"Did you notice that Nanaki has been talking to himself recently?"
"Yeah, I noticed. It's kind of creepy…"
"I guess it has something to do with the fact that he's been in the newspapers the last few weeks."
"I read about that! The cops are calling him a sleuth prodigy, right?"
"Solved four complex homicide cases in the last five weeks, it's no wonder they call him a prodigy. But I also heard some cops are calling him 'Possessed Nanaki'. You know, because he…"
"He's looking at us!"
"Ack! Do you think he can hear us?"
I could hear the two girls talking but I wasn't angry at them. What they were talking about was true, in a sense. I did, in fact, help the homicide unit of the police with four of their cases and solved them in less than a few days for each case. I was even given a consulting deal by the department by the time I solved the third case. I solved whatever case they called me in for and they give the consultation fee to my lazy mother, seeing how I'm too young to actually work for them without my parent's permission. The deal was great and would've been greater… had I actually been the one solving the murders.
At one angle, I was the one solving the cases but in another, I was nothing but a fraud.
"Nana-chan! When will school be finished? I want to go and solve more murders!" The girl who caused all my troubles said as she sat against the wall next to my desk, banging her head against the wall.
The one who caused all my recent problems was this girl Shirome, the Ghost Detective sent here from the afterlife to solve murders. I was the only one capable of seeing the amazingly irritating and brilliant ghost with dark hair and a blue dress. The details weren't clear to me but I was chosen by Shirome to be the human who she will work with to solve the murders that happen in my world. She simply appeared in front of me on my way to school and said that I was going to be her assistant, in a sense. I wasn't given much choice in the matter.
"Is it over yet?" she cried as she faked pulling on my sleeve, her hand only going through my arm and giving me an uncomfortable shiver.
"Not yet," I whispered.
"But I'm bored, Nana-chan!" she yelled. Nobody but me could hear her but I still glanced over at my classmates, expecting them to hear her too.
"If you keep yelling and interrupting my concentration, I might have to stay after school," I told her.
Ever since I met the ghost, she has been talking almost non-stop. I think she has some psychological need to talk and since I was the only one who could hear her, she kept talking to me even when I needed silence. It's a miracle how I ever go to sleep when I don't force her to shut up.
"Bored! Nana-chan, call the police and ask them if they have a murder that needs solving."
"You solved a case just three days ago," I reminded her.
"But that one was so painfully obvious," she said pouting. "It was so easy to find out that the construction worker killed his fellow worker and blamed it on the nail-gun he tampered with. Since the company made a price-cut and they were using less expensive tools and materials, the killer tried to blame it on them, saying that they didn't give them the tools they needed. He would've gotten a lot of money out of the law suit he put out against the company. If I didn't find out he tampered with the nail-gun, he would be in another country right now, sipping wine and other such high-class things."
"I already know the details," I said. "I was there, remember?"
Shirome gave a sly smile. "Of course you were, Nana-chan," she said smiling. "How else could I have solved the case without you?"
I knew what she was talking about, the reason why some of the cops nicknamed me 'Possessed Nanaki'.
My cell phone vibrated in my pocket and the class bell rang. Shirome got up excited, thinking that school was over but only class was over. There was still two hours of school left. I took my cell phone out of my pocket and flipped it open.
"Hello?" I said.
"Nanaki-san?" A familiar and tired voice responded.
The one who called was Lieutenant Etou Madashi, the detective who called me in for the last two cases. It was because of him that I gotten the consulting deal. I liked him a bit mostly because of the easy-going personality he had but whenever I spoke with him, I could easily tell what he wanted.
"I got a case here that I want you to look at," Etou said. "You'll come and make my workload lighter, right?"
"But I'm in school right now," I answered.
"Doesn't matter," he responded. "I'll call the school and say the police need your services. Damn school won't get in the way of me getting to bed early today…"
His last comment was more of a whisper but I heard it anyway.
"I'll pick you up in five minutes," Etou said before hanging up.
I put away my cell phone and looked at Shirome, who was staring at me with wide eyes.
I sighed as I gave her the good news. "Etou-san just called, he's got a murder for us…"
"School's over?" she asked ready to grin.
"Yes," I sighed. "We'll be going to solve yet another murder."
Shirome celebrated as I got ready to leave. I kept sighing as I was forced to listen to Shirome's celebrating.
Shirome and I sat in the back of Etou's police car, Shirome unable to stay still as Etou drove us to the crime scene. She was talking but I didn't listen.
