1. Ink

    "Imagine a drop of ink, squeezed into a glass.  It swirls and contorts into seemingly random shapes, but they aren’t random, are they?  They’re determined by pressures and currents we simply can’t see.  What looks like utter chaos is actually perfectly ordered.

    Look at these things, they seem to be chaotic, random… but they aren’t, are they?  They have eyes in places they shouldn’t, yes, but why have eyes at all?  Limbs placed seemingly at random all over their bodies, arms and legs and hands and feet with no rhyme or reason, but why do they have limbs in the first place?  They have mouths, full of sharp teeth as I’m sure you’ve seen, but there’s no throat to them, just smooth flesh at the back.  The inky black of their skin seems understandable enough, but cut them open and it’s just solid skin all the way through.  Why?

    They’re like ink, in more ways than color.  Whoever or whatever brought them here, pierced the meniscus, just a bit, enough to squirt some substance through.  It wanted to billow randomly, contort freely, but it was subject to the pressures of this place.  There are rules here, rules they have to fulfill if they want to stick around.  I shudder to imagine what sort of beast they’d resemble on their home ground, what horrors we could unveil if only we-“

    "That’s all very fascinating Professor, but would you mind pausing the lecture and helping me with this damn barricade unless you’d like to study them up close?"

  2. It was the drills that noticed it first. Great metal proboscises piercing the skin of the planet, they seemed impervious. A testament to man’s conquest over nature. Then the great whirring things started dying. They would just seize up one day, and when the seemingly endless lengths of metal were hauled out of the ground they would find a segment where the metal was mangled and ruined, as if a great pair of hands had squeezed and twisted it. the drillers were alternately baffled and furious; theories were raised and discarded. Was it some sort of earthquake? a flaw in the materials? sabotage? The question was answered, in a way, when the damn thing surfaced.

    It’s curious. That’s the worst part. It’s curious and it gets bored. The same cunning that’s fascinated scientists will also apparently drive one to wrench a metal drill into a worthless chunk of scrap. It’s hard to imagine the sheer confusion that a man might feel when a 15-foot ball of tentacles glides out of the ground in front of him.

    Glides perhaps isn’t the best word. The thing swims. Just like you’d see in the ocean or in an aquarium. Starring and closing its arms, scooping its way through an ocean of non-existant water, its tentacles drifting in invisible currents. Passing through dirt, steel and even people as if they weren’t even there.

    Until it doesn’t.

    Sometimes it doesn’t just ignore whatever it likes. It can interact with the world, on occasion. No one knows if it’s random or if it can somehow choose, but sometimes it will just reach out and touch something, or someone.

    It’s curious. Sometimes it will just brush against something. Poking and prodding. But other times it squeezes, twists, tears. Just like it can pass through anything whenever it likes, nothing seems able to resist it. Steel and silk get crushed just the same. And sometimes it grabs a person. They’re helpless to stop it. You just have to hope it kills them quickly, or at least stops them screaming. On April 17th, it wandered into a maternity ward. That was a bad day.

    There’s nothing that can be done. Bullets pass right through it, it’s unaffected by heat, cold, electricity, magnetism, and even radiation, when we tried that.

    In the grand scheme of things I suppose it’s not too bad. It’s not a catastrophe. Millions won’t die. It’s not an apocalypse. It’s not too quick, it can be outrun for that matter. Hell, it might even get bored and wander off. Maybe this will be all over soon…

    But it’s damned strange to be this terrified of an octopus.

Semiotic's Scurrilous Spookiness

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