Thriller Restaurant Series – Volume 18
Email from Beyond the Grave
By Mochizuki Shinzaburo
Fumiko is called “Mountain Woman” because she loves mountains. If she ever hears someone say “Yatsugatake” her eyes light up. Her friends tease her all the time, “Hey, Mountain Woman, you’re heading out to the mountains again, right?”
This year during New Years vacation, she headed out at a brisk pace to Yatsugatake Mountain Range with her climbing companions. These events happened the following day just past noon.
The Piroron-ron “You’ve got mail” melody came from the laptop in the living room.
“Oh, it must be an email from Fumiko. She usually lets me know how she’s doing from the places she stays during her climbs,” Fumiko’s mother, Sakiko, said. She hurried into the living room. The room was silent. Despite the earlier sound she’d heard, the laptop wasn’t on. Maybe she just imagined it.
The phone rang. Sakiko picked up the receiver and an agitated man’s voice could be heard from far away.
“Hello. Is this Fumiko’s mother? Fumiko fell off a cliff.”
“What! Is she safe? Hello?”
“A rescue team is heading toward the mountain right now.”
Sakiko started trembling, and in a fluid motion, bent down in front of the phone and held her head in her hands. She hoped that there was some kind of mistake and that maybe Fumiko had emailed her. Sakiko turned on the laptop and sat down to use it.
Piroron-ron… Just as she though, there was an email. It was sent from Fumiko’s cell phone email address.
Right now we’re 2,899 meters up. We’re on Mt. Akadake. When you turn around, you can see a magnificent panorama of the Yatsuga Mountain Range from here. I hope the weather will be good tomorrow. Goodnight!
There was one more.
Morning. The weather god isn’t in a good mood today. For some reason, mom, my right hand feels as if it’s torn off and I can’t move it. It doesn’t hurt, though. I’m sending this email with my left hand. Around me is a beautiful flower garden with tons of flowers. There are some stone images of Buddha enveloped in mist. Something moved and I can make out the figure of a person. A lot of people are reaching out their hands and beckoning me to come.
Hey, I’ve got to go now. Everyone seems like they’re waiting for me.
The email ended there.
“Seeing a flower garden in the mountains in winter, she must have been taken to the netherworld.”
Regarding her hiking friends, when they found Fumiko’s remains her cell phone was grasped firmly in her left hand. Sometime after the 49th day of mourning for her daughter’s death, Sakiko found a picture of Mt. Amida in Fumiko’s photo album. Fumiko was smiling in the center of rugged stones and stone statues of Buddha. Behind her was a magnificent panorama of Yatsuga Peak.
After searching for information about the mountains in this story, I suddenly really want to climb them, even though this is a story about someone who fell and died, and despite the fact that I can’t even climb sissy mountains. Yatsuga Peak looks like an amazing hike, complete with a beautiful river and an onsen!
I’m not so far from Nagano…. (^_^);