(From Boing Boing.)
My rabbit hole was a cold Thursday in January. It began like any other with my arrival at the office. Despite the Styrofoam coffee cup in my hand, I was half-asleep, trudging through my morning ritual on autopilot. Even sitting at my desk, loading up my morning websites and checking e-mail accounts, my eyelids sunk lower and lower, hindering my meager efforts.
Sitting there, eyes closed and brain stalled, I heard the sound of slithering, a rough surface rubbing against carpet in a rhythmic pattern. At first I dismissed the noise as a byproduct of my latent consciousness, but the volume steadily increased. At some point the peculiarity of the swishing seeped into my head and my eyes flew open. It sounded as if something large in the hall was approaching the door to my office.
Silently turning my head towards the doorway, nothing appeared out of place. The sound continued to grow, approaching din-like proportions, until a man-sized figure came into view. The.. thing sported the head of a fish hunched over a man-shaped body covered in glistening, gray-blue scales, each about an inch wide. Its lower jaw protruded below a maw of black, a row of fangs readily apparent. Its "hands" and "feet" were webbed masses with little differentiation between fingers or toes. The creature dragged a tail behind it, leaving a dark, wet stain on the mottled carpet.
I froze, afraid to move lest I attract its attention or incite it to anger. As it slowly trudged past the doorway, I could hear melodic overtones like faint bells sounding at random, barely audible over the friction of its tail. The man-fish continued moving to my left out of sight, the slithering noise slowly diminishing until it became the merest hint of an echo.
Blinking my eyes, my mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. Looking at the floor, I could barely discern a smear of damp, darkened carpet running past the doorway. My brain churned with the half-remembrance of my vision. Even as I struggled to preserve the clarity of the image, he slipped from my grasp. In the end, all that remained was a half-formed, hazy image of a hunched-over figure.
To this day, I am unsure what transpired that morning. Whenever I glance at the brown-gray carpet of the hall, I see a faint trail along its path. Sometimes I sit in my office staring out the doorway, listening in my mind to the rhythmic swish-swish and soft tubular bells. I hope to see him again someday. And I hope that when I do see him, when next he passes my threshold, I have the courage to say "Hello."
(Edit: Happy Birthday Lewis Carrol!)