Mark sighed and looked out at the night sky. He was standing on the roof on his apartment building, four stories up. Sometimes Mark just liked to stay up here and reflect, it was quiet and peaceful. Looking down you could see the normal hustle and bustle of city life but if you looked up you could see the beautiful sky, and sometimes even a full moon or some stars.
Mark walked along the border of the roof that helped keep him from falling to his death. It was pretty late; he should be going back down to his apartment soon. Then he saw something waving in the wind a few meters away. Mark walked over to it and picked it up, seeing that it was today’s newspaper, he began to read the front page:
YOUNG MAN FOUND DEAD NEAR WOODS
Earlier today John Parker, age 20, was found dead near the northern woods. His family stated that he never had any real enemies, but he was a bit of a trouble maker. Still they did not know who would want him dead. His death seemed to be cause by blood loss. The scars seemed to be from a large animal, but that was later found not to be the cause as a symbol was found carved on the man’s forehead. The symbol was the –
Mark put the newspaper down where he found it; he didn’t was an article like that ruining his night. He walked along the border with his arm on it, looking up at the sky. Twenty years, so young. He felt sorry for the kid, he himself was nearly thirty. He thought of all the things that man would never be able to do now that his life was gone. Mark tried to get it out of his head; he didn’t want to get depressed.
Without knowing Mark’s hand bumped an empty cardboard box that was on the edge. He tried to catch it but was too late; it was sent falling down towards the streets. It was odd, he didn’t see any cars; only one lonely person walking along the sidewalk.
“Hey! Watch out!” he called, but was a bit too late. The box fell on the person’s head; well, at least it was just an empty cardboard box. He was about to call down his apologies when what happened next made him freeze. The person who was on the side walk looked up at him, he had on a black hoodie and a black and white striped scarf. That of course was not what made him freeze, the person also had on a peculiar mask; half pitch black and half a luminous white.
He managed to get back his voice and was going to shout his apologies; maybe this guy just came back from a strange party or gathering; when he was yet again frozen by what he saw. The man said something that Mark couldn’t quite hear, and then jumped onto the wall. He began climbing up the side of the building similar to the style of a spider or lizard. Mark was just frozen, mouth agape, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. The strange man, no, monster, reached the top of the building and crouched on the border’s edge. Mark now saw how he was able to climb the building so easily; he was wearing white gloves, but there were long, black, cat like claws extending from the end of each finger through the glove. He saw that the mask had a face on it, but only half a face. On the white side of the mask there was the shape of an angry looking eye and a mouth curved into a frown.
They just stared at each other. It was only a few seconds but to Mark it felt like an eternity. The something strange happened. The monster’s mask changed, the angry mouth and eye disappeared and on the black side of the mask appeared a happy eye and a strange smile.
The monster cocked its head to one side and said “遊びたいか？” (Do you want to play?)
Mark screamed and ran towards the little door leading to the inside of the building. He prayed that that monster wasn’t following him. He reached the door and threw it open, bolted inside, and slammed it shut. Panting, he leaned against the door to keep it shut.
After a while he wondered if the monster was still there, and why it didn’t try to force the door open. He had no idea what it said to him, but there was something odd about the way it said it. It seemed happy and playful, but also angry and malicious. He gathered up his courage and decided to open the door. Putting one hand on the knob he took a deep breath and slowly opened the door; ready for whatever was on the other side.
Mark expected to find himself face to face with that odd mask. Instead he saw that the monster was still where he had left him, sitting on the edge of the roof and smiling that odd and somewhat malicious smile.
The monster said again “遊びたいか, おまえ？ケケケ！私はあなたがあそびしたい!” (Do you want to play? *kekeke! - laughter!* I want you to play!)
Mark slammed the door shut again. His legs fell from beneath him and he sat on the floor. He didn’t like the way the monster said those things to him. He sat there for a while, trying to make sense of what happened. Well it was late; maybe he fell asleep on the roof and had a nightmare. He decided to check one more time.
Mark stood up and slowly opened the door. Part of him said that the monster would be in the same spot, and say the same thing; the other part told him that the monster would be right next to the door, claws unsheathed and ready to slash. He was wrong, the monster was gone. It was nothing but the lights of the city and the sound of a few cars driving by. The let out a sigh of relief, it was all just a dream.
The door slammed shut in his face. He made a sound of pain as the metal of the door whacked him on the forehead. Mark rubbed his head and fell to the ground.
“What the hell was that!?” He shouted to no one in particular. He didn’t close the door, even if he did he wasn’t that clumsy; and the wind wasn’t strong enough to close it. He told himself that maybe it was just a freak gust of wind, but his mind quickly disagreed when he heard that laugh again.
“ケケケ！” (kekeke! - Laughter)
The noise came from right outside the door, a little above it. The monster must have been standing on top of it.
* * *
Mark woke up confused; he was in his own apartment, in his bed. He looked around to make sure it really was his own place, it was. He sighed again; it must have all been a dream. One of those odd dreams that you could have sworn was real because it felt so real; but then you realize it must have been a dream because it was so odd.
