Date: August 1, 2013
It begins with two women, a new home, and a door neither of them touched slamming closed.
"Ghost Buster Debut"
The house is old and sparsely decorated. The front door is made of old, fine oak. The lower floor is made up of one central room that is divided into a living area and a dining area, with a kitchen, bathroom and study coming off it. The floors are all old, creaky wood, except in the bathroom where its tiled. Most rooms are lit by beautiful old-world chandeliers, even thought he ceiling isn't particularly high. Upstairs has another bathroom and four bedrooms. Carpet flooring except in the bathroom, and otherwise pretty normal. There's a basement under the house, which is only accessible through a hatch outside. The basement is crowded with the odd belongings of a mad hoarder, all covered in dust and mould. There's not much lighting, but the basement is really quite large.
Creaks and groans, this old home with new occupants speaks it's mind to any that would listen. Sighs move through the wood floors and halls at times, and every now and again there comes a draft. A cool wind to raise the bumps from the flesh, it's source unknown. But mystery is the way of things that come before one's time.
These are things to be expected and perhaps things to be remedied, given time and effort. But there have been other things. The patter of small feet and distant laughter of children where children do not reside. Hollow thuds, just barely heard from beneath if one were to pause and listen, breath bated. And only now, this evening, this moment as the light in the sky nearly fades to night, the cellar door slams closed. None stand without and none have been seen within. But now, it'd seem, there is an intruder in the new occupant's old home.
Amiko had been standing in the downstairs living area, peering out the front windows down upon the street below. The slamming of the cellar door woke her from her reverie, and the Uzumaki turns to peer towards the back of the house. "Ayame-chan," she calls out, not knowing where her ghostly girlfriend had disappeared to in the big, old house. A slight tremor crept into her voice, but Amiko stomps out the anxiety quickly. She takes several slow steps toward the house's back door, the heels of her long boots tapping solidly against the wooden flooring. "I think the Real Estate agent might have been right."
Arisu was upstairs in the house when the cellar door slammed shut, reading one of her many foreign books that she brought from goodness knows where, and stacked into a tall, teetering tower of paperbacks in the corner. She glanced up briefly at the sound, then looked across the room with her brow furrowed for a moment before sighing heavily and throwing her legs over the side of the bed, "Amiko, are you slamming doors?" She shuts her book pointedly and puts it on the bed with a huff. If there was one thing Arisu did NOT like, it was bring interrupted during reading time.
She pushed herself off the bed and stepped out of the room, catching only the last part of Amiko's call before suddenly vanishing, like the ghost she was. A second later, she reappeared behind Amiko without a sound.
"What did you say?" She raises a brow, staring at the taller girl, and now holding her usual parasol, as if ready to head outside for some reason or another. "I missed that last thing… Did you slam a door?"
Amiko shakes her head solemnly. "Something just slammed a door. I think it was the door to the cellar. You know how you said that if there was a ghost in this old place, it was probably down in the cellar? Well, I think you might be right," she says, taking several more slow steps toward the back door. Each step tops out loudly on the wooden floor, and Amiko slowly opens the back door to peer outside. "What do you think? Is it time to go and find ourselves a ghost?" she asks, looking back over her shoulder at the shorter girl.
The sound of a child crying filters up through the floors…
Arisu sighed a little, "Is that so… Well, if it's going to go around slamming doors and interrupting my reading time then I suppose we'll HAVE to go look for it." She grimaces and stares at the door, "You're coming too. I'm not going down there by myself without…" She glances down, "Is that the sound of a child…?" She raises a brow, then tries to remember if she had dealt with child ghosts before… she had of course, heard stories… but stories involving ghost children were rarely pleasant, and tended to result in the grisly murders of everyone involved… With the exception of a select few stories.
Amiko shivers coldly and nods. "It certainly sounded like a child to me," she says, trying to shake off the severely bad feeling that's creeping up her spine, "Don't worry though, we'll go down to the basement together." Amiko moves out the back door slowly and over to the cellar door. It seems to be closed tight, but the Uzumaki is well aware of the fact that these things can mean absolutely nothing when dealing with ghosts. "Just to be safe…" she mutters, drawing a seal from her pocket and preparing to use it to weaken the ghost.
