Release Date: October 16th 1997
Page count: 111
Unlike the Twilight Syndrome Truth Files, which just so happened to be another guidebook for said game, its Moonlight Syndrome counterpart is an in-universe non-fiction book compiled by up-and-coming journalist Yoji Kato, who was independently investigating the events of the game. It takes the form of a scrap-book collecting weekly and monthly magazine articles and various interviews. His notes are segmented in ten files, roughly following the ten scenarios in the game.
The book itself was written by Ooka Masahi, who was hired by Human to work on said project through his editor.
Suda ended up enjoying Ooka’s scenario to the point of hiring him to work on his first independent title, The Silver Case, as the chief writer for the Placebo arc: The main character of said scenario, Tokio Morishima, happens to be a journalist who, much like Yoji Kato, seeks to uncover the mysteries of Suda’s main scenario from a different perspective.
Their collaboration proved to be so fruitful that Ooka returned for almost every subsequent Kill the Past title, with his reporting style influencing his writing: He wrote scenarios for Flower, Sun and Rain, Hand in killer7, the 25th ward, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, Travis Strikes Again and No More Heroes III.
The contents of the book have been translated by FFTranslations.
The books introduction includes some ruminations by Mika on how she often ends up coming home late due to school club activities or for being invited by Kazuki to night clubs and events. However, her home town has become more dangerous as of late: when she was returning home via taxi, the driver actually took her through the mountains, which he claimed was a “shortcut”. When she tried to complain at the taxi company the following day, the driver had seemingly vanished. Moreover, when returning home, she often senses someone stalking her, but she can’t bring herself to warn the police about it.
As she asks for someone to help her, a different line of text replies: “Don’t you remember? It’s me.”
This is clearly referring to the pranks and torments that Mithra inflicts on Mika; however, it’s unclear whether the next line would be said by Mithra himself (Mika immediately forgets about him each time they meet) or Ryo (whom she has lost all memory of).
The next page explains the structure of the book as detailed earlier, a collection of scraps and investigations compiled by journalist Yoji Kato.
FILE 1: The death of Kyoko Kazan
The accidental death of Kyoko Kazan. Was it really just an accident?
A covered-up past and a town spectacle
Although tragic, it was one accident of many. A bike being ridden by a female university student collided head-on with a truck that was driving down a mountain pass. The cause was apparently drunk driving by the truck driver. I feel bad for the university girl who died, but it’s pathetic.
One yawn-filled day, I happened to hear a story being read out on the news on TV: “One person has died in today’s traffic accident.”
Hmm, so what? But wait, what was this jumbled feeling? I felt like I could smell something ominous in the air, just like the air that faintly covers this whole town.
Hinashiro is your average town.
But there’s something strange about it. Something like its past history is covered up beneath the concrete and plastic. You can really feel it when you come from the outside. This sleek, glittering townscape will startle you, but only at first. Only for that one moment, and then the instant you, for example, buy a can of coffee from a vending machine or plunk a 100 yen coin into a machine at the arcade, it vanishes. Nothing feels strange anymore.
In this town you can smoke, walk along the road, sit on a bench, play pachinko and date girls, all of those normal things.
We’re all tamed by this town before long. It captures us. Not that strange of a thought, is it?
Crack! Something shot away in Hinashiro. Specifically, it was an 18-year-old woman who went flying.
What is the truth of the accident at Reigetsu Pass?
I wandered around Hinashiro. Ever since getting caught up in that incident at the club, I’ve had this feeling like I’ve forgotten something around here. Did it fall into a hole somewhere in town I don’t know? Am I losing my mind?
I didn’t know much about the accident at Reigetsu Pass. In any case, it wasn’t as if there was much investigating a lowly writer such as myself – a mere vagabond, not even a newspaper reporter – could do. To be honest, this isn’t much different from a hobby to pass the time. Am I really gonna get paid for this, Chief? So instead, I made calls to a bunch of friends of friends, trying to see if I could find one who knew about the dead student girl, or at least one who’d be willing to tell me something about the accident.
“You know 〇〇〇〇, the dead girl? She was with ✕✕✕✕, the guy who died at the club.”
Ugh, really? All of a sudden, they were linked. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal the name of the person who provided this information. That’s because I got it from a high school girl at the telephone club.
“They’re saying that most of the body was blown to pieces so recovery’s impossible, and the policemen have split up to gather up the bits of flesh,” she said. This is just idle gossip, merely in the domain of rumour. But was I going to get any more tangible information than what I’d heard from the high school girl at the telephone club? It seemed more to go on than what was on TV, at least.
After leaving the telephone club, I sat at a Chinese restaurant drinking a beer and reflecting on things, when a scary thought came to mind. That thought was, in short: what if this is an omen? Rather than me feeling it, it’s like the younger generation living in the town of Hinashiro can sense it.
Death is just death, but it isn’t something to be treated so carelessly. The naive generation know this. They know it, and they trade all sorts of information, trying to dismantle the weight of it. They feel it themselves, they accept it, and they digest it.
For the time being, my goal is to connect myself to their network. On the surface, the town’s atmosphere is irritating, and underneath it’s warped. And I ended up being consoled by a high school girl at a telephone club… [sob].
Have you seen the news?
The one about the bike that collided with a truck at the pass. Somebody died.
Ohh, that. That story’s done already.
“It sounds terrible. I hear they crashed right into each other.” And that’s it. No one’s saying any more about it than that.
Oh, so it’s done.
Why d’you care?
To be honest, it’s for work.
You with the media, mister?
Not the big time. I am sort of a writer, though.
Something to do with subculture? You don’t really seem like the upstanding type.
Ouch. Something’s weird about this, but I don’t really know what.
Don’t have any confidence, do you?
You don’t sugarcoat it, do you? Yeah, that’s right.
Because you’re thinking about it. You’ve gotta feel it.
Yeah, you’re right. Got it.
She was in the third year when I was in first.
The dead student girl?
There was a suicide at the club after the accident, wasn’t there? There was a guy who got caught up in it.
That ✕✕ guy, right?
〇〇〇〇, the girl who got killed on her bike, was the girlfriend of ✕✕✕✕, the guy who died at the club.
Maybe only a few people know, but ✕✕ was a dangerous guy. Well, I can’t say much. His little sister’s in the same year as me. You won’t write about this, will you?
How about if I just leave your name out?
Hmm… I guess.
Want to earn yourself some pocket money?
This is my part-time job. You just have to keep talking. It’ll be our secret.
You have a cute voice [laughs].
I get that a lot [laughs].
What was dangerous about ✕✕?
He had a bunch of different girls. He called them experiments and stuff, apparently.
Was he crazy?
The woman who burned herself to death must’ve been, too.
That was messed up, huh.
Did everyone know about the relationship between the guy who died at the club and the female student who died in the accident?
I guess, since they were kinda dating and all… That accident was weird, too, huh?
She was turned into mincemeat, right? They’re saying that most of the body was blown to pieces so recovery’s impossible, and the policemen have split up to gather up the bits of flesh.
She was really hit that hard?
What’s weird about it?
I feel some sort of evil intent about it.
How should I know?
But you sense something, right?
Yeah. I’ve noticed it too, lately. The world looks normal-ish, and they talk about stuff like accidents on the news, but it’s like the most important thing is missing. People say that you can’t tell if you live here. You don’t notice. That it’s a protective instinct. Your brain comes to conclusions on its own so that you don’t think that anything’s wrong, to protect yourself, but in reality something isn’t right.
Wow. Did you see that in a magazine or something?
Some old guy like you who came to Hinashiro said it or something.
Some suspicious guy, apparently. He says he’s recording the things that happen here.
Tch, we’re not the same at all. Everyone’s situation is different.
Oh yeah? Sorry. But it’s always been this way. It’s different this time, though. Scary, huh? Everyone except the real dumbasses is freaking out. It doesn’t do any good, though, so we all do things like go to school and try to act normal.
A protective instinct.
Might be. Might be totally different, too. It’s all just overthinking, really. Nothing rational about it.
Maybe. I dunno.
Whether or not it’s overthinking.
Still don’t get it, do you?
You’re taking this seriously?
Hold on a minute.
Good luck with work. Make sure to treat me when the money rolls in, okay?
The theory that the accident was a suicide and rampant rumours
Information from the authorities has reached me. I’ll leave it to the discretion of the editor. I can’t write much about my source, though. That’s the rule, apparently. Oh, is that so.
According to this “related person”, it seems as though quite severe injuries had been inflicted upon the body. Calling her mincemeat wouldn’t necessarily be an exaggeration. I actually have troubling unverified information that her head hasn’t been found. It seems as though they did find her helmet, though. That’s strange.
The female student who died (not sure why we’re still treating her as anonymous at this point) had excellent grades. She was a beauty, too. She had a younger brother. I managed to hear about what she was like in life from an 18-year-old girl.
“She was the type who seemed like she carried some sort of heavy burden. The accident must’ve been a suicide, right? Everyone’s saying so.”
The suicide theory is actually becoming the commonly accepted one amongst people involved with the case. They wonder if the fact that her helmet was found means that she removed it intentionally.
None of this is confirmed, however.
(Supplementary Rumour Magazine)
Interview memos and personal notes – 1
Kyoko Kazan and Sumio Tohba were dating. Kyoko Kazan has a younger brother. His name is Ryo Kazan. Sumio Tohba has a younger sister, Rumi Tohba. Ryo Kazan and Rumi Tohba were in a sexual relationship for a time, too. This seems certain.
The four’s relationship is incredibly twisted. I can’t explain how, but it seems like some sort of warped quadrangle. If only I could speak to Ryo Kazan or Rumi Tohba.
If Kyoko Kazan committed suicide, what was her motive? Sumio Tohba’s death seemed somewhat like a suicide, too. Was he following after Kyoko? Or was this some sort of lovers’ suicide with a time difference? Maybe they were both under some sort of intense pressure that drove them to their deaths? Is there some sort of meaning behind it all?
There’s a rumour saying that just like Sumio Tohba, Kyoko Kazan had sexual relations with many men. Unverified.
Got some new info, totally inconsistent. People are saying that you can see a man resembling Sumio Tohba at the scene of the Reigetsu Pass accident in some unaired footage of a TV station’s news programme. Even though it supposedly didn’t air, people say they saw him on the broadcast. Was he at the scene? Aside from Tohba, there was apparently a boy shown as well.
What’s the key here? Even if Sumio Tohba and Kyoko Kazan were crazy about each other and their brother and sister were involved, wouldn’t that just be a bunch of people in a messy relationship? What if their relationship was a twisted, incestuous one? Even still, that would be their problem and theirs alone. Why is it so disturbing? Because I can feel some sort of evil intent? Whose? What kind?
Is this an accident I should be reporting on, anyway, or is it a criminal case? The more I dig, all I manage to confirm are nonsensical personal relationships. None of it is worth writing about. It looks like the weekly magazines and variety shows are having a field day with it. I guess me thinking about it won’t get me anywhere. Gotta feel it, huh? It’s this town that I can’t stand.
Got my hands on an image of the news show. There’s a boy in it. If I look carefully, I can make out a man who looks like Sumio Tohba, too. What the hell’s going on?
Danny Dataly’s WORDS:
The events of Moonlight Syndrome cannot be placed chronologically within the game itself due to the influence of Mithra, warping the characters’ personal times; However, the journalists featured in the Truth Files have no personal connection to the case, meaning the dates indicated here are the closest to “reality”.
