Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chapter 1 (c)


Satsukawa: "Well in that case let's get to work! There's much to discuss and the sooner we start, the sooner we can go to the crime site for an inspection. I assume you'd want to check it personally."

Erika: "You assume correctly."

Satsukawa: "Please, have a seat. This will take some time and I have a few documents that I need to show you."

We all sit around the table. Strangely I don't feel any excitement at all, even if I have been waiting for a chance to make use of my many little grey cells for a while now. I seriously hope that this whole affair will turn out to be more complex than how it appears.

Satsukawa: "Let's begin with the basic facts. Hitomi Gotsuji, 17 years old, was found dead on the eleventh day of this month, four days ago. The coroner confirmed that she died between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. However several witnesses claim she was still alive at around 6:00 o' clock. That's the last time she was seen."

Erika: "And I suppose these several witnesses are Gotsuji's club members."

Satsukawa: "That's correct. The victim had been training in the school gym until 5:45. At that time most club members, including the victim, moved to the changing room. After taking a shower and changing in her school uniform, the victim left the room. From there nobody knows where she headed to. Naturally we presume she went to the old P.E. shed where her body was found."

Erika: "I suppose she wasn't the only one who was done in the changing room by that time. Isn't it strange that nobody wondered why she didn't head for the exit like everyone else?"

Satsukawa: "We didn't ask... but we know that all the club members that were with the victim at that time headed straight out of the school in a time span of about ten minutes from 5:55 to 6:05."

Erika: "If I understand correctly, you're implying that not all the club members ended their practice at 5:45."

Satsukawa: "That's correct. It appears that the club president wanted to train until 6:00, but because Gotsuji asked and was granted to leave earlier, most members decided that they had the same right and followed her."

Erika: "It was the victim's precise request?"

Satsukawa: "Yes, and in the team we're all convinced that this is an important element to solve this case."

Erika: "In other words the victim had an appointment with the culprit and she didn't want to be late."

Satsukawa: "That's what we think."

Erika: "This looks way too easy. Are you really sure this case requires my talents?"

Satsukawa: "There are complex matters that we can't fully comprehend yet. We'll get to those later. As for the members that remained in the gym, those are the president herself and a second year student. Their names are Kagami Hibari and Yuu Azuma respectively."

Erika: "And how much longer they've been training?"

Satsukawa: "We couldn't get precise times, but they said they also had to collect the basket balls and perform other clean up operations. In the end Hibari left school at 6:34 and Azuma at 6:39."

Erika: "That's after the body was discovered!"

Satsukawa: "Yes. However both claim they didn't notice the commotion and they went home without realizing their friend had been murdered."

Dlanor: "Mister Satsukawa, I presume there is a reason you can state the time they left with such precision."

Satsukawa: "As a matter of facts, yes. There's a surveillance camera just outside the school's entrance. We've been using its records to validate the girls' claims, and they all match when you consider an acceptable margin of error."

Erika: "And I suppose Hibari and Azuma provided an alibi to each other."

Satsukawa: "That's correct, but that doesn't amount to much if they're both involved in the crime. To be fair, our main problem is that we have way too many possible culprits, but none that we can consider more suspicious than the rest."

Dlanor: "Excluding the club members, who was the last person that saw the victim alive?"

Satsukawa: "The culprit!"

Dlanor: "..."

Erika: "Very funny."

Rokudou: "An old classic, hu hu hu."

Satsukawa: "Ha ha ha! Sorry, I always wanted to say that! I was just trying to break the tension."

Erika: "Your sense of humor is terrific."

Satsukawa: "Thanks! ... I guess..."

Erika: "However your answer assumed that the culprit isn't a club member."

Satsukawa: "That was just a joke... a-hem... Anyway to answer Dlanor's question, excluding the club members nobody saw the victim after the last period ended. In other words after around 3:30 pm."

Erika: "Let's talk about the cause of the death."

Satsukawa: "Well, there's not much to doubt about that. The victim's heart was pierced by a wakizashi, a traditional Japanese sword. She died almost instantly."

Erika: "A wakizashi you said? That's quite unusual..."

Satsukawa: "And that's not all. We made it check by an expert and he claims it's an authentic shinshinto sword, it'd probably sell for a lot of money if properly restored."

Dlanor: "Shinshinto, that means it is more than one century old, if not two centuries."

Erika: "You said: if properly restored?"

Satsukawa: "It isn't in perfect conditions, it wasn't properly tended, but the blade is still deadly. We believe it's probably a forgotten family heirloom. We still don't know who's the owner, and it's practically impossible to retrace it, since apparently the sword wasn't sold recently."

Erika: "I see, a proper shop would've properly polished it before selling it. But what about fingerprints?"

Satsukawa: "There are none to be found on the murder weapon, and the same goes for the hammer."

Erika: "Hammer?"

Satsukawa: "Ah, right! I didn't mention it yet. The victim was struck with a hammer between the parietal and occipital areas of the skull. We believe the culprit hit her from behind rendering her unconscious. The body was then stabbed using the wakizashi. Both weapons were found at the crime scene. By the way, I have the pictures that were taken when the investigation team arrived."

