For the prompt: "Takamine & Tomoe & Koji: Exploring the mansion"

Burning Notes for Firewood
by Estirose
c 2012

Koji wished they'd let him start a fire. Well, as far as he was concerned, the whole shabby place could burn to the ground, even if it had seemed like such a good idea at the time to come there. Infamous Himuro Mansion, the place where so many had died. Koji would trade it for his own warm apartment in a heartbeat. He could see the others shivering and wondered if they'd eventually listen to his sensible comments about getting out of the place.

The door to the upstairs hallway remained stubbornly locked. "Can't unlock the damn door," he said to Takamine's assistant, Tomoe. She was pretty, he had to admit, and he wanted to impress her, but it wasn't working right at the moment. "Maybe the key's around here somewhere."

Sure, and that was as likely to happen as the front doors finally unsealing. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he didn't like it.

"Let's go back to the entrance," Mr. Takamine said. "We've done all we can here. There's sure to be something in the entryway...."

They'd searched all over the damn room and had to explore further into the mansion, coming to a dead end in the room that he and the others were in. He was already spooked, with the woman in white appearing and giving him a scare. Tomoe said that he had rope burns on his wrists and ankles, but he couldn't see them.

"Sure, sure." He and Tomoe headed down. "Haven't we looked all over that place, though?"

"We'll find something," Mr. Takamine said, and Koji wished he could feel assured as he was. Maybe the guy had spent too much time writing novels to realize that there might not be a way out. Because there was always a way out in stories.

Besides, he didn't want to go through that hallway with the ropes unless he absolutely had to. There were too many ropes there for his taste.

"Right." He looked around, one last time, and paused. "Hey, I found a door. I'll go and take a quick look, and then rejoin you guys." He knew that wandering around alone in a haunted mansion was a terrible idea, but he wasn't going to go through that hallway again if he didn't have to.

It was almost impossible to shift the folding screen out of the way. He went down a hallway, trying the door at the end. It didn't shift. A second door lead to a room, and he took a quick look before opening another door, which lead to a room full of kimonos. Figuring that it was better to do things in numbers, he hurried out, back to the entrance, through the damned rope hallway.

Neither Tomoe nor Mr. Takamine was there. There were no notes, no nothing, just two missing people. Had he been gone that long? Had they found a way and figured he'd take longer to explore the hallway?

He wasn't sure, but as the hairs at the back of his neck stood up, he had a good idea what happened to them. There was no way that the two of them could have gotten past him, not with all the doors locked. Tomoe would have called if she had found the key.

That meant one thing, and only one thing. The woman in white had taken them, and they were dead, and he would soon be too. He suddenly knew she strangled people with ropes, had strangled the others and hidden their bodies. Maybe he'd get lucky and they weren't, but he knew the truth.

He was next.

Suddenly, the house creaked. He ran back through the ropes, ran back into the room with the fireplace, into the hallway with the lamps behind the screen. He had to find that key he had to get out of there he had to get out of there.

As he opened the door to the first room, he dared peek in the direction he came. Was that a kimono he saw out the corner of his eye?

Koji wasn't going to wait to find out. He dashed into the room, sliding the door shut behind him, and rushing to the closet. She wouldn't think to look there, surely, the ghost wouldn't?

When it was safe, he'd have to make it out of there. He just had to take deep breaths stay still pray that she didn't find him in there. He could see her in the room because the closet door didn't quite shut, but she hopefully couldn't see him.

And then she paused. She moved towards the closet door. Koji thought he was going to suffocate not breathing not moving paralyzed from fear.

She opened the door, reached for him. He screamed.


Fatal Frame fics