J. J. W. Mezun ☆ Season 3 ☆ 2016 February 1


Though Autumn’s eyes were still shut, she could feel the dull white light that was seeping in through the blinds try to grind her eyes from the outside. She sat up, rubbing her knuckles gainst her eyes & slowly pushing the jacket she used as a blanket off. Though still winter, the angry sun must’ve come early this year, for ’twas a bright & warm morn.

Autumn had the most gorgeous brown mustard stain on her T-shirt. She wasn’t quite sure when it 1st got there—it could’ve been there for years, truly. She did know the hole in the right abdomen side o’ her shirt had been there for a’least 3 years, however. Her hair unraveled with the beauty o’ leftover spaghetti spilled on the floor. Her eyes looked like milky white balloons with single chocolate chips. Then ’gain, so did everyone else’s.

Edgar’s dry, hard feet clacked gainst the kitchen tiles as he carried a plate o’ pancakes o’er to Autumn, causing his deep eggplant cloak to flutter ’hind him like a robe. The airiness inside only reminded Autumn o’ the eldritch filaments, thorns, claws, & villi lurking ’neath—an occupancy Autumn salivated to fill. The hollow black abysses that formed his eyes sucked her in like magnets.

He set the plate on her lap, said morn in his usual quiet voice, & they kissed.

“Thank you,” she said in her usual low voice. “You didn’t have to make me this.”

“O, ’twas nothing,” said Edgar.

Edgar left for the kitchen ’gain, leaving Autumn to stare down @ her breakfast in disquiet.

Look @ you, lying ’bout like a slob, unable to come up with e’en a seed o’ a decent heist plot, & now you need your partner to feed you as if you were a baby chick.

She hesitantly raised the fork & took a bite o’ the top pancake, only to feel a hollow shame ring through her chest.

Still, she continued to eat, the flavor o’ the syrup & butter blocked by the bitter bile plating her palate.

It’d be e’en ruder to refuse eating it. Not to mention petty.

She quickly finished, & carried them to the sink. There she saw Edgar turn toward her with his hand out.

“I can take that,” he said.

Autumn held the plate back as if ’twere a diamond.

“That’s OK. I think I can handle washing my own dishes.”

“Uh… ¿are you sure? I can do it if you want. It’s no problem, truly.”

Autumn set the dish in the sink & dipped soap on the nearest sponge. “No, I can do it,” she muttered. She turned the faucet on her plate & started scrubbing.

Edgar, whom Autumn noticed was still standing there, looking o’er her shoulder, said, “Um… You should probably use the wire sponge to get the syrup off 1st, since it’s stuck to the plate so much. Here, ¿you want me to do it?”

“I think I can figure it out,” Autumn murmured as she set the soft sponge aside.

“If you say so…” Edgar said as he backed ’way with a frown.

She scanned the sink head & stopped when she saw the mound o’ what looked like gray hair. She grabbed it & noticed it felt much sharper than hair.

She rubbed it hard gainst the plate & found that it did make the syrup come off mo’ easily. When she’d gotten it down to a few dregs, she returned to the regular sponge & scrubbed the plate, fork, & knife all o’er quickly, & then rinsed them all round.

“Er, I can dry them if you want,” Edgar said as he reached his hands out.

“No, that’s OK. I can handle it,” Autumn said as she grabbed the towel on the oven handle & quickly rubbed them down.

Edgar rinsed the sponge out & began scrubbing the counter with a sigh, listening to the dishes clang together as Autumn put them ’way.

Autumn kissed him on the side o’ his face, & then said, “Thank you for breakfast, by the way,” before going.

“O, I hardly did anything,” he said as he stared glumly @ the counter. Truly, he added only in his head.


I shouldn’t be surprised. I mess up everything I try to do when trying to help her on her ventures; why shouldn’t she think I’m just as likely to break dishes or anything.

Edgar gazed glumly @ the tiled wall while the acid-hot shower water rained down on him, his hand slowly scrubbing his drooping tendrils with his loofah.

I mean, she can outsmart a witch, ’scape Lance’s wrath, & get ’way with robbing a bank. ¿Did I truly think I could come close to making up for that by being able to bake some pitiful pancakes?

Edgar stepped out from ’hind the curtain, dripping all o’er the mat. His bones rattled from the chill suddenly slicing through his many holes.

He quickly dried himself, wrapped the towel round him, & went out, only to realize the droning buzz he heard was not simply the bathroom fan, but also Autumn running the vacuum.

Edgar felt as if the heat from his body was all absorbed into his throat, leaving the rest frigid.

