Estimated reading time — 16 minutes
The sun was shining brightly overhead that particular afternoon, and the sound of birds chirping greeted Sarah as she made her way out of her school. It had been a long day, that particular day, and she was looking forward to going home, and relaxing for the weekend.
Sarah was a cute girl, who had short black hair that fell to her small rounded shoulders. She had dark brown eyes, and was garbed in a long-sleeved black shirt, that was tucked neatly into a pair of jeans, with black shoes tied tightly to her feet.
“No homework all weekend, things can’t get any better!” thought Sarah, as she made her way down the concrete steps, that led to the school’s main entrance. Just as her feet touched the final landing, her eyes fell on a familiar-looking car. “Dad?” Sarah said, jogging over to the vehicle.
Sure enough, her father was sitting outside the school waiting for her. Cindy, Sarah’s little sister, was sitting in the backseat.
Cindy too was a cute girl, with dark brown eyes and long black hair that fell to the small of her back. Cindy wore a white t-shirt with pink sleeves, a blue jeans skirt, white socks, and black shoes.
“Hey, kiddo,” their father said, smiling warmly at his sixteen-year-old daughter. “I came to pick you up!”
“You did?” Sarah asked, starting to grow nervous. The last time her father picked her up at school, it was back when her grandfather had passed away. “Did something happen?” she asked, nervously.
“No, no,” he said, shaking his head, “I just have to work late tonight, so I thought I would drive you and your sister home.”
“Oh, okay,” Sarah said, nodding.
“Hurry up!” Cindy called from the backseat of the car. “I don’t want to miss Nana-Chan!”
Sarah made her way around the car. As she walked, she rolled her eyes. Her younger sister was eight years old, and she was obsessed with a children’s show called Nana-Chan. Sarah climbed into the car, and soon they were driving down a long street. As they drove, no one said a word, except for Cindy, who was humming the main tune for the Nana-Chan show.
“You’re obsessed with that show!” Sarah said, rolling her eyes again.
“Come on, Sarah,” her father said, chuckling. “I remember you used to be obsessed with that show with the talking ponies in it, remember?”
“I was not!” Sarah lied, looking away from her father. After a few seconds, she continued. “I’m just teasing you, Cindy. You know that, right?”
“Yeah,” Cindy said, giggling.
Sarah didn’t do it often, but sometimes she felt the need to tease her sister. She did love her, after all.
A few minutes later the car came to a stop. “Here we are,” their father said, putting the vehicle into park.
“Are you coming in?” Sarah asked, opening the car door.
“I can’t. I have to get going. I’ll see you tomorrow, though,” he replied.
“Okay,” Sarah said.
“Bye, daddy!” Cindy said as she climbed out of the car. Her father leaned his head out of the window, and after Cindy kissed his cheek, she ran up to the door of the house, and eagerly waited for Sarah to let her in.
“Bye, dad!” Sarah said, once more, before making her way to the house. After unlocking the door, the two girls went inside. Sarah made her way into the kitchen to start making a snack for her sister, while Cindy ran into the living room. Moments later, the familiar sound of the Nana-Chan theme song was floating throughout the house.
Sarah giggled, and shook her head. After finishing up in the kitchen, she made her way into the living room, carrying a small plate of apple slices. “Here you go, eat them all,” she said, setting the plate down in her sister’s lap.
“I will,” Cindy said, not taking her eyes off the TV.
Sarah glanced up at the screen. A small, thin girl wearing a white, buttoned-up t-shirt and a red skirt with matching suspenders could be seen on the television. She also wore white socks on her feet, and black shoes. What stood out the most about Nana-Chan wasn’t her clothes, but rather, the mask – or, more accurately, the costume head – that she wore at all times. It resembled that of a normal girl. It had blond hair tied into twin pigtails, large blue eyes, and a gentle smile.
The strangest thing about Nana-Chan, however, was the fact that she never spoke. Instead, she danced around the screen and struck silly poses. As she did so, words would flash on the screen. Not only that, but the set itself looked low-budget. It depicted a small house that appeared to be painted on a large piece of wood in the background, with two trees on either side of the home. A fake sun dangled from the ceiling.
