he falls over, the fabric hill as hard and firm as stone, bruising his shin.
The air is pressed out of his lungs and the noise of his body colliding with the floor scares him so much that he bites his tongue so hard it tears. He covers his ears, even as the sound has subsided, he lays there, unmoving, his face pressed into the weirdly smelling carpet that itches his skin like the old, moth-eaten fur of a sheep; blood in his mouth. So unmoving. So scared. So angry at the overpowering fear.
Like the moment of horror frozen into an eternity that never ends and from which one will never get away.
It takes him like decades to sit up on shaky elbows and knees. His tongue hurts, just like his shin bone. And then, with the speed of a hunted animal, he runs over to where he expects the stairs and presses himself against the stair railing. His heart beats so fast and painfully; it feels as though it was breaking his ribs.
Stupid idea, stupid idea, stupid idea, he thinks to himself. He slides one hand up the cool, flat surface of the stair railing.
Is it only his breath? Why is there the feeling of cold air against his skin? He takes one step, his other hand pressed to his stomach. Now, there's the cold air on his face, sliding like cold, clammy fingertips over his eyes, his throat, his mouth –
He flinches so much he crouches down right on the stairs, pressing his hand to his mouth to stop all sounds threatening to come out. His forehead hurts; he has hit it against the railing.
"Yuki, are you there?" It's the voice of Masamune.
"Y-yeah" he whispers; his voice cracked and dry. A match is lightened up and finally, he can see the young man's face looking worried at him.
"Are you alright? You look as if you had seen a ghost".
He nods and stands up. The match goes out.
"Shall I come with you upstairs? To go up there alone is quite creepy, isn't it?" he says cheerfully.
"…a bit". Why didn't I see the door from the dining room opening? I can't remember… was there any sound?
Masamune pats him on the shoulder; then he passes him on the stairs. "There's nothing to be afraid of. It's only an old castle and you're not alone".
But a few seconds ago, he could've also been the only one inside this castle, for all the loneliness he had felt. He frowns. Why can't he remember where the door was? Why hadn't he thought of going back? Now that he thinks of it… has he thought about it at all? Masamune lightens up another match to light up the way. Yuki throws one look back at the carpet of the entrance hall.
No waves. No hills to stumble over.
"…Yeah… I'm right behind you…" he murmurs.
"The stories were indeed creepy, right?" Masamune says as they walk down the hallway to the rooms.
"…Kind of…" he replies.
"Don't worry, there're no such things as ghosts or Wendigos. Those are just silly fairytales for small children".
Yuki opens the door to his door and puts the light on. Everything's still the same as before.
"The stone didn't hit my window" he says loudly.
No answer comes back. He turns, but Masamune is gone. He frowns.
"Masamune-san?" he asks and walks down the enlightened corridor. Though the light is on, it still seems creepy.
Suddenly, a thunder grumbles so loud that he covers his ears and he feels the fear rising up in his chest again. One of the doors is open, but no light is on.
"Masamune-san? Are you in there?" he asks, trying o control the shaking in his voice.
Like before, no answer. He opens the door completely and in the light of a flash outside the castle, he sees a human body lying on the ground.
He doesn't scream – he simply breathes and steps backwards, horror clouding his eyes, narrowing his surroundings until he believes that he stands in a dark tunnel without an end. He turns and wants to run, but he crashes against something solid, warm and tall.
"Yuki!" Luca says loudly. No matter how hard he breathes, no air seems to find his lungs. Black spots dance before his inner eyes.
"Yuki! Calm down!"
"Look at me" another voice says; a dulcet, melodious voice that captivates his senses. His eyes move jittery around to meet the gaze of the brunet boy, Shusei.
"And now breathe slowly, take your time"
He looks at him, even feels himself drowning in the pitch black pupils – but the air fills his lungs again, the life-giving oxygen is transported through his small body again.
He nods, still unable to speak.
"…What was going on?" Luca asks.
He turns and points at the room, the spot where the body is laying. But now…. There`s… "No" he says hoarsely, "It's gone".
