Last year, I had gone with my friends, Sebastian, Rosalie, and
Caleb, to this abandoned manor. The name of it was Aku Yami Manor,
an ancient Japanese manor in a deserted mountainous area in Japan.
It was in the middle of winter, and it was pouring cats and dogs
outside. None of us remembered why we even went inside this creepy
building. Maybe it was an interest for creepy things, or was it a
temptation to explore? I don't know.
Aku Yami was a large, I mean LARGE, Japanese style gothic
castle-like manor. It was unquestionably beautiful, made of black
stone. It had only one window. The window was beaten up, and
amazingly still had all the glass panes. The solemn-looking glass
was covered in freezing cold water. In the middle, there was a
single red piece of circular glass. The frame was metal that seemed
to be silver or black, and was really curvy, and turned at sharp
angles. That was the thing that grabbed my attention and I wondered
why there was only one window.
I grabbed Sebastian's hand and ran in shouting, "You lazybutts! Get
Rosalie ran in, leaving Caleb no choice but to follow us in. I
found a small piece of paper covered in Japanese Romaji symbols.
I'm so glad I took a Japanese class because I translated it for my
friends, "Evil… Dark… Manor… was… built… cent-… -uries… ago… The…
manor… was once… for a young… teenaged boy… named-"I paused, unable
to pronounce the name, "to be… a fine, young… prince to serve the
city…" The writing faded and became illegible. I did my best to
translate it, so I kept it as a memento. We kept on going, hoping
to find more things worthwhile.
Eventually, we reached that window. I found another note. It said
the window actually had a name, Kokoro, which meant Heart. We were
so tired that we ended up taking a nap. It was so cold we had to
sleep together packed like sardines in a can. Not only did I nap, I
had a strange dream that the window changed my life. Who knows how
long we napped.
All of a sudden, we woke up to a strange sound. Sure, hearing a
bell tolling three times is normal, but something about it was
unsettling. I remember this line because of the bell, from
Meltdown,* my favorite Japanese song in English. The line, it
repeated in my head with the sound tolling… "The second hand of the
wall clock, and the presenter of a TV show, laughs of invisible
people, the voices echo through my mind." The flashback made me
feel sick and dizzy, and I just about collapsed on Sebastian, and
Minutes later, I woke up in Sebastian's lap. He told me that he
watched the bell before it rang a third time, it didn't move.
Rosalie asked me if I was all right.
"Yea, I'm fine," I reassured her.
"Leila, you sure?" asked Caleb, still not convinced even though I
nodded, "Oh well, let's go check it out."
Sebastian mumbled something, but I couldn't make it out. The rain
didn't help; it was becoming darker, and making it creepier to be
at Aku Yami. I scootched closer to Sebastian and stayed close for a
while. We were really creeped out but that didn't stop us from
going further in the maze-like manor. Twice, I almost peed myself
from weird illuminations seeping through tiny cracks in the walls
and strange reflections on mirrors. After a while, we got lost,
ending up at Kokoro several times. We decided to follow the rule of
a maze; put your left hand up to a wall and walk without lifting
it. We ended up in a strange lobby if some sort, and it was huge.
There were lots of statues inside the lobby-like room's walls. Most
of them were dragons that had two tails and a lava-looking skin
texture. A few of them had broken wings or tails, but most of them
were intact. This room by far was the most architecturally detailed
Then we saw two eerie red dots at the other end of the long room,
and a long strange trail of blood-red emanated from them. The dots
stayed still and the trail fell, drooping from them. I focused on
them, and they were actually red crescents with a white circle in
the middle. I shuddered and a chill went down my back. I looked
over slow to my friends, one by one, Rosalie, Sebastian, and Caleb.
They saw them too. I could tell they were feeling what I was
Suddenly, the ominous looking dots disappeared. A moment later,
they came back. I saw, that they were actually eyes. I gasped, and
the creature turned sharply towards me, the trail following the
eyes, still being invisible like a ninja in the shadows. I head
hollow footsteps that echoed throughout the room, and the ground
vibrated softly. There was just enough light from the open roof to
reveal the creature. The rain still fell down hard, fell on the
creature's head and sizzled. Rosalie squeaked and we all saw it was
a dragon. There were symbols on the arch above it, saying, "Lava
Twin Tail Dragon Lair." The dragon looked up, and looked back at
us, striking a pose full of pride. I guess it heard my heart
thumping loudly because it growled and spread its wings and took
"RUN!!!" Sebastian exploded into a sprint. We all ran. The dragon
fell to the ground, making the ground shake, throwing us off
balance. It roared to the full moon and charged. I heard one of the
guys cuss at it, but that seemed to anger it. The Twin Tail opened
its massive maw and hot lava bubbled from it. I thought, "Jeez this
thing can shoot lava at us?!" I hoped not, but I was really wrong.
