The main event for Halloween at Casa Craftypodes is the annual Mutilation of the Vegetables ritual. We’re rather pleased with how this year’s pumpkin came out. Pumpkinthulhu!
We’ve been having a lot of Cthulhu fun lately. Our last pattern for this year, to be released in November, is a Cthulhu cross-stitch pattern. We’ve gotten a lot of encouragement and support from our online community (especially our friend Tessa from Krmbal Clothing) to start doing a Cthulhumas Gift Guide for the holidays. Today, because it’s Halloween and a perfect time for monster tales, we want to share Sockthulhu with you.
It was probably about ten years ago now that I made Sockthulhu from a pair of green socks. I had never made a doll from socks before, and I think it shows. (You’ll see a picture of him further down.) I don’t remember if I wrote the parody of H.P Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu first, or if that came after the doll, but I know they were connected to each other. The story is just as long – or short, depending on you feel about short stories – as Lovecraft’s tale. My version conjures up more memories of childhood playthings, though.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
The Call of Sockthulhu
I. The Horror in Crayon
Ignorance truly is bliss. When you don’t know something, there’s a good chance you also don’t know that you don’t know it. It just doesn’t exist for you. Once you become aware of what you don’t know, it becomes a thirst you can only quench by immersing yourself in it, and that holds the risk of drowning. Unless you’re hollow plastic. You’ll be pretty safe, in that case.
For as long as I can remember before the events of this story, I was a very happy toy in The Child’s bedroom. I was played with often, but also had plenty of time to myself for looking through books. Oh, yes… I’m a literate toy! I graduated in the top of my class at Playskool. I knew my time in The Child’s room would not last forever, though. From time to time, older toys went out and newer toys came in. The older toys were never seen again. No one really knew what became of them, but there were theories. Some said toys that made The Child happy went to a very happy place, but toys The Child didn’t like were punished. Some said all toys went to a happy place. Some said we were melted down, or otherwise taken apart, and made into new toys. Some said there was nothing outside of The Child’s room, and toys that were taken out simply ceased to exist. The Child would carry a toy off sometimes and bring them back, but they always told the most outlandish tales about what was beyond the bedroom and were mostly ignored.
I didn’t cling to any particular belief on the subject, and saw leaving The Child’s room as the start of a great adventure. I was a little disappointed to find out the adventure started inside a black plastic bag. I was tossed in with a lot of other toys, and the bag was emptied into an open storage bin. I have no idea what might have been between the bedroom and the playroom. I only know many of the toys we’d seen leave the bedroom before were here, but the ones who could remember arriving in the playroom had no more answers than I did.
The playroom, I soon started to understand, is a place where toys go when The Child is fond enough of them to hold onto, but not so fond as to keep in the bedroom any longer. Some toys are eventually taken from the playroom, and others never stop there after leaving the bedroom. Theories about what might be beyond the playroom were the same theories I’d already been hearing for years about the situation I’d just found myself in. The playroom held an old dollhouse and furniture, shelves of old books, half-full boxes of art supplies, and a closet and chest of drawers containing old clothes. I was looking through some of the books when I came upon a loose sheet that had a strange crayon drawing on it.
The drawing was of some sort of green monster. It had a head that looked like a whole octopus, but then it had a body with arms and legs. It also appeared to have wings, but I’m not entirely sure the thing could have flown. Not without batteries. Was it a remote control monster? Had The Child drawn this? I’d never seen anything like it… not amongst the dinosaurs, nor amongst the monsters that attacked the pirate ships. The spaceman was a new enough toy that he still didn’t have any monsters to fight yet. It was impossible for me to believe a monster like this might actually exist in any toybox The Child would own.
II. The Tale of the Little People Policeman
As time passed and it started to sink in that The Child would not come rushing in each day to play with us, I started building friendships with toys I’d not had a chance to know well before. The Fisher-Price family and I started getting together for afternoon chats. One of them is a policeman, and I asked him what he knew about the crayon drawing. The tale he told me chilled me so that I had to sit closer to the red LED fireplace.
One night, while patrolling the playroom, the policeman had heard strange sounds coming from in front of the chest of drawers. He made his way past a few stacks of books, and over a couple of piles of old sweaters. As he approached, the sounds began to sound more like chanting. Hiding in the pocket of one of the sweaters, he saw an obscene ritual taking place before him.
