Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Volume 3 Chapter 1

VOLUME 3 - THE LIGHT BEYOND THE DARKNESS file 01: disappearance ()




Hijikata Makoto stopped the taxi in front of a multi-tenant building to see a small illuminated sign that read <Snake>.

Makoto paid and quickly descended the stairs to the basement.

It was already almost an hour past the appointed time. Her work always dragged on at times like this. Irritated, Makoto pushed open the heavy wooden door and entered the bar.

There were four table seats and a counter that could seat five. Using indirect lighting with blue as its premise, jazz played throughout the bar.

Though the place wasn’t large, it had a good atmosphere.

Makoto looked around and soon found Asami, whom she had arranged to meet. She was smoking a slim cigarette at the table by the entrance.

‘Sorry I’m late...’

Makoto clapped Asami on the shoulder.

’You’re too late.’

Asami pouted with her puffy lips.

It had been a while since they last met. Makoto felt that Asami had changed quite a lot. During university, Asami hadn’t smoked, and she had had a stronger healthy impression. It might have been because of the makeup, but now it looked like there were shadows somewhere.

However, one thing that didn’t change was her beauty.

’I’m really sorry.’

Makoto put her hands together as she asked for forgiveness.

’It’s OK. It’d be a different matter if it was because of a man, but you had work, right?’

’Yup. Well.’

’It was your goal, right? Working at a newspaper agency.’

Makoto somehow managed to smile back, but she couldn’t actually smile honestly. It’d be difficult to say that even though she was employed at a news agency, it had been because her father was the chief of police rather than because of her own aptitude.

’Anyway, it’s really been a while. When’d we last see each other?’

Makoto changed the topic.

’Hm – university?’

Now that Asami said it, Makoto felt that was right. After graduating, Asami had returned to her home in Nagano and they hadn’t met directly like this since, though they had sent emails and New Year’s cards.

That would mean she hadn’t seen Asami in three years.

’So the last time was at the graduation ceremony.’

’I didn’t go to the ceremony, so...’

Asami’s expression went a bit stiff. Makoto tried tracing back in her memory.

That was right. If she remembered correctly, Asami had taken a one-month break around graduation because her health had worsened, and then graduation had come. Makoto had asked something she shouldn’t have.

’That’s right. Sorry.’

’Don’t worry about it,’ Asami said nonchalantly. She put out the cigarette she had been smoking in the ashtray.

’So when’d you come here?’

’Last month. I transferred for work.’

’So that’s how it was. Then we’ll be able to meet up for drinks again.’

’I won’t let you get away.’

Asami just smiled. The old Asami would have laughed aloud. People could change a lot in three years.

’Anyway, sit down.’

Asami urged Makoto to sit, but there were two men she didn’t know in the opposite seats.

The first was in his early thirties and had a casual feel to him, wearing a beige jacket with jeans. The other was a young man in his early twenties with a hip-hop artist’s fashion sense. They were a somewhat unbalanced pair.

’Good evening.’

The man in the jacket bowed his head politely. The young man in hip-hop fashion also nodded, following the older man.

Makoto sat next to Asami and touched her elbow to ask for an explanation.

’Ah, that’s right.’

Asami started introducing everyone.

The man in the jacket was called Shinichi. He worked at an event planning company. The other younger man was Yuuya. He was Shinichi’s pal and was in his third year of university. It seemed that he did part-time at Shinichi’s event planning company.

Makoto also greeted the two of them simply.

’We got to know each other while waiting for you, Makoto. You don’t mind if the two of them join us, right?’

’Not at all,’ Makoto replied, though she was puzzled.

During university, Asami hadn’t been the type to drink with men she didn’t know who called out to her at a bar.

Since she wasn’t a naive middle school student, it probably wasn’t anything to worry about.

’What would you like to order?’

The long-haired bartender, who had been waiting for their conversation to halt, brought a menu and came to take their order, wearing a black apron.

The bartender was expressionless and calm.

Makoto looked at the menu, but in the end, she just ordered gin, like she always did.

At the time, Makoto couldn’t even imagine what was going to happen afterwards –




Gotou reclined on the car seat and tied his necktie while holding a cigarette in his mouth.

In the passenger seat, Ishii was carelessly chomping down a hamburger. Thanks to that, the car was filled with the smell of burger.

Gotou was going to complain, but he changed his mind. Conversing with Ishii was as tiring as conversing with Yakumo.

<I’m counting on you to focus.>

He heard a voice from the wireless earphone he had on.

Even though she was a woman, she had a voice that reverberated in the bottom of your belly. Her name was Shimamura Eriko.

From the perspective of Gotou, who had parked his car on the road in front of the park, she was directly diagonal from him. He could see her stooping in the forest behind the park.

In stature, size and attitude, she was heavyweight all around. She was completely visible.

’Who are you saying that to?’

<You, obviously.>

Shimamura rebutted immediately.

Why was he surrounded by so many impudent people? Gotou clicked his tongue.

<I’m the one who wants to click her tongue. I really need you to focus, since you’ve always been missing a few screws. You’re the same with Atsuko, aren’t you?>

’Shut up! That has nothing to do with you!’ shouted Gotou, flaring up.

She talked on and on about unnecessary things. Why had his wife come up in conversation?

<It does have something to do with me. Who do you think introduced her to you?>

’I truly regret it.’

Gotou had met with his wife Atsuko because Shimamura, who had been at the police academy at the same time as him, had introduced her.

His wife’s best friend and his co-worker. Thanks to that, his private life had been made public in the police. Not just the police either. Even Yakumo knew about it through old man Hata.

<What are you saying? I’m the one who regrets it.>

’What did you say?’

<I’m saying I shouldn’t have introduced her to you.>

’What do you mean?’

<Every time she fights with you, she comes crying to me – it’s troublesome. After this case is finished, come over and pick her up.>

He could hear sniggers from other investigation team members from the earphone.

That Shimamura. She was just doing this to pass the time. Gotou bit his lip and hit Ishii’s head in retaliation.

’D-D-Detective Gotou, what are you doing?’

