PSC Series: The Haunted CelebrityChapter:
the GazettE, SCREW, Alice Nine, ViViD, more to comeDisclaimer:
I don't own the guys. Just the story.Pairings:
AoixRuki, ByouxRui, KaixUruha, probably more to comeGenre:
AU, horror, supernaturalRating:
PG, for nowWarning:
"PSC, which stands for Paranormal Studies Center, is an institution whose main object is to investigate various paranormal and supernatural events. This is the Department of Investigation and Recovery, where all investigative tasks are being done. My name is Kai, and I am the head of this Department. Welcome. How may I help you?"
The movie title was ‘The Dead Whispers’. It might have been obvious from the title already, but it was basically a horror movie. The main character was a man, a script writer, who moved into an apartment. The intention to seclude himself—after his wife’s death and also as an attempt to regain his inspirations for his job—failed as soon as the haunting in the apartment began. A ghost of a female kept visiting him, scaring the daylights out of him no matter where he tried to hide. It turned out that the ghost was trying to tell him how she died and who did it, and to warn the man that he was also facing a deadly danger if he kept staying in the apartment.
The story was laced with a tragic love story that inevitably happened between the man and the ghost, which gave it a rather nice twist as opposed to it being the same old, cliché horror movie.
Ruki flipped the pages all the way to the last one, and read the ending scene. Well, it was a common ending for most horror movies, with no obvious conclusion, leaving the viewer with many possibilities to think of. Ruki himself was not a horror movie fan, so to say, but he thought he wouldn’t mind watching this one. Not just because Yuu was starring it, but because the story itself seemed interesting.
“Well? How is it?”
Ruki looked up from the script and found Yuu’s face in front of him, beaming with expectation. “Umm…” he began. “I’m not an expert in reviewing movies, but I think it will be interesting to watch.”
“I thought you were going to say ironic,” Yuu replied, laughing lightly. “Or stupid… You know, considering that I am actually being haunted in real life, why on earth would I be taking this role? It might seem very unwise.”
Ruki smiled. “Well, that crossed my mind too,” he said. “But on the contrary, I think it’s great that you’ve taken this role. It can be one of the ways to deal with your fears.”
He closed the script book that he had been reading while they were on their way heading toward the studio, and handed it back to Yuu. Yuu accepted it with a lopsided smile on his lips.
“I wish it was that simple,” he said. “The ghosts that I’m supposed to see in this movie, well, during the shooting at least, are touchable. I mean, I know the cast who plays the role—I talk to her every day, and she is such a nice person! It’s a bit difficult to be afraid of her.” He sighed, “But the one in my apartment… that’s something totally different.”
Ruki nodded in silence, fully understanding the big difference between seeing the real thing and the fake ones. Some people could make really scary artificial apparitions to show on movies or photos, but no one could ever represent the coldness, the unwelcoming aura that real supernatural entities gave off.
But on a positive note, he thought Yuu would be able to use his experience dealing with real supernatural entities—how the entire event had made him feel—and project that feeling in his acting for this movie. Yuu didn’t have to pretend much; he knew what the real thing was really like.
Kazuki drove the car in which Yuu and Ruki were passengers into the basement parking lot of a large, terracotta painted building, and then stopped at an empty space. The three of them stepped out of the car, and with Kazuki leading the pack, walked into the building. Ruki soon found out that it was an apartment, a less luxurious one than the one where Yuu was living in. Doors after doors lined up on the walls on their left and right as they strutted along a brightly lit, pastel cream colored corridor. Ruki vaguely thought that this must be the apartment used as the setting of the movie shooting, and his guess was proven correct when Kazuki gave him a brief explanation.
“We’re shooting on the fifth floor,” he said. “The team rented three apartments; one for the movie setting itself, one for wardrobe and equipment storage, and one for the technical crews. We’re lucky to find an apartment building that has more than one available space on the same floor like this, especially in the middle of Shibuya.”
They proceeded into an elevator that took them to their destination floor, the fifth. Just like the first floor, there was nothing notable about the corridor. The walls were painted with the same pastel cream, and the floor was covered with warm brown carpet. The doors were black, with each of the apartment number and tenant’s name written on the plastic placards beside them.
The three of them walked to a junction and turned left. On the end of the corridor was a door of an apartment that was wide open; various sounds were coming from inside, one of them being a loud, seemingly annoyed, “Someone get me caffeine before my head explodes!”
