The Second Siren
When you awoke the following morning, you immediately realised that your father hadn't returned home. Sternly instructing Hideo to stay indoors while you were out, you went to the entrance to the forest to search for your father.
But there was no response, however much you called for him. Unsure what to do, for the time being you returned to town and called upon the police box. Telling the policeman that your father had gone into the forest and not returned, the policeman curtly responded, expressionless, "This island isn't big enough to go missing on... He'll probably be back soon enough."
"But...!" you said, trying to press on, but he glared back at you with wide eyes. Overwhelmed, you left the police box without saying another word.
Perplexed, you stopped by the clinic and consulted Dr. Minamida. Once he had grasped the situation at hand, he immediately hurried along the road to the forest with you in tow.
"Mr. Amamoto!" Dr. Minamida's voice was swallowed by the forest.
But your voices simply turned into echoes, silence quickly enveloping the area once more.
"Even islanders won't set foot inside the forest at night," Dr. Minamida muttered as you proceeded into the forest. "I hope your father's alright, but... Have you spoken to the policeman about this?"
"Yes, but he wouldn't really pay any attention..."
"I guess we should ask the islanders for help," Dr. Minamida said, gazing up at the sky.
"Why not...?" Dr. Minamida looked at you, puzzled.
"...I just don't really feel like I can trust the islanders," you answered, and Dr. Minamida pondered with a meek look on his face. It was you who broke the silence. "The siren..." you murmured, Dr. Minamida looking back at you with a blank expression. "It... must be because Dad went out even though the siren was sounding..."
Dr. Minamida stared at you, still silent, with a suspicious look on his face. "I... I was told so," you said loudly, so worked up that you were unable to restrain your emotions. "I was told that you mustn't go outside when the siren sounds... But..."
At that moment, a cloud of bats burst out of the foliage and attacked.
"Kyah!" you screamed, crouching and shielding your head, trying to shake off the bats.
When the sound of their wings finally died down and you stood up, Dr. Minamida, who had been beside you only moments before, had inexplicably vanished.
"...Doctor? Dr. Minamida!" You looked around you in a panic, but he was nowhere to be found. "Dr. Minamida! Dad!" you shouted as loudly as you could, going deeper into the forest. There was no reply - just the resounding cries of cicadas.
At a loss, you came to a stop and looked up at the blazing sun. At that very moment, however, the noisy cicadas fell silent all at once.
Shocked, you looked around you. Suddenly, a thicket further in began to rustle.
"Dr. Minamida...?" you murmured automatically, but there was no response.
Sensing something disturbing from the presence inside the thicket, you slowly backed away. The eerie presence grew even stronger. You must have felt an intense maliciousness from it.
Without a moment's hesitation, you turned on your heel and ran away. Even still, the presence continued to follow along behind you. You desperately ran along the path that led out of the forest.
"Help me!" you yelled to no one in particular, noticing an old building up ahead and running inside it in a daze.
Closing the door and frantically locking it, you held your breath and peered outside. The creepy presence vanished completely. Relieved, you let out a breath and collapsed to the ground. Noticing the light shining through the window, you finally took a look around you.
Taking a good look, you realised that it was the same worship hall you had wandered into the day before. It was so silent and empty now that you found it hard to believe that it had been so bustling the day before.
You stood and walked further inside the hall. Atop the table that had yesterday acted as an altar stood extinguished candles, simply placed there. The hall itself was completely empty. Dust danced in a beam of light shining through the high window. You took a look around the ceiling, and then noticed something like a statue enshrined in the wall behind the altar.
Approaching it, it appeared to be a clay figure in the shape of a person. The figure was covering both ears with its hands. Didn't its expression look as though it was in some kind of pain? Then, your eyes fell upon letters written on the figure's body. Carved into it in English was 'REVIVER'.
Beneath the figure was something resembling a relief, with fuzzy, barely-there characters carved into it. Below the word "Tokyohishoka" (Sacred Song of the Revered Mirror) was what appeared to be a long passage, but most of it had been worn down, rendering it unreadable. You tried saying the legible characters aloud.
