Brad stood frozen as Cona groaned and the tentacle swayed above him, back and forth, methodically. To Cona, it was being rather tame. But to Brad, it was the most insane thing he had ever seen. The tentacle began to close in on Brad, hovering inches from his face, as though to examine him. It seemed longer than ever, perhaps seven feet, if not more. Brad took a step back, and it just trailed farther out of Cona, the head twitching here and there as it swayed from Brad’s right eye to his left.
Then suddenly, unexpectedly, the tentacle withdrew, its length retracting. Cona grunted as its head popped back into her opening and disappeared.
She panted as she rubbed her belly. “That isn’t even the worst of it,” she groaned.
Brad was pale and speechless. He seemed certain that it was he who had lost his mind.
“Brad, stay with me,” said Cona, pulling down the front of her dress. She continued to hold the underside of her belly. “I need your help.”
Brad lightly shook himself. “Yes…of course,” he said, in a daze. “The first course of action would be…oh…oh god. What…was that?” He began to pace and ran his hand through his hair, seeming confused and distressed.
“Brad, you have to hold yourself together!” Cona insisted, continuing to take deep breaths. “Just imagine what I’m going through. All of this is all happening to me.” Her voice quavered. “And I don’t know what to do.”
“Right, right,” said Brad, trying to control his anxiety. He stopped pacing and turned to face her. “I’m so sorry Cona. First we’ll do bloodwork. A sonogram. A full workup. Let’s figure out what’s going on in there. Does that sound good to you?”
“Yes,” said Cona in relief. Her eyes watered, but she blinked back her tears.
Brad offered her his hand, and Cona took it, heaving herself off the couch with some difficulty. Once she was upright, she tried to give Brad a hug, but it was awkward, her belly serving as a barrier between them. The contents of it lurched, and she could fell him tense. Cona looked up from his chest, meeting his eyes.
“So this is all…real?” said Brad.
“It is,” said Cona weakly.
They stared at each other for a while longer, until Brad’s brows lowered somewhat, and he took her chin to tilt her face back. For some reason he was staring at her mouth.
“Are you feeling all right?” he asked her.
“Of course not,” said Cona, forcing a smile.
“I mean…your lips. They look…”
Raising his pointer finger to indicate for her to wait, Brad pulled away and left the room. He returned a few moments later with a mirror, which he held up to her face.
Cona peered at her reflection. It took her a moment to figure out what was off, but once she did, she wasn’t sure how she could have missed it in the first place.
Her lips had taken on a greenish hue.