The tomato fell from Ishii’s burger.

’Shut up!’

He glared at Ishii for responding.

Gotou could tell it would be hard going.

’Why do we have to be dragged into work outside of our jurisdiction?’ grumbled Gotou.

’But it’s true that we don’t have any work. We might as well offer assistance at least,’ replied Ishii, with his stupid diligence.

’I know that.’

Just as Ishii said, the Unsolved Cases Special Investigations Room was named such because they responded to unsolved cases, but in reality, they just organised the backlog of documents.

On top of that, the other divisions thought they had a lot of free time on their hands, so they were often used as supplementary personnel for stakeouts and such.

Even now, they were staking out the park on the corner of this residential street because of a serial female assault case – though it was just some perverted guy cutting women’s skirts with scissors.

This is the same as being put out in the cold –

Gotou muttered that in his heart and snorted.

On top of that, there was this stationing. If the perp ran, they hadn’t surrounded the routes. Forget about his career – why did he have to obey some brat who was younger than him? It really riled him up.

<Someone who could be the suspect has been spotted... Height is about 160 cm. Green jumper, black knitted hat... It matches with the testimony.>

A nervous voice came in through his earphone.

<He’s by the public toilet.>

Gotou looked in the direction indicated.

He was there! Directly in front of his gaze, there was a suspicious person with his back to the wall of the toilet facing the road. He kept glancing at the road.

<Shimamura. Go around from the side and question him.>


<Gotou, Ishii – wait in the car.>

’What do you mean, wait? If Shimamura goes around, the back will be wide open,’ Gotou retorted, putting his cigarette out in the ashtray. He opened the door and rushed out.

’Detective Gotou, the instructions were to wait here.’

Still holding his burger, Ishii called out to Gotou to stop.

’You’re annoying. I know that.’


’Do you know the word “adaptability”?’

’Yes. It refers to the ability to change depending on the situation. That’s what was written in the Koujien[1].’

’This is that situation.’

While Gotou said that, he headed towards the forest in the back of the park. It was a terrible mistake to move Shimamura. Did they really think the perp would just run for the road?

’Detective Gotou, this is bad.’

Ishii hesitantly followed Gotou, like a puppy.

’Go back to the car if you think that.’


Honestly, this useless guy.

’Don’t come over here!’

A yell resounded.

Gotou looked toward the public toilet. The man from earlier was waving a pair of scissors about agitatedly as he screamed.

Investigation team members sidled up from both sides.

After the man looked to his left and right, he turned away from the road and fled towards the forest like a frightened rabbit.

’Wait!’ yelled one of the investigation members.


’Ishii, let’s go!’

Gotou immediately ran after the man.


Ishii tripped.

That idiot! Gotou ignored Ishii, who had fallen and had his hands on his thighs as he got back up, and chased the man.

’Wait! I’ll kill you!’

The man turned at Gotou’s yell.

’D-don’t come over!’ the man screamed, looking like he could cry at any moment.

He was a timid and chubby middle-aged man that any crowded train stank with. Honestly, what a miserable face. It made it seem like Gotou was attacking him.

’Damn it!’

Gotou reached out to grab the scruff of his neck and drag him to the ground.

The man fell backwards and started coughing from the impact. Gotou climbed on top of him and raised his right fist.

Like he had lost all will to flee at that moment, the man pressed both hands against his face and started crying, repeating, ’I’m sorry, I’m sorry...’

Gotou muttered, ’Damn,’ and hit the ground with his fist in his anger.

If he was going to cry about it, he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

The first words of the novice officer in charge who arrived late at the scene were –

’Why did you leave your station?’

Honestly, everyone was just –




It had been almost an hour since Makoto arrived at the bar.

Since it had been the first time she’d seen Asami in a while and there were Shinichi and Yuuya, whom she had just met, it had been an awkward question-and-answer session at first, but now, the atmosphere was less reserved.

It was easy talking with the man named Shinichi. He was a good listener, or rather, she ended up telling him about a variety of things.

Instead of assertively enlivening the conversation, Yuuya would laugh as he listened and respond at the appropriate times. He might have been a serious young man despite his appearances.

’Just going to go to the ladies’.’

At a lull in the conversation, Asami took her bag and stood up.

’Makoto-san, are you seeing anyone?’

After Asami left for the lavatory, Shinichi asked Makoto this question while looking directly at her eyes.

’I’m not.’

’Really?’ Shinichi said in disbelief.

’Really. I’m being pushed around at work right now. Plus, I have no luck with men.’

Makoto shrugged.

Though she didn’t have a boyfriend, there was somebody she harboured feelings for. However, she didn’t say that aloud.

He was a detective who was so serious it was idiotic. She had made up reasons to contact and approach him, but he hadn’t noticed at all, though he hadn’t rejected her.

In the meantime, she had lost her excuses, so lately she hadn’t seen him.

’Is that so? If it were me, I wouldn’t leave you alone, Makoto-san.’

Shinichi smoothly said those words which could have been a pick-up line.

’You probably say that to every woman you meet.’

’Of course not. Right, bartender?

After Makoto said that as a joke, Shinichi turned the conversation to the bartender, who had come to put down a glass.

The bartender gave a vague reply and escaped by walking away.

’Yuuya, you think Makoto-san is beautiful too, right?’

Shinichi poked Yuuya’s shoulder.

While Yuuya drank the whiskey in his glass, he just smiled frivolously and said nothing. He might have felt it was awkward, because he looked at his wristwatch and said, ’Asami-san’s been a while.’

Immediately after that –


Makoto heard Asami scream from the toilet in the back of the bar.


Makoto stood up right away and ran to the lavatory.

’What happened?’

She called out in the direction of the lavatory door. There was no response. Shinichi and Yuuya came by too because they were concerned.

’Hey, Asami. What happened?’

Makoto asked again as she knocked on the door.

However, there was no response, as if nobody was inside.

Makoto put her ear against the door to try to listen for sounds from inside, but it was no use.

’Excuse me.’

The bartender cut through as he said that.

The bartender quickly took a key from his pocket and opened the door, saying, ’I’m opening the door.’

