This is an unpublished story of mine written during a pretty heavy J-Horror kick. Be warned, it’s pretty violent and features themes of abuse and sexual assault. I struggled with deciding whether to post this for ages due to having mixed feelings about it.
In a sea of neon and glitter, Masumi found refuge at the bar. The revellers swaying to the thick techno beat appeared as one huge beast. Untamed and salacious, Masumi felt repelled by this amorous gathering; her friends however did not share the same reservations. They too, sated by cheap vodka, became a living part of the party. Jun, a waitress by day and a cocktail-fuelled Jazz lover at night, ambled over to Masumi. A cherry stem twirled around her lips as she prepared her old party trick to her admiring date. The sight of the green knot caused such a reaction, Masumi was surprised his jeans didn’t tear to show how happy that made him.
Satisfied, Jun rested a jewelled hand on Masumi’s shoulder with a wicked look in her eye. Masumi smiled weakly; this was not her preferred night out. Recently, she had been enamoured with an English themed ‘pub’ uptown. Though she could not stomach the ale, she enjoyed the rustic vibe and listened to the wizened tongues of the gaijins who worked there. Jun disregarded the pub before Masumi could recommend it; she was more into American bars and bottomless pitchers of candy-flavoured vodka.
“Masu-chan, you’re such a buzz-kill.” Jun said. Her glittery eyeshadow stung her vision. Masumi shrugged and feigned a smile.
“I don’t like this bar.” she replied.
Jun giggled. Her date was now nuzzling her neck. Masumi receded from them both; if she were to be sucked in, she’d be leaving without her clothes.
“I’m gonna head on out.” Jun said. Her date was now kissing her neck. Before long, they’d be spread out on the floor in the throes of lust. “You gonna be alright?”
Masumi nodded. She sipped her glass of Purple Rain and looked at her phone. Only 11:45; Jun never messed around. Perhaps it was the deafening thunder of bass or that she didn’t like to see Jun get fresh with a stranger, but as Masumi looked down at her half-empty glass Jun yelled something she did not catch. Her hand flicked, whether it was beckoning or a farewell, Masumi did not see. On cue, the Bartender slammed down another Purple Rain which she accepted. He did not accept her yen so she had guessed Jun to be charitable. She drank deeply; the music was starting to give her a headache and she wanted nothing more than to be in the warm embrace of her bed. Thinking about the gentle feel of her feathery pillow made her eyelids feel heavier. Sleep, then she could begin anew and perhaps shake the ache in her temples.
“Enjoying yourself?” came a voice with the texture of leather.
A man, no older than thirty, winked at her from over his drink. He held the glass between his thumb and forefinger and allowed it to sway; his drink made waves but all his focus was on Masumi. Just one look at his gaudy threads was enough to suggest he paid more for that drink than he should have.
Though his demeanour was good natured, Masumi instead turned away. But the stranger was not discouraged; he ambled over through a raucous couple of twenty somethings and leaned on the bar beside her. Her discomfort was evident though she disguised it with a kind smile. Just smile and nod and he’ll leave, she thought.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Kiyoshi.” he said. He flicked his fringe as he spoke; no doubt the amount of sea salt spray kept it fashionably untidy.
“Masumi.” she replied. Not wanting to continue, she slugged back her drink as quickly as her gag reflex would allow her. Waste not, want not was an adage she had picked up from the English pub. She clicked her tongue at the bitter aftertaste.
Kiyoshi finally took the hint. Sighing, he took off and disappeared into the swelling mass of dancing bodies. With her free a drink now in memoriam, she decided to take her leave as well. Despite the amassing limbs that groped, caressed and explored, she escaped the monster of collated lust. The cold air of the night washed over her and mingled with the relief she felt; soon she would fall into the welcoming arms of her bed and forget this mistake of a night.
Everything suddenly carried a fuzzier quality. She wiped her eyes clumsily but succeeded only with pushing her mascara into her irises. Tears stung as she tried to shake off this vile inebriation.
