Can I keep him? (Another New C’Thulhu Narrative)


The rubbery, gibbering mass slithered and snorted. Atrophied arms and legs—more like flippers—waved helplessly. Its body was iridescent and covered with gaping mouths, blind eyes, and suckers. Its tentacles flailed, and it smelled like rotten potatoes and sour milk.

“Can I keep him?” The boy looked up at his mother, all innocence and hound-dog expression.

shutterstock_238941298Is it any wonder wild animals eat their young? she thought, but said only, “What do you mean, ‘Can I keep him?’ No, you may certainly not keep him.”

“I promise I’ll take care of him!”

“Just like you did with the dinosaur? The toilet still doesn’t flush properly. And—holy crap, get it outside! It’s dripping goo all over the linoleum!”

“That’s not fair! How was I to know Dino would get so big?” He peered at the dripping goo. “Eeew! It looks like snot.”

“Oh god, it’s oozing all over my china. Here, help me push. Mind the teeth. And okay, forget the dinosaur—what about that zombie?”

“The zombie was a problem?”

A problem? The HAZMAT team went through my lingerie. There were footprints in the butter! That stupid thing landed me in quarantine for a week. So, no, sweetheart, you cannot keep this … thing … it. Whatever. We need to get rid of it.” She indicated the patio. “Open the patio door, I think we can slip it through. Now grab a tentacle and pull. Pull!”

The boy hesitated. “Um … I can’t get rid of him.”

“Why not?”

“He followed me home.”

Followed you?”


The creature lay in the sunlight, floundering and gurgling. Its sides expanded and contracted as it labored to breathe. The boy’s mother’s initial shock had turned to revulsion and now to plain old nausea.

But he kept on going, “Please can I keep him? PLEASE!?

A light bulb went off in his mother’s head. “You kids were playing with the Necronomicon again, weren’t you?”

“No, we weren’t! Honest! We were in the forest and, okay, we were at the old temple ruins. Billy was getting all weak sister so Jeremy hit him with a rock. Simon had already drawn the pentagram and, whaddya call them—oh, yeah, runic sigils!—so we figured what the heck and Billy was yelping and crying ow ow ow my head, you guys, why’d you hit me on the head and we knew he was gonna fall over anyway …” Here he gasped for air before launching back in. “… so Simon just kinda tipped him in the right direction and we started chanting, but it turns out Billy really wasn’t a virgin virgin ’cause of all the time he spent after gym class with Mr. Podoboroski, so the spell kinda worked but not really and instead of opening a door to the outer cosmos (gasp) Mr. Wiffles came through—”

“‘Mr. Wiffles’?”

“Yeah, that’s what we named him and he’s really friendly and we don’t need to feed him ’cause he burst out and through Billy and then he ate Simon and Jeremy. But I think he pretty much likes me and I PROMISE to walk him every day and I PROMISE to conduct the necessary containment rites and rituals—praise C’Thulhuand besides there’s no one left who knows the spell to send him back so can I keep him? Can I? Huh? PLEEEEEEASE?

His mom sighed. She always was a sucker for the boy’s big brown eyes.

“Well, I suppose we could give you one more chance …”


“But we’ll have see what your father has to say when he gets home.”

“Um …” The boy seemed suddenly interested in looking at anything but his mother.

“Oh god, what?”

“About Dad.”

“What about him?”

At that, the glistening Mr. Wiffles shuddered, huffed, and belched up—or farted out, it was hard to tell—a man’s boot with the foot still in it.

Recognizing the boot, the boy’s mother flared her nostrils as she glared at him.

“Young man, we need to have a talk.”

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