Originally posted on 4 April 2013
Source: official site, 11 March 2011

Toshio - Chapter 4 "Execution"

Crunch... Crunch... Crunch... Phew. Where did Ry-... Where did Ryoko... go...?

Something had obviously been wrong with her before. Come to think of it, it had been going on for a while... Since I had returned to Tsukuyomi Valley, and Nobukuni had come home, Ryoko had been gradually seeming stranger and stranger. Sometimes she said things about her head hurting, too... Maybe she was sick with something? If so...

I began to get more and more worried about Ryoko after she fled the house, and wandered the village in search of her. But I couldn't find her. Having no other choice, I climbed up Tsukuyomi Valley and made my way into the thick forest. I didn't know where in the forest I should go, but as I walked around something suddenly came to mind.

That day, when I had proposed to Ryoko, we had been by the riverside. It was by the place we had played all the time as kids. Further in from there, I remembered that there was an abandoned building that had been our favourite play spot in our childhood. Apparently the building, a mountain hut, had been occupied by a man who was a lumberjack in the valley, and we used to use it as our secret hideout.

"I go there when I'm feeling sad and it cheers me up... You said you like that house too, right, Toshi? Let's go there together next time, okay?"

For some reason, I remembered Ryoko having said this to me. Maybe she was there. Trusting my intuition about the person I loved, I headed towards the abandoned house.


Chatter... Chatter... Chatter...
...The moon has spoken... The sacrifice...
The time... has come... Yes...
She must forget even more of herself... Forget...
Reverse the blood flowing through her chest and head... Pounding...
Flowing through her heart... Pounding...
...For the moon... For me... No...
So I can see the future of Tsukuyomi...
...I need her heart... Both of her eyes...
Suck their blood as they twitch... Pounding... Fresh...
...It is almost time... So very nearly time...


"That's where it is..."

Pushing my way through the mass of foliage, I found myself before the abandoned house. It seemed just the way it had been, even after ten years had passed. It stood neatly-kept in front of me. I had no proof that Ryoko was there... But I had a feeling, and I took a breath as I circled around behind the house, approaching the terrace that jutted out from the back of the living room, and peeked through an aged curtain into the room. And then...?

"Hey, wh-..."
"Wh... Don't y... kno..."

Huh? They were people's voices... And listening closer, I realised that they were the voices of Ryoko and Nobukuni. So she was here after all. But why was Nobukuni with her? I thought it was strange, but was calmed by the fact that I had found her. Maybe she had wanted to calm him down after he ran out in anger and came here because she suddenly remembered it. Thinking of it, she seemed to have got excited when we were talking about old times together.

No, it was more than that. If Ryoko was still feeling unwell, I had to get her home and make sure she rested right away... Worried about my beloved Ryoko, unable to see well into the room through the curtain, I decided to try to get in. The big window and the entrance on the terraced side should have been unlocked... I reached out for the big window along the veranda, and then... I heard a shout. The voices had changed...

"I won't... let him have you... I love you... Okay?"

"No... I... love you..."

'Love'? What did Ryoko just say? That she loved... Nobukuni?

As she spoke I felt the blood suddenly rush to my head, and pressed my face against the window in shock, desperately trying to see through the curtain. What caught my eye was Ryoko's beautiful, white leg sticking out from the aged sofa. And writhing on top of her, wrapped around her leg as though to pin her down, was Nobukuni...

What the hell was going on!? Hadn't Ryoko said it was me she had loved all this time!? Hadn't she only just had her beautiful arm wrapped around mine, clinging to me? I watched them writhing around, bewitched, as the blood rushed out of my head. I stood there in shock. Nobukuni's hands crept over Ryoko's body desperately, slipping inside a gap in her light clothes...

Enough! Stop it, Nobukuni! Ryoko, no! Why... Why are you letting him do that!? What... What the hell are you doing to my Ryoko!?

The blood that had seeped down into my feet abruptly changed direction. I began to seethe with anger and confusion not directed at Ryoko, but Nobukuni.

I had to stop him! I had no idea what was going on. But I knew I couldn't just leave them like that!

I took my hand, which had been pressed up against the window as though frozen to it, and used it to pry open the window via a small opening...

And that's when it happened!

Bang! Crash!

The door was flung open loudly, and several black shadows rushed into the room the two of them were in. When I looked more closely at the shadows, they seemed to be holding onto hoes, spades and sickles. What...!? I recognised them. Standing at the head were... people who were in the village council with Ryoko and I's fathers!

Crash! Bang! Thwap! Nobukuni, hearing the villagers, turned, and they agilely moved around behind him and one by one brought their farming tools down on his back!


Nobukuni uttered in an inhuman-sounding voice as his body crumpled to the ground with a soft thud. He slid off the sofa due to the impact of the blows, and was dragged far from Ryoko, who lay sprawled on top of it, and surrounded. Several black glittering knives ate into his back. Each time one of them withdrew their blade, black-red fluid flowed out, instantly staining his clothes and the floor.

"Aaaaah! O-ohhhhhh!"

The villagers attacked him, cornered, stained with the blood that leaked out of Nobukuni as he writhed on the floor, plunging the knives into his back, stomach and head. Slash! Stab! Splash... Out of Nobukuni, now an inhuman lump of flesh, flooded a multicoloured fluid that was not blood, and the red-black stuff scattered. A sharp smell I didn't recognise wafted through the window. The mass of flesh... It had stopped moving...

Nobukuni had... been... killed?

I had no time to be disturbed by the awful scene, just dumbfounded. What had happened? What the hell...?

"...Don't waste time..."
"Even if... his son... hurt him..."
"That's the girl... mustn't... village code..."
"It's a good... were watching her... The ritual is close... something were to happen..."
"Tsukuyomi... sacrifice is... most important thing..."
"Is... alright...?"
"...just unconscious... ritual is close... soon... don't know when or what she did..."
"Yes... night..."
"...Tsukuyomi... told..."

The ball of flesh had stopped breathing. As the villagers surrounding it whispered amongst themselves, I looked at their faces. They shoved Nobukuni's bloody corpse in a big bag, picked up the unconscious Ryoko, and hurried out of the building.

All that remained was the blood-stained floor... and the mysterious conversation of the adults that drifted here and there through the crack in the window. Why... was Nobukuni killed? And by the adults of the village! I had heard something about "watching over" someone. Over who? Ryoko? Why? Tsukuyomi? What was that? Did it have something to do with the ritual... the one everyone in the village was making such a fuss about?

As I thought over the villagers' conversation, I staggered away from the veranda and sank to the ground. I didn't really know what was going on, but there was one thing I was certain of.

...Something was going on with Ryoko. Something that made it dangerous for her to be in the village... I couldn't leave her like that... Something was definitely strange about this village. I had to save my Ryoko... Had to get out of the village... Tomorrow - I would do it tomorrow! I would take Ryoko back to Tokyo with me. And... we would be happy together!

I muttered this to myself, and dragged my weak legs along as I stumbled through the suddenly dark forest...

Chapter 6 | Chapter 8