Nao was putting away the cleaning supplies in the janitor's supply room in the first floor hallway after cleaning time. Her cleaning duty group had decided who should take things back with rock-paper-scissors and Nao had lost, and she'd been left carrying the brooms, mops, and dustpans back to the supply room. Oh well, she thought to herself. It was just as well anyway. The other girls always just dumped the cleaning things in a haphazard pile in the corner, a habit which made Nao want to scream. If Nao was left with the job all on her own, she could take the time to hang each item properly in its place on the wall.
She could hear running feet outside. The after-school practice for Sports Day Radio Exercises would be starting soon, wouldn't it? Oh, dreadful Sports Day Exercises. She was short, so she'd be right in the front of her class's line during exercises. That meant she really didn't have much choice but to try hard.
Nao sighed to herself as she hung the cleaning tools. She was thinking about dinner-- tonight's dinner was her grandma's turn to cook, and Grandma's nikujaga with carrots was heavenly. Her mother had asked her to bring potatoes home from the grocery store. She had to write that down, or she might forget--
The door of the supply room slammed suddenly behind her back. Nao jumped at the loud noise, a small yelp escaping her. Someone must have run by and shut the door on her, she reasoned. It was pitch black so she had to grope her way back to the door. But when she found it again, the doorknob would not turn. "Huh?" Nao said aloud. She jiggled the doorknob, twisted as hard as she could, pulled, but the door seemed to be stuck.
Was it just her, or did the air feel very cold all of a sudden? A chill traveled down her spine. There was a soft sound like a dry breath being exhaled, a sigh that reminded her ears of silk brushing on silk. She could hear it from somewhere behind and above her, where the corner of the supply room would be if she could see. "Who's there," Nao said aloud, commanding her voice to be firm.
There was no reply, but Nao had a feeling that the air was not right. Something was coming, she could feel it crawling closer. The skin of her arms and legs was turning to gooseflesh. She jiggled the doorknob again and thumped on the door with a fist. "Someone, someone help," she called, as loud as she could muster.