"The most famous incident involving the Purple Diary must be the 'Faceless Boy', right?"
She could seek my agreement if she liked, but I wouldn't have a clue. She would probably just continue without it, anyway. I answered an "I guess so" with my eyes.
"The boy went missing a long time ago..." she said, beginning at the end.
Yoriko's story was fairly interesting but not much really happened in it, making it feel like kind of a waste. I didn't point this out, though, since I don't think - as a member of the newspaper club - it was my place to be worrying about the excitement of the occult society's stories.
Yoriko's main occupation was with the Regional Legend Research Society, or the occult society for short. I don't know who gave it that name, but this story definitely didn't seem to have anything to do with regional legends.
The urban legend of the Purple Diary is the kind that is composed of many stories centred around one element - in other words, "victims". These victims create more victims, causing the legend to spread.
The legend of the faceless boy was a comparatively well-known incident among these, so even I knew the gist of it.
There is an old photo inside the diary. It shows a young boy. The boy's face is apparently blacked out.
The boy was the youngest child of a wealthy family, and doted upon excessively as a result. But for some reason he was separated from his family, and began living in a small village in the country. There are many theories regarding the reason why, but they're all the kinds you often hear in this kind of story. Suddenly, he was living all by himself. Having no friends, it was said that he was always crying.
And then, one day, after visiting a festival that had been held in the village he returned home wearing a mask. The mask was supposedly bought for him by a "lady in black" he didn't know.
From the next day onward, he would wear the mask all day, every day. He stopped crying and slowly began to befriend the village children, often being seen playing hide and seek.
A few days later, he and the other children he was playing hide and seek with failed to return.
The villagers searched frantically, finding the children one by one on the village outskirts - tragically, with their faces cut off. The only one they couldn't find was the boy. And then the villagers all realised that not one of them could remember his face.
I guess this would be some kind of modern version of the noppera-bo. Maybe someone, thinking that even girls like us wouldn't get scared at the noppera-bo these days, put a "mask" of loneliness on his face... That sounds like a nice, simple summary of it.
"There's another theory for the end bit. I like this one better," Yoriko said happily.
I guess we have different interests. I don't like either version.
One day, when he was playing hide and seek, the boy alone failed to return. Relatives and villagers tried to search for him, but they all realised that none of them could remember his face. Since no one could remember him, they decided that he had never existed at all.
He continues to play hide and seek to this very day.
"And then one day, the only photo left of him got blacked out..." Yoriko said, getting strangely into the mood.
He is said to appear to those who see the photo of the faceless boy in the Purple Diary, asking them to play hide and seek with him. And if you can't find him - or don't go looking for him - he will show you his hidden face and say: "It's your turn to be 'hidden' next..."