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curious

supermikotan in ghostsugar_rp

Supply and Demand [open]

Nao was putting away the cleaning supplies in the janitor's supply room in the first floor hallway after cleaning time. Her cleaning duty group had decided who should take things back with rock-paper-scissors and Nao had lost, and she'd been left carrying the brooms, mops, and dustpans back to the supply room. Oh well, she thought to herself. It was just as well anyway. The other girls always just dumped the cleaning things in a haphazard pile in the corner, a habit which made Nao want to scream. If Nao was left with the job all on her own, she could take the time to hang each item properly in its place on the wall.

She could hear running feet outside. The after-school practice for Sports Day Radio Exercises would be starting soon, wouldn't it? Oh, dreadful Sports Day Exercises. She was short, so she'd be right in the front of her class's line during exercises. That meant she really didn't have much choice but to try hard.

Nao sighed to herself as she hung the cleaning tools. She was thinking about dinner-- tonight's dinner was her grandma's turn to cook, and Grandma's nikujaga with carrots was heavenly. Her mother had asked her to bring potatoes home from the grocery store. She had to write that down, or she might forget--

The door of the supply room slammed suddenly behind her back. Nao jumped at the loud noise, a small yelp escaping her. Someone must have run by and shut the door on her, she reasoned. It was pitch black so she had to grope her way back to the door. But when she found it again, the doorknob would not turn. "Huh?" Nao said aloud. She jiggled the doorknob, twisted as hard as she could, pulled, but the door seemed to be stuck.

Was it just her, or did the air feel very cold all of a sudden? A chill traveled down her spine. There was a soft sound like a dry breath being exhaled, a sigh that reminded her ears of silk brushing on silk. She could hear it from somewhere behind and above her, where the corner of the supply room would be if she could see. "Who's there," Nao said aloud, commanding her voice to be firm.

There was no reply, but Nao had a feeling that the air was not right. Something was coming, she could feel it crawling closer. The skin of her arms and legs was turning to gooseflesh. She jiggled the doorknob again and thumped on the door with a fist. "Someone, someone help," she called, as loud as she could muster.
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Chiaki wasn't really looking forward to the Sports Day Radio Exercises practice, but mostly because it was more time stuck with Yadoru, who still seemed to be mad at him and with the not speaking to him. Chiaki had to admit, he was still a little upset, but -- did it really warrant them not speaking to each other at all?

Maybe he just shouldn't spend all his time thinking about it. I...it would get better on its own. Right?

Chiaki was so lost in his own thoughts that he almost didn't hear the muffled cry coming from the supply closet. He stopped, a perplexed look on his face. Had he imagined it? He looked around the hallway -- most of his classmates had already gone ahead of him -- and he inched closer to the closet, leaning his head toward the door. He knocked on it, tenatively.

"U-um..." He kept his voice down, but still (hopefully) audible to anyone who might be inside. A ghost, maybe? "Is...is there someone in here?"
Nao was beginning to give up hope that her voice was going to reach anyone, when she heard a boy's voice at the door. "I'm in here," she called, and pulled on the door one more time with all her might. "Ungh, the, the door won't open!"

Then there was a whisper behind her, and Nao felt something stirring in the darkness behind her back. She gasped, sucking in her breath through her teeth. The air felt damp and stale. "Help," she managed to say to the door.
Chiaki reached for the doorknob, but then hesitated. He didn't know if it was a living person or a spirit haunting the closet, he realized. "U-um -- don't worry, I'll help you," he said, his hand on knob. "M-my name's Aoki Chiaki. Who's in there? Do, um, you want me to get a teacher, or...?"

No, that was a stupid idea! He kicked himself mentally. If it was a ghost, getting Shibata-sensei would be the worst thing to do. He should get --

No, Yadoru wasn't talking to him anymore. He couldn't do that. Well -- it wasn't like he couldn't solve problems on his own!
"Aoki-kun?" Nao repeated, surprised. "It's Kasuga from 2-B! I was just putting stuff away and the door closed, and--"

Nao paused, unsure how to describe it. When she spoke again, her voice trembled. "It's... really dark in here," she explained, a note of desperation. "And..." Ah-- she shouldn't say any more. She was acquainted with Aoki-kun from class activities, but she didn't know him that well yet. She certainly wasn't in a position to tell him that she was suspecting that the force holding the door shut was not normal.

"What should I do?" she asked. "I can't see anything."
Kasuga...Kasuga Nao-san, right? Chiaki (vaguely) remembered her. Yeah, okay, she was a living student. She sounded really upset -- Chiaki really wanted to help her. He couldn't imagine she was having much fun, stuck in there...