Etou was a plainclothes detective with a very tired face and didn't look like he took very good care of his clothes or himself. He had a stubble and his black hair was stringy. One thing I always noticed whenever I saw Etou was that he always looked ready to fall asleep. Being a detective in such a big city meant that he must have been woken up in the middle of the night many times, which would explain why he's always tired. I knew that he only got me the consulting deal just to lighten his workload.
"Got any information I can use?" I asked, trying to act like I was the one doing all the thinking. I only asked the questions so Shirome can use that brain of hers, which I don't know how she can since she's always talking about something else.
"The victim's name is Yuko Manaya, age twenty-seven," Etou told me. "She was found in her boyfriend's apartment with a knife in the back of her neck. We're currently checking out blood splatter and the fingerprints on the knife to see if the boyfriend's the one who did it."
"Wait, if you know who did it, then why did you call me?" I asked. It already seemed like they solved the case.
"Because his alibi checks out, damn it!" Etou yelled as he drove. "We got his fingerprints off the knife but we can't pin the murder on him. He says he was at the bar a block away with some friends last night and the bartender remembers him being there. I called you in just so you can find a hole in his alibi that he might've used to kill his girlfriend."
"Ask if he had any motive," Shirome whispered into my ear.
I asked Etou-san and he responded immediately.
"I don't know if he had a motive," Etou answered. "Depending on the neighbor's testimony, the two had a fight and the murder might've been a spur of the moment thing. But he was the one who called the police, so I'm not sure…"
I looked at Shirome and saw she was having one of the rare moments of not talking, instead focusing entirely on the murder mystery.
"I'm guessing he placed the body in some ice, which messed up the time of death," Etou said. "But we can't any evidence of the body being placed in ice. He had to use some trick to mask the time of death and make us think he couldn't be the murderer."
Etou stopped the car in front of a apartment building which had several more police cars parked around it, as well as some policemen standing guard outside. There were few experts coming back and forth from their vehicles. Shirome and I looked outside the window and saw the body of the victim being carried away in a body bag. We also saw the suspect in handcuffs inside one of the police cars, tears falling down his chin. I don't know about Shirome and Etou but his tears didn't look faked.
"Do you think he did it?" Etou asked turning to me.
Shirome also looked at me.
"I don't think he's the culprit," She told me.
"He doesn't look like a killer," I told Etou.
"I don't think he's one either," He told me. "But all the facts are pointing towards him. The only thing we don't get is the lack of blood and his alibi. It's like she was killed somewhere else."
"Can I get a look inside the apartment?" I asked, knowing Shirome wanted to ask that question.
"Sure," Etou answered unlocking the car doors and exiting.
Etou led us through the police, flashing his badge to the policemen and telling them I was giving my consult on the murder. They let us through and the three of us walked up a flight of stairs to the suspect's apartment. Etou lifted the yellow tape in front of the suspect's door and then entered the room, us following right behind him.
The inside of the apartment was plainer than I thought it would have been. The suspect mustn't have spent much time in his place because there was little furniture in the two-room apartment. There was only a couch, a coffee table, and a flat-screen television hanging on the wall. There was a small blood puddle of blood in the kitchen but other than that, there was no signs of murder. I didn't have Shirome's ability to see the small details but I didn't think she was killed here.
"The victim was definitely killed somewhere else," Shirome told me. "I see no signs of a struggle or even the natural chaos that comes from murder done out of anger. The murder weapon may have come from this man's kitchen but the true culprit only took the knife to place the blame on him."
Etou looked back at me. "Well, do you see anything?" He asked.
"She wasn't killed in this room," I answered.
"I knew it," he whispered. "I'll see if we can find the place where she was really killed."
"No need," Shirome said looking at me. "She was killed in this building."
I turned to Shirome, mostly out of surprise. The officer standing next to her thought I was staring at him but ignored me as Shirome told her reason for thinking the victim was killed in the building.
"The suspect was in the bar at the time of her death but from the looks from that room…" Shirome pointed at the open door which led into one of the apartment's rooms. The inside of the room was far messier than the plain living room. Several bottles were on the floor and the bed wasn't even rolled up.
"The victim was living with the boyfriend," Shirome said smiling. "There are several make-up bottles and women's underwear on the dresser and seeing the mess in that room, I have to say that she has been living in that room for some time. What I find funny is that the suspect and the victim were living in separate rooms."
Shirome continued. "While the suspect was out in the bar, his girlfriend was here, either painting her nails or some other make-up crap. I don't know what she was doing here but the culprit was definitely someone she knew. I know because a few of her jewelry, which is part of a set, is missing, which tells me she was wearing that jewelry as she went out. The only reason a woman would wear jewelry would be if they were meeting someone. She didn't leave the building cause then someone would have seen her leave. And thanks to all this, I figured out that she had been killed in this building."
