The inviting carp

Author: Ukari

To say here is far, and to call yonder nearby. Stories on the edge of the every day, strange tales you may or may not be moved by. Strange, curious, fantastic stories told by me, you, him and her. There are many stories but they’re all concluded within a single page, each story around 200 to 1200 characters in length, a short story collection you can easily read. Please enjoy them. Updated every Saturday at 6pm.


Someone went missing in the neighbourhood.

It was a small girl, and the entire neighbourhood got together to search for her. As a result, they found her shoes and clothes floating in the local pond. The possibility that she was abducted was considered, but if so, they would have received contact from the criminal, and there was none. In the end, it was decided that she must have drowned in the pond.

That’s what my wife told me, gnashing her teeth. She gnashed her teeth because she didn’t believe the story. Even after dredging the water, the girl’s body never surfaced. When she was done, I remembered something that happened a few days earlier.

There are carp in that pond.

They might be nice for fishing, I thought as I walked past them one day. But whenever I had a day off I’d end up staying home, so I never once went fishing. What got my lazy ass moving was my wife asking me, “Is it okay to throw your fishing goods out? You never use them anymore.” She smiled. Rather than telling her “I’m still using them, please don’t throw them away,” I grabbed my fishing rod and left the house.

But I couldn’t fish.

I sat on the bank of the pond for half a day, and while I could see the outlines of fish, I didn’t get a single bite. I was the only fisherman there, so chances were high it wasn’t the best place to catch something good. Well, fishing was just a recreational hobby anyway, so I wasn’t too upset. I let my fishing rod be and kicked back to relax.

As tobacco smoke wafted around me, I caught a dragonfly flying towards me out the corner of my eye. As soon as you step even a short distance away from the city, you get to see scenery like this. Even if I didn’t catch a single thing, it was still a lovely way to spend an autumn day.

When I put out the remains of my second cigarette in the portable ashtray, something strange happened in the pond.

It bubbled.

Large bubbles floated to the surface of the water and burst. The shadow of a large group of fish weaved its way through the water, chasing them, then turned right at the edge of the water’s surface. The tails slapped the water as they rolled. They were so big that I couldn’t believe such creatures were in there. Then, as the bubbles calmed down, the carp started acting strange.

They swam in circles around the middle of the pond. It was an unnaturally controlled swimming. What on earth were they doing?

I found it strange. It was like the carp were inviting me in, and then the dragonflies started to circle above the water as well.

Around and around.

In the air and in the water, the strange spinning continued. Before long, one of the dragonflies plopped down into the water, like it was being sucked in. Then, like the opening of flood gates, one after the other, the dragonflies fell, like they had exhausted all their strength. Then the swarm of carp stopped, and they devoured the fallen dragonflies.

An overwhelming sense of unease came over me, and I packed up my rod and went home.

What I remember is the shape of those dragonflies, and the large, ominous shape of the fish. The girl’s floating shoes and clothes looked just like that of the dragonflies wings as they floated on the surface of the water, bitten off.

But there was no way. No way something like that could happen. If I tried to suggest something like that, everyone would laugh at me. It was just my imagination running wild. That’s what I convinced myself, anyway, but I just can’t seem to escape from that dark image.


Original Japanese

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