“I am never drinking again.” she muttered. She noticed some of the waiting patrons had begun to stare. With a gargantuan effort, she waved for a passing taxi. As a gleam of light smeared in her vision, she could already smell the quaint lavender of her cosy living room.
Every morning was a ritual for Kiyoshi. As soon as he woke, he’d steal away to the bathroom where his mirror was his best friend and his worst enemy. First, he’d shower with various gels and scented body creams before lathering up with the expensive shampoo of the month. He’d often caught his toned body in the mirror and wondered if he was doing enough to enhance it. His daily trips to the gym were punishment; he’d push his body to the point of self-harm. But his bathroom was his palace and he was king. He didn’t leave till he felt like one.
After applying enough hair wax and sea salt spray, he felt satisfied with the carefully dishevelled results. Last night made him feel like the fat, ugly seventeen-year-old who repelled anything of beauty. Slipping into designer jeans and a vintage t shirt (expensive imports but they did turn a few heads), he felt like the sun shone only on him.
Kiyoshi stepped out of his bathroom reborn. With a spring in his step, he turned to the staircase ready for whatever life had to throw at him. But a thought occurred; he instead headed on down the hall to a lonely brown door. It contrasted with the rest of the hall; while modern art dictated with muted colours and shapeless paintings, the door was as ancient as the Ark and probably made from the same timber.
Because he had left the door open, a pale light spilled down the ancient staircase stirring up dust that could have been older than the house. It was serendipitous that he did; there were no electrical fixtures. Kiyoshi stepped carefully across what was either dirt or debris.
A muffled whine broken the silence. Kiyoshi flinched as he strained his eyes to find the source. A leg kicked out and just missed him causing a greasy cloud of dust to flood the flimsy light source.
“Ah, Masumi. Good morning.” he said. “I didn’t know you would be awake.”
Masumi struggled against her binds as Kiyoshi looked down at her. He admired her as one would an interesting painting. Her maintained beauty from the night before was a distant memory; her hair was a frizzled mess and her eyes were rimmed with teary mascara. With all her might, she tried to stand but Kiyoshi had made the rope binds too tight. Red marks were already staining her porcelain flesh.
“Oh, you’re still gagged. Forgive me.” he chuckled. He could have been talking to a child. He pulled out the gag from her mouth resulting in a wad of saliva spilling through his fingers. To her surprise, he merely smiled.
“W-what… where am I?” she panicked. Again, she struggled but did not move from her spot. Kiyoshi had bound her binds with a length of rope to the overarching pipe behind her.
“You’re at my place.” he said. His politeness unnerved her. “Sorry about this dark little hovel but I couldn’t risk you trying to escape.”
Her incredulous expression said it all. Seeing his calm exterior silenced a scream that was threatening to explode from her throat.
“Can we talk?”
Fear was replaced by anger. One beast slayed another. Knowing she could not strike him, she opened her mouth and shrieked to the Gods above.
Kiyoshi waited politely as her screams devolved to a laboured hacking. She coughed painfully and felt the dull acidity in her throat as last night’s alcohol threatened to make a reappearance. Shaking his head, Kiyoshi could have been watching an unruly child.
“You might want to save your voice. It’s all soundproofed.” he said. He raised his voice to accentuate his point. “Now, do you want to talk?”
Masumi spat at him. It was evident she did not. He looked back at her sadly before walking back up the stairs. With a squeal of the door shutting, she was left in darkness.
Kiyoshi stepped down the staircase with his heart heavy and mind puzzled. He had seen the angelic face of his dreams spit bitter words at him. She’d not recognized his face as they spoke the night before; an ember of annoyance flickered inside of him as they had indeed met. He remembered it as though it were yesterday and ever since, she had haunted his emotions as though he were stricken with illness.
Perhaps it was the bad lighting of the club or that she was inebriated. He began to smile though his cheeks did not rise and his flesh felt like smooth clay. Months before, he learned how to smile when feeling such anger as it drew less attention to him. His temper was something of legend when he was a teenager and he did not want to revisit those times.
