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The bridge
Chapter five from volume 8 of the Horror World of Junji Ito series, Blood Bubble Bushes.


PlotEdit

Kanako receives a message to visit her grandmother, Osode, who lives alone in the countryside. Osode seems to be afraid of something, but Kanako doesn't know what. While Kanako is crossing the bridge that leads to the house, she meets an old man. She tries to ask if he is a friend of her grandmother, but when she turns around she sees that he is a rotting, skeletal ghost. She runs to the house, and her grandmother lets her in and shuts out the ghost.

Osode explains that the ghost is her uncle Kingoro, who had died long ago and now appears as a ghost on the bridge every night. They hear the wailing of voices and Osode opens the curtain to reveal many more ghosts waiting outside. They are waving at her and she believes they want to drag her down the river to her death.

She tells Kanako that in the past, the custom for village funerals used to be to send the dead person floating down the river on a tatami mat. However, at Kingoro's funeral he hit the bridge and his body fell off the tatami, disappearing into the water below. As a result he has not been able to rest in peace. Another such person was Osode's fiance Shoukichi, who became stuck under the bridge due to his immense height. She swore the corpse had opened his eyes to look at her when it happened and that this cursed her to the same fate as him. Now, his ghost is outside with the others, staring at her through the window. Osode is convinced that she is about to die and that the ghosts want to claim her. She tells Kanako to bury her in the ground and not let her float down the river. Sure enough, Osode dies suddenly.

Kanako wakes in her car and realizes that she had been dreaming. She had stopped on the way to her grandmother's house. While crossing the bridge, Kanako once again meets an old man. He tells her that Osode had unfortunately just died; but leaves before Kanako can see who he is. Kanako goes to the house and finds one of the tatami mats missing. She goes to the bridge, where the ghosts are giving Osode a funeral. Osode floats down the river but her tatami hits the bridge and she falls off. She opens her eyes to look at Kanako just before sinking.

The ghosts rejoice that Osode can finally join them. Kingoro says that she can now marry Shoukichi, but another ghost decides Osode is too old. As Kanako realizes that Osode had looked at her, the ghosts float towards Kanako where she stands in the water.

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