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The Vine

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Home » The Vine

The Vine: May 2, 2008

Submitted by on May 2, 2008 – 9:50 AM19 Comments

This may be a tricky one — I'm looking for the title and author of a short horror story. It came out a year or three before the Internets got big, so I'm having trouble finding it in online directories.

It scared the bejesus out of me, and I remember that the introductory note in the collection it was in mentioned that more than one editor had been unable to get through it.

It opens with a man rescuing an infant from a toilet in a public restroom. [minor spoiler] Only the infant has suckers on its arms and is hard to peel off once he's picked it up, and keeps crawling after him. [/minor spoiler]

And that's really only where it starts getting disturbing. I think it could be called "Little Monster(s)," but I can't seem to turn up any anthologies with that title in it.

Any chance one of your readers might have read it?

Thanks for your help.

Ali D.

Dear Ali,

That doesn't sound familiar — but I kind of want to read it now. Readers, any thoughts? We're looking for an octo-baby story from around 1990. Thanks!

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  • Lee Mickle says:

    "Eumenides in a Fifth-Floor Restroom," by Orson Scott Card. I may have the title slightly wrong, but I'm certain about the author.

  • Ai says:

    Oh my. That story creeped the daylights out of me – very hard to forget.

    If I remember correctly, it's from an Orson Scott card anthology. Maps in the Mirror or Monkey Sonatas. Not sure which.

  • Anne says:

    Wow, I have no idea, but even that little description sort of creeps me out. But I'll totally read it if someone can find it/knows what it is.

  • Stella says:

    I know this one! It's called 'Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory' by Orson Scott Card. It's in an old anthology I have called 'Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural', selected by Marvin Kaye. You can also get an anthology of Card's stories on Amazon's Marketplace…

  • Amalthea says:

    It's by Orson Scott Card, for sure. It creeped me out too. I can't remember the title at the moment…grrr…but I will!

  • Amalthea says:

    Sorry for posting again…brain finally woke up.

    So. Orson Scott Card, and tt's called Eumenides on the Fourth Floor Lavatory, and I originally read it in his short story collection Maps in a Mirror. You can also find it in Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories, I think.

    Creepy as heck, I'd managed to repress the memory of reading that until now…gah.

  • Jaybird says:

    I just ordered the collection from Amazon (out of stuff to read) and expect this to be gooooooood. Of course, I'll be scared to go to the bathroom. And scared of octopi, and supernatural avengers. And babies.

  • Cindi in CO says:

    Ew! I love Orson Scott Card, but I've never read that one. I'm creeped out just hearing the description though.

  • Jen Dath says:

    The nice thing about the Maps in the Mirror anthology is that he includes the background story behind each of the stories included.

  • Jaybird says:

    @ Jen Dath: Any word on whether or not he was ever hit by a van?

    Just wondered.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I said! Brrr! It's cold in here! There must be some Jaybird in the atmosphere!

    (that was awesome)

  • Jaybird says:

    I bow to Da Mastuh. Hee.

    Orson Scott Card absolutely rocks. I've read his "Women of Genesis" series (novels about Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel/Leah) and the way he understands (or seems to understand) women, and particularly our interactions with each other, is spooky. Of course, he may have help on that, but still–he's great. Everything of his that I've read (especially "Enchantment") is terrific.

    This just in: Still hating on King.

  • Yubi Shines says:

    I'd never heard of it, but now I want to pick the book up and read it, because it sounds awesomely *fucked* up.

    When I'm done with it, no doubt you'll be finding me under the comforter with a tank of oxygen and a bat, with the lights on and the window locked.

  • Ali says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    I haven't read any other Orson Scott Card. I am about to hie myself to a bookstore and creep myself out.

  • Quandary says:

    Oh, soo sad I came late to this one, as I, in fact, started to read this in the very Marvin Kaye anthology mentioned earlier, and when I go to the toilet scene, I had to close the book, put it down, and think about it for 30 minutes before I started it again. Which I did. And still sometimes regret. because: CREEPY.

  • s-rah says:

    Just an aside: my sister is a children's librarian, and through her I've been hearing about some controversy surrounding Card and his recent win of the Edwards Award (lifetime achievement for Young Adult authors). As a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, he has written plenty about his views about homosexuality, namely that it should not be tolerated. I'm not saying that to enjoy an author you must subscribe to (or even know about) his personally held beliefs, but I find this particularly unsettling because he writes for young adults. I hope you don't mind me throwing that out there.

  • Jen M. says:

    My copy of "Maps In A Mirror" came from Amazon today, and I sat me right down to read "Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory." OH. MY. GOD. Now I'm both eager and reluctant to read the rest of the stories. But it will not be tonight. *shiver*

  • Kim D says:

    I've had that anthology for years, as Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite sci-fi authors. Watch the stories at the end, though. That's where you'll find his Mormon fiction that he writes under a pen name. Those were nearly enough to turn me off of his writing altogether.

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