The Manhole is a creepy story from Japan about a girl who sees her classmate acing strangely on her way to school.
One morning, a young Japanese girl named Mai was walking to school. On the way, she happened to see another girl playing at the end of the street. For some strange reason, the girl was jumping up and down. Mai knew that the girl must be attending the same school as her because they were both wearing the same school uniform.
When Mai got closer, she saw that the girl was jumping up and down on a manhole cover. Mai was puzzled. She wondered what the girl was doing. Why was she jumping up and down on the same spot like that? Was she insane? Was it a game?
As she was jumping, Mai heard the girl muttering to herself, “Three, three, three, three, three…”
As Mai passed by, she recognized the girl. It was Haruka, a quiet and strange girl in her class who was often the target of bullying. Sometimes the other girls in the class would just ignore Haruka. At other times, they would play cruel pranks on her. The teachers knew she was being bullied, but they just turned a blind eye and didn’t bother getting involved.
Realizing that school was starting in a few minutes, Mai hurried off, leaving the strange girl to her odd game.
That day, in class, Mai noticed that there was an empty desk. Haruka hadn’t shown up for school. All day, Mai wondered what the girl was up to.
When the school bell rang, all the kids streamed out onto the street. Mai walked home and, on the way, she came across Haruka again. The girl was still in the same spot she had been that morning. She was still jumping up and down.
Mai walked up to the girl and stopped right in front of her. The girl just kept jumping as if Mai wasn’t there.
She had a big smile on her face and was saying, “Nine, nine, nine, nine, nine…”
“What are you doing?” asked Mai.
Haruka didn’t answer and just went on saying, “nine, nine, nine, nine, nine…”
“I asked you what you were doing!” shouted Mai.
The girl just ignored her and kept jumping up and down.
Mai didn’t particularly like or dislike the girl. She remembered calling the girl some cruel names in the past and bullying her along with her other classmates.
“Who do you think you are?” Mai shouted. “Answer me when I talk to you!”
Until that moment, Mai had never hated Haruka like the others did. But the sight of the girl enjoying herself so much and ignoring her so completely, filled Mai with anger.
“You better tell me what you’re doing, or you’ll be sorry,” warned Mai.
The girl just went on jumping happily, as if she hadn’t even heard Mai’s warning.
Suddenly, Mai lost her temper and pushed Haruka to the ground.
“My turn!” said Mai, as she took the girl’s place and stood on the manhole.
Mai jumped up in the air and, at that exact moment, Haruka reached out and removed the manhole cover. Mai fell straight down.
The strange girl got to her feet and replaced the manhole cover. Then, with a big smile of satisfaction on her face, she started jumping up and down again
As she jumped, she said “Ten, ten, ten, ten, ten…”