Eventually the shock wore off and Steve found himself soaring throughout the apartment. Mr. Jones and Eric continued to speak for some time while Steve had the time of his life. He found it very strange how other than the apartment being quite large, all of the furniture was completely normal. Steve thought with a weird squid monster living here everything would be all art house craziness. But other than Mr. Jenkins’ old dusty apartment, this was the most normal place Steve had been to since starting the job. And the whole floating around thing was really relaxing and took all stress off his body. With no fire, or angry dwarfs, or cartoon furniture, or ugly antiques everywhere, this was by far Steve’s favorite apartment of the day.
But like all good things, it had to come to an end. While Steve was dozing off against the wall, Mr. Jones floated over and tapped him on the shoulder. “Come on, boy. It’s time to go.”
Steve lamented that the fun and relaxation had to come to an end, but he knew they still had more to do. He wasn’t sure how long they’d been in the apartment, but he found himself a little apprehensive in saying goodbye to Eric. After all, he didn’t really get introduced to the creature. Alas, Mr. Jones motioned towards the shadow covered door and Steve felt himself being gently pushed towards its direction.
Mr. Jones hit the shadows first and dropped to his feet once gravity took hold again. Steve started to follow suit but something held him back. I have to at least say goodbye to Eric since he was kind enough to let me play around his home. Steve thought.
Steve turned in midair and threw his arm in the air like a limp pool noodle and started waving goodbye to Eric. “No!” Mr. Jones shouted, but the damage was already done.
A giant tentacle wrapped around Steve’s arm and squeezed tight. A thick slime coated the entirety of Steve’s jumpsuit as the creature began to shake him around with an unrestrained fury.
“Help!” Steve yelled.
Suddenly, the monster hurled him towards the open door. Mr. Jones was already prepared and braced himself for impact. Steve’s body plowed into Mr. Jones and the two careened into the hallway like a flaming meteor. With a snap, another tentacle shot out and pulled the door shut. The two men—slumped against the hallway wall—stared at each other in vacant bewilderment.
“What… what did I do?” Steve squeaked out.
“You have a lot of learning to do, son.” Mr. Jones placed a hand of reassurance on Steve’s shoulder. “That wave. In Eric’s language, it means ‘Hey, go fuck your mother.’ You need to be more careful around here.”
“A little warning would’ve been nice,” Steve said, getting himself up off the floor and sloshing the slime off his clothes.
“What did I tell you earlier—”
Suddenly, the door flew open and another tentacle shot out. Mr. Jones ducked to the side but Steve wasn’t so lucky. The giant tentacle smacked him right in the back of the head and he fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
Mr. Jones got up and gave Steve a little kick to the side. The young man groaned but his eyes remained closed. “While you’re taking a nap I’m going to take a piss. Damn prostate is about the size of a damn softball.” Mr. Jones walked away thinking about grabbing some food for when Steve came to. Naw. You snooze, you lose. He decided.
Visions of a squid and monkey dancing in a room of fire swirled through Steve’s imagination. Then he came to with the abrupt pounding in his head. He propped himself up against the wall and saw Mr. Jones strolling down the hallway towards him.
A giant tentacle wrapped around Steve’s arm and squeezed tight.
“We gotta get moving, buddy. You feeling okay?” Mr. Jones asked.
Steve groaned and fought to get to his feet. “Yeah,” he said, unsure of himself.
“Okay, good. We’re running late.”
The two men headed down the hall and Steve felt the pain start to recede a little bit. They came to the sixth room at the end of the hall and Steve couldn’t help but notice that the door was made of a different type of wood from the rest. It had a nice polish to it and looked like oak. But Steve, not being much of an outdoors man, couldn’t really say for sure.
Mr. Jones pulled his key ring out and was about to unlock the door when he stopped. “Hey, do you have any allergies?” His hand was on the doorknob but he was waiting on Steve’s reply before turning it.
“Oh dear God, what going to happen now?” Steve replied.
“Will you stop being so dramatic and answer me, boy.”
“No allergies that I’m aware of.” Steve grimaced at the prospect of what waited for him in this new room. “Why, what’s in there?”
Mr. Jones didn’t answer the question. He simply smiled and turned the knob. The fresh scent of a garden greeted them.