Forest Secrets

Chapter I

I do not own Ghost Hunt. I own the plot and any OC people in this story only.

Mai glanced around the forest she and the rest of SPR had found themselves in for their current case. They were currently in Pennsylvania, US of A. The forest wasn't very big, according to both Naru and their current clients, but people disappeared only to turn up dead, graves had been found of murder victims, strange noises were heard in the night and some of those they had spoken to claimed to have seen things (only a few claimed them as ghosts) through the trees that did not belong in the forest.

The forest itself was surrounded on one side by a highway and the Ohio River on the other. On the opposite side of the river was more trees, but only a few meters thick as houses were clearly noticeable. The nearby town wasn't exactly hostile, but for someone who didn't speak English very well it seemed that way.

"Mai," Takigawa called, getting her attention, "are you finished?"

"Hai!" Mai called back to him. She had been placing a covering over the camera to keep it both dry and safe from any curious creatures that may try to eat it for a snack.

Takigawa grinned. Mai was hardly dressed to be running about the woods, but then she was very much a city girl. Masako wasn't much better, although she at least had not worn a kimono since they had left the hotel this morning. Ayako was better prepared, dressed in hiking boots, jeans, and a long-sleeved t-shirt.

"let's head back then. Naru is probably suffering tea withdrawal by now." Takigawa grinned as Mai smiled.

Together they headed back, Takigawa watching to make sure nothing happened to Mai. So far nothing had really happened, but unless they had been called here on a prank something would happen sooner or later.

Naru ignored them when they returned except for telling Mai to bring him his tea. Mai scowled at him, but did as she was told. While she waited for the kettle to whistle, she thought about the case (or what she knew about it at least).

A little over two weeks ago a woman had come to their office in Japan requesting their help. Her friend, an American woman who had traveled to Japan in her college days had gone missing. The woman's sisters had contacted Hikari-san, asking if Alexis Moxie (her friend) was with her.

Ms. Moxie had apparently gone missing a week before they called Hikari-san. They had been calling all of the woman's friends (which, according to Hikari-san, there were very few) and none of them had been in contact with the woman. Ms. Moxie was an English teacher at the local high school of the town that the forest was located near. She supposedly spent a great amount of time outdoors, particularly during the summer holidays. Hikari-san had been very frank in telling them about her friend and the reason behind Ms. Moxie's sisters wanting her found.

Mai shivered, preparing Naru's tea and taking it to him. Really, Mai hoped Ms. Moxie was still alive and well. She sounded like an interesting person, not to mention well traveled. So far they had nothing from the forest and it was a little disappointing.

"Naru, do we really need to stay here, in the woods, for the entire investigation?" Ayako asked, slightly annoyed. Many of the trees here had little life in them, spiritually wise.

"I'm not paying you to sit in a hotel room," Naru replied, not even looking up at the Miko.

"Don't like the dirt?" Takigawa teased. This began a fight, which Naru ignored along with Lin. Masako ignored it as well, sniffing disdainfully at her sometimes co-workers.

Mai sighed, used to this by now. Instead, she studied the maps that had been provided for them. The one she was currently looking at showed the different trail that wound through the forest itself and where they exited. There was an open space near the center of the forest, most of the trails seemed to skirt around it with only two entering/leaving it. The trails were for either riding (the camping office had a barn where campers could rent horses or stable their own), ATV trails (Mai had also seen those for rent near the office), or regular hiking. There were a few service roads that lead to the different campsites though a few were reachable only by horse, ATV, or hiking. Looking at the map, Mai realized that a service road and an ATV trail led to the strange clearing.

"Naru," Mai looked at her boss, wondering if he already knew and was going to call her an idiot or if he was just going to glare at her.

"What Mai?" Naru barely looked at his young assistant.

"Uh," Mai swallowed. She could do this. "Have you seen this map yet?" She handed it to him.

"What about it?" Naru barely glanced at it. It was just a map of the trails through the woods. He had several of them, planning to send groups out to look over them beginning tomorrow.

"There's an empty space, a large one near the center of the forest. It isn't marked as a campsite, but the other trails seem t avoid it except for two." Mai prepared for him to call her an idiot and tell her it was nothing.

Naru took a closer look at the map. She was right. "Get the other maps and see if they are the same." He looked at her. "All of the maps Mai."

Mai nodded. At least he hadn't called her an idiot yet. She did as she was told. All of the maps were the same. None of them said anything on what the clearing was, only what it wasn't.

Naru didn't like this. A forest used for recreational purposes did have unmarked areas unless there was a reason for it. He was certain that there was one. Unfortunately, night was falling. It meant that they were currently the only ones on the property. He looked at the maps again. The clearing was roughly two acres of land in a rough circle. It was also almost equally distanced between the road, the river, the nearest town, and a construction yard. Naru had looked at all four places. The town, those they had spoken to at least, only reported strange things happening in the forest itself. Nothing of any supernatural or paranormal activity to report from the construction yard. The river was a smaller branch off the Ohio, but nothing to odd ever seemed to occur there. The road was the same.

There was nothing they could do until daylight. He didn't want any of his team actually among the trees during the night until they had had a chance to observe what they could. Instead, he sent Takigawa and Mai into town to get them something to eat. The RV and trailer that he and Lin had gotten from Naru's parents for this case were not outfitted to be able to prepare enough food for seven people. Naru was beginning to dread the sleeping arrangements. Lin was the lucky one, having the bed in the trailer so that he could keep watch over the monitors.