FILE 2: The Self-Immolation at Lost Highway
A mysterious suicide by self-immolation. This is where it all began.
Escape from Lost Highway
I was fed up. This unending everyday life thing was gnawing away at me. I was angered by the empty boredom of it all, like having a debt collector standing outside of my door every day.
Sorry, but this is a personal story. At first, it was my cat’s fault. The cat I own pissed on my apartment door every day, so it rotted, and I got into a fight with my landlord. That’s why I moved here. But I can’t stand anything here. More than anything, I can’t stand myself as I gradually start getting used to this place. The world is full of depressing happenings. This is the same, no matter where you go.
A sign reading Lost Highway. I took the elevator down. A wall with graffiti on it. A familiar air of degeneration. A monotonous rhythm. It’s the type of place that shitty people would come to. All anyone there talks about is boring complaints, sex, or drugs. This underground world does preserve one important virtue, however: peace of mind, for those who seek a place where they belong. That’s what it provides. The issue of having a place where you fit in is an important one – even if it’s a fake, transient one built on lies.
It was in this state, breaking down in the underworld, not dancing, not drinking, not doing drugs, not listening to techno, leaning against a wall thinking about my cat, when I saw the flames. Unbelievably, a woman was burning. The flames were terrible, yet beautiful. Then it spread to a man, and he was laughing.
Devil, devil, devil, I thought stupidly as I watched the man and woman burn. Then I lost my head and ran. That was what happened that night.
What happened that night?
The incident was reported as the suicide of a woman by self-immolation, and the accidental death of a man who got caught up in it.
The woman was Kimika Takahashi. The man was apparently Sumio Tohba. The woman appears to have got into an argument with the man, then tried to commit suicide on the spot. The man, however, didn’t try to run. I remember that much very clearly. He was laughing.
I’m just a guy who sometimes has his crappy writing published in erotic books and magazines he doesn’t know much about, and it was a sheer coincidence that I happened to be there at the time. The scene I coincidentally saw, though, clings to the back of my brain and won’t let go. It didn’t feel very real. It was more like being shown an impressive painting.
For me, what happened at the Lost Highway was so inexplicable. I don’t really know how to explain it. I feel like I’ve lost my mind. Let me write honestly. At the time, the flames looked like some sort of symbol to me. That was what made me want to investigate this case.
There must be a reason for the suicide. To me, though, involved from the very beginning as a witness, it doesn’t seem like there is much meaning behind the reason itself. Or perhaps I’m just trying to find a meaning in something else.
His laughter won’t go away. It clings to me. It follows me in my dreams. That impossible-sounding, loud, dry laughter. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! That everyday life I’d been so fed up with had suddenly changed form into something strange, warped and abnormal.
I wanted to figure out what it was. I was bored, at any rate. I was just irritated. Maybe I was attracted by something abnormal happening. Maybe I just wanted to believe that there was something lurking within the normality, and that I could be the one to expose it.
Or am I still just lost?
They won’t say anything
I pulled aside some patrons who had come to the Lost Highway and spoke to them about the self-immolation incident. I also learned some things in conversation by pretending to be a fellow patron. I will summarise and report several of those items here.
A woman who claimed to be 20, but to all appearances had to have been in high school.
Kimika came here a lot. Something’s seemed pretty dangerous about her for a while. Wasn’t she messing around quite a bit with drugs, too? Everyone who knew her thinks so.
Why do you think she killed herself?
Put some common sense to work and you’ll figure it out. That Sumio guy was toying with her. There are loads of people who’ve seen him being violent. I don’t know much about it, but I think she got rid of his kid or something?
What kind of guy was Sumio?
I dunno. Well, apart from the fact that he supposedly controlled this place, anyway. I’ve heard rumours about him being a perv, though [laughs].
A man in his twenties. He claims to visit the club roughly once a month. He usually frequents a different place.
Do you know anything about the woman who killed herself?
Wasn’t she screwing a bunch of guys in retaliation or something? Maybe it was because she was lonely. Poor girl.
You think that’s why she killed herself, too?
I’m not really interested, so I dunno.
Do you know a guy called Sumio?
Yeah, his reputation isn’t the best. However he seemed on the outside, everyone, including the people who worked at the club, hated him. I don’t know anything about the clique here, but something was up with that guy.
What do you mean?
I dunno, but he was weirdly charismatic. Used to do things like hold events like some sort of witches’ sabbath in the back [laughs]. I hear they’re gonna do a sucide event or something next. Makes you wonder what’s going through their heads [laughs].
Everyone close to the club refused to comment. Some were even clearly trying to threaten me. Scary, huh?
A woman of around 20.
Everyone around him ended up getting caught up by his twisted mind. Sooner or later, someone was going to have to put an end to it. He’d reached his limit. Being dumped by him was the same as being loved by him. She didn’t get that. But a woman like her had to provide the chance for an end to be put to it. In every age, the fool kills the hero. He was the hero. The king of a shut-away world.
I think Sumio knew it all – how much he was loved, and how much he was hated. That he was going to die.
Were you here at the time?
I’m not sure. I knew, though, so it doesn’t matter.
Were you one of the women who followed him around?
Not at all. We weren’t even acquaintances. I just got that feeling from him.
He was laughing when he died. What do you think about that?
I don’t think anything about it. He must simply have thought that death is the final answer. He’s still drifting, though. He can’t be saved. That takes power. The opposite of his power. Please, go away. My head hurts.
A man in his early twenties.
What do you think about the self-immolation incident?
It’s over, isn’t it? So is this place. The rule’s been unleashed.
You don’t know his rule?
What sort of rule?
The rule that the strong can’t save the weak. The weak must mimic the strong’s strength and fight.
Did you know the woman who killed herself?
The antithesis [laughs]. Not that it matters now. Dying is meaningless. Somebody’s just dead. All that’s left is the reality that they’re gone. You should come to your senses soon, too. Quit doing these boring interviews.
What stupid stories. I felt like I were scavenging through the ashes. Was that the meaning of the incident? The shit had just returned to the shithole. Fuck you!
A crazed clown and adults who don’t understand
Let’s switch up the mood. Feeling like something heavy’s weighing down your shoulders? Shake it right off.
In case you’re thinking that all of the reports on the self-immolation incident are boring and samey, this talk show reporter set out for you. It’s not like there’s anything else interesting happening, anyway.
These guys are the clowns of the great modern era, tricksters and magicians. Be grateful. They catch even the most trivial of details, thrusting their cameras and microphones every which way and turning mundane places into a virtual world.
The self-immolation in the early morning one day was linked to the accidental collision of a bike and truck.
Young people assembled at the studio answered questions through the screen with pixellated faces and using voice changers.
“If you’re gonna kill yourself, you might as well go big, you know? It’s kind of crazy to do it like some sort of performance or something.”
“It’s not a good thing to drag other people into it. I’ve gotta say that [laughs].”
“Even if you have a grudge against them?”
“If you have a grudge against them, you could just hand out flyers or something. Or like, draw the guy’s face on t-shirts and write “REALLY BAD GUY” on them and give those out, whatever [laughs].”
“Like, don’t let it get you down so much.”
“But there are loads of suicides there, right? Have been for a while now. Everyone says there has to be something up.”
“Ugh, it’s awful.”
“And like, this might not matter or anything, but there’s some sort of big fuss about who’s getting physical with each other or whatever. Stay clear of all that, yeah? What’s so interesting about any of it, anyway?”
“The adults don’t get it. I guess it’s inevitable.”
Don’t get what?
“They don’t get our world.”
“It’s a generational thing. Even being a year apart from someone makes it totally different for us. Makes you wonder what they’re thinking, huh?”
“Yeah. The bike girl was 18, right? She’s from the Showa period.”
Ah, so it was the youth who were the magicians after all? These days, people from the media are messed with, given the slip and smokescreened. That includes me. This is what they get for pretending to be surprised by these boys and girls’ views on life and death. We were all thinking the same thing anyway.
The following postcard was read out on a late-night radio show.
“It would be so much simpler if you could delete your entire existence with a single switch. If you just flicked the switch, like on a light, darkness would come. And it would be over. Your heart and body would both be gone without a trace. That’s what I wish for.”
Right? Your thinking is probably correct, in this world. Adults might consider it a dangerous thought to have, but it’s far more pragmatic than living on and being hurt by the vague things you cling to.
Even still, the talk show reporter tilted his head in confusion. “Why are they so eager to laugh things off? It makes you wonder if maybe these boys and girls’ very sense of values is what created the breeding ground that gave rise to this sort of tragedy.”
Did they really not realise that if they weren’t laughing things off, they wouldn’t be able to go on living? For these boys and girls, who wish for the ability to end it all by turning off a switch, telling them not to laugh is as good as telling them to flip the switch.
Let’s cut it with the seriousness. If we’re really going to think seriously, we should come up with a method of conquering our fears.
It’s not that death is scary. The scariest thing is what causes it – the reality of painful, gloomy, meaningless deaths that is thrust upon us.
But don’t we all really know that?
The secrets surrounding Sumio Tohba
Who was Sumio Tohba? Was he just a swindling asshole or a psychotic criminal? A charismatic man, or a perfectly normal youth? However much testimony we gather, it seems as though this will remain unclear.
He was 19, a university student. As has already come up several times, his relationships with women were immensely complicated.
It is certain that he released unique, gigolo-like pheromones. Most of the women who were obsessed with him seemed even to revere and extol him.
As such, it seems a fitting end that his death came at the hands of one of the many women who were torn between loving and hating him. Those of the public who know somewhat of the facts of the case must recognise this, in reality.
But even still, his death and the circumstances surrounding it are mysterious. “Sumio’s a scary guy,” said a woman who knew him, as if still afraid of him even after his death. I’m no longer sure whether or not this is just a wrong impression. The claims of those who were involved with Sumio Tohba are just too wild.
Sumio Tohba and Kyoko Kazan’s deaths come as part of a set. Everyone knows that now. I learned of Kyoko Kazan’s death on the news, and witnessed Sumio Tohba’s death with my own eyes. However, these things occurred almost simultaneously. I’ve finally started to figure that out.
I’ll avoid talking about how these lovers’ deaths came to synchronise, since it would involve too much speculation, but it seems certain that Sumio Tohba had some sort of fixation with Kyoko Kazan that he didn’t feel towards the other women.
Was Kyoko Kazan’s death a suicide, an accident, or murder? I don’t know for sure. Murder? That might be a delusion in and of itself.
Are you aware of the story that a human head was found inside a paper bag at the Lost Highway? It shouldn’t have been picked up by the news yet. It is just one of many rumours, after all.
I tried asking sources connected to the case, but was unable to obtain any information.
The rumour, however, is well-known amongst regulars of this club. The police are said to have discovered it on the night of the self-immolation. I have heard another rumour, too, saying that Kimika Takahashi’s body was found without a head after she committed suicide by burning. The story suddenly takes an occultist turn here.
In that case, it seems like it would basically add up if the head they found were to belong to Kimika Takahashi, but the regulars deny this. They say that Kimika Takahashi’s head is missing, and that the one found inside the paper bag belongs to someone else.
Whether it’s delusions, rumours, conjecture, misinformation or the truth, you can probably tell how strangely large the things different people’s imaginations create.
For sure, it is very peculiar. As of current writing, it is even unclear how much of the truth the police have released, and how much they are still hiding. The more I look into this case, the more people get in my way and slow me down, and the deeper the darkness grows.
