Chapter six of Ma no Kakera.

Plot Edit

Kume is bird-watching in the woods when a badly injured man calls out to him for help. Kume calls the emergency services, who take the man to hospital. The man confirms that he is Shiro Moriguchi from Tokyo. He submitted a mountaineering log one month ago before setting out to climb the Shirogane-dake mountain, but was then injured in a fall down the mountainside. Moriguchi claims that he survived the month through living off the rations in his backpack, and that he is unemployed with no family or friends to contact.

Moriguchi is scheduled for corrective surgery. Kume comes to visit and announces that Moriguchi's story is all over the news. However, Moriguchi seems frightened and begs Kume to stay in the hospital room with him overnight. Kume agrees. They chat and Moriguchi repeats his assertion that he is an orphan who has no family or friends.

Kume is woken in the night by a strange gulping sound, and sees a woman with hideously engorged lips lying on top of Moriguchi. When Kume calls out to her, she smiles and leans in close to his face; but suddenly leaves. Kume tries to ask Moriguchi what's happening, but sees a pile of shredded flesh on Moriguchi's pillow. Under pressure from Kume, Moriguchi confesses the truth. After falling off the mountain, he was too badly wounded to move, and was starving to death. However, the woman appeared and fed him on half-chewed flesh from her own mouth. She returned periodically to feed him with flesh and fresh blood. Moriguchi is convinced that he should not have eaten the flesh. He is afraid because he had believed the woman would not return after he was rescued.

Kume stays with Moriguchi again the following night. The woman comes back again, and tries to feed Moriguchi an eyeball. Moriguchi retches and spits it out. She leaves, and Kume chases her; but she transforms into an enormous blackbird and flies away. Kume takes the raw meat as evidence and reports the incident to the police, but does not mention the fact of the woman turning into a bird.

Moriguchi is terrified of the woman. He believes that she is a demon, and has been feeding him because she believes he is one of her own kind. As a baby, he had been found abandoned under a tree and left there for more than a week before he was found. No one knew how he had survived, and he wonders if the woman might have been keeping him alive at that time. Just as he's telling Kume this story, police arrive to interview the men. The flesh and eyeball have been proven to be human. Moriguchi and Kume tell the police everything they know; but it isn't much, and the police cannot find who the body parts came from.

The woman isn't seen again. Moriguchi eventually recovers and announces his intention to return to Tokyo to look for a job. Kume goes to the station with him to say goodbye. As Moriguchi's train leaves, Kume looks up at the sky and sees a gigantic blackbird flapping after the train.

A month later, Kume receives a postcard in which Moriguchi says he is happy and has a new job. There is no mention of the woman. Kume thinks the bird he saw couldn't have been her. However, a few years later Moriguchi's body is found frozen in a cavity at the peak of Mt Fuji. There are reports that a giant blackbird was devouring his corpse when he was found. DNA tests prove that the flesh and eyeball that had been fed to Moriguchi had actually come from his own body. A diary found in Moriguchi's backpack describes that the woman had returned to him; somehow able to enter his home even though it was locked. When he asked her to stop feeding him, she instead began to cannibalize him. He tried to flee abroad, but she imprisoned him in the crater and ate him alive as he slowly froze to death. Kume believes the woman had travelled through time to feed Moriguchi his own flesh.

Kume is on another birdwatching trip when he is startled by the sound of something flapping through the sky. He looks up to see the woman, in her bird form, perched in a tree above him. The shock causes him to fall down the mountainside and break his leg. As he lies there helpless, the bird lands and kisses him, transferring chewed flesh from her own mouth to his.

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