The GNP Presents:
Sora no Daikaiju: An Excerpt from the Writings of Shigeru Kawamura
Based on the 1956 film Rodan
From an original story by Takeshi Kimura, Ken Kuronuma, and Takeo Murata
Based on the script by David Duncan
Adaptation by Daniel DiManna
A NOTE ON THE TEXT
The following document was recovered from the home of Shigeru and Kiyo Kawamura in a small Kyushu town, following the recent incident at the nearby Mt. Aso involving the reawakening of the monster Rodan. In the wake of the beast’s return, the Kawmura family quickly relocated to a town some distance away, taking only their most valuable and prized possessions for the move and leaving the remainder of their belongings and furnishings behind for the recovery and rebuilding of the town. Following their generous donation, work began on sorting through the remaining items in the home, and among them – tucked away at the bottom of a drawer in an old desk – was what appeared to be a multi-page letter sealed in an unmarked envelope. Examination of the hand-written document revealed an incredible account by Kawamura-San of his encounter with the Rodan duo that first appeared from the region eight years ago. While it was common knowledge among the townspeople that both Shigeru and Kiyo had lived through the incident of 1956, the experiences present in Shigeru’s account were detailed beyond anything he apparently ever talked about to friends, family, and neighbors. The letter bore no address, and did not appear to be intended for anyone specific. Instead, it seemed to exist solely for the purpose of allowing Kawamura-San to work through the trauma he obviously carried from the incident, which also involved a series of horrific murders caused by a horde of massive insects that emerged prior to the advent of the Rodans.
Attempts to contact the Kawamura family for further details on the document – and other writings left behind in the residence – have thus far proven unsuccessful. With no permission from the family, any plans for the document’s future – including possible publication – are currently on hold. Until such a time as the document can be seen and shared with the public at large, it will be kept strictly as a source of reference for the scientific community and in the custody of the Japanese government. No matter its ultimate purpose and fate, it is hoped that Kawamura-San’s words will remain preserved for the sake of posterity, and will find new use in a world where seeing a monster is no longer a rarity.
Please note that only the aforementioned letter, and not other recovered documents, have been reproduced below, and that certain spelling errors and the occasional grammatical issue have been corrected for ease of reading.
To whom it may concern,
I’m not sure who will ever read these words. I’m not even sure if they will ever be read at all. I suppose I’m not actually writing this for anyone to read. If anything, this is for the sake of my own sanity. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve seen things no man has ever witnessed before, things that can’t simply be buried away in the dark corners of my mind or simply forgotten with time and age. If I were to live to be one hundred, the memories of what I’ve seen and experienced would be as fresh and horrifying then as they are to me now. No, I’ll never forget these events. But perhaps, through putting them down on paper and, in a sense, reliving them, I can begin to move on.
When people talk of facing their demons, they usually refer to demons of the mind, metaphorical concoctions without form, flesh, or blood. I truly wish I were as lucky as they. For unlike them, my demons were very real beings, ghastly apparitions with slicing claws and wings of leather. They came from under the very Earth I worked and lived upon, took the lives of my friends and colleagues, and very nearly cost me not just my own life, but my mind itself. It’s the kind of story that nightmares are made of. It’s the kind of story I often find myself wishing actually had been just a nightmare. But it all happened. As hard as it may be to believe for those who weren’t there, it was all real, a nightmare that I couldn’t awaken from. In many ways, I still feel as though I’ve yet to awaken. Despite the months that have passed since those events took place, I have yet to truly find peace. I pray that this is how I will find it.
The story of my experience begins in the mining town of Kitamatsu, the village where I was born and grew up. Kitamatsu was a mining community, with almost every resident dependent upon the mines for their livelihoods. It’s no longer a town that can be found on maps, or visited by travelers. But for nearly all of my life, it was the town I called home. It was the town where I worked, where I made friends, and where I fell in love. To think that the place – the home – that gave me so much now lies ruined and buried under volcanic rock and ash brings me great sadness.
