A Minor Exorcism

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A Minor Exorcism

The Kato couple knew his morning route. The whole village did. Most of the residents in this region did. He would start with the sun and make his rounds down the mountain. At the base, he would greet the kami of the mountain with a gift. This morning it was a piece of honeycomb laid at the foot of the boulder where the kami resided.

The middle-aged Kato couple waited there patiently, having brought their own gifts for the mountain kami. Two small, carefully wrapped onigiri cheerfully sat on a large leaf, as if the kami residing in the boulder wished to show off his gift. Ancient Nakano bowed low to the couple, and saying nothing, advanced to the boulder and cast a small bit of salt around to purify the ground. He kneeled and bowed his face to the ground, with his arms outstretched before him. He set the honeycomb down beside the Kato’s gift. The mountain kami seemed especially welcoming on this warm morning.

Having recited a short prayer and clapping twice to appease the kami, Nakano rose and approached the anxious couple.

“Please, Ancient Nakano-san. We have been childless for too many years. Can you assist us?” The plea was a fair one.

As Nakano stepped across the threshold of their humble home near Shizuhata, he could almost hear a chuckle. Kai and Tosu seemingly perked their ears, if they had any. Yes, this home was haunted by a trickster oni. The rite would be a quick one, dismissing the troublesome spirit from the house. Nakano placed a few totems and began spreading salt in each room to purify the energy.

The final room was the couple’s bedroom. It was cold and dark as Nakano stepped in, with the Katos looking on in wonder. He whistled, chiding the spirit to come forth. A rush of wind raced out of the room seemingly from nowhere, and Nakano stood his ground. Pointing Kai forward, he cast a handful of salt across the bed and the oni sputtered in displeasure.

“This home no longer welcomes you, trickster oni. Be on your way!” The oni listened intently, and nodded his understanding. With another rush of wind, there was no more trace of the spirit.

Nakano turned triumphantly to the Kato couple. “I wish fortune on you and your imminent child.”

As Nakano stepped outside into the warm afternoon air, he felt his stomach rumble. Now would be as good a time as any to visit the local izakaya. They are rumored to have a most delicious chirashizushi.

A Minor Exorcism

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