A Child of Innsmouth

A child of Innsmouth

#picturefiction #flashfiction

“Mother, I believe the child is going to come today,” Prudence said.

She levered herself up from the wooden chair and waddled across the kitchen to her mother. She grasped her mother’s hand and placed it on her distended abdomen. Her mother’s bulging eyes widened as she felt the rapid movements beneath the skin. Mother’s nostrils flared and she inhaled deeply.

“You smell of brine dear,” she said. “I think you’re right. We should fetch the midwife.”

Mother crossed to the ancient rotary phone on the wall. The electronics in the house had not been upgraded since the 1960s but it was difficult to get outsiders to come to Innsmouth and when they did the locals had a bad habit of eating them which just discouraged further visits; a vicious cycle.

Prudence felt the first contractions strike just as the midwife knocked on the front door. The midwife entered the bedroom with Mother, Aunt Abigail and several other distant relations whose names escaped Prudence. They all bore the mark of residents of Innsmouth, protruding eyes, non-existent lips, and random patches of scaled skin; in the case of Aunt Abigail, her skin was green.

The midwife poked and prodded Prudence’s belly and examined the dark line of scaled flesh running from her navel to her pelvis. She leaned over and stared intently between Prudence’s legs.

“Yes, it is coming,” she said. “You’re well along already dear. Just keep breathing as you were taught. We’ll have that little wriggler out of you in two shakes.”

Prudence panted and groaned and then let out a scream as the child moved. It felt like a fist had reached inside and tried to pull her inside out.

Prudence’s husband, Hubert, pounded up the stairs and into the room. He exhibited the most signs of his heritage of anyone in the family. His skin was a brilliant emerald and gill slits walked up his neck. His fingers were exceptionally long with webbing between the first joint on each finger. Prudence was lucky to have gained a husband with so much pure blood of the Old Ones.

“Is the child born?” He said.

“Be quiet foolish man,” the midwife snapped. “Now wait in the hallway. This is for women.”

She returned her attention to Prudence and patted her leg gently.

“Push dear. I see the little fellow’s head.”

Prudence bore down with a shout of pain and effort. The smell of the sea filled the room and with a popping sound her child exited her body. The midwife gathered the child up in her arms and turned it around to examine it.

“What the hell,” she shouted.

She lifted the child for Prudence’s inspection. The entire family drew close and Hubert forced his way into the room once more to view his child.

“You harlot,” he shouted.

The child wriggled in the midwife’s hands. He was pink and beautiful with the face of an angel. He had chubby cheeks, pudgy arms tipped with soft hands, and a writhing mass of tentacles from the waist down.

“I’m sorry,” Prudence cried. “I was drunk and lonely.”

“That’s no excuse for —for this. What of our vows?”

“Hubert,” Prudence said, tears pouring down her face. “You were at sea and then there was this lifeguard at the beach.”

“But a Cthulhoid?” Hubert threw his hands into the air and stormed from the room.

“At least he has your eyes dear,” the midwife said as the front door slammed.

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