Kurosagi could hear the creaking of wood as she opened her eyes. Kurosagi felt the roughness of the old wood of the floor as she sat up. She looked around and saw that she was in a room. A small bed fit for a child with no mattress was against the wall. The walls were made from wood and traces of old paint were beginning to fade. Cracked frames and toys made from wood lay on the floor. There was not a single door in the room. The room reminded her of a haunted room she once saw in a movie. Kurosagi then took notice of Aito lying against a corner of the room. She crawled to him creating a creak in the ancient floor.
Kurosagi shook him gently muttering his name. Aito opened his eyes seeing Kurosagi instantly. He immediately noticed their surroundings and jumped to his feet.
“Where are we?”
“I don’t know,” answered Kurosagi honestly as she fixed the glasses still upon the bridge of her nose. Aito looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Do you know how we got here?”
“How about we find the others before you ask too many questions Aito?”
Aito pouted, but he knew that Kurosagi was right. Kurosagi stood up and then noticed that her bag was nowhere in sight. She looked at Aito and asked, “Do you have your bag with you?” Aito felt for his bag and shook his head.
“I guess who ever brought us here took the bags.”
“It might be the same with the others.”
Kurosagi and Aito suddenly heard a knocking noise and looked around rapidly trying to find the source of the sound. Kurosagi glanced at the wall Aito was lying against before. She leaned her ear against the wall, realizing that the sound was emitting from that very wall. Kurosagi knocked back and asked, “Who is it?”
“Emi-Chan!” cried out Hana’s voice from the opposite wall.
“Emi-Chan, where are we?”
“I don’t know yet, but tell me, are you alone on your side?”
“No, Yuki is with me.”
“Is he awake?”
“No, he won’t wake up no matter how many times I shake him. Is he dead?”
Kurosagi frowned. She crunched her knuckles and said, “Step back from the wall, Hana-Chan.” Kurosagi punched through the ancient wall leaving remnants of wood upon the floor. Hana was backed against the other wall next to Yuki, who appeared to be unconscious. Kurosagi walked into the new room with Aito behind her. Kurosagi ran to Yuki and placed two fingers against his neck.
“Is Yuki dead?” asked Hana and Aito in worry. Kurosagi shook her head and said, “He’s unconscious.” Kurosagi slapped his cheek lightly.
“Yuki-Kun, wake up.”
Yuki groaned and began to open his eyes. He saw Kurosagi and whispered her name. Kurosagi smirked at him and said, “Get up you lazy bum.” Yuki sat up rubbing his head.
“Ask after we find Hori-Kun and Leo-Kun.”
Yuki nodded adjusting his glasses. Kurosagi looked at Hana and Aito and ordered them to knock on the walls to try to get a response from Chiri and Leo. They nodded and knocked on each part of the walls as did Kurosagi and Yuki. Yuki knocked on a wall with an empty frame and got three knocks as a response. He looked back at Kurosagi.
Kurosagi ran to the wall with Hana and Aito behind her. Kurosagi knocked on the wall.
“Leo-Kun, Hori-Kun, are you in there?”
“Kurosagi?” responded the voice of Leo.
“It’s me. Is Hori-Kun with you Leo-Kun?”
“Yes, but he won’t wake up.”
“Step back while I get you out.”
Kurosagi prepared to break down the wall, but paused when she heard Leo scream from the other side.
“Leo-Kun?” exclaimed Kurosagi.
“Something is trying to take Chiri!”
Kurosagi kicked the wall down and ran in, ignoring the raining debris. She looked into the room and saw Leo pulling Chiri’s arm trying to get him away from a shadow that was engulfing Chiri’s body. Kurosagi ran to Leo and grabbed hold of Chiri’s other arm. With a grunt they freed Chiri from the shadow that sank back into the wall. Leo was breathing heavily as the others entered the room. Kurosagi felt Chiri’s pulse and frowned.
“There’s no pulse.”
“He’s dead?” asked Hana beginning to tear up. Kurosagi laid Chiri on his back and opened his mouth slightly. She took in a deep breath and covered his mouth with her own. She pushed air into his lungs and then pulled away beginning to pump his chest. She did this repeatedly until Chiri woke up gasping and coughing. Leo, Aito, Yuki, and Hana smiled in relief. Chiri looked at Kurosagi as he stood up and asked, “What happened?”
“You were dead for a short while.”
“Anyway, we should find a way out of here.”
Kurosagi stood up and examined the walls. Leo gasped and screamed, “What if that black thing tries to get you?” Kurosagi smirked at him and said, “I’ll be fine.” Kurosagi turned away from him.
Hana stared at Kurosagi’s back and said, “I know this is out of the blue, but are you really Kurosagi, Emi-Chan?” Kurosagi nodded at Hana.
“I am Kurosagi and you don’t have to call me Emi-Chan anymore.”
Hana sighed and said, “But my big brother told me that you were a flat chested teenage girl when he met you.” Leo looked at Hana with wide eyes.
“So your big brother met Kurosagi before?”
Hana nodded and added, “She was helping Ikuto-Nii-San with a case and big brother just happened to get involved.”
“He did get involved and nearly got himself killed,” stated Kurosagi still feeling the walls. She looked back at Hana and said, “When you see Kouryou-San again tell him that I was a boy at the time and that he needs to stop paying attention to breasts so much or he will be labeled a pervert.”
“OK,” stated Hana nervously. Kurosagi adjusted the glasses upon her face. Yuki noticed this and asked, “Why are you wearing glasses?”
“So I could see them.”
“See who?” asked Chiri now curious. Kurosagi smirked back at them.
“The restless spirits of the children that brought us here.”
“Spirits?” they screamed. Kurosagi nodded. Chiri laughed nervously.
“Come on, spirits don’t exist. Science has already proven that.”
Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Well science lied. Spirits do exist, but the only ones that disturb the living are the spirits bound to earth or the ones who hold huge grudges.”
“So you dealt with spirits before?” asked Aito. Kurosagi nodded.
“The Bureau refuses to tell civilians about the true spirit presence, so I expect you guys not to tell anyone about this as well.”
Kurosagi felt against the wall with a troubled look on her face.
Why were we brought here and what kind of spirit was that shadow thing?
She remembered Hatori’s desperate look before she lost sight of him and hoped that he would be able to find them. Kurosagi then paused and cursed under her breath.
“What’s wrong, Emi-Chan, I mean Kurosagi?”
Kurosagi gripped her head and said, “When I told Ogami-San to call Miroku, I forgot to tell him something he needed to contact him.”
Back in the elementary school, Hatori was searching through Kurosagi’s contact list. Orchie and Derrick went to Hatori’s side with seriousness in their eyes.
“What’s going on, Hatori?”
“What happened to Kurosagi?”
Hatori glanced at them and said, “I’m not quite sure, but Kurosagi told me to call Miroku, so it must be spirit related.”
“Spirit related?” they asked in unison. Hatori nodded still clicking through Kurosagi’s phone. Orchie gripped Hatori’s shoulder making Hatori look at him again.
“Spirits don’t exist, so tell us who Miroku is and why she needs him,” demanded Orchie. Hatori’s eyes widened.
“You guys don’t know Miroku?” asked Hatori in disbelief. Derrick shook his head and asked, “Is he a connection of Kurosagi’s?” Hatori nodded.
“He’s from Psychic Research.”
“Psychic Research, I thought that was a myth,” stated Orchie. Hatori blinked in confusion and noted that Kurosagi doesn’t tell everything to her connections. Hatori shook his head and stated, “Believe it or not, Miroku works in Psychic Research and right now she needs him to save those kids.”
Hatori made one final click and found Miroku’s name. Hatori clicked it and his eyes widened when he saw that a password was needed to call Miroku. Hatori cursed under his breath.
“Why does Kurosagi have a password for Miroku’s number?”
Hatori nodded and added, “I can’t make the call without it.” Orchie sighed and began to type in a number on his phone.
“Who are you calling?” asked Hatori taking notice of Orchie’s open phone.
“I’m calling Terry. She may know how to get pass the password field.”
Orchie clicked one last button and then held the phone to his ear. He heard the ringing from the other end and then heard Terry’s voice.
“Terry Cheshire speaking.”