¿Why does she insist on doing everything herself when she has much mo’ complicated things she could be doing while leaving me with the idiot work?

’Cause she can probably do those while doing these simple things.

’Cause she doesn’t need you for anything.

Edgar tightened the towel round him as he shivered.

Well, it won’t be better if I just stand round pouting. Maybe I could do some laundry.

Though Autumn kept her face aimed @ the vacuum, she kept Edgar’s moving figure in the corner o’ her eye.

He didn’t mention anything; but I can tell by the way he paused there that I’m doing something wrong here. He’s just too polite to say so ’loud. Damn it.

Distracted, she bumped the vacuum into the wall.

Can’t e’en move a buzzing hunk o’ plastic & satchel round right.

You’re not e’en s’posed to be fretting o’er this tripe. You’re s’posed to think o’ theft opportunities.

Autumn grunted. She clicked off the vacuum, just in time to see Edgar walking toward the door with a basket full o’ clothes in his arms.

She rushed forward & grabbed the other end.

“Here, I can take that. I have to go out, anyway.”

Edgar pulled back.

“Er, that’s OK. I have it.”

Autumn pulled back.

“Nonsense. You have much to do, & it’d be better for me to do it than sit round staring @ the wall.”

Edgar pulled back much harder.

“¿What d’you mean? You have much mo’ important things to do than me.”

Autumn yanked back harder.

“Sure. My sitting on my ass & dinking round with my laptop all day truly keeps the disk spinning.”

“¿Huh?” Edgar asked with a look o’ concern.

“Ne’er mind. This is absurd.”

Autumn let go. The potential energy in Edgar’s pull evolved into kinetic energy so explosive, it caused him to tumble right into the wall. He was surprised to feel it break ’hind him, as if mere cardboard.

& then he dropped deep into the dark void.


“¿Edgar?” Autumn called out as she stepped toward the dark hole opened by him. She looked inside, but could see nothing.

“¿Edgar? ¿Are you all right in there?” she called out ’gain, voice mo’ fragile that before.

She yanked out her cell & clicked its light on, watching the impenetrable black turn into just-as-impenetrable gray. But when she bent down, she saw that the abyss was bottomed with stairs.

She gulped silently. “¿Edgar? ¿You all right down there?” she asked ’gain.

’Gain, no answer.

She scrambled back for her flashlight & then pointed it down the hole. No matter where she waved her beam, all she found were shelves occupied by cans, boxes, & papers.

“¿Edgar? ¿Where are you?” Autumn said as she climbed down. “You’re not hurt or anything, ¿are you?”

Still no answer.

“Edgar… you’re not upset ’bout anything, ¿are you? Surely you understand that this was an accident.”

By this time she’d hit the bottom. With the ceiling no longer blocking her beam, she could now see that the mysterious room went on & on, crowded with e’er mo’ shelves, as well as strange-shaped structures tied to long pipelines.

She stopped & waved her beam round 2 mo’ times.

¿Where could he have gone?


Edgar had no idea where he was now, where he was going, or who was moving him.

All he knew was that all o’ his limbs & mouth were locked down by the fuzzy bone-thin arm dragging him through the frigid dark air, preventing him from hollering for help. All he could do was shiver & wait.

’Twas a long wait.

Later, he was tickled by some stringy material invisible in the darkness. Its touch--indescribable, ’cept maybe, “yucky”--piled on Edgar so harshly that he sneezed, dropping dots o’ what he thought were probably dust all o’er his face.

Then, abruptly, he stopped. He could feel that the appendage was still holding him captive, but ’twas no longer dragging him.

Then 3 beams flashed on him from 3 lemon-yellow circles ’head o’ him—a light so bright he immediately winced @ its sourness.

Edgar’s earholes were filled with a steady stream o’ sounds similar to the amplified squirming o’ ants & sharp scratching.

Then the claw wrenched him further in & what felt like a bulging balloon covered in wheat grass bump into him. Inside he could hear volcanic bubbling. He could only guess that this was the creature’s stomach.

Then he felt something thin & fragile & wet flick on & off his head.

His stomach churned itself as his brain realized what this meant.


All Autumn heard was the scrape o’ her socks gainst the cement floor as she ventured further & further into this closet with no end in vision.

The question rang through her head like an echo: ¿Where could he have gone?

& mo’ importantly, ¿Will I e’er find him ’gain?

