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Also titled "The Smoking Club". Chapter three from the tenth volume of the Horror World of Junji Ito collection, House of the Marionettes .


PlotEdit

A high school teacher called Shikishima catches a group of his students smoking in the toilets. He confiscates their cigarettes, which they tell him were given to them by another boy called Nakaya who does not go to the school. The students dislike Shikishima because he strongly opposes smoking and always punishes them if he catches them with tobacco. 

The town is in the shadow of a crematorium, and the playground has to be swept every day because of the ash from the chimney. While on playground duty Shirai invites a classmate named Kondou to join the "tobacco club." Shikishima shouts at them for talking too much, causing Shirai to worry that their conversation was overheard. He takes Kondou over to Nakaya's house. Nakaya's room is filled with boys smoking, and Nakaya agrees to let Kondou join them, on the condition that he keeps it secret. The cigarette smoke is extremely thick and black, unlike anything Kondou has ever seen before. He is taken aback by the bitter and "dark" taste of the cigarettes.

Nakaya confesses that he makes the cigarettes himself from leaves taken from outside the crematorium. He chose this location because he had heard that the ashes make plants grow stronger. Kondou is appalled that the cigarettes had been fertilized by human ashes but Nakaya figures it's no different from eating the food grown in the town. He talks about the exhilaration of exhaling the smoke and says that all he can see before his eyes is darkness.

Kondou is horrified when he realizes that all the boys in the room have smoke pouring from their eyes, ears and noses. He begs Shirai to leave with him. Nakaya reminds them not to tell anyone, and Shirai and Kondou depart. Kondou knows that the leaves used in the cigarettes can't possibly be tobacco. He tells Shirai to stop smoking the cigarettes but Shirai dismisses these concerns and denies that he saw smoke coming from anyone's eyes or nose.

Shirai has a plan to harvest the new crop of leaves growing beside the crematorium before Nakaya can get to them. He wants to go there and check what the plant really is. Kondou initially refuses to go, but follows when Shirai heads off alone. The boys agree that the leaves are real tobacco. Shirai apologizes for bringing Kondou to the crematorium, remembering that Kondou had recently attended his uncle's funeral there. They decide that Kondou's vision of smoke pouring from people's eyes must have been a hallucination brought on by Nakaya's story and the trauma of the funeral. However, Shirai lights another cigarette and smoke begins to come from his eyes again.

When they return to school, Shikishima is smoking one of Nakaya's cigarettes in front of the class. Smoke billows from his face like a chimney as he lectures the students to quit the habit.

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