Volume 1 Chapter 1

Chapter 1


file 01: the locked room (TRANSLATION NOTES)


At the edge of the university campus, there was a forest .

Since the campus had been built on a hill, it wasn’t strange .

Deep in that forest, there was a one-storey concrete building .

Nobody knew what it had been built for .

Now, it was just a deserted building .

Since it was deep in the forest, many students wouldn’t notice it was there at all if they lived normal student lives .

There had long been rumours that ghosts appeared in that deserted building .

Someone claimed to have spotted a figure near that deserted building, but the figure had suddenly disappeared when chased . Another person said that they’d heard a pitiful cry of ‘Save me, save me’ when they passed the deserted building . Somebody else said that it wasn’t 'Save me’ but a curse: 'I’ll kill you . ’

There was more to the rumours of this deserted building .

In the very back of the building, there was a locked room behind an iron door .

Nobody knew what was inside . The reason was that nobody who had seen it ever returned –




Because of the strong, dry wind, the clouds had all floated away by noon .

The pale moon could easily be seen .

It was a full moon –

Somebody had once said that moonlight absorbed noise . The night was so quiet that that nonsense seemed believable .

Miki, Kazuhiko and Yuuichi had been drinking at a bar when they missed the last train . Now, they were thinking of a way to spend the time before the first train .

Then, the topic of the rumour spreading across campus came up .

The three of them knew about the rumour, but none of them had ever checked it out .

'Let’s go see if that rumour’s true,’ said Miki .

Kazuhiko and Yuuchi agreed to Miki’s suggestion . They ended up sneaking into the university at night .

They climbed over the mesh fence, passed the back of the school building and went into the forest .

They pushed their way through the branches on a trackless path .

It felt like a little adventure .

The path was much harder to walk than Miki had imagined .

When they reached the deserted building, she was covered in sweat and she had sobered up . Miki had lost her initial energy and was starting to regret her decision .

The building had one storey with a flat roof and was built out of concrete . It felt cold – rather than a building, it was more like a clump of concrete had just been left there .

'Since we’ve come all this way, let’s take a photo to commemorate this,’ said Yuuichi .

Kazuhiko took the camera first and took a photo with the deserted building as a backdrop . The pale light of the flash made Yuuichi’s shadow appear on the dark wall of the deserted building .

Next, Yuuichi took the camera . Kazuhiko and Miki stood next to each other and turned towards him with a smile .

The flash lit up again .


There was the sound of metal hitting metal .

Miki’s shoulders jolted in her surprise .

'Did you hear something just now?’

Miki looked around . Kazuhiko and Yuuichi held their breath as they looked around and listened .

Rustle .

All they heard was the sound of branches shaking in the wind .

'Can’t hear anything . ’

Yuuichi put his hand to his ear .

'What? You’re the one who suggested this, but you’re scared now?’ said Kazuhiko coolly .

Miki glared at Kazuhiko sulkily .

'I’m not scared . ’

Miki walked to the entrance and tried the knob on the rusty iron door .

Next, Kazuhiko tried the knob, but it still wouldn’t open .

'For times like this, tada!’

Yuichi took a thin metal hook out of his trouser pocket .

'What’s that?’ asked Kazuhiko .

'Well, just look . Ah, Kazu, give me some light with your lighter . ’

Kazuhiko lit up his lighter as asked and put it near the doorknob . Yuuichi stood in front of the door, knelt down and put the metal tool he had taken out earlier into the keyhole .

'What are you doing?’

'Now, now . ’

A few minutes after Yuuichi started grappling with the doorknob, he stood up and turned it .

Creak .

There was the sound of metal scraping against metal as the door opened .

'You’re amazing!’ said Kazuhiko, sounding impressed .

'Anybody could do this with the right tools . ’

Yuuichi rubbed at his nose, seeming proud .

'Where’d you get something like that?’

'Online . I’ll give you the URL later so you can take a look . ’

Kazuhiko and Yuuichi went inside with no hesitation .

Since Miki didn’t want to be left by herself, she hurriedly followed them .

The cold wind from outside blew inside, lifting the dust that had gathered on the floor . The building was warm in comparison to how it felt outside, but it was so dark it was difficult to see her fingers .

Kazuhiko lit his lighter, but the small, flickering flame wasn’t of much use so they couldn’t see the inside of the building .

For a moment, a pale light flashed and lit up the room .

Miki jumped in surprise at that light . Yuuichi smirked when he saw how frightened Miki was . Yuuichi had used the flash on the camera .

'I’m going home,’ said Miki .

'What? You scared?’ said Kazuhiko and Yuuichi at the same time .

'B-but I feel like somebody’s watching me . ’

Miki clung to Kazuhiko’s arm, as if trying to hide .

For a while, the three of them looked around in the dark . Nothing was there but the complete darkness that covered the room .

'It’s fine . Nothing to worry about . ’

After Kazuhiko said that to Miki, he started walking slowly by the walls .

'Hey, protect me . ’

Miki tugged at Kazuhiko’s arm .

'Yeah, leave it to me . ’

Kazuhiko casually patted Miki on the shoulder and then started walking again .

They passed through the room right at the entrance and went down the corridor .

The corridor was narrow enough for people to bump shoulders . On both sides, there were evenly spaced doors with windows . Behind those doors were rooms of about four tatami in size .

In each room, there was one bed, and nothing else .

The three of them walked along the walls to the locked room in question .

The room was at the end of the corridor .

It was an incredibly eerie room . The metal door looked heavy, clearly different from the other rooms . There was an observation window with iron bars . Besides the normal lock, the doorknob was bound to the pipe that went up the wall with chains and had a combination padlock .

'Can’t open this,’ grumbled Yuuichi .

'What’s inside?’ Kazuhiko peered into the room through the window .

'See anything?’

'Nothing . Can’t make anything out in the dark . ’

The moment Kazuhiko gave up –

Rustle .

Something moved in the dark . In the very corner of the room, where the shadows were darkest .

What was there? Kazuhiko stared at it .


Kazuhiko’s eyes met with the eyes of whatever was in the dark .

The eyes in the dark were unusually vivid . White, cloudy eyes . The blood vessels were showing . Eyes that were filled with hatred that felt like it would swallow everything up –

Kazuhiko screamed and jumped back, falling on his behind .

'What’s wrong? Is something there?’

When Miki called out to him, Kazuhiko opened and shut his mouth in his fright, but his breathing was erratic and he couldn’t speak .

There was just the sound of his raspy throat .

Kazuhiko managed to get up with Yuuichi’s help .

'Did you see something? Yuuichi asked .

Kazuhiko looked to the door .

Yuuichi looked also .

The next moment, Kazuhiko and Yuuichi lost their words .

From the gap between the bars of the window, a hand so pale it didn’t look like that of a living person reached out and suddenly gripped the shoulder of Miki, who had her back to the door .

Miki gasped .

Kazuhiko and Yuuichi were in front of her .

Then who was the person grabbing her shoulder?

She didn’t have the courage to turn around and check . The blood drained from Miki’s face .

She lost all her strength – she couldn’t even scream .

Miki reached out with a trembling hand to ask Kazuhiko and Yuuichi for help . However, Kazuhiko and Yuuichi couldn’t move from fear .

’… Please… save me…’

Miki spoke in a rasping voice . Yuuichi put his hand out towards Miki to try to pull Miki away from the door .

That moment .

Those eyes peered out again from the gap between the bars .


Kazuhiko and Yuuichi’s heads both went blank . They screamed and ran away without looking behind them .

'Wait – don’t leave me by myself!’

Miki’s bitter cry didn’t leave her mouth .


This was only the beginning of the case –




After the morning lecture, Ozawa Haruka refused an invitation from a friend and left the classroom .

The wind was cold .

In just a rough outfit of skinny jeans and a grey parka, it was chilly, as was to be expected .

She regretted not wearing something warmer .

Since she had short hair, her neck felt especially cold .

Haruka was headed for the prefabricated two-storey building behind Building B in order to visit somebody introduced to her by Aizawa, an upperclassman from the orchestra circle .

There were a number of small four-and-a-half tatami rooms on the first and second floor which the university leant out to students for club and circle activities .

The room she was headed for was at the very end of the first floor .

Movie Research Circle .

Haruka checked the plate on the door and then knocked .

There was no response . She said, 'Hello,’ but the result was the same . She thought it was a bit rude, but she opened the door and peeked inside .

When she opened the door, her eyes immediately met those of the man sitting in front of her .

His skin was as white as porcelain .

He looked at her with half-closed eyes, as if he would fall asleep at any moment, and she found herself lost for words .


'Could you close the door once you come in?’ said the man, interrupting Haruka .

She hurriedly went in and closed the door .

The man wore a white shirt with the first two buttons unfastened, so his chest showed through .

It was unclear whether he was showing it on purpose or he was just sloppy .

Judging by the hair as messy as a bird’s nest, it was probably just sloppiness .

Recently, the so-called bedhead hairstyle had been getting popular, but this man’s hair was clearly just bedhead .

Besides the man at the front, there were two other men in the room .

Those two men were looking at a playing card while hiding it from the man facing her .

It was the five of spades .

'Sorry, but could you sit down? I can’t concentrate . ’

'Ah, yes . ’

Haruka stepped away from the door and sat on the folding chair by the wall that the man gestured at .

Inside the room, other than the table, there was a fridge in the corner and a shelf next to it that had been covered with a cloth .

Rather than a clubroom, it felt more like somebody’s flat .

The man who had spoken earlier closed his eyes and pinched his brow with his fingers, like he was thinking . Finally, he opened his eyes and his red lips parted .

'The five of spades . ’

He was right . Amazing!

The card that the men had been looking at earlier had definitely been the five of spades . Haruka couldn’t hide her surprise, while the men let out cries of dismay and threw the card on the table .

'Damn . You got us again . ’

The men took thousand yen bills out of their pocket in a displeased manner, hit the table and left the clubroom .

'Please sit down . You have a request, don’t you?’

The man put the thousand yen bills in his shirt pocket and yawned as he spoke .

Haruka sat on the chair that the men had sat on earlier .

'Er, might you be Saitou Yakumo-san?’

'There’s no might about it – I am,’ the man responded .

This person is Saitou Yakumo –

Aizawa had told Haruka to consult Saitou Yakumo of the Movie Research Circle if she ever had to talk about something related to ghosts .

According to rumour, he could sense the supernatural and might be able to help with things of that nature .

To be honest, she had been dubious before coming here and hadn’t known what sort of ability he had .

However, there was the card from earlier .

Maybe he had read their minds or was clairvoyant, but he definitely appeared to have some sort of ability .


Yakumo urged her to continue .

'The truth is, an upperclassman from my circle introduced me . ’


'Aizawa-san . ’

'Don’t recognise the name . Who is that?’


That didn’t make sense . Since Aizawa had introduced Yakumo, she’d been sure that they knew each other .

'Well, it doesn’t matter who introduced you . Explain in a summary what you’ve come here for . ’

'Um, er, my friend is in trouble . Saitou-san, I’ve heard that you were an expert on that sort of thing, so, er, I want you to help her…’

'You’ve summarised too much . I don’t understand at all . What is “that sort of thing”?’

