Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prologue (o)


Tokyo district, April 11 – the lifeless body of Hitomi Gotsuji, 17 years, was found under mysterious circumstances inside the premises of the Mitsugi high school institute. According to the first preliminary reconstruction of the crime, the death was most likely caused by a stab to the heart with a traditional Japanese sword. The victim was a talented basketball player and she was last seen by her club members after a long training session in the school's gym. Nobody knows what happened during those fateful thirty minutes from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, the time of the grisly discovery made by a student. Indiscretions report that the crime scene, allegedly an abandoned P.E. shed, presented itself to the investigators as if it was the set of a horror movie. Strange idols, demonic decorations and eerie magic circles were found scattered throughout the whole room. The police has yet to release a public declaration on the matter of this unthinkable incident, but theories of a possible satanic cult involving several students of the institute abound. There are rumors of spirits haunting the school grounds, reports of strange events of supernatural origin and even talks about esoteric practices and summoning rituals. The principal Akemi Wakamatsu refused to be interviewed by the press, but the citizens of Tokyo and, more importantly, the parents of the students of the Mitsugi institute demand answers. Where were the teachers when this madness infected the minds of their pupils? How could they let those unsavory rumors spread uncontrolled? And how could they overlook a public building as it was slowly turned into a den of horrors? It is certainly disheartening the though that this fatal tragedy could have been prevented, if more control was exercised by those who had the responsibility. It is a well known and sad fact that bullying is a serious problem that plagues the school system of Japan, and yet not much has been done to prevent it, even after the death of several students. So far suicide has been the tragic outcome of these cases, but it is not to exclude that with the death of Hitomi Gotsuji this rampant phenomenon might have reached a new stage, where bullies go from indirect to direct methods to cause the demise of their victims...

"Did you read this article? It makes me want to puke. This guy knows absolutely nothing about what happened on that damn school, and yet he quickly jumped on the first indiscretions and made it a national affair already. Look, he practically solved the case! Why doesn't he take my job, if he's so smart? And then he talks about responsibility. Bah!"

"He's a reporter, he tells stories, that's his job. If he didn't enhance the truth by making it more interesting for the general public, his newspaper wouldn't sell enough copies."

"He's just scum, I tell you! He and all the other vultures like him. A girl died on that place, and all that they can think about is whom to blame for that, among the members of our institutions. So now, thanks to them, my life has just been made harder. Because now that this case has received the attention of the media, I'm being constantly pressured from above to solve it as quickly as possible!"

"That's understandable. These rumors are quite unsettling, and the public opinion is easily impressionable, especially by the occult."

"There are no demons nor spirits involved in this crime. A human did it, as it's always the case. I've seen many murders in my career and never once the culprit turned out to be a ghost!"

"What about a witch?"

"Spare me your third rate unwitty remarks! I said it's always a human, and I mean it! Nothing else, witches included!"

"And yet, this case is mysterious to say the least."

"Ha! Imagine what would have happened, if I told them that the body was found in a storage room without any windows and with the only door locked from inside! Oh, I'm sure those reporters would have feasted on it like a swarm of maggots!"

"I think it was a wise decision to prevent the disclosure of that information."

"You tell me! Especially with that brat that claims the door was opened when he found his friend lying there. Liar! Those students are all liars, I tell you! I know a thing or two about people, one who works in my field learns fast how to spot a liar, I know what I'm talking about! Oh, I don't mean to say that I understand people's minds better than you do, but I'm no amateur at that."

"I know, believe it or not, I have the utmost respect for your insight on criminal minds. I find it inspiring, albeit a bit rough and unrefined."

"Bah! I need no flatteries. What I need is someone that could deal with this quagmire! There are way too many things that aren't clear and I don't even know where we should start from. Hopefully when the scientific analyses will be completed we'll have a better picture to look at. Right now it's just a nonsensical mess."

"You don't believe in the satanic cult theory?"

"I honestly don't know! But frankly I think it's superficial to simply conclude that the victim was sacrificed to who knows what kind of god or demon. And if that was the case, I'd expect them to make the corpse disappear."

"Unless it was an accident, a game that went wrong."

"I can hardly believe that. That sword was thrust by a firm hand and with precision. And then the victim was hit on her head with a blunt object, probably to render her unconscious."

"Doesn't that support the theory that she was chosen as a human sacrifice? Why would a murderer make her unconscious before killing her rather than kill her directly?"

"Like I said, I don't quite understand. The locked room makes even less sense. And that  guy says it wasn't even a locked room to begin with. What exactly am I supposed to think? The culprit is either a genius or a complete idiot! I've never seen a murder case that was more messed up than this one!"

"I see... So, if I understand, you are required to shed light on this mystery, and you've been pressured to do it quickly. But unfortunately the situation is so complex that you don't even know what's going on."


"And as the press is giving to this case unnecessary attention, a failure might have dire repercussions on your career."

"Damn, those bastards! I'm sure they'll mention my name sooner or later! There are kids involved this time, you know that makes a completely different impression on the masses. The higher ups hate the idea of losing their precious seats and they'll have my head if I can't bring results."

"It seems to me that you need all the help that you can muster."

"That's for sure! But... what are you going on about?"

"I believe this is a case meant to be solved by a great detective."

"Oh... no! No, no, no, no! That's out of the question!"

"But you must admit, her services proved to be invaluable in the past."

"She solved one case! Yeah, she did! She was brilliant, I'm not denying that. That case was almost as bad as this one, and yet she found all the decisive proofs. She even made the culprit confess everything! It was a perfect resolution, but at what price?! What price?!"

"She is... obviously, an unusual individual, and her methods are unorthodox, if you can pardon the euphemism, but they are extremely effective."

"Look... I'm not going to involve myself with that crazy girl again! I've had enough of her the first time! And in spite of what she accomplished, I still regret that decision!"

"Then I think we should change approach this time. You don't even need to see her nor to talk to her."

"What do you mean?"

"Rather than hiring her as an advisor in the investigation team, let her work alone. I believe that that would be more advantageous for everyone."

"You want her and my men to proceed with their investigations in parallel? That would put unnecessary stress on the witnesses."

"Not much more than it would normally. We just need a man to act as a liaison between the two parties, so that each may benefit from the other's findings. I think this would be a most ideal arrangement."

"And who should I sacrifice for the task?"

"Consider the pro and cons with care. You know she'll find the truth behind this case, wherever it may hide, she only lives for this very purpose."


"So, what's your decision?"

"You win! But I don't want to know anything about that! You'll take care of that matter, I'll just give you one of my men, that's all."

"Excellent, I shall inform our common acquaintance first thing in the morning of the upcoming day. She'll be delighted to know that there's a new case that requires her attention: a fitting murder case for the great detective Erika Furudo!"

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