Warning. Read this story at your own risk. If something happens to you after reading this story, we take no responsibility whatsoever. I’ll warn you one more time. You read this at your own risk.
Before reading this story, I’d appreciate it if you could take the following steps first.
1. Please touch your left shin.
2. While touching your left shin, close your eyes and think of the name “Shinobara.”
3. Do the same thing with your left ring and pinky fingers.
After you’ve done that, please proceed with the story. Now, this will get rather lengthy, but let’s go.
At present, it’s March 2010. This happened eight years and ten months ago. I was a high schooler in the third grade and I lived on Tateyama, a mountain in Toyama Prefecture.
Cherry blossom season had almost ended, and it was a rather warm day. We were about to enter test season at school, but I spent my days doing nothing but lounge around. After graduation, I was going to help around my family’s bento shop, so I didn’t need to worry. Everyone around me was much the same. I wasn’t a smart kid, so of course I was a bit of a brat. I even dyed my hair light brown.
I was close friends with I-kun and H, who I’d known since junior high school. We didn’t shakedown other kids or anything like that, but we rode bikes (without a license), smoked cigarettes, that sort of thing.
“You wanna hang out tomorrow?” H said, approaching me. He wanted to go somewhere far away. There weren’t many places to hang out in Toyama. There was pachinko and that was about it.
“Where do you wanna go?” I asked.
“The village,” he replied. “I was thinking we could go and do a test of courage, you know…? And we’ll invite some girls, of course!” he added, so I agreed.
Honestly, it didn’t seem like it would be very fun, but if there were going to be girls there, then…
I-kun got all excited and said something like “I’ll bring a camera!” To which H replied while scratching his right artificial leg, “Then, I’ll invite the girls.” He then walked over to the girls.
H had lost his right leg below the knee. “It was a bike accident,” he said of it.
In the end, it was H, I, myself, and three girls for a total of six people. It took us about two hours on the train to get there.
“This is just like a group date.”
“Now it’s starting to get fun!”
This village H spoke of was supposed to be a normal village, but it was also said to be haunted. Although having said that, none of us were scared. Rather, we were excited and having fun.
The village was little more than a collection of rice fields with some lights here and there. It was, in a word, the countryside. We didn’t have any particular goals in mind, so we walked around at random. Then we heard someone calling out to us from far away.
‘That’s odd,’ I thought, and then about five minutes later the girls started complaining. “I don’t like this.” “I don’t want to walk around here anymore.” I was annoyed and wanted to tell them it was just someone joking around, but I started to feel dizzy and then something sharp rang in my ears.
At this point in time it was still fine. “I told you there would be ghosts,” I-kun said with a smile. “I’m glad I brought a camera.”
Suddenly I noticed that the asphalt we’d been walking on had turned to gravel. ‘Huh?’ I thought and looked around.
“What’s wrong?” one of teh girls asked.
Something about the village felt strange. Not evil, but like it was getting older. Kind of like a time slip back into the Showa era.
“Looks old, huh?” the girls said, and I-kun started taking pictures. I look around and saw what looked like an liquor store with a poster for Kirin beer on the outside. Beside it were some beer bottles and an empty crate to put them in.
I could hear a TV coming from a nearby house. It sounded old, like some peculiar music. Having come this far, naturally we were freaked out. “Let’s go back,” we decided.
“Nah, let’s go just a little further,” H said, continuing on ahead. “Come on, just a little further.”
It was at this point that I started to worry about him. Up until then he hadn’t said a single thing, and we’d already walked around a hell of a lot, but still he was asking for us to go a little further. He clearly had some other goal in mind.
While I’m able to think about that now, at the time all I could think was that he was scaring me a little. He dragged his right leg behind him, heading further and further into the village. I could hear “Tokyo Boogie-Woogie” playing from inside the houses.
H stopped suddenly in front of one particular house. “Are you finally ready to go back?” one of the girls asked him. He turned to look at us all. His eyes were full of pity.
“What? Are there ghosts here?” I-kun asked him and went inside. The girls followed him, and then H and I also passed through the gate.
The name plate read “Shinobara.” Unlike the other houses in the village, this one didn’t have any lights on.
One of the girls noticed a noise coming from the garden. Well, we had entered someone’s house without permission, of course they’d get angry, I thought and went to leave, but then H grabbed me. “Let’s go that way,” he said.
“Quit screwing around,” I-kun said to him. The girl and H were already facing the direction of the sound, and I-kun and I reluctantly turned around and started walking towards it. Come to think of it, we hadn’t ran into any people yet, this would be the first one… I thought, but it was the middle of the night, so of course we hadn’t run into anyone. I didn’t pay it much more attention than that.
