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Together Cursed

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The pain. It never stops. It consumes me. I feel it in every nerve. It starts at my neck, where the man I married fastened his hands tight, and squeezed until everything broke. It radiates out from there to the gashes he’d cut into my body. I cry out in a raspy voice, but nobody hears me. I search fruitlessly for my boy, Toshio, and our beloved pet cat, Mar. But they’ve been taken too. He took everything in his fury. It exploded out of him and buried everything I was in black, toxic, rage. Soon it overpowered the pain. It’s all I knew. It’s all I felt, pain, betrayal, despair, grief, and above all, rage.

I wait here in this house, stewing in the fury. Sometimes I see visions of my beloved son Toshio and our cat, but they’re not themselves anymore. They’re born of the grudge, just like I am. To be honest, most of the time I can barely tell them apart.

Sometimes I see others. They wander into my house. They ignore me, and that ignites my anger. I make them feel my pain. I make them taste my rage. Toshio assists me. We make them suffer at the hands of his Father’s toxic fury. I don’t know how long it’s been, and I don’t care. It’s the only feeling I have in this place. Sometimes people step through the threshold and their souls become stained with it. I can always find them. That stain is like a beacon to me. No matter how far away, I find it. I burn their souls to ash with my anger. None could survive it. But now… She is here. She is different.

There was something strange about the activity of the living that entered my home that night. It was as though they were planning something. I was too angry to be curious, at least until I felt her coming. Somebody else drew her here. She has a toxic curse of her own, and someone stained by it was in my domain. Everything felt different the moment she entered this place. I could feel her will… pushing against my grudge.

She was powerful… Perhaps even more powerful than I was when I was alive. I was but a frail meek woman. This woman was strong. She pulled what remained of Toshio and Mar right out of our cursed home through a gateway she created in our TV. Then she crawled her way out of it and stood up. She appeared to be a tall woman wearing a bright white kimono, like one from an old funeral. I descended the stairs to deal with these intruders. She shouldn’t have come here. Now she was stained with my toxic fury…

I waited until she had fully emerged. I waited until her guard was down… then I struck. I dragged this mysterious woman to the ground and pulled her into the walls of my cursed house. I rained fury down on her. I broke her and twisted her, but she would not die. She was already dead. She was exactly like me. Her curse was just as toxic as my own. I realized my attack had no effect. I also realized her own curse was having a caustic effect on me.

I released her and crawled away, but she had bound me with tendrils of ghostly hair. In shock I looked up at her as much as my broken neck would allow. I looked into one of her eyes, which was only barely visible. Suddenly her power became known to me. It came from the eye. It overcame me and my body exploded into nothing. But I am already dead.

My grudge grew in potency. She had caught me off guard. I focused my fury and reformed myself, so I could pursue my enemy back to the physical plane. By the time I got there one of the living intruders had tossed an object to the ground. I immediately felt a change in the mystery woman’s ghostly energy. She was afraid. Her curse was bound to this object. I looked down at it and found a dirty old videotape. Without hesitating, I smashed it. She couldn’t remain without it. I poured my rage into destroying it but she whipped more tendrils of hair around my limbs. I didn’t let her overcome me this time.

Our powers were seemingly equal. Neither of us could budge the other. I stared hatefully up at the woman. She could stand, while I could not. She stood tall and strong in ways I always wished I could. Her face was hidden by a waterfall of gleaming black hair, but I could feel her malevolence radiating from the eyes hidden behind them. I didn’t let her destroy me with them. Her aura of darkness intensified and she sought to bind and crush me. I wouldn't allow it. I released her tape and burst free from those bonds. She stepped back, seemingly shocked at my display of power.

Then she spoke. Her voice was otherworldly and dripping with darkness. “Who… are you?”

I could barely croak with my neck crushed so painfully, but I managed to reply. “I… am… curse…”

Both of us realized our prey had disappeared. One living girl in particular was saturated in both of our curses. She was getting farther away. I couldn’t let her escape. I left my home and pursued the one my curse had tainted. I could feel the Other speeding towards her as well. I had to beat her there, but she was ahead of me.

