Chapter 9:

Chapter 9: It's a Bonfire, turn the lights out!

Madman's Forgiveness

Chapter 9: “It's a Bonfire, turn the lights out!"

The warm rays of the afternoon sun had finally breached through the lodge’s tattered blinds. The light now shining down upon a groggy Hiro who was already in the process of waking.

“Where the hell am I..?”

He asked himself, waiting for his eyes to re-adjust. It had appeared as though traveling through the tapes took a lot of energy from him, as opposed to being perfectly fine upon exiting.

This task would only prove to be harder due to him being without his glasses. He could see without them, but it’d put too much strain on his eyes.

Something wasn’t right.. Though his back was cushioned, he felt a strange pressure on his chest.


He calls out, but when there is no answer; he begins to reach into his coat pocket in search of something.

A wave of relief washes over him. Just from feeling the lenses alone, he’s grateful to learn that his glasses are still intact.

Donning his glasses, Hiro is met with an even bigger surprise.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Not only had he successfully used his ability again to travel back to Camp Gehenna. He had somehow managed to wake up in the counselors' lodge atop one of the main couches. This was specifically odd, considering he’d never had the opportunity to when he was younger. Not sticking around long enough after Suzume's departure to claim the counselor rank. Something that Kazuma and Kentaro both had him beat in. Having decided to keep returning to the camp, despite Hiro's absence.

“Woah, this place is huge!”

“This must be the place big bro Ryuuji always warned us not to enter..”

“Eh.. It was probably for the best.”

“I can’t imagine the horror that has taken place here..”

He thought back to how the former camp owner's son would warn the campers not to enter. Ryuuji would always give reasonings that even Kazuma of all people thought was bullshit. Such as a masked killer who used to be a counselor patrolling the place at night in search of new victims. While Hiro had heard rumors of such a thing going throughout the camp, he believed the tale of Michael Kurosawa to be no more than an urban legend. Believing that Ryuuji would tell these stories so that the kids wouldn’t witness the parties he’d host.

As he’s lost in thought, that same pressure on his chest begins to shift. Looking down, the color begins to leave his face as he realizes what is causing it. It’s Suika. Though still asleep, she appears to be in the middle of a night terror. Resting her head on Hiro’s chest, she begins to grab at his side.


She begins to whisper.


“God this is bad..”

Hiro thinks to himself, taking time to evaluate the situation. Rather, the potential repercussions for it.

“How did we even end up like this?”

“More importantly..”

“Where are the others?”

“If they end up seeing us like this, I’m dead meat..”

“Unfortunately, I have a feeling it ain't gonna be the funny kill count kind either.”

“Now if I just gently wake h-”

Unsure of what to do, Hiro moves his hand to nudge her shoulder; but is stopped in his tracks when he hears her next words.

“Stay with me..”

“I need you here with me..”

“I can’t fight it off much longer.”

These words confuse him. What exactly was she referencing? Rather, who was she referencing?

“She..can’t possibly be talking about me right..?”

“No, that can’t be..”

“We’ve only been talking for like two days.”

“I’ve cut off people who caught feelings in shorter amounts of time. This should be no different.”

As Hiro finally gets enough courage to grasp hold of her by her shoulder. The doors to the lodge begin to swing open, waking her.


She begins to speak, staring intently at Hiro with love-filled eyes. Still in the process of realizing that this wasn’t a part of her dream. Suika doesn’t seem to notice initially that the others have finally found them.


“We’re here bitches!!!”

“The last of the counselors finally left so it’s time to party like it’s two thousand five!!”

Kazuma screams out, walking through the door with cases of long discontinued beer.

Alongside him is Yua who clung tightly to Troy in disbelief, Kentaro who appears to be indifferent, and most importantly Suzume who looks forward; seemingly disappointed at the sight. Everybody but Hiro, Troy, and Suika’s appearances have changed slightly to better match the times. Kentaro and Kazuma are both wearing their old counselor outfits. A purple t-shirt with a yellowish-orange brimmed collar, a golden maple leaf on the right pectoral, and khaki pants. Suzume and Yua appear to be wearing matching outfits as well.

