Short story: “The Talk”


My deep word echoed through the house.

“Yes dad?” answered a much more juvenile voice, after a few seconds.

“Would you come down for a minute?”


I heard the door of the second floor closing when he came out of his room, then the stairs creaking as he started coming down. I sat on the couch, waiting for him.

“What is it dad?” he asked as he came down the last step.

“Take a seat, son,” I said, pointing to the empty seat next to me. “I need to talk with you.”

“Er… okay.”

The young boy looked nervous.

“You’re not in trouble!” I said, a bit amused, trying to make my voice soft. He relaxed a bit.

“How are you feeling, young lad, on this last day, just before you turn ten years old?”

The boy showed his teeth, happiness clear on his face.

“I’m feeling great dad! I can’t wait to celebrate it with everyone tomorrow!”

My heart warmed at hearing his answer, and my resolve to tell him what I had to tell him strengthened. He was a good boy. He’d get it.

“I’m glad to hear that, son. The reason I’ve called you is because… Well, before you reach the age of ten, I need to have this talk with you. For you to better understand this world we live in, you see?”

He nodded, but I could see in his eyes that he did not really understand. I continued nonetheless.

“There are multiple things I have been asking of you since you first started going to school, and some… inaccurate things I have said. Now, you have a right to know. You are, my dear child, a bit different from all the other children. First of all, you’ve sometimes asked me about your mother. What you need to know is—”

“I was adopted?” He cut me. “That’s it, isn’t it? I’m not really your son?”

He looked like he was on the verge of tears… And that made me chuckle despite myself. Yes, that was the fear of many young boys of that age, wasn’t it?

“No, no, it’s not that! You are my son. Of that, I am sure. I’m your father, your grandfather is your grandfather, your grandmother is your grandmother, and the family elder is your great-great grandfather. Have no doubts about that.” I grinned. “I certainly remember giving birth to you you myself!” His concerned expression didn’t leave, but I could see that he was a bit relieved.

“No, what I need you to know, son, is that one of the things that make you… different to the other children you know, is that you do not have a mother. You’ve asked about her a few times, and I was always a bit evasive about it, so I want you to know. I am your father, and I guess I am also a mother of sorts for you, but that is all. You do not have a mother.”

“I… okay dad… I mean… You’re a great dad, so I don’t really care you know?”

His shaking voice clearly said otherwise, but I pretended not to hear it and went on.

“Now son. What I actually need you to understand is that this situation is quite unusual, as far as humans are concerned. You know your friends at school often have two parents, right? Even if now only one of their parents is taking care of them, they were born of two. That is not the case for you.”

His eyes went wide.

“What do you mean dad? Everyone is born from a mom and a dad! The teacher Ms. Martinez gave us a class about it!”

“Yes, that is normally the case, but as I was saying, you are a bit different… We, as a family, are a bit different. As I was saying earlier, I’m your only parent. I dreamt you up, wished to have you, shaped you, and gave birth to you myself. No one else was part of that process.”

He kept listening, but looked more and more confused.

“And our differences do not stop there… And to have you better understand that, I need to tell you how we are different. And before I do that, there is something I must apologize for.”

“Apologize, dad? Have you done something wrong?”

“I… have done my best, son. I have made the choice to raise you as what I think matches what is a ‘normal’ human being of this world, and this decision has not been approved by everyone, especially not by your great-great-grandfather.”

I winced as I recalled all the arguing with the old fart.

“But I have kept at it. And to do so, I have been telling you one big lie.”

“One big lie?” he repeated, confounded.

“Yes. A lie I don’t exactly regret, but that I need now to explain to you.”

Suddenly, his eyes illuminated, and he showed me his teeth as he grinned.

“Oh I know! It’s about Santa Claus, right? Don’t worry dad! I’ve known that Santa isn’t real for some time now! I love you even more now that I know that you bring the presents!”

I laughed out so hard I thought I was going to choke.

“No! No!” I managed to say. “No… but good of you to have noticed! I’m proud of you!”

I did my best to regain my composure as fast as I could. I didn’t want the boy to think I was mocking him tonight. Thankfully, he laughed with me in good humor. I managed to give my face a serious look before I went on.

“Son. The lie I want to tell you about is a little bit more serious than the Santa lie. Listen. You know how you have to dress yourself in your uniform every single day to go outside?”


“Well, this is what I haven’t told you the truth about. The other humans only put on clothes. They don’t have to put on their seventh-dimensional man-meat skin first.”

