Part 15: Demise, Part 7Video: Searching for Nana
This video covers the entire update.
Background Sound: Ominous Hum
Before Nana took off, she said she had to go to the bathroom, so we start our search there.
(Maybe we passed one another without realizing it...?)
Mayu continues wandering the school, searching for Nana.
Nana?! What's wrong, Nana?!
The sound that echoed through the hall was like that of a butcher slicing up a large chunk of meat, bone and all. And this sound was accompanied by the dimly-lit figure of Nana sprawled out on the ground in front of me.
...Or rather, part of Nana. It was really just the top half of her body, severed cleanly at the thigh. Her legs were completely gone. And the worst part is, she was still fully alert and aware.
This grisly sight was too much for me to handle. I became weak in the knees and fell backwards, landing on my butt. I couldn't move.
Uaagh, it hurts... It hurts! My legs! My legs...!
Nana was bending and contorting her back and writhing on the ground as if struggling to escape the pain and the fear. I wanted to help her, but I had no idea what I could do. Nothing had ever prepared me for a situation like this. I couldn't stand up. I couldn't even think. The sight of Nana's squirming body, gushing blood every which way, was burning itself into my mind. It was the most frightening thing I'd ever seen.
I could sense the presence of another person in the shadows just behind Nana's torso. Who was it? The darkness was all-encompassing past a certain point, giving only the vaguest notion of a human silhouette within an inky black void.
(Wh-Who's there? That's...the locker room... No, wait, it's not! Where is this? What's back there?!)
That door should have led into the pool locker room, but the lighting -- or lack of it -- was completely wrong. There was also an indescribably foul odor wafting out from within, so powerful and revolting that I felt it could never leave my senses again. And whatever being was lurking in the shadows of that horrible room was getting closer to me, step by step.
I still couldn't make out a single feature...but frankly, I didn't want to. His existence alone was threatening enough. Whoever this was, I could sense his shadow posturing itself over Nana's head as if preparing to swallow it whole. Like a crocodile... In fact, the shadow was beginning to resemble a crocodile more and more. Was this even a person?!
AAAAAHHHHHhhhhh! Stop! Please, stop!
The figure was now fully visible, and was indeed a person...I think. He grabbed Nana by the head, then turned and began dragging her into that horrid room. She was clearly nearing death, as it took everything she had to scream in protest. Her voice was getting weaker and her writhing less pronounced. I couldn't even imagine how painful it must be to have one's severed body slowly dragged across the floor, exposed side down. It would be bad enough just having my head held in that massive, filthy grip. No, "grip" isn't the right word... It really was more like a "bite."
And once you hear it, it's the kind of thing you'll be hearing again for the rest of your life. Nothing can ever wipe it from your memory. It stays with you.
I sat there dumbfounded, so disturbed that I could barely breathe, and watched the slow slither of Nana's body as she disappeared into the unknown. It only took a few seconds for her to vanish into blackness, but those were the longest few seconds of my life. And once she was gone, only a wide swath of blood remained, tracing her path down the hall and across that hellish threshold.
N-Nana... I... I have to go save her!
Gathering all my courage, I ran at full speed toward the black void...but found no room to enter. Beyond the door was nothing more than a solid wall.
It was just as Shinozaki had said. Right before my eyes, a human being was pulled into a space that simply no longer existed. Pulled out of reality. And yet, I could still hear her.
Music: Escaping Samsara (B)
I can't even describe how frightened I was. All I could do was scream and take off running, away from...there. Anywhere else was preferable.
*pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant*
(Why am I going this way? Nana isn't this way. She's behind me! I need to go back!)
*pant* *wheeze* *cough*
*gasp* *wheeze* No... I can't... I just can't! It's just not possible!
I'm sorry... I'm so sorry, Nana... I couldn't do anything...to save you... What do I say to Kishinuma and Shinozaki?
(We were just talking with her. And now look what's happened! Her legs were torn right off...right along the lines of those bruises. Wait... The bruises!)
Nana...was s-sliced up in the exact spots where she had those markings...and I have markings just like that on my stomach! But that...doesn't mean anything, right? It's j-just coincidence...right?
(But... I can't help it!)
I opened my compact mirror and hesitantly brought it down to my abdomen, lifting my shirt and loosening my skirt a bit to get a better look.
Oh, God! No!
Music: Signs of Possession (A)
I didn't have to look very hard. The color of the bruise on my abdomen had darkened significantly. It was far more pronounced now, practically pulsating in purplish red. It looked more like some kind of demented crest that had surfaced from deep inside my body.
Wh-What is this? Why is it here? It's just...a bruise, right? Ha...haha... I'm sure it'll go away on its own over time if I leave it be...
I just kept telling myself that it would go away on its own. It was nothing. And I was starting to believe it. Feeling somewhat placated, I lifted the mirror up and prepared to shut it and put it away when I caught a quick glimpse of my face. I saw fear. I saw sadness. I saw defeat. But I also saw something else.
...! Ah! Ahh!
No... At first I doubted my eyes...but I wasn't seeing things, nor was it a smudge on the mirror. It was another discolored bruise, just like the one on my abdomen. It was nowhere near as dark, but it was definitely there. And given enough time, it would probably get a lot darker.
Wh-Why? why?! When...d-did I get this?! Maybe...it's just dirty. Maybe I just need to wipe it off!
And each time I pressed down on it, the surrounding skin would turn white, creating greater contrast and making it stand out more. It wasn't going away. It wasn't going away! And if it just keeps darkening...
No... Please, no! No! NOO!!