Though Yua was much older, they still had the same camp uniform. That being a knee-length slate-gray skirt and a dutch white blouse that had that same maple leaf stitched into it. The only difference however is that the leaf emblem on the female equivalent of the outfit was white with a Russian green lining surrounding it. A bright maroon bow tying it all together at the collar.

Suzume unsurprisingly looks the same as she did before she traveled to the tape. Just goes to show how she’d barely changed throughout the years.

While Yua looks much younger, passing as someone Hiro and co.'s current age. Her most notable feature, her purple hair is gone. In its place, her hair now has a lighter brown shade; resembling that of her younger brothers.

Hiro’s attention darts to Suzume, who decides to leave the group. Pushing past the others on her way out without a word.


“Hey wait up!”

“It’s not what it looks like!”

She pauses at first as to hear him out, but grits her teeth running off into the wilderness.

Hiro tries to get up to go after her, but is stopped by Suika; who grabs onto him by the hem of his shirt. She is silent in her approach, unable to choke out a single word. Yet, her expression speaks thousands. She didn’t have the strength to admit it, but she wanted him to forget about Suzume for the time being.

“Get off me already!”

Hiro too caught up in the moment, snatches himself free.

“Do you have any idea how much that girl means to me?”

“After all these years, I'm not going to let some counterfeit mess this up for me.”

Through his panic-induced state, Hiro can’t properly realize the damage his words are causing. Not even when he stares down Suika, whose eyes are now welling up with tears as she tries to find the right way to respond.

“You don’t mean that Hiro..”

“You’re not acting like yourself..”

Hearing this only seems to anger Hiro further.


“You have known me for all but two days!”

“For all you know I could be someone else entirely!”

His outbursts finally prompt a reaction, from Kentaro of all people.

“Look Hiro, I think you’re going a little bit overboard here. Let’s just try to calm down.”

Kazuma chimes in with, “Yeah, we’re all just here to have a good time bro.”

“What has gotten into you?”

Hiro begins making his way toward the door slowly.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“I’ll be back later. I gotta go make things right..”

He pauses for a moment once he’s reached the entrance of the lodge, and turns to face Suika.

“I’ll take you back to your world when we’re done here.”

“You and I have nothing.”

“So please, for the rest of our time here.”

“Stay the hell away from me.”

Hiro chillingly warns, before running out the door. Leaving Suika to handle the sudden feeling of dejection.


Hiro calls out as he runs from clearing to clearing in search for his friend. Nightfall is fast approaching, yet he’s still able to make his way through with ease.

“I’m surprised I still know all the routes..”

“You’d think that after all these years I'd have forgotten all about this place.”

“I should probably find her already so we can head back to the group, it’s getting too late.”

He thinks to himself as he continues to search.

Eventually, something catches his eye. It was the library, still in perfect shape. It is a massive two-story building with twin totems resting at both sides of the entrance. On the surface, nothing seems special about these totems. They are perfectly stacked, resembling daruma dolls in appearance. These totems mimic the classic "see no evil" "speak no evil" "hear no evil" mantra.

What’s odd is the fact that the entrance was left open.

“Why would she be in the library of all places..?”

Hiro asked himself as he slowly approached it.

Activating his phone's back flashlight, he illuminates the library's interior.


“Is anybody here..?”

Aside from a couple of tripods that Kazuma had set up to record their previous ghost adventure. The place was a mess. With books scattered all across the floor, it felt as if a tornado must have gone through it.

“This place is starting to give me the creeps..”

He thinks to himself, an uneasy feeling beginning to wash over him.

“I don’t remember it being this messy..”

“Something isn’t right here.”

“Even back when we were kids, this place was always kept clean..”

The sound of rustling can be heard from the storage room, immediately drawing Hiro’s attention to it.


“What would she be doing down there..?”

