Harumi’s final days

This all took place about 10 years ago. I was working at a rundown snack bar in the middle of nowhere and had gotten friendly with one of the girls who also worked there. You know what I’m talking about, right? Before long we were living together. The boss and the other employees all knew about it. We were having a ball together, until…

Anyway, I’ll call her Harumi. Harumi was really into gambling. Pachinko, horses, boats, cycling, poker, mahjong, you name it. That would be all well and good if she ever won, but she sucked at it. It takes skills to be good at gambling, and she didn’t have any.

Just as you’d expect, she was soon up to her neck in debt, but somehow she slowly started paying it back. Huh? What about me? Ah, I don’t gamble. Betting a large amount of money on something where I might win or lose, that’s not for me. I’m surprisingly stable, haha. Anyway, back to the story.

It was about two years after we first started living together. She was left with nowhere else to go. At her wits end, she borrowed money from the one place you shouldn’t. The yakuza.

One night, when just the two of us were home, two men showed up. Looking at them I could immediately tell who they were. You can probably guess what happened after that. It was exactly like what you see in TV and the movies. Laughably so. They threatened her that if she couldn’t pay them back, they’d force her into the sex industry.

And even so, Harumi kept working while putting them off, telling them to wait just another week, and then just another month. Huh? What about me? I didn’t do anything. They were yakuza! I’m not a fighter. What’s that? You can’t just leave her like that, you live together? Haha, yes, that’s quite right. But perhaps one day, if you’re ever in my position, you’ll understand.

We were in our apartment again one night when, as usual, debt collectors came to visit, but there was something different about them this time. What do you call them… the top brass? The big guys came. After they were done talking with Harumi, they headed determinedly in my direction. “Are you her man?” they asked. It wasn’t like I could pretend otherwise, so I said yes. “Can you pay back her debt?” they asked. Of course I couldn’t. Her debt had already grown to close to 10 million yen by that point. I told them I could not.

Then one of the guys, he kinda looked like Kitamura Kazuki, but anyway, this guy says that if that’s so, then he’ll take the girl. I was ready to give up. As long as what she did didn’t harm me, she could do whatever she wanted. Huh? What’s that? I’m an ogre? A demon? A brute? Sure, why not? But when it comes to the nighttime entertainment business, you’ve gotta kill any heart you have. I wasn’t in love with Harumi, I just wanted her body. What’s that? I really am a brute? Yeah, probably. That’s fine.

Getting back to the story, the man then said something strange. “I’ll give you this if you forget about her and never speak of this again.” It was a bloated brown envelope. Exactly one million yen was inside. But it’s not exactly the nicest thing in the world, is it? Receiving money from the yakuza. Somewhere down the road they might come back and try to collect on that money, with interest. So, I refused it.

The little punk with the head honcho then took out a Polaroid and took my picture. The big guy told me he’d kill me if I didn’t accept the money. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I thought. Reluctantly, I took the money. Then he told me, “If you tell anybody about this, no matter where you are, I will find you and kill you. Got it?” After that, it was a bit vague, but I thought that Harumi wasn’t plunged into the sex industry, but they used her for something else instead. Something even worse.

They packed some of Harumi’s clothes and other items into a bag and took her away. She didn’t look at me as they left, just walked straight by me. She was a tough woman. Left alone in the apartment, I sat there dumbfounded for a while. I thought I’d quit work the next day and move someplace new. It was horrible, having the yakuza know where I lived.

Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to Harumi’s dresser. There was a box on top with a ribbon. Inside was the watch I’d wanted for ages. Oh yeah, come to think of it, the next day was my birthday. Even I shed a tear over that. I realised that was the first moment I fell in love with Harumi. So then, you went to the yakuza’s head office and took Harumi back, right? Haha. This ain’t the movies. This is reality, and this is the story of a disheartened man.

I quit work the next day and decided to move someplace new with the one million yen I’d received. I wanted to get as far away as possible, so I moved from the town that was famous for its mentaiko all the way to the town that was famous for its snow festival. I figured I’d make that the place to start my new life. I found somewhere to live, and with that settled, started looking for work. I didn’t want to work in the nighttime entertainment industry anymore, but I wondered if there was anything out there for a nocturnal person like me. Then I found the perfect job. A nighttime security guard. I went to the interview, and a few days later I was employed.