But these gloomy incidents will soon be forgotten. With no definite factors, they will simply be discarded as the simple traffic accident and accidental involvement in a suicide by self-immolation that they appear to be on the surface.
More than anything, the darkness that hangs over them is strange and profound.
(Supplementary Rumour Review)
Hell and a warped quadrangle
This is a hypothesis.
A quadrangle between an elder brother and a younger sister, an elder sister and a younger brother. The elder brother and sister are lovers, and the younger sister and brother are dating.
But what if it were the elder brother and his younger sister or the elder sister and the younger brother who were truly in love?
It’s true that this four’s relationship grows ever more warped the closer they get. These mixed emotions will surely cast a complicated shadow over them all.
If one corner of the quadrangle can no longer bear it and is crushed, the already twisted shape will be unable to retain its form.
“So the older sister who has feelings for her younger brother is sleeping with the older brother of the woman her younger brother is dating? That sounds like hell. I’ve never had an order that complex,” Ai, a girl from an image club, told me with a laugh.
I scratched my head. It was so adorable to hear a wholesome girl dismiss it so simply as “hell”.
Everyone is shouting for help
Now, it all feels like a dream. If someone were to declare that it had never happened in a plain voice, I feel like I would simply say oh, I see and nod.
Sticking my nose in was all well and good, but further in there were several heavy curtains hanging, completely preventing the screen from being illuminated. I was completely at a loss. I could sense the presence of something evil, but couldn’t get a grip on their tail. Yeah, this is a metaphor. I guess it has a sort of literal meaning as well, though.
About Kimika Takahashi, the dead girl. I never really had any intention of writing about her, but I felt as though coming to the conclusion that she was simply a pitiful little girl wasn’t quite right. Thinking of it now, maybe she is a symbol herself – of this world, as a victim. Calling her a wrong-doer would be utterly ridiculous.
As I sat drinking a beer, not feeling at all like writing this article, my phone rang.
“You’ve gotta play it cooler than that,” the woman on the phone said.
Hahaha. So it was the high school girl from the telephone club the other day.
“I don’t like that kind of thing,” I replied.
“I’m up on the roof right now. I’m on break.”
It wasn’t even lunchtime yet.
“You can’t forget, you know?”
“That something’s not right. That this has all just begun.”
“How do you know?”
“It’s a small world, and the balance is being disrupted. You were writing about the quadrangle, weren’t you?”
“Yeah. But stop talking in riddles.”
“That’s not it. You just don’t get it, do you? Everything has a trigger. If one thing slips out of balance, bigger things gradually start to collapse, too.”
“Maybe you’re right. But there’s nothing I can do about it, is there?”
“Not you, mister. You just have to feel it. Then it won’t be as bad.”
“Won’t be as bad? I won’t be?”
I didn’t respond, simply letting out a sigh.
“Oh, lessons are about to start. Well, bye, and good luck. I’m expecting things from you.”
And with that, she hung up. I stared at the beeping phone for a while.
Was she a victim too, I suddenly wondered? Was she really seeking help? I felt so. After all, isn’t everyone seeking help?
What about Kyoko Kazan? What about Sumio Tohba? What about me? But the number of cases in which someone is able to save someone else is very few. You need to have the determination, a relationship between the saver and the savee, as well as a hell of a lot of luck.
There is a mighty power belonging to someone in this world trying to prevent that. Someone…
Tch, I guess even my own head is festering now.
“Not you, mister. You just have to feel it. Then it won’t be as bad.”
“Won’t be as bad?”
A refrain. The laughter of Sumio Tohba, enveloped in flames, still echoes somewhere inside my head. Please, I think. Make it not be as bad.
But if this is the beginning, there’s no way things will take a turn for the better that easily.
Interview memos and personal notes – 2
Kimika Takahashi’s suicide by self-immolation was planned as a double suicide, catching Sumio Tohba in it, from the start.
But Tohba showed no signs of resisting. The reason why he accepted the flames enveloping him is completely unknown.
I’ve obtained testimony from several people stating that there was definitely something mentally abnormal about Sumio Tohba. Most seemed to think that it was paranoia.
So was he in a state of confusion at the time? Personally speaking, that certainly wasn’t the face of an average person I saw. Was it triggered by the death of Kyoko Kazan?
Or is it possible to think that it was Sumio Tohba who drove Kyoko Kazan to her death? That’s what my intuition tells me.
Who does the human head that was supposedly found in a paper bag at the Lost Highway belong to? I’m not sure where the rumour originated from, but the information that it exists appears highly trustworthy.
What about the mystery of Kimika Takahashi’s body?
If the rumours are true, that would mean that not only was there a suicide, but somebody added a grotesque crime on top. Just what sort of case is this?
The name of a new woman has come up regarding the people surrounding Sumio Tohba: Yayoi Itsushima. No idea what her story is.
It seems like Ryo Kazan, the younger brother of Kyoko Kazan, had come to this club on the day of the incident. I managed to get the testimony of a former classmate of his. I’ve also heard reports that he was seen talking to Rumi Tohba near the entrance. Seems like there’s a possibility that Ryo Kazan was talking to the aforementioned Yayoi Itsushima inside the club, too.
Did Ryo Kazan and Sumio Tohba meet up?
This is all so vague, and there are too many things being hidden. Something’s lurking within the incident at the club that stops me from behind able to dismiss it as simply a suicide by self-immolation and someone being dragged into a double suicide. These relationships just keep getting more and more complicated.
FILE 3: A Stalker’s Suicide
Are you the attacker or the attacked!?
I knew that this town was crazy, but this incident was especially so. Incidents like this always catch you off guard.
A stalker with a dog chased M, a high school girl, around town before kidnapping and confining her. As he was about to assault her, M’s two friends came running and subdued the man. As he was being taken away in a police car, the perpetrator suddenly bit off his tongue. He was taken to hospital, where he sadly died.
Nevertheless, this is yet another suicide. Even if you’re being arrested, the act of suddenly biting off your own tongue is abnormal. It’s practically martyrdom, isn’t it?
The perpetrator, a 24-year-old male, was said to usually be of a gentle disposition, and would take his dog on daily walks. He never forgot to greet the people of the neighbourhood.
Did a young man like this suddenly awaken as a dangerous character? What was the reason that drove him to chase around and kidnap M? All I can say is this: the possibility exists within us all. You might be attacked, and you might be the attacker.
This was what I thought as I was walking nearby the scene of the crime. It was a perfectly average street, but if a small fissure were to open in that perfectly average space, wouldn’t that fissure look ugly? They are perpetually occurring, in quiet residential areas, small parks, and around the corner of your neighbourhood’s concrete walls.
The dog that was with the young man was discovered later. It had been murdered. Did the boy kill it? How ghastly.
All we can do is laugh at these ridiculous circumstances and wonder, could the same happen to me? Nobody knows just how martyrs are chosen.
He bit off his own tongue? What a dumbass!
M, the victim, is a second-year student at a high school in Hinashiro City. Only those who have been followed know the true terror of it, but society insists that the secret to living a successful life entails becoming used to danger. How absurd is that!? But it’s true.
“I’m always being followed around. There are these guys who just follow me everywhere. Old guys, whatever. Aren’t they too old for this sort of thing? I can’t even trust the people I know 100%. You never know who’s gonna turn into a stalker, or when. There’s no way to tell them apart from other people or anything. It’s like, God, even the guys trying to pick me up on the street have a thousand times better manners than that.
“It’s not like telling anyone helps. Even if you tell someone that you were followed all the way home, guys’re just like, oh, that must suck, and that’s it. That’s what it’s like. Women are a bit more understanding, though.
“The guy the other day freaked the hell out of me, too. But I just kinda think, well, that’s how it is. Nothing you can do about the dangerous ones. It is annoying, though. Once you start wondering if someone’s following you, even as part of your daily life you start thinking things like don’t look this way, don’t walk this way. That’s bad. Like, sometimes I get all nervous and turn around, but there’s no one there.
“I’m glad my friends saved me. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if they hadn’t been there. Even when you’re used to that sort of thing, you still get really freaked out and frantic when it actually happens. He bit off his own tongue? Sorry, but what a dumbass. Serves him right. It’s only natural. Die, die!”
Interview memos and personal notes – 3
The street nearby the scene of the crime isn’t the kind of place where you’d usually expect anything to happen. It probably wouldn’t be easy to kidnap a person from the residential area or shopping district without using a car at night, let alone in broad daylight. According to the victim, however, there were several suspicious-seeming people aside from the perpetrator. “Nothing like that has ever happened before, though,” according to her.
Could you really say that a fissure has opened – one in the space of everyday life?
The real name of M, a high school student, is Mika Kishii. I didn’t notice it while interviewing her, but they do look similar. She looks just like Kyoko Kazan, the one who died in that motorbike accident. It reminds me of when I heard that story about there being a girl student at Hinashiro High who was said to look identical to her. They must have meant her. What a weird sign.
It seems as though one of the people Mika Kishii was meeting up with to go shopping was Rumi Tohba.
Since they were in the same year at the same school, it’s not out of the ordinary for them to be acquaintances, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something off about it.
It’s probably because Mika Kishii and Rumi Tohba seem to have such opposite personalities. Mika Kishii appears to have a brightness and upfrontness befitting of her age, as well as perception.
There’s a dark shadow hanging over Rumi Tohba, just like her brother Sumio… Maybe she was dependent upon him. Or has she still not escaped from under his spell?
I wonder if maybe my own delusions are starting to run too wild. But I can’t tell whether they really are just delusions to begin with. This hunch just won’t go away.
“Martyr” was the right word to use. I can’t help but feel like that young man was instigated to do it by something.
That’s what I felt when I saw the photo of the dog’s corpse.
The names of Mika Kishii’s two friends who drove off the stalker are Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima. They’re both third-years at Hinashiro High. The other person Mika Kishii met up with was Arisa Kahara, a first-year at Hinashiro High.
FILE 4: The Mass Middle-Schooler Death Dives
What do the middle-schoolers think and feel as they throw themselves one by one?
A suicide. Another chilling suicide
You look at the row of letters, scowl and mutter, “How awful,” then turn the page. I suppose that’s how the majority of people in society would react, I suppose.
The world is inundated with newspaper articles just like this one. What is happening in Hinashiro could happen anywhere in Japan – perhaps it really does.
To my eyes, however, these words appear written in blood. I came to this town not too long ago, trying to come to terms with the strange incidents and accidents I’ve investigated in my own way.
And a suicide. Another suicide. This time, a middle-schooler jumped from the roof of the housing complex where she lived. “Those apartments are messed up,” a 17-year-old high school council girl who likes going clubbing told me. She’s a bit of a strong type – in terms of her sixth sense, that is.
I asked her what was messed up about them. Her answer was that something heavy “falls” from the building that makes her want to stay away altogether.
“There’s something weird about it for sure. I knew they’d been gathering for a while. You’d be better off not sticking your nose in.”
I was grateful for the warning, but I went to check it out anyway – to check out the apartments. I could sense nothing. But whenever I tried to ask questions of the middle-schoolers who live there, even just getting myself to say, “Hey,” was tough. In the end, I simply left, dejected.
Beyond this, I honestly can’t decide at all whether something is weird about them or not. When I saw the article, though, a chill ran down my spine.
Middle-schooler in suicide by jumping…
I couldn’t simply frown and skip past it. The esper girl won’t say another word. It’s like she’s waiting for something. I have a really bad feeling about this.
The second and third death dives
A bit of a time difference. The second happened the day after my last submission was printed, and then a third not long after.
