Miyoko No Naku Koro Ni
A Higurashi/Umineko Fanfic
Miracles Chapter (final arc)
Episode 3: Their Stories
“I’m… sort of… I’m more less a spy for Ebina-san,” stated Fumie. She told her story in brief.
“I’m the biological daughter of Meisa Ebina. I’ve been here at Sky House ever since I was two years or three years old. What Ebina-san’s circumstances must have been, I can’t imagine, but I know she’s under the headmistress’s thumb. That woman, Ichihara, is Ebina’s adoptive mother. She controls and manipulates Ebina, and forced her give up her own child and work here when she had nothing and nowhere else to go. As a very small child, I always thought Ebina was watching me from somewhere, and I wasn’t sure of her intent. I’m not sure if she truly knew I was her daughter at that point.
“When I was seven, I overheard the headmistress talking on the telephone to someone who wanted to adopt me. She said I couldn’t be adopted because I was only here temporarily and had a mother. Ichihara even said the mother was one of her staff members. At the time, the only female employee at Sky House was Ebina. That’s how I know she’s my birth-mother. That same year, Ebina-san chose me as her spy. After meeting with me a few times, I could tell that she could tell… that I was her daughter. But she’s never once admitted it to me or talked about it at all.”
“That’s cruel,” said Eriko quietly. “Knowing, and yet never breaking the silence with you.”
“It’s not cruel,” Fumie stated. “Because I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to know anything more than I do about the subject. I don’t wish for any forced sentimentality, nor a restrictive mother-daughter power dynamic. I can’t explain why, but that’s just how I feel.”
“What do you mean about being a spy, though?” asked Sayuri, looking like she was holding back tears. “You’re our friend, aren’t you? You can’t be on the staff’s side.”
“I’m not on their side. Neither is Ebina-san. For nearly ten years, she’s detailed and recorded all significant instances of abuse, gathering as much evidence as she can without her plan being detected by the Headmistress. In other words, Ebina is trying to get Sky House shut down. She hates this place, but until she’s sure that her plan is ready, she has to play along.”
Eriko and Sayuri sat in silence. The truth stunned them. Miyo, on the other hand, felt impatient. She was about to speak up and break the silence, when Eriko finally recovered her composure.
“Sayu-chan and I just love you, Fumi. We believe you and trust you. And you can trust us no matter what. But why would you say all this now, in front of the new girl?”
“I suppose that was a bit impulsive of me,” admitted Fumie. “Keeping secrets from you, Eriko, and from little Sayuri, well — it was a burden I couldn’t carry anymore. I apologize to both of you. And as for our new friend, Miyo-chan, this is a perfect opportunity. Let’s keep an eye on her today and tomorrow morning. If she tells anyone about Ebina-san, we’ll know she’s not on our side.”
“I’ll agree to stay within you girls’ sight and do whatever you say,” Miyo told them. “But, may I attach a condition? I’m not Fumi-senpai’s trusted friend — not yet. I’m suspicious of her and I think it’s understandable. So, Fumi-senpai, you should agree not to say anything to Ebina quite yet about an escape plan.”
The girls all agreed on this plan of action for the time being.
“She is a bird trapped in a cage,
I pray one day soon she’ll fly free.
She is beautiful, refined, and sage.
I pray one day I find her cage’s key.
I’d free her with magic if I were a mage.
I pray one day I’ll find it in me
To free us all and take center stage.
One day the dream will meet reality.”
That was the song that Miyo used to help her set the birds free and acquire the key without getting caught. It happened on her third day at Sky House. Absent-mindedly, Miyo wondered if those three colorful parakeets would survive for very long. There were just as many dangers outside as there were trapped inside. When Miyo returned to the bedroom upstairs, Eriko was waiting for her with folded arms and a serious expression. Before Eriko could even ask what had just happened, Miyo handed her the rusting key.
“I tested it,” she said. “This key to the birdcage also works for the backdoor beyond the kitchens. I let the birds go free. It was a wild idea of mine. Though Sayuri sort of inspired it.”
Eriko pocketed the key and then shot a glance at the sheet of lined paper folded up in Miyo’s pocket. “Yeah, about that,” she began. “Sayuri said one of her songs was missing. And I think that’s it in your pocket. Correct?”