It took him a full two minutes to knead his cheeks into allowing a small smile. Satisfied, he headed out the back door into the open embrace of the sun. He had added to his morning ritual over the years. After he would improve himself, he would improve his living space. Tending to his garden had been the next logical step though, he did not fancy maintaining a variety of expensive, pollen soaked plants for the sake of it. Instead, he had a large bed of roses which was useful for when he went on a particularly special date.
He had already filled his watering can and sprinkled most of his roses before his ritual was interrupted. Leaning over his fence with abandon, were the long, crooked teeth of Yuka. Her eyes sparkled at the sight of Kiyoshi even as he glowered at his roses. Biting her lip with practised ease, she tilted her head in an attempt to gain his attention.
Kiyoshi didn’t bite but he knew she would drop the subtlety. Instead he hummed under his breath and tried to ignore her.
“Yoshi, say hello.” she said. Her voice took on a saccharine quality that felt like scraping cardboard. Reluctantly he raised his head and, with great difficulty, forced the upper corner of his lips to turn up.
He turned his back to her but she did not get the hint. Living in this neighbourhood, postmodern art and bad design choices were the norm. A waist-high fence was a result of this and, with no proclivities, Yuka jumped over and skipped over to Kiyoshi like an excited child. Her hair, as always, was tied into two pigtails that bobbed when she spoke. But a long-sleeved crop top and cut-offs gave a lustful quality to her appearance. She knew some guys would stare and felt an empowerment that she could garner such attention. But those men weren’t Kiyoshi and their eyes felt dirty on her exposed skin.
“Yuka, I told you not to do that.” he began. Weariness was creeping into his voice but she did not notice.
She looked up at him with a naïve curiosity. His continuing stare at his roses was stony.
“Yoshi.” she pouted. Her bottom lip stuck out childishly. Kiyoshi supressed the urge to roll his eyes. “When are we going to the movies like you promised?”
He said nothing as she looked at him expectantly. Evidently, her vocabulary regarding ‘no’ and its synonyms was as bare as his.
Knowing she would remain there as long as he did, he decided his roses had been watered enough.
“Uh.. I’ll let you know.”
Yuka remained with her hands on her hips. Her excitement was long gone.
“Where are you going? You haven’t finished watering your plants.”
“I’m hungry.” he murmured. His back door slammed as he left her to ponder where she had gone wrong.
Masumi struggled against the thick ropes that bound her to no avail. Her flesh, now shorn, stung painfully as she tried to relax her wrists. She had lost most of the feeling in her arms as they were elevated by Kyoshi’s grand decision to affix them to the main water pipe. Slumped in the darkness with little hope, she began to silently cry.
How had she ended up in the vice of a lunatic? The dust bunnies that congregated at her feet had more freedom than her. Past her own frantic breath, she could hear nothing. She imagined being trapped inside a glass bottle; pounding on its unforgiving surface to a world unknowing. Her thoughts drifted to Jun who would probably now be waking up in the arms of a stranger and wouldn’t bother to contact her until the next weekend.
Screaming out, Masumi knew this would be in vain but in her desperation, she felt she had to do something. A song, sour and horrific, filtered through her mind. Just the melody stuck; like all annoying songs it refused to leave. It was an English song by that guy who used to be in the Punk band. The lyric about the Japanese Car always stuck out to her. But the sour drone of the guitar bought up the image of her captor’s face and now, she was sick to her stomach. How did she get here? She could tell, even with the groggy waves washing over her, she had been drugged. The barman slamming down that second Purple Rain played in her mind like an old film. Patchy, almost colourless yet real. Jun wasn’t so charitable after all. Her mother’s chastising ‘never accept a drink from a stranger’ echoed through her mind with a sickening reverb.
Though the darkness enveloped her in choking folds, it receded slightly as a dull pool of light spilled from the stairs. Kiyoshi was back and now he had a tray in his hands. It gleamed with every step he took though Masumi was not interested. Her stomach was a pit of bile regardless of what he’d give her to eat.