The sounds of crying coming through the cellar door grow louder — much — until rising into pure, abrupt silence. It were as though the child who'd made the noise had simply ceased to exist between thoughts.
Arisu is silent about her thoughts on the subject for a moment as Amiko moves to the door… then she vanishes, taking this moment to phase through the door and onto the staircase… with any luck, this would be a friendly ghost. They weren't unheard of. Sometimes they'd show up, play for a while, and then mind their own business… But those sorts generally didn't cry loudly in the basement.
She reappeared on the other side, and glanced over her shoulder, "Be careful coming in Amiko… I don't know what this ghost can do, assuming it is a ghost." She sighs, "Could just be some stupid kid that got lost downstairs, combined with the wind blowing the door shut."
Amiko nods, trying to affirm to herself more than anyone else that this could all just be a misunderstanding. The trembling of her hand tells the truth about her state of mind though, and the young Uzumaki has to summon up all her courage to move down further into the basement, the seal still clutched in her hand. "Well, I have no idea if I can bind it or even slow it down with my seals," she explains, her head swivelling from side to side, "But I'll do my best if it turns out to be dangerous."
The cellar staircase isn't truly very long, perhaps twenty steps, but with the failing light of a dying day leaving all but five in shadow and the rest in total darkness, the number of steps would almost seem to multiply. All that is known is that something or someone lay down in the cellar at the bottom of the stairs. Though… Yes. A quiet sniffling can be heard at the bottom of the steps. A muffled sob of restrained tears. Something is crying.
Arisu had long ago prepared for dark tunnels like this one, and she held up the palm of her hand, where a sphere of blue flame suddenly flickered and appeared, brightening considerably to produce plenty of blue light to brighten the stairs, and make sure that Amiko didn't trip and fall… Arisu didn't ahve to worry about that, since she was effectively hovering down the stairs.
Her lantern would have, of course, also illuminated whatever was at the bottom of the stairs.
Illuminated by the sudden flare of Arisu's vulpine flames, a figure's form is revealed in stark relief, shadows stretching behind it into the blanketing darkness of the rest of the cellar. There, on the bottom step, is a child with it's legs curled up, arms wrapped around it. It has it's back to the couple, and it's hair — blue in the light of the ghost — lays over it's knees. It's body shakes in it's pent sobbing.
Amiko stops for a moment on the stairs, peering down at the figure below before kneeling down (still with a little distance between them) and asking, "Hey there. Are you alright? What's your name sweetheart?" She tries to make her tone as soothing and pleasant to the ear as possible, but even she can hear the undertones of bottled up fear that carry through her voice.
The child starts and stands, stumbling as it rises from the step to turn around and face the women, the dirty hem of a pink sundress whispering against the stone. She lets out a whimper, raising her hand to shield her once hidden eyes from the light of the fire, it being painful in the sudden change from darkness. Her eyes found Amiko first. "I wanna go home!" she cries out, eyes and nose running — until the former widen at the sight of Arisu floating above the stairs, holding the ethereal flame her vision had just acclimated to. A scream leaves her, a wail of "No," and she turns around, dashing off into the cellar itself.
Arisu raises a brow for a moment, watching the girl run away in silence. "…A lost child." She shakes her head "No ghosts down here… Let's go get her and get her back to the top of the stairs." She turns to Amiko, then sets her feet back on the ground. "Maybe you should take point this time… I think I frightened her by being… well… Ghostly." She shakes her head, then gestures ahead.
Amiko nods slowly, but she doesn't feel particularly reassured. What if the girl was a ghost and just didn't realise it? Or what if this particular ghost was using a Genjutsu to confuse them and draw them deeper into its lair? Still, she pushes onwards, taking the lead from Arisu and heading in the direction the little girl took off in. "Hey, little girl, its ok. She's a friend of mine. And we can help get you home, I'm sure of it," she says, loudly enough that she's sure she can be heard, but not loud enough to be frightening. Meanwhile she still has that seal secretly clutched in her hand in case of emergencies.