Every time, one after another, just middle-schoolers jumping from the roof. I’d been ready, feeling like something was going to happen, but for some reason I hadn’t anticipated that the same thing would simply happen again and again, indifferently.
“It happened. It happened, didn’t it?” the esper girl said extremely quietly.
Apparently, a strong power is gathering, and no one can interfere. Oh, right, we’re just watching, I thought. I’d known for a long time that I couldn’t participate in what was happening there.
Are my senses beginning to numb? It’s a pulse that’s calling out. It’s seducing them, beckoning them along. There is nothing they can do to escape its power, not as long as they’re still in this world – or so the girl told me.
Now that a third victim has emerged, the world has finally begun to mutter. I hear the housewives talking about it as I walk down the street.
“Scary, isn’t it?”
No one tried to figure out the cause. Come to think of it, none of them left a suicide note. That’s why for a long time, it was just passed off as mysterious serial suicides of middle-schoolers.
The police appear to still be entertaining the possibility that they’re just accidents. It’s also not out of the question that somebody pushed all three of them from the roof. That answer is probably closest to the truth, but I doubt there’s any way to prove it.
All I understand myself is that pulses seemingly have something to do with it. Thanks to writing about those, I’m now being urged to write articles for occult magazines. Not that I would be against doing that, if it came to it.
Just when will this end? Imagining middle-schoolers endlessly tossing themselves to their doom like lemmings is so depressing.
I’m just… tired.
The reality of multiple middle-schoolers throwing themselves off a roof for no reason really gets me down. My power to feel is being stolen away. How can death come so easily? What a goddamned nauseating situation this is.
What the fourth middle-schooler summoned
Maybe I can’t accurately tell you everything that happened then and there. I think I can at least write a solid account of how it ended, though.
A fourth middle-schooler jumped. But while she (this was a girl) sustained serious injuries she managed to survive, and it was her father who died instead.
What an unspeakably bizarre, fateful thing to happen. Luck, misfortune, sorrow and a need to get away, all jumbled up. How could something like this be possible?
At the time, an ambulance had been parked on the ground. It was there for a girl who, a little earlier, had attempted to jump from the roof and had just barely been saved by a fellow middle-schooler. A man came walking by, passing alongside the vehicle.
When the fourth jumper actually fell from the roof, the man had been walking immediately below. It was her father.
In the end, these impossible-seeming coincidences converged, with the father perishing and the daughter surviving.
Was this caused by a pulse?
“When I ran over, the young lady was breathing. I could tell at a glance that the father was beyond help.”
The paramedic recalls that at the time, it seemed to him like the middle school girl had a curiously happy-looking smile on her face. If it were really a smile, just what was it that she was so satisfied about?
This isn’t receiving much coverage, but there were high school students involved in the incident, too. A group of high-schoolers were trying to persuade the middle-schooler group to stop the serial diving. Even understanding that, they can’t have been too far off the mark.
Neither the middle-schoolers concerned nor the high-schoolers will say much on the subject.
“If you don’t take action, nothing’s gonna change. Somebody told me that.”
“Their generation isn’t like ours. That doesn’t mean that everything is separated, though. There must be some things where we can see eye to eye. I guess.”
It’s not like a tragedy didn’t occur, but I feel like somewhere amidst these incidents I can see a flicker of hope, or something like it. Maybe that interpretation comes from an adult’s wilful assumptions, though.
What did the fourth girl to jump say? She herself is refusing to talk. None of the media have reported any specific statements from her, which seems like a natural measure.
However, she seems to have been the leader of the middle-schoolers living in that strange complex. She was a symbol of one, at least.
There’s something she apparently said. Since these are words that have come through so many people’s mouths, I don’t know just how much of them are her own. This is what she said: “Deliver the warning. Deliver it to the source.”
The middle school girl who nearly became the fourth to jump.
For a time, she was almost driven to jump herself. It seems as though she has been able to recover from the shock of it all.
When I managed to see her for a short time, she seemed truly happy about the current situation. She was with her family in the apartment where they live, and the lights were on. For now, at least, she has found a place where she belongs – even if it’s only a transient one.
Is a pulse something like a person’s thoughts? Something created from hopes and desires, distorted, with their own special frequency? If an accumulation of emotions creates a pulse, sometimes acting as if it has a will of its own, maybe it’s waiting even now for its time to shine. Or is it already everywhere, selecting, calling and seducing people?
The generation of despair flutter through the empty sky
“Sometimes, when I look at one of the high-schoolers these days, I feel like throwing up.”
The girl who told me this was a middle-school girl in her early teens.
“Not out of hate. We’re just divided. Our worlds are totally closed off from each other. They’re the last generation to cling to cheap values. They make little groups in the same styles, protecting themselves from invaders, only befriending those in their circle. Their networks are divided here and there, and never expand. Even when you’re just walking through town, all that catches your eye is how bad their manners are, right?”
So why is it that I get the feeling that middle-schoolers, this new generation, are so very close to death? Death dives. Suicide manuals. Such abrupt deaths.
“Because there’s no answer. We don’t have the peace of mind of things we hope or wish for. We won’t get that unless the very world itself changes. We need new time, new space. But that’s impossible. The future is closed off. The actual feeling of being alive gets weaker and weaker without end.”
Is this a warning from the girl’s generation? Are they being cornered? Maybe that’s what it’s like for the middle-schoolers living quietly in that complex, in their own separate time period. In that world.
This sorrowful generation, who can do nothing but reach out their hands into the empty sky, illuminated by the light of the moon. But maybe, in another world, there are middle-schoolers living with a different hope.
Their strong point is their intelligence. As they cast aside childhood, they can start a revolution. That is our meagre, faint hope, too.
20 years of the complex and its cellularised children
The complex was constructed 20 years ago as public housing, with countless families having lived there in the intervening years. Finally, those families began to dissolve. Its 20-year history was a history of dissolution itself. Anyone would realise it if they looked at the buildings at night. You would be surprised by just how few lights within each ten-storey building are actually on.
What are the children up to? They are gathering. They all get together in one place, sitting in front of a shining screen and play games until their families arrive home.
Even as the middle-schoolers undertake their repeated dives of despair here at the complex, this is what they are doing. Gathering – in front of that shining monitor… Their mothers and fathers don’t know what to do. They don’t know where the problem lies, and aren’t too enthusiastic in their interest in the first place. They appear enthusiastic about their education, but since that education is superficial, it doesn’t touch the children.
It’s a huge nuisance to try talking to the children who live in the complex. They all give one fixed answer. Nothing seems wrong with it.
“Yes. No. No, my mother isn’t home yet. My father will be late. Yes, I’m fine. I’ll be sure to tell them.”
But they were all disinterested. Even in the deaths of the middle-schoolers. They’re like cells.
Maybe something more terrible even than despair exists there. Or is this just a needless concern, and these kids will turn out to be well-mannered, smart, understanding middle-schoolers in time? Five more years. When this complex has been around for a quarter of a century, what will the children be doing?
Interview memos and personal notes – 4
Pulses, electromagnetic waves of accumlated human emotion. Create a magnetic field.
Despair and a feeling of hunger that tries to bury something lacking have a heavy effect on pulses.
Malicious pulses are related to the series of death dives by the middle-schoolers at Hinashiro’s housing complex. Three have jumped already. Many have been affected by them.
The fourth dive concluded in a bizarre manner when the middle-schooler who jumped landed on the head of her own father, who had been walking below. What kind of ending is this? Does this mean that the father died in his daughter’s place? The pulse’s effects appear to have twisted events in an unexpected direction.
It seems as though a group of high-schoolers were in contact with the middle-schoolers of the complex who were carrying out the death dives.
I managed to confirm these high-schoolers as Mika Kishii, Yukari Hasegawa, Chisato Itsushima and Arisa Kahara. Need to keep a close eye on this group. They tried to talk them out of it, and ended up putting an end to the death dives, it seems.
The middle-schoolers’ leader appears to have been a girl called Lil. She was the fourth to attempt suicide, during which she sustained severe injuries. I hear she’s made several remarks about the reason why she jumped. Doesn’t sound like she was leading herself, though. More like a sort of symbol for the middle-schoolers.
A representative for a generation who can only keep throwing themselves to their deaths, huh?
The middle school generation who live in this complex are in despair at the world. The serial dives are the new generation’s attempt to appeal for the creation of new time and space, the idea being having that warning reach the source.
But why were the middle-schoolers in such despair? Was it the fault of the very world that created this complex?
Was it a breeding ground for pulses?
The eeriness of the elementary-schoolers’ generation. They seem apathetic towards the fuss over the middle-schoolers’ suicides, too.
Looks like the fourth dive caught the media’s attention. Even if it’s only for a time, everyone’s focusing on the issue of middle-schoolers and suicides.
FILE 5: Daily Life and Fleeting Moments
What do you see, what do you hear? It may all be a realistic illusion.
Today, tomorrow, just like yesterday
Today seems as though nothing has changed from yesterday. Tomorrow goes on and on in its tedium until you die. But even amidst this everyday normality, incidents are occurring. They are simply such personal happenings that they don’t make the news. Let me write about the girl as a sample. She is a 17-year-old who attends high school.
She first noticed it on her way home, made late by her extracurricular activities. Somebody was following her. They walked several metres behind her, matching her pace. She could hear their footsteps. Finally, she steeled herself and turned around. No one was there. How did she feel when she learned that nothing was there?
“I thought, oh, it was my mistake. My friends said the same thing when I told them about it. It stays balanced like that. But I know better than anyone – there’s absolutely no way I just made a mistake.”
A lack of reality. A loss of realism.
A sort of madness that goes unnoticed if you don’t notice it, advancing steadily.
But she did notice it.
Who decides whether the girls live or die?
“Are you able to truthfully look inside yourself? That ability is something we all lack.”
A foul-smelling bar on the outskirts of town. It was at the counter of this establishment, run by an old lady who claimed to have been part of the nightlife business ever since the age of 15, where I met the man. He was an obviously suspicious-looking character, a self-proclaimed scholar and writer. The man spoke with a smooth voice. He claimed that what he had to say was incredibly meaningful and important, but at the same time would occasionally lament how meaningless it was. He wasn’t especially drunk, but was silly and sounded deceptive. It was like he saw all of me. I thought about how many of those sorts of people there were these days.
“I’m borderline. We all are. You as well, of course. No one understands each other better than fellow borderline types do. You mustn’t use words like “insanity” so casually. The younger generation are different, however. It is a very real danger that looms over them. Victims. Sacrifices. No one can stop the current now. It is under the control of a supernatural force. There are no alternate endings here. Why is that sort of compensation necessary? Why, for you and I, of course. Am I wrong?”
Perhaps he wasn’t.
(Supplementary Rumour Review)
Stories about dreams, a sample
When you are experiencing a realistic dream, it isn’t a dream. It’s completely unlike a movie or a show on TV. When dreams are accompanied by a complete sense of realism, they are no different from reality to the dreamer. In each moment, they are experiencing the dream as real life.
She said that she had had a dream where she was a killer, slaughtering the people she knew one by one. A knife in her hand, she thrust and stabbed them with it. With that alone, the foreign object entered their bodies, their faces contorted in anguish, and they would let out mutters in strange voices. She repeated this over and over. She felt nothing. It was only afterwards that she realised how terrible it was. Then she let out a shriek in her confusion. However, she says, there are scarier things than this.
