13. Mannequin

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I was in middle school when I experienced this.

When I was 14, I lost my father and so I and my mother had to move to grandma's house. Grandpa had already deceased so there were only three of us; me, mom and grandma, all three ladies.

I was still in the trauma for the loss of my father. May be that was the reason students in new school were kind to me. Specially there was a girl, Sana who helped me very much in every possible way and helped me outcome my trauma.

There was a girl, Fumika. She was very pretty with petite body and many girls envied her and she was the type of girl who didn't really liked by girls. I didn't really feel that towards her but Sana didn't like her at all.

One day after the change in seat plan, I got to sit with Fumika and got to talk with her and came to know that she only lived with her mother so she was also from only women family. Due to this reason, we quite got along well. I felt glad to be her friend until I went to her house.

I don't really recall for what reason I went to her house but Sana was also there with me the day I went to her house. As we went there, a beautiful lady with hint of wrinkles welcomed us with smile. It seems she was picking up laundries as her hands were full of freshly washed towels, clothes and undergarments.

"Come in, I will bring drinks for you,"

She said and we went inside. I was expecting Fumika's room to be girlish as for her appearance and when we entered, I was quite shocked to see that the room was overly girlish. But something caught my eyes which wasn't quite right.

It was a male mannequin. It was wearing jeans, red trainer jacket and hat and it seemed as though it was staring us. And it's forearms were facing up, making the shape like 'W' with both arms.

"Um... This..." Sana tried to ask about the mannequin and Fumika walked up to him and slightly turned his hat, "Isn't he cool?" she said.

It sounded so weird and I had some odd feeling about it. What is this thing doing here?

Soon, auntie came in with plates for cake and cups for tea. Sana longed to help her put the plates on table but the weird part was there was four plates. Is auntie going to sit with us? I thought.

But as she served all the plates, she took one set of plate and cup and put it on Fumika's study desk. The desk which the mannequin was facing.

At this point, I could feel goosebumps erupting all over my body.

Fumika ate her piece of cake like nothing wrong is going on and I did too as I wanted to go out of there as fast as possible. The silence was being very much awkward so I thought of bringing any topic to talk. Any topic but the mannequin.

I saw an empty bird cage and decided to open my mouth. "Do you have pet bird?" I asked.

"It's gone," she replied.

"Oh, how sad," I said with sympathy.

"Because I didn't need it anymore," her answer gave goosebumps all over me once again. It was as though she had no love or whatsoever.

I was just thinking that I wanted to go out of that house as quick as possible when Sana said, "where's the washroom?" and she stood up.

"It is the left door from the corridor," Fumika said and she went out of the room.

To be honest, I was mentally cursing her at the moment for leaving me alone like that with the weird girl.

I just kept quiet and there was awkward silence until Sana came rushing back to the room.

"I'm sorry but lets go fast," she said as she came in and pulled me.

"Okay then, *okaerinasai," Fumika said. I was too horrified for the way she said.

Sana was too much in hurry but I told her at least we need to greet auntie before going. The *fusuma of next room was little open about 20cm so I just said from out, "we will excuse ourselves," but just then, it closed with full force.

Then we ran as fast as we could out of the house and we rode our bicycles in full speed until we reached our regular home going path. We bought a can juice on the way and Sana told me what she saw while she went to the toilet.

When Sana was going to the toilet, fusuma was open of the next room where auntie surrounded herself with body parts of mannequin. She hurried to the bathroom and when she was coming back, auntie was sitting there facing the door with neatly folded laundry clothes and her eyes met with Sana's. The laundry clothes even included gents clothes according to her.

Just then, Sana accidentally asked out, "but where's the mannequin...?" auntie just looked at her and smiled.

So that was the reason Sana was in such hurry to run out of that house.

Since that day, we didn't talk with Fumika unless she came to talk with us. And slowly, we distended. We didn't tell this to anyone from our class because if we did, first of all no one would believe us. And another thing is because everyone knows that Sana dislikes Fumika, they would think that we created the story to degrade Fumika's image. So it was only between us two.

We asked some of the students who were close to Fumika if they saw anything weird when they went to her house. But no one noticed anything weird.

But there was a guy who told us that he saw something weird.

He had gone there and rang the bell but no one came out. He had told her about him coming over already so he thought of going inside to check it out. The gate was unlocked so he went in and called for someone but no one received him but just then he heard the sound of TV.

He went in and saw a guy sitting watching TV, facing his back to the boy. He called for him but the guy didn't even budge. He was so still, the boy freaked out and left the house.

That was very weird, because as far as I know, there was no guy in her family. And if that was a mannequin, it must be another mannequin because the mannequin we saw in Fumika's room would definitely not able to make it sit.

And now that I come to think of it, I have never seen a mannequin with their arms with shape of 'W' and it would be very difficult to make it wear clothes specially fitting ones. But it was wearing it so neatly as though it wore those on its own.

*fusuma - it is the type of door in japan which is sliding type of door, made with paper material.

Here's the example picture:

*okaerinasai - it is a word used by Japanese people

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*okaerinasai - it is a word used by Japanese people. Whenever anyone go out of their house, the one going out says "ittekimasu" which literally means "I'm going and will come back" and the one in the house says "itterasshyai" which literally means "go and come back".

Similarly, when they return home, the one coming back home says "tadaima" which literally means "I'm here" and the one in the house says "okaeri" or "okaerinasai" both of which literally means "welcome back".

But if you pronounce "okaerinasai" a bit different way, it also means "go back home" in a bit rude way but this word isn't used for this meaning very often so in the story, when the two girls were going to go, Fumika saying "okaerinasai" was very odd.

I know my translation skill sucks, but I'm trying.. If there's any mistakes, please point it out.

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