He makes his way over to the door, fully prepared to investigate. Yet the moment his hand meets the doorknob, he’s hesitant. An overwhelming dread begins to fill his very being. It’s as if some otherworldly force is compelling him to not go any further.

“I want to move but..”

“My body just won’t let me..”

Hiro thinks to himself, trying to make out whatever was behind the door's thin blind-covered window.


The sound of a familiar voice calling out from behind him breaks his concentration. Turning, he sees Suzume at the entrance of the library holding a loose camcorder in her free hand.

“What are you doing out here..?”

She questions with genuine curiosity as the boy backs away from the door and begins to move toward her.

“I was actually looking for you.”

“I wanted to apologize for whatever misunderstandings there were.”

This statement only seems to confuse her more.

“What are you even talking about?”

She questions, giving him a puzzled look.

“Is this about Suika..?”

“You know I was just joking with you right..?”

“I don’t care about what you do.”

“Sure, it’s a bit odd your new girl looks just like me but it’s not on me to judge.”

“We’re all just here to have a good time right?”

Finally, that dopey smile returns to her face as she gently grabs a hold of Hiro by the hands.

“Yeah.. I guess you’re right.”

“I was just scared that you’d think less of me or something.”

Her childlike personality shines through as she can’t help but burst into laughter at Hiro’s statement.

“You thought I'd think less of you?!?”

“You must be crazy for real!”

“Look, I don’t care how things ended. I made ya a promise didn’t I?”

“I told you we were going to be best friends for life!”

Hearing this makes the life return to Hiro’s eyes. He’s left speechless as Suzume begins to drag him by the hand through the exit of the library.

“Now come on, everybody’s waiting!”

As they leave, Hiro can’t help but look back at the now “empty” library. Wondering what could have possibly been making those noises in the storage room.


“It’s about time ya’ll showed up!”

Yells Kazuma, greeting the two as they found their way to the makeshift bonfire that the group had set up near the lake while they were away.

“Yeah, any later and I’d have just gone to bed.”

“I’ve never really been the party type of person.”

Says Kentaro as he lounges in his chair, using up the remainder of his phone’s battery life to collect coins in a clicker-based mobile game.


Says an already inebriated Yua as she casually smacks Kentaro’s hand with the bottom of her beer bottle, almost making him drop his phone into the fire.

“You really need to live a little lil bro”

“Life’s too spend it wasting away on a phone.

Kentaro tenses up a bit prepared to lash out at her but quickly calms himself. For the first time in months, he smiles.


“I guess you’re right sis.”

“This can technically be considered as a vacation. So we might as well make the most of it!”

Kentaro says, inhaling deeply for four seconds and exhaling for eight. A process he was taught by his behavioral therapist. Never using it until now, he opted to try it in hopes that it’d help him relieve stress.

A shocked expression forms on Kazuma's face, prompting him to smack Kentaro on the back.

“I’m proud of ya Kenny!”

“Looks like you can be pretty cool sometimes aftera-”

That shock quickly turns into fear when he realizes that the force of the smack knocked Kentaro’s phone into the fire.

Before Kentaro has a chance to tear Kazuma a new one, Hiro interrupts.

“Wait a second..”

“Where’s Suika?”

Troy, who has been in charge of cooking the food for everybody; points to the west.

“She talked some about wanting to practice archery.”

“I think you hurt her feelings with what you said mon ami.”

“Don’t even worry about that right now though.”

“Come on and sit, I believe my girl here had a story she wanted to tell y'all.”

Now waving his hand, he signals the both of them to sit beside him on the log closest to the fire.

Hiro begins to scratch the back of his head, only now beginning to realize the gravity of his actions earlier in the day.

For the time being, he takes a seat with Suzume. Feeling it’s best to just give Suika some space and continue forth with the night.

Yua takes this as her cue to get serious and passes her beer to Kentaro.

“I suppose it is about time I tell y'all the truth about this place huh?”

Now standing, she begins to make her way to a focal point in between the flames so that everybody can focus on her.