“Oh boy, I know this voice. Orchie is that you?”
“It is, now I need you to do something for me.”
“What is it?”
“I need you to hack into Kurosagi’s phone to get the password for a certain number.”
“Are you out of your mind? I hacked into her phone before and got a virus in all my computers. I’m actually still trying to retrieve the lost data caused by that virus. I don’t know what security she has on that phone, but it is impossible to hack without getting a virus.”
“Are you sure?”
“Definitely; but why would you even ask that?”
“Kurosagi has been kidnapped and left her phone with us. She told Hatori to call someone named Miroku but his number is password protected. We can’t call him without that password.”
“I see. That really is serious, but there’s nothing I can do.”
Orchie groaned as did Derrick. Hatori gasped in realization. He grabbed Orchie’s phone making Orchie curse at him and spoke through the phone.
“Kurosagi wasn’t the only one kidnapped. Some children are with her. One of them must have a cell phone, so maybe you can get one of their numbers so we can contact them and get Kurosagi to tell us the password.”
“That’s a pretty good idea, Ogami-San, but why do you have Orchie’s phone now?”
Orchie yanked the phone away from Hatori and pressed his ear to the phone again.
“He took it from me, but do what he said,” ordered Orchie.
“OK, tell me their names.”
Orchie flinched and handed the phone back to Hatori knowing full well that he didn’t know the children’s names. Hatori held the phone to his ear as he spoke.
“Aito Manabu, Hana Jiro, Leo Anezska, Chiri Hori, and Yuki Hotohori, all students of Ohtori Elementary School.”
Hatori heard clicking noises through the phone. He then heard a triumphant yell from Terry.
“All of them have cell phones and I have their numbers. I’ll send the numbers to the phone now.”
“No problem, but I really do want to see your face, Ogami-San.”
“I hope to meet you too,” stated Hatori.
Hatori heard the phone make a beep sound and pulled the phone away. On the screen were five different phone numbers.
“Good luck and bring back Kurosagi and the kids,” stated Terry followed by a dial tone. Hatori showed the numbers to Orchie and Derrick.
“These are the cell numbers.”
“Let’s hope at least one of them brought their cell phone.”
Hatori dialed the first number using Kurosagi’s phone. The phone rang for a while and then picked up.
“Adults are not allowed.”
The phone then hung up. Hatori dialed the next number quickly making Derrick and Orchie confused.
Hatori said nothing as the ringing on the other side echoed through the phone. The phone picked up and before Hatori could say anything, he heard a child’s voice whisper, “Stay away.” The phone hung up again. Hatori stared at the phone with wide eyes.
“Hatori what’s wrong?” asked Derrick now concerned. Hatori dialed the next number. He heard the ringing and then it was picked up.
“They’re not coming home.”
The phone hung up. Hatori dialed the next number with desperation in his eyes.
Hatori heard the ringing once more followed by someone picking up.
The phone hung up. Hatori gripped his forehead giving up on the last number and said, “Kurosagi is in danger.”
“Why do you say that? What did they say on the phone?”
Hatori looked at them seriously and said, “I heard children’s voices, but they weren’t the ones that were with Kurosagi.” Hatori grew anxious as time flew by with no Kurosagi in sight.
Kurosagi, in an unknown room, was still feeling against the wall. Aito, Hana, Yuki, Leo, and Chiri were sitting upon the floor with their knees against their chests. Chiri looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Have you figured out a way out?” Kurosagi shook her head.
“No and we won’t be able to get help if Ogami-San isn’t able to figure out the password in my phone for Miroku’s number.”
“Why did you even put a password on his number?” asked Chiri in an annoyed tone. Kurosagi paused and said, “To protect myself and him.”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “I won’t be able to tell you any more than that.” Leo crawled to Kurosagi’s side and asked, “Why don’t you break through the wall like you did before?” Kurosagi sighed.
“You remember back in Russia when my legs refused to move because of over use of the ashes, well this is the same. The strength I have gained was used a lot and now my arms are weak. I need to wait an hour for me to use the full strength again.”
“I see,” said Leo. Leo felt the wall with Kurosagi and added, “Then I better help you in the search for a way out.” Kurosagi muttered a thank you as she felt the wall. Hana crawled to Kurosagi’s side as well and began to feel the wall.
“I don’t want you to do all the work, so I’ll help too,” stated Hana. Kurosagi nodded at her. Yuki stood up and went to a different part of the wall with Aito by his side. Yuki traced his hand against the wall and said, “I’ll search this wall.” Aito nodded and added, “Me too.” Chiri sighed and went to a different wall.
“I’ll search this one,” stated Chiri. Kurosagi looked at each of them and smiled to herself.
They’re good children.
Kurosagi suddenly heard a small girl giggle and looked around.
“Something wrong Kurosagi-Chan?” asked Hana. Kurosagi adjusted her glasses and saw the same small brown haired girl spirit from the classroom wearing a stained school uniform sitting on the edge of the bed frame. The spirit’s legs were swinging back and forth and she was looking downward making strands of hair cover her face. Kurosagi approached her and as she did, she told Aito, Chiri, and Yuki to join Leo and Hana. They did as they were told with bewildered looks. Kurosagi stopped in front of the girl and asked, “Who are you?” The small girl looked up at Kurosagi revealing the blood spots on her cheeks. With closer inspection, the girl looked around the age of six or eight.
“So you can see me?” asked the girl. Kurosagi nodded. The girl placed a small finger to her lips.
“So I was right that you were special,” stated the girl. The girl looked at Leo, Chiri, Aito, Hana, and Yuki and asked, “Can they see me too?” Kurosagi shook her head.
“Who are you talking too?” asked Chiri. Kurosagi looked back at Chiri and said, “One of our kidnappers.” Chiri cringed as did the others. Kurosagi looked back at the spirit.
“So will you tell me your name?”
“My name…I have forgotten it, but please call me Snow, I always wanted to be called Snow.”
“Alright, Snow, can you tell me why we were brought here?”
Snow looked toward the opposing wall and said, “It was for the harvest.”
Snow nodded. She touched the wall closest to her and said, “Every ten years, we would bring children covered in blood from a temple to the orphanage.”
“So this is an orphanage?”
“That’s right and then they would be placed in different rooms. Two in each room: one is awake and one is asleep. By offering the children in this way, we gain new playmates and we won’t be eaten again.”
Kurosagi’s eyes widen and asked, “What do you mean by that?” Snow just giggled and reached her hand toward Kurosagi.
“I really want you as a playmate.”
Snow vanished from the room as the room began to shake. Kurosagi heard Hana scream and turned back. The same shadow that tried to grab Chiri was now pulling Hana into the wall. Yuki grabbed Hana’s hand trying to pull her out. Aito grabbed Hana’s other free hand with Chiri. Leo grabbed the same hand Yuki was holding. Kurosagi ran to them screaming, “Move!” Kurosagi yanked a strand of hair out and ran it across her lips. The strand became hard as a needle. Kurosagi threw the needle just above Hana’s head. The shadow screamed throwing Hana out and causing her to collide into the four boys. The shadow twitched and then vanished. Kurosagi ran to their side and asked, “Are you all right?” Hana nodded with tears in her eyes.
“Did you kill it?” asked Leo. Kurosagi shook her head and stated, “I can only kill a spirit with my needles if I can see them clearly and if I know their identity.”
“So it’s still out there?” asked Aito, his voice cracking. Kurosagi nodded and added, “But it did get hurt.” Kurosagi touched the wall the shadow came from.
“It always appeared here, so…”
Kurosagi kicked the wall slightly causing it to flip up like a doggy door. Kurosagi smirked and said, “Looks like we have our way out.”
“But what if the shadow appears again?”
“Then I will protect you guys, so stay calm and follow me.”
Kurosagi lifted the new found door and crawled in with the children behind her. She remembered Snow’s words and gritted her teeth. They entered into an empty hallway that was nearly covered in darkness. Kurosagi stood on her feet and then looked back at the others.
“Stay close because these spirits have the intention to kill us.”
They gulped and nodded at Kurosagi’s words. The minute Kurosagi turned away from them, she felt someone grab her right hand. She looked back and saw Leo gripping it, his whole body shaking.
