Facts Surrounding the Death of 'M' - 現代怪談

A subtly unsettling story of being devoured from within.
Or by something else?

Facts Surrounding the Death of 'M'
A Modern Japanese *Kaidan

original story copyrighted by author @ http://syarecowa.moo.jp/31/925.htm
translation copyrighted by M. L. Mills, 2011


One of my classmates, we'll call her “M” for anonymity’s sake, passed away when I was a junior in high school. At the time, we were told she had died from leukemia. “M” was originally from Ichikawa city in Chiba prefecture so I had to ride for over an hour on the train to attend her funeral. Since I wasn't that close to “M”, once I made my incense offerings, I headed back home while a number of other students who had been close to her stayed behind for a time. Our class was robed in a deep depression, but then gradually regained its previous cheerfulness. And at some point, the death of a singular girl was completely forgotten. Looking back now, those three years passed in the blink of an eye.

Then came graduation. My memory no longer held any trace of the girl whose life had come to an abrupt end at such a young age.

Following college graduation, I landed a job in a company and found myself generally busy with everyday affairs. Then one day I unexpectedly bumped into an old classmate from high school. She saw me first. It was a good thing too because if she hadn't called out to me I might have never recognized her as she had lost an unimaginable amount of weight when compared to my memory of her nicely plump face from high school. Although in all honesty, I was of the opinion that she had not lost weight, but was worn down.

“It's been awhile.” , she opened with.

We exchanged perfunctory greetings then decided to head into a nearby coffee shop and chat as our meeting was quite the rare chance. After catching up on the mundane matters of life – our current situation, etc... - she began her story.

“Say, do you remember, “M” from high school?”, she started off with a question.
“ 'M'? Ah, the girl who died from leukemia.”
“Yes, that's her. We were good friends.”
“It was really sad.”
“Yeah. But ...” she frowned deeply. “Actually, it wasn't leukemia.”

“Oh? She died from some other disease?” I didn't show much interest in her conversation. Truthfully, I had this vague sense that I didn't want her to tell me the real reason for “M”'s death. In spite of my feelings, however, her expression became even more serious. She added saying “There is something I want you to hear..”

“OK. I don't mind.” My work for the day was already finished. And I could clearly feel an air of gravity hanging from her. The details of her story are more or less as follows.

Two years ago, towards the end of that year, I suddenly received a call from “M”'s mother. It was the seventh anniversary of “M”'s passing and she wanted me to attend the ceremonial rites. She was very insistent about it. There was also the fact that we had been good friends so I agreed to participate. As it turned out, the ceremony was not just for “M”'s seventh anniversary, but additionally for “M”'s father. This would mark his first anniversary of passing. Once the rites were more or less wrapped up, her mother came to me saying that she had something private to tell me. The two of us left alone for a room by ourselves in the house.

The room she chose turned out to be “M”'s old room.

For a short time we shared memories of “M” after which “M”'s mother came out with something unexpected - “I want you to hear the facts surrounding “M”'s death.”

She began her story. But after only a few sentences, a relative came to get her with a message that there was an urgent phone call. Her story came to a halt there. Apologizing, “M”'s mother returned to the room and tried to start her story again when another relative's child suddenly went into convulsions. Once again she could not continue telling me what she wanted to. Eventually, we ran out of time that day and it ended up that we would have to talk again at some later date.

My old classmate got that far into her story when she took a quick breath and asked, “Are you OK for time?”

Somewhere along the way I found myself suddenly interested in this tale of “M”. “I'm good.”, I responded.

“For a while after that I didn't hear from “M”'s mother. And I felt uncomfortable about placing a call to her from my end....”
I signaled that I was still following.
“I had forgotten all about her wanting to tell me something and then last year “M”'s mother contacted me again. About one year had passed since the last time we had talked. I decided I would try going to “M”'s old house again.”


