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Dreams Part 1

Yumemi

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Photo by Nadine from Pexels Illustrated by The Haunted Bar

When was the last time that you guys have good dreams …

This story took place more than 10 years ago, right before my highschool graduation. Unlike other kids who were still waiting on their results for college and job applications, I had already gotten a job offer. I was basically just killing time every day.

One day my friend invited me to go check out an old abandoned temple at the foot of a local mountain. I had already been to the temple several times before. But having nothing else to do and being bored to the core, I decided to go.

Let’s call my friend Akira. Besides myself, Akira had invited his girlfriend Erika and her friend Kana. I had met Erika before, but it was my first time meeting Kana. She was honestly my type. I thanked Akira in my mind for inviting me.

After meeting at Akira’s house, we took a short walk to the mountain. It was nighttime. When we arrived at the temple, everybody went silent at the sight of an old, abandoned temple in the dark.

Akira: “It looks creepy as hell.

 

Me: “It sure does…

 

Erika: “… I don’t really feel good here. Kana, you said you’ve been here before?

 

Kana: “Yeah. With my boyfriend.”

Boyfriend”. Bummer. She has a boyfriend? That was a total buzz kill for me. I decided there was no point of me being there trying to impress her anymore and I wanted to go home.

Me: “Ok guys. We’ve seen enough. Let’s go home.

Akira: “Yeah. It’s getting late. We should probably head back.

We were starting to walk back when, out of nowhere, Kana said in excitement,

Kana: “Look! There are stairs!.

She was pointing at the ground on the side of the temple. None of us had noticed it before, but there were stairs in the middle of overgrown grass, leading down to the basement room.

I should have just headed back then, but I was young and stupid. My curiosity got the best of me.  I asked everybody to check out what’s under the stairs.  Akira and Erika refused to go with me, but Kana was on board. We went down the stairs with a maglite in our hands, while Akira and Erika waited outside.

The stairs were shorter than I’d expected. When we reached the bottom of the stairs, we were facing a tiny room. It was about 18 square meters or so.(About the same size of a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Tokyo) The inside looked like storage. There were piles of books and other stuff.

Me: “ Looks like there’s nothing in here. Just a bunch of old books.

Kana: “Yeah. I was expecting to find something worth value. Like, old treasure

We walked around and looked at everything. In the back of the room, there was something that looked like a buddist altar embedded into the wall.

 

Kana: “There! That’s a safe!

 

I thought to myself, “uuummmm… This is obviously some kind of religious altar, and definitely not a safe…” I walked to the front of the altar to see it more closely. The altar had two closed doors in the front. The gap between the two doors was sealed by several talismans.. I thought “OK. This is an absolute NO. I’m not touching this thing.”  and I tried to leave the place when I heard

BAM!

It was Kana force-opening the altar doors.

The talismans were ripped and torn apart in pieces. With dust flying in the air, the altar was open.

At first, the altar seemed empty inside. But at the corner of it, Kana found a small wooden box. The wood was old and rotten. Kana took it out and opened the box.

Inside the box was a small round object with dull metallic shine to it.

I couldn’t explain why but when I saw the object, I felt chills running down my spine and my consciousness being shut down for a brief second.

Kana, on the other hand, seemed completely amused.

Kana: “How pretty.. Hey, since I found this thing, I’m taking this, OK?

 

Me: “What? Are you serious? Do you see where it was? It can’t be good. Put it back.

 

Kana: “Whoa. Chill! Why are you so scared? It’s fine…

 

The thing was sealed with a talisman, in a dedicated altar. Whatever it might be, I thought it couldn’t be a good idea to take it.  But Kana couldn’t care less about my words.

She picked up this strange object like a trophy and went upstairs, smiling with satisfaction.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wouldn’t be “fine” as she said… but in the end, I decided to take an optimistic stand. I couldn’t stop her anyways. She’d already taken the ball. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? Though I had a respect for religion, I didn’t really believe in the paranormal.

I brushed off my uneasy feelings and followed her upstairs to meet Akira and Erika. They were upset that we took too long. I wasn’t aware that it had been that long, but apparently we spent 2 hours down in the basement. It was past 2AM at that point. We hurried to go home, and by the next day I had completely forgotten about the ball.