“Seriously? How could anyone enjoy this show?” Sarah wondered to herself.
Just as she was about to join her sister, the sound of someone knocking on the front door caught her attention. Making her way to the door, Sarah peered through the peephole in the door. On the other side of the door, she spotted two of her friends.
“Hey, girls,” Sarah said, opening the door.
“Hey,” said one of her friends, by the name of Teri.
Teri was a short girl, with long blonde back-length hair, bright blue eyes, and small, rounded shoulders.
“Hello,” said Ashley. Ashley was slightly taller than Sarah and Teri. She had long red hair and bright emerald-green eyes.
“What’s that sound?” Teri asked, before any of the girls could say anything else.
“Oh, Cindy’s watching the Nana-Chan show,” Sarah said.
“Nana-Chan?!” Teri said angrily. “That hussy stole my little sister!”
“She’s my little sister,” Sarah said.
Teri ignored what Sarah said, and continued. “I remember when I used to come over, and Cindy would come running the second she heard my voice! What happened to her? Where’s my little sister?” Teri said, pretending to sob.
“Clearly she’s Nana-Chan’s little sister now,” Sarah said.
A loud scream suddenly came from the living room. “Sarah! Sarah!” Cindy cried.
Sarah turned on her heels, and ran as fast as she could into the living room. “What’s wrong!?” Sarah asked, looking around the living room. To the girl’s relief, Cindy didn’t look hurt. She was now standing, and pointing at the television. “What is…” she began, making her way over to where her sister was standing.
On the television, Sarah could see Nana-Chan was gesturing with her hands, as though trying to tell someone off screen to come over to her, at the bottom of the screen were several words.
“Let’s see…” Sarah began. “Come meet Nana-Chan in person, tomorrow at the Lincoln Mall?” Sarah read.
“Can we go? Please!?” Cindy begged.
“After the heart attack you gave me?” Sarah asked.
“What’s going on?” Ashley asked. She, and Teri had followed Sarah into the living room. Each wore worried looks on their faces.
“Oh, it looks like Nana-Chan is going to be at the Lincoln Mall tomorrow, and Cindy wants me to take her,” Sarah said, rolling her eyes.
“I want to go too!” Teri said, holding up her right hand.
“Why?” Ashley asked, confused. “I thought you hated her.”
Teri snickered, as she crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I do, but I would never pass up the opportunity to look my rival in the eye, and tell her to stay away from my little…”
“I’m not taking you,” Sarah said, cutting her friend off. Sarah looked away from her friend, but her eyes fell on Cindy. Cindy’s eyes were large, and pleading.
“Puppy dog eyes…” Sarah breathed. “My one weakness… Fine!” Sarah said. “I’ll take you, but we have to ask mom, and dad first, okay?”
“Okay!” Cindy said, nodding several times.
* * * * * *
Later that night, after Teri, and Ashley went home, Sarah was in her room, finishing a book that she had started a week ago. “That was pretty good,” the girl said, in a low voice. Rubbing her sore eyes, Sarah got to her feet and stretched her hands high over her head. Turning on her heels, the girl made her way out of her bedroom, and now stood in front of her little sister’s room.
Gently taking the doorknob in her hands, she opened the door, and peered inside. The girl could see the sleeping form of her sister, curled up in a tight ball, under her warm blankets.
After closing the door, the girl was about to go to her bedroom, when she heard the front door open, and then close.
Sarah slowly made her way downstairs. Even though she was certain who it was, the girl was always cautious. Peering into the living room, Sarah spotted her mother. “Hey mom,” the girl said.
The girl’s mother turned quickly. “Sarah,” she breathed deeply, touching her chest. “You scared me.”
“Sorry about that,” Sarah said, smiling. “How was work?”
“Work was work,” the woman said, smiling back at her daughter. “How was school?” she asked.
Sarah took a deep breath. “School was school,” she said, dully.
“Very funny,” the woman said, smirking. “How’s Cindy? She’s asleep, right?”
“Yeah,” Sarah said, nodding. “Speaking of Cindy. There’s something she wanted me to ask you.”
“Uh-oh,” the woman said, making her way towards the kitchen.
