J. J. W. Mezun ☆ Season 1 ☆ 2014 May 1


Autumn and Edgar sat in a cave. They weren’t sure how they ended up in such cave; they simply knew they had to stay inside or else be eaten by the monster outside.

From what they could see out the small opening, they were in a barren veld strewn with a few tall tropical trees, mulberry bushes and grass, and onion fields forever. There didn’t appear to be anything else sentient, save for the monster—and its sentience was debatable.

Autumn and Edgar couldn’t confirm what exactly the monster was, though they certainly knew ’twas dangerous. From what they could see, ’twas an inky black splotch with a rubbery lump protruding from its middle, while the rest o’ its liquid body stretched out in a number o’ tentacles—what number, they could not discern, for it seemed to change every so oft when they weren’t looking. On the rubbery lump was one magenta eye with a searching pupil as dark as its body.

It repeatedly tried seeping into their cave through the opening, spreading up the wall from the ground and into the hole as a spilled drink that ignored gravity. The only way they could keep it back was to poke at its tendrils with wooden sticks, which caused it to squeal as a barking walrus whose young had been excluded from its local softball team.

However, ’twas a persistent monster—to the point that Edgar and Autumn both had to use their full energies poking the beast back; and though it’d eventually give up its chase and dribble ’way from sight, neither was daring ’nough to attempt sleep for fear o’ a quick return from the monster. They considered taking turns sleeping, but knew even the mere minutes it’d take waking the other would be ’nough for the monster to sneak in.

When the monster had left for the moment once mo’, they sat gainst the wall perpendicular to the wall with the opening, Autumn right next to the hole so she could keep watch.

She used the lull to examine the rest o’ the cave for signs o’ a hidden passage to scape ’gain, though she’d already searched repeatedly. As one might expect from a cave, ’twas full o’ dirt and brown. For decoration, the cave was filled not only with rocks, but also stones, boulders, and even crag—yes, that’s right: crag. They were also full o’ brown; but the type o’ brown varied: some were a reddish brown, while others held a tinge o’ yellow; some had the saturation setting set much lower as they were being prepared in Photoshop.

As she gazed over this scene—while sneaking glances through the hole every so oft in anticipation o’ the monster’s return—she wondered just how she ended up in this strange cave, in this strange wilderness, in this strange assortment o’ letters combined into a specific set o’ patterns that other people’s minds translate into ideas, unless they can’t read English. So she decided to ask Edgar:

“Edgar, I was wondering… Just how did we end up in this strange cave, in this strange wilderness, in this strange assortment o’ letters combined into a specific set o’ patterns that other people’s minds translate into ideas, unless they can’t read English?”

“Uh, I dunno,” Edgar said. “Maybe somebody dragged us here while we were asleep.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense. Why would anyone just drag us into a random cave and have a monster try to eat us? If someone wanted us dead, couldn’t they just shoot us in our sleep or fill our minds with sentiments o’ inadequacy so that we eventually commit suicide?

“And ’sides, I don’t even remember waking up in this cave; and if we had slept in here, wouldn’t the monster have eaten us already?”

Edgar had to pause, not only to ponder the giant wad o’ text Autumn spewed forth, but also to read it. He was a slow reader.

“Now that I think ’bout it, I don’t even think we know that the monster wants to eat us. Maybe he just wants to give us a hug or tell us where we can get a good deal on car insurance.”

“Don’t be zany, Edgar; ink blobs can’t drive cars or feel the emotion that compels people to commit hugs.”

“How…” Edgar turned to look at Autumn. She had a face and eyebrows. “How do you know that?”

“I read it in this book, remember?” Autumn held up a book that said, Anthropology o’ Inky Blob Monsters.

“When and where did you get that?”

“It’s always been here, remember? That was how we figured out the monster has a taste for human flesh, skeleton bones, and cotton clothing.”

“Sorry, it didn’t know that. The narrator hadn’t explained it yet.”

“Yeah, well I just did. Didn’t you read ’head o’ the script?” Autumn asked.

