A creepy shrine I stumbled across one day.

I’m extremely happy to report I had a short, slightly scary story published on HalfHourtoKill.com called “Tsumi.” You can read it here.

In Japanese, 罪 “tsumi” means “to sin”, but there are kanji for the word “sparrowhawk” that looks like this 雀鷂 and is also read as “tsumi.”

I am now kicking myself becuase I didn’t record where I read this, but I read somewhere that there is actually a shrine in Japan dedicated to a sparrowhawk that, in a legend, did the things I described in the short story. I just loved the idea that a village decided to dedicate a shrine to the hawk in the hopes of appeasing its vengeful soul. If I can ever find again where I read about that legend, I’ll add it here.

I listened to the soundtrack of the latest rendition of Dune while writing the story. If you feel so inclined, please put the soundtrack on while you read the story.

The feel of the shrine I described in the short story comes from an actual shrine I stumbled across while hiking one day in Japan. I was following quite a few people on a well-worn path when all of a sudden to my left there was the entrance to a silent, empty shrine. I managed to take a photo of it, which is above, but I didn’t have the courage to actually explore the shrine. It was just too eerie, and no one else hiking the mountain even seemed to acknowledge it.

Maybe these types of creepy, empty shrines are all over the place to the point where hikers ignore them out of boredom, but it certainly stuck out to me.