Fiction by Ben Fitts
“It’s not just the drinking, or how you’re always busy with work,” admitted Katie.
Justin exhaled and strode over to the big living room window in his highrise apartment, his back to Katie. He couldn’t look at her right now, so instead he gazed down at the view of Manhattan sprawled below him. Or at least, what was left of Manhattan since The Old Ones had risen.
Terrors that Justin lacked the ability to describe slithered and flew and crawled and stalked and squirmed and skulked across the roads and rooftops and sidewalks and sides of buildings and the air. The city was swarming with claws and wings and tentacles and scales and eyeballs and fangs and appendages that Justin did not think there were words for in the English language.
“What is it then?” asked Justin through gritted teeth.
The world was ending. Creatures more terrible than anything Justin’s limited imagination could ever dream up ruled New York City–ruled the entire world, in fact–but somehow Katie still insisted on dumping him as if everything was normal. Sure their relationship had soured recently, but didn’t she understand that they could be swallowed alive by some dreadful thing at any moment? Didn’t she understand that to die having a stale, imperfect love is still better than to die having no love at all?
“There’s someone else,” Katie whispered.
Justin spun around on his heels to face her.
“What!” he shouted.
“There’s someone else,” she repeated, a bit more confident the second time.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Justin moaned, dropping his face into his sweaty hands.
Justin had never been particularly talented nor especially intelligent by any common metric, but he had worked hard to make something of himself in the world of humans. When he was growing up, Justin’s lack of any sort of interest or passion meant he had nothing better to do than devote himself to the thoroughly uninteresting classes at the expensive prep school his parents paid for and later at the even more expensive university they paid for.
While his peers in college were forming indie rock bands or printing chapbooks of their own poetry or conducting academic research on the evolutionary history of clams, Justin had devoted himself to the soulless world of finance and worked hard at it. His parents were wealthy enough to pay his entire tuition and board, so he graduated from his Ivy League school without a lick of student debt.
Within several months, his father had gotten him a job as a junior member as an investment firm that one of his old fraternity brothers now ran and Justin found himself as happy as someone with no personal purpose can ever be. He used globs of product to mold his overpriced haircuts and wore stylish dark suits to work. When Justin was in a fun mood we would wear dark suits with pinstripes, but that was not every day.
Without any sort of unfilled greater calling to distract or depress him, Justin would wake up every morning, put on his expensive clothes and drive his fast car to his job where he would be paid a big salary to simply move around the imaginary concept of money from one location to another, contributing absolutely nothing of mild importance to greater good of humanity and not minding it in the slightest. Justin thought that he had the world all figured out.
Or at least, he thought he did until a pantheon of malevolent cosmic deities returned to the surface world of Earth to declare it their domain and reinforced that claim with their hordes of monstrous underlings. Justin still may have still had his luxurious apartment for the time being, but his prestigious degree and corporate position and excellent stock portfolio did not mean anything at all in a world in which there was no longer such a thing as an economy, or even currency.
And now, he was even losing Katie. Justin lowered his hands from his face looked at his now ex-fiancé with watery eyes.
“Who could you possibly be leaving me for at a time like this? When almost everyone we know is dead and more are dying every day, who could you possibly have met?” said Justin in a slow, over-enunciated tone.
“And that’s another thing,” snipped Katie. “Stop always talking to me like I’m a child who you’re just sssoooo much smarter than. I know I was only a secretary, but that doesn’t make you better than me.”
“Katie, is now really the time to bring that up again? Just answer my question.”
“Cthulu,” said Katie. “His name is Cthulu.”
“What?” yelled Justin. “You’re leaving me to join the cult of Cthulu? Those nutjobs in robes who summoned that monster here in the first place? You know that they’re people responsible for the world fucking ending, right? Why the hell did you go join them? They’re the bad guys.”
“There you go being all condescending again,” said Katie. “Of course I know who the cult of Cthulu are and what they did. I’m not an idiot. But to answer your question, no. I am not leaving you to join the cult of Cthulu. I said I had found someone else, not something else.”