“No… I thought that might be cheating.”

“Oh. Well, I did. For instance, a few pages later we’ll learn in the one hundred and thirty sixth paragraph that there are dinosaurs round here.”

Edgar covered the invisible ears at the sides o’ his skull. “I don’t think you should spoil the ending.”

“Augh. The monster’s back,” Autumn said.

They grabbed their sticks and stood, their eyes locked on the opening and their hands tightly clutching their sticks. Autumn felt her hand itch from the perspiration and the abrasive texture o’ the stick.

The monster tried sneaking in, they poked it a bunch with their sticks, and later they all dined together at the Chez Beret by the crystal lake under the waxing-gibbous moon. But for now, the monster was sloshing ’way, permitting Autumn and Edgar to sit and gaze at that beautiful cave again.

“You know, this is a pretty beautiful cave,” Edgar said.

“Shut up, Edgar,” Autumn said as she rubbed her face. When she stopped, Edgar could see the dark sagging bags o’ sleepiness under her eyes.

“What’re we gonna do? There’s no way we can stay up forever,” Edgar said, feeling drowsy himself, though without the sagging bags.

“I don’t know…” Autumn said with a deep sigh. “Here, I’ll make us a pot o’ coffee while we think.”

“What?” Edgar asked, looking up and following Autumn as she walked over to a boiling pot o’ coffee, plugged into an electrical socket embedded in the dirt wall. “I didn’t even know we had a coffee pot.”

“Well, no one did till I mentioned it,” Autumn said, stirring her cup, having filled it ’tween this and the previous paragraphs.


At this point, the reader is certainly curious ’bout how Edgar had gotten into his possession the wooden stick he used to dispatch the inky blob monster.

It began after Autumn had first finished reading the aforementioned anthropology and they first realized they would need a way to keep the monster from crawling in. So they both stood and wandered round the cave till they each found a stick.

Edgar had only spent a minute or so traipsing round with his head tilted downward ’fore he found one. He bent down and picked it up, rubbing his bony fingers to better examine its scratchy texture. It had an earthy yellowish tint to it, with a green fuzz at one end that Edgar s’posed was probably moss. Though ’twas skinny and light, Edgar could feel its timbered weight, could feel the sliver-inducing power it commanded.

Edgar was so distracted by his stick, in fact, that he hadn’t noticed the purple ink monster already sneaking inside. Autumn, for her part, had been virtually nonexistent in this chapter till I’ve just now brought her up again. ’Fore she could even react to her renewed existence, the ink monster tackled her, pinning her to the ground like a heavy blanket.

Edgar, seeing this, threw his stick up in the air in surprise. Unfortunately, he needed that stick to fight the monster, so he had to go back and get it, the dumbass.

When he returned, he saw the ink monster squirm ’way from a pile o’ bones. Edgar fell on his knees and wailed as if he were in a shitty soap opera over not only the death o’ his close companion but also the fact that the artist who drew ’twas so lazy as to render it biologically incorrectly. Most egregious was the rendering o’ two skulls, despite Autumn having left her second head at home that day.

While Edgar was wasting his time wailing, the ink monster snuck ’hind him and devoured him. When he finished, he finally slugged out the cave, also leaving behind nothing but bones—which was convenient, since Edgar was nothing but bones, anyway.

Nevertheless, he died. Just ‘cause.


Autumn struggled gainst the cuffs locking her to her chair, to no avail. Suddenly, a small yellow light opened just ’bove her, causing her eyes so used to the cool darkness to wince.

“How did a street rat like you know such an answer?” a deep voice said.

Hmm… I wonder if they know ’bout the stolen food, Autumn thought.

“What are you talking ’bout? ’Twas ’bout my partner. Why shouldn’t I know? Look, all I wanted to do was use the restroom,” Autumn said.

“Oh, truly? And what did you plan to use it for?”

Autumn’s brows fell.

“Ah, crap; I hate it when that happens,” she said as she stared down at them lying on the floor. “Look, could you pick those up for me?”