She could expect unexpected problems caused by her idiotic conflict with Edgar; but not this unexpected. ¿Was he so… unhappy with her that he refused to speak with her, intentionally hid from her? She couldn’t expect him acting so. She’d acted far worse toward him & he’d ne’er flinch—which only depressed her e’ermo’. There’s no way he’d think her accidentally causing him to fall down here was maliciously planned.

That left the alternative: he knocked himself unconscious somewhere far out o’ sight. Heads, that meant he might ’ventually wake up ’gain & start searching for her ’gain, much mo’ loudly; tails, that meant he might be dangerously injured—so much so that it may be too late by the time she finds him.

She bit her lip, so severely she could taste blood. If he dies so young ’cause he fell down some fucking stairs, I’ll be pissed.

E’en if this isn’t “all my fault,” or whatever inanity, my irrational actions still had a vital role. This shit always happens when I do this. Ne’er can just discuss problems with him, e’en though he’d certainly oblige. ¿What, is he going to laugh in my face after what I say? ¿Suddenly think I’m a screwloose? I’ve already told him crazier shit, & he knows I’m a thief. After that, you’d think anything else’d be easy; but no, it’s like medicine: can’t take the temporary discomfort, so I push it back further & further & only make myself sicker & sicker.

She blinked in surprise. So distracted was she by her thoughts that she hadn’t registered till now that she’d reached the dust-smothered brick wall @ the end.

Then she jumped back when she felt something light fall on her back, & then squeeze its bough-like appendages round her neck, chest, & upper body & attach a wet suction piece—¿Its mouth?—to the edge o’ her jaw.

Though it clasped to her tightly & made her neck wet, she was surprised it wasn’t doing anything mo’ painful.

Still, she didn’t want to fiddle with the risk that ’twas venomous: she began whacking it with her flashlight.

She felt the creature finally release & leap off her just in time for her to accidentally whack her back. She muttered curses as she rubbed it. Then she rubbed the still-wet spot on her jaw with her shirt.

I s’pose I should probably see a doctor to ensure this isn’t poisonous or anything… but Edgar’s life is mo’ in danger—’specially if these bastards are crawling round—& it’s not as if it broke the skin. Its venom can’t be so powerful that it breaks through skin by itself so quickly, ¿can it?

Speaking o’ which, I still need to find him…

Autumn turned in either direction & saw the same copses o’ pointless shelves & boxes, just from a different perspective now, as well as the intermittent drips o’ some liquid—water, hopefully—from the corner ’tween the ceiling & the back wall.

He must be still near the stair. I’ll check there ’gain & then go out from the sides.

She turned back & retraced her steps.

She kept stopping every so oft—the last time to turn her head & look ’hind her.

She swore she heard the rustle o’ some solid objects.


Edgar sobbed. He shut off his vision & compacted his body as much as he could. ’Twas as if he were reacting to an armed robber: giving all o’ his feelings, but frantically refusing to take in anything.

He knew he was done for, & worse, he knew Autumn would come endanger her life to save him—all ’cause he was too stupid not to trip on his own feet, too stupid not to lie round dizzily @ the bottom o’ an unfamiliar closet. ¿Hadn’t he learned anything from the teachers @ the orphanage? Ne’er stay in unfamiliar closets.

He had no idea who the monster still smothering his body—though strangely keeping his head intact to breathe—was. All he knew was that he couldn’t ’scape by his own volition now, & probably wouldn’t be able to e’er.

While most o’ his body felt a stifling heat, his head felt as nakedly cold as he did after just leaving the shower, as if his surroundings were trying to tear him in a tug-o’-war game with his nerves.

& throughout this, he still ne’er knew when the monster would finally strike his life ’way. He didn’t expect it to warn him, nor did he expect it to do it as painlessly as possible.

Be brave, he told himself. Autumn wouldn’t want you to go down without a fight.

But no matter what he told himself, his sinews still shuddered & the invisible cage still blocked all movement like paralysis.


Poker, thought Autumn. Flashlight battery’s almost out. She sighed. I hate this stupid story mechanic; it may be realistic, ¿but should the reader be bored for the sake o’ realism?

She was no longer in the same empty room full o’ shelves. Now, somehow, she’d found herself on shelves much huger than herself, ’tween which were hallows that led to Programmers-know. When she wasn’t making hops o’ probability ’tween the giant shelves, she maneuvered past her-sized tacks, red rubber balls, & sneakers large ’nough to live in.

She couldn’t e’en guess who created all o’ this, as well as the how, why, or when.

Now that she was careful, she saw the spiders before they fell, which they followed by bouncing up & down toward her, fangs dripping with saliva. Each time she’d reach into her pocket & pull out a knife.

