Jigoku Shoujo: Dirty Streets

What could a young, teenage boy from the slums of India want with Jigoku Shoujo?

This is a Case Story fanfiction set in the world of Jigoku Shoujo.

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3. Dirty Streets Chapter Three

            Inside the dark Internet café, Kajal paused, again unsure what to do next. He looked around, but the woman who had let him in was gone. There was no one to buy Internet services from. Well, now that he was in here, maybe there was a way to get on the Internet without paying. The only problem was, Kajal didn’t know a thing about computers.

            It was worth a try anyway. Kajal headed for the front desk.

            Suddenly, a dim light shone on the wall. Whirling around, Kajal saw that one of the computers had turned on, on its own. A small flame flashed at the top center of the screen and then vanished. It was replaced by a short text box with words above it and an “Enter” button beneath it.

            Heart pounding, Kajal crept toward the computer. He was near enough now to read the words above the text box: “I will release your hatred.” Was he dreaming? All of this seemed too unreal to be true. But, then, spiritual forces already seemed to be at work here.

            Another thought caused him to tremble with fear. If spiritual forces were at work, they couldn’t be in his favor. He had been born a Dalit. Karma was punishing him. Whatever this was might end horribly for him.

            But did it matter? As long as it ended horribly for Hakim too, Kajal would be satisfied. Selma needed to be protected.

            Sitting at the computer, Kajal looked up at the Web address. His hopes and fears were confirmed. It was www.jigokutsuushin.net. What was the text box for, then? Certainly the name of the person he hated.

            With trembling fingers, Kajal found the letters on the keyboard that would spell the pimp’s name: Hakim Das Sapan. When the name was all typed out, he read it over to make sure it was right, and then moved the cursor until it was over the “Enter” button. Sickening terror overwhelmed him. He couldn’t do it.

            Then the image of Hakim crouching down and speaking sweetly to little Selma filled his mind, bringing with it an intense disgust. Kajal’s hatred overcame even his terror, and he clicked the button.

            It was exactly midnight.

 

 

 

 

            In a landscape where the sun was always setting, Enma Ai sat under a tree, beside a clear pond. The pond was near a small, wooden house, built in ancient Japanese style. There were mountains around it, and trees, and red spider lilies.

            Enma Ai was a small girl with a very pale face. Her hair was long, straight, and black, and she wore a mostly-black outfit which looked like a school uniform with a white collar and a red bow. Most striking about her were her wide, red eyes which stared expressionlessly at the red spider lily she was holding.

            With delicate, white fingers, Enma Ai stroked the spindly petals of the spider lily, watching as they sprung back into place. Then she slowly began to pull off each petal, one by one, letting them drop into the water and float away. Her expression did not change at all as she did this, as though she were intently interested and not at all interested at the same time.

            “Ai,” called the frail voice of an old woman from inside the house, “You have a request.”

            Enma Ai stood up, letting the flower’s stem fall listlessly from her hand into the pond. “Yes, Grandma,” she said, her voice a soft monotone. She turned and walked up to the house, stepping onto the porch and sliding open the door. Inside, there was a plain room, mostly empty, with a computer against the opposite wall. The computer’s screen had lit up.

            Enma Ai silently crossed the room to the computer. Filling the wall of the room was another sliding door, with a translucent, paper screen stretched over it. Through the screen, there could be seen the silhouette of a figure, turning and turning a spinning wheel, which made a soft clattering sound. The figure never stopped turning the spinning wheel.

 

 

 

            Kajal stepped back from the computer, shaking all over. The computer was off now, and Kajal wondered if he had done anything. Maybe Hakim was dead now and they could go home. Or maybe nothing had happened. Maybe Kajal had just made a fool of himself, typing a random name into a random website.

            Suddenly, Kajal sensed a presence behind him and turned around sharply with a gasp. There before him stood a small girl in a black school uniform. She had long, black hair, and her white face and staring, red eyes seemed to glow in the dark. Kajal trembled at the sight of her, but the urge to run away was strangely absent.

            “My name is Enma Ai,” she said in a flat, low voice, “You called me.”

            “Then…you’re from…Jigoku Tsuushin,” Kajal faltered.

            “Yes. I am Jigoku Shoujo,” the girl responded, still speaking expressionlessly.

            “Then what did you do to Hakim?” Kajal asked eagerly, “Is he gone? Did you kill him?”

            Enma Ai did not react at all to his questioning. Instead, she held out a black straw doll to him. The doll had a red string tied around its neck. “Take this,” she said softly.

            Silenced, Kajal received the doll.

            “If you really wish to take revenge, you may pull the red string,” Enma Ai went on, “You make a covenant with me when you pull the string. The recipient of your revenge will be ferried straightaway to Hell.”

            “What’s Hell?” Kajal interrupted.

            Enma Ai paused, and it might even be said that she was surprised. It was assumed that everyone who summoned her at least had some idea of what Hell was. Kajal, however, had grown up in a Hindu culture where he was taught reincarnation. Karma’s punishment for sin was being reincarnated as a Dalit.

            “What’s Hell?” Kajal asked again, wondering why she had suddenly become so silent.

            Jigoku Shoujo looked at him.

            Suddenly, Kajal was in a lake of lava, surrounded by fire, and burning with unbearable agony. Yet worse than even that was a sense of hopeless separation and loneliness. Kajal had known abandonment before, but this feeling of abandonment was unspeakable. It was more excruciating than the feeling of being burned alive.

            The fire lasted only an instant, and then Kajal was back in the Internet café. He was still screaming, but he fell silent as the sense of something like a presence returned. He had never noticed this presence until now, after it was taken away, but he no longer felt utterly alone.

            “Hell is eternal destruction, separation from God,” Enma Ai said, and in that, Kajal realized Hakim could not be reincarnated if he pulled the red string.

            Grasping the black straw doll tightly, Kajal pinched the end of the string. This was it. This was a punishment terrible enough for Hakim.

            “However,” Enma Ai said, and Kajal froze, “Once the revenge had been dealt, you will be required to pay the compensation. Two holes appear when you curse a person: when you die, your soul will fall into Hell too.”

            Kajal released the end of the string as though it had shocked him. “Me?” he exclaimed, “Why me? I’m just trying to protect my sister! It’s Hakim who’s evil!”

            Enma Ai did not respond to his protests. “The rest…is for you to decide,” she said. And when Kajal looked around, she was gone.

            Kajal’s thin knees gave way, and he dropped to a kneeling position, trembling uncontrollably and clutching the doll in both hands. There was unimaginable power and peril in that doll. He could send Hakim to Hell in an instant, and he would in a heartbeat if not for the compensation. The agony of fire and aloneness was still fresh in his memory. He did not want to enter into it again.

            Remembering that he had left Selma alone, Kajal scrambled to his feet and hurried out the door. He didn’t even close it behind him. As he ran back to the abandoned building, he hid the black straw doll in his pocket. It made a bulge in his pocket, but Kajal wanted it to be as concealed as possible.

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