“I have way, way worse dreams than that. They start with something normal that gradually turns crazy, then finally gets all jumbled and hellish. They’re so realistic that the whole time, it’s like they’re really happening. Then I can’t take it anymore, so I start to scream. But when I wake up, I’ve forgotten it all. I only remember a tiny bit, things like that, and this feeling of being afraid of something. Forgetting is the thing that scares me the most.”
The scary things she forgets lie sunken in the depths of her soul. The darkness there becomes gradually deeper, bigger. Some unknown terror grows within her. What if one day manages to escape into the true real world? That is the core of fear. Perhaps the darkness will peek out quietly from her mouth and the dream will become real life.
“But that’s impossible, right? Impossible things don’t happen in the real world. They’re not like dreams. That’s right.”
But she was in possession of a knife, one which she had carefully hidden on her person so that no one would notice.
…Inside my dream.
Stories about dreams, a sample: #2
Hinashiro has been quiet as of late, with no incidents or accidents. I wouldn’t call it tranquil, though. There’s no such thing as a truly tranquil and peaceful city. Perhaps somewhere a high-schooler is beating up an old guy, a middle-schooler is stealing people’s passwords and posting slander online, or an elementary-schooler is calling a telekura. The adults themselves are surely using petty tricks to gain small pleasures.
That is, in general, the way in which the world works.
I met an interesting girl. Since I loiter about saying that I’m conducting research, or an investigation – whatever fits – I come to know all sorts of people. I can’t stand people at all, and I find communicating with others to be a huge bother, but sometimes I meet people who take me aback.
While I was talking to the girl, I started thinking about dreams again.
To explain what it was the girl me simply, it’s like this. People have dreams, but if you are properly able to grasp the unique and autonomous logical consistency that the dream has – that is, the worldview of the dream – it isn’t scary. In fact, it becomes righteous power.
In any case, dreams are metaphors. They can be wild delusions, they can be insane, and then can even be supernatural power. Just how are you supposed to grasp them, then?
“You just have to believe,” the girl declared plainly.
You just have to believe in yourself. That’s all. Dreams are not something which comes from the outside world; they are things that are born from you. Even if they hypothetically were from an external source, as soon as they entered you they would become a part of you.
This external self-identifology (or so I have christened it) develops into the notion that despite stipulating yourself as a closed system, you simultaneously recognise others who engage with you as things of the same origin. It sounded like a load of bull to me, but she said, “Yeah, of course,” and it sounded crazy persuasive.
These sorts of young kids are growing rapidly in Hinashiro, too.
She apparently has a sixth sense, too. It sounds like a type of empathetic ability. I understood it as a sort of power which responds to the creases in people’s hearts, takes in and self-identifies them, emitting light and soothing them.
Then maybe she had casually done the same thing to me. Was it because I was taken in by her fraud that her words had seemed so persuasive?
I guess she got me.
A girl called M and her connections
“Oh, Miss M. I know her. She’s a cheerful and curiosity-filled young lady. She has apparently started thinking more deeply about herself and others as of late, too, however. It’s good to see her starting to come out of her shell.”
This is something that was said to me by a suspicious-looking self-proclaimed scholar and writer I met somewhere in Hinashiro.
This M, a high school student, has several friends in which she places trust. A strong-willed senior who shows glimpses of an adult woman. Another senior, calm, cool and collected, who possesses an almost motherly compassion. A junior who has a natural optimism and interesting sensibility. Students who share the same sense of values.
Do you remember the incident that took place in the city of Hinashiro earlier, where a stalker committed suicide by biting off his own tongue? The victim in that case was the girl called M. These girls are also the ones who later contacted and attempted to persuade the middle school students who were involved in the serial death dives at the apartment complex.
These young girls’ actions, which at first glance appear unconnected, may be tied together somehow.
The woman who (I think) was at the club during the self-immolation incident, which feels like the distant past now, is connected to the girls somehow, too. Not only that, but she appears to be the younger sister of one of the girls.
The incidents are occurring within this network of interconnected wires.
Figuratively speaking, it’s like radio waves…
🔴 What’s that?
◎ I’m going to use it to record.
〇 What’re you gonna do with the recording?
◎ I’m using it as reference for something.
🔴 You’re writing an article with it? I’ll talk properly, if so.
〇 And just how are you gonna talk properly? That’d be a first.
🔴 Don’t be meaaan.
◎ Loads of things have been happening in Hinashiro lately. I’d like to ask you what you think about it all.
🔴 Like, the whole world’s gone crazy, huh?
◎ I was there when that thing went down at the Lost Highway.
🔴 Hmm, you were?
〇 That’s where it all started. That… what should I call it, an air of restlessness?
◎ You think so?
〇 But it’s always been like that here.
◎ Do you like Hinashiro?
🔴 Yeah. I have friends here and stuff.
〇 It’s not a matter of like or dislike, is it? I live here. What’m I supposed to do about it? I don’t mind going somewhere else to have a good time, but everywhere’s the same.
🔴 Like somewhere way country?
〇 I’d like to go to the beach.
🔴 Summer break’s over, though.
◎ Is there anything specific you find strange?
🔴 I do think it’s weird. But it’s melted into us.
〇 Melted in?
🔴 The ground over there, this wall – the bad things glue themselves to everyone and won’t let go, I guess.
〇 Feels gross, huh.
◎ What? You mean you see evil ghosts and stuff like that?
🔴 They’re not things that take form, not like people’s souls.
〇 The hell kinda form do souls take?
🔴 Weird ones [laughs].
◎ If not souls, then what?
🔴 Figuratively speaking, I guess it’s something like radio waves? Like, all matter has waves. Everything gets turned into energy. That sort of thing. The power of the place.
◎ If it’s the city of Hinashiro itself and its people who create that place, you mean that it’s us ourselves who’re behind it?
🔴 You could say that, but there’s something intermediary there. It’s omnipresent.
〇 Look at you, talking like you get it.
🔴 I don’t [laughs]. It’s difficult to put it into words.
◎ Do you sense anything, like maybe something is going to happen again? There’s a girl who says that.
〇 An esper girl? [laughs]
◎ Like something that might put an end to it all.
〇 Can an end be put to it? Doesn’t it just go on and on forever? Then all of a sudden we’re adults, and it gets dumped on the next generation.
🔴 Hey. I don’t wanna put this on anyone else.
〇 What can we do? We’re gonna be the ones who get the current grown-ups’ problems dumped on us.
◎ Going around in circles, huh?
🔴 A vicious circle, maybe.
◎ Either way, that means the problem’s just getting postponed.
🔴 And so while people are doing that, there’s something whose presence is slowly growing. Amassing power.
〇 Something like the embodiment of evil?
🔴 Something like a kaiju. But I don’t think it’s necessarily something evil. Both the strong and the weak exist, though.
◎ And humans are on the weak side?
🔴 Humans are plenty strong, which is why this is happening.
〇 So it’s the kaiju that’s weak, then?
🔴 They always get taken down, don’t they? It always makes me sad.
〇 I think you’re sympathising with the wrong guys [laughs].
🔴 I feel super sad for the aliens in Independence Day [laughs].
◎ Aren’t they the bad guys?
〇 But if you get attacked, you have no choice but to fight back. What were we talking about again?
🔴 People in the olden days got by fine enough with reverence and worship.
〇 Isn’t that because those were gods?
🔴 It’s the same thing. Devils and gods just have different faces.
◎ This is turning into kind of a magnificent story [laughs].
〇 She gets nervous when she’s being recorded [laughs].
🔴 That’s right [laughs].
Auditory hallucinations, martyrs, bereavement, someone’s eyes
At first it was my work-related curiosity that drew me to her, and then I began wanting to see what changes lay in store. It wasn’t as though I had felt anything special or stimulating. It was the very fact that she was a neutral presence that somehow caught my interest.
The recorded tape ends midway through. This is due to the trivial and personal reason that midway through, she became uncomfortable with being recorded the whole time. You may think of this as nothing more than an interview of a completely average high school girl.
I’d like to start with your bio.
“17. High school second-year. Want me to tell you stuff like my blood type?”
Yeah, your hobbies and things like that [laughs].
“I don’t really have any hobbies [laughs].”
You don’t go out or anything?
“Well, sometimes. Normal stuff like going to karaoke or clubbing.”
You enjoy karaoke?
“Yeah, I guess so. My singing is perfection. If you treat me, I’ll give you a special demonstration.”
That’s amazing. You’re really that confident about it?
“Songs are the soul. It’s about whether or not you’ve got heart. I’m currently in the process of training my heart so I can make my big debut as a singer any time now.”
Wow. Debuting as a singer?
“I wouldn’t mind making my gravure debut for a magazine, either, though. Wanna use me?”
If you wanna do gravure, you’ll have to at least put on a bikini. Still up for it?
“Hmm… Then please pay me upfront so I can go visit a salon.”
I’ll think about it. What about clubbing?
“Only sometimes when they do events that sound fun, I guess. I take my friends and seniors with me.”
“Yeah. My dancing is perfection.”
You say that about everything.
“Yeeeep. You’re not great at this whole quipping thing, are you?”
Ah, my bad.
“Well, I’ve got a big heart, so I’ll let it slide.”
How kind. Do you have a boyfriend at the moment?
“There was a guy I was dating.”
You broke up?
“He died. Oh, this is for real, by the way.”
“I should’ve just said no comment [laughs].”
Well, alright, let’s go with that. Has there been anything really interesting you lately?
“It’s all been crappy stuff recently. I did go to the club the other day, though.”
“Afterwards I had this terrible ringing in my ears, and I could even hear inaudible things.”
What do you mean by inaudible things?
“At first it was these awful, strange noises, but then after a while it sounded like someone talking. Things that people were thinking. Like, you can’t get away from me, or, go to hell, or, screw you.”
Auditory hallucinations? Did you do drugs or something?
“No, dummy. But is that what auditory hallucinations are?”
From what I’ve heard, there’s a type of auditory hallucination where your hearing becomes crystal clear and you can hear everything, and a type where all you can hear is noise.
“I feel like both have happened to me. Not good, huh?”
What about the things people are thinking part?
“I was like, wow, is that really what they’re thinking? But I don’t know if it’s really real. Also, there was a time before when I got lost inside the school and couldn’t get out. Can you believe that? I just came out of class like usual, but I was walking down hallways from totally different places.”
What’s that all about?
I don’t know for sure, but I get the feeling from listening to you that you’re a martyr.
“What’s a martyr?”
Like, people who’re given roles by a bunch of people. Like being put in charge of cleaning.
“Ohh [laughs]. I don’t like that, though. I really feel like I’m being watched. Like everyone’s leering right at me. I wonder why? I’m just living a normal life.”
Do you have any idea who it might be?
“Nope. None. Nada. I hope it’s not some perv, but that would be okay. There are some weirdos who just want to look. But it’s okay if you just ignore those types.”
“If it’s that, then I’m practised, too. I’m not living like a show-off.”
Yeah. But it’s something else.
“That’s why I can’t even imagine it. I love TV dramas, but sometimes I wonder if it’s like one of those.”
Dramas? Hey, hold on a sec. The tape’s about to run out…
It was a few days after this that she went missing.
Interview memos and personal notes – 5
Mika Kishii, Yukari Hasegawa, Chisato Itsushima, Arisa Kahara… Rumi Tohba and Yayoi Itsushima are somehow involved with this group of high-schoolers. Yayoi Itsushima might be Chisato Itsushima’s sister.
I managed to make contact with the girls. Arisa Kahara plays the role of diplomat within their network.
