The blazing sun had started the wretched day but slowly the clouds started covering the blue sky until it was dark enough to mistake the day for night. A young man with dark hair stood on deck of a great ship staring grimly over the horizon. His mood darkened as more time passed and he finally sighed in defeat. Turning he signaled for the crew to pull the ship over to the closest port. He watched as his hired men started climbing the masts and riggings to catch the flying sails.
A strong gust of wind blew his hat off and he bent to pick it up. As he did his eyes caught sight of the thick fog surrounding the ship. Great. Thing can't get any worse, he thought.
"And then the woman led the guard through the dark backyard until they reached a privy. Once there the man told her to go back inside and wait to see if she could hear the voice again. And she did just as she was told. 'Do you want me to cover you with a red coat?' She answered 'Y-yes.' And then screamed! The guard burst through the door and found the woman covered in blood as if she had a red coat draped over her."
She smiled and blew her candle, plunging the already dark room into more darkness. Now only Michiru's and the ghost light remained. She glanced at Kieko to see her eyes wide and fearful and a small twinge of sympathy perked in her chest before her eyes found Michiru again. Michiru's long dark slipped from behind her ear and framed her face as she bent her head more toward the candle.
"Okay, this one is about the schoolhouse," she began. The brunette cringed at the mention of the abandoned and rickety place at the outskirts of the town. Rumor had it that it was built by a kind rich man who was very fond of children but had unfortunately died of some unknown disease after which the school went through many owners until it was deserted entirely. It didn't matter too much to anyone since there was another school building where all of the townsfolk sent their children. It was left alone for a while until all the accidents started happening there catching the town's interest.
"Do you mean that creepy building on the outskirts that's collapsing?" Keiko asked.
Michiru nodded before continuing, "It's not collapsing, it is actually cursed." Cursed? It's said that the last owner of that place commited suicide because he saw the ghost of his dead wife who was haunting him. After that any and all attempts at removing the school house have been unsuccessful. Twice they have tried to bring down the building but accidents would occurs so that the process was disrupted. I even heard that a group walking by was suddenly hit by an ownerless carriage, the horses running around wildly. There's more, I have heard that a lady passing by to get to the hospital saw a ghost peering at her fro inside the building when she glanced at it." By this time Mai and Keiko were utterly terrified. Adrenaline coursed through her as Michiru blew her candle and said, "One."
"Two," said Keiko shakily.
"Three" replied an uneasy Mai.
"Four," said a masculine voice. All three screamed simultaneously as Keiko jumped from her chair and grabbed Mai's neck who was too busy screaming her head off. The lights flickered on and they turned to see a figure dressed in black.
The girls all gave a sigh of relief with Mai collapsing into her chair. Michiru stood and said, "Oh please tell me that was you just now!" while Mai worked on catching her breath. The disembodied voice which was actually not disembodied had spooked Mai.
"Am I interrupting something?" he asked while Mai noticed his attire which consisted of everything black from the hat down to his boots.
"I thought for sure it was a ghost!" Keiko interrupted, falling back to her seat in a very unladylike manner. Snapping her gaze back to the man she observed him more closely and was surprised to see a pale and young looking fellow with cobalt blue eyes and a blank face staring at them. To Mai he seemed really thin and exhausted but his stiff posture kept her from approaching him.
The brunette started rubbing her neck as the man started talking again. "Sorry, I didn't expect anyone to be here, but then I heard your voices and I couldn't help myself." He turned to them with a smile, which Mai noticed with suspicion and curiosity didn't seem to reach his eyes. Michiru and Keiko didn't seem to notice though and started crowding him with questions one of which was about his name which Mai managed to catch was Kazuya Shibuya.
Mai sighed and interrupted through their chatter, "Okay, Kazuya. I have one question. What are you doing here?"
His blue gaze flicked toward her and he replied, "That is what I should be asking you." Mai started confusedly at him until he sighed and said, "I rented this room from the innkeeper."
Mai stared at him shock, for a moment not comprehending his words. She turned to her friends to see a similar reaction on their faces. This whole floor was banned for all guests so she didn't understand how the innkeeper let him stay.
"She let you buy this room?" She asked him cautiously and saw a flicker of some emotion that she didn't understand in his eyes as she asked him.
"Yes, after much reasoning and compromises she allowed us to have this floor and warned us to stay from the last room on the right and lock our doors firmly at night although she didn't say why. Do you ladies know why?"
Keiko and Michiru glanced worriedly at Mai who stood stiff and pale, clutching her dress in a tight fist. It wasn't there secret to tell so they would let Mai choose to tell him or ot.
Kazuya sensing the unease let the matter drop mercifully and exchanged some small talk, all the while Mai stood in the back holding her breath and when the time came to say goodbye she let out the breath she had been holding and was the first one out of the room, not quite catching up to what was being said and not realizing the word "us" when he talked about rented. Her mind was so occupied that she didn't even notice the tall man with a black fringe walking past her with a scowl on his face.