10 years have passed since then. Surprisingly, for a guy who gets bored with things easily, I’m still at the same job. Huh? What about Harumi? Sometimes I think about her. I’ve worn that watch she bought for me ever since. I’ve had girlfriends since then, and it’s been alright, but I lead a pretty ordinary life. Folks tell me I kinda look like Kawasaki Mayo, you know? What’s that? No-one asked? The hostesses are just being polite? Haha, how rude. Anyway, about a month ago, one of my colleagues, M, said he had this amazing video.

I figured it would be some skeevy porn or something. I’d borrowed such videos from him several times before. But then he was like, “Have you ever heard of snuff videos?” I’m a guy that likes the internet and looks up all sorts of stuff in his free time, so yeah, I’d heard the term before. Overseas websites are pretty amazing. They have videos of real deaths, and dead bodies and so on. Anyway, he got this video from a certain source and wanted to bring it to work that day to watch together.

Our break time is around 3 a.m. I figured it’d be a good way to pass the time, so why not? I suspected it was just a fake anyway. He put the video in the player and pressed play. A young, naked woman was lying in a cage. All her hair had been shaved off. All of it. I dunno if she was drugged, but she wasn’t moving. Only her eyes darted around the place violently.

It was Harumi.

I wanted to stand up, but for some reason, I couldn’t move. Before long they put a giant anaconda in the cage through some sort of giant tube. I’m not even joking, it had to have been over 10 metres long. It slowly approached Harumi. M kept going, “Amazing, right?” all proud of himself and looking in my direction.

The large body slowly wrapped itself around Harumi. They must have done something to her tongue or vocal chords. Her face was petrified, but she never uttered a sound. Something cracked, like the sound of chips in a bag. Harumi’s body went soft, like a boneless mollusk. 10 minutes must have passed before it opened its large mouth and swallowed her head.

“This goes on for a while,” M said and fast forwarded the video. When the snake was done swallowing her head, then it started on her shoulders. By the time she was halfway inside, the tape ended. M said there were two more tapes after that. I told him I’d seen enough and left to patrol the area. I just wanted to get away.

Ever since then, I’ve been having the same dream. A giant snake with Harumi’s face wraps itself around me, squeezing me. When all my bones are broken, Harumi starts devouring me. It’s so painful that it almost loops all the way around to pleasant again. As I’m slowly dissolving inside her stomach, it’s like I’ve returned to the safety of my mother’s womb. And what did I do about the videos, you ask? I bought all of them from M. It cost me nearly an entire month’s wage. After I watched them, I cried for a bit and then destroyed them all.

Late at night, when I was working, I could feel Harumi around. I was patrolling the inside of a building by myself when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, but nobody was there. When I started walking again, there was a sound like a wet rag hitting the floor. ‘Is that Harumi?’ I wondered, but she never showed herself. I could sense her, and I could hear her footsteps, but that was it.

This went on for a few days, and of course it started to affect me mentally. At the moment I’m on leave. A holiday, if you will.

Three days ago, Harumi showed herself. I was lying awake in bed, late at night, smoking a cigarette and staring at the ceiling. The white smoke started to dance before my eyes. I figured it was just the smoke from the cigarette, but the movement was strange. It was like it was alive, dancing and waving in front of me as it took shape.

It was Harumi. Her bones broken, swinging like a marionette, her body dissolving. The single eyeball she still had left stared at me. Her mouth was moving, like she wanted to say something, but perhaps her tongue was missing or her throat cut, but she couldn’t make a sound.

How long passed? Before I knew it, she disappeared. It’s a bit embarrassing, but I wet myself. Haha. Sorry.

Harumi appeared again the next night. I started to think that it wouldn’t be so bad if she killed me. I even started to looking forward to seeing her. Her mouth kept moving, like she was trying to tell me something. I rushed over.

“Do you want to say something? What should I do? The watch? The watch, thank you for the watch! I’m sorry I didn’t do anything that time! I’m taking good care of the watch! The watch! The watch!” I screamed, over and over, like a madman. She valiantly lifted her broken neck and approached me. Then she spoke, brokenly, but perfectly clear.

“I wanted to have your child.”

She’s coming to see me again tonight.

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