My Friend/cousin and I were watching The Grudge in its Japanese version over the spring break when I suddenly realized something: we are never told of how Toshio Saeki thinks of his perdicament. We know Kayoko, his mother, holds a raging grudge (obviously) and his father, Takeo, died with a jealous rage. But, what about their son who was caught in the middle? How did he cope? Did he resent his father? His mother? Read and find out how I thought Toshio would view his new lifestyle. ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own The Ju-on series, nor am I making a profit of this work. It was simply written for my utter enjoyment and hopefully yours as well.
She wasn't the only one who'd kept a journal. Sadly, I only began writing in mine after my death.
I knew she's written almost her whole life; starting from her eigth birthday, when her excorist-like mother gave it to her for another intended purpose: to write down their torturous events.
I saw it once: her diary. It was yellow and stiff with age and it felt rough with coarse years of use. I didn't read it; no, I was too scared. After the 'terrible happening', I had found it on several occasions, twice when some poor soul would inevitably wander through our haunted grave/house, and once after he did what he had to her.
We haven't spoken to him. We were too scared. Mother says we shouldn't touch him yet; his flesh is still lively. He stayed in one room: my room. I didn't know why. He never ventured through our once peaceful home. Entering my room, if I ever do, gave me chills across my arms. His presence lingered, a hauntingly scary essence that never ceases to scare me- a ghost in my truest divinity.
I watched with Mar between the railings of our steps that descended. The very spot that held my death sentence written all around. Until that day, that was my favorite spot. Not the couch, snuggled underneath my mother's arm, not in my bed, cozy and smug enough for a peaceful slumber. No, the raling that lined my mother's novelty steps were my favorite place to be. I found true peace there, despite it being the place my life had grudginly taken a hazardous turn for the worst.
Mother, the onryo, instantly became a nuissance. She knows it, I know it, and if Papa ever realizes what the situation has become over the years, he'll know it, too. She waits, and she listens. She never rests. The attic crawlspace has become her hideout, much like Papa's persitance in staying in my room. Secretly, I think he's a little coward being holed up in there; he knows we are waiting for him on the other side of the door.
A family had once lived here. When our deaths had made the paper, people soon became weary of even passing our house in the alley. A realtor had bravely aquired our home and sold it to an equally brave family, one consisting of a mother, daughter, and son. The two siblings were in their early years of high school, much to my distaste; school had always been a bore for me.
Mar and I have the sworn duty of warning the common people. I suppose we didn't meet the standards: the family was not warned, and they each suffered a fateful death. Kanna, the youngest, had hired a tutor, Yuki, and I had tried, oh, how I tried.
I knew then. Yuki was afraid of cats. My new ghostly nature called me to meow incessantly. I scared her, and I may have warned her just enough. But not in time. My mother grew aware, as she always knows the whereabouts of the house's occupants; there isn't a fly that buzzes around here that she doesn't know of, regardless of it being one of her decaying fleshy flies.
Yuki had heard me, this I made sure of. I liked her, there was something of her person that seem intelligent, as if she knew to be cautous of her friend's new home. I watched from the closet to her right as she turned the statues of cats away from facing her. This made me laugh: the thought of her being so scared as to fear glass, mere plastic, if you will.
As they were studying, Kanna had turned to conversational tones. A wide, quirky smile formed on her thin lips as she asked an irrelevant question. "Are you seeing anyone?"
Yuki sighed-they weren't supposed to speak of anything until the tutoring session had been completed. To evade the random suspense, she answered with playing dumb. "What do you mean?"
It took much effort not to giggle like I once did when I was alive. 'Girl will be girls.'
Mar became restless and dissapeared from my arms, to where I never knew. Perhaps he ran off to a cat-like heaven. I wish I could go to heaven, but Momma won't allow it. "I need you, Toshio.", she'll whisper to me when Papa seldomly leaves the house. Then, when pleading won't work, Mommy will remind me why I'm here, why I'm cold and white, why I can meow like Mar, and I become angry with rage once again. Happiness only comes when I warn the occupants. I feel I'm doing right, then I feel I'm doing nothing, because nothing was done for me, for Mother.
They continued to talk of pointless matters, when suddenly, Kanna screeched at the clock. I remembered hearing of her talk with her mother the night before. She was to attend the school premisises in order to care for the class rabbits.
