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God damn it. I don't know what's going on, but if it's a joke, I'm going to be seriously pissed off. Especially after what Lyrica did to my typewriter.
No, no. I shouldn't do that. In typical horror movies, that's what the guy do. He thinks it's a joke, he calls, and then, out of nowhere, a monster evil comes and slices his throat.
Looking behind me, I don't see anybody. But just in case, I'm going to check the first floor, where the girls were playing earlier. Maybe they're just sleeping, and maybe I'll look like a pedophile entering in a girl's room while she's sleeping, but you can never be sure. Well, not until I check by myself.
Sneaking, I slowly and silently climb the stair, trying to be as silent as the killer in that halloween movie. Humming the movie's theme, I reach the first floor, and I decide to be quick. I remember that isolated room on the second floor, I remember how light couldn't penetrate it, and yet, I'd rather be up there than down here. There's nothing unusual here, but I have that lingering feeling that something is waiting for me at the corner.
I sigh, trying to relax myself. For Buddha's sake, I'm a romance writer, not a horror writer like Alan Wake, or Sutter Kane! Why am I imagining such things? That doesn't make sense! But whatever, I'm a man, so I don't give up even in adversity! Even if said adversity looks like pitch black darkness where a grue could easily turn me into its next picnic, I won't give up! I'm never gonna give up! Never gonna let it down!
Clenching my teeth, I start exploring the first floor, looking for any of the girls.
Jumping from the stairs, I land on the floor with a huge THUMP. After landing, I instinctively turn a somersault, before raising my glance at the first floor again. I don't know what's up there, but I know one thing for sure, it doesn't want me finding the girls' room.
I dunno, I acted on instinct. I felt something, so I ran away, jumping down the stairs, and luckily breaking nothing. Of course, given how fast my heart is beating right now, I could have both my legs broken, and I wouldn't be able to feel it.
I breathe deeply, trying to relax. It's alright. I think I'm ready to admit it, once and for all.
That house is haunted. There's no possible mistake; things appearing in the basement, obvious violation of physics laws, irrational fear, scratches all over the floor while I was sleeping, despite my cold body being buried under several pounds of metal, and, finally, my car was vandalized by some soon-to-be-sued-to-death son of a bitch.
My house is haunted. And in this case, there's only one thing to do.
I'm renting a room in town.
I wrote a quick note that I left on the table, “the house isn't safe, don't stay here for too long, take care”, before packing my things and returning to the village. There's almost nobody in the street, except for the villager I know the most.
“Hey again, mate, you're a rare sight at night.”
“Yeah, got some trouble back then.”
“Have a drink, ya'll tell me.”
Inviting me inside, the general store's shopkeeper offers me a coffee and an ear. When I finally start speaking, I half-expect him to laugh and slap my back.
“I think my house is haunted.”
But he doesn't laugh. Instead, his face changes, from a friendly smile to a cold face.
“Why do ya think so?”
“There are weird things. I saw some, others happened while I was sleeping, and sometimes, I just feel threatened without any reason.”
Nodding, he grabs a cup of coffee.
“I can say ya that there's always a reason. When your instinct is sayin' ya something ain't wrong, listen to it, even if everythin' seems fine. It can saves your life.”
“Speaking from experience?”
Smiling bitterly, he raises his trouser leg, exposing a wooden leg.
“I... I never noticed.”
“I do my best to hide it, but ya can trust me on this, when ya hear a whoofin' sound behind ya, no matter if there's nothin' behind ya, ya duck. That's common sense here. If ya think there's somethin' wrong with your house, there's somethin' with it.”
Doing his best to smile again, the 40-years old man takes a sip of coffee.
“If ya don't mind, what's the house?”
I finish my coffee.
“It's the two-story tall building near the lake.”
BLURF is the sound he makes while half-choking on his coffee. It doesn't last, and he's quickly back to his feet.
“The Prismriver Mansion? And ya figured out t's haunted?”
“Primsriver, you said? Yeah, it's haunted, I guess, but... why are you staring at me like that?”
He's making me extremely uncomfortable. And not only he's staring at me, but he also looks like he's going to pounce on me.
“Ya lived in the Prismriver Mansion since ya arrived here, and ya never thought it wasn't haunted?”
“I-I had no reason to think it would be! It was really cheap to begin with!”
Oh dear, I just notice that it's one of the usual reason for buying a haunted house. It's cheap.
“Oh Kanayamabiko, bless that fool. For your information, that house was haunted for decades, maybe more.”
“But that's impossible, there was-”
I'm interrupted by a girl entering in the shop, taking everyone's attention.
Why, would you ask? It's because that's girl is not your usual girl. First of all, she's dressed kind of like a shrine maiden, but with several difference. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about shrine maiden to be 100% sure, but I know it's not a real Shrine Maiden uniform. But her most shocking feature is her green hair. Honestly, she looks like one of those gang members, a punk.
But I have to admit she's polite. Immediately after entering the shop, she bows deeply before speaking in a really polite tone.
“Forgive me for the late visit, but I really need a few things.”
The shop owner quickly reassures the newcomer.
“Na, no problem. I wasn't going to close anyway, a friend got in trouble.”
Moving her glance around the shop, the girl's stare finally locks on me. And then something horrible happens.
Her face changes. At first, it's moderate surprise, painted all over her face, quickly switching to shock, probably as she recognizes me. And then, it turns into some kind of creepy bliss, her face displaying one of the biggest smile I ever saw.
“Oh my goddess, it's you.”
Quickly mumbling something, the girl brings her hand to her face, trying to hide her smile, but failing, while I try to introduce myself.
“Um, hello, my name is-”
“I know you, oh yes, I know you. You have no real idea how much we, I mean, I, know you.”
“You two know each other?”
I shake my head negatively.
“You must be mistaking me for someone else, young girl.”
She start shaking, making me fear a possible brain damage.
“Oh no, no, no! I'm not mistaking, there's no possible mistake -I mean, I read your books, ALL OF THEM, and, um, they were really popular back in the school, especially among my friends and, well, I tried to distribute some, but people around here aren't really into that kind of book, and, well, that's kind of sad...”
Oh-ho. I never expected to meet a reader here. But to be frank, I wasn't even aware that people were reading my book.
“Excuse me?” Interrupt the shop keeper. “This is Miss Sanae. She lives on the mountain, and as you can see, she's a priestess. Miss Sanae, this is the friend I was talking about right now.”
Having done the presentation, the shop keeper discretely retire to the back shop, leaving me alone with an excited teenage girl. So much for the “friend” part.
“So you have a problem? Perhaps I can help? Please tell me I can help, because, yeah, I may not look like it, but I'm quite skilled, so what's the problem?”
 “I think my house is haunted, and I don't know how I can unhaunt it.”
 “My personal space is invaded by a girl I barely know.”
 “My house is haunted, and I have nowhere to sleep tonight.”
 “Why do you like my books so much? It's just cheesy romance, with a lot of clichés lines.”
Does that sounds frantic enough?