Kiyoshi nodded to her and set the tray down at her feet. Warn waffles, cereal, an apple, a glass of orange juice and a sole cinnamon bun caught her eye; her mouth gaped slightly at the assorted breakfast. Just as the warm scent of bakery stole over her, she shook her head and glared at Masumi who winced.
“I made you breakfast, Masumi. I didn’t know what you liked so I made a little of everything.”
A clumsy kick of her leg almost sent the platter skipping across the floor. A wrinkle of annoyance crossed Kiyoshi’s smooth forehead but he said nothing. Instead, he gathered up the apple and took a bite. At once he stood, taking her by surprise. Silently, he threw the apple at her and struck her cheek. Flecks of moist core sprayed across her as he stared her down. He radiated an anger that scared her; his eyes could have been part of the darkness.
“You ruined your breakfast.” he said. His voice was barely a whisper.
In a lightning fast movement, Kiyoshi scooped up the spilled fork and pulled her legs apart with ease. She yielded, paralysed with fear, as he stabbed her leg with the tool. Her flesh shredded against the dull blade as a fusillade of dark blood cascaded. But it’s not that time of the month she thought, as the blood pooled between her legs. She shrieked to the Heavens where no God would hear.
He then reached for her jeans. The tight, expensive jeans she’d purchased back when she didn’t have to struggle to slip into them. But, for all her hard-earned yen had bought her, they tore easily under his razor fingers revealing the deep red of her panties.
“Please.” she begged.
Kiyoshi’s face no longer existed. It was the gleam of silver and impenetrable black of her blood. A pain like she had ever known erupted on her wounded thigh but she desperately tried to find his eyes. If she could find any trace of humanity, maybe he wouldn’t enact her worst nightmares.
Yuka drowned herself in her mirror image. She focused on every little detail that defined her physical appearance. Her eyes; one slanted higher than the other. Her hair lacked the sheen her beauty products promised. Her teeth; crooked and shaded yellow. At once, the familiar wave of self-disgust rose and broke inside her. Kiyoshi only had eyes for her flaws. Even her smile, which her father said made her shine, accentuated the dimples in her chubby cheeks and revealed how crooked her teeth were.
Her eyes saw what she believed to be her truth. The hatred welled in her and threatened to burst through her skin. Her right sleeve rolled up to reveal a patchwork of ruby red wounds. Some had healed into small pink ridges whilst others remained mere ruby abrasions that still hurt to touch. She pulled out a razorblade from a small plastic box on her sink and began to trace invisible lines upon her arm. Another ravine was added; blood bubbled and she sighed as though she were smoking a cigarette.
For the longest time, she watched the blood flow until she could meet her eyes in the mirror. Self-disgust had abated for now; her serene indifference was enough to barely function as a member of society. Taking care to clean her arm, she bound the cut in a bandage before rolling down her sleeve. Deciding she had her pound and flesh and then some, she left the bathroom.
Yuka’s bedroom was a disturbing tribute to never growing up. Every inch of the room was pink and fluffy; a large pile of plush animals dominated and dwarfed even her bed (which had a cutesy anime spread). Her dressing table had an even larger mirror and an assortment of make-up items that would make an explosive if mixed correctly.
With the learned hand of a professional, Yuka had become a completely different person. Every contour had been defined, her wrinkles all but a memory and her eyes had attracted an ethereal quality. For once, she smiled at her own reflection though, she felt it wasn’t her she was looking at. A different woman, more beautiful and foreboding, was looking back at her. And she didn’t want it any other way.
Her voice had attained a dark melody. Her genki tones had matured into something different.
“I’m coming over, Yoshi.”
Masumi was crying. Her red panties had stopped before her knees though they did not hide the wounds that patterned her upper thigh. Blood coated her legs in an amount she thought impossible. Through her tears, she screamed out in an unintelligible fashion but her thoughts were clear. He didn’t touch me there. There had been a moment where his fingertips lingered near her pubic region (no one gets to third base on the first date she had thought, worrying she was on the verge of insanity). But he withdrew his hands and fell into a confusion bundle of apologies. Her legs crossed in a vice of defiance. Her body was not to be defiled; not by her frisky first boyfriend and certainly not by this basket case.
