I need the words to slide from your lips.
I’ve waited to hear them shaped by your tongue.
By the flickering light of one hundred candles,
oh, how I’ve longed for the release you bring.
All night, you’ve teased and toyed with me,
speaking the names of other demons.
I’ve tried not to pout, knowing my turn is coming.
Instead, I’ve watched you tremble,
your eyes wide with fear.
You’re irresistible when you’re terrified.
I know, with every story you start,
you want the feel of my claws on your skin
just as much as I do.
Because as each story gets told,
as each candle’s light dies,
you hear my breath behind you more clearly.
I am close enough to tangle your hair with my horns.
You know your words bring me ever closer.
And still you don’t stop. Closer, and closer I come,
until you finish all one hundred stories,
and at last, you are mine.
Ao Andon by Matt Meyer
Song Choice: I Get Off by Halestorm
This poem was inspired by the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Creatures of the Night and the work of Yokai expert extraordinaire, Matt Meyer (if you love learning about Japanese creatures that go bump in the night, his website Yokai.com, as well as either of his books is a wonderful resource). I was fortunate enough to attend a Japanese Ghost Story lecture he gave at Shofuso, (the Japanese House at Philadelphia) earlier this evening. So when I got home and saw this prompt, I knew I'd have to write about one of the wonderfully eerie creatures he spoke about.
The ao andon is a creature intimately linked with traditional Japanese ghost story telling parties from the Edo period. The well-to-do would gather in a room with one hundred candle-lit lanterns. For every ghost story told, one candle would get extinguished. Once the last candle was put out, the ao andon would appear, and the gods only knew what terror she had planned for guests bold enough to go that far.