Jeff Phillips: Sake Date in a Mustard Field

Sake Date copy

The team escorted Nikki, a petite 41 year old with straight brown hair that flowed down to her waist, to the spot she visited every July 6th since 2011. She had been going there alone, making an annual visit to pay her respect, to communicate that she remembered, would always remember. This year a team was there to help her communicate better, to potentially preserve contact.

It was just before dusk that they arrived at the spot, a dip in the terrain of a sprawling mustard field, where the vegetation grew sparse. There were two camera men, and they adjusted their settings to prepare for the sun to go down. There was the host, Patrick Daffer, handsome and grim, who told Nikki he’d be pretty quiet until they started rolling, he didn’t want to exhaust her story. He watched as Nikki set up her picnic blanket, like she did every year. Yamella Iquitalla, the plump medium with gold eyeliner and her bleach blonde hair in a braided bun, spun slowly, letting her palms graze the tops of the crop. She was sensing something. “What is it?” Nikki asked. “Is he here?”

Yamella started to answer. Patrick cut her off. “Not until we start rolling. We all need to be fresh, and we need to be in it as it happens, or else this is not going to work. You’re thinking too much, Nikki.”

“What do you expect? How do you expect me not to think of this? This is all I have been thinking about for 6 years!” She was getting emotional. Patrick Daffer hugged his guest to show that he cared, he just had to keep to a process. Yamella and Patrick exchanged a look as Nikki rested her face on his shoulder. Yamella and Patrick had a short hand, they could communicate much through a glance. When their eyes locked, Yamella conveyed that Nikki would need more comforting once they began, that Nikki didn’t know, after all, what she was actually dealing with.

The sun went down and the surrounding fields were a dark blue against the orange horizon.  One of the camera men, Trevor, held up his muscular left wrist and rotated it a few times to show his blinking watch. 8:36 PM, it was go time. The other, Andrew, fed his long gray hair through the back of his adjustable Paranormal Pathfinder baseball cap, and powered up his camera. He checked the night vision levels through his viewfinder. He aimed his lens at Patrick and Nikki, they were good and green and their eyes glowed yellow but they were visible and their features were crisp.

“We’re rolling. Whenever you’re ready Patrick,” said Andrew.

Patrick turned to face Nikki. “You good?”

She nodded.

“Shall we take a seat? Will you take us through your picnics?”

Again, Nikki nodded. She and Patrick took a seat on the blanket. Andrew knelt down but kept the lens focused on them. Trevor had set up his camera on a tripod and checked the infrared levels. His camera had a wide angle lens attached to the front and was taking in the scene as a whole. Trevor stood behind with the side monitor flipped open. He was ready for any motion around them that might be detected.

Sitting cross legged, Patrick took two devices off of his belt. One was to detect electromagnetic waves, the other was a tape recorder. He readied both so he could detect energy spikes and play back responses from a disembodied voice.

Patrick held up his finger, twirled it around to indicate he was about to begin.

“Nikki, you’ve been coming here every year for 5 years. Can you tell us what keeps you coming back on such a specific night?

“Well, it’s an anniversary, but not the best kind of anniversary.”

“How so?”

“On July 6th, 2010, my husband Pete and I were out here on vacation. We wanted to visit wine country. I’ve always been a big wine drinker, and he supported me,  would go with me on all of my trips to wineries, even though he was more of a beer drinker,” Nikki laughed, but it was a nervous laugh. “So we had hit up about seven different wineries in two days. Toward the end of that two day stretch, he was talking about how he was finding a lot of the wines a little too sweet, he wanted something a little more dry. The last place we were at was more of a tasting room. The bartender mentioned he had some varieties of imported sake from Japan. There was one Pete really liked, Banshu Ikkon. We bought a bottle and as we were driving back to the hotel, we heard there was supposed to be a meteor shower. So we picked up a couple of gas station sandwiches,” again Nikki giggled. “We drove around looking for a good a field, and we saw this mustard field under the moonlight, and it was so beautiful, it reminded us of when we went to France just after we got married. We were taking the train from Paris down to the Rhone Valley, again me dragging him to more wineries.” Nikki covered her face for a moment as she laughed because there were also some tears starting to wet her eyes. “He held me as we stared out at the passing landscape, such a pretty succession of mustard fields. Such a bright yellow and I felt so safe in his arms, so it was fitting to have a nice romantic night, out here in a random mustard field in California! We pulled off along a dirt side road and parked, and hiked. We found this little clearing and thought it was as good as any, so we set up our picnic.”

Nikki pulled over a basket and screwed off the top of a new Banshu Ikkon. She had three plastic wine glasses. “Would you like some?” She offered Patrick.

“Yes. One glass would be great. The other glass, is for-“

“Pete. Yes. For Pete.”

“What happened to Pete? Why isn’t he here sitting with us right now?”

“Well, he will be sitting with us, just you wait.”

Patrick nodded an apology.