“Can I hold your hand just for now?” asked Leo. Kurosagi sighed and nodded. She looked at Hana, Chiri, Aito, and Yuki and added, “Hold hands to stay close to me.” They nodded as they linked their hands to each other like a freight car to a train. Afterwards, they strolled down the dark hallway.
The hallway seemed to grow darker as they journeyed deeper. It became so dark that none of them could see anything. Hana suddenly yelped followed by a crashing sound.
“What happened?” asked Kurosagi looking back, even though she couldn’t see them anymore.
“I fell,” squeaked Hana.
“She let go of my hand,” stated Yuki.
“Find her now.”
“Don’t worry, I have his hand again,” stated Hana.
“What are you talking about, Hana-Chan?” asked Yuki. Hana suddenly gave out a scream followed by the laughter of a child. Kurosagi cringed and screamed, “Leave her alone!”
“Hana-Chan?” exclaimed Yuki. There was no answer. Kurosagi gritted her teeth and said, “I need to move back.” Leo nodded and stepped back as did the others behind him. Kurosagi suddenly heard a child’s laugh and something brushing against her shoulder.
“How about some light?”
With those words, light flooded into the hall. Kurosagi looked at the others and saw that Hana was nowhere in sight. Kurosagi cursed under her breath as the others called out to Hana. Yuki looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Is Hana-Chan going to be killed?” Kurosagi frowned.
“She will be killed if we don’t find her,” stated Kurosagi. Kurosagi heard a small giggle behind her. She looked back and saw Snow smiling behind her.
“What did you do to Hana-Chan?” demanded Kurosagi making the others look at her. Snow giggled as she looked up at the ceiling.
“One of my friends is hiding her somewhere in the orphanage. She’s not a playmate yet though.”
“This is the first time that the new children have gotten out of the rooms, so we decided to play a game early for the harvest.”
Snow spun around as she spoke.
“The lights will close and that is the sign to hide. Sister will search for you in the darkness and if she finds you, you will be taken to the oven. If my friends and I find you, we will hide you somewhere else. The lights will come back on and then you can roam in order to find each other. Find each other and you win the game.”
Kurosagi frowned and asked, “If all of us are found and taken by this ‘Sister’, what really happens?” Snow smiled a wicked smile.
“I hope you lose so we can be playmates.”
Snow vanished as she giggled. Leo gripped Kurosagi’s hand and asked, “What did this Snow person say?”
“This has now become a game, where we have to hide to survive.”
“What about Hana-Chan?” asked Yuki, his form beginning to shake.
“One of the spirits is hiding her, but she’s alive the way Snow spoke of her.”
Kurosagi heaved out a sigh and said, “We have to find Hana-Chan before any of the other spirits find her, especially from this ‘Sister.’”
“Who is Sister?” asked Chiri.
“I have a feeling that it is that shadow that attacked us before.”
Kurosagi clenched her hand and added, “When the lights fade, we have to hide and when they return, we search for her.” They all nodded. Kurosagi suddenly heard the laughter of children as a gust of wind surrounded them. Kurosagi blocked the wind from her eyes, but she was able to see the spirit of children fly pass her. Kurosagi gasped and looked back at Chiri, Leo, Yuki, and Aito. All four of them screamed as a spirit grabbed them and pulled them into a different hallway. Kurosagi tried to run after them, but she felt an arm wrap around her waist. She looked down and saw pale arms. She looked back and saw that it was a black haired boy spirit with an eye patch over his left eye. He smirked at Kurosagi.
Kurosagi was pulled down the hall at an incredible speed that forced her eyes shut. Kurosagi gritted her teeth, muttering, “Ogami-San.”
Hatori flinched and looked around. Orchie looked at Hatori and asked, “Is something wrong?”
“I thought I heard something.”
“Just your imagination, Hatori,” said Derrick as he typed in another password into Kurosagi’s phone. The password was rejected. Derrick groaned.
“Kurosagi really made this password difficult.”
Orchie looked at Hatori and asked, “So Kurosagi didn’t even leave a hint of what the password might be?” Hatori shook his head.
“I really wish I knew.”
They suddenly heard a knock on the door. They turned toward the door and saw Seoul standing before it with a solemn look.
“Ohtori-San, why are you here?” asked Hatori. Seoul approached them and then looked down at the puddle of blood now surrounded by a yellow tape.
“So it happened anyway?” asked Seoul in solemn tone. Hatori’s eyes widen.
“Ohtori-San, has this happened before?”
Seoul nodded. He touched the wall of his school as he spoke.
“Ever since this school was built, children would vanish every ten years leaving only a puddle of blood. I was only thirty-five when I learned about the disappearances and that it had something to do with the teacher that taught the missing students.”
Seoul clenched his hand.
“I thought I could prevent it from happening again, when I learned that Sohma-San was acting strange, but it happened anyway.”
Orchie approached Seoul and screamed, “Why didn’t you report this?”
“It would ruin the school’s reputation and the police never found the missing children in the past cases anyway,” reasoned Seoul. Orchie gritted his teeth calling Seoul a fool.
“Is that all you know?” asked Hatori. Seoul nodded and added, “I’m sorry that I can’t tell you anything else.” Hatori cursed under his breath.
Orchie looked toward Mori, who was still in the room with them and said, “Contact the children’s parents.” Mori nodded and then left the room. Orchie gripped his forehead and said, “My superiors are not going to believe this.” Derrick nodded in agreement.
Hatori swiped the cell phone from Derrick making Derrick gasp and began to type in different passwords that popped into his head.
“Hatori, I already tried so many passwords, but none of them work,” stated Derrick. Hatori was beginning to sweat as he typed in different passwords, each of them rejected. Hatori cursed.
“We need to find Kurosagi and the kids fast, so why is this so difficult?”
Hatori seemed close to tears. Hatori suddenly remembered something and pressed the “C” key three times. He pressed enter. The phone beeped once and then began to ring to the other line. Hatori smiled, while Orchie and Derrick stared at Hatori in surprise.
“What did you type?” asked Orchie and Derrick in unison. Hatori hushed them as he held the phone to his ear. After a few more rings, someone picked up.
“This is Miroku Conan speaking.”
“Who is this…and why are you using Kurosagi’s phone?”
“It’s me Hatori Ogami, Kurosagi’s assistant.”
“Ogami-San, why are you calling? Why didn’t Kurosagi make the call?”
“Kurosagi told me to call you.”
“She’s been kidnapped with five other children.”
“That’s right and this is spirit related.”
“How is this spirit related?”
“They vanished into thin air after blood was splattered on them and the temperature dropped.”
Hatori heard Miroku curse through the phone.
“I’ll be there soon, so tell me your location.”
“Ohtori Elementary School and please hurry. I have a feeling that Kurosagi and the children are in a lot of danger.”
“I understand, so please wait.”
Miroku then hanged up. Hatori shut Kurosagi’s phone closed and smirked at Orchie and Derrick.
“Miroku is on his way.”
“He better and what was the password?”
Hatori looked back at the phone and said, “CCC, the code she types on the oven to cook Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Orchie and Derrick stared at Hatori in disbelief. Hatori ignored their looks as he hoped that Miroku would come soon to help locate Kurosagi and the children.
Kurosagi slammed against a wall as the arms left her waist and vanished into a wall. Kurosagi adjusted her glasses as she stood up against the wall. She looked around and saw Snow dancing on a rotten wood table. She approached her and asked, “What did you do with the others Snow?” Snow looked at Kurosagi and giggled.
“We scattered them all over the orphanage. They have to be scattered in order for you guys to search for each other.”
Kurosagi frowned and asked, “So we have to find each other, while hiding from you guys in the darkness?” Snow nodded and smirked.
“Good luck, but I hope you lose.”
Snow leaped up disappearing into the ceiling. Kurosagi took this chance to search for the others. Kurosagi ran through the halls making sure not to use her speed in fear of her legs giving out.
“Aito, Yuki-Kun, Hana-Chan, Hori-Kun, Leo-Kun, answer me!”