'Ah, sorry . I’ll explain properly . ’

'By the way, who are you?’

What an unpleasant guy –

This person’s expression hadn’t changed at all the whole time . He still looked sleepy . It was like he enjoyed seeing people all flustered .

'Ah, my name is Ozawa Haruka . I’m a second-year student at this university in the education department in the faculty of literature…’

'Just your name is fine . ’

Yakumo waved his hand like he found her bothersome and stopped her words .

Her anger towards this unpleasant person was escalating .

'So what do you want?’

'The truth is, a few days ago, my friend Miki went to a deserted building on campus, since there was a rumour that ghosts appeared there . Then, it seems like she actually saw a ghost . ’

'What sort of ghost?’

'I don’t know the details either . I didn’t go with her . She went with her boyfriend Kazuhiko and a friend called Yuuichi-kun . ’

'So you came all this way to tell me a ghost story?’

'That’s not it . Ever since then, Miki’s been acting strange . She has a high fever and she’s been sleeping the whole time . ’

'The cold going around recently is a frightful thing . ’

'Like I said! Please listen until I’m finished!’

Unable to restrain her irritation, she spoke in a loud voice that even surprised herself .

However, Yakumo leant back on his chair, and his eyes still looked sleepy .

'So? What happened next?’

Yakumo urged her to continue, running a hand through his messy hair .

’… She isn’t just sleeping . She keeps on muttering things like “Save me” and “Let me out of here” . ’

'And the doctor?’

'Of course a doctor’s been to see her, but besides the fever, apparently there’s nothing in particular wrong with her body… The doctor said it was probably something psychological . ’

'Something psychological…’

Yakumo crossed his arms and leant on the back of the chair .

'She lives alone, so I contacted her parents, but the call didn’t go through… I don’t know what to do…’

She wanted to do something for her friend, but she didn’t know what to do in a situation like this .

Meanwhile, Miki was wasting away .

'So you want me to look into the matter since her condition might be related to the ghost she saw in that room?’

'Yes . I’ve heard that Saitou-san was an expert on that sort of thing . ’

Yakumo took in a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling, like he was thinking about something .

'No good? Is that a no?’

Haruka looked at Yakumo’s expression with wide eyes .

'Twenty-five thousand yen . Tax included . ’

'Eh? You’re asking for money?’

'Are we friends?’

'No, we aren’t . ’

'Are we lovers?’

'Of course not . ’

'So, money . ’


'Wouldn’t it be strange for me to do something for you for free when we’re not friends or lovers?’

What he said was logical in a sense, but somehow, she couldn’t honestly accept it .

That said, she couldn’t just leave things like this .

'I understand . I’ll pay . I’ll pay, but please let me defer the payment . ’

'Ten thousand yen up front . The remaining fifteen thousand yen after this is finished . ’

Haruka took a thousand yen bill from her wallet and put it on the table .

Yakumo shook his head . Haruka took out another two thousand yen, but Yakumo shook his head again .

'You’re missing a digit . ’

'That’s all I have on me right now . ’

Haruka waved her empty wallet in front of Yakumo’s eyes .

'I understand . I’ll look into it,’ said Yakumo with a yawn, like there was nothing else he could do .

From the flow of the conversation up until now, she was dubious about whether he would actually look into it for her, but she had nobody else to rely on .

'Please contact me if you find something out . ’

Haruka put a memo with her contact information on it on the table, stood up and put her hand on the doorknob .

This is –

She noticed something unbelievable .

Movie posters and photographs were stuck on the door .

In a gap between them, a pair of eyes and her own not very tall nose were reflected back at her .

It was a small mirror .

She’d been fooled .

'That playing card from earlier…’ said Haruka, turning around .

'I was almost tricked . When you guessed the number of the playing card earlier, you were cheating . The mirror on the door – from your position, you could’ve seen the number on the card… I see – that’s why you told me to move away from the door . ’

Haruka said that all at once with a face red from anger .

How could he! She was angry at how stupid she was for believing in this person for even a moment . This was why her friends made fun of her for being naive .

'Correct . You’re the first person who’s seen through it . ’

Yakumo said that nonchalantly, not ashamed at all as he clapped his hands .

'You’re the worst . Please give me back my money . ’


'Don’t say “Why” . You tried to trick me out of my money . Please give it back . ’

She couldn’t believe him . Taking advantage of a person’s weakness . She really felt that way .

'Don’t say something so rude . ’

'What was rude about it?’

'I don’t plan on tricking you . I’ll give you back the full amount if I can’t save your friend . ’

'How can I believe that?’

This man called Saitou – there was a limit to shamelessness .

'What can you do anyway? I came because I heard you had some sort of psychic ability, but aren’t you just cheating?’

'Who said I had some sort of psychic ability? I definitely didn’t . Just as you said, the thing with the playing card earlier was fraud . ’

There was no reason for him to sound so proud as he said that .

'If you don’t have a psychic ability, how are you going to save Miki?’

'You’re free to choose whether to believe what I am about to say next or not . If you’ll believe me, then you can leave it to me . If you won’t, the exit is over there . ’

Yakumo gestured at the door .

'I’ll give back your money too . ’

Yakumo put three thousand yen bills on the table .

'I can see things that other people can’t . ’

'Is this a riddle?’

'You can interpret it as you will . What’s the answer?’

'I don’t know . ’

'The spirits of the dead . ’


'To put it simply, ghosts . ’

'That’s idiotic . ’

'You’re the idiot . ’

Yakumo pointed at Haruka .

Calling somebody he’d just met an idiot –

'But you said earlier you didn’t have any psychic ability…’

'I did . I don’t have a psychic ability . I can just see the spirits of the dead . ’

'That’s the same thing . ’

'It isn’t . It isn’t a psychic ability but a physical one . ’


He had been quibbling for a while – it felt like he was just trying to make the conversation confusing .

'For example, you wouldn’t call perfect pitch a psychic ability, right? You’d call it an ability they were born with or a talent… Anyway, I’m not clairvoyant and I can’t use telekinesis . I was just born with the ability to see the spirits of the dead . ’

'If you’re going to say that much, can you prove it?’

'I don’t know whether this will count as proof, but there is a ghost in this room right now . ’

Yakumo put his index finger between his well-shaped eyebrows .

She didn’t have to check – only the two of them were in here .

'You can’t trick me with that . ’

'The ghost in here right now is your older sister . Your twin…’

'You’re lying . ’

She shook her head . Her fingers were trembling .

'Yes, your sister . Her name is Ayaka . She died in a traffic accident at the age of seven . ’

'How do you know…’

Her throat felt tight .

'I said so, didn’t I? I can see her . ’

Even her childhood friends didn’t know that she had an older sister .

Then why did this person who she’d just met know? Rather than nonsensical, it was mysterious .

'You still think that your sister’s accident was your fault . ’

That one sentence from Yakumo pierced deep into Haruka’s heart .

The blood left her face . Her head went blank – she felt like she might faint .

The ball that fell to the asphalt .

The sound of the car horn .

The deep red blood kept pouring out .

'Your sister ran into the road to catch the ball you threw . Then…’

'Stop… I… That isn’t… I didn’t think it would end up like that…’

Haruka shut her eyes tightly and covered her eyes .

– No matter how I yelled, my sister Ayaka didn’t move at all .

It was so sudden that I couldn’t cry or scream .

My palms were dyed red with the blood from my sister’s head .

Blood –

She could remember the wet feeling clearly . She had frantically tried to stop the blood, but it was no good .

She’d felt her sister Ayaka’s life disappearing from her hands .

'I see… So you threw the ball far away on purpose . ’

'You’re wrong!’

Haruka lifted her head at Yakumo’s words and clenched her teeth .

Yakumo continued speaking regardless .

'You always missed the ball, but your older sister always caught it skilfully . So you threw the ball far away on purpose so your sister wouldn’t be able to catch it . ’

'Stop it!’

Her hands were shaking . Her breathing was ragged .

Why? She had never talked about this to anyone . Nobody should have known about it . Her eyes were filled with tears even though she didn’t want to cry .

'Why are you doing this…’ asked Haruka in a hoarse voice, wiping her tears away with her fingers .


Yakumo didn’t reply to Haruka’s question .

After Haruka glanced at Yakumo, she picked up her bag and stood . She opened the door and tried to leave .

'If you don’t believe me, there’s more . Your sister says there’s something she regrets . ’


'She was the one who hid your mother’s ring . Your mother got angry at you then . The ring was stuck to the top of a shoe cupboard with gum . She was going to confess, but she couldn’t say it…’

Haruka couldn’t breathe . The corners of her eyes felt hot .


'Also, your sister said she doesn’t blame you,’ said Yakumo, interrupting Haruka’s words .

Doesn’t blame me? That’s ridiculous . I mean, it’s my fault that my sister –

She felt the urge to run away and fled from the room .

* * *

When Haruka reached the courtyard, she collapsed onto a bench .

The dry autumn wind made her short hair flutter .

The noise from the students passing by hurt her ears .

She looked down, covering her face with her hands .

The memories from her past – she had never talked to anybody about them before .

A man she had just met guessed everything right in such a cold manner .

She thought that she would be assaulted by unstoppable anger and humiliation, but that wasn’t actually the case .

It would be a lie if she said she didn’t feel that way at all .

However, her heart felt a bit lighter –

It was a mystery even to her why she felt that way .

Haruka took her mobile phone out of her bag and, after thinking for a while, punched in her parents’ phone number . After a number of rings, her mother Keiko answered .

'What is it?’

Her mother said that first thing .

'Nothing really . I just…’

'You’ve always been bad at lying . Something happened, right?’

Her mother saw right through her after just that .

Haruka felt like she’d cry if she talked at length .

'Hey, Mum . You lost your ring a while back, right? Back when Sis was still alive . ’

'What is this all of a sudden?’

'Could you look at the top of the shoe cupboard?

'Why are you talking about that now?’

'Just go and look . ’

'Fine, fine . ’

Her mother sounded exasperated . Then, the hold tone started playing .

It was Chopin’s Farewell[1] . Her sister Ayaka had been good at piano . Her slender fingers appeared to dance as they played this song that even adults had difficulty with .

While I wasn’t good at music, not just piano . My rhythm was always off . I was always compared to my sister .

Not just for piano . Even for school and sports, I couldn’t beat my older sister .

When we were together, we were often mistaken for an older sister and her younger brother .

Part of it was because of my short hair, but we were completely different even though we were twins .

I had even thought that having my sister there was unpleasant .

And then that accident –

Just as Saitou had said, Haruka had thrown the ball far away on purpose .

She hadn’t thought it would end up like that .

When she saw her grieving parents, how could she live in a carefree manner?

She had lived with the fear that somebody would someday find out how her sister died .

'It was there . It really was there . ’

Her mother’s voice from the phone brought Haruka back to reality .

'Haruka, so it really was you?’

'No, it was Sis . ’

'Eh? What?’

Haruka hung up without answering her mother’s question .

I didn’t know where the ring was hidden .

So my sister really was –




Haruka knocked once more on the Movie Research Circle clubroom door .