The lights were off in the dim lavatory.

Asami sat on the tiled floor and was trembling as she hugged her own shoulders.

’Asami. You OK?’

Makoto went inside the lavatory and walked up to Asami to shake her shoulders with both of her hands.

The colour drained from Asami’s face, which just earlier had been flushed because of alcohol, leaving her extremely pale.

’Hey, what happened?’

At Makoto’s question, Asami pointed at the mirror in front of her with a trembling finger.

All the people there turned their eyes to the dark mirror, their gazes led by that finger.

At the same time –

Inside the mirror, a faint image of a woman appeared. Long black hair hung from her head, and the left half of her face was covered in blood.

That woman’s body shook like it had been jolted.

Her cracked purple lips slowly moved.

– Die.

Her low growl made the air quiver.

Nobody there was able to keep their senses, and their screams echoed through the bar.




Haruka, whose lecture had finished, went towards the prefabricated two-storey building in the back of Building B.

There were ten rooms of about four and a half tatami on each floor. The university lent them out for student circle activities. 𝓲n𝑛𝓻ℯ𝗮d.&nbsp;𝚌o𝒎

She was going to meet with Japan’s representative for contrariness, Saitou Yakumo.

She didn’t really have any trouble for him. She was just going to meet him.

Haruka thought it was amazing progress. No, she couldn’t call this progress. What she had been doing before had been strange. She had always been accompanied by trouble every time she went to visit Yakumo. It was the pattern for Yakumo to say something sarcastic to her and make her depressed every time they met.

– But today is OK.

Haruka stood in front of the door at the end of the first floor. The door had a plate which read <Movie Research Circle>.

However, that was a downright lie. Yakumo had deceived the university to borrow this room and was using it as his secret hiding place.

’Hey,’ Haruka said, opening the door.

At the same time, a wave of hot air rushed out at her. She resisted the urge to cough and looked inside.

’You again?’

As usual, his hair looked like he had just gotten out of bed, and his eyes were sleepy. Yakumo, reclining on the chair in the front, sounded annoyed as he said that.

He had unbuttoned down to the third button of his shirt and was fanning himself with a fan.

There were beads of sweat from his forehead to the nape of his neck.

’I’m just going to say this, but this isn’t a place for you to kill time.’

’I don’t have as much free time as you think, Yakumo-kun. I’ve got reports to do and I have a part-time job too, and I often get invited out...’

She stopped speaking. He wouldn’t listen. Yakumo stretched his neck as he let out a huge yawn, and then he scratched his neck. His actions were just like that of a cat’s.

Haruka went inside, took a bottle of tea from the refrigerator in the back of the room and drank it.

’When did you bring that in here?’ said Yakumo, looking dissatisfied.

’The last time I came. There’s chocolate too. Want some?’

Haruka took out a box of almond chocolate from the refrigerator and showed it to Yakumo.

’This is my room. Don’t just make it your own.’

’This is the Movie Research Circle room.’

’You aren’t a member.’

She had thought that was where the conversation would go. Haruka made a victorious pose in her mind at one-upping Yakumo.

’Too bad for you, but I’m a member of the Movie Research Circle too.’


’Yesterday, I went to the student affairs office and wrote my name on the registration list.

Even Yakumo had nothing to say as he gaped.

– How about that? Got you there, right?

’Why would you do something like...’

’OK, OK.’

Haruka interrupted Yakumo and sat on the chair.

She felt like she had won.

’Still, how can you stay in such a hot room? Isn’t there air conditioning?’

Haruka took a handkerchief out of her bag and wiped her forehead. Even though she had just come in, it was already covered in sweat.

If she stayed her the whole day, she might get heatstroke.

’The fan is broken.’

Yakumo pointed at the corner of the ceiling with his fan.

An electric fan covered with cobwebs was hanging there.

’You could just buy a new one.’

’I don’t have the money for that.’

’How are you planning on getting through this summer? It’s going to get hotter.’

Copying Yakumo, Haruka took her notebook from her bag and used it as a fan.

’Can’t you just go home if you’re going to complain?’

’What? I came all this way to visit you.’

’I don’t remember asking you to.’

’Oh, is that so.’

Haruka gritted her teeth and gave Yakumo a menacing look.

Then, there was the sound of a knock. For a moment, Haruka thought it might have been Detective Gotou, but if it had been him, he wouldn’t have knocked – he would have just suddenly said, ’I’m coming in,’ and entered.

’Please come in. The door is unlocked.’

Yakumo ran his fingers through his hair and called out in the direction of the door.

’Please excuse me.’

A beautiful long-haired woman in a navy blue suit opened the door and came in.

’Who might you be and where are you from?’

’I’m a fourth-year student at this university. My name is Iida Mizuho.’

She replied firmly to Yakumo’s question. She seemed too mature to be a university student.

Haruka gave her seat to Mizuho and unfolded a folding chair that was in the corner of the room. She sat down next to Yakumo.

’So what can I do for you?’

’Er, I apologise for visiting in such a rude manner. I actually have something I would like to discuss and thought it might be bothersome, but...’

’Leave the introduction at that and get to the main question,’ Yakumo said curtly, interrupting Mizuho to make her get to the point.

Ah, it was the same the first time for me too. Haruka remembered the first time she had come to this room a few months ago.

’Ah, yes. The truth is, I have been troubled by a spiritual phenomenon –’

’A spiritual phenomenon?’

Yakumo frowned as he raked through his hand with his fingers.

’Will you listen to my story?’

’I don’t mind if I’m only listening to it.’

At Yakumo’s prompting, Mizuho’s expression suddenly brightened.

After that, Mizuho talked about a ghost of a woman that appeared at an apartment.

– Why can’t I die?

While the female ghost muttered that, she jumped off the apartment building. After a while, she stood back up and dragged her body into the apartment. And then –

She jumped again.

The ghost of a woman who kept on committing suicide –

Why did she want to die so much? There was no way Haruka would understand.

