Volume 3 Prologue



It was a quiet night.


Ozawa Keiko was driving.

The dark forest road turned and twisted with trees on both sides but not even one lamppost.

Though it was the shortest route home, she always tried not to take it since it was spooky.

However, today was different. She had to return home as quickly as she could to share the news.

Keiko put her hand on her belly. Though there was no bump now, new life dwelled within this belly.

This happiness she had never tasted before was far more exalting than she had imagined.

Her husband Kazuhiro would probably cry.

When Keiko glanced forward, a tree by the road shook with a rustle, and a dark shadow jumped out onto the road.

A person –

Keiko automatically stepped on the brakes.

The car stopped suddenly with an ear-splitting screech from the brakes and white smoke from the tires.

Though it had been an automatic reaction, the car did not hit anything.

– It’s fine.

Keiko said that to herself, opened the door with a shaking hand and stepped out. She saw that someone had fallen, illuminated by the headlights.

There was a woman with long hair lying face down about five metres from the car.

‘Are you OK?’

Keiko rushed over.

'Please hang in there.’

Keiko put her arms around the woman who was facedown and helped her up.

Her skin was incredibly pale. The bridge of her nose was pencil-straight. The woman was shockingly beautiful.

The hem of the skirt she was wearing was torn, and her shirt was also smeared with mud.

That wasn’t all. The woman wasn’t wearing shoes. Her bare feet were covered with dirt, and they were grazed all over.

She ran on a mountain road in her bare feet?

Why –

'Are you OK?’

Though Keiko had some doubts, she spoke to the woman once more.

The woman twisted her body in a way that looked painful and moaned.

She was alive.

'Please hang on. I will bring you to a hospital immediately.’

The woman slowly opened her eyes, like she was responding to Keiko’s words. Though she was beautiful, she didn’t feel alive. Her eyes looked like they belonged to a doll.

’… Save me… that man is coming…’

The woman’s lips moved.

– That man?

'What happened?’

At Keiko’s questions, the woman opened her eyes wide and distorted her face. She clung on to Keiko.

'That man…’

Her fingernails dug in as she spoke with a hoarse voice.

'That man?’

'I have to run, I have to run, I have to run…

The woman’s body was shaking in fear as she said the same thing over and over.

'Calm down. Please calm down.’

Keiko embraced the woman tightly.

'I have to run… That man…’

The woman stopped speaking and suddenly fainted.


Keiko looked in front at the sound of a shaking tree.

A man stood on the road, lit up by the car’s headlights.

He wore a black suit and dark sunglasses, even though he was on a mountain in the night.

Gooseflesh rose all over Keiko’s skin.

This woman was probably running away from this man. It was not a thought. She felt that instinctually.

It’s dangerous. I have to run –

Though Keiko thought that, she couldn’t move, like she had been caught in the man’s gaze.

Sweat ran down her brow.

– The true nature of the human soul is darkness.

When the man said that lazily, the corners of his lips turned up.

– That woman’s child proves that.

After the man said that, he slowly took off his glasses.

Both of his eyes glowed bright red like a blazing flame.

* * *

It was a sweltering night –


She was walking on the road that led to her apartment.

Because of the heat and the humidity, her back was moist with sweat. She wanted to return home quickly to take a shower. She naturally quickened her pace.

A tepid wind blew.

Just as she reached the apartment’s courtyard, she suddenly stopped.

– Hey. Why?

She could hear someone whispering in the wind.


She looked for the source of the voice.


Her voice just came out. She could see a figure on the rooftop of the seven-storey apartment.

Because it was dark, she couldn’t clearly see their appearance, but they were definitely human.

Why is there someone there – she thought, and at the same time, that figure fell.

She was so shocked she could not even scream.

The figure, who had become a dark mass, made a dull thump as they hit the asphalt, pulled down by gravity.

The vibration that shook her feet turned into horror and ran up her body.

The person who fell was a woman with long hair.

The woman’s arms and legs were bent at unnatural angles, and her head had sunken into the asphalt. A large amount of blood was coming out.

It was obvious that the woman was no longer alive.

– Why…

A voice reached her ears in her silent shock.

A low, growling voice.

She felt a freezing chill. She had a bad feeling.

– Why… I…

The voice continued.


She held her breath and stepped back.

She knew whose voice had spoken.

The twisted arms and legs of the woman who had fallen started moving.

Though the woman had fallen from the top of the apartment, she slowly stood up, like a new-born foal.

'No way!’

It was impossible. She shook her head frantically to deny what was happening in front of her eyes, but the reality in front of her did not disappear.

The woman who had stood up let her arms hang languidly, and dragged her feet as she started walking with unnatural, zombie-like movements towards the apartment’s entrance.

– Why, why, why…

The woman kept on muttering the same words.

Finally, the woman disappeared through the apartment’s entrance.

Her thighs were shaking, and she sat down with a thump right there. Released from her unimaginable fear, tears were spilling out of her eyes.

Her mind was completely blank, and she was at a complete loss for what to do next.

How much time passed?


She heard the woman’s voice again.

– It can’t be.

She looked up at the apartment.

There was a figure on the roof.

And then –

The woman fell again.

The blood spattered on to her cheek.

– Why…

The woman opened her mouth again and slowly stood up.

Her eyes met with the blood-stained woman.

Eyes that were so fathomlessly dark it was like they were tunnels to hell –

– Hey. Why can’t I die?

The woman spat out blood as she spoke.


Her scream cut through the summer night.