When she opened the door and went inside, a paper aeroplane was circling about .

'What are you doing?’

'Throwing a paper aeroplane . ’

The paper aeroplane made a wobbly landing at Haruka’ feet .

'I can tell just by looking . I’m asking why you’re doing it . ’

Haruka picked up the landed plane . It was made out of a thousand yen bill .

'I was killing time until you came back . ’


'Go ahead . ’

Yakumo urged Haruka to sit .

Haruka put the plane she picked up on the table and then sat down .

'Could I ask you one thing?

Yakumo nodded as he stretched his arms behind him .

'This is the clubroom for the Movie Research Circle, right? Is there nobody in the club besides you, Saitou-san?’

'There isn’t . Since this is my room . ’

'What do you mean?’ asked Haruka, raising a shapely eyebrow .

The conversation was advancing naturally, but she didn’t understand it .

'In the first place, the Movie Research Circle doesn’t exist . ’

'But this is…’

'It’s simple . I went to the student affairs office, borrowed some student’s name and applied for a clubroom to make a circle . That’s all . It’s like a secret hiding place . ’

'Aren’t you just using this room as your own?’

'Exactly . ’

'You really are the worst – you’re even deceiving the university . ’

'Ah, I’ll give you back your three thousand yen . ’

Yakumo ignored Haruka’s objections and gestured at the thousand yen bills on the table .

'Because your trick was exposed?’

'You came back because you didn’t think it was a trick . Isn’t that right?’

She didn’t deny it, but his know-it-all tone irritated her .


'It was there, right? Your mother’s ring . ’

Yakumo crossed his arms behind his head and leant back on his chair .

'How do you know that?’ asked Haruka, her eyes wide in surprise .

Yakumo didn’t reply .

The way he stuck out his chin was like he was saying 'I’ve already explained it, right?’ . But she couldn’t accept that .

'Please tell me . ’

'Your sister told me . ’

'Stop lying . A fraud like you is just saying you can see ghosts so you can trick people out of their money, right?’

Haruka leant forward as she said that, putting herself closer to Yakumo .

Yakumo tapped the table rhythmically with a long, white finger, as if he were considering something .

Finally, his finger stopped and his almond eyes looked right at Haruka .

'Then let’s do this . Let’s go to that deserted building together . ’

'By together, do you mean me and you?’

'Who else would it be?’

'That’s true, but…’

This person keeps on –

'If you go with me, then you can tell whether I’m a fraud or not . Like with the mirror on the door . ’


She couldn’t reply right away .

It was just a coincidence that she saw through the trick with the mirror on the door . There was no guarantee that she’d see through the next thing .

Haruka looked at Yakumo’s expression with her own black eyes .

She thought she’d be able to see through him if he was lying, but that was naive .

His eyes were still sleepy and he had his chin in his hand .

'Well, it doesn’t matter to me either way . To be honest, I don’t care at all what happens to your friend . ’

Just from that one comment by Yakumo, Haruka made up her mind .




Yakumo wanted to meet up with Miki before they went to the deserted building .

At his request, Haruka brought Yakumo to the hospital Miki was in .

It was a twenty-minute walk from the university . After passing through the station and exiting from the north, the hospital was about two hundred metres down the main road .

While walking on the sidewalk, Haruka glanced at Yakumo’s profile .

He had a pencil-straight nose and sharp chin – he would probably be popular if he kept his mouth shut, but he had an unapproachable atmosphere to him .


Yakumo looked at her coldly, like he had noticed her gaze .

'Can I ask you one thing?’

'Only one thing . ’

'Can you exorcise spirits?’

'I can’t do something as handy as that . ’


Haruka was taken aback .

He was full of coincidence, but how did he plan to save Miki?

'I’ll say this again, but all I can do is see the spirits of the dead . ’

'But you said you’d save my friend…’

'I might be able to save her . It’s an “if” situation,’ said Yakumo, as if it were completely obvious .

'That’s irresponsible . There’s no point to what we’re doing now then, right?’

'That isn’t true . ’


'By seeing something, it means I understand that something is there . If I understand what is there, I can understand why . If I understand why, I might be able to remove the cause for it . ’

She understood his logic .

However, she didn’t know what he meant specifically . She couldn’t imagine it at all .

While she was doing that, they arrived at the hospital .

She didn’t completely understand, but it seemed as if there was nothing to do but go with him .

The hospital was a four-storey building with white walls .

They passed the asphalt parking lot and wrote down their names in the visitors log as instructed by the nurse . Then, they took the elevator at the back of the waiting room .

'Could I ask you one thing too?’

Yakumo spoke just as the elevator doors closed .

'If it isn’t a rude question,’ replied Haruka guardedly .

'Three people went to that deserted building . How are the other two?’

'Kazuhiko and Yuuichi-kun were both so scared they ran away, but Yuuichi-kun realised at the campus exit that he’d separated from everyone and went back even though he was scared . ’

'I see . ’

'After getting back to the forest, he found Miki collapsed there… and then he carried Miki back . ’

'Was she conscious then?’

Haruka shook her head .

'Miki wouldn’t wake up so he brought her right to the hospital . The next morning, Yuuichi-kun contacted me, and then I…’

'And how about Kazuhiko?’

'I don’t care about a guy like that . Even though he’s Miki’s boyfriend, he left her behind . ’

'It’s not like I deserted her . ’

As Yakumo said that, the elevator doors opened .

At Haruka’s instruction, they went down the corridor and stopped in front of the third hospital room . After knocking, they went inside .

It was a large room with four beds, but besides the bed in the front that Miki was sleeping in, the room was completely empty .

An IV catheter went along Miki’s arms .

It was probably for nutrients or something like that . Her eyes were open, but they were empty – they didn’t appear to be looking at anything .

There was sweat on her forehead and her face was pale . If Haruka didn’t hear the faint breathing – like air being let out of a balloon – there’d be no difference between Miki and a corpse .

'Even though she’s in this state, the doctor said there’s nothing in particular wrong with her body and that she was probably overworked from stress… Do you think somebody who was talking so cheerfully yesterday could end up like this?’

Haruka was agitated, but Yakumo didn’t seem to be listening .

He stood by the bed and gazed at Miki . There was a wrinkle between his well-defined eyebrows, and Yakumo’s eyes, which had been sleepy until now, were grim .

'Do you see something?’

Haruka spoke up, bewildered by Yakumo, who seemed like a completely different person .

'Who are you?’ murmured Yakumo .

’… ve me… Save me… Ple… a… se…’

Miki’s mouth opened, and out came a voice that sounded like the groan of a beast .

Yakumo leant over Miki and put his ear near her mouth .

’… Let me out… of here…’

Miki’s mouth moved again and spoke .

'Where are you now?’

Yakumo took Miki’s face in his hands and stared into her eyes . When Yakumo looked at Miki, her eyes seemed to move slightly .

’… I can’t see… Where am I… Let me out…’

'Where are you now? Tell me . ’

Miki made no response . Her faint breathing turned ragged .


Miki suddenly shrieked, threw her hands up towards the ceiling and arched her back .

What? What was happening?

While Haruka was confused, Miki dropped her arms, as if tired, and was as still as the dead .

Yakumo didn’t say anything . He just sighed and left the hospital room .

'Wait . ’

Haruka hurriedly followed Yakumo out of the room .

Yakumo was leaning on the wall right outside of the hospital room and had a hand on the left side of his forehead and eye .

His breathing was ragged . His shoulders shook as if he were in pain .

'Are you all right?’

Haruka approached Yakumo and tried to look at his face, but Yakumo quickly fixed his posture and started walking, as if to avoid her .

His left hand was still against his forehead and eye .

'Does it hurt?’

Haruka chased after him .

'No . ’

'I think it’d be better if you get that checked . ’

'Shut up!’ Yakumo said sharply as he turned around .

A cold sweat was running down his forehead . His wide eyes were glaring at Haruka .

'W-what is it…’ said Haruka, accepting Yakumo’s pained gaze directly .

'There’d be no point in telling you . ’

'You can’t know that until you tell me . ’

'You ask too many questions . ’

Yakumo started walking away quickly to get away from Haruka .

'Honestly! Just explain a bit,’ complained Haruka as she ran a bit to catch up to Yakumo .

'Hey, what’d you see in the hospital room?’ asked Haruka as they got into the elevator .

However, Yakumo didn’t reply .

He had his back against the elevator wall and crossed his arms, looking displeased .

Honestly –

'Why don’t you just tell me? You’re the one who told me to go with you, Saitou-san . ’

'I regret it . ’

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair and finally started an explanation .

'Your friend’s possessed by the ghost of a woman probably around the same age as us . However, that would be when she died… Her hair went to her shoulders and there was a mole underneath her eyes . ’


'Dark . A completely dark room… Narrow… The sound of water… Hunger… A heavy atmosphere… Pain… Terror… Terror… Terror…’

'What do you mean?’

'If I could understand it so easily, I wouldn’t be suffering . Think about me a little . ’

'Please don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot . ’

'Am I wrong?’

When the elevator reached the first floor, Yakumo started walking briskly again .

Haruka had to run to catch up again .

* * *

The autumn sunset showed its unique colours .

The sky looked like a brilliant stained glass window .

When Haruka and Yakumo arrived at the station after leaving the hospital, there was a crowd .

It was rush hour, but it was clearly different from that .

The station was teeming with people who couldn’t get onto the platform .

There were ambulances parked nearby and emergency personnel were still stepping out .

The words <Outward and inbound lines have been suspended because of an accident> were scrolling on the electric signboard that displayed train times .

'Because an accident occurred at this station, train operation has currently been suspended! As accident procedure is in place, please step outside the gates . We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience . ’

A train attendant was saying that message loudly . There were people trying to rush out and curious onlookers, so everyone was crowded together .

'Seems like there was an accident . ’

'You can tell just from looking,’ said Yakumo with his arms crossed .

This person really just goes on and –

'Ah, Professor Takaoka . ’

Haruka spotted a face she knew in the crowd and called out .

'Professor Takaoka?’

'A lecturer for one of my seminars . Please wait . ’

Haruka made her way through the crowd towards Takaoka .

'Professor Takaoka . ’

She bumped into countless people but finally reached the one she was looking for .

Takaoka acknowledged Haruka with a flat 'Ah’ .

He had round glasses and looked at first glance to be a man of delicate features, but his shoulders were wide and solid in his suit .

He gave an immaculate and refreshing impression .

With his gentle manner and friendly personality, he was rather popular with female students .

'Professor, did something happen?’

Takaoka looked around, seeming troubled by Haruka’s question, but he finally spoke .

'Ichihashi-kun jumped in front of a train…’

'Ichihashi – do you mean Yuuichi-kun?’

Takaoka nodded .

'When you say jumped, do you mean…’

Her heart was beating loudly . Her throat dried up .

I can’t believe it –

'It was a suicide . ’


More of her friends were meeting with misfortune . And they were the two who had tested their courage by going to the deserted building .

'I can’t believe it either . I didn’t notice at all . ’

Takaoka looked pained as he spoke .

'It isn’t your fault, Professor . ’

'Haruka-kun, did you hear anything from Ichihashi-kun?’