I take the photos and I study them carefully. The wakizashi is still piercing the girl's body and stands perpendicularly above her. The blood I see must have gushed out from the wound when the culprit struck. Judging from the state of her uniform, it seems that the culprit tried to undress her, but somehow stopped midway, or maybe he just wanted to make a mess, it's hard to tell. There are many objects that were marked and numbered, most of them seem to be third-rate occult garbage and dusty P.E. equipment. Some of them are scattered on the floor, and it seems they fell from a nearby shelf. The victim or the culprit must have accidentally bumped on it. There's also a cell phone on the floor, which I presume fell from the victim's body.
The schoolbag lying in a corner must also be hers. The hammer is broad and it's easy to imagine how it was used. There are several straw voodoo dolls inside a box and big iron nails. The body is right inside a magic circle that I easily recognize. It's the 'Circle of the Art' from the grimoire of Solomon. If memory serves well, it is used to summon demons.
There are several candles scattered through the perimeter. Judging by their state and the many blotches of melted wax, they must have been used for a long time. The last object that catches my attention is a statue, a reproduction of the Assyrian Pazuzu. It sits right in the middle of the triangle where conjured demons are supposed to appear, so right in front of the victim. It's quite big, at least one meter tall, maybe more. I'm not sure what material it is made of, probably some kind of clay.

Erika: "Is this the victim's phone?"

Satsukawa: "Yes, we confirmed it is, however we didn't find anything relevant on it. No strange calls, no strange messages, and she didn't use it at all on the day of the crime."

Erika: "Do you think she was sexually assaulted?"

Satsukawa: "I doubt, but we can't exclude that either. She wasn't sexually abused, that's for sure, but we don't know if the culprit tried to. The state of her clothes would suggest that, but it could be a red herring."

Erika: "And with all this stuff scattered around you didn't find any fingerprints?"

Satsukawa: "Oh no, actually... we've found a lot and not just that. We've found hairs and we recovered many other DNA samples. Naturally we've excluded those that might come from the time the shed was still used as a P.E. storage."

Erika: "Interesting... and you haven't found whom they belong to?"

Satsukawa gives me a strange smile.

Satsukawa: "Right now all that I can say is that they belong to at least sixteen different persons, all female."

Now, this is starting to get actually interesting. Maybe there's more than what meets the eyes in this whole affair.

Satsukawa: "Analysis are on their way, but it'll take time before we can have a complete answer. We collected fingerprints and DNA samples of more than six hundreds students, plus the teachers and everyone else that works in the school. And we're lucky that the Mitsugi institute isn't that big."

Erika: "I don't quite understand. With that many persons involved I can hardly believe that no one knew what was going on inside that shed. They must know who transformed it in that sort of magic den."

Satsukawa: "Well... that's the issue... We're pretty sure that many students know who's to blame for that, but nobody wants to talk. We do have a most probable suspect though."

Erika: "And who this mysterious person might be?"

Satsukawa: "Maaya Teramoto, which just happens to be the president of the occultism club."

Erika: "There's a club like that in that school?"

Satsukawa: "Funny, isn't it? But it looks like the principal decided to disband it, for obvious reasons."

Erika: "Did you interrogate her?"

Satsukawa: "Yes... that's a scary girl. We didn't get anything from her, she denied any involvement with that shed and with the crime. She said a strange thing though."

Erika: "Please do tell, I love strange things."

Satsukawa: "She said that Hitomi Gotsuji fell upon the wrath of Pazuzu."

Dlanor: "Pazuzu, he is the king of the demons of the wind in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology."

Erika: "Did that Teramoto girl explain what did she mean by that?"

Satsukawa: "We asked, but we didn't get any substantial information. She just kept talking about how demons are real and other occult nonsense. By the way it's not just her, many students seem to believe that that shed is cursed. Even when they don't openly say so, you can still tell that they're afraid."

Dlanor: "Mister Satsukawa, can you explain why the shed is no longer used as a P.E. storage?"

Satsukawa: "It's been that way from when they rebuilt the gym about four years ago. The new building included storage rooms for P.E. equipment, and they've been using those ever since."

Erika: "How come the old storage was never converted into something else? I mean... officially. It seems a waste to me."

Satsukawa: "Well, here's another funny fact... We've learned that there's been requests from a few clubs that wanted to use the shed for their activities, but the student council always refused."

Erika: "Bizarre... and the reason was?"

Satsukawa: "The president of the student council shamelessly admitted that it would've been a bother to fill all the required modules."

Erika: "And you believed him?"

Satsukawa: "Actually... yes. You need to meet the guy to understand."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chapter 1 (b)

Erika: "I'm somewhat disappointed, Dlanor, it looks like there's nothing of interest on the newspaper today. I was confident that in a such a perfect day something intellectually stimulating would spontaneously present itself before my eyes."

Dlanor: "Much to your chagrin, Miss Erika, murder cases in this country aren't very common."

Erika: "Indeed. And the few that occasionally happen are usually petty and trivial."

Rokudou: "Oh, that's unexpected. I was under the impression that the Mitsugi incident stimulated your curiosity enough, milady."

Erika: "Not particularly. If my hunch is correct, and it rarely isn't, the culprit isn't anyone that can prove to be a match in an intellectual challenge against me. The MPD must have fallen really low, if they deemed necessary my intervention on this matter. Though I admit that I hoped to find news regarding that crime today."

Rokudou: "In that case I'm delighted to announce that they just called a few minutes ago. The preparations are complete and your contact is ready to meet you. They said that you'll be granted access to all the informations they gathered so far."