"Mirror... dogs become gods... living become evil... those who do not change... eternal life..." And then you noticed it. "Dog... Live..."
They were the characters for "DOG" and "LIVE" that you had seen scrawled in the abandoned house you stumbled upon the day before. It was engraved upon the relief in front of you, too.
Then, you heard a loud noise from the stairs inside the hall, spinning around in surprise.
"Is someone there...?" you called, but there was no response.
You approached the stairs timidly, peering down. The floor below seemed to be a semi-basement, and perhaps there was a window there, too, because light was streaming inside. You slowly descended the stairs. As you continued down, the stairs creating a large curve, you were suddenly attacked by countless flies, and let out a scream. The flies flew past you, finally vanishing into the hall above. Regrouping, you stepped down onto the floor below.
A single red chair sat all alone in the centre of the room. Taking a closer look, you could see someone sitting on it. The chair slowly rotated, the figure sitting there illuminated by the light.
He certainly looked like your father. The moment you timidly tried to approach him, the body of the man sitting on the chair shook violently and collapsed onto the floor.
Breathless, you watched him fixedly. The face of the man lying there, bleeding, definitely looked like that of your father, Shinichi.
"No!" you screamed, turning and fleeing.
Bursting out of the worship hall, you ran through the forest, sobbing. Your foot got caught in the damp grassland and you stumbled, but kept running towards the exit. Suddenly your arm was grabbed from behind, something pulling you towards it.
"Wait! Yuki! What's the matter?" In shock, you looked up at the speaker. "Calm down, Yuki... It's me!"
The one holding onto your arm was Dr. Minamida. Unable to take in the situation, you simply stared at him blankly.
"Where did you run off to? I've been looking for you."
The confusion inside your head finally settled, and you threw yourself against his chest.
But it took every last desperate dreg of effort to squeeze your voice out...
Trying to calm you down for the time being, Dr. Minamida returned to the clinic and had you lie down on a bed in the sickroom. Left behind, being all alone made you again feel as though the anxiety would crush you, but Dr. Minamida soon returned with the officer from the police box with him.
"What's going on here?"
The policeman glared at you again tensely. Uncomfortable, you silently stared at the ground.
"Mr. Yamanaka... It looks like Yuki is still a bit confused..." Dr. Minamida said to the officer. Officer Yamanaka folded his arms, his expression still stern. "In any case, let's go... Would you show us the way, Yuki?" Dr. Minamida said with a kind smile and you nodded, standing slowly.
From then on, using your memories as a guide, you walked along the path to the worship hall you had used that day and the previous one. When you first explained about the worship hall, Officer Yamanaka hadn't seemed to understand what you meant, but he appeared to figure it out from the direction you headed in and took the lead midway through. After walking for some time, you stopped in front of the circular worship hall.
"You're... absolutely sure it was in here, Yuki?" Dr. Minamida asked, peering at you. You nodded forcefully. "What is this place?" Dr. Minamida asked Officer Yamanaka.
"It's an old meeting place the islanders used to use... No one takes care of it anymore, and these days it's an abandoned ruin..."
You were surprised as you listened to Officer Yamanaka. Then why had there been so many islanders assembled there only the day prior?
Dr. Minamida and Officer Yamanaka looked at each other, then slowly set foot inside the worship hall.
"It... looks like the basement," Dr. Minamida explained.
Officer Yamanaka nodded, slowly making his way down the stairs, his whole body on alert. Still unsettled, you gripped one of the buttons on the chest of your blouse. It was a habit of yours at times when you were worried or afraid of something. Perhaps sensing your unease, Dr. Minamida gently put his arm around your shoulders, but you were so crushed with fear that you didn't even notice.
"Hey, Doctor!" Officer Yamanaka called from the basement.
"What is it?" Dr. Minamida replied.
"Would you come here for a minute?"
