A Muffin For Distant Cosmic Shores

After the last batch of mini cakes, Maritza realized she was tired of baking only for herself, so when she found the recipe for Glutenous Homunculi that seemed just the ticket.

The recipe she found in a cookbook at Professor Arkwright’s garage sale at his big, limestone house at the top of the hill. Never mind all that heat lightning and the dry, mottled clouds that rumbled over the sky as soon as she touched the book. (It was written by the sorcerer and stargazer Abaris the Hyperborean, who had “quite the sweet tooth” as the professor said). As she glanced through the book, she found it held hundreds of recipes, from Stargazy Pie and Devil’s Food Cake to Biscuits For Interrogating the Intelligences, So As To Obtain An Answer Regarding Whatsoever Matter One May Wish To Learn. A little bit of everything.

After mixing up the batter, adding the blood of the schnauzer next door (how nice and quiet it was after she’d collected that ingredient!), Maritza chanted a few phrases in long-forgotten languages and popped the pan in the oven. Three hundred and fifty degrees for 30 minutes.

At exactly 30:01, she inserted a toothpick into the pillowy surface to see if it was done. The sponge squealed and bit her finger.

It crawled out of its own pan on nine legs, each one knobby and thin with joints at odd intervals, like a mad child’s idea of a spider. Or the devil’s idea of one. Each leg was a different length, so it lurched its way up to the cooling rack, leaving little smoldering burns wherever it stepped on the countertop. There, it settled down, the maw along its underbelly opening up in a yawn, or maybe a soundless scream, Maritza wasn’t sure. It had many teeth. Like stalactites. Three eyes opened up on its golden-brown back, and when Maritza stared into their cold, alien depths, she felt the darkest corners of the cosmos staring back at her from across untold fathoms.

So she straightened her apron and asked, “Would you like a muffin?”

It blinked, each eye out of sync. Glfarrglnn, it said.

Recognizing the inherent cannibalism in such an act, Maritza fed it a muffin by hand. It didn’t necessarily make any gobbling or slurping noises, as she somewhat expected with a mouth that awkward (like a baby alien tapeworm!), but instead it ate with the sound of distant whispers, the skittering of language like a virus in her brain, a little squeaking, and the occasional hoot.

The thing had gone through a baker’s dozen of blueberry muffins and one tin of cookie bars before it decided to crawl into her lap.

Maritza giggled, marveling at the way her flesh recoiled at its touch. For a moment, an image flashed in her mind. She got the sense it was being telepathically transferred, a vision received by the neurons on her brain already quivering towards madness. She saw, briefly, a kitchen empty of baked goods and the creature devouring her whole.

“Oh my,” she said, giggling, “I’ll have to bake all day to keep you happy, won’t I?” The monstrosity purred.

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