"The very beginning of the University is tainted with blood."
“Tainted? Nice vocabulary.”
“Shut up. When the University was opened, there was a massacre, several students were killed. Some say it was a teacher, others say it was a student who cave under the pressure. Then there were suicides…”
“Unfortunately, suicides among college students is not uncommon…”
“Thank you, Dr. Phil. As I was saying, bad things seem to happen in years ending in 5. Disappearances, deaths, epidemics. And every time, the University covers it up.”
Yamada laughed. "Covers what up?"
Dean shrugged. "A curse, maybe. People keep quiet because money is a powerful thing. Anyway, it's 2015. It’s the 100-year anniversary of the first massacre. Haven't you guys noticed there's more security around here?"
"Well, it's Halloween, people do get crazy around this time of year," Ally said, wrinkling her freckle-covered nose.
"Haven't you guys noticed many of the older teachers either quit or took long vacations? We had mostly assistant professors or new professors, usually young," Chad looked around the group expectantly. “Older teachers figured out something is going on and they are either fired or they leave. It would look crazy for a professor to start talking about things like that.”
Any more chatter was interrupted by the arrival of the professor.
Chad leaned over to whisper on Yamada's ear, "oh, look, a new professor, who has only been here for a year.”
“Two,” Yamada informed without thinking.
“Whatever, less than 10 years. I heard all professors are being given leaves of absences.”
“Yeah, they are carrying out a disinfection of the wing with all the professors’ offices, so they might as well give them some holidays.”
“You are so naive,” Chad said condescending and Yamada turned to pay attention to the class.
"Are you going to the house?" Ally asked behind him once the class had ended.
They had been roommates since their freshmen year and they rented a cheap apartment right outside the campus together with another senior.
Yamada shook his head, "I have to speak to the professor."
"Oohh, cutie pie over there?"
"I don't think we should call professors ‘cutie pie’. I don’t think anyone should be called ‘cutie pie’."
"Sure they should. Anyway, see you later or tomorrow afternoon if you take too long. I'm leaving at 4."
Yamada nodded and said good bye. He turned around walked down the halls. The building and the whole university was old and most of the buildings had an antique air to them. Ally loved them; Yamada, not so much. He would have prefered a modern building, with plenty of windows and glass walls and a minimalist white design. He simply shrugged at the thought. Not like he could do anything and he would graduate in just a couple of months.
He walked past the doors with names printed on them and stood in front of the last one. The name on the door read "Prof. Richardson" but that was not the person on the other side of the door. Because the old professor was on a long leave of absence.
Yamada shook his head. Chad was just full of shit.
He knocked on the door and heard a 'come in'
"Professor Tegoshi, do you have a moment? I'd like to speak to you."
The professor smiled. Professor cutie pie indeed. "Of course, Ryosuke."
Yamada still couldn't get used to being called by his first name so casually. Tegoshi stood up and Yamada closed the door and locked it quietly and turned around just as Tegoshi reached him and then he was against the wall kissing his professor.
"When are you graduating again?"
Yamada chuckled, he refused to call the noise coming out of his lips a giggle. Tegoshi had asked that question every time they met that semester.
"Well, very soon. If I pass this last subject. The professor gave me a C," Yamada pouted looking up through his lashes.
"Well, maybe you should sleep with him."
"I already am!"
"Wow, you must suck at that subject."
"Shut up. I actually did want to talk to you."
Tegoshi stepped back, leaning on his desk.
"So, I have the place for myself tonight..."
Tegoshi winced. "It's too close to the campus, and if your roommates see me..."
"That's the thing, they won't be back until tomorrow night, they won't see you. Please? Then you could stay the night..."
"Come on, Yuya." Yamada knew that Tegoshi didn't find the use of his first name as odd as Yamada. The man had been born and raised in America but he still really, really enjoyed Yamada calling him by it. A groan came out from the other man's mouth and Yamada knew he would have his way.
Yamada opened the door. "Thank you for your time, professor."