Arisa Kahara and Chisato Itsushima appear to have sixth senses. Chisato Itsushima’s abilities seem particularly heightened. She has power enough to be able to commune with things other than humans. What about Yayoi Itsushima, then, her maybe sister?
Nothing that sounds like an unusual incident has occurred, but something is clearly progressing. I don’t know what it is. It happens quietly within everyday normality, so I can’t clearly single it out as a phenomenon.
Maybe I just hadn’t noticed it until now, and it’s been happening between the girls for ages.
What’s happening? What’s going on?
Mika Kishii is missing. It doesn’t look like she’s been home. There are no traces of her having to her club’s training camp, either. Her parents are abroad on holiday.
Apparently, the last person to see Mika Kishii was Arisa Kahara. It sounds as though she was on the train speaking with Mika Kishii, and at some point fell asleep. Upon waking up, she found that Mika Kishii was gone. Arisa Kahara says that around that time, she spotted a boy who didn’t look quite normal.
The subway they were riding on stopped at Hinashiro Station for an hour and 40 minutes due to a rail accident that occurred at Shimokita.
Unconfirmed information. Ryo Kazan might be missing, too.
The boy… is it the boy from back then?
FILE 6: Incident During Demolition of Old Gym
Perhaps as a harbinger of tragedy, like some sort of human sacrifice, an accident occurred.
Death is accepted by someone
At first, the news didn’t say it outright, and I ended up hearing about it as a rumour from the students of Hinashiro High. It seems like this was due to a delay related to the question between the school and the workmen about where the blame lay. The first story I heard about it went, “A student was apparently found dead inside the old gym. The one who died is someone from the second year, and police were investigating the scene.”
It appeared in the morning newspaper on the day after the accident. During the demolition of the old gym at Hinashiro High, a girl who attended the school was found dead inside the gym, pinned under a fallen steel beam.
There’s no doubt that this was an accident, but no one knows hat a student was doing inside the gym while it was being pulled down. There was no school that day, and access to the grounds was prohibited.
Hinashiro has seen more than its share of suicides lately, but I can’t see someone do it in such a complex manner as this. Aside from that, I personally get the strong feeling that it’s finally happened, and not just that, but within Hinashiro High itself.
The way I write this makes it sound almost like I had some sort of premonition, but if you’d been following the things happening in Hinashiro for as long as I have, anyone would start to expect it. It’s a feeling.
In actual fact, none of the students at Hinashiro High seem particularly surprised. They must be in shock, of course, but that simply means that they are dealing with the death of a person they knew. That, and perhaps they sense a sort of gradually approaching pressure.
These are the sorts of things the students say.
“She’s dead, isn’t she? I’ve known about Miki [the dead student] for a while now. Anything strange about her lately? Nothing in particular, I don’t think. She always was a timid sort of person, though. Maybe she was depressed once in a while, but that was normal, I guess.”
“It’s like, oh, Miki got got? We were in the same class, though, so it feels close to home. Getting got means she’s dead. I don’t know what she was doing in a gym that was being pulled down, but I don’t think this would ever have happened if she’d been aware of the risk. So careless.”
Is it imprudent to write these things down? But these are honest impressions. If nothing else, they’re at least surely more honest than the adults who are trying to pass the blame off on each other.
Like a meticulously-prepared riddle
After 2AM, on my way home from the convenience store, a high school girl appeared who said she’d met her. Apparently, she had passed by the student who died in the accident at the gym being demolished on the night before the incident.
“I knew it was her right away, but she completely ignored me. Something was weird about it. I guess something seemed off about her? She looked out of it. Thinking about it now, I wonder if she’d been sniffing glue, but it felt different from that. Something more serious, or like she was brooding over something. She wasn’t like how she normally is. I called out to her but she didn’t respond at all, so I was kind of freaked out and left her alone.”
It’s a story that you can’t help but find a little eerie. A well-informed source close to the police has also revealed that there was apparently something suspicious about the body of the dead student.
“It seems as though the body was in a horrible state after being completely crushed by a steel beam. It looks like it was dug out from under the rubble. But part of the recovered body is missing. It’s possible that the part was severed when she was crushed to death, possibly squashed between two beams. The authorities are perplexed.”
Part of the body is missing? This brings back memories of a prior incident that occurred within Hinashiro. Wasn’t there talk that the head of the student who committed suicide by fire at the club was missing? (Since then, there has been no confirmation as to whether or not the body had its head, or where it may be.)
Is this a sign? I don’t see how there could possibly be any relation between the two incidents and this accident, however. Each time I dig, something comes out. The things that happen in Hinashiro are always like this. Some part of it is always shrouded in a vague darkness.
(Supplementary Rumour Review)
Interview memos and personal notes – 6
Miki Kosaka, the one who died in the accident, was a classmate of the missing Mika Kishii. According to another classmate of theirs, Kazuki Maejima, Mika Kishii and Miki Kosaka weren’t particularly close, but were apparently friendly enough to regularly converse with each other.
Miki Kosaka was frequently absent from school, and had recently been bunking off a lot.
I must admit that this simply makes it more suspicious for her to go all the way to school on a day off despite this. Or what if she was called there by someone and caught in a cunning trap? Why can’t I shake off these misgivings?
If pushed for an answer, people would say that she was a quiet student. This accident feels like the easiest sacrifice to create was chosen from the very outset.
What was Miki Kosaka doing out late at night before the incident? The accident occurred after 11AM – could this mean that she spent the entire night when she apparently passed by a friend outside before going to the school?
Miki Kosaka’s mother denied that she had been out on the night before the accident. It seems to me, however, that she simply didn’t know.
It appears as though the information claiming that part of Miki Kosaka’s body couldn’t be located was correct. This seems like something quite shocking, although the rest of the media don’t seem to be particularly interested in this specific detail.
Whatever the cause, and even if the body’s injuries are severe, doesn’t it seem quite unnatural for part of the body to have vanished in this case?
The part of Miki Kosaka’s body that’s missing is apparently the left arm from the elbow down.
FILE 7: High School Girl Dies at School
A fall to the death, but the cause of death was a stabbing. Who, and why?
Female student stabbed to death at Hinashiro High
I was acquainted with the girl who died. We had even spoken a little. We talked about the student from this same school who died in an accident in the gym that was being torn down just a few days ago. This time, however, it was her turn. I can’t believe it.
The news first came to me in a phone call from a reporter I’m familiar with. I was still asleep in bed.
“There’s been another death at Hinashiro High. It’s a student. Her name’s Kazuki Aihara. She was a second-year, apparently. It sounds like she fell from the fourth floor, but something about it is suspicious.”
After hanging up, I immediately made a call to the school. They connected me to the headmaster with surprisingly little resistance, and I received permission for a direct interview. If thirty minutes tomorrow evening was okay then he didn’t mind meeting me, he said.
I turned on the TV and ate breakfast. This is a weird comparison to make, but I feel like I’ve dropped the pass case I always use.
In the evening, I grabbed hold of a student on the way home from school and we talked. The media are being pretty intrusive. The majority of the students’ comments display confusion and bewilderment.
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m just scared.”
“What’s going on?”
“It doesn’t seem real.”
All of them have these anxieties. I tried to make contact with the student I’d known for a while, but failed.
The following day, a press release was issued by Hinashiro Police Station, the gist of which concluded that this case is a murder and body dumping. A task force has been established. The murder was apparently carried out within the school’s chemistry lab. The cause of death was massive bleeding. Afterwards, the body was transported to the fourth floor of the northern building and dropped from a window. The authorities have also made an official announcement that this time, the body’s right wrist was severed using a sharp blade and is missing.
Another body missing a part! This is purely my own observation, but perhaps this creates a link to the accident that occured during the demolition of the gym the other day.
In any case, things have finally progressed into a full-blown murder case. That means that a perpetrator exists for certain. Somebody is out there killing high school girls.
At 5PM, I headed for Hinashiro High. It was time to speak to the headmaster.
A daring exclusive interview with the headmaster of Hinashiro High
Did you hear today’s announcement by the police?
“Yes; they contacted me in advance and I was shocked. I can’t believe that such a thing could occur within this very school. I am still in shock.”
It turns out that the death of the student, first thought to be an accidental fall, was really a murder on campus, after all.
“I can scarcely believe it. That is all I can say right now. When I think of how her family must be feeling, all I can say is that it is a true shame.”
I hear that the crime took place inside the chemistry lab.
“So you have already learned that much.”
Yes, and the forensic results are out, too. She was stabbed to death with a knife.
“Is that so?”
Do you remember the late student when she was alive?
“Yes, I remember her. I remember her class, too.”
This might sound rude, but I’m a little surprised that you are able to recall each and every one of your students.
“I try to remember the students’ names, at least. It’s something like a creed of mine.”
I see. What was she like as a student?
“She was lively, popular with her class. I believe she was passionate about her club activities, too. Perhaps she stayed late after school for her club, forgot something and returned to pick it up on the night of the incident.”
Yes, that seems to be the case according to the testimony of a friend she parted ways with at the bus stop. It sounds like she came back to get her bag.
“I can only assume that it is some cruel trick of fate.”
By the way, I hear that the dead student’s body is missing its right wrist.
“Yes, that is correct. I’d like to ask the media to kindly refrain from making superfluous reports on such matters. I have heard that this is the case from the police, but we must take into consideration its impact on the other students.”
But it is true that there was an accident the other day during the demolition of the gym, and that a student lost her life in it.
“Yes. But that is unrelated to the incident at hand, and I would like to avoid the nuance that such things are happening one after another.”
I understand what you’re saying. I will make a note of your statement.
“You seem to have a peculiar interest in this matter, Mr. Kato.”
You accepted my request for an interview knowing my name.
“Yes. I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic, but I am a reader of yours.”
Thank you. About the case – what sort of person do you think the perpetrator is?
“I have difficulty comprehending why you would be asking me that sort of question, but I couldn’t possibly imagine.”
We know it was someone who was able to get inside the school.
“Unfortunately, since it was late at night, anyone could have sneaked in. For the time being, however, I intend to cooperate with the police and have the place under vigilant guard. We are also considering the security of students as they come to and from school.”
I see. Might I ask a few more questions?
“Be my guest, Mr. Kato.”
About the accident in the gym the other day – have you heard the story that part of the student’s body was missing?
“I have only read about it in a very select few reports. No more than hearsay.”
And even if such a story is circulating in some places, the school isn’t hiding anything?
“That would be impossible. I know nothing. It doesn’t appear to be possible to confirm it, anyhow.”
Would you mind if I took a look around the chemistry lab later?
“Not at all. After the police have finished cleaning up, of course.”
“It’s quite alright. There are still students inside the building, so I’d be grateful if you would try to be discreet about it. Please do try not to get them into a frenzy. It’s the students I worry about the most. Please be good to them.”
Interview memos and personal notes – 7
Kazuki Aihara is dead. She fell to her death on the grounds of Hinashiro High. Lots of suspicious things about it, though.
The police later released a statement saying that Kazuki Aihara’s death had been determined to be a murder. The body’s left wrist was missing. A sign.
The cause of death was massive bleeding due to being stabbed with a knife. She was apparently stabbed in more than ten places.
Kazuki Aihara was a classmate of Mika Kishii, as well as one of her closest friends. Her death, at the hand of a murderer, is a shocking one. Will she hear of the news somewhere?
The scene of the crime is the chemistry lab. The body appears to have later been dragged to the fourth floor of the northern building. Then, she was dropped. Either way, why did the killer go to so much trouble when it would be immediately apparent that the cause of death was by stabbing?