To my surprise, she hesitated for a moment. It was a tiny little moment. She seemed to stop when she saw my prey standing over a well. “Afraid of a well? Pathetic.” I charged. Whatever gave the other pause vanished when she saw me tearing towards the girl. I was so close. Soon my curse would grow. I was meters, then centimeters away, when the girl leapt down into the darkness. Both me and the Other were moving too fast to stop, and we collided over the dark mouth of the old well

Our cursed forms were shattered, and only our toxic darkness remained. Clouds of us roiled and seethed against each other. All sensations I was used to when I was alive, sight sound, all of it vanished as I became pure cursed darkness. I showered the Other with my rage but she shoved right back with her malice, then something happened. Our forms became entangled. We couldn’t separate. I began flowing into her, as she began flowing into me. Two lifetimes worth of memories flowed before my eyes as the two of us were helplessly merged into one.

 

 

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The first lifetime I saw was my own. I saw the depressed and lonely little girl I used to be, one who craved attention from neglectful parents. I saw the bullying I endured. I was never sure how to properly socialize. Everyone thought I was “creepy.” I watched that girl grow into a lonely young woman, who foolishly fell in love with one of her college friends, Shunsuke Kobayashi. Four years I’d fawned over him. I’d even stalked him from afar. In my mind, I knew he could never be mine. But I always watched, and wished.

Then I met Takeo, and we became friends. He seemed just as antisocial and lonely as I was. He understood me. When he proposed, I said “yes” despite the fact that I never truly loved him like that. At least I wouldn’t be alone.

It didn’t take long for his temper to surface. Soon I was afraid. I watched myself living out a life of despair and resignation. I didn’t deserve to be happy. I was too weak.

There was brief joy when our son Toshio was born, and I grew to love him dearly. We braved the storms of his father’s fury together. My suffering continued, I deserved it, but Toshio did not. I fought an endless battle to shield my son from the rage and misery of our lives, but I think he knew it all along. I brought home a pet for him, something to keep him happy, and fight away any loneliness he might have felt. He loved that cat, and named it Mar. Takeo hurt me for not consulting with him first, but he let our boy keep the animal.

The disaster that lead to my demise was a mere coincidence. My old friend, Mr. Kobayashi, became Toshio’s schoolteacher, and I was terrified when my old romantic feelings for him resurfaced. I hid them as best I could, but I had no outlet. Unable to contain my feelings, I poured them out into my journal. I was so utterly foolish. I poured out my feelings of longing, my jealousy for his wife, and my misery in my current life. I was foolish to think I could keep it all hidden. Takeo found my journal…

I watched in agony as I experienced my own murder all over again. He beat me, sprained my ankle and pushed me down. Then he crushed my throat, and twisted my head around almost a full ninety degrees. I felt familiar pain as my neck snapped. My new perspective revealed that Toshio had been watching it all unfold from upstairs. He peered in terror down at me from below the banister. I tried to cry out for him to look away, but all I could manage was a croak. Takeo got his utility knife and he stabbed me to death. He cut me so many times. Everything was white-hot pain. I watched myself die. But this time I had to keep watching. I watched him stuff my body into a trash bag, and then he stuffed me into the attic. To my dismay, even after death, my suffering wasn’t over. Takeo was convinced his son was not his own. That he was the product of an affair with Mr. Kobayashi. He drowned our boy in our bathtub, and even stabbed the cat to death.

My spirit was tainted by that murderous fury. It mixed with my guilt and grief, and from it a powerful curse was born. I was reborn. I was Onryō. My first act as I succumbed to the fury, was to murder my former crush, Kobayashi, who had come to our house, wondering why Toshio hadn’t been at school. Freed from any emotion, I set my sights on the man who started all of this, Takeo. After destroying our family, he’d murdered Mr. Kobayashi’s wife as well. I found him just after he committed this foul act. I dragged him into the garbage, where he belonged, and I obliterated him with the anger he’d saturated me with.

That was my existence. I knew nothing but anger, guilt, despair, and death. Many died by spirit’s hand. Then she had come… and now, as our cursed bodies merged, I saw her life as well…

Chapter Text

She was Sadako Yamamura. I saw her whole life as if it were my own. She was born special. She knew it, as did her proud mother, a psychic named Shizuko Yamamura. Who her father was, was unclear, but they lived with a Psychology professor named Hehachiro Ikuma, who studied and was fascinated by their psychic abilities.

They traveled around Japan, giving demonstrations and predictions. Sadako’s life was rather lonely, but she loved her mother and Mr. Ikuma. There was always an air of menace during her childhood. As though her friends and family were afraid of her. She knew she was psychic like her mother, but why were they afraid?

