The Fourth Floor Woman’s Therapy Clinic
Iki Kogane read the text message on her phone. “Goto 103-0027 Tokyo, Chuo City, Nihonbashi, 3 Chome−3−12 E-I BLDG. 3F… take elevator to the 4th floor by placing a finger in the 4th-floor buttonhole… but only when there’s no one in the elevator.”
What odd instructions? Sticking my finger in a hole when there’s no one in the elevator? Then again, she had heard about odd rituals on the 4th floor, like the fact many places didn’t list them. This was because the number 4 was associated with death.
But was this what she wanted to do? Seek therapy for her husband’s infidelity? Sure, her co-workers had opinions from dumping the bastard to Why don’t you just sleep around as well? But she didn’t want to do any of that, she wanted her relationship repaired and to stop feeling so angry and depressed. The whole problem was because of something she was doing wrong. So, the consensus was to try the Therapy Clinic from the flyer.
On her day off, she took the Yaesu Exit from the Tokyo Station and walked six minutes to her destination. She entered the elevator and noted the fourth-floor button was indeed just a hole. Iki took her place at the rear of the elevator. She quietly smiled at the six businessmen as they entered the elevator, nodding at each as she waited in the back of the elevator for the last one to exit on the tenth floor. Once the last businessman had left, and the doors shut, she breathed a sigh of relief and jabbed her index finger into the fourth-floor buttonhole. It was an odd sensation… warm but electric at the same time. She tried to pull her finger out, but it wouldn’t come out. Only when the elevator came to rest and the doors finally opened did the hole release her finger.
As she exited the elevator, she examined her finger, but it appeared undamaged. A bit numb, but undamaged. She sucked on it for a second to see if that helped, but it didn’t. Hopefully, the numbness will disappear soon. Otherwise, she’d have to complain to someone about it with the hopes of seeking restitution for any medical bills. Her coworker, Yuki, taught her how to get paid for injuries from stuff like this. That was how she got a building manager to pay for her massage therapy when she moved in because the building lacked an elevator, and she injured her back when she moved in. The building manager didn’t want her to go to social media about this and was willing to pay her in exchange.
Iki’s heart pounded in her chest as she navigated the dimly lit hallway. The air was thick with a sickly-sweet smell. Ahead, the corridor ended at an unmarked Tsubaki wooden door. Its yellow-orange grain seemed to absorb the shadows around it, giving it a foreboding appearance. The silver handles, polished to a mirror shine, were the only source of light, reflecting the pallid glow of the strip lights overhead. A cold shiver ran down her spine, adding an edge to her already fraught nerves. Taking a deep breath, she reached out, her fingers wrapped around the icy silver handles, and pushed open the door. The hinges creaked eerily, echoing in the quiet hallway as she stepped into the unknown.
Sitting behind a Tsubaki wooden desk was a tall woman. Her appearance was striking, with long, straight black hair cascading down her back and contrasting starkly with her immaculately applied red lipstick. Her complexion was pale, but not so pallid as to compare it to a white-skinned Geisha. Her eyes, dark and fathomless, held an intensity that seemed to penetrate Iki’s very soul. The woman’s nails, meticulously maintained and alarmingly long, clacked against the wooden desk as she gestured, drawing attention to her hands. Her attire was a woman’s business suit, tailored impeccably to accentuate her slender frame and pronounced bosom. The overall effect was undeniably intimidating, and Iki felt a powerful disquiet creep over her as she gazed at the woman.
“I believe you’re my ten o’clock, Kogane, right?” the woman asked in a voice as cold and precise as her appearance. Iki bowed slightly in response, her heart hammering in her chest as she answered, “Hai.” The woman continued, her dark eyes unblinking, “Please take a seat. I have some forms for you to fill out. They are just some formalities, and we can then begin our first session.” Iki pulled the chair away from the desk, her palms sweating as she brushed them under her skirt and sat down. The woman watched her with an unreadable expression, a faint smile playing on her red lips as she said, “My, such a polite thing. Here are the forms I mentioned.” She extended a long, manicured hand, offering Iki a clipboard and pen with an elegance that was almost unsettling.
As Iki started to fill out the forms, she was initially met with familiar fields like her name, residency address, contact phone number, phobias, and any psychological diagnoses she might have had. But then the questions grew more peculiar, requesting details such as her time of birth, the exact geographical coordinates of her birthplace, her blood type, and specific genetic ailments, if any. She paused, looked up from the form, and asked the woman, “Are these necessary?” The woman responded by tapping her perfectly manicured nails on the desk, “Of course, it’s all part of the unique therapy I offer.”
Caught off guard, Iki asked, “Do you mind if I call my mother? She might only know generalities for the time of day I was born and the hospital name, is that okay?” The woman responded calmly, “That’ll do.”
Iki pulled out her cell phone and dialed her mother’s number. She explained, “Haha, I’m at the therapist and she needs some information about my birth. … Yes, this is about Tashiro and his mistress. … No, he’s not with me. … I need to know the specific time of day I was born, and where … Uh huh… thanks, Haha.” After the call, she scribbled down the newly received information and handed the completed forms back to the woman sitting behind the desk.
The woman scanned the forms, her eyes flicking back and forth across the page. Finally, she looked up, her gaze piercing into Iki, “Everything appears to be in order. Shall we begin?”
The woman therapist, her face as cold as stone, looked at Iki and began, “Please tell me what brought you here.”
Iki, her voice trembling, replied, “My husband, Tashiro, is cheating on me with another woman. I feel it’s my fault for not pleasing him enough in the bedroom, and the fact I work an office job like him.”
