01/05/2021 - Strange Village Encounter
Hi there, I'm Daisuke Kasugano. I'm not all that much if I say so myself, but I just came across something totally crazy. It all started one day with a regular trip to my local grocery store. One of the regular roads I'd take to go to the store was blocked off by construction work, so I had to go down one of the more crowded roads. I'm not very good with large crowds, so I tried to make myself as small as possible when cutting through everyone. The breathing room wasn't so great, but it was better than nothing. After a while I began to get used to it a little, that was until I bumped into this one person with a black umbrella.
Everything about this person was unnerving. He was clad in black from head to toe and nothing was left uncovered. I couldn't even see his face because of the way he held his umbrella. The more I looked at him, the more he gave me the chills. Who the hell has an umbrella out in the middle of the day when the sun is shining? I wondered if he had a skin condition, but I dared not ask. Then he started speaking. His voice was so hoarse it was like he was gargling nails or something. I couldn't stay silent any more. I asked him if he wanted a drink, but he refused. Then our conversation took a more pleasant tone.
He was apparently from some tourism board for a small village. Once he was done singing its praises, he handed me a leaflet. The town boasted a large mountain range to scale, friendly villagers everywhere, and even a hot spring. It all sounded real nice to me, especially as I'm not one for the cramped city streets, so I set my sights on going. I started going home but then I remembered that I hadn't thanked him for the leaflet. When I turned around, he'd been absorbed by the crowd and I couldn't see him any longer. I couldn't even see his umbrella. I shrugged and then went about the rest of my day.
I made a few calls to negotiate my holiday with my bosses, rang up a few of my workmates about my trip before buying a train ticket and sorting out where I would be staying. A few of my workers were a bit confused as to where I was going exactly, so I tried to tell them where it was. It was in the Nagano prefecture somewhere, I can't exactly remember where it was for details I'll go into later, but even when I told them that, some of the guys were still confused. At the time I dismissed their concerns as them not being familiar with the area, but now I think there was a lot more merit to what they were saying.
With my holiday sorted, my bags packed and my train ticket in my hand, I went to the train station so I could go off to the countryside. The actual train journey was long and largely uneventful. I got a window seat entirely to myself, but all I could see were mountains and green fields. Pretty boring if you ask me, but when I got closer to my destination, I could see cool mountain ranges and countless strange symbols sticking out from the dirt. They were small triangular wooden constructions mounted atop wooden planks. Cutting through the middle of the triangle was another wooden plank and just below the triangle was another another one. I thought it was a local custom or something, so I decided to ask some of the locals when I got off the train.
The first thing I thought to do when I got off the train was to get to the village and that meant a long walk. Along the way I came across a fuel station and, rather than walk on an empty stomach, I went in there to grab something. The owner raised an eyebrow at me when he saw that I didn't have a car. He asked me why I was so far away from town without a vehicle. I told him that I was on my way to a nearby village. Then he told me there isn't another village anywhere before telling me to call a cab or something. Undeterred, I continued on.
The village looked just like what the images said it would; low rise traditional buildings everywhere, mountains all around and it all looked so comfy. I could already tell that this was my kind of place. I wanted to start exploring immediately but I had to first drop my stuff off at the place I'd be staying at. It didn't take me long to find it, but something felt off when I arrived. The first thing was that the place was empty. The person I would be sharing the apartment with was nowhere to be found. The second thing was the place had been left open; the door was swinging on its hinges when I arrived. While it was rude to intrude, I couldn't keep on holding my bags forever, so I decided to go in and drop them off.
Everything looked normal inside so I put the door situation to the back of my mind. I thought he probably went out and forgot to shut it or something. There was a set of keys left inside so I took them. Now that everything had been sorted with the accommodation, I decided on taking a hike up into the mountains to have a look at those strange wooden constructions.
The mountain path was not too difficult to traverse, but it was quite lengthy. Some of the signs had been rusted over, like they hadn't been maintained in years, so I had to frequently consult the leaflet for directions. I pushed on until I came across one of those wooden constructions. There were many of them in the field at the top of the mountain, but I focused on only one. The more I looked at it for answers, the more I got confused. Who would build such a thing and why this shape? Was it a grave or something? Was it something put down to ward off evil spirits? All these questions rushed into my head as I looked at it, but I was unable to come up with any answers back then. I still don't have any answers as of now. All I did know was that I now had a piercing headache coursing through my skull. With that stabbing at my brain, I decided to sketch the shape of it before heading back to the village. Maybe someone else would be able to make sense of it I thought.