Mizuho appealed politely to Yakumo, saying that after seeing that woman’s ghost, it had been so terrifying that Mizuho couldn’t sleep at night, and besought him to solve the case.

Since it was Yakumo, he would definitely say something cold like ’It’s none of my business’ or ’Please try your best’.

Ah, you poor thing. Haruka looked at Mizuho sympathetically.

However, what Yakumo said was completely different from what she had imagined.

’That must be worrying you. I understand. Let me accept your request.’

Eh? Wait. What? You had a completely different attitude when I asked you. Haruka swallowed the words that she almost said aloud.

’Will you help me?’

For a moment, Mizuho looked surprised, and then she relaxed, like she was exhausted.

Haruka was the one who wanted to be surprised.

’However, that does not mean it will be free.’

’How much will it be?’

Mizuho looked at Yakumo to sound him out.

’Would the regular price of twenty thousand yen plus expenses be acceptable?

Isn’t that cheaper than it had been for me? What the heck is that –

’Yes, thank you very much.’

Mizuho bowed her head deeply.

Was it OK for her to trust such an irresponsible guy so easily? She should be a bit suspicious.

This guy was just a fake who took advantage of people’s weaknesses.

Since Mizuho couldn’t hear Haruka’s thoughts, she wrote down the address of the apartment where she had seen the ghost as well as her contact information. Then, she bowed her head again and left the room.

’You accepted that pretty easily.’

The moment the door closed, she rested her chin in her hands and said that. Since she had been holding back, her tone was a bit harsh.

’I want a new fan,’ Yakumo said with a yawn.

Well, it would be hard to get through the summer in the prefabricated building with new air conditioning, but –

’The price is lower than the one you gave me.’

’There’s a campaign right now.’

’Is that a campaign that gives discounts to good-looking woman? After all, I’m...’

’What’s gotten you into such a bad mood?’

Really, it’s just as Yakumo said.

What am I saying? Even while Haruka was thinking that, she couldn’t stop the next words from coming out of her mouth.

’Her breasts were big too.’

’What – do you want to boast about your small ones?’

’Small!? ... They’re still C-cups, you know.’

’What sort of joke is that?’

Yakumo raised an eyebrow.

’It’s not a joke! You’ve never even looked at them!’

’I can tell well enough even if you’re wearing clothes on top.’

Did he not know the word delicacy!? Honestly, she was so angry!

Ignoring Haruka’s inner turmoil, Yakumo stretched out his arms behind him.




’What on earth are you doing!?’

Chief Ideuchi’s yell stabbed at Ishii’s ears.

His forehead with its receding hairline was bright red in agitation. He looked just like a boiled octopus.

Ishii had been prepared to be scolded after he was called to the meeting room, but Ideuchi’s indignation exceeded his expectations.

It was true that they hadn’t obeyed orders, but because of that, they caught the criminal, so Ishii thought that Ideuchi could have at considered that a little.

’The officer in charge is a greenhorn.’

Instead of being afraid of Ideuchi’s anger, Gotou flared up.

’Watch what you say.’

’I just called him a greenhorn because he’s a greenhorn.’

’Know your place!’

Ideuchi and Gotou’s conversation heated up.

This always happened. Gotou took an impolite attitude towards everyone. However, Ishii thought that Gotou’s attitude towards Ideuchi greatly differed from his attitude towards other people.

They didn’t get on well.

’Haven’t you reflected on what you did!?’

’I apologise for arresting the criminal!’ said Gotou in a voice dripping with sarcasm as he bowed his head and turned away. He was acting just like a rebellious child.

At many points, Ishii opened his mouth to mediate, but he was too flustered, overwhelmed by their intensity.

’What you should reflect on is how you didn’t obey orders!’

’You saying it’d have been better if I listened to some greenhorn’s orders, just waited in the car and let the criminal get away?’

Though Gotou’s objection was extreme, this time he was right. In a situation that required adaptability, grandstanding was sometimes necessary.

Putting aside whether he would be able to do that himself, even Ishii understood that much.

’I didn’t say that.’

’Then what are you saying?’

’I’m saying that if you’re also a member of the police, don’t glare at the people above you. This is also for your sake.’

’The job of the police is to keep public order – not to butter the boss up.’

’In order for an organisation to work, sometimes that is necessary.’

’Don’t force your reasoning onto me!’

Gotou’s angry voice was so loud the glass in the window shook.

Ideuchi lost his words and looked at Gotou like he was an alien.

It wasn’t an exaggeration. Their ways of thinking were really that different, or so Ishii thought.

’Forget it. Get back to work.’

After a silence, Ideuchi shook his head and said that, giving up.

’Wasting my time with something so pointless,’ Gotou muttered as he stood up.

’If you keep up that attitude, you won’t get a promotion.’

Ideuchi said one last thing to Gotou, who was exiting the room.

’I never wanted one in the first place,’ Gotou said, and then he left the room.

’You’re unlucky,’ Ideuchi said, casting a pitying look on Ishii.

Ishii didn’t feel there was any reason to be pitied.

’I don’t really...’

’If it’s what you want, you can consider getting a transfer,’ Ideuchi said, interrupting Ishii’s objection.

’A transfer? Why would I?’

Ishii raised his eyebrows and pushed up his silver-framed glasses.

’Your future shouldn’t be shut down for being Gotou’s subordinate.’

Ishii couldn’t understand Ideuchi’s words. He had never felt bitter about working as Gotou’s subordinate.

’I don’t mind working where I am,’ Ishii responded firmly. Then, he said, ’Please excuse me,’ stood up, bowed and ran after Gotou.

He fell –

* * *

After leaving the meeting room, Gotou kicked the wall.

– I’m really pissed off.

What at? Ideuchi? No, that wasn’t all.

He was angry at himself.

He hadn’t been like this when he had first entered the force.

It might have been childish, but he had been filled with a sense of justice and duty. He had been drunk on fantasies that wouldn’t lose even to Ishii’s. He had believed without doubt that he would be able to save a lot of people.

However, that dream crumbled after just a few years.

No, that wasn’t it. He had just been naive in the first place. It was impossible to solve every case like some cool anime hero.