A silence hung over the pair as Justin scrunched up his face, thinking about what his now ex-fiancé had just said. His jaw fell and hung slack once he put it together.
“You don’t mean…” Justin began, but fell silent as he found himself at a loss for words. Katie was happy to supply them for him.
“Yes, my new boyfriend is the god Cthulu, formerly the ruler of the sunken city of R'lyeh and now of planet Earth, himself,” Katie spelled out.
“That makes no sense!” exclaimed Justin. “Katie, are you off your meds again? Cthulu is an ancient, alien being from outer space! How the hell could he be dating a human, Katie? Think about it!”
“Jesus Christ Justin, why don’t you mansplain my current relationship to me some more. I know who I’m dating better then you do.”
Justin rested a hand against his temple, his manicured nails digging into the sweaty flesh.
“Cthulu is over half a mile tall, with giant wings and tentacles sprouting from his face the size of highways. What part of you dating that makes any sense?” asked Justin.
“I know, he wasn’t physically my type at all at first. But sometimes when you get to know people, or in this case ancient cosmic gods, you get to see past their looks to the beautiful personality beneath,” explained Katie. “And Cthulu is great once you get to know him. He has so much ambition and drive. Just the Earth isn’t enough for him. Someday he wants to rule all intelligent life in the galaxy, maybe even the universe. Think about that Justin. The universe.”
Justin again turned away from Katie and buried his face in the elbow of his salmon-colored casual buttondown.
“This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening. This is just too weird, this can’t be fucking happening,” he murmured to himself.
Katie put her hands on her shapely hips and glared at her now ex-fiancé.
“I know this must be hard for you Justin, but can’t you at least be a little happy for me?” she asked. “Cthulu himself, ruler of our planet, chose me to be his girlfriend, maybe someday his queen. Me! He could have chosen any living being on Earth or not on Earth, and he chose me! Don’t you get what a big deal this is?”
“This is completely insane,” stated Justin flatly. “You’re completely insane. There’s no way that any of this is real.”
Katie’s phone buzzed in her designer purse. Justin had bought the purse for her on day number three of her birthday week last year, and it now pained him to see her unzip the top and did out her pink smartphone.
“Oh, that’s my Cthulhu sweetheart now,” announced Katie. “He says that he’s coming over right now to pick me up for our date tonight. He’s going to fly me to Peru and we’re going to destroy Machu Picchu together. It’s going to be so much fun! I hope that this isn’t awkward for you.”
“Katie, you have to stop this nonsense now,” said Justin. “There’s no way in hell that the god Cthulu is coming over to pick you up for a date.”
A great shadow fell over Justin’s apartment as all the sunlight pouring in from the big living room window vanished. Justin turned to the window, but saw only a solid wall of dark green scales on the other side of the glass.
“That must be him!” giggled Katie.
There was a shrill crunching noise as the ceiling was torn off Justin’s apartment. Chunks of drywall and wooden splinters rained down as Justin looked up to see the deity Cthulu looming over him. Even at the elevation of his fifty-eighth floor apartment, the god still towered over Justin so much that he could barely see his giant, squidlike face.
Cthulu held the rubble of the several stories of the building above Justin’s apartment in both his claws. The deity absent mindedly toss them aside, where they rained onto the Manhattan street bellow and crushed a small brownstone. Justin spotted the limp bodies of several of his neighbors tumble down with the discarded wreckage.
“Hey, baby!” waved Katie. “Give me one moment.”
She dug a tube of electric red lipstick out her purse and globbed on a generous amount before smacking her lips.
“Alright, I’m all ready, my big strong octohunnypus,” Katie cooed.
Cthulu descended one long, serpentine tentacle. It wrapped itself around Katie’s waist and snatched her up into the air.
Katie yipped excitedly. Justin recognized it as the same noise she would always make when he tossed her naked body onto the bed they had shared before taking her, and felt a stab of bitterness like a thumbtack jammed into his gut.
Justin watched the woman who yesterday had been his fiancé be carried away by the tentacles of her new boyfriend and he flapped his bulbous bat wings and soared into the sky, taking her out of his life forever.