Dr. Minamida looked at your face and hesitated momentarily, but regrouped and walked over to the stairs. "What's the matter?" he called.
You slowly followed after him. You could probably see Officer Yamanaka standing at the entrance to the basement. Officer Yamanaka turned around slowly.
"Sorry, but you're just gonna have to take a look at this."
As he did so, Dr. Minamida's mouth fell open and he stood there in shock. You peered over his shoulder. All you could see was the red chair from earlier. Your father had vanished without a trace.
You walked inside unsteadily, at a loss for words.
"What's going on here?" Officer Yamanaka said sternly.
Turning around, you saw Dr. Minamida staring intently at you - but, of course, there was no way you could explain.
After parting ways with Officer Yamanaka, you were escorted home by Dr. Minamida, still in a daze.
Worried about whether or not Hideo had stayed home as he had been told, you called for him into the house. There was no response but, perhaps having exhausted himself playing, Hideo was asleep in the middle of the living room, surrounded by toys. You let out a sigh of relief, but immediately afterwards heard the same mysterious song as yesterday coming from the back room and were taken aback.
Timidly, you approached the source of the noise. The singing was coming from your father's workroom. Silencing your footsteps, you slowly approached your father's room, resolutely opening the door. Your breath was taken away. Inside the room was your father.
"Dad...!" you called and your father, who had been facing his desk, looked up at you.
"...Hey," he said, carefree.
Looking more closely, you saw countless cuts on your father's legs, some of them stained red with blood. A slightly dirty handkerchief was artlessly wrapped around his left leg in place of a bandage - probably first aid your father had performed on himself. There was a crack in the left lens of his glasses, and his arms and face, too, were covered in many small wounds.
Despite these injuries, your father faced the desk, the voice recorder he used for research in hand. The song you had heard before was coming from that recorder.
"Don't 'hey' me... I've been worried about you, Dad. What have you been up to?" you said, trying to hold back the tears as they welled up, and your father stopped the recorder.
"Oh, this... This is a traditional island song I recorded yesterday. There's a big waterfall behind the harbour. There were women there, singing this song as they dyed things."
You tried to pretend to be disgusted with him, but could hold back the tears no longer. "Thank God!"
You gave your father a tight squeeze.
Afterwards, you tended to your father's wounds. The largest was a cut, roughly ten centimetres in length, on his left calf, but it didn't seem too deep.
"I took a bad tumble... I was lucky. My injuries aren't that serious, even though I fell from the cliff..." your father said lightly, as if he were talking about someone else. When you were finished tying the bandage, you stared intently at him. "Is something up?" he murmured sensing your gaze.
"Oh, nothing," you said hurriedly. "If it starts to hurt, you should go to Dr. Minamida and have it looked at properly."
"I'm fine, really... Sorry for worrying you like that," your father said, standing straight up.
Following him with your eyes, you were ensnared by an expressionless, vague sense of unease. Suddenly, shattering the silence, Osment barked at you enthusiastically. Your father stood by the window, staring back at Osment. You watched in amazement. Osment was so fond of your father, and yet here he was, baring his teeth at him. Your anxiety increased, and you had no idea what to do...
That night, you had a dream. It was a dream about the time six months ago when Hideo had had an asthma attack in the middle of the night and been taken away in an ambulance. That night, you had been by Hideo's side as he coughed in pain, desperately calling his name.
"Hideo! Hideo! Hang in there!"
Over and over again, Hideo's face contorted in pain beneath the oxygen mask he wore. He seemed to be barely conscious.
"Hideo! It's me, your sister! Do you recognise me!?"
"Calm down, Yuki!" your father said desperately, trying to reassure you, but you were in such a panic that you didn't hear a word.
Hideo's breathing grew even worse, and he slowly went limp. Shaking free of your desperate father's arms, you let out a scream.
That was when you woke up. Sitting bolt upright and breathing hard, you realised you had been dreaming, letting out a long sigh. Tears were streaming down your cheeks. Looking down at Hideo's peaceful face as he slept beside you, you finally managed to calm down.