“I’m sorry.” he said. Had she not seen him speak, she would not have believed he had just said it.
“Why did you make me do this?”
He was almost hysterical. Still, she gaped at him with no idea how to respond. His fingers gripping the knife, he stabbed her once more and she wailed with a piercing shriek. Her body receded from him but he closed in on her. Her howls were soon smothered by an ungodly sound; he was crying.
“I just.. I just.” he stuttered. “Why can’t you understand?”
A slight anger replaced her pain. Masumi sat up despite her wounds.
“You saw some helpless girl in a bar and you decided to spike her drink and take her home? What is this, really? You watched some dumb romantic comedy and think you understand ‘love’.”
Kiyoshi winced. Her words hit him harder than he expected.
“How did you know I spiked you?”
She gave him a hardened stare that made him focus on the knife before him instead. His expression darkened. So much so, she could not tell him apart from the shadows.
“You’ll understand.” he said. His voice did not belong to him and yet it escaped his lips.
He grabbed her legs once more and dragged her towards him. She moaned as the dirt beneath her scraped her yielding flesh. His right hand curled around his jeans and they unsnapped instantly. Masumi saw his length and recoiled as far as the shackles would allow her.
A brilliant flood of light spilled on them both. Yuka slowly stepped down the stairs with a floral fragrant trance. Both Masumi and Kiyoshi froze as she approached with the air of intoxication. Her eyes shifted from him to her, from his knife to her leg, to his penis to her blood-stained panties.
“Yuka.” he began, weighing his words. “Yuka, please go upstairs.”
She shook her head. Her long hair, once in pigtails, did not move as though it were stuck rigid with hairspray.
“You love her, don’t you?” her words were tinged with sadness.
Kiyoshi stood suddenly. His penis bobbed comically as he grabbed her arms. She bit her lip as lust swelled inside of her.
“I’m just a little twisted.”
They both smiled in unison. From Masumi’s perspective, they both had one set of lips. Yuka kissed him, grateful in her noxious persona. Her hands slipped over his penis as his breath became hot and sticky against her neck.
His knife slipped from his grasp. Sensing her opportunity, she scraped her leg across the dirt and pulled it towards her in the hopes his eyes wouldn’t wander. But his lust was too great; he began to kiss Yuka’s neck, smearing blood with each amorous movement. His hands slipped under her bra as she appeared to enjoy Masumi’s blood upon her bare flesh.
Both went down to the floor. Kiyoshi’s hand began to travel up her wounded leg. Her blood congealed against his touch and she resisted crying out. The blade was only inches from her bound hands.
Yuka climbed onto Kiyoshi and began pulling off his shirt. Despite the mustiness of the air and the sharp gravel of the floor, he seemed to be enjoying this affection. Masumi clenched the knife and placed it between her teeth. Luckily, the serrated edge cut into the ropes easily and, with a motion that mirrored Yuka’s attempt at oral sex, the bounds fell.
She was free.
“Yoshi!” Yuka cried, raising her gleaming lips.
With a primal roar, Kiyoshi leapt at her. His eyes exploded with a fury she had never seen before as Yuka was thrown onto her back. As Masumi slammed backwards into the concrete wall, Yuka observed thoughtfully. In another scenario, you’d be forgiven for believing she was an innocent bystander. But her legs were splayed, revealing the glistening product of her perversion. As her labia glittered, her left hand slowly travelled downwards.
Masumi squealed in pain as Kiyoshi groped and twisted her wounded leg. His fingers explored the depths of sinew and muscle further than anyone ever should. With an effort she’d later attribute to her guardian angel, Masumi arched her arm back and thrusted the knife into the side of his skull.