“After we ate our sandwiches and we were on our second glasses of sake, waiting for the meteors to really start, we had seen a few streaks, but we were probably half an hour away from when the good show was gonna really get going, we heard a motor off in the distance, and saw a little light moving through the fields. We looked out at it, wondering what it was, Pete thought it must have been some kind of four wheeler or something out for a night spin. We got a little worried, thinking maybe a farmer was out to kick any trespassers off his land. So we laid low in our dip and laughed, like ‘oh no I hope we don’t get in trouble.’ A few times we’d peak up because it sounded like the motor was getting closer, and it was, and we saw the head lamp start to flicker and dim and pretty soon it went out, but the motor kept going and it was getting closer. We got nervous, so we laid low again. The meteors were streaking heavy now and it was an amazing sight to see, but that motor was a little distracting. We just wanted to enjoy the beautiful night! Pete was holding me for a while. As the sound of the motor got closer, Pete crawled over to where the terrain raised, he wanted to peek, but I pulled him back. Then the motor sound rose behind us, and a dark shape  plummeted down right on top of Pete.” Nikki paused, she needed to choke back a sob.

“Take your time Nikki.”

“I heard his skull crunch. I heard his rib cage pop, a few snaps, and warm blood splash all over me. My arm was underneath him, but his body took all of the blow. It was a dirt bike. When the dirt bike landed on Pete, the tires spun out and the bike toppled away from us, snapping the driver’s neck as it rolled. It was the land owner’s son, he was 19 and loved riding his dirt bike at night. He died. Pete died. It was the biggest disaster of my life. I have a big hole in life.”

“That’s awful, Nikki,” Patrick touched her shoulder. “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“I wish that never happened. I wish there wasn’t a meteor shower that night and we just had a boring night at the hotel, watching something on TV. The news! Instead of being on the news later so they could recap our tragedy!”

“You keep coming back here Nikki. You mentioned he will be joining us. Does he visit you here?”

“I kept having dreams, that he and I would be back here having a date. The meteor shower would be even brighter, the sake tasting even crisper. These dreams got to be more and more vivid as we got closer to a year out. And I felt these compulsions, like I gotta go there. I might be able to talk to him. So a week before that date that came to be my personal Pearl Harbor, my personal 9/11. 7/6 was a day I was dreading. I decided I’d try embracing, maybe that would get me through it. I drove from Chicago out west and as the sun went down on that 7/6, I came out here with a sandwich, though I wouldn’t be able to stomach eating it, and a bottle of his favorite sake. Though it was probably the only sake he ever had, but it was his favorite. I poured two glasses, mostly out of gesture, thought it would be sort of ceremonial. I set his glass to the side. I watched the sky, though it was overcast, but the moon was peeking out and I swear, I swear this, the hair on my goddamn neck stood on end. As my eyes had adjusted, the moon illuminated his glass, I saw the liquid going down at the rate of someone sipping it. I swear this. I sat there, stunned. When I could muster the courage to move toward it, I examined it, thinking maybe there was a leak. I took out a different plastic glass. I had bought a whole cheap package of plastic wine glasses in the summer aisle of the local grocery store. I poured another glass, expecting it to just sit there, but the level went down again! The air around me was so cold, and as I watched it go down completely, just staring at it, I couldn’t speak. I wanted to speak. I didn’t know what to say. But then, I don’t know how comfortable I am saying this. I don’t know if I can tell you this part…” Nikki covered her face and whimpered in embarrassment.

“We appreciate your courage, we really do,” Patrick encouraged and waited as she groaned.

“Okay fine, I’ll tell you. Goddamn, you’re getting it on cameras too. Oh this is embarrassing!…It got sexual. Okay. It got really sexual. I felt something, like a hand, kind of hot to the touch, and it almost felt like hot static, something electrical, slide up my leg and spread around my…oh I can’t believe I’m telling you. It spread around my vagina, and I couldn’t help but get suddenly wet. It was hot to the touch, and almost felt like it was burning me, but it’s like when you get into a hot tub that is really too hot, and it scalds you at first, but you get used to it and it feels nice. And then the heat and electricity penetrated me and I orgasmed. It felt amazing. Afterward, I poured more sake for the spirit of my departed husband, and the level went down again. Then I was pleasured again. I was pleasured three times during the night and each time was more amazing than the last. It felt so good, I had been yearning for his touch.”

“Wow, you had contact of a sexual nature. With your husband’s spirit. That’s an amazing thing, Nikki. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

Yamella, the medium, inched closer and looked at Patrick, and he understood from the look that perhaps there was something unseemly about this, and that Nikki shouldn’t feel so good about that kind of contact. Patrick shot back a look, to say, don’t be such a prude. Yamella shook her head as if to say, have Nikki wrap up what she has to say, because I really have something that needs be said before she keeps doing this year after year.

“So year after year, you come back? Is it the same?” Patrick asked.

“Oh yes. Each year he drinks it all up, and each year I have incredible, ghostly sex, that, dare I say it, is more powerful than any intercourse I’ve had in the flesh. This is so electrifying. I can’t even describe it. I’ll come out here and orgasm hard 3, 4, sometimes 5 or 6 times, and all of the pain and heartache I feel over the previous year melts away, every muscle in my body oozes, I leave feeling so relaxed.”

