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Also titled "Second-hand Record". Chapter four from the tenth volume of the Horror World of Junji Ito collection, House of the Marionettes .


SummaryEdit

Nakayama's friend Ogawa owns an old-fashioned record player. She has acquired a record that contains a haunting jazz tune without lyrics. She and Nakayama both become fixated with listening to the record over and over, Nakayama visiting Ogawa many times just to be able to hear the song. The record has a blank jacket, no name on the label, and Ogawa won't say where she got it from. She refuses to let Nakayama borrow it or record the song for herself, and the two argue.  Ogawa becomes hysterical, screaming that the record is more important than her own life.

Nakayama steals the record and runs away. Ogawa notices it missing and chases her out into an alleyway, violently attacking Nakayama. Nakayama defends herself with a rock, but accidentally kills Ogawa in the struggle. Nakayama covers Ogawa's body with a tarpaulin but then hears Ogawa singing along to the song from under the sheet. Nakayama believes Ogawa is still alive and playing dead just to scare her. Nakayama leaves, feeling that her actions are justified because she must do anything to have the record.

However, Nakayama doesn't own a record player. She is unable to find one until she comes across a shop that buys and sells old records. The owner won't let her play the record inside the shop, but when he sees the record he claims that it belongs to him, and demands Nakayama return it. He had been alone in the shop with a young female customer (Ogawa) when the record went missing; and believes the young woman was Nakayama. He becomes angrier and angrier, and just like Ogawa he says that the record is more important than his life.  Nakayama runs from him.

She decides to hide out in a jazz club on the street, and realizes that its jukebox can play the record for her. Because it's a jazz tune the barman agrees to play it. There is only one other patron in the bar, who tells Nakayama that he knows where the record came from. There is an apocryphal story of a jazz singer named Paula Bell, who was on her way to record her first ever LP when she was hit by a car in front of the studio. She refused medical help and wanted to be taken inside the studio to record, but she collapsed and died in front of the microphone. The staff heard her sing a beautiful, haunting melody which they believed to be her voice from the afterlife, and then found that they had accidentally recorded it. From then on the record was circulated secretly.

Nakayama, unnerved by the man, leaves the bar but he follows her. She runs from him but then sees the record store owner still looking for her. They trap her in the alleyway where she last saw Ogawa. Her exit is blocked by the body of Ogawa; who is really dead, but still singing along. Nakayama realizes why she heard Ogawa singing and knows that the record's power caused her to be lured here. She tries to leave by climbing over a wall, but the structure falls on her and crushes her to death. The bar patron finds the record where she dropped it, and takes it for himself.

The record shop owner, on the other side of the wall, doesn't see what happened to the record. At first he thinks it must have been destroyed in the collapse, but then he hears the song again. It's Nakayama, now singing the music from the next world.

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