“That one has the look of ‘he’s done me wrong for the last time’ on her face,” he said right before popping a glutinous rice ball the same shade of white as her robes into his mouth. He chewed it slowly. “What do you think, Fumihiro?”
“I think you had better share the mochi, Eiji,” Fumihiro said. His red, clawed hand pulled out several of the sweet treats from the bowl and gobbled them up.
Eiji did nothing to stop his elder brother from taking the mochi. He was used to it. Eiji wrinkled his snout. “I think there are toenails in that doll she’s carrying.”
Fumihiro sniffed the air. “Yes, that smells about right. She must be very close to her target.”
“Of course she is. You have to be close to someone to hate them this much,” Eiji said, looking at his brother. “And you truly have to hate someone to risk being out during the hour of the ox to cast a curse.”
The brothers watched as the woman balanced on her single pronged sandals and hammered a nail through the straw doll she brought with her, impaling it onto the sacred tree.
“Nice form,” Eiji said, nodding. “And she’s well prepared. She not only has the dagger and the mirror, she’s managed to keep the trivet with lit candles balanced on her head this whole time. There’s something to be said for doing things properly.”
“I guess,” Fumihiro said. He looked away from the woman and sucked on the ends of his matted hair, hoping to find any crumbs left from the mochi there. Finding none, he moved on to investigate his loin cloth for other traces of food.
Eiji leaned forward, tapping a claw on his red chin. He considered the woman, now screaming her desire to have her faithless lover’s heart devoured by jealousy. “There is something to be said about bad form though.”
“And what’s that?”
“Itadekimasu,”* Eiji said, flashing his fangs in the moonlight.
*Itadekimasu = “Let's eat”
This flash fiction piece was created for my prompt over at Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings: Myth-placed.
|Ushi no Koku Mairi by Matthew Meyer|
Find more of his marvelous mythology work at Yokai.com
Liner Notes for this Groove: Oni are a legendary ogre-like creatures in Japanese mythology. The only thing they like better than sweet rice balls (mochi) is human flesh. The cursing ritual described in the story has a basis in Japanese mythology. The ushi no koku mairi is a notorious spell, requiring several components to do correctly. It must be performed between 1 and 3 a.m., called the Hour of the Ox. This is the time when the border between the world of the living and dead is thinnest, and it is also the time when evil spirits have the most power.
Song Choice: I Put a Spell on You by Screaming Jay Hawkins