The lights began to flicker making Kurosagi cringe. Kurosagi kicked open a door revealing a room with a single bed and a cabinet. Kurosagi rolled under the bed and pulled herself against the under frame, so her back wasn’t touching the floor. Darkness filled the room. Kurosagi held her breath as the laughter of children filled the air. Kurosagi felt something under her back, but she refused to move or breathe. The presence under her left and the lights turned back on.
Kurosagi dropped to the ground and crawled from under the bed. She was about to get up, but her hand fell through the rotten floor. The wood scratched her hand and arm drawing blood. She withdrew her bleeding hand as the wounds healed instantly. Kurosagi smeared the blood on her arm and then stood up.
Kurosagi suddenly saw a folded piece of paper sticking out from the new hole in the floor and pulled it out. She unfolded it revealing that it was a picture. The picture was a white building with an oak brown roof and lettering in the front that spelled out “Ginger Bread House.” Standing in front of the building were a group of children around the ages of six or ten with a woman with long pig tails at each side wearing a white robe. The children’s smiles were heart-warming and the woman’s smile made it look like she was an angel.
“These are the original children?”
Kurosagi recognized one of the children as the boy who pulled her down the hall. She turned the picture over and saw that the picture was taken two-hundred years ago. There were no names in the back. Kurosagi folded the picture again and stuffed it into her skirt pocket.
Kurosagi ran out of the room determined to locate the others. She heard Leo’s scream in the distance. She ran toward his voice and found him sitting on the ground with his left foot stuck in the floor.
Leo sighed in relief when he saw Kurosagi. Kurosagi ran to him and asked, “Are you OK?”
“I’m not hurt, but my foot is stuck in the floor,” stated Leo as he attempted to pull his foot out. Leo cringed when a piece of the rotten wood scratched his ankle. Kurosagi gripped the wood around his foot and pulled shattering the wood. Leo pulled his foot free. Kurosagi looked at his bleeding ankle and sighed.
“I can’t heal it without my sewing kit,” stated Kurosagi. Leo chuckled and tore off a piece of his uniform shirt. He wrapped his ankle with the torn piece and said, “This should do for now until we get back.” Kurosagi nodded and helped Leo to his feet.
“We need to find the others,” stated Kurosagi. Leo nodded and followed Kurosagi gripping her hand. As they walked, Leo stared at Kurosagi’s back intently. Kurosagi could feel his stare and sighed. She looked back at him and asked, “Do you want to ask something?” Leo gripped her hand lightly as he spoke.
“I know this isn’t really the best time to ask, but why didn’t you tell me sooner that you were Kurosagi back in the school?”
“It was a case and I was undercover. I couldn’t let anyone know.”
“It was the same for Ogami, right?”
Kurosagi nodded. Leo’s cheeks became tinted red as he spoke.
“You know I only agreed to study in Japan, so I could see you right?”
“Is that so?”
“You’re the first girl that I have ever liked, so…”
“Leo-Kun, you are free to like me, but I suggest that you forget about me in the future or you will suffer as did many others who have fallen in love with me.”
Leo looked at Kurosagi completely bewildered.
The lights began to flicker. Kurosagi cursed under her breath and pulled Leo into a room. To their surprise, they saw Hana about to crawl into a cabinet.
Hana flinched and looked back at them. She burst into a smile when she saw them. She ran to them with tears in her eyes. She wrapped her arms around Kurosagi’s neck crying, “I was so scared.” Kurosagi rubbed her back to calm her down and then remembered that they were supposed to be hiding. Kurosagi shut the door behind them and then searched the room for a place for them to hide in pushing Leo and Hana away. She found a closet and swung it open. The closet was separated into three shelves. Kurosagi used her returned strength to break one shelf and fixed it to the bottom.
“Come over here now,” ordered Kurosagi. Leo and Hana ran to her side. Kurosagi closed the closet door and fixed the shelf in front of them like a door to match the wall. From the outside it looked like there were only two shelves.
The lights finally went out as the laughter of children filled the air once again. Leo and Hana were gripping Kurosagi’s sleeve shaking. They heard the door of the closet open. Leo covered his mouth to quiet down his breathing and Hana buried her face in Kurosagi’s shoulder. They suddenly heard a scream making them slightly jump. The scream was followed by a crash that seemed to be in the closet. The door slammed shut and then the lights came back on.
Kurosagi moved the shelf to the side and opened the closet door. The coast was clear, but she took notice that the cabinet was wide open and the bed was flipped over. Leo and Hana peeked over Kurosagi’s shoulder at the damaged room.
“Good thing we hid in the closet,” said Leo. Hana nodded in agreement. All three of them heard a groan and looked back into the closet. On the top shelf was Chiri lying face down.
“Chiri-Kun,” exclaimed Hana as she tried to reach him. Chiri looked down at her revealing his black eye on the left. Chiri grinned at them.
“I guess it was a good thing I was found,” muttered Chiri. Chiri cringed as he tried to get up. Kurosagi climbed up the shelves like a ladder reaching out to Chiri.
“Come here, Hori-Kun,” urged Kurosagi. Chiri grabbed her extended hand. Kurosagi pulled him down and landed back on the ground with Chiri leaning against her chest. Kurosagi helped Chiri to his feet and touched his black left eye making him cringe.
“How did this happen?” asked Kurosagi in concern. Chiri covered his injured eye.
“When I was pulled away, my left eye got slammed into a hanging chandelier.”
Chiri cringed gripping around his stomach.
“My stomach also hurts,” added Chiri. Kurosagi lifted up his shirt making him blush. Kurosagi’s eyes narrowed when she saw two bruises on his stomach shaped like a hand. She pulled his shirt down and looked at Leo and Hana.
“Do your stomachs hurt too after being taken?”
Leo nodded and lifted up his shirt revealing bruises that looked identical to Chiri’s. Hana shook her head and said, “But my right wrist hurts.” Hana pulled down her sleeve and revealed a hand shaped bruise that wrapped around her wrist. Kurosagi clenched her fist.
“Those spirits had the intention to hurt us so it would be harder for us to hide.”
Kurosagi opened the door of the room and said, “We better find Aito and Yuki-Kun quickly before the lights go out again.” Chiri, Leo, and Hana nodded as they followed Kurosagi out of the room.
Chiri looked at Hana and asked, “Where were you taken when the lights first went out?”
“I was placed in a room with a dusty bed and a chest.”
“Chest?” asked Kurosagi, looking back at them. Hana nodded and pulled out a stuffed blue bird doll from her pocket.
“The chest only had this in it. It was cute, so I took it with me.”
Kurosagi held her hand at Hana asking for the doll. Hana nodded and placed the small stuffed animal in Kurosagi’s extended hand. Kurosagi examined the stuffed animal and then noticed the tag hanging from its back. She unrolled the tag revealing the words: “Snow.”
Kurosagi looked up front and saw Snow sitting on a rotten wood chair. Kurosagi walked to her with seriousness in her eyes. Kurosagi held the stuffed animal to her and asked, “Is this yours?” Snow stared at the doll and smirked.
“Maybe, but it is cute,” stated Snow. Kurosagi placed the doll in her skirt pocket and asked, “Do you know when you got here?” Snow shook her head. Snow suddenly flinched and looked up at the ceiling. A smile formed on her face and said, “A playmate is about to come.” Kurosagi gasped and screamed, “What do you mean?” Snow giggled and flew through the ceiling.
“Come back here!”
“What’s wrong, Kurosagi?” asked Leo, Chiri, and Hana in unison. Kurosagi looked back at them and said, “We need to move fast. I think Aito and Yuki-Kun are in great danger.” With that Kurosagi ran ahead with Leo, Hana, and Chiri behind her.
“Aito, Yuki-Kun, answer me!” called out Kurosagi as she looked around the halls.
Kurosagi stopped in her tracks at the sound of Yuki’s call. Kurosagi looked around telling him to keep calling.
“I can’t hold on!”
Kurosagi followed his voice making sure the others were still behind her. Kurosagi reached a pair of doors and kicked them open revealing an open hall with stained tables and chairs.
Kurosagi looked up at the ceiling of the hall and saw Yuki dangling from an open hole.
Yuki looked down at her revealing that his glasses were gone. He squinted his eyes trying to see Kurosagi.
“It’s me,” answered Kurosagi. Tears fell from Yuki’s eyes as he dangled above her. Hana, Leo, and Chiri entered the room and immediately saw Yuki.
