Miyoko no Koro Naku ni
A Higurashi/Umineko Fanfic
Episode 1: Companions
Playing outside in the mid-spring air felt delightful for little Miyo. At one point, though, she paused to look at a passerby. It was a girl in her mid to late teens wearing a distinctly gothic-style black dress with white ruffles and a blue ribbon and bow at the chest. Her hair was long and colored a deep, rich shade of purplish-blue. Her eyes, which looked strangely empty, were like violets.
Miyo had never seen a person like this before, and she was instantly enchanted. She thought the gothic girl was so gorgeous and lovely, even if her eyes were devoid of any affect. So Miyo ran up closer the older girl and introduced herself.
“I know who you are already,” said Frederica. “But regrettably, I cannot give you my name. Perhaps I’ll leave you with one hint: I am Witch with Godlike power. Now, Miyoko Tanashi, do you wish to avoid pain and suffering?”
Unlike most girls, Miyo didn’t laugh or make fun of the strange girl for saying she was a Witch. She wanted to talk and play with the so-called Witch, so she tried hard to think of an answer to her difficult-to-understand question.
“I don’t like pain,” Miyo stammered. “So, of course I’d want to get away from suffering.”
“Then I suggest you go with your parents today,” said Frederica, pointing to Miyo’s house. “Go out with them on their errand. If you do so, you will avoid longsuffering. But you will die.”
Miyo couldn’t understand all of that. She said, “I don’t want to go with mommy and daddy today. I was with them all yesterday for my birthday. I’d rather play with you, here.”
“I see. I can’t be bothered to play with you in this time, in this place. But I’ll be playing with your life the whole time. So look forward to some fun.”
With that, Frederica Bernkastel walked away.
Over and over, during the long car ride to the orphanage, Miyo’s mind showed her the memory of meeting that strange girl. It was hard to believe that wasn’t even a full day ago. Not long after meeting that girl, Miyo’s world crumbled. She lost both her parents when a bus crashed into their car head-on. Though she never got to hear any parting words from her mother, Miyo remembered her final exchange with her father. It kept playing in her mind.
“Takano Hifumi,” he coughed. “He was my professor. You can rely on him if Daddy dies. Remember the name: Ta-Ka-No Hi-Fu-Mi. I love you, Miyoko.”
He tried to say more after that, moving his lips as if forming words, but being unable to give any voice to them. Then he threw up, spattering deep red blood all around, and the nurses rolled him away. A few hours later, Miyo got the news that both her parents were dead. She was too shocked to talk clearly with the office man who interviewed her. She tried to mention Takano Hifumi, but the man said since he was not a relative, Miyo would be sent to an orphanage.
Now, she was riding in a car on the way to a place called Sky House. But she was too shocked and dissociated to care about where she was going or to know what she should do. Even when they finally arrived at the orphanage, as darkness fell, Miyo couldn’t look at the place. She barely even looked at the three people that came out to greet her and escort her inside.
“I am Sumire Ichihara,” the headmistress explained, while Miyo stared at the ground, shedding silent tears. “This lady is Meisa Ebina, a member of the staff here at Sky House. The great hulk here is Goro Hosoda, also an important part of my staff. We’re very sorry for your loss, young miss Miyoko. We’ll be sure to take care of you here.”
So the lady said, but as soon as the gate closed behind Miyo, the gentle and cheerful demeanors of those three vanished. Miyo looked up to try to read the headmistress’ face and see if she was angry. But her vision was filled with only one thing: the huge man in grey, with buzzed hair, as he leaned toward her to grab her arm.
“Goddamn little whores, every one of you! Take this! Have some of that! Scream for me. It hurts, doesn’t it? That’s what you get for being fucking brats!”
Those were the kind of words the Hosoda shouted at he used a sturdy oak stick to beat the backs and buttocks of the four girls lined up against the wall in front of him. One of them was Miyo. The three others were the girls she shared a room with, but she hadn’t even learned their names yet. However, Miyo had at least learned in the past day and a half that this was the true nature of Sky House.
