The harness shifted out of place, and Fukubei only barely managed to grab hold of the rope in time to keep it from snapping his neck. His feet kicked wildly, vision unfocusing. Yamane watched him in bewilderment and awe, unsure if what he was witnessing was part of the miracle or not; Sadakiyo stepped forward immediately, grabbing Fukubei's legs and supporting them on his shoulders. Anchored, Fukubei let himself breathe.
"Well," he said coldly, looking at Yamane. "Get me a chair so I can get down, idiot."
Yamane obeyed, and once the chair was near enough for Fukubei to reach with his foot Sadakiyo moved away. Yamane went off to close the window Donkey had jumped out of.
The air outside chilled as the boys exited through the gate; it wasn't cold, but Fukubei could feel a distant sting against his bare knees, his elbows. He felt Yamane's eyes on him before Yamane spoke, and waited without returning the look.
"It's too bad the ghost didn't come out, isn't it?" Yamane said. "That would have shown him. Do you think Katsumata does experiments on people he captures?"
"Who cares about ghosts?" Fukubei said idly, with irritation. "They aren't real." They only existed in dreams and mirrors, not classrooms. He waited for Sadakiyo to agree with him, and when he was met with silence he glanced over his shoulder impatiently.
Sadakiyo was standing in the science room window, looking out at them. No -- at him. At Fukubei. The pale mask and the white shirt he wore stood out brightly in the darkness, the rest of his body vanishing in the shadows.
Sadakiyo's silence was because he wasn't walking with them. Fukubei whirled around, eyes large, ignoring Yamane's inquiries as to what was wrong. The window was empty now, no one was there, and when Fukubei turned around again he saw that Sadakiyo was standing right behind him. His eyes weren't visible through the holes in the mask at night, just two hollow cavities staring blankly forward that Fukubei couldn't see past.
"Who are you?" Fukubei shouted, baring his teeth in sudden fury. Without thinking his hands flew out to grab the mask to reveal this haunt once and for all, and the boy grabbed too, leaping backward in a panic to protect himself.
"Ahh, stop! It's me! You know who I am!" He simpered, clutching the mask to his face. Fukubei yanked.
"Who are you! Where did you go?" Fukubei demanded. "Who are you? Why you were in the science room?"
"I didn't go anywhere! I don't know what you're talking about, Friend--" He protested weakly. The mask tore from his face and he immediately covered it with his hands, whimpering. Fukubei tossed it aside and grabbed the boy's wrists, prying his hands back: it was Sadakiyo, of course, who else would it be, it had just been the three of them in the science room and--
He hadn't really seen that.
It was just the three of them, of course, and what he saw was the moon reflected on the science room window. There wasn't anything else it could be; Sadakiyo was right here, was always right here. No one was in the science room.
"Stop crying," Fukubei said, as he began to walk again. Sadakiyo sniffled, replacing his mask on his face which muffled his frightened sobs. Fukubei make him walk ahead of them so that he could be watched.
Right before they turned a corner, he felt something behind him again, something cold waiting in the darkness. He didn't look back at the school.