A LEGO altar had been built, and the policeman could not identify what was on it, but it appeared to be made of yarn. The altar was encricled by rings of dancing, chanting toys. Well, what used to be toys. There were naked Barbie dolls with hair that had been cut to uneven lengths and stuck out in all directions. There were stuffed animals with bald patches, often missing an eye or nose. Some of them were missing entire arms and legs, bits of stuffing sticking out of the holes. Some toys were missing their heads, but their bodies danced anyway. A few were electronic toys with lights that blinked at the wrong times or sections of wire dangling from broken plastic casings. A platoon of plastic army men that had been partially melted, had the ends of the guns chewed, or were otherwise deformed stood guard for the rest. Over and over, again and again, the policeman heard them chant the same gibberish: “In’ay is’hay awer’dray Ate’gray Sockthulhu
The scene was too horrible and violent for one policeman to handle. He left until the next day, and found the crayon drawing when he returned. “I stuck it on the bookshelf myself,” he told me. “I didn’t want the other toys to see it. I don’t know if
they could handle it.”
“Did you ever find out what the chanting meant?” I asked.
“I did. It seems the deformed toys can’t talk very well. Or maybe it’s some ancient language. At any rate, I made a few discreet inquiries, then managed to crack their code. It means, ‘In his drawer Great Sockthulhu waits dreaming.’ That’s all the cult ever said that night.”
I asked why he called them a cult, and he told me that was another horrible tale. It was told to him by Ragdoll, who may be the oldest of all of us. She told him there had been a time when all toys knew Sockthulhu. He had not appeared from a box or bag one day, but had been carried into the bedroom by The Child’s Mother. Sockthulhu had come from the sewing basket, which The Child’s Mother kept downstairs. Many toys who’d been carried out and come back had spoken of going downstairs, but Sockthulhu had actually been made there.
Sockthulhu was closed up in the drawer one day, but many toys believe a time will come that the drawer will open and Sockthulhu will return. The deformed toys formed a cult that not only worships Sockthulhu, but works to bring about his return. It is their belief that the rituals they perform will open the drawer one night. “They say he calls to them,” Ragdoll said. “He’s made of green socks, but has large black button eyes. They say they hear those eyes clicking against the inside of the drawer as he moves. And they say he sends them images, dreams. That’s where the crayon drawings come from. They say a toy that has felt the call of Sockthulhu cannot resist it.”
However, the policeman explained to me, one toy had managed to resist. The sock monkey had been taken in by the cult and given high status, being made of socks, but left the group. He had been unwilling to talk about his experiences, though. I thought I might have more luck than the policeman did, and said I’d try talking to him the next night.
III. The Madness From the Rug
When I found where the sock monkey had been hiding, it turned out he’d already been taken from the playroom. A kind stuffed dog had been taking care of him, and she said he’d left some sort of drawings, but she couldn’t make sense of them. Whatever they were, he hadn’t wanted her to be upset by them, so he’d drawn them all in colors that would make no sense to the color blind dog. She allowed me to take the papers, and I spent some time trying to get them in the proper order and understand their meaning. What I am recording here is the best I could get from it all.
The cult had elevated the monkey to a high position without really explaining to him what they were all about. After his first (and only) ritual, the monkey decided he just wanted to spend some time playing with LEGOS, not sacrificing anything on them. He left the group, but knew enough about Sockthulhu from that ritual that his curiosity grew every day. Eventually, he had to find out if Sockthulhu was real.
The playroom floor was wood, but a rug sat right in front of the chest of drawers. The monkey made his way to the rug, and was only a few feet from the drawer where Sockthulhu was supposed to dream, when he started getting nervous. At this point, I figured the policeman had been right about the sock monkey resisting, and he must have decided to abandon his expedition. Sadly, the next drawing told a much different story. The sock monkey had gone right up to the bottom drawer and started tugging at the handle. He’d almost decided it wasn’t going to open when he fell back and several pairs of socks landed on top of him!
The next few pictures had been scribbled over, as if the sock monkey regretted drawing them. It would appear that something did come out of the drawer. Something with green tentacles, knitted wings, and black button eyes. The last picture showed a tentacle just inches from the sock monkey’s tail. The paper was torn after that, and it’s impossible to say if there was anymore to the story. Somehow, the drawer ended up shut again, and I can only hope Sockthulhu is still in there.
A few days after my talk with the policeman, the Fisher-Price family left the playroom. I don’t know that Ragdoll was taken out, but I have noticed she isn’t sitting in her usual spot near the dollhouse. It seems those who know too much about Sockthulhu don’t last long in here. That may be for the best. How can I walk amongst the toys pretending everything is okay? How can I forget about the crayon drawings? I don’t think I’ll have to. I won’t be staying long enough for it to matter.