It was in our Kitamatsu mines that an unusual horror began, on a day that started much like any other day. Men coming to work as always, and roll call as always. Everything normal. Yet somehow, you knew it wasn’t normal. There was a feeling of uneasiness in the air. It was affecting all of us, but no more so than two of my fellow miners, Goro and Yoshizo. The two had lately been getting into fights and could hardly be in each other’s company for more than a few seconds before violence broke out. I had known Goro for a long while. His sister Kiyo and I were planning to be married, and during our courtship I had come to consider Goro as a brother. It wasn’t like him to fight on the job. It wasn’t like any of the men to do so. It was just another example of that strange tension that was effecting us all. Each time the men boarded the trams that would take them deep into the bowels of the earth, you could almost see it working in them. Goro and the others suddenly seemed afraid of the darkness.
One thing that disturbed them was the fact that Mine #8 in the western sector was going too deep, far deeper than any vein they had ever worked. It was becoming dangerous. Despite my best efforts to find a solution to the shaft’s structural problems, I would never get the chance to resolve them. Fate would intervene, and by our own hands the mine would become a deathtrap, an entrance into Hell itself.
As I mentioned before, the day this nightmare began started as normally as one could imagine. But then came word that Mine #8 had flooded, that several meters of water had burst through a weakened wall and quickly filled the shaft. I remember rushing into the mine to inspect the damage, and my heart quickening as the men informed me that Goro and Yoshi had yet to return to the safe zone. I refused to believe the worst, and waded into the flooded shaft, the light from my hardhat guiding the way. It was deathly quiet, with only the sounds of the water rippling against our bodies to remind us that sound still existed at all. The journey into the mine seemed to last forever, but in reality, it was only seven or eight meters into the flooded shaft before we spotted Yoshi’s body, floating upside-down in the murky water. The men and I grabbed his stiff corpse and quickly began our return to the surface.
It wasn’t certain how long Yoshi had been dead before we found him. But what was clear was that he hadn’t died from drowning. He had been killed… no, it was more than that. He had been slaughtered like an animal. His body was covered in slashes and deep cuts, as if he had been attacked by a madman with a katana. The poor man was almost hacked to pieces, with a head wound determined to be what ultimately took his life. Even in death, there was a look of horror on his face, as if in his last moments, he had seen something dreadful and terrible beyond words. We were all stunned. The doctor was convinced that it was murder, and insisted that the police be contacted and informed that a killer was on the loose. And in the minds of almost everyone in the town, there was only one man who could be that killer: Goro. In a way, it made sense. The two men had been fighting, and Goro had yet to emerge from the flooded mine. However, I knew Goro better than that. I knew he was no killer. Perhaps he had remained in the mine to protect himself from persecution, or to hide from whatever had killed Yoshizo. Perhaps he was trapped. Perhaps he, too, was dead. These were the thoughts that swirled through my head as Yoshizo’s grieving widow was comforted, as I did my best to assure a worried Kiyo, as I tried to return to working on a resolution to the mystery of the flooding shaft. Little did I know, however, that this day of horror was only just beginning.
Three officers were quickly stationed within the flooded mine shaft, hoping to spot Goro attempting to flee from the only exit available to him. Several hours after entering the mine, all contact with the officers stopped, and we once again feared the worst. Those fears were horrifically realized when men were sent into the mine to check up on the officers, and retuned with three corpses mutilated almost beyond recognition. As long as I live, I will never forget the sight of those men, their clothes soaked red with blood and entrails, their bodies dashed to ribbons and oozing with the stench of death and fear. One of the officers had been all but decapitated, his head held onto his body by a single strip of torn skin. It was unthinkable, almost too much for my eyes to take in. It seemed as though the four victims had been on the receiving end of pure evil, of an unbridled anger that sought to tear them to shreds and kill them with fear as much as with violence.
The sun set over a Kitamatsu gripped by fear and mourning. The uneasiness that had possessed us all the previous few days had now been replaced by terror in its most raw and potently visceral form. The air was thick with it, as if a fog had descended upon the town. It was through this fog I walked to Kiyo and Goro’s home, knowing that no one would be more scared or apprehensive than the woman I loved. As I made my way through the town, I passed a group of wailing women, among them the widow of one of the murdered men. I would later find out from Kiyo that these women had been at her home, and that the widow had been screaming and pounding on her door. Kiyo would say that she had never been more scared in her life, convinced that if the grieving woman had gotten in, that she would surely have tried to hurt or kill her. When I arrived at Kiyo’s home, the look of fear on her face gave me pause. Within moments, she was crying in my arms. We sat together for a short while, and I did my best to comfort her. I could only imagine how she must have been feeling, how fearful and worried she surely was. My heart ached for her, and I resolved to work harder to solve the mystery of Goro’s disappearance.
