Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Bedside Ghost by Kotaro
Two hundred years of peace and prosperity had changed the samurai to seek the pleasures of the flesh.
Satomi was in the prime of life and she lived in fear.
There was no safer place than where she was; under the huge roof of the main temple of the Zen sect. NO ghost would dare enter to disturb her prayers. Yet, her conscious created vivid images of the ghost that shattered her sleep into shards that carved away what peace the Buddha had molded with her prayers.
Tatsunori Motoki let out a heavy breath as he looked into the lazy waters of the river. He lifted the rod and noticed he'd been fooled again. Certainly, this was a sign of the misfortune that was plaguing his life. His wife, Satomi, had bought a kimono that was of a quality beyond what his income could afford no matter how hard she had been saving. She had been careful enough to get his permission before buying the kimono, yet he knew better; someone had surely bought it for her.
This seed of suspicion was now a vine constricting all his thoughts and actions. Day after day, he could think of little else and his administrative duties at the magistrate's public office was found lacking. He was given three days off and told to come back with heart and mind free to concentrate.
His most honorable ancestors were certainly yelling at him to show some samurai spirit, confront her with his suspicions, and slay her. Yet, Tatsunori blamed himself, for he still loved her with a deep passion. The outline of her body under her nightwear or the scent of her perfume sent him into a heart thumping need. His most urgent desire was to send her into uncontrollable ecstasy, yet, after two years of marriage, he had still to achieve anything near it. Satomi now refused him more often than not, and when she did accept, he sensed it was with resignation.
This morning when he told her of his vacation, she asked him to catch some fish for dinner while she did the housework and shopped. She had prepared him a simple lunch, and so he was here under a willow tree. He removed the moist cloth covering his small basket of bait. Somehow, the worms disgusted him. He emptied it into the river. Wrapping the line around the pole, he pushed the hook into the wood then headed back home.
The morning fog still hugged the ground in places like puddles after rain. Soon, they would dissipate as he wished his gloom would. Tatsunori still had the rice balls Satomi had packed. Feeling bored, he took one out of its wrapping of bamboo bark to munch on as he walked. He hoped to get home before Satomi went shopping, for he needed to tell her there wouldn't be any fish. As he gulped down the last of his lunch, he saw the door of his home slide open. Satomi stepped out. Not wanting to shout, he quickened his pace to overtake her. At the first corner, she turned west. The market was east. Where was she going? Was she so brazen to meet her secret lover when he was off from work? He determined to find out.
She walked and walked, finally leaving the outskirts of town. Soon, she would reach the sea. Then, he saw where she wanted to be, a secluded shack just above the dunes. Hiding behind the last tree, he watched till she disappeared into the shack. He bit his nails, and agonized over what action to take. Minutes past, at last, he stepped out into the open and rushed to see the truth. His chest leaned forward and his sandals kicked sand to his thighs, so hard he ran. He was nearly there when he dropped to his knees. Resembling a wary crab, he
approached and stopped beneath a window. The paper covering its wooden lattice was old and torn.
He paused with his back against the wall, his heart pounding in his ears, yet it couldn't drown the heavy pants of exertion and cries of delight coming from within. Turning, he inched upward to the window till his eyes peered through a rent to stare in erotic horror at Satomi astride her prone lover. He watched unable and unwilling to wrench his eyes away till she reached the peak of ecstasy and collapsed forward over the body that should have been his. Tears flowed as he cried out in shame and anger.
His cries alerted the couple. Satomi rose off her lover and crept to the window. Peering through a tattered square, she gasped as she recognized her husband, "It's Tatsunori. Quick, kill him!"
Tatsunori raced to the door, his sword raised. As he slid the door open, a blade ripped into his gut. Pushed to the ground, the sword cut through his back and plunged into the sand. His face grimaced into a devil's mask of anguish. His hand gripped the blade impaling him. Blood spilled out of his mouth as he struggled with each breath, "Satomi, curse you!".
They gutted him from groin to throat like a fish, rowed out to sea, and released him into the cool waters of the bay. As the waves rolled over his body, his jaws opened and closed as if struggling to speak before he sank.
Returning to shore, they waded through the surf to cleanse their bodies of blood. They rushed into the shack. Murder was oil to the flames within their loins; their cries and moans the line and bait of a devil that lured Tatsunori’s soul away from the realm of eternal peace.
It's said that Satomi had one more tryst with her lover, and that they saw Tatsunori's ghost looking down upon them, his kimono swaying, as if floating among the waves. Worse of all was the leer on his lips and the glow in his eyes.
Satomi prayed till her death to assuage her husband's spirit. Yet, it found no peace, only a need to watch guided its existence, as it roamed the earth for the sounds of sexual pleasure.
They say, as the decades passed, the ghost slowly faded. Yet, if you feel a chilly breeze while entwined with your lover, it just might be the heavy breathing of the bedside ghost.
I got this idea after going to a temple that has a gallery of ghost paintings used as props by a rakuten artist. Rakuten is the Japanese art of verbal story telling. He would have the paintings hanging in the background as he told his chilly tales. You can see some of them at http://www.theway.jp/zen/flash/yuureiga.swf
© Copyright 2010 Kotaro All rights reserved. Kotaro has granted Knight Chills non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Thanks Kotaro for sharing that spooky story. You can find other stories by this gifted author in Writing.com