“We’ll deal with these,” the deep voice said as a hand reached out and dragged them back into the darkness.

“Hey! Give those back! I need those to emote!” she shouted as she struggled gainst her chair ’gain.

“Answer the question, please.”

“What d’you think I was doing? Enjoying the view? I needed to piss.”

“But you already completed that mission on your own,” the voice said as a hand pointed at the empty bladder bar in the bottom-left corner o’ the screen.

Autumn wished she had her brows back so she could arch them.

“Yes, thanks to you for tackling me out o’ nowhere, holeass,” she said. “I would call that mo’ an irreversible mission failure. I swear, if it isn’t some scientist running in the line o’ my shooting and getting killed, it’s some poker tackling me. D’you know how childish I’ll look?”

“Your sprite is still drawn the same. The Designers are lazy.”

“Yes, but they still know,” Autumn grumbled. “That variable’s public. Anyone can call it and laugh at it whenever they want—people who have nothing better with which to occupy themselves.”

“So you agree that you no longer have a need for the restroom.”

“Not anymore, no,” Autumn replied grumpily.

“Then why were you looking for the restroom if you no longer need it?”

Autumn stared at the area o’ darkness where she guessed the figure stood.

“D’you not hear me? I was looking for the restroom in the past; now’s the present.”

“But the chapter when you are tackled in question happens later in this story, does it not?”

“Yes, but that’s just ’cause the Programmers like to mess round with the chronology o’ everything,” Autumn said with irritation. “Obviously I can’t have been tackled ’fore being tackled.”

There was a pause.

“Okay…” She could hear the suspicion still dwelling in the figure’s voice. “Just stay ’way from restrooms for the rest o’ the story. Got it?”

Autumn nodded, even though she knew she’d break this promise.


Despite drinking five cups o’ coffee, Autumn could not drive off the numb feeling o’ weariness in her head or the airy pressure within her throat demanding that she yawn. All she gained from all that caffeine was it going straight to her bladder. However, she wasn’t able to take the time to urinate or yawn, knowing that either would distract her so much that she knew the monster would just slip in the second she started, waltzing in as if he were the guest o’ honor.

What an arrogant prick.

Worse, Autumn knew her food satiation meter was getting low. No matter how much she searched the cave, she couldn’t find anything edible.

So Autumn simply sat near the opening, hugging her knees tightly, and vibrating from the excess caffeine and the rumbling o’ her stomach.

And despite all these problems, she still heard a voice in her head urging her to sleep, enticing her with visions o’ beds full o’ fluffy pillows, hammocks full o’ fluffy leaves, and iron maidens full o’ fluffy spikes.

Unfortunately, said voice only spoke in Spanish, so she twisted her eyes in confusion as the words, “Debe dormir,” ran through her head in their brand new sneakers, pumping their arms and puffing for oxygen.

To keep her tiredness and personified schizophrenias at estuary, she smacked herself in the side o’ her face with her fist a few times. Edgar gave her a confused look, handing it out to her in his hand, and said, “Autumn, are you okay?”

“’Course I’m okay,” Autumn said as she cringed and rocked forward and back.

“Autumn, what are we gonna do? I don’t think I’ll be able to stay up much longer, and it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to either.”

“Did you try the coffee yet?”

Edgar shook his head, even though Autumn wasn’t looking at him. “I can’t drink coffee, remember. That stuff goes right through me—literally.”

“You’re not the only one…” Autumn said.

Suddenly the cave was filled with the sound o’ a variety o’ people laughing.

Autumn jumped, holding her arms out and turning her head in every direction.

“Where’d that come from?”

“We’re probably not safe in here, either,” Edgar said as he tightened into a ball himself.

Autumn looked round the cave so as to avoid making eye contact with the tiny flying Medusa heads. She remembered them.

You need to calm. Need to calm. What if the monster comes back and your all hopped up on caffeine, sleepiness, hunger, and bladder pains? I need to focus.

“You know, this is a beautifully pretty cave,” she said.