But our moment of levity would be short lived. The silence of Kiyo’s home was shattered only mere minutes after my arrival, and in a sudden and horrific moment that neither of us will ever forget, the horror that plagued the town manifested itself before our very eyes.
It was the sound of the creature that affected us first. A most unnatural, warbling sound that seemed almost insane in its intensity. And then a second sound, the scuttling clack of dozens of small feet on the ground, growing louder as the beast appeared outside Kiyo’s open door. The monster that stood before us was ghastly beyond description, a long, almost serpent-like maggot with piercing eyes, a two or three meter bulbous body of segmented flesh, and two large claws that opened and closed like shears and bashed aside one of Kiyo’s birdcages as it advanced. Kiyo and I fled the house and escaped the creature’s grasp, yelling for help as we ran blindly through the town. Within seconds, the police had arrived, and I returned with them to the house to confront the beast. Once more, it advanced, chasing us out of the house before turning around and disappearing into the woods.
The following minutes were pure chaos. Alarms sounded. Officers escorted panicking townspeople out of their homes in an evacuation. The sounds of screams and confusion filled the air. As people ran all around us, a group of officers and I managed to track the monster to the side of a nearby hill. They opened fire, growing ever closer to the creature as it stood unaffected by their bullets. Two of the officers decided to move in closer, hoping to fire the shots that would kill the beast. But it was then that the monster seemed to spring to life, launching itself down the hillside, its claws outstretched toward the men. In only a few seconds, it had them it its grasp, and began to fling and toss their bodies around as if they were nothing more than mere rag dolls. We could do nothing as we watched this massacre, and as the bodies of the men slid, broken and bloody, down the hillside, the massive creature scuttled away, once again disappearing into the darkness.
It didn’t take a close inspection of the newest corpses to determine that this mysterious monster was the killer responsible for the previous four deaths. The wounds were identical, and it was clear that this thing, whatever it had been, had emerged from the mine to slaughter us all. When word came that the monster had returned underground, I quickly rushed to the scene, where we discovered a fellow miner, Tohei-san, laying in a bloody mess in front of the mine’s opening. I knew that this was our chance. With the creature underground, we could corner and destroy it. More importantly, I knew that an innocent man was still down there. Whether he was dead or alive, I was determined to return to the mine and find Goro. The wait for further reinforcements was not a long one, and once they arrived, I led the charge into the mine to put an end to these horrific events once and for all.
If only it had been that easy.
With armed men behind me and only the light of my hardhat showing the way, I once again ventured to the flooded shaft. The water had recessed, allowing us to go deeper than we had before. My heart was pounding in my chest, not sure of what I would find in the darkness. I don’t recall being more afraid to find Goro dead, or to once again encounter the insect-like monster who had taken so many lives. Whatever the case, I was soon to find both. It was the glint of Goro’s hat that first caught my eye, and by the time I reached his resting place, the air in the mine was filled with the sound of the monster. It was too much to take in. Goro was dead, killed by the beast that now lurched its massive body toward me. I quickly pulled away, fleeing up the shaft as the officers opened fire with a machine gun. Once again, the monster showed no signs of injury. What kind of unholy creature could withstand the onslaught of such weapons? I refused to give the matter any further thought. In my mind, there was only one objective: destroy the beast, no matter what.
As the men and I retreated, a sudden idea came to me, and I ran further up the shaft to where the mine carts stood locked into place on the declining tracks. If the creature could not be shot, perhaps it could be crushed. I yelled for the track to be cleared, and released the breaks on the carts, still loaded and heavy with coal. I rode down the shaft for several dozen meters before jumping off, and the men and I watched the trail of carts round the bend and disappear from view. We waited, and several seconds later, the squeaks of the monster were drowned out by a loud crash. The sounds of twisting metal, splintering wood, and spilling coal echoed up the shaft, followed by the creature’s cries of pain and anguish. In mere moments, only silence greeted our ears.
Once again, we descended into the shaft, soon coming upon the wreckage of the mine carts. Crawling over broken bits and piles of coal, we came to the body of Goro, and began the process of removing him from the pile of fallen rocks that had crushed him. As I continued excavating his corpse, the shock of seeing my friend in this condition finally hit me. Kiyo would be devastated, especially after I had filled her with so much hope. A good man had died at the hands of that damned creature, and even in death I would never forgive it for taking so many lives.
