I do not own ghost hunt.
September 10th, 9:12 am, Mr. Tabata's Library,
Mai didn't like how this morning has been going at all.
First of all, she woke up late, which meant a familiar reprimand from her boss as soon as he glanced at her. Second, she had spilt tea onto her white shirt this morning while getting ready and, with her being late and all, didn't have time to change. So, she has to go to work in a stained white t-shirt and jeans. How professional. Third being the sight that welcomed her when she entered the small library-bookstore.
A multitude of books had been overturned into large mysterious puddles of water on the floor of the store; some of the small tables were turned over with its contents spilled onto the ground.
Behind her was an equally shocked Lin, Madoka and Naru, glancing around the store and taking in the damage from the activity.
A thought pops into her head, "Oh no, Naru- the cameras! Are they waterproof?" She quickly checks the cameras and microphone closest to her, her shoes sloshing through the puddles on the ground. She observes the equipment, noting their damp state, and unplugs them from the nearby outlet.
"Unfortunately, no. These are not our waterproof cameras." He answers with the slightest bit of a dejected tone. "Fortunately though," He walks over to Mai and takes a camera from her hands then pulls out a SD card, "These still have a recording of the attack." Mai nods and sets off to retrieve the SD cards from the remaining cameras on the floor.
Meanwhile, Lin pulls out his phone and dials Mr. Tabata's number to inform him of the damaging attack that occurred the previous night.
As Mai walks toward the back of the room, she freezes next to the stairway. As if guiding her, her instincts tell her to follow up the steps of the staircase. Midway up the stairs, Mai slips slightly in a pool of blood. Fortunately for her, she manages to stay on her feet due to her quick reflexes. Unfortunately for her, now she has blood on her hands.
"N-Naru! There's blood!" Mai barely shrieks as she backs away until her back against the wall. Mai stares wide-eyed at the newly made path of blood as she listens to the splashing of quick footsteps. Her mind throws her back to the Urado case back when she was 16.
Once Naru had reached Mai, he immediately looked at her, glancing at her hands and then followed her line of sight to the path of blood. He crouches down next to the pool of blood with an inquisitive eye, searching the dark puddle for answers. His eyes continue up the steps where he found another small splotch of blood on a step. He takes out his phone and starts taking pictures of the newly found evidence.
His voice breaks through the concentrated silence, "Lin, do we have extra cameras in the van?"
Catching on to the direction of this conversation, Lin turns to a still slightly shocked Mai and ushers her down the stairs. Once they got to the first floor of the small business they were met with a familiarly shocked John and Masako.
Mai spent no time running to the small kitchenette to clean the blood off of her hands and bottom of her shoes.
Masako turns to Lin and lifts a sleeve over her mouth, "The spirit here is in distress, she's full of sadness, like she's heartbroken."
"She's heart broken?" A solemn voice comes from behind the two new investigators. They turn to look at a slightly distressed looking Mr. Tabata taking in the sights of his beloved shop, a concerned looking Kin and Inaba behind him. He pushes through the investigators to look at the damage, his employees following suit.
Kin scratches the back of his head as he scans the surroundings, "Aw man, look at all of the ruined books! How are we going to clean up all of this?" He says with an annoyed tone.
"I guess we will have to sort through the books that are salvageable. The ones that are too damaged will obviously have to go into the trash- or we could try to save them." Inaba states as she lifts a soaked book with wrinkled pages from the floor, looking unhappily at the pages with a soft sigh.
Mr. Tabata slowly makes his way around the store, fixing overturned tables and organizing disheveled shelves of books. "Inaba, send a newsletter out to our members that we will be closed upon further notice due to a flooding accident."
The young employee nods and quickly takes out her phone to whip out an email, then she goes to put the closed sign up in the entrance door.
Naru makes his way back down from the stairs to meet with Mr. Tabata.
"Mr. Tabata, please come look at this." He motions for the older gentleman to join him up the stairs to see the most imminent evidence of this newest attack. Masako and Inaba close behind him.
The older man's face only grew more disheartened as he stared at the bloody footsteps and the splotch on a higher step. Masako and Inaba look between the young black clad boss, Mr. Tabata, and Madoka, who begins to discuss insurance for the building with Mr. Tabata.