If it was the killer who cut off her wrist (thinking about it simply, this is the only possibility I can imagine), it was likely due to the workings of some abnormal state of mind.
Is it connected to the accident at the gym? Is same person responsible for both?
Successfully managed to interview the headmaster. He probably won’t accept any more requests for exclusives from now on. He really is a gentle person, but he can snap, too. Putting aside the education part, he is extremely capable at running the school as a business.
FILE 8: Accidental Death of High School Girl at Observatory
A series of high school girls’ deaths. The trap of a meticulous curse.
A third death: the events of a moonlit night
Shockingly, another female student has died on the grounds of Hinashiro High. That makes three. Not only that, but a murder only occurred three days ago. This can’t be serious. Something has gone completely crazy.
The scene of the crime this time was the observatory on the school grounds. She apparently died after becoming caught in the actuator of the telescope. She was a second-year student.
The first person to discover the body was a fellow student from the third year. She immediately contacted the police. There was a lunar eclipse recently, and the dead second-year supposedly stayed at the school until late every evening to observe it. The day before her death, she was questioned by the police about the prior murder.
The third-year student who discovered the body told me that she had seen the dead girl at the observatory on the day before, too.
“With what’s been happening lately, the teachers have been going on about us going straight home, but I can only do my observations at night, so I’ll be staying no matter what they say,” she apparently said at the time. They didn’t seem to be particularly familiar with each other.
When she discovered the body, the third-year said she had been visiting the observatory and found it deserted. As she was about to leave, she happened to notice blood on the floor. Upon looking up, she saw someone sandwiched in the actuator above and notified the police. It was already too late for the second-year.
“I was panicking, but honestly I also thought, what, again? I still have this really awful feeling,” she told me.
The school have yet to release a statement. They might just leave this one as an accident and say nothing more on it. The media are in a frenzy, though. A series of deaths of girls at Hinashiro High – whatever the school try to say, the air of suspicion won’t go away.
Interview memos and personal notes – 8
The girl who died at the observatory was Miyuki Yoshida, a second-year. It concerns me that all of the dead are from the second year.
The first to find the body was Yukari Hasegawa. She was asking around the school, along with Arisa Kahara, about the missing Mika Kishii. Miyuki Yoshida, the dead girl, apparently claimed to have seen Mika Kishii at the school at around 10PM.
Yukari Hasegawa was in shock at the death of Kazuki Aihara, too. They were apparently together up until the evening on the day she was killed asking about Mika Kishii.
No one has found any trace of Mika Kishii so far.
If we believe the testimony of Miyuki Yoshida, then she must have seen Mika Kishii at the school on the same day and almost the exact same time as Kazuki Aihara was murdered.
Was Mika Kishii really at the school that night?
Miyuki Yoshida had seemingly told this to the police, too. Maybe they’re trying to figure out where Mika Kishii is, too.
FILE 9: The Hinashiro High Mutilations
Deception, perversion, savagery and madness. Degeneration. The work of a demon.
The girls were at the scene of the crime
There isn’t much to say.
Too many reports have been made on the subject already. The string of incidents surrounding Hinashiro High have become household knowledge. But so much of the information about the case has had the media’s own interpretations tacked on, consumed by the people, and will likely be forgotten after they have been led to a conclusion that calms the masses – just like what’s happened with so many shocking incidents before it.
Such a grotesque crime isn’t the type of thing one should be writing reams of conjecture about, but I will record the facts that led up to its occurrence.
A group of female students who attended the school were involved in the resolution of the case. The trio’s names are Yukari Hasegawa, Chisato Itsushima and Arisa Kahara.
That night, a murder occurred inside the biology classroom at Hinashiro High. Miho Katsuragi, a second-year student at the school, was stabbed with a knife. The other three students were searching the school for her that night. Arisa Kahara opened the classroom door after hearing a commotion, and there she found Miho Katsuragi, collapsed on the floor, and Yuji Hirose, the school’s chemistry teacher.
Hirose, seeming out of it, is said to have instructed Arisa Kahara to call for an ambulance. Arisa Kahara however, overcome by the bizarre situation, backed away as if attempting to flee.
Hirose seems to have thought that he was suspected of having committed the murder, sidling over to her. At that moment, a police officer who had been on guard duty at the school burst into the classroom. Sighting Miho Katsuragi lying on the floor beside Hirose, he warned him to freeze and trained his gun on the man. But when Hirose began to totter towards him, he shot him down.
Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima rushed into the biology room. Peering into the biology prep room, they saw a girl’s school uniform, a wig, and a yellow rucksack. Hirose had been dressing up as a woman to camouflage himself as he carried out his crimes, or so it seemed.
Arisa Kahara went into shock, and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
The killer was Yuji Hirose, the man shot dead.
For a while, this was the accepted conclusion. The night grew late, turning to early morning, and the police personnel withdrew from the crime scene. But Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima remained unsatisfied, and decided to return to the school building.
This was a truly drastic measure. The girls thought that it was all too neat and tidy to be true.
Another answer was out there.
The unfolding nightmare witnessed with their own eyes
Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima searched the school together. They arrived at the headmaster’s office, where they discovered an elevator concealed within a pillar.
They rode it. The floor above the headmaster’s office was a hidden control room.
Looking like the control room of a TV station, the room allowed one to control the various hidden cameras scattered all over the school and monitor the footage they relayed. All of the everyday scenes of Hinashiro High were torn away, replaced by information, and you could sit there and inspect it all.
In this room, the two girls found a list of measurements for the second-year girls.
Getting back into the elevator, the girls took it down to the basement.
This time, the room they found resembled a surgical theatre. The air smelled of disinfectant. In the corner of the room was a large industrial freezer. Yukari Hasegawa opened the door.
I’m sure she must have been baffled at first. Something had been preserved inside glass jars inside. The glass was fogged by the chill, and it was impossible to tell what was inside. One of them had a label with a name written on it.
After seeing this, Chisato Itsushima approached something else further inside the room. Something had been installed there.
A body. A woman’s body. It had been pulled together from different human body parts.
There were a dozen separate parts, such as limbs, a torso and head, which had all been taken from different dismembered bodies. Not only that, but they were joined together to form a single female body, a creation sewn together to resemble a Frankenstein.
It was the high school girl who had burned herself and Sumio Tohba to their deaths at the Lost Highway club.
Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima returned to the headmaster’s office, trying to flee from the scene of this dreadful nightmare. There, the two encountered the school’s headmaster, Soichiro Mitani. In his hand, the headmaster held a weapon. Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima struggled to open the locked door of the headmaster’s office.
At that moment, cracks ran through the pillar in the centre of the room and the floor collapsed.
As the pair watched on, the headmaster tumbled along with the rubble.
What should we think and feel?
Some of the crazed actions of this man, the crimes he committed, continue to be reported on incessantly by the media.
Before even half a day had passed, all sorts of information was doing the rounds like a sudden devastating gust, seeping into the people’s everyday lives and beginning to settle like background noise as they spread baseless rumours, speculation, conjecture and misunderstandings.
The sensational nature of the case and its dramatic conclusion are what spark the public’s interest so much. Perhaps deliberately emphasising the bizarre nature of the incident even makes them feel a sense of catharsis, and they take pleasure in it.
But why does it piss me off so much? It’s almost like we’re afraid to find out what the true form of real abnormality looks like. Is this all the truth really amounts to?
We still don’t know for sure just how many of the high school girls have died or been killed. There are other girls from the school missing aside from the four who died in quick succession. They all appear to be second-year students.
Officially, the surviving girls are keeping schtum. They make some superficial comments for the cameras and microphones, but I highly doubt that they represent their true thoughts.
They’re still afraid.
After all, each and every one of them was viewed as parts.
Those hidden cameras must have been watching all of the girls of Hinashiro High for a long, long time, ruthlessly impartial. It sounds as though the headmaster knew each of the students’ names. Was it out of something like love, crazed though it may have been? And now that the facts of the case have emerged, the girls have been made aware of the twisted intentions born from madness inside his mind.
The clear truth has been outed: someone was constantly watching them, keeping tabs on them and using them as tools to fulfil his desires.
What happened to the souls of the girls who were murdered? I heard one of the students mutter.
What happens to the souls of people whose bodies are cut up, torn apart, then partially combined with the parts of a dozen others? Surely no one knows. How could they? All we can do is feel sorry for them.
It’s sort of like a prayer, and neither the girls nor the rest of us know what other words we could possibly offer to the dead on their journey.
Even still, everyone thinks that it’s all at an end for now at least.
The killer is dead.
It was a terrible thing, but now it’s all over, and we can let out a sigh of relief. We can carry on with our lives as normal. But the unease doesn’t go away. It’s impossible to shake it off entirely.
The remaining girls are still thinking about it. Somewhere deep down, they want to scream.
The girls are cloaked in a sense of emptiness.
Look at us.
We aren’t just parts.
We want to be loved by someone with an honest heart.
Don’t cut us up.
Don’t tear us apart.
Don’t sew us together.
Stop finding pleasure in it.
Don’t hate us.
Don’t defile us!
It’s the ones who look at this case with a snicker who are the perpetrators. They are the infinite beings of us and you. Those high school girls will continue to be hurt by it forever.
I don’t need love anymore
I’m not kidding; we really can’t stand it anymore. Wherever we go, we can feel their eyes on us. Walking around town, at home, even in the bathroom. We can’t relax and be ourselves anywhere. They’re watching us, tearing us apart with their eyes. They’re ogling us. It’s the creepiest feeling. It makes me think, go fuck yourselves! I wanna get revenge. You can’t mend a relationship like that. You guys just toy with us more and more and more, and when we notice it’s over. We know all about it.
You’re right there, aren’t you?
(Supplementary Rumour Review)
Interview memos and personal notes – 9
We’ll never know now whether Mr. Hirose, the teacher who was shot and killed, was totally innocent. It’s also suspicious for the police officer to have arrived at the biology room and shot Hirose with such good timing. Was he in cahoots with the headmaster? Maybe this means that we can’t put too much trust in the police as a whole?
Including those who were killed by the headmaster and those who died somehow, almost all of the girls who are said to be missing were apparently acquaintances of Mika Kishii.
I still don’t know what that means.
We still have no proof that Mika Kishii is dead. Her whereabouts remain completely unknown.
Is Mika Kishii the key to all of this? We have evidence showing that the headmaster was obsessed with her, too. The uniform and rucksack found inside the biology room were made to look like hers.
The Mika Kishii that Miyuki Yoshida, who died at the observatory, testified to having seen at the school at night was probably the headmaster in disguise.
It was he who killed Kazuki Aihara in the chemistry room and tossed her out of the window, too. Why did the headmaster have to dress up as Mika Kishii?
The head of the body made from a combination of parts belonged to Kimika Takahashi, indicating that several of the incidents that occurred within Hinashiro were connected after all.
It’s like what happened at the Lost Highway, or perhaps the death of Kyoko Kazan, pulled the trigger that led us to this conclusion.
Arisa Kahara seems to be in good spirits. Yukari Hasegawa and Chisato Itsushima are both in shock, but not in particularly terrible states. They’re strong-willed girls.
They, too, are worried about what might be happening to Mika Kishii.
FILE 10: The Girls’ Deaths
Death, death, death. Or the traces of the final showdown?
The death of Arisa Kahara: hope and despair
Arisa Kahara died in the hallway of the fifth floor of Hinashiro High’s north building.