Haruka shook her head . Takaoka wouldn’t believe her even if she told him .

The atmosphere was suffocating .

In the middle of that, somebody who looked like a station attendant called out to Takaoka and he walked away towards the stationmaster’s office .

'What was it?’

Yakumo had walked up to her at some point in time .

'Yuuichi-kun committed suicide…’

When she said it aloud, she felt how terrible it was .

I didn’t think he’d do something like kill himself when I was talking to him on the phone yesterday –

'Is Yuuichi one of the three who went on that test of courage?’

Haruka nodded .

Her legs were shaking – she could barely stand .

'It seems like it’d be better to look for the one who’s missing,’ said Yakumo as he ran a hand through his hair .

'He was normal yesterday, but…’

Her words got caught in her throat . She couldn’t speak .

'I have no hard evidence, but I can say this . It isn’t a suicide – ’

Yakumo said that as he looked straight towards the station gate .

It was so unexpected that Haruka’s eyes went wide .

It isn’t a suicide –

'What do you mean?’

'I said I didn’t have any hard evidence, didn’t I?’

Yakumo had his hands in his pockets as he started walking with his gaze on his feet .

'Miki was possessed by a ghost – ’

Haruka started speaking as she followed him .

'That’s impossible . ’

'Impossible . ’

'The ghost possessing your friend is afraid of something . She has no ill will . ’

'Afraid… Ill will…?’

'Why don’t you try thinking with your own head a bit?’

This person keeps on –

'I’m asking because I don’t understand even after thinking about it . ’

Yakumo suddenly stopped walking .

'I believe the incident this time involves somebody living,’ said Yakumo as he looked up at the sky with its lines of clouds .

Involves somebody living, he says –

'What do you mean?’

'I’m going to investigate that . ’

'Huh . ’

'That’s all for today . Until tomorrow…’

After Yakumo declared that, he gave the duty of looking into Kazuhiko’s disappearance to Haruka, and they split up there for the day .




Haruka’s morning lecture ended, and she went to Yakumo’s secret hiding place after noon, as promised .

Even though it was after noon, Yakumo looked as sleepy as always .

'Good morning,’ said Haruka, sitting in the chair opposite Yakumo .


Yakumo brought up the topic at hand in a displeased tone .

Haruka explained to Yakumo that she had called Kazuhiko’s mobile multiple times, but it looked like the battery had been off, and she hadn’t been able to contact him .

She had asked the acquaintances of Kazuhiko that she knew, but nobody knew where he was .

He had been missing since the incident –

'Let’s put things in order,’ said Yakumo, letting out a large yawn . 'Tell me once more in detail about the test of courage . ’

'Put things in order?’

Haruka searched her memories, as Yakumo suggested, and started explaining how the three of them had gone on a test of courage .

There were a number of points when he asked questions, but Haruka couldn’t respond .

She was just telling the story she had heard from Yuuichi as accurately as she could . She hadn’t been at the scene herself .

Even if she wanted to confirm, Yuuichi was already dead .

When Haruka finished speaking, Yakumo ran a hand through his messy hair and then crossed his arms .

'What are you going to do now then?’ Haruka asked, knowing that he would get angry at her .

'Right . First, who is the spirit possessing your friend? I’m going to look into that . ’

'Do you have any idea?’

'If you ask whether I do, I guess I do?’

'You’re always so vague . ’

'The world is full of vague things . ’

Yakumo stood up .

* * *

Haruka was brought by Yakumo to the reference room in Building A .

She had come to this room a number of times before .

It was a white-walled room of about fifty tsubo in size, lined with moving cabinets that went up to the ceiling .

The student registry and class materials were kept here .

'What are you going to look into here?’

'I believe that the spirit possessing your friend was a student at this school . ’

'You’re not going to look at everything here, are you?’

'I plan on it,’ said Yakumo matter-of-factly .

Searching from the very beginning would –

'How many students do you think have enrolled in this school? You’ll stay here until you’re an old man . ’

Haruka sat in front of the rack of three computers at the back of the room and clicked the mouse .

That turned off the screensaver and showed a screen asking for a password .

'Searching with the computer is great, but what will you do about the password?’

Yakumo crossed his arms and snorted .

'They organised the data here last year . Since they didn’t have enough hands, a few students did part-time . ’

'And you were one of them . ’

'Yes . ’

'Do you think the password hasn’t been changed since then?’

That made sense .

But it was better than not trying . The password then had been the date of the school’s founding in numbers .

She input the numbers with the number pad and clicked the enter key .

The monitor displayed the next screen . She felt somewhat triumphant .

'What dreadful security,’ said Yakumo with a sigh .

'Though looking into all of these documents would have been dreadful too,’ said Haruka with all the spite she had garnered until now .

For once, Yakumo didn’t say anything back . Though he was acting calm, he must not have been inside .

Haruka clicked the file with the student registry . A screen listing name, address, birthdate, contact information and school department showed up .

'Are there photos too?’ said Yakumo, expressing his wonder as he looked at the screen .

'Just the past ten years . ’

'That’s enough . ’

'So who are you looking for?’

'The name Yuri . I don’t know the kanji . ’

Haruka typed Yuri into the furigana table and searched . There were almost two hundred results .

'This would be tough . Don’t you have any other information?’

'They’re female . ’

'I know that . ’

'She has a mole under her eye . ’

'I can’t search for that . ’

There, the conversation stopped .

They had suddenly become stuck . Haruka thought over it, but she couldn’t come up with anything .

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair in his irritation, but he suddenly looked up .

'Absences . Or withdrawals . Can you search with those parameters?’

That was right . That would lower the number drastically .

'I can probably do it . ’

Haruka searched again and found three people .

'It’s her!’ exclaimed Yakumo upon seeing the second woman’s photo .

Shinohara Yuri . In the Arts and Humanities faculty, department of English . Absent .

She had long hair that was tied in the back with glasses that looked strong . Just as Yakumo had said, there was a mole underneath her eye .

Overall, she looked sensitive .

I –

'I know this person,’ said Haruka, looking up at Yakumo who was standing beside her .

'A friend?’

'We were in the same seminar in first year . I haven’t spoken to her directly, but I’ve seen her a number of times before . At the end of last month, she suddenly stopped coming to school . ’

'What is the reason for her absence?’

'I don’t know… But it seems like she’s disappeared . Her parents asked the police to search – there was a bit of a fuss . ’

'Disappeared, eh?’ said Yakumo, rubbing his sharp nose .

It was too much for this to just be a coincidence .

'That’s right! Professor Takaoka might know something!’ Haruka said quickly, unable to hide her excitement .

However, Yakumo was the picture of calm . He put his index finger in his ear like he thought her noisy .

'Talk more calmly . And who’s Professor Takaoka?

'Did you forget? You met him at the station yesterday, right? That’s Professor Takaoka . He was in charge of our seminar . ’

'That isn’t much help,’ said Yakumo with a yawn .

'You’re negative about everyone . ’

'Do you believe in anyone?’

'Anyone besides you . ’

'That’s an honour . ’

Yakumo didn’t seem to care about Haruka’s unpleasantness . He took a mobile phone out of his pocket and started making a call .

'Ah, Gotou-san? There’s something I’d like to request…’

Yakumo started speaking – it seemed like the call had connected .

Though Haruka couldn’t hear the voice of the person on the other side of the line, she could get the gist of the conversation . Yakumo wanted the other person to look into everything about Shinohara Yuri .

Yakumo just gave his request and then hung up .

'Who was that just now?’ Haruka asked, unable to think of somebody who could respond to a search request .

'An acquaintance . ’

'Would that person know about news regarding missing people?’

'I wouldn’t call him if there wasn’t the possibility . ’

That made sense, but what sort of acquaintance could it be if just one call was enough to look into a missing person?

While Haruka was thinking about it, Yakumo opened the door and left .


He really did just do whatever he wanted . Though Haruka was fed up, she went after Yakumo and left the room .

'Haruka-kun . ’

Just as she left the reference room, somebody called out to her .

When she turned around, she saw Takaoka walking towards her – the person they had just been talking about .

'Professor – ’

For a moment, Haruka wasn’t sure if she should chase Yakumo, but in the end, she stood there and waited for Takaoka to reach her .

'Yesterday must have been tough for you . ’

'No, no – it must have been more so for you, Professor . ’

Takaoka had clearly been worn out yesterday . It made sense – his own student had died .

On the contrary, Haruka wouldn’t know what to do if he smiled at her .

'That’s not true . Though of course I’m not well . ’

Takaoka’s expression softened, but that hurt even more .

'Anyway, you can’t overdo yourself at a time like this . ’

'It goes for you too, Professor – ’

'That’s right,’ said Takaoka with a wry smile, and then he walked away from Haruka .

'E-excuse me, Professor . ’

Haruka called out to Takaoka, who was about to leave .

Takaoka stopped walking and turned around .

'What is it?’

'No, er…’

Haruka was lost for words .

She had called out to Takaoka because she felt like she had to ask him about Yuri, but she didn’t know how to bring up the topic .

'What’s wrong? Don’t worry about it and just tell me,’ urged Takaoka, who seemed to sense that Haruka was troubled .

She let herself talk as he said .

'Professor, do you remember Shinohara Yuri-san?’

'I do . She’s on leave right now, yes?’

'Yes . She’s gone missing . ’

'Is that so… But why are you suddenly talking about Shinohara-kun?’

Takaoka looked suspicious .

It made sense .

'I can’t talk about it in detail now, but it might be related to the matter with Yuuichi-kun . ’


'Yes . Do you remember anything?’

'Anything I remember, eh…’

Takaoka scratched his chin – it looked like he was thinking .

'Anything is fine . Like how she was before she went missing, students she was friends with, or her boyfriend…’

Haruka listed a number of topics to help Takaoka remember .

'Her boyfriend – ’

Takaoka seemed to have remembered something, as his mouth suddenly opened .

'Did you recall something?’

'Ah, Shinohara-kun did have a boyfriend . Aizawa-kun, in the year above her . ’

'By Aizawa, do you mean the one in the orchestra circle?’

'Yes, yes, that Aizawa-kun . ’

Haruka was so surprised she couldn’t say anything else . The name that Takaoka had just said now was one Haruka knew .

'I just remembered something I have to do . Please excuse me . ’

She had to tell Yakumo as soon as she could .

Urged on by that impulse, Haruka made a bow at Takaoka and ran down the corridor .

After turning the first corner, she suddenly spotted Yakumo .

'Where are you going in such a hurry?’ said Yakumo with a yawn .


People can’t stop suddenly . Haruka almost fell as she screeched to a halt and had to take a few steps back .

'I heard most of the story . ’

What kind of monster ears did he have? But if he had heard, that was easier .

'The boyfriend of the person named Yuri was Aizawa-san . ’

'I said that I heard . ’

Then be more surprised! Haruka bit down the urge to yell .

'Aizawa Tetsurou-san is the one who introduced me to you . Isn’t that too suspicious to be just a coincidence?’

'You’re a hundred times more suspicious . ’

Yakumo started walking briskly, seeming completely uninterested .