If every person who committed a crime was a detestable villain, this would be so easy –

The real world neither rewarded good nor punished evil.

People had different perspectives and ways of thinking. Cases weren’t just matters of vics and perps – they had effects on all the people around them.

Every day, people surrendered themselves to anger, resentment, sadness, jealousy – every possible negative emotion.

Senior detectives had often said this to him. ’Don’t worry so much. If you don’t just accept that that’s how it is, you’re the one who’ll suffer.’ Gotou thought it was just as they said.

However, Gotou couldn’t do that.

He felt the same as the people involved in the crime and he called out in anger and sadness. Like that, he dug his nails into an unchangeable society.

Revolting against the large organisation that was the police who knew they were in way over their head, and he gradually became isolated.

Even so, he couldn’t leave the force.

Promotions were just showing off. The investigation team could get worked up about them if they liked, but they couldn’t involve the perps and the vics.

With out-and-out careerism, no matter how he tried to cooperate with officers who were trying work their way up, he knew what would happen. A power game.

There wasn’t any meaning in aiming for the top in an appearance-only organisation that had lost sight of its duty.

Finally, these past years police scandals continued one after another and the number of suicides in-house was through the roof.

An organisation like this should just go belly up. Gotou truly thought that.

Why am I still in this organisation if I think that –

He didn’t know. That was why he was angry.

’Damn it!’




Even while she was working, Makoto couldn’t get what happened at the bar the night before out of her mind.

The long-haired woman reflected in the lavatory mirror –

If she were the only one who had seen it, she could have put it away as an optical illusion, but the five people there had seen exactly the same thing.

Even if she denied it, the fearful experience that happened a few months ago came back to her.

At the time, a dead man’s soul possessed Makoto and ate away at her mind. She couldn’t forget the fear she had felt then even if she tried.

If that had been a ghost, it could have been somebody who died at that bar in the past.

In order to know even just a little about that spiritual phenomenon, Makoto accessed the company database when there was a spare moment at work and tried searching for women who had died nearby, but the answer was no.

Pulled along by the spiritual phenomenon with cause unknown, she lacked concentration for her work and made a series of basic mistakes.

She had just been targeted by her boss too, who had ended it with the usual line. ’And you’re supposed to be the police chief’s daughter.’

No matter where she went, her father’s title was waved about.

When she was in university, the boy she liked stopped contacting her once he learnt about her father’s occupation, and her friends had become reserved too.

’You look a bit pale. Why don’t you head home for today?’ said Kazue, the clerk sitting beside Makoto.

Though it wasn’t as if she was feeling unwell, she would definitely be laughed at if she explained the reason.

Then, her mobile phone rang. It was from Asami.

’I’ll be fine if I rest a bit,’ Makoto replied with a smile. She took her mobile and headed towards the lavatory.

After she entered, Asami had hung up, but when Makoto called back, Asami picked up on the first ring.

’Hello, it’s Makoto.’

There was no response even when she started speaking.

She just heard rough breathing from the mobile.

’Hello, Asami? Can you hear me?’

<... I’m scared.>

Asami’s shaking voice came through.

She’s scared –

’What’s wrong? Did something happen?’

<I’m scared. Please. Help me.>

Asami spoke quickly.

’Calm down. What happened?’

Makoto consciously spoke calmly, to try to alleviate Asami’s agitation even if just a little.

<There’s someone in my room.>

Asami sounded like she was crying.

’Someone... What do you mean?’

Makoto couldn’t immediately understand what Asami was saying.

<I can’t see them, but I can feel someone there.>


<Yes. I can hear footsteps and the sound of running water. It’s so creepy I can’t stand it...>

Makoto suddenly turned pale.

There was nothing definite. It could all be Asami’s misunderstanding. However, Makoto didn’t think that.

Makoto had experienced the horror of a dead person’s spirit first-hand. On top of that, there was the thing from last night.

’Hey, Asami. Are you home right now?’

<I’m out. I’m too scared to stay at home. Please, Makoto. I can’t bear with this alone. Please come.>

Asami sounded like she was at her wit’s end. There was no way Makoto could leave her alone.

’I get it. I’ll finish work as quickly as I can and come over.’


’Don’t go back to your room ’til then, OK? Stay somewhere else.’

After Makoto said that, she hung up.

There’s someone who thinks I’m looking under the weather, so I’ll watch my timing and leave as soon as possible.




Haruka followed Yakumo and went up the stairs to the apartment courtyard.

It was a fifteen-minute walk from the station. The apartment had been forcibly built, cutting away at the high ground. The steep steps were what remained.

Because of the dizzying sunlight, going up the steps was rather tiring.

’Hey, walk a bit more slowly.’

Haruka wiped the sweat off her forehead and complained to Yakumo.

’Are you a turtle?’

’The rabbit loses to the turtle in the end.’

’No matter how I try, I can’t think that you’ll catch up to me.’

’That’s why I asked you to walk a bit more slowly.’

’Why are you following me anyway? I don’t remember telling you to come with me.’

Yakumo didn’t slow his pace or turn around.

It was true that Yakumo hadn’t asked her to come, but Haruka couldn’t remember him saying not to either. Haruka had interpreted that the way she wanted to and followed.

When she climbed to the top of the stairs, there was a park right in front of her.

A lawn spread out, surrounded by benches. A few toddlers were running around while letting out shrieks of delight. Behind the park, five seven-storey apartments were lined up diagonally.

Yakumo stood at the entrance of the first apartment and looked up at the roof.

It was an unusually serious gaze.

Haruka stood beside Yakumo and looked up at the roof as well.

All she could see was a brilliant blue sky and cumulonimbi rising up into the sky like columns of smoke. However, it was different for Yakumo.

He had a red left eye that could see the spirits of the dead. He loathed his unique ability and usually hid that eye with a black contact lens.

That ability had caused much of Yakumo’s contrary personality.

His own mother tried to kill him and the people around him found his eye altogether uncomfortable, so he ended up closing off his heart.

That eye filled with so many sad memories was lonely but warm.

’Hey, can you see anything?’