Six months earlier, you hadn't noticed that Hideo was having an attack, and it took a long time to get him to hospital. You had never forgotten that.
"I'll protect you..." you murmured, stroking Hideo's cheek gently. "I won't let you suffer like that again..."
You were at ease as you watched Hideo sleep, breathing quietly, but lost your composure once more when you spotted the picture lying by his pillow. The picture, which had been drawn in crayon by Hideo, was of the girl in red you had met the day before. Her red outfit, covering her from head to toe, was drawn there in vivid colours.
You picked up the drawing and stared fixatedly at it. Remembering how you had seen Hideo happily playing with the girl the previous day left you with mixed feelings.
The next morning, when you went out into the garden with Osment's food, you noticed that Osment, who you had left chained up, wasn't there. The chain that had been staked down lay on the ground.
"Osment! ...Osment!" you called, but there was no response. Concerned, you searched the area, shouting. "Osment!"
As if hearing your voice, your father appeared in the doorway.
"Dad, do you know where Osment is?" you asked.
Your father's expression clouded slightly, but he said brusquely, "...No, I have no idea."
Despite being suspicious about your father's bluntness, you couldn't help but worry about Osment.
"Where could he have gone...?"
Picking up Osment's lead, you headed towards the forest to search.
"Osment! Osment!" However much you called, Osment didn't appear. "Where did you go...?"
You walked around for a while, but the wind began to pick up strength, so you decided to return home. Along the way, though, you caught a glimpse of something glittering in a clump of grass by the roadside and walked over to it. Taking a closer look, you saw that it was a small video camera.
"This is Dad's..."
There could be no doubt that this was the thing your father held in his hand when he went out the night before last. You picked it up and tried turning it on. It didn't seem to be broken. Next, you replayed the video left on the camera.
A pitch black, indistinct video played, along with the sound of a strong wind. Perhaps having turned the camera on himself, the next thing that showed was a close-up shot of your father's face.
"...Great," your father muttered from inside the screen. The camera turned around once more, showing endless darkness. "What a wind, huh...?" you heard your father say faintly. Then, suddenly, the image began to shake violently. "Woah!"
At the same time as you heard your father shout, noise flickered across the picture, the image horribly disrupted. Your father's scream was gradually drowned out.
The camera was apparently finally left lying on the ground, the screen showing only an image of the ground lying sideways, dimly lit by the moonlight, and didn't move again. For a while afterwards the camera endlessly showed the same image.
With the video camera in hand, you headed to Dr. Minamida's clinic. You wanted to show the video to him, too.
After connecting the camera to a television and viewing the video himself, Dr. Minamida stopped the playback once the camera was lying on its side, showing the same image.
"...What is this?" Dr. Minamida asked, a dubious look on his face. You turned on him.
"Take a good look, Doctor... My father didn't fall off the cliff. He was attacked."
"Attacked?" Dr. Minamida seemed even more bewildered.
"It's just, something seems weird about him since he came back... Osment was so fond of him..."
Dr. Minamida's expression softened, and he placed his hand on your shoulder. "You're thinking too hard about this."
Unable to accept this, you pressed harder. "No. It has to be because of that siren last night."
"Yuki..." Dr. Minamida's expression cloused.
"What exactly is the siren? Just what happens when it sounds?" you said, your voice raised.
Dr. Minamida let out a deep sigh and answered, "It's just an island legend."
"But... That notebook mentioned it, too."
"Something must have happened to Dad."
Dr. Minamida sat you down, then slowly sat down opposite you. "Just calm down a bit, Yuki... What's this about a notebook? Take your time and tell me all about it."
As he stared at you, you gave a slight nod...
After telling Dr. Minamida about everything you had experienced since coming to the island, you returned home as darkness was closing in.
"I'm home..." you called inside, but there was no response. Realising that you felt no human presence whatsoever from the house, you tilted your head. "Hideo?"
