The Fishy Smell is a scary story from Japan about two teenage boys who go on a road trip and stop in an isolated village by the seaside. There, they encounter something that chills them to the bone.
A few years ago, when I was still a student, I went on a road trip with a friend of mine. We had just finished our exams and were in search of a little excitement and adventure. My friend brought his pet dog along on the journey to keep us company.
Because we didn’t have much money, we couldn’t afford to stay in hotels. Instead, we just stopped by the side of the road and slept in the car.
One evening, as it was growing dark, we came across a small seaside village. It was located on the coast, at the base of a mountain.
We were running low on fuel, so we drove around, looking for a place to fill up the tank. Driving down the coastal road, we spotted the only gas station in the village, but it was already closed.
It was a little house with gas pumps outside, so I walked up and rang the bell. There was a large basket hanging on the front door. It was filled with meat, vegetables, candy and other little trinkets. It looked almost like an offering or the kind of thing you leave at a shrine.
I rang the bell again and noticed someone peeking out through the blinds on the window, but nobody answered the door.
“Hey, I know you’re home! Open the door!” I shouted.
There is no reply.
“Our car is almost out of gas and we don’t want to get stranded here,” I said.
The lights went on and I heard the locks being unfastened. The door opened just a crack and a figure peered out through it.
“What do you want?” he growled.
“I just want some gasoline…” I replied.
“Can’t you see we are closed today?”
“I’m sorry to bother you, but we’re really stuck.”
“Don’t you know where you are?” he said. “Get out of here now!”
“I’d like to but we need gas,” I replied.
“Here, take this,” he growled.
The man opened the door wider and thrust a can of gasoline into my hands.
“Now go away and leave us alone!” he shouted, slamming the door in my face.
I thought he was very rude, but since he didn’t ask me to pay for the gas, I just thanked him and left.
Walking back to the car, I looked around and noticed that the streets were deserted. Everything was silent. All of the houses were in darkness and each one had a large basket hanging on the front door.
“Is there some kind of festival or something?” I wondered aloud.
“If there is, I don’t know anything about it,” replied my friend.
We were both very tired from driving all day, so we decided to stay in the village overnight and continue our journey in the morning. We pulled into a parking lot by side of the road which overlooked the sea.
My friend climbed into the back seat with his dog, while I wrapped a blanket around myself in the front seat and tried to get some sleep.
Just then, the dog strated growling and I noticed a strong fishy smell in the air. The dog bared its teeth and continued to growl as it stared out to the sea. Usually, the dog was quiet and well-behaved, but something seemed to have spooked it.
I strained my eyes to see in the darkness. The sea looked calm and eerie, illuminated only by the pale moonlight. I could see something wriggling on the edge of the concrete quay.
“What is that?” I hissed.
“I don’t know,” my friend whispered hoarsely.
At first, it just looked like a log floating on the water, but as we watched, the thing seemed to come crawling out from the sea. It slowly made its way up to the land, twisting and slithering like a snake, but there was no sound at all. The thing looked like a mass of black smoke, swirling around and shaping itself into the shape of an enormous man.
I could hear a horrible ringing sound in my ears. The fishy smell had become so bad that it was sickening.
The black figure crossed the road and reached the first house opposite the parking lot. The thing was almost as tall as the house itself and it was shaped like a deformed human with long, hanging arms and spindly legs.
It peered through the windows as if it had a face. Then, it went over to the basket hanging on the front door and began devouring everything inside.
I looked over at my friend and saw that he was sitting there in the back seat, shaking like a leaf. I was so scared that i couldn’t move a muscle. My entire body was stiff and my heart was beating so fast I was afraid it would leap out of my chest.
The disgusting stench of dead fish hung in the air like a thick fog. It was almost overpowering. The figure was roaming from house to house, peering in the windows and grabbing things out of the baskets.
“Start the car,” said my friend in a trembling voice.
As soon as I turned the key in the ignition and the engine started, the black figure turned around slowly and stared directly at us. Then, the thing started moving towards us. I floored the accelerator and peeled out of the parking lot.
The dog began barking like crazy in the back seat. My friend was screaming at me. I didn’t dare to look back. We just drove as fast as we could until we were out of the village and on the way to the next town.
When we ran out of gas, I grabbed the can of gasoline, quickly filled up the tank and just kept going. By morning, we were exhausted, but we had left the village and its strange inhabitants far behind.
When we got home a few days later, I told my parents about the frightening experience. My mother said she vaguely remembered legends she had heard when she was a young girl about a small fishing village on the coast.
She said the village was cursed and it was plagued by some kind of supernatural creature or demon. On the same day, every year something would rise out of the sea and attack the villagers, tearing them apart and devouring them. To protect themselves, they would lock their doors at night and leave offerings outside their homes to ward off the creature.
Ever since then, I keep away from the sea. There’s something about the smell of fish that strikes fear into my heart and makes me involuntarily tremble and shake like a leaf.