Midnight Shinigami

I don’t know whether it’s our family line or our lineage, but generation after generation, people are born into our family with a strong ability to sense the supernatural. That’s what I’m going to tell you about today.

I was in high school at the time. Now I’m your regular hard-working businessman in a suit with a leather briefcase, but at the time I was pretty rough around the edges. Embarrassingly, I used to get up to a lot of mischief at night and ride around on my bike. Embarrassingly, the cops took me under their care multiple times.

One day, I was chatting with my buddy about visiting a famous ghost spot in Hiroshima. I wasn’t afraid of anything, so we all went together to put ourselves to the test.

It was around one in the morning when we arrived. Everyone was acting scared, but I wasn’t at all. I mean, like I explained earlier, the people in my family always had a strong ties to the supernatural, and I had heard that I had a guardian spirit watching over me. Not only that, but this guardian angel was particularly strong, so I wasn’t scared in the slightest.

Nothing ended up happening. It was so dull that we went around to several other ghost spots around town, but still nothing happened. We all went our separate ways and before I knew it, it was morning.

I went to school and spoke to my friends from the ghost hunting trip the night before. It turned out to be the quiet before the storm…

It happened that very same day. At the time, I shared bunk beds with my brother; him on top and me below. It must have been around two in the morning. Suddenly I heard this loud piercing sound in my ear and my body froze. I couldn’t move anything but my eyes. Most people would probably get scared and struggle, but I wasn’t afraid of anything.

‘Ah, sleep paralysis, huh? I feel like this has happened to me before, but there’s a perfectly good scientific explanation for it,’ I thought. I didn’t bother to struggle and just waited for it to pass. But then I noticed something strange. No matter how long I waited, nothing changed, and the temperature in the room began to drop.

It wasn’t cold like winter, but like the chill was in my bones. Instinctively it set me on alert, and I knew it wasn’t like anything I’d ever run into until that point.

While mild panic was settling in, someone appeared at the door. The door wasn’t open, so it clearly wasn’t my parents. When I looked over, I saw four people in white clothes wearing masks. They were holding large sickles, like you might see in a comic book. The mask on the left was a hannya mask, followed by an old man, a plain woman, and then a tengu. They approached me silently, not even an audible footstep.

One of them said something to me. I didn’t know which, but one of them was definitely saying something. Honestly, I was so scared and forlorn that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. It sounded like “The spirit… The protector…” but I couldn’t understand it. However, the last thing they said was perfectly clear.

“There won’t be a next time.”

At that, they left the room. The paralysis holding me broke and I was able to move again. “There won’t be a next time.” Goosebumps broke out over my body for the next few minutes. Honestly, at that moment, I was prepared to disappear from this world. You often hear people talking about the turning point of their lives, well that was mine.

A few days later, I was thinking about who those four people in white clothes could have been. At first I thought they might have been evil spirits that followed me home from the ghost spots, but now I think they might have been guardian spirits. Because they had protected me from evil, I put myself to the test that day. Nothing happened, but when they saw how I was acting, perhaps they came that night to warn me. That made the most sense. If I was stupid and recklessly visited another ghost spot after that, I wouldn’t get another chance.

There’s more to this story though. One of my colleagues, T-san, said that he had the same experience that I did, right after visiting a ghost spot with his older brother. It was a different place to the one I visited, but it was a pretty famous ghost spot nevertheless. The next day, he dreamt about “beasts wearing masks,” he said.

“They’ve done well to protect us for this long, huh?” I said. He immediately asked me why I’d say such a thing. Then he hit me with the truth. His older brother died that very same night the beasts in the masks came to visit him…

Once more, from that moment on I decided to live the most righteous life I could.

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