Really, what a man!




Yakumo led Haruka to a prefabricated building in behind the main school building .

It was used as the janitors’ room .

Why had they come here? No matter how Haruka asked, Yakumo didn’t answer .

'Hello . ’

Yakumo spoke up at the entrance .

When there was no response, Yakumo opened the door and went inside the room .

'Hey . Is it OK just to go in?’

Haruka couldn’t bring herself to go in and peered into the room from behind Yakumo .

Right past the entrance, there was a long table and folding chairs . In the back, there was a refrigerator and a sink . There were tools like shovels and sickles against the wall .

'Hey, isn’t this bad?’

Haruka called out to Yakumo’s back, but she was ignored .

Haruka had just let out a sigh when a person appeared from the door in the back of the room .


Haruka leapt instinctively .

'W-w-what are you d-d-doing?’

A middle-aged man in a grey uniform came in .

He had a thin face with deep wrinkles . The tip of his nose and his cheeks were red . His skin was dark . He looked like a stereotypical alcoholic .

Though Haruka didn’t know his name, she’d seem him around campus a number of times before .

This man, who was a caretaker for this university, always dragged his left leg as he walked .

Haruka didn’t know if it was true, but there was a rumour that a female student had almost been molested by him .

It put Haruka a bit on guard .

'I’m sorry for coming so suddenly . Actually, I was wondering if I could borrow the key to the deserted building in the back . ’

Even though they had been found trespassing, Yakumo spoke calmly .

'W-w-what do you want to g-g-go to that place for?’

The man’s voice was piercing, like a cicada’s .

'Actually, my friends went to that building earlier for a test of courage . ’

'Test of courage?’

'Yes . It seems like they dropped something important to them then, so I want to go look for it . ’

Yakumo kept speaking at random, like he had thought this up in advance .

The caretaker didn’t seem to doubt Yakumo’s lie, but there was a wrinkle between his thick eyebrows – he looked obviously exasperated .

'Please, Yamane-san . ’

Yakumo bowed his head .

The caretaker was called Yamane? It was the first Haruka had heard of it .

Yamane slowly dragged his foot over to the key box on the wall and took a key out, throwing it at Yakumo .

'Y-y-you don’t have to return the key today . I’m going home . ’

'Thank you very much . ’

’D-d-don’t do something as s-stupid as a test of courage again . ’

'So they do appear?’

Yakumo pretended to be a ghost .

’T-that isn’t it… The b-building is old . It’ll be taken down n-next month…’

'I see . I understand . ’

Yakumo was about to leave when he stopped and turned to look at Yamane .

'Excuse me, but is there a dial-type padlock there?’

'I-I-I don’t know . I’ve never had anything to do at t-that place, so I’ve n-never gone in . ’

Yakumo bowed once more and left .

'Hey, why did you know that caretaker’s name?’ asked Haruka .

'His name was sewn on his uniform . What on earth were you looking at?’

I see –

* * *

When Haruka stood in front of the deserted building, the sun had already set .

There was just a faint blue at the line of mountains in the distance –

It was quiet . The sound of the wind rustling the tree branches sounded unnecessarily loud .

With the creepiness of the building, the fact that Yuuichi was died felt heavier in Haruka’s chest .

If she didn’t focus, her legs would collapse underneath her .

Even though this was for a friend, she had stuck her neck into something unbelievable . She was regretting her decision .

She glanced at Yakumo beside her .

He didn’t look disturbed . He yawned and wiped away the tears that appeared in his eyes with his arm .

'Come save me if I need help . ’

Though he was a slippery man, there was nobody else she could depend on .

'I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee it . ’

It was like a politician’s reply .

'I was an idiot for asking . ’

The biggest mistake was involving herself with this man named Saitou Yakumo . She felt that way .

'Are you afraid?’

'Not really . I’m fine . ’

Haruka tried to act strong when Yakumo said that, but if she didn’t focus on her throat, her voice would tremble .

'Then, shall we go?’

Yakumo stood in front of the door and stuck the key he’d borrowed into the keyhole .

However, there was no point . The door opened before he turned the key .

The two silently pushed open the door and stepped inside .

They lit up the room with a torch .

Leaves from outside were scattered on the floor .

Every time they stepped on them, there was a crunching sound .

They went down the corridor to the back of the room .

The air was thick and cloudy . It made it hard to breathe .

Yakumo used the torch to light the rooms on the left and right while looking around .

Each room appeared to be fashioned in the same way . Square rooms with one bed, one window . Perhaps this had been used as a student dormitory .

Haruka gripped Yakumo’s shirt sleeve so that she wouldn’t be separated from him in the dark . She walked carefully .

– When Yakumo suddenly stopped .

'Your friend saw a ghost in the locked room at the end of this corridor, right?’

'Yes . ’

'There was a dial-type padlock so they couldn’t get in . ’

'This was something that was told to me, so I’m not sure, but…’

'This . ’

Yakumo stooped over and took something in his hand .

There was the sound like change being rubbed together .

'What’s that?’

Yakumo lit it with the torch so that Haruka would also be able to understand .

Haruka saw chains that hung to the ground and a dial-type lock .

'It doesn’t look like it’s been cut . The numbers <7483> match… Somebody’s opened it .

Haruka looked at Yakumo’s face, unable to understand .

'The locked room has been unlocked – ’

Yakumo put the chains at his feet and put a hand on the door in front of him .

A chill ran down Haruka’s spine . Yuuichi had said that something was in this room .

'Please wait . ’

She spoke without thinking .

Before Haruka’s inhibitions reached Yakumo’s ear, there was a rusty metal sound and the door opened –

Haruka went stiff from fear, but nothing happened .

There was a deep darkness that made her wonder if her eyes were closed .

Yakumo used the torch to light up the room .

The room looked the same as the others . There was just one bed, nothing else .

However, something felt different .

A smell like something had gone bad pierced her nose .

'It’s a bit creepy,’ said Haruka, looking into the room from behind Yakumo’s back .

'It’s the window . ’


With the light of the torch, Haruka looked around the room .

It was just as Yakumo said . Though the other rooms had had windows, though small, there wasn’t one in this room .

Yakumo slowly walked into the room .

Haruka followed him, as if led in .

That moment, the air suddenly felt heavier, like she was underwater .

Yakumo silently looked around .

It didn’t look like there was anything in particular in the room to Haruka .

'Is there something here?’ asked Haruka, gripping Yakumo’s sleeve tightly .

'Nothing . But there should be . ’

'If you find out what that is, will you be able to save Miki?’

'I don’t know, but it’s possible . The spirit that has possessed your friend is afraid of something in this room . ’

Yakumo knelt on the concrete and looked around diligently .

Haruka crouched too, but she couldn’t find anything .

'Is it this…’

Yakumo suddenly murmured that .

'Eh? What?’

'Look here . ’

Yakumo lit up the foot of the bed with the torch .

Haruka stared, but she couldn’t understand .

'What is it?’

'Here . ’

Yakumo pointed at a part of the floor .

It looked like something had been dragged . The bed had probably been moved .

But –

'What about it?’

'Why was only this bed moved?’ murmured Yakumo, as he tried to peer underneath the bed .

And then…

<Watch out! Behind you!>

Suddenly, Haruka heard a girl’s scream .

Haruka turned around in shock .

A person was standing there . She couldn’t tell what gender they were in the dark, let alone what their face looked like .

She could just tell that they had something like a rod in their hand .

They were waving it around . It was a shovel . It came down towards Haruka’s head .

Frozen by fear, Haruka couldn’t move .


Haruka heard something that sounded like a large rock hitting the ground .

The strength in her body escaped her . She fell . It didn’t hurt .


Haruka heard a groan and opened her eyes .


Yakumo was collapsed in front of her .

He was bracing his legs as he tried to get up . It looked like his body wouldn’t move the way he wanted it to, as he stayed on his arms and legs .

Did he protect me? That was all Haruka could think in her confusion .

'A-are you OK…’

'Ru… Run…’

Yakumo said that in a hoarse voice while pressing a hand against his forehead . Even if he told her to run, she couldn’t just leave him here .

’… It’s fine! Just run!’ yelled Yakumo .

Haruka stood up instinctively .


'It’s fine – just go!’

Pressured by Yakumo’s insistence, Haruka ran towards the door .

However, a dark shadow was waiting there .

Something hit her shoulder with a thump, thrusting her to the back of the room .

The dark shadow slowly approached her .

Even if she wanted to run, her back was pressed against the wall . She couldn’t go back any farther .

The shadow picked up the shovel again .

All Haruka could do was grip her fists in front of her chest .

It’s too late –

Then, something suddenly hit that shadow .

The two shadows seemed to be fighting, and then they collapsed .

There was the sound of something hitting something else multiple times .

All Haruka could do was watch .

Suddenly, one of the shadows stood up .

'We’re running!’

She heard a voice . It was Yakumo .

He was OK .

<Down . >

There was a girl’s voice again . In contrast to Haruka, who didn’t understand, Yakumo quickly responded .

Yakumo took Haruka’s head and forced them both to the ground .

There was a whizzing sound as the shovel went straight over her head .

It hit the wall and let off sparks .

Haruka was still bewildered as Yakumo grabbed her arm and ran out of the room .


There was a howl as the shadow came after them, waving a shovel . Yakumo slammed the door shut with his body . There was a dull thump .

Yakumo took the chains on the floor and wrapped them around the door right away .

Rattle, rattle .

Thump, thump .

It appeared that the shadow was trying to get out from the other side, turning the doorknob and hitting the door .

Suddenly, the sound stopped . Did they give up? Haruka had just thought that when –


There was an incredible noise .

It seemed like they were smashing their body against the door from inside .

Haruka’s body shook in shock . There was a slight gap between the door in the wall . Then, a gloved hand wormed its way out .

Yakumo grabbed Haruka’s arm again and pulled her along .

Haruka couldn’t even scream .

'We’re going!’

Dragged along by Yakumo, Haruka started running .

Tree branches hit Haruka’s cheeks and arms .

Strangely, it didn’t hurt . She just ran deliriously, with Yakumo pulling her arm –




She couldn’t remember where or why she was running .

When she noticed, Haruka was at Yakumo’s secret hideaway, the Movie Research Circle room .

Sitting on the floor, it hurt just to breathe .

Sweat fell from her forehead .

Her heart was breathing quickly and furiously within her chest .

'It hurts…’ said Yakumo, pressing his forehead .

'You OK?’

Haruka remembered that Yakumo had been hit with a shovel earlier and hurriedly spoke to him .

'Yeah . ’

Though Yakumo nodded, he was gritting his teeth with a frown on his face .

'Please show it to me . ’

Haruka went around to Yakumo’s front and looked at his face .

Yakumo lifted the hand he was using to press his forehead .

A bit above his right eyebrow, there was a cut three centimetres long .

The flesh looked like it had been turned inside out . Though the bleeding had stopped, it wasn’t a shallow cut .

Haruka took out her handkerchief and put it to Yakumo’s injury .

'It’s fine . I’ll do it myself . ’

Yakumo took the handkerchief from Haruka and pressed it against the wound himself .