The cellar is a maze.
As though this had been the home of a hoarder, junk lined the every wall of the place, rising as high as the ceiling in some places. Rows and rows of miscallenous items — newspaper, bags filled with unknown contents, dolls and toys, baby clothes, rockers, clothing, the remains of dead cats and dogs and birds, and too much more to list, much of it covered in dust and unhealthy mold. It rises above the head, the refuse, with only narrow passageways allowing travel through the musty, mildew smelling room, the shoulders often brushing against one thing or another in the travel. And the sounds of the girl scrambling to get around can be heard down a 'hall' to the left, though there is another that heads straight ahead.
Arisu pauses for a second, "If you have any way to shed light on the cellar, you go straight, I'll go this way. Maybe we can get her between us and keep her from running off again. If not, stay close…" She nods at Amiko, and then dodges into the side 'hall' to chase after the sound of the girl. She dodges past various piles of junk, keeping an eye out for any sign of the girl.. "How on earth is she even able to see?" She grumbles, before phasing through a pile of old wood in an effort to catch up.
Amiko nods to Arisu, "I have a flashlight, but I didn't really want to use it in case it scared the girl off again. Oh well, here goes nothing." Amiko pulls out her torch and turns it on, shedding bright light into the junk heap of a basement. Then she heads off down the 'corridor' straight ahead of her, hoping to catch sight of the girl and grab her before she can disappear into the dark again. The Uzumaki starts moving slower as she gets nearer to the source of the sounds, getting ready to either defend herself or grab the girl at a moment's notice.
Arisu will come to find that the sound of the girl scrambling about, her breaths coming in ragged, tearful sobs grows louder and louder as she moves towards down the pathway. And by the sound of her scrabbling, of hand clawing against wood, cloth, through muck and mold, it might become apparent that she -couldn't- see. See was just panicked, and the fear beating through her lent her speed. Perhaps that and some late coming luck see her maneuvering the junk tunnels.
Amiko herself would find that the pathway travelled straight for a short while, but eventually turned to the same direction Arisu had head down. And turned again, doubling back. What may be evidence of her passage, strewn sticks of many painted colors and a two foot doll with it's disembodied head still shifting back and forth as though shaking it's head — these things and more litter the passage. Eventually, it turns yet again. And it should be clear that the wall on the left is shared by both her hall and the one Arisu travels through. The girl is down one of them, trying to get away but in one space for now.
A sudden dead end would tell Arisu that she's on the wrong end of the wall.
Lucky for Arisu… she was the one who could easily fix that problem, and so she did, phasing through the wall and onto the other side, with her spectral blue flame in tow. Once she was on the other side she glanced back at Amiko. "Any luck…? I think I still hear her scrambling… I suppose I'll head down the hall first, so you can keep your flashlight battery intact…" And shen she starts toward the new hall, moving quickly… probably faster than the little girl, or so she hoped. "Little girl… Stop where you are so we can take you home! We're local shinobi, we wont hurt you, I promise!"
Amiko switches off her battery and follows after Arisu, letting the ghostly-shinobi do all the talking. She knew that if worse came to worst she could move step up her speed a couple of notches and find the girl, but such an experience might be quite traumatic for the youngster. So instead she stays relatively low key, trying to follow the sounds as she calls out, "Hey little girl. Its alright. We haven't hurt you. And we've got food and things. I bet you're hungry. And thirsty."
Nothing. No response. No scrambling. Just silence.
Arisu sighs and shakes her head, "This is ridiculous. This place is a maze… I'm going to try a different tactic." She fades out of view, her chakra cloud expanding as she disappears, and then begins to extend outward, probing through the tunnels in order to search for the little girl… if she found her, she would be able to manifest in her immediate area, and keep her still while Amiko caught up!
Choking darkness returns with the abruptness of a blow at the ghost's disappearance.