Trying to ignore his own growing discomfort, Ruki followed behind Kazuki and Yuu into the apartment. Once they entered the genkan, he saw was of a couple of—he thought they were technicians—men who were fussing with rolls and rolls of cable on the floor. In the living room or what looked like it were even more people, each of them busy with their own tasks. One tall, nervous looking man was preparing the camera; one young, stern looking woman was fixing the position of the furniture; two men were in the middle of arguing on the far corner of the room; and one man with a plump red face, wearing green flannel shirt, was standing in the middle of the room. The latter guy seemed to be the one who had shouted for a cup of coffee earlier, and the one in charge of the entire film shooting, in other word, the director.
That said man turned just in time when Kazuki, Yuu, and Ruki entered the living room. “Ah,” he exhaled. “There you are. I was just going to call you.”
“Good morning to you too, Nagai,” Yuu replied, grinning wide. “Are we starting the shooting early today?”
“No, but there’s something about the script that I need to talk to you—uh, do I know you?”
Ruki bowed nervously under the director’s glare. “Hi, I’m Ruki, Yu—Aoi’s cousin,” he said, trying to act as naturally as he could possibly do. Lying wasn’t really his specialty.
“Yes, he’s from Hokkaido, and he’s been staying at my place for the last couple of days. Today I thought I’d bring him along to the set.” Yuu circled his right arm around Ruki’s shoulder; the feeling calmed Ruki a tiny bit. However, it did nothing to convince him that he would succeed performing his own role today.
Nagai, the director, looked a little unfriendly, but he didn’t seem to mind Yuu bringing a guest into the set without a prior notice. He did, however, sound very stern when he warned Ruki about what he should and should not do in the set during the shooting—for example, no wandering around or talking while the camera was rolling, no touching the setting, etcetera. Afterward, Nagai dragged Yuu away, and soon the two of them were busy discussing whatever Nagai thought was important to be discussed.
Ruki felt a pat on his shoulder, and when he looked to his side, Kazuki was smiling.
“I think it’s safe to say that we’re ditched at the moment, Ruki-kun,” he said. “Come on, I’ll show you the rest of the set.”
When it was time for lunch break, Ruki had found out the names of all the behind-the-scene staff on the set, thanks to Kazuki. The cameraman that he saw earlier when they had just arrived was called Tommy for some vague reason; the one who was responsible for the décor was Kondo Juri—a stern woman, quite known for her work in a number of interior magazines. The director’s assistant, a nervous little man with greasy hair, was called Hiro. Ruki also got to meet Kazahara Emi, the actress who played the ghost—and just like Yuu said earlier, she was such a nice person that it was difficult imagining her as a vengeful ghost floating around ruining someone’s life.
Ruki didn’t get the chance to talk to Yuu or any of the people he met earlier once the shooting started. Obeying the director’s requests, he sat as quietly as he could manage in the changing room—which was actually the room adjacent to the genkan—staring at the row after row of makeup equipments that had been used to transform the originally sweet and lovely Kazahara Emi into a freakishly scary specter of a woman.
Inside the room with him were the people he had also been introduced to: the makeup and wardrobe team. They were a bunch of vibrant personalities blended into one team. The one in charge of the casts’ hairdo was a tall, lanky man wearing a large oversized white t-shirt; his name was Rei. Wardrobe—as in every single piece of clothing that the casts were wearing during shooting—was handled by a plump woman named Mika. She was a bubbly kind of a person who couldn’t keep her mouth shut. It was one gossip after another, and she seemed to know so many celebrities to gossip about. The next one in the team was a young woman—probably in her mid-twenties—that went by the name of Kyoko who dealt with makeup. She had an amazing way in handling her makeup brushes, eyeshadow of many different colors, foundation, and many other things Ruki couldn’t even name. She was mostly quiet, focused in her work, leaving all the talking to Mika.
To be honest, Ruki didn’t mind having these people as his company while he waited for Yuu to finish shooting and for Kazuki to return from wherever he had gone to. But in terms of his own duty, he didn’t feel like he was doing a really good job. So far, nobody seemed suspicious, at least not in the way that was threatening for Yuu. All the staff members were friendly, and they all treated Yuu with respect. It might have something to do with Yuu’s pleasant personality that made it easy for him to get along with almost everyone, but in Ruki’s opinion nobody seemed interested in hurting him.
“How long are you staying with your cousin, Ruki-kun?”
Ruki turned toward Mika who had just asked the question. “Umm… I didn’t plan on how long,” he said. “Probably a week or so, I’m not sure just yet.”
