At long last, the King had found what he’d been searching for.
His journey had been a long one. For day after day, for night after sleepless night, he had clawed and swam his way through an ocean of slime, destroying what he could while seeking its retched origins. He had followed the endless trails of refuse across miles and miles of once-blue Pacific waters, slowly making his way closer to land. Closer to the source of the vile ooze that choked the life out of his underwater home.
And now, his fatigued body driven forward by seething determination, Godzilla finally stood face to face with the foul thing he’d been tracking.
It was perched atop a manmade structure, its piercing red eyes shining bright in the low light of the moonlit pier. A strange sound had begun emanating from its gelatinous body, a kind of sickening gurgle that could almost be mistaken for a sinister, inhuman laugh. It looked as though it had been interrupted, distracted from some disgusting task by Godzilla’s approach. There was anger in its eyes. Anger and intensity.
These were emotions Godzilla knew well. They were the same emotions that had driven to this place, the emotions that compelled him to advance further down the pier toward the red-eyed beast.
As he approached, a roar escaped his jaws.
The challenge had been issued. And as Godzilla continued his trek toward his newest opponent, he had no doubt that it would be accepted.
The attack came quickly, and unexpectedly.
With sudden and gravity-defying ease, the Hedorah leapt from its perch atop the smog-spewing factory. Its long limbs reached out in a clear attack position as its massive body flew through the dark skies over the pier.
On the ground below, Godzilla braced himself. A roar escaped his jaws as he prepared for the inevitable impact.
The monsters collided with enough force to shatter the windows of several nearby buildings. The Hedorah had landed squarely on Godzilla’s head, its arms and legs quickly grasping at his neck and shoulders to maintain its balance. Despite the crushing blow of the impact and the weight of the slimy creature pressing down on his spine, Godzilla did not yield.
For what felt like an eternity, the monsters continued their strange dance. The Hedorah held fast to Godzilla’s head, gradually forming its gelatinous body around it. Despite the Monster King’s attempts to fend the creature off, no amount of clawing or moving around the pier could loosen the beast’s grip.
Godzilla knew full well what was happening. The Hedorah’s body had already covered his eyes, and was heading steadily for his nostrils and mouth. He was being smothered. Soon, his air would be cut off, and his lungs would inevitably fill with the vile slime he’d spend the previous few months scorching from the ocean. From his ocean.
The King had no intention of letting that happen.
As the Hedorah let lose another gurgling cry, Godzilla allowed his knees to buckle. Gravity did the rest of the work, sending both monsters crashing to the ground. The tactic succeeded. Godzilla’s head had been freed, and he was now positioned to take the upper hand in the fight.
However, before he could rise, his vision was blinded by the red shine of the Hedorah’s eyes. In the few brief seconds that had elapsed since their fall, the grotesque being had recovered and spun on its fallen enemy. It didn’t take long for the creature to once again position itself over Godzilla, pinning the King to the pier as it hammered its giant, fingerless hands into his tough hide.
But Godzilla had been in this position before. He’d shrugged off far worse than mere punches in his time. His opponent had underestimated him.
Better still, the creature had made a critical error in its strategy.
While Godzilla’s body remained pinned, his arms suffered no such restrictions. By focusing on physical strikes, the Hedorah had neglected to account for Godzilla’s freed hands and claws. And the creature was about to pay for that mistake.
As Godzilla continued to weather his opponent’s blows, his arms began to draw backwards, gathering strength for a strike at the Hedorah’s chest. All it would take was the right punch in the right spot. He could end the fight – and the putrid beast – right then and there, claw straight through its rancid flesh and tear out its polluted heart in one swift move…
With unnatural and nauseating ease, both of his clenched fists passed straight through the Hedorah’s body with almost no resistance. There was no muscle, no bone, no heart to grasp and tear out…
A sound like ripping cloth filled the air of the pier. Both of Godzilla’s hands now stuck out of the Hedorah’s back, covered in slime and desperately grasping at the air.
The King felt his blood run cold.
While the attack had been unsuccessful, it had certainly gotten the Hedorah’s attention. The creature’s gurgling roar shot through Godzilla’s ears, but it wasn’t a roar of pain. Annoyance, perhaps, but not agony.
As the Hedorah continued its cries, Godzilla could feel its slimy abdomen and legs begin to coil and tense. It was preparing for something. Preparing to move, perhaps to jump. Godzilla refocused. This was his chance to turn the tide back in his favor…
In an instant, the Hedorah’s tense body uncoiled as it leapt off of Godzilla and over his head. The King felt his trapped arms slide sickeningly through the holes he’s punched into the creature’s body as it rose into the air. Once freed, he wasted no time in rolling his massive frame and reaching straight up for the fleeing Hedorah’s tadpole-like tail. It was a quick and calculated move, and it succeeded.
At last, the Hedorah was firmly in Godzilla’s grasp.
The body of the slimy behemoth slammed into the ground head-first, seemingly stunning it for a few moments. As its arms and legs desperately attempted to grab the pier and propel it forward, Godzilla tightened his grip on the Hedorah’s tail, his claws sinking satisfyingly into its soft flesh. The giant reptile then repositioned himself and began to turn his massive body in a slow spin. As he picked up speed, his momentum traveled down his arms and into the Hedorah, taking it along for the ride. Within a few seconds, Godzilla was spinning the Hedorah around the pier like a giant, demented carousel. With each rotation, Godzilla’s speed increased, and his grasp on his enemy’s tail grew stronger.