Then, a large teardrop rolled down Haruka’s cheek .

Eh? Why is there a tear –

When she realised it, it made it harder to stop .

Why? Why am I crying?

'Was it frightening?’

Yakumo’s palm gently touched Haruka’s shoulder .

It was very warm –

The tension within her lessened at once .

That’s right . I was frightened .

I’d really thought I would die when that shadow stood in front of me with the shovel .

I’ve never been so afraid before . But Yakumo saved me and I’m still alive –

Haruka nodded . Led by her impulses, she gripped Yakumo’s shirt sleeve and started to cry loudly .

Yakumo just waited silently for Haruka to stop crying .

Haruka had never cried like this in front of somebody before .

Ever since her sister died, she had decided not to cry . However, this was the second time she’d cried in front of Yakumo .

In front of this unfriendly and contrary person, for some reason, her heart weakened . That was baffling to Haruka .


After crying for a while, Haruka said that and wiped her tears with her palm .

Yakumo didn’t say anything . That just made her more embarrassed .

'Show me your injury again . ’

Haruka forcefully took the handkerchief from Yakumo when he refused and looked at the cut on his forehead .

The bleeding had stopped completely .

'You should have it properly checked at a hospital . ’

'It’s fine,’ said Yakumo in his usual curt tone .

'What do you mean, it’s fine? Think of the place – what will you do if some strange symptom occurs?’

'You’re so meddlesome…’

He always said one thing too many . That one sentence of his ruined everything .

'You know, you’re…’

Haruka started speaking, but when she saw Yakumo’s left eye, she was lost for words .

Illuminated by the fluorescent light, Yakumo’s left eye glowed red like a blazing flame .

It was a deep red, more vivid than any she’d seen before .

'I was born with it…’ said Yakumo in an annoyed tone, perhaps noticing Haruka’s gaze .

'It’s beautiful…’


'The eye is beautiful . ’

For a while, Yakumo looked puzzled, but he finally started laughing quietly .

That laughter became louder, until he was finally laughing while clutching his stomach .

What was so funny –

'Hey, why are you laughing?’

Haruka hit Yakumo’s shoulder .

'I mean… That’s amazing . Beautiful? There’s something wrong with your senses . ’


Yakumo took deep breaths to calm his laughter before continuing .

'I thought you’d scream . Or look like you saw something disgusting, or with pity…’

'Why would I scream? Nobody would scream after seeing something beautiful, right?’

'That’s why I said there’s something wrong with your senses . All the people who have seen my eye up until now have first screamed or acted like it was disgusting . Sometimes, there are people who’ll look at it with pity . You’re the first who’s done something as ridiculous as call it beautiful . ’

Ridiculous – what an awful way of saying it .

After a few more breaths, Yakumo continued .

'I dropped my contact lens when I was hit earlier . ’

'Contact lens?’

'Normally, I hide it with a contact lens . There are the ones you can change your eye colour with . ’

'You said you were born with it earlier…’

'That’s right . It’s been red since I was born . And it seems like I was born with just my left eye open . I heard that even my mother screamed when she saw my red eye . Funny, right?’

It wasn’t funny at all . Being thought of as disgusting by his mother – how deep an injury must that have left on his heart?

Haruka couldn’t even imagine .

'Though I don’t know if it’s because of that eye, my left eye can see things other people can’t . ’

'Things other people can’t?’

'That’s right . I said it before, but I can see the spirits of the dead . It took some time for me to realise only I could see them . I was treated differently for it . Nobody believes me when I say I really can see them . ’

That made sense . Haruka hadn’t believed it either .

She slightly understood why Yakumo took such a contrary attitude .

Nobody had faced him properly before .

Fright, fascination, pity – the people that connected with Yakumo had had that as a pretext . Even his mother –

She wanted at least to face Yakumo properly herself, without sympathy .

That feeling bloomed within Haruka .

'It hurts . ’

Yakumo spoke up again .

It looked like the pain came in spurts .

He got that injury because of me . I haven’t thanked Yakumo yet for saving me .

'Thank you for saving me earlier . ’

'Thank your sister . ’

'My sister?’

Haruka cocked her head, unable to understand what Yakumo meant .

'At the time, your sister told me there was danger . If she hadn’t, your brains would currently be spilt out on that room’s floor . ’

Haruka had heard a girl call out <Watch out> then too .

'That voice was my sister?’

'It was . She’s always behind you . She’s watching over you . ’


Haruka looked around, but she couldn’t see anything .

'It’s your choice whether to believe me or not . ’


She might not have believed Yakumo’s words up until yesterday .

However, it was different now .

What feelings does my sister have while watching over me? How does she feel, and what does she think?

'If only I could see her too . I’m jealous…’

Haruka’s eyes were teary again .




The next day, Haruka went to Yakumo’s secret hiding place in the afternoon .

It wasn’t locked .

It was incredibly careless what with what had happened last night .

Haruka opened the door and Yakumo was right in front of her, curled up in a sleeping bag . Just like a caterpillar . Haruka poked him lightly with her toe, and he opened his eyes, seeming annoyed .

'It’s past noon already . ’

Yakumo slowly got up, rubbing his eyes .

'It amazes me that you can live in a place like this . ’

Haruka sat on a folding chair and waited for Yakumo to dress himself .

'I go back sometimes . ’

'You have a home?’

Without answering, Yakumo took a toothbrush out of the refrigerator and started brushing his teeth .

Why the fridge?

'If you have a home, why not just go back? Your parents must be worried . ’

'Worried? They’re not . ’

Yakumo mumbled a reply while brushing his teeth .

He was talking just like a rebellious teenager .

'How can you say something so selfish? Why not think a bit about your parents’ feelings?’

Yakumo nonchalantly gargled like he wasn’t interested in what Haruka had to say .

'Hey, are you listening?’

'Things I don’t want to hear don’t enter my ears . ’

Yakumo wiped his forehead with a towel as he sat down on the chair opposite Haruka .

'Respond if you can hear me . ’

'If they were worried, they wouldn’t try to kill me, right?’


'I’m talking about my parents . ’


That was just more confusing .

'My red left eye . It can see things people can’t . Maybe she was frightened? Or she hated it? I don’t know, but one day, my mother took me out for a car ride . ’

Yakumo continued to speak in a disinterested tone .

'She kept saying 'Sorry" as she put her hands on my neck . She kept putting more force into it, so I became faint…’

Yakumo was talking about a tragedy that was beyond Haruka’s imagination as if it were something that happened to somebody else .

'A police officer who just happened to be passing by saved me . My mother ran away . She’s been missing since . I have no memories of my father . ’


Haruka tried to say something, but she couldn’t speak .

Haruka often heard stories like Yakumo’s on the news or in dramas, but she had thought of them as something from a world completely different from hers…

'I’m saying that in this world, there are parents that don’t love their children and children who don’t love their parents . ’

When Yakumo finished speaking, he let out a yawn, raking his fingers through his hair .

Behind that attitude of his that wouldn’t let anybody in, there was an immeasurably large wound –

'I’m staying at my uncle’s now . ’


'Though my uncle tells me not to hold back, I can’t cause him that much trouble, and there are circumstances . ’

Yakumo had already put the contact lens in his left eye, so it was black .


Haruka lowered her long eyelashes and bit her lip .

I said something without knowing the whole situation . I feel so ashamed .

'Don’t worry about it,’ said Yakumo, as if he’d sensed how Haruka was feeling .

'I’m sorry . ’

Haruka bowed her head .

'Why are you apologising?’


'You didn’t run even after seeing my eye . That’s enough . ’

Though Yakumo said that himself, he seemed to find the words that came out of his mouth unexpected as his face scrunched up like he had eaten something strange .

Haruka laughed a bit upon seeing that .

Yakumo glared at her . Haruka hurriedly covered her mouth and stopped laughing .

'I’ve found out one thing from yesterday . ’

Yakumo quickly changed the topic . Perhaps he’d felt very awkward .


'That shadow that assaulted me . It was definitely a living human being . ’

'How can you be sure?’

'My eyes are convenient . My right eye can only see the physical . My left eye can only see the spirits of the dead,’ aid Yakumo, his index finger on his brow .

'So you could see the shadow that attacked you yesterday with your right eye but not your left?’

'Exactly . I’m also concerned about how the locked room was unlocked yesterday . ’

'But who could’ve done it?’

'Who knows? There are many candidates . ’

'The caretaker, Yamane-san . ’

That face came up in her head first thing .

'It’s possible . He knew we were going to that abandoned building, and with the key, he could go in and out all he wanted . ’

'Aizawa-san might be related too . ’


Yakumo cocked his head .

'Remember? Professor Takaoka said this yesterday . He was Yuri-san’s boyfriend . He introduced me to you, Saitou-san . ’

'It’s not impossible,’ said Yakumo, crossing his arms and looking up at the ceiling .

'That’s quite negative . ’

'That isn’t it, but something feels off . ’

'Then let’s go ask him directly . And I think it’d be good to talk to Professor Takaoka once more…’

'If you want to investigate, go,’ said Yakumo, interrupting Haruka .

'Do you mean I should go myself?’

'Call it splitting up the work . There are a number of other things I’m concerned about, so I’ll be investigating those . ’

That would be more effective .

In the end, Yakumo and Haruka agreed to meet again in the evening and went separate ways .

Haruka had to make three promises to Yakumo for acting alone .

Don’t go to places with few people .

Ask in a roundabout way when questioning people .

Contact him immediately once she found something out .

He also instructed her to be very careful, since there was what happened yesterday, though she probably wouldn’t be attacked in the middle of the day .

* * *

After walking around for a while, Haruka found Aizawa in the cafeteria .

It seemed like he’d skipped out in the middle of class . He was reading an employment magazine while drinking a can of coffee .

There were a lot of people here, so it was probably OK .

'Aizawa-san . ’

Haruka called out to him and sat in the opposite seat . Aizawa looked up and gave her a friendly smile .

He was short and plump – cute, like a stuffed animal .

Haruka put Yuri and Aizawa together in her mind, but she felt like they didn’t quite fit .

'How is it? Found out something?’

Haruka shook her head .

Rather than finding anything out, she felt even more confused .

'But it must be tough for you, Ozawa . That Saitou Yakumo’s quite odd, right?’

'Yes, definitely . That reminds me, he said that he didn’t know you, Aizawa-san . ’

Aizawa laughed aloud .

'Of course . I must have been just like scenery to him . I just went with a friend once to see him guess the number on cards . ’

That was a trick . Haruka wanted to say that, but she stopped herself .

But still .

'Please tell me that from the beginning . ’

'But you looked troubled, and I didn’t say I was his friend, right?’

It was true that she’d consulted her friend from the circle and Aizawa had just happened to be there and told her to talk to Saitou Yakumo .

Come to think about it, he’d never said that they were acquainted .

'Well, that’s so…’

'Seems tough, but hang in there . ’

Aizawa made a move to stand up .

'Ah, please wait . ’

Haruka hurriedly called out to stop Aizawa .

'What is it?’

Aizawa sat down again .

Ask in a roundabout way –

Haruka recalled Yakumo’s warning, but she didn’t know how to bring up the topic and ended up asking the question straight .

