Part 24: Takeshi - Second Day - Part 12TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
The lights inside the attraction were off. Apparently the inside was like a maze.
(I wonder if somebody's hiding in the maze...)
I thought about going in, but inside was even darker than the room. Even if I did go in, coming back out would have been a royal pain. Getting out of there looked a lot more difficult than going in.... I figured it was silly to take the risk and going looking in there. I took a look around the perimeter and didn't see anyone.
I strained to listen. I didn't hear anything....
Suddenly, I heard music from within the attraction. I thought it might be the attraction's song. Mixed in with that noise, I was sure that I heard someone running....
I ran to head off the exit in the direction I thought the footsteps were heading.
"I knew it..."
"Hey, how'd you know it was me?"
"It's the same trick you used to scare me with the dolphin merry-go-round before. I don't fall for the same trick twice."
Well see about that.
"Oh, that's right! I forgot I'd already done that..."
"You're not going to try to tackle me now that I've got you are you?"
"Ah, you knew I was going to do that too? Dang. A, ha ha... "
"I can read you like a book!"
She was the kind of person that was mostly transparent once you knew what they were about.
"Alright. You got me. I give up."
You held up her hands. I reckoned she knew she couldn't squeeze by me. She'd given up on getting to the can. She walked behind me with her hands in the air.
<I found You. I stepped on the can>
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
I soon noticed that there was someone there. I could hear the sound of someone walking through water. As I got closer, the direction of the footsteps changed. It was someone short and moving slowly... It was a battle of patience....
My opponents' feet made a dash for the exit.I circled around to the side again and again to block off the person. The footsteps gradually moved away from the exit into a corner.
I moved a little bit closer. I had a hunch whoever it was would make a break for it.... I moved to head them off and prepared to trip them by catching his or her leg!
I heard someone fall spectacularly.
"Hey, I dunno who you are, but are you alright?"
I thought I was near where the person had stumbled. But it was dark and I couldn't see much.
"I wonder if this might work..."
I took my PDA from my pocked but the monitor backlight on maximum brightness. But it was weak and nothing compared to a flashlight. I thought it might be brighter, but it was dim and didn't amount to much.
My hand slipped. My PDA looked like it was headed for the water. I snatched it right before it hit the water's surface.
I glimpsed something reflected on the water's surface, moving... Just about the biggest 'fish' I'd ever seen started sliding away in the water....
"Well, if it isn't the Kid."
I scooped up a handful of seawater from around my feet and dumped it on his head.
"Oh no! You found me!"
As soon as the Kid stood up, he tried to get away.
But he had a hood on and... That hood was filled with water...
The weight of the hood dragged him backward as he kicked his legs into the air and plopped backed down in the water on his back.
"Hey, this feels pretty good."
The Kid swam a kind of breaststroke in the small pool of water six inches deep.
"Is the water cold?"
He glided along, enjoying himself. That was probably what people meant by, "taking to water like a fish." In the darkness, he swam to the other side of the room....
"Hey, just so you know, that exit is the long way around."
"Huh? Read my mind?"
The Kid gave up and stood.
"I thought you wouldn't see me if I were in the water."
He laughed as he said it.
"Keeping me on my toes. You're like a ninja or something."
"...Nin! Nin! Ninja!"
The Kid took some kind of ninja pose.
He jumped in the water again and swam some more.
<I found the Kid, I stepped on the can.>
Only Tsugumi was left....
I looked around outside of the room and was surprised.
"I found TSUGUMI!"
"Don't play dumb with me."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Heh, heh. I know better than that. You're playing dumb. I know it."
"You're the one that kicked the can, right?"
"Can? What...are you talking about?"
I jumped. If Tsugumi kicked the can first, I thought I'd lose. I frantically ran to where the can was.
"I found Tsugumi! I stepped on the can. Huh? What's...?"
"Geez... What're you doing, Takeshi...?"
My foot was searching for the can, but found only space.
"The can is gone!"
I squinted scouring the area around me. The can shined in the emergency lights visible dimly in a corner of the room.
"Hey! Once you've been caught, it's against the rules to kick the can!"
I shouted this into the darkness, but everyone had already run away.
You are not contractually obliged to go swell, I suppose you are, but thats beside the pointearching for everybody else at this point. Siddown and shaddup. <> Please?
The Kid, You, Coco, Pipi, Sora.... I knew they couldn't have gone far and thought I'd find them quickly. Tsugumi stayed around in the Conference Room. It didn't look like she felt like going anywhere. Just to be safe, I got everyone and stepped on the can again. The next time nobody kicked the can....
"Alright. So I count to one hundred, right?"
The Kid took the can and sat in the chair with his face down.
"Alright, here I go... O-n-e, t-w-o, t-h-r-e-e..."
We left the Conference Room running around the floor.
You approached me.
"Takeshi, whaddya say we work together?"
"Huh? Ganging up is against the rules. I think I'll pass."
"Don't be so stubborn..."