You searched all over, but Hideo was nowhere to be found. After finally peering inside your father's room and seeing that neither Hideo nor your father were inside, you went to close the half-open door. Then, you realised that your father had left his computer on, which seemed somehow strange to you. You approached the PC timidly, and saw "YAMIJIMA" written on one of the files on the desktop.
Making sure one last time that your father wasn't around, you sat down in front of the computer.
You clicked on the "YAMIJIMA" file and a new window opened, displaying a world map on the monitor. The words "mass disappearances" were written on the map. You scrolled down the page, reading the text that continued beneath the map.
The first large header read "The Roanoke Island Incident". It was a report about an incident on Roanoke Island, America, in 1590, in which all 117 islanders are said to have suddenly vanished. Even now, more than 400 years since its occurrence, the mystery remains unsolved.
At the time, the island was full of the British who had migrated there. Unbelievably, it seems as though they formed amicable ties with the indigenous people who lived nearby, moving from place to place en masse.
At the time of their disappearance, their belongings were all left untouched, without a single trace of the island having been attacked or pillaged. The sole clue was the mysterious word "croatan" carved into a tree on the island...
Since then, there have been no reports of Roanoke islanders being witnessed in other locations, nor have any bodies been discovered, and it is as though they suddenly and literally vanished from history.
The next thing that appeared beneath the description of the Roanoke Island incident as you scrolled was the header "The Mary Celeste Incident". This was another report about a mass vanishing that had actually taken place.
In 1872, the American vessel Mary Celeste was sailing through the Atlantic Ocean. When she was discovered adrift at sea a month after setting sail, it was only the beginning.
Including crew members and their family, the Mary Celeste was meant to be carrying eleven passengers, but when she was found not a single one of them remained on board. Even stranger than this was a half-eaten breakfast left lying on the table of the captain's cabin, half-eaten chicken, stew and so forth being similarly discovered in the rooms of the crew.
There was not a single sign of the boat having been attacked by raiders; the luggage remained untouched, and there was a plentiful supply of food and water. It was as though the crew, who had until that point been on a normal voyage, had simply up and vanished altogether. An entry dated the day prior to Mary Celeste's discovery was found inside the captain's log, ending abruptly with: "4 December. Our Mary has". It remains a mystery to this very day where those eleven people vanished to.
The following description was of the War of the Spanish Succession Incident.
In 1711, during the War of the Spanish Succession, every single one of 4,000 soldiers sent on an expedition into the Pyrenees Mountains went missing on familiar land and with no signs of danger.
Aside from this, several other mass disappearances were described, and when these ended what appeared on the screen was a horrifying image. On the drawing, depicting a small island floating in the sea, was written: "1976, Japan: Yamijima". Feeling a cold chill run down your back, you momentarily hesitated before moving the mouse.
Closing your eyes you let out a deep breath, then steeled yourself and scrolled down the page. You ran your eyes across the text that followed, eating it up. Terrifying images appeared one by one. Like a children's picture book, hiragana-filled text was written beside them in order.
Long ago, in the 15th century, the diseased and foreigners carrying a plague were quarantined on Yamijima.
This terrible illness called a plague caused great suffering to the people of Yamijima.
If you caught the disease, you would experience strange symptoms, such as vomiting blood and your body changing shape.
Over time, many of the islanders fell ill and died.
The disease was a kind called an airborne disease, which can infect many people.
One by one, the bodies were put into a fire and burned.
Even still, they could not stop the spread of this dreadful sickness.
Every day, many islanders would catch the sickness and die.
A pile of bodies, their faces horribly contorted in pain, began to stack up.
It is said that the smell of burning corpses could be smelled all over Yamijima.
One night, a beautiful mermaid was in the sea near Yamijima.
Smoke rose in the mermaid's eyes, reflecting Yamijima.
As the mermaid approached Yamijima, she saw a man writhing in agony.
"I have been struck with an incurable illness. Please let me drink your blood."