"D-don't worry, Kasuga-san!" he said, trying his best to sound brave. (Stutters weren't very brave, though...) "Just -- sit there, okay? I'll get you out!"

Except then the doorknob wouldn't budge. He tired and tried again, but -- nothing. Chiaki's face paled.

"U-um -- I think the door's stuck, Kasuga-san! Do you want me to get a teacher, or -- "

It was then that he felt a chill gust of air blow through the crack between the door and the floor. He froze -- he knew that feeling. This couldn't be good. A teacher couldn't help them with this. Only --

No, no, he's not even talking to you!

He had to take care of this on his own. But he didn't have the slightest clue how.
Nao patted her pockets, but as she had suspected, she had nothing useful on her now. If only she had her bookbag with her! "I don't know," she whimpered. "I'm going to try and find the, the light."

She reached out her hands to feel for the lightswitch. It wasn't near the door, if she remembered correctly, it was about a foot to the right. Her fingertips came into contact with the wall.

Something warm and sticky was oozing down it. The texture was thicker than water, a little gooey, and the smell was of copper. Blood!

Nao snatched her hand back and screamed in horror.
Nao's scream startled Chiaki so badly that he jerked away from the closet door with a strangled yell in response. He stared at the door, eyes wide in alarm, before he dove back at it, pulling fiercely at the doorknob.

"Kasuga-san! Kasuga-san, can you hear me?" He didn't care if he was yelling, anymore. She'd screamed! "Are you all right? Kasuga-san!"

This was definitely not normal. This had to be related to something supernatural or paranormal or -- or whatever. Chiaki cursed himself for being little more than a normal boy. If he just had some -- some way of -- maybe, if he could manage to see the ghost or whatever it was, he could try talking it down...that worked sometimes, he knew. But first he had to make sure Nao was okay.

[readers, sorry, I got her class number wrong above, it's 1-B]

Nao found herself wishing her grandpa was here to help. He always know what to do in scary situations! But she was all alone in here, she had to think, and fast.

"Aoki-kun, please do what I say!" Nao stammered, clinging to the door (which was not bleeding). "Go to 1-B. My desk is the first one by the door. Get my bookbag. Quick! Please!"

The floor was starting to feel sticky and wet. Nao cringed, shivering. Something was there in the darkness, she could feel it. There was a rasping sound of someone or something breathing. She pawed for the lightswitch. Blood or no blood, light would help. Light, light, where was that light? The breathing was getting closer!
Her...bag? What was in her bag that could possibly help in this situation?

Wait. If she was asking him to go get her bookbag instead of a teacher -- if she was aware that there was likely some sort of spirit holding her in there...then she must have been someone special, like Yadoru. In that case, it was best to trust her judgment.

"O -- okay!" Chiaki called. "I'll go get your bag -- I'll be right back! Don't worry, Kasuga-san!"
Nao cowered against the door. She closed her eyes and started praying that Chiaki would come back quickly. If she could just last until he returned, she might be able to use the ofuda she had inside to bind whatever evil force was holding the door closed.

The raspy breathing was coming closer. Nao flinched and curled herself into a tighter ball, afraid. Her sneakers were feeling rather wet and she could imagine the closet filling with more and more blood. But she tried her best to keep her mind focused on praying. "I'm a miko of Kasuga-jinja," she told herself. "I'm not afraid of such things, I'm not afraid of--"

Icy fingers trailed up the back of her neck. Nao shrieked in terror. A pair of hands grabbed her head and turned her to look back at the supply room behind her. Nao opened her eyes and suddenly she could see things in the darkness. The walls of the supply closet were no longer there. She was standing in a field of hard-packed, barren earth, under a black and cloudy sky. There was a pile of bones before her, a heap of skulls of people who had died in this very spot. She didn't know how she knew, she just knew. That was when she heard the voice.

Many have died, where you stand. You will join them. Give yourself to me.

Nao had never experienced anything like this before. The stench of death was filling the air, and she felt a very real sense of the putrefication having an effect of her psyche. She held her hand over her mouth, staring around her with terrified eyes.

The bones on the floor started to jitter and reassemble themselves into bodies. The skeletons seemed like they had all been torn apart in different ways. Nao could see rotting flesh and chunks of straggly hair still on them. A dangling eyeball here, broken teeth grinning there. They began crawling, inching along the ground. Closer. And closer.

Your power, let me devour it... I need it...