“Shut up, Autumn.”

Autumn threw her head round fore reattaching it to her neck. “What? Edgar, that’s inconsistent with your characterization.”

Edgar looked down, shamefaced. “Oh, whoops. Sorry.”

She was ’bout to wince at Edgar, wondering if he’d been stealthily replaced by a Trojan virus when she was looking round the cave.

“Human! Look!” whispered a voice.

Autumn threw her head to the right, smashing her brains into a bloody mess. After cleaning it up, she turned to look out the opening to see the ink monster staring at them with its three eyes, a top hat on its head and a cane in its orange tentacles.

“Was that you?” Autumn asked as she pointed at the monster. “I didn’t know you could talk. I mean, the anthropology said you could, but I hadn’t read that part yet.”

“I was wondering when you were going to invite me in, mate. I am the guest o’ honor, after all.”

Autumn’s eyes darkened, ’cause I used the burn tool on them.

“I don’t think so,” she said.

“Blouse yourself.”

In one o’ its tentacles, the monster raised an onion. It winced in a way that said, “Yeah, that’s right; this will truly make you unhappy,” if one is an expert at eye-reading, which the Programmers had suddenly decided Autumn is.

“What is that?” Autumn asked in horror. Then she asked it ’gain in sci-fi.

“You know… I found this amazing—what do you call it? Onion?—I found this in a generic place and I was only thinking you perhaps are interested in viewing it, because I can imagine you have been bored… stuck up in that cave for so long,” the ink monster said.

Autumn looked ’way and said nothing:


“You do not look good, human. The Anthropology o’ Homo Sapiens says that when a human’s skin become mo’ pale and thin, it is a problem. It also says that humans need to consume things called food every once and a while. I hate for you to be separated from your… dire need, human, only because o’ me. I promise if you go perform your necessary function I will not try entering.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking ’bout,” Autumn said. “Whoever wrote that book must be a liar.”

“You certain, human? It appears very delicious…”

“Sorry, but I’m busy now,” Autumn said without looking at the monster.

“Tuxedo yourself, human.”


But Autumn knew that staying inside forever was futile. However much she berated the pathetic weaknesses in her design, she knew she would still need to meet these weaknesses or be wiped out completely—and that would leave a gross smudge, which is gross.

She only held out longer and longer in the hopes o’ finally developing the perfect plan. But the headaches and the tiredness—only worsened by the hunger—only weakened her ability to think, and she didn’t think she could physically stay up for long.

Thus, when Edgar finally awoke, Autumn scooted to his side and whispered in his ear, “This isn’t getting us anywhere, so I have an idea. It’s not very good, but it’s the best we have.”

“What is it?” Edgar whispered.

“We’ll wait a li’l longer and hope the monster finally leaves for a moment. Then we’ll climb out and run ’way in separate directions. That way the monster won’t be able to get us both.”

Edgar nodded. Autumn could tell he didn’t like the plan, but knew there was no safer alternative.

Autumn scooted back to her spot and watched outside for the monster to temporarily leave again. She had to force herself into a stoic composure so that the monster would not anticipate her giving up anytime soon, as that would only prolong his presence. This was harder than it sounds—and that means much when one considers how difficult hearing text is.

Eventually the monster said, “Well, I think I will just be going ’way for a very long time. Make sure you do whatever you need to do when I am not here to take advantage o’ your distractment.”

Autumn turned to Edgar and waved him over to her. She then peeked out their cave window and saw the monster slosh ’way over the corner to the right.

“Let’s go,” Autumn whispered. “You go left and I’ll go up. He’ll then mo’ likely go after me.”

“Are you sure that makes sen—”

“Shh,” Autumn whispered as she put her index finger up to Edgar.

And with that they both climbed out the window and bolted in either direction. Though Edgar knew he shouldn’t, he couldn’t help looking over his shoulder to see if the monster was chasing him or Autumn. He saw, indeed, the monster’s sixteen eyes widen and its seven wheel-shaped legs chose Autumn with its hammer-shaped arms thrashing forward and back while Autumn continued floating up the sky.