“Some of you may be uneducated”

She states, turning her attention to Hiro. Yua was still bothered by the comment he made the night prior and it showed in her body language.


“I think it’s time I teach you kid’s about Michael Kurosawa.”

An eerie silence fills the clearing as everybody anticipates Yua’s next lines. The only sounds peeking through being the natural hum of wildlife, and the cracking of the bonfire.

Yua herself seems to be bracing herself, trying to channel that same persona she gave off night after night reviewing similar stories.

“Eight years ago..”

“A good friend of mine was murdered.”

A young African American male is huddled over in pain, attempting to guard his stomach and face. Surrounded by a group of peers, this counselor was left utterly helpless as they took turns kicking into him. Though they aren’t recognizable, we see a girl with purple hair tugging at the supposed ringleader's arm in an attempt to stop this attack. Yet, the brute responds by smacking her away from him.

“They say the poor guy took his own life after undergoing severe harassment from his peers..”

“They’d beat him senseless for no reason other than him not joining their little group..”

“You see..”

“Michael was as close to a good-hearted person as you’ll find in this world.”

“So I believe that they must have seen him as a threat to their way of life.”

“One that needed to be extinguished..”

Michael’s past point of view is shown once more, as it shows him running through the wooded area of the camp. It’s as if something was chasing him, constantly having him look back every few seconds. The look of terror on his face only got worse with each glance.

Yet, the two generic campers he passed by smoking in the clearing seemed to be oblivious to the danger.

“Hey Michael, are you okay!”

“You seem like you’ve been through hell buddy.”

“Why don’t you come and sit with us for a bit?”

One of them called out, hoping to get his attention. For a brief moment, Michael slows down. Believing that his pursuer wouldn’t come after him if there were witnesses.

However, just as he’s about to turn around; the gurgling sound behind him activates his fight or flight instinct once again. The counselors had died, and he’d be damned if he was just going to stick around and find out how.

“It was as if someone was after him..”

Yua narrates.

As he’s running, it begins to sound as if the footsteps are right behind him. Around every corner, he’s greeted by an ominous pair of white eyes looming just beyond the underbrush of the trees.

“Or something..” She adds.

“Noone knows for sure what exactly happened that night..”

“But the police followed a trail full of an ink-like substance that led them to the counselors' lodge.”


The one that lover-boy over here had the fortune of waking up in this morning.”

She says in an attempt to tease Hiro.

“No matter how many times people questioned them.”

“The police had no proper explanation for what they found.”

The two police officers shine their flashlights into the cabin to get a better look inside. The door had been torn from its hinges, leaving them to wonder what could have possibly had the strength to do such a thing. The interior layout was different as well, furniture had been thrown about, mattresses torn to shreds, it even looked as if something had punched straight through the walls.

“I was in charge of helping refurbish the place afterward..”

“The place was different..”

“It was as if some otherworldly force had swept through”

“They followed the trail upstairs..”

The police now with their guns drawn begin to make their way upstairs, both notably sweating. The heavy-set officer in the front looked straight ahead with an intense glare of determination, while the young healthier-looking officer couldn’t help but feel worried. The trail had led them to a bedroom door, more specifically one of the male counselor's rooms. Unlike the rest of the house, the door was surprisingly unscathed.

“But to their surprise..”

The heavy-set officer charges forward, ramming the door open with his shoulder. Both begin to lower their weapons in disbelief however when it’s shown that the trail ends at the television.

“It all stopped in front of the Tv..”

Suzume grabs onto Hiro’s shoulder tightly, burying her face into the sleeve of his coat.

Seeing this is enough for Yua to return to being her ditzy self. She laughs, mocking at how cute they looked together. “Ha!”

“It’s looking like ya don’t need couples therapy when ya can get a good scare free of charge!”

She teases, snatching her can away from Kentaro.


“It’s just a rumor.”

She states taking a sip.

“But I hear they never were able to recover his body.”

As the chapter comes to a close, Suika who had wandered off alone; comes face to face with a strange man wearing a mask.

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