"Anytime," he heard Tegoshi answer. Outside the hall was almost deserted. Almost. Professor Creep was walking past. Ok, that was not her name, but that was what everybody called her. She was a psychology teacher, one of those you tried to avoid. The woman must have been in her early 40s but she had that mean, bitter look. And she directed it at him. Eyes hard and mouth pinched. Did she know? No, she couldn't possibly. They had been really careful with their relationship. It had stopped being an affair after their first year of sleeping together but they had always been very careful. His friends didn't even know Yamada was gay, let atone sleeping with one of the assistant professors for crying at loud.
He nodded a greeting to the woman and he gave her what he hoped was an innocent wide eyed look. The woman kept walking and Yamada shivered a little.
Later that day, Yamada parked his beat up car outside the two story house. It had a side entrance to a smaller house. Inside, there were three small bedrooms, a small kitchen and one and a half bathrooms and the rent was cheap and split 3 ways. Much better than living on campus. On the not so bright side, it was almost surrounded by woods. It usually didn't bother him, but, today, in the chill of fall and in the crimson light of the twilight, Yamada felt watched. He closed the car door and looked around, fully expecting to see bright eyes looking at him. There was nothing, of course. There was nothing out there scarier than deer.
Damn Chad and his stupid stories were making him jump at nothing.
He walked towards the house and out of the corner if his eyes he saw the old couple that rented them the apartment loading suitcases on their car.
"Going on vacation?"
The old woman turned around startled. "Oh, yes, yes, visiting some family up north. Don't you kids have holidays for halloween or something?"
"Um... well, no..."
"Come on, Magda. We have to go."
"Yes, coming Myron. Well, I'll see you when we get back." The old woman turned to get into the car and mumbled something Yamada didn't catch but he didn't really care. His landlords could be worse, but they weren't exactly warm or friendly. He just went right inside. His other roommate was still there and Yamada repressed a sigh. His roommate was a dumb jock, there was no better way to describe the man.
At the moment, he was primping his gelled hair in the mirror. "Hey, there," Yamada greeted back.
"So, you are leaving already?"
"And you won't be coming back till tomorrow, right?"
"Yeah, why? You have a hot date?" His roommate laughed as if he had said the most absurd joke. Yamada didn’t bother to answer, he simply went to the kitchen and started opening the take-out he had brought. It would have been great to cook something, but Yamada couldn’t cook for shit, so takeout would have to be enough.
He heard the door close probably when his roommate left and he was finally alone. He took a shower and went about getting things ready and an hour later he heard footsteps on the gravel outside. Odd that he hadn’t heard a car. Maybe Yuya came on foot so that his car wouldn’t be recognized.
He waited for the bell to ring but it never did. Again, the sound of steps on the gravel. He walked to the door and looked out the window next to it. Everything was tainted by the red light of dusk, the leaves of the surrounding trees moved with the gentle breeze. It had never bothered Yamada to live in such proximity to the forest and he had always enjoyed the small Creek just a few miles away. Today a chill ran through him.
He shook his head. There was nothing there.
And then, a pair of arms grabbed his middle in a steel grip with a shriek, Yamada thought it might have been him but wasn't sure. He started to kick and squirm and, really scream like a 4 year old and that's when he heard a laugh and warm lips on the back of his head.
The arms released him and he turned around. He saw his boyfriend, the college professor, bent at the waist laughing so hard he could barely breathe.
"You jerk! Asshole! You scared me!"
Tegoshi tried to sober up. "I swear I didn't think you'd get this way. The back door was open, I just meant to surprise you. Oh, man!" that was all he could get out before the laughter came back. Yamada stomped to the kitchen, because he was about to start laughing and he would die before he gave Tegoshi the satisfaction.
They did have dinner, though. If Yamada cancelled plans every time his boyfriend, again, a college professor, acted like a brat, they would have never lasted more than a day.
After that, Tegoshi was in his best behavior for the rest of the night. They had dinner and ended up on the couch and they never did make it to the bedroom. The couch was actually very comfortable.
