V6 Story I – Part 04
“Of course I’m safe,” Mayuzumi replied, rocking in her chair. “I had my eyes closed.” She ignored my last two questions.
The world slowly came back into focus. I could see Mayuzumi now, leaning on her elbow with a sinister grin.
“You closed your eyes?”
“I did. His fits last until he stabs his victim’s eyes. But if his line of sight is blocked, he calms down for a while. He didn’t know how to deal with me with my eyes closed, so he brought me here. He then left you in a different room and disappeared somewhere. He was probably the one who treated your wound. You should take off the bandages later. I think the wound is being compressed too much.”
Mayuzumi pointed to my forehead, rocking in her chair. Pale bare feet peeked through black lace.
The floor creaked, and the silhouette beside me stirred. I quickly shifted my attention to the presence surrounding the chair.
My brows furrowed.
Dolls wrapped in shadows loomed in the dimness, elaborately-crafted girls standing in silent vigil.
Neatly-trimmed black hair framed the smooth contour of their faces. Their white cheeks and lips were tinged with a faint red hue. The absence of even a speck of dust suggested they were treated with great care.
The dolls differed in size, but they all had small physiques, with dainty fingers and polished nails.
All the dolls looked identical. Looked familiar.
No, that wasn’t the right word. I examined the dolls once more.
All of them were made to look alike.
All of their eyes had been gouged out, hollow darkness gazing at me from ghastly sockets.
And in the center of them all, Mayuzumi grinned. My head spun. It was jarring, in a way.
In this room, it seemed unnatural that she had eyes.
I swallowed, holding back the nausea. The agitation caused a sharp pain to run through my lower abdomen. I pressed a hand to my gut, squeezing my eyes shut. What was corrupting me now? How foolish and ridiculous it all seemed.
Why should the madness of others affect me?
“The man who kidnapped you didn’t pluck out your eyes,” I said. “Plus he’s rational enough to treat me. It seems to me like he barely has any intention of killing you. You should escape. Do you think I can stay and talk to him?”
The dolls lined up before me looked bizarre, but we should judge him based on how he treated the living. And from the way he treated me, there was a high chance that he still had some semblance of reason left within him. I might be able to persuade him to surrender to the authorities.
Mayuzumi flashed a gentle smile as she fiddled with the tube. “Can you destroy the locks, then?”
I blinked repeatedly, struggling to comprehend her response. Her red lips curved into a smile. My vision fell into darkness once more, flickering.
“The door has multiple locks,” Mayuzumi went on, her voice gentle and slow. “The windows are also sealed up. You and I are within his territory. This house has been renovated so that those inside can’t leave. If you still believe he has good intentions, then you have my respect.”
I felt my blood drain out of my body. My vision flickered back to light, and I saw Mayuzumi sneering.
She twisted the cork stopper and tilted the tube. Numerous eyeballs tumbled out, rolling across her dress. She lifted the hem of her dress and made a recess to prevent them from falling. Pale fingers picked one up. Mayuzumi ran her tongue over the pupil and looked at me with gleaming eyes.
“What’s your plan, then?” I spat, my breath coming out in short gasps. “This is a critical situation. Are you just going to stay here and keep rocking in that chair?”
“If you want to be snarky, you might want to twist your words a bit more. I get what you’re saying, though. That’s why he put me among these dolls. One day I will end up like them.”
Mayuzumi jerked her chin. The dolls around her were staring at her with hollow eyes.
“He doesn’t seem interested in dolling up people. Probably because they rot.”
I got chills thinking about the meaning of the smell of decay in the air.
Where was it coming from? What exactly was rotting?
Mayuzumi rocked the chair back then jumped off. With an empty tube in her hand, she strode off.
I quickly followed her. “Where are you going?”
“To the client, of course.”
Mayuzumi turned to me with imperious eyes.
“The client invited me through force. Normally, this would be against the rules. But this is an exception. I will accept the invitation. If they really want my attention that bad, so be it. I will play their game. The only thing more terrifying than the supernatural is the human mind.”
Mayuzumi’s lips twisted into an animalistic grin.
The tube in her milky hand shook. Suddenly her fingers separated from the glass.
“Now, then. He doesn’t want to gouge out eyeballs anymore?”
The tube fell, spinning gently in the air…
“What a stupid lie.”
It touched the floor and shattered.
I followed Mayuzumi as we explored the spacious, old, yet solidly-built house. My hand brushed against the amber pillars. Mayuzumi opened a small room before shrugging her shoulders.
We checked everywhere, but there was no escape from this place. The house was sealed tight.
The door had multiple locks, which we couldn’t open without the keys. The windows were covered, causing the air inside to become stagnant and stale.
It felt like an underground crypt. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me that we were actually underground.
We were trapped like rats.
I suppressed the urge to smoke. With every breath I took, the putrid stench invaded my lungs.
We had already located the source of the smell.
Inside the desolate kitchen, we noticed something peculiar—a cardboard box left in an awkward spot. Underneath it was a door that led to a bunker. Though locked, it was easy to imagine the horrors that awaited inside.
The kitchen itself was permeated with the nauseating stench of decayed flesh, yet the fridge and garbage bin were entirely empty, which was highly contradictory.
“What a revolting smell,” Mayuzumi said. “I wouldn’t think about smoking. You don’t want smoke to mix with this stench. It could very well smell like burning corpses. A mere assumption, of course.” She walked away.
Clenching my fist, I trailed after her.
A thick floral wallpaper adorned the hallway, its cozy ambiance seemingly out of place. Suddenly, it all turned black. My eyes stopped working again.
I placed my hand on the wall and proceeded down the hallway, making sure I wasn’t left behind.
Then, my hand grasped empty air, and I froze, bewildered.
“What are you doing, Odagiri-kun?” Mayuzumi’s voice came from above. “Come up quick.”
My vision returned, and I saw a winding staircase polished to a lustrous amber that led to the second floor. Mayuzumi was standing atop it.
I slowly began to climb, my fingers grazing a wreath hanging on the wall. The white ball ornament felt cold.
Mayuzumi placed her palm on the door and opened it slowly.
A voice was coming from somewhere.
Plaintive sobs, resembling the sound of rain.
Three doors lined the hallway, and the voice was issuing from the farthest one. I turned to Mayuzumi, but she paid me no heed and proceeded onward, passing by the doors on either side, before stopping in front of the last one. She opened the door without a moment’s hesitation.
Light spilled through the gap, and the interior came into view.
A bed sat by the window. Dim light falling from the overcast sky created wave-like patterns on the sheets. The white-and-gray scene possessed a serene beauty.
Someone was lying on the bed. And someone was weeping beside it.
A deathbed. One met their end, while the other mourned their passing.
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