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Monday, 6 August 2018

Please Feel Free to Use It

(Translated from Japanese by Saya)

It all started on a whim at first.

What got me started was a TV show I used to regularly watch two years ago.  It was a rather obscure 30-minute mini TV show aired after midnight.
It's no longer on air, but it used to be aired throughout the country so some of you might have seen it.
The TV show had one fairly popular segment where they featured viewer participation.

The "participation" wasn't a big thing; it appeared only at the end of the show, and consisted mostly of funny and often surreal photos and videos taken around the local area by the viewers.
If those photos and videos were good enough, the contributor was awarded a small gift.

As I watched the show, I too started racking my brains to see if I could come up with a good idea like the other viewers.
It wasn't that I wanted to get the gift. I only wanted to try my hand at making an interesting image.

Eventually, a brilliant idea came to my mind.
It wasn't a most respectable kind of idea, but I fell in love with it in an instant, and started the preparation for it straightaway.

What I prepared for it were a wooden board, some wooden nails and a rope. That was all.

First, I hammered the nails into the board and created a signboard. Across the board, I scrawled, "Please Feel Free to Use It."
So far, there was nothing so peculiar about that. You would see this kind of sign everywhere in parks, public toilets and at drinking fountains.

Next, I moved onto the rope. This one was even easier than the board. I only tied the ends of the rope together to make a loop.

That was all for the preparation part. Now, all that was left to do was look for an appropriate place to leave these stuff and take a photo of them; then, my artwork would be complete.

I waited until my day off and drove to a woods in the suburbs. I got off at a random place, and carrying the board and rope, hiked around the woods for a while.
After some time, I found what I had been searching for. A pine tree, suitably large and robust.
It had one big branch which extended almost parallel to the ground at a height of around three metres. Nothing could have been more fitting for my purpose.
Using the hammer I had brought, I placed the "Please Feel Free to Use It" signboard in front of the pine tree.
And then, after climbing up the tree with some difficulty, I tied the rope with a loop to the big branch.

I climbed off the tree and looked at my "artwork" with much satisfaction.

It was a makeshift gallows, with a sign that read "Please Feel Free to Use It."
I knew it wasn't a most decent sort of creation, but if it were shown on TV, it might succeed in amusing a few people.

However, once it was time to take photos, I hesitated.
The wooden board was something I had bought at a home centre near where I lived, and it was brand new and spotlessly clean.
The rope didn't look so bad, but in the middle of such a lonely, quiet woods, the brand new signboard looked out of place in my eyes, no matter from which angle I looked at it.

I thought hard and long about it, and eventually arrived on a decision.
Just for some time - maybe at least for a few weeks - I would leave my artwork here and let it be exposed to rain and sunlight.
That would make them look more weathered, which would help create a more desolate scenery.

Of course, if someone else stumbled on my artwork during my absence, it was possible that the person might feel offended enough to destroy it.
But for me it was just a prank, and even if someone saw it I had nothing to be afraid of, because it wasn't as if I were committing any crime.
That was how I saw it. I decided that I had nothing to worry about.

So I left the signboard and rope just as they were, and turned back home.
Busy days followed after that, and in time I forgot about the little "prank" I had set up.

A month passed before I remembered about it again.
The TV show I had mentioned earlier was still being aired.
As soon as I found time, I drove to the woods.

During the whole month I was away from the woods, we had entered the typhoon season; therefore, the woods had changed drastically in appearance.
I nearly lost my way more than once as I searched for the distasteful artwork I had made.

Then finally, I found my artwork.
But I could not take a photo of it.

The atmosphere surrounding it had certainly become desolate, just as I had hoped.
The signboard, which used to be white, had discoloured into grey, and the words "Please Feel Free to Use It" painted in black ink had become blurred by rain and wind.

As for the rope tied to the branch - someone was hanging from it. 

