Kuchisake-onna’s Unforgettable Luncheons

>be you, kuchisake-onna, the split-mouth yōkai
>not really that keen on knifing people, but them’s the digs, you suppose
>which is lucky since everyone seems to know how to counter you these days
>can’t remember the last time someone didn’t evade your question
>half the time they just call you ‘average’
>how dare they!
>yes, you know that’s the default escape response, but still

>ambush man, you know the drill
>ask him if you’re pretty, and he says yes
>pull down your surgical mask (it’s Japan, no-one ever questions you wearing it), revealing your split mouth
>ask again if you’re pretty
>if he says no you gotta kill him, if he says yes you gotta cut his mouth too
>he smiles
>“I don’t know, am I handsome?”
>well, yes, he is, kind of, but-
>he’s halfway down the street before you can muster a response

>next week, a new attempt
>question, pull the mask down, et cetera
>“Am I pretty? How about now?
>the man smiles
>“What time is it?”
>about twelve-thirty, you answer
>wait a minute, that’s-
>“Ah, plenty of time for lunch then. Good day!”
>off he goes

>it is now week 8 of Operation Get That Goddamn Salaryman
>you have memorised his exact patterns for when he goes on lunch break
>he has answered every single time with a different question
>“How’s the weather down in Wakayama?”
>“Have you read this morning’s Asahi Shimbun?”
>“Do you know when the next train to Kure is?”
>one day you will wear this man’s will down and get him, you swear
>he only has to make one mistake, surely
>today’s routine goes as it usually does
>you pin him to a wall
>barely a question at this point
>he says yes. Of course he says yes.
>mask down, “YES OR NO.”
>that smile. that damn smile.
>“Would you like to come with me for lunch?”
>“Well, you’re out here every week at lunch time, and I never see you eat. Care for a Mister Donut?”
>you hate this man more and more every second
>at least the lunch is nice
>you seethe in anger and strawberry icing

>it is week 17 of Operation Business Lunch
>not quite sure at what point going to lunch with him became A Thing
>some weeks you forget to bring the spirit knife and only realise it afterwards
>damn this man. Damn his excellent taste in cafes.
>you’re pretty sure he knows how you like your tea better than you do
>“Of course.”
>“Would you like three sugars, or only two?”
>what does he mean, you know he knows you always have three-
>“Three it is.”

>week 22
>pretty? Yes. Now?
>“Would you like to come with me to Kamogawa next week? I will be taking some of my paid leave, and I wouldn’t want to miss our chats.”
>oh, that’s nice
>you haven’t been to the beach in years
>how kind of him to think about yo-
>you are very angry with him about this, you tell yourself
>very, very angry, you think, as you gaily run along the beach
>you are unaccountably irate, you reassure yourself, as you finally have an excuse to wear that lovely sun hat Hachishaku-sama gave you
>it is a very nice hat
>when he says you look pretty in it, you forget to ask the second half of the question

>as it turns out, having deathly pale skin isn’t fun when the sun’s bright
>how do yōkai even get sunburn
>lie planked out on the hotel bed while he applies after-sun cream
>devise a most cunning of schemes
>a veritable ruse cruise, if one will
>finally, you can finish that question
>muster the sweetest sounding weak voice you can with your mask down
>“Am I still pretty?”
>“You will look better when you aren’t sunburnt, dear.”
>this technically isn’t a yes or no answer
>did he just call you dear
>simmer with both rage and sunburn
>damn this man and his incredibly soft hands
>you’ll figure out a way to trick him once you find out where he gets his hand lotion

>week whateverthefuck
>year, maybe?
>stopped bothering to count
>either this man is entirely dedicated to annoying you or is simply that nice
>you aren’t sure which is worse
>with the amount of times he’s replied to your question with a request to go somewhere, you’d think you were dating
>that is terrible, you think
>simply awful, you tell yourself, as you say yes every time
>you are absolutely furious about this state of affairs, you self-reassure, as you start suggesting places yourself
>yes, absolutely furious
>he’s used his questions to learn so much about you that he can practically order things for you in advance
>one time he asked what your favourite flower was, next week he turned up with a bouquet
>the nerve!
>the gall!
>how dare he!
>that flower has no right to look as nice in your sun hat as it does!
>it hasn’t left it since

>week? Year?
>someone once said love and hate are very closely related
>you’re starting to think they were right
>you hate this man’s evasive kindness so much that you want to kiss him
>or was it that you love it so much you want to cut him
>you don’t know
>it’s spring, cherry blossom season
>pretty? Yes. Now? Want to see the sakura?
>well, yes, but come on
>then again, you’ve never visited them with someone else before
>no, go away heart, you’re supposed to be mad about this
>he’s tricked you out of your spirit job for the umpteenth time
>stop beating like that

>the sakura are beautiful, of course
>don’t let this distract you, you think
>wait until he’s fixated on a particularly nice tree before springing the question
>“Am I pretty?”
>he pauses
>what’s with that smile
>“How about… now?”
>what’s he doing with that box
>why’s he kneeling-
>“Will you marry me?”
>curse this man
>curse this man and his unending kindness
>you’ll get him back for this, you say, as you plan the banquet
>you’ll get him one day, you remind yourself, as you go down the aisle
>one day you will fulfil your role as kuchisake-onna, you think, as you carry him all the way home
>Hachishaku-sama is in tears at the celebration
>where does she get those sun hats

>year 5 of Operation Happily Married
>you haven’t asked The Questions™️ in a long time
>your dear husband comes back from work
>he doesn’t notice that you’re wearing the surgical mask for the first time in months
>“Am I pretty, darling?”
>“As wonderful as always.”
>“How about now?”
>“Of course-”
>he only realises his mistake when your hand is already at his face
>complete The Deed™️
>your quest as kuchisake-onna is over, at last

>he touches the side of his face
>it’s still there
>he notices the tube of lipstick in your hand
>a weapon most foul
>“Now you can smile like me at last, dear husband!”

>you laugh
>he laughs
>you rip his clothes off and fuck him senseless

~ Good End ~

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