"We just happened to be going in the same direction. That's all."
"I wonder if here would be safe."
"The bathroom could be against the rules. It's not a good idea."
"...Oh...and this way's a dead end, huh?"
"Let's go back. I wonder if we still have time..."
I strained by ears to listen.
I could faintly hear the Kid counting.
"It seems like we've still got some time."
"I think it would have been more fun if we had made the emergency corridors part of the game."
"That would make searching a hassle."
"But there are only a few routes to the Conference Room so it's kind of boring..."
"Well, that's because you run around so loudly that anyone can hear you coming a mile away."
"Oh thanks a lot..."
"Hey, wait! Be quiet."
We could still hear counting.
"Let's find somewhere to hide."
"You wanna go in the ruins?"
"The maze? Getting out will probably be a pain, but..."
"Don't say that..."
You pushed me toward the entrance of the ruins.
But inside was dark as if it had been painted pitch black. I couldn't tell anything.
"Oh, that might be too dark... The lights and emergency lights are both off."
I strained looking into the darkness. It looked as if the darkness went on forever.
"Heading in there like this would be reckless.... Huh?"
Something moved in the darkness.
"You were in there, Tsugumi?"
"Yes. I took a look around. It's completely dark. You best not go in."
"Completely dark, huh...?"
Tsugumi left us. Looking tired, Tsugumi kicked the water under her feet lightly. And I heard the sound of something click in her hand... It was a sound I'd heard before...
"Tsugumi, did you take the flashlight?"
"It'd be impossible to walk inside without it."
Takeshi -- Kick the Can
Coco came running and splashing up with Sora in tow.
"So this is where everybody was?"
"It's Coco and Sara. Welcome... But if we're supposed to be hiding, clumping up like this isn't too bright, is it?"
"Oh, you're right...
But he's probably just finishing counting to one hundred."
"And Tsugumi's playing, too. Right?"
"I'm not playing."
"I just happened to be around here. Look, I wish you'd stop talking that way about me."
"What are you all doing here? You planning a strategy?"
"No, not exactly... Well, I guess we better scatter and hide."
"Hey, what's the Kid doing here?"
He's here to find you all, obviously.
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
"...Kid, you're... Did you forget that you're 'it'?"
"Hey...whose voice is that?"
"W-who turned the lights on?"
We were now able to see the area around us. You, Sora, Coco, Tsugumi, the Kid, me.... Everyone was accounted for.
"Everyone appears to be present."
Sora extended her hand out in the air.
"The life readings of the complex do not appear to be abnormal. There is nothing moving around Conference Room."
"I don't get it."
"Who could have been counting?"
"It wasn't you?"
"I thought it sounded like you.... So then who?"
"That was...the can being kicked."
"Could it be a ghost?"
Sora said it with a straight face.
"If it is a ghost, I would like to make its acquaintance..."
Well, so much for the semi-creepy mood.
The sound of someone moving through the water reached us from outside the room. And then the empty can came rolling to a stop in front of us.
Clatter, clatter, clatter...
The can stopped in a shallow area with a hollow metallic sound.
"Hey, Pipi. Where have you been?"
Theres another collective moment of silence where they all speak in .. because they completely forgot about Pipi
Pipi took the can in his mouth again and ran circles around us.
In the end, it remained a mystery who was counting... We passed the rest of the night uneventfully... It was a peaceful time... And I decided to enjoy a satisfying rest.
Now on to bigger and more important things!
I felt something cold and hard... I remembered slouching in the chair and slumping forward on the table. Even then, the sleep that I'd gotten was far better than the day before.
"Oh, good morning Takeshi."
It appeared that You had gotten up just before me.
"What time is it?"
"Almost 5:50 a.m. I think..."
"You sure are an early riser."
"What are you talking about? You're just lazy..."
Saying that, You let out a big yawn.
"Then again, being all tense for so long just gets you tired. It's probably better to sleep when you can."
"Being in a situation like this, we really need to keep well rested. 'Cause when it comes down to it, if we can't think our way out of this situation we're in trouble!"
"Hey, I said that yesterday!"
"Yeah...I suppose you did..."
Dodging the subject, You laughed slightly.
"Hey, since you're up, why don't you go wash your face?"
"Yeah, I might as well... Ah! Hey, you didn't write on my face again did you...!?"
I instinctively rubbed my cheeks.
"Don't worry, I didn't write anything."
I stood up slowly and checked my surroundings. Coco had arranged some chairs to create a makeshift bed. She was asleep on top of them. And at the base of her pillow, Pipi's neck was cocked to the side. It looked like he was sleeping too. I got up, squeezed by the sleeping Coco and opened the door.
"...Oh, mornin' Kid."
"Hey, don't look so depressed Takeshi."
"What are you talking about. I'm just sleepy's all."
"Well, a lot's happened in the last couple of days. Are you tired?"
"I'm alright. I just need to wake up is all. See ya."