The person had long hair, so I assumed it was a woman. I saw only her back so I don't know what she looked like. I also don't know whether the body was fresh or already rotting.
The only thing I knew was that she didn't move at all, and that she was stone dead.
With her arms and legs hanging lifelessly, she was swinging to and fro, making the branch to creak incessantly.

I turned tail and ran, before she turned around to face me.
I was just so scared. I am still scared, even now. I thought about calling the police, but I was too scared to do that too.
Besides, if I called the police, people would know that it was me who pulled such a foolish prank.
Did I inadvertently commit an assisted suicide? But it isn't that I am scared of getting charged for some crime.
It was only a prank. But it makes me really scared to think that I played a part in the cause of her death.

Two years have passed since then.
I never reported this to the police. I sometimes check newspaper and news on TV but I have never come across an article about a person who committed suicide in that area.

She is probably still hanging deep in those woods;
making the branch creak, as she swings to and fro .


  1. This is one creepy post, thank you for translating it for us, Saya!

    The OP certainly had a very dark sense of humor. I can't think of anyone who would come up with such a "prank". Although, I do wonder who that woman was...but she certainly committed suicide after the cyclone, because no branch would be able to handle the weight of an average person and galeforce winds at the same time. Moreover, if she still had long hair, the crows hadn't been on her yet, and the corpse most certainly was fresh, or less than three days old.

    As no missing persons report was filed, I suspect that the lady had no family. And that kinda makes the ordeal even more depressing.

    Although I must add that the OP shoulda contacted the police, or atleast given her a proper burial himself. No one deserves to have their last remains hanging from a tree like that.

  2. Hmm, no suicides reported. Perhaps some one had seen him setting it up and decided to up the ante by creating a realistic looking body to have him discover it. Or, maybe she was a ghost that committed suicide there before and this gave her a chance to materialize. Love this story!

  3. Ugh... This one is so depressing but somehow I managed to guess the end.

    But i imagine outting myself in the writer's shoe. It must felt like longing feeling of guilt since we basically commit something and the urge to report and all that,, i dont think i can ever sleep tight again if that ever happened to me..

  4. Even though I could see that ending coming, it's still quite a sad and creepy tale. Well, while I can't deny it was creative, the narrator still went for a really bad joke, he should've thought about the consequences of his actions a little better!

    Still, if he didn't see anything reported, perhaps it wasn't a dead body after all? It's quite creepy to consider it could have been a spirit or other entity like George suggested.

    Thanks for the story as usual, Saya!

  5. Wow so many people could guess the ending while reading it and I think I couldn't when I first read it so many years ago. I'm so slow XD

    @Sir Calvin Taylor Thank you too! :D As English is only my second language, translating is no easy task. I mean Japanese and English are so different! But when I hear from people that they enjoyed reading these stories, I feel my efforts have been paid off! :D

    I never read the text as carefully as you did! If we follow your reasoning it is highly probable that the corpse was fresh!

    @George VanMeter Is that a raccoon in your profile picture? :D

    Oh! What if it really was a ghost and not a real body? That would make the story seem even more disturbing!
    Thank you for commenting! :D

    @Petzie You are sharp! :D I don't think I would be able to bear the guilt either!
    Thank you very much for your comment!<3

    @Gabriel Everyone here thinks the narrator is a man, while I thought it was a woman! XD

    Thank you, thank you <3 I appreciate your comment a lot!

  6. Hi Saya, It is a Red Panda, whose picture I took at the zoo in Des Moines, IA USA.

    1. @George VanMeter
      Oh,that's cool, dear. I had to know whom I am talking to 😁

  7. Logan Paul would've taken that photo...

    But seriously this was an interesting read and I'd have to agree with the author, I'd feel guilty as hell wondering if I had caused or took part in a suicide.

  8. @Zero26 Hahaha XD I heard about this Logan Paul guy. I'm sure he's been haunted and cursed by some ghosts from the suicide forest.


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