Hiruko the Baku from Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun
As hinted by the title, Hiruko is an inspector of nightmares - or to be more precise, he is a dream-eating spirit known as a Baku that can enter into the dreams of others. For him especially, he differs from others of his kind in that he makes it his occupation that deals with clientele who suffer from nightmares by trying to help absolve them from within the dream itself - though a client’s aftermath may fall in either drastic end of ‘for better or worse’. For the muses languishing from their darkest visions and seek to delve deeper into their subconscious recesses, Hiruko is more than able to grant them that choice with his abilities.
‘Pathetic.’ The lack of a proper answer and resolve meant Hiruko would have to resort to more controversial methods at this point - the kind he reserved for only the most stubborn customers who refused to face their problems that a conclusion of the dream wouldn’t be reached otherwise without them. It wasn’t as though he simply didn’t like to use such method - for his kind, they may as well be expected given how much they enjoyed anguish. It was precisely because he was a Baku that he had to make sure he didn’t intoxicate himself with the torment.
“You’re too scared to come out, too scared to do anything even though this is still your dream. Then I guess it really wouldn’t matter what it is I do after all.” He swung Formalin about in his grip, allowing the cane to reach under the bed until he felt its hook around the girl’s ankle before pulling his childish client out of hiding. As he continued to drag her across the floor with him towards the door, he merely explained with a cold tone, “So if I’m going to make this worth my time, then I’ll continue by doing things my way.”
The door was swung back wide open with infinitely less effort than it took to try to drag it even partially closed. The presence of the witch certainly hadn’t gone away in that short amount of time. Hiruko brought Mirai before him, pulling her to her feet once the cane was unhooked and held her in front as he leered over her shoulder, almost as though he were directly offering her up to her fear like a sacrifice. Or perhaps he simply possessed more of the ambiance of someone so dastardly as to force a person to helplessly watch the torment of a loved one.
“You know, I haven’t even seen the rest of your sisters. This is one of them, right? I remember you implying you had more than one. If they’re all suffering the same way as this one, you really must be as useless as you say.” He was now speaking with a contrastingly malicious tone as he goaded over her shoulder. ”I would have wanted to see the rest of them if you were to show me. But does that not matter at this point?
“You’re not going to do anything, are you? You don’t think you can do anything, do you? You can’t even properly speak with that lock over your neck. You must agree with me that you must be a lost cause at this point. Because you can’t even muster up the courage to even try.” He suddenly gripped the strings that wound her lock against her voice, his expression nonchalant.
“Then the only one left to benefit from this nightmare will be me. I’ll help you end your self-loathing existence here within your own dream. You can’t help your sisters, so it won’t make a difference to them if you die here in your own mind, I assume. You have no purpose.” He slowly started to pulled, the taut strings becoming tighter around the puella magi’s throat. “I’ll strangle you as you watch the suffering of this dear sister you love so much. Your agony will make the nightmare I harvest from you that much more delicious.
“It’s a perfectly fitting death, isn’t it? You can’t use your voice. You never tried to use your voice. You will never know if your voice was ever worth anything, if your words would have ever been heard if you had attempted. So you will die in your silent misery, instead.” He was still pulling, even though the strings were threatening to cut into his client’s throat. There was no sign that he was faking his intentions whatsoever. If Mirai were to allow him to go through, he would asphyxiate her, assuming the thread didn’t simply somehow slice through her neck by itself with enough exertion. And yet, he remained so calm in the middle of it all, the pink-haired girl’s life to be dwindled in his hands while the witch before them writhed chaotically just outside the room as though it, too, were searching for an escape from the unbearable.
“I’ll enjoy this moment, seeing you cry without a sound, watching your loved one rampage. All because you would allow it to happen in your self-afflicted terror.”
Silently crying in her curled up form, she became numbed to the world about her and the Baku’s presence. In her own mind, she had become an outcast and nothing more than a wisp existing within it. Just when her subconscious thoughts were beginning to deduce this the better outcome, a jolt came over her entire being. Desperation and realization shocked her out of her psychosis. Eye flung wide open and her fight or flight response to grab at the carpet, but it was all in vain. Dragged out with nearly no resistance due to the prowess of the baku.
