It seemed just your luck to have rented an apartment directly above a group of cultists.
You’ve lost count of hearing their inane, rhythmic chanting below your floorboards and the faint flicker of candles around an elaborate chalk circle. You’ve complained numerous times before, but every time they’ve greeted you at the doorway in their draping red hoods, solemn-faced and muttering about bringing the ‘Great Old Ones’ back.
For all the macabre airs that surrounded the place, the rent was cheap. Impossibly cheap. At first, you had been elated by such a turn of luck after you’d been so suddenly thrust into the adult world with both a job and school to juggle, but by now you knew why tenancy changed so quickly. But there was no way you’d be able to find another apartment this cheap. So you just tried to ignore the strangeness that lingered around you by immersing yourself in the real world outside your door, silently dreading the moments where you would have to return home. Any other person would have turned heels long ago, but you’re just too stubborn to leave. It’s your home. You feel a sense of protective belonging over it, almost as if it’s your responsibility.
You’ve come to expect the unusual from your living circumstances.
However, what you would have never expected would be a loud, unearthly rumbling that would send you sprawling to the ground, where the muted screams of cultists to waver up through the cracks in the floorboards.
After the initial shock, apathy and exasperation set in.
Damn it. After so many failed rituals and chants, so many nights spent reading spells from mind-destroying ancient tomes, they’ve actually done it.
Well, at least you won’t have to deal with your downstairs neighbors anymore, you remind yourself hopefully.
The journey down the stairs is a dark, tepid one where you blindly grope the spiraling banister, feeling as if something is just going to jump out at you like a overused horror movie cliche. Even though you try and convince yourself otherwise- damn it, you’re an adult, you shouldn’t be afraid of these things- the fear till lingers.
The first thing you notice is the immense heat that blasts onto your face, sending trails of condensation down your already pale brow. It’ unusual because their heat is turned off all the time, even in the depths of winter. The only heat source down there is candlelight for when they carry out their unearthly rituals. But now it feels like you’re in the boiler room of the apartment block, walls almost scalding to touch.
A smeared chalk pentacle glimmers in the shivering light of a single candle in the center of the room, it’s siblings long since extinguished. Everything in the room is scattered and overturned, the wooden floorboards blackened, but curiously not burnt. It’s as if some massive, invisible explosion has take place. The musty air is already making you nervous- something lingers in it, something that you already have the sense to know is not of this earth, that every cell i your body screams to get out of. There’s no trace of your neighbors anywhere. But you can’t help but feel as if you’re not alone, as if something is watching you from the shadows.
Maturity tells you to call the police. But you’ve tried that in the past, and nothing has ever really come from it. And if you tried describing what was down here, you were sure that they would hang up on you as a prank call.
There’s a patter of movement from behind you. Noticing something sharp glinting from across the floor, you scrabble down to grab it, to try and protect yourself.
There’s a low clicking growl from the darkness. You feel ready to pass out from fear at any moment. You grip the knife shakily in your hand, but somehow feel even more helpless. Even when shrouded in darkness, you know that you’re powerless against whatever faces you.
With a shrieking cackle, something massive launches itself from the darkness with flashing white eyes and a fanged mouth trailing viscous saliva. You wait for death, but find it curiously absent. You look down to see the thing feeding on something else, and yourself completely unharmed.
It’s a massive mass of pulsating tentacles from the waist down, slithering across the floor on them like some giant demented octopus. Above, it’s a bony white mockery of the human form, scales trailing down it’s spiky spine. Seeing it’s arms flex as it tears into it’s meal, it’s a lot more muscular than you thought. Around it’s head, you see a familiar robed hand, half-clutching a hammer. A hand that belonged to someone, one of the cultists, who was going to bring it down on you and use you as a human sacrifice.
With a dawning shock, you realize that whatever this thing is, it just saved you.
You move hesitantly towards it and it’s head whips around, glowing eyes burning right into your rigid form. It looks at you in a way you’ve never seen anyone look at you before, so intently, so longingly. It softens you to sympathy towards it, instead of screaming at the sight of it.