“Yuki!” screamed Hana. Kurosagi adjusted her glasses at Yuki and gritted her teeth. Just above Yuki was a spirit of a six-year-old girl. She had short black hair in pigtails and a pink polka-dotted shirt and skirt. She was smirking at Yuki as she pried his fingers off the edge one by one.
“Get away from him!” demanded Kurosagi making the others look at her.
“Another spirit?” asked Leo. Kurosagi nodded and added, “She’s trying to make Yuki-Kun fall.” Hana shook her head and looked up at Yuki.
“Don’t let go, Yuki!” called up Hana. Yuki nodded readjusting his fingers, but an invisible force kept making his fingers slip. Yuki gritted his teeth trying to keep hold. Yuki’s hand finally lost its grip sending him falling to the ground. Leo, Chiri, and Hana screamed in terror. Yuki closed his eyes waiting for his end. Kurosagi leapt up and grabbed Yuki before he could hit the ground and then slammed into one of the stained tables with a grunt.
Leo, Chiri, and Hana ran to them asking if they were OK. Kurosagi nodded and looked at Yuki.
“Are you OK?” asked Kurosagi. Yuki nodded and thanked Kurosagi repeatedly as he gripped the front of her shirt. Tears welled up in Yuki’s eyes and said, “I thought I was a goner when I lost my glasses and fell through that hole.”
“How did you get up there anyway?” asked Chiri. Yuki looked at Chiri with squinted eyes.
“I was brought there by that force that separated me from you guys,” explained Yuki, his voice still shaking. Kurosagi helped Yuki to his feet and said, “Well with you found, we only have Aito left.”
The lights suddenly began to flicker making Kurosagi curse under her breath.
“Not now,” muttered Kurosagi. Kurosagi grabbed Yuki’s hand and said, “We have to hide now.” They all nodded and followed Kurosagi out of the room. Kurosagi dragged Yuki out of the room with the others behind them.
Kurosagi kicked open another room. The room had two beds, two side tables, and a large mirror at the center wall. Kurosagi urged the others to enter as she shut the door behind them. She pointed at the beds and ordered, “Grab the covers from the bed.” Hana, Chiri, and Leo nodded and ran to the dusty beds. They removed the covers sending webs and dust flying in the air. Kurosagi, in the meantime, ripped the large mirror from the wall with Yuki standing next to her.
“What are you doing?” asked Yuki as he squinted his eyes. Kurosagi just grabbed his hand and pulled him behind the mirror. She waved to the others telling them to bring the covers to them. When Hana, Chiri, and Leo were by her side, she pulled them behind the mirror and draped the covers over the mirror and them. Chiri looked at the back of the mirror and asked, “Isn’t this obvious?” Kurosagi shook her head.
“Spirits can’t see their reflection in a mirror unless they look on the back of it. If they only see the reflective side, it is basically a blind spot.”
“I didn’t know that,” stated Yuki. Kurosagi smirked at him and then hushed him as the lights finally went out. They remained still as the voices of the spirits filled the air once more. They heard the door of the room open and then a crash causing them to grip to each other. The lights came on and Kurosagi pushed the mirror over shattering it on the ground. The beds were buried in the walls and the side tables were in pieces.
“They seem to be getting more violent,” stated Kurosagi.
“Do you think Aito is all right?” asked Hana, her voice shaking.
“The game is still going on, so let’s hope that he is alive.”
“Who are you guys?”
They all flinched and looked at the wall that once held the mirror. Hana, Chiri, Yuki, and Leo couldn’t see anything, but Kurosagi could clearly see the form of a small ten-year-old girl in a uniform similar to theirs. There were bags under her eyes and her black hair was a tangled mess.
“Who are you?” asked Kurosagi making the others look at her.
“Is there a spirit there?”
Kurosagi nodded. The spirit girl hugged her legs to her chest shaking.
“My name is Haji…I don’t remember my surname, but I do remember that I have or had a father. Now tell me who you guys are?”
Kurosagi frowned and said, “We are students from Ohtori Elementary. So you weren’t one of the spirits that brought us here?” Haji shook her head and stared at the broken mirror.
“I wasn’t playing with the others, so Sister put me in time out.”
Kurosagi looked at the shards and added, “The mirror you mean.” Haji nodded.
“I don’t know how long I have been in there,” said Haji her form beginning to shake. Kurosagi sighed and crossed her arms.
“You don’t seem to be involved in this game, so can you tell us anything about the spirits and who Sister is.”
Haji shook her head and stated, “I don’t know, but I do know that my death is a terrible one.” Haji suddenly looked toward an empty wall and said, “It’s vague but I remember seeing a girl who always dances touching that wall.” Haji glanced at Kurosagi as blood began to form in her eyes.
“I want to see my daddy again.”
Haji vanished from the room. Kurosagi then looked at the wall that Haji mentioned and broke it open using her strength. In the wall was a book with red and white stripes. Kurosagi pulled it out and looked back at the others.
“Let’s find Aito.”
They all nodded and left the room. As they walked, Kurosagi flipped through the book. Leo peeked over her shoulder and asked, “So that spirit showed that book to you?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “She may be from a previous harvest.”
“You mean someone that was kidnapped like us?” asked Chiri. Kurosagi nodded. Kurosagi read the pages of the book that was in diary form.
April 1, 3720
My parents died in the snow storm trying to buy me a Birthday present. I’ll never see my parents again. I blame God. Why did God have to take away mommy and daddy? Tomorrow I’m going to the orphanage called Ginger Bread House. I hope God is dead there.
May 6, 3720
Tony is so nice to me. He reads me stories when it is night time. I’m not even afraid of his eye patch. He lost his eye because his father got drunk. Kat is so adorable. She’s only six, but she is always willing to play dolls with me. She even made me a blue bird stuffed animal. Maya is also very nice. She taught me how to bake and taught me how to dance. She used to be a priest, but decided to be in charge of Ginger Bread House. We all call her Sister because she’s our big sister. Tony, Kat, and Maya are very important to me.
“I have an idea on who Sister is, but…”
“But what?” asked Chiri.
“I don’t understand what happened to them when they were alive.”
“Is there more?” asked Hana.
Kurosagi nodded and continued to read.
January 28, 3721
Maya has been acting weird ever since the snow storm hit us. We couldn’t get outside and the phones were dead. Our food was decreasing…Maya suddenly got scary when the radio said something about her old temple being destroyed. We all fell asleep. When I woke up, I saw Tony still asleep against the wall…then I heard Kat’s scream. The room had no doors, so I couldn’t get to Kat…days passed and Tony disappeared never waking up…where are you Maya? Sister?
“What’s wrong, Kurosagi?” asked Hana. Kurosagi showed the book to them making them all turn pale. The lower half of the page was covered in dried blood.
“The owner of this short diary was killed after this entry.”
Kurosagi closed the pages and looked at the back of the cover. The name “Angel” was imprinted in red ink on the back of the cover.
Kurosagi pulled the picture she had in her pocket and finally took notice of “Snow” in the picture holding the blue bird stuffed animal and standing next to the eye patch boy.
“So that’s her name,” stated Kurosagi remembering Snow’s wicked smirk. Kurosagi suddenly noticed a tip of a paper sticking out from the end of the book. She pulled it out. It was a picture of what looked like a hospital room, but then she noticed an oven on the far end. Kurosagi gripped the picture remembering Snow mentioning that they would be brought to the oven if they were caught by “Sister.” Kurosagi tore off a page of the book making the others confused.
“What are you doing?” asked Leo. Kurosagi held her hand to them and ordered them to give a strand of their hair. They were confused, but did as they were told. Kurosagi swallowed the strands of hair making Chiri, Hana, and Leo cringe. Kurosagi closed her eyes seeing all that they had seen when they were separated. Kurosagi opened her eyes with sweat against her brow. Kurosagi then pulled a strand of hair from her head and ran it across her lips. The strand became solid and then used it to stab her arm. Chiri, Leo, and Hana gasped, while Yuki was asking what she did for he couldn’t see anything clearly. Kurosagi pulled out the needle like hair from her arm revealing the blood on the tip. Her arm healed as she used the blood tipped strand to write on the paper.
