There’s something addictive about a woman with demon magic.
My friends tell me things like, “Darwin, what’s wrong with you? You are obsessed!”
If my human friends knew what I was—half yokai myself—they might not blame me for wanting to find a mate like me.
Many people don’t believe they exist: the jorogumo, a spiderwoman who will tie you up with spider silk; the futakuchi-onna, a two-mouthed woman who puts both those mouths to good use; or any number of other sassy demon chicks, who would just as soon kill you as have their way with you. I’d always been drawn to that danger. I’ve dated my fair share—married a few too. But none of them worked out.
Namely because most of them wanted to eat me.
After countless disappointments and three failed marriages, I knew I had to try something different. Due to my background as a military brat with a Japanese father and an American mother, I now used my bilingual language skills as a translator on business trips to Japan. It was on one of these trips that a business associate suggested I see a fortune-teller. The woman used a blend of Chinese and Japanese soothsaying methods.
I kneeled across from the old woman in the closet-sized stall in the black market while my friend waited outside.
The old woman looked me over, immediately determining I was there to find out about my love life. Maybe it was the lack of a wedding ring. Or maybe she truly was psychic. She asked me questions about my blood type, my birthdate, and the same information about my former wives.
She said, “You are a rabbit husband. The first wife was not a good match. She was an ox wife. The second wife was a tiger wife. Not much better.”
I didn’t know enough about the zodiac for this to make much sense, but I knew the blood type method was common in Japanese fortunetelling. My ex-wives had asked me about it too, but that had been because they wanted to drink my blood.
“You need a dragon wife,” she said.
“Where can I find a dragon wife?”
“This is up to you.”
Back in my hotel room, I did a Google search of dragon wives and found the Korean island of Cheju. Websites said real mermaids lived there. They dived off cliffs to gather seaweed and pearls. These Korean mermaids were called “dragon wives.”
In search of the perfect woman for me, I took a detour on my way home from Japan. I was still exhausted from jet lag and tired from days of translating at board meetings, but I took the ferry, hoping to spot them with my binoculars. You can imagine my disappointment when I watched these naked young women diving off the cliffs. They were human. There were no green, shimmering tails. They didn’t breathe fire. I didn’t even see any horns. Just naked Korean beauties. Boring.
“Well, maybe they’re more like Daryl Hannah’s mermaid from Splash and their tails turn to feet when they aren’t in the water,” I told myself.
My Korean was atrocious compared to my other languages, but the locals tolerated my broken Korean mixed with English and Japanese.
An old fisherman laughed at me when I asked if their legs turned to tails in the water. “You go swim with them and tell me what you think, Miguk.” He said the term for American with an affectionate wink.
The other locals said I should stay away from them, that I might drown in the dangerous waters, but I was a good swimmer and stronger than average. Anyway, they probably just said these kinds of things to keep people from discovering the divers’ true natures.
Once I jumped into the sea, the women disappeared from view, but beneath me in the azure water I was certain I saw the movement of scaly tails. The water was a shock of cold, and it took all my effort to dive below. Ahead of me was a crimson tail, reminding me of the Chinese New Year dragons.
I swam deeper, but the distance between us increased. She swam back, teasing me, taunting me so that her tail was just out of my grasp. She knew I wanted her. Soon I became dizzy from anticipation—or lack of oxygen.
She led me to an underwater cave where we surfaced. I hoped it would be one of those dangerous caves, the ones where there’s only so much oxygen and a diver gets to try a little erotic asphyxiation for fun. Not that I want to get ahead of myself, but later I did show her how auto-erotic asphyxiation was done.
In the cave, I was surrounded by at least a dozen eligible females. They sat on the banks, flapping their red tails in the water and splashing me playfully. Some had horns, some were just horny.
They were half women and half . . . fish? Half dragon? All I knew was they were one hundred percent hot, yokai beauties.
One offered me a pearl. Another showed me her collection of bones. A little thrill of hope went through me.
“My former suitors,” she said in Korean. “Aren’t they beautiful?”
Desire boiled in my veins. They weren’t like my ex-wives or former lovers. They wouldn’t just use me and drink my blood until they tired of me. These ladies played for keeps. We would be together until my dying day.
When one toasted me a fish with her fiery breath, I knew it was destiny. All were dragons—just what the fortune-teller suggested I needed. I couldn’t beat those odds.
It didn’t take long before they began to bicker over who would get to keep me.
I chuckled. “Ladies, there is more than enough of me to go around.”
One ran her hand down my back. “I like your vertebrae.”
I shivered in anticipation. Which one would become my dragon wife?
Cover photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen.