For appearances sake, Shinogan from the exterior, looked just like any other high school. It was large, built with sturdy walls the color of bland oatmeal, with open stairs and large windows in the classrooms. We had a field for Phys. Ed. Classes, science labs, shoe lockers by the main door, and small blocks of shrubberies surrounding the building that students took turns taking care of. And like a lot of other Japanese schools, we had our fair share of horror stories.
“The Seven Mysteries?” Dominic repeated. Mitsuo nodded eagerly. He loved scary stories. He freaked out at a Casper movie but he loved scary stories.
“The first one is of the mysterious stain on the wall in the east side. On the sixth floor by the sixth step.” He whispered, fully into his ‘ghostly story-teller’ mode, all he needed was a flashlight to shine under his chin.
“The mark appeared suddenly over night, without explanation. Students tried many times to wash it out to no avail. The stain wouldn’t give. Then one summer, during a renovation, the school decided to just paint over it. But the painter they hired mysteriously fell from the steps and broke his neck. He died with a look of fear on his face. Others tried to no avail, and they all claimed they saw a hand reaching from beyond that stain to push them down the stairs. And they heard a voice and the soft, soft sobbing of a young girl.”
“I was just going to show them where the senior’s science classes were.” I complained.
“It’s more fun this way. Come on.” Mitsuo hopped up the stairs eagerly. Eager to fly to his apparent death pushed by a disembodied hand from a stain on the wall that was shaped like…Florida.
Dominic bent a little to peer at the stain. “Huh. Y’know this looks like…”
“We know.” I interrupted.
“There are many stories of the source of the hand. The most popular one is, a student here was romantically involved with a teacher. She was madly in love but he was married and refused to leave his wife because she was expecting a baby. She threatened to tell his wife everything. There was a struggle…and he killed her, perhaps by accident. They say this stain came from her blood and it’s her hatred, jealousy and her love of that man that keeps it here, to remind him of his guilt. Months later, he couldn’t stand it anymore and threw himself off the roof.”
“What really happened?” Wu asked me flatly.
“Someone spilled spaghetti sauce on the wall this summer and since the seniors are always doing dangerous experiments in the labs that stinks up the hall, no one noticed until it congealed and had to be scraped off. The painters are coming in the summer.”
“My version was more fun.” Mitsuo pouted.
“Let’s not freak out the new guys. Most of those stories are crap. The weeping in the hallways comes from the wind. The cursed lab that no one goes to was because there was a bat infestation last term and it’s being fumigated. And the hanged man in the window is, okay, kinda creepy, but that’s where the voodoo club is held after school and apparently the club president got dumped and was feeling vindictive.”
“She used a voodoo doll?” Dominic said, horrified.
“Nah, it was an old Raggedy Andy doll. The worse it could have done was attract moths.”