She ran under each spider’s leap & held her knife o’er her head, causing them to impale themselves.

The true trouble were the pajamaed mice who’d always pop their heads up from their holes & fling chunks o’ cheese @ her. Luckily, she could see these holes coming before the mice arrived, & by her 4th encounter with 1 o’ the drummers, she could time her knife throw so that it hit it before it e’en had a chance to throw its own projectile.

But no matter how many spiders or mice she slew, she couldn’t be assured that she was any closer to finding Edgar. She knew panicking would be pointless; but she couldn’t help her mind obsessing o’er the problem. Situations that seemed to deprive her o’ control like these confused her mind, which invariably led it to o’erheat in an extended effort to figure out what to do.

It’s obvious he didn’t just fall into an obscure place, since I searched all o’er the immediate vicinity o’ the stairs, & there’s no way he could’ve gone this far.

Something must’ve kidnapped him.


Probably for the same reason spiders keep trying to molest me to death & mice keep chucking their garbage @ me like I’m a cat in screech.

The problem was that the possibilities were as open as the closet, & she didn’t have the capabilities to methodically search the whole place before Edgar was inevitably killed—if he hadn’t been already.

But doing nothing would help nothing, so she ventured e’er forward from shelf to shelf, hoping a clue would loom somewhere.

That was when she saw it. ’Twas so shocking, she had to clean her eyes just to ensure they weren’t playing ’nother prank on her—like when they tricked her into thinking a bearded anarcho-communist ghost dwelled in her apartment. @ the end o’ the shelve on which she stood sat a bespectacled man ’hind a desk with a sign that said, “HINTS 5₧. THE TUTORIAL IS IN.”

She ran o’er to it & didn’t e’en hesitate to hand o’er 5₧.

“Tell me where this skeleton named Edgar is,” Autumn said through gasps.

The man smiled, his mustache twiddling.

“To jump, press down your legs.”

“¿What? No, I want to know where Edgar is.”

“To jump, press down your legs.”

“Thank you. I don’t need help figuring out how to employ simple movements with my legs. ¿Where can I find Edgar?” She asked this last question slowly & loudly.

The man’s expression was unchanged, as if he couldn’t hear her.

“To jump, press down your legs.”

Autumn slammed her palms onto the desk & leaned into the man.

“I didn’t pay you to dick round with me, so if you don’t know where Edgar is, give me my 5₧ back.”

“To jump, press down your legs.”

Autumn’s eyes darkened.

“I see we’ll have to employ much mo’ extreme measures…”

Her shadowy figure loomed closer to the man, who appeared to shrink. Though his hands shook & his legs crossed in sudden need for the bathroom, he continued to smile just as politely as before.


Edgar had experienced violence before, he had experienced the warm touch o’ love.

What he felt now was some horrific mix.

Needles punctured his egg sack, imbuing it with acidic juices while soft claws caressed his limb bones, rubbing gainst his villi. Then the tonguelike orifice slid down from the top o’ his head to his cheek & then his neck. That was when the licking gradually transformed into nibbling.

Edgar could do nothing but shudder & sob. Violence was a’least predictable; in this case, Edgar didn’t e’en know what the purpose or the effects o’ these sensations he’d ne’er e’en knew existed were. With violence, all that one would usually expect was simply an indeterminate ’mount o’ destruction; what was happening to him now threatened worse than just death, but the possibility o’ mutation. ¿Was it infecting his mind? ¿Would he ’ventually lose control o’ his own consciousness & become this monster’s slave, committing evil actions gainst others gainst his own control, but with perfect cognition?

Then he felt a wide beam o’ warmth flash o’er him. He turned on his vision, only to minimize it in response to the glaring light.

“Release the skeleton,” a breathless voice said sternly.

His heart raced from a mix o’ both hope & fear.

Please don’t let her be endangered, too.

Then he heard a loud screech ’hind him & felt the appendages round him weaken their grip. His usual manners were thrown ’way in the urgency to minimize the threat gainst Autumn as he struggled gainst the monster’s clutch.

It continued to scream its autotune yell, evidently in response to some damage Autumn was doing.

His chance came when he felt an arm release him & whip forward—so quickly it caused air to rush past his face. He made a few clumsy knees gainst the arm still round him & tried stabbing his nails into it, but it still held tightly.

Then he felt something thin thud the arm on the other side, & it released him back to gravity @ once. This time when he reached the ground, he didn’t stay there to catch his breath, but used as much energy as he had to scrabble ’way.