Erika: "Finally! I was wondering how much longer would they make me wait! And to think I agreed to help them the very day they asked."

Dlanor: "Bureaucratic matters require time."

Erika: "So, if I understand correctly, this time I'll only talk to this contact and no one else?"

Rokudou: "That is correct, milady, and I took the liberty to set an appointment. We are to meet with this man in a police station close to the crime scene in about two hours from now."

Erika: "How disappointing, and here I was hoping to see our dear superintendent-general again."

Rokudou: "I fear he still bears ill will against you, milady..."

Erika: "My my... what do you think, Dlanor? Isn't that man exaggeratedly hot-tempered and touchy? He has no reason to still hold a grudge after all this time. *giggle* *giggle*"

Dlanor: "..."

Erika: "At any rate this arrangement is actually convenient for myself. I don't have any wish to deal with all those unrefined and clumsy policemen again. This time I'll act and move completely alone. Oh... I mean without anyone except you, Dlanor."

Rokudou: "Milady, you'll be followed everywhere by an officer. The man that will be your contact won't simply act as a liaison between you and the investigation team, he'll also act as your personal bodyguard."

Erika: "Is that so? What a bother..."

Rokudou: "I think it would be advisable to maintain a cooperative relationship with this man. You'll be together for almost the entirety of the upcoming days. It would benefit everyone if you became friends."

Erika: "Friends?! Please, Rokudou, I need no friend, and I most certainly won't befriend a dimwitted cop."

Rokudou: "I think you should at the very least give him a chance. You didn't even meet yet."

Erika: "If he's like the rest of his coworkers, I seriously doubt we'll get along."

Rokudou: "This time it will be different. I've been assured that he's a very accommodating man."

Erika: "He better be, if he wants to deal with me."

Rokudou: "Milady... can I have your word that you'll refrain from causing problems to this person? I'd feel a lot more at ease knowing that you are left in the care of someone that doesn't wish to hurt you."

Erika: "Ah ha ha ha! Oh, I suppose you have a point! That's most likely to happen and it probably wouldn't be pretty."

Rokudou: "Unfortunately my duties tie me to this place, I won't be able to assist you as much as I wish, but I intend to bring and serve your tea every day as usual."

Erika: "That's right, I almost forgot. Did you make the necessary arrangements?"

Rokudou: "Of course, milady. The best room of the most renown hotel in the area has been already reserved on your name."

Erika: "Good."

Rokudou: "So, do I have your word?"

Erika: "I promise that I'll try my best."

Naturally my best at being considerate of others isn't much different from the worst of any normal person, but there's no point in being too specific.

Erika: "So, are we ready to go?"


The meeting room is almost as bad as how the police station looked from outside. There are a few cracks on the white and bare walls, I'm not sure when was the last time they cleaned it, and overall it completely lacks in style. There's a cheap table in the middle made of plastic coated plywood, it's painted so to appear like solid wood, but it's not fooling anyone. The windows aren't letting enough light flow inside, and that adds to the general bleakness of the room.
I think that one could easily improve the atmosphere with just a few touches here and there without crossing the limits of a commoner's budget, but I suppose only and idiot would expect to find aesthetic sensibility in a policeman.
The man that's been waiting here for our arrival is a lot younger than I expected, I suppose he's a new recruit. He doesn't seem particularly smart or dumb, but I can tell he's still wet behind the ears at a first glance. He probably doesn't know what he's getting into, else he wouldn't show half the enthusiasm he greets us with.

Satsukawa: "I'm very pleased to meet you, my name is Keiji Satsukawa. I'm an assistant inspector from the MPD's criminal investigation section, and I've been appointed as your escort and liaison with the rest of the team. From now on I'll be in your care."

Erika: "The pleasure is mine, Satsukawa-san. As you've been already informed, I'm Erika Furudo, the great detective. My skills and talents are at your service."

I accompany my words with an elegant curtsy. It seems that my gesture caused the young officer to blush slightly.

Satsukawa: "Ah, and this must be Dlanor. Rokudou-san told me that you're always together, inseparable."

Dlanor: "Pleased to meet you."

Satsukawa: "Pleased to meet you, Dlanor-chan!"

Rokudou: "We've talked profusely by phone before, but this is the first time we meet in person. Allow me to introduce myself again, I am Gorou Rokudou, please take good care of this young lady."

Satsukawa: "I will. Furudo-san is in capable hands, you can rest easy."

Erika: "Erika is fine. I fancy being called by my first name, honorifics are unnecessary."

Satsukawa: "Oh, perfect! In that case you can call me..."

Erika: "I think I'll address you as Satsukawa-san, I have no intention of becoming your buddy. Also, I'd appreciate if you'd refrain from acting so friendly with my Dlanor in the future."

Satsukawa: "Uh... I see... I didn't mean to disrespect... please forgive me."

Dlanor: "No harm has been done."

Satsukawa: "Maybe... we didn't exactly start with the right foot..."

Erika: "On the contrary. Rokudou was right, you're completely different from the other guys I've met from your department. I think we'll get along just fine."

