May 2016

Jinx: Short-term. Wears off with time and is most potent at the moment of its invocation. Will work with curses but not hexes. Can be transferred, but only with difficulty. Only affects individuals.

Example: June inadvertently jinxes John by telling him she hopes nothing goes wrong with his flight. The chances of something going wrong with the flight increase by 50% for the next 24 hours.

Hex: Long-term. Builds strength over time before ebbing away and is most potent after about six months. Cannot be transferred. May affect individuals.

Example: A witch puts a hex on John after he loses her monthly witchfee in a casino. For the next 6-8 months, John’s chances of winning decrease by 75%.

Curse: Potentially infinite. Curses take effect withi a period of a few months and are self-sustaining thereafter, lasting until broken. Curses can be transferred and inherited if the original subject dies. Affects individuals, sites, and organizations.

Example: A mummy curses the explorer who opens its tomb. That explorer suffers a 80% reduced immune system capability; if they die, the curse will pass to another member of their expedition. Only the death of the entire expedition or the resealing of the tomb can end it.

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The bodies of the villagers were hardly recognizable, as all identifying features had been melted off. Their huts were similarly dissolved, and the place still stank of volatile low-pH chemicals.

“What happened here?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Their shaman did a rain dance wrong and summoned up a batch of acid rain.”

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“And there on your right, you can see a pack of Star Fishes trying to outrun their natural predator, the Bark Hole.”

“On your left, we’re passing the Crab Nebula and its companion the Lobster Dark Matter Cloud.”

“That’s the Horsehead Nebula. It was moved to its current bed of stars by the Godfather Nebula.”

“Caturn is right ahead of us, surrounded by rings of kitty litter.”

“Please wait until we get a little further before taking any pictures, that red planet Mars any photos from here.”

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The crazy man stood in a corner of the decrepit room. His ears lay on the blood stained floor. He rocked back and forth, unable to stop.

“The bells… can’t you hear them? No.. of course not.. you still haven’t met HIM. But believe me… once you do… once you start hearing that ringing… that never. Ending. Ringing… you’ll wish you were deaf…”

“Of course,” said Officer Brinson. She kept the man covered with her service Glock while Singer called in the details from the suad car. “There aren’t any church bells in town,” she added. “Congregational sold theirs for scrap when it folded and everyone drives to Cascadia for church now.”

“No…no,” croaked the murderer. “Not church bells. Unholy…not holy. You can only hear them in the presence of one who has heard them…and they. Will. Not. Stop. Not until…you do as they ask.”

“What do they want, huh?” said Brinson, hoping that conversation might keep the man from struggling against his cuffs. Druggies could sometimes snap the plastic, and one guy had palmed a cigarette lighter and melted through them.

“Blood,” the man said. “What…else…but…blood?”

Officer Brinson was about to say something, but stopped. Pausing, she cocked an ear. “What’s that?” she said.

It sounded like bells, dim but brassy, far off and insistent.

“It’s begun.”

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Kris was yelling. “You don’t understand. I saw a buck in my apartment complex. IN MY APARTMENT COMPLEX.”

“Dude. Chill.” Brayden’s voice was flippant, contemptuous. “Deer get in those places all the time.”

“Not like this. It was watching me. It was following me. It’s that deer I hit, I just know it. That little mark on her head that looked like a crown…”

“You’re freaking me out,” said Brayden. “Stop it.”

“What’s that?” cried Kris. “WHAT’S THAT?”

It was the unmistakable echo of cloven hooves at the door.

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“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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