Amiko heaves a loud sigh as she tries to work out how to tail the ghost through the cellar. "Alright, you know I've had enough playing games too," the Uzumaki says, jumping upwards with a flip to plant both feet firmly on the ceiling and sticking there. From here she has a better view of the area, and she turns the flashlight on again to make the most of it. "Alright sweetheart, we aren't going to hurt you, but we need to find you and take you somewhere safe," Amiko says as she starts wandering along the ceiling, looking in every direction for the mysterious little girl. How did she manage to get out of that tight spot? Amiko had been so sure that they'd cornered her. Maybe she was a ghost after all.
The search for the girl wouldn't be a lengthy thing. As a matter of fact, four or five more strides would bring the end of this passageway into light. There, on the ground, is the dessicated corpse of either a stray dog or a beloved family pet, somehow partially preserved in this place. The scattered ghost would soon feel the presence of the girl, hidden in the wall of garbage where the dog's body had initially been, once more curled up with her arms around her legs. She is silent, pressed tight against something moist and foul smelling, head face pressed against her knees as she tries to disappear.
Arisu's disembodied chakra suddenly snapped into a manifested form just outside the pile of garbage, the dark haired ghost girl frowning as she stood there. "I know you're in there. It's no use hiding…" And with that, she reached in trying to snatch the girl out of the pile and into daylight, "Come on. Don't struggle, I just want to get you home so you can stop interrupting my reading time!" She glanced back over her shoulder, "Amiko, I found her… Over here…"
Amiko quickly heads over to Arisu, her torch illuminating the area quite nicely. As she gets close she draws out the Northern Heavens Seal, holding it tight in her hand in case the girl offers any resistance. It'd be enough to paralyse her for a few minutes, but the chakra drain shouldn't do much more than tire her out for a day or two. Or, Amiko hoped so anyway. The Chuunin drops off the ceiling to land next to Arisu, and tries to help pull the girl out of the pile of filth.
"YOU CAN'T HAVE MY DAUGHTER!"
Abruptly there was a half bodied waif of a woman appearing to be flying from the junk wall of the cellar, having materialized there, already in flight. The aura of a ghost's violent intent filled the cellar for those sensitive to it, a sudden pulse of unreasoning anger. The possessor of this hoarder's haven and hell went to tackle Arisu, pushing her past Amiko and dragging her against the wall of garbage before throwing her away with a scream. "SHE'S MINE!" was her unstable shout.
Arisu's body was suddenly gone, leaving in it's place only a smoky, non-corporeal image that flickered and faded as the half-bodied ghost flew through her, and attempted to drag her forcefully along the wall. The real Arisu instead reformed just a few feet away from her original body, looking none too pleased with the sudden attempt to attack her. Her eyes were black, as were the areas around them. It ALMOST looked like the exact opposite of the Hyuuga's Byakugan… almost… but she was clearly not able to see chakra.
"I'll do as I please with the people in my house…" She hissed, her voice somewhat raspy and practically dripping with venom… She didn't strike back though, she just waited there, watching the other ghost, waiting for her to make a return trip to attack a second time around while the black, smoky essence around her eyes started to spread.
Amiko doesn't bother conversing with the ghost. She simply whips her tag into hand. As she channels chakra into the little slip of paper it stands up stiffly with power, as if it were charged with static electricity. And then she jumps forward, attempting to place the seal directly on the ghost's face with no idea whether the attack will have any affect on the ghost whatsoever. Stepping back away, Amiko gets ready to move in case the ghost counter attacks against her.
The apparitional woman let loose a screech of frustration and anger as it struck only wisps of smoke and lies when it had wanted to ravage they that would steal her child from her. She immediately whirled about, starting back towards the pair only to find that charged seal heading her way. It came in too swiftly for her to react to and it struck her, drawing another scream from her, this one marked by pain, surprise, and a little fear as the seal drew in some of her essence and sent her form out of wack, making parts of her flicker and roil.
Arisu never had to worry about a second attack… which was good, because she wasn't sure she could easily defend against a second one… Instead she concentrates, calling upon other parts of her… other personalities hidden inside the invisible chakra cloud that she was slowly wrapping around the other ghost…. and then commanding two of those figures to attack the woman.