That's right, I don't think I'll have any problems in dealing with this guy. My words seem to have restored his confidence and he quickly recovers his smile.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chapter 1 (a)


It is a wonderful spring morning, a sunny and calm Monday.
I stretch my body on the gigantic bedpost of my luxurious room. I enjoy the nice sensation that I derive from rolling on the perfectly cleaned and perfumed silken sheets. I'm no longer asleep, I'm not even tired, but lying on this tender mattress is a cozy pleasure. Just another few minutes.

Dlanor: "Good morning, Miss Erika."

Erika: "Good morning, Dlanor."

I smile at my faithful companion. Every time I wake up from my sleep I always find her there, sitting on that exquisite Victorian armchair. She's always the first to greet me in the morning, a delightful routine that repeated itself for the past years. Her devotion to me is unparalleled and I consider her my most prized possession. I don't believe it's strange to consider her on the level of a "possession", that's simply what she is to me, after all... she's furniture.
Dlanor A. Knox is a young western beauty, English to be precise, and she is basically my personal attendant, my entourage. She is discreet, patient, professional and she never says a word more than what is necessary, a trait that I particularly appreciate.

Dlanor: "I presume you had a pleasant sleep. You look particularly radiant today."

Erika: "Oh, I did. I rarely felt better, I'm like born anew."

Dlanor: "Did you have a nice dream?"

Erika: "Not even one! That's why it was such a good sleep. You should know that I hate dreams, they are nothing but garbage devoid of any meaning. It's a waste for my many little grey cells to be occupied with such nonsense. Don't you agree?"

That's right, I really despise dreams, in all of their meanings, and I'm not afraid to tell. When that happens people usually react as if I just killed their favorite pet. It's a funny thing, really. It seems that dreams are seen in a very positive light by most cultures. People are insanely fascinated by them and some even believe that a man without dreams is a man without a life. To me that only shows how weak human beings are. In the end dreams are nothing but lies, just another way to escape a reality that nobody likes.
But I like how dreams are often compared to bubbles, I think it's a fitting metaphor. What there is to be so fascinated by little spheres made of soap, water and air? It's trivial, it's childish, and yet everyone thinks they are pretty, even adults. Everyone likes bubbles!
I like them too in a way, I like to burst them one by one. But what I enjoy the most is looking at the dumb faces of those who see them disappearing before their very eyes. Did you see what happened to that shiny bauble you liked so much? It's gone! Look, it's not longer there, it just vanished into nothingness! How does that make you feel?
I stand up. It's time to prepare myself and get dressed.
I let my nightgown slide to the floor, the servants will take care of it later. I watch myself in the mirror, a girl should always make sure to be in perfect shape. And I see there are no problems there, I'm as fit as ever.

Erika: "I think my boobs are growing again."

That's a lie, but I like to tease Dlanor. She's almost completely flat-chested, the poor thing. As usual she doesn't comment, she doesn't say a thing, she doesn't show the slightest reaction. She's adorable.
I take the clean undergarments and clothes that were prepared for me the day earlier. The maid in charge of this task made a sound choice, these will do quite fine for this day.
While I get dressed, I resume my thoughts on the futility of dreams.

Erika: "Do you know why do lotteries exist, Dlanor?"

Dlanor: "It's a form of gambling. A substantial number of persons gathers a considerable amount of money by investing a small quota. A single person among them is randomly selected and gains a great wealth, while the rest only loses a bit."

Erika: "That's a very nice way of putting it, but did you know that a most practical man once stated that lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math?"

Dlanor: "Yes, I heard of it before."

Erika: "And don't you agree with it?"

Dlanor: "It's a provocative claim, since a lottery isn't exactly a tax by proper definition. However, the underlying message that it isn't statistically convenient to pay the price of a ticket for the expected chance of victory, is undeniably true."

Erika: "That's right, it's undeniable. You can't argue against math. So why do so many people still gamble?"

Dlanor: "..."

Erika: "It's because they want to dream, Dlanor. They pay in order to create the condition that will let them dream. Because as long as they own a ticket and as long as the winner isn't declared, they can dream they'll become rich. And then they'll spend their days dreaming. What will they do with all that money? What will they buy? How much would their lives change? For them that alone is worth the price, even if they don't realize it."

Dlanor: "I see."

I move in front of the dresser and I start combing my long and silky hair.

Erika: "So, do you understand how foolish dreaming is? There are many other more practical ways to gain wealth, and in the end gambling is more likely to make you even poorer. However I must recognize that dreaming is all that is left to unskilled, unintelligent and weak willed individuals. Unlike me, they don't live in huge mansions of their own property, they don't have dozens of servants to do their biddings, they don't have luxurious garments to wear, they aren't gifted with superior intelligence and beauty. They truly are miserable."

I tie my hair into twin tails and I put on a light make up. I look at myself from side to side.

Erika: "How do I look?"

Dlanor: "Perfect as usual, Miss Erika."

Erika: "Good."

For a commoner it is probably unthinkable that all these preparations, just to go from a room to another of your own house, are required. But as an old acquaintance of mine used to say: you must think of the corridors of a mansion as if they are public streets. It would be unforgivable for a mistress to show herself in front of her servants with hair unkempt and a sloppy dress. Dlanor is the only exception, but there's nothing wrong in showing your naked body to mere furniture, right?

Erika: "I'm ready, let's go."