“It’s nothing bad, really. It’s about Nana-Chan,” Sarah began. “It turns out that Nana-Chan is going to be at the mall tomorrow, and she was wondering if she could go. The event is free, and I’m willing to take her.”
“Nana-Chan?” Sarah’s mother said, furrowing her eyebrows. “Oh, that weird girl she’s obsessed with, right?”
“Yeah,” Sarah said, nodding.
“I have to work tomorrow,” the woman said.
“I don’t mind taking her,” Sarah said.
“What about your weekend? Do you really want to spend it like that?” The woman asked.
Sarah didn’t answer right away. In reality, she didn’t want to go to the mall just so her sister could see a strange girl, with a giant head, dance around for a few hours. “Not really, but I love Cindy, so I don’t mind going. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”
Sarah’s mom smiled warmly at her daughter. “You’re a good big sister, that’s for sure. I would have just said no myself,” the woman admitted. “Alright, if you want to take her, you can. Here…” She began, reaching into her pocket, and pulling out a little money.
“No, it’s free,” Sarah said, holding up her hands.
“I want you to take it. Buy yourself something, okay?” The woman said.
Sarah nodded, and took the money. “Thanks, mom.”
* * * * * *
Cindy could barely contain her excitement, as she and her big sister, made their way down several long streets, and were soon standing in front of Lincoln mall. The mall wasn’t very big, and only had about twenty stores inside. “Where is the event being held?” Sarah wondered, looking up, and down the mall.
The parking lot was nearly empty, and it didn’t look like anything special was actually happening there.
Cindy bounced up, and down on her feet, as she held her sisters hand. The girl was smiling brightly as well. “I wonder if I’ll be on TV!” the girl said, excitedly.
“I don’t know, kiddo,” Sarah said, giving her sisters hand a gentle squeeze. “Are you sure this event is taking place at this mall? I mean…” Sarah began, but stopped talking when she spotted a strange figure out of the corner of her eyes. For a split second, Sarah thought she saw Nana-Chan standing on the left side of the mall. For a moment she stood there, before turning, and making her way through a metal door.
“There,” Sarah said, pointing at the door.
“I think I saw her!” the girl said.
Sarah and Cindy ran as fast as they could until they reached the metal door. When the girls were close enough, they spotted a paper sign hanging on the door. “Come meet Nana-Chan!” was written, in crayon, on the sign.
“This is it,” Sarah said, looking down at her sister. “Are you nervous?”
Cindy nodded her head. “A little,” she said. “I hope she likes me.”
“I’m sure she’ll love you!” Sarah said, and with those words, she opened the door, and the two stepped inside.
At first, the girls saw nothing. The room was dark, and it was nearly impossible to make anything out. Sarah swallowed hard as she, and her sister started to walk forwards. As they walked, light started to come on, and soon the girls could see.
The room they stood in was large. Located on one side of the room, was the set for Nana-Chan’s show. The fake, painted house could be seen. The two trees located on both sides of the house, and the fake sun, that dangled from the ceiling. Seeing it in person, felt surreal, but it didn’t change Sarah’s feelings about the show.
“There!” Cindy said, pointing forwards.
Sarah looked down at her sister, and then back up at where she was pointing. Now standing in front of the fake house, was Nana-Chan. The girl had her back to them. “That’s weird,” she thought. “I didn’t see her before.”
Cindy was overwhelmed with excitement. Letting her sister’s hand go, Cindy ran as fast as she could towards the girl. When she was close enough, she threw her arms around Nana-Chan. “Nana-Chan! I’m a huge fan of yours! I love you!” she cried.
Nana-Chan didn’t say, or do, anything. She simply stood there, her back still turned to Cindy. After a few awkward seconds, Cindy let the girl go. It was then that Nana-Chan started to move.
Nana-Chan turned so she was now facing Cindy. Raising one hand, the girl did her peace pose, before patting Cindy on the head. Cindy giggled. “Is anyone else coming? Can I be on the show?” the girl asked excitedly.
Nana-Chan didn’t answer using words. Instead, she tapped her chin thoughtfully, before she nodded her head several times.
“Thank you, Nana-Chan!” Cindy said happily.
Cindy turned to her sister and smiled brightly. “She said I can be on the show!”