Lin and John leave to retrieve backup equipment from SPR. Mai returns from the kitchenette, her nerves a bit calmer from before but she still wore a worried face. Kin catches her eye and gives a small sad smile as he works on picking up soiled books off of the floor. Mai walks over to help.
"I'm sorry that this happened, this doesn't usually happen on the first few days of investigating." Mai says as she leans down to pick up a few books. Kin looks at her quizzically.
"What do you mean?" He raises an eyebrow.
Mai turns to him and begins explaining something she learned in her first few days of paranormal investigating, "Spirits are usually shy with newcomers and hide away. On average, it takes at least until the third or fourth day to get decent amounts of activity." She lifts up a few more damp books from a puddle near her, stuffing them under her arm. "But with this much energy, this spirit must be pretty strong. Or at least saved up enough energy to create a mess like this."
Kin looks at the young investigator with a devious smirk, "Wow, Mai-Chan, you're smart and hot." He teases with a chuckle, looking her up and down. Mai blushes and looks away with a smile.
"Mai, I don't pay you to do other people's jobs, tea." Her vain boss calls from the bottom of the staircase. Mai simply rolls her eyes and sets the pile of wet books she collected onto a nearby table. As she walked away Kin gave her a wink which nearly made her trip over a table leg.
Once she was finally in the kitchenette she released a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Mai quickly follows her routine of making tea.
Watching as his assistant enters the kitchenette, Naru approaches the alternative blond, who was making a great effort to ignore the cold man in black. Naru stops next to Kin and waits for him to turn to him. Once he finally does, Kin stands to his full height and stares back at Naru.
It was like night and day, the two young men practically glaring at each other. They both reached the same height and both wore the same annoyed faces.
Naru speaks first, "I would appreciate it if you didn't distract my assistant investigator." His tone cold, his words icy and sharp.
"No promises, Wednesday Adams." Kin responds with slight amusement as he shoves hands in his pockets lazily. Naru's jaw tightens at the diss, the air growing slightly colder. They continue to challenge each other with their eyes and finally snap out of it when the kitchenette door swings open to reveal Mai.
Before she knew it, Naru had grabbed her hand and was leading her up the stairs, past Madoka, Masako, Inaba and Mr. Tabata and straight into base.
"Naru? What the hell? What's going on?" Mai asked with clear confusion. Naru simply answers, "I need you to review the footage captured on the cameras from last night."
Mai raises an eyebrow but puts her suspicions aside for when she's left with nothing to think about. They trade a cup of tea for a headset and both get to work reviewing the footage together.
Mai clicks play and the recording starts. She skips through yesterday evening, watching as the sunlight quickly fades to darkness and finally reaches when the activity spikes.
Thump, Thump, Thump!
Following the sound of the loud thumps, a muffled sobbing begins to grow.
Mai watches as the books start falling to the floor. She notes the sounds and highlights the findings in the video.
The sound of dripping starts, then speeds up and grows louder. The camera starts to become blurry with water, obscuring the view of the store. The sobbing grows more choked up, but sounds further away.
Mai waits patiently, the usually comforting sounds of the soft raindrops within the bookstore giving her chills.
A distorted shriek erupts into the mic, following a loud thud and a crack.
Mai's heart jumps at the sound of the shriek, but she quickly notes it and continues to watch.
The camera starts to shake, the lens, completely covered in water, goes black and then the recording ends.
She sighs softly and then goes through the footage one more time, listening closely to the background for any forgotten whispers or other notable sounds. Once she's finished, she turns to Naru to report what she's found.
"So far, I've captured the sound of books falling and the rain starting. Then, I heard a distorted shriek and a thud. It sounded pretty far away, so I couldn't tell where it came from."
Naru nods, "I gave you the camera footage from the camera furthest from the staircase." He turns and clicks a few windows out of view on a monitor and opens more camera footage. "This is from the camera facing the starway." Naru hands her headphones, which she quickly placed on her head. He clicks play.
Thump, Thump, Thump!
Faint sobs begin to wave in and out of the audio, growing louder as time goes on. Suddenly the sobbing stops.
Mai braces herself for the upcoming shriek and only winces at the volume of the shriek.
The screen shakes, then goes black.
Mai removed the head phones and pondered for a few moments.
"Don't think too hard or you'll hurt yourself." Naru quips with an amused tone as he observes her serious face, which quickly morphed into an annoyed expression.
