"s 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Otherkin 3: Alternative Lifestyle "

Submitted by ProphetStorm

 I straighten the charm paper on my neck. It's just a little Japanese charm to anyone else, but to the Oni, it's an important part of the courtship process. I'm about to ring the doorbell again when Katsu opens the door. Hoo, is she a dream. I'm not one of those furries or anything, but Kat's not-quite human shape has always seemed to me much more appealing than the standard human girl. They call it 'folding'--the formation of their bodyasclosetothehumanform as possible. I don't understand the biology behind it--all I know is that Kat's more slender and curvier than the average human--at the same time, no less--and something about her trilling voice just drives me nuts.

 "Thomas!" She trills. She's got on dangerously short Daisy Dukes and a blue 'Oni Bleed Red' hoodie--they're her favorite band, an all-human yokai activist group, trying to get a little more civil tolerance for the yokai who havne't yet made the leap the Oni have. Currently they're trying to swing civil rights for the Jyorogumo, and if you ask me, you couldn't ask for sexier yokai than Jyorogumo and Oni chicks.

Her tail curls teasingly around my wrist. "Please come in. The folks are expecting you. You're right on time."

 I'll admit, I'm a little wary about sitting down to dinner with 'the folks'. As Oni age, the way their wrinkles form focuses on a leathery, vaned folding around the neck that just makes me uncomfortable, and both her parents are well into their thousands. Their teeth, too, have grown to slightly uncomfortable lengths. The way I understand it, the males have upward-curving tusks and the females have straight, downward fangs. And all that King James thee thou and what have you--it just kinda brings me down, you know? But Kat's just the way I like her--her teeth just poke over her lips, and her skin is smooth and bright red. Nottheclottedbloodcolor of her parents.

 Kat shows me in. Her tail coils and lashes excitedly as she calls into the dining room, "Tom's here!"

 There's a guttural response, sort of a grunt. Then her father enters. He's wearing an old-fashioned suit, with a high collar to avoid showing his neck. His tusks curve slightly outwards, level with his cheekbones, and he's groomed his horns to follow the arc of his bald skull. "Thomas. I trust thou had no trouble finding our home?"

 "None, Mr. Yojin. Your directions were very clear, thank you."

 With his entrance, I notice how eerie the room is. No wallpaper--polished oak, plain. A few portraits of ancestors in tigerskins, toting iron clubs. Heh, Oni-ni-kanabo. I think I catch the drift of the phrase now--I wouldn't want to run into any oni, not Kat, not her pop, no one, with the kind of clubs they used to carry.

 After an awkward silence, Dear old dad gets the hint, bows and leaves, pausing to comment, "My wife has almost finished supper in the kitchen. I shall assist her. Please, make thyself comfortable."

 As he leaves, I notice Mr. Yojin's tail has been cut five inches from the body. An attempt to fit into human society? He was a first-gen induction...

 "So Tom, how's the job coming?"

 "Oh, at the Center?" I ask, smiling. "Never better. We're set up, as I'm sure you remember, pretty close to the airport, so we're conveniently located. We induct, I think, about twenty or so oni a day."

 "You haven't met any other pretty faces there, have you?" Her tongues lick coyly at her teeth.

 I laugh. "You kidding? Most of the inductees are dry first-gen types, you know the kind--skin so dark it's almost black, and so leathery it's almost like bat skin."

 Kat shudders, smiling. "Even to me, that's disturbing. I just hope the fam doesn't need me visiting regular when they hit that age."

 "I know what you mean." I sidle over on the couch, running my hand through her jet-black hair, careful to avoid the razor-sharp tips of her tiny horns. They haven't poked through the hair yet, but they're still visible when she first wakes up in the morning. Good grief, she's cute when she first gets up.

 "Dinner is served," announces the leathery Mrs. Yojin. she carries a covered dish to the table, and her husband follows her with two more.

 "Any way I can help?" I ask.

 "No, friend Thomas," Mr. Yojin replies, shooting me a warning glance. "The dishes we want thee handling are already on the table. Thou dost remember the house rule?"

 Riiiight. Thanks for the warning, pop. If there was ever any evidence of humans consumingpreparedcorpses like the Oni do, stuff might get real just a scoche too fast. I pull out a chair for Kat, who giggles and seats herself, and then sit across from her. Mrs. Yojin returns from the kitchen again with a slightly larger dish, and Mr. Yojin seats her, then himself.

 "Shall we ask a blessing on the food?"

 My eyes dart around. Are they doing this for my benefit? Their hands join. I decide to join the circle. I close my eyes, and I'm glad, because when Mr. Yojin does pray, it's not in any human language. Those bisected jaws are still the only thing that bothers me about Oni of any age. He ends the prayer with a perfunctory grunt and I open my eyes just in time to see the two accessory tongues and tooth-lined membranes join into one solid jaw. I suppress my urge to cringe.

 As Mrs. Yojin removes the lids on the trays, I see a feast--savory-looking pork chops, a crisp, vibrant salad, sweet corn, andatrayoftheirfood. As we serve ourselves, Mr. Yojin makes an odd remark.

 "Art thou prepared to make an oni a part of thy life?"

 "Well, Mr. Yojin, of course. Whatmakesyousaythat?"

 In between unnaturalbitesofmeat, Mr. Yojin smiles. "For some humans, oni...anatomy is unsettling. Disturbing, even. Hast thou seen enough of my beautiful daughter to know if thou'rt sure of the desirousness of marriage?"

 I stammer a little. "I, uh, I'm a little rebellious, Mr. Yojin, but I still intend to marry her first."

 His threetongueslickfoodoutofhisteeth. "That's not what I mean, friend Thomas. Katsu, wouldst thou show friend Thomas what it is I mean?"

 Kat stands and unzips her hoodie, removing it, and then her Daisy Dukes. But as she does, there's less an appearance of disrobing and more a feel of...preparation. Her jaw separates, but as it does, it continues outward far, far more than I've ever seen. The separation travels down to her chest, where the visible seam ends, and doesn't stop there.



 That's how I got here.