Last night I was out drinking.
By the time I arrived home it was very late and my family were all asleep.
Well, it was past one in the morning so that was to be expected - but something was off.
For one thing, the lights and stove were both on, and even the TV was on with its volume set very high.
Perhaps the lights and stove were left on out of consideration for me, but it was a little strange that the TV was still on. What was more everyone was sleeping on the floor*1 in the sitting room.
My parents sometimes sleep in the sitting room, but my little brother thinks he is all grown up now, so nowadays he insists he sleeps in his own room. But today he was sleeping in the sitting room...
Moreover, the three of them were sleeping neatly in three parallel lines.
When I saw that I couldn't help but feel a little creeped out.
Before something strange happens, don't you get a sort of "premonition"?
Those premonitions always turn out to be right. It's weird, don't you think?
To start with, I changed into my night clothes and went to the bathroom.
While I was in the bathroom I began to calm down a little, but the next moment I felt goosebumps break out on my skin. It was because all the lights in the house - and the TV - suddenly got turned off. And the stove turned itself off too.
For a moment I thought we had a blackout, but the washlet*2 was still working, so I knew something was off.
When I finished, I crept out of the toilet and felt my way into the pitch-dark sitting room, and turned the lights on.
Then, I again noticed abnormality. The sitting room was empty.
The mattresses that were on the floor had been put away too.
Up to this point, nothing extraordinary had happened, but I felt an agitation building up in me, perhaps out of uneasiness and fear.
But the really scary part came right after this.
All of a sudden, I heard my little brother scream. When I rushed into his room he was shaking violently underneath the duvet.
And there I saw an unbelievable sight.
A transparent image of my family sleeping side by side in three parallel lines was floating in the mid-air.
Moreover, when I looked hard I realised they were all dead, with blood gushing from their mouth, and their faces frozen in the mask of terror.
I screamed too; I mean I had just seen a similar image in the sitting room. But what I saw in the sitting room weren't dead bodies.
By the time I uncovered my face and looked up again, the image had already vanished.
I shook the duvet inside which my little brother was sleeping, and said,
"Hey, it's gone now! It's OK!"
Then I pulled off the duvet but would you believe it, my brother wasn't there.
I felt cold all over. Then I went back to the sitting room right away.
And I saw there the three of them lying down side by side in three parallel lines.
I fearfully touched their hands, but they were all living humans.
What had I just seen? Too many things had happened to simply dismiss it as a hallucination.
In the end I couldn't bear the fear anymore; so I lay myself down beside the three of them and went to sleep.
Fortunately I didn't have any nightmares, but I fear that from now on, I will be too afraid to come home in the small hours of the night.
It's Sunday today, so I want to make sure I get rid of this fear before the day is over.
*1 on the floor - I added these words to make it easier to understand the situation. As many of
you already know, Japanese people traditionally sleep on mattress on the floor. The picture on the right shows a bedroom in a Japanese hotel.
*2 Washlet (ウォシュレット) refers to electric toilet seats with water spray feature for washing. You'll find these high-tech toilet seats everywhere in Japan, so make sure you don't push wrong buttons when you encounter one! (Wiki)