It was almost midnight, they had a blanket around them since it was a bit chilly and only the dim light of the tv set illuminated their tangled forms. They were watching some old tv show rerun, this close to Halloween, the horror movie trailers brought something to Yamada’s mind.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you," he began hesitantly, "you know Professor Richardson, he left kinda suddenly, didn't he? Did he say why?"
Tegoshi frowned, "He said his sister had some problems, but he didn't specify. And I really wanted this job so I didn’t ask much."
"Other teachers have left too, have you noticed? Did they say why they left? I mean many actually quit..."
Tegoshi narrowed his eyes. "What are you talking about?"
Yamada winced and told Tegoshi what the other student had said, wholly expecting his boyfriend to laugh at him.
"Mh," Tegoshi said when Yamada had finished the story. "If that's true, it's really messed up. I really don't see how the University would be able to hide anything like that."
"So you never heard anything like that? From older professors, or the staff?"
"No. And a secret like that is very difficult to keep. Especially among gossipy professors."
"So, you don't think any of that happened?"
Tegoshi shrugged. "Probably not. Does it really worry you?"
Yamada didn't really want to admit it because he knew it was stupid. Things like that didn't actually happen in real life.
Tegoshi chuckled, not mocking or unkind but with a glint in his eyes. "Well, what kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn't do something to distract you?"
Yamada chuckled as the other man trailed wet kisses down his torso until Tegoshi’s head disappeared under the blanket and then Yamada gasped and not because of the mouth trailing down below his navel, but because of the front door opening and closing and his roommate’s voice.
“Hey, Yamada, I left my…”
They all froze where they were. Thank god Tegoshi was under the blanket. Or maybe not given the smirk in Ally’s face at the “compromising” situation. Yamada would be teased to no end, he just knew it.
“Oh, wow, you got an actual date?”
“It’s not… I mean…” Yamada stuttered.
“Don’t tell me you hired a whore. Do we have to have a talk about the exploitation of women…”
“It’s not a wh… Ally you’re not supposed to come back 'till tomorrow night.”
“I forgot my wallet, can you believe it?”
“I did. And now I’m hours behind on my schedule. So I better go get it and leave you to your date,” she said with a wink and a knowing grin.
Tegoshi stayed under the blanket while Ally went and got her wallet. On her way out she said.
“Oh! Hey, are you bringing your girlfriend to the Halloween party?”
“Ally…” Yamada grounded out but she ignored him.
“It would be a good opportunity to introduce her you know. And you have to have costumes so she can still keep the halo of mystery around her.”
“I don’t think…”
“You don’t have to, your girl has been invited, I mean that blanket she’s hiding under is not really sound proof.”
“Fine, fine, see you.”
As soon as Ally was out the door, Tegoshi came out from under the blanket.
“Ok, don’t freak out. I had no idea she would come back and she didn’t even see you and she wouldn’t…”
Tegoshi stopped him with a quick kiss. “I’m not freaking out. She thought I was a woman, for crying out loud.” Yamada laughed at that.
“So, you’re going to a Halloween party?”
“I guess. I don’t expect you to come. I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to, but…” Shit, Yamada didn't usually babble like that.
“Well, you're graduating at the end of the term and after that…”
“After that, I was thinking about staying here. I do have some work prospects and I don’t need to go back to Japan any time soon.”
Tegoshi smiled widely, blindingly. “Then we should start getting used to going to events together. And hell, if I can wear a costume no one has to know who I really am. Although we probably should work on you coming out.”
Yamada couldn’t believe Tegoshi was actually going to the Halloween party dressed like that. Actually, he could believe it. So his boyfriend, college professor, kinda liked dressing up as a woman in Halloween. Yamada had seen some incriminating pictures.