I wasn't the only eavesdropper, though: Momma had creeped from the attic with her hair draping over her once beautiful face. She smiled mischeviously in my direction, knowing I would acknowledge her presence. Whenever I could, I would reunite with her in a cold embrace. When this rareity occured, she would transform from her broken and bloody onryo corpse, and into the special mother I always knew her to be. She wouldn't smell of death and decay, no, she always wore a nice perfume of lilacs and vanilla. This disappeared the day she was no more.
Kanna and her mother argued about her summer job. Her mother wanted her to be more helpful, more courtious of her fellow classmate's enjoyment of the animal kingdom. Kanna herself wanted nothing more than a lazy, lounge-about summer break that consisted of only socializing and boredom.
These kinds of plans were banished when her mother hired the tutor. Alrthough nice and social, Yuki was weary of her new summer job. Then came the day she met her end.
Kanna left in a hurry, not once thinking of leaving the tutor alone in the house. Tsuyoshi, Kanna's resistant brother, left soon after, not noticing what had happened.
Yuki had been hearing me; she pulled out her walkmen and began to listen to music. I wasn't getting to her, so I used the few ghostly powers I posses, and scratched the CD. It skipped, and she hastily fumbled for her belongings.
Mother croaked her death rattle, indicating her inevitable visit with the young woman. I knew how it would end as soon as Yuki looked to the attic crawalspace. It was then, that Mar had suddenly returned, and ran out to stroke his muzzle against her legs. To avoid the delicate contact, Yuki sealed her fate by climbing into the crawalspace.
Mother croaked more persitantly again, this time becoming louder and forceful. She was well shadowed by the dark of the attic, in no hurry to take Yuki. This was the part where I scooped Mar up into my arms and ran off into the stairwell. I did not feel serene there when Mother was actually in the process of such an act.
Yuki sensed the onryo, although she had no idea what it was. I listened and I waited. Mother would be smug soon after. Yuki's screams and rants could be heard throughout the house; they rang, echoed, and vibrated, creating the perfect horror setting.
Looking back on that presumably first kill, I think Yuki had a striking intuition. She braced herself for us, for my mother's attack.
Kanna's death happened without notice. I was lazily petting Mar's silky fur when I heard Mother whispering. "Toshio..." Her voice...I knew she only beckoned me to come with her. She wanted me to accompany her while she disturbed the innocent. I wished I could cry, but then, I remembered why I cried and screamed in my father's thick, brutal hands as he plunged my head, along with Mar's flailing body, into the water Mother had prepared for my bath just moments before. And I create my banished grudge all over again.
The death of the rabbits hurt me the most. Of course, I valued the life of Kanna and Tsuyoshi's girlfriend, but the rabbits were simply killed on the impact. Mother appeared back in her attic crawalspace just after her bout with the innocent schoolgirls. I bravely brought forth the courage to comfront her in her coward-like hiding.
"Tohshio..." It's odd how her voice didn't croak as she spoke. I suppose she only saved it for her prey. Her grudge will never cease, never prevail. I pity Mother, she was distant in life, but she was lovingly thriving, too.
I watched as she sat up from her crouched position, and fumbled out of her plastic bag Father had placed her disjointed body in. A pocket of blood that had been nestling in the bottom dripped from her bag. Her arms hesitantly reached out, and I practically jumped into them.
Immediately, her onryo transformed, and she was my mother once again. The perfume only my mother could devise permeated the room and had choked away the smell of decay. We didn't mind our fleshy body odor, after so long, it became tolerable.
"Mother." She hugged tighter, then pulled back to look over my face.
"Yes, little one?" Her smile presented her glossy-white teeth. Sometimes, with my child-like mind, I make up storied about how she eats her victims. I dismiss this, only for the fact that she was a vegetarian in her past life.
"Why did this happen?" Even though I knew it had happened and how, I was ignorant as to why.
Mother had come home from school. She was silent as she slowly ran the bath water for me- earlier that day, I had fallen on my knees on the playground, more so, I was pushed intentionally by a bully.
Mother was furious, but when she neared me, she kept her calm, for my sake. "Toshio, please, stay right here while I get your clothes. Where's your father?" She wiped her hands on her shirt, and turned to go. I still did not answer her as she walk with perfect posture to first her room for my father, then presumably to my room, to retrieve new clothes.
It was then, that she made her mistake. Perhaps the first mistke was writing what she did in that diary, then maybe the next mistake was marrying my father. She, out of all people, deserved someone better, regardless if I would have been Toshio Saeki or not. I wouldn't have minded.