“What are you writing?” asked Chiri. Kurosagi did one final stroke and showed the note to them.
Please save us from Ginger Bread House.
“How can we send that out?”
Kurosagi glanced up at the lit candle above them. She folded the note into a paper airplane and flung it at the candle. The paper airplane landed in the flames of the candle turning into ash instantly. Hana, Chiri, and Leo looked at her in disbelief, while Yuki was asking them what happened.
“Why did you burn it?”
“It was the fastest way to deliver a note. Now let’s hurry and find Aito before the children and Sister find him.”
They all nodded and were about to run, but stopped when they saw a person shrouded in a stained blanket approaching them. Hana screamed clinging onto Yuki.
“A ghost!” screamed Chiri as tears fell from his eyes. Leo clenched the back of Kurosagi as he looked at the shrouded person. Kurosagi focused her eyes on the shrouded person and ran up to the person making the others follow. Kurosagi stopped in front of the covered person and removed the blanket from the head.
Aito smiled clenching the stained blanket around his body. The others sighed in relief and ran to Aito’s side.
“Are you OK, Aito?”
Aito nodded and said, “Thanks to this blanket. When the lights go out, I just fall to the ground with the blanket on and it makes me look like a fallen curtain.” Kurosagi chuckled and said, “That’s a pretty good idea.” Aito nodded and leaned against Kurosagi’s chest. A tear fell from his eye and whispered, “I was still so scared.” Kurosagi patted his back with a smile upon her lips.
The lights suddenly went out without warning. They clung together in fear of being separated.
The lights came back on. Kurosagi’s eyes widen when she saw that countless spirit children had surrounded them. Each child had blood falling from unknown wounds on their bodies as they smirked at them. Kurosagi stood firmly in front of Chiri, Hana, Leo, Yuki, and Aito, glaring at the spirit children.
“We found each other, so we won the game,” stated Kurosagi. Snow suddenly emerged from the spirit children with blood running down her eyes.
“Sorry but we need playmates and Sister needs to harvest.”
The next thing Kurosagi knew, her and the others were engulfed by the shadow and pulled into the wall. The hall now only had the spirits of children laughing as blood covered the floor.
Hatori sat in the classroom where Kurosagi and the others vanished with Orchie and Derrick waiting for Miroku. Orchie looked at Hatori and asked, “What can this Miroku person do?”
“With my experience with him, he can see spirits and exorcise them.”
Derrick chuckled and stated, “Maybe Sayoran should have taken that type of job.”
“So you know Sayoran?” asked Hatori. Derrick and Orchie nodded.
“He’s the only person I can tolerate being with Kurosagi,” stated Orchie. Derrick nodded in agreement. Hatori pouted remembering Sayoran hugging Kurosagi. His thoughts were interrupted when he saw Miroku enter the room with Helen next to him.
Miroku looked at Hatori and smirked.
“Nice to see you again, Ogami-San,” stated Miroku. Hatori nodded at him. Helen waved at Hatori greeting him as well. Miroku noticed Orchie and Derrick and asked, “Who are they?”
“Orchie Kou and Derrick Whitman: Kurosagi’s connections.”
Miroku looked them over and then bowed to them.
“Nice to meet you two.”
Orchie and Derrick greeted back. Helen waved to them and asked, “So you guys are assistants too?” Orchie shook his head and said, “Hatori is the only assistant, sadly.” Hatori glared at Orchie feeling slightly insulted.
Miroku looked around the room and asked, “Is this where Kurosagi vanished with the children?” Orchie, Derrick, and Hatori nodded. Helen suddenly shrieked and asked, “Why is there blood on the floor?”
“They were covered in blood before they vanished.”
Miroku suddenly removed his glasses as he looked down at the blood. He narrowed his eyes and said, “There is ectoplasm in the blood.”
“There is?” asked Hatori as he looked down at the blood. Miroku nodded and placed his glasses back on. Miroku massaged the bridge of his nose and said, “I won’t be able to tell where they went with just this. Don’t you have anything else?”
Before Hatori could say anything, he heard Helen squeal and looked toward her with the others. Helen pointed at a picture of the school upon the wall and said, “I remember this school now.”
“What do you mean Helen?” asked Miroku. Helen sat on an empty chair with a smirk upon her lips.
“In the Psychic Research classes we were given areas of Japan to study for when we go on assignments. This school was part of my studying and it was super interesting. This school was built on the grounds where a great temple used to reside. The temple was to grant the wishes of couples like love and children. The temple lasted for about five hundred years, but then two hundred years ago, it was destroyed in the great snow storm tsunami.”
“Snow Storm Tsunami?”
“Not many people know this, but two hundred years ago, a snow storm struck the entire world. It was like the apocalypse that you read in stories. It lasted for five months and nearly killed us all. It was considered a miracle when it finally ended and life went on.”
“Glad I wasn’t living yet,” commented Derrick.
“Does this place being a temple ground in the past have something to do with this case?” asked Hatori.
“Maybe,” stated Miroku. Hatori sighed wondering what he should do next to find Kurosagi. He grew more uneasy at each passing minute. Hatori’s head began to throb forcing him to cover his head.
“Are you all right Ogami?” asked Helen as she looked at Hatori. Hatori nodded and was about to say something, but the throbbing began to intensify. Hatori clenched his head, crouching over.
Hatori shut his eyes and began to see images that he had never seen before. He saw Kurosagi in these images and hallways that looked like they were about to collapse. He saw an aged picture of a building that had a woman and children in the front. He saw that the name of the building was Ginger Bread House. At the last image he saw the words form in blood.
Please save us from Ginger Bread House.
Hatori gasped as his eyes flung open. He fell to his knees as the others circled around him.
“Ogami-San, are you all right?” asked Miroku in concern. Hatori looked at Miroku with sweat falling from his forehead and gripped his collar.
“Kurosagi, she’s at Ginger Bread House. We need to save her.”
“Ginger Bread House?”
Hatori nodded and added, “I saw these images in my head and a message telling me to save them from Ginger Bread House. I know it was from Kurosagi.”
Orchie frowned and said, “Then that’s where she is.” Derrick, Miroku, Helen, and Hatori looked at him bewildered.
“You believe this?”
Orchie nodded and said, “Kurosagi used this method before on my grandpa for him to save her from a kidnapper during my elementary school days.” Orchie crossed his arms with a dissatisfied face.
“She must be desperate to use this method.”
Miroku sighed and said, “Then we better use this method to our advantage.” Miroku looked at Helen with seriousness in his eyes.
“Do you know what Ginger Bread House is?”
Helen nodded and stated, “It’s an orphanage that was connected to this temple, but no one but the priests knew where it was.” Miroku cursed under his breath. He looked back at Hatori and asked, “Did you see a way to get there?”
“There was a picture of the building. It had trees surrounding it on both sides.”
Hatori clenched his head still sweating.
“There was some ivy around some of the trees. The ivy had blue berries and lilies.”
Helen gasped and said, “I know that place then.”
“Those were special bred vines to make the woods beautiful. They were only placed in the Kazu Woods as an experiment. They stopped making the vines because it was too expensive, but the vines or ivy were left in the woods. They would be more abundant in the center of Kazu Woods, but I heard that it was only a swamp now, so people were forbidden to go there.”
Miroku helped Hatori to his feet and said, “Then that is the most likely place to go.”
Orchie nodded in agreement and added, “Kazu Woods is the closest to this school.”
All of them ran out of the classroom and flinched when they saw the guardians of the missing children. Kasumi, Aito’s mother, looked at them with tear filled eyes and screamed, “Where is my son?” Lian, Yuki’s father, also demanded for his son. Hana’s parents, Chiri’s parents, and Leo’s butler were also asking what had happened to them. Miroku groaned.
“We don’t have time to deal with them.”
Miroku looked at Helen and demanded her to move them. Helen nodded placing her index finger against the side of her forehead. The guardians all rose up making them gasp and the others to look in disbelief. The guardians flew against the wall making them gasp in pain. Orchie, Derrick, Hatori, Miroku, and Helen ran pass them. Orchie looked down at Helen and asked, “How did you do that?”