Well, at least there was the certainty nobody would recognize him, with a long dark brown hair, full make up which didn't look cheap, actually. The Gothic vampire outfit hugged his body and gave the illusion of curves that Yamada knew for a fact Tegoshi wasn't even close to having and it was completed by a pair of black shiny boots that reached his knees and of course a black lace choker that hid his Adam's apple.
“Man, if anybody recognizes you tonight, we are screwed.” Yamada shook his head.
“Well, I am screwed. But I like Halloween, I love dressing up, and this will make it much harder for people to recognize me.”
Tegoshi did look like a woman and not like a guy in a dress, so they had that going for them. That and the intricate face mask the other man would be wearing.
“Come on, it’ll be fun!”
“Of course, college professor.”
Tegoshi laughed. Yamada knew that when his boyfriend was set on doing something he’d do it and damn the consequences.
In no time at all they were at the sorority building, Yamada had forgotten the name of it already but their Halloween parties had a reputation for being legendary and every student in attendance was in their best costume. Even with so many students gone, the place was crowded with monsters, superheroes, slutty nurses and mental patients.
It took some time but he finally found Ally, in a cute little skimpy bee outfit, surrounded by two pirates, one, Yamada didn’t know, the other was Park Jung Min, another foreign student taking some of the same classes. There were two different kinds of monsters and a very buff guy all painted in green who was probably the Incredible Hulk. On a closer look he noticed it was Kurt, Pria’s boyfriend. Talk about empty brained. He had an arm around Pria, who was wearing a slutty mental patient outfit.
“There you are!” Ally greeted him. “Oh! And who is this?” She immediately asked with a knowing smile.
“This is Yuuko, Yuuko, this is Ally my roommate.”
Tegoshi smiled shyly and waved in a very cute and girly manner.
“Nice to finally meet you, I’ve heard nothing about you.” Ally told Tegoshi with a toothy smile. Like a shark.
Tegoshi just giggled and bumped Yamada’s shoulder with his playfully.
“I’ll let it go for now,” Ally said. “You are right on time! This guy is going to show us the building where the killings took place! Chad is very excited about it.”
“I bet he is.” Yamada rolled his eyes.
“Come on!” Chad, in a black Spiderman outfit, shouted over the music. “It’ll be fun. It’s a closed down building and if nothing else it’ll make your girly little girlfriend there hold onto you.” He finished by giving Tegoshi a really dirty leer and wiggling his eyebrows.
Yamada resisted the urge to punch the guy. He did not like the feeling of having a cute girlfriend; good thing he was gay.
He wasn’t sure how but he had been dragged outside and now he was on his way to an abandoned building, apparently, with a group of people he barely knew.
One of the pirates, Jason, Ally and Jung Min, took the lead, closely followed by Chad. Then there was Pria, in this slutty mental hospital outfit with rips in the most revealing locations and her boyfriend, The Hulk.
Tegoshi and Yamada were walking a little behind the group and if nothing else, it was nice to be able to walk holding hands, Tegoshi's head would sometimes rest on Yamada's shoulder, playing the girl with a little too much gusto, even though he being taller in those high heels made movement a bit awkward.
“You know,” Tegoshi started with a breathy voice which was just a tad higher than his usual register, it was also low enough that nobody else but Yamada could hear him. “If your friends start doing drugs, I’m out of here. If there's an OD I really am screwed.”
Yamada laughed. “They are not usually like that, most of them are kinda nerdy. There might be some booze, but we are all over 21, professor. And we have a responsible adult with us.”
The building was obviously deserted but not really as run down as one would expect of a creepy place. The doors did groan when they opened but inside it was surprisingly normal. The ground floor held several glass cabinets with trophies and some framed newspaper clippings depicting some outstanding occurrence or other.
Chad had brought powerful flashlights they used to illuminate the way until Pirate Jason found his way into a creepy basement and found the electricity breaks.
The illuminated building was even less frightening than before. Sure, it was big and filled with the echo of their footsteps but nothing more. They made their way up to the first floor where they found empty dorms. They were mostly empty, some had broken bed frames and a few posters.
“So, this is it?” Ally said disappointed.