As the monsters continued to spin, the light pattering sound of spraying liquid began to fill the air. At first, it was quiet, barely perceptible. But soon, the area surrounding the beasts was saturated in a thick, gray slime. A slime that spiraled out from the Hedorah’s whirling body and flew in all directions, some of it sailing far away from the confines of the pier.
The Hedorah’s body was weakening. Its bodily structure was breaking down, loosening at a cellular level. The centrifugal forces behind its rotation were, quite literally, on the verge of tearing the beast apart. Before too long, something would have to give…
And then, a new sound. A moist, unpleasant sound akin to a wild animal tearing off the hide of its pray.
In a movement too fast for even Godzilla’s keen eyes to perceive, a small glob of the Hedorah’s body violently detached from the creature’s back, sailing though the sky and disappearing into the dark distance of the moonlit night.
The clacking sound of small ivory Mahjong pieces filled the air of the tiny meeting room. Eight eager hands stretched out over a table, rolling the pieces around in a great mass to shuffle them up. Each piece moved as one, unique unto itself yet part of a collective whole. That whole would soon take shape, and the game would begin.
The four men at the table were hard-working, upstanding salarymen. They’d known each other for years, working the same job and meeting at the same bars after work for as long as each could remember. A good game of Mahjong went a long way in keeping their sanity in check after a long day of work. A healthy dose of alcohol didn’t hurt, either. It was their tradition, and they’d assumed that this night would be no different from all the others that had come before.
The first splattering sound was only noticed by one of the men. The second impact was larger, more forceful; it caught the attention of all four men, who turned to see the nearby window smeared with a thick, gray slime. Looks of disgust and horror fell upon their faces.
And then, a third impact.
Amidst a spray of shattered glass, a massive blob breached the room. The four men could do little more than scream as their world grew rancid and dark.
A few seconds later, the amorphous shape of a slithering, oozing thing slid its way out of the room through the broken window. In its wake, four partially submerged corpses sat motionless in a room consumed by slime.
With a shaking hand, Yukio lifted his glass to his lips.
The bright colors and frenzied music of the nightclub had completely overwhelmed his senses. His world was now one of serenity within chaos, of silence within insanity.
And yet, Yukio could begin to feel his mind slipping.
No matter how hard he tried, his universe was beginning to unravel. The countless dancing forms around him were beginning to grow nearer, steadily closing in on his world as the countless reflected duplicates of his beloved Miki continued to dance and sing in front of him.
Green and blue skies, return! Return!
Blue seas, return! Return!
Yukio closed his eyes for the briefest of seconds. He saw the blue seas Miki was singing about. He saw them stretched out like an eternity before him, blue and beautiful and teeming with life. Fish of all shapes and sizes. Living fish. Still fish. Dead fish. Fish floating in a sea of refuse and slime. Darkness choking out the blue. Life giving way to decay…
Yukio’s eyes shot open.
Miki was different.
Her body remained the same. She was still dancing. Still singing.
But her face…
Orange. Huge lips. Wide, dead, unblinking eyes. Scales. Gills…
Return! Return! Return! Return!
Yukio turned away from Miki for the first time in hours. His head shot around to face the throngs of dancing teenagers that filled the club.
No. Not teenagers. Not anymore.
Yukio shook his head, closing his eyes and rattling his brain around inside his skull in a desperate attempt to restore a semblance of sanity to his world. But when he opened his eyes again, the horde of dancing, singing fish remained.
Life, the sun… Return!
Return! Return! Return! Return! Return!
It was too much. The club had become a kind of waking hell, a nightmarish tank of writhing, oblivious fish. Creatures to be pitied. To be slaughtered. To be…
Suddenly, a scream.
The sound snapped Yukio back to reality, at least long enough to recognize the scream as Miki’s. More screams and yells soon followed, and Yukio watched as the people around him began to point in the same direction.
Yukio turned to face the club’s exit, which lay at the top of a descending flight of curved stairs. Something was there, something long and gray and vile. It was slithering down the stairs like a gigantic slug, growing closer and closer to the dance floor.
The teenagers quickly began backing away, crowding toward the stage and the giant screen. Miki leapt from the table she’d been dancing on, grabbing onto Yukio’s shoulders as the two of them reversed toward the others.
For a few terrifying seconds, the mass of slime remained motionless on the stairs. It seemed to be waiting for something. It seemed to be thinking.
And then, as quickly as it had arrived, the mass began to retreat back up the stairs, sliding back through the opened door and disappearing from sight.
The chaos of the club had given way to an unsettling silence. The colorful blobs of light still pulsated on the screen behind the stage, dancing to music that was no longer there. No one moved. Few dared to breath.
When the silence was finally broken, it wasn’t by one of the teenagers. Instead, it came in the form of a small, pitiful sound that emanated from the slime-covered stairs.
Standing amidst the trail of refuse left in the monster’s wake stood a small cat, its once-white fur saturated a dark, slimy gray. It was weak, confused, and against all odds, very much alive. The haunting sounds of its delicate cries echoed through the club with an intensity no song played or sung that night could hope to match.
Chapter 7 Coming Soon