's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Dandelion Steph

From Katanyagi”, the card said. Just below the card was a remarkably large, shiny red mojie apple. Ken gently removed the apple from the small box and then placed it on the table. It was a rather perfect apple: very round, with not a blemish, nor speckle, nor bruise. On one side were pale yellow Japanese characters, kanji, neatly delineated against the apple’s skin as if stenciled on.

Pear,” Ken read out. Pear? What?

Right there, on the apple, a perfectly round, red, and clearly un-pear-like apple, were the kanji that meant “Pear”.

What an audacious liar this apple was! How deeply misled or ignorant some moji apple farmer, cultivating these apples for their distinctive letters, must be! Ken laughed at the absurdity of it.

But when Ken opened his eyes and examined the apple again, something was different.

The kanji said “plum”.

Ken blinked, baffled. His brows furrowed as he scrutinized the apple, turning it around in his hands. No. It still read “plum”, as clearly as it said “pear” just a few seconds ago.

Plum”. No matter how much he looked at it, re-reading those characters over and over, it read: “Plum”.

Ken put the apple down and, hand cupping his chin, stared contemplatively in the distance. His mind was astir with both bafflement and worry, worry that his eyes, his perfectly functional eyes, were deceiving him. Or...was it his brain?

Ken shook his head dismissively, clearing his mind of such troublesome thoughts, and fetched a knife and a plate. Ken placed the apple onto the plate and looked down, appreciating the moji apple’s beauty, as customary, once more. Then his hands twitched open, the knife dropping onto the table, his face aghast.

The kanji said: “Corn on the cob”.

Corn. On. The. Cob. Right there, in perfect Japanese. It wasn’t even a fruit! Wasn’t even a vegetable, really! And what farmer would even emblazon the name of a such a specific and very American sort of food onto a prized moji apple of a 300-year-tradition?

Ken’s hands clenched. He knelt, examining, scrutinizing the apple, poking it experimentally. He spun it gently in his hands, and when he saw the message once more, it wasn’t “corn on the cob”. Not “corn on the cob”. But...


Ken picked up the phone.“Hello, Katanyagi? That mojie you got me. It says ‘death’,” Ken spoke, glancing worriedly at the apple with the phone held to his head. “What is this? A prank?”

Oh, no no no.” Katanyagi’s voice came out flustered. “It says “luck”. Like most mojie apples do, you know. You can’ it?”

Ken huffed. “Of course I can read it! Right there, it says, very clearlyKen looked once more at the apple.

It said “luck”.

luck.” Ken stared into the receiver. “I...I don’t understand. I’m....uh...hanging up now. Thanks.”

Ken, face contorted with shame and bafflement, hung up the phone and sat down. Ken breathed out, hand held soothingly to his forehead. He glanced at the apple once more.

The apple’s kanji read: “Computer”.

You’re not even trying anymore!”