Author’s note: This is the second part of a short story titled, Photograph,which I wrote for another challenge. Several people have requested I write an appropriate ending to the
story.If you have not had a chance to read the first part please do so.
My name is Reika Takahashi and I have been dead for two years. I was not quite fourteen when Mr. Jones a famous photographer who is a friend of my father’s murdered me. Since that time I have
been here with these other poor unfortunates who were senselessly killed by not only Mr. Jones, but my father as well. The last thing I remember as I lay dying in Mr. Jones’ photography studio
after he stabbed me was my father arriving and me discovering his part in my death.
I have waited here as have the other restless spirits to extract revenge on those who did this to us. My two younger sisters Miki now age ten and Haruka, who just turned eight, have no
knowledge of what really happened to me. These past two years I have watched over them trying at different times to make contact with them. Alas they do not hear me. No one hears me save the others
who are trapped in this alternate world of spirits.
It is eternal darkness here where we reside, but there is great beauty as well. The garden of sorrows is covered with dark red roses. Each rose is a symbol of an innocent man, woman, or child
who has died a horrible death. There are many roses which can be seen in this garden. I cannot say whether I am happy or sad. I do not have feelings as I did when I was alive. There is however a
need for revenge and to set things right. The others are aware of this obsession which we all have in common. It is not a desire, but a need to repay what was done to us.
It is two days before my sister Miki’s eleventh birthday and I find myself drifting around my old home. This had been my residence in life. I stand guard over my sisters as if their lives
depend on it. I know my presence is a necessary thing or it would not be so.
I fear for my sisters because I know my father will torture, rape, and kill them as he has so many, as he had tried to do to me. Miki is in the living room watching television and I observe
my father staring oddly at her. It is the same look he would from time to time cast at me when I was still alive. His eyes have a strange eerie glow to them and a sinister smile is etched on his
fast aging face.
“How clumsy of me,” he says to Miki deliberately dropping his newspaper, “I dropped my paper. Miki, would you be a good girl and get it for me?”
Miki, her eyes still glued to the television, walks over and bends down to pick up the newspaper. The short dress she is wearing rides up just enough so that our father can see her pink
panties. Miki oblivious to his lecherous gaze hands him the paper and takes her seat back on the sofa next to him. I watch in horror as the scene unfolds in front of me. He would be at my sister
Miki next if something was not done and soon.
I flee from the house trying desperately to devise a way of communicating with Miki, Haruka, or my mother but it seems all is lost. I travel instead to the scene of my death and find Mr.
Jones there. He has finished for the day and is drinking a beer. I remember the night he killed me and anger rages through my body. I scream and for a moment by the look on Mr. Jones’ face the
sound carries over into the world of the living.
“Hello?” he questions.
The sound echoes through the studio hollowly. Satisfied there is no one there he continues to down his beer. Piles of photos lay on the table in front of him. He riffles through them deciding
on the best ones. I recognize some of the girls in the pictures because they have become my cellmates in the spiritual realm.
How I want him dead at that point in time. I want him to suffer as I and the others had. A quick death was not good enough it would be slow and painful. I find the knife he used to kill me.
Feeling as if he is above suspicion he has not even tried to conceal the weapon. I try desperately to lift the knife. I want so much to stab him multiple times and watch his life force leave him.
Maybe then my sisters could be spared the same fate as mine and Mr. Jones would be in hell where he belonged. After several attempts I am able to move the knife slightly but not enough to do what I
want to do. Frustrated I make my way back to the others like me. Perhaps together we might stand a chance of accomplishing the deed.
They are clustered together in the garden of sorrows. Like zombies or mindless robots words are being exchanged between them. Their eyes are dead and lifeless as are mine. I would have to
convince them to work together and right the injustice we have suffered. Teal is the first to greet me as I draw near. She and I have talked on several occasions and her hatred burns as deep as
“Ah Reika,” she says to me as I land next to her, “had enough sight-seeing for the day?”
“Yes, Teal I have,” I reply loudly, “and I have devised a plan to make Mr. Jones and my Father pay for what they did to all of us.”
As my words carry across the garden the others draw near. Curiously they stand waiting to hear my plan. Their dead eyes glow with anticipation.
