You who consider yourself enlightened may still yet laugh at me, but I say to you again: the mind of man, in his Troglodyte infancy, has never dared to imagine the terror I experienced during my two days and three nights wandering the foetid catacombs of the local convention center.
At every turn a new grotesque assailed my eyes: from shimmering diaphanous wraiths with silver hair, to abnormally corpulent beings whose very bodies seemed unnaturally imbricated in the bounds of our sublunary space, and also their homemade Sailor Moon outfits. My relief at spotting, in the undulating mass of terror, a pair of fuzzy cat ears turned quickly to extremest nausea when I saw they belonged not to a cute little kitty but a squamous youth protesting loudly to the price of a certain table’s merch.
I retreated to the balcony to recompose and it seemed, for a moment, as if a noxious cloud hovered over the entirety of that hideous scene, a condensation nearly visible in its dank iridescence. The cries of those foul creatures echoed up the columned walls, ululating cries for such incomprehensible entities as “huggles” and “glomps” — and even, in some tenebrous corners, were the hushed, mad whispers of “yiff!”
“Eh, you must be a stranger in these parts,” murmured a voice to my side and, turning, I saw a slight, yellowed old man who by his attire I recognised as a custodian. “Happens every year. Olways a young man not much dif’rent than yeself shows up to this here convention, not knowin’ what he’s in fahr.” His eyes regarded me with a lizardlike intelligence that inspired in the pit of my being a wordless unease. “‘T ain’t so bad onct yer used ta it,” the custodian continued. “I’m rememborin’ way back in Ninety-Eight when we began hostin’ this deal…. Wal, Sir, you can believe thar was a lot o’ outcry at the noise an’ the mess. I was one o’ them! But after some years had gone by and by ye start to git used to perty much anythin’, ye reckon.” He chuckled loathsomely.
“Anyhaow,” he said, shaking the leathery head when he saw my horror was not assuaged, “what it was fer me, was I seen ’em at their meals. This stuff called… ah, ah, Pocky, ye ken? Can’t tell ye ‘zactly whut makes it whut it is… a kinda… cookie dipped in… dipped in whatever one might imagine, d’ye see? An’ I saw ’em with it, monchin’ and snarfin and snackin’ and I jus’…. got a cravin’…. Queer haow a cravin’ gets ahold on ye, eh boy…?”
My mind pushed to the very limits of exertion, I made to flee for good. Yet the convention center maps, posted to the walls like horrid, unremembered glyphs, are all but unreadable and after more than one wrong turn I realised I had furtively stumbled into the very nexus of that maelstrom: the Screening Room.
That thing — that terrible unnameable thing — towered above me, projected through the fuliginous aether of that room to proportions unnatural, though it was dimly and reluctantly understood that even unprojected it was a being wholly disproportionate to any known body: its eyes hovered like gibbous moons, iridescent like pools of ichor suspended whole, against the natural laws of physics, in a malformed skull, while about it splayed in non-Euclidean angles, in a shade of the most decadent purple, structures that might have been in some perverse evolutionary perspective homologous to hair. Before I could leave the room that thing began to gambol, to the amusement of its wretched audience, and began to gibber in its alien tongue: “Onii-chan! Onii-chan! Itai!!!”
And then came the tentacles.