When she was eight, her mother’s psychic powers began to fade. During a demonstration, she failed to predict anything, and a single arrogant reporter had laughed and began calling her a fraud. Sadako hadn’t meant to kill the man. She just wanted him to leave her mother alone. But her will was strong, and before she could stop herself, she’d stopped the man’s heart with nothing but a wish. At eight years old, she was powerful enough to kill with a thought. But her actions broke her, quite literally.

Her act of violence cleft her soul in two. She hadn’t truly known about this until much later. One half of her went on to live the best life she could. The other was taken away and drugged by Mr. Ikuma, to keep her power and anger at bay. Not long after the incident, her mother threw herself to her death. Sadako believed it was because of her actions. She was left all alone. But she stubbornly pressed on, dragging her guilt with her.

At 19, she’d joined an acting troupe. Despite a mysterious death, things were getting better for her. She found herself in a leading roll and even found herself falling in love with a young man named Toyama. But her acting professor tried to trade her a passing grade for sexual favors.

Toyama had fought with the man for her, and accidentally killed him. They tried to hide the body and go on with their opening night act, but things only deteriorated further. Miyaji, wife to the reporter Sadako accidentally killed as a child, attended the performance and played a sound clip of her mother’s failed psychic reading for all in the theater to hear. Sadako flew into a panic, and out of nowhere ghostly things began to happen. A man died, a chandelier fell.

“Is it all coming from me?” She had wondered. She fled from the stage. Her fellow actors who harbored fear of her, cornered her backstage. They’d found the body of the Director, killed by Toyama, and believed all the darkness and evil they experienced was Sadako’s doing. Unwilling to hear her pleas, they’d bludgeoned her to death. In doing so, they had sealed their fates.

Sadako both was and was not responsible for the horror of the evening. Her other half, drugged and locked away by Ikuma, had been lurking in the theater. The Sadako that was murdered had been innocent and scared. The Sadako that still lived was angry, and malevolent. The acting troupe, with her corpse in tow, sought out Ikuma, who revealed that Sadako had indeed split into two, but now the two would be reunited.

Sadako awoke surrounded by the corpses of the people she knew and cared about, Toyama included. Her malevolent other half had killed them all, before merging with her. The grief and guilt she felt when she remembered broke her.

But her suffering continued. Ikuma, the closest thing she had to a father, tricked her, poisoned her, and dumped her down a well. He was terrified of her power. The last light she would see, would be the ring of light as the lid to the well slid into place. She had no idea how long she was down there. Sometimes it felt like seven days. Sometimes it felt like thirty years. All Sadako knew in that dark wet hell, was guilt, anger, rage, and soul-crushing loneliness.

When she finally passed on, her curse imprinted itself upon a videotape, and from it, she began to take revenge upon the world. Whoever watched it was stained by her curse, and seven days later, Sadako would rise and unleash her fury.

Her curse was so much like mine…

Chapter Text

Finally the whirling images settled I found myself able to see normally again. I was cold, and wet. I tried to figure out where I was. The ceiling was just like the attic where my corpse has been hidden. But this couldn’t be an attic, it was filled with water, and the walls were both stone and wood. I tried to look around, but I couldn’t. All I could feel was pain, but something was missing. The anger. The anger that ruled me for so long was gone.

“It’s not gone.” Came a voice, and a young woman in a long white kimono, like one worn by an actress, stepped into view.

I recognized her immediately. I had just lived her life, and she had lived mine. I tried desperately to speak, to shout, but my neck was still crushed closed, and my head hung at an unnatural angle beneath chilly water. All I could manage was a croak. “Sa… Da…Ko…”

“I’m here, Kayako.” She swept my broken form into her arms. I wasn’t surprised by her tenderness. We had a connection that ran deep. It was hard not to after what we’d both experienced. She straightened my neck and held my head to her chest. “I’m… so sorry Kayako. I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I’m sorry about your son, your husband, all of it. And I’m sorry I tried to destroy you.” I couldn’t respond, so I let my grief pour from my eyes, and I leaned into Sadako’s form as best I could. The two of us just sat there in the cold clammy darkness, hurting, grieving, but not alone.

I’m not sure how long I cried, but at some point I realized I could draw breath. I found it easier to speak. “Where are we?” My voice was raspy.

