's 2014 Horror Write-off:

"  The House of Sleep "

Submitted by   Rahkshasarani

  The circumstances of Eri Kawaguchi's death are as follows: at 9:45 a.m. she stopped at a flower kiosk and bought a single carnation. A retired surgeon, Morimoto F., saw her cross at the corner as he was out jogging. Then she took a small detour beneath an overpass. A house-painter(name withheld) was walking in the opposite direction when he saw a female leg lying by the side of the rode. Eri appeared completely dismembered. Her liver, heart, lungs, left leg, right ear and head were missing and have not been found to this day. Approximately five minutes had elapsed from when Eri crossed the street and when her body was found lying in pieces. What's more, a forensic autopsy indicated she had been dismembered from the inside out.

Eri was living away from home, in periodic contact with her mother. Though she had only just become a high school senior, she had not been living at home for two years. Her father was indicated to be a difficult man, Eri had been staying with a series of boyfriends before taking up with a female roommate half a year before her death. When police searched their apartment they could not find the other woman. The next day they were alerted by the local ER, where the roommate had been checked in earlier that week. Chiyo(family name witheld) had suffered a narcoleptic episode and fell in the middle of a crosswalk. She had been rescued before traffic resumed but had suffered a head injury in the fall. After several interviews, investigators were able to glean a crucial piece of information: the House of Sleep.

The House of Sleep was an unusual business. A kind of specialized prostitution, it employed girls of Eri's age regularly. Eri herself had been introduced to the business by her roommate. The establishment banned any kind of physical contact or verbal interaction between client and employee, yet it was censured by the Japanese government and moved headquarters frequently. A typical visit would consist of the girl, dressed in a formal white kimono, laying side-by-side with the client. The two would face each other and the client would usually drift off to sleep. The girl was meant to remain awake, ostensibly to offer comfort to the client if they should wake, but former girls would report falling asleep at least once. They often had nightmares of a black fog streaming from their client's mouths, being sucked up by their own breathing that they were helpless to stop.

There is no record of establishment for the House of Sleep. Clientele is selected through several proxies and sign a non-disclosure agreement when they acquire the house's services. Oddly enough, every piece of testimony indicates that no client was ever serviced more than once.

Former girls were easier to locate than clientele. They were often reported to hospitals for spontaneous development of narcolepsy. Police found that several girls were the victims of falsely attributed suicide verdicts, having suffered a narcoleptic episode while waiting for a train or, in one case, while swimming. The girls described no real illicit activity, only supporting the client's description of a session. But their contracts offered a different, more mystifying element. The girls were not required to sign non-disclosure agreements, but were to put their signature beneath a sumi-e painting of what was eventually deduced to be a Malaysian tapir. Furthermore, instead of the industry-standard title of “baishun,” the girls were referred to by staff as “baku.”

Chiyo was discharged after three weeks of recovery. She had short-term memory loss for the rest of her life, and was no longer able to live unassisted. About Eri, she could offer no helpful information. No vengeful paramours, no obsessive clients, not even what she had been doing that morning. The last thing she contributed to the investigation was the cryptic phrase: “Eri went twice.”