Saturday, July 29, 2017

Part 18

A Trail of Crumbs
The Norinko Hanasaki Investigation

Research & Conjecture by

Anthony Servante

A Common Vision by the Norinko Ten 
Will I Be Next to See It?
(Graphic by Jerry Langdon based on Bridget's Description)

I shouldn’t have taken a break. Maybe I would have seen it coming sooner. Martin tried to warn me that he was picking up a heavy mantel, but he saw the pattern first. By the time I went through all the poems I had collected over all my columns and emails and laid them end to end, it was too late. Four more people are missing.
Martin Palomina, the Catholic school maintenance man
Elizabeth Johns, the English teacher
Bridget Segawa, my confidant in this casework
Suzie Namura, my confidant in this casework
And the latter two also my friends.

I’ve been in contact with the Segawa and Namura family. Before calling police, Mr. Segawa called Torinko to ask for my phone number. No one has it to my knowledge. The best he could do is give him my email. It was a simple polite notification that Bridget was not in her room after being grounded for bad behavior, including graffiti writing on her bedroom walls. Mr. Namura, Suzie’s dad, left me a message on Facebook. When Suzie disappeared she was on Facebook trying to reach me live. Mr. Namura entered her room after knocking several times without success. Suzie was gone. He saw my Facebook page and messaged me. I thought it was Suzie messaging me. It’s not like she’s done it before, but only she and Bridget have shown the resources to be able to contact me via routes other than email. Namura’s message warned me that Suzie had sent me a package. 

Yeah. It arrived the day before yesterday, July 27, 2017. I opened it thinking it was a book I ordered from Amazon or eBay. It wasn’t.

It was the journal of Norinko Hanasaki.

Luckily, I solved the puzzle of the poetry. Unluckily, I touched the journal. I have less than fourteen days to follow the instructions that led me to in the puzzle of the poetry. Let me explain before I proceed. There is a fourteen day window between the finding of the journal and the disappearance of the finder.

Norinko Hanasaki received the notebook in the mail from the Tokidoki shop in Santa Monica—a shop that went out of business this year. She disappeared on the 13 of June 2016, the first to vanish after receiving the notebook. She was the catalyst. Somehow the term “Buzzkil” was already in her mind before she got the notebook. But writing it in the journal on the day she disappeared from the tunnel signaled the ghosts of the McClure Tunnel to awaken. Norinko wasn’t the first. Priest Bobue Horaguchi made it clear that many of the homeless living in the secret pocket of the tunnel were also going missing with reports of their disappearances preceded by the flutter of immense flapping wings. Ironically, the winged creature was described as an “angel”. It is my contention that this “bird’ is Yuan Gui, the Ghost of Vengeance and Retribution, long known to haunt the tunnels where Chinese railway workers were killed after being betrayed by their so-called protectors, the Tongs, Torinko’s link to the Hanasaki mystery.

Miriam Hernandez, the school bus driver,  picked up the notebook on her bus on July 27, 2016, the day she wrote madly on the windows of the school bus, and Deputies Baker and Mitchell were called to the bus terminal by the dispatch supervisor; Hernandez disappeared on August 9, 2016, according to law enforcement called to her apartment after her run-in with W. Chris Dubois, the reporter tracking the Norinko journal himself.  

Deputies Steve Baker and Evelyn Mitchell confiscated the book from Miriam on July 27, 2016 and underwent a similar state of events as Miriam before disappearing. I could not gain access to the deputies’ actions after confiscating the notebook from Miriam.

Mitchell gave the notebook to Detective Joe Wu, chief investigator in the Hanasaki missing persons case. He, too, disappeared after fourteen days after touching the notebook on his desk left for him by Deputy Mitchell on July 28, 2016. Similarly, no

W. Chris Dubois, the reporter, pilfered the notebook from Wu at the middle-school on July 28, 2016, when Detective Wu visited the Catholic Middle-School to verify that the notebook did indeed belong to Norinko Hanasaki. Somehow, Dubois managed to sneak the journal from Wu’s files and hid it in the maintenance supply room where Martin Palomina worked. Dubois disappeared on August 10, 2016. Fourteen days later.

Martin Palomina, the school maintenance man, found the notebook in his supply room on July 10, 2017. He also wrote verses on the supply room walls and was sent home pending a termination hearing. He threw the notebook in the trash can in Ms. Johns’ classroom as he was escorted from the school by Security. He disappeared on the 23rd of July 2017.

