Yamamba

This happened when I was in the fifth grade. At the time I was an awful brat who loved to play bad pranks, and I was good friends with K. Both of us were getting in trouble all the time.

One summer’s day K came over to my house after being told off by his parents and suggested that we run away together. I’d never heard a more exciting and fun sounding idea in my entire life.

We packed large travelling bags full of food, drinks, comics, and other stuff important we thought might be important, and then made our way to a nearby park after dinner. It would have probably been around 8 p.m. by that point.

But of course, we were just stupid kids and had no idea about what to do or where to go next.

“What now?”

We debated what to do, and in the end decided to go visit a shed out in the rice fields. We lived way out in the countryside of Nagano, so as soon as we left the small village we lived in, rice fields spread out all around us. They were full of sheds that housed farming tools and machinery, as well as storing bundles of straw.

We snuck into an old one where we didn’t think anyone would disturb us. There was an old push tractor inside that was no longer in use, as well as a mountain of straw that looked like it might make for a good bed.

We turned on the battery powered light we’d brought and ate some snacks, drank some drinks, read some comics, and generally kicked back to relax.

I wonder how long we sat there like that for? Then we suddenly heard a sound outside. K and I jumped to our feet and quickly turned off the light. We thought it had to be our parents out looking for us, or perhaps the owner of the shed. We dove into the straw and then held our breath.

Something rustled outside. It sounded odd. Like something being dragged over gravel. The sound continued, making its way around the cabin.

“…What’s that?”

“…Do you wanna check it out?”

We gently climbed out of the straw and quietly approached the window.

“…!!”

There was an old woman standing outside. She was hunched over and nothing more than skin and bones. She had long, white, messy hair that extended down her back.

“…What the hell is that?” K whispered, but I had no idea either. The old woman was dragging a bag or something alongside her on the ground. It looked like a sack that was tied up at the end, and the old lady was holding the end of that long rope in her hands. That sound from before had to be her dragging that sack.

“…Oh man, do you think she’s a yamamba?”

Frightened, I slowly stepped away from the window.

There was a loud crash. K, the idiot, had bumped into some farming tools and knocked them over. I panicked and looked outside, and the old woman turned and came running towards us with incredible speed!

I grabbed K and threw the both of us into the mountain of straw. The moment we hit the ground, the old woman burst through the shed door. We covered our mouths with our hands and tried not to scream.

“Is anyone hereeee…?” The old woman’s hoarse voice rang out. She narrowed her oddly sparkling eyes and searched the shed.

“…I won’t do anything, so come out…”

I watched her closely from inside the pile of straw. My eyes fell upon the sack she was dragging about. Something was moving around inside it. Then, something suddenly burst out the top.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a human hand. A human child’s hand.

“I said stop wriggling around!” The old lady noticed this and kicked the sack. The hand quickly retreated back inside. Seeing that, I felt like all the life had drained from my body.

“Are you here…?” The old woman picked up one of the large tools that had fallen over and approached the pile of straw. Then she started poking it with the pointy end. Almost in tears, we dodged it the best we could. If the pile of straw hadn’t have been so large, she would have skewered us.

As the straw came tumbling down, K and I moved as far back towards the wall as we could. There was no way the pitchfork would be able to reach that far back.

“Hmm, maybe I was imagining it…”

I don’t know how long we waited it out, but the old woman eventually dropped the pitchfork, grabbed the sack, and then left the shed.

The dragging sound slowly got further and further away. Although we could no longer hear it, K and I waited in the straw a little longer.

“…Is she gone?” K finally said.

“Maybe…” But I still didn’t feel like getting out, so I sat there, dumbfounded. Suddenly I realised there was a small breeze on my back. ‘So that’s why it was easy to breathe…’ There was a five centimetre hole in the wall behind us. As I bent down to look at it, suddenly…

“Well well, don’t you just look delicious…!!”

A hand burst through the hole at the same time as the old woman spoke! She grabbed my face and pulled me towards the hole. I screamed, but the stench of blood was so overwhelming, on top of the blood-curdling fear that I felt that I passed out.

When I came back too, I was in the local fire department’s guardroom. Apparently they found both of us passed out in the shed after our parents alerted them to the fact we were missing. We got the scolding of our lives, but both of us cried because we were finally safe.

We told our parents about what happened the night before but they shrugged it off as a dream. But it wasn’t. Because even now, I still have the marks on my face from where that old woman grabbed me.

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