“I’m a psychic,” stated Helen and then ran ahead of Orchie. Miroku looked at Hatori and said, “We’ll make it.” Hatori nodded as he continued to sweat.
Kurosagi opened her eyes at the sound of dripping water. She saw a completely black ceiling and tried to get up, but to no avail. She looked down and saw that her arms and legs were strapped down on a metal bed. She heard Hana whimper and looked to the side. Lined up against the wall were Hana, Chiri, Leo, Yuki, and Aito bound by ropes. Kurosagi called out to them.
“Kurosagi,” cried out Hana as she tried to free herself. That’s when Kurosagi noticed that the ropes were glued to the wall. Kurosagi frowned.
“This is messed up,” stated Kurosagi as she tried to free herself. She remembered how much she used her strength and realized that her strength was at its limit once again and needed another hour to recover.
Leo suddenly screamed making Kurosagi look back at them.
Kurosagi noticed the horrified looks on all their faces and looked to her other side. Kurosagi’s eyes widen. On the wall were crevices with child sized skulls with a single object in front of it like an offering. The objects were pencil cases, cell phones, jewelry, toys, or books. Kurosagi looked at all the walls and even the wall that the others were against and saw that there were more skulls. It would take a lifetime to count all the skulls. Kurosagi gritted her teeth.
“So this has been going on for two hundred years?”
Kurosagi saw a shadow emerge from the wall and form into the woman she saw in the picture with the children. Kurosagi glared at her.
“You’re Sister aren’t you or should I call you Maya?”
The spirit Maya showed a wicked smile as she pulled out a saw from thin air. Leo screamed as did the others except for Yuki, who still couldn’t see clearly. Kurosagi frowned.
“So they can see the saw?”
Maya nodded as blood began to leak from her eyes. Maya licked her lips as she approached Kurosagi. Hana, Chiri, Aito, and Leo were crying for Kurosagi as they saw the saw get closer to her. Kurosagi smirked.
“I see. Two hundred years ago was the Snow Storm Tsunami. Many people died. I remember people were desperate enough to kill their loving animals just to get food. You were the same. You became desperate for food and killed the children of the orphanage to feed yourself.”
Maya held the saw over Kurosagi’s right arm as blood began to leak from the side of her lips. The others burst out crying begging for Kurosagi’s life.
“You still died from starvation and because of your ‘hunger’ you broke the rules of a spirit and continued to gather living children by using the spirits of the ones you already ate. Your power is only limited to the outside every ten years thus the harvest. The children are offered with two in a room: one asleep and one awake because that’s how the previous children were separated and reserved. This is almost like the Hansel and Gretel story where a witch wants to eat the children, but in your case, you succeed.”
Maya sliced Kurosagi’s arm off making the others scream in horror and cry. Kurosagi didn’t even scream when her arm was detached. Maya then sawed off the other arm and continued with her legs. The others continued to cry as they watched Kurosagi’s body get chopped up. Maya picked up a severed leg and was about to bite into it, but it suddenly turned to ash in her hands. Maya’s eyes widen and noticed that the other severed limbs had turned to ash. Kurosagi’s arms and legs grew back at a rapid pace. Kurosagi then leapt off the table now free and landed in front of the others who were looking at her in disbelief. Kurosagi rubbed her right wrist and said, “Much better.”
Kurosagi took notice of her bag at the corner and tried to get to it, but Maya pounced at her with the saw held high. Kurosagi dodged and grabbed her bag. She pulled out a vial labeled rabbit and devoured its contents. She then tossed the vial and jumped at Maya. Kurosagi tried to grab a strand of her hair, but Maya cut Kurosagi’s arm off before she could do so. Kurosagi cursed under her breath as her arm grew back. She leapt away and tried to get a strand again, but one of the spirit children appeared behind her and grabbed her hand preventing her from doing so. Kurosagi tossed the spirit child off her arm and noticed the other spirit children staring at her.
“So I can’t use my hair without you guys interfering.”
“Kurosagi, behind you!” screamed Aito. Kurosagi dodged to the side barely avoiding a butcher’s knife. Kurosagi frowned when she noticed that it was Angel holding the knife.
“Angel, I need to put her to rest or more people will die.”
“We need more playmates or Sister will eat us again,” muttered Angel as blood began to leak from her eyes and neck. Angel swiped at Kurosagi, but she avoided. Kurosagi heard Hana scream and saw that Maya was approaching Hana and the others with the saw held high and blood leaking from her mouth like a waterfall. Kurosagi avoided Angel’s attack and ran at Maya. She stood her ground in front of them and allowed Maya’s saw to bury itself in her shoulder to protect Hana, Chiri, Leo, Yuki, and Aito.
Kurosagi smirked at them and said, “This is nothing.” Maya growled like a beast as she tried to remove her saw from Kurosagi’s shoulder, but Kurosagi held the saw in place. Kurosagi glared at her and said, “I won’t let you hurt anymore children.”
It was at that moment, that the ceiling of the place fell in followed by something else falling in. As the dust cleared, Kurosagi smiled at the sight of Hatori, Miroku, Orchie, Derrick, and Helen.
“You came,” said Kurosagi in relief. Hatori burst into a smile when he saw Kurosagi, but then it faltered at the sight of a saw in her shoulder.
“Kurosagi!” screamed Hatori as he tried to run to her, but Miroku held him back. Miroku removed his glasses and saw the spirit of Maya holding the saw and the spirit children watching through the walls.
“So many,” muttered Miroku. He glared at Maya and asked, “Are you responsible for all these spirits?” Maya just growled in response still trying to remove her saw from Kurosagi’s shoulder. Miroku frowned and said, “You are nothing but a monster now.” Miroku looked at Helen and ordered her to get the children behind Kurosagi. Helen nodded and placed a finger against the side of her head. Helen frowned and said, “They are glued to the wall.”
Miroku pulled out the small pole and changed it into a staff and said, “Then we have to get closer to free Kurosagi and the children.” At that moment, Helen and Miroku charged at Maya. Miroku slammed his staff against Maya’s cheek forcing her away from Kurosagi and the saw. Kurosagi pulled the saw out of her shoulder as Orchie, Derrick, and Hatori ran to her side. Hatori smiled at Kurosagi as her shoulder healed at a quick pace and said, “I’m so glad you’re OK.” Kurosagi pushed Hatori away from her and said, “You can be glad after we get out of here.” Hatori nodded.
Kurosagi went to Hana first with the saw in hand. She used the saw to slice the ropes freeing Hana. Hana immediately embraced Kurosagi crying into her shoulder.
“I thought you were going to die.”
Kurosagi smirked and said, “It’ll take more than a cut up limb to kill me.” Hatori, Orchie, and Derrick freed Leo, Yuki, Chiri, and Aito, who immediately ran to Kurosagi in tears.
The moment was broken when Miroku’s scream filled the room. Kurosagi looked toward Miroku and saw him leaning against the metal table with small ghostly hands gripping his ankles. She also saw Helen being held against the wall with the same ghostly hands.
Maya suddenly looked toward Kurosagi as a new saw formed into her hand. Orchie cringed and exclaimed, “Why is there a saw flying in the air?” Maya charged at them as a maniac’s laugh escaped her mouth. Kurosagi stood in front of them and before any of the spirits could react, she pulled a strand of her hair out and ran it across her lips. The strand became needle like. Kurosagi then threw it at Maya’s forehead. The needle sank in. Maya stopped in her tracks and began to wail. The saw fell from her hand as she gripped her head. Kurosagi pushed her glasses up as she stared at Maya.
“Fall into the darkness Maya.”
Maya’s form turned to ash and fell to the ground. The cries of children echoed through the entire building. The building began to shake as Miroku and Helen finally were freed from the ghostly hands. Miroku grabbed Kurosagi’s wrist and said, “We have to go now.” Kurosagi nodded and looked back at the others.
Hatori and the others nodded as they trailed behind Kurosagi. The children each grabbed their stolen bag as they ran. Helen placed an index finger to the side of her head activating her power. She levitated all of them and sent them rising through the hole of the roof.