Yakumo didn’t reply.

Well, she hadn’t been expecting a reply in the first place.

’There is a woman with long hair.’

Suddenly, she heard a voice.

It hadn’t been Yakumo’s. As proof, Yakumo also looked surprised. Haruka turned around to where the voice had come from and saw one man standing there.

He wore a black suit and white shirt inappropriate for this season. He had no tie and he had long flowing hair.

He had firm shoulders and dark skin like a surfer. His finely chiselled features were unlike that of a Japanese person’s.

Though their appearances were different, he had the same atmosphere as Yakumo. Haruka felt that even if she didn’t know the reason.

’And you are?’

Yakumo narrowed his eyes, like he was evaluating the man.

’Sorry for interrupting all of a sudden. My name is Kamiyama. I’m an exorcist.’

Kamiyama made a smile and proffered Yakumo a business card.

– This person is an exorcist.

He had a very different impression from what Haruka thought exorcists looked like.

Exorcism was Yakumo’s most hated type of industry.

Yakumo, who could actually see the spirits of the dead, defined them as clusters of people’s emotions. That was why he thought it was an uncivilised method – to him, exorcising spirits with the power of chanting was idiotic and the same as giving someone a beating.

’You think I’m suspicious. Well, that’s not unexpected.’

Kamiyama smiled bitterly at Yakumo who didn’t move to take the business card.

He had a low voice and a soothing way of speaking.

’I can’t do anything if you doubt me, but I can see them. The spirits of the dead.’


Haruka spoke in surprise without thinking.

Kamiyama just said that he could see the spirits of the dead. If that was true, that would mean he had the same ability as Yakumo.

But anybody could say that. On the contrary, if there were exorcists who couldn’t see the spirits of the dead, they wouldn’t be able to make money even in a bogus business.

How did Yakumo see it? Haruka turned to look at him.

His expression hadn’t changed – he was just looking at Kamiyama silently.

’She killed herself...’ said Kamiyama, looking up at the apartment.

Yakumo neither affirmed nor denied it. Kamiyama continued without delay.

’A woman in her early twenties. She jumped from there at the limit of her despair.’

Kamiyama pointed at one of the corners of the apartment’s roof.

Yakumo’s mouth moved slowly. Haruka didn’t know what he was saying.

’She has a violent hatred. A strong hatred that can’t even be healed by death... A deep darkness.’

Kamiyama closed his eyes and took in a deep breath before turning his gaze to Yakumo again.

’You can see them too, can’t you? The same things as me.’

Yakumo’s eyes turned sharp, but his lips were still pressed thinly together.

– Is this exorcist telling the truth?

Haruka restrained the impulse to ask.

’Don’t you think sometimes that being able to see is a cruelty?’

Though Yakumo didn’t reply to Kamiyama’s question, he narrowed his eyes, looking displeased.

However, to Haruka, those eyes looked like they were saying something, and Kamiyama continued talking like he had taken Yakumo’s silence as a response.

’You learn about things you don’t need to know about. The spirits of the dead are people’s passions unbound by morals. Looking at them directly is too painful. My heart breaks every time I see them.’

Yakumo’s gaze met Kamiyama’s, and a wave of tension spread.

Haruka forgot to breathe as she stared at the two of them.

After a silence, Kamiyama smiled bitterly and said, ’Sorry for suddenly bringing up such an odd topic.’

Haruka was finally able to let out the breath she had been holding.

’No, not at all.’

Yakumo ran his fingers through his hair.

’I feel like I’ll meet you again.’

Kamiyama left those parting words and walked at an easy pace away from the apartment.

Haruka realised why she felt like Kamiyama and Yakumo had a similar atmosphere when she saw his retreating back. His back felt like it was burdened with a heavy, sorrowful shadow.

When they could no longer see Kamiyama, Yakumo’s eyes returned to their usual sleepy look and he let out a big yawn.

’Hey, Yakumo-kun. About what that man said...’

For a moment, Yakumo’s expression changed at Haruka’s question.

Though she didn’t know what emotions he had hidden away, it was a complicated expression she had never seen before.

’Putting aside whether he is a real exorcist or not, there is a spirit of a dead woman here, as he said.’

Does that mean that exorcist is the real thing –

Come to think of it, Yakumo had said this before. ’My ability to see the spirits of the dead is just part of my disposition.’ If that was the case, it wouldn’t be strange if other people had the same disposition.


Yakumo ignored Haruka and started to make a call on his mobile.




When Ishii returned from the meeting room to the Unsolved Cases Special Investigations Room, Gotou was snoring loudly as he reclined on the chair.

It looked like his quarrel with Ideuchi earlier hadn’t really struck home.

– I was silly for worrying.

Ishii let out a huge sigh.

Gotou and Ishii were the only ones posted at the Unsolved Cases Special Investigations Room, which used to be a storehouse. Since nobody would see them, nobody would blame them if they took naps.

That said, Ishii didn’t know what to think about dozing right in the open at noon, but he didn’t have the courage to wake Gotou up.

In this situation, all Ishii could do was devote himself to whittling time away.

What he had been doing lately was reading the dossiers for unsolved cases that occurred in the past and reasoning out who the perpetrators were on his own.

Since he couldn’t report them to anybody, it was only self-satisfaction, but it was fairly interesting, since it felt like he had become a famous detective such as Sherlock Holmes.

Then, a mobile phone started ringing.

Gotou got up and answered the phone without even checking who it was, still half-asleep.

’Who’s this?’

Did Detective Gotou talk like that to everyone? Ishii thought that he should act a bit more polite since he was an adult.

However, there was no way he could have said that aloud.

’Eh? When did I become your gofer?’

The person Detective Gotou was talking to on the phone had to have plenty of guts to try to use him as a gofer.

Perhaps –

’You want me to lend... That really is all you can be counted on for... I got it.’

While Gotou complained, he started taking notes for some reason.

’Shut up. I don’t need your concern.’

Gotou left a sharp parting remark and hung up.

’What was it?’ Ishii asked, leaning forward in curiosity.