Nao didn't want to see any more. She fought against the hands holding her head and screamed again, with more force this time. "Stay away from me! Let me go!"
There had been something about that closet which had given Yadoru a bad feeling. He hadn't been able to put his finger on it, he hadn't been able to detect anything specific, but nevertheless, it was still there. The rumors around that closet were manifold, but proof was almost impossible to find.

But here, in sport's day practice, something had tipped him off. A sudden flare of spiritual energy had drawn his attention, and he'd excused himself to find out what was going on. Unfortunately, since he was changed into his sports uniform, he didn't have his knife or his ofuda with him... he just had his protective talismans. That would be problematic if he ran into something big, but he wasn't too worried.

Though that worry rapidly reasserted itself as he got closer to the infamous haunted closet. Not only was the energy radiating from there, but as he got closer, he heard someone screaming inside! He threw all hesitation away, running to the door and starting to pound on it with his fist. It felt sealed away... he'd need to get whoever it was to open it for him, or else he'd have to blast it, and he didn't want to do that in the middle of the hallway. Not when anyone could see him.

"Hey, listen to me," he shouted, not thinking that this was probably much more suspect than just doing some quick onmyoudo, "whoever's in there... turn around and try to open the door, okay? You'll be okay, just focus on the sound of my voice and everything will be all right!"
Struggling against the cold hands that were trying to take-- something, she wasn't sure what-- from her, Nao wasn't sure what she could really do to hold her ground from here. But suddenly she got an odd sensation that there was someone calling her. She couldn't quite make it out, but she could sense something behind her that felt like white light. And the white light was telling her to try to open the door.

But I can't, she thought to herself. I already tried and it didn't work. I can't do anything useful.

Nao hung her head. She'd die here like all these other bones. Someone else would have to take care of her grandfather. Yes. He'd get sicker, his smile would become more and more elusive. He'd die and she wouldn't be there to help care for him. She wouldn't be there to play her koto for him, to read books to him. To hold his hand.

"Grandfather," she said aloud. Her arms felt lighter all of a sudden. She couldn't let this happen. He needed her, didn't he? He'd be sad if she didn't come home.

It was as simple as that. Nao raised her head, her eyes defiant. She balled her hands into fists at her sides. She couldn't see it, but she felt like she was glowing and warm, and that the horrible rotten stench was being pushed back.

Nao reached out and felt the doorknob behind her, in the darkness. She grasped it hard in her little hand.
Wheezing slightly, Chiaki skidded around the corner, Nao's bag in hand. He really wasn't built for this running stuff -- he could feel his chest tightening a little on the inside, but he didn't slow down. Kasuga-san was in trouble, and...!

...And Chiba Yadoru was standing right there, doing his special onmyouji work right in front of the supply closet. What exactly was he -- didn't Chiaki already have what he and Nao needed to take care of the ghost? Not that he wasn't overall grateful to have someone with Yadoru's expertise to help Kasuga-san out, but... Chiaki hesitated just slightly, afraid that Yadoru might tell him to get lost or some such. But -- no, he was here for Nao's sake, and he wasn't done helping her! Besides, it wasn't like the two of them couldn't still work together where it was important...right?

He stumbled to a halt next to Yadoru, clutching Nao's bag in his white-knuckled hand. Unsure of what to do -- he didn't even know what Yadoru was doing -- he yelled, "Kasuga-san, I -- I've got your bag!" It was the only think he could think of.
Yadoru glanced over to Chiaki for exactly one moment. That was all it took for him to see the boy, recognize who it was, and decide that there was nothing that needed to be said. He turned back to his work without another word, snubbing Chiaki and just how useless he was in this situation. He was going to get himself hurt at this rate, and he'd better not get in the way!

Still, as Nao grabbed the doorknob, Yadoru formed the mudra of 'the seal of the inner lion,' calling on his own internal strength to meet and counter what the ghost was doing. "On haya baishiraman taya sowaka," he growled, the mantra calling spiritual energy to himself... then washing through the door and beyond it, blasting the ghost back and allowing Nao a precious moment of clear thought and clarity. This was perhaps a tiny gesture, if that, but it was also possible that that one moment would give Nao the chance to escape...
Nao burst out of the door all of a sudden, leaping out. When her sneaker hit solid ground it was dry again. Behind her, the closet was completely back to normal. No bones, no blood. No visible evidence that there was anything amiss.

Nao stumbled past Yadoru and ran right into Chiaki. She grabbed Chiaki's arm with both hands and cowered there, white as a sheet and shaking like a leaf. Her teeth were chattering.
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