Behind Closed Doors
File 1: The Truth of the Past
"Lighten up, you guys! It's a new year! Don't you have resolutions or something?" Mai inquired, bouncing up and down in excitement, the box in her arms dangerously unstable and close to falling.
Ayako regarded her with a frustrated expression. Probably just tired from the lengthy argument she had with Bou-san the entire car ride. "I swear if you say 'new year, new me,' I'm going to have to strangle you."
Bou-san gave the younger of the women a strained smile. "You're in extremely good spirits this morning even despite the long car ride with Lin and Naru? Your new years must've been pretty good!" He hastily lifted one of the heavier boxes that Ayako was reaching for. The red-head priestess seemed to feel insulted by this action, but cooled her head and got a different one when she realized she was too tired to quarrel with him anymore.
"Keiko, Michiru, and I went to a firework show on new year's eve for the countdown. It was pretty cool. Plus, that new camera you got for me takes amazing pictures outside."
John came from the side of the car, loaded down with everyone's duffle bags and suit cases. They'd have to separate them later and find out whose was whose. "It's good to know you've been using your Christmas present, Mai."
They all headed inside the hotel together, catching an elevator to the top floor that was reserved entirely for their investigation.
"I'm really grateful you guys all chipped in to buy it for me. It must've been expensive."
Bou-san smiled, glancing at Mai over the box he was carrying. "It's your happiness that matters, not the price."
Once they reached the top floor, they shuffled out of the stuffy elevator and into a long, airy hallway. After reaching the base and their rooms at the end of the corridor, they scattered silently, getting to work on setting up equipment. After setting down everyone's personal luggage, John went down to get some more boxes that needed unpacking, passing Naru, the hotel owner, and Lin as he left.
"–room 512 is said to have the most activity. That includes hearing lullabies, a child's voice, and having the feeling of someone pushing them. Both of the deaths happened to women staying in that room as well. They both fell from the balcony during their stay," the balding hotel owner was saying as he followed Naru into the base.
Naru nodded and Lin continued writing down information on a note pad. "You said a child's voice. Is there anything specific the voice says?"
The older man sighed, rubbing his temple in thought. "I believe the witnesses claimed the voice was asking them, 'why,' and calling them mommy."
Naru also seemed lost in thought before he looked back at the owner. "That will be all, Hajime-san. We can begin our investigation now."
Hajime Shichiro bowed sincerely. When he straightened Mai could see tears of gratitude in his eyes. "Shibuya-san, thank you for doing this. This hotel was given to me by my father before he passed away. If I had to give up on this business, I don't know what I–" he stopped himself, his face regaining a calm composure. "Once again, thank you. I'm counting on you, SPR."
He caught Mai's eye and smiled, nodding.
Mai grinned after him as he left the base. What a sweet old man.
Naru chose that moment to swivel around, catching Mai in the middle of staring off into space. "Mai, tea."
Mai rolled her eyes, slightly annoyed that he was bossing her around so soon, but hopped to her task quickly. She was happy that she didn't have to go to a different room in order to make tea now that they had a new electric tea maker. It was a supposed 'joint gift' to her and Naru so that they could take it on cases and whatnot. Mai smiled and set to her tea making.
An hour and several arguments later, the base finally looked like it should and Mai and Bou-san were sent to set up the cameras while Ayako and John took down temperatures.
"Is this the angle you want?" Mai inquired over the walky-talky as Bou-san, who was much taller than herself, positioned the camera high up in one of the corners of room 512.
There was a moment of silence before Lin's static voice came through the device, "Can you turn it more towards the balcony?"
Mai watched as the monk followed suit. "Is that good?"
"Yeah. Naru also says he wants a camera somewhere in the bathroom. Apparently there have been claims that the tub fills up on its own." Lin's voice went out once again, leaving Mai and Bou-san in silence.
"What kind of ghost needs to take a bath?"
"Dirty ones!" Bou-san joked, holding his arms out as if he'd gotten the punch line to a joke, "You know, because spirits have to be cleansed…"
Mai gave him a look.
"Come on, that was a good one!" the monk exclaimed, upset at her sudden lack of enthusiasm.
Rolling her eyes, Mai continued into the small bathroom, opening the shower curtain to reveal the white ceramic tub. "Hey," Bou-san called, popping his head in, "I'm going to get that other camera. Find a good place to put it while I'm gone."
"Yeah, yeah," she muttered under her breath, dismissing him nonchalantly as she looked up, considering where to position the camera. Should they put it where only the tub and sink would be visible? Or should they position it where the tub and the door can be seen?
The door suddenly slammed closed, causing Mai to jump a bit. She held her breath as the tiled room became noticeably colder. She immediately reached for the door, but was not at all surprised when she found it locked. Mai brought the walky-talky to her mouth. "Lin, there's a situation in the bathroom in 512."
There was a short silence on the other end before the stoic man answered, "Bou-san is coming now."
The silver faucet handles turned with a long squeak, letting water fill the tub regardless of the fact that the drain plug was nowhere to be found. Mai sucked in a breath. Where was that monk? He should be here by now!
Speak of the devil.
The doorknob jiggled, but still refused to budge. Bou-san's muffled voice sounded frantic. "Mai, the door won't open. I'm going to have to kick it open, okay? Make sure you're no where need the door!"
