The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Little Lonely Jakucho
by Kim Richards
Jakucho twisted the slender bamboo umbrella handle with her fingers. It resulted in the silk umbrella over her head twirling around. Its beaded tassels swung with the motion. She walked along the familiar garden path at sunrise as she did every day. Always she saw no one. There were not birds to hear sing nor animals to talk to. Her heart ached for something living.
Behind her the air rippled resembling the surface of water disturbed by gentle waterdrops. Then it stepped out and called, “Jakucho.”
Immediately she whirled around, letting the umbrella fall away. When she realized it wasn’t Him, she wrapped her arms about her torso and wept. Her long black hair cascaded to the sides of her head, hiding her face like a drawn curtain.
The demon waited patiently for her to complete her crying jag, sniffle, and left her head to stare directly at him. She did not wipe away the tears.
“Why didn’t he come? He promised to bring me back…home,” she cried out.
The creature flicked its black tongue like a snake and then spoke with an unnerving gravely tone. “I have a gift for you.”
In its clawed hands it held a heart as deeply red as blood roses. She looked at it with a pained expression.
“He cannot fulfill any promises to you now. He walks the fires of Tokatsu now. The only way to prevent you from joining him is to eat from the heart of Yomi.”
She looked at him sideways. “Heart? I was always told it was to eat at the hearth of Yomi.”
It shrugged. “Heart…hearth. Somantics. Do you really want to risk it?”
Jakucho took the beating heart in her hands, allowing the warmth of it to pulsed against her palms. She contemplated taking a bite and swallowing her fate. Then she would exist utterly alone. Her other choice was to cast it away and live all of eternity with Him among the flames.
Her passions burned bright. Her love deep and warm. She decided they were enough and flung the heart away from her. It hit the demon between its eyes with a splat. Then she turned away, picked up her umbrella, and continued down the pebbled path for one final time.
Such a fun read – the demon is snarky and her choice was unexpected – clever work.
A wonderful story.