“Awesome!” Sarah said, smiling back at her sister.
“This is kind of creepy,” Sarah thought. She felt chills running up her spine. “I get Nana-Chan doesn’t speak on her show, but why isn’t she saying anything now?”
Sarah turned her eyes away from her sister, and examined the rest of the large room. On the other side of the room was another doorway, but besides that, and the actual set itself, the girl could see nothing else.
The lights that illuminated the room were located on the ceiling. “Where are the cameras?” the girl wondered aloud.
After talking to her sister, Cindy turned to face Nana-Chan. The girl opened her mouth to say something else, but before she could say a word, Nana-Chan lunged at the girl and wrapped her fingers tightly around her neck. Cindy gasped as her oxygen was cut off.
“St…” Cindy began, grabbing Nana-Chan’s hands, and trying to pry them off her throat. To the girl’s surprise, Nana-Chan was incredibly powerful.
Cindy opened her mouth to cry for her sister, but she couldn’t utter a sound. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes, and her head felt light.
“Hey!” Sarah screamed. The girl suddenly appeared, and slammed her body into Nana-Chan’s. The sudden blow did manage to knock Nana-Chan away from her sister. Cindy sank to her knees and started coughing violently. “Are you okay?” Sarah asked, dropping to her knees in front of her sister.
“She… tried…” Cindy began, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Sarah screamed, narrowing her eyes at Nana-Chan. It was at that moment that a sharp pain ripped through Sarah’s shoulder. “Oh, man,” the girl rasped, grabbing her shoulder. Adrenaline had been pumping through the girl’s veins when she slammed her body into Nana-Chan’s. Now that it had stopped, she could feel the pain.
Nana-Chan didn’t say a word. Instead, she turned on her heels and faced the two girls. “Say something!” Sarah demanded. “Why were you choking my sister? What’s wrong with you!?”
Nana-Chan didn’t speak. Instead, she took a step towards the two girls.
Sarah opened her mouth to say something else, but a thought stopped her. “She’s not here for a show, she’s trying to kill Cindy!” Sarah picked her sister off the ground. “We have to go, now!” Sarah said, grabbing Cindy’s hand. The two girls ran as fast as they could towards the door. Once they were there, Sarah grabbed the handle and pulled, but to her horror, the door refused to budge.
“Help!” Sarah screamed, slamming her fists into the door. “Someone, help us!”
“Help! Please!” Cindy cried, as more and more tears trickled down her cheeks.
The two girls pounded against the door with all their might. It was at that second that Sarah remembered Nana-Chan. Turning Quickly, the girl saw their attacker was now standing directly behind them. Not only that, but she was holding a large axe over her head.
“Shit!” Sarah screamed, grabbing her sister, and leaping out of the way, just as Nana-Chan brought the axe down hard. The axe slammed into the metal door, and even though it was made of metal, it still left a small hole in it.
Sarah rolled onto her back. The girl could hear her heart pounding in her ears. “Cindy, you have to get up!” the girl began, crawling backwards. Nana-Chan was slowly turning her attention towards the two girls. “You have to run, okay? Run!”
Cindy scrambled to her feet, and started running as fast as she could. Nana-Chan followed the girl with her eyes, before she took off after her. Sarah was surprised that even though Nana-Chan was still walking, she was incredibly fast.
“Stay away from her!” Sarah roared as she got to her feet as well, and ran after the two.
Cindy balled her hands into tight fists, closed her eyes, and ran as fast as she could. Before the girl reached the middle of the room however, something grabbed her right hand and spun her around. Cindy gasped as she fell backwards, and landed hard on her butt.
Nana-Chan towered over the girl. Raising the axe high over her head. Just as the girl was about to bring the axe down, Sarah kicked her hard in the back. The kick didn’t seem to faze Nana-Chan; the only thing it managed to do was get her attention.
Nana-Chan turned towards Sarah. “Fuck you!” Sarah screamed, angrily. “Going after a baby like that! Why don’t you come after me!?”
Nana-Chan didn’t respond. Instead, she just stood there, teetering back and forth as though she were drunk. Suddenly she moved forwards. The sudden movement surprised Sarah and nearly caught her off guard.