"I'm away from it!" she called over the sound of running water. And although getting farthest away from the door meant getting closer to the tub, Mai seemed stay calm by convincing herself that everything would stop once Bou-san broke down the door.
And it did just that. Bou-san slammed himself against the door, causing it to fly open with the force. At that moment the temperature of the room returned to normal and the waterworks stopped, tub draining.
Mai sighed shakily, thankful that the top of the toilet was down as she fell onto it.
Bou-san kneeled down, his legs obviously not wanting to hold him up either. He began to speak despite his own heavy breathing. "I'm sorry, Mai. I shouldn't have left you alone." He must've run all the way here from the base.
"Don't blame yourself. I would've insisted on staying here myself anyway."
Ayako and John were suddenly in the doorway. "What happened? Is everyone okay?" the red-head questioned, thermometer squeezed tightly in her shaking hands. She quickly inspected Bou-san who was catching his breath on the floor while John helped Mai to her feet.
"That damn ghost is already attacking Mai. The activity stopped once I got in the room, though."
"Mai, are you injured?" The gang looked up to find Naru in the threshold of the bathroom, his eyes trained closely on his brunette assistant. Mai blushed, averting her eyes from his hard gaze.
"N-No…just a little freaked out. I'm physically fine, though."
"Good. Once everyone is done with their tasks, I want you to report back to the base."
Once Mai was done handing out cups of tea, she sat down on the queen sized bed with Ayako and Bou-san, sipping at her own cup. Naru nodded at Lin who then pulled up a window on the monitor of his laptop, surprising the rest of the team with Yasuhara's cheery face. "Hey guys!"
"Yasuhara?" Mai said, confused.
"Hey, Mai! I heard you got in trouble already. You don't waste time, do you?" The college student inquired, laughing as Mai's expression screwed into one of anger. "Anyway, since I couldn't come along on the case myself due to classes, I have graciously given up my time to video chat with you guys!"
"What have you found so far, Yasuhara?" Naru wasted no time.
"Well, the only death that occurred in the hotel happened nearly 37 years ago. It was a young boy around the age of 12 named Toru. He fell from the top floor of the hotel." Mai covered her mouth, suddenly feeling very sick.
He was only twelve…
Yasuhara continued. "The case was looked into by police, but it was never established whether the incident was a suicide or a murder. The boy was often seen with bruises all over his body and there was speculation that his mother abused him, so really either way would've been believable. Investigators leaned toward the possibility of his mother being the culprit, but they could never really obtain any evidence."
Bou-san made a face. "Wait, I'm confused. If this 'incident' happened 37 years ago, then why is the activity only just starting to pick up?"
"After Toru died, the owner of the hotel kept the fifth floor off limits. Years later, it went under construction, which was never really finished due to the owner becoming ill. Once he passed away, his son, the current owner, took over for him and finished the construction. But only when he made it public to residents did the activity start up."
Naru lowered his head in thought and Lin continued writing down information. The rest of us sat there with dumb looks on our faces.
Yasuhara adjusted his glasses. "I can't really give you a legit answer as to why activity has picked up as of late, but my speculation is that it was his mom who killed him and he now targets women who stay in his room. That's why no one was attacked during the construction, because they were all men."
Naru nodded. "That's it?"
The college student sighed. "That was all I managed to dig up, yes."
"That will be all then," the stoic teenager concluded, walking out of the room as he made a call.
The rest of them bid goodbye to Yasuhara as the video chat ended. Mai fell back on the bed and rested her head on Ayako's lap. The miko ran her manicured nails through the brunette's hair absentmindedly. "How sad," the red-head murmured to herself, "He was only just a child."
Mai found herself in a world of darkness.
Where am I? Ayako was just here…Where'd she go?
Then, glowing in the darkness was just the person she was looking for. From an aerial point of view, Mai could see Ayako in their room digging around in her duffle for clothes to change into. "Ayako!" the teen called out, but the older woman could not hear her.
Why can't she hear me? I don't understand. I must be in a dream, but if I were in a dream…Naru would be here.
Come one, Naru, help me out! Why am I seeing Ayako right now?
She watched as Ayako took of her shirt. A feeling of dread filled the pit of her stomach, and suddenly Mai understood what was going to happen.
Wake up, wake up, wake up, Mai! Ayako's in trouble! You have to do something! He's going after Ayako.
Mai's head shot up and she scrambled off of the bed in a hurry, nearly falling to the floor in the process. She did a quick look around the room. Naru and Lin were at the monitors talking in hushed tones, John was reading something on the couch, and Bou-san was with her on the bed listening to music.
Taking out one of his headphones, the monk looked at her with confusion. "Are you okay, Mai? Did you have a dream?"
Bou-san straightened. He'd seemingly gathered all the information he needed to know what was going on by the frantic look in Mai's eyes. "She's in your room changing. Why? What's going on?" His voice had a dangerous edge to it. By now, they had gained the whole room's attention.
"Ayako's in trouble!"
Okay, you guys. A new year, a new me, right? Haha.
So I've decided that I'm going to stick to it this year and write and update as much as possible! For this fanfiction I was thinking of doing a continuous string of cases one after another. I was inspired by Haunting Life by mytruthaboutlife enough to start this. I'm stealing her way of formatting the story, but trust me when I say that all the cases will be original.
You should totally go read Haunting Life, by the way. Just so you know. Yeah.