Loosely based on the legend of the Slit-Mouth Woman, horrors come to those who doubt
|I was in Japan, visiting my pen pal, Asami Suzuki, during my break from college, before starting my new job. I met Asami back in middle school, while she was an exchange student living with my best friend’s family. We became close and vowed to write each other as often as possible. Now we’re both freshly graduated from college, and wanted to see each other before Asami began her time traveling the world, photographing for National Geographic.I was met by Asami at the airport and we spent the rest of the day visiting every tourist attraction. We ate dinner at Asami’s favorite restaurant, then went back to her apartment where we spent half the night reminiscing about old times and stuffing our faces with junk food and Japanese soda.
Around 2 am, we decided to tell each other stories, and whoever got scared first had to walk around the black in the thick darkness. It was a stupid idea, but we were too hyped up on caffeine and kit-kats to care. Naturally, I told a story about our 8th grade PE teacher, Mr. McFarland, whom everyone was convinced killed his wife and wore her clothes when he was home alone. Obviously it was all a rumor, and bother Asami and I thought it was stupid for anyone to take it as fact.
“I can’t believe anyone actually thought that was true!” Asami laughed.
“I know right!”
“Alright, now it’s my turn. Prepare to have the pants scared off you!”
“In your dreams,” I smiled. “Hit me with your best shot!”
“Alright. It all started in 1979. Rumors began spreading around that Nagasaki Prefecture, about a woman who was stalking and killing people. They called her the Kuchisake-onna, which means Slit Mouth Woman. The legend tell of questions she asks, as well as the consequences of these questions.”
“Consequences?” I asked.
“She will ask, ‘Am I pretty?’ If you answer no, she kills you with scissors.”
“What if you say yes?”
“She will take off the surgical mask that covers the lower half of her face and ask, ‘How about now?’ If you say no, she will cut you in half. If you say yes, she will slit your mouth so it appears like hers, from ear to ear.”
I furrowed my brow. “How did she end up with a slit mouth?”
“Her husband was a samurai. He discovered that she was having an affair with another samurai, so he used a sword to cut her mouth and asked,’Who will think you’re beautiful now?’”
"Jeez," I laughed. "Talk about marital issues." I paused. "What makes her choose who she kills?"
Asami's expression grew grave. "She doesn't have a method to the madness. Simply if you are unlucky enough to run into her, you're a goner."
"Oh come on Asami, there has to be a way to get away from her. After all, this is all just a story."
Asami shook her head. "There is one way, but this is no story. I've seen her, just the other week," she explained calmly. "I was walking home from a photography class I was teaching that night. I walked one of my younger students home, who is extremely superstitious when it comes to the Slit-Mouth Woman, so she was afraid to walk home alone. She only lives a block away, but no matter the distance, the Woman can find you."
"So you ran into her on your way home from class?" I asked, thoroughly interested in the tale my friend had to tell.
Asami nodded. "I was in the alley just down the street, maybe 200-300 feet away from my front door. She stepped out from the blackness of the alley and I instantly knew who, rather what, she was. She asked me her questions, which I was able to evade a terrible fate by answering, 'So-so'.'
"What does saying so-so do to her?"
"It confuses her. She doesn't know how to respond, since you neither said yes or no," Asami explained. "I was able to run and I haven't had any issues since."
I scoffed. I loved Asami dearly, but I thought she was absolutely crazy! What she saw was probably a homeless person, high on drugs or maybe a teen that was just trying to creep people out.
"You don't believe me, do you?" she asked, crossing her arms.
"You do have to admit, it does seem a far fetched. A woman who kills people based on their answer to her beauty questions."
Asami laughed. "Fine. I dare you to spend the night down there."
"In the cold alley!?" I exclaimed. "You really are crazy."
"Oh come on, it's already basically 3 am, just go down there til 5."
I sighed. "Fine, but this is stupid."
"Maybe for you, but I'm getting two hours of sleep!" she laughed.
I rolled my eyes, but smiled. "Yeah, yeah, whatever." I got up, grabbed a blanket and headed down to the alley. I found a corner that I curled up into and looked around. Two hours, I could do this. After all, I was just proving a simple fairy-tale false. All I had to do was wait. Just wait.
Around 6 am, Asami got up to get a shower. She walked into the bathroom and screamed. I sat in the tub, knees curled to my chest and my head laying on my arms. I was surrounded by blood. It was everywhere.
"Jay! What happened!?" she exclaimed, searching me over for where I was bleeding from.
I sniffed and slowly lifted my head, revealing that my mouth had been slit all the way back to my ears, teeth and gums completely exposed. "I believe you..."