Volume 5 Prologue
VOLUME 5 – CONNECTED FEELINGS prologue ()
‘Fifteen years ago, a terrible and bizarre murder occurred at this house.’
At the sign of Hoshino, the cameraman and director, Yuki, the reporter, started speaking towards the camera.
Though it was a camera, it wasn’t one for business use but a home-use Handycam, often used when variety shows shot on location. There was nothing a late-night show with a low budget could do.
Maruyama took a cross out from the pocket of his worship clothes and gripped it with both hands.
A cold wind was blowing –
Having a psychic special at a time like this could only be a prank. However, he had to endure it. Appearing on television like this was good publicity.
Maruyama sniffled and stood firm.
'Today, not a single person has approached this house.’
Yuki looked up at the second floor and pointed. Maruyama looked up as well.
It was a huge house.
He didn’t know what sort of plan the owner had had, but to put it plainly, it was creepy. The house had a pointed roof and the wooden pillars were showing.
It looked like some church from the Middle Ages. It didn’t match the Japanese scenery.
'There is a rumour that a ghost lurks within this house. Is this the grudge of the murdered victim? Or did the murder occur because this house had been cursed from before?’
Yuki’s almond eyes narrowed as she asked these questions.
Hoshino shook the dead branches in front of the garden as planned.
'The answer will be revealed tonight,’ said Yuki with a hard expression.
Maruyama looked at the talent called Yuki for the first time. It was mysterious how she had never showed up on stage before.
Skin as pale as porcelain and a straight-edged nose. At first glance, she seemed tidy and trim, but the almond eyes underneath her brow looked like they were challenging men.
Her beauty would make most talents run away with their tails between their legs.
She wasn’t bad at speaking either. Of course she recited her lines smoothly, but her voice had a dignified tone to it.
'Today, the exorcist Maruyama-sensei has graced us with his presence.’
Yuki welcomed him.
Maruyama fixed the sleeves of his worship clothes, put on a quiet expression and walked into the frame in front of Yuki.
'My name is Maruyama.’
He bowed with purposeful solemnity.
'Sensei, what is your impression of this house after looking at it?’
After Yuki asked that, Maruyama gripped the cross in front of his chest and closed his eyes silently.
He counted to three in his head and then opened his eyes.
'It’s strong. I feel an incredibly strong grudge.’
Maruyama turned his gaze to the house.
'So there really is a ghost in this house?’
Maruyama nodded at Yuki’s words.
However, it wasn’t as if he really thought that.
Of course Maruyama didn’t believe in ghosts, but he didn’t believe in gods or devils either. He was gripping a cross, but he thought even the miracle of Christ was idiotic.
He had been in this business for a long time, but he’d never encountered a ghost.
They were just wrong impressions and obsessions. That was what Maruyama felt.
The reason Maruyama was working as an exorcist was that it was profitable. If he said that the people who came to consult him were possessed by evil spirits, they’d pay any amount of money.
He took advantage of people’s weaknesses and stole their money. Maruyama knew that he was a swindler.
'There is a spirit here. Please step away from me. It is incredibly dangerous.’
Maruyama stared at the camera as he said those words that he didn’t mean.
'Yes, OK. Let’s hurry to the next shoot.’
At Hoshino’s sign, the camera stopped and they moved to the entrance of the house.
'OK, Yuki-chan, open the door. Then, Sensei, please head in first. We’ll decide what to do next from the flow.’
After those incredibly vague instructions, Hoshi handed the key to Yuki and started filming again.
'Now, I’d like to head inside immediately.’
As Yuki said that, she put the key in the keyhole and turned it slowly.
The rusted metal made a scraping sound as the door unlocked.
Yuki looked over pressingly.
Maruyama responded with a nod and slowly pulled the doorknob.
It sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. In response to that, the sparrows in the dead branches let out a sharp cry and flew off all at once.
Yuki let out a short scream and clung to Maruyama’s arm.
Her face was pale. It was like she was actually scared. If he conducted himself well, he might make some delicious memories.
Maruyama buried his wicked thoughts in the pit of his stomach and stepped into the house.
The white light installed on the camera lit the path.
The entrance was an atrium, and the corridor led straight. To the left there was a set of stairs.
Dry leaves and dust had piled up to the point that it couldn’t be distinguished from the ground. The walls had yellowed with age and parts of it were peeling off.
Even though it was winter, the air felt damp. However, that just came from the atmosphere.
Maruyama gathered his thoughts and walked straight down the corridor as instructed by Yuki and Hoshino.
Creak, creak, creak –
Every time he stepped on the ground, it creaked.
Maruyama walked to the end of the corridor and stopped.
There was a door in front of him.
'I feel great spiritual power from the other side of this door.’
Maruyama gestured at the door.
The truth was he didn’t feel any spiritual power. He’d heard at the meeting that the corpse was found in the living room at the end of the corridor, so he was just matching up with that.
There was the sound of something falling down.
Yuki was trembling convulsively.
’… W-who is it?’ squeaked Yuki. She sounded like a completely different person.
'J-just now, s-somebody touched m-my shoulder…’
Yuki’s eyes were filled with tears.
Maruyama looked around, but besides Hoshino with the camera, nobody was there. Sometimes, people hallucinated things that weren’t there because they were caught up by the atmosphere. Yuki was probably that type of person.
Maruyama said that to himself as his heartbeat started accelerating.
Suddenly, Hoshino yelled as he jumped.
'What is it?’ asked Maruyama, acting calm.
'Just now, somebody touched my neck.’
Hoshino’s eyes were wide open in shock.
Was this a joke? It had to be a hallucination. Mass hysteria or something. It was idiotic.
Maruyama looked towards the sound.
The door at the end of the corridor that had been closed up until now slowly opened –
This had to be a lie. There was no way something like this was happening. These guys were just taking Maruyama for a ride. He wouldn’t be tricked.
Maruyama took deep breaths as he looked into the room.
The light shone down on the floor.
He was startled by what he saw.
The whole floor was dyed black. It was the trace of blood.
Did a murder really happen here?
'No! Stay away!’
Yuki let out a shriek and gripped Maruyama’s arm so tightly it hurt.
'It’s fine. I’m here.’
Yuki didn’t respond to Maruyama’s words at all, and her body started convulsing.
The trembling grew stronger and stronger, and she fell to her knees.
Yuki didn’t respond to Maruyama’s question. She vomited right there and collapsed while clutching at her chest.
Oi, oi. This wasn’t happening, right?
As if ridiculing Maruyama in his disturbed state, the lights went out.
It was so dark he couldn’t see his fingers –
What was happening? What on earth had happened?
Clang, clang, clang, clang.
The sound of something hitting metal echoed.
Hoshino’s shout pierced Maruyama’s ears.
There, there was a loud noise, but within ten seconds, there was silence.
Maruyama called out to Hoshino, who had been here just now, and he put both his hands out to look for him.
There was the sound of something falling to the floor.
Maruyama was drenched with sweat. It was hard to breathe.
What is this feeling –
Maruyama had completely lost himself in the dark.
Something brushed Maruyama’s back.
Haa, haa, haa –
Maruyama was breathing erratically. He started running, not knowing where he was going. However, he soon tripped on something and fell forward.
He didn’t feel any pain.
Anyway, he had to get out of here as soon as he could.
Maruyama raised his head as he tried to get up, and in front of his eyes – a woman’s face came hazily into view.
That face was covered in blood.
He had reached his limit.
Maruyama screamed and fainted.
 A Handycam is a brand of camcorders made by Sony. is the Sony Japan website for it.