“Yes, here.” Miyo handed that over as well, trying to act innocent and friendly. “I’m sorry for borrowing it without asking. I didn’t think Sayuri would mind if I tried her idea.”
“What do you mean?” Eriko questioned.
Miyo sat down on the wooden floor, the better to explain things. “Sayuri told me how she loves to go see the birds and sometimes sing to them. I wanted to try it, but I don’t know any soft or soothing songs. So I took Sayuri’s poem and sang it. The birds downstairs looked so calm and happy afterward. Oh, and Sayuri also mentioned how sad it was to see the birds trapped in there. Honestly… well… I was afraid she’d free them herself and get into terrible trouble.”
“So you beat her to the punch?” Eriko asked with an impressed smile. “Hmm. I’ll check with Sayu-chan later just to back up what you’re saying. Now, about this key.” This time the girl with the dark brown hair frowned. “I’m sorry,” she told Miyo, “but I can’t believe you without testing it on the door myself. I’ll do it tonight and let everyone know the results tomorrow.”
“So you still don’t trust me.” Miyo acted just slightly hurt.
Eriko shook her head once, sadly. “But,” she pointed out, “if this key really does fit the lock on the backdoor, it’ll prove to everyone that you’re on our side once and for all. I am really sorry, Miyo-chan. I don’t like having to doubt people like this. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but this place has made me wary.”
“I understand.” That bit wasn’t acting. Miyo did understand because her personality had changed so much. In fact, she was a totally different person now. But if there was one thing she kept from her past self, it was her curiosity.
“Hey, Eriko,” Miyo said presently. “I don’t want this to go over the wrong way, but I’m curious. Why do the others look up to you so much? I’m sure part of is that you’ve kept such a kind personality despite being here. But is there another reason?”
“Mm, sort of.” Eriko’s smile suggested that talking about this might be painful, but that she’d push through it. “See, I don’t remember anything from before I was six. At that age, I was running around on the streets in a big city, leading a little gang of other kids. All we did was beg, explore, and look for food; I didn’t allow stealing if I could help it. Eventually, some new posh people in the neighborhood made a big deal, saying we were a nuisance. So all us kids got rounded up, tied up, and tossed around like wild dogs. I think I was 8 or 9 when I ended up in Sky House.”
Miyo listened patiently, not bothering to ask what Eriko’s past had to do with her question. She knew Eriko would explain.
“Because of my background,” the girl continued, “I thought of the other kids here as my ‘pack.’ So I saved them whenever I could. By that I mean I interrupted their beatings and penalties. I’d let the kid escape, and take their place. That’s how I ended up saving Fumie and Sayuri, too. Fumi, you know, she’s strong. And she’s been here forever. Her life probably wasn’t in danger. But she would have ended up with more than just a broken left hand and fingers. She might have had her arms or legs broken the same way.”
“And Sayuri?” Miyo inquired.
“Hosoda was strangling her when I barged in,” Eriko stated. “He was incredibly angry. I think he really would’ve killed her. Sayuri couldn’t speak for a few days, and the swelling on her neck meant she to had to fight hard to stay alive. Fumi and I helped her. But even two weeks later, when she could speak, Sayuri didn’t want to. Around then I realized I couldn’t save everybody, or I’d be killed. I chose Fumie and Sayuri as my ‘pack’ since they were my roommates. For a while, I paid special attention to Sayuri, becoming her friend, encouraging her, and the like. Finally, she started speaking again. I guess that’s what made them call me their leader.”
Fumie entered the room suddenly, quickly shutting the door closed behind her. Earlier that day, she’d been given permission to talk with Ebina. Having done that, Fumie reported, “Ebina-san has agreed to help with our escape.”
To be Continued
Episode 1: Sudden Tragedy
Episode 2: Sky House
Episode 3: Mistake
Episode 4: Witches’ Tea Party
Episode 1: Companions
Episode 2: Their Plan
Episode 3: Eriko
Episode 4: Fumie
Episode 5: A Nameless Penalty
Episode 1: Hope
Episode 2: Memories
Episode 3: Lambda
Episode 1: Sky House Staff
Episode 2: Let’s Talk
Episode 3: The Spy
Episode 4: Magic
Episode 5: So Close
Episode 6: New Rules
Episode 1: Passing Worlds
Episode 2: Fairy Dust
Episode 3: Force of Nature
Episode 1: World Ten