A pair of hands suddenly shot out of one pile of garbage, followed by the naked upper body of a bloated, ethereal corpse, dripping water all over the ground as it openned it's mouth to take a big bite out of the ghost woman. It was followed by a semi-transparent ceremonial knife from the other side, that was aimed for the ghost woman's neck. Neither attack was meant to do physical harm to physical things… just to drain the energy out of their victims. But that was effectively the same thing to a ghost!
Seeing that the her attack was effective and the ghost was momentarily stunned, Amiko used the opportunity to gather her chakra for a secondary assault. Placing her hands together into the seal of the ram, she focuses her chakra and raises her power. "I'm not taking any risks, Arisu-chan," she says as she becomes breathier. Suddenly her hands flicker through a trio of seals, and blue glowing seals appear on her lower back, upper back and chest, the arms of kanji stretching around her body and joining up. "Let's finish this quickly, you know I don't like leaving these active for long," she says as a look of grim focus comes over her face. She'll be willing to do whatever it takes now!
The cellar poltergeist wailed as the grotesque remains of the spirits of the devoured came and devoured her in turn, a bite taken from the susbstance that passed as her flesh. A stab to the neck, her life force drained into the ceremonial dagger, her lower torso fading into there were only hints of anything below the bellybutton. But the pain and the desperation of the moment allowed her to bring herself back under reign and she shrugged offer the spirits, backing up before letting loose a scream that would tear into the ears. Unintelligable, unreasoning, the scream was sonic power, shooting through the tunnel and forcing the junk crafted walls to collapse outwards.
Arisu winced as the sound ripped through her manifested body, raising a hand and firing off two separate balls of foxfire toward her, before she stepped back. It caused her form to flicker slightly, but only for a second, as her body then became smoke, and reformed a few feet from the screaming ghost, accompanied by a flurry of skeletal, ghostly hands that seemed to come from all directions. The ceiling, the walls, the floor, and even from inside Arisu herself, all clawing and seeking purchase on the ghost, to drag her toward the ground and prevent her from moving.
As the screams issue forth from the aggressive ghost's mouth, Amiko begins moving around at incredible speed. She's so fast that her body is barely visible, and only the rapidly changing blue glow from her body makes her stand out in the darkness of the cellar. One moment she's gone, then the next she's on the ceiling above the ghost, reaching out with a hand to apply the same seal as before, and then again she's gone. A moment later she's back, a whirlwind of activity as Amiko slaps a Chakra Leech Tag right at the ghost's face.
The apparitional woman was suddenly under a barrage of an assault. The first foxfire bomb flew to her and struck, the flames licking at her shoulder. In an effort to sustain herself she unmanifested, allowing the second to go past before reappearing unharmed only to find Arisu beside him. She met her presence with a defiant scream, insanity-lined features shouting red rage at the ghost, simply refusing to be subdued in such a way. And then the other, the living one is above her. She senses it, vanishing and reappearing, but not before the seal is applied. Immediately, she shouts again her body starting to act up — but she still has enough control to evade Amiko's chakra leeching tag, leaving her hand pushing through wisps of smoke and a fading form. But the sound of her pain can be heard from the darkness further down the hall.
Arisu gives a silent cough for a moment, but shakes her head before reaching into the pile of garbage again for the girl, "Come on… Let's get out of here before she comes back." She snaps. "We'll deal with the ghost AFTER we get the girl out of this place." She looks back at Amiko, "Unless you think we should go after her now…?"
Amiko doesn't hesitate. It seems like she's already a step ahead of Arisu's decision making process. It must be a side effect of the Cursed Seals she's activated. "You get the girl out of here, the ghost's presence shouldn't be able to extend outside of this basement. I'll make sure it can't re-group for a second attack," she barks out the orders like some kind of military commander, completely in control of the situation, and then she's off at a run again, chasing down the fleeing form of the ghost into the darkness of the halls. Her long blonde hair streams out behind her, making Amiko appear to be a blue and gold blur charging forth. As she comes upon the form of the ghost, Amiko forms several handseals and then slaps her hands to the ground, creating a large sealing formula under the ghost.
