Deep regret

Author: Ukari

To say here is far, and to call yonder nearby. Stories on the edge of the every day, strange tales you may or may not be moved by. Strange, curious, fantastic stories told by me, you, him and her. There are many stories but they’re all concluded within a single page, each story around 200 to 1200 characters in length, a short story collection you can easily read. Please enjoy them. Updated every Saturday at 6pm.

***

More than the heat I was unable to deal with the humidity any longer so I decided to turn on the air conditioner.
According to the calendar we were well into autumn but the summer heat was still aggressively lingering. The continuing sweltering hot nights were unbearable, so much that even a poor student such as myself had to take advantage of some of the conveniences of modern civilisation.
I’m not a big fan of sleeping with the air conditioner on because then my throat hurts, but the lack of sleep was resounding throughout my body. I just wanted to get a good night’s rest.
I live on the fourth floor so I usually keep just the veranda screen door closed, but for the first time in a while I closed the storm shutters and got ready for a nice, comfortable sleep… at least it should have been.

A noise roused me.

Kari. Karikari. Kariri.

Something was softly yet relentlessly scratching on the veranda.
Half asleep, I thought it was probably just a bug or something, but I was wrong.
For some reason I knew this tiny sound wasn’t that at all.

Karikari. Kariri.

The sound continued, persevering incessantly.
It clearly had a purpose. It was trying to get into my room.
That finally woke me up fully.
Just what exactly, at this late time of night – and on the fourth floor no less – was scratching at my veranda door?
I got up from my futon as quietly as possible.
The noise continued.
Judging from what I could hear, whatever was scratching was at about knee height.

Kari. Kari. Kariri.

The noise didn’t stop. Persistently, persistently it kept on scratching.
Suddenly I realised something.
Whatever was scratching out there was so weak that it wasn’t even rattling the storm shutter.
But even with that little amount of strength, supposing the storm shutter wasn’t blocking it?
What if tonight it had once again just been the screen door?

I got goosebumps.
Then, as though it had heard my thoughts, the sound stopped.
Instead what I heard was a deep, deep sigh. From the bottom of its heart, a sigh full of regret.
And with that, silence once more filled the night.

 

Original Japanese

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