When he reached the wall, he turned back to see the yellow beam move in erratic directions. ’Hind it he could see Autumn leaping before thick slamming sounds, her free hand variously grabbing & throwing a knife. Though Edgar’s heartstrings still tightened @ the possibility o’ Autumn slipping & being crushed, Edgar still breathed much easier, sniffing ’way the last remnants o’ pain that were now thankfully just memory. So long as Autumn was near, Edgar didn’t feel as if here were in the midst o’ the ocean.

Finally, the beast released 1 last ear-blasting yelp that crescendoed before plummeting to raspy grunts, followed by silence.

Next he saw the light beam wave round the room ’gain while he faintly heard the hiss o’ wind in the sound o’ “¡Shit!”

She ’ventually held the beam on Edgar & looked @ him. The light was still so bright that Edgar had to hold his hand up as a visor; but he could still keep his eyes on her.

“There you are,” she gasped as she walked toward him. “You all right?”

“Uh, yes. Thank you,” Edgar said as he vigorously nodded, trying his hardest not to sniff.

He was reminded o’ something & looked down @ his naked body with concern. Autumn must’ve noticed this realization, for he could see in the corner o’ his vision her turning her head ’way, red-faced.

“¿You able to stand?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said as he did so. “¿You know the way out?”

“It shouldn’t be too hard to retrace my steps.”

They embraced & kissed for a second, & then Autumn put her arm o’er Edgar’s shoulder & led the way out.

“Um… sorry ’bout the inconvenience,” said Edgar.

“My fault,” she said. “Shouldn’t have been obsessive with doing everything.”

“I mean, I could’ve given you the basket…”

“Doesn’t matter. I just… I just don’t feel right having you serve me like some lazy monarch is all,” said Autumn, eyes focused purely on the path ’head o’ them.

“But you work so hard…”

“I appear to. In truth, my search for treasures spots has been empty recently.”

“I mean… if it makes you feel better, I don’t do any research @ all,” said Edgar.

“Yeah,” mumbled Autumn. “You do cook, though, e’en though you can’t e’en eat. ¿Why’d you want to learn something like that?”

“O, I don’t know,” mumbled Edgar. “It’s fun, I guess.”

“Huh,” said Autumn. Edgar knew Autumn only e’er had fun on accident: in her mind, a’least for her, any pleasurable experience was a crime o’ the idle rich & that only activities that cause personal suffering, ironically, brought true pleasure.

“¿You cold?” asked Autumn.

“A li’l… ¿Why?”

“I can feel you shivering, though that might’ve been ’cause o’ whatever that spider was doing to you. ¿Do you know?”

Edgar looked ’way. Suddenly he didn’t want Autumn so close to his body. ¿Did… did it leave anything on me? ¿Did she notice & that’s why she mentioned that?

He sputtered out, “N-no.”

Autumn turned to him, cringing. “& you don’t feel… ¿You feel all right? ¿Did it damage you in any way?”

“I-I don’t know.”

Autumn looked ’head ’gain. “Hmm… See, that’s what worries me. Spiders tried latching onto me, too; but they did nothing but get slime all o’er me. ¿Is it poisonous? ¿Will we die o’ Death Virus Syndrome later tonight?”

“Dawn may be able to make a cure…”

“Yeah,” said Autumn. Then after a few mo’ silent steps, she said, “Wish I brought my pack with me. I think I have extra clothes in it for emergencies. ¿Want to borrow my shirt?”

“Um, ¿don’t you need it?”

“Not as much as you, probably.”

“Th-that’s OK. Thank you, though.”

“If you say so,” Autumn said with her head still turned ’way. “Your loss & my gain.”

Edgar ruminated o’er what that gain might include.

“The problem is, we’ll need to do quite a few jumping, & dodging if we run into any mo’ spiders or mice,” said Autumn.

“¿Did you go through all that on your way here?” asked Edgar.

“It wasn’t that much.”

“Well, it certainly wasn’t lazy going through all o’ that…” said Edgar, putting a li’l lightness in his voice, but mostly just coming out quiet & creaky. He couldn’t understand why he was so nervous now, as if he was back to when they’d just met.

“Yeah. Thank you,” said Autumn. “You were rather smart to immediately get ’way as far as you could when I was fighting the giant spider.”

“That wasn’t as much as you’ve gone through…”

“Don’t worry: you’ll go through the same on the way back,” said Autumn. “’Sides, it doesn’t matter. We’re partners, whether the measurement o’ our labors are equivalent or not. I saved you ’cause I wanted to save you, & you cook & clean presumably ’cause you want to do these things—as I can’t imagine any other reason why you’d bother ’bout whether the carpet looks nice or not. & we’ll ’scape the same simply ’cause that’s what we want to do.”