“We’re… Inside our curse. When we collided, our curses merged. They’re still merging. We’re… in a sort of mental prison. We’re at rock bottom. For me, it’s the Well… For you, it’s the Attic. We’re in both.”

“What will happen to us?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps our curses will destroy each other. But it seems more likely they’ll become one. I don’t know what will happen to us if that happens.”

I bawled pitifully into Sadako’s chest. “Why can’t we just die? Why can’t this end?” I looked up at her pleadingly, but she’d let her hair cover her face, and I couldn’t see her, I could hear her choking on a sob of her own. My guilt intensified when I saw I was hurting her too. I weakly reached up to touch her, but I could only reach her shoulder.

“Our curse.” She sobbed. I’d seen her life. She was breaking… Just like me. Part of me wished she would just let me slip into the cold waters below. It was what wretched creatures like me deserved. But there was something about the woman. Even behind her glossy hair I saw her set her jaw stubbornly.

She surprised me then. She shifted me into her lap with my head resting on her elbow. With her other hand she began scooping up water from the well. “We didn’t curse ourselves Kayako.” She poured water over me. I glanced down and saw I was still caked in my own blood. With one handful of water at a time, she rinsed the blackened gore from my body. “Your only sin was dreaming of another life. What human hasn’t? I wished for a better life every day after my mom… left me.” Once the gore was washed away, she ran her hands over my mangled flesh, and to my surprise I found it mended. The wounds inflicted by Takeo’s utility knife disappeared.

I still couldn’t choke out any words. I lay there in her arms, letting her wash my hurt away.

“It hurt so bad when she left me.” She shifted me, and slid my dress up my legs so she could wash the wounds on my thighs. I was surprised to find I could feel it as the chilly water ran down my flesh. I shivered and felt goose bumps over my skin. “But I know she didn’t leave because she hated me. I was gifted, just like she was. She told me from the other side. She did it because she lost hope and faith in herself.” I looked up at her thoughtfully. “Her greatest regret was leaving me alone. I think… I forgive her.”

She dipped my arms into the water, and washed the blood away. “It was Ikuma. He was too much of a coward to treat me like a daughter. He saw me as more of… an anomaly. I was an issue to be corrected so others couldn’t be hurt.” I shuddered when she began to run her hands through my matted hair. The knots and tangles easily came apart as she ran her fingers through it. I gave an involuntary groan when she massaged my scalp and smoothed my hair. Her fingers sent pleasant little shivers through me.

“That’s why he tried to leave me in the well. He was just fixing a mistake. Not once did he consider that… I was a person.” With my hair smoothed and out of my face, Sadako’s soft delicate hands began rinsing the blood from my cheeks. She parted her hair slightly, and I was able to gaze up at her pretty features while she worked. As the sticky gore washed away, the bruises, the pains I’d almost been numbed too, faded as well. When she finished, she rested a warm hand on my cheek. It was the most loving thing I’d felt since before I died.

“I’m so sorry for what happened to you Sadako.” With pain gone it was so much easier to lift my arms. I cupped her face with both hands. I was even able to sit up, so I could wrap my arms around this woman and hold her tight. “You deserved better.”

“WE deserved better,” she stated as her arms slid around my back.

Sadako leaned in and I felt her soft lips on my forehead. Out of nowhere, my chest tightened and it was almost as if I could feel myself blushing. “Strange. How can the dead blush?” I thought to myself. “Why would I blush to…” I’m not entirely sure if it was the emotional rollercoaster I had just endured, but once the thought reached me, I couldn’t shake it. Here was a woman who understood me better than anyone ever could. She’d heard my tale, and she wasn’t repulsed. But those thoughts soon faded away, as my grief returned.

“My misfortunes were all my fault,” I mumbled meekly

Sadako stiffened at that. She broke our embrace and cupped my head with both hands so she could look right in my eyes. “Don’t you dare believe that!” she snapped at me. “You aren’t responsible for that man’s actions.”

Pain I had carried for a lifetime exploded out of me and I slipped into hysterics. “My boy, Sadako! He killed my son! He was only eight years old! My husband murdered my son! He did it because I was obsessively stalking another married man. I got my son killed!” Sadako grasped me, gently but firmly. I looked into her beautiful brown eyes again. They were filled with understanding, as well as helplessness. She knew there was nothing she could say that would change the fact that my son was gone.

I took it as confirmation. I was ready to let myself sink into oblivion, but Sadako held tight.