“On the day I was supposed to go, an important matter suddenly came up and I just wasn't able to. I asked “M”'s mother if we couldn't talk about it on the phone, but she said no. She really wanted to see me to talk about it. So we made plans for a new date, and then on that day I went to “M”'s old house.
As soon as I met with “M”'s mother, she started in with “First, please listen to this...” .“

In fact, “M”'s death was unforeseen and she was unable to watch over her daughter during that time. It was her late husband that stayed by “M”'s side until the end. After a time though, he told her that he wanted her to know the cause for “M”'s death. However, whenever her husband attempted to talk to her about it, there was always some interruption and “M”'s mother was never able to hear the story behind it. When she finally heard the cause of death, more than 6 months had passed from the time when her husband had first tried to tell her.

And the day after he told her, he suddenly passed away.

Well, she was finally about to get to the main point - the facts surrounding “M”'s death – when a visitor came to the house. Apparently, it was not someone she could turn away, but she returned again after entertaining them for some time. At this point, I even started to think there was something.... odd going on. “M”'s mother sat down in front of me and asked, “Now how far along in my story was I? ”

When I told her, “Up to the time when your husband passed away.”, “M”'s mother seemed rather shocked. “Ahh? Did I really get that far?”

“I was getting really creeped out....”
“So, did you finally get to hear it?”
My old classmate shook her head, “After that, for some reason, we got to reminiscing about “M”. I didn't even understand why we were doing that again, but... By the time I realized it, night had fallen. I went back home.”
“So, the meeting ended without you hearing the final part of the story?”
She fell silent for a time. I finished off my completely
cooled-down coffee and said, “We should change restaurants. We've been here a long time.” She agreed, and as we both felt hungry, settled on moving to a fast food joint. We left our table, paid the bill, and exited the coffee shop. As we were heading to the new location, my cell phone rang. A friend was in an “accident” and they wanted me to come there immediately. I couldn't shake off the desire to hear the rest of her story, yet I had no choice but to leave.

She finally spoke again saying, “Please say you will definitely get in contact with me.” and then left.

My friend's accident wasn't anything of note.

Two days passed before she contacted me at my home.

“Actually, I wasn't able to tell you at the time, but several days before that day we met, “M”'s mother died.”
“Wha!? Before you spoke to me?”
“Yes. And the day before she died, I heard the cause of “M”'s death. At long last.”
“So, you want to hear about that, don't you?”

I hesitated for a moment before telling her decisively, “I admit that I have feelings of wanting to hear it, but do not tell me. Understand? Do Not tell anyone. Forget about it.”

“Thank you.” There was a hint of relief in her voice. “But I think I must tell her younger brother.”

“Don't do it. Forget it.”

“But he is the only person left in her family.”

“There are some things in this world better left unknown. This time, this is one of those things.”

“Yeah... “
Our conversation ended there.

And yet I couldn't escape a lingering feeling of uncertainty. “M”'s younger brother was already an adult, and it would not be unusual at all for him to have some doubts about his family's deaths. I tried calling her back.

Yes, she was meeting with the younger brother, but ,no, was not talking to him about “M”'s death.

I reminded her repeatedly, to an irritating degree, to not talk about that subject then hung up.
I tried to get in contact with her several times after that, but with her not carrying a cellphone, I wasn't able to.

Then about one month later, I did get some news.

It was news of her death.

Whatever she had passed on to “M”'s younger brother, to this day I do not know.


Thanks for visiting!
Stay tuned and happy listening. (^_-)-☆


*Kaidan: a traditional Japanese “ghost” story usually involving the unexplainable, a flexible concepts of time and space, strange meetings, love gone wrong, the supernatural… Curious and sometimes terrifying stories, but never centered on nor featuring either gore or sex.

Original text story: http://syarecowa.moo.jp/31/925.htm
(Japanese only.)
Audio recording: http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm13590689
(Account with nicovideo required. Japanese only.)

Translator's Notes (and various laments):
For those of you who can understand both Japanese and English, you will note some obvious additions to the text. There is admittedly a marked difference between my “final translation” and my “release translation”. The atmosphere and impact of this story lies in its subtlety and barrenness. However, the more faithful-to-the-original “final translation” would be far too bare-bones to be even readable to the native English-speaking audience.
The additions I have made give the final text more balance and a smoothness making it more palatable to the target reader. At the same time though I have endeavored to preserve as much of the simplicity and stylistic barrenness of the original.


All translations copyrighted and owned by myself. All copyrights of their respective owners. No part of this web site may be produced, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner.