When the first octopus fell from the clouds, Daniel Berck, a local evolutionist who witnessed the event, was sorely disappointed. He had always envisioned the mass exodus of invertebrates to undoubtedly originate from the sea, not drop into a cornfield. The creature, who when stretched out horizontally was the length of an average man, had yet to learn vocalization. Somehow it managed to burrow its name in the black soil with a fluid, almost cursive penmanship: Staam.

The scientific community was baffled. Through some harried diplomatic intervention, Staam was granted immediate political asylum. The philanthropic interest of a particularly keen lobbyist afforded the creature access to the remote beach of Jekyll Island off the south-eastern coast of Georgia. Over the next several weeks, Staam constructed what appeared to be a craggy garden composed of broken seashells and other miscellaneous ocean crustaceans.

Tourists snapped pictures of the beautifully-sculpted plot, and with downcast eyes, expressed only terrible pity for the obviously lonesome artist.

The following Sunday, the second octopus dropped from the sky into the center of Central Park in New York City. A third sighting purported a twenty-foot octopus squirming across a busy intersection in downtown Los Angeles.

During the press conference on Jekyll Island the following day, one reporter remarked that Staam’s so-called garden bore a striking resemblance to a medieval fortress.

Moments later, Staam wriggled through the knotted gate and rose vertically on two unusually long appendages. The crowd of paparazzi and government officials were stunned to silence. Staam continued to stretch four of his spotted tentacles up and above his muscular head. He closed his immense eyes and began to hum as he swayed side to side.

From behind his swollen mass came the clamor of clattering machinery, churning the agitated cogs and barnacled levers painstakingly crafted from mollusks and sand dollars. The illustrious device of his unique garden construct had sprung to life.

"What does it do?” One brave reporter queried over the sound. “What is it for?”

“Progress,” was the first and only word Staam ever spoke.

Then the great machine, adrift in deep, resonant vibrations, proceeded to toss men through the sky.

Copyright: © 2009 Angel Zapata
Angel Zapata often wishes he could commute to work via dropping down a well. That way, he could come crawling out of any TV like that darling, little girl from The Ring. Recent fiction has been published or is forthcoming in the Toe Tags Anthology, House of Horror's Best of 2009 Anthology, Mausoleum Memoirs, Flashes in the Dark, The New Flesh, Twisted Tongue, Morpheus Tales, and Flashshot. Visit his blog: http://arageofangel.blogspot.com


  1. War of the world all over again, baby. Except in place of martian pod its...a crafted Octopi from the sea. Imagination at its best. I loved the whole bizarre story, but the ending really caught me. The humming. What a way to communicate. I would really really like to see this written into a longer piece. HG Wells in the 21st century.

  2. Love it! Your descriptions are wonderful and the ending superb.

  3. I love this garden construct of delicate sand dollars and mollusk shells creaming the human race: priceless, lovely and poetic.

  4. Angel! This is so deeply twisted. :) I absolutley love it!!! A really original take on "invasion".

  5. Wacko wild and way out there. No calamari tonight for me.

  6. I too enjoyed the humming - and the swaying!! A very good piece of flash.

  7. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

    With cockleshells, and barnacled levers, and cephalapodic machinery designed to toss men through the sky.

    Ringo Starr assured me that an octopus' garden was a happy and safe place.

  8. Yup, that is some octopus garden, turned robopus. Savage, slimy, and wildly ingenious.

  9. seriously quirky, Angel - great work.

  10. I don't trust anything with eight arms. Too much like some former boyfriends. Fabulous tale as usual, Angel.

  11. My what a beautiful mind you have. Loved this story Angel! Pure Angel at his finest!

  12. A hint of the surreal and reminiscent of Bradbury. I really like this one. Keep on doing what you do, Angel! Wonderful work.