“NO!” she suddenly shouted. I was startled out of my misery. “It wasn’t your fault Kayako, and I’ll prove it.” She set me down on my feet and helped steady me. “Take my hand and focus Kayako. I can’t do this alone. You’re just as strong as I am. Focus, and we can break free.” I took her hand, blushing all the way. I’d been dead for years, I knew what she wanted of me. But how strong was my spirit really?

We stood there, hand in hand in waist-deep water, searching for a way to escape our dark prison. “There!” I shouted, a small opening, visible despite the ceiling. It seemed far away.

“Hold on.” She gripped my wrist. For a few moments, we were flying through treacherous and malevolent darkness. I felt it reaching for us, trying to force us back down, but my will, along with Sadako’s repelled it. We burst through the gateway that was equal parts an entrance to an attic, and the mouth of a well. Our spirits emerged into normal night air.

Chapter Text

We hovered, invisible to mortal eyes, about thirty feet above the ground. Then a horrid roar pierced the night. I looked down and saw a horrid and grotesque thing. We were back outside above the well where we’d first collided. “Oh god, what is that?” I asked in shock and revulsion.

“It’s our curse.” Sadako replied. The undead thing seemed to radiate darkness. Its surface was a fleshy amalgamation of faces, and long tendrils of hair. I saw my own face within the pulsing thing’s putrid body. I knew Sadako was telling the truth. That monstrous thing was what had bound us as ghostly murderers for so many years.

“How long were we in there?”

“Technically we’ve both been a part of that thing ever since we died.”

“I could swear we were in that dark space for hours together.”

“I think it’s only been seconds since we collided. We’re dead. We experience time differently. But please Kayako, I broke us free because there’s someone you need to see. Watch that thing, make sure it doesn’t reach for us.

Sadako closed her eyes. With her white cloak and alabaster skin, she looked like a dark-haired pixie. She closed her eyes and began muttering under her breath, reaching out with her psychic power. It was hard to take my eyes away from her. She was… special, to me.

But I did as she instructed and watched the bloated malevolent thing below. I saw an eye, full of hate gazing up at me. It was the same eye Sadako had obliterated me with earlier, but it had no power over me now.

Suddenly, the beast’s whole body shifted, like a predator that caught the scent of prey. Next thing I knew it had launched itself down into the darkness of the well. Two living humans approached and placed the lid on firmly. One seemed to be a psychic of sorts. He had sealed the well with spells and incantations.

“The living people did it Sadako! They sealed the curse inside that well!” I called triumphantly.

“Those seals wont hold. We have little time. Lets get to the ground.” We descended. It was odd to feel so weightless. “Kayako, I have someone here who wants to speak to you.”

I turned, towards her, only for my jaw to drop in disbelief as a small figure appeared from behind a tree and stood next to her. There, with Mar the cat cradled in his arms, was my boy. “Hello mother!” he smiled brightly. His wide innocent eyes, his beautiful smile. He was the boy I’d loved, the boy I’d failed to protect. I crawled towards him on my hands and knees.

“Please forgive me Toshio” was all I could managed as my sobbing made anything I said an incoherent mess. My beautiful son casually set his cat down and walked right up to me. He took my head in his arms and hugged me as tightly as he could. For just a moment, I remembered how happy being his mom used to make me.

“There’s nothing to forgive mom. You didn’t hurt us. Dad did.”

“We were cursed and trapped for years” I bawled.

“Actually mom. I wasn’t. I’m not surprised you don’t remember. When the curse was born, it had already claimed you. It reached itself into your spirit. It reached for me and Mar as well, but you didn’t let it have us. Because of you, we were able to pass on.”

“But I saw you and Mar in that house, suffering like I was.”

“Mom. That wasn’t me. It was the curse. It took me a long time to understand. It’s hard to make sense of things when you die. Our house became a scary place, but thanks to you, I was spared. I think it made another me, just to torment you. Or maybe you just wanted to torment yourself. Please don’t feel guilty mommy. You are my savior. I love you like I always have.” He hugged me even tighter.

I hugged him back. Then something soft and insistent began to push itself into my lap as it rubbed itself against me. I let out a choked but happy cry as I reached down to stroke Mar, who had stood by my son even after death. I could barely speak. My family. I had my family, and I felt happy. I didn’t think I would ever feel happy again. Sadako approached, and I was surprised when Toshio dragged her into our group hug.