“Thank you,” you breathe out.
You cringe at how ridiculous you must sound. You don’t even know if it can understand what you’re even saying, or if you’re really just the light snack for it after the heavy dinner of loyal cultists. Much to your surprise, it understands. A low longing growl coils out from it’s throat. It’s not even human, but you somehow feel closer to it than you’ve ever felt to any fellow member of your species. There’s more than that. You see it in it’s whole stance, aching familiar- it’s lonely.
Lonely- just like you.
Overwhelmed by the situation, you make a quick run for upstairs. But as you’re midway up the staircase, you hear a low squelching sound. Whatever it is, it’s not about to leave you.
That evening was how you found yourself saddled with an unusual new roommate. He didn’t have an exact name, well at least not in human language. The most you had gotten out of him was a high-pitched series of clicks and ear-splitting squeals.
Despite all odds, you two had somehow become amicable. True, he practically ate you out of house and home, but he was always there to listen to your day and silently comfort you from your stresses, wrapping his tentacles around you in a slimy hug.
There were the few annoyances- while most roommates had to deal with their stuff being borrowed without permission, or not doing chores, you had to stop yours from eating neighborhood cats.
It was nice having someone to come home to- even if that someone was actually something that was from another dimension all together. It was still nice.
Still, the memory of that night played on your mind- why had he saved you from becoming a sacrifice? Why hadn’t he just devoured you like he had with everyone else?
You sat half-curled up on the couch, a stack of junk food seated in your lap, more for him than it is for you. Beside you was your laptop. If there was anything that you loved about the new routine, it was movie night. It was a night where you could just lose yourself and forget the stresses of the world. You were so used to watching movies alone, but now you had someone else to enjoy them with.
And you had to admit, it was oddly endearing to see a tentacled, eldritch beast enjoy watching animated children’s movies. He shifted beside you, clawed hands shifting against the fabric of the duvet you’d put over to protect the couch from further damage. He was enraptured by the screen, toothy mouthed stretched into a wide grin. He loved movie night just as much as you did, already devouring half the stack of snacks. But you don’t mind.
Somehow you didn’t focus on the movie like you thought you would. Your mind slipped away from the action onscreen, becoming more wistful. You kept thinking about that night, about the ritual gone wrong.
“Hey,” you suddenly remarked, “I just realized something.”
His head instantly whipped around from the bright illumination of the screen within the dimmed room.
“Mrnnnh?” came his curious growl.
You suppressed a laugh at how truly catlike this hideous, tentacled monstrosity could be.
“Two months since we met, and we moved in. I think it calls for some kind of celebration.”
“I’ve…I’ve just been thinking…”
He leaned in, both curious and concerned, sensing your obvious hesitancy. You force yourself to exhale.
“That night…what was it about me? Everyone else…you devoured. But you left me alive. You saved me. Why? Why me?”
The creature goes quiet. You already feel as if you’ve made a terrible mistake and feel like gingerly trying to switch the topic of conversation. But he shifts over the couch, slightly creaking it with his own immense stature.
“I…wanted to devour…wanted to devour everyone…but…” he growls in a deep, grating tone.
His head tilts downwards towards you, making you feel absolutely tiny in the shadow of his presence.
“…I… don’t want to eat…you. You…not meat to me.”
He pauses for a minute, as if struggling what to say.
”You…mean..more…to me…than…just meat.”
You’re so shocked by the brevity of his words that it only dawns on you a few minutes later that it’s the first time you’ve ever heard him speak human words.
Squeezing back the few tears that brim within the glassy corners of your eyes, you draw close to him, allowing yourself to be embraced by his long arms. His touch is almost crushing, you know if he really tried, he could rip you apart, but you feel nothing but comfort.
“Thank you.” you murmured softly.
Your monster smiles down at you, revealing an array of sharp teeth, arranged in a welcoming, loving smile.
Something really, insanely, disgustingly fluffy of the first time they say I love you maybe, like full of affection and intimate and so ciuttee