Back to The Curse of Kamome Part 2
This is Ryoichi.
Let me tell you what happened on the day of my trip with Yoko.
We went to the hot spring at the Northern part of the prefecture, about two hour train ride from home. I was so excited about this trip. We were going to stay one night at a cozy Japanese style hotel (Onsen) that accommodates hot spring, dinner and a room. My girlfriend never gets to stay over at night.
Her parents are very strict. So this was a rare occasion that we got to spend a long time together. She had to lie to her parents that she was travelling with her girlfriends.
We checked in at the Onsen around 3pm after exploring the tourist attractions in the area.
The Onsen building was rather small and old, but at least it had an open-air bath.
It was strange from the get-go. At the check in, a female manager of the Onsen welcomed us,
Manager: “Welcome to XXX(Onsen’s name). Can I have your name?”
“Ms…Yoko. …..What?” The manager looked at us shockingly.“
I said, “What’s the matter?”
The manager looked extremely baffled and nervous, she said
Manager: “ I’m afraid to say this but your booking is made for 2 female guests”
My girlfriend had used her girl friend’s name for the booking in case her parents decided to call the Onsen and check if she was really with a girl(they were capable of doing that).
Yoko asked the manager.
Yoko: “My friend couldn’t make it so he came with me instead. Would that be OK?”
The manager answered in a firm voice,
Manager: “ I’m sorry Miss. Unfortunately the room we prepared is for female guests only. All the other rooms are booked right now.”
I never knew that hotels had female-only rooms. My mood went from happy to upset.
I started complaining to the manager
The manager’s response was this
Manager: “ We apologize for the inconvenience. If we’d known earlier that you would bring a male guest instead, we would have called you and explained. You don’t have to pay the cancellation fee. But we really need you to find accommodation somewhere else. “
Yoko started sniffing
Yoko: “All the other hotels were fully booked. This was the only room we could find available. We were really looking forward to this trip..”
I asked the manager again
Ryoichi: “Please. My sister was so excited about this trip. She was so sad that her friend had to cancel due to an emergency. So I offered to come along at the last minute.”
I made up our relationship as a sibling since I felt like it might make a better impression.
The manager’s attitude softened,
Manager: “Oh.. are you siblings? Could you show me some ID to prove your relationship?”
Ryoichi: “We don’t have an ID on us.. But we won’t be using the family bath (The room had a private bathtub, you need to prove you are a family to use it)
Can you just let us stay in a room?”
I kept negotiating with the manager for an hour.
After pushing, begging, and Yoko fake crying to make the last push,
The manager finally agreed.
Manager: “OK.. You can use the room. And I really wish that I don’t have to tell you this but it’s a rule to inform all the customers so please forgive me. In the room, any sexual activity is strictly banned. I know you are siblings so it is inappropriate for me to say this. But please understand it’s our rule to mention this at the check-in. “
It was a strange thing to say. But at this time I was on top of my frustration. I was just relieved that she finally agreed to let us stay. I didn’t pay much attention to the strange rule she had just announced.
It was past 4pm when we were taken to our room.
We enjoyed hot springs and sea-food dinner.
Soon it was night time. Yoko looked good in the Yukata that hotel provided, with her long black hair tied at the back.
We never took the managers’ request seriously. We ended up doing the prohibited act and went to sleep around 23pm.
It happened late at night.
I woke up around midnight with the urge to pee. Yoko was asleep next to me.
“I might have had too much to drink”, I tried to get up.
I couldn’t get up. “Sleep paralysis? Am I still drunk or something?” I thought.
Normally sleep paralysis would scare me. But with Yoko next to me, I wasn’t feeling scared at this particular situation.
With my body still paralyzed, I managed to move my eyes around to look around the room.
But I shouldn’t have.
It was looking at us.
There was a built-in closet with sliding doors in the room. One door was slightly open.
Between the gap, I saw a white face, looking at us.
It was a woman. Her hair was about the length of her shoulder, but I couldn’t really tell because it was so messy. The closet was big enough for a human to hide, but she did not look like a live person. She wore clothes that looked like kimono, brown or yellowish one.
Her glare was so hateful and grudgeful.
She didn’t have eyebrows. Her eyes were wide open like a hannya (Ogress) mask.
Without blinking, she was looking at us.