After walking through the garden for a bit, we ran into someone.
“This is the very first villager we’ve seen, isn’t it?” I-kun said to me. Then he turned to H. “That’s not a ghost, right?”
H’s expression was strange. He breathed roughly through his nose, and even I could see that he was dripping with sweat. His legs started to tremble, and then slowly his teeth chattered as well. I followed H’s gaze and tried to put myself inside his head, but no matter how you looked at it, it was nothing more than a person bent over in front of us.
This person looked like they had come straight out of the Showa era as well. That was my first impression of her. This woman raised her right hand into the air, and then brought it down on the ground in front of her like a sword. There were about four or five holes in front of her the size of manholes.
Honestly, without any lights, I had no idea what this woman was doing. I had no idea what was in the holes either.
The six of us watched this woman from behind as she worked in silence. We could hear a female voice singing something from the house next door.
‘What the hell?’ I thought and smiled bitterly, when suddenly the area surrounding the woman lit up. It was immediately followed by the sound of the camera shutter.
Before I consciously realised that I-kun must have taken a photo, I was drawn in by the scene before me. The woman was holding a machete in her right hand, and the light reflected red all around her.
But what made me swallow my breath was what was in the holes. In that brief flash of light, I saw it. Hands, feet, fingers, chests, torn clothes, glasses, skin, and hair. Body parts. Lots of them. Red speckles coated everything, and I was sure I’d even seen some bright red internal organs too.
Pieces of the body the woman was cutting up lay at her feet. I broke out in goosebumps. My legs shook. Suddenly H took off running towards the gate. He ran faster than I thought was possible considering he was missing his right leg. As I turned to look at him fleeing, the woman entered the edge of my vision. She slowly stood up and swayed side to side.
One of the girls screamed, and that was the sign we needed. The woman spun on the spot, twisting her body around. With the machete in her right hand, and nothing in her left, the top half of her body twisted, and then the lower half followed. She caught the girl who screamed on the temple with the machete.
The girl moved in time with her, and at the same time her screams were cut short. Having become one with the machete, she dropped unnaturally to the ground. I-kun, myself, and the other two girls took the opportunity to run. The four of us screamed and even breathed together.
“Ack!” One of the girls suddenly groaned. The woman had grabbed her head as she was running. She had gripped her long hair and yanked her back. I turned back to the front and continued running. I left her to die. My head was full of nothing but fear, that was all I could do.
“Stop, aaahhhhh!” the girl screamed and started crying. I could hear the sound of the machete coming down through her screams as we continued running.
I-kun, the other girl and I ran for the gravel road as fast as we could. The girl running ahead of us suddenly changed direction and ran for one of the houses with lights on, banging on the front door.
“Help us!” she screamed and banged. As she went to open the door it suddenly slid open, and the momentum caused her to stumble. She fell into the entrance.
I followed her in. “Help!” I screamed as loud as I could, my voice rough. I-kun stopped for a moment, hesitated, and then took off running in another direction.
Inside the house looked strange as well. It was full of orange light bulbs hanging from the roof above. On a small dining table there was miso soup, fried fish, and some vegetable side dishes all lined up. There was a large TV in the living room, as well as some sliding doors and floor cushions.
Yet there was nobody there. It was as though the people inside had disappeared. Yet I continued screaming anyway. “Someone! Anyone!”
Crying, our faces covered in snot and tears, the girl and I looked at each other.
We had no idea what was going on.
I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. Someone had opened the door and come inside. Was it I-kun? Or the residents of the house?
The girl’s face stiffened and looked at me. It was that woman. Instinctively my hand shot out for the closet. It was full of brand new newspapers. I ignored the girl and jumped inside. She soon followed me. We softly closed the door and held our breath.
We heard the creaking of footsteps. I broke out into a sweat. The creaking continued. She was searching the area. Listening closer, I could hear her laughing. Her voice sounded shrill and high-pitched. My heart pounded wildly.
Suddenly, the noises stopped. I couldn’t hear the woman’s voice either. There was no noise whatsoever. The girl and I looked at each other.
“You’re in there, huh?”
The door flung open and an arm reached in towards us. Her hand was stained red with blood. She grabbed the girl’s neck and pulled her out into the living room.
“Noooooo!” she screamed.
I burst out of the closet. Not to help her, but if I was going to run, this would be my only chance. The woman noticed me and laughed. Then she looked down at me. Her face was pale grey, and covered in the blood of her victims beneath the orange lights she looked like a strange abstract painting.
Her lips were unnaturally moist and her eyes half white. A sound escaped her lips like that of air leaking. She held the girl’s neck in her left hand, and with the machete in her right hand, brought it down towards me.