“I guess.” Chad sounded just as disappointed.
“What were you expecting really? A ghost parade welcoming you?”
Chad smiled, and Yamada did not like that smile at all. He crouched down and started looking for something in his backpack. From it, he produced a cup, which looked like a crystal cup but what did Yamada know about those things. Then he proceeded to arrange cut out papers with letters on them.
“You certainly came prepared,” Pria said.
“I thought that the legend talked about a serial killer, not a ghost.” Ally pointed out.
Chad shrugged. “I’ll take what I can get. Come on.”
Tegoshi sat next to Yamada on a corner still wearing the mask so it was hard to know what he was thinking. Of course, he wasn’t one to keep his feelings to himself.
“Ne,” he said in his breathy high voice, switching to Japanese so no one would understand. “Your friends are kind of idiots. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m a college professor, you know?”
“Wearing a vampiress dress,” Yamada chuckled. “And only Abby is my friend. The rest are acquaintances.”
“We are ready,” Chad called out interrupting any response.
They sat in a circle and they all put their index fingers on the cup but that was as much as they did before the distant echo of the front door slamming shut and a loud thud followed by a dragging sound right above them.
All at once, they stood up. “What the hell was that?” Someone asked.
“It’s an old building, probably something was loose and finally fell.” Jung Min ventured.
“Then why does it sound like footsteps?”
“Ok, let’s just get out,” Tegoshi said forgetting his female voice. If anybody noticed nobody said anything they just followed as they walked faster and faster, and all but ran to the front door.
Tegoshi shook the door. Yamada joined him when nothing happened. No mattered how much they tried, it wouldn’t budge.
“We are locked in?” Ally screamed. “Chad, if you did this, I swear…”
“I didn’t. It’s probably just stuck. And, and, loose things are falling down on the second floor.” It sounded more like he was trying to convince himself.
“Look, we don’t know if anything is actually going on. The door could be stuck…”
“And those noises…”
“Could be nothing…”
“What!” He snapped at Tegoshi, who was looking behind him paled faced like the rest of the group. He turned around to see the silhouette of a man at the end of the hall. He looked over 2 meters tall, though that could not have been right. He was also wielding a huge dirty axe which was clearly no costume prop.
The man started moving and Pria’s boyfriend took a step forward in spite of the others’ warnings. “Hey! Who are you?” No answer. The man kept walking slowly. “Look, just back off man.”
“We better go,” Yamada said and, out of the corner of his eye, saw Tegoshi nodding.
“That guy is just fucking with us,” Kurt stubbornly said.
“That may be, but I don’t want to find out,” Tegoshi whispered.
Most were already moving slowly. Their only way out was through one of the side halls which also lead to the stairs behind the man, who was getting closer.
Pria grabbed her boyfriend’s forearm. “Kurt, come on. I wanna go.”
“That asshole is not gonna scare me,” he growled, puffing his muscular green-painted pecs.
The rest of the group was already on the side hall still calling for Kurt and Pria to come with them. They finally gave up and started moving to the back of the building. They found an emergency door there but of course it was locked as well.
That’s when they heard the first screams. Kurt’s were loud and soon got gurgling wet sound and were drowned by Pria’s high pitch ones.
The back hall led to the stairs, where they had an unobstructed view of the front door and Yamada wished he hadn’t looked.
Kurt had been lifted off the ground and was pinned to the wall why the man’s massive arm, a big hand around the neck squeezing until the windpipe was crushed. Kurt’s legs kicked for 2 heartbeats and then he stopped moving.
Pria was rooted in place, frozen.
“Pria! Run!” Ally shouted and that got her moving.
Even though Pria was running the man never hurried. He kept walking slowly with heavy steps.
“Move. We need to find a way out,” Tegoshi urged.
Back on the first floor they ran to the last dorms and went to one of the rooms.
“Ok, we need to get out of here,” Tegoshi said.
“Dude what happened to your girlfriend’s voice,” Chad asked.