Though she looked down at first to ensure the monster wasn’t close on her shoelaces, she looked forward ’gain to ensure she didn’t bonk into a solid cloud or contrived metaphor. Instead, all she saw was the morning sky deepen its periwinkle, while the tan sand below shrunk.

“This can’t go on forever,” Autumn said to herself. “There must be a gas station rest stop somewhere nearby.”

Unfortunately, it did go on forever and Autumn eventually starved to death.


Edgar crouched, panting wildly as he glanced round himself. He feared the aquamarine ink monster would jump out and crush him with its giant crab claws. He had run so long, his nonexistent stomach burning with stitches, but his fear propelling him nevertheless that he only stopped when his body practically collapsed on himself. His head still tingled from tiredness and he was ’fraid he would fall asleep right there and then.

“How am I gonna get out o’ this wilderness alive?” He asked himself.

He then decided that he couldn’t keep going on forever and that he’d have to risk going to sleep. He stumbled at a stooped gait over to a low bush o’ blue-green leaves and curled himself up like a cat and drifted off to sleep.

A few hours later, he was awoken by the sounds and sensations o’ earthquakes rumbling ’neath him. He opened his eyeholes and sat up to see giant scaly blue legs before him. He slowly tilted his head upward and saw those legs rise to the body and head o’ a triceratops. It had its head dipping down to the ground, chewing on an onion while its sharp eyes watched Edgar without emotion. The three gray spikes lying on its face sparkled from the light o’ the sun dipping halfway under the horizon—sunup or sundown, Edgar couldn’t tell; the sun had stayed in that exact position for the past twenty hours.

Edgar weakly waved his hand at it. “Uh, hello, Sir or Madame Dinosaur. My name’s Edgar,” he said with a nervous chuckle.


A half hour after gorging to life, Autumn finally reached the abandoned gas station. Though there were rusty sedans and pickup trucks at some o’ the pumps, she didn’t see any people. She went inside the nearby convenience store and surveyed the area as she walked with the most casual gait she could: slide ’cross the floor without any animation frames.

The closest thing to a person she witnessed was a human-sized fire ant—it literally had orange flames spreading ’cross its back—slurping up spilt peas on the linoleum floor; but it didn’t seem to register Autumn’s existence, and she didn’t want to bother it.

So she opened the first food packages she found—including a bag o’ Spicy Trigonomtasty! chips, mint cookies, and peas off the floor. She spent almost a half hour engorging herself till full, and then stuffed her pockets with what she could fit.

To her surprise, still no one came inside; still no one stopped her.

Strange how life-threatening bad luck can suddenly flip to life-saving good.

Then she remembered she still needed to use the restroom and explored round the store for them. She stopped in front o’ the two doors: the one on the left had the black—well, now brownish-gray due to dust—silhouette o’ an octopus with lobster claws; the one on the right had the silhouette o’ a fly/bee hybrid. Her head vacillated ’tween the two.

“Bah, nobody’s here, anyway. I’ll just look in one and see if it has any urinals inside. If not, it must be the right one.”

She pushed the left door open and peeked inside to see a black void ’hind it. From inside she could hear the screeching cries, “Oh god, stop! aaaAAUUUGGGHHH!”

Autumn pulled her hand back, letting the door fall closed.

“That’s clearly not the right one.”

She opened the other door an inch, even mo’ hesitant than before. However, when she looked inside, she only saw a dirty yellow bathroom inside, with checkered flooring and the stench o’ vomit. When she saw this, she opened the door all the way with a breath o’ relief.

However, when she opened the nearest stall, she saw nothing but a wall ’hind it—well, a wall with some mysterious brown stain on it, but with no toilet.

Autumn held her hands to her side. “What kind o’ troll bathroom is this?”

She tried the next stall and saw the same, sans the brown stain. With her patience thinning, she tried the third stall, only to see it open to a whole ‘nother room: a hallway with the same yellow walls and checkered floor as the bathroom. Along the right wall were mo’ porcelain sinks, and ’long the right were ’nother line o’ bathroom stalls.