Back in the village, I was looking around for other people to talk to about this image, but that's when I realised that the streets weren't just quiet. They were dead. There wasn't a soul for miles around. Every door I knocked on resulted in nothing. Nobody was coming out, nobody was walking up and down the street, nothing. Perhaps because I was over the moon at having so much space without people, I didn't notice just how dead the village actually was. Also I was beginning to notice a fog descending over the village. To say I didn't like what was happening was an understatement.
I tired to make my way back to my place with the fog around, but it was extremely difficult. It descended over the village quickly and obscured everything until I could barely see what was in front of my face. What was not helping were the voices in my head; every now and then I could swear I was hearing voices all around me. I'd sweep my head around and check but all I could see was more fog. I then checked my leaflet for the map on the inside, but it didn't help. I couldn't see any landmarks thanks to the fog and, when I came to street signs, I had no idea how far along the street I was. Sometimes I could spot specs of darkness in the fog. At first I thought they were shadows cast by tall objects like phone lines and TV antennae, but I couldn't be sure because a few of them disappeared completely when I started to approach. When the fog started getting darker and darker as the night started to draw in, I started to panic.
"Where was my place?" I kept asking myself as I stumbled through the thick fog that blanketed the village. I was still lost, I still couldn't see a thing and I could still hear voices in my head. I was starting to lose my mind at that moment, but then I put my hand on something, a vending machine I had passed on my way to the trail. It was just around the corner from where my place was. Retracing my steps, I walked back to my place and settled in for the night.
At least that's what I hoped to do. The voices had followed me into the place I was staying at. I could still hear them as clear as day and, no matter what I did, they did not stop. I wanted to completely block them out, but they just lingered in my mind. Then I started treating the voices like what they were, noise. Only then was I able to sleep. How I came to regret my decision to sleep.
I could see visions of something in my sleep. At first it was like old TV static, complete with the noise, but then it cleared up. It was difficult to make out, but I could see a sermon taking place. At the front of the sermon was a very important looking someone. He sported a red cloak which featured a symbol that matched the shape of the wooden constructs I had seen in the mountains. He kept on talking about this salvation concept, liberating the people of their limitations so they could live forever. It sounded like a load of bull to me, but I couldn't move. I couldn't leave the sermon, much less turn my head. I had to watch and listen. I had no choice.
I can't remember everything he said, but I do remember that, at the end of his sermon, he said "join me as we progress into a new stage of life that has eluded non-believers for centuries." The rest is a blur, but soon I found myself in front of one of the wooden constructs at the top of the mountain. It was raining and everyone had an umbrella in hand, a black umbrella, similar to the one the guy who gave me the brochure had. I also had one in my hand, but that was not the most worrying thing. In the other hand I had a dagger. It had the symbol matching the shape of the constructs on it. Then the others around me started raising their daggers into the air with the hilt pointed to the sky. As if I was connected to them, I did the same. Then I plunged the dagger straight into my chest.
I woke up in a cold sweat and immediately I could feel a sharp pain on my chest. I took off my shirt and checked myself for a wound, only to find nothing. Nothing except the voices re-entering my head. The only difference was now I could understand what they were saying. They were calling me. I had to go back to the location where the wooden symbols were. I was compelled to follow them. Even though I wanted to stay inside, I couldn't help myself. It was as if the voices had a grip on my entire body. Grabbing a flash light, I once again entered the streets which were now pitch black and enshrouded by the thick fog. To make matters worse, it was raining. At the entrance, there was a black umbrella similar to the one that the guys had in my dream. I didn't want to pick it up, not after seeing what I had seen in my dream, but I didn't want to have a cold on top of having that pain in my chest, so I took it. Underneath the umbrella was a dagger. It matched the one I saw in the dream. There was no debate in my mind on what I was going to do with it. I left it alone.
This time I made sure to keep an eye out for every landmark along the way as I walked through the darkness. The rain beat down on my umbrella all the way and it didn't stop as I reached the top of the mountain trail where all the wooden symbols were. The voices stopped however. All of a sudden I wanted to heart them again; I had gotten so used to their presence that I was unnerved by their absence. There was another sound too. Footsteps could be heard coming from further in the field. Surely there was nobody else here, I thought at first, but I knew that there was only one way to find out.
I started walking towards the sound of footsteps. I saw something in the shadows. It was roughly human shaped. I brought my light over it, but it did not make it any clearer. I approached tentatively as it continued walking. Then it stopped moving. I froze in place. Then it crouched down. Still I did not move. Exactly what it was doing at that point I don't know. Maybe it was maintaining one of the wooden constructs or something. After a while, it stood up again. Then it started approaching me. I stood still as it did. I even held my breath as it ambled closer. I was repulsed, yet fascinated by the way it struggled to move correctly. It looked like it was flinging its limbs to walk. Then it got close enough that I could get a good look at it. It was the man dressed in the red cloak from my dream, but he looked incredibly different. His skin had turned pale blue and he couldn't hold his head upright. Instead, it rolled around as he tried to look at me. I couldn't see any eyes on his face, just a black void where they were supposed to be. His eye sockets were crying tears of blood. In his torso was the dagger I had seen earlier, except this one had rusted over like it had been left out for years. It was all an assault on my senses, one that I couldn't move away from.
