(a/n: Wow! Over 200 hits yesterday! 0.0 Many thanks to everyone who read yesterday and a special thanks to Vivian101 and Jaz-147 for their encouraging comments.) (Disclaimer: That's right...I STILL don't own it)
They all stared at me in grave disappointment, well except for Naru who kept glancing at Masako as though he suspected she had known all along. Though, out of everyone, Ayako seemed the most annoyed, "Masako channeled yesterday and you're only just thinking now to tell us?"
"I'm more concerned about why the spirit waited until Mai was alone to make itself known," said Monk, quietly.
Like I wasn't already feeling guilty about this. I narrowed my eyes at them, "I hadn't expected her to forget that it happened, you know," looking at Masako, "I really thought you were going to tell them…"
Ayako seemed even more annoyed, "Mai that's really not the point here, the-"
"Matsuzaki," Naru cut in before finally looking at me, "What "exactly" did the spirit say to you?"
I breathed in deeply and then, "Well, first they had said that we didn't know what we were up against…and then…" I hesitated again. "I think that whoever it was had tried to end this city's suffering-"
Monk's eyes seemed to bloom with curiosity, "What makes you say that?"
I looked down at my hands, "After the first part, they said, 'Back then, neither did I…'" I looked back up, "What do you think it means?"
Naru seemed agitated but there was interest gleaming in his eyes again, "I think it means we've been here for less than a full day and someone is already telling us to give up and leave."
Everyone gave him a, "Gee, you think?" look. But Naru didn't notice since he was looking at me, "Is there anything else you may have been keeping from us?"
I started to feel embarrassed again as I looked at everyone else. Better just get it over with. I sighed, "Yes-"
Everyone, except for Lin and Naru began talking angrily at me but Naru put up a hand to silence them. His eyes never left mine, "Continue."
"Well…this morning I had heard something that sounded like the tinkling of bells and children's laughter coming from the surrounding woodland," Naru nodded but said nothing, "And then later as I was coming down the stairs to join you here I swear I could hear something scratching at one of the doors on the second floor and someone was crying."
Everyone remained silent as Lin jotted all this down. Naru looked back to Masako who seemed slightly dejected, "Ms. Hara," she slowly looked at him, "Have you felt anyone here at all today?"
She nodded which had everyone staring at her in shocked. Ayako looked ready to blow a gasket, "And how long were you planning on keeping this from us?"
I stared at our Medium, quite astonished that she would have been secretive.
Masako ignored the Shinto "Maiden" and continued to answer Naru, "I also felt something inhabiting the second floor…and I also felt their sadness."
We were all silent for a moment.
John sighed then and stood, "Well, that's three of us now who have felt a presence on that floor," we all blinked at him. He just smiled and nodded as though had he sensed what we would all ask. "I think it would be best for us to find out who they are before tomorrow."
I stared at him, "But we still don't have electricity, so how are we supposed to monitor anything that happens?"
John just smiled again, "Sanji called while you were outside. He informed us that the electricity would be turned back on early. So we should have power within the next twenty or so minutes."
Naru took a drink from a bottle of water, "If you hadn't taken so long with the shelves you would have already known."
I glared at him. Well, excuse me for having to walk all the way to the other end of the driveway since someone didn't want to park closer…!
"John. Mai. Ms. Hara," came Naru's authoritive voice, "Since you are the only three, so far, who have sensed the spirit's presence, I want you to search the floor until you find the room it's hiding in." He then handed a camera to John and a microphone to me. "By the time you locate it the power should be back on."
We all nodded and then proceeded to leave the room. "Mai," I turned back to find Naru staring at me, "I want you most of all to be extra cautious. We still don't know why that spirit spoke only to you," I blinked at him, "And until we do, I don't want you taking any unwarranted risks."
I stared at him for a moment. Was the jerk actually worried about me? I nodded, "Okay," praying that the sudden heat in my cheeks wasn't any indication that I still wanted him to like me. I quickly veered back to the doorway and rushed forward to catch up with our priest and medium. But when I reached the stairs I was quite shocked and a little enraged to find that they had not waited for me. So much for not taking risks. I set down the microphone and took the flashlight out of my pants' back pocket and switched it on. Then carefully lifting the mic back into my arms I slowly began my trek up the stairs. This hotel had a ground level and a first floor. So, thanks to my uncaring friends, I would now have to go up the two flights…alone…carrying this heavy microphone. And that meant I wouldn't be able to cowardly run away if anything paranormal were to happen…again. I gulped as I entered the first floor and was just about to climb the next flight when the wall light fixtures began to flicker and buzz followed by a creaking sound spreading through the walls of the hallway. Please let this be the sounds of the power coming back on. I tried not to become overly fixated on my sudden fear as I forced myself to rush up the remaining flight of stairs.
Once Mai was on the second floor and was greeted by an apologizing John, the lights on the first floor stopped flickering and buzzing. The hallways were blanketed in darkness and became dead silent. But then…
"Lalala lalalalala lalala…"
The song seeped through the halls like a soft sinister breeze and was soon joined by whispers and soft laughter. And then just as quickly all was quiet. A soft glow of a human-like silhouette, this time emitting a red tint slowly floated down the hall softly whispering one word, "Mai…"