Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nure-onna - a haiku tale...

How about a supernatural horror story from Japan? After completing the 100 Days of Mythical Creatures in Haiku project I wrote a range of haiku tales about female Japanese folklore figures, joined forces with amazing artist Jenna Whyte and started to gather them into a collection tentatively titled 'She of the Supernatural World'.

Here's a sample tale from the series, words by me with accompanying illustration by Jenna. This one is about the Nure-onna: the amphibious snake-woman yōkai who lures her prey to the river before striking...


By James Clayton

The scene is serene,
Dawn sits quiet on water,
Ripples of sunlight.

Blissful morning calm,
Her soft serpentine movements,
The only stirring.

Life in the river,
The creature craves her solace,
Private harmony.

Swimming to the shore,
Scaled body surfaces,
Alone and content.

She's Nure-onna,
Amphibious snake woman,
Delicate and shy.

Lengthy armoured skin,
Gives way to sensitive arms,
Fragile white fingers.

Above, a girl's face,
Innocent yet alluring,
Grace of a lady.

Coils move slowly,
She comes to the water's edge,
Takes her position.

Cold hands clasp a comb,
White porcelain artefact,
Pretty precious teeth.

Treasured possession,
Affectionately caressed,
An intimate friend.

Rising from the wet,
Damp dark hair drops from her head,
Lengthy sable flow.

She loves washing it,
Feeling the fine follicles,
Massaging her scalp.

Fingers running through,
Sensual escapsim,
Lost in her tresses.

The comb kisses black,
Clinging claws dragged gently down,
Shiny mass kept tame.

Repeated embrace,
Pearly teeth bite inky knows,
Wet tangles turn straight.

Poised fluid movement,
An act of meditation,
Loving ritual.

A tranquil moment,
Nure-onna’s peaceful place,
Alone in water.

Morning light shimmers,
Reflections off the river,
Sheen of cleansed tresses.

Sudden startling noise,
Something shuffles on the bank,
Serenity lost.

A human watches,
Hostile eyes wicked and wide,
The recluse flinches.

She shrinks down deeper,
Just wanting to be alone,
Left to solitude.

Fangs licked in fear,
In fright the creature hisses,
A forked-tongue warning.

It goes unheeded,
His rock is sent tiverward,
Impact upon scales.

Reptilian rage,
Primal instincts overwhelm,
Swift retribution.

Leaping from water,
Timidity turned to wrath,
She strikes and hairs fly.

Teeth permeate flesh,
The hopeless man doomed to death,
Blood drained in seconds.

Leaving him lifeless,
She returns to the river,
Wrapped up in remorse.

Awful aggression,
She loathes her bloodthirstiness,
Tears of shame fall.

Distraught and disturbed,
But ripples still in time,
The waters will calm.

Searching for comfort,
The comb is pressed to wet locks,
Soft reassurance.

Sensual escape,
Lost in long, black lustrous strands,
Darkness touched at dawn.

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