Elizabeth Johns found the notebook in the trash on July 11, 2017 and locked it in her drawer before she went to talk to the Principal about Mr. Palomina. She disappeared fourteen days later on the 24th of July 2017.

Bridget stole the notebook from Miss Johns’ desk on the same day, July 11, 2017. She also disappeared on the 24th of July 2017.

Bridget showed the journal to Suzie the next day, July 12, 2017. Suzie disappeared on July 25th, 2017.

Just to put things in perspective, I received the notebook on July 27, 2017, two days after Suzie mailed it to me. On August 9th, 2017, fourteen days will have passed.

I have a plan. Based on the message in the journal, hidden in the final line of each third poem and the first line of each fourth poem, there seems to be an instruction to follow to close the vicious cycle of the journal and end the curse for those who touch the journal.

Before I let you in on that message, allow me to share the emails I have been receiving the past few weeks, the weeks of vanishings, Ghosts, and a winged Angel of Vengeance.

The Emails

July 17, 2017


Damn. Damn. Damn.
The pattern. It’s not only a message. It’s a warning. Don’t touch the notebook.

Bridget, July (day unknown)

I wrote a poem for you, Mr. Darkness. Norinko tells me what to write. She says Darkness isn't your real name. I saw the Plumage Pvnk in my window on the school bus. It's not a costume. It's not a bird either. It has a broken smile. It thinks it's a man. But it's not that either. I know the face. I do. It wants to know if I'm ready. For what? To see Norinko. But Norinko tells me not to listen. But I do. This is what it said to me.

Three corners wide
Nowhere to hide
I see you  and you see me
Time to meet the judge of thee.

Thee? Who talks like that? Then I was afraid I'd forget the words. So I wrote them. On the windows of the bus. And on the seats. The floor.

At first the other girls giggled. Even when the  bus driver told me to stop over the PA system, the others laughed. But then the got closer to the infamous McClure Tunnel. Then the giggles turned to groans and the laughter to tears and sobs. Then screams.

The bus driver turned the bus off the freeway at Lincoln Avenue. He parked the bus. All the girls crowded around him, keeping far away from me. I kept on writing. Even when the driver took the marker from my hand, I continued to move my hand as if the writing never stopped. 

Suzie, July 25, 2017

I can’t get the notebook out of my head. I found your address on the Santa Monica College faculty listings. I hope it finds you and you know what to do with it. Bridget went crazy on the bus, I was told. She touched the notebook the day before me. Norinko is talking to me. She’s telling me what to write. I told my parents, and they took me to the Temple, where Priest Horaguchi covered me with satin sheets, lit incense, and prayed before the Shrine he had made for Norinko. We must seek her out in the spirit realm, for it is there where she is trying to reach you. Where is Bridget? Her parents took her to a clinic for psychological counseling. The Priest nodded to Torinko. He understood and left the Temple for the clinic. I understood this without having to be told. Bridget needs to be here with me.

Miss Johns, the teacher, locked all her morning students in the classroom and forced them to write on the floor and on the walls. This is what they wrote:

In the end I couldn’t protect them all
From the perils that may befall, passing through
Did I inspire any child in following me here?
Forgive me.

End of Emails.

Random Notes:

July 12th—Bridget tells Suzie that Norinko is talking to her. She says Buzzkill is coming. “I’m going to see Norinko. Come with me. It will be beautiful, flying on the back of Buzzkill when he takes us to Norie.”

July 14th—Police called to Martin’s apartment. They hear thrashing. The kids from school gather outside his place along with Elizabeth. There are screams and shrieks within. The police break in. The place is empty. One cop says to the other, Just like the bus driver’s place. Elizabeth sees Bridget and Suzie. She calls them “Buzzkills” and coos from her throat.

July 24th—Elizabeth covers chalkboard with a poem. She flutters her eyelids so quickly she seems not to have eyelids at all, and the slits of her pupils are vertical, not horizontal. She tells the students to bring their books and papers to her desk. She tears the books and paper and spits on them, molding them, shaping them, round and round, building a huge nest on her desk. Some students laugh; other start crying. When one student tries to call home, Elizabeth shrieks so loud, the windows crack. Teachers come running in. The security guards restrain her till the police arrive. She is taken to a hospital.