The cause of death was a heart attack. As always, it doesn’t matter what the school or the police say. Aside from the fact that she is dead, we know nothing. She was at the school that night searching for Mika Kishii.
Had she sensed that Mika Kishii had returned?
Arisa Kahara was hope. She was the one who held the power to break through this closed-off world. She was young, knew of another world she should open up, and was able to sympathise with those around her. She didn’t yet know of corruption or exhaustion or resignation.
Had she not been trapped within this space where something devilish lurks, she would surely have lived and used her power in a more proper way. But she didn’t choose to run. She confronted something inhuman, and even still, she didn’t stop believing in herself and the others.
Arisa Kahara’s death doesn’t mean that her path has been closed. Just like hope and despair, it is always just there.
(From research notes)
The death of Yukari Hasegawa: acceptance and rejection
Yukari Hasegawa died near the shoe rack at the entrance door to the first floor of the south building. It seems as though she was attempting to flee to the outside and made it as far as the entrance, where she perished.
Her internal organs were ruptured, and a large amount of blood from a head wound was splashed across the floor and the glass entrance door. The state she was in makes it difficult to imagine that this was the work of a human being, but nothing suggests that it should be treated as an accident, either.
Yukari Hasegawa was a symbol of will. She had the strength to tell the difference between what she should accept and save, and what she should reject and push aside. At the same time, however, she had a weakness. She was simply attached to living.
It would have been only natural for her to run if she encountered something beyond human comprehension and sensed that it was a danger to her. Maybe it was her strength of will to save Mika Kishii alone that kept her shut away in that warped space.
And in the end, she was cornered. I can’t help but feel as though Yukari Hasegawa was the final victim to die in this world after the series of so many others who have done the same before her.
(From research notes)
The death of Chisato Itsushima: angels and demons
The body of Chisato Itsushima was discovered inside the headmaster’s office on the fifth floor of the north building. Although she had external wounds, they were not particularly severe. According to the autopsy report, however, her brain cells were completely shredded. No one has yet come up with a satisfying explanation for what sort of power could cause such destruction.
Furthermore, several bloodstains believed to be hers were found on the stairs leading to the fifth floor of the north building. A pool of blood was also found on the floor of the reception in the first floor of the north building, which appears to be the result of haematemesis.
Did she collapse on the first floor for a time, then later appear on the fifth floor? Did she walk there herself, or did someone carry her there?
Chisato Itsushima was probably the only person capable of fighting on the same level as their foe. Her abilities were likely akin to those of an angel – just like those of her little sister, Yayoi Itsushima. But Yayoi Itsushima always takes a neutral stance, never directly becoming involved with the incidents, whereas Chisato Itsushima had something she wanted to protect. That is why she fought back.
I wonder what the true form was of the enemy she saw.
(From research notes)
The ending of the story, the “case”
Many stories are told in the form of a circle. Their conclusion gives some form of answer for the problem raised at the start, and the world closes as it ends.
The many events that took place in this world took this same course, the path trodden by those girls creating a single story that has come to its end.
The aftertaste is quite a bitter one, though. I leapt into this world as an irritated and bored man, sharing my time with it, but it seems as though the world hasn’t closed off completely.
I still feel like someone is peeking through those dim cracks, watching us. I get a shiver down my spine, like I’ve left something behind.
I met a man who dropped out of high school and is living like an outsider. His name is Ryo. He isn’t the sort of man to start up a conversation. I thought of him as almost like the protagonist of some comic strip. An old-fashioned, straightforward and naive man.
He looks to me like someone who can’t find contentment within this world, who doesn’t properly understand how to communicate, who has lost his reason for living. There’s a pitifulness about him, and a familiarity, and a sense of reliability.
Is he another of the ones who was thrown into this world, and then became caught up in the incident? Did he really just become caught up in it, though?
“They were all my own problems…”
I can’t get those words of his out of my head. Maybe everyone’s the same. Irritated people, people seeking pleasure, malicious people, people who harbour hatred. The giant enemy that finally blocks everyone’s paths is the person themselves.
The lost symbol of Mika Kishii
Where did Mika Kishii go?
Ryo said it was the edge of our world, beyond the light. A place where everything is empty and pure.
Is that place a world that’s the complete opposite of Hinashiro, the one where we’re all trapped? Does such a location exist within people’s hearts, too?
Rather than poking my nose into what sort of place that is, though, I think it’s more important to consider the reason why Mika Kishii had to disappear.
Mika Kishii was a human sacrifice in the truest sense. For that, she had to encounter a frustrating number of unpleasant experiences in her everyday life.
Finally, that everyday life itself began to warp. This was to stop her, the sacrifice herself, from being killed.
The air around her began to twist and bend form, and when it reached critical mass from which it could not recover, she vanished.
A human sacrifice is something that exists to sate the desires of the gods. The gods of this world are we ourselves, the ones who stare at and watch over it.
From the moment she went missing and disappeared, the absence of the being known as Mika Kishii became a symbol – a symbol of something precious lost, a lost heart, wandering soul.
Are we sated by the deaths of those caused as reparations for Mika Kishii?
Hope, what we protect and what protects us
The three friends Mika Kishii believed in – Yukari Hasegawa, Chisato Itsushima and Arisa Kahara – return to the school at night again in order to save her.
If Mika Kishii is the sacrifice, then the other three girls are like martyrs. In the end, that is exactly what they became.
But theirs was the ultimate team. They complemented each other, all bringing something different to the table: will, emotion, intuition.
Mika Kishii was being protected. Perhaps the three’s want to save Mika was also the wish of we who watched over this world.
It can’t be the right thing for people to be toyed with by fate for the same of someone else. But this world killed even them. Hope was lost.
It’s almost like this is some sort of hint that another set of rules exists that goes beyond even the object of values the of good and evil. Like someone is whispering that Mika Kishii and the other girls were objects of a mistaken desire.
That is why they never stood a chance from the start. At its conclusion, no answer exists. The man called Ryo is the only one with the power to put an end to it.
Just like Mika Kishii, Ryo is being protected – although the ones protecting him are all the dead or something like angels. And he himself acts in order to protect others.
I don’t know whether or not he was able to save Mika Kishii. The answer probably changes depending on how we view the world. No matter the conclusion, even if all of the answers were presented to us, I doubt we would be satisfied with them. The answers have been carried over into our world.
Angels descend upon us in modern times
Finally, let me write about angels. Here, I will refer to those devilish beings ho are omnipresent in this world, originally a neutral party who led humans astray before finally turning into our enemies, as angels.
Generally speaking, angels are higher beings that reside within the land of spirits. According to literature on the subject, angels sit between gods and humans within the hierarchy of the cosmos.
A higher being, upon descending upon this world, was drawn in by pulses released by accumulated human thoughts and feelings. Its true identity is said to be Mithra, the god of covenants, who has most adapted to the devilishness that progresses in the modern day, not limited to Hinashiro alone. In the end, then, what did the angels do?
Maybe the most adequate answer is that they did nothing at all. The angels observed their position of neutrality. It was not they who shook the world. It wasn’t even madness.
What we needed was the totally commonplace hopes of humanity, as well as the despair of humanity that became the subject of those desires.
Yukari Hasegawa, Chisato Itsushima and Arisa Kahara, too, were killed by a creature born of the relationship between people’s hope and despair.
Everday life continues on without end
And now, it’s time for me to return to the world of my own daily life.
I don’t think I’ll be writing any more articles about Hinashiro a while. I haven’t managed to write about everything that has occurred here, but maybe a time will come on a night when the moon’s out when I remember something else and start to talk.
Is Mika Kishii walking down a path lit by the moon again tonight? Is someone walking along with her, shoulder to shoulder?
My cat must be waiting for me, hungry, at my apartment.
This is the answer.
Rumours of the discovery of a white-haired boy’s body
I’ve heard that the body of a young boy was found on the rooftop of Hinashiro High.
Apparently, the boy was about six years old and had white hair. Nobody noticed it on the morning the bodies of the three female students were discovered, but someone who sneaked into the sealed-off school is said to have called the police to report it on the day following the incident.
However, both the police and the school, however, pointedly deny the very event of the body’s discovery ever having occurred. Consequently, there is a high likelihood of this being a baseless rumour.
Speaking of a young boy, though, I frequently hear a rumour claiming that a boy’s creepy laugh is often heard at a different school within Hinashiro City as of late. Even a theory is flying around that the ghost of a child ho died at Hinashiro High is visiting the school because of this, but it is probably the after-effect of the loss of so many young lives.
It seems as though Hinashiro syndrome isn’t over just yet.
(Supplemental Rumour Review)
In this segment, Ooka gives us his own take on the story: when wondering why the horrible events of the game had to take place, why the lovely girls of Hinashiro high-school had to die, he could only come to the same conclusion that Yoji Kato did: they had to die because “we” (the audience, the people around them) wanted it.
It’s interesting that he would come to that conclusion without consorting directly with Suda, because it seems that he inadvertently tapped into one of the game’s main inspirations. In the Suda51 Official Complete Book, Suda himself revealed that one of the inspirations for the tale of Moonlight Syndrome was David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. While his quote relates specifically to the idea of an unseen horror puppeteering the main characters from the shadows (Killer Bob, Mithra), another important aspect of the mythology of Twin Peaks is the idea that the higher entities initiate the tragedy potrayed in the show in order to consume the pain and suffering of the characters, which takes the form of “garmonbozia” creamed corn, as spectators.
Again, you’ll have to give me some leeway in terms of rough summation since this isn’t the time or place for a full breakdown of Twin Peaks, but within its language, the lodge spirits might be considered an allegory for the audience, viciously demanding catharsis from the trials and tribulations of soap opera characters.
Similarly, Mithra (who takes on the role of the Lodge spirits in Moonlight Syndrome. That is to say that he initiates the events of the story merely for his own amusement.) might also be considered a conduit for the audience, which seems to be the conclusion that Ooka has reached. As we established in the breakdown of Moonlight’s production, the game itself is, at least in part, a response to the criticisms that Suda had of the original Twilight Syndrome scenario, namely in its presentation of Mika’s “fun adventures” investigating rumors: In Moonlight, such escapades are looked down upon by the text, with Mika suffering through feelings of self hatred due to her exploitation of the tragedies of others.
It falls to reason then that the tragedy of Moonlight Syndrome, the deaths of the three main characters and everyone else around them, might have been a way of putting the audience in the shoes of Mika Kishii and those who callously exploited the deaths of strangers for their own amusement.
From an outsider’s perspective, the tragedy of Hinashiro might be nothing more than a “fun” incident to investigate; by pulling you in its world and forcing you to empathize with the characters, the veil is lifted on how horrifying these events truly are.
Ooka’s final statement is followed by a series of out of context quotes from the game.
SUB-FILE: Supplementary and reference materials
In this segment, Ooka starts off by explaining the presentation of the game, where it starts you off on a three-dimensional plane shown two-dimensionally and then switches to CGs or movies when reaching specific interaction points, arguing that the segmented presentation is intended to confuse the players and better lure them into its world of horror.
After that, the book presents us with solutions to the puzzles present in 変嫉 HENSHITSU and 片倫 HENLIN, short summaries for each scenario in Moonlight and Twilight Syndrome, an explanation of the “Prank” scenario (which was intended as a teaser to Moonlight Syndrome and would be unlocked by getting the best ending in each Twilight scenario on the same memory card) and an introduction to Hinashiro high and the occult researcher Aramata.