Of Dead Bugs and Cucumbers

Of Dead Bugs and Cucumbers

A Story by Julia

I wrote this as an assignment for a course on Creative Writing. I drew inspiration for it from the hot summer days I spent in Tokyo.


'Shiro, dinner's ready!'

The shuffling of paper and closing of books came from behind a closed door. Next, Shiro came shambling into the kitchen - bleary eyed and hair tussled.

'Please, hurry up, mum. I still have to go over my English vocabulary one more time before tonight's prep course.'

'We can start in a minute. Just go get Yuuki first, he's playing downstairs.'

Shiro let out a long sigh - more for dramatic effect really than anything else. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later he was standing outside in the alley behind the apartment complex keeping a lookout for the hyperactive abomination that was his little brother. The damp air clung to his skin as he noted a couple of dying cicadas on the asphalt, their final moments accompanied by the choir of their brethren who would soon share in their fate. When Shiro finally spotted Yuuki, in hindsight, he thought he ought to be more surprised by the image that had presented itself to him back then: his little brother squatting over a slightly ajar manhole cover with his pants drawn down, a plate with a slice of cucumber on the ground beside him. But, honestly, somehow he could easily imagine his brother engaging in even stranger activities.

'Hey, come on, dinner's ready.'

'I'm not hungry.'

'Do I even want to know why you're sitting out here in the dark with your butt hanging out?'

'I have an important mission to accomplish.'

'Look, I've decided I actually don't care about your silly games. Let's go, I have better things to do than watching you playing the clown out there.'

'They'll come, you'll see.'


'The kappa.'


'Grandma told me, that's how you catch them. It will work for sure.'

'I'm starting to understand why Mum was worried about sending you to stay with Grandma and Grandpa over the summer.'

'They'll come because they want the pretty stone inside my butt.'

Shiro did not know how to respond to that.

'I also got this cucumber though Grandpa said it was just a silly myth that kappa like to eat them. He said that people in the city had no proper knowledge of these things.'

'I see.'

'But I still got one to make sure. Now there is zero chance of the kappa getting away.'




'I'll let you stay and help me catch them if you want to.'

'I'll pass.' Shiro left and went back inside.

When his mother asked him about his brother, he just mumbled something about a silly game he was playing and headed straight to his room. He opened his notebook and tried to concentrate for the hundreth time on the foreign words just like he had the entire summer. This time however the letters refused to stay in focus for some reason. Then his alarm went off to tell him it was time to leave for prep school. He grabbed his bag and walked out the door past his mother putting tonight's dinner into the fridge. Yuuki had not given in, it seemed. As he stepped out the building, Shiro hesitated for a moment. Then he walked around the back and squatted down on the ground beside his younger brother. None of them said anything for a few minutes.

'So, what are we gonna do once the kappa comes?'

'We have to bow to it.'


'So it will bow back and the water stored in the bowl on its head will spill out.'


'Then it can't move anymore and we can ask it to fulfill our wish.'

'What are you gonna wish for?'

There was a moment of silence.


'I'll wish for you to pass your exam, the one you study so much for.'




'You know, it really only works, if you pull down your pants.'     

© 2017 Julia

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Added on July 24, 2017
Last Updated on July 24, 2017
Tags: short story, siblings, brothers, Japan, Tokyo




Hey, there! I’m Julia, a mid-twenties gay language student from Austria. I love travelling, Japanese curry, Scotland, the sea and anything and all fiction-related. My current passions are wri.. more..

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