Her reasoning made sense in a way and was easy to believe. The only problem with her deduction was that she had no way of proving that she was right. I believed she was right mostly because I have seen her prove her reasoning on the second case we worked together on. That case had almost no evidence but Shirome found out the car that the killer tried to get rid of by having it stolen. She found the evidence to convict the killer underneath the seats, right where she thought it would be.
Shirome, however, scowled as she moaned. "It's so painfully obvious though," she moaned.
"Huh? You solved the case already!" I said my voice a bit too loud. The other policemen looked at me but they went back to their jobs when I didn't respond.
"Did you say something, Nanaki-san?" Etou said turning my way. He was talking to the other policemen, telling them to look for possible places where the victim could've been killed.
"Tell him you solved the case, Nana-chan!" Shirome whispered into my ear, her voice not hiding a bit of her excitement.
"I… s-solved the case," I said stuttering.
Etou gave me a smile. "Really! Who killed the victim?" He asked.
"I'll need to see the neighbor's apartment," Shirome whispered.
The neighbor? Did Shirome actually think the neighbor was the one who killed the victim?
I repeated what she said and Etou nodded his head in agreement.
"Of course," He said. "Anything if it means I'll be able to sleep early today."
Etou happily showed the way to the neighbor's apartment. He knocked on the door and the door opened, a tall bespectacled man wearing casual clothes and a paint-stained apron appearing from the other side. He held a paintbrush in his hand and twirled it as he looked at the two standing outside his door. I took a quick glance inside his apartment and saw that it had the same layout as the suspect's, although he had far more furniture and looked like he spent all day inside. I saw several paint stains on the floor and noticed his paintbrush was dripping blue paint. He must've forgotten to put his brush down or clean it off before he went to open the door.
"I already answered your questions," he told us.
"I'm sorry but our prodigy would like to ask you his own questions, Hanase-san," Etou said giving the man an apologetic smile.
Hanase frowned as he looked down on me. "You're that kid I've been reading in the papers," he said recognizing my face.
I felt a wash of cold air come over me as my mouth opened.
"Oh really? Then this'll be much easier since I don't have to introduce myself," I said, or rather my voice said.
It was happening again, that feeling of my body being moved by someone else's will, Shirome's will in fact. This is what she meant by being unable to solve a case without my help and also the reason others call me 'Possessed Nanaki'. It was true, I was being possessed. Shirome possessed my body for a short amount of time, using it to give out her deduction and convict the killer. During this time, I could only watch what Shirome was doing through my eyes and sometimes offer my thoughts.
Shirome extended my hand out to Hanase. "Hello, Killer, I am the one who will be sending you to the depths of hell," She made my voice say.
Hanase took a step back and stumbled, mostly out of surprise out of the sudden change of personality he saw in my face. Anyone else would have understood his reason to stumble. Anyone who was called a killer would have done the same thing and then would have gotten angry. But Shirome saw through him and knew that he was killer without a doubt. She would only have to prove it to Etou.
"Calling me a killer!" Hanase said through his teeth. "I didn't kill anyone! I told the police that her boyfriend was having a fight! Her boyfriend must've done it!"
"When did you hear the fight?" Shirome asked.
Hanase stuttered as he told her. "A-around three at night," he answered.
"Really? Because the time of death was around five o'clock," she chuckled. "What fight goes on for two hours before one side kills the other?"
Etou looked at me, wondering how Shirome knew the time of death. I knew she didn't; she was bluffing to make the killer mess up.
"I don't know," he said regaining his composure. "Maybe I had the time wrong or something. Their fighting kind of woke me up and I tried to go back to sleep."
"Sure, that excuse could work," Shirome replied. "But it's so painfully obvious that you were working all-night, or rather, you were having fun all night…"
Shirome gave Hanase a sly smile with my face. Sweat beads formed on his forehead as she continued.
"The police might not have noticed but you have a slightly more pink mark on your neck," Shirome pointed out. She pointed at the piece of skin on his neck where the color was slightly darker than the rest of his skin. She made my finger move to the smudge of paint which was on his collarbone. "And if I'm right, that piece of paint isn't normal paint; it's nail polish."
"Now, tell me, Hanase-san, why is there nail polish on your collarbone?" She asked with another sly smile.
"I like to use nail polish as paint sometimes," he answered while his hands trembled. "I'm an artist who uses many materials as paint. Is that a crime?"
"No, it's not," Shirome replied. "But using blood as paint is…"
Shirome pointed at his apron. "Or rather, using paint to cover up blood-stains is a crime," she said.
