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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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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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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