What Ruki didn’t say was that he had no idea when the case would be solved. A week sounded like a safe prediction, although considering the situation at hand it didn’t seem like the case was anywhere near solved. He really should get something done soon; he had to find a clue to work with… today if possible.
“So, Ruki-kun, what do you think about your cousin’s job?” Mika asked further. She was sitting right next to Kyoko; the latter was staring absently at her own lap, sipping coffee from a carton cup. Rei, in the mean time, had just gone to the toilet a minute ago.
“I think… it’s an amazing job,” Ruki answered. “He entertains people, makes people feel lots of different emotions through the characters that he plays. It’s not an easy thing to do, but he does it so naturally.”
“He does, doesn’t he? He’s really good in acting,” Mika gushed with a big smile on her face. “And he’s one of the very few actors that actually have a nice attitude. Right, Kyoko?”
Kyoko flinched and looked up from her lap. “W-what? Oh, yes,” she stuttered, “He’s really, really nice.”
Mika grinned. “He likes to bring coffee for the crew, or treat us all to lunch or dinner. What I personally think really special is how he always remembers people’s birthdays. Not many people do that, let alone a famous actor.”
Ruki smiled, suddenly remembering high school days when he quietly observed Yuu—still his senior back then—from afar. Yuu had always been the center of people’s attention, and his friendliness was most likely the main reason why. It was nice to know that, even though he had gained fame and fortune, his characteristics never changed.
“Believe me, Ruki-kun,” Mika continued, “I know enough actors in my entire life to tell you that there are too many jerks running around in this industry. But Aoi is definitely not one of them. Isn’t that so, Kyoko?”
Again, Kyoko looked as if she was about to drop her cup of coffee. She nodded, looking flustered. “Yes, Mika, you’re right. You’re absolutely right.”
Kyoko’s nervousness brought Ruki’s attention to her. At first he thought it was just her nature, that she was always so tense. But now he noticed that there was more than that. When she was doing Yuu’s makeup earlier, she practically had been blushing the entire time. And when Yuu talked to her, she replied with mostly mumbling and nervous giggles. Ruki would not claim himself to be an expert in reading other people’s body language, but these very typical signs told him that there was something behind the girl’s odd behavior.
Ruki kept an eye on Kyoko for a little while longer until noises from outside of the room drew his attention. In the next minute, the casts entered the changing room, one by one. First was Kazahara Emi, followed closely by Yuu. The two of them were engaged in a seemingly funny conversation; Kazahara was laughing—which made her look a little creepy, because she was still in her ghost costume and makeup.
”Hey, Ruki,” Yuu said when he looked at Ruki. “Emi was just telling me the time when she encountered a ghost. It was hilarious!”
Yuu proceeded to sit on the chair in front of the makeup table while telling Ruki about Kazahara’s experience. It happened a long time ago when she was still in elementary school, something about a dare that she and her friends had done in the school toilet. Everybody in the room laughed when Yuu came to the part where Emi was climbing out of the toilet’s window and getting her skirt stuck on the windowsill.
Kazuki came in a few minutes later carrying a box of cupcakes and a big smile on his face. “I was told that the cupcakes from this place are amazing,” he said, placing the box on top of the nearest table. “What time will today’s shooting will be over?”
“Nagai said at three,” Yuu answered, already helping himself with a chocolate glazed cupcake from the box Kazuki brought. “The shooting is going so well today for some reason, so he said he would end the day soon so he could look over the scenes we’ve shot.”
Mika, who was busy fumbling with a pink frosted cupcake in her right hand and Kazahara Emi’s wig on her left, giggled happily. “Great! In that case I can finally spend some quality time with my boyfriend!”
While everybody was teasing Mika, Ruki was quietly watching Kyoko. She didn’t seem like she was interested in the commotion happening inside the room. All her attention was poured into what she was currently doing, which was fixing Yuu’s makeup. Her hand was holding her brush and sweeping it across Yuu’s face expertly, and her eyes were focused on her own motions.
Someone outside shouted, “Lunch break for an hour!”
“What on earth…” Rei paused in the middle of brushing Kazahara’s wig, and then sighed as he put away his brush. “Well, Emi-chan, I guess we’re going to have to continue this later.”
Soon, the room was buzzing with noises as the catering team filed in with the lunch boxes. It was one of the most variable set of menu that Ruki had ever seen. It seemed like the team had prepared all kinds of food that were requested by the casts; every person received a different box. Yuu, for example, got spicy beef stew, broccoli with sweet sauce, and what seemed to be shrimp rolls topped with mayonnaise. There were several other side dishes, and Yuu also got a large cup of iced peach tea with his lunch box.