After an overwhelming and emotional time, the four of us parted. Something about Toshio’s plea had made my endless guilt begin to melt away. “It’s thanks to her!” He said excitedly, pointing towards Sadako. “She helped us come here and tell you that mom! We waited so long, hoping somehow the curse would let you go, but it just kept growing.”

Sadako looked somberly at me, with a small smile on her face. I stood up and moved towards her. I hugged her again, and I hugged her tight. “You’re making all the hurt go away. But what about you?” I asked.

“Seeing your life was what inspired me. I couldn’t have done any of this without you. You were a kindred soul. Lonely, called “creepy” by everyone, but you loved your son and stayed with him no matter what. We are both victims Kayako. But you helped me realize, we’re still people. We’re still us…” I couldn’t help myself. The giddy feelings of joy overwhelmed me, and before I knew it I was kissing her face, and holding her tighter. She turned scarlet when my lips drew close to her own. “Wait Kayako. We have to seal the curse, or it will keep killing.”

As if to punctuate her statement, suddenly a massive force from below caused the Well’s lid to explode off the top of it. I could feel pure unadulterated malevolence emanating from within, staining everything it touched. The force was potent enough that it sliced one of the living humans in half, killing him instantly.

“Come with me!” Sadako called and the four of us ran to the two remaining humans. One of them was just a little girl, but I felt a power, not unlike Sadako’s billowing within her. Sadako reached out with her mind, trying to make contact with her, but she was overwhelmed. I turned back to the well and what I saw shook me to my core. A woman crawled out of the well. She was a ghostly facsimile of both me and Sadako. Her head hung, limp but she still stood, forcing her to move in a terrifying, bug like fashion. She wore a strange combination of white robe, and blood red dress. It’s black hair covered its face the way Sadako’s usually did. I heard the croak of my own broken neck wheezing from within the being. The terrible corpse-like thing emanated a mountain of darkness that cascaded from it in waves. It was Sadakaya. It was the sins and curses that tormented both of us, all rolled into one. All of our fury and our thirst for revenge. This being would burn the world if it could.

“TAMAO!” Sadako screamed, snapping me out of my stupor. The young living girl suddenly reacted.

“I can see you. What’s it matter? That thing will kill us all!”

“We can stop it Tamao. I need your help! If we can combine our powers, we should be strong enough to seal it away. Tell Susuke to get something to seal it in. A tape, a book, anything! You and I need to channel our strength. Kayako…” She looked to me, her big brown eyes full of worry and terror. “Can you buy us time?”

I thought for a moment. How could I without the power of my rage? I was nothing but a meek housewife. But then it hit me. The rage wasn’t what fueled my actions. It was like Sadako said. I was powerful. I was stronger than one grudge. “I can.” I was a ghost, and I existed as a ghost for so long. That’s the form I took. I let my broken neck go back to dangling, I dropped to all fours and crawled like an unholy beast. I kept myself clean this time. Sadako had washed away that pain in the well. I was Kayako now.

“You won’t be alone mommy. I spared a glance over at my son. The cat leapt into his arms, and after a bright flash of light, he was gone, and an image of the specter I’d been haunted with, took its place. The black eyes, and cat like mannerisms, it was all there, but when he looked at me I knew, this was different. There was no evil. No malice. No accusation in his eyes. He… they… were my family.

“Please be quick Sadako. That thing is strong. I don’t know what I’ll do if I lose my son again.”

“Not gonna happen.” Toshio yowled from beside me. Sadakaya took several more lumbering steps towards us. The being was uncertain and uncoordinated in its new body. We had to use that to our advantage. Toshio and I sprang into action. We channeled our spiritual energy into pushing it back as we leapt at our foe. Our spirits were strong. Sadakaya was stronger, but it wasn’t immune. It retreated as we clawed at it and recoiled when we warped around it. These were the strategies it and I had used to terrify our victims. Its aura was potent. I could barely get close. We pushed it back into the trees, but soon it figured out it’s own body. It captured Toshio as he scurried by. I acted on pure instinct. I would not lose my boy again. With all the ghostly energy I had, I launched myself at Sadakaya, and wrapped my broken body around it, dragging it to the ground. Toshio scurried away from her clutches while I held on with all my might.

