Its obese tentacles swept carefully across the Young Man’s skin, wiping off the poisoned excrement and other accumulated grime with affection, much in the same way a mother might wash her child in a kitchen sink. Our hero awoke from his shame-coma. He looked up to see the largest eye in the world staring back at him. He gasped, choked, stumbled to his feet, slipped, landed face-first in the moist grass, hastened to his feet again, ran to hide behind a moldstone.

[What the hell was that?] he thought to himself. He would’ve shit his pants if he had anything left in his hollow intestines, or pants. After gathering his courage, he cautiously stepped out from the moldstone, leaving behind deep handprints on the green colony, and looked back at the behemoth.

The enormous cephalopod sat hunched over, or as close to “hunched over” as an animal with no skeleton can get. It had the appearance of despair, but still, it was a giant octopus. [Who are you?] yelled our hero, cloaking his fear in bravado. The octopus turned to the Young Man, and in response, slowly raised its tentacle and waved.

Our hero approached this would-be surrogate mother, stopping just yards away. [Were you … cleansing me?]

The beast looked on with eyes devoid of expression.

[Can you speak?] he asked, realizing almost immediately how ridiculous the question was.

The lack of response remained.

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