The therapist scoffed, “You are a foolish woman to stay in this relationship. Your husband is a worthless cheat, and you deserve better. Women are allowed to work just as much as a man.”
“But I love him,” Iki responded with a quivering voice, her eyes downcast.
“Love is a weakness. It makes you blind to the truth. You need to open your eyes and see that your husband is using you,” the woman retorted, her voice filled with disdain.
“I don’t know what to do,” Iki whispered, her voice barely audible.
The woman leaned back in her chair, her cold gaze never leaving Iki. “You have a choice. You can either stay in this miserable relationship and continue to be treated like a fool, or you can leave him and start a new life.”
“I’m scared…and this is confusing me,” Iki confessed, her eyes welling up with tears.
“Of course, you are. But if you want to be happy, you need to decide,” the woman responded, her voice stern and unforgiving. The room fell silent with the echoes of her words hanging heavily in the air, and the shadows danced on the Tsubaki wooden desk.
The therapist’s expression was impassive as she leaned forward, her gaze sharp and calculating. “Kogane,” she started, her voice hard and unyielding, “Have you thought of ending your misery in a more… permanent way?”
“What… What do you mean?” Iki stammered, her heart pounding in her chest.
“Perhaps ending the lives of your husband and his mistress? Have you ever wished them dead?” The question hung in the air like a blade, cold and sharp. Iki gasped, taken aback by the blunt and cruel question. The therapist’s eyes were relentless, not giving Iki a moment of comfort or reprieve.
Iki’s heart pounded in her chest, her eyes wide with shock. “I… That’s… That’s monstrous!” she finally managed to get out, her voice a trembling whisper. But she couldn’t meet the therapist’s gaze, her eyes dropping to her feet. A heavy silence filled the room, and the faint sound of the therapist’s nails tapping against the desk echoed loudly in the quiet.
As the silence stretched on, Iki’s voice broke it, barely a whisper, “When I first found out…,” she paused, her voice catching in her throat, “Yes, I wished them both dead.” Her admission hung in the air, the echo of her words chilling in the silence. The therapist merely watched her, her face a mask of indifference, her eyes cold and unforgiving.
The therapist finally broke the silence, her voice as cold as stone, “That’s all for today, Kogane. But before you go, would you mind giving me a blood sample?” Iki blinked in surprise, “Huh? Why?” The woman responded without missing a beat, “So to ensure there are no adverse reactions to any prescriptions I might recommend later. It’s just a little finger prick on this piece of paper.” The woman pulled out a pristine white piece of paper and a pin from a drawer. Overwhelmed, Iki complied, stretching out her finger to the pin. As soon as her drop of blood hit the paper, a seal manifested, then faded. The woman’s lips curled into a devilish smile as she thanked Iki.
With her blood sample collected, the therapist finally seemed to relax, leaning back in her chair and steepling her long, manicured fingers in front of her. She let the silence stretch for a moment before finally speaking again, her voice smooth and even as she broke the tension, “Do not concern yourself with my fees, Kogane. We will settle up later.” The implications of her statement hung in the air, introducing a new layer of unease into the already tense atmosphere.
Iki stood, bowed slightly, and thanked the woman for the session before leaving the office via the elevator. The chill of the session followed her as she walked through the city, making her way to the train station. She couldn’t help but replay the bizarre and unnerving experience over and over in her mind. That was the oddest therapy session she’d ever experienced – not that she’d ever been in therapy before. But the unsettling manner of the woman, including the unusual request for a blood sample, left her feeling deeply disturbed.
It was already dark by the time Iki made it back to the apartment. The therapy session had taken longer than she had anticipated, and the air was thick with moisture, causing her hair to cling to her face and neck. She took off her shoes at the door and called out for Tashiro. When the only response was the echo of her voice, she began to search the apartment, her heart pounding with unease.
The horrifying sight met her when she pushed open the door to their bedroom; Tashiro and his mistress lay in bed, their bodies still, their heads severed. Iki stumbled backward, choking on a scream, her hand flying up to cover her mouth as bile rose in her throat. She staggered out of the room and fumbled for her phone, dialing the police with shaking hands.
She sat outside the apartment, her knees drawn up to her chest, as the police swarmed the area, their voices a dull roar in the background. They asked her questions, their expressions grim, and suspicions turned toward her. Amid a heated confrontation with her husband’s mistress, had she committed the gruesome act in a fit of rage? Despite her fervent denials, they cuffed her and led her away.
Months later, Iki was acquitted, the court finding no concrete evidence to link her to the horrifying crime. She was a free woman, but not without cost; the ordeal had left deep scars on her psyche. She retreated from society and became a hikikomori, living with her mother in a state of self-imposed isolation.
To this day, Iki believes the therapist, the woman she now considers a female ogre, had a hand in the gruesome end that met her husband and his mistress. She insists that the blood contract she unwittingly made that day was the catalyst of the ensuing horror, but her claims are met with disbelief. The fourth floor of the building she visited that fateful day no longer exists, leaving her with nothing more than her tormented memories and a lingering sense of dread.
Author Note- This story was inspired by an old Japanese female Oni, or ogre tale dating back to 1222, called “A companion in solitude.” Typically, female Oni, or hags of Yomi, are the resultant of the woman committing murder of their husband. Here, this Oni is preying on young women in relationships where they emotionally wish the other party dead. The story subtly mentions associations with death, like the number 4 and Tsubaki wood, which the main character notices casually and is still undeterred.
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