Small things like caterpillars flew around in front of me. ‘What is that?’ I wondered, and when I looked closer, I realised they were fingers. I couldn’t understand the situation, yet when I put my left hand down on the ground to run, I realised I was missing my left ring and pinky fingers. They had been replaced with spurts of blood.
“Aaaahhhhhhh!” I screamed pathetically and rolled around on the floor. All the hairs on my body stood on end. It was an unbearable pain like nothing I’d ever felt before.
My heart pounded like an alarm bell. Cradling my left hand, I took off for the entrance as fast as I could. I heard screams and the sound of plates being overturned as I exited the door.
It didn’t matter who, I just need someone, anyone to help me. My own blood coated my clothes, and tears and sweat ran down my face. I ran as fast as I could down the road we’d come from, screaming the whole time.
The sound of gravel beneath my feet turned to asphalt, and I continued running.
I don’t remember much of what happened after that. Next thing I knew, I was in the hospital. Apparently someone had come across me cover in blood and crying on the side of the road, and they drove me to a nearby hospital.
My parents hadn’t contacted the police because it was normal for me not to return home, so they first they heard of it was when I woke up and gave the police their names and address.
As things slowly calmed down, I finally told the doctor and my parents about what had happened. About the place we visited for a test of courage. About the scenery changing as we walked. About the woman with the machete who attacked us, and the three girls who I’d seen die. Yet they never found their bodies, so they treated them as missing persons.
We still don’t know where I-kun is either. Maybe that woman found him as well, I don’t know.
H was the only one to return home, but he refused to speak about what happened. Two days after I woke up, he came to visit me in the hospital.
“There’s something I need to tell you…” he said. “First things first, I’m glad you’re okay.”
Those words set me off and all the blood rushed to my head.
“You asshole! What the hell are you glad about? If you hadn’t invited us to go there then none of this would have happened, moron!” I called him all sorts of other colourful names as well.
He waited until I was finished and then said, “Well, you see…”
This is what he told me.
It was, in reality, the second time H had been to that village. Before he started high school, one of the older kids had invited him to go there so he went along. Just like when we went, the scenery had started to change, and he took him to a house called Shinobara. He was attacked by the woman with the machete, just like we were.
One of the older kids tried to stop the woman and she slashed him across the stomach. The others all ran for their lives. Then, the older kid who had invited him said the following.
“Because of that woman, there’s no way I’m going to live long. She’s slowly taking the limbs from people I know and snatching them away into that world. One day, when I have no limbs left, she’ll no doubt come for my head as well.
“But there’s a way to delay her coming to kill you, and that is to make other people think of her. She runs around indiscriminately killing anyone who knows about her. To put it another way, if even one more person knows of her existence, then that means her chances of coming for you decrease.
“The same thing happened to me once, which was how I learnt of her. To lower my chance of dying, I forced you guys to learn of her. If you want to keep on living, you need to let others know about her as well.”
Four months later, H had a bike accident and lost his right leg. At the time of the accident, he saw that woman in the corner of his vision. She grabbed his right leg and laughed. It was that fear that caused him to make us learn of the woman’s existence as well.
I was dumbfounded. “Sorry,” he said, standing up and leaving the room. Outside, a nightingale cried.
As I said at the beginning, this all happened close to nine years ago. I’ve spent my life since then trying to forget about what happened. After getting out of the hospital I tried to go back to school, but I spent most of my time at home, and in the end I quit. After that I tried to finish school through the mail while working at my family’s bento store.
One year ago I fell down the stairs. I landed badly and broke my left leg. Right as I fell, I saw a woman standing at the top of the stairs, her lips twisted in a strange smile. I had to be hospitalised and my left leg was put in a cast, so I continued my studies.
Yet I felt an intense heat inside my leg, so I begged the doctor to remove my cast and take a look at it. It turned out my leg was rotting. They had to cut it off. That woman took my left leg. That was what I thought. Then, I started to have the same thought as H.
I had to tell someone about that woman.
I’d like to speak to you about the warning I left at the beginning of this story. The left leg, ring finger and pinky finger are the body parts that woman took away from me. Those who did it have confirmed where my limbs were severed.
Throughout this story I’ve also tried to write in minute, particular detail. This is so that you, the reader, can picture the best image possible.
In other words, you now all share in the memory of that woman as well, and I have ensured that her chances of coming for me again have lowered. I’m terribly sorry. The only reason I’ve written all this down is to ensure my own protection.
But, having written all this down, I’m also relieved. At the very least, I pray that that woman won’t come to visit you anytime soon.