With Dlanor at my side I exit the bedroom and I walk the long corridors of the western mansion.
Dozens of servants dressed in white stand aside and bow as I pass them.
They all know well who I am and they all respect me, some even revere me.
In this place, I am a queen.
I look outside the windows as I walk, the garden is beautifully tended and the flowers are in full bloom.
It truly is a delightful spring day.
I finally reach the lounge where several tables are already set for breakfast.
There is a vast assortment of dainty delicacies from all parts of the world.
It is clearly too much for a single person, but I'm a filthy rich, I just eat what I wish and leave the rest.
I take a seat in front of a round table where a newspaper was prepared in advance.
I like to read news about the world in the morning, I must keep myself informed.
Dlanor, my inseparable companion, sits right next to me.
As I browse through the pages of the newspaper, scarcely interested in what they report, a man approaches me. He is Gorou Rokudou, the butler.
Being the head of every servant that work in the mansion, he is the second most important person here.
He doesn't really need to bring me tea and sweets in person, but since it is an honor to attend to the mistress of this house, he usually takes these chances to exchange a few words with me every day.

Rokudou: "Good morning, milady."

Erika: "Good morning, Rokudou."

Rokudou: "And good morning to you as well, Dlanor."

Dlanor: "It is not necessary to greet me, Mister Rokudou."

Rokudou: "It would be rude not to. How is my mistress feeling today?"

Erika: "Splendidly, this is a most wonderful day."

Rokudou: "I'm glad to hear that. I personally brought your tea and your favorite kompeito as usual."

The tea is a special blend of Keemun, Assam and Ceylon. The kompeito are handmade by my personal chef.

Erika: "Thanks Rokudou, your services are as always very much appreciated."

Rokudou: "It is an honor, milady."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Witch of Truth

Chapter 7
Chapter 8

This story is about a Witch of Truth, this story is about the great detective Erika Furudo.
Those who are used to happy endings where the good triumphs and the evil is defeated are invited to look elsewhere; because the main character of this novel is the worst kind of person, and this time no one and nothing will stop her. If you are looking for love, mercy or compassion, you will find none.
This is a heartless story, in a heartless world, filled with heartless characters, with the most heartless of all abusing the blade of truth to cause as much pain as possible.
If you derive pleasure from other people's misfortunes, you are most welcomed, your unsavory tastes will find abundance of delightful cases. Fell free to laugh with Erika and share her joy.
There is of course a murderer in this story and a mystery to be solved. But this isn't about murders, crimes and mysteries at all, this is about Erika Furudo, the Witch of Truth. If I wanted to show you a lion, I would show it in the savanna. If I wanted to show you a polar bear, I would show it in the icy lands of the arctic circle. For the same reason a story about Erika couldn't be anything else but a murder mystery, because that is her natural environment.
Feel free to challenge this mystery and feel free to challenge Erika by solving it before she does, but this is probably meaningless for you.

This story will include spoilers about
"Umineko no naku koro ni"
It is suggested that you read that first fom start 
to end, if you  wish to fully appreciate 
"Witch of Truth".
However that is not strictly necessary and
you might consider this a stand alone novel.

Do not let the urge to bang your head
against hard surfaces have the best of you.
Please, consider the damage you might
cause to your many little grey cells
before engaging in such unhealty activity.

This is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance to real people, events, etc.
is purely coincidental.

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!"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prologue (n)


Sorting the documents proceeds faster than I suspected, but that stupid Baba isn't really doing this seriously and keeps messing up. I periodically recheck his part and I keep finding mistakes.
Kubota isn't helping much either. He works for like ten minutes and then makes up an excuse to go elsewhere. He usually says that he has an important business with this or the other club, but I don't really buy it.
During one of the few occasions he's inside the student council's room I ask him a question that has been on my mind for quite a while.

Meito: "Hey, Kubota... what happened to the other student council's members? Don't tell me you're the only one left."

Kuon: "Of course not! Well... while we did lose a few members when they graduated, and we still need to recruit new ones from the first year students, our staff still counts about six persons."

Meito: "Well then... where are they?"

Kuon: "That's a very intelligent question, one which I, unfortunately, cannot answer. Suffice to say that it's what I've been wondering myself for the whole day. I remember I told them yesterday that we couldn't procrastinate our bureaucratic duties anymore and that today we'd have to attend to them all at once! Imagine my dismay when I found out that they're all absent. A quite unfortunate coincidence, if you ask me, I wonder what could have happened!"

Meito: "I wonder..."

I guess that the whole student council is a bunch of irresponsible guys.
In the meantime I started copying the part of documents already sorted while Baba is finishing the rest.

Kuon: "Oooh! That's truly impressive, my dear Oda! Such incredible talent in task management!"

Meito: "I just want to get done with it quickly! And how can you be the boss here, if you can't even think that much?!"

Kuon: "I think you're quite misunderstanding what is truly required by a man in my position."

Meito: "All I understand is that you're slacking off again! We could use your help, you know!"

Kuon: "My dear Baba! Isn't our companion quite the complaining fellow?"

Baba: "He's a pain in the ass."

Meito: "What? I'm just..."

Kuon: "Complaining, complaining, complaining! Are you really enjoying your life, my dear Oda?"

This is really getting on my nerves. Even Hitomi told me the same, but am I really to blame? It's not my fault if the world is wrong!

Baba: "Finished. Can I go now?"

Meito: "What? That was just the first step. We still need to finish copying and..."

