Previously: The Staircase Ritual.
The Japanese ritual game Daruma-san, also known as The Bath Game, is probably best described as a deadly version of Red Light, Green Light. After the initial summoning ritual has been performed, it follows the basic rules of a Japanese children’s game called Darumasan ga Koronda — literally, “The Daruma doll fell down.” The player is “it,” while Daruma-san attempts to catch “it.” But if Daruma-san catches you… well, let’s just say you should never, EVER let that happen.
Curiously, Daruma or Dharma dolls are traditionally symbols of good luck. The Daruma-san of this game, however, seems not to carry the same good luck as her namesake—and neither, should she catch you, will you.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A bathroom with a bathtub.
NOTE: A standing shower may NOT be substituted. You MUST use a bathtub.
- Begin at night, just before you got to bed.
- Shed your clothing and enter the bathroom. Fill the bathtub with water and turn out the lights.
- Climb into the tub and sit down facing the faucet and taps. Close your eyes and begin washing your hair.
- As you wash your hair, repeat the words “Daruma-san fell down. Daruma-san fell down.” Do not stop repeating them until you have finished washing your hair. Do not open your eyes.
- If you have performed this action correctly, you will gain a mental image of a Japanese woman standing in a bathtub. She will slip and fall, landing face first on a rusty tap and gouging her right eye out.
- Should you hear any noise behind you or feel movement in the tub, do NOT turn around and do NOT open your eyes. Ask aloud, ‘Why did you fall in the bathtub?”
- Allow the question to hang in the air. Then, keeping your eyes shut, carefully stand up and get out of the tub. Do not trip and fall yourself, and do not drain the tub. Exit the bathroom, shutting the door behind you.
- You may now open your eyes. Leave the bathroom as you left it — water in the tub, door shut — until morning. Do not turn on any lights.
- Go to sleep.
The Main Event:
- Awaken at your usual time. The game begins the moment you open your eyes.
- Go about your day as normal. You will feel a constant presence behind you; it is likely that, should you turn to look, you will see nothing. However, glancing over your right shoulder may occasionally reveal a glimpse of her. Her hair will be black and tangled, and she will have only one eye.
- She will attempt to get closer and closer to you as the day goes on. Should you spot her and find that she is too close for comfort, shout “Tomare!” — that is, “Stop!” — and run away. The idea is to put some distance between you and her; do NOT allow her to catch you.
- Capture her in your gaze by looking over your right shoulder.
- Shout “Kitta!” — that is, “I cut you loose!” — while swinging your arm down in a chopping motion. If you have performed this action correctly, a winning condition will have been achieved and the game will be over.
- If you have NOT performed this action correctly… run.
She is fond of water and dark spaces; as such, it is recommended that you avoid immersing yourself in or crossing running water, as well as traversing dark spaces, until the conclusion of the game.
Use the “Tomare!” command sparingly. Each time you use it, the amount of time for which it will stall her will diminish. Use it only when absolutely necessary.
The ending MUST be performed before midnight. Failing to do so will grant her permission to enter your dreams. Do NOT allow her to do this. Additionally, performing the ending is not as easy as it seems. If she suspects you are about to try to end the game, she may hide. You MUST have her in your sights when you perform the “Kitta!” command.
Concerning Second Attempts:
It is NOT recommended that you play this game more than once. Should you play it a second time, she will begin in the same position she was in at the conclusion of the previous game. This will not provide adequate distance to escape her.
Do NOT let her catch you.