Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
The Hooligans: Bizarre Bazaar
Jac R. B. (Jacobguy)
I found myself amidst a crowd being shoved and tugged in every direction.
I hated the Farmer's market, I hated going there, I hated having to run This errand every week.
I'm not sure what it is about it, maybe it's all the people, maybe it's the smell.
No it's not the smell, the fresh produce and flowers always smell nice.
But whatever it was, I hated going.
But today was different somehow.
I had seen a booth that I had never noticed before, even though I come here every Saturday. I wandered over to the strange booth with these strange things that one might be able to pass off as fruit.
But the shape of them was very...odd.
They were almost zig-zag shaped, some larger ones shaped almost like chairs, and they felt more like an odd mix of solid flesh and fungus.
I went to ask the robed person in the stand but my mouth started to run dry as they turned.
Despite the shawl that they covered themselves with, they were distinctly nonhuman.
Horns grew from their thin, yet knobby head in an almost cancerous fashion, and their many limbs had many joints that reached out from beneath their hunched form.
They spoke out in a harsh, raspy voice,
"Excuse me miss can I help you?"
Somehow I was aware that they were very much not speaking English, despite my ability to perfectly understand.
"N-no thanks, just browsing"
"Ah... take care"
"Thanks, you too"
I nervously scuttled away as nonconspicuously as I could but i stopped short after finding that I was no longer in the Farmer's market.
The booths and stands rose up into the oddly dark sky almost forever on level upon level, a chaotic cacophony of yelling, nonhuman merchants advertising their wears out loud,
"THREE HUNDRED UNITS OF THE POROUS SEA! ONLY 30 CONES!"
"GRANT YOURSELF BLESSINGS WITH THE EMPRESS AND DAWN HER SIGIL! ONLY 12 CONES!"
"PIPEWINDERS GIVING YOU TROUBLE? TUBE ORCAS WILL FAX THAT RIGHT UP! ONLY 50 CONES!"
The booths and stands each had something completely different, one seems to be a blacksmith that specializes in alien utensils run by a creature seemingly made of nothing but red, molten rock, who wore nothing but a jet black apron.
In another was elegant, regal clothing, many of which dyed in such gaudy colors or bleach white that the true colors could only perceived by alien senses, in turn, run by what appears to be two jesters, both seemingly of such a flexible quality that their movements were as fluid as water, despite being completely chitinous, their heads seem to be like that of a soft centipede perhaps? Seems like you've seen a real creature like it before though. one was a complete rainbow, the other black and white.
A third booth was completely overgrown by alien plants and fungi, run by a decidedly inorganic, crystalline being sprouted out of the center as a single, reflective, lavender spire. It warbled a loud, ringing noise that communicated the quality of its "home grown appliances".
Weaving in and out of them were so many inhuman creatures bobbed and weaved around in every direction, the pure otherworldly array to broad to recount, some grabbed my shoulder softly as I came near, their limbs so alien and original its difficult to recount the exact form. they spoke in an alien tone, yet perfectly understandable. always offering some form of alien wares, or a kind of trade. all of them dressed in such a manner more apt for a desert. some having their "faces" covered by their robes, some had innumerable limbs in such a chaotic array that they couldn't have been natural, others almost completely limbless, slithering along like a snake or some form of slug, carrying their equipment with their tentacular eyes or their prehensile tongue. Others, far more sinister, are shaped perfectly like human beings in form and tone, their clothing covering their disguised forms beneath. By far they are some for the most aggressive of all. Even then, some are so alien that theyre difficult for my mind to grasp.
To avoid the headache I ducked into a nearby booth, seemingly quiet and covered by a curtain.
Inside was dark, but not too dark. A comforting sort of dark, like the inside of a royal purple tent. As I take it in, I hear a calm and oddly soothing alien voice behind me,
"Aahhhhhh.... Welcome customer... Feel free to browse..."
