Dark Water is a collection of short stories by Koji Suzuki, propelled to fame by his novel The Ring, made into Japanese, South Korean, and American film versions. The running theme (pardon the pun) is water. Some are indeed dark, while others are mysterious.
The first story, "Floating Water," is already a movie in Japan and soon to be an Americanized film starring Jennifer Connelly, is about a single mother, Yoshimi Matsubara and her daughter Ikuko who move into an apartment, whose complex was abandoned when the bubble economy burst. However, it turns out that there was an incident on the second floor that occurred years ago. Tied in with this is a red bag with a kitty motif (Hello Kitty, I wonder?) that Ikuko is attracted to. Despite it being disposed of, it keeps reappearing. Yoshimi's daughter also finds an imaginary friend whose name begins with "Mi..."
"Solitary Isle" doesn't fit into horror/mystery genre. It deals with a burned out teacher, Kensuke Suehiro, who receives a surprising call from his mentor on whether he is up for an expedition to a ghost island, where there is an ecological site dubbed Battery No. 6. That leads to reminiscing over Toshihiro Aso and a strange girl he mistreats, Yukari Nakazawa, who vanished due to the machinations of Aso.
"Dream Cruise" takes Masahiro Enoyoshi, who's on the yacht of the successful aggressive sales-oriented Ushijima, a high school classmate of his who is trying to recruit him. Finding a kid's shoe Kazuhiro on the heel seems unimportant, but then, Ushijima's boat, named Minako after his wife, catches on something...
"The Hold" is a somewhat more unpleasant story, dealing with an abusive fisherman with a violent streak within him. "Surge of irritation," "eruption of anger," is used to describe Hiroyuki Inagaki's moods. One day, his wife Nanako goes missing, and it's when he goes fishing that he finds out why. And why does he have a throbbing headache?
In "Adrift," Kazuo Shiraishi, an engineer on the fishing boat Wakashio VII, is about to finish his third year-long tour fishing, and maybe settle down. However, before the W7 reaches Torishima, they discover an abandoned yacht whose circumstances resemble that of the famed ghost ship, Marie Celeste. Kazuo volunteers to stay on board as the yacht is being towed by the W7, but when he wakes up...
I wasn't too impressed with the other two, "Watercolors" about a theatrical troupe about to hold production in an abandoned discotheque, and "Forest Under The Sea" about two spelunkers who get more than they bargained for when they go into an unexplored cave.
Note: for geographic orientation. In the story "Adrift," the Ogasawara Islands are way south of Japan, 28 N by 142 E roughly. Torishima is around 30.5 N, with Hachijo-jima higher up at 33 N. And the Miu Peninsula, or Miu Hanto mentioned in the prologue, is the peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture a few miles from Tokyo which forms the enclosed waters that is the Tokyo-wan (Tokyo Bay).
Water tells stories, reveals secrets, takes men's lives, and holds answers to unfinished stories. Short stories really aren't my thing, as I prefer novels. Still, not a bad collection of stories from the Ringmaster.