The Drop 1

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A closed space with high humidity is a suitable stage for a horror story. A grudge trapped inside a narrow space ferments in the medium of water and easily spreads. Nothing better suits as a stage for a ghost story more than an old well, but you rarely see a well these days. However, places with conditions similar to old wells can be seen everywhere.


Imagine you are hurrying home from train station on a humid evening near the end of June. It's only a ten-minute-walk, but since you've had too much beer, the urge to go to the bathroom is irresistible.

At the moment, you see a public restroom standing in the corner of a park. The restroom appears new and clean. You've considered using it someday when necessary but haven't ever actually used it. That evening, with an urge so bad, you step inside for the first time.

Now we must decide your sex. For the sake of the story, you are a woman in her twenties.

As you open the toilet door, you notice a smell trapped inside. Not the smell of excrement. The reason you immediately distinguish the source of the smell is because it is a familiar smell to you. The smell is Channel which you wore until six months ago.

The last person to use the stall must have been a young woman of my own age ...

Considering that while sitting down on the toilet seat and fulfilling a call of nature with the splashing noise of urination, you reach for toilet paper without thinking. Your hand stops as you see a spot slightly smudged in beige on the wall right above the roll holder. Your entire nervous system now focuses on the smudge.

If it were just a discoloration or a smudge you wouldn't have paid it much attention. It looks like a smudge of foundation. You wonder why, of course, and start considering its meaning. People tend to feel anxious when encountering an action that makes no sense, but once reasons become clear anxiety disappears immediately.

Suddenly an idea comes to you. The foundation was smeared on the wall to hide something written there.

It's easy to verify your assumption. Just remove the smudge and see what appears on the spot. You can't stop now. You can't leave the stall with the subject of your interest unresolved. You tear off a small piece of toilet paper and decide to wipe off the foundation. Bingo. Letters carved on by some sharp piece of metal appear, saying "look to the left".

As you encounter the phrase, you look to the left wall by reflex even before speculating, only to find another smudge of a similar size and of the same color. More foundation. This time you are a little more composed, thinking you won't play along with this silly game and you stick you imaginary tongue out. You've seen this kind of graffiti in your childhood.

"Look to the right", "Look to the left", "Look behind", so you turn around to look behind and find the word "IDIOT". Classic. Deciding to move on step ahead of whoever left those words,

You twist and turn your body to look behind you. There is nothing but your heightened desire to discover the words beneath the foundation.

Again, as you wipe off the foundation to the left with toilet paper, letters emerge, saying "look up". Your motion halts. Your body no longer moves by reflex and you calmly speculate with your eyes locked on the letters. You roughly grasp the structure of the toilet.

Individual stalls lack ceilings. The roof of the building is visible through the open space, which means nobody can leave graffiti on a ceiling so high. In that case, what will I find when I look up? Suddenly, a face looking down on you appears in your mind.

A man? A woman? You can't tell with the blurry outline. Gradually, as if against your will, the face changes into something you don't wish to see. In the exact moment, the silhouette you imagined appears over the door,

Three, or four drops of water fall onto the toilet paper in your hand. Your image was teardrops falling from indented eye sockets. In that instant a shiver runs down your spine and you hear a splashing noise coming beneath the seat. You thought you'd released everything but apparently not. Your body can't move as a force pressed down on you from above and the delusional image swirls up in your head.

And then,

The drops of water smeared on the toilet paper soak up your sweat and turn bluish.

The Drop - Koji SuzukiWhere stories live. Discover now