There were slams, and there were thuds. I heard Father curse- something he strongly disagreed of at any time. I emerged from the bathroom, once looking back at the full tub. The dark water basin looked sinister, and in the end, it was.
Mother was gasping. Father was in the corner behind her, banging on the wall with his fists, and kicking her crawling body with his feet. There was much effort shown in each thrust he made, each slap he gave. Even though I could not bear to see my beautiful mother be so broken, I watched in absolute horror-my eyes widened to their fullest capacity-as my father leaned down and placed his hands around her slender neck. It looked almost like a caress, a loving touch one might give another, like the scenes I've sometimes glimpsed on T.V.
The next thing Father did was the most brutal, cruel, devilish act I could have ever imagined. His arms flexed the tiniest inch, and my mother, my sweet, lovely mother's neck twisted into a ninety degree angle. I gasped, and that was my mistake.
The man I instantly feared looked up with hate filled eyes. "You..." He stormed up the steps, and while scooping up Mar, took hold of my hair and threw my head into the dark water of the tub. I coghed and gurgled: the small attempts at screaming for help or the even smaller attempt at pleading, begging him to stop. Oh, how it hurt; the water traveling up my throat and into my lungs.
But he did not care; I was a whitness, and I had the potential of reporting him and his crime. But in his eyes, I could see another reason, and although I couldn't fathom what it could possibly be, I knew, no, I wished I wasn't his child, his spawn.
My last gurgled words were, "I'm sorry.", and I became enclosed in utter darkness.
Somehow, or another, I watched the aftermath. First, he took Mar's limp body downstairs and outside. In the window where I wacthed, I spyed him clawing up dirt mounds with his bloody hands. When the hole was deep enough, he dropped Mar into it, and sealed it with the wet soil. The dirt path that lead to our door was the first haunted sight.
He did not know of my 'still here' presence, and I am forever glad so.
Then, in discreet terror, I wacthed him drag Mother's broken body into their room. I followed, not wanting her to dissappear. He opened the closet doors, and heaved her onto his shoulders. My hands flew to my mouth, but not before he heard my second gasp. Father turned, and looked directly into my black-shadowed eyes. He did not see me.
My mother was stored away into the attic crawalspace, and my father didn't look back up once. He shut the door, ran downstairs to retreive some duct tape, and sealed the door.
I couldn't anymore. He was too evil. His presence, it was so powerful, that it influenced me to kill at that very moment.
And thus, my own personal grudge was born.
I ran from their room and into the bathroom. My body, small and chalky white, sat limp on the edge of the basin. I ran to my body's cold side. Father came in, huffing. "Come here, little one." And he scooped me up into his sturdy arms, much like he had with Mar. My room was the destination; he placed me gently into the corner of my closet.
I heard him say one last thing before he sealed my own closet with the tape. "Kobayashi's vermin child..."
Father did not have the decentsy to close my dark-shadowed eyes.
That was when the croaking noises would begin.
Mother did not answer me for a moment, and I vaguely felt her arms tighten their hold around me.
Nothing was said. She simply rocked us back and forth, back and forth.
And I found myself at the railing again, watching Mother and It battle. These scenes have forever played in my mind, and I never once welcomed them. I was scared that each time that day played over, Mother would be reliving the pain all over again. I didn't care about my pain, really; it didn't hurt much, my death. But the creak her neck had made, and the attempt of speech her gurgling became, made it all too clear that she endured the worst of it.
And I still have yet to find out why.
My teacher had visited a few days ago. On that particular day, I somehow managed to form color and master the skill of breathing again. All in record time. My teacher, Kobayashi, had noticed my absense at school. Due to my death, I was obviously never attending it again.
On that day, I had grown fatigue with the knowledge that I would inhabit Mar's meow and cat-like behaviours. This made me confused, but I welcomed the abilities with open arms.
I sat with my arms hanging out of the downstairs bathroom window. It was very sunny, that day, but I somehow didn't require protection for my eyes of sorts. I listened to the wind nestle and twine into the leaves of trees in our yard and thought of nothing imparticular.
That was when I heard his worried voice. I felt his presense at the front door, but had ignored it, for what I don't know.
"Toshio!" Kobayashi inclined his head in my direction. He asked many questions, all of which I did not answer.
I fell backward. I did not want to look at him anymore. He shouted worriedly and ran to the front door. The tub did not inlfict any pain. I only sat and waited for him to come. in, as I knew he would.
Suddenly, I found myself being carried to the living room and laid on the couch. Kobayashi sat himself beside me and began the interragating again. I did not answer.
