DISCLAIMER: I don't own "Ju-On," "The Grudge" or any characters contained within the films. Constructive criticism and feedback is much appreciated.
INTRODUCTION: Firstly, much thanks for everyone's kind words on my previous "Ju-On"/"Grudge" story, "Everyone Must Suffer." I was genuinely shocked to find so LITTLE "Grudge"-related fanfic out there, because put simply this is a movie series that deserves every bit of the cult fandom that it has. Kayako Saeki, as portrayed by the vastly talented Takako Fuji, might very well be my favorite film villain of all time, and this is a series that can reinvent itself with every entry and still easily call itself "The Grudge."
So, without further adieu, here's my new story, "Healers and Killers." If you read "Everyone Must Suffer," it took place in the Japanese films' universe, which is quite a bit different from what many of you are probably used to. This one, however, is a direct sequel to the American film "The Grudge 2," and pretends that "The Grudge 3" doesn't exist.
On with the show, and if you're a fan of the 7-film series you know how these start out.
"JU-ON: The curse of one who dies while in the grip of a powerful rage. It gathers and takes effect in the places where that person lived. Those who encounter it are consumed by its fury. The fury eventually overcomes the Ju-On's conscience, and the power of the vengeful spirit increases exponentially..."
I sometimes wonder if anyone is even aware of what's truly happening to them, even as I am taking their life.
The way it unfolds is almost always the same. They come to me, often aware of the term "urban legend," but too jaded by the modern world to believe that any phrase with a connection to AIDS-filled needles in pay telephone handles or reptiles in sewers could be anything even close to the truth. Some of them are searching for nothing more than a thrill, a story to tell their friends in hushed tones or giggles. By doing so, they are laughing at me. And by committing the act of entering into my abode, they are so often completely unaware that they are about to become part of one of those very stories that they laugh at, the ones they find on the internet or hear of in late-night conversation.
Because I am a very true urban legend. And when they come into my house, I see them. I remember them. I follow them. And then I come for them, and they are mine.
They are often aware of some of the specifics of my previous life. They might know that I was once married and had a son, that I was killed by my husband. What they fail to realize is the humanity contained within these sad acts. My death was the result of an act of defiance, an act of love, a desire to escape the brutal confines of my terrifying existence.
What Takeo did to me was unforgivable, and as I see the three laughing, smiling young American boys crossing the threshold into my new home, I find myself thinking of him. Whenever someone dares to seek me out, I think of Takeo. Angry, controlling, and rage-filled Takeo. I think of him now just as I thought of him then, feeling his hands around my face as I crawled away from him in terror, fleeing for my life. The roughness of his palms as they caressed my cheeks in those brief moments before they moved in opposite directions, snapping my neck instantly and leaving me unable to breathe.
At that moment, I hated. I hated him more than I had ever hated anything in my short, pitiful existence. I despised what he had done not only to me, but to Toshio. Poor, innocent Toshio, now nothing more than an empty husk in the bathtub, drowned by the man who had once sworn to love and protect me. The rage comforted me, knowing that I was close to death, and knowing that one day Takeo would be punished appropriately for his actions. In the next life, if not in this one.
But as I felt my eyes close, and consciousness slip away from me, something very strange happened. The pain went away. My corporeal body slowly left my physical one. I clearly saw my prone, lifeless form from the stairs of my house. Not able to intervene, I saw Takeo as he walked away.
I had been unable to grasp what had happened to me since then, but now I am more than aware of the power I possess. In the moments leading up to my death, I had wished with all of my heart for vengeance against the injustice done to me. The vengeance against Takeo had been sweet, so sweet, but soon, others came into my home. As I looked at the happy couple and their mother, I found myself wishing nothing but bad thoughts for them…the thoughts built, and built, until I found myself unable to control myself.
Takeo had been the first, and I thought it would end there. But it wasn't enough. It was a period of weeks leading up to the next time I killed a human being. Familiarizing myself not only with the thoughts, hopes and sins of those now walking freely in my presence, but also with my own abilities. No longer bound by gravity, time or space, I perfected the ability of movement. The act of moving in the afterlife requires great patience and understanding, as well as discipline; if you think you are somewhere, you are there. I also met others in my realm, but they recoiled in fear at me. I soon realized why. I possessed a power they didn't. While they could also move with a thought, I could kill with a thought.
In a most unexpected twist, I was even reunited with Toshio. His rage had rivaled my own, and like me, he remained here in death. And I taught him. I taught him about humanity's weaknesses, its stupidity and its ignorance in the face of evil. Most importantly, he was willing to learn how to take lives, and I was more than willing to teach him.
The vengeance we deserved life had been taken away from me, and as I watched and watched the American family below me, I could do nothing but imagine them in the place of Takeo. One day, I found myself alone with the husband. Then the wife. And then the mother…
They continued to come. The social worker and her sister. The thrill-seekers since then. And the high-school students playing a prank, which led to Toshio and myself taking our first trip to America, where I now reside.
There was one similarity between Tokyo and Chicago – it didn't take long for panic to spread once I made my presence known. After that first family was found in the state that I left them, nobody wanted to live there. Sure, there were the usual stable of people wanting some semblance of life-affirming idiocy by breaking in, but living there was out of the question. It was the same here. Many people lived in this place, and it is much larger than my home in Tokyo. Many families and friends passed through this building on a daily basis. Needless to say, they were all gone with surgical precision after I killed the girl who brought me here. And her family. And her friends…
We were all alone again, but not for long.
It is no different here. People continue to mock me, to mock the memory of my life by not respecting the sanctity of my home. They must learn a lesson. They ALL must learn a lesson, and fortunately, or unfortunately for them, they must die to learn this lesson.
Just like the people I hear on the first floor. Soon, they will know my pain…