"I was just trying to figure out why she made it rain indoors." Mai quips back with a bite, crossing her arms in a pout.
Naru glances back to the screen, "We will need more information. It's too early to tell how the "rain" as you call it is factored into this haunting. Given that this is a first time offense, we can only assume that it was somehow provoked by something or someone here."
Mai glances at the monitor with him, staring at the blacked out clip.
"Ok so, what about the blood found?" Mai asks nervously, goosebumps reappearing on her skin.
Naru ponders for a few moments, then he asks, "Well, what do you make of it?"
She puts her brain to work, trying to tie together the audio clips, what she found when she first walked into the store, and the blood to create a theory.
"I guess I'd have to say that the blood was put there to scare us. I mean, with all of the other mess in the store I'm sure the blood is an extra measure. Given by the sounds in the audio, I think all the crashing and thuds were from books and tables falling onto the floor." She concludes, looking to her boss for a grade on her conclusion.
Naru meets her eyes with a hint of interest in his voice, "An potentially plausible theory Mai, but you are missing a few facts, as well as being mistaken by a few."
Mai pouts at being wrong, then she challenges her boss, "Well then, Mr. Hot-Shot, what's your answer then?"
Naru turns his chair so he could fully face her, then crosses his arms, "Upon observing the small amount of blood found on a middle step and the size of the puddle on the floor, one can conclude that someone fell, hit their head on a step, and laid at the bottom of the stairs unconscious and bleeding out."
Mai looked at him with a surprised expression, dumbfounded at what her boss just said. "Wait, hold on, how did you figure that out?"
Naru slowly blinks at her in silence before answering her, "The small patch of blood on the step wasn't enough to be from an open wound, given it was more a smear mark rather than droplets. Also taking into account there was no other blood on the surrounding steps, neither were there on any steps from above, that must mean that it was from the blunt force of someone falling. And, as I'm sure you are familiar with from our last case, after a tumble down the stairs one tends to lie down in pain, or in this case, from unconsciousness."
The brunette sat in the chair next to the young boss with her mouth a gap, her eyes wide and her breath seemingly still.
"How… How could you have-?" Mai breathes as her brain catches up.
"Well Mai, given the fact that you were in too much shock to correctly observe your surroundings, it would've been difficult for you to come to this conclusion yourself. Not only that but in the audio I've just played for you just now," He points to her monitor, "there was a loud thud and crack that you had mistaken as items falling. The deduction, on the other hand, was simple in every meaning of the word. I've deduced more complex solutions." The stoney man turns to the monitor once again and clicks a few times on the mouse, closing and saving the audios.
Mai was shocked. She had nearly seen just about everything he had seen, but couldn't have come to that conclusion on her own. It was so, so simple and yet she didn't get it? Though, should she really be shocked by her child-genius boss to out-wit her?
"I've known you for all these years and you never cease to impress me." The words rolled off her tongue before she could catch them. Once she processed what she said, realizing she had just been thinking out loud, she lit up like a lightbulb.
Naru simply smirks as he stands to leave the room,then he turns to her and says, "Me too." He swiftly leaves the room to go speak with Mr. Tabata.
An embarrassed and equally confused Mai sat at the monitors, trying to make sense of her boss' cryptic reply.
"'Me too'? What does that mean? That I've never ceased to impress him? Huh? Impress him? Him, as in, the child-genius who got a doctorate at 16? How could I impress him, of all people? And often? Maybe he meant it in a mocking way? Like I never cease to impress him with my stupidity-"
Mai's stumbling thoughts were interrupted when Inaba walked into base.
The employee smiles gently, "Your boss told me to fetch you, he needs you and his other assistant to set up new equipment."
"Ah, thanks Inaba-san." Mai smiles, standing from the chair.
Inaba laughs, "Please, just Inaba."
"Well then you can call me Mai." Mai replies as the two women leave base.
2:13 pm, on the first floor,
Today has been an exhausting day for the young assistant.
Having to re-set up the equipment had been a chore, given that they were, in her opinion, two times heavier since this was their water proofed equipment. Not only that, but she has hardly eaten today since she's been so busy. Though, luckily for her, she had the kind help from John, which made the chore just a bit more bearable.
Mai decides to head to the kitchenette. They had to have some snacks in there, or so she hoped.