Before Kurosagi could enter the hole, she felt a cold hand grip her ankle. She looked down and saw the spirit of Haji holding her. Haji pointed at a wall to Kurosagi and said, “Please get my locket and give it to father.” Kurosagi looked at one of the skulls and saw a golden heart shaped locket in front of it. Kurosagi looked back at Haji and asked, “Who is your father?”
Haji showed a smile with clear tears running down her cheeks. No words came from her mouth when her lips moved, but Kurosagi understood and grabbed the locket from in front of the skull. Haji released Kurosagi’s ankle allowing her to rise with the others.
As Kurosagi rose, she could see the spirit children watching them with confused eyes as if they had just awoke from a long dream. She also saw Angel standing in front of Tony and the brown haired girl spirit, Kat with bewildered looks. Kurosagi pulled the small blue bird stuffed animal from her pocket and tossed it to Angel. Angel caught it and stared at it. She looked back at Kurosagi, who smiled and said, “Watch over little Snow, Angel.” Angel smiled and waved goodbye to Kurosagi. Tony, Kat, and the other children did the same.
Kurosagi was soon able to see the starlit sky as she emerged from the hole in the roof. Hatori pulled Kurosagi to the others allowing her to land in the swamp like ground. Kurosagi looked back at the roof with the others and saw the Ginger Bread House sinking deep into the swamp. Miroku walked to Kurosagi and said, “Ginger Bread House was an orphanage that vanished into a swamp after the Snow Storm Tsunami.”
“The reason why the missing children were never found.”
Miroku nodded and handed Kurosagi a folder. Kurosagi stared at it and asked, “Is this the bill?” Miroku shook his head.
“Some files I made for this case while you were gone. Consider this case as a volunteer work.”
Kurosagi nodded and took the file. Kurosagi noticed the spirit of the children rising to the starry sky from the Ginger Bread House, including Angel, Tony, Kat, and Haji’s spirit. Kurosagi smiled and wished them all farewell.
Kurosagi looked at Hana, Chiri, Leo, Yuki, and Aito and stated, “You have to keep what you experienced a secret from the public.” They all nodded and all hugged Kurosagi with tears in their eyes. The tears were full of relief for being alive.
Orchie placed a hand on Aito’s shoulder making all the children look up at him.
“We need to get you all to the hospital and then we can contact your parents.”
They nodded and began to follow Orchie. Yuki tripped because he couldn’t see, so Derrick carried him on his back. Miroku and Helen bowed to Kurosagi before leaving themselves. Kurosagi was about to walk off until she realized that Hatori was beginning to stagger from his place.
Hatori fell over sweating massively. Kurosagi gasped and ran to his side.
Kurosagi placed her hand on his cheek as Hatori breathed heavily. Kurosagi looked at Orchie and Derrick and called them to get Hatori to the hospital. There was desperation in her voice as she said this. She looked back at Hatori as Orchie and Derrick ran back to her, holding his head in her lap.
“Hang in there, Ogami-San.”
Hatori awoke in a hospital room. Hatori sat up and stared at the machines attached to him and the glass window, where patients and nurses were passing by. He held his head wondering why he was in the hospital. The last thing he remembered was Kurosagi’s worried face as he lay in her lap.
Hatori looked at the side of the bed and saw Kurosagi staring at him with her head resting on his hand. Hatori withdrew his hand and asked, “Why am I here, Kurosagi?” Kurosagi sighed as she sat up.
“One of my secrets put you here.”
Kurosagi nodded. She placed a hand on her hair and said, “When I write a message using my blood and the tip of my hair when it becomes stiff on a piece of paper and burn it, the message and images I have seen will be sent to the first person I thought of. In this case: you.”
Hatori held his head and asked, “So that’s how I saw those images and was able to find you?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “In a rare case, you will be able to tell where I am without the images just like in the Ginger Bread House.” Kurosagi gave out a sigh.
“But when I use this secret, the person who received the message would feel weak and feint. The first person I did this too didn’t wake up for an entire month.”
Kurosagi nodded and held Hatori’s hand with relief in her eyes.
“I’m glad you only slept for one whole day.”
Hatori smiled at Kurosagi and said, “Well I can’t sleep forever while being your assistant.” Kurosagi chuckled as she released his hand.
“Everyone needs to sleep once in a while, Ogami-San.”
Hatori chuckled in response glad he knew another one Kurosagi’s secrets. The door to the hospital room suddenly opened making Hatori and Kurosagi look back at the door. It was Aito, Leo, Chiri, Hana, and Yuki in their school uniforms. They ran to Kurosagi and Hatori with smiles on their faces.
“Ogami-Sensei, glad you finally woke up,” stated Hana in a chipper tone. Hatori nodded at her and said, “You can just call me Ogami-San now.” Hana shook her head.
“Ogami-Sensei sounds better.”
Hatori chuckled and ruffled her hair. Yuki with a new pair of glasses looked at Hatori and said, “My dad wanted me to thank you for saving me.”
“That’s good to hear, but why didn’t he say it himself.”
“Because he said that if he saw your face again, he would beat you until you were no longer recognizable.”
“Why?” asked Hatori in shock.
“Because he feels that you as the teacher was still responsible for my disappearance.”
Hatori sighed, while Kurosagi chuckled.
Chiri with a medical patch still over his left eye smiled and stated, “I just came to see if Kurosagi was all right.” Aito and Leo nodded in agreement. Kurosagi smiled at them and thanked them.
Leo suddenly remembered something and asked, “So how did your limbs grow back when they were obviously sawed off?” Hatori gasped and demanded what he meant. Kurosagi ignored Hatori as she spoke.
“When any part of my body is removed, the removed part becomes ash and a new limb grows in its place.”
Hatori stared at Kurosagi with wide eyes as the others were saying that it was amazing. Hatori, even though he didn’t see it, now knew another one of Kurosagi’s secrets.
Hana, Chiri, Aito, Leo, and Yuki began to chat with Kurosagi as Hatori stared at them wondering why they would converse with Kurosagi in his hospital room.
The bickering stopped when Kurosagi asked, “So did you bring Ohtori-San?” They nodded. Aito ran to the door and urged Seoul into the room. Seoul walked into the room with an uneasy look.
“Why is the principal here?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi smirked.
“I wanted him to apologize to you after learning from the files from Miroku that he knew about the kidnappings and intentionally put you in danger of the spirits even though you were fine, but still.”
Seoul bowed to Hatori and said, “I’m sorry for not informing you and Kurosagi about this before you entered the class. I’m also glad you are awake.” Hatori nodded his head at him and then asked, “Did Kurosagi want you to apologize to me when I was asleep.” Seoul nodded. Hatori chuckled.
“For a while there Kurosagi, I thought they came here expecting me to be awake.”
Kurosagi shrugged at him and then looked back at Seoul.
“I also wanted to give you something Ohtori-San.”
Kurosagi handed Seoul the locket from Ginger Bread House. Seoul stared at the locket with wide eyes. Kurosagi pointed at it.
“This locket belonged to a girl from your school. She loved her father very much and asked me to give this to him.”
Seoul opened the locket revealing a picture of him in his younger days holding Haji in his lap with a bright smile upon his lips. Tears fell from Seoul’s eyes as he gripped the locket to his chest.
“Haji, your missing daughter, loved you very much, Ohtori-San.”
Hana and the others tried to comfort Seoul as he cried. Seoul looked at Kurosagi and thanked her. Kurosagi nodded at him and watched him leave the room with the other children.
“So Ohtori-San lost his daughter to the spirits ten years ago?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and added, “That’s why he was trying to prevent the kidnappings because he knows the pain it causes to the parents, but he still should have told the police and others about this.”
“So what is going to happen to the orphanage?”
“Knowing Miroku, he’s going to report it to Psychic Research and they will burn it forever into the swamp.”
“That’s sad considering the children’s skulls in the orphanage ground level.”
Kurosagi clenched her fist and added, “It is, but the children’s spirits are now at rest.” Kurosagi leaned her head on Hatori’s bed allowing him to stroke her hair.
“If I knew about Ginger Bread House two hundred years ago, I would have tried to save them. At least they can go to a place I can never reach.”
Hatori smiled down at her and asked, “Do you want to eat a cookie later?” Kurosagi nodded.
Kurosagi clutched the covers of Hatori’s bed in her fist as she remembered the laughter of the ghost children.