Edgar wrapped his arms round Autumn’s shoulder & rested his head on her right shoulder.

“Whatever you say.”

But Autumn turned to him & gently lifted his arms.

“We still have work to do, sweet tart. When we return to our apartment, we can do that for as long as you want,” whispered Autumn.

Each thought the other was shaking with so much nervousness; but then they looked round themselves & saw that it quivered throughout the shelf they were standing on—throughout all o’ the shelves.


It wasn’t thinking. The cooling blood in its withering cellulose veins was making the decisions for it, as were the dripping juices in the hollow cave o’ its stomach & the sagging flesh o’ its heart.

It knew what its new goal was so soon after the success o’ such goal had so quickly been ripped from its clutches. For years before, since hatching, its goal had only been to survive. Now it had a new goal.

It burrowed under the cement below. It didn’t know it could; it just knew that it had to.

It couldn’t see where ’twas going. It couldn’t see anything.

That was OK.

It didn’t need to see. Sight was unimportant.

The scent o’ its previous prey still remained in its sinus cavities like the taste o’ smoke on a smoker’s tongue.

It could still smell its prey, but ’twas getting ’way.

It had to hurry.

Its many arms & many legs dug & dug, with li’l effort from its mind.

How efficient they worked, like optimized programming.

But it didn’t think much ’bout it.

It didn’t have the time.

Every second was spent on capturing food & sleeping.

& now it had to find time for its new need.

& so it filtered through its grated mind repeatedly like the figure eights round ones heart & lungs:

It must find its prey ’gain…

It must find its prey ’gain…

It must find its pray ’gain…


Mike check. Mike, ¿you there?

O, there you are.

¿How have you been, Q?

O, I’m sorry. Give her my regards.

I know. That’s terrible…

Anyway, ¿you ready for this?


4, 3, 2, 1…

I’m a virus, I’m buzzing inside ya.

There’s nothing you can do to stun this upcoming violence.

I’ll suck ya suckers up like a mop, like a moth,

fed on each thread & let your blood clot & rot.

You can’t comprehend a freak like me—a flesh fiend,

e’en my momma called me the thing that should not be,

a disease that’s infesting every muscle & bone,

& not a second are you catchin’ me e’er droppin’ the microphone.

There’s no hope when you flies slide into the sights

o’ a devil so atrocious it cannot be described,

who’s devising every design on every crime

to wine & dine on all your ribs & thighs.

You trip line after line, I’m still just keeping time,

& you’ll need 50 mo’ lives if you’re hopin’ to survive;

you trip line after line, I’m still devouring the rhymes,

& you’ll need 500 mo’ lives if you’re hopin’ to survive.

(static) am not as sceptical ’bout old tales & fears as I used to be

so that the Old Ones were ’gain supreme

(static) on the planet except for one shadowy fear ’bout which they did not like to speak.

and this evidence o’ the (static) continued warmth & habitability filled us with the most (static) perturbing fancies.

So I come up to ya face like a zit.

Mo’ persistent than a Jehova’s Witness,

I’m in bliss when I scare the bones right outta ya skin,

’cause it’s only savin’ me the need to suck ’em out with my yellow grin

while I laugh as you raise that toy o’ yours like a gat—

¿Truly? ¿You think I’ll be defeated just like that?

Nuh uh, I’m not a Nutkin; I’m a toxic Malboro,

& I’ll burrow through your veins & suck your blood just like churros (¡Yum!).

I’m an inferno, & you’re just a purgatory;

’cause your tries to ’scape my legs don’t do nothin’ but bore me.

You trip line after line, you’re just wastin’ my time,

& you’ll need a thousand mo’ lives if you’re hopin’ to survive.

(static) am not as sceptical ’bout old tales & fears as I used to be

so that the Old Ones were ’gain supreme

(static) on the planet except for one shadowy fear ’bout which they did not like to speak.

and this evidence o’ the (static) continued warmth & habitability filled us with the most (static) perturbing fancies.

Till I’ve got you under my grasp @ last

& laugh as you gasp like a lamb without a chance.

I’m ready to pull you in for the very last time.

For the rest o’ time the rest o’ your life is mine.

But before I know Son from Sam, I feel a pain & my hand—¡ACKKK!

& let you slip to see a bloody fucking gash,

& when I look ’head I see this crazy bitch with a hunting knife

& crazy fucking eyes that tell me something ain’t right,

only a second ’fore those crazy bastards go AWOL,

so I chase them through the darkness like it ain’t no fucking problem @ all,

till I push their yellow backs straight up gainst a solid wall—

¡now those crazy bastards ain’t be looking so tall!