Her eyes were red. The whole part of where it should be the white eye, were the color of blood.
And the black eyes were… white. Like cataract patients white. Cloudy and damaged.
Her eyes looked so evil and disgusting to look at..
I tried to scream, but my voice wouldn’t come out.
I wanted to close my eyes, but now my eyes seemed to have lost the ability to move too.
My heart started to rush. My whole body was numb with nervousness. In complete silence, I could only hear the sound of my heart pounding fast.
For what seemed like forever, she kept glaring at me with her red and white eyes.
The situation was freaking me out. I wished Yoko would wake up.
Then, the woman grinned at me.
I had never seen a more evil grin.
Her white hand appeared from the darkness of the closet and grabbed the edge of the door.
Slowly she slid open the door.
The sound of the door sliding made me realize that this was happening in reality.
When the door opened until half way, she came out of the closet.
Slowly, she started walking towards us.
“No no no! Don’t come to us! Stop!” I screamed in my head.
It was as if she could hear what I was saying in my head.
She grinned with her mouth open.
She had no teeth.
She looked young. But her toothless mouth made her look like an old person.
The contrast made her even creepier.
A pale face, red and white eyes, and an open, vacant mouth that looked like a black hole.
Her appearance was so scary it made me cry.
Her kimono would make a rustling sound at every step she took.
She put her arms up in front of her and grouped her way towards us in darkness.
Finally she made it to our bed. She was close enough to touch us.
This is the end… I thought.
My nerves were about to explode in fear, all my pores opened up and my whole body started sweating profusely.
But her target wasn’t me.
The woman was after Yoko, my dearest girlfriend.
She crouched down on the floor so she was at the same level as Yoko.
She stared intensely into Yoko’s face with her red eyes wide open.
Then she placed her index finger on Yoko’s eyelid.
She started to poke on her eyelid. I could see Yoko’s eyeballs getting squished under the eyelid.
She was pushing the finger so hard her hand started shaking.
Yoko’s eyeball started to spasm as it got squished harder and harder.
I was frantically screaming in my head
“Stop it! Please! Stop it!”
My desperate plea was met with the horrifying, popping sound of her eyeball finally crushing.
Her eye started to bleed under the eyelid.
The woman looked at her with a satisfied look, with her red eyes squinted in joy.
The woman moved on to her other eye.
I felt something warm down in my underwear.
I peed myself in fear. Then I passed out.
I woke up to the sound of a phone call from reception, informing us that the breakfast was ready.
As soon as I woke up, the face of that woman popped up in my head.
I noticed that my pants were still wet, and Yoko..
She was unconscious with both of her eyes heavily bleeding.
I scream my lungs out.
Out of panic I took the phone and called the reception, and slurred out something like
A woman.. Her eyes were red.. My girlfriend’s eyes..!
Despite saying things that barely made any sense, multiple staff came rushing to our room right away.
Yoko’s eyes were swathed with bandages and the hotel staff quickly took her out somewhere on their car. (they did not call an ambulance)
I was taken to a staff’s room where the manager was waiting for me with an angry but sad face.
Manager: “So you guys weren’t a brother and sister”
“You did not keep the promise we made at the check-in.. You did the taboo act…”
She then told me the horrifying story of this area, and the reason of taboo.
Below is what she told me.
Once upon a time, this area had an old custom called “Kamome” (“Temporary woman” in Japanese) or Kamo for a short name.
Kamome was a surrogate mother for the couples in the village who couldn’t conceive by themselves due to the wife’s infertility. For Kamome, this wasn’t a job by choice.
Kamome typically came from unfortunate backgrounds such as poor farmers’ families or orphans. They were sold to the owner of this Onsen, who managed all Kamome in this area.
Once sold, the girls were simply the “products” used to provide surrogate services to the customers.
The owner would dedicate one room in the hotel to the Kamome business. Kamome would have sex with the customer(husband) in the room repeatedly until she gets pregnant. Once Kamome is pregnant, the couple would be responsible for the Kamome’s life for 9 months until she gives birth.
They would have to take her back to their houses and take care of her health and make sure she delivers a healthy baby. In most cases, Kamome was kept hidden inside the big closet that humans can fit.
When they gave birth, the family can send Kamome back to the hotel.