I was dimly aware of a voice calling me. It was Sadako. “Kayako! We’re ready!” A terrified young high school girl appeared and threw a blank cd on the ground near us before fleeing. It was Susuke, the same girl I’d been hunting in previous days. I could save her too, if I could just hold on. Sadakaya was so monstrously powerful. Sadako and the psychic girl Tamao appeared, their power swirling together. “I need to see her face! Can you move her hair? Don’t look her in the eye!”

I tried to reach for the dark being’s bangs, but I couldn’t reach. Thankfully my boy was there. He leapt out of the darkness, springing like a cat onto its prey. He landed gracefully on Sadakaya’s shoulders, and easily lifted the hair from her face. I squeezed me eyes shut. If I looked Sadako or Sadakaya in the eye, there was no telling what it would do to my soul. Energy whirled around us. There was some sort of explosion that sent me flying. Then there was nothing for a time.

Sadako and Tamao were successful at sealing Sadakaya within the blank CD, which Tamao then tossed into the well. So long as nobody finds that CD it can’t hurt anyone. But it couldn’t be destroyed either. Its fury was too strong. It took several normal days for Sadako, Toshio and I to pull our spirits back together. The blast emitted from Sadakaya’s binding had been spiritually decimating. Even a swath of trees and grass were black, dead and lifeless around the spot. Toshio gave me one more smile and one more hug, before he picked up Mar and faded away. “You have one more thing to do Mom!” He called. I was left, somewhat confused with Sadako. Tamao, and Susuke were alive, and it seemed no traces of our curses remained on them. For now, the darkness is gone, waiting for a chance to strike again.

Sadako and I We stayed in my old decrepit house. There are dark memories there, but without the curse its nothing but a house now. For a long time we contemplated. What was keeping our souls from passing on? We were no longer troubled spirits, desperate to remain with the living. So why were we bound here?

As distraught as I was about not crossing over, I relished every second. I was with Sadako. I watched the tall, beautiful woman pace back and forth. She’d exhausted her psychic powers trying to find an answer. I watched as her hair fell over her face, masking her features from me. It made me sad. But figured out what it was we needed to do.

We were being silly. I knew the moment I felt heat in my body again. I knew when it rushed up to my cheeks every time I saw a glimpse of the woman hidden behind the beautiful black hair. I knew what I had to do, but my heart was filled with butterflies. What if she didn’t feel the same?

Now I was being silly. She was still here too wasn’t she? I stood up and made my way to her. The woman who washed my pain away. The one whom helped seal away the darkness of our past. I caught her hand as she paced close to me.

“What could it be Kayako? Why are we still here?”

She seemed nervous when I turned her towards me and looked up at her. I reached up and I brushed the hair away from her face, curling it behind her ear. She started shaking and mumbling as I gazed into her eyes. Her cheeks were scarlet. I knew mine were too.

“I think we’re still here… because we don’t want to move on without making sure…”

“Make sure of what?” She stammered.

I responded by running my hand along her silky cheek, eliciting a tiny embarrassed sigh from the taller woman. I took her hand and placed it on my chest, then placed my hand over her heart. “Can you feel it?”

“Our hearts…” she didn’t understand. Why would the dead feel their hearts beating?

“I’m going to kiss you Sadako.” I decided I had to be blunt. We were both too awkward to draw this out. Her jaw dropped when I said it, I waited just long enough for her to voice an opposition if she had one, but one never came. I leaned forward and stood on my toes. Gently I pushed her jaw closed, and I pressed my lips to hers. The speed of our hearts intensified. I felt mine beating in my ears. The heat I’d been feeling rushed up to my cheeks, then down to my belly. It set all my nerves on fire. My pain was gone. And now I knew for sure… I knew I’d found my love. After a long and blissful time, I drew away. I looked into my love’s eyes.

“I know now.”

“I know too.” She replied.

I smirked. “What do you know?”

She swept me up in her arms and kissed me again. There was no nervousness now. No tension. We melted against one another as we pressed our lips together. We parted them lightly and our tongues danced. When it finally ended, we gazed at one another. “I know I love you, Kayako.”

“And I love you Sadako.” With that certainty, crossing over was easy. We didn’t do it right away. We took some time in the world of the living to explore our new feelings for each other. It wouldn’t surprise me if we left a curse of bliss behind when we finally crossed over. I pray everyone can pass on as peacefully as we did. We died knowing what it was like to truly be loved.

If you find a CD in a well… Just leave it where you found it. If that darkness gets loose, we wont be there to stop it.