Kuon: "How-ever... there is but a single copy machine in this room."

Meito: "Well... yes but..."

Kuon: "I think you're doing an awesome job here, my dear Oda. Yes, quite impressive indeed!"

Baba: "Very impressive, he he he."

Meito: "You guys don't mean..."

Kuon: "I just remembered there are other important matters that I have to attend to immediately."

Meito: "No!"

Kuon: "Oh, but I'm quite serious. In fact I could use some help for that, someone with enough strength to help me carrying stuff."

Baba: "I'll help."

Kuon: "That's the spirit, my dear Baba!"

Meito: "Are you leaving me alone here?!"

Kuon: "My dear Oda! I have absolute faith in your skills! You gained my complete trust!"

Meito: "You can't be serious!"

Kuon: "Of course I am! Do you think it's that strange? You should have more faith in yourself!"

Meito: "That's not what I meant!"

Kuon: "At any rate I really should go, so I'll leave this in your care."

Meito: "Wait!"

Kuon: "Time isn't waiting, my dear Oda! Let's go, Baba."

Meito: "W-wait..."

And before I can protest any further, I find myself alone in the student council room. It's just me and a mountain of paper. I have the strong feeling that I've been just tricked.


It's late.
I can tell it's late by the simple fact it's already dark outside. I have completely lost track of the passing time. I'm exhausted.
Neither Baba nor Kubota came back since then, and I'm quite certain now that they went home after whatever was the important matter they had to attend. Supposing there was an important matter in the first place. I guess Kubota really needed the help though, else he wouldn't have took Baba along.
I'm finished here, or so I think. My mind is hurting so much and I feel confused, drowsy, I'm not completely sure I didn't miss something, but I don't really care.
At this point the school must be almost completely empty, all club activities should have ended already. So I think only a few teachers and the groundskeeper still remain. I can't believe I'm still here.
An unnatural, eerie silence is looming in the room, giving me the unsettling impression I entered a different reality, a parallel strange universe where all sounds are dampened.
I look at my watch, it's almost half past six.
I walk through the empty corridors and stairs and I absentmindedly reach my locker. When I'm about to take my shoes I notice something that completely wakes me up from my drowsiness. There's a message.
It looks like a page of a notebook and I think it's been folded and crumpled and then folded again. That's not exactly what you would expect from a love letter. Whatever could this be? I hope it's not a challenge from Baba, but then again it really isn't his style.
I unfold the message and read its contents; it's from Hitomi!
This is unmistakably her writing style and she isn't new to this kind of things. But leaving messages in people's lockers and this late in the afternoon? That's quite unusual to say the least.

"Meet me in front of the old P.E. shed.
 - Hitomi."

That's all it says, it doesn't even tell when.
Was Hitomi aware that I would be this late today? I doubt she would, or... well... she knew I was going to help Kubota, so she could have imagined I would be still here.
If I remember correctly, she said she wanted to be free from the super spec... from training... by six o' clock. Ouch, this is bad! Has she been waiting for me all this time? I can't imagine Hitomi waiting fro a whole thirty minutes, there's a high chance she's no longer there, but I guess I should at least check.
Somehow... I feel like I'm being watched.
I quickly move my head left and right. Nothing, it must be my imagination. This silence and the pale light of the neon lamps are playing tricks in my head.
What could Hitomi possibly want from me? Why this late? Why in that place?
As far as I remember the old P.E. shed hasn't been used since the new gym was built a few years before. It's behind the main building, but in the opposite direction of the lab. It's practically isolated and there are trees surrounding it which makes it the perfect spot for people that want to meet in secret.
Meet in secret, after the sun set, a shed...
Wait... does that mean?! Calm down, Meito Oda! This isn't one of those hentai manga Baba is so much fond of! These kinds of things don't happen in the real world!
Or... do they?
But... come on! It's Hitomi we're talking about! She isn't so bold to take a man in an isolated place to... Actually she'd be quite capable to do that... but with me?! There's no way! No way!
It's more probable she has some kind of urgent matter she needs to discuss with me. No, that doesn't make much sense either. We live so close to each other, she wouldn't wait here at school for that. She can talk to me whenever she wants after school.

I'm almost there. It's kinda dark around here, but the lights coming from the building and the courtyard are enough to let me discern the surroundings with enough clarity.
The door of the shed is open!
Is Hitomi waiting inside? I don't see her around here, but still, how did she manage to open that door? I thought it was locked, nobody ever uses that place. However I can't think of any other explanation. Hitomi invited me here, and now the door is opened, she must have done that, or maybe she's with someone else who did.
Right, maybe this is all a prank or a surprise. Wait, when is my birthday again? Oh, right... I've already had my birthday party this year. So no, that's not it.
I take a look inside the room, my eyes take a little while to adapt. I can't discern the colors anymore, but the shapes are clear enough. What the hell is this place?

Meito: "Hi... Hitomi?"