She tried the first one. ’Twas empty.

“Whoever designed this bathroom was a sick bastard,” Autumn grumbled ’fore throwing the door closed.

Still desperate, she tried the next few, only to be interrupted by English-accented speech.

“Hello, Madame. Do you need any help?”

Autumn swung her face in every direction, but saw no one.

“Who said that?” she asked.

“I did.”


“Up here, Madame.”

She looked up ’bove the entrance door to the hallway where she heard the sound come from and saw the blue male icon on the sign wave its hand at her.

“Oh, it’s you,” Autumn said. “Could you tell me how to find an authentic toilet? Whoever build this place apparently hated people.”

“Oh, Madame, it’s not so much that the elders hate people but that they wanted to ensure that only the chosen one made it to the Golden Latrine. Using it is a great responsibility, with earth-changing consequences, and we don’t want just any old pissed wanker dribbling his mess over the side or filling it with candy wrappers.”

“Look, I don’t have the time to go through some tedious quest. If I promise not to scribble conspiracy theories on the stall, will you show me the way?” Autumn said.

“That I cannot do,” the sign icon said, raising his round hand. “I’m ’fraid only you can lead yourself to the Golden Latrine by searching within your soul for answers.”

“I don’t even believe in souls,” Autumn said.

The sign icon put his hands to his hips. “Fine. You must search the portion o’ your brain that handles intuitive thought.”

“That’s insipid,” Autumn said. “This whole scene is insipid. Let’s just transition to the next one so we can warp to me reaching the end, already.”

“No! Wait!” the sign icon shouted. “You must have the patience to persevere through the wandering caves of—”

“Nope, too late,” Autumn said, shaking her head. “Transition time.”




Autumn emerged from the dark throat o’ gnarled cave to find herself in a spacious black room covered in blue and purple strobe lights. Floating round the void were porcelain sinks, glowing blue and purple from the reflected light. All round her, she saw the stalls in odd places, in odd positions.

As she entered, she felt a strange light sensation under her feet. She looked down and noticed she was floating. She kicked her feet and wound her arms, feeling as if she were swimming through water, ’cept much emptier and slippier. I hope that’s how space works; I don’t actually know, to be honest.

She swam wildly to the nearest stall. Holding onto the edge o’ it with her foot she yanked gainst the door while pressing her foot down to open it. But ’hind ’twas nothing but empty space.

“Augh,” Autumn grunted. “Well, it could be worse. There could be random encounters. If that were the case, I’d likely get kidney damage ’fore making it to the golden pissbowl.”

After wandering through the void, checking the next few stalls, she finally found one door that opened to something other than nothingness: it opened to a golden elevator car with a ruby red bar ’long the wall.

She floated inside and turned to look at the controls. It only had one button: a large red arrow pointing up. She pressed it and the elevator-car doors shut, causing Autumn’s feet to float back down to the floor. Then she felt the floor rumble and raise up under her. A light jazzy tune started playing—from what speakers, Autumn couldn’t see.

As she waited to reach the top, she leaned gainst the back wall with her hands stuffed in her pockets and her teeth drilling her lips. This better be the end, she grumbled in her head.

Knew I should’ve just gone outside.

Just didn’t want to try my luck and catch being caught with the stolen okays.

The elevator stopped. However, the doors remained closed.

Now what?


Autumn tilted her head back and groaned.

Well, there goes that.


Autumn straightened her face, race pulsing.

She said shakily, “U-u-uh, he… He found it on the ground.”

She twisted her legs together tightly and held her breath as the elevator lights darkened and pastel lights flashed ’long the ceiling.


She heard a ding and then saw the doors slide open. Outside she saw a tiny, boxy room just big ’nough to fit its one object: the Golden Latrine, shining brightly under the golden light streaming from ’bove.

Autumn quickly stepped out, ’fraid the elevator would drop her back down, and then let out a deep breath. Finally!

