The Fish Market

Not sure where the idea came from for this little piece, but I wanted to make up sort of a little world where fantasy esque creatures are thrust into a real world and how they get by and of course I had to put a weird little spin on it. I don’t even know what genre I would put this into but I kinda like it all the same. As always it needs some polish.


The rain started suddenly and without warning, falling in thick, icy sheets that quickly made a river out of the roads and soaked anything that was unfortunate enough to be caught out in it. People ran for cover, animals found shelter wherever they could and sat looking sadly up at the sky. Any who could avoid going outside did so and the few that were forced outside covered themselves as best they could. The streets emptied quickly so there was no one to pay any attention to a lone figure walking slowly and calmly down the pavement. He was a short man, dressed in a long coat and a wide brimmed fedora which, though both originally grey, turned black in the rain and must have done little to protect the man from the fierceness of the weather.

Unperturbed the figure carried on his steady pace down the road, even pausing at one point, offering a hand out to a dog that hid beneath an upturned crate in an alley, but the dog refused to move. Chuckling to itself the figure moved on down the street. Passing a small oriental restaurant the man looked into the window, inspecting the clientele. Almost all of the inhabitants within were younger of between the teenage and young adult age group, certainly no one over thirty, and each seemed to be wearing an assortment of clothes inappropriate for the weather and that would have been considered odd in the era they were originally made in. hanging around in small groups they were laughing and joking with their friends and not one of them seemed to notice the figure, soaked through, staring through the window. Staring up at the sign that hung above the door and proclaimed in Japanese that the restaurant was Asian Oceans, the man chucked to himself again before continuing round the side of the building, making no effort to avoid puddles as it went, and entering the dimly lit alleyway behind it.

Heading down the alley the figure came to a door painted bright red that lead to the back of the restaurant. The man knocked twice on the red slide on the door and waited, the slide was drawn back and a set of eyes peered out into the rain, taking a good measure of the figure stood before him. The figure greeted him in Japanese and tipped his hat back so that the man inside could get a clear look at his face. The man inside returned the greeting and slide closed. After a few seconds there was the sound of a bolt being drawn back and then the door swung open.

The figure stepped inside and removed his hat. What was revealed when the hat was removed would have put the chills up the spine of any normal human being. The man’s flesh was pale and clammy, seeming to hang off the man’s head and giving the impression that it was too big for the body it covered. It was completely bald, lacking even eyebrows and the sunken eyes were farther apart than they should have ever been. A pale yellow in colour the iris on each was far too large and the nose on the face was flat and small to the point of hardly being there at all. As the man looked around it took a few deep gasps of air before letting out a deep, throaty cough and then smiling with a mouth too wide. There was the sound of a bell from the other side of the room that the man had entered and a door swung open and the man who had opened the door walked in. The strange looking figure had a brief glance of the restaurant kitchen and through a serving window, the front of the restaurant through the open door before the man who had entered lammed it shut quickly.

The man who had entered was Asian, with a shaven head, dressed in a white tee shirt and black slacks with a tea towel shoved through his belt. He was unassuming in every way. Entering the back room he looked at the figure and shouted something in Japanese, pointing to a hat stand that stood by the door. The figure waved his hand dismissively, revealing long pale figure, webbed fingers, and removed his coat.

If the man’s facial features were alarming then what was under his coat was terrifying. He was completely naked, the pale and clammy appearance of his skin continuing down his entire body making his look old and wrinkled, the skin sagging unpleasantly. His knees and elbows were further down his limbs than they should have been and the Asian man saw at a glance that he was missing any obvious genitals. On the man’s neck there were three deep gauges in the flesh on either side that expanded with every breath taken, gills. The stench that radiated from the man as soon as his coat was removed was a pungent mixture of rotten fish and salt and as he hung his coat up on the hook he make a nauseous squelching sound.

Just then the door to an old and grimy looking fridge that stood to the side of the room swung open and out stepped a small man, also Asian, in traditional black attire. He looked around and saw the pale man. Smiling widely he hurried forward and bowed low. The pale man responded with a simple tip of his head before motioning to the fridge the man had emerged from and asking in slow Japanese

‘Shall we?’

The small man in black nodded ecstatically and responded

‘Yes, right away’

The two figures stepped through the fridge door and entered a long flight of steps leading down and twisting so that they end was concealed. The walls were compact dirt with seemingly little thought to stability and they were lit by small lanterns that hung from the ceiling, a fire blazing away curiously brightly inside each one.