"Why are you standing in front of my door?" another voice behind them asks.
They turn and see Masamune stand there, healthy, alive, only confused.
"You… where did you come from?" he bursts out.
The elder boy frowns. "Where else should I be coming from? From the dining room of course"
"What? But only a few minutes ago, you were here, in the corridor, together with me" Yuki insists.
And now they all look at him.
"Yuki" Shusei says, really friendly, "Luca-san and I agreed on going upstairs together with you. We were always by your side".
The boy stares at him. And fear spreads in his stomach.
"Yeah, you… were walking next to us the whole time"
He blinks, but no matter how hard he tries, he… he simply can't put together what has happened… or not happened the past fifteen minutes. Why can't I remember? Why do I only remember having been alone? his insides scream.
After another hour, the others also gather upstairs and prepare to go to bed. They have all become quite silent once again and the fatigue is reflected in their drooping eyes. Even Hotsuma and Kuroto seem too tired to continue fighting. The storm outside continues, as powerful and merciless as before. They say goodnight to each other and disappear in their rooms; silence stretches out throughout the castle.
The bed is warm, large and the blanket smooth and smells familiar for no reasons; yet Yuki feels uncomfortable, somewhat small and tiny, almost lost in this large room… this large castle in this wide, endless, empty region. He turns from one side to the other and can't find any rest. He sits up again and switches on the light on the night table. The shadows on the wall opposite of him dance and flicker like a bunch of black imps, laughing and point at him and his childish, silly fear.
Suddenly, there's a knock on his door. He stands up and walks over on bare feet.
"Yeah..?" he asks and opens, only so far that he can see something. It's Touko.
"Yuki-kun, can't you sleep, either?" she asks and her long hair falls in bonbon-colored waves down.
"No…" he replies.
"Tsukumo and I don't know what to do… it's so creepy here… But do you want to come over to our room, hanging out together for a bit? Probably we will all get tired from talking so we'll be able to sleep" she says.
He shrugs. Then he nods and closes the door behind him and follows the elder girl to the room she shares with her brother.
As they come there, there're already Aya and Kuroto in the room, too. And Tsukumo goes and tries to convince the others to come out once again, too. They sit down on the carpet and don't know what to do, while the wind howls and knocks harshly against the windows. They talk about meaningless nonsense as suddenly the door is ripped open and Senshiro enters with his glasses awry on his nose.
"I know where the bursting sound earlier came from" he says, so loud that they flinch.
"Yes?" Yuki asks curiously, ignoring the quickening of his heart. He swallows down the nervousness and first signs of fear, telling himself that there's nothing to be afraid of.
"Yes, it was kind of weird… I found shards and a rock in one corner of my room… but, and I know it sounds weird, there's no window close, neither a mirror… All the windows are still intact; I really wonder where the shards came from…".
They stare at the young man and don't know what to say.
Then Kuroto says angrily "Stop talking bullshit! This is not funny at all!"
"It's not a joke. Here, look at the rock" He holds the fist-big rock in one hand. They change gazes and Yuki believes that the eyes of the siblings get somewhat darker.
"What's going on here, flash mob action?" a sarcastic voice says behind Senshiro and Hotsuma appears. The blond pushes past Senshiro to enter the room and falls to the carpet next to Aya.
"How strange, Bloody Mary hasn't killed you yet" Kuroto taunts and glares at the taller boy.
But Hotsuma doesn't pay him any attention. His piercing eyes lock on Shusei, who appears now in the shadow of the corridor, his face barely enlightened. Tsukumo really seems to manage to gather them all here. And Yuki feels thankful for that.
The warmth and the closeness of the others make the bad, the fear go away, move away from this pool of heat, movement and voices, making it lurk and wait in the last dark corners of the room, the castle, their minds. And his lips even form a silent smile, as Luca enters the room and says nothing as he sits down right next to him.
The siblings have a cool idea. They tell Hotsuma and Shusei (weirdly enough, they don't seem to be too displeased about the fact) to get two lamps and torches. Then they take out some paper from their bags and cut out the shapes of humans and animals, trees and plants.