I headed to the nearest bathroom. The water covering the floor seeped into my shoes, which had only just finished drying. They were wet all over again. My socks got heavy and clung to my feet. My pace slowed.
"...Argh! What a freakin' pain!!"
Scooping up water from around my feet, I splashed it on my face.
"Whoa, that's cold...!!!"
I was shivering, but at the same time, my whole body felt awake. So that's why people wash their faces in the morning...
"Tsugumi and Sora aren't here, you sure it's okay?"
"Yeah...but they're sure to show up soon."
"Yeah, knowing those two, you're probably right."
I decided to wake up Coco.
"Hey, get up. It's morning."
I shook her shoulder gently.
Rubbing her eyes, Coco got up slowly.
"Oh, good morning...Brother..."
"...Huh? Oh, yeah. Coco you have a brother? But, hey, you got the two of us mixed up..."
"No...brother... We need to get ready, or we'll be late for school..."
Coco was still half in dreamland.
"Late for school? What are you talking about?"
"Well, that's just the setting it is..."
"Uh, listen... Stop messing around, we're going to eat."
"Ah.... Okay, Takepyon."
"Everyone okay with hotdogs?"
"They have hotdogs here?"
"Well, I found a few in the back of the fridge. Must've been on the 'stealth menu.'"
I was relegated cook duty again.
"Hey, Takeshi, are they done yet?"
"Why do I have to be so hungryyy? My stomach is going to cave in..."
"I'm going to become two dimensional. And float away on the wind."
"Would you shut up already?"
"Ha, ha, ha..."
I was inside the kiosk that had been made to look like a submarine. Sausages were sizzling in a frying pan. They sold sub sandwiches here, so I guess the exterior of the place was a sorry play on that.
(Why am I thinking about...stupid things like that...?)
In a little while, the place started to smell great. I carefully placed a sausage in the toasted, lightly buttered hotdog buns.
"Alright, whoever wants to eat, get in line!"
"Oh!? Well, here ya go."
"Help yourself to ketchup and mustard."
"Uh, I'd like one too..."
"Hey, wait in line! The next person is M-E-!"
This was probably the way things usually were at this shop. There still wasn't any schedule as to when we might get out of LeMU. But in the meantime, we'd stopped thinking about the difficult and negative things.
"I'm not sure why, but you look like you're having fun."
"Who, me? You think so? Fun...I guess maybe..."
I wiped the sweat caused by the heat of cooking from my face.
"Yeah, you look like you might even be enjoying your life here."
"I wonder how that'd feel...I guess it'd be kind of fun, owning a stand like this!"
The Kid stifled a laugh.
"Takepyon, you really do look like you work here."
"Hotdogs, get your hotdogs! They're on the house!"
"You don't think, that maybe you could have sold hotdogs in a past life?"
"Aw shucks, ma'am you're just sayin' that..."
"No, Coco, I don't think he was a hotdog man, I think he was..."
"...a sandwich man?"
"Ah, come on, You!"
"A ha, ha, ha, ha..."
"...Ha, ha, ha"
I suppose we were just happy to be eating hot food. We could worry about the details after our stomachs were full. For the moment, we were enjoying eating that simple meal.
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
The Kid suddenly looked up at the ceiling.
He blinked, his eyes were focused on the ceiling as if he had seen something.
"H-hey, what's wrong?"
My curiosity piqued, I asked him. And following his gaze, I looked up at the ceiling. But, I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary...
"I wonder... I don't know what it was, but I swear I saw something."
"Saw something? Like what?"
"Uhh...well, I didn't really see it... I just have a bad feeling...about the second floor...somewhere."
"What the heck are you talking about?"
"Um, I think we should check that floor one more time..."
His eyes looked upward again and started mumbling incoherently. Concerned, I shook his shoulder. And then he snapped out of it.
"Don't worry about it. If something's up, Sora would warn us about it, right?"
"Yeah...you're right...but still..."
"Looks like I'm not the only one who's tired."
Then Tsugumi appeared out of nowhere.
"What just happened?"
"Nah, we were all just eating hotdogs. Look, I made one for you, too."
Tsugumi took it without saying anything.
I could hear the sound of her taking the hotdog out of its wrapper. And I watched her motions carefully. I swallowed, watching her... Tsugumi placed the wrapper on the counter... Slowly, with the ketchup in her right hand and the mustard in her left, she squeezed the tubes. Their contents gushed out.
The hotdog was entirely covered in red and yellow.
"You eat that much mustard and...it'll kill you..."
Tsugumi bit into the hotdog.
"H-hey? Is it spicy? I bet it's spicy?"
"You're probably thinking to yourself 'Dang, I put way too much on!' Right?"
"...I don't...really care."
And after that she continued eating, in silence. But, I thought I'd seen a glimmer. Of eyes slightly starting to tear.
"Hey, don't strain yourself."
"I'm not. I'm finished."
The good news is that things start picking up right around here. The bad news is, the get worse.