My name is Reika Takahashi and in two days I will be fourteen. I am the oldest of three daughters. My two sisters are eight and six. We live in Chinatown. Our parents immigrated to the United States four years ago from Tokyo Japan. This is my story…..
It is such a beautiful day and school has been dismissed early because of the upcoming celebrations. I am walking excitedly home from school thinking about my birthday and how much fun the party will be. The wind catches my long black hair and plays with it as I am walking. Ahead I see Mr. Jones; he is a good friend of my father’s. Mr. Jones is a very famous photographer and artist. He has visited in our home many times and I am always happy to see him, because I think him to be very funny.
“Ah Reika!” Mr. Jones says smiling, “Out of school so early?”
“Yes,” I say nodding my head, “because of the celebration.”
“Don’t you have a birthday coming up soon?” he asks as we walk to the street corner.
“Yes I do,” I say slightly bowing my head, “I will be fourteen.”
“Fourteen!” he exclaims wiping his forehead, “My how old you will be.”
I could feel the color rising in my cheeks and I continue to walk with my head slightly down.
“You know Reika,” Mr. Jones says, “I would really like for you to help me with something. A project I want to continue with. I need someone to model for me. Are you interested?”
I stop for a moment. I feel my heart racing. He wants me to be a model for one of his photo shots? This was all I had ever dreamed of.
“Yes!” I cry excitedly, “I would love to!”
We had reached the intersection a block away from my home. This was quite a day I thought to myself. My birthday was coming soon and now this chance to do something wonderful.
“Well,” he says, “lets head for my studio and we’ll get started.”
He grabs my arm and begins to pull me back the way we came. A feeling of doubt begins to eat at my brain. I start to pull away from him.
“I need to ask my parents first,” I whisper softly.
“Oh no,” he answers, “This will be such a treat for them. We want to surprise them. Don’t we now?”
I stand for a moment looking at the short distance to my home, but a part of me wants so desperately to go with him and do something daring.
“Okay, sure,” I finally say, “Let’s do it.”
We walk toward his gallery that is only four blocks away. The sun has vanished and a cooler wind starts to blow. It is all I can do to walk upright because of the force of the gale. Winter would be arriving soon. How sad I think. How very sad that fall did not last longer.
Mr. Jones and I reach the building that he has his studio in. It is an old building that at one time was a martial arts school. The exterior of the studio gives me the creeps. It looks completely derilect and deserted.
“Here we are,” Mr. Jones says smiling, “Let’s get inside before we freeze.”
The interior of the building is much nicer. I walk around slowly looking at some of the odd furnishings he has in his gallery. What catches my eye are the photographs he has on display. They are all oriental girls dressed in strange outfits and doing rather bizarre things. Though the works are grotesque there is a beauty to them I find very appealing.
“Come on,” Mr. Jones says motioning me to follow him into the next room.
I walk with him marveling at some of the things he has done. We are now in a large room and on the floor is a small blue silk pillow. There is very little light in the room. I see a camera and some flood lights facing toward the pillow.
I start to brush my hair down with my fingers. I guess I look okay; there is no mirror to check so I follow Mr. Jones to where he is standing.
“Kneel here on this pillow,” he says to me.
I do as he asks and then he explains to me about the props he will be using. From behind his back he pulls out a thing that resembles a leather bag. I gasp. He tells me what it is used for and I can feel my blood running cold. I shake my head in a negative fashion and start to get up. His hand reaches for my shoulder and stops me.
“Don’t you want your father to be proud of you?” he asks almost sarcastically.
I pause for a moment. Yes I do want my father to be proud of me. So I stop struggling and allow him to place the leather hood over my head. I am plunged into darkness. The smell of the leather is almost unbearable. I start to gag.
“You won’t have to wear that long,” he says.
I sit patiently and wait. This was such a strange way of posing for a picture. I hear the sound of movement. All my senses are heightened by the presence of the hood he has placed over my head and face. Unknown to me Mr. Jones is placing a small skull that is resting on a ribbon that looks like the American flag next to the pillow I am sitting on.
Between the skull and me he places a knife. I am having trouble breathing. The air is getting stale and I start to take the hood off of my head. Picture or no picture I could not take it anymore.
“What are you doing?” he asks as his hand is there to stop me from removing the hood.
“I can’t breath,” I croak from under the leather hood.
I feel a sharp pain in my back and start to fall forward. There is a sensation of fire that runs through me. I feel the warm flow of liquid traveling down my back. The pain is unbearable.
“Please,” I whisper as a different darkness starts to descend.
A voice booms from behind us as I lay on the floor fighting for air and my life.
“Jones!” the voice yells, “What are you doing?”
It is my father’s voice I hear. He has come to save me from this madman that has done this to me. My heart begins to beat a little faster. My father will save me. I hear my father rushing across the floor toward us.
“I told you not to start until I got here,” my father says to Mr. Jones, “now look what you’ve done. She’s dead!”
As the last of my life force leaves me and I realize what has happened I hear Mr. Jones’ response.
“Don’t you worry none,” Mr. Jones chuckles, “You got two more that are just about ripe.”
I am here now with those other poor unfortunate spirits, the victims of prior crimes that my father and Mr. Jones perpetrated. We watch them and we wait for our revenge.
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