Since ancient times, it has been said that the blood and flesh of mermaids has a strange power of immortality to it.
Upon hearing the man's story, the mermaid allowed him to drink her blood. When they saw this, the sick people on the island came to see the mermaid.
A dreadful thing began to happen.
Surrounding the mermaid, the islanders ate up all of her body.
In the blink of an eye, the sea was dyed red with the mermaid's blood.
After a while, the beautiful singing of a mermaid could be heard.
Hearing the song, the islanders were pained, crawling into the red sea.
After that, no one was left on Yamijima.
These days, it is said that mermaids will not come near Yamijima.
The final drawing showed a mermaid wrapped in red clothing. She looked just like the girl in red that you met in the forest.
As you kept scrolling, you saw "Mermaid Myths". A number of legends from across the world were described there. The words "immortality" and "eternal life" were written in large print, and your breath was taken away. Beneath this was a description of the "siren".
"Siren..." you said to yourself.
"Siren" refers to mermaids that appear in Greek myths, called "Seiren" in Greek and "Sirene" in French. The word is also the source for the "siren" device that emits sound.
You peered once more at the picture of the mermaid in red. The mermaid on the screen looked straight back at you, as if returning your gaze. Again and again, you cast your mind back to the girl...
The next thing to appear on-screen was the image of an old newspaper article. It was dated 3 August 1976. Beneath the headline "Mass Disappearance on Yamijima" was a photograph of the island. You stared at the screen, earnestly reading the article.
Late at night on 2 August, a strange event occurred in which every single one of Yamijima's inhabitants, save for one survivor, mysteriously vanished. The entire island suddenly suffered a power cut, and a team of aid workers were mobilised from the Islands Firefighters headquarters, setting out for Yamijima, with whom they had lost contact. They were to perform rescue operations for the islanders, who were completely sealed off.
However, despite the apparent impossibility of leaving the island due to the storm no islanders were found, and even with a search that went on late into the night just a single islander was discovered. In each house, traces of very recent occupation, such as half-eaten meals, could be found, only serving to deepen the mystery of this mass disappearance.
According to an investigation carried out by the Islands Police Department that began on the third, the following morning, items in possession of the man who was discovered identified him as Mr. Kei Tsuchida (41). The witness underwent questioning at the station, but would only repeatedly shout the incomprehensible words, "You mustn't go outside when the siren sounds," and it seems unlikely that he will be able to provide any information that will further the investigation.
On this island, where the residents vanished leaving a scene of complete normality behind, signs of some kind of struggle were discovered at Mr. Tsuchida's home, and it seems as though his recovery will be an important clue in discovering the truth behind the incident.
Having read this far, you recalled the notebook you picked up inside the abandoned house. Having left it sitting in your jeans pocket, you took it out and looked at the cover.
"Research notes, 1976."
That matched with the year in which this mass vanishing had occurred. Opening the book, you looked back through each of the scribbled notes.
"An island where a siren sounds. Islanders who fear dogs." And then you saw: "Mass power cuts, followed by third siren and transformation of islanders." It was dated late at night on 2 August. This, too, matched exactly with the newspaper article. You didn't know who had left the notes, but the key to the mass disappearances had to be hidden inside. And then there were the words "the siren" written on the final page. What had been written after that?
"Siren..." you murmured again.
Then you scrolled past the newspaper article, noticing that there was a link titled "MOVIE" at the very bottom. When you clicked the button a window opened, and a movie file began to play automatically. The video started off pitch black, and all you could hear was an intense wind.
"So? Anyone there?" a man said from inside the screen.
Several small points of light finally showed on-screen.
"How about you?"
The men's yells mingled, and finally several men wearing orange work clothes appeared inside the shot. They all held torches in their hands. Pouring, driving rain seemed to be falling on screen, and the men - who appeared to be a rescue team - shone their torches here and there as they were drenched. The video cut off for a moment, then began to play images of the entrance of a house.
