January 5, 2013
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I prowl. The corpses sway their limbs, mimicking the trees they hang from. Aokigahara, they call it. I doubt they know the origin of this forest's name, though they might claim to.

Aokigahara – the sound the trees make when a new victim is claimed.

My forest is adorned with hundreds of corpses. Sacrifices. To me, by me. Although, these people had no idea they'd end up here when they set out.

I spot the girl in the distance and lean against a tree, playing possum. Waiting waiting wait – go. As soon as I can see the whites of her eyes, I begin the terror.

Head tilted back, I listen as the trees whisper to her. Right on cue, the wind picks up, carrying a corpse eerily close to her. Her eyes lock into the eye sockets of the body, then drag down to its rotting neck, which has clearly been pulled apart by some sort of animal.

Maybe one that prowls.

She doesn't scream, but swallows hard. Her throat is clean and intact, pale as snow. She's a lovely Japanese girl, somewhere in her teens or twenties. Such a young, untouched creature.

I follow her as she walks, looking at each corpse she passes carefully. Here and there I rustle the leaves, watching as she turns, breathless and on edge. She is in the suicide forest, after all.

Finally, I set in for the checkmate. I rise to my feet, extending an empty hand. When she turns, her eyes seem to stare into my soul.

Funnily enough, I haven't had one of those in two hundred years.

She nods her understanding, taking my hand. But her fingers pass through it, coming away with a rope clenched tightly in them. Her already pale knuckles are whiter than anything I've seen. She steps backward, caught up in a dark patch, where the sun is blocked by too many bodies to hit the ground right.

Like a spider, she scrambles up the tree, fixing the rope into a noose. I stand transfixed as she balances, midway out on the branch, and steps off lightly.

Death claims her – Aokigahara. I can remember now. For a moment, I remember. And I hate it with everything in me.

My name was Aiko, my surname Urogataya. I was seventeen years old when I was painting in this forest. As an artist, this place was heaven to me, with all the beautiful greens, and the serene air. But a pair of hunting dogs found me, and brought me to the ground, pulling and tearing and growling, but I weighed less than either of them. I couldn't break free.

Then the hunter came, and I thought I was saved. He didn't call them off, though. He didn't call them off! The man just watched and waited and when I died, he dragged my body off and hid it in a cave.

As soon as my memory came, it fades. I'm losing the teenage painter, and finding nothing but spite and hatred and a two hundred year old curse.

“Kira?” a voice calls. “Kira!”

I whirl, thrilled by the threat of another chase. In a blur, I reach the tree above him, leaping down from a low branch. Another hand held out. He takes a pair of large silver pills, nods, and swallows them.

He dies instantly. Aokigahara, the trees whisper.

When I woke up, I did so separate from the limitations of the human form. I was a spirit, and worse, I was caught in the heart of a brand new curse I didn't even know about yet.

When the search party came for me, I had to kill them one by one. No one came looking for me again. But the friends and family of my victims marched through. For two hundred years, every time someone entered my forest something made me force their suicide. As a spirit, I'm convincing. I could talk a fish into pants.

Killing them is the only way I can keep from losing Aiko forever. Killing them is the only way I can make sure I won't be forgotten.

“I don't want to be forgotten,” I whisper to the dangling bodies in the trees and the corpses littered at their bases.

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Arkanian said...
Jan. 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm
Your story is incredibly creepy, and beautifully written. I like the style, and especially the voice of the main character. I don't normally like depressing, bloody murder stories... but yours is so more then that. It's  subtle, and conveys the message in a haunting way. 
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