1 week later, Akira called me to hang out in his house with Erika and Kana.

When I arrived at his house, everyone was already there having drunks.

 

Kana: “Hey there.

 

Me: “???

 

I looked at this girl in confusion since I barely noticed who it was.

Her appearance had made a complete 180 transformation.

Her minimum, au-naturel makeup had changed into full-on bold makeup, with thick eyeliner and vivid lipstick.

What used to be straight dark hair was now a big, blond, over-the-top updo like a barbie.

 

Me: “Are you…Kana?

 

Kana: “Haha!Yup! All in the flesh!

 

Me: “Wow. You look…different

 

Kana: “I do! Don’t I? ahahaha…

 

Kana had a bubbly personality before. But now, she seemed a little too full of energy.

Me: “What’s up with you? You look like you’re in a super good mood. What’s making you so happy?

 

She smirked. It was kind of a creepy smirk to be honest.

 

Kana: “I guess you could say it’s a good thing..

 

She didn’t elaborate any further.

I was startled. How could a person change so much in a week?

Without knowing what else to say or how to react, I sat down and we started talking about futures.

Me: “Akira is going to take over the family business, right? What about you Erika and Kana?” (Akira’s family runs a centuries-old crafthouse that makes traditional Japanese dolls and their accessories, such as miniature swords and armor)

Erika: “I’m going to a college here, while helping Akira’s business.

Kana: “I’m not sure. I just have too many things I want to do. But whatever I choose, I just feel like it’s going to go so well.

I didn’t think anything of Kana’s response at first. But as the conversation proceeded, I started to notice that she was very, very confident and positive. Her confidence was of an unhealthy level.

It was as if she undoubtedly believed that nothing could go wrong for her and everything would go exactly as she wishes no matter what it is that she chose to do. She wasn’t like this last time I met her. I mean, how could anyone be like this? Something was way off about Kana today. Then I remembered the ball she took from the temple.

Me: “So Kana, what happened to the little ball? Did you return it?

 

Akira: “What little ball?

 

Me: “When we were at the storage downstairs at the temple, Kana found a small ball in a box and took it with her. The box was kept inside an altar which was sealed with talismans, well, it was only sealed until she opened it.

 

Akira: “ Talisman? What the heck, Kana, why’d you touch something like that? What did you do to it?

 

Kana: “It’s mine. I’m the one who opened the safe, OK? As a matter of fact, I have it with myself now.

 

She took out the ball from her bag and showed us.

When I saw it, I felt like it was shining differently from the last time. And just like the last time, my consciousness was instantly shaken and pushed away for a second. But this time, the kick was a little harder than the last time.

 

Akira: “Ew, what is that? Oh I just felt sick for a second.

Akira seemed to have felt the same way I did.

Kana: “It’s the opposite of making you sick, silly! Since I brought this home, I’ve been getting good dreams every night, and good things have happened to me nonstop.

Kana said that ever since she brought the ball back, she had been getting the same kind of dreams every day, where she realized all of her childhood dreams one by one.  In real life, her academic performance had significantly improved.

Her writing was picked up in a famous magazine. Everything went in the way she wanted. This was the reason she changed so much in a week and suddenly gained massive confidence.

Akira: “Let me see it. I’ve never seen anything like this

 

Akira took the ball from Kana’s hand and started observing it. Because of his family business, he had extensive knowledge on antique handicrafts in Japan.

 

Akira: “ This isn’t metal or gem. The coating is Japanese lacquer, but it’s mixed with something else…. I can’t tell what this is.  If I show it to my father, he might be able to tell though.

 

Akira handed the ball back to Kana, and suggested she return it to the shrine.

 

Akira: “I know you think this is giving you good luck, but this doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before. It doesn’t look like a “normal” thing to me. Just make sure you return it as soon as you can.

 

To which Kana said: “It’s fine! If I become rich and successful, I’ll let you guys keep this in turns. Hehe!

 

She smiled and goofed.

Little did we know, it was the last smile we saw of her.

