That night was the night that I will never forget…
My name is Yamao.
I’m a college student in Tokyo. This is what I experienced in my junior year.
It was October. I had been told by my landlord to move out of my apartment since the entire building was going under renovation.
At the end of my search for a new apartment, I had finally found an apartment room with even better conditions than the current one.
It was much closer to my school and the rent was cheaper.
The apartments close to my school were typically pretty expensive.
I was growing tired of long commutes. It was too good to be true.
When I went to see the room, I asked the agent
“Why is this place so cheap?”
The agent seemed a little uncomfortable at first, then he asked me to follow him. He walked out of the room, on the hallway and stopped in front of one window, which was facing the backside of the apartment building.
The agent said to me
“The owner never officially told me the reason why the rent here is lower than the other apartment in the area. So this is my guess. Please look outside this window.”
Across from the little alley, there was a graveyard. The graveyard was surrounded by tall brick walls. Unless you see it from the second floor up, it was hard to tell that it was a graveyard from the outside.
I didn’t mind it. My room was on the second floor but it was on the opposite end from the graveyard. I wouldn’t even be able to see this graveyard from my balcony.
I decided to move in to this apartment.
On the day I saw this room with my agent, I didn’t really see this as strange but looking back, I should have.
I noticed a red metal box attached to the kitchen wall, next to the built-in fan on the stove. It was placed around 10cm under the ceiling.
The box had one light blinking in the middle.
The agent explained to me it was a gas detector.
At that time, I didn’t think any of it.
In hindsight, I should have noticed that red was a strange choice of color.
On the day of moving, I had my friends help me move in some stuff.
I ordered pizza for everyone. When we sat down and started eating, one of my friends said,
“This room…., how can I say”
I said “What?”
And he said,
Don’t get offended. It’s a nice room. It’s just, It’s kinda dark in here. I think it’s the lighting.
It was something that was bothering me too.
I figured the light bulb in the room was old.
I changed it to the new light bulb and the problem seemed to be solved.
1 month after moving in,
I came back from my part-time job around 8pm and started cooking dinner. A drop of heated oil spit from my pan and hit my forehead. I reflexed and hit myself on the wall behind me.
Though I didn’t smell any gas, the gas detector started flashing and the alarm went off.
I hurried to turn off the oven and looked for a footstand to check the detector. But before I could find a footstand, the alarm suddenly went silent.
I figured it went off because of the impact of me knocking myself on the wall.
2 weeks later,
I arrived home around 11pm.
I was looking for food in the fridge when my phone rang.
It was my mother who lived in another prefecture.
I answered the phone and said “What’s up? You never call me this late”
My mother talked in her usual, slow tone “Your father isn’t feeling well”
I said in confusion, “What do you mean!?”
My father had passed away 4 years ago due to disease. After his passing, my mother had lived with my brother’s family.
I asked “What do you mean dad isn’t well????”
She responded to me after a long pause “Are you getting any blackout there?”
I said “A blackout? What are you talking about? You are not even in my town…You mean you’re having a blackout over there??”
Oh. It’s not a blackout. … the night will come
Then she hung up the phone.
The next moment, the lights in my room went out.
“What?? A blackout? Really???”
The gas detector went off again.
The red light was blinking and turning the ceiling all red.
“Huh???? Gas leaking??? What should I do???”
I managed to walk to the kitchen in the dark.
The oven was closed and there was no gas leaking.
I was trying to figure out how to stop the alarm. But eventually it stopped by itself.
I walked to the window and opened the curtain.
The whole town was pitch black. Looked like the whole town was having a blackout.
It was unusual to have a blackout like this when there was no earthquake or typhoon.
I found a maglite and switched it on. It flashed once then it went dark.
I regretted not changing the battery.
I opened the entrance door and checked the hallway. No one was there.
I remembered my neighbor was around my age.
I walked to her room and knocked on her door.
She answered the door and invited me in.
She had a lit candle in her room.
I said “Wow. you are well prepared. I have no light in my place Do you know what’s causing this blackout?”
She responded to me “Cos the night has come”
I said “What does that mean?”
She said “Come and see it for yourself” and opened the curtain.
I looked outside, her window was facing a part of the graveyard.
I couldn’t see it from my room, but there were dim, white-ish blue light coming from the grave.
I don’t know why but I felt like there were many people in there..
I said “What is that?”
The dead is coming out. Because it’s night.
I said, “Huhh???”
Her face, illuminated by the candle light, suddenly looked like someone else’s.
I suddenly felt creepy.
I said “I’m gonna head back now” and hurried back to my room.
When I came back to my room, my phone rang.
I was scared to answer it. It was my mother again.
I said “Mom, there’s a blackout” What is this?”
My mom said “I told you, the night is coming. Your father is going to be there soon”
I threw away my phone, locked the door and hid myself under the blanket.
Someone started knocking on the door.
The knock turned into banging. It got louder and louder, as if someone was kicking my door.
I kept hiding under the blanket.
I don’t know how long the sound continued.
I guess I had fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of the night.
When I woke up, it was morning.
There was a bright sunlight. The electricity was working.
The time was 9am. I looked at my phone, no history of calls with my mother.
I walked to my neighbor’s door and knocked.
She answered and said “Hey. Good morning. What’s up?”
I asked “Was there a blackout last night?”
She said “Not that I noticed.”
I didn’t mention anything else. I sensed she didn’t remember that I was in her room.
Then I called my mother.
My mother answered and said “I’m on my way to work. What’s up?”
“Did you call me last night?”
The last thing I checked was the gas detector.
I stood on the chair to look at it closely. It was bolted in the wall.
I used a screwdriver to unbolt it and opened the box.
Inside there was a big switch like an electricity breaker.
Under the switch, there was a white paper attached.
The paper had one word written on it; “Night”.
I tried to reach out to the administrative staff of my apartment but no matter when I called, the line was off.
So I called the agent that introduced me to this room.
The same person who dealt with me before answered.
I said to him “I want to move out. I don’t care what my lease contract says”.
He asked me why.
I said one sentence, “I saw what’s inside the gas detector”
He responded “………OK. I see. I will let you out of the contract….
Would you like me to show you other rooms?”
Without answering his question I hung up on him. I was upset.
He clearly knew something was up with the detector.
I just wanted to share this story to someone.