Hanase started sweating more as he glanced down at his stained apron. Etou looked at the apron with wide eyes. He would have never been able to notice that the red stains on his apron was actually blood without doing a test on it.
"Can I come in?" She asked nicely.
Hanase's face twisted into a expression of terror and anger. "I already let the other police look inside my apartment," he answered.
"So that means you'll let him check?" Etou said but the way he said made it sound like he was ordering him to let her in. He looked more than convinced that Hanase was the killer but he wanted to hear what else I, or Shirome, had to say.
Shirome led Etou into the man's apartment and looked inside the room that had its light on. The room was covered with paint of every color but I could tell that Shirome saw the abundance of red that covered the sheet that covered the floor.
"I spilled some paint cans…" Hanase tried to explain the mess but it didn't help.
"You didn't have much time to get rid of the sheet but you did the next best thing," Shirome said. "You hid the murder in plain sight by making it look like you spilled some paint. The policemen who looked into this room would have thought you did yourself, seeing that you paint, and would have left. I bet you were planning to discard the sheet covered in blood later, when the cops were no longer around."
"As for the murder weapon," Shirome continued. "I bet you got the victim to bring you one of the knifes from the apartment and made up some excuse why you couldn't use your own."
Etou looked at Hanase. "All we have to do is take your apron and test it," he told him. "If those stains on your apron are in fact blood, then you can expect to live the rest of your life in prison."
"But…" Hanase tried to think up of an excuse but I saw that everything he thought of wasn't going to work. He was defeated and was going to be arrested soon. I saw his knees go out as he fell down, his eyes rolling to the back of his head.
And then Shirome and I saw the same thing come out of Hanase's body that came out of the others that the ghost had proved were killers. The reason Shirome was sent to this world was coming out of the murderer's body, the very thing that had influenced him towards murder.
A Demon,a being made out of black mist, was leaving Hanase's body when it found that he had been caught.
Demons, as how Shirome explained it, are the reason behind many human's reasons to kill their fellow humans. They possess humans, almost like how Shirome possesses me, and make them think that murder is the only way to get rid of their problems. One thing I found out about Demons was that they were incredibly smart and were the ones who actually came up with the murderer's scheme. They thought up the trick the murderer used and make them think it was actually their idea, which only make them more willing to resort to murder. They feed on the negative emotions that the human feels after committing murder and will continue until the human is broken or until they are caught. One negative emotion that the Demons hate is the feeling of defeat, something Shirome knew how to bring out of humans when she found them out.
Shirome exited my body and I regained control.
"Another demon exorcised," she said in a triumphant voice.
"Thank god it's over," I whispered as Etou placed handcuffs on Hanase's wrists, although he wasn't going to be running away.
Etou was smiling as he looked at me. "I knew I was right to call you, Nanaki-san!" He laughed losing his tired expression for a second. "I can sleep as long as I want tonight!"
Etou slapped me on the back as he went to get the other policemen and tell them the crime was solved. I could hear the policemen ready to congratulate me for solving another case, even if I wasn't really the one who solved it. I would have felt a little guilty but I felt more embarrassed because of how Shirome used my body, talking the same way she does to me. The reason I'm called 'Possessed Nanaki' is only because she refuses to act like me when she takes over my body.
I walked out of the apartment with a satiated Shirome and dodged the reporters outside, accepting Etou's offer to take me home. He told me that he was going to get the guys to pay my mother the consultation fee, meaning someone else was going to be happy tonight.
I wanted to talk with Shirome as we rode in Etou's car so I took out my cell phone and faked talking to someone on it. Shirome noticed me glancing over at her and was more than willing to talk about today's case.
"Did it again," I said, masking the real purpose of the question.
"Of course, I'm the brilliant Ghost Detective," Shirome replied. "I easily noticed that the killer tried to place the blame on the boyfriend by lying about them having a fight."
"Why did he do it?" I asked.
"I saw that he was married, evident by the wedding ring on the kitchen counter," she answered. "The victim probably threatened to tell his wife about their affair and since he was possessed by a Demon, thought that killing her was the only choice of action."
"I see," I said. "So that's why…"
Shirome rested her head against the seat and crossed her fingers. "Thank you for letting me use your body, Nana-chan," she said smiling. "I couldn't do anything if you didn't let me use your body to catch the killer and exorcise the Demon. I'm really grateful, Nana-chan."
I felt my cheeks becoming hot but I replied.
"I'm glad I met you too," I said smiling.
Author's Note: A simple chapter just to set up the story. I hope you like the story. Also in need of a Beta-reader...
As for those who have read my other stories, I think I do First-person view better than third.