Friday, October 31, 2008

Obviously, I didn't have time for a Halloween special this year (enjoy last year's if you must). Though I suppose there's something Halloweenish about Kakeshya's orange scarf in the new Venia's Travels. Also, an astute observer will see two pumpkins in the backgrounds of several panels.

Yesterday I went out to lunch to a sushi place I used to go to all the time and I was surprised to find it completely deserted. I didn't even see the help. The place never seems to have its lights on in the middle of the day, though, so it was dark and the air was thick with dust, which, now that I think about it, was odd. Normally the big widescreen TVs have sports on, too, and they were off. I wandered in a few steps but I guess I'm too timid a guy to just start saying, "Hello."

The sushi at this place is really cheap, which is why I go. I can get a decent plate for ten dollars, but lately I've been wondering what the trade-off was. This came to mind yesterday when I noticed the absolutely pervasive stench of bad fish in the empty place. Fish gone bad, yes, but not so much like it spoiled in the sun, but I'd swear it was something worse, like bacteria unknown to man had colonised on and mutated the fish guts.

I was beginning to think the place had just been abandoned. Maybe the manager was the only person working that day and she had had to make a bank run but forgot to lock the door. I felt sort of bad because the manager had gotten familiar enough from my frequent visits--she was a nice little old Japanese lady.

Anyway, I was about to go outside, when I heard what I thought was either a woman crying or groaning. A sort of protracted moan, but barely audible. I walked around the bar and saw something real fucking weird. The light was dim, so at first I had only an impression of moving fishy parts--undulating like dark lava. White rimmed gills trembling as they pulled apart and rhythmically snapping shut again. Tentacles pulling through the junk like lazy ballerina worms, their suckers catching on broken and blackened fish scales. Then I realised there were something like human eyes in the mess, lost in various crevasses and glittering in the grey light.

There were other human pieces, too, oddly deflated and indistinguishable from the fish bits. A leg barely recognisable for the odd fish ribs filling out the places where the kneecaps should be. Still less identifiable pieces of human flesh sagging across like a balding man's comb-over. The moan started to rise in pitch, into something like a plaintive scream, but the impression of human emotion vanished as the pitch rose past levels reachable by human vocal chords.

I ran, not from fear, really, but because the sound was actually painful. My shoes sloshed through about an inch of cloudy mucus on the floor I'd somehow not noticed before and a salty smell filled the air.

Well, I have to go to my parents' house now. Happy Halloween, everyone!

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