I keep trying to decide where the place with the thing with too many eyeballs was, what real thing you could recognize it was the back side of, but it seemed to be at an intersection of Whites Creek Pike and Clarksville Pike and, in real life, those roads don’t ever run into each other. Plus, there’s no cave and to get to the thing with too many eyeballs, you have to go into a cave there at the intersection, lower yourself down one slippery step at a time.
“I’m going to twist my ankle and not be able to get back up,” I told the cat. She was unmoved. She scampered on ahead and I followed, using my phone as a flashlight as we walked along in the wet dark.
This is the point where, if this were an H.P. Lovecraft story, there’d be something weird, but also kind of hard to be afraid of—like an alien elbow or a whole town full of your cousins, but they have frog eyes, or sleeping squid-headed gods. You know how it is. And this story is the same way. I turned the corner into a deep chamber and there was a gelatinous pyramid of eyeballs. At the bottom of the pyramid was a whole row of mouths all opening their red, lacquered lips. Tentacles—because why bring up Lovecraft if there’s not going to be tentacles—sprouted out from the top. Each eye blinked open and shut at its own rate, so the whole thing had the air of a Christmas tree on a bad circuit, lights flashing, but not quite at the right time.
Each eye was more disgusting than the last. Not in some gross medical-trauma-porn way, but just in that it seemed likely that the thing could squirt four or five eyeballs right in your mouth or something. I don’t know how I sensed that the pyramid might be a malicious eyeball flinger, but there was no doubt.
I wanted to turn back. But, as I crept around the side of the pyramid, a thousand tiny eyes and a few of the big ones all on me, tongues flickering in my general direction, I saw the dog. Rufus. My idiot.
He was wrapped in this tentacle horror’s tentacles and it was, with some of its mouths, eating him. He seemed oblivious. He was grinning and enjoying the head-scratches only a thousand tentacles can provide.
“Oh, shit,” I said and, though I cannot be sure, I swear Squeaky, still by my side, may have said, “Oh, shit,” as well.