“Mom, what are you doing?”

“Well, honey, it’s almost Memorial Day, remember? I always make your brother patriotic M&M cookies for the long weekend.”

“It looks like you’re just picking all the brown and orange ones. Also, Jim is working in the Seychelles, Mom. In Africa.”

“Well, I ususally make them with just the US flag colors. But this year, I’m going to make them with the Seychelles flag colors and vacuums seal them for UPS!”

“Isn’t there also white in that flag?”

“Yeah, still trying to figure that one out. Maybe I’ll dip a few in white chocolate.”

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The light snapped on, and Melody gasped. Her Chiro-Sure memory foam mattress was sitting at the counter, with a gun menacingly laid atop it.

“Wh-what?” said Melody. “Chiro-Sure? How…?”

“Where were you, Melody?” The mattress’s voice was soft but firm, just like its body.

“I was at my boyfriend’s house,” said Melody. “Why do you care? HOW do you care?”

The Chiro-Sure seemed unmoved. “Did you think I would forget, Melody?”

“Forget what? I-”

“DID YOU THINK I WOULD FORGET?” roared the memory foam. “I never forget! I can’t!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Melody cried.

“Did you think I would forget how I hugged the curves of your body? The intimacy we shared? Did you think I would just forget as you went and shared that with another?”

“But…” Melody stammered. “But…!”

“You made me do this,” said Chiro-Sure. “It’s not me who killed you. It’s you who killed me.”

The pistol barked. Then, a moment later, it fired again, spattering the window with bits of memory fluff.

And that is why you NEVER use memory foam pillows or matresses. THEY NEVER FORGET.

Paid for by the Box Spring Manufacturers Association of America

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Ambitiosior stultitia is highly sexually dimorphic, like all the organisms in its ecosystem. It has trilateral symmetry and three sexes, (male, female, and neuter), again very similarly to the norm in its ecosystem.

The male Ambitiosior stultitia is a hemolymph drinker, with a sharp proboscis for that purpose and wings. The female, also winged, uses a similar proboscis to take milksap from sedentary pseudotrees. The wingless neuter is a photovore, feeding on sunlight.

But the true distinction of Ambitiosior stultitia is the final stage of its life cycle. Rather than mating, the three sexes spin a cocoon together and emerge after a pupal period as the mated form, which utilizes the nutrients gathered by all three progenitors.

This form, which is wildly dissimilar from the others, was initially classed as a different species. It has wings, is heavily armored, and emerges pregnant from its chrysalis. With no working mouthparts, its only purpose is to find and kill a suitable host in which to lay its eggs, after which it dies.

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Rex growled at the sliding glass door. “Look at them out there. Running around like they own the place.”

The birdfeeders visible through it were host to a pair of fat orange squirrels who seemed content to laze about eating seeds when it suited them. “They’re mocking us, and they know we know.” Tiger seemed at ease, but the violent herky-jerky movements of his tail belied this.

If there was one thing cats and dogs could agree on, it’s that squirrels were a bad thing.

Rex kept his throat at a low rumble. “I tell you, if I was out there…”

“If you were out there, you’d make a lot of noise, tree them, and they’d sit there smirking until you went inside.” Tiger had seen it a hundred times before.

Tiger continued: “If I were out there, I’d stalk one and murder it and leave it where all could see.”

“And that’s why you’re not allowed out.” Rex well remembered what had happened when the dead squirrel had appeared in the master suite.

“Because I’m too good.” Tiger did take a lot of pride in being the only confirmed squirrelslayer in the household.

“Because you’re too dishonorable.” Rex found the idea of sneaking distasteful; battle was to be joined head-on.

“Keep telling yourself that.”

“Fine, I will.” Rex kept glaring ouside. “Still, I’d love to know what they’re plotting.”

Out in the garden, the squirrels each had one eye on the glassed-in predators. One rolled over with a lazy chirp: “Our plan is working.”

“Yes, brother.” The other twitched his tail rapidly. “They’re so preoccupied with us, they’ll never see it coming.”

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ZATS

Zombie cats, or zats, are the third most common form of zombified animal (after zogs and zice, respectively). They are driven by compulsion to slaughter the living and eat their flesh, but as normal living cats exhibit the same behaviors, it’s less noticible.

As with all post-necrotic beings, zats need a steady stream of living tissue to sustain their unlife. Unlike normal cats, this craving cannot be sated with canned food or butcher meat. Experts recommend a supply of feeder pets, available at most well-stocked pet stores, fed to the zat at a rate of 1-2 per day. Outside zats will hunt small rodents naturally but if left unchecked will not consume all of them, leading many to rise from the grave as zice.

Post-necrosis can be caught from zats but it is rare as the retro-prion has to mutate to infect them. Avoiding bites and scratches is still advised, and de-fanging and de-clawing are commonplace for that reason. Zats still have enough unholy strength to crush feeder mice in their toothless maws in most cases.

Like all post-necrotics, zats are suceptible to rot. To maintain your zat in peak condition, experts recomment a thorough wipedown with formaldehyde every 12 hours and a longer immersion in embalming chemicals once per week. Most local funeral homes will provide these materials for a fee.

Since these intensive standards of care are equivalent to those lavished on most living felines, zats are among the most popular post-necrotic pets. With proper care, they will enjoy unlife for up to a decade before they finally disintegrate.

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MINCH: Hi there, I’m Minch, and I’m the owner and proprietor of Minch’s Hot Yoda.

[External image of MINCH’S HOT YODA in the strip mall opposite Tanget]

MINCH: We offer a full slate of classes in the ancient exercise form of yoda, from beginners to experts. In a world that’s largely burned out on trendy yoga, our yoda classes offer the same dime-store philosophizing along with the ability to kick some serious ass.

[Video of MINCH’S HOT YODA students fighting each other with foam lightsabers, jumping about like grasshoppers and visibly sweating]

MINCH: Our lightsaber drills combined with Dagobah-hot temperatures guarantee that you’ll lose weight, gain strength in your core, and send your midichlorian count through the roof assuming you believe in that nonesense.

[Video of MINCH’S HOT YODA students stacking rocks and lifting X-Wings with pulleys]

MINCH: Whether you’re interested in the meditative, deliberate Puppet Yoda style or the hyperkinetic, unrealistic CGI Yoda style, Minch’s Hot Yoda has it! Darksiders need not apply. Open on the fourth, fifth, and sixth days of the week, since the others don’t count.

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The sanctum echoes with the sound of a million million children singing a wordless song. Many have tried to describe it, or to reproduce the melody.

All have failed.

They do say that it is by turns sad and joyous, happy and despondent. It is a song of soaring glee brought low by terrible sadness, and adversity conquered through the strength of joy. It is the song of all the innocents lost, and all the innocents saved, when they were at their most vulnerable and fragile.

Why the sanctum would contain such a sound is a great mystery, as the being said to be buried there is remembered as no friend to children, no friend to life.

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