Chapter Four: Digging for the Truth:
August 1st, 2002.
Escape; Anna’s computer became just that. The college freshman would boot it up and do some research or homework whenever she felt sad or stressed. Sure, she would feel better later, but to what cost?
Anna isolated herself further in her “glass box,” as her friends called it, in the sky. She wouldn’t eat or sleep for days as she stared at the screen looking at different articles on various subjects. Her friends worried about her because of it. They tried to drag her out with them whenever they could. They even had to “kidnap” her to celebrate her twenty-first birthday on the beach town two years later.
Despite all attempts to breathe life into her, the college freshman could not be reached. Anna didn’t have any interest in anything tied to a social atmosphere; she just wanted to escape. Escape from the pain of the three years ago; escape from that night.
May 8th, 2009.
Anna unzipped her backpack the same time the mother and daughter bought the house. / Time to check if anything had been stolen or bugged/, the woman thought. She went over the checklist in her head. If Anna was correct, everything should be here.
/Right/, Anna thought. She overturned her backpack and dumped the contents on her futon. Her iPod was still there, earphones and all. Anna turned on her iPod and scrolled through the music. Everything was there and nothing she didn’t download present so far. Her snacks were all in the bags. The clean underwear still looked folded and untouched. Her pencils and pens were still there. She still had the newspaper she bought in California. The same went for her Tylenol, socks, and water bottle. Her hygiene things unused and present like the day she packed them in. The basics all checked out as clear. Anna breathed out and sat back.
/Good!/, she thought. The Japanese-American took in a deep breath and picked up work again.
First item on the list: Journal. All pages were still there and clean. The only writing present was hers. That’s one item down and now for the biggie. She pulled out her red Studio 17 Dell laptop and flash drive. If someone wanted to kill her, it would be over this. The woman took some time to prepare herself. Anna looked around for an outlet for her laptop and found one neat the door.
/Perfect!/, the woman thought. She plugged up the laptop and got right to work. Anna turned on her laptop. The welcome screen popped up looking untouched. Anna didn’t let down her guard though.
Anna logged in using her fingerprints in the fingerprint scanner. She waited for her account to load. Windows came up with no problems. Her settings looked the same as before she was killed. Anna still looked around the whole laptop for a few minutes. The laptop passed the test. One more item left to check out.
Anna plugged in her black and red flash drive. She waited for the file to come up. Anna examined contents once it loaded. She spotted a file labeled “To Kimoto-san.”
/What the hell is this?/, she thought. Anna clicked on the icon. A word document popped up and she read it to herself.
If you are reading this, you have been brought back from the dead. I know you have many questions about your situation. I can’t give them to you, but I can give you a start. You have something in your soul called a Hell Stone. I am not to explain any more than that to you at the time being. Good luck with the search.
There was no name to it. Anna stared on blankly at the letter. Not much of a clue but, better than nothing. She clicked on Foxfire on her desktop and Google Japan came up. She typed in “Hell Stone.” A list of urban legend pages came up as a result. After narrowing down the search and looking through the links, she found the best page and clicked on the link.
“The Hell Stone brings the dead back to life temporary,” the woman read to herself. “The stone is place in the deceased’s mouth and anchors the soul to the body. The deceased will come back to life; however they cannot stay not for long. If the dead is alive longer than one minute, someone else has to die in their place.” The color drained from Anna’s face at those words.
/Somebody died because of me?/, she thought. The poor woman’s hand trembled on the mouse, yet she forced herself to keep reading.
“The Hell Stone is highly unstable,” Anna read on. “Over time, it will break down in the body. Once the stone breaks down, the host body—soul and all-- will break down into white ash. With that being said, the host body is still vulnerable to illness, injury, and death. The stone does not grant the host body any powers what so ever. Once the stone is removed, the person will die again, but this time they will stay dead. The Hell Stone will break down into dust once it is removed. No other stones can be used to bring them back.” Anna sat back in her chair, panting with her hand clutched her black tank top.
/I could die again at any moment?/, she thought. In would take several hours for Anna to come to terms with her situation. Until then, she buried herself in her research on the Hell Stone and any clues to her father’s past. Just like she did during her college days, every page of information locked Anna higher in her invisible glass box of disassociation and isolation.
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