2 weeks had passed that I didn’t think about the ball at all. I ran into Erika at a convenience store in the evening,

 

Me: “Erika! Are you alone? Where is Akira?

Erika: “Hey! Well. I’m not ALWAYS with Akira though everyone thinks I am..Anyway…Have you seen Kana lately?

 

Me: “No? Last time I saw her is the last time we hung out. Why?

 

Erika: “She hasn’t been returning my texts or calls for a week. She’s been skipping school. I’m worried.

 

Me: “I see. Well she could be sick or something. You want to go check at her house tomorrow? Ask Akira too?

 

Erika: “…Yeah. I’ll tell him.

 

Erika left and I did my shopping. When I walked out of the store, the image of the ball randomly crossed my mind again.

It got me thinking, Who made the strange ball, for what purpose?

When I got home, I decided to ask my father if he knew anything about it.

 

Me: “Dad, do you know there’s an old temple at the bottom of the mountain?

 

Dad: “Yeah. Why?

 

Me: “My friend found a strange ball inside there lately. And she’s been having a ton of good luck since she had it. It’s a bit creepy.

 

Dad: “I’m afraid I don’t know anything about it. That temple had been abandoned already when I was a kid. If you are so curious, maybe you could ask Akira’s grandfather. He might know something.

Me: “Cool. I will ask his grandfather next time I’m in his house…

 

Just when I was thinking about the idea, I got a phone call from Akira.

 

Akira: “Can you come to my house? It’s urgent.

 

He didn’t wait for my answer and hung up the phone. He gave me no choice.

I rode my bicycle to Akira’s house. Akira and Erika were waiting for me outside the house.

 

Me: “What’s urgent? Are you pregnant or something?

 

Akira: “NO. This isn’t the time to be funny.  The ball that Kana had, it’s not a good thing.

          Follow me, we are going to Kana’s house

We rode our bicycles to Kana’s house. On our way, Akira explained to me that he had also been curious about the ball and asked his grandfather if he knew anything about it. His grandfather, who is normally very funny and extremely calm, lost his cool as soon as Akira mentioned going to the temple.

 

Akira’s grandfather:“ Abandoned temple? You went to that abandoned temple!? Why did you go to such a place!? You found a ball??! What did you do!? You still have it?

 

As soon as Akira told him that it was his friend that had the ball, his grandfather told him to bring the ball to him right away.

After hearing that, we were all quiet. It was obvious that we got ourselves in far bigger trouble than we initially thought. Nobody said anything until we arrived in Kana’s house.

When we were parking the bicycles on the street, we heard a glass shattering noise followed by a female’s scream from Kana’s house. We rang the doorbell. No one answered. Since the entrance door wasn’t locked, we decided to invite ourselves in the house.  We walked in and Erika opened the door to Kana’s room.

The next sight was heart-dropping. All of Kana’s family were in her room. In the middle of them stood Kana, murmuring something with a knife in her hand.  Her hair was flying in every direction. Her eyes were tripping. It was nothing like the Kana we have seen before. She seemed completely out of it.

Kana’s sister:  “Please Kana. Let go of the knife.

When she approached Kana, Kana started screaming and swinging the knife around her. Luckily, the knife didn’t reach her sister.

Me: “Kana, what are you doing? What happened?

 

Erika: “Kana, Please put the knife down. We can talk. Talk to us.

None of our words seemed to reach Kana. She just kept murmuring something to herself. It sounded something like “I have nothing. I can’t do anything.

The tense atmosphere and silence filled among us. Nobody knew what to do.

 

Kana suddenly broke the silence by screaming in a deep voice like a man, and started stabbing her right arm repeatedly. Everyone froze. It was so surreal and scary I thought my heart had stopped. Erika’s scream brought everybody back to their senses. Kana’s whole family jumped at Kana to stop her.

Kana seemed unbothered by her family trying to hold her down.  She kept saying “I don’t need this anymore. This has no value. There’s no meaning.” as she continued stabbing her arm. Her blood stained the carpet of her room.

My legs started shaking. What kind of madness is this?  How could this happen?

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Continue on Dreams Part 2

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