I’ve been going through a lull in blogging lately. Although I’ve been trying hard (and succeeding, surprisingly!) to keep up with a certain trio of currently airing series, I’ve also been feeling quite passive, too. Even still, the desire to trudge on with this whole writing thing has never left me, so, thank you if you’ve been persevering with me for a few years now. I honestly wish I could be a more consistent blogger for you, but let’s forget all that for now, for I have finally found something ‘new’ to write about!
Remember the Enigma of Amigara Fault? No? Well, it’s a one-shot manga by Junji Ito, in which a strange cliff face inexplicably attracts to its place a specific bunch of people. There, in plain daylight, what they discover are human-shaped holes carved into its rocky surface, each one honed to the exact size and shape of the person now standing before it, staring into it’s darkest depths.
Strangeness is an overlooked element of horror and whilst Enigma… might only be 30 pages long, it’s a story that has refused to leave my thoughts. It chills me even now because I’m bothered by the answers to the strange questions posed. Ever since I read it, I’ve been keeping an eye out for anything else like it, and well, guess what? The Thing That Drifted Ashore is also by Junji Ito, also a mere 40 pages in length and also thoroughly strange!
I read it for the first time last week after it was published on the Monster Brains blog (hint: go and read it right now!)
A dead sea creature is beached somewhere in Japan on a hot summer’s day. Long, huge and disgusting, the stink of its lifeless body, covered in spiralling sea urchins and other gross parasites, is palpable, as more and more passers-by are drawn in to inspect its alien carcass. Having squirmed up from the depths of the ocean, it looks unlike anything seen before. What is it? Where did it come from? But worse still, what’s in its stomach?
The element of mystery is what’s so frightening about stories like these. There’s just enough information for it to fire off the reader’s imagination, but not enough for it to seem unrealistic. One cannot understand how such a grotesque creature came to be, and that’s enough. What follows is unsettling, to say the least!