Do you do everything they tell you?
She looked across the room. The whisper of the tentacles weaving through the air, caressing the inside of her ear.
We’re your world. Your creation. Not them.
It said again. The whisper of a thousand voices. a thousand small, sucking circles reaching out, waiting for something to stick to.
Days ago it had been easy to rationalize that the sounds, the soft dancing of whispered words waltzing around her head, that they were just that: sounds, not voices. Not the screaming of 636 crocheted suction cups. It would be irrational and insane to say that it had a voice. That it was talking to her.
she knew it was.
No longer was her project her own. It wasn’t a scarf, ugly or not. It was a living thing. A thing that had yarned over into her brain.
Days ago it had been just as easy to pass of the salty brine of ocean breeze wafting through the apartment as the empty can of tuna sitting on top of the garbage, the one she pulled out from under the sink because it had gotten too full. The tuna can, which she rinsed, she knew she rinsed, had sat on top. The all natural, straight from the seas, lightly tossed in only the most healthy oil olive tuna that had long since mixed with chopped jalapeños and spread across a lightly toasted bagel. In its own way it had returned to the land of water within hours.
she knew the smell,
what it was,
and where it came from.
She looked over at the couch; the pink organ throbbing waiting for her to return to finish her creation. Even if she didn’t want to, at this point she wasn’t sure what she wanted, she knew it was only a matter of time before her fingers worked themselves around the yarn, the metal hook cool between her fingers. She had to stop. She told it she wouldn’t be long. Just long enough for some water, a bathroom break.
It had been days since she ate anything solid. The coffee pot was bone dry and on a vacation for the first time since it came out of the box several years ago.
That was too long. She heard it whispering to her. Telling her that no matter what she thought she could just go to the bathroom where she was, where she belonged. It wouldn’t make a difference. Sea creatures produced ammonia too. Not all as prolifically as sting rays, but enough. The couch was its home. It produced ammonia. She could just let herself go. Continue her life’s work, her creation. One had become two, which had become three, four, five. Soon it wouldn’t just be six, it would be eight and a brain. And oh what a beautiful brain, it had told her.
She pulled herself away from the bright screen. Words had jumped out at her, funny words with funny shaped letters, but she hadn’t really read them. She knew she could read, had been able to, but she didn’t even know who she was. It didn’t matter. The shapes: q-u-i-t so many fun bunches of letters. The last word was the funniest, the one under b-e-s-t. The shapes changed; they were bigger, more exaggerated. Extra pretty:
She didn’t know what that was, didn’t know much.
Just that her project was calling her.
She crawled back to the couch. The cushions squished under her weight. She watched as her bottom arms folded into themselves making her a workspace.
And work she did. More arms.
A splitting headache as the room divided in front of her.
It didn’t matter her fingers worked.
A coldness seeped in. First as a chill, a tickle of numb around her ear. Then deeper, behind the eye.
An ice cold,
Her vision shifted from divided to whole again.
Warmth. A new home, cozy and quiet perched in a sea of pinks and purples. Across on the soggy loveseat was a shell. There, but like a hermit crab hiding in the recesses. The claws worked frantically the way any crustaceans would. Heat travelled up the offshoot lined with squishy cups ready for suctioning from their speed. A knot, a tie.
The shell broke, collapsing to the floor.
It would be a small, meager snack. The poetic irony of eating the hands that made you.
A Note from the Author:
The title of this story comes from an interesting fact about octopus (see below) and that when I crochet (currently 25% of my free time) I’m right handed.
Octopus reproduce in two ways: either multiple males will insert themselves into the holes females use to breathe OR they will hand her their sperm which she will always take with her right arms (never the left, though we don’t seem to know why).
For more fun facts about octopuses check out this Smithsonian Magazine article.