The young man seemed to be bleeding from his chest and his stomach, staining his clothes in red and forming a puddle of blood as he laid there in the hallway. Not a hint of life could be felt from his half-opened eyes as they stared into the void, and neither did his body budge so much as an inch. Evidently, he was dead.
“…Another dead body.”
Unable to make heads or tails of the situation, my mouth hung open as I looked down at the man. The young man seemed to be in his latter twenties and had no feature that stood out other than his beard.
“Why are people dying here?”
Unlike the first body, this one was clearly a murder. He must have been stabbed in the chest and stomach with a sharp blade of some sort, but that’s about all I can tell as an amateur.
For awhile, I just stood there frozen. I didn’t even know how much time passed. Five minutes? Ten minutes perhaps? Maybe even more than 30 minutes. I don’t know. The blood-stained corpse was just so shocking that for a moment I’d completely lost my sense of time.
Before long, I calmed down and realized that there was a video camera beside the man.
“…A video camera?”
A dead body and a video camera. It was such an unusual situation, but I picked up the video camera nonetheless, thinking that perhaps something in it might allow me to understand the situation better.
The video camera was a popular model from a known manufacture and was very common, I tinkered with it for awhile before finding the videos recorded in it. There were more than 10 video files, and they were all arranged according to the date of capture.
I opened the most recent video, and a shade of green appeared on the LCD screen of the video camera.
“What is this?”
Before long, it became apparent that the video was taken in the camera’s Night Mode. It was a stormy night, and the person behind the camera crept into the mansion.
Barely anything was happening, so I impatiently fast-forwarded through the video. Whoever was behind the camera continued to search the mansion. From the kitchen to the dining room, through the hallway into the lounge, then through the staircase into the next floor.
“What is this guy doing?”
Just when I was wondering what the camera guy was up to, the screen suddenly changed, and I canceled the fast-forward. The bearded man could be seen on his back against the wall of the hallway, and a pistol, partly in the frame, could be seen pointed at him.
“You’re… One of us… Aren’t you?”
The bearded man said with much struggle, but the camera man remained mute.
“I’ll take that for a… yes,” the bearded man said before breaking out into a violent cough. “When we heard that Hinako and Yui died… Everyone else was sure that someone else had done it… But I knew… That the culprit could have only been… One of us.”
As the meaningful conversation continued, I fast-forwarded the video again. The bearded man continued to talk with an unknown person, while I continued to fast-forward the video until I reached a certain point.
“I was shocked when I heard Mother Teacher died. But then I realized… That someone had beaten me to the punch. When I thought about it… Everyone must have been fed up with the abuse. No one else other than us could have done it. After all, we’re the Children of the Devil’,” the bearded man said. “13 years ago… Was it you? Did you kill Mother Teacher?”
But the person pointing the gun at him remained quiet.
I fast-forwarded the video again until another change occurred.
“…So you did it, but…” The bearded man said. “I don’t understand… Why are you crying? It doesn’t make sense…” Gradually, his voice grew weaker. “…If you have enough kindness to shed tears… Then you might as well… Send me off sooner… And pull that trigger alread——”
BANG! Sounded the gun, and the man’s head fell toward the camera. The moment his head came into contact with the camera, the video ended. The recording was probably cut short when his head hit it.
“What in the hell?”
What I saw just now was a murder video. Irrefutable proof that someone had shot the bearded man lying here on the ground. Though it remains a question why this video camera was left here, there’s no denying it now, this man was murdered.