Turning quickly on her heels, Sarah began running as fast as she could. Sarah ran around the fake house, and pressed her back against it. “What the hell is going on here?” she thought. “Where am I going…” Before Sarah could finish her thought, the axe smashed through the wall beside her. Without thinking, Sarah pushed against it. To the girl’s surprise, and relief, the fake house toppled forwards and fell on top of Nana-Chan.
Sarah quickly found Cindy. Grabbing the girl’s hand, she guided the girl towards the other door. Grabbing the knob, she was relieved to see it open. The two girls now found themselves in a long hallway. “Here!” Sarah called out, guiding her sister down the hall and into an adjacent room.
The room didn’t have a door, but it did have three large black barrels, a few lockers, and a metal pipe, which was leaning against the wall, near the lockers. Sarah flung both lockers open, they were empty. “Damn,” Sarah sighed.
“Sissy…” Cindy sobbed. The girl had her arms wrapped around her sister’s waist, and she was crying uncontrollably.
“It’s okay,” Sarah said, patting her sister on the head. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
* * * * * *
Nana-Chan opened the doorway the two girls had just run through, and slowly made her way down the long hallway. When she finally reached the room with no door, she peered inside. The room looked completely empty, except for the lockers located on the other side of the room. They were both ajar.
Nana-Chan quickly cleared the room. Without hesitating, she flung the first door open, but it was empty. Grabbing the next locker, she opened it as well, but it too was empty.
Nana-Chan turned just as Sarah appeared, swinging the metal pipe as hard as she could. The pipe struck the side of Nana-Chan’s head, causing the girl to fall backwards. “Run!” Sarah screamed, as she slammed one end of the pipe into Nana-Chan’s stomach.
Cindy ran out from her hiding spot behind the barrels, and out of the room as fast as she could. Sarah wanted to go with her, but had to make sure that Nana-Chan didn’t follow her.
Sarah took a step backwards and swung the pipe once more. This time, it struck Nana-Chan in the arm. The impact was hard, and painful, but Nana-Chan didn’t even seem to notice.
“What the hell are you?” Sarah demanded.
Sarah swung the pipe once more, but this time Nana-Chan caught it.
“Let go!” Sarah screamed, pulling and jerking against the pipe as hard as she could. Nana-Chan tugged on the pipe once, causing Sarah to stumble forwards.
Nana-Chan caught the girl by the neck with one hand and began to squeeze. Sarah gasped. The girl lashed out with her hands, kicking hard with her feet, but no matter what she did, the girl just couldn’t escape.
“No!” Sarah thought. Her mind felt like it was on fire. “I won’t die here! I won’t!”
Sarah’s focus quickly turned to Nana-Chan’s head. Grabbing it with all her might, the girl pulled. Nana-Chan let go of Sarah’s neck, grabbed her head as well, and tried to pull it back, but it was too late.
Sarah tugged the mask off Nana-Chan’s head, and tossed it aside. “Let’s see what you really look like!” Sarah said. At first she smiled a triumphant smile, but it quickly faded.
Nana-Chan stood before the girl, but underneath the large head, she had no face. Nana-Chan had no hair either, nor any eyes, nose, or mouth. All she had was a blank head, with a black bruise that moved around on its own. Sarah’s eyes went wide with terror, and she started to get dizzy.
“What… are… you?” the girl cried out in exasperation.
“Sarah!” Cindy screamed.
Sarah shook her head as she turned away from Nana-Chan, and ran from the room. The girl soon found herself standing in the large room once more. Sarah could see Cindy near the door, but now it was open.
“Cindy, go!” Sarah screamed, making her way towards the doorway. Just as the girl reached the door, she turned, and saw Nana-Chan. The girl stood in the middle of the room, and she was waving to Sarah, almost as though trying to convince the sisters to come back.
* * * * * *
After Sarah and Cindy escaped the room, they called the police. Moments later, the police arrived and stormed the room. Sarah held Cindy, who had fallen asleep.
“Are you two okay? Is anyone hurt?” asked one of the officers.
“That Nana-Chan choked both of us,” Sarah said, lifting her head.
“That’s one hell of a bruise,” the officer said, looking it over. “We’re going to have the paramedics take you both to the hospital. Where are your parents?”