The ghost would be found in short order, holding her head and flying into one of the hallway's junk walls, moaning her pain as she continues trying to stablize her corporeal form. She never even notices when Amiko blurs up and forms her seals, creating another beneath her.
Not until the pain hits.
She screams as though she's being torn apart. And then, quite literally, she is. Her arm tears from her shoulder, falling into the seal beneath her and getting absorbed. Particles of her torso burst apart, getting drawn into the seal that was a vortex of life absorbing energies.
By the end of it, she was little more than a skeletal cheeked head, an arm, and half of a torso, pained moans leaving her. Her eyes were desperate as they locked onto Amiko. She said one thing, a whisper echoing throughout the many halls of this underground hovel. "You can't have my baby…"
And then other ghosts arose. From the ground, from the piles and piles and piles of junk, spectres pressed out of their bindings and lurched forth. They were children, the each of them. All 'her babies' at one point or another and these remnants of their souls lurched after Amiko and after Arisu, guided by the spectral senses of one ghost for another. They would bite and tear and batter, doing no physical harm but every blow meant to steal away chakra and return it to she who set them loose, rejuvenating her ravaged form.
Arisu winces and cries out as one of the ghosts manage to bite her shoulder, tearing a chunk of ghost-flesh from her as she pulls herself away. there's no blood, naturally… She lacks it… But that doesn't stop her face from growing somewhat red with anger. "… You stay here. I'm going to go and eat your mother." She hisses. And then Arisu vanishes, reappearing behind the remains of the other ghost, the air around her darkenning.
The ground beneath Arisu cracks, and glows bright red as several hands reach up from the ground, and an inhuman cacophony of screams rock the room. The terrible smell of charred flesh assaults the room as several of the burning hands reach for the remains of the ghost, flaming half burned away skulls following after the scorched flesh and trying to bite whatever ghostly remains they could reach as they tried to hold the ghost down.
As the ghosts come for Amiko, the Chuunin moves like the wind. She disappear and reappears again in front of the ghost, directly opposite Arisu. "Let's finish this mother… ghoster," she says, forming several handseals again before placing her hands on the ground. The previous Eastern Heavens Seal, which had almost faded away completely after its job was done, re-ignites with power as Amiko places her hands on its edge, immediately attempting to suck in whatever remained of the ghost above, and any other ghosts that might be caught above its vortex.
The phantom's tortured wail rose as the demons Arisu planted into her head inflicted their torment, the skulls and hands of hellish descent latching, gouging, searing and it hurt — burned, but she refused to be subdued. She struggled against them, lifting up their attempts at holding her down and as soon as she burst free the seal created by Amiko struck. The arm that had reformed from her assault on Arisu burst apart and fell into the seal below and in short order, the whole of her was dragged down into the vortex of life consumption that was the eastern heavens seal. She left only the echos of a scream, and soon, even that was gone.
Arisu's genjutsu abruptly ended, the crack slamming shut in the middle of the room as she huffed. "…I'm going to go get the girl…" And then she vanished, reappearing where she had originally left the girl, in hopes that she'd still be there and willing to come back to the surface where she could find her way home.
Amiko looks around for a moment, double checking that they got all the ghosts, then sighs and reluctantly binds the seals on her body again. As the seals recede, Amiko feels as though her strength is leaving her. No, even more than that, its like the world has just lost its colour. Everything seems a little… less. Another deep sigh, and the Uzumaki begins heading out of the basement, confident that her seal is going to hold the ghosts for a good, long time. There aren't too many people who could break a seal like that, and they'd have to find it first.
The girl is indeed right where she is left, her eyes fully widened in fear. All she can see is the light of Amiko's flashlight in the distance and the unearthly wails of spectral combat. And then all is silent… and a voice speaks to her from the darkness. Her eyes widen further and her breathing stops. She's still.
Arisu produces an orb of blue flame once again, brightening the area and leaning over to offer the girl a hand, "I'm going to assume that wasn't really your mother, was it?" She raises a brow, "We should probably get you back upstairs and get you home where you belong. It's dangerous down here."