But as I loom forward, I see them press gainst a dark patch—

¡& vanish! In 1 second, without the sound o’ a snap.

I look back when I hear the sound o’ footsteps rambling

to see them straight ’scape the other side o’ the paneling

& trample upstairs to the bright-lit doorway,

O, ¡no way! I put all pressure into my poor legs

to stop these chicken shits ’fore they try to ’scape

& teach ’em that I’m not the kinda swarm to play;

but before my feet reached up to their sorry behinds,

the door shuts on me, beaming me right in the eye.

I tripped line after line; ’twas so close, ’twas a crime;

& you fuckers better know I plan to get you next time.

(static) am not as sceptical ’bout old tales & fears as I used to be

so that the Old Ones were ’gain supreme

(static) on the planet except for one shadowy fear ’bout which they did not like to speak.

and this evidence o’ the (static) continued warmth & habitability filled us with the most (static) perturbing fancies.

(static) am not as sceptical ’bout old tales & fears as I used to be

so that the Old Ones were ’gain supreme

(static) on the planet except for one shadowy fear ’bout which they did not like to speak.

and this evidence o’ the (static) continued warmth & habitability filled us with the most (static) perturbing fancies.


¡Boskeopolis Stories is fucking up your monitor!

All right.

Rockin’ o’er Boskeopolis, Rockin’ o’er Fourside.

Muffin Time: When it’s time for muffins, it’s muffin time.


As Autumn & Edgar rushed through the rest o’ the closet, Autumn called Dawn on her cell to ask her to bring the largest boards & any tools she had.

“¿Is this for some heist?” asked Dawn.

“’Splain later. No time now,” Autumn said before hanging up.

’Pon emerging from the hole, they stopped only to let Edgar pull on a robe before rushing outside down to the alley next to their apartment, where’pon they began digging through the dumpster for cardboard. Though they found Bob-in-the-Cubes, moldy ham, a heart-shaped straw, & smuggled Nazi bonds, they couldn’t find anything that would help them keep their closet shut. Autumn slipped the moldy ham into her pocket.

“¿Find anything limpid?”

Autumn & Edgar swung round to see Dawn standing in the opening o’ the alley, leaning on the wall with 1 hand & holding a plank o’ wood next to her with the other.

“Thank you,” Autumn said as she took the board, & then she strode past her. Dawn turned & saw her scrambling up the stairs, which she had to admit looked rather strange, forgetting to add the milk & all.

Dawn & Edgar followed Autumn upstairs, only to see her stepping ’way from her open door. By the time they’d reached her floor, they saw hirsute brown arachnids spill out the threshold & crawl o’er to them in rapid but methodical steps.

“¡Autumn! ¡Catch!”

Autumn turned with confusion plastered on her face to face Dawn tossing her her slingshot. She did, indeed, catch, & then turned to fend off the parasites with rock after rock as she walked back farther.

Dawn, meanwhile, brought out her cracked bat & starting smacking the arachnid rats.

Despite their efforts, they still weren’t quick ’nough to prevent any spiders from latching onto everyone’s arms, legs, or sides. To everyone’s surprise, however, they felt no pain or weakening in any spot—solely warm wetness & slight tickles.

Worse, no matter how many times Autumn or Dawn attacked an arachnid, it ne’er expired nor surrendered. All kept coming back & back till they overwhelmed Autumn & Dawn’s arm power & were covering all 3 like raggedy blankets.

“I think we might be screwed,” said Dawn.

“¿What’re they e’en trying to do?” asked Autumn. “¿Are they just truly subtle in stealing nutrients from us?”

“Stumps me.”

“Here, I’ll see if I can research them.”

Autumn led them inside, still covered in spiders, & turned on her laptop. After ’bout 10 minutes o’ search, Autumn stopped on a page that appeared to have the answer:

“Wait… ‘Amplexus, or colloquially, the “Arachneedy,” is a rare genus o’ the spider family Salticidae (jumping spiders) found in Boskeopolis. It is known for its insatiable hunger for contact with mammals, including humans, causing it to wrap its legs round any it sees.’…

“‘Though it may release liquid as it clings to someone, it is otherwise not dangerous to mammals, though it does eat insects as other spiders’…”

“Well, that’s kinda sad…” said Dawn.

Autumn rubbed her chin.