Mark laughed a little to himself; as if monsters like that actually existed. A sudden pain in his forehead appeared which made him stop. Maybe it was real and he just didn’t remember coming back down. Mark quickly dismissed the idea; maybe he had fallen down in his sleep and then gotten back up again; things like that happen.
Mark got up and went to his fridge to get something to drink. Grabbing a glass on his way there, he opened up a carton of orange juice to have for breakfast. He tilted the carton to pour some into the glass when the juice spilled out onto the counter. He paused and stared at it, confused. Then he realized that there was a thin gash on the side on the carton, so that when it was tilted the juice didn’t reach the top but spilled out the slit instead.
“ケケケ！” (kekeke! - Laughter)
There is was again. It came from inside the apartment. He turned around quickly, scanning the room for that monster. Then he stopped, realizing how paranoid and foolish he was being; he had obviously imagined it. The cut in the carton, his girlfriend could have done that; they had recently gotten into a fight.
Mark cleaned up the mess and decided he wasn’t going to have anything for breakfast; he didn’t feel like eating. He was worried how he was going to make up to his girlfriend, Beatrice. He loved her and wanted to make her understand how much he loved her. He turned on the television and watched for a couple of hours; forgetting his troubles.
* * *
It was now noon. He got up and walked into the kitchen, leaving the television on. He opened up the cabinet that he kept his alcohol in. Taking out a bottle of beer he poured some into a glass and then nearly dropped the bottle when he saw that it wasn’t beer; it was just plain water. He frowned and drank a little bit to check, and it was just plain water. He stared at it angrily and grabbed another bottle, then another and another. Their contents had all been replaced with just normal water. He sighed angrily, and then there it was again.
“ケケケ！” (kekeke! - Laughter)
Mark jumped a little, it was that laugh again. He told himself again and again that he had imagined it. He was just getting paranoid because his dream felt so real. Beatrice could have done this too, there was no monster.
He dug around the cabinet to see if there was anything left in there. In the back he knew he had two bottles of wine and one bottle of champagne, but he wanted to save those for when Beatrice forgave him. He saw the bottles and was about to close the cabinet when he did a double take, one of the bottles of wine was missing. Mark looked at where he kept the wine glasses and one of them was missing too.
“Beatrice could have done that too, she was pretty mad.” Mark said to himself quietly, he swore to himself that he would make it up to her even if it was the last thing he ever did. Then he heard it again.
“ケケケ！” (kekeke! - Laughter)
It came from the living room, where he left the television on. He knew he hadn’t imagined it this time, that laughter was real. He closed the cabinet shut and ran into the room.
Sure enough there was the monster. It was sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine, watching the television that had been left on. The monster paused and looked up at Mark, smiling. It picked up the opened bottle of wine in one hand and shook it a little towards him.
Mark paused, staring at the monster. He quickly snapped out of it and ran back to the kitchen as quickly as he could; it was real. He really expected the monster to get up and come after him to kill and eat him; because that’s what monster do. But the monster remained in there; he could hear it laughing at him.
Mark was afraid; he had to get it out of his place and out of his life. He looked around the kitchen for something to use. Panicking, he grabbed the nearest knife he could find and ran back into the living room, ready to fight.
The monster was gone. There was no trace; the evidence was the missing bottle of wine and wine glass. He tensed up; maybe he was going crazy due to that dream.
“No no no I’m not crazy, that can’t happen. It won’t happen. I won’t let it!” He rambled to himself. He went back into the kitchen and put the knife away. He walked back into the living room and sat on the couch. Picking up the remote he turned off the television to think.
“Maybe I’m hallucinating. Maybe I’m going crazy because I’m depressed because Beatrice is mad at me! The strange dream just happened to mix with it!” Mark got up and grabbed his phone to call her. He dialed her number and waited for her to pick up, Mark was so excited about making up to her that he did not notice someone slip in through the window and watch him.
“Hi! Beatrice? It’s me! I’m so sorry about the fight we had I-! . . . No I’m really sorry! - . . . I promise I’ll make it up to you! I swear I’ll . . .” He set the phone down, she had hung up. Only then did he see something in the corner of his eye, but when he turned about it was gone.
“I’m going to make it up to her!” He told himself, grabbing his jacket and putting it on. “I’m going to apologize in person!” Mark paced around the apartment, thinking of what he should give her. Then he realized and opened up the cabinet to grab the bottle of champagne, but when he opened it up the bottle was gone. He thought to himself that his sincere apology would be enough and went out the door to see her.
Mark walked along quickly, rehearsing what he was going to say. The entire time he was walking he always felt that someone was following him. He told himself that it was just him being nervous.
Mark reached her house and stood on the front steps. He was afraid; afraid that she wouldn’t forgive him and break up with him. He reached out his fist to knock on the door, but quickly drew back. He was afraid.
Mark sighed and swore under his breath, telling himself that he was a coward. He turned around and walked away, not noticing that laugh that happened right behind him, followed by the sound of an opening window.
“ケケケ！” (kekeke! - Laughter)
* * *
(Link to part 2 in description)