Hearse

A young woman by the name of K-san lived with her parents and grandmother. Her grandmother was once a picture a health, but in the last few years she took ill and started to lose her wits. She continually complained to K-san’s mother, who was looking after her, and spoke to her venomously.

“You’re just waiting for me to die, aren’t you?” she repeated, over and over, until that was exactly what everyone started to think. Their care for her became sloppy. She didn’t get enough exercise, the quality of her food declined, and this in turn sped up her illness. She got weaker until she couldn’t even get out of bed, couldn’t even speak, all she could do was lie there on the bed and breathe. It was clear just by looking at her that she didn’t have much longer left to live.

K-san’s room was on the second floor. One night when she was asleep, she suddenly heard the sound of a car horn outside. K-san ignored it and went back to bed, but a short while later she heard it again. It rang out, over and over, late in the night. K-san got angry at this lack of common sense and pulled the curtain back to look outside. Her blood ran cold.

A large hearse was parked in front of her house. She couldn’t tell if someone was inside, but the engine didn’t appear to be running. It was quiet. K-san jumped back into bed and under the covers. After that the noise stopped, and all fell silent.

The next morning, K-san asked her parents whether they heard the car horn or not, but neither of them knew anything about it. There was no way they couldn’t have heard it, with how loud it was, but her parents didn’t appear to be lying, and she couldn’t think of a reason why they would lie either. Perhaps the light of day was helping her to see things more clearly herself as well. K-san wondered if the hearse was there to pick up her grandmother. She couldn’t think of any other reason. But, her grandmother was ‘fine’ as usual.

The hearse came again the next night. And the next night. K-san tried to ignore it, but strangely it wouldn’t stop honking its horn until K-san looked down from her second floor window at it. Sleepless nights full of fear continued, and K-san herself feared she was going mad.

On the seventh day, K-san’s parents went to visit some relatives on an errand. To be honest, K-san wanted to go as well, but she couldn’t yet bring herself to tell anybody why, and somebody had to stay behind to watch over her grandmother. K-san hadn’t quite tipped over the edge yet, so her parents forcibly ordered her to stay, got in the car, and left. K-san tried to distract herself by watching the TV. Afraid of her grandmother’s room, she refused to approach it, and when it was time to feed her lunch, she ignored that as well. Her parents told her they would be home around dinner, but when the time came and passed, there was no sign of their return.

9 p.m. ticked by, and then the clock struck midnight, the usual time for the hearse to arrive. There was not a single phone call from her parents as the night wore on, and then finally, she heard the horn. K-san was on the first floor, but she didn’t want to see the hearse up close, so she ran to her second floor window and looked down.

And what exactly did she see?

Usually the car was quiet, but this time several people in black clothes stepped out. They stepped through the gate, and fear ran through K-san’s body. Moments later, the doorbell downstairs rang. It continued ringing, over and over, without end. The ringing then changed to soft knocks, building to a deafening BANG BANG BANG BANG!

K-san no longer felt like she was alive. ‘Oh no, did I forget to lock the front door?’ she thought. The more she thought about it, the more she felt like she didn’t lock the door. She bounded down the stairs towards the entrance, but the moment she hit the first floor, the downstairs phone started to ring.

The banging continued. K-san froze on the spot. Covering both her ears and fighting the urge to call out, she picked up the receiver. “Hello? Hello? Hello!”

“Is this OO’s house?”

Unexpectedly, it was a man’s tender voice.

“This is the police. I’d like you to listen carefully to what I have to say, and try to keep calm. A short while ago your parents were involved in a crash. Both passed away. Would you happen to be their daughter? Hello? Hello…?”

K-san stood there dumbfounded, unable to move. Strangely, the loud banging on the front door had also stopped. K-san wondered if that hearse was actually there to pick up her parents and not her grandmother? Come to think of it, how was her grandmother doing?

Something tapped on K-san’s shoulder from behind. She turned around and saw her grandmother standing there, a large smile on her face.

“Don’t worry, you’re coming as well.”

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