“Working,” Sarah said. The girl felt tears forming in the corners of her eyes. “I was supposed to be… taking care of my sister, but…”
“And you did that,” the man said. “She’s going to be having some bad dreams, I’m sure, but she’s alive, thanks to you.”
Sarah nodded, but she still felt like a failure. “We shouldn’t have come here. Why did we?” the girl wondered to herself. As she sat there, she overheard the officers’ conversation.
“What did you find?” one of the men asked.
“Nothing,” said another man. “Room’s clean.”
“Wait,” Sarah said, looking up. “That can’t be right. We didn’t take our eyes off that door. There’s no way she could have escaped!”
“I’m sorry,” the officer said, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders. “The room’s completely empty.”
Sarah slowly shook her head. “Can I see?” she asked.
Sarah reluctantly left her sister and followed the officers. Soon they stood in the large room.
“It’s gone. Everything’s gone,” she said. The fake television show set was gone, and Nana-Chan was nowhere to be seen. “I can’t believe it.”
“I’m sorry,” the officer Sarah talked to before said, patting her on the back, “I believe you. I believe something happened, but there’s nothing here now.”
* * * * * *
The following day, Sarah and Cindy were back home. Cindy didn’t do a lot of talking following their returned from the hospital. The girls’ parents also took the day off, and were now upstairs.
Sarah had found it difficult to fall asleep. When she did manage to doze off, she had nightmares about Nana-Chan; Cindy was no different.
The sound of someone knocking on the front door could be heard. Making her way towards the door, Sarah looked through the peephole and saw Teri standing on the other side.
“Hi, Teri,” Sarah said, opening the door.
Teri didn’t say anything. Instead, she threw her arms around Sarah and held the girl close. “Are you okay?” she asked, after a brief pause.
Sarah fought the urge to cry. “Y-yeah,” she replied.
“Where are your parents?” Teri asked.
“Upstairs. They’re talking about getting a gun, or something,” Sarah said.
“Listen, there’s something I need to tell you,” Teri began, closing the door behind them. “Ashley, and I, after hearing about the attack, started doing some research about Nana-Chan. We couldn’t find anything.”
“No?” Sarah said, surprised.
“No, what channel does she come on?” Teri asked, pulling out her cell phone.
The two girls made their way into the living room and turned on the television. Almost immediately, the Nana-Chan theme song rang out throughout the house. Strangely, the channel sounded louder than before.
“Channel fourteen,” Sarah answered.
“No, turn it off!” Cindy cried, running out of the room.
“Cindy, it’s okay!” Sarah called after the girl, but she knew it wasn’t. Sarah pressed the mute button on the remote, but it didn’t work.
Teri had dialed Ashley’s number. The second her friend picked up, the girl said, “Channel fourteen.”
“Okay,” Ashley said, on the other line. “It’s not there. Are you sure it’s the right channel?”
“Yeah,” Teri said. “I’m looking at that psycho right now.”
Nana-Chan wasn’t dancing that day. Instead, she stood in the middle of her studio set, and looked directly into the camera. Her artificial blue eyes seemed even more menacing than before.
“It’s not on,” Ashley said.
“Okay, Sarah,” Teri began, making her way out of the room. “I’m going to borrow your TV, all right?”
Teri didn’t wait for a response, as she ran up stairs, and into Sarah’s bedroom.
Sarah’s eyes were locked on the TV screen. Nana-Chan still hadn’t moved. “What are you?” Sarah asked in a low voice. “Why do you wear that stupid head?”
Sarah didn’t notice, but Teri was now back in the living room. “Sarah?” she began.
Sarah looked up and saw that Teri’s face had gone completely white. It looked as if she had just seen a ghost. “I just turned to channel fourteen in your room,” Teri said, “and she’s not on it either. She’s only appearing on that television.”
Sarah’s eyes went wide, as she turned her attention back to Nana-Chan. “I saw her without her mask,” Sarah began. “She was… she was…”
Teri made her way over to Sarah.
“What is she?” Teri asked, and just as she did, Nana-Chan’s show vanished.
Sarah shook her head.
“I don’t know.”
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