Elizabeth disappears from the hospital while Suzie is waiting to visit. Bridget disappears from her bedroom that same night.

July 25th—Suzie mails the journal to me to talk with Norie. She climbs on the roof of her house. Her parents yell at her to come down. The police and fire department arrive late into the evening after the sunset. A morning fog rolls in from the ocean. Everyone sees a giant bird swoop down and carry off the child as she cries joyfully, “Buzzkill. Buzzkill. Buzzkill.” She is seen no more after that.

The Message:

Today I, Anthony Servante, received the Journal of Norinko Hanasaki in the mail from Suzie.

Based on the warnings written into the poetry of those who touched the notebook, I have 14 days before I disappear, less than 7 days before I go mad and cover my mountain home with crazy poetic ramblings.

Ten people. The Norinko Ten. 30 poems, 3 each for each of them. This forms the trilogy and the triangular message between the second and third corners of the poems.

From the message so far, we know that the Wandering Spirit, Elmer McCurdy, has been in contact with Norinko, helping her to communicate via the journal. She has a journal where-ever she is, and whatever she writes in that journal appears in the journal she left on the bus. The connection between the two journals has provided a doorway for something. Priest Hanaguchi says it’s Yuan Gui, the avenging ghost, seeking revenge for the sins brought against the Chinese railway workers during the building of the tunnels using the dangerous nitroglycerin. It was the job of the Triads, the Tongs, and the Hatchet Men to protect the Chinese from harm; it was the sacred oath of this syndicate. Torinko Hanasaki, the stepfather of Norinko, is descended from the Tongs who betrayed the workers in the tunnels. His stepdaughter was the first to be taken by Yuan Gui; it was a message to Torinko. Revenge was the message.

Norinko has sent a more hopeful message via the journal: Salvation and escape from her captors are at hand. In her poetry she has spoken of each of the others who are with her in, dare I say it, in Diyu. Some are being tortured in ice, some in fire. Yuan Gui has no plan to stop collecting souls for Wuchang Gui, the Ghost Judge, who sentences newcomers to Diyu. Only Suzie, who sits hovelled in a corner of the Level for Innocents, and Norinko are safe from torture. All others, including Bridget, for stealing the notebook from her teacher’s desk, are subject to the whims of the judgment of Wuchang Gui. At his disposal he has demons, ghosts, fox-headed dwarves, and giant blue-skinned creatures of indescribable horrors, all skilled in the craft of inflicting pain by fire and ice, inside and outside the human form, for all those who have entered Diyu before their deaths, including the Norinko Ten, are still alive, and subject to the pains of hell while they yet breathe and their hearts beat.

What hope is there then? Escape. How? I have less than fourteen days to gather poetry and enter it into the journal before Yuan Gui can force another victim to write his final words in the notebook. Without the journal, Yuan Gui will be forced to return to Diyu without its final victim, namely, me. Its means to exit and re-enter Diyu will be blocked. And when the human-headed bird with leathery wings re-enters Diyu, Torinko, Priest Horaguchi, and I will be there, at the tunnel, to free the Norinko Ten by closing out the notebook with the final poem, which I will write.
But I can't do this alone. I am asking for the help of readers, friends, family, anyone and everyone, to submit your poems of the Triad to me in this order: one, a poem of capture; two, a poem of pain; and three, a poem of hope and escape. Each poem can be as short as three lines, unrhymed or rhymed; no more than 28 lines in total, no less than nine lines minimum. I must fill the Journal of Norinko Hanasaki with your words to fill the book to prevent Yuan Gui to using the notebook again to continue capturing victims for a premature visit to the Netherworld.

Time is of the essence. On August 9, 2017, if the notebook has any empty pages, Yuan Gui will continue its abductions, starting with me. No one will touch the journal while I have it, and only I will write your words into the book. Even now I feel the pull to write in the book, but I must resist. Send me your poems, please. Let my poem be the last to fill the notebook and block any further abductions by Yuan Gui.

Either one of two things will happen. Part 19 will not appear and Anthony Servante will have disappeared. Or Part 19 will describe the final events on August 9th at the tunnel of the Santa Monica Freeway, where it all began, and where the release of the Norinko Ten will end this investigation once and for all.

The time for patience has passed. Send me your poems to, under the title Diyu. No need for titles, just the bodies of the poetry. We're beyond the suspension of disbelief. We need a leap of faith. 

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