I turn to see the merchant who owns this stand. They sat in a large cauldron, their form more of a dry textured, light green, warty lump with a frog like mouth. They possessed a single whip-like tentacle in which it held an alien pipe that it puffed on occasionally.
"See anything you like?"
Their mouth opened oddly wide as they spoke, revealing many fleshy cords which ended in the bodies of rats and frogs that flicked like many snake tongues as they spoke. they gestured to the multitude of bottles around the shop on various shelves. I'm made aware of hundreds of unfamiliar herbs inside barrels and boxes all around, looking back at their own bottle I'm made aware that these are some form of alien hooka pipes, the smoke lingering in the booth seems almost to be an entity in and of itself, moving and flowing as if with direction, a feeling only reinforced by the smoke itself somehow managing to sort several of the herbs in various boxes and then retreat to the side of the merchant in order to seemingly "chew" on some herbs at the end of the counter, shaping itself into something analogous to the mix of a canine and a crocodile.
They, the merchant that is, seemed... Approachable enough to ask for some clarification.
"Um... Actually, I'm really uh....new to this place and i dont really know where I am. Could you explain it to me, please?"
The merchant seemed to perk up, in an amused manner.
"Ahh, a newcomer I see... If you would like to know more about the Bizarre, then you must ask my daughter. "
Pulling another tentacle from under its form, it signals to someone unseen farther back.
A more humanoid form comes forth, yet still decidedly not human.
Her face was smooth, like a mannequin, but created by an assortment of shining, bent metal pipes. Her torso was more like a polygon than anything, and her lower body descended in an array of twitching, random limbs, mostly unseen.
Her voice was melodious, as if reproduced by a well tuned pipe organ.
"Our guest requires knowledge of the bizarre, please, if you would, enlighten her..."
The daughter turns to me, and despite her distinctly inhuman form, she is approachable, similar to the merchant, a distinct personhood for something, or rather, someone who is by all definition, not human.
"Thank you so very much, if there's anyway I can repay you-"
But the elder merchant waves me away.
"Need not worry about pay dear, knowledge is free for all to partake"
I nod my head in thanks and turn to their pleasant Daughter, ready to learn more about where I am, as she begins to explain the basal nature to me,
"This is the bazaar, a gathering place for the disjointed, the weary, never have so many beings come together since the congeal of the purple moons, there were many broods brought to fruition those continuous nights..."
i find my interest in them growing with each word,
She clarifies to me more about the Bizarre, the entire time making sure and careful to account for me and my ability to understand. A very kind and sweet soul, almost like an artist in herself, at her very core. She explains to me the ancient nature of this place, a secret, hidden and sacred place for all likes to come and show their goods. She explains this to me, as if carefully holding my hand each step of the way, told in such a beautiful poetic manner that I am hung on each word.
Suddenly a commotion goes on outside.
I hear yelling and running, many alien voices and forms scattering in all directions, calling out to their kin in alien voices, scurrying to any shelter they can find.
All of the smoke, and even The smoke creature itself retreats to the very bottle the merchant was smoking from, They urge to us loudly, almost sloshing straight out of their cauldron in their urgency.
"Quick! Shut the curtains!"
Snapped from our conversation, The daughter and I pull the curtains shut very quickly, the speed and force of which case the pipes and bottles on the shelves around us to rattle lightly.
All is silent, save for a horrible, sickening throb as all the outside is seemingly bathed in a blinding, kaleidoscopic light, only visible from a thin line under the curtain that we were holding shut, even looking at its indirect glow burns my eyes like an intense, direct sunlight.
The merchant shakes in fear, and their daughter shutters.
I'm overwhelmed, I don't know what I am to do.
I never did find my way back home, but i did make a new home here.
I married Yig'liggos' daughter slenna and now we run the booth together.
The bizarre is chaotic, but it is home.
We still fear the light. The sickening pulse.
We fear the hooligan.
We ALL fear the hooligan.