"It's gonna be a shadow play" Touko smiles.
"Wow… but I thought it's normally that you form the shapes with your fingers…" Yuki says surprised.
The girl chuckles and Aya volunteers to help.
"Actually yes, but Tsukumo and I prefer to do it with shapes out of paper. Looks better" she grins.
Hotsuma and Shusei come back, both with unmoving faces. They place the lanterns and torches on the ground, opposite an empty wall.
It takes another few minutes until the siblings tell them that they could turn off the light. The only warm, golden light radiates from the lantern and the torches now, throwing large enlightened spots at the wall.
Yuki feels his rising joy, but still he holds his arms and legs close to his body. Who knows what's there in the dark… He jumps as Luca puts a hand on his shoulder. In the dim light, he sees the silver of his eyes, much more intense and clearer than in a room filled with bright light. He hugs his knees.
"…Afraid of the dark…?" the man asks in a low voice.
He shakes his head. "Not the dark... but what may wait there and watch me…".
The young man nods. Then he moves so his back rests against the bed and…
"… I can…?" Yuki asks with insecurity in his voice.
Luca nods. And then he moves so that he sits with his back against the man's chest; Luca's body forming some kind of a warm, trustful refuge, with his long legs on both sides from him, the pale hands resting on his knees, almost touching Yuki's body.
The heart beat is right behind him, and though they sit almost completely in the dark, he feels that the dark can't get close to him.
The shadow play starts and the siblings tell a funny story about all kinds of animals leaving their home forest to find a new one; on their way to a new place to stay they meet all kinds of other animals and also humans.
The story may be for children, but still Yuki feels captivated as he sees the shadows live in the light at the wall. He relaxes against Luca's chest.
Also the others are fascinated and enjoy the shadow play. And if Yuki had had eyes like a cat, he would spot the intense gazes Hotsuma and Shusei share from time to time.
The gazes are telling everything and nothing at all. There is a strange tension between them, none of the others quite notices.
Suddenly, a mighty blast hits the window so hard it rattles and the glasses clatter. They flinch and stare outside. The moving shadow of a tree that is violently toyed with by the storm is the only thing they can see in the darkness and the dim light from the lanterns and torches in the room.
Yuki's heart starts to beat really fast against his chest once again. He claws his hands into the fabric of his shirt. Another blast hits the window, but this time, it sounds as if something heavy and solid was crashing against it from outside. They narrow their eyes.
"Is that… a doll?" Aya asks in a very high voice.
"…Could be…" Tsukumo replies, dropping the fox-shaped piece of paper.
It hits the window again. It looks indeed like a doll… or a human body at least. How weird…
"Just a branch of a tree" Hotsuma grunts disinterested, but the tenseness is evident in his voice.
"Take a closer look, idiot, it's not a branch" Kuroto answers him.
"Oh yeah? I'll go take a closer look then, you wussy" the blond boy says whilst shooting furious arrows out of his eyes.
"Fine, do as you please!"
Hotsuma stands up and walks over to the window.
"Just let it be, Hotsuma-kun" Touko says frightened.
"Oh, c'mon, there's nothing out there"
He rips the window open – and the icy wind enters the room, ripping at their hair and their clothes; the hail scratches over their naked faces and hands.
Suddenly, a heavy thud can be heard and something large and… lifeless lands on the window sill. Hotsuma jumps back. And as the next lightning enlightens the room, the girls start to scream and the boys jump up and stumble backwards.
"What the hell?" Senshiro shouts, horror reflected in his glasses.
"Oh my god…" Touko whispers and holds a hand in front of her mouth; their faces all lose any kind of color.
It is Tachibana, the dead bus driver.
There's an empty grin fixed with gruesome needles and wires into his face; wires are driven through his knuckles, hands, elbows and neck and are somewhere lost on the roof.
Yuki gasps and his stomach turns so much he almost throws up. Someone has made Tachibana to a human puppet.
The dead hand suddenly lifts and waves to them.
And they run.
To be continued...
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