Being alleviated from her safe haven, she made futile attempts to calcitrate her assailant. The affect being nothing more than a badgering insect flying into a light bulb as the Baku displayed not recognition of her intransigence for his actions. Flailing and mouthing her vexation until he swung open the door yet again. Frozen stiff from fright with her renewed visit to Saki’s witch. Hiruko’s harsh speech invading her ears. Clasping her hands around her ears but providing only a meager hindrance as his words slipped past this defense.
Copious amounts of tears took form as they drifted down her countenance. Everything he mentioned making her question her existence and her sisters’ suffering due to her inabilities. Only then did she start to notice her nightmare heading down a darker path by Hiruko’s gracious tugging the string about her neck. Surging signals from her throat enveloped her mind. Now she was being reduced to spazzing helplessly on the ground. Being deprived of oxygen and her neck on the verge of being ripped open, a growing appreciation for what she was about to lose came over her.
Staring into the awaiting embrace of death, she let out a vocalized scream. Due to being lost in the moment, she did not recognize her own voice reverberating throughout the room before gripping the string. Pulling at the string with intentions to rip it asunder.
“Stop it! I don’t want to die!” Mirai yelled out. “There is something I can do for my sisters’ I know it! LET ME LIVE!!!! I JUST WANT TO BE NEEDED! THIS NOT WHAT I WANT YOU, IDIOT!! LET ME GO!!!”
Okay, now this was a really huge spider. Saki could deal with little bugs and insects just fine for
the most part, but this arachnid was easily bigger than her own desk and was weaving a web that took up a whole wall of her room. She wouldn’t have to worry about it trying to eat her and her sisters, now, would she?? It was really quite a rational and terrifying fear with such a creature making itself comfortable right in her room.
“…We may have to consider moving to a new home.” It probably wouldn’t be nearly so unsettling if this were taking place outside the house, but just how on earth was she supposed to shoo it away? Or did she actually have to consider exterminating it? Either way, she had no idea what to do.
“Sa-Saki, I overheard your talking of leaving the hou—” She stumbled into a sight that she had not prepared for. A giant spider making its home on Saki’s bedroom ceiling. Rushing over to shoo it away without any thought, she got her hair trapped in the beginning threads of its web.
“This means war, I hope you know spinny-winny!!!” Let out Mirai as she flailed about unable to get her hair free from the web.
“Mirai, Mirai, it’s okay! You can calm down,” Saki attempted to soothe with a hand on the younger sibling’s head, trying to make sense of what she was crying about. What was this about being a fujoshi now in regards to staying outside?
“I’m afraid I don’t understand what it is you’re so scared about,” she pointed out, her confusion still evident, perhaps even more so towards whatever Mirai was sniffling about. “Why do you think you need to stay outside? And what do you mean about being a fujoshi? I don’t see what these two things have to do with each other at all.”
Trying to contain her sobs as she lift her face out of Saki’s side, she attempted to calmly explain everything. After all, this was quite the revelation to her to say the least. Then again, a lot of fijoshi anime girls did appear to stay inside their rooms a lot. The dark secret of the world needed to be spoken!
“N-N-N-Nico told me t-that if you…if you stay in inside your room too long…you turn into a f-fujoshi. I don’t wanna become one, Saki! I-If I sleep outside, it won’t happen, right? I just…being outside will cure me, right????”
“Then you won’t have to worry about him, then. As for the photobook, I’m gonna keep it a secret how I found it. The same goes for what’ll happen - it’s a surprise if you can’t find the photo! As for why an hour, it’s to give it a bit of a challenge. Isn’t that more fun than having however long you want?”
“… I need to go find my photobook. Your smile is scaring me and I can only imagine what will happen to my Saki photos. …Making Saki look like a clown in all of them..” She shuddered at one of the several possibilities.
“I will find your smiling photo before the time is up!!” She scurried quickly up the stairs in hopes of saving her precious photos.