I waited a second as I saw he was processing the information, his face growing more and more perplex as he did, foam bubbling from his lips, eyes blinking.

“What do you mean dad? I don’t understand… Of course they have to! I mean, we all look the same out there! If they only wore clothes, I would see what they truly look like! I would see their tentacles, their mandibles, their slimy parts! The things you can only show your close family!”

“No, you wouldn’t. They don’t have any of those, son.”


He visibly frowned and got silent, as he put one tentacle on the top of his head, trying to understand.

You see, Cthuhlu,” I continued, “we are a very special family, different from the humans. The seventh-dimensional man-meat skin you’ve been putting on all this time to go to school, shrinking you to a size of about one meter thirty and giving you that meaty, featureless, skinny look… It’s how they actually are!”

His eyes went wide.

“What? No! Come on dad! That’s… that’s disgusting!”

“It is, son, it is, but I’m afraid that is the truth. You’re only putting that uniform so you can go to school with the rest of them.”


Seeing my serious face, he stopped for a second, visibly trying to wrap his mind around the new information, before speaking again.

“But… Wait. you mean when they get home they don’t remove that skin? They don’t get to freely extend their many tentacles and open their myriad of eyes? Their wings? Wait… Dad, don’t tell me they don’t get slimy?

“Sadly, son, except on some very rare occasions, no, they don’t get slimy”

“Eeeeeeeeeeew! But how do they clean themselves?”

“They believe water and soap is enough.”

“What? But that makes no sense! That just cleans the outside of the man-meat suit! If they don’t get slimy, they can’t clean up their insides!” He suddenly pointed two tentacles towards me. “Wait, why do they sweat then? I know they sweat! Why would they, if it’s not because of their slime overflowing from their man-suits?”

“It’s a mixture of water and salt. They actually sweat to regulate their body temperatures, from what I understand. They don’t even have scales, you see?”

“But that’s just weird! I mean, the uniform I wear is tiny! Fragile! Stupidly itchy!”

“I know son, but this is what life looks like everyday to them.”

“That’s… that’s just sad! And… Wait…”

Cthulhu fell silent, and put a tentacle on the bottom of his bloated face, as the couch his enormous body was laying on got splattered by his ooze. I waited for him to finish formulating the thoughts that were crossing his mind. He spent a few seconds like that, then spoke again.

“Dad… If that’s true… Is that why Timmy won’t play with me anymore? Why he stopped coming to school?”

I sighed. Timmy. Of course the boy was going to ask about him. That had been quite the troublesome situation.

“Sadly, yes, my boy. I know you liked Timmy a lot, but when you went for the sleepover at his house, you must have slipped out of your man-meat suit during the night. Human houses are not built like ours, so they couldn’t really handle your weight…”

He pouted. “I’m not fat, dad!”

“Not saying you are, honey,” I said, trying to hide my smile. “Just saying that their house was really fragile. Anyway, it broke down, and his parents and sisters were crushed to death, of course, but you saved his life because you were cuddling him with your tentacles in your sleep. He’s quite healthy, I’ve heard, but as I understand, he will be living for the rest of his life in a mental institution.”

He looked at me quizzically.

“What’s a men-tal institution?”

“The name of the very big house he has moved in. It’s a boarding school of sorts, where he surely has made a lot of new friends! But unfortunately that means he can’t come to your same school again.”

Cthulhu looked for a moment like he was on the edge of tears. My heart broke.

“Don’t worry! You’ll be able to play with him again! For your birthday, I’ll teach you how to feed on nightmares, so you’ll be able to visit him every night! Would you like that?”

“Oh! Yes dad! Thank you dad!” He rushed over to me and covered me with loving bites and affectionate spittle. “I love you dad”, he said.

“I love you, my little star spawn”, I answered.

And just like that, the talk was over. I sent him back to his room, and even if he asked a few more questions over diner, I knew he had understood everything perfectly and would be able to face life living with his difference.

Everyone came to visit for his tenth birthday: Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, even his uncle Hastur, who had brought an unspeakable gift all wrapped in yellow. It was a great day. I’m so proud of him. Such a good son.

I will never forget his face, and the wave of happiness I felt, as he beamed to me, with a smile that showed so many of his hundreds of adorable pointy teeth swimming in drool, as he consumed the final sunset of the dying world we had gotten him as a birthday cake.

Happy birthday, my dear boy. Happy birthday, Cthuhlu.