Hisae was cleaning up the last tables. It was a quarter to closing time and it had been one of the busiest days of the year in the ramen restaurant. She was exhausted having worked a shift lasting nearly the entire day.
At that moment, a last guest came into the restaurant.
It was a girl, around the same age as Hisae. She had long black hair that went down to her waist, and she was wearing a white dress. Hisae had never seen her before.
The girl sat down at one of the tables and said in a soft voice: “I would like some ramen please.”
Hisae hesitated for a moment, but then decided to serve the girl. She prepared a bowl of ramen and brought it to her.
The girl smiled and said: “Thank you.”
She then began to eat the ramen. Hisae watched her for a few moments, before she went back to cleaning up.
When Hisae finished her work, she went to the table where the girl was sitting. The girl was finishing her last bites of ramen.
Hisae said: “I’m sorry, but we’re about to close. I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
The girl put down her chopsticks and said: “Of course.”
She then stood up and bowed. As she did so, her long black hair cascaded down her back, revealing two small horns on her head.
Hisae’s eyes widened in surprise. She had never seen anything like it before.
The girl then turned around and walked out of the restaurant. Hisae stood there for a few moments, before she shook her head and went to lock the door.
As she was doing so, she saw the girl walking down the street. Hisae felt a sudden urge to follow her.
Hisae went outside to follow the girl. The girl seemed to be going nowhere in particular and Hisae had trouble keeping up with her.
After a few minutes, the girl came to a stop in front of a small shrine. She bowed her head and said something that Hisae couldn’t hear.
Then, the girl turned around and walked back the way she had come. Hisae followed her from a distance.
The girl went back to the ramen restaurant and Hisae hid behind a corner, watching her. The girl put her hand on the door handle, but then she stopped and looked around.
Hisae held her breath, not wanting to be seen.
After a few moments, the girl opened the door and went inside. Hisae waited for a few minutes, before she followed her.
When Hisae entered the restaurant, she saw the girl sitting at one of the tables. The girl looked up and said: “I thought you were going to lock up.”
Hisae shook her head and said: “I wanted to talk to you.”
The girl raised an eyebrow and said: “About what?”
“Your horns,” Hisae said. “What are they?”
The girl seemed taken aback by the question. She was silent for a moment, before she said: “They’re nothing.”
“They must be something,” Hisae said. “I’ve never seen anything like them before.”
The girl sighed and said: “They’re a burden.”
Hisae frowned and said: “A burden?”
The girl nodded and said: “My family is cursed. Every firstborn daughter is born with these horns. It’s been that way for generations.”
“That’s terrible,” Hisae said.
The girl nodded and said: “Yes, it is. My mother used to tell me that I should be grateful that I was born a girl. If I had been born a boy, the horns would have been much larger.”
Hisae frowned and said: “What do you mean?”
“Boys are born with large horns,” the girl said. “They’re called oni. They’re considered monsters by most people.”
Hisae’s eyes widened in surprise. She had never heard of such things before.
The girl said: “My name is Kagome. What’s your name?”
“Hisae,” Hisae said.
Kagome smiled and said: “It’s nice to meet you, Hisae.”
Hisae hesitated for a moment, before she said: “Are you going to be all right?”
Kagome nodded and said: “Yes, I’ll be fine. Thank you for talking to me.”
“You’re welcome,” Hisae said.
Kagome stood up and said: “I should go now.”
Hisae nodded and said: “Goodbye.”
Kagome turned around and walked out of the restaurant. Hisae watched her until she was out of sight.
As Hisae walked over to clean up Kagome’s table she was met with a horrendous sight. On Kagome’s chair was the largest pile of poop Hisae had ever seen.
It was easily twice the size of a normal human stool and it was still steaming.
Hisae’s eyes widened in shock and she covered her mouth to stop herself from vomiting. She then quickly went to the back room and grabbed a mop and bucket.
She started cleaning up the mess, but she was so disgusted that she had to take frequent breaks. It took her nearly an hour to clean up the entire mess.
When she was done, Hisae went outside to get some fresh air. She leaned against the wall of the restaurant and took deep breaths.
She then heard someone laughing. Hisae turned around and saw Kagome standing there, grinning at her.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.”
Hisae’s eyes narrowed in anger and she said: “You bitch!”
Kagome started laughing again and said: “Don’t worry, I didn’t do it on purpose. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.”
“You could have at least warned me!” Hisae yelled.
Kagome shrugged and said: “I didn’t think you would care. Besides, it’s not like you’re going to see me again.”
With that, Kagome vanished in a puff of smoke. Faint laughter echoed in the street.
Hisae was so angry that she could have spit. She went back inside and finished cleaning up the restaurant.
She then went home and took a long shower, trying to wash away the memory of Kagome’s prank.