“Hmm… But there’s a rainbow lining…”


’Twas already deep in twilight when Dawn saw Autumn ’gain, struggling to tape to a frosty electric pole a flier fluttering violently in the winter wind. On it she saw the doodle she drew o’ a cute li’l spider with a heart o’er its heads & the words, “¿Feeling Lonely? For only 2,500₧ you can get your very own affectionate ‘Arachneedy.’ 100% safety guaranteed.”

“¿Haven’t you heard o’ Kootslist?” asked Dawn.

“Already put up the listing,” said Autumn. “Ne’er keep all o’ your files in 1 hard drive, as they say.”

She glanced down & saw that 2 o’ the Arachneedies were latched onto each o’ Dawn’s legs & 1 was on an arm.

“I know: I wanted to keep some for my research,” said Dawn. “I think I may be able to extract some o’ their blood & create a love potion from it.

“& I got to add them to my bestiary,” she added as she raised & open book showing a picture & stats for the Arachneedy.

Then she lifted a leg & said, “Plus, they make good decorations. Wish I could’ve used them for my mad scientist costume last Muertoween.”

“Probably better that you hadn’t,” said Autumn.

Dawn began petting the 1 on the leg she held up. “This 1’s name is Hymntres,”—Then she dropped that foot & raised the other—“this 1’s Ariados”—Then she pointed @ her arm & said,—“& this 1’s Tuno.”

“Don’t stress yourself to ’splain the reference, please,” said Autumn. “¿Aren’t you cold out here?” She wrapped her arms round herself & shivered, eyes becoming sore from the contrast o’ the bright yellow streetlamps & the dark blue sky.

“The Arachneedies are actually quite warm,” said Dawn.

“Hmm… You should be careful round those, Abramchuk,” said Autumn. “Edgar was being hickeyed by a giant 1 o’ those & now says he’s feeling ill.”

“But they’re already known to be safe.”

“Yeah. It’s probably nothing,” said Autumn.


Dawn stood there for almost 5 whole minutes, gaping.

“¿How? He didn’t—”

“He did.”

Autumn didn’t bother to look ’way from her monitor, though she did take her hand off the keyboard to pet the 2 spiders on her right arm a few times.

“Well,” said Autumn, “he did the way amphibians do, a’least.”

“¿You laid eggs?” Dawn turned to Edgar with plate-sized eyes.

Edgar looked down, blushing. His arms were covered in spiders, each wrapping its white, skeletal arms round him.

Autumn’s brows fell. “I’d thank you to…”

Before she could think o’ how to finish, Dawn said, “O, I know. I’m sorry, Edgar.” She put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s truly cool, actually.”

Edgar said nothing.

“You have to let me borrow 1,” she said in almost a gasp. “¿D’you realize what a breakthrough this is?”

Autumn glanced @ Dawn for a second & noticed she still had those Arachneedies round her legs & arm.

“You won’t… you won’t hurt them, ¿will you?” Edgar asked as he held the spider she was staring @ closely.

“’Course not,” said Dawn. “You can e’en stand there & watch everything I do.

“¿Did you name it yet, by the way?”

“We named all o’ them,” said Autumn.

“No, I meant the species. This is brand new, you know. I have to add it to my bestiary. Then I can show Forrest on Eyetome. Hmmph.” She put her hands on her hips. “I bet he still thinks he’s the walrus’s pajamas ’cause o’ that ‘Ancient Mew’ card he got in 6th grade.”

“I ne’er thought o’ that,” said Edgar.

“¡Ooo! ¿Can I name it?” Dawn asked as she raised a hand.

“Uh… if you want…” Edgar said shyly. “You don’t mind, ¿do you, Autumn?”

“No, I wouldn’t want her to push some other innocent into discovering a new species a decade later just so she could get back @ me on the internet for stealing this ‘honor,’” replied Autumn.

“Wondersome,” said Dawn. Then she muttered, mostly to herself, “Now, let’s see… ‘skeleton’… ‘spider’… ¿‘Skelespider’? ¿‘Spid…leton’? ¿‘Arachn…eton’?”

“By the way, for some reason Edgar wanted me to ask if you wanted to accompany me down the closet, since you tragically missed that extravagant event before.”

Dawn turned back to Autumn. “¿You already sold all o’ the Arachneedies?”

“No: I’m going after the huge 1.”

“¿Think you’ll make e’en mo’ money off it?” asked Dawn.

“I hope to make some money off it,” said Autumn. “I don’t need a DNA test to know that ’twas the 1 who knocked Edgar up; & if that hussy thinks it can ditch paying us our child support, it has ’nother thing coming.”