"Take a look at this!" a man said, and the camera moved inside the room.
"What is it?"
One member of the group, appearing from beside the camera, illuminated the tabletop with his torch. You could see a half-eaten meal. The man touched one of the pots.
"It's still warm..."
"It's not just here. All of the other houses are just the same..."
Then, along with electronic noises, you heard a voice that seemed to be coming through a radio.
"We've found one! We found an islander!"
One of the men took the radio from his shoulder.
"We found him inside a house on the edge of town!"
The men hurriedly dashed outside. The camera shook violently, and then the image cut off once again. The next thing to appear seemed to be the interior of some other house. Showing the backs of the other team members, the camera moved further inside with them, and you could see the back of a man sitting cowered in the centre of the room.
"Uyamai tatematsuru... Toutoki kagami no naka ni koso... Makoto no kotowari, awaren..." The man on-screen was singing the folk song to himself. "Kagami wo nozokitaru... Inu wa kami e to tenjitari... Shouja wa aku e to tenjitari..."
At that point, the camera spun around the room. It was in a mess, desolate, and rain came in from a broken window. Then, the camera showed "DOG" and "LIVE" scrawled in red letters on one wall. You must have frozen when you saw it.
As the camera focused once more on the back of the crouched man, he tore up the red notebook in his hand, singing the song all the while.
"Just the one?"
"Where are the others?"
"He won't say a word..."
The men of the rescue team surrounded him and shouted.
"What have you done with the other islanders!?"
But the man simply went on singing, displaying no response. One of the group, annoyed, grabbed the man by the lapel.
"Say something! What happened on this island!?"
The man roughly shook free and stood. "...The siren."
"The third... The third siren sounded..." the man said, and began to tremble violently.
"We're not getting anywhere. Bring him with us."
As signalled by the voice, the team took the man by the arm and tried to take him outside, but the man flew into a sudden rage and pushed them away.
"Stop, get your hands off me! Where the hell are you taking me!?" the man yelled, foam flying from his mouth.
"Just come with us!"
"No! Let go of me!"
The man shook free of the team trying to restrain him, then collapsed against the wall and slid to the floor.
"...You mustn't go outside when the siren sounds," he muttered.
"What did you say!?"
The camera aimed straight at the man's face. He repeated himself. "You mustn't go outside when the siren sounds!"
The team seemed lost for words, the man's voice the only one you could hear.
"You mustn't go outside when the siren sounds! You musn't go outside when the siren sounds! You mustn't-"
The man said the words over and over. Then there was an intense rumble of thunder, and the man suddenly held his head and let out a scream. Afraid of something, his eyes fixated on something in the distance and he continued to shriek.
The camera drew closer to the face of the screaming man, the image filling the screen, and then the video came to an end. When you scrolled down the screen, the header "Mass Disappearances on Yamijima" appeared at the end of the report written by your father. The first half of the text was a transcription of the newspaper article from before. The rest seemed to be your father's research notes.
When I looked into what happened next in this mystery, it seems as though the Islands Police Department requested the cooperation of the police from a nearby prefecture, gathering a larger team and beginning a large-scale search of the entire island, but when the search drew to a close at sundown, no islanders had been found. Several days later, I found an article saying that afterwards, the only survivor of Yamijima's mass disappearances committed suicide,
The text abruptly ended there. Recalling the drawing of the mermaid from earlier, you steeled yourself and stood...
Hurrying through the slowly darkening forest, you reached the meadow with the windmill.
The area grew completely dark, the whistling wind beating mercilessly against your cheeks.
Desperately calling Hideo's name, you ran over to the base of the windmill. Hideo was there after all and, as you had suspected, the girl in red was with him. Hideo, noticing you running over, looked over his shoulder at you.
"Hideo! Come here! Get away from her... Quickly!"
Hideo looked straight at you. The girl beside him, too, stared at you wordlessly. Trying to hold back your fear, you tightly gripped onto a button on the chest of your blouse. At the very moment Hideo stood up slowly, the girl gave a bold smile. Her smile was bewitching, like that of an evil goddess.
