Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kappa, and L is for La Llorona, Lamia

Kappa- Japanese water sprite, typically depicted as roughly humanoid in form, and about the size of a child. Their scaly, reptilian skin ranges in color from green to yellow or blue.  The expression kappa-no-kawa-nagare ("a kappa drowning in a river") conveys the idea that even experts make mistakes. Their most notable feature is an indentation on the top of their head that holds water; this is regarded as the source of their power. This cavity must be full whenever a kappa is away from the water; if it spills, the kappa will be unable to move.  They are said to be mischievous, looking up women's kimonos and farting loudly.

Llorona- a southwestern woman spirit who, having lost her own children, searches for replacements so that she can get into heaven.  (There are lots of variations- basically she is always weeping and crying "my child" or something similar- kind of like a banshee).

The families frolicked on the shore of the big lake, afternoon sun glinting off it's grey surface. A breeze soft breeze blew, lifting the hem of a young woman's skirt, and she shrieked in surprise, feeling as though someone had been peeking beneath it.

A group of children played near the water, the older ones supervising a precocious toddler so that dad could man the grill and mom could fuss over the picnic basket and gossip with her female friend who had also brought her family to enjoy the spring weather.

The older children were caught up in their game of Frisbee, and the park was filled with the sounds of shrieking children and barking dogs.  No one noticed when the toddler made it to the water.  He grinned happily at having finally achieved his goal and crouched to slap his chubby hands in the shallow water.  He looked out over the shimmering surface of the lake with a cherubic grin.  He could hear a woman's voice.  She called him her baby, and sang a cooing lullaby with outstretched arms. 

Babbling happily, he stood, his thick brown curls ruffled by the breeze.  He took one step, then another, toward the smiling woman who sounded just like his mommy.  His little legs moved faster as he headed down a slight decline. The little guy didn't know that the water was deeper than the shallows at the edge.  He walked headlong into cold grey water that was suddenly too deep. He fell with a splash that went unheard by the adults and the older kids on the shore.

The grey water covered his eyes like a veil.  It was cold, and although initially reflexes made him hold his breath, he eventually sucked in a lungful of the burning liquid.  The woman was still there, even under the water.  She was pale and see-through, and she continued to call to him.  "Come with me, my baby. "

He kicked and struggled clumsily in the water, his stubby little arms and legs ineffective.  One of the older kids on the shore began to look around for him, but by the time the alarm was sounded, the little toddler would be drowned.

Something shiny slipped between the boy and the grey woman.  An ugly face hovered in front of his for a moment.  Then a scaly hand grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the shore. 

The Kappa towed the little guy up onto the shore. Careful not to spill the water that rested in a little cup-like indention on the top of his scaly head, he pounded the creature on the back helpfully, grinning when the little fiend coughed and sputtered and spit out a lungful of water.  A sound of panic came from the shore and the Kappa turned and hurried back to the lake. 

Just before he dove into the water, he stopped to glare at Lloraona.  He hated the lamia.  She was forever whining about her babies, and trying to drown clumsy human young in his lake.  He knew the people would blame him.  Pausing, he cocked one leg and farted loudly in her direction.  Then he gave her the finger and plunged beneath the surface.  Bitch.

Back on the shore, a panicked family held their baby close while he babbled excitedly about a turtle.

(Metropolis Illustration)

I just have to add that when I searched Yahoo for images, I found a movie poster for "Kappa".  Oh man you really need to check that out.  I laughed so hard! 


  1. Some positively creepy creatures in your A to Z posts. Thanks for sharing! New follower. Looking forward to more!

  2. I second that-- positively creepy, but delightful to read about! Great theme.


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