’Work,’ said Gotou, and he handed a memo with an address written on it to Ishii.

’What is this?’

’There’s an apartment at the address here – look up whether there are incidents in the past near there where somebody died.’

’Where somebody died?’

’Murder, accident, suicide. Anything’s fine as long as they’re dead.’

It was an awfully vague instruction.

’Is that all?’

’If somebody did die, look into them more so you know their personal history.’

’What case is this for?’

’It’s not a case,’ Gotou said bluntly.

– It isn’t a case?

’It isn’t?’

’It’s a request from that brat.’

– By that brat, perhaps he meant...

’From Saitou Yakumo-shi?’

’Yeah. There’s a ghost at that apartment.’

So it was that demon-like man.

The terrible experience from a few months ago came back to Ishii’s heart, and a chill ran from the crown of his head to his toes.

He didn’t want to feel that way again.

’I unconditionally disagree to this.’

’Stop whinging and go look into it.’

Gotou’s fist fell down on Ishii’s head.

* * *

’So, did you find out anything?’ Haruka asked Yakumo, who had ended his phone call.

Yakumo looked at Haruka like she was making a fool of him.

’You haven’t progressed at all, as usual.’


’All I know now is that there is a woman’s ghost at this apartment. There wouldn’t be a conclusion to this so suddenly.’

’Didn’t that exorcist earlier say it was a suicide?’

’You believe him?’

Yakumo’s expression turned stiff.

Haruka, who couldn’t see the spirits of the dead, had no way of judging whether Kamiyama’s words were true or not.

’I don’t know.’

’I don’t know either.’


’That’s why we can’t let ourselves be caught by any preconceptions before we know whether what he said was true or not.’

Yakumo’s lips went into a thin line after he spoke.

There was the sound of a mosquito buzzing far away in the silence. The light reflected from the asphalt was scorching and felt like it could burn skin.

Yakumo’s argument was sound. But –

’What are you going to do now?’

’Go back. After that, I wait for the results of the investigation.’

After Yakumo said that, he started walking away briskly.

Haruka hurriedly followed after him.

As she thought, Yakumo was a bit strange after meeting that exorcist earlier.

She wouldn’t be able to say specifically what it was if asked, but she couldn’t feel strong determination from his eyes.

– He’s perplexed.

Just after they descended the stairs in front of the apartment, Yakumo suddenly stopped.

’When do you think a person would take their own life?’ asked Yakumo, turning around.

His eyes were narrowed. Is it because of the sunlight or –

Haruka had no answer for such an abrupt question. Despite that, she racked her mind to find one.

’Maybe to run away...’

Haruka said the words that came to her.

’To run.’

’I think that everyone has their own reasons, but maybe they were using death to try to escape, or rather, be released from pain or sadness that they couldn’t bear.

Unusual for Yakumo, he listened to Haruka’s words patiently.

Haruka thought that his eyes looked they carried a strange sorrow, but it was probably just a misunderstanding.

’Dying won’t bring release.’

That was all Yakumo said. Haruka thought he was right.

If the dead had souls, those emotions would still remain in this world even if they died.

If they chose death as a way to escape, it was a big mistake. Whether they chose to live or die, people couldn’t run from their own heart.

Still, the number of people who chose to take their own lives was endless. It was a sad truth.

A humid wind blew.

’Let’s run. It’s going to rain.’

Yakumo suddenly broke into a run. Haruka hurriedly started running too. Immediately after she did, rain started pouring down loudly. -



When Makoto finished work, she hurriedly headed towards the place where she had arranged to meet with Asami.

Though it was a family restaurant about a five-minute walk from the station, she ended up going by taxi because of the rain that was coming down in buckets.

After Makoto entered the restaurant, she found Asami at a seat by the window.

She was looking around like she couldn’t calm down and was afraid of something.

’Sorry, I wanted to come earlier,’ said Makoto, sitting in the seat opposite Asami. The moment Asami looked at Makoto’s face, she shook her head vehemently.

Asami covered her face with her hands and mumbled, ’I was really scared... I can’t go home anymore...’

Makoto understood Asami’s fear well.

Though her situation had been different, she had been possessed by a ghost a few months ago. A soul that wasn’t hers had eaten away at her.

She would probably never forget the terror she felt then.

’It’s OK, it’s OK.’

Makoto moved to the seat beside Asami and hugged her shoulders tightly, which made Asami burst into tears.

Makoto stroked Asami’s head and patiently waited for her to stop crying.

After a while, Asami calmed down a bit and started talking in spurts about what had been happening around her.

’I always felt somebody’s presence.’


’Mm... I’d hear footsteps behind me when I sat on the sofa, and when I took a shower, somebody would touch my hair...’

Makoto took Asami’s hand as she listened to her story.

’But I told myself I was just misunderstanding things. When I slept, I felt like I heard somebody’s voice and looked out the window...’

After saying this much, Asami lost her breath.

Makoto could feel Asami’s nervousness and fear. She didn’t want to hear any more. While thinking that, she urged Asami to continue, asking, ’Then?’

’She was there.’

’Who was?’

’That woman. The one who had been at the toilet in the bar last night...’

After Asami said that, she closed her eyes tightly.

Makoto also remembered the blood-covered woman who had been reflected in the lavatory mirror and felt a chill down her spine.

’I live on the ninth floor of my apartment, but that woman was standing outside my window, smiling...’

Asami held her chest as her erratic breathing shook her shoulders.

’It’s OK. Calm down and take deep breaths.’

Makoto rubbed Asami’s back and took calm, deep breaths as an example.

After a while, Asami regained her composure and lifted her face to begin talking again.

’I was so scared I consulted an exorcist.’

’An exorcist?’


’Are they someone you can trust?’

Normal people couldn’t see ghosts. Consequently, it’d be considerably difficult to judge whether that exorcist was the real thing or a fake.

While there were people who were saved, it was also true that it was a breeding ground for fraud.

’Since it’s just a name I’ve heard from a friend... Makoto, I want you to meet him with me.’

’When you say you want me to meet him with you, do you mean you’re meeting him now?’