“We must work together.” I tell them, “If we work together they can hear us and we can interact with them. I know because I was able to make Mr. Jones hear me this evening and could move the
knife he killed me with.”
A stir begins spreading from one to the other. They begin to talk with one another about the possibilities of torturing and killing the two men. Finally Anna one of the older girls steps
close to me.
“We will help on one condition,” she says to me with something akin to evil in her eyes, “we want them to suffer before the deed is done. No quick death. Is it agreed?”
I smile and nod my head affirmatively. All that was left was to wait for an opportunity to present itself. We have no way of knowing our chance would come soon.
It is Miki’s birthday and my father is taking her to Mr. Jones’ studio. He has promised her a surprise if she lets Mr. Jones take her picture. I watch with the others praying our plan will
work. If not my sister would be joining us very soon.
The other girls are already at the studio. They have located things to torture the two men with. Bits of barbed wire, nails, a hammer, and an acid compound have been relatively easy to
uncover in the old building. They have been taking turns combining their spirit energy to move the objects. Concentration would play a key factor in the execution of their plan.
“See here we are,” Reika’s father says smiling at Miki, “you’ll have your surprise soon enough. Just you be a good girl for Mr. Jones.”
“I will,” Miki promises our father.
Before Mr. Jones can make his way across the room invisible hands restrain him and force him to the studio floor. There is a sound of laughter and cries of hate floating and echoing from the
studio walls. Miki terrified runs to the far corner of the studio away from Mr. Jones and her father. Barbed wire, nails and the hammer guided by seemingly nothing find Mr. Jones’ skin.
Two of the girls pour the acid compound over Mr. Jones’ lower limbs. Almost instantaneously his clothing begins to smoke and dissolve. Now red angry skin appears. Skin which blisters and
begins to melt as the fabric did. Mr. Jones’ cries out in agony.
“Please,” he pleads to the nothingness, “I’ll give you anything you want. Just let me go.”
There is more laughter and the barbwire floats above and across his upper body. The razor sharp barbs tear away his shirt and then sink deep into tender tissue. More cries and pleas for mercy
are uttered, but the spirits continue extracting their vengeance.
“Don’t just stand there man! What is happening to me,” Mr. Jones screams at my father, “help me!”
Before Reika’s father can do anything the same invisible force grabs him and pushes him down as well.
“What the hell is this,” Reika’s father yells, “I can’t move. Miki come here and help us.”
Miki is not sure what to do. Her eyes are wide with fear and her skin is ashen in color. I reach out and touch her gently on the shoulder. Sensing my hand she turns and for an instant I see
my reflection in her eyes.
“Sister,” Miki cries out to me, “are you a ghost?”
The spirits having found new zeal in and pleasure in extracting their vengeance turn their full attention to my father. The acid comes first. He cries out as Mr. Jones had done. Blood
curdling screams explode from his mouth. I smile reveling in his pain and suffering.
I stand watching as the others take turns pouring acid over the two men’s bodies. They use the barbwire many times. Now their bodies begin to remind of freshly ground hamburger
meat. Finally, nails are driven into each of them. Screams and cries of pain resound for an eternity until at last my co-conspirators grow weary of the game and they hand me the hammer and
nails. By now the two men can see and hear us and they know why we are there.
“You tortured, raped, and killed all of us,” I spit at them as each word leaves my lips, “we extend to you the same mercy you showed us.”
I take the hammer and drive the nails deep into the most essential part of Mr. Jones’ brain. One last blood curdling scream leaves his lips as he dies. My chore is not yet over I focus my
attention on my father. His eyes are huge and he is crying.
“Reika,” he begs as I approach him, “I am sorry. I won’t do it anymore. You have my word on that.”
I hand the hammer and nails to Miki and whisper, “He killed me and he would have done the same to you as he did to all these others.”
Miki walks over to our father and spits on him. Without hesitation she drives the nail deep into his head. There is a loud thud as the hammer finds the nail. She smiles as she watches him
die. I kiss her cheek one last time knowing I will see her again, but not for many years.
My name is Reika Takahashi and I am here with these other spirits waiting for the light to consume us. Our job here is done, justice has been served, and now we can go home.
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