Junji Ito Wiki

Blood-Bubble Bushes (血玉樹 chitamaki) is a short story by Junji Ito originally published in Monthly Halloween in November 1993. It has not yet been officially published in English.

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Ansai and Kana crash their car. They see that there is blood all over the windscreen, and become worried they hit someone. However, they can't find any carcass in the road. They are stranded in the middle of nowhere and walk around looking for help. They come to a hut full of strange small boys, who won't talk but instead just giggle. Ansai and Kana leave but realize the boys have followed them. They are violently attacked by the boys, who turn out to have mouths full of sharp fangs. Kana is badly wounded and the boys drink her blood.

Ansai and Kana reach a village but discover it is deserted. They see bloodstains all over the walls and streets. They trace the bloodstains to a house where they meet a man who claims to be the only person living in the village. He takes care of Kana's injuries and invites them to stay with him overnight, since he has no phone. They eat dinner with him and he tells them the story of his girlfriend, who looked just like Kana.

She was extremely self-loathing, and when she cut herself or had a nosebleed, she claimed her blood was trying to escape her because it hated her. She tried to commit suicide by slashing her throat because she wanted to give her blood its "freedom." The man saved her, but a tree-like structure grew out from the wound, and bore fruits filled with blood. She died when all her blood had drained away into the fruit.

Ansai wakes and realizes the man drugged him during dinner. He wanders downstairs where he sees that the man, a vampire, is drinking Kana's blood. Ansai notices the trail of blood that led him to the house, and remembers that he never found where it led. He traces it to a door in the house which opens onto a yard filled with trees that bear the fruits filled with blood. The man claims that they grew there after he buried the fruits that came from his girlfriend. He denies doing anything to Kana and says Ansai must have been dreaming.

The man goes to bed, but before Ansai can follow, he hears a voice whispering "save me ... save me." He finds a mummified corpse under one of the trees. It explains that the man turned all the residents of the village into the trees, and that his story about his girlfriend is a lie. As a vampire, he needs the fruit to maintain the supply of blood; but now that all the villagers have become mummies, he is looking for a new sacrifice. Once the trees start to grow, the veins suck the life out of the person. The only way to escape this fate is for them to eat their own blood bubbles, but this turns the person into a vampire - thus the little boys became vampires too.

Ansai convinces himself he is dreaming. He finds Kana but the blood bubbles have started to grow from her neck. The man taunts them that Ansai won't be able to escape because of the poison he drank. At this point the vampire boys break into the house. They find the yard filled with the trees and joyfully consume the blood bubbles, with the mummified man (who turns out to be the father of one of the boys) being trampled to death by his own son.

Ansai and Kana take the opportunity to escape. Ansai, weakened by the poison and the effects of the man's magic, is not able to stop Kana eating one of her own blood bubbles as she is desperate for the taste of blood.