Asami nodded, her gaze holding Makoto.

’Excuse me. Would you be Inoue Asami-san...’

While Makoto was hesitating on her decision, somebody suddenly called out to them.

When she looked over, there was a man in a black suit standing by their table. He had chiselled features, his long hair was swept back, and he looked composed.

Asami replied, ’That would be me.’

’My name is Kamiyama. I received your phone call.’

The man gave his name and bowed his head.

This man is the exorcist Asami made her request to –

In front of Kamiyama, Asami talked about the spiritual phenomena she experienced again, but Asami’s agitation was more pronounced than it has been earlier, and there were many parts that were incoherent.

In the end, Makoto had to give an additional explanation including the event that occurred at the bar last night.

After Makoto finished talking, a smile appeared on Kamiyama’s face, and he said, ’I see. I have understood most of the story.’

Asami ducked her head and her gaze wandered anxiously. She couldn’t make calm decisions right now. Makoto would have to judge whether this exorcist was the real thing or not – that was how Makoto felt.

’Deducing from this story, I believe this may be a wandering spirit.’

’A wandering spirit?’ Makoto asked.

She had heard the term before, but she didn’t know what it actually meant.

’There are a variety of types of spirits with different characteristics. Many have been recognised by exorcists, but they have been split into residual spirits and wandering spirits.’

’Residual spirits and wandering spirits...’

She had heard of both of them, but she didn’t know what the difference was.

’Yes. Residual spirits, as suggested by the name, are spirits that are bound after death to a specific place or thing.’


’Yes. It might be easy to understand if I said they were captured by emotions. Hatred, sadness, anger – they are kept in this world by these negative emotions.’

’Lingering emotions...’

’That’s right. They are often the ones who committed suicide or were killed. It is said that residual ghosts can escape that binding by possessing a living person.’

Did that mean last time Makoto had been possessed by a residual spirit –

’The other type, the wandering spirit, is also exactly what it sounds like. They are spirits that cannot rest in peace, so they wander. There are many cases where they do not know they are dead or want somebody to know they are there.

Kamiyama’s explanation was logical and easy to understand, as if Makoto were listening to a class at school.

Moreover, he didn’t say anything to surprise them as a joke or fan their anxiety.

’They’re wandering...’

’Yes. It’s likely that the wandering spirit just happened to be in the bar when the two of you saw it. Then, when Asami-san didn’t notice, she brought that wandering spirit home with her.’

’Will I be OK?’

Asami drew near Kamiyama and gripped his arm tightly.

Kamiyama wasn’t perturbed by it and said kindly, ’Please calm down. Wandering spirits simply wander, so they will not inflict harm.’

’Is that true?’

’Yes. If you are still uneasy, I can go to your room now, Asami-san, and exorcise the spirit.’

’Please do.’

Asami replied immediately to Kamiyama’s suggestion.

Then, she grasped Makoto’s hand tightly and said, ’Makoto, you come too.’

Makoto responded with a nod, since there was no way she could have refused.




Why do I have to do this –

Ishii unhappily searched through past data on a laptop.

He had never heard of police investigating at the request of a civilian, let alone a university student.

Saitou Yakumo – to Ishii, he was an unfamiliar puzzle of a living thing.

With Yakumo’s aloof attitude, there was nothing Ishii could get a hold of. He didn’t know how to connect to him. On top of that, there was that red left eye.

His body trembled just from remembering it.

The greatest puzzle for Ishii was why Haruka was together with that demon-like man.

Ishii didn’t know what to think of Yakumo who would order the police around like it was completely natural, but it perplexed Ishii even more that Gotou accepted Yakumo’s request so easily.

That Gotou was reclining on a chair behind him and whistling while plucking out nostril hairs. Furthermore, he was scattering the nostril hairs he plucked onto the floor, which was –

While Ishii was mulling over his thoughts, the data he had been looking for showed up on his monitor.

’Detective Gotou, I’ve found it.’

Gotou responded to Ishii’s voice and peeked at the monitor from behind him.

’April, five years ago – a woman’s corpse was found in this apartment’s courtyard.’

Ishii read the information displayed on the monitor.

’A murder?’

Gotou rubbed at the stubble on his chin.

’Er... The final report states that it was a suicide.’

’That’s certain?’

Gotou held a cigarette in his mouth and lit it as he spoke.

’Though no note was found, it was judged to be a suicide from circumstantial evidence.’

’Circumstantial evidence?’

Gotou frowned and spat out his cigarette.

’Yes. Half a year before she committed suicide, she was the victim of an assault.’


Gotou’s voice cracked. He was openly discomfited.

Ishii was of the same mental state. Rape was one of the most repugnant crimes. It was not as if the perpetrator had a grudge. They had no distinct reason for why they had to do it.

It was a base and filthy crime that one-sidedly hurt women for their own lust.

’A victim report was submitted to the police.’

A suicide from psychological shock –

Though Ishii didn’t know what sort of person she was, considering her feelings, she could definitely have been thinking about committing suicide. He had heard of women in the same situation who had actually killed themselves.

’Do you know her name?’

’Er... Sawaguchi Rika. She had been twenty- two at the time.’

The moment Ishii said that name, Gotou’s expression stiffened.

’I can’t believe it was this case...’

Gotou spoke in a quiet voice that was almost inaudible.

’Excuse me, Detective Gotou...’

’Print out that info for me,’ Gotou said quickly, interrupting Ishii.

Ishii immediately printed out the documents for the case and handed them to Gotou.

’Excuse me, Detective Gotou...’

– Do you know this woman?

Ishii wanted to continue with that, but Gotou left the room before he could finish speaking.

Ishii felt something serious from that murmur.




’Sorry to disturb you.’

Gotou opened the door to Yakumo’s secret hiding place.

A wave of hot air assaulted Gotou’s face. How could anybody stand to stay in this sauna of a room? Yakumo was sitting in the chair in front of him, with sleepy eyes as usual.

’If you know you’re disturbing me, please head home,’ Yakumo said, not even looking at him.


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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo Volume 3 Chapter 1