My heart was already beating fast for the tension, but now... now I'm scared.
This isn't a P.E. shed... or at least, not completely. I can see there are still some equipments scattered around and cardboard boxes, but... there's something else; something that isn't supposed to be here.
What the hell is this? A statue? Some kind of demonic idol? And those are... candles? Candles scattered all around... they are all unlit though, but it looks they've been used.
There is other... stuff... decorations I don't quite get, but they are giving me the creeps.
Is this Teramoto's secret base? Because it totally looks like it. If it's so, I want to get the hell out from here as fast as I can. But there's something else that catches my attention. It's hard to see it in the darkness, but there's something scribbled on the floor. I don't know much about this stuff, but I think it's one of those magic circles. Why are these things here? Why have I been called to this place? Where is Hitomi?
There's someone there...
My heart freezes.

Meito: "W-who's there?"

Now I'm completely terrified.

Meito: "If this is a joke..."

I can't even finish the sentence. I gulp and I look behind me. Still that feeling of being watched.
I enter inside, why am I doing this? I should just escape! I shouldn't be here! This isn't a place I'm supposed to be.
But there's that person inside that beckons me. That person that's just lying on the floor right in the middle of that sort of magic circle, right in front of that sort of idol. That person that isn't moving at all.
Are you... are you kidding me?
This isn't how someone would normally lie on the floor, there's no way that position is comfortable. Her uniform is all messed up, it's a female uniform, it's a girl, it's a girl I know.
My mind goes blank.
I recognize that face, but that stare is odd, that mouth is odd, it's not like her.
I'm shivering.
That thing sticking from her chest, is that a sword? I'm seeing it only now, how come? The light from outside are reflecting from its blade. That cold blade. And it ends to...
I can't breath.
Blood, so much blood, it's everywhere! Dark blood! It looks completely black in this darkness!
I deny reality.
This is a joke, this is all a joke. Now she's going to jump up and say "boo!" You got me! You completely got me! I'm so fucking scared here!
I'm crying.
I touch her, I just touched her! This isn't how a body contact is supposed to feel! It's not warm... it's cold... it's so damn cold... a human body isn't supposed to be this cold!
Someone help me.
She's dead! I can't deny it any longer, she's dead! Why? What happened? Why?! She's dead! Hitomi is dead!
I scream.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prologue (m)


That being said, Nagaoka takes his leave and we can all sigh in relief.

Hitomi: "You stupid! What the hell were you thinking?"

Baba: "Yeah! What if we got suspended because of you?"

Meito: "You shut up, idiot Baba! It's all your fault, really!"

Baba: "Me?! You attacked me!"

Meito: "You attacked a girl!"

Baba: "That was none of your business!"

Hitomi: "You should've let Yuu-chan handle it."

Meito: "Stop teaming up against me!"

Yuu: "I think Gotsuji-senpai is right, but even so you have my gratitude for what you did, Oda-senpai."

Meito: "Oh, that was nothing... I just did what a man ought to do."

Yuu: "You risked a lot by intervening, I won't forget it."

Sumomo: "Well, in the end everything was solved without any harm done."

Kuon: "And you all need to thank me for that! Ha ha ha ha!"

Yuu: "Still... I'd prefer you'd refrain from spreading false rumors about my love affairs, Kubota-senpai..."

Kuon: "My dear! That was just a small white lie! A minor evil to achieve a greater good, and it was promptly negated! Your reputation is safe!"

Meito: "Talking about lies, that stuff you said about our punishment was a really nice move."

Kuon: "Ah ha ha ha ha! My dear Oda, that wasn't a lie!"

Meito: "What?! You mean..."

Baba: "No way!"

Kuon: "Of course! I really am in dire need of help! There's a thousand of documents that need to be copied, sorted and cataloged! I'll be waiting for you in the student council after school ends, don't be late!"

Baba: "Eeeh? Me too?"

Kuon: "Of course, my dear Baba!"

Meito: "Wait, wait! I've already promised I'll help someone in the club..."

Kuon: "I will accept no excuses! If you have a previous engagement, just cancel it, it's that simple! Now pardon me, but I have business elsewhere. Be sure to show up at the designated time and place, and don't be late! Ha ha ha ha!"

And laughing like that, he disappears amidst the crowd. I knew I couldn't be that lucky, damn you, Kubota! I bet the very reason he saved us was because he needed some way to blackmail someone into doing the boring job at the student council...

Baba: "Hey! Where's my camera?!"

Yuu: "Here, you can take it back, but you'd better not use it again to take pictures without permission."

Baba: "Aaaah! You deleted all my precious panty shot collection! You'll pay for this! I'll definitely make you pay for this!"

Kagami: "No, you won't! Stupid giant troglodyte!"

When did she get here? She looks quite pissed.

Hitomi: "Yo, Kagamin!"

Yuu: "Hibari-senpai..."

Kagami: "Azuma! What the hell were you thinking?! I told you we have a super special intensive training this afternoon! How could you start a fight with this giant caveman?! Are you stupid?!"

Yuu: "There was no helping it, a first year student was in trouble, I had to help her."

Kagami: "Uggaaah! What's more important, the life of a girl or our super special intensive training?!"

No... she wasn't in any life threatening situation, and at any rate what kind of psycho would say training is more important than a human life? I'd like to tell her, but it's kinda pointless.

Baba: "Hey... how did you just call me?"

Kagami: "I said that you're a stupid caveman troglodyte! And if I hear again you're messing with my club members, I'll be mad!"

The midget against the giant, this could be the match of the century! I'm not sure who would win in a stupidity contest though... probably Hibari.

Baba: "This... bitch!"

Meito: "Hey Baba... did you forget who she is?"

