By Umiyuri Katsuyama

Translated by Toshiya Kamei

While driving along the coast, the beaches still deserted after the tsunami two weeks ago, our tour bus skids to a sudden stop. Outside, a group of musicians jam sans bassist. A chill runs up my spine.

“Need a ride?” our driver asks.

“Yeah. Next town. For a gig.”

Dripping water, the musicians climb onboard. Their steps squelch as they walk. They’re deathly pale. Seaweeds hang from their leather jackets. The smell of rotten fish stings my nostrils. Still, I keep my mouth shut. Once seated, they resume playing. I grab my bass and join them. I can’t help it.

Umiyuri Katsuyama is a Japanese writer of fantasy and horror. In 2011, she won the Japan Fantasy Novel Award with her novel Sazanami no kuni. Her latest novel, Chuushi, ayashii nabe to tabi wo suru, was published in 2018. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous horror anthologies in Japan.