I don't like that at all. We'll help you search. ...Suzumoto?
No! Stay back!
I took a step away from them, despite myself.
Wh-What's going on?
Please...just stay back! Nothing's going on, I swear!
Did something happen? Did you see something in your compact?
It's nothing! I didn't see anything! I'm fine! I'm... fine...
No. I couldn't let them see me like that. I didn't want them to see that hideous bruise.
Sound Effect: Running
(I'm running again. But where? Where am I going?)
*pant* *pant* I have to...get rid of this! If I don't... If I can't, then...I...
(...then I'll wind up like Nana...)
I had some concealer in my makeup bag. Maybe I could hide it...
There we go! Heh. Can't see it at all now!
(All I have to do is get some sleep, and when I wake up, that bruise will be long gone. I know it will!)
Yeah... I was getting all worked up over nothing. It was just a little mark on my face, after all. Probably just a result of all the stress I'd been feeling here. Once things calmed down, it would go away for sure.
With that problem solved, we exit the infirmary.
It wouldn't open. And it wasn't like it was locked. Rather, it felt almost as if someone were holding it closed with superhuman strength.
Suddenly, I realized why. The door was wrapped multiple times with thin, black threads. How had I not noticed those a moment ago?!
Wh-What the... Is this...human...hair...?
I looked at it a bit more closely, and concluded, without question, that that's exactly what it was.
I felt an unpleasant heat radiating all along my back muscles, across my entire spine.
There was some sort of moist, luke-warm presence in the room with me. And slowly but surely, I could sense it moving.
(...Who... Who's there? Who's...behind me...?)
I was too scared to turn around.
It was a little girl wearing a red dress. Probably a first- or second-grader. Her skin was as pale as pottery, contrasting with her lacquer-like hair. And she looked somehow familiar.
(Ah! This is the girl...from the newspaper...who survived the murders... Sachiko...Shinozaki... But, that can't be right! That happened over thirty years ago!)
Background Sound: Unpleasant Hum
I know what it needs! A human autopsy model! I want to dissect a human!
One by one, the ghost children appear.
Have you come to play with us again?
No! Please, no!
That's what I thought at first, anyway. If I'd started to cry, I wasn't aware. But considering what I was going through, it wouldn't have been surprising in any way. I wondered just how much I'd cried since getting sealed up in this godforsaken place. Probably more than I'd ever cried before in my entire life.
But...these weren't tears, were they? Was it blood, then? Did these children do something to me? Sure enough, I reached up and touched my face, and my finger game in contact with something sticky. Something sticky and red.
Ah! What... What did you do to me?!
Sachiko's answer was cold and disinterested, and came accompanied with a crooked, wry smile. She was just a child, yet one glance from her made every hair on my body stand on end.
How about you take a look in the mirror? We'll wait. Just for a little bit, though!
Sachiko's face somehow made me feel as if there might be two sides to her: one gentle, and one...not. But regardless of which I was dealing with here, I wasn't about to go against her recommendation. I was legitimately curious myself. So I took out my compact, opened it and...
Ah! Wh-Why?! No... No, please!
The bruise I'd concealed with makeup had sprung back to the surface once again. Though it could hardly be called a bruise anymore. My skin had literally split open from inside and blood was beginning to seep out through the pinkish fissure, bead by bead.
No! No, this can't be happening! It can't be! No!
It's happening! That's all you!
The bruise along my stomach and abdomen had followed suit, splitting open and dripping dark red blood everywhere. At this point, I'd completely lost any ability to think or reason. I was a goner, and I knew it.
What's worse than dying in an instant by getting smashed against a wall? Getting slowly, carefully torn apart, that's what!
Time to begin the autopsy, everyone!
No, please! Stay away! STAY AWAAAAAAAAY!!
Yeah. I was a goner. I couldn't fight it. Somewhere deep in the pit of my soul, I know there was no way out. This unimaginably cruel fate was predestined. I couldn't escape.
Oh, sure, I tried to run. I squirmed and resisted with every last bit of strength I had. But fate had me by the ankle, and it wasn't about to let go. If only I could force myself to lose consciousness, maybe I could avoid the unbearable agony that I knew was coming. But sadly, I wasn't that strong-willed.
Background Sound: None
I could feel the hands of children all over my body, coming from virtually every direction. And they were really digging.
AHHHhhhh! It hurts! AHHHHHHHHH! IT HURTS, IT HURTS!! AAAGGH!! Ahhhh...hhh...
Shig?! HAHAHA! Your dear Shig won't be coming to your rescue. No chance! No hope!
Ahhhhh...hhhhh... *gasp* *wheeze* *moan*
I was seized with a pain unlike anything I'd ever even imagined possible before. I couldn't talk, couldn't move, couldn't even think... I felt like my head was going to explode under the pressure of the millions of nerves all telling my brain just how much every part of my body hurt. And it didn't stop. Every moment, it grew worse and worse.
Then...I began to drift away.
Music: Relief (A)
*giggle* This school is getting livelier all the time! *giggle*
Sachiko's voice sounded like it was far in the distance. It was then that I realized...the agony I'd been feeling had changed. It was no longer pain, but chill. I didn't hurt anymore...I was just cold. So cold that I couldn't even feel my body...
(So very...very cold. Shig...I can't even move a finger anymore... But even if I'm dead...and even if my body is an unsightly mess...I hope...you won't think poorly of me...)
Music: The Onset of Demise
...is that Shig be the one to find my body. As long as it's not too revolting to look at, anyway. I want him to think I'm pretty. I miss him.