'Aizawa-san, do you know someone called Shinohara Yuri?’

'Shinohara Yuri – ’

The moment Aizawa heard that name, his cheek twitched – he looked clearly displeased .

There was something in that response . Haruka continued without any hesitation .

'I heard that you dated Shinohara-san, Aizawa-san . ’

'We didn’t date . ’

'Eh? But…’

Aizawa clicked her tongue .

'I don’t know who you heard it from, but we didn’t date . ’

'Is that so?’

'I just confessed to Shinohara and was rejected . And does that have something to do with this?’

Aizawa was tapping his foot underneath the table .

'Is that really true?’

'There’s no way I’d lie about getting rejected . ’

That was true .

The conversation stopped there .

'I’m going . ’

Haruka couldn’t say anything . She just watched Aizawa leave .




Yakumo was in the reference room .

He moved the sliding bookcases and looked at the neatly lined up files .

He found what he was looking for immediately . As-built plans for the student dormitories .

Yakumo took the document on the very top of the bookcase out . It was considerably old . It was yellowed and smelt of mildew .

It said it was built in Showa 30[2]

Yakumo moved to the table and flipped through the pages .

The information was detailed, with a line map of the area and a rendering .

After about ten pages, Yakumo found building floor plans .

There were two floor plans . One was the first floor of the abandoned building . The other was for the basement –

Yakumo looked at the floor plan carefully, following it with his finger .

He found it . The locked room had a door that went to the basement .

Yakumo took the key he had borrowed from Yamane yesterday out of his pocket .

There were three keys on the key holder .

One was the entrance door key . One was the room master key .

The last was the basement key .

The reason only the bed of the locked room had been in a different place was probably to hide the door to the basement . There had to be something there .

Taking care not to stand out, Yakumo left the campus and went into the forest .

It took more time than he expected to walk through the pathless forest .

Fallen leaves filled his shoes .

He might have been a bit naive . His regret grew the more his forehead sweated .

He silently walked along, brushing aside the tree branches .




Haruka looked at the clock – it was just past three .

There was about an hour before she had to meet up with Yakumo .

She couldn’t question Aizawa more . Haruka didn’t have anything in particular to do, so she just whiled away time in the cafeteria .

She laid her head on the table and sighed .

Did Yakumo find something out?

It would annoy her if she were the only one who had found out nothing .

'Haruka-kun . ’

Haruka lifted her head when somebody called her .

It was Takaoka . His eyes were bloodshot – he looked more exhausted than yesterday .

'Professor, there’s something I want to ask . ’

This was a good chance . She could ask about Yuri again .

'Something you want to ask?’

Though Takaoka cocked his head, he sat opposite her at the table .

'Er, about Shinohara Yuri-san, who you talked about yesterday…’

She didn’t know if he would believe all the strange things that had happened to her, like Miki’s state after the test of courage and the attack at the abandoned building . She just wanted more information, even if it was just a little .

Just, if he thought of something upon hearing her story –

Takaoka covered his face with both hands and shook his head .

'I’m sorry for saying something strange . ’

'No, don’t worry about it . But I remembered something important upon hearing what you said,’ said Takaoka, lifting his head .

'Eh? Really?’

'But talking here might not be a good idea . Let’s go somewhere else . ’

Takaoka spoke in a lowered tone .

Haruka agreed to his suggestion and stood up from her seat .




Yakumo reached the abandoned building and put his hand on the doorknob .

It was locked .

Somebody had locked it after what happened yesterday .

Probably the person who had attacked them –

Yakumo unlocked the door and stepped inside .

The light from the window made it easier to see than yesterday .

He headed down the corridor to the locked room at the end .

Here too –

The chains were wrapped around and the dial-type lock was on . Yakumo put the numbers <7483> on the dial .

The numbers that had been there yesterday .

There was a click and the lock came off .

He took the chains from the handle, unlocked the door and carefully stepped inside .

Partially because there was no window, this room alone was impossible to see clearly in without the light of his torch, even though it was day .

He dragged the bed in the corner of the room with all his force .

Just as he expected, underneath the door, there was a one-metre square of metal floor .

To be more accurate, it was a door . There was a handle .

It was shut with a padlock with a keyhole .

Yakumo put the third key in – it fit perfectly . He gripped the handle and pulled it up with all his strength .

There was the sound of creaking metal as dust flew up .

A square hole appeared, completely black .

He used his torch to peer inside, but he could see virtually nothing .

Yakumo decided to climb down the wooden ladder .

The wood creaked underneath his foot .

It was too late when he realised .

His foot slipped and he fell to the basement all at once .

His face twisted from pain after he hit the floor, but he forgot that immediately when a strong rotten smell assaulted him . He bent back and hurriedly covered his nose and mouth .

To look for the source of the smell, Yakumo picked up the torch he had dropped and illuminated different areas of the room .

He saw something like a black line on the wall .

He slowly approached the wall and focussed –

'What is this…’

Yakumo spoke aloud without thinking .

It was a scratch in the wall .

Not just in one or two places . The whole wall was covered in scratches .

And these scratches weren’t natural or from a machine .

Yakumo put his hand up to it .

From the size, it was probably human .

Somebody had clawed the wall with their fingernails .

Some of the scratches had dark red stains on them .

Somebody had probably scratched the walls again and again to try to escape, even though they knew it was useless .

He found a detached fingernail stuck to the wall .

There was blood and even part of the flesh of the finger, but still the scratches continued .

Yakumo touched the scratch lightly with his finger .

'This is a real locked room…’

Yakumo suddenly felt something cold on his neck .

Yakumo looked up with his torch and saw two pipes on the ceiling .

Probably water pipes . Water was dripping from the place where they connected .

The woman who had been in here had probably lived here for a number of days with that water .

If she hadn’t had those pipes, the time she suffered might have been slightly shorter .

This water had given her hope and pain .

She hadn’t been frightened of something in this room – she had been trying to escape from the room itself .

The question was who had kept her in here, and for what reason –




After Yakumo crawled out of the basement, he quickly went down the corridor out of the abandoned building .

The cold wind made him feel revived .

He knew that Yuri had been stuck in that place, but he had no decisive evidence .

A corpse –

The person who had locked Yuri in there had probably moved it .

'W-w-what are you doing here?’

Somebody called out from behind him . For a moment, Yakumo stopped thinking . He knew that husky voice .

It was the caretaker, Yamane, who had a key and could go in and out of the abandoned building whenever he wanted .

Yamane’s face was red from alcohol as usual, and he had a towel around his neck . He was holding a rusty shovel .

'Y-y-you’re looking for this, right?’

Yamane took a digital camera from the pocket of his work pants and handed it to Yakumo .

'I-i-it was on the ground there . ’

Yamane pointed at the forest about ten metres away .

Yakumo thanked him and took it .

This was probably the camera Yuuichi had used to take photos .

There was still battery left .

Yakumo turned on the camera and looked at the pictures on the camera monitor .

It was probably from some bar . There were a number of people drinking in a lively manner .

After about ten photos, a photo of the abandoned building came up .

First, there was Yuuichi . Then, there was Kazuhiko and Miki . Next was a close-up of Miki’s frightened profile .

Then, in the back, there was a man in the back, hiding behind the corner of the room . He was dragging something .

It was too dark to see properly, but it was probably Yuri’s corpse –

'What is this…’

Yakumo’s expression froze over . Then, he ran as quickly as he could .

Yamane yelled something from behind him, but Yakumo didn’t have the time to pay attention to that .

As Yakumo ran, he called Haruka’s mobile .

However, the call tone just kept going –

'Where’d she go?’ muttered Yakumo as he kicked the ground .

<This way . >

A girl’s voice came from somewhere –




Haruka was led to the rooftop of Building B by Takaoka .

They stood in front of the water tower right by the roof entrance .

The concrete roof had no fence – just a ledge about thirty centimetres tall .

The view was good, but when she looked down, her legs shook .

Why did he bring me here?

Haruka had that question as she looked at Takaoka .

'Where should I start – ’ said Takaoka, looking at the reddish purple clouds, which were lit up by the setting sun .

'Wherever is fine,’ Haruka replied .

'I lied to you about one thing . ’


Haruka brushed her hair behind her ear .

For some reason, she couldn’t calm down .

'About how Aizawa-kun was dating Yuri . That was a lie,’ said Takaoka with a blank expression .

Haruka had a really bad feeling .

Her heart was beating more quickly .

'Why would you make that up…’

At Haruka’s question, Takaoka’s thin lips twisted into a smile that showed his white teeth .

However, his eyes weren’t smiling . They were cold eyes .

'That was a failure . I didn’t think I’d hear Yuri’s name from your mouth . It was so sudden that I tried to turn the conversation around, but that was no good…’

Takaoka’s voice sounded faraway .

It was difficult to breathe .

Her ears were ringing . Run . Her instincts were telling her that, but her feet didn’t move .

'Professor . Could it be that you and Yuri-san…’

'That’s right . I committed adultery with Yuri .

'Professor… did you kill her?’

Haruka was hoping for a denial rather than affirmation from Takaoka .

'That’s not quite it…’

Takaoka grabbed Haruka’s arm .

Haruka’s body froze in resistance, but she couldn’t win in strength .

When Haruka tried to bite Takaoka’s arm, Takaoka’s fist hit the back of her head .

Haruka’s head shook, and she fell to her knees .

'Sorry, but you’re going to have to die . You’re going to jump off the roof – a suicide . Like with Ichihashi-kun . ’

Takaoka grabbed Haruka’s hair and dragged her to the edge of the roof .

No –

Haruka frantically tried to resist, but she couldn’t move properly from the pain .

'That was an accident . On that day, she said that she was pregnant . That she was going to tell my wife everything . That was against the rules . You have to obey the rules . Don’t you think so too?’

Takaoka’ words just sounded like an excuse to justify what he’d done .

'But killing her for that…’

Even while bearing with the pain, Haruka glared at Takaoka in her anger .

'I didn’t plan on killing her . We had a fight, and I hit her . Then, she stopped moving…’

'She wasn’t dead . ’

Haruka suddenly heard a voice . A voice she recognised .

When she turned around to look, Yakumo was there .

There was sweat on his forehead . His shoulders were shaking .

'What are you talking about?’

Takaoka’s face muscles twitched at Yakumo’s sudden appearance, but he played dumb .

Yakumo sighed and ran a hand through his messy hair before starting his explanation, though he seemed to find it troublesome .

'You must have noticed . In that basement, there are signs that she tried to escape . ’

Takaoka made no response . He just looked away, his cheek twitching .

Yakumo took one step closer to approach Takaoka and continue speaking .

'You probably thought that you had killed her when you saw that she had stopped moving, and you abandoned her in that basement . However, she had just fainted…’

There, Yakumo took a breath and looked at Takaoka with a piercing gaze .

'You shut a living person in that room . ’

'What proof do you have for your lie…’

'Don’t play dumb . ’

Yakumo’s voice was full of anger .