As Goro’s body grew more and more visible, it became clear that half of his body was resting in a newly revealed cave. Perhaps he had been trying to crawl into this space to escape the insects and had been caught under falling rocks. Perhaps it was through this hole that the water – and the insects – had first emerged. In the moment, it mattered little to me. But there was no way for me to have known that this cave would soon play host to the most horrific event of my life, and that its secrets and horrors would come to nearly rob me of my sanity.
It began with a sound, the sound of the insect monster that we thought we had killed. We had killed it, of course, but we hadn’t considered the fact that there might have been more than one. It was this mistake that nearly cost us all our lives. In the cave revealed by the discovery of Goro’s body, a second monster appeared. In the act of exhuming Goro, I had entered the lair of the beast, and as I moved out of the way to allow the officers to shoot at the monster, I unknowingly sealed by own fate. Within seconds, the cave began to rumble. Rocks, jarred loose by the machine gun fire, began to fall. The monster was crushed, saving my life, but the cave-in also closed off my only exit. Worse still, the ground was giving out under my feet, and I soon found myself falling, rolling down sharp rocks and growing farther and farther away from my only chance of escape. I closed my eyes, sure that death was soon to come for me.
But death didn’t come. What came instead was a vision of Hell.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a new cave. I wasn’t sure how far I’d fallen. For all I knew, I could have been in the very center of the Earth. I struggled to stand, my torn and bloody clothes hanging off my filthy body. My hat had fallen several meters away, and in my disorientation made no attempt to retrieve it. I heard and saw bats flying above my head, but was too exhausted to realize that this meant an opening had to exist. I stumbled into a small river of water, soaking my ruined clothes. And then, a sickeningly familiar sound filled my ears. I looked up, and realized too late that I was surrounded.
All around me, clinging to rocks and wriggling in and out of view, were hundreds upon hundreds of the insect monsters. They existed in numbers too large to count, their piercing purple eyes shining like a swarm of fireflies in the night.
Surely, I thought, this was Hell. This is what it felt like to stare death in the face, knowing that you could do nothing to escape its embrace.
And that’s when I saw it.
The egg towered above me, its brown colors almost blending into the rocks that surrounded it. Only it’s perfectly formed shape betrayed its presence. At first, it was simply that: a curious shape that caught my eye amidst the insects that swarmed around it. But as I stared, I felt a low rumbling begin to fill the cave. And then the shape began to move. At first, it was barely perceptible. And then, gradually, its movements became more apparent. The rumbling grew louder, and as the water I rested in began to vibrate with a greater intensity, the first cracks began to appear. And then, a moment of silence, as if whatever was in the egg were gathering its energy for one, final push against the shell…
And finally, with a thunderous sound, the shell gave way, exploding outward as the abhorrent thing inside burst its way to freedom. Two great, leathery wings began to flap about, and two eyes as black as night peered from beneath heavy brows situated above a pointed beak. The beast was bird-like, but had no feathers. Instead, massive scales covered its head and arms, and rows of spikes protruded from its chest. From the back of its head rose two massive crests, like the horns of a terrible demon.
My eyes stared unblinking at the massive infant, my mind unable to comprehend what I was seeing. And then, a sight that no words can describe began to unfold before me. With all the ease of a child picking up a beetle from the bark of a tree, the newly hatched creature bent its ghastly head down toward the rocks where the insects continued to crawl, and one by one, began to snap them up in its beak. The cave was filled with the sounds of popping bodies and the crunch of exoskeletons being chewed. Each time the giant swallowed one of its meals, it simply bent over and pecked at another. The massive beasts that had proven so lethal and unbeatable to us mere mortal men had become nothing but helpless snacks in the belly of a newborn titan.
It was beyond anything my brain could have possibly comprehended. The scale, the slaughter, the insignificance I felt in that moment… it was the last emotion I remember feeling before a numbness overtook my body and mind. I felt my legs carry me backwards, felt my eyes sting from lack of blinking. Within seconds, no sight at all would greet my eyes. No feeling of moving or breathing would enter my mind. The last thing I remember of being in that nightmarish place was a slight rustling of my hair from the flapping of massive wings, and the sound of a roar echo through the damp and dark corners of the monster’s nest…