The Little Red Men

August 29, 2012
The Little Red Men

Distant hills and valleys of green grass rolled by the window of the train as it sped through the Japanese countryside. Dr. Kenji Nakamura was seated in the upper row near the entrance to the conductor’s quarters. He looked out the window and was reminded of his peaceful rural childhood far from the hustle and bustle of the big city. He remembered how he and his brother and sister used to play in the garden behind the house and how they would often walk by the river and watch as the fish and other creatures followed its commanding flow. But these dreams and memories where all distant from him and pushed away by the pressing nature of his present day life. Today Dr. Nakamura was traveling to the bustling city of Tokyo to investigate a man who was afflicted with strange symptoms that other doctors could not find a source for. Ever since he began his journey of becoming a doctor Kenji had always found interest in psychological disorders. For the brief time he knew her his grandmother was stricken with schizophrenia. Kenji was fascinated by the altered state that she existed in and it sparked his will to learn more. The bizarre symptoms of factory worker Kazuya Ori, the man that Kenji would meet later that day, seemed to only relate those of paranoid schizophrenia. Strange voices that no one else heard whispering malicious thoughts in his ears but that’s where the similarities ended. Kazuya complained of feeling searing hot pains in his limbs and surging with each heartbeat. He also claimed it had a specific feeling, like the claws of a cat scratching him under his skin. Before he knew it Dr. Nakamura’s voyage had ended and he had arrived at the hospital where Mr. Ori was being housed.

Kenji sat with his legs folded, his notepad in his lap, and nibbling on the end of his pen, an old nervous habit of his. He heard the door slowly creak open and he looked up. He saw a man of average build with very pale skin and thinning hair. He slowly crept into the room, never breaking eye contact with the doctor and sat down across from him.

“Good evening Mr. Ori” said Nakamura.

“Good… Good… Nice… To…” Kazuya whispered.

“Now… what would you say your most glaring symptom is?” He asked.

“I… It burns when my heart moves… They speak to me… they say things… horrible…” He croaked.

The doctor sighed and gave a perplexed look and asked, “They? Who are they? Is there more than one entity speaking to you Kazuya?”

“There… Is too many… I can’t count…Them… They live as one…” He grumbled.

“Live as one? What does that mean Kazuya?”

Immediately Kazuya’s eyes went wide open and his mouth hung open. His body stiffened and he leaned in close to Nakamura’s face.

“There is no Kazuya.” He growled. His voice was different than before, no longer sickly and weak but alive and sharp. “We will be where he was. Kazuya will be no more. He will die. You will die. All die.”

“Mr. Ori what is the meaning of this?!” Kenji shouted. Suddenly Kazuya burst up from the chair and scratched Kenji across the face delivering a deep cut on his cheek. He kneed the doctor in the stomach and crawled on all fours out of the room, howling like a wild animal.

“Security! Please! Help!” Kenji yelled as he wiped the blood off of his face. Kazuya didn’t make it far before security subdued him with tranquilizer darts. It took more to bring him down that it would have taken to kill a normal person but Mr. Ori was clearly an exception. Kenji had the cut on his face treated by one of the nurses before leaving. He also gave his information to Mr. Ori’s caretaker. He figured that it would be best to contact the hospital in the morning to pursue Kazuya’s treatment further.

Mr. Nakamura awoke late that night to the phone in his hotel room ringing. The voice on the other end startled him and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. It was Mr. Ori.

“Doctor… Please help… me. I’m in the… factory ….downtown. I’ve… found a cure Come here… quickly...” Static burst over the line and Kazuya spoke again, this time in the voice he used in the hospital. “We have him. Come quickly Mr. Doctor.” almost mocking his earlier statement.

The doctor drove as fast as he could to the factory that Kazuya had worked in before he fell ill. He later received a call that Kazuya’s caretaker was found dead inside his hospital room, covered in deep bites and scratches that where much smaller than those of a human. He walked inside and almost instantly he heard violent screaming from the far end of one of the back rooms. He charged inside to find Kazuya, still in his hospital clothes, dangling from the ceiling by one leg that was tied to a pipe.

“Thank god you’re here… Doctor. I found… the source of my… pain… my blood I’m going to drain the evil… to my arm… cut it off…” He held up a rusty knife that looked as though it came from nearby.

“Mr Ori! stop this now! Don’t do it! I’ll call the hospital and we can get you help.” He shouted.

“No.” Kazuya said in the dry sharp voice from before, “We have control. Not you. Not him.” Kazuya let out a shrieking animal-like scream and in one forceful cut, severed his leg. He fell to the ground and scurried away like he had done in the hospital, leaving a bloody trail behind him. Kenji was shaken with fear from what he had seen but he was stunned by what he saw next. The doctor looked up at the severed leg dangling from the ceiling and saw that what was dripping from it was not blood… But people. Tiny little red men shining as though they were made of blood where crawling from the stump and falling to the floor bellow in a writhing heap. And then they began to scurry towards him in a massive twisting puddle of flailing legs teeth and claws. Without thinking Kenji tore off in the direction of the escaped patient. Kazuya stood on a maintenance platform above a vat of molten iron laughing and waving his arms at the doctor.

“You were a fool to come back doctor.” He reached out at Kenji and grabbed him. He shook him back and forth and attempted to push him into the glowing vat bellow. Kenji panicked and reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his handgun he kept on his person whenever he went into the city and laid a bullet square into the side of Kazuya’s face. His body buckled but quickly returned to an upright posture and laughed, half of his face missing and his jaw hanging by a thread.

“Curse you doctor. That almost tickled.” Suddenly the puddle of red men leapt at Kazuya forming a new leg and side of his face, as though the injuries never happened. He laughed again and Kenji noticed a broken guard rail at the side of the platform they were standing on. With all of his strength he shoved Kazuya into the rail and it shattered sending the mass of creatures tumbling into the steaming metal. He let out one final scream and then there was silence. The mysterious case of Kazuya Ori was over.

No one ever discovered the origin of the little red men; some said it was an ancient curse from the days of samurai, or strange medical phenomena, or maybe it was the work of the fumes of the molten iron in the factory coupled with a strange case of mental illness. Despite the skepticism of many Kenji Nakamura was sure of what he saw, especially when he cut himself shaving that night before bed and a tiny red hand reached out from under his skin.


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