It shot a glob of lava at us but it missed and melted a wall. We
all split up, only to crash into each other at the window again.
Rosalie ran and Sebastian grabbed my arm because I got lost in my
thoughts again. We reached a courtyard and hid in a tiny room.
"Hey, where'd Caleb go?!" Rosalie asked frantically.
"Oh no, he's going to get killed!" Sebastian moaned. One last roar
was echoed into a fade. I was shaking so bad I had to sit down. I
was afraid it ate Caleb. Rosalie and Sebastian thought the same
thing. Tears slid down Sebastian's face.
"I lost my best friend… I-I can't…" he faltered, burying his face
in his hands.
"I never thought this would happen," I choked. Rosalie broke down.
She was always the one who was emotionally weak. Sebastian had been
Caleb's friend since they were 3 and I was 2. Rosalie didn't meet
them until we were in 2nd grade. I knew how Sebastian felt, I had
lost my uncle to a heart attack and I nearly lost my best friend to
cancer. Almost losing a friend is already hard enough at young age.
We heard a thump outside in the manor. Still shaking hard, we got
up and tried to find our way out. We heard a scream and a crash.
"CALEB?!" Rosalie shrieked, thinking that the mix breed dragon
didn't eat him. We all shot off like rockets running towards the
sound. Once again, we came to Kokoro. The dragon was sitting like a
little curious but obedient puppy, only it was about 20 times
larger. Caleb was on the ground holding a ruby about the size of a
small fruit. It was glowing but it faded. The color went from red
to a beautiful color of a glowing ember, emanating red and orange
and black lights. Caleb told us what happened and he gave me a
piece of paper with more Romaji on it. I took a while to translate
it and told everyone. The statue of the dragon, it was called
Kyuubi. The statue was sculpted in honor of the prince when he
died. The sculptor believed that the statue would hold the prince's
spirit by placing a Lava Twin Tail Dragon's lava-made ruby. He also
believed that the prince's spirit would protect Aku Yami. Over the
centuries, the spirit eventually became lonely. The last human to
be there was the first to see Kyuubi attacking a traveller rather
than make sure he got out safely and watch over the manor.
The note said the traveller came in 1768. He never showed a sign he
made it out safely. Kyuubi seemed to read the Japanese on the
paper. It was as if he could read it. He used the floor to inscribe
some Romaji. It read, "My soul got corrupted in 1697, and when the
man came, I accidentally killed him and ate him. I regret it, and
my heritage could resurrect him, but I cannot." I was surprised and
impressed by the dragon's abilities and vast memories. I found some
charcoal and another piece of paper and copied Kyuubi's words. I
had collected 4 pieces of paper.
The dragon looked at us again, thinking what to do. Kyuubi's eyes
seemed normal now. He couldn't talk but he used his wings to
gesture us to follow him. Pondering, while walking, I was so
relieved that Caleb is safe. Remembering the bell, the line from
Meltdown reverberated through my mind again. I watched how Kyuubi's
glowing scales changed colors and folded and unfolded while walking
Kyuubi stopped underneath the huge arch leading into the yard. He
looked at us and blinked one and spread his massive wings. He took
a few steps into the rain and stopped. Kyuubi's skin instantly
hardened but still warm inside the lava flesh. It seemed as if he
was offering a small umbrella for us so we could leave. We walked
underneath the wings. We all walked for a few miles down the
mountain until it became impassable. Kyuubi gestured again, showing
he can fly us down. He sat down and opened his claws for us to
climb into. Sebastian followed me into one and Caleb and Rosalie
went in the other. Kyuubi growled softly to us, as if he was
saying, "Hold tight," and he took flight to the raining starless
His stone-crusted wings cracked and boiling lava exploded into
place, sending shards of rock and globlets of lava flying. It was a
good 20 minutes before we reached the foothills. Caleb gave him the
ruby back as a thanks and Kyuubi swallowed it. I guess he didn't
want to be corrupted again. I waved good-bye to the majestic dragon
of Aku Yami Manor, and holding Sebastian's hand, I walked home
alongside my three best friends.
*Meltdown is a popular All-Japanese song sung by Vocaloid character
Kagamine Rin 02, one of the Kagamine twins. Meltdown is about Rin
dreaming of being killed by her closest friends and she counts down
to committing suicide in a nuclear reactor. Also available in
English and several other versions.