Yuka’s scream flooded the room. Kiyoshi trembled uncontrollably and slumped in death. The knife shone in its new home. Foolishly, Yuka crawled over to him, even with her exposed flesh rubbing against the gravely floor.
Sensing her opportunity, Masumi crawled to the stairs. Though the wooden steps threatened to blister her hands, she climbed with a determination she had never felt before. Her leg roared in pain and left a river of blood trailing behind her but it didn’t matter. She was to be free.
With great effort, she had climbed to the midpoint of the stairs. Her fingers indeed blistered but it was nothing compared to the gouged muscles of her leg. She rested it against her good leg as not to cause any further damage. Yuka’s screaming had turned to silence and suddenly, she was aware of how much noise she was making.
“YOU.” yelled Yuka. Masumi turned to face the glowering Yuka. A silver gleam waved at her. The knife. Masumi cursed herself as she left the weapon lodged in Kiyoshi’s skull.
Yuka sprinted to the stairs and flew in such a fury that Masumi was actually scared. The swiped the blade just inches from Masumi’s face. Her guardian angel was generous. Masumi bent her good leg and, grateful for years of ballerina practise, kicked Yuka down the wooden steps in a sickening crunch. Her last moments were spent gazing at her love, Kiyoshi, from an impossible angle.
Masumi began to cry. Despite the violence she had witnessed, she was happy. The light above her began to encompass her as she crawled towards it. Like open arms of an embrace, she welcomed it.
The remnants of that day had been a blur to her. Masumi crawled into the lounge and called the police who had arrived in a maelstrom of blue lights and deafening sirens. Though the officers spoke and she answered, she felt detached. She was even numb to when the doctor cleaned and sewed up her leg wound. Though she was lucky not to have it amputated from infection, the tendon damage necessitated the usage of a crutch from now to her dying day.
Kiyoshi and Yuka’s bodies were bought out long after Masumi was taken to the hospital. Soon, it would be revealed that Kiyoshi was responsible for twenty unsolved murders in that prefecture. All of which were proved due to the vast number of corpses under the fresh earth of his bed of roses.
However, that night as Masumi was delivered home, she entered her quarters despite the over-zealous assistance of the police. They almost did not accept no for answer, she thought knowing their duty appeared silly to her. With her wounds sewn, she did not need this assistance. Though she limped and her shoulder ached from the hospital crutch, she desired to be alone. Her time in the ward led to some unwanted celebrity; Kiyoshi was responsible for more than she could even comprehend. But he was gone now; she wanted no more lustful stares let alone the perverted attention of the media. Even with her slight limp, she dropped the crutch and begin to walk unaided. Though the hour was late, she decided to head into to the small the small round adjacent to her bedroom. She had something to take care of.
A wall of black turned to feeble light. An emaciated figure glowered up at Masumi’s presence. Her closet was a tight space occupied by a handsome man of thirty; his eyes were soft and genuine. A warmth bloomed within her and suddenly, Kiyoshi disappeared within her mind’s eye. It became a euphoric fusillade; all she wanted to do was scoop up the feeble bundle of bones and love him. His smile was stronger than the morphine she was enjoyed at the hospital.
“Hey sweetie pie. Sorry I’ve been late.” she said. Her voice was jovial as though she were celebrating the arrival of the weekend. “I’ve had quite the day.”
He did not respond. Masumi did not mind; he rarely spoke since she showed him how to cut someone’s vocal cords with help from her previous guest. The wet, almost emphysema-like sound of his voice being silenced haunted his dreams from then on.
“I was thinking of letting you back into the bedroom. If you’re a good boy this time, I won’t use the toys.”
The bound man smiled blandly. Within the hasty clump of his unseen binds, he had long beaten her knots. There he had remained, his body aching and delirious. But he remembered everything. Her saccharine laughter, the way she purposefully patted his inner thigh and even the way she crept into his room with the syringe gleaming in her hand.
“We’re going to have so much fun!” she said. Her fingers began to undo the buttons on her shirt in anticipation.
A dull blade shined between his bound hands as she approached with her sandpaper lips. He was ready.