I thought this was the best time to remind him that Hibari is Teramoto's sidekick, and I see my words are having the wanted effect.
It's rare for Teramoto and her groupies to meddle in other people's businesses, they aren't really concerned about maintaining order or fighting bullies. But if you rub one of the members of the inner circle in the wrong way, they won't overlook it. And Baba knows that even if they are all girls, they can make your life here a true hell. If you decide to mess with them, don't be surprised if you'll find your shoes completely ruined, or your desk scribbled all over, or your textbooks lacking several pages. And don't be surprised if everyone will avoid you as if you had contracted a contagious disease. And if you are one of those impressionable guys, then be prepared to find among your stuff unsettling occult symbols and trinkets.
I don't believe in occultism, but even I wouldn't be able to sleep well at night, if I knew Teramoto placed a curse on me.
Baba clicks his tongue and then goes on his way. I doubt he will bother Azuma again.

Sumomo: "Lunch break is almost over, shall we go back to our classroom?"

Hitomi: "Yeah, let's go. See you later, Yuu-chan, Kagamin."

Yuu: "Later."

Kagami: "Don't forget the super special intensive training!"

Hitomi: "Yeah, yeah..."

And so we go back to our classroom, and another boring period begins.


When I enter inside the student council room, I find it empty.
Well, that's a great start! He stressed so much that he wanted me to be punctual and then he's late! This is so typical of Kubota. Even at the time we used to hang out he was all talks and nothing else. He's never been a reliable person, if he promises you something, you should assume that he will forget about it.
How could such an irresponsible individual become the president of the student council? That's a rhetorical question, of course, I can easily imagine how it happened. Kuon Kubota knows how to advertise himself better than any other person I know, and the system is messed up enough to favor appearance over substance. You may agree or disagree with me, but I think this is the general rule of any democratic political system. One day Kubota will become the prime minister of Japan, and then our country will sink into the ocean.
I wonder how Junko is doing by herself. She's pretty talented so I don't think I need to worry about her, she'll fix her bicycle even without my help, but I still feel bad for not being able to be there.
Sumomo should be in the literature club, I'm not even sure what they are doing there. Do they just read books all the time? That doesn't seem like something you want to do as a group activity.
Hitomi should be in the gym with Hibari, Azuma and the rest of the club. They have that super spec... I mean... they are training.
I hear a sound, someone is coming in. It must be Kubota, finally.

Baba: "..."

Nevermind, it's Baba. This is simply wonderful!
He didn't say a word, I didn't either. We are just two idiots standing in a room and doing nothing.

Baba: "Where's Kubota?"

Meito: "No idea."

This is getting awkward... and pretty tense. You shouldn't leave two people like us in the same room, it's dangerous. The reason we are not talking is because there's a high chance we'll get in each other nerve if we did. And if that happened, we would get in another scuffle for sure.
Lucky the door slams open and Kubota finally makes his triumphant entrance.

Kuon: "Welcome to the student council, my dear Oda and my dear Baba!"

Meito: "We've been waiting here for a while! Were the hell did you go?"

Kuon: "But of course, a man like me is pretty busy, I have many important matters to attend!"

Like hell I'll believe that.

Meito: "Just tell us what we need to do, the earlier we start, the faster we can get it done."

Kuon: "Ha ha ha ha! I like your spirit, my dear Oda! Then open all the boxes that are piled on that corner and bring their contents on this table."

Meito: "All of them?"

Kuon: "All of them!"

Meito: "You can't be serious... what's inside all these boxes? Documents? Do we need that much paperwork done in this school?"

Kuon: "You wouldn't understand, my dear Oda. Day by day documents just keep piling up, and before you know it a year passes and they become like that!"

Meito: "A year passes? What?! This is all stuff you should have done before the past school year ended!"

Kuon: "Like I said, my dear Oda, I'm a very busy man!"

Meito: "What exactly are you busy with? This is your damn job!"

Kuon: "No, no, no! My job is a lot more important than handling pieces of paper! I am the soul of this institution, if it weren't for me, everything would fall apart and all the students would be lost in a sea of chaos and destruction!"

Meito: "I still don't understand what you're doing exactly!"

Kuon: "Of course, you can't possibly understand. It's only natural."

Meito: "Forget about it... Hey, Baba! Give me a hand, you're supposed to help too!"

Baba: "What? Me?"

Meito: "Why are you even here for, if not to help?"

Baba: "I figured I'd just sit somewhere and read a manga."

Meito: "Don't make me punch you in the face... "

Kuon: "Calm down! I just saved you from a dire fate, you don't want all my efforts to go to waste!"

Meito: "Then tell that fatass to do his part!"

Baba: "Tch... I'll do it, I'll do it..."

We bring several piles of papers on the table. There's quite a lot, and from the look of it they aren't sorted in any order.

Kuon: "Okay, people! First: you need to make a copy of each document! Second: you need to sort them by class and year! Third: you need to place them each in their respective directories!"

Meito: "Isn't it smarter to sort them first?"

Kuon: "Aaaah! A brilliant idea, my friend! You have talent! You should consider joining the student council!"

Meito: "Thanks, I'll pass..."

Kuon: "Then, let's get to work!"

And so we start. This is really a boring job, no wonder Kubota always postponed it. The bright side is that it doesn't really requires much attention, so at least it isn't tiring.