Yato-no-kami – A to Z Blogging Challenge



Black as Death’s cloak.

Quick as his blade.

Black, writhing Death.

A field painted in black, avert your eyes from the Gods of the Night Sword.

A curse brought down upon us – the promise of Death, writhing, looping, ever entwined.

Avert your eyes from the Gods of the Night Sword, from these venomous harbingers. Extinguishing entire families, their names erased, farmyards vacant, abandoned, slowly crumbling. Forgotten.

Avert your eyes from the Gods of the Night Sword, the gatekeepers of the shrine to Death, a door into his realm, a window of opportunity. Of misfortune.

I alone stood in the fields before them, in the face of the future – staring down these inch worms ranged against me. Three times I clapped my staff into the ground, three times three, casting them into the shadows.

I was not afraid.

Three times three they fled into the temple, and shaken priests fled from their fangs.

Three times three they fled into the mountains, the Gods of the Night Sword, blunted.


Written for the A to Z Challenge as a part of my series of Under-Represented Monsters. I didn’t realise that April only has thirty days, not thirty-one…I thought I was up to date (or just a little behind.) Anyway, the Gods of the Night Sword or Yato-no-kami, as they are called in Japanese. I don’t know much about them – and neither does Wikipedia, apparently. So I incorporated elements of Saint Patrick into the peasant who drove them out (the staff banging, three times three, the shaken priests…) Everyone knows Saint Patrick, right? I also managed to incorporate the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt door (at least I think I got the definition right, today’s is complicated) and two of the BeKindReWrite prompts inch worm and face of the future. One more under-represented monster to go…comments and criticism are always welcome! 

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20 thoughts on “Yato-no-kami – A to Z Blogging Challenge

  1. Interesting tale. The picture you chose made me cringe too.

  2. Draug419 says:

    I’ll be sad to see the end of your alphabet monsters! This was another great installment.

  3. jannatwrites says:

    This is scary – the picture didn’t help 🙂

  4. KymmInBarcelona says:

    I admit I found it hard to visualize inchworms of black death, with fangs, but hey, evil takes many forms. The writhing death was creepy enough.
    I ran off with the metaphor of the staff being a pencil, and so being mightier than the sword. Cause I can only take so much creepy! So yea St. Patrick!

    • You’re allowed to run off with whatever metaphors you like! And they weren’t really inchworms, I guess I didn’t quite write that part well enough – it was more about the St Patrick figure dismissing the snakes as mere inchworms. Glad you liked it!

  5. jubilare says:

    my brain collides a little between the image you chose and the story. The latter is lilting, threatening and powerful, but I find the former cute. I caught and petted one of those guys yesterday (much to its chagrin, I am sure) before letting it go. I’ve been bitten by them, and it tickles.

    That is to say, I think not having an illustration might be more effective, in this case, than having one. The imagination is more powerful if left to its shadowy self.

    • I was worried about that disconnect at first, and my wife agrees with you about the image, although I think her objections are about the lighting and composition as well.

      I know that these are not venomous snakes, but I figured most people would just see the pit of snakes, not try to ID them! Sorry about the disconnect, but I’m glad you liked the words!

      • jubilare says:

        That’s probably true for most people (unfortunately for the snakes), but if someone is more freaked out by the picture than the story, that’s not a good thing, either. 😉

      • Yeah, I get what you’re saying (poor snakies…) and I hope I freaked people out more than the picture did!

  6. Wow.. and that picture. I shiver.

  7. atrm61 says:

    Terribly scary & those worms look yucky,it would definitely need a lot of courage to face them!Well done:-)

  8. Epic. I love the feel of this. The film version would have an incredible soundtrack.

  9. […] Yato-no-kami – A to Z Blogging Challenge […]

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