Dark green yarn.
Black button eyes.
The amigurumi Cthulhu sat on the edge of my desk, watching over my classroom. Its eyes peered into the void of a thousand teenage souls — the dreadful thing had been with me for a very long time.
He’d been a gift from some long-forgotten girlfriend, pulled from her apartment, which had been chock-full of sage, half-melted candles, and a shelf of tarot cards. He smelled of herbs for quite a while, but he’d been sturdy enough to attend every single class I’d ever taught.
Forty-some-odd years he’d been trapped by my side. Sitting on desks, raging against the machine. If you picked him up, looked close enough at his face… you could just tell. The poor little dude had seen some things.
Like the time Zach Renair swiped him off his perch and slid the old god right into a greasy plastic bag once used to transport potato chips. Cthulhu went missing for two days before my patience ran out, and I had to get the principal involved.
After a day in the front office, Zach got himself and three other kids suspended over the incident. I can’t say how he’d pulled that off — neither he nor my quiet friend ever let me in on the details.
I won’t lie; I drank an extra glass of wine while my friend was gone, despite having had a pretty good idea of who had taken him. The fact was that few other kids that year had shown as much interest in the miniature monster. Zach was always the primary suspect.
When I got my prized possession back, his button-eyes got a little shinier, but I swear to God the little dude frowned harsher ever since. Like he was waiting for the day someone restored his power — stewing on the name that would be the first to go.
It wasn’t a single-line list, either. For instance, there was the time Susan and the Pep Squad forgot that monsters were, by design, not meant to be very fashionable. They smeared bright pink lipstick where a little mouth might be and completely ignored his tentacles.
It looked better than I gave them credit for, even though it took several hours of washing to get both the color and the raspberry scent out. Somehow the little dude didn’t look worse for wear. Like he was still just thinking about Zach Renair.
Weren’t we all, oh ancient God of madness? Weren’t the squeaky wheels just the type to get stuck in the backs of our minds?
Today, however, we both retire from that classroom. It’s been almost fifteen years since the potato chip bag incident — his little eyes never dulled after that, a constant reminder of the event.
We’ve taught our last class together, and I guess I can take up golf — or whatever retired English teachers do. As I leave this place, though, I can’t help but wonder; in forty more years when I’ve crossed that rainbow bridge — what will he do with those cute little claws made of yarn?
Will my silent best friend sit on some other mortal’s shelf somewhere? Without his guardian there to whisper in his ears, without me to hold him back, will he finally be free of his restricting chibi form?
Or will he continue doing his ancient duty of keeping tabs on the Zachs of the world?
I’ll never know what happens in the distant future, but as I scooped him off my desk, I understood that my time with him was already ending and wondered if I could pull up Zach Renair’s phone number.
There had been at least one rumor in the teacher’s lounge recently about him entering the world of education.
Perhaps they’d make a fine pair. Two monsters joined for good.
Alyson Tait lives in Maryland where she got married, had her daughter, and began her writing journey. She has appeared in (mac)ro(mic), Wrongdoing magazine, and From the Farther Trees. You can find her on Amazon, and Twitter @rudexvirus1.