Opening in medias res, lead protagonist, Kaoru Yoshikawa (Maho Nonami) is shown screaming in front of flames, asking why it had to be done to her. In the beginning, Kaoru is a young woman who has close relationship with her brother, Tsuyoshi; their parents had been dead a long time ago. Unable to contact him for a week, she goes to his apartment and finds an envelope near his telephone. Inside it are bits of straws and a letter from Izumi Miyamori, a former friend of Kaoru who wants Tsuyoshi to meet her. The letter's address comes from Kozukata Village, located in the hills of a mountain. While going there, Kaoru sees a missing person poster of a Chinese woman named Sally Chen, nearby which she finds a tunnel leading to the village. Going inside the tunnel, her car breaks down, forcing her to walk on foot. On the way, she hears a woman's laugh. Kaoru does arrive at Kozukata, but all of the villagers act cold to strangers, only informing her about the upcoming "Kakashi Matsuri" (Scarecrow Festival). Arriving at a red-draped windmill, Kaoru meets Sally (Grace IP), who is playing with a little girl, Ayumi Noji (Mizuho Igarashi), whose father, Shusaku (Yoshiki Arizono) hastily arrives to take her, warning her not to talk to strangers. Finding Sally quickly leaving the scene, Kaoru heads to the Miyamori residence and meets with Izumi's parents. While Izumi's father, Kozo (Kenzo Kawarasaki), greets her warmly, his wife, Yukie (Lily), acts cold like the other villagers. He offers to let Kaoru stay for several days and tells her that Izumi is in the hospital.
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