"Have you come to join us?" he asked in a horrible voice. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what anyone would have said at that point. Instead I just looked at him in silence, stunned by his grotesque appearance. "You are missing your dagger," he continued. At first I looked around but then he told me not to worry. What he did next shook me to my core. He let out a blood-curdling yell as he ripped the dagger out from his chest, scattering some of his unnatural looking flesh all over the place. Blood started pouring out from his wound, seeping into the soil around the wooden symbols. "You can borrow mine," he said, holding the rusted blade for me. Seeing his insides pulsating from the large wound made me want to puke. I told him I was fine but that was a huge mistake. He raised his dagger and let out an inhuman wail that sent a cold shiver down my spine. I didn't even sense the danger I was in; I was paralysed because of that horrible noise he let out. Then his arm came down haphazardly. It struck my shoulder, tearing through my shirt and cutting through my skin. At that moment I came to my senses. I knew I was in immediate danger. I turned around and ran away as fast as I could before he could touch me again with that rusty dagger of his.
I didn't stop running until I reached the place I was staying at. Every step of the way I could hear heavy breathing, as if a great awakening was going on. I did not want to stay around any longer, so I got ready to leave but when I blinked, that idea vacated my mind. I felt something, like I wasn't who I was in that moment. I then decided to close my eyes for a bit. When I closed my eyes I could see the village trough the eyes of someone else. I could even feel the rain coming down on their body. From the way their head was turning, they were looking for someone and that someone had to be me. I was the only one around for miles and I didn't participate in that man's ritual unlike everyone else in the dream. Once I realised this, I closed my eyes again. I could see through the eyes of someone else and feel what they felt. That thing was also patrolling around, looking for me. I kept on blinking rapidly to cycle through all the viewpoints in the village and I came to the conclusion that there were countless of these things scouring the town for me and that sent my soul falling through the Earth.
There was one other thing. Who gave me the umbrella? Someone had to know where I was to leave it in front of where I was staying. No other places had umbrellas sitting in front of them. Someone out there knew where I was staying. I had to leave quickly. I took my belongings and abandoned my place.
I had to be quick, swift and cautious to manoeuvre between whatever it was that was looking for me. Every step I took into the village filled my soul with dread. Every moving shadow, every stray beam of light that wasn't coming from my torch and every monstrous groan those things let out sent me rocketing away from it at breakneck speed. I wasn't going to risk encountering another one of those things. Even breathing made me uneasy because I feared what would happen if they caught wind of me making noise. I tried to put a lot of daylight between me and my old place, so much so that I didn't know where I was.
I knew that the streets were not safe with these things roaming around, so I broke into a small two storey house. I ran up to the top floor and made my way to the bedroom before settling down on the ground. I didn't even care that there was no duvet to keep me warm, I just wanted to feel safe. Closing my eyes didn't help that. Instead it revealed one of these things walking towards the old place I had been staying at. It pushed open the door and inspected the place from top to bottom. It pulled up the bed sheet and scoured every inch of the place for what felt like an hour. Then it just sat there in the room. Either it was tired or something or it was waiting for my return. I wasn't going back there ever again, so I just sat there in my new room for a long, long time until I somehow fell asleep.
When I woke up, I checked outside the window to see if the fog was still present. It was not. The road looked pretty much the same as when I first arrived, only now everything was damp with rainwater. I also didn't see anything roaming the streets. Perhaps those things had stopped looking for me and returned to where they came from. I didn't want to loiter any longer and risk anything. I grabbed my stuff, I left the village and I did not look back whatsoever. I walked back into the fuel station to get something else to eat and I remember the guy asking me something, but I was so scared that I couldn't make out what he was saying. I just grabbed a chocolate bar and I got out so fast. I didn't feel safe until I was on the train and at least half way back to Tokyo.
I've since tried to find out more about that place, but nothing comes up when I look for that village. There's no way I'm gonna go back there either, and even if I wanted to, there's no way I can return; I can't remember the route I took to go there and the leaflet the umbrella man gave me faded to a white paper now so I can't even look back at it for any information. The only thing I have left is the drawing of the strange symbol stuck in the ground. If anyone has any idea on what this thing looks like, any information as to what this symbol could mean or any information related to a mysterious village near the mountains in the Nagano prefecture, please let me know. If I come across anything else strange and creepy, I'll be sure to update this blog and let you guys know about it.