“Never mind that. We need to break the windows. It shouldn’t be a long way down from here.” He pointed to the big window in the room.
Jung Min took the curtain bar from the window and banged it against the glass only to have it bounce back.
“Fuck! What the hell!” He bellowed rubbing his arm.
“Ok, ok,” Tegoshi murmured and then.
“Oh, s-shit. He’s coming,” Ally stuttered.
“We need something heavier,” Tegoshi said and ran out of the room and the rest followed into another room while the man kept coming, now with the axe dripping blood and Pria sobbed harder.
In the next room, there was some furniture, including an iron bed frame.
They didn’t need anybody to tell them what to do. Everybody, except Pria, who was crying on a corner, lifted the bed and banged it against the window.
It didn’t even make a dent.
“How is that possible?”
“Bulletproof glass?” Jung Min ventured.
“Why would an abandoned building have bulletproof glass?” Chad asked.
“Guys, it’s silent outside, he stopped moving,” Ally whispered.
“I-is he outside?” Pria asked just as quietly.
None dared to get out or even speak for a long time.
“We should get out. If he comes back we are trapped here with no weapons.”
“You are right,” Tegoshi said. “So why did he stop? He could have burst in here and kill us all.”
“Who the hell cares,” Chad snapped. “I’m not staying here.” He took the curtain bar, the only weapon they had and moved to the door. He opened the door. Yamada fully expected the man to be on the other side but he wasn’t. Chad took a deep breath and poked his head out and looked to both sides. “He’s gone. Come on.”
“I don’t know…” Tegoshi started.
“Yamada, shut your girlfriend up! I want to go, you can stay.”
He started walking and nothing happened. Yamada looked at the rest and they all shrugged. Chad was right, they had to find a way out.
Ally lifted Pria from the floor. At least she had stopped crying. They walked a few feet, looking all around them waiting for the man to spring on them. That’s when one of the doors to their right opened on its own. They stared at it for a second but none of them wanted to go in it and that was when Chad screamed.
Yamada turned to see the hatchet buried in Chad shoulder. How had the man appeared as if out of nowhere? However he did it, he was now between them and the stairs, the only way out.
Chad was gone before the rest knew it was happening. They ran into one of the rooms and waited. One more time the man did not follow them and it was silent outside.
“What the fuck is going on?” Tegoshi screamed tearing the wig off his head.
“Yamada, your girlfriend is a guy,” Ally informed.
“I know. I’m gay.”
And that was it. Apparently, crazy serial killer beat student dating professor in drag.
None of them knew what to do, they just sat there. After a long time sitting, Tegoshi let Yamada's hand go and stood up. He went straight to the closet, opened the door and looked inside. It was bigger that it seemed and it looked to be filled with trash but soon Tegoshi found a bag and opened it.
“Oh, thank God!” He muttered as he took a pair of jeans and a T-shirt out of it. “I can’t stand this dress anymore.”
There were a couple other change of clothes in there. They smelled musty and old and the t-shirt had small holes. Ally was probably tired of the skimpy bee dress because she took a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. She still had her backpack, with yellow and black stripes, and she produced wet towelettes. She gave one to Tegoshi. “This will take the makeup off, or most of it… Professor.” She added the last part with a soft tease and a tiny smile, but no malice.
“Thanks,” he said with an answering smile.
“So, are we going to stay here?” Jung Min asked.
“Well, it seems that the man can’t, or won’t, get inside the rooms. And someone is bound to come around during the day. At least walk around the campus and see us,” Yamada said.
“One of the Pirates is missing,” Tegoshi piped in.
“I haven’t seen him since he got the lights going.”
“You think that man got to him?” Ally asked.
“Or… he was the one to lock the door. He wasn't with us when we first came to this floor.” Tegoshi sat back down and ran his hands through his hair.
Pria started laughing. It was a histerical laugh. “We are in a fucking horror movie!”
“Then I’m so screwed,” Yamada said. “I’m the slut, screwing the teacher.”