'You saw them, didn’t you? The basement’s walls . ’

'I don’t know what you’re talking about . ’

'The countless scratches . She made them in her frantic attempt to escape . A dead person wouldn’t be able to do that . ’

Takaoka’s shoulders heaved as he spoke . His eyes were darting about .

'You were also the person who killed the student named Ichihashi Yuuichi . ’

Yakumo continued to pursue the wounded Takaoka .

'What proof do you…’

'I have proof . I should have noticed earlier . At the station, you said that a student called Ichihashi had jumped – correct?’

'What’s strange about that?’

'How could you be sure he jumped? The police said there was no note and called it an accident . ’

'That’s – ’

'Unless you witnessed his death, there was no way for you to declare that at that stage . You wanted to make it seem like he jumped in front of the train and committed suicide, right?’

'There’s no reason I would kill him,’ said Takaoka in a shaking voice .

Haruka didn’t know that reason either .

Though she could understand the reason Professor Takaoka might kill Yuri-san, Yuuichi-kun was unrelated .

Yakumo’s thin lips turned up in a faint smile as he continued to speak .

'After you shut Yuri-san in that basement, you had peace of mind . However, when you heard that that abandoned building was going to be torn down, you panicked . If her corpse was found, everything would be exposed . So you went back to move the corpse . Then…’

'He met Miki and the others,’ finished Haruka .

Everything was connected .

Yakumo nodded before continuing .

'You coincidentally ran into the group of three that had come for a test of courage, and you tried to hide . However, they took photos at that building . Without knowing that you were there – ’

Yakumo’s eyes narrowed as he looked at Takaoka .

Takaoka’s body turned stiff, as if frozen by that gaze .

'I don’t know what you’re talking about . ’

'I have proof . ’


Yakumo took a digital camera out of his pocket .

'You want this, right?’

After Yakumo said that, he threw the digital camera towards Takaoka .

Takaoka grabbed it with both hands . At the same time, the hand that had been holding Haruka let go .

Haruka used that chance to run up to Yakumo .

Takaoka looked at Yakumo angrily .

'Finding out that much is admirable, but if I destroy the proof, how will you prove it?’

Takaoka was acting tough, but he was standing on a cliff .

'I forgot to say one thing . ’

After saying that, Yakumo took a digital camera memory card out of his pocket and showed it to Takaoka .

'The image data is here . ’

Laughter escaped Takaoka’s lips .

It might have been pointed towards his foolish self, for trying to hide his own crime .

'This is the end . The police have been called already . ’

Takaoka turned pale – everything he had built up collapsed at once .

His laughter finally turned into tears –

'That’s right… It’s the end…’ said Takaoka in a hoarse voice, sitting on the concrete like his soul had left him .

Haruka heard the sound of sirens in the distance .

It echoed in her ears like a cry –




Yakumo and Haruka were questioned by the police as witnesses .

Yakumo spoke for most of the time, with Haruka just nodding .

They gave the summary of the events . Neither Yakumo nor Haruka mentioned the spirit possessing Miki . Nobody would believe them if they did .

Haruka heard about this after, but Yuri’s corpse was found buried at the root of a tree only ten metres from the abandoned building .

Everything seemed so ill-prepared .

Another thing was that she wasn’t pregnant . Her strategy for love had caused a misunderstanding, and in the end, two people had lost their lives . It was awful –

'Hey . Well done . ’

After the questioning, Haruka was about to leave with Yakumo when a man in a suit called out to them .

He had a huge frame, like a bear, and wore a loose tie with a wrinkled shirt . The man had stubble on his face and a sleepy expression like Yakumo’s .

'What, if it isn’t Gotou-san,’ said Yakumo, sounding displeased as he ran a hand through his hair .

'Don’t just say “What”! You should be grateful to me . ’

The man called Gotou suddenly let out a loud voice .

Yakumo frowned and stuck his fingers in his ears .

'You’ve put me through a lot of trouble . Please don’t complain so much just because I made one request . It’s childish . ’


Gotou started speaking, but his eyes suddenly went wide when he spotted Haruka .


Haruka’s shoulders hunched up unconsciously under that pressure .

'Hmm,’ murmured Gotou, rubbing his chin like he’d understood something .

Haruka didn’t know how to respond, so she quickly put a smile on her face and nodded .

'She’s pretty cute, isn’t she?’ said Gotou with a smirk .

'What are you talking about?’

Yakumo looked displeased, the complete opposite of Gotou .

'So you’re that age too, eh, Yakumo? And she’s cute . ’

'That isn’t it . ’

'If you say cold things like that, she’ll get away . ’

'Like your wife, Gotou-san?’

'Shut up! I don’t need to hear that from you!’ said Gotou with a click of his tongue .

'If you have the time to worry about other people, please do your work for once . If the police had looked into this properly in the first place, I wouldn’t have been involved in this . ’

Yakumo’s opinion made sense .

'Don’t say that . The police haven’t got enough hands either . Girls of that age often disappear . If we had to look into all those cases, there wouldn’t ever be enough people . ’

'I’m glad you seem busy . ’

'Well, anyway, it was tough . I’ll make the story fit with the paperwork . ’

Gotou hit Yakumo’s shoulder lightly and walked with a bowlegged gait .

'Hey, who was that just now?’ asked Haruka after she couldn’t see Gotou any longer .

'Even though he’s like that, he’s a detective,’ said Yakumo, pointing at the direction Gotou had gone with his chin .

'Oh, you know a detective?’

'Rather than know, it’s more that I can’t avoid him . ’

'Can’t avoid?’

'He’s the one who saved me right before my mother almost killed me . A number of things have happened since . ’

'A number? Does he look out for you?’

'That isn’t it . To me, there are two types of people in this world . People who see my red left eye as a monstrosity, and those who try to use it . Gotou-san is one of the latter . ’

Haruka couldn’t understand what Yakumo said .

Could you divide everyone into just two types? The relationships between people should have been more complicated and meaningful than that .

However, Haruka didn’t know how to explain that, so she kept her mouth shut –

'Now that I’ve said that though, there’s one strange person who’s an exception . ’

Yakumo said just that and walked away briskly .

'Hey, by strange person, you don’t mean me, right?’

Haruka hurriedly ran after Yakumo .




A few days afterwards, Haruka went to Yakumo’s secret hideaway again .

Miki became much better after that .

She appeared to have forgotten everything that happened after losing consciousness at the abandoned building .

Kazuhiko, who had gone missing, returned to the university like nothing had happened . When Haruka asked him about it, it turned out he’d returned to his parents’ home in fear .

Haruka was so exasperated she couldn’t even be angry .

At the university, the media came because of the incident – there was quite some fuss .

The news announcers commented that the entrance rates for the next year would probably be the lowest ever, and some students had transferred to other universities, thinking that the incident could have an effect on their job searching .

However, the clamour would probably fade away with time .

Even though it was past noon, Yakumo had his usual bedhead and sleepy eyes .

He was like a cat lazing in the sun .

'No matter when I see you, you always look like you’ve just woken up . ’

'Because you only come when I’m just waking up . ’

Yakumo replied bluntly, as usual .

Yakumo’s slightly sulky expression was so funny to Haruka that she laughed .

'What do you need today?’

He was clearly telling her to go home if she didn’t need anything .

Haruka covered her mouth to stop her laughter and took an envelope out of her bag, placing it on the table .

'What’s this?’

'The money, as promised . A lot of things happened, but Miki is better . ’

Yakumo pushed the envelope back .

'I don’t want it . ’

'Why not?’

'I owe your older sister a favour . We’re even . ’

'A favour?’

Haruka cocked her head, unable to understand .

'Your sister’s the one who told me that you were on the roof . ’


She tried to save me –

Thinking that was enough to make her chest feel warm .

'Sorry . ’


'When I first met you, I called you a fraud, Saitou-san…’

'Don’t worry about it . ’


'And stop calling me Saitou-san,’ said Yakumo, pointing at Haruka .

'Then what should I call you?’

'I don’t mind if you just call me by my name normally . ’

Haruka felt like she’d taken a step into his heart .

'I accept that your mysterious power isn’t fraud, Yakumo-kun . ’

'I’m very grateful . ’

Yakumo yawned, like he didn’t care .

His actions were just like a cat’s .

'I’m jealous of you, Yakumo-kun . ’


'You can meet my sister, right? I can’t meet her even if I want to . I’ve always wanted to apologise and I have so many things I want to tell her, but I can’t see her . . ’

Haruka’s voice was shaking slightly .

My sister died because of me .

She had carried that burden for thirteen years .

She couldn’t put it down even if she wanted to . When she thought about how she would continue carrying it for the rest of her life, she couldn’t help but curse her own sin .

'Don’t blame yourself like that . I said this before, but your sister doesn’t blame you . ’

'That’s a lie . My sister died because of me…’

'Then just ask her yourself . ’

Yakumo took off the contact lens in his left eye and turned towards Haruka with his red eye .

No matter how many times she saw it, it was a beautiful red colour .

It was like it was letting off a light of its own .

'Close your eyes . ’

Haruka closed her eyes like Yakumo said .

Her vision went dark –

'Sis . ’

Suddenly, her sister was standing in front of her .

She looked just like she had then .

From the accident when she was seven –

'Sis, sorry . At that time… because I threw the ball far away…’

Haruka bit her lip . She forced the words out of her throat .

Ayaka didn’t say anything . She just smiled .

That was enough .

Tears fell from Haruka’s eyes . She was helpless to stop them .

Ayaka’s incredibly warm and gentle smile .

It felt like all her pains were being washed away .

Haruka kept wiping her endless tears and opened her eyes again .

Ayaka had disappeared . Instead, Yakumo was standing there with sleepy eyes .

'Thank you…’

Yakumo looked up at the ceiling, like he hadn’t heard anything .

'I’ve cried in front of you twice now, Yakumo-kun . ’

'Three times . ’

Yakumo corrected her, putting up his fingers .

'Don’t keep track . I’m not crying because I want to . ’

Haruka used her handkerchief to wipe her tears and stood up .

'I’m really thankful for all you’ve done . This is farewell then . ’

Yakumo didn’t respond to Haruka’s words .

He just yawned .

He’s not honest at all –

Haruka smiled and put her hand on the doorknob .

Would this really be farewell for her and Yakumo? That thought suddenly came to her head .

'Hey, what should I do if I want to meet my sister again?’

Haruka asked that question, her back still facing Yakumo .

Yakumo didn’t respond .

What did I expect? Haruka tried to cover up the words that had unexpectedly come out of her mouth with a laugh .

'Just open that door and come here . ’

Haruka hurriedly turned around .

Yakumo was leaning back on his chair with his usual sleepy eyes .


'I’m saying you can come whenever you want . But I’m taking money next time . ’

'I’ll be negotiating the price next time though . ’

Haruka said just that and opened the door, leaving the room with a smile .

Even though the sky was the same colour as usual, it looked refreshing to her –



[1] Since it was named Wakare no Kyoku (別れの曲) in the original text, I used the name Farewell, but Chopin never called it by that name himself even though it is known as that (or L'Adieu) . It’s Étude Op . 10, No . 3 and it is absolutely beautiful . HERE is Lang Lang playing it .

[2] Showa 30 is 1955 in the Gregorian calendar .