January 2017

Misty is a 3-month old terror dog, one of the heralds of the coming of Gozer the Traveler. She is very affectionate, rambunctious, and curious. Misty has not been fixed yet, so owners who wish to prevent the gate from being opened and the Destructor from arriving should look into spaying her. She also has a slight tendency to posess living hosts, so be sure to switch to a garlic shampoo.

Snuggles is a 5-year-old hellhound, a creature formed from the raw suffering of the damned and only summonable to this plane through a blood sacrifice and virgin ritual. Snuggles was previously adopted by an older witch who had to give him up after being cast into the infernal realms during a failed summoning circle. Snuggles is a special-needs dog, and must be fed a steady diet of tainted souls. He is very affactionate and loving.

Bon-Bon is a 10-year-old special-needs husky. While she is very rambunctious and affectionate, she was attacked as a pup by a rampaging werewolf. As such, she has opposable thumbs and an upright posture during every full moon, which she has been known to use to open doors, steal cars, and other mischief.

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The door flew open on the wings of a battering ram and armed women flooded the room. Beatrix simply stared at them, paused in mid-brushstroke.

“Hah!” said the apparent leader. She grabbed Beatrix’s hand, examining it under a loupe. “Just as I thought. Tangerine and chartreuse nail polish! They don’t match each other or anything you own!”

“So what?” Beatrix cried.

“So you’re under arrest!” the woman snapped. “Take her away and book her.”

“Wait, you can’t do this!” Beatrix shouted as she was bodily hoisted up and borne forth. “Who are you?”

The woman-in-charge looked over her shoulder and swept her sunglasses off in a stylish motion. “We’re the Nail Police,” she said. “And we’re polishing you off.”

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Over time, the clonal trees continued to spread, sharing the same roots but sending up many different trunks. In time, much entire forest was all part of a single organism.

Then the fire came.

Trees that were singletons, without deep and intertwined roots, were consumed, leaving the commingled boughs as the only survivors. And that summer, researchers noticed for the first time that animals in the forest had begun to act…strangely.

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Did you hear that they are moving the factory that makes unbreakable kitchenware to the island of Barbados?

It’s the Pyrex of the Caribbean.

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Cyra shuddered, and the branches that had already blossomed from her skin shook their boughs, heavy with green buds.

“The woods have already claimed me,” she murmured in a reedy voice through a throat choked with roots. “You know it is our way.”

I hefted my axe. “And you know it is not our way to accept that.”

“Even if you could…even if you cut away every branch as it grows…I will still slow and cease to quicken. What will you have then? A wooden trophy? Allow me to take the path of my kind in peace.”

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“Welcome, friend. I have long seen you wander through this place,” I said, “yet this is the first time you have ever suffered my approach. I hope you don’t think it imprudent of me to ask who you are, and what business brings you to my family’s gardens?”

A solid white sheet hid the content’s of the woman’s face from view, tucked cleanly into her shawl. But I could see a jaw moving beneath, the outline of brows.

“It is always a pleasure to be approached so politely.” The thing’s voice was like paired pipes, one high and soft, one deep and desert-cracked. “Pleasantries are meaningless but they do ease the burdens of weary travelers.”

“May I fetch you anything from the house?” I added.

“To answer your second question: no thank you. There is naught there which would nourish me. To answer your first, I am a seamstress of the human soul. But I am not a wealthy one, and I must make do with the scraps.”

“I am afraid,” I said, “I do not catch your meaning.”

“When a soul passes, it furnishes material from which new souls might be fashioned. It is the nature of my kind to do so. But without means, the poorest of my kind must take the barest soul-scraps and fashion from them quilts.”

I sucked in a breath. “And what, pray, is a soul-scrap?” I whispered.

“Ask your sister,” the thing replied. “She has just lost the life she has carried for six months, and that tiny scrap is what I have come to collect as an act of charity.”

Inspired by this.

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Name: Evelyn Morlock.

Age: 34.

Height: 5’8”

Hair: White blonde.

Eyes: Light brown.

Body type: Lithe and muscular, due largely to her training as a librarian.

Likes: Books (of course), discovering new information, exotic green teas, cats, cooking soup, dabbles in growing tea plants.

Dislikes: Candles, roasting meat, ignorance, secrets that she doesn’t know, spear training, jogging
Personality traits: Rash, enthusiastic, passionate, tough, determined, regimented, somewhat close-minded, dedicated, intentionally composed, outwardly serene/stoic, nosy.

Best friend: A midget named Roland who words in archives. He’s very jumpy and got stuck in archives because he failed every single defense test required, but government quota requirements forced the library to hire him.

Background: Evelyn is a junior librarian at the Aklatan, the foremost library of her world. As all librarians are, she is charged with defending her books and so is in the midst of a rigorous training regimen involving hand-to-hand combat, swordsmanship, and combat magic.

A glistening c ty shining against a g_lden sky, bright wi_h suns and m_ons uncounted lay be_ore me.

Ste__ng fo_ward i__o the breach, I c_n se_ spread o_t bef_e my eyes the armies of dr___s u__der _anne__ _n th_ _or _s of the real __.

They are t_ere t_ gr__t m_ a_d t__ l___ of my q____.

A_d t_ _he _e I why a p_le___ me cou__ _e _r b_ ___w _o again.

M_ __ _ qu___ a__ th_ __r_ k______.

___ _ __ ___ _____ j_____ l___.

_a__ ____ _ ___ ______ ___ ___

__ _ _____ ___ __ ___ _____

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“It’s the greatest thing ever,” said Collins. “It lets you live out your fantasies in a historical setting.”

“Like what?” asked Billingsley.

“You can know the joy of having a soulless factory job, of getting laid off when production moves to Mexico, of having an affair under the shadow of a dead marriage…hell, you can even drive a car that runs on gasoline!”

“What do they call it?”

“What else? Midwestworld!”

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I shepherd the souls of dead trees that have been bound into phylacteries that contain the knowledge of the ancients. Increasingly, we deal with demands to destroy these artifacts and allow the information to ascend and live amidst the cloud.

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