Kamome would then take a minimum recovery time from the labor. As soon as she can conceive again, she would be put back in the business. While doing all of this, Kamome wasn’t paid any money. They were sold and simply became a product since then. Once the owner bought them, they weren’t allowed any freedom either.
One year, there were consequent cases of Kamome eloping with customers who fell in love with them, and Kamome running away with the children they had given birth to.
The owner came up with a horrible plan to solve the issue.
He stabbed their eyes with a knife while they were asleep or drugged unconscious.
That way, Kamome’s appearances weren’t something that men would fall in love with, and the blind Kamome were no longer able to escape with their children.
They even pulled out all their teeth to make sure their appearance wouldn’t appeal to men.
After this, most of the male customers started to find it hard to go all the way with Kamome. In most cases, their wives had to come inside the room to help him finish.
2 years after they started crashing Kamome’s eyes, strange things started to happen in the village.
All the children given birth by Kamome went insane.
Their eyes lost focus, their mouths were always open and drooling, and they screamed nonstop. Some kids would lose their visions. Their black eyes turned white.
Since this only happened to the kids who came from Kamome, the villagers started to suspect that it had to do with Kamome.
People started to avoid using Kamome.
The owner of the hotel tried to solve the problem by hiring famous doctors and shermans, but they couldn’t figure out what was causing it to the children.
One day, a monk who heard the rumors of this village came to the village.
He saw 6 Kamome in the hotel, all with stabbed eyes.
He was speechless on the degree of cruelty done to Kamome.
He turned to the owner, looked at him angrily and said with a stern face,
This land is cursed by the strong grudge of the mothers who died without ever seeing the faces of their children that they delivered through a lot of pain. You must stop this inhumane business of yours right now or all the people in this land would go insane.
The owner panicked at his words, since a lot of his relatives lived in the village.
“I understand. I will quit Kamome business as of today.
Is there any way to cure the children affected by this ?”
He asked the monk with a trembling voice.
The monk shook his head.
“Unfortunately, it won’t be easy. All these womens’ souls must be rest in peace.”
The owner answered
“They have a resting place. I made them a grave”
The monk shook his head again.
“That’s not enough. Prepare a small basket”
The owner ordered his servant to bring a small hand-size basket.
The monk continued,
“Place 2 crystals in the basket the same size of humans’ eyeballs. This is a replacement for the eyes for the women whose eyes were crushed by you.”
“Then ask each of their customers to return the umbilical cords of their children. And place them in the basket too.”
The owner was not happy about this order.
“How much do you think it will cost for such a huge crystal? Not one but two of them???”
“And umbilical cords? I don’t think I could collect them.. They are given to the customers and now those customers have grudges on me. They blame me for their kids insanity!”
The monk was disappointed at the owner’s attitude. He said with sad eyes
“You ruined these innocent women’s lives for your own selfishness and greed. You took away their eyes, you forced them to get raped again and again, get pregnant unwillingly, give birth unwillingly, then took away their children. And yet you still worry about your finances. You are hopeless.”
“These 6 blind ladies here, I will take them with me. I will take care of them from now on.
As for this land, unless you change your attitude and clean up your mess, the grudge will only grow bigger and stronger here.”
“If you delay anything, it will be too late.”
The monk’s tone was calm but his eyes were burning with fire.
The owner said
“I understood. I will get crystals and umbilical cords. What’s next?”
Monk: “After you put them in the basket, bury it in the grave where those women rest. The crystal will be their eyes and the umbilical cords will be the guide that lead them to see their children”
Unwillingly, the owner kept the monk’s order.
He sold half of his land to make enough money for buying 2 eyeball sized crystals.
And he collected the umbilical cords by begging to each previous customer.
He put them in a basket and placed in the Kamome’s grave.
Afterwards, the affected children gradually recovered from the condition until they were able to have normal conversations again. But they would never recognize their parents’ faces again.
The topic of Kamome became a taboo in this area ever since. It was strongly prohibited to let outsiders know about it too.
The owner stopped doing any black/grey business after it.
The Onsen was sold to different owners a few times. And now the manager owns this Onsen.
The manager and the owner had no blood relationship.
I asked the manager,
Ryoichi: “Hold on, so what appeared in front of us was the Kamome you mentioned?
According to you, I thought their grudge or curse was already cleansed?”
The manager shook her head and continued
No. the story is not done yet..
Continue reading this to The Curse of Kamome Part 3