“Wow. I am just, wow.”

“On the night of our picnic, Pete somehow had an accident while squeezing a packet of hot deli mustard onto his sandwich. A little bit squirted in his eye. It was kinda funny. I felt bad though, he said it really stung. I think about this sometimes, when thinking about the, sort of, intercourse…I’ve been having. It stings in a way, despite the pleasure, and it’s what I imagine the stinging in Pete’s eye must have felt like that night. Maybe it lingers, clings to his spirit and transfers to, well, my fluids. The intercourse feels like a mustard-in-the-eye-sting but combined with the belly warmth of a few nips of fine sake.”

It was hard to see Nikki blush in the dark, but the way her face scrunched, embarrassment was flushing. “I can’t believe I told you this! And on camera!”

“Does it feel good to talk about it?”

“Yeah. It feels good to share, finally. With someone. My big secret!”

“Are you going to experience this again, tonight?”

“Jesus, Patrick, not on camera!” cried Nikki. “I may send you a way in a little bit! And you will have to turn those things off!”

“Hey, I’m not trying to peep. Of course we’d let you have your time. I just wanted to ask, couldn’t see anyone wanting to miss such an incredible experience. Do you come back on other nights, not just on the anniversary of his…passing?”

“I’ve tried. Particularly in that first year. But he’s only here on July 6th. He’s not here on other nights. I’ve tried and it turns out, on those nights, I just come out here and sit here sad, so lonesome.”

Yamella stepped closer and knelt down on the blanket between Patrick and Nikki. Yamella couldn’t contain what she knew any longer.

“Nikki, I need to tell you that I sense someone here with us tonight-“

“He’s here!”

“Well, I sense some thing, is a better way to put it. This isn’t your husband. This is a spirit that has never been familiar with you during its life-“

“What do you mean, where is my husband tonight?”

“Your husband is far away from here. He’s in a good place, he has ever since he died. He’s never been back to walk the Earth, Nikki.”

“That had to be my husband, that had to be my husband getting intimate with me. And the sake, it’s obvious it was him, he loved that sake!“

“You’re mistaken, Nikki.”

“Why won’t you believe me?”

“I’d like you to believe me. Nikki, I can sense things, I can see things that are hidden to most. This is a dark entity that meets you here. This is a very old spirit, and it isn’t human.”

“But this is the spot my husband died? Who else would want to haunt this place? Oh my god, is it the boy? Is it the boy who died too that has been penetrating me? Oh my god!” Nikki shrunk tight into herself, sickened by the idea.

“No, no it’s not the boy. He’s also far away, in a better place, and has been since that day.”

“Nothing else would haunt this place though, nothing else would know about this. Why would a different spirit come here? This is fucking nonsense, doesn’t make any sense.”

“Nikki, this thing is coming here because it senses an opening. You’ve come here, having made yourself available to contact, and it’s so easy for something like this, something malevolent to manipulate you. You wanted to speak to, to be with your husband so bad, it’s so easy for this spirit to mimic that, to mask itself as him. And of course it’s easy for it to make you assume.”

“Why are you trying to make me feel like an idiot?” Nikki snapped.

“Because you need to know that you need to stop coming here.”

“Or else?”

Yamella fell silent, Nikki wasn’t very receptive and she needed to let her cool off before telling her how old this demonic presence really was, before telling Nikki this presence didn’t just limit itself to July 6th each year and only July 6th. This presence watched her sleep. This presence lay beside her during the night. This presence often followed her into church and would press a hand into her gut, she thought she was getting sick – must have been something she ate at the potluck breakfasts – and would continue to press into her gut until she left in the middle of a hymn.

Patrick noticed now that his EMF reader had been spiking, it was in the orange at 14.6 mG. He’d been so interested in hearing about Nikki’s experience, he hadn’t been paying attention to what science could measure. He picked up the EMF reader and held it a foot away from Nikki. Its readings were now in the red, 27.8 mG.

Patrick looked up at Trevor. “Anything in the infrared?”

“Yep.” Trevor bit his lip as he examined the monitor. He’d never seen anything this hot, and that big. It was the size of a car and it was concentrating itself right around Nikki. He had been debating with himself these past few minutes if he should keep them here, capturing something wild for their show, or if it would be in better conscience to speak up, recommend they hightail it and get Nikki out of there, away from this thing.

Patrick picked up his digital tape recorder and pressed record. “Who’s here with us? What do you want with Nikki?” Patrick let it run for a few moments while everyone sat in silence. He stopped it and rewound. After hearing his question played back, he heard only static. Patrick pressed record, repeated his question and demanded an answer. This time he gave it a full minute to record before playing it back.

In the bursts of static they heard “Many. Names… Get…Away… Leave… Her…Will. Take. Her. Mine… Obliterate. Beauty…Body. Her. Mine. Now. Enter. Her. I. Stay.”

The static erupted and Patrick stopped the playback. No one said anything, but they knew it was time to go, and they were quick to pack up everything.


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