Instead she walks in and is greeted by another type of snack.
Kin stood there, grabbing a juice box out of the small fridge, then he turned to look at the new company. His devilish smirk re-appears on his equally devilish handsome face.
"Well hello there, Mai-chan." He muses, poking the small straw into the juice box swiftly, then taking a sip.
"Hi, Kin-san. Do you happen to know if there's anything to eat? I'm starving." Mai slowly asks, bringing a hand to the back of her neck out of embarrassment from the nickname.
Kin chuckles, then turns to a cabinet, opens it, and retrieves a few small packs of sweet bread, handing one to Mai. Mai takes it gratefully with a breathy 'thank you'.
They open the snacks and nibble on them for a few minutes before Kin decides to make small conversation.
"So, what happened to your shirt?"
Mai looks at him with confusion, then quickly looks down and back up again, "Oh, I was making myself tea this morning and being the klutz I am, I spilt it all over myself. I was running late and my boss was waiting for me, so I didn't have time to change." She informs with embarrassment. Kin raises an eyebrow.
"He wouldn't wait just a few minutes to change? How he really does have a stick up his ass." Kin quips, then takes a large bite from the bread. Mai claps a hand over mouth to muffle her laughter, aware of the cameras and microphones nearby.
Kin smiles at her reaction, "Oh? So I'm not the only one who thinks so?"
Mai takes a few quick breaths to keep herself from bursting out in laughter before she responds, "No, of course not. Practically every person he's met thought the same thing." She bites her lip to halt the roars of laughter trying to escape her chest. "In fact, I nicknamed him Naru for Naru the Narcissist and it just stuck with the whole team." Kin belly laughs at the nickname, remembering the statuesque man he threw daggers at earlier, then he inquires,
"The whole team? How many of you are there?"
Mai finally calms down as she thinks about her family, "Well, there's Naru, his assistant Lin, Madoka, me, Ayako the shinto priestess, Monk the uh- well monk- from Mount Kouya, Yasu the info broker, then the two you've already seen, John Brown the priest and exorcist, and Masako Hara the famous medium." She counts on her fingers as she names them.
Kin looks at her with slight shock, "Wow, that is… quite the mixing pot there." Mai simply nods with a happy smile, thinking of her phone background- which is the photo they took with their matching jackets. Her family, altogether.
"Mm-hm. Sure is. Wouldn't trade it for the world though." She beams, then turns to look for a trashcan.
"Look," Kin starts, showing her the trash can, then beaming his alley-cat smile, "I'd love to get to know more about you. How about I take you on a date sometime?"
Mai stiffens and turns red, at a loss of words. "I- uhm."
She's cut off by the sound of classical music drifting into the air. She immediately snaps out of her embarrassed state and turns her head to try to locate the origin of the music.
"Is that a no?-"
"Sh!" Mai shushes him, bringing her index finger up to his face. She turns and slowly and carefully walks to the door of the kitchenette, prepared to face a wailing spirit wandering around the place. She grasps the door handle and it slowly turns, creaking ever so slightly in the vanishing silence.
Mai opens the door just a crack, just enough for her to peek through with the door protecting her. She peers into the store, trying to locate the sound. Seeing that the cost is clear, she opens the door wider and gently steps out, Kin following her to a T.
She whips her head around the room, still no sign of the spirit. Although, the music has only grown louder. She takes the walkie-talkie off of her waistband and whispers,
"Hey, Naru, do you guys hear that?"
Given that she couldn't hear herself echo from the stairs, she concluded that he must be in base.
"Mai, you'll have to be a bit more specific than that. What do you hear?"
A vein pops out of Mai's head. If he was thinking he would've put on the headphones and taken a listen for himself.
Mai looks directly into the camera lens closest to her, hoping he was watching,"I don't know genius, how about the only thing that's been reported of others hearing? Kin and I hear the old-style waltz music!" She whispers harshly back into the device, rolling her eyes at her bosses antics. Kin smirks in amusement from behind her.
Back in base, Lin noted the ever-so-slight look of annoyance on his charge's face at the mention of Kin,without the honorific, along with the glare he sent right back to Mai through the monitor. Base dropped a few degrees and Madoka and Lin gave each other a look.
Naru quickly jumped over to the monitor holding the current audios of the store floor and turned up the volume. As soon as he did, the music slowly emerged from the speakers.
