A Cup of Salt Tears
Besides the fact that Irene Gallo being one of the best ADs, I am always excited to work onTor.com short story art there’s no way to tell what kind of subject matter will come along.
This piece accompanies Isabel Yep’s novelette A cup of Salt Tears - an eerie yet beautiful story. You can read it here. The audiobook of IQ84 by Murakami Haruki accompanied the working of this piece, it was quite the perfect track.
“Makino’s mother taught her caution, showed her how to carve her name into cucumbers, and insisted that she never let a kappa touch her. But when she grows up and her husband Tetsuya falls deathly ill, a kappa that claims to know her comes calling with a barbed promise. “A Cup of Salt Tears” is a dark fantasy leaning towards horror that asks how much someone should sacrifice for the one she loves.”
While I was doing research for this project, I learnt a lot of interesting facts about Kappa (河童 ”river-child”), including their obsession with shirikodama (尻子玉 "Small Anal Ball"). It’s believed that kappa lure their victims into the water and gain power by taking their shirikodama, a mythical ball said to contain their soul which is located inside the anus. Check out the amazing manga by Hokusai titled 同河童を釣るの法 (“How to fish for Kappa”).