Contract (ケイヤク, Keiyaku) is the 8th episode of the xxxHOLiC anime series.
While Watanuki is busy clearing out Yuko's storage area, a woman stops by and asks about one of the items, which is shaped like some kind of thermos or kaleidoscope tube. Yuko lets her borrow it but she warns the woman never to open it. Later, Watanuki discovers that the woman is a student teacher who is working on her thesis. The woman had not opened the tube yet, but then in an accident on the stairs, the object flies in the air, only to be caught by Himiwari and ends up opening all on its own. The woman discovers the item is a Monkey's Paw, which grants five wishes to the user. But as with any monkey's paw legend, there are tragic consequences for every wish.
Watanuki and Doumeki are skeptical of the woman's sudden declaration at the item, but this doesn't seem to deter her though as she merely looks at them and confidently declares that her first wish is for it to rain from then on until the evening. A finger breaks, and the wish is granted. Later on at the shop, Watanuki tells Yuko that the woman had managed to open the container and had already made a wish, which explained the rain that had indeed began to fall. He then asks Yuko if the Monkey's Paw is real, to which she replies, "Yes. But she is not compadable with it."
The next day upon his arrival to school, Watanuki noticed a crowd of his peers around the windows, and asks a nearby Himiawari what the commotion is about. She says it is because the school's pool is suddenly empty. Meanwhile the woman hides in one of the empty offices and is suddenly skeptical of herself. She speaks to herself about the rain. She states that it could be a fluke, and decides to make another wish. She then decides to wish for a Mirror that she has been eyeing but not able to buy inside another Antique store. A finger breaks, and a sudden thud behind her makes her turn behind to see that the Mirror she coveted is now lying on the floor. Ecstatic at her new Mirror, she glances back at the Monkey's Paw to find that the Thumb and Index fingers are broken. She concludes that a finger breaks after each wish, and is happy to find that she has three wishes left. Later at the shop, Yuko tells Watanuki that something cannot be born from nothing, which was why the pool was empty, as its water was used for the rain. She also receives a call later that night -or early in the morning- from a friend of hers that owns an Antique store, and learns that she is now missing a priceless Mirror. Yuko assures her that she will look for it.
The next day the woman is seen sitting in a library apparently working on her Thesis paper, which was not as easy as she assumed it would be. She states that she wants the paper to be unique, unlike all the other Folklore papers before it. Frustrated after a call from her Professor, she looks down at her purse and notices the Monkey's Paw container hidden beneath a few of her books. She pulls it out and begins to smile.
At gym the next day, Watanuki and Doumeki are seen running the track in a gym class. Watanuki flops down exhausted while Doumeki stands over him looking fine. Himiwari jogs over and comments about how fast they were running, to which Watanuki swoons and comments that Doumeki is not usually that fast, not wanting to share Himiwari's affections with him. Doumeki scowls and states that he didn't want Watanuki to look bad, so he stayed back and let him run faster. About to make a comment, the trio notices the woman nearby laughing and running with a few other teens. After a good sounding phone call with her Professor, Himiwari makes a comment about how happy she looks, to which she beams at them and says that her Professor was deeply impressed with her Thesis and even spoke about getting it published. She mentions that she asked the Monkey's Paw for the materials, to which Doumeki warns her again about the legend behind the Monkey's Paw. She confidently replies that it had hurt others in the past, but would not hurt her.
The next day focuses on the woman who has jogged into a Train Station apparently over-sleeping and missing her train to school. A voice over the intercom states that her train is having delays, and would not arrive on time, to which she laments further due to her final class being today. She begins to think about an excuse, and mistakingly thinks about an accident happening, so she would have a plausible excuse for missing such an important class. A crack is heard from inside her bag, and suddenly the woman next to her is hurled into the train tracks, getting violently killed by an oncoming train. The Monkey's Paw had granted a wish on its own.
Horror stricken, later that day the woman is seen hiding in the empty office again, speaking to herself. She is now terrified of the Monkey's Paw, Her cellphone then rings and her Professor angirly accuses her of stealing another students work, as the student had already submitted their notes prior. The woman goes into a panic, and begins thinking about what would happen to her if the Police found out it was her that caused the accident, revealing that she pushed the woman on her own. Angry knocks begin pounding on the door, causing the terrified woman to scream at the Monkey's Paw for her to dissapear. The final finger breaks, and the Monkey's Paw sits up on its own and begins to choke the woman. She falls backwards gasping for air until it is suddenly quiet. The camera switches to the opposite side of the door where a group of students are standing outside the door trying to get in. Watanuki, Himiwari and Doumeki stop and regard them with confusion, as that door should be open during the day. Himiwari opens the door to reveal no one inside. As the camera moves away, it reveals the woman's cellphone is lying on the ground open.
The episode ends with the Monkey's Paw returning to Yuko's shop along with the Mirror returning to its original shop. Yuko binds the whole Paw again, and sets it on the shelf, regarding how it "Always wins" She leaves with the Camera still focused on the Paw. The container it resides in slowly closes and locks.
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