“It reminds me a lot of home,” he said, smiling. “My mother used to make this during the summer for the entire family.”
Lunch hour was nice, in Ruki’s opinion. The crew members and all the casts appeared to be in good terms with one another—even Nagai, who had seemed grumpy earlier, was sitting among the crew and laughing along with the jokes they were sharing. Ruki, Kazuki, Kazahara, Yuu, and the whole makeup team were sitting around a table, chatting amiably while finishing their lunch. Mika was doing most of the talking, as was expected of her, while everybody else adding up to the gossips she was sharing.
Ruki hadn’t expected to be getting along so well with people he had only met, but he admitted he liked being in the company of these people. It had seemed intimidating first because he fully realized who these people were and how famous they were out there in the entertainment world. As someone who had spent most of his life living like a hermit, it felt weird but surprisingly good to be surrounded with talkative people like this.
But the situation left him feeling uneasy. He remembered why he was here in the first place, and it definitely was not to go sightseeing. He didn’t think he was making too much progress by the looks of things around him. Mingling with these people was one thing, but analyzing their behaviors or scraping up information from them was a completely different thing, and Ruki was never really good at that.
Just when Ruki was thinking about telling Kai to find a more competent man to perform this task, someone announced loudly that lunch break was over.
Everyone shuffled back into each and their own activities; Yuu and Kazahara returned outside to shoot their next scene, the makeup team went to their posts to clean up some of their stuff. Nagai said that they would only shoot one more scene before calling it a wrap for today.
Kazuki stood up from his seat, patting Ruki’s shoulder to come along. Ruki walked to the table where he had placed his bag, but before he exited the room, Mika sidled up to his side.
“Um, excuse me, Ruki-kun,” she said, grinning. Her voice was a little hushed, and her gesture seemed somewhat secretive. “I just wanted to ask you something, if you don’t mind.”
“What is it?”
“It’s just something that…” Her eyes traveled sideways to the room, as if making sure no one else could hear what she was about to say. Finally, she led Ruki to the corner, and then continued. “Ruki-kun, you’re staying at Aoi’s place, right?”
“Yes,” Ruki answered slowly, wondering where she was heading to.
“Is there any chance that you’ve seen an, um, a teddy bear in Aoi’s apartment?” Mika asked.
Ruki’s heart skipped a beat. Could it be possible she was talking about the jinxed teddy bear that we found the other day?
“I’m not sure,” Ruki answered, quietly observing Mika’s face. “I haven’t been paying much attention to the things Yu—Aoi keeps in his apartment. Why do you ask?”
The woman lurked over her shoulder again to check if there wasn’t anyone standing near them. And then she said in an even more hushed voice, “But you can’t tell Aoi, okay?”
Frowning, Ruki nodded, agreeing.
“Well, the teddy bear is from my friend, Kyoko,” Mika said. “You see, she is kind of a big fan of Aoi’s, but she doesn’t have enough courage to go and talk to him herself. She decided to send him the teddy bear. It was just meant as a gift. And, well, she was wondering if Aoi has kept it, or if he has thrown it away.”
“O-oh…” Ruki threw a careful glance toward Kyoko, who had her back facing him. She looked like she was busy sorting out the stuff in her cosmetic case, but Ruki had a feeling that she wasn’t completely oblivious of what Mika was doing at the moment. It could very well be that she was the one who had asked Mika to approach Ruki in the first place.
“I really don’t know,” Ruki said after a moment. “I’m sorry I can’t be much of a help, but if you want me to, I might be able to check it out later. What color is the teddy bear?”
“Oh my God, that would be awesome!” Mika smiled wide. “It’s brown. The teddy bear is brown, and it has a small, red bow tie. It doesn’t have a card as far as I can remember, but I don’t think it’s that hard to find. Thank you so much, Ruki-kun!”
Ruki watched as Mika hopped back to where Kyoko was standing, and then he turned around and headed toward the door. As he followed Kazuki out of the apartment, he was making notes in his head. Mika might not have mentioned the jinx, or maybe she hadn’t been aware of it at all. But if she had been telling the truth, then the girl who was responsible for it was Kyoko. What was her reason? Was it plainly based on sentiments? Was she just being a desperate fan without any intention to harm Yuu?
This would need further investigation. Ruki didn’t know how to do it—what the best investigation method was—but he would eventually get to the bottom of it.
He had to.
- TO BE CONTINUED -
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