He then asked kindly to check my temperature, to which I longed for a warm touch. A living touch. I noded the slightest, or, did I lean into his palm?
I must have been experiencing small bouts of fainting spells when I found him at the window, speaking with his pregnant wife- Mother told me It had plans for the tiny woman and her growing child.
As Kobayashi's back was turned, I felt the compelling desire to meow like Mar- I've learned that it is my inevitable warning call. He did not notice, he passed it off as a mere cat wandering the alley.
And I went upstairs silently. Mother was waiting. I never declined the invitation to speak with her.
"My teacher is here. He wishes to speak with you." I sat in my bedroom floor drawing. My usual pictures depicted black cats, more accuratly, Mar and my true ghostly form.
"I'll talk to him in a minute."
"Mother, Father is teasing me." I knew this to be untrue, but only slightly. The memories that stir in my mind are always due to my glancing at Father when he tries to leave the house.
"Mother, why are you always leaving me?" She would be going soon. I felt it with the newly enhanced intuition. There were other's who required her attendance.
"I will never leave you." And Mother never lied.
Kobayashi was descending the stairs, overhearing our conversatinon. What he thought odd, I thought normal.
"Toshio, were you just talking to someone?" I continued to scribble, not once looking at him. "Your mother and father are really late."
He walked into my mother's room: a forbidden territory. I almost fainted at the climaxity of his wandering.
Mother's croak was faint and couldn't be heard by his live fleshy ears. Not yet, at least.
She wanted to wait. I assumed she wanted him to find it; the reason for our untimely and brutal deaths. The said diary laid on her artistry desk, as it hadn't been touched in some time.
Kobayashi began to flip through pages, gasping at most. I wonder what he was reading, seeing. Mother has forbidden me of ever looking into it; she claimed it was a mere copy of scary stories she'd accumulated over the years.
Kobayashi's face possesed that of a frightened man. He looked...sick? Mother had ignored my ghostly presence. She didn't mind me eavesdropping, in fact, in her grudge-like manor, she encouraged me watching her attack the victims of our curse.
My teacher placed the faded book back in it's original spot, and became distracted by the buzzing flies, who were always appearing when Mother wanted a scary effect.
He swatted and twitched away from the annoying little creatures, and found his way to thier source. His hands slid the closet door open shakily, and continued to reveal its occupant. My mother, not in her natural state, as the onryo, slumped backwards over the wooden crawalspace. Her face was blood-streacked, as was her whole body and gown.
I remember that being my favorite dress on her, as she always wore it when I had asked.
He gasped, or rather, screamed, and fled from her accursed room. But not before taking me in his arms. He ran down my mother's stair's and set me down at the base. I stood and inclined my head back to await her descent. I only heard her shuffling around in her plastic bag, the swooshing of blood.
His cell phone rang and as he listened to the caller, he held a terrified expression. I knew who was calling, and I stiffened.
After Father hung up from giving the devastating news to my teacher, Kobayashi slid to the floor, and I picked up his cell phone and spoke to Mother.
"Hello? Mother?" A silent pause, yet she communicated. "Yes. I understand." I brought the phone down and opened my mouth widely. Mother was coming. I waited.
Kobayashi looked up at me, and then behind him frantically. Yes, she was coming for him.
We heard the first thud of her crawling down the stairs. With her elbows bent akwardly, she came down with precision speed. Kobayashi was backing up against the door oppisite of the staiwell.
Mother had finally reached us. I brought the phone to my lips and called forth my meow. It sounded threatening. Good, it should've pleased Mother.
Mother creeped up in front of Kobayashi while still on the floor and he made the mistake of looking up at the doorknob.
Mother then opened it from behind him and came down to kiss his forehead. It confused me, that kiss. And I meowed louder. Then, I heard the faint retreat of his beating heart. Sad, really. Mother didn't mind though. Something tells me she wanted this done differently. Kobayashi was special somehow.
*More should be on the way. I like how this is coming along.*
Also, I've recently deleted my other original story, Forgotten Colors, due to editing issues. There were so many mistakes, I've decided I should simply try editing on my actual laptop instead of fighting the FF steps to editing- I know it's stereotyping if I say such, but I am a blonde, and I don't take kindly to directions. O.o Sorry, I'm not looking to offend anyone. Promise. :)
Next chapter/vignette: Toshio describes his encounter with Tsuyoshi's girlfriend, his mother's ruthless habits, and his father's most recent victim(s).