“Mirai, what are you yelling about?” came the confused query of the albinoid who had managed to follow the blur in her frenzied haste out of the house all the way to the fields of the park. What in the world had this poor girl in panic this time?
“Did something happen?” she continued to ask as she stood over the laying girl on the grass, oddly with a blanket over her arm that she had brought with her for some reason. “What caused you to run out like that? Especially at this time when it’s so dark out?”
She immediately hugged the white haired leader as if trying to affirm that not all was lost yet. After all, she still loved Saki, so she couldn’t possible be a fujoshi, right? Right?! Even so, in her fright she began to cry along with being visibly shaken.
“Please…please tell me it not too late! Saki, I don’t want to be a fujoshi! Anything but that! S-S-See I am outside….I…I won’t turn into one now, right? I…I just need to stay outside….”
“Time to die you demonic greyfaces!!!!”
“STOP! I WON’T CHANGE! DON’T WHISPER THAT IN MY EARS!!!”
The pale ghost of a bear loving fluff ball fell flat on to the grass and let out a long exhale. Sweating considerably from rushing far far from her home to the park to escape the fujoshi transformation, she laid down trying to calm down. “I won’t become a fujoshi, I won’t become a fujoshi, I won’t become a fujoshi…” Then her mind playing tricks on her thought of one she had accidentally seen in the bookstore.
“Kyaaaaaaaaaaaa!! I don’t want to! I am outside now! Don’t tell me it too late!”
Pfffff—- End User and Josh, I see you two liking my poor muses trauma
How was she not understanding something so simple…? “Since it was apparently too much for you to understand… The more time you spend in your room, the worse your social skills get. Eventually you’ll be a fujoshi if you don’t leave it to talk to people every now and then.”
“Yeah, I don’t understand computer langu—”
In horror and disbelief at what Kanna said, her face turned pale. “Fu…fu….fujoshi?? T-Those kinds of…manga. I don’t want that! If staying inside does that then I am sleeping outside from now on! I don’t want to be one of those!!”
In her fright, she busted out of her room and went straight outside with extreme haste.
“I shouldn’t have used so much computer language… Pretend you’re a computer for a second. Your skills are all categorized as files and applications, with your social skills being an exceptionally small file. The less you go out and talk to people, the more that file shrinks, and eventually room.vir completely deletes file_Social-Skills\Speech.exe. Does that make any more sense to you?” Nico that’s likely to confuse her even more.
“Wait… what? I followed the part of my social skills getting smaller, but… Nico, are you saying the room is alive and trying to consume me or something? This another one of your ghost stories, isn’t it. Aren’t I talking with you, so my social file works just fine. I am not some computer that I accidentally poured water on. I don’t understand…”
Pfffffffff—- the tsundere queen as Mirai’s voice
I could see that a little too well now. Oh god.
“The only reason I have those hobbies is because I leave my room, and even then I don’t do them that often. I’ve made enough code since I came back to trace three years of your life within them. I’m just using that as a comparison. While you might be well, you’re also not well.”
“Think of yourself as an application within a computer, and that computer is the world, but your room is a computer virus. The longer you stay in here, the more your data will become corrupt and unusable. If you stay here too long, then certain parts of your program will prevent you from completing tasks that the person at the computer, your mind in this case, wishes for you to do. Socialization, even if just a little, such as between us and the others. Even just leaving your room. Doing that will help act as an antivirus to delete the virus infecting your system.”
“Hm? But my hobbies don’t require me to go outside except for supplies. It not that big a deal if I stay inside. I don’t have a fever or anything, so how am I not well?”
“A-also, I don’t understand what you are saying. What about an application and virus?? Corrupt and unstable? Are you trying to say that my soul gem gets corrupted just by me staying inside? Nico, don’t be ridiculous. My soul gem is just fine!”
“It been so quiet around here. I was actually able to nap without being interrupted everyday… Wait…”
“I should of known Nico’s fridge would cause a blizzard….” She is not surprised. That what happens when you let her alone Mirai.