They all roared with laughter, releasing some of the tension built up. And then, without warning, a pair of arms came through the walls and grabbed Pria’s head and smashed it against the wall and their screams could barely cover the sound of the bone breaking and then the arms were gone. The only marks on the wall was the blood, hair and pieces of…
Yamada stopped there, he had to look away.
“What was that?”
“I don’t know, Ally.” Yamada was trembling. He felt an arm come around him.
“I’ll be fine. There has to be a way out.”
“How!” Jung Min snapped. “That… thing can reach through walls! It’s not even human! How are we supposed to escape from that!?”
“I can’t stay in this room with… with…”
She didn’t have to say more. None of them could stay with the body of their friend.
“Okay, so we have to move. Where should we go?” Yamada asked.
“Well, I’m sure that I saw a fire escape on the side of the building and there should be a terrace,” Tegoshi said.
“So, we try to get there and come down on the fire escape,” Yamada added.
“And hope we don’t get hacked to pieces,” Jung Min said without a bit of humor.
They ran up the hall to the stairs. They made it only halfway when the lights began to flicker and they heard the telling footsteps and the dragging sound of the axe. They didn’t even turn around, just ran faster, Jung Min running first. They didn’t even see him, in a moment the man was behind them and the next he was there reaching out and snapping Jung Min’s neck.
“No, no, no,” Ally kept saying. “I-I can’t…”
“Come on Ally,” Yamada urged. He grabbed Ally by the arms and tried to drag her back but the man, or whatever he was, grabbed her leg and yanked. Ally screamed and grabbed onto Yamada desperately but the man was too strong and kept tugging and releasing, as if he was playing with them. Even with Tegoshi’s help they were not strong enough.
Finally, the man seemed to tire of the grotesque tug-of-war and reached out and back handed Yamada as if he were a fly. Pain exploded on the side of his face and he felt dizzy. The screams didn’t last long. A hand was trying to get him to stand up and he stumbled and ended up once again in one of the rooms.
There were two beds, one had a yellowing mattress. Yamada's head hurt and he was sure there was bruising and probably swelling and he was still dizzy. He sat on the bed taking deep breaths, trying not to throw up. Ally was dead. They were all dead and soon Yuya and him would be dead too.
“Ryosuke, look at this.”
Yamada looked at the wall Tegoshi was looking at. There was something written on it.
SURVIVE THE NIGHT
Yamada really didn’t know what to think. “So, what, when the sun comes up we are safe?”
Tegoshi sat next to him and they both laid down. Going out didn’t seem like an option.
“You hit your head, you shouldn’t fall asleep.”
“Yeah, better a ghost serial killer to kill me rather than the concussion... Sorry, I’m just…”
They stayed there, for hours. Every once in awhile they heard the footsteps, screaming and knocks on the door but that was it. The lights kept flickering but it was better than being in complete darkness.
“You know,” Tegoshi started, “now that you're out of the closet and that we know that the University is haunted by a homicidal maniac ghost on steroids, I’m thinking about quitting, maybe find a different place to teach. The University of Florida sounds nice. You know, beach, great nightlife.”
The light flickered.
The light flickered.
“What else is there to do but babble?”
“Sunrise should be close now.”
The light flickered and when it came back the man was there looking at them.
Yamada screamed and both bolted from the bed.
“He’s in here!”
That’s all he had to say. They were running again. Up the hall and down the stairs towards the front door. They weren’t really thinking. It was just as well, everywhere seemed to be a dead-end.
They made it down but right in front of Yamada was the man, even up close he was little more than a shadow, nothing but darkness and cold. Cold as the steel that cut through the flesh of his stomach. The man had a butcher knife on his hand.
There was a scream and it took Yamada some time to realize it wasn’t him but Tegoshi, who was hitting the man with something. That did succeed to get the man’s attention from Yamada to Tegoshi. The man took Tegoshi by the t-shirt and slung him against one of the trophy displays, breaking the glass and the wooden shelf. When he landed, Tegoshi wasn’t moving but the man still picked him up and threw him against another display.