‘It has been a while Mr Lawrence’ the small Asian man said in a friendly tone ‘you used to come more regularly, not found preference somewhere else I hope’

The pale man, Mr Lawrence let out a small giggle before replying

‘Where else could I go Mr Himitsu? You’re establishment is the best in town.’

They both laughed at this before rounding a corner and entering into a vast cavern. The walls were the same compact dirt but this cavern was bustling with activity. Many people were walking around several of them were naked like Mr Lawrence, with the same clammy skin but some of these were various colours, others had sail like fins running down their backs but all appearing to be male. Many other people were dressed like the kitchen worker from above them, running back and forth carrying large crates of unknown contents. Round the walls there were wooden shacks painted in bright colours with vibrant patterns, many of them built back into the walls themselves and all windowless, the doorways covered by bright cloth curtains. By the side of these shacks were large pools of water in which many of the naked man were relaxing, as if in a hot tub but without the bubbles.

By the far wall there was a rope pulley system and as the pair watched one of the workmen attached a crate to the rope and gave it a quick tug and soon the crate was being hoisted up towards the hole in the ceiling through which the rope was coming.

‘Would you like your usual tub Mr Lawrence? Or were you planning on being adventurous today?’

‘The usual will be fine Himitsu, how long will I be waiting?’

‘It might be a short wait sir, as you can see the weather has made us busy today.’

Mr Lawrence was lead towards a tub by the side of a large turquoise hut with a yellow wave pattern on the which he eased himself down into an let out a sigh of relaxation.

‘Is there anything I might get you while you wait Mr Lawrence? A drink perhaps?’

‘No thank you Himitsu, you said yourself that the wait won’t be long’

‘Not long at all sir, another customer is just finishing up now.’

Then a bell rang from somewhere high up in the roof of the cavern and Himitsu bowed and walked away leaving Mr Lawrence alone. The bald man let himself slip a little further into the tub and placed his hands behind his head, closing his eyes and listening to the bustle of activity around him. His peace was not long lasting though as there was a loud cracking sound from the back of the cavern followed by some shouting in Japanese. Mr Lawrence looked up and gazed towards the back of the cavern where there was an especially large pool but rather than more people it was filled with large smooth black orbs about the size of a football which reflected the light of the torched that surrounded the pool.

A large crack had appeared in the side of one of these orbs and as Mr Lawrence watched it shuddered and a piece of the orb fell away into the water clearly revealing something inside moving. As Mr Lawrence watched as a man in a workman’s jumpsuit ran over and picked the orb out of the water reaching inside the hole he pulled away the outer shell and revealed what was inside. The creature was about a foot long, a dark grey in colour looking like a huge slug but with hardly a tail and very discernable arms and legs. As it was pulled from its shell it looked up with a grotesque parody of a human face, opened its bulbous black eyes and let out an ear splitting cry that filled the cavern. It howled like a child but with a sickening tone to its voice that sent a chill through an already cold cave. The workman grabbed it by its tail and carried it nonchalantly off to a small side cavern that lead off the main one and out of site, taking what looked to be a huge cleaver off a hook on the wall as he went. The crying continued for what seemed to be an age once the two were out of sight and Mr Lawrence sat and watched the entrance to the cavern until the cry was suddenly cut off by a sick thudding sound and a squelch.

‘Mr Lawrence, If you are ready Miss Gao will see you now’ Himitsu had reappeared and bowed low, indicating one of the huts around the edge of the cavern

‘Thank you’ replied Mr Lawrence, heaving his grotesque body up out of the Jacuzzi and slowly. On the way over to the indicated hut Mr Lawrence saw the man who had carried off the spawn from the egg walking across the cavern and placed a dripping sack into a bucket that had lowered from the ceiling. Giving the rope a quick tug he stood back as the bucket rose up towards the ceiling. Mr Lawrence smiled and entered the hut. Inside was decorated in blue and pink ribbons and the floor was covered in similarly covered cushions. Across these cushions a woman was sprawled, barely covered in the same ribbons that covered the walls she looked up as Mr Lawrence entered and smiled slyly. No words were said; she just adjusted her position slightly and pulled away the ribbons to reveal herself to him. Her body was the same pale, soggy looking skin as Mr Lawrence, sagging in repulsively and the stench of salt and oil was overwhelming. Mr Lawrence smiled and dropped to his knees in front of her.

As Mr Lawrence left the restaurant a few hours later he took his time to slowly was around the front and glance in at the people sat at the tables. Every single one of them laughing and smiling, joking with friends as they devoured huge platefuls of sushi. Mr Lawrence smiled too. If people only knew what went into their food.


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