Here, almost all the members of the staff beat and abused the children. The most loud, violent, and impulsive of the mostly male staff was Hosoda. But it was rumored there was someone even worse than him: the Master of Penalties, a torture freak who administered the cruelest “punishments”. As she was beaten by Hosoda that afternoon, Miyo tried hard to endure.
At last, Hosoda calmed down, threw aside the oak stick, and said that the girls — the “ugly little bitches” — were done. The girls were crying and panting, some louder than the others. Blood showed through the backs of their shirts and pants in a few places. Underneath the skin would be covered in bruises and wallops. This whole time, they’d been in the men’s bathroom, but now Hosoda took them one by one to the storage closet just down the hall. With all four girls inside, he locked the door.
“No warm bedding or soft bandage for you brat tonight,” he growled. “Now be quiet until the morning. Around breakfast time, you can shout to have someone get you out of here. If you shout or scream before then, I’ll hear you, and I’ll come back and beat you some more, this time with my own fucking hands!”
Hosoda left, and for a few minutes, Miyo sat in the closet trying not to cry again, aware of the others around her but unable to see for the darkness. One girl was still whimpering quietly.
“There, there, Sayu-chan,” said a voice that was empty of the sounds of sobs. It seemed confident and reassuring. “I know it hurts, Sayu-chan. I’m in pain, too. Let’s try to be as quiet as we can, though. Knowing Hosoda, he really will come back if he hears us.”
In a whisper, the confident but gentle girl continued, “Can everyone move their legs and feet alright? No broken bones? Good. Now check the bumps on your backsides and thighs, and see if there are any small fractures. Anybody? Nobody. That’s great. Now, I’m going to change positions and lie on my stomach so the broken skin doesn’t rub against this floor. Face toward the door. I want you all to do the same. Ok, I’m near the wall to my right. Sayuri is to my left. Fumi-san, can you hear me?”
“Yes,” said a whispering voice to one side of Miyo. “I’m near the left wall. The new girl is on my right. Hey, kid. What’s your name again? Mayuko? Miyuko?”
“It’s Miyoko,” Miyo whispered back. “Other kids call me Miyo. Who are you all?”
“How rude, not knowing your roommates by the third day,” the voice of the first girl said with a chuckle. “It’s nice to meet you, Miyo-chan. My name is Eriko. I’m kind of like the leader of these two, though Fumi-san is a year older. Oh, that’s her to your left. You’d better call her Fumi-senpai or something; she’s a little uppity.”
“Nice to meet you, Fumi-senpai.” Miyo found that the pain all over the backside of her body wasn’t as bad when she was thinking about and talking to these girls. “Who is the other?”
“I’m… well, I mean… my name is Sayuri.” This girl’s voice was the lightest and weakest. “I’m the youngest here. Is it a good idea to keep talking? What if someone hears us?”
“Sayu-chan is always a bit timid.” It was Eriko again. “I think it’ll be fine if we all whisper. And if we hear any footsteps outside, we shut up right away. So, new girl. I mean, Miyo-chan. I heard Hosoda got angry and rounded you up for a penalty just because you skipped dinner.”
“That’s right.” Miyo could still hardly believe how sick this place was. “What about you all?”
“I talked back to Hosoda when I saw him yelling and grabbing at Sayuri.” That was Fumi’s voice. It was a little gruffer than Eriko’s voice, but used speech more polite than casual.
“And… I… let the birds escape from the birdcage,” murmured Sayuri, almost too low to hear.
“As for me,” said Eriko, “I volunteered to be punished when I heard Hosoda had gotten a hold of Sayu and Fumi. I couldn’t let my friends get beaten alone. If they’re to be punished and I can’t stop it, I might as well take a beating, too. It’s my job as friend and leader.”
“That’s impressive,” said Miyo, wondering if she would have the courage to do the same.
“Hey, Miyo-chan. I like you. I want you to be one of us. So what do you say? Will you be our friend?”
Miyo didn’t feel like she could open up about everything right away, but she thought the idea of beginning new friendships sounded good. Especially so, since Eriko was so kind and put others at ease so much. Thus, Miyo whispered,
“I’m pleased to join you all.”
To Be Continued