Since I stepped my foot inside the temple, I had felt the heavy feeling on me had lifted a little.
The atmosphere in the temple was so serene, peaceful, and warm just like how I remembered Sawada. I felt safe.
A gentleman in his 60s greeted us and took us inside the building to see Sawada.
Sawada was waiting for us in the Buddhist altar room.
Just like always, she was sitting on a small mattress in front of a buddha statue.
Sawada spoke gently,
It’s been a while, Kota. Wow, you’ve grown so much
My grandma: “Oh Ms.Sawada! Is Kota going to be OK?”
My grandpa: (to my grandma) “Don’t rush her. We just arrived. How can she tell so fast?”
My grandma: “Be quiet, I’m just worried!”
Sawada smiled at my grandmother and told her it’s going to be fine.
She told my family to leave me alone with her, and wait in the other room until she said they could come back.
Strangely, I could see everyone feeling more calm now in Sawada’s presence.
For me, when I took a breath in front of her, I felt like negative things were leaving my body at every time I exhaled.
Sawada called me to sit in front of her.
She wanted me to sit so close that our knees were touching each others’.
She held my hands in hers, and looked at me gently for a while.
It was a stare that made me feel like she knew all my secrets.
She is a tiny woman with old age. Physically I could overpower her so easily.
Yet her presence was so powerful, I think I was overwhelmed.
Sawada said to me quietly.
Sawada: “hmm. What should we do now..”
Sawada: “Kota, are you scared?”
Sawada: “That’s right..I can’t leave it like this..can I…”
Me: “What do you mean? I don’t follow..?”
Sawada: “Never mind…it’s nothing”
I felt my emotions bubbling again. Once I opened my mouth, I couldn’t stop.
I started ranting at her.
Me: “Um. Can you tell me what’s going to happen to me?”
“ I just want this to be gone as quick as possible”
“What’s the deal with that thing anyways!? Why is it following me? Why me?”
“I’m so sick of this. Ms.Sawada. Please can’t you do something…?”
Me: “I didn’t even do anything to deserve this!”
“I mean, YES I went to a haunted place. But there were others too.”
“Why is this happening to me?”
Me: “Is it because I did something in front of the mirror?”
“This drives me nuts!”
“I’m so angry”
Suddenly I heard the high-pitched, monotone,parrot-like voice saying something like this into my left ear.
“Doooooollldol shi tte”
“Dooooo Doolulu” “Chil shi tte”
“Dooo shi te doooooo shi te”
It took me a while to understand that it was saying “Doshite (“Why?” In Japanese)”
I was looking at Sawada’s eyes, and she was looking at me in my eyes.
But the gentle expression on her face had turned to no expression now.
I could see at the corner of my eyes that there was something on my left side.
I felt a warm blood flowing on my neck again.
I turned my face to the left.
It was standing next to me, face to face, looking into my eyes, tilting its head.
It was stooping over at me so its face was right next to my face.
“Doshite? Doooo shi tte? Dooshiiitte? Dooshitte?”
It kept talking in a parrot-like voice.
Somewhere in my head I was thinking Hayashi must have heard this voice too.
I wondered what it was saying to Hayashi.
I forgot to breathe for a long time. I only realized that when I almost choked myself.
But when I tried to breathe again, I couldn’t do it, I only gasped for air.
While I was struggling to breathe, “it” slowly lifted its hand toward its face, picked up on of the talismans that was covering its face, and started opening it.
I didn’t want to see its face. I knew I shouldn’t.
I wanted to escape, but my body wouldn’t move.
I tried to scream for help, but my voice wouldn’t come out.
The talisman was opened until its jaw area now.
I was screaming in my head
STOP IT! STOP IT! I DON’T WANNA SEE IT! NO NO NO NO NO……
I jumped at a large clapping noise.
I thought it was my heart finally popping from all the shock and stress.
The next moment, my body was free again.
Before my mind could process the situation, my body tried to escape on its own.
It was an animal instinct to try to escape from “it”.
But when I got up, my legs were so weak I crashed into the wall.
I knocked my forehead on the wall and started bleeding all over my face.
My blood got in my eyes and I couldn’t see anything.
I was still wandering around the room looking for an exit.
Sawada shouted : “NOT YET!!!”
She had shouted to my family who were trying to get inside the room and check up on me.
Sawada said to my family in a stern voice: “Everything’s fine. Do not open the door. Stay in the other room.”
My grandfather was saying something but I couldn’t catch what he was saying.
Sawada waited until my family went back to the other room.
Sawada gave me a towel that smelled like an incent.
I wiped off my blood.
It seemed like the clapping sound was Sawada clapping her hand.
Sawada returned to her usual gentle tone and smiles, and started talking to me again,
Sawada: “Kota, did you see it? Did you hear it?”
Me: “Yes. It kept asking me why..”
Sawada : “That’s right. You heard it asking you why. What do you think it was trying to do?”
Me: “What? Hmm.. I don’t know. I never thought about that.”
Sawada: “Kota, are you afraid of that thing?”
Me: “Yes. I’m scared.”
Sawada : “Why does it scare you?”
Me: “Why? …. It’s a ghost. It’s not human…It’s not normal”
Whatever she was saying was way over my head.
I was struggling to understand what Sawada was trying to say to me.
Sawada : “But it didn’t do anything to harm you, did it?”
Me : “What…?Yes it did!! I bled from my neck, it was trying to show its face. It was obviously not normal..”
Sawada : “Yes. but nothing else..”
Me : “….(puzzled)”
Sawada : “This is difficult, right?”
Me: “I don’t think I understand you. I’m sorry..”
Sawada : “It’s ok”
From then, we talked about “it”.
She explained to me what she saw from “it” and what it was.
First of all, “it” is indeed, what we call a “ghost”.
But she wouldn’t confirm it was evil.
According to her, it would be in the category of “troublesome” ,
but she did not sense any “evilness” from it.
Secondly, the reason it followed me. Sawada explained like this;
Sawada: “It didn’t want to harm you. But it was just lonely for a long time.
It wanted to be seen, noticed, recognized…it wanted to talk to people, touch people. You know.”
Sawada: “Kota, you may not know this about yourself. But you are warm. People like you. People feel safe with you. The first time you saw “it”, “it” also saw these qualities in you. It thought that maybe you had the kindness to understand it, accept it, pay attention to it, things like that. It was happy that you noticed it.”
Sawada: “But, compared to “it”, your energy level as a human is a lot weaker. That’s why you get frightened by just being around it, and your body starts to get reactions like that.”
I didn’t know how to react to Sawada’s explanation.
I never had any doubt that it was evil, and all I wanted was for Sawada to help me get rid of it.
But Sawada was talking like she was defending it.
Sawada : “Now. We need to get you better. Kota, it’s going to take time. But I will do what I can.”
Sawada: “When you see things that look scary to you, things you don’t know or have never seen, remember to keep your mind open and think that it might be suffering just like you, it might be waiting to be saved, too.”
Sawada started chanting Buddhist sutra, not to exorcise it, but to pray that it would find a way to heaven.
I stayed over at Sawada’s temple that night. I slept well (even though my forehead was cracked and my neck was full of ripped blisters..)
The next morning when I woke up, Sawada had already finished her morning prayers.
Good morning Kota. Go get your breakfast. We’re going to the head temple today.
Continue on Real part 7