Spirals are really scary shapes. I’m not sure why or how, but they just send the heebie jeebies down my spine. Endless staircases are the same way— I never know what’s at the end, but that uncertainty is what scares me. I can never find anything definite with these things, nothing solid I know would be shocking.
I remember this specific Super Mario 64 game on my DS. There was an endless staircase leading up to Bowser’s lair, and I vividly recall my fear after seeing the same portraits lining the terribly animated 3D walls. A wall of black seemed to hold my Mario character back ominously. Needless to say, I had a lot of nightmares about that night.
So the other day, I was looking up a little something about insanity. Besides random workout videos with Dwayne Johnson-type muscle men and girls whose stomachs represent pieces of paper, a particular thing showed up. It was an odd picture of a weird lady with a spiraled face.
I searched up the picture, stumbling across this horror manga artist by the name of Junji Ito. The spiral face lady came from his manga, Uzumaki, about a man who slowly becomes obsessed with spirals.
Soon, everything around him becomes a spiral from a girl’s hair, to the ground, all the way to even him. This abstract shape gradually shaves its way into every single thing on page.
It may not seem as scary in words, but trust me, this story gets me trembling. Also, Junji Ito has a collection of a lot of short scary stories, one of my favorites detailing an ice cream man.
Imagine this: It’s a dark night, and you, a single father, is walking down the street with your small child. You see a big group of children smiling, gathered together as you hear a peculiar tone you’ve never heard before.
“Daddy!” Your child says, pulling you towards the congregation, “Ice cream! Can I have some ice cream?”
You see a white truck wheel up, with a smiling man giving ice cream to a girl with petite curls. Your son practically drags you towards the truck as you stare at man inside. He seems perfect, almost too perfect, like a member of boy band. His eyelashes are long, feminine, and his hair compliments his ice cream vendor-hat as if he has been wearing that hat all his life. Of course, you shrug it off, realizing that your kid is lost in the crowd.
You ask the mothers of the other children, busy swooning over the ice cream man. “Where is my child?”
One mother responds, “He’ll come back after he takes a ride! You’re boy is new, but he’ll love it.”
You, not completely knowing what she meant, wait for your son. Then the ice cream man opens the door of his truck and the kids barrel in like animals, eyes struck with instinct. “Wait!” You object, squealing children drowning your voice out, “Where are you taking them?”
An old lady replies this time, “He is just taking them for a ride around the neighborhood.”
The truck comes back as expected, but you see something different in your child’s smile. Ice cream paints his hands and shirt in a way that feels off, as if you were teetering on a tightrope trying to balance.
To be continued. (Not really)