Friday, December 23, 2016

Japanese Ghost Story : Nana-Chan

Translated from Japanese by Shishou(師匠)


Ghost Story


I often used to spend my time alone during my childhood. My parents owned an ancient, run-down ancestral house in the outskirts of a village where there were no kids coeval with me. I did have my brother, but he was very little at that time so I didn't play much with him.
I would often feel lonely because my younger brother got all the attention of my parents and grandparents. Anyway, to cure my loneliness, I'd would explore the house everyday, which was pretty big with numerous rooms, and would find myself playing with various objects I found in the rooms.

In the south-west area of our house, we had a storage room that was cluttered with various tools and objects. I spent a lot of time in the room playing with the objects as if they were toys.

When did I find that mirror? I honestly don't remember much. I just know that it was already in a worn-out condition: no frame, no handle, just a circular reflective surface. Despite being an old mirror, it clearly reflected the surroundings without any fogginess.
A few days later, I was playing with the mirror, checking my face, when I saw the reflection of a girl in the mirror. Startled, I turned back to see this uninvited guest, but what I found was...nothing!
I understood that she could only be seen in the mirror. Of course, I found it a little creepy, but I wasn't scared of her. She was a long-haired, fair-skinned girl.

She was looking at me from behind my shoulders and was smiling at me.  "Hello..." I greeted her.
Soon, we started talking with each other. I gave her the name Nana-chan.

My parents found it weird that I spent all the time in storage room staring at an old hand-mirror, but they didn't do anything about it as Nana-chan was not visible to anyone except me.

One day, I said to her, "I don't have friends to play with. I feel lonely without any friends."
Her reply was, "You can come to this side and we'll play whole day."
"But how do I do that?"
"Umm...I don't know," she said with a troubled face.
"I'll ask," she whispered after a while.
I wanted to know to whom she would ask about it, but my instincts told me to stay quiet.

After a few days, Nana-chan appeared again and said with a happy face:
"I've asked the method to come to this side. Come here and we'll play together."
I was happy but told her that I needed to take permission from my parents.
Nana-chan replied with a troubled face, "You can't tell about this thing to anyone. If you do, we might get in serious trouble and won't be able to meet again."
I wanted to tell her it was a bad idea but kept it to myself.

"Tomorrow you'll play with me?" she asked me.
I hesitated for a while but gave her a slight nod.

"It's a promise." She then proceeded her little finger towards me; I, too, reciprocated. Although, our fingers touched only in the mirror, I did feel warmth in my finger.

I couldn't sleep even a little that night. The whole night I kept staring in the dark, thinking about various things: how do we go inside the mirror world? What kind of world exists there? Why can't Nana-chan come to this side?  Would I be able to ever return to my world?
The longer I thought I about these things, the more it increased my anxiety, and because of that a fear of Nana-chan started growing inside me.

The next day, I didn't go to meet her. The next day too, and again the next day. I never went near the storage room after that. Months passed and then years passed, I never contacted Nana-chan again.

I then left the house to study in a high-school. I graduated and started working in a nearby city, and after a few years I got married. By this time, the thought of Nana-chan had completely disappeared from my mind. A few years down the line, my wife got pregnant and moved to her parent's house to take some time off from daily chores.
In her absence, I had to do all the housework, which I found troublesome. Also, It was getting quite lonely living alone, so I, too, went to my parent's house to spend some time with them.

Narrator's parents' house

After having dinner at my parents house, I retired for bed. At around midnight, I had this sudden urgent need to go to restroom. I woke up, went to toilet to do my business, and started washing my hands after that. While I was washing the hands, I unintentionally looked at the mirror in front of me.
In the mirror, I could see the storage room, completely basked in darkness, only lit a little bit by the light seeping from the restroom. I focused my gaze a little bit on the door of the storage was ajar. A sudden realization hit me: I remember the door being closed on my way to the restroom.
I immediately turned back. The door was closed.
I turned back to the mirror. The image showed an ajar door.
The door started opening slowly, accompanied by a creaking sound. At this moment, I could feel goosebumps all over my body, but I couldn't take my eyes off the mirror. A white mist emerged from the darkness of the storage room. The longer I started at it, the more familiar it looked. Suddenly, numerous images of Nana-chan, which were buried deep inside my memory, flashed in my mind.
It was a nostalgic feeling for me...nostalgic but frightening.

The next thing I knew was waking up on my futon*, with rays of sunlight warming up my face.
"Maybe, a bad dream?" I murmured to myself.
Anyway, I didn't want to spend another night at this place, so I decided to return to my apartment, even though  I had the day off from work.

narrator's apartment

I rode my car back to my apartment and proceeded to park it in the semi-basement, which is used by the residents as a parking place.
While I was driving it into my parking space, I glanced at the rear-view mirror.

A familiar face of Nana-chan, smiling innocently at me, could be seen. I turned back towards the backseat, but like always, she existed only inside the mirror. She was there on my backseat, looking completely like what she was years ago.

Nanachan-rear-view mirror

I was trembling with fear and wanted to get out of the car immediately, but I couldn't. Her gaze had frozen me in my place.

"How are you?...Why didn't you return that time? I've been waiting since then." She said.

I wanted to reply but couldn't. She added, "Why don't you come play with me right now?"

"I can't!!" I blurted out.

"Nana-chan, I'm sorry...I can't play with you anymore."

She sat there quietly.

"I've child is also going to be born soon..." I was at loss of words after that.

"Is that so? You can't play because you've become an adult. I understand you."
She then said with a loneliness-filled voice, "It can't be helped.", and smiled at me innocently.

It seemed like Nana-chan forgave me.

"In that case...I'll play with that kid."

I didn't understand what she meant. After that she vanished and never appeared in front of me again.

2-days later, my wife had a miscarriage.

We haven't been able to have a child since.
*Futon: A futon (布団) is traditional Japanese bedding comprising a quilted mattress that is usually laid on the floor.
Phew! I'm done. Wanted to translate this for a long time. Anyway, Christmas is coming, so consider it a Christmas-special horror story. Merry Christmas folks!

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  1. I kinda feel bad for her.

    1. You feel bad for her causing the main character's wife to have a miscarriage and never having children? Smh

    2. Nana-chan is innocent...innocent but evil.

    3. The narrator ditch Nana-chan and he couldn't keep his promise. I guess, that's what you get for not keeping your promise and forgot about the friend who wants to play with you when there is nobody else. Evil beings are bad but they play fair.

  2. The name Nana-chan made me remember Nanako from Persona 4.

    1. You reminded me of another game that is on my to-play list. :(


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