I’m glad you enjoyed the first story! (Recommending stuff always makes me anxious) First I was under the impression that you were looking for real scary horror, which is why I was hesitant to recommend 穴 at first, but after realizing you were looking for horror with that omnipresent ominous feeling throughout, I thought 穴 might actually fit quite well, and I’m glad it did! I posted a small review on Natively already, but I have to say I might have liked the second story the most. I’m interested to see what you think of it!
First story talk
I still don’t really know what the story was trying to tell me… everyone was just so weird. It was interesting, but I somehow always seem to wish for short stories to go on for longer, I need more information and more resolution! My theory is simply that her boredom made her interpret things to an extreme degree. (Not a very fleshed out theory, haha. I’ve just been enjoying the ride.)
I agree that it was written so well, I could especially feel her boredom in the beginning! The insane struggle of being stuck somewhere and having nothing to do… And all the other feelings. She didn’t even need to spell them out, they came across so well. When she watched the grandfather in the garden, for example.
Or the one time when she went to pay a bill for her mother-in-law, and the money wasn’t enough… I could feel the awkwardness and the inner struggle!
And the author managed to describe everything in a way that it all felt just slightly off. It was so well executed. But there were still so many things left unresolved, as @NicoleIsEnough mentioned before. The red bugs, her getting bitten by one, everyone being so pale… So many details that you think may become relevant later, but then they’re never mentioned again.
I also got insane Murata vibes from the brother-in-law, but I really liked what he was saying. I can’t really recall any details, but I think I went „I feel you, bro“. At least that’s the vague feeling that remained from that conversation. (Now I hope he didn’t say any horrible things xD)
I did like the ending, but it left me very puzzled. I guess she gets a job and thus manages to get out of the (metaphorical) hole she fell into when she moved to the 田舎. And thus there’s no need anymore for her to make up her own world in her mind.