Miyoko no Naku Koro ni
A Higurashi/Umineko Fan Fiction
Escape Chapter (4th Arc)
Episode 17: So Close
The plan was in motion. Miyo tested the key in the backdoor that night. It worked, and she was tempted to run away on her own, but after all the time she’d spent with the other girls in this world, that just seemed too cruel. Even if there were other worlds where they existed, and even if every life could be easily manipulated by a Witch, it still didn’t feel right to leave Eriko and company to die.
The following day, therefore, Miyo revealed her escape plan to the girls, and Fumie said she would speak with Ebina sometime that day. She succeeded, and right before dinner that evening, she whispered something to Eriko, who passed it on to Miyo.
She said, “You’d better eat your fill now, and rest and digest for a just a couple of hours. Because, in the middle of the night, we’re going to get up and escape.”
Before she went to bed that night, Miyo crawled over to Fumie, who was sharing her futon with Sayuri for the night. She asked if things really went so smoothly with Ebina.
“They did,” said the black-haired girl. “She said that even a day ago might not have worked, but that she could mostly likely help us tonight. She has things to consider on her end, like the staff work schedules and how they line up, or whether the headmistress is in town, and whether she’s being watched by anyone above. Things like that.”
“So she’s going to distract the staff for us right?” Miyo asked for clarification. “And if the plan goes well, she’ll make sure our escape isn’t discovered until the morning?”
Fumie nodded. “Now, we’re going to wake Sayuri up if we keep talking. Let’s both rest.”
Miyo withdrew to her own thin, beaten futon. However, she didn’t sleep a wink.
The first obstacle was the door. It took an agonizingly long time to get the rusty key to work in the rusty lock without breaking either one. Eriko helped keep everyone, including Miyo, patient, as she fiddled with the lock for a good five minutes. Finally, it clicked open. Eriko, Fumie, Sayuri, and Miyo hurried out the door, and Eriko shut it behind her as quietly as possible. Even she was trembling a little bit.
Next, moving quickly and with minimal noise, the girls headed to the wire fence on the edge of the back property. The woods were right behind. A hole had been dug under it and a few of the wires clipped in advance by Eriko. That had been her main share of the escape plan. There was just enough room for the small children to slide under the fence and out the other side. Sayuri got a scratch on her back from brushing the sharp tips of wire, but she managed not to scream. Everyone had crossed into the woods. The main obstacles had been cleared.
“Good luck to each of us,” said Eriko, and then, as planned, the girls split up. Fumie went with Sayuri forward and to the left, which was southeast. Eriko headed straight south. Miyo chose the west. The children ran through the forest with all they had in them.
Miyo thought things were going well. It did start raining and thundering about ten minutes after the girls split up, but if that was going to be the only difficult, then Miyo was lucky. This was the closest she’d come yet to freedom. But she didn’t relax just because there was reason to hope. She ran as fast as she could make herself run, even though there were no signs of pursuit. Eventually, Miyo stumbled over a tree root and found herself falling a good foot and a half down a steep, muddy slope. When her head stopped spinning, she stood up and looked around.
She had fallen right onto one of the small dirt roads that riddled the forest as it thinned and approached the nearest town. It was rare that a car ever came this way, and the road was only just barely wide enough for one. Further down the beaten way, to the southwest, something was positioned on the edge on the road. Miyo ran toward it, thinking it might be a telephone booth. In a minute, she saw that she was right.
Miyo considered entering the old booth and hiding there for shelter. She was soaked through and shivering, and the storm was only getting more violent as time passed. Plus, it was so dark that Miyo had spent as much time tripping and bumping into trees and bushes as she had actually running. Shelter would be truly relieving, even if it was only for a few minutes. So, rather hesitantly, the girl entered the phone booth. Inside, it felt wonderfully dry and secure. Looking at the phone, Miyo wondered if there was anyone she could call to help her, anyone who might listen. The name Takano Hifumi came to mind. But Miyo could do nothing with that name, not having a phone number to go with it.
Wait. A sudden realization hit Miyo. Maybe she did have the phone number. In this world, like in all the others, her father had tried to keep talking to her as he was dying. He moved his lips but his voice wouldn’t come. Now it occurred to Miyo that those words he tried to say were numbers. Ordinarily, it would have been a miracle for Miyo to remember the images of her father’s moving lips. But by now, she’d seen it four times. The words he formed silently were the numbers zero, three, two, and seven.
Eagerly, Miyo got ready to dial the rotary phone, but another surprise slapped her, figuratively, in the face. She didn’t have any coins to put in to make the telephone work. All she needed was a 10 yen coin, or a couple of 5’s. Sky House did not allow the kids to carry change around. Some had money, but they were all kept in little envelopes inside locked boxes somewhere within the headmistress’ office. Desperately, Miyo searched the floor and every nook and cranny of the payphone. Still, there were no coins were found.
After having been strong this whole time, through the last long, hellish week, Miyo effectively burst into tears. She cried her heart out that night. And her tiny body, which looked more like eight than eleven, expended the last of its energy. Miyo didn’t remember falling asleep. If she’d been fully way conscious, she never would have let herself even try to doze off. This was her child’s body and biology taking over. She lost consciousness from exhaustion and slept curled up in the phone booth until morning.
Miyo’s awakening was rude and painful. Someone grabbed her by the skin, tendon, and nerve right between the round of her shoulder and the base of her neck. Getting pinched there is painful as hell, but it’s far worse to be dragged outside into the light by a pinch in that spot. Miyo was tossed to the ground and landed in a puddle of muddy water. Before she even tried to take in her surroundings, she knew she had been caught. When she looked up to see had dragged her out of the payphone, though, she was shocked.
It was Meisa Ebina. She stood with one hand on her hip and her lips pursed. Behind her stood two stronger male staff members, ready to go after Miyo if she tried to run. The one car belonging to Sky House, something like an old pickup truck, was parked a few yards from the telephone booth. They must have decided to search the roads first.
Out of earshot of the men, Miyoko hissed, “What are you doing helping them? You should be letting me go! You promised Fumie you’d be on our side!”
“Is that Fumie told you?” asked Ebina coldly and quietly. “It’s incorrect. I only promised to help Fumie escape, along with that little brat she loves so much. And it seems the ringleader, Eriko, has gotten out of our hands, too. But the plan all along was to have at least one of you recaptured in the morning. If I go back to the headmistress empty-handed, she’ll fire me before the last few steps of my plan are ready.”
“What will you do with me?” Miyo questioned, swallowing her hatred. There may yet be hope for her survival, if she played along quietly.
“I’ll turn you in, of course. To the master of penalties.”
Angry tears came to Miyo’s eyes. “What are you going to do if I die?!”
“Well, that would be terribly sad, but I don’t think Kashima is that stupid.” Ebina smiled coolly. “And if he is stupid and you do die, I suppose I’ll publicize your cruel, unfair death. That would actually be the best way possible to finish my plan and have this place shut down. It may be hard for you, Miyoko, but think of it this way. You’re a sacrifice. Your suffering will help save all the kids in the future from the same fate.”
“Fuck you,” said Miyo, and she spit in Ebina’s face.
She tried to run, but was of course caught and dragged into the pickup truck. Ebina started up the vehicle and drove Miyo and the other Sky House staff back to the orphanage.
(To Be Continued)
Previous: Episode 16: Magic
Next: Episode 18 : New Rules