Chapter 1:

Morse Code


I’m a college student who lives with three other guys. We all come and go, some of us to our classes, the rest of us to work, so we only all congregate together in the evenings. Most of the time, anyway. I have about a year left of college to go and frankly I am enjoying our little group. One of the guys I room with is a veteran, so he quickly instilled in those of us who are unaccustomed the value of hard work and keeping a room clean. If any of us didn’t keep our side of the room orderly, and their respective roommate was unable to sway them in cleaning, our resident veteran would always find a way to make the lesson stick. Sometimes the discarded clothing or food item was thrown out, but that only happened once. Most of the time, we would tend to forget for a day or two, and had to remind one another. I came from a good home, so I knew how to scrub my dishes and pay for my end of the rent on time.
During one of the evenings my veteran roommate was attending his night classes and my other roommates were working, I sat alone in the apartment watching TV. As I watched The Real Life of Miku Yamamoto, an up-and-coming highschooler-turned-pop-idol, I noticed a light in the chandelier above me was blinking. I looked up at it, a little annoyed, and hit the pause button. Standing up from the couch, I clicked the chandelier off and stood up on the couch, reaching for the chandelier. Finding the right light, I checked how tightly it was screwed in. Looked like it was in all the way. I jiggled it a little for my own sanity then plopped back down on the couch, clicking the light on and the TV back into motion. The jiggle helped the light stay normally lit for about fifteen seconds before it started blinking. I looked up at it, and found myself content in ignoring it. This lasted for about five minutes, then my mind started to wander. I wasn’t too interested in this idol’s backstory anyway, I told myself. I was in college, not like I could become her if I just believed hard enough. Sighing, I looked back up at the light, turning the TV off as I did so.
The light blinked so regularly, I cracked a bit of a smirk as I wondered about it. What if it was Morse Code or something? Wouldn’t that be funny? A funny idea turned into a curiosity, and I walked back to my room and grabbed my laptop. Opening it, and scrolling past the background picture of my favorite manga, A Silent Voice, I opened my web browser and typed in ‘Morse Code’. I leafed through a couple articles until I found a list of what each letter was in code. Smiling, I walked back to the living room and looked up at the light. I memorized part of the blinking and looked down, tracing the letters with my finger until I found the first letter. ‘H’. I smirked. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if it somehow spelled something? I smiled mischievously, thinking of how I could scare my roommates once they got home. I shook my head back into reality and found the next letter. ‘E’. I watched closely for the next one, and it seemed like it was repeated. Two ‘L’s. I raised my eyebrows in intrigue. Huh. Looks like it was actually forming a word. But I knew the chances from here on out of forming something intelligible were decreasing in probability REALLY fast.
My eyes grew a little wider as I found the next letter. It wasn’t what I expected. ‘O’.
I jerked my head back to the ceiling, noticing this pattern was repeating. I felt my smile widen, following suit with my eyes as I watched, transfixed. Then my brow knit, and I looked down at my computer. I wasn’t sure what to do now. It did seem like the light was blinking ‘Hello’ at me. What should I do? My eyes wandered to a nearby fixture and I reached for the switch. Smirking, more for my own amusement than anything, I flicked the light on and off, stumbling a few times as I looked at my laptop in the other hand, until I sent ‘hello’ back. I chuckled, setting the laptop down. Man I needed a hobby. Here I was conversing with a chandelier. Was I boring or what? As though to deflate the moment even more so, the light I was watching flickered out. I laughed, putting my palm on my forehead. I got all worked up over nothing.
Then the light flickered on, flashing in a different way than before.
I stood stock still. Then my mind went to work memorizing the pattern, and I turned quickly to my computer. After a minute or two I pieced it together.
“Can you help me”
I turned around, transfixed at the light. Was I crazy now or what? Clearly I must be putting in what I want to see. Everything is boring right now so I’d rather make up some fun. That had to be it, right? The more I stood there, the more uncomfortable I felt thinking about this at all. This was a stupid joke. I wasn’t really seeing Morse Code, I told myself. I was just thinking I saw all this. Sighing, I switched the TV onto an anime I’d been meaning to catch up on, and clicked the chandelier off. Sitting down on the couch, I sighed. Tomorrow, I’d have to get a hobby. Maybe painting, or calligraphy. That was a quiet hobby.
As the night continued, I watched a few episodes of the anime before me and drank a couple of sodas. Sitting down with a bag of chips in hand, I found myself relaxing. Just contently watching this show, a show I was glad to take time to watch. It was turning out to be really good. It was a take on a college student finding his place in the spirit world. Uncommon to see college students as the protagonists of anime, at least in my experience. I grunted when I heard a buzzing near my ear and lazily swung a hand to bat away the nuisance. I hoped we weren’t getting any flies in our apartment. That would really put a damper on our days here. Flies, when they were solo and in smaller homes, seemed to last for years.
The noise continued, and I looked up, hoping to maybe see the annoying dot flying around my head. I froze as I saw light in my view. The light from before was flashing on. I jolted up, banging my shins into the small table between the couch and the TV. I grunted as I stumbled over to my computer, which had sat open where it was before. The same message played through the light, I triple checked it this time.
“Can you help me”
I reached for the closest light. Blind panic or deep-seated intrigue, whichever would make a better MO, I sent a message.
“Who are you”
The light burned out, and right when I was about to think again that it wasn’t turning on again, it blinked another pattern. I glued my eyes to the computer and took down the message.
“I am a spirit”
“How can I help”
“My name is Yuki. STOP. I am one of three spirits trapped here. A demon called Terath is holding us”
“How can you be here”
“I do not know”
“Can you communicate other ways”
“Only at certain times. STOP. When Terath is away”
“What time is that”
I was sweating by now. I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t help myself from asking more and more questions.

“3 AM shower light”
“I’ll be there”
“Thank you”
I sat down, eyes wide as dinner plates, hands at my sides. I’d never been more confused in all my life. What was going on?

Knock knock knock.

The front door opened and two of my roommates entered, halfway through a conversation as they passed the threshold.

“Hey Yamada! How’s it goin’ buddy?”

“I’m good, thanks guys.” I said, smartening up and acting like everything was normal.

“Whatcha’ got there?” Asked the second of the two roommates.

“Oh, just a dumb thing I was trying.” I said, closing the computer, “it looked like that one light was sending Morse Code, so I tried to figure out what it was saying.” I laughed nervously, feeling the confusion ebb from the other two men.

“Just a dumb game.”