Yamada grabbed a heavy looking trophy and took a swing at the man’s head hitting nothing but air. The momentum of the hit made him fall and the man was now looking and walking towards him. Yamada was too tired and in pain, he couldn't move anymore.
The man was on him, he felt the cold, fetid stench that came of him and he knew he was dead.
And the first rays of sunshine filtered in through the windows and the man slowly vanished. No screaming or noise, simply vanished as if he had never been there.
Yamada froze for a moment, maybe seconds, maybe hours. No, probably not hours.
“Yuya,” he remembered.
He sat up, clenching his teeth against the pain on his side where he was still bleeding. Tegoshi was laying on the floor almost like a raggedy doll.
“Please, don’t be dead. Please, be alive,” he practically chanted.
He finally reached his boyfriend's side. He gingerly moved him. He was pale which made the blood stand out even more but he was breathing, shallow breaths, but still breathing.
He heard the front door opened and three men came in. They stood at the entrance.
“We have at least one survivor,” One of the men called out and then they came closer.
He recognized the president of the University. He vaguely noticed a couple of men moving around and some part of his brain knew they were moving Kurt’s body up the flight of stairs but another part knew Yamada couldn’t take much more. He wouldn’t have an option, really.
“Mr. Yamada, I know you’ve been through a lot…”
“I know. It is a necessity, unfortunately.”
“What? Five people dying is a necessity? And… and you know?”
The older man took a deep breath. “Yes. When the University was founded in 1905 one of the caretakers went on a killing spree on October 31st. By the end of the night, he had killed five students and injured another ten. He was stopped and beaten to death right here in this building where he had committed his murders. The University was almost over before it had really started. However, it survived.
“For ten years nothing happened, but on October 31st 1915, several students were found dead in the building. The survivors talked about a man who had hunted them. The administration at the time said that an escapee from an asylum a few miles away had done it. It was pinned on a schizophrenic man who was going to spend the rest of his life in the asylum anyway. After that it was always the same. Every 10 years the ghost of the man comes back looking for victims.
“At first, the building was abandoned, removing all possibility of victims. However, students are always curious and they made their way into the building anyhow. So the building was used again and in 1965, under the pretense of a rat infestation, every student was asked to leave the premises on the week of Halloween. No killings that year. Nevertheless, when students came back they got violently ill. Many killed themselves or went insane. You see, if the spirit doesn't have its outlet, its victims, it rots the building and the disease spreads.
“Since the 70s, we have taken a different approach. We keep the building closed and offer… a sacrifice. Between 5 and 10 students. Usually, we choose students with bad backgrounds and no family. Students who could easily disappear. This year’s students are a bit more complicated. And Professor Tegoshi here is certainly a surprise.
“Now, Mr. Yamada, you have a choice. I can put you two with the dead bodies and set you on fire. A bunch of students broke the lock and accidentally started a fire, they were so intoxicated they couldn't escape. One professor was having an affair with one of the students. Most unfortunate. And disgraceful.
“Or you can keep your mouth shut. You’ll graduate with honors and have your pick of the jobs I can find for you - and I can get you many. We will take Mr. Tegoshi here in the ambulance waiting outside and to a hospital so he doesn’t bleed internally and then he can choose where to work as well. All you have to do is keep your mouth shut. Those other students are dead, nothing can bring them back.”
Yamada didn't see much of an option there. Two men put Tegoshi on a stretcher and was taken to a van that only looked like an ambulance on the inside.
“Why couldn't we break the windows?”
“They are bulletproof. Few things can break that glass. We are happy to have survivors, but we do need to endure victims.”
Yamada was sorry he’d asked. He was helped on the ambulance, next to Tegoshi. Yamada took the other man’s hand. He could already smell the fire. The hand in his squeezed, not hard, but definitely firmly. They were taken away as Yamada heard the fire truck siren in the distance.