"Mai, has the temperature gone cold down there?"
Mai feels her body for goosebumps, accessing the temperature of the store floor, noting that the air was drafty, but not alarmingly cold.
"Nope, drafty, but not spirit energy cold." She responds.
Naru glances back at the live camera footage, then calmly responds back to Mai.
"Mai, listen to me." He says slowly, as Lin quickly starts to leave base, also catching on to what the young man had spotted.
"Yep, listening. What is it?"
"Neither of you turn around."
Hey guys! I'm back with another chapter! So sorry it's one of the shorter ones, I hit a bit of writer's block during the two weeks it took to write this. Sadly my plans to have an organized schedule has gone out the window due to school, so I'm sorry in advance for the sporadic chapter updates that will ensue in the future.
For this chapter, I really wanted to illustrate Naru and Mai's thought processes in writing. I've depicted before in this story that Mai has a knack for being rather observant- whether she knows it or not. I just felt that while she does have that going for her, it isn't a well trained skill. So, when she tries to put the skill to work with the intention of piecing clues together, she isn't all that great. She will have to learn how to actually look and decipher the facts that her mind has collected in order to piece together a theory, rather than just going with what is at face value. Ex: she picked up on sounds in the audio but automatically wrote them off as clatter, not bodily harm. If that makes sense? So, I used Naru's uber intelligence to paint that she doesn't quite know how to theorize without her intuition. Please let me know if you caught onto this… I might not be conveying it in the story correctly.
Tl;dr: there is a reason why I made Mai look stupid in this chapter LMAO.
Random fact, in the book Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (I'm reading this for AP Lang. + Comp.) This book is a memoir of Frank McCourt and is about his life as a child growing up in the poverty of Ireland and moving to the US to support himself. Frank has four little siblings, three younger brothers and a little sister. What I found interesting was that he had two younger TWIN brothers… and their names were Oliver and Eugene… both with dark hair and blue eyes (if I'm not mistaken… might be reaching at this point). Now what truly has me thinking is that Oliver and Eugene (in Ghost Hunt) are mixed Japanese and Irish/American right? Strange coincidence? Potential inspiration of the author? I don't know, just found this interesting!
Also, my birthday was on Thursday! I was hoping to post before/ on my birthday but… it looks like I'll be posting a few days (and some change) after Oliver and Eugene's birthday instead! Happy late late birthday to the wonder twins~~
Anywho, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Now for the reviews~
Bewitchedquill- Yes, my mother loves using me for my most average level skill of painting now and then but hey, I get paid for it so I'm happy to oblige. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the action between the three in this chapter, I know I had fun writing it. And I will most definitely make the most use of Naru and Mai being neighbors, I promise~ Once again, thank you for reviewing, you have no idea how much that means to me. Stay safe and healthy 3
CaitHawke4Ever- I couldn't stop giggling once I had the idea of Gene playing third older brother to Mai. I think they'll have a similar relationship like Mai and Yasu, except one may be more… crude with the jokes than the others. As for the confession, you'll just have to keep reading to find out! Thank you so much for the review, stay safe and healthy 3
Kirah14- I'm glad you caught that LMAO, I love Lin being the smitten Husband/ Boyfriend for Madoka, leave room for plenty of bullying for Naru. Thank you for reviewing, stay safe and stay healthy 3
Natasha Ocampo- I'm going to assume this is translated for you, but if not let me know! I wouldn't say I'm exactly fluent in Spanish but I think I can manage replying in Spanish if I need to! I hope you enjoyed the fight of dominance between Kin and Naru in this chapter, I promise there will be more to come! Thank you for reviewing, stay safe and stay healthy 3
Skrytaya Ioshad- Thank you so much for the kind review! I'm so glad to hear that you've enjoyed my writing so much that you binged read it omg. As a writer nothing brings me more joy than to hear people enjoy my work and that I've captured the characters (I have a fear of creating OOC work, I do try my best to keep things as canon as possible). I'm wishing you good luck on your exams! I know school has definitely been kicking my butt as of late T.T. Thank you again for reviewing, stay safe and stay healthy 3
That's all folks, now to work on the next chapter.
Thank you for reading, I love all of you guys! Remember to stay safe, drink some water and get a snack, R&R if you can! I'd really appreciate it! :))