Then, a siren began to sound in the area. You instinctively covered your ears. Hideo collapsed onto his back, like a marionette whose strings had been cut. As if the girl had made sure of this, she turned on her heel and began to walk.
"Hideo!" Panicked, you rushed over to him. "Hideo! Are you okay? ...Hideo!"
Holding Hideo up in your arms, you called his name again and again. He seemed merely to be unconscious, and you let out a sigh of relief. When you looked up, you saw the girl standing there and staring intently at you, but finally she vanished as if in a puff of smoke.
With Hideo on your back, you rushed through the strong wind, trying to get out of the forest. The siren continued to sound, almost as though chasing you, and showed no signs of stopping.
As you made your way through the forest, almost in a storm, you suddenly caught a glimpse of the abandoned house you had stumbled upon in front of you. It would take some time yet to make it home, and in this darkness and wind you might get lost. Worried about Hideo, and despite a bad feeling you had, you decided that the most important thing was to be under a roof, and chose to rest inside the abandoned house.
One you had gone inside, for the time being you lay Hideo down to sleep. Then you closed the front door, using a nearby stick to prop it shut.
Hideo lay there as if in pain. Putting your hand to his forehead, you realised that he had a high fever. Seeing something that looked like a blanket lying on the ground just a short distance away, you approached it. As you went to pick it up, you saw the scrawl from the back room reflected in the mirror. In the mirror, "DOG" and "LIVE" appeared in reverse.
"God... Evil..." you muttered to yourself. Then you finally realised. "The mirror... In the sacred mirror..." You uttered phrases from the island song. "Dogs become gods... The living become evil..."
Dog becomes God... Live becomes evil... When they're reflected in the mirror, they most certainly do appear that way. Was that what the folk song had meant? Then, you heard a man's voice from behind.
"Kawaranu mono koso wa, hatenaki inochi wo sazukarishi... Kono yo no kotowari, koyuru mono..."
You reflexively spun around. The bearded, homeless-looking man who had attacked you before had approached you while you weren't looking. As he chanted the words of the folk song, the man slowly walked over to you. Breathing hard, you tried to run away, but the man was faster and stood in front of you, blocking your way.
"The siren is sounding! Don't go outside! Do you want to be attacked by them!?" the man shouted, gripping your shoulder. The sound of the siren intensified, and the entire house began to shake loudly and violently.
"They're here! It's them!" he shouted, his eyes bloodshot. You sensed a huge number of presences from outside of the house, along with low growling, growing nearer.
Your body tensing, you looked outside through one of the gaps in the collapsing wall. Though it should have been dark outside, a strange light spilled in, something writhing around out front intermittently, blocking it out. You couldn't help but cower. Then, some kind of bizarre eye glared at you through a hole in the wall.
"Aah!" you screamed, seeing the bloodshot eye on the other side of the wall. Before you had a chance to realise what was happening, the strange eyes had apparently encircled the entire house.
You heard sounds like nails scratching on the walls, and sensed something moving about on the roof. Hurrying over to Hideo, you wrapped your arms tightly around him.
Finally, a window inside the room broke with a crash. You turned to the source of the sound, breathless.
"Run!" the man shouted to you, having up until now been yelling menacingly towards the front of the house.
"You'll be killed if you stay here!"
"But..." you trailed off.
"Run!" the man yelled, turning. "Stop the siren! Before you become one of them...!"
As the man spoke, bizarre-looking creatures appeared from behind him and grabbed tightly onto his head, taking him away.
You tried to hurry after him, but in an instant he vanished into the crowd trying to break through the wall and get inside.
You returned to Hideo, crouching down as if to embrace him. For a while you stayed there, eyes shut, until suddenly you felt as though the building stopped shaking. Opening your eyes, you looked around you. The siren had stopped. At the same time, the eerie presences from outside, as well as the odd group surrounding the building, had completely vanished...