Author: Yukito Ayatsuji
Specifications: ISBN  978-4043855049
334 pages
10.8 x 14.8 cm / 4.3 x 5.9 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
Tokyo, 1996
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Blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, each of the three short- to mid-length stories in this volume centers on a different mental patient in the psychiatric ward of General Hospital K.

The title story, Furīkusu: 564-gōshitsu no kanja (Freaks: The Patient in Room 564), is particularly chilling. The narrator, a mystery writer, is visited by a detective friend who shows him a novel written by a patient in room 564. The detective has him read only the exposition of the mystery, not the solution, and asks him to guess who the killer is. The patient had set down as truth the story of the murder of a mad scientist, just as he heard it from his psychiatrist. The scientist, who had a complex about his hideous looks, abducted children and performed operations to reconfigure their bodies, creating five freaks: Cyclops, Three-Arms, Hunchback, Scaleface, and the lone girl, Caterpillar. He confined his victims in a basement room, abused them, and was killed in revenge. Who did it? And is the patient-author sane or insane? The detective notes that the characteristics of the freaks in the account match the narrator’s physical traits, and the story ends when Dr. Kuwayama comes calling on the narrator. It remains ambiguous as to whether the narrator is truly a mystery writer or is actually the patient in Room 564; whether the detective friend really exists; and even whether Dr. Kuwayama exists.

Muma no te: 313-gōshitsu no kanja (The Reach of the Nightmare: The Patient in Room 313) is the story of 21-year-old Tadashi Kanzaki. In order to atone for murders he committed, Tadashi conjures a scenario in which he is visiting his mother in a psychiatric ward, where she has been placed for having killed her husband. In the course of repeated imaginary conversations with his mother, he remembers that he himself killed both of his parents.

409-gōshitsu no kanja (The Patient in Room 409) portrays the condition of 31-year-old Shun Serizawa, who was in a traffic accident that left him with burns on his face and both legs amputated. He is in denial about the death of his wife Sonoko who was riding with him, believing instead that he is Sonoko and it is Shun who died. The process of recovering his memory also reveals a crime he and his wife had committed together in the past.