But then she winced her eyes at it. “Oh, great: a urinal. Sexist bastards.”

That was when she was suddenly tackled from the side by a mysterious stranger.

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Edgar underwent the most magnificent montage. One moment he skipped gaily next to his new triceratops friend, the next he was slowly tossing a discus and watching the triceratops turn and fetch it, and then watching it return the disc to Edgar and lick him, causing him to giggle.

Li’l did Edgar realize, the triceratops’s toxic saliva now gave him twenty-six varieties o’ cancer, including the rare tropic variety.

function PrintChapterName ($chap_name) { echo $chap_name; }

Autumn’s mood was not improved by the glare o’ the eternal sundown/sunup that attacked her eyes as she exited the restrooms. It was, however, when she caught sight o’ a giant blue triceratops in front o’ her, giving her glassy eyes. She looked up and saw Edgar sitting on top—though he was lurching so low, with his arms tightly wound round the creature’s neck, that he was practically lying on it.

“Ah, I see you found the dinosaur. That’s cool,” Autumn said.

“Hey, Autumn,” Edgar replied. “Glad to see the inky blob monster hadn’t eaten you.”

She climbed up on the dinosaur and wrapped her arms round Edgar’s waist while the triceratops raised its head and began plodding forward, developing into a steady scamper. As they rode Autumn felt the dry, hot wind blow all over her face, causing her safari hat to fall off. She didn’t bother to pick it back up, since there was no reason why she had it in the first place.

“So, I was thinking if with the help o’ this polite dinosaur we’d eventually be able to reach the end o’ this wasteland,” Edgar said.

“Hmm… Perhaps,” Autumn said. “However, I think we have other business we should attend to, too.”

Edgar turned his head to look at Autumn. “What?”

“Look, it’s obvious something strange is going on round here. We start this story in a cave hounded by an inky eldritch horror that randomly shifts its form every so oft, you find a dinosaur that just so happens to allow you to ride it, and I wander through some long-winded bizarro bathroom.”


“And I think somebody’s ’hind this.”

“Well, yeah: the Programmers. They’re ’hind everything,” Edgar said.

Autumn shook her head. “I don’t think so. Somebody else is ’hind this. I think somebody’s taken over the story within the story, as if pirating the transmission o’ a radio signal.”

“But who?” Edgar asked.

“There’s only one person I can think o’ who’d be so immature as to do something like this,” Autumn said. “Just follow my directions and I’ll lead us to him.”


Meanwhile at Castle Keep, the dark figure continued to sip his tea, eat his sugar cookies, and read today’s Blondie in the Funnies. “Silly Dagwood; you can’t eat a sandwich that big,” he said with a chuckle.

His merriment was interrupted, however, by a sudden slam o’ his door. He turned round and saw Autumn standing in the threshold with Edgar hiding behind her.

“All right, Lance, you can take off that giant bushel o’ black hair; you’re not fooling anyone.”

“Drats!” he dratted as he threw off the shroud o’ curly hair. He glared at Autumn. “So I see you’ve made it here.”

Autumn pointed at him. “You’ve been screwing round with this whole story haven’t yo—I can see you writing what I’m saying right now!”

The handsome, sexy Lance was standing valiantly next to his golden-trestled table, his firm right hand typing on his laptop keyboard while his perfectly-carved face sneered at the vile, slobbering ponytailed devil.

“Why’d you do it?” Autumn asked in her raspy, dying-cat voice.

“Isn’t it obvious?” The gorgeous Lance asked in his clear, luscious voice. “So I can manipulate you two to do anything I wish!”

While Lance laughed his lyrical laugh that spineless weasel Edgar looked down and scratched his chin. “That might explain why earlier I had the sudden urge to vote Gold.”

“No, I mean why did you waste everyone’s time with this story? None o’ it contributed to your goals in any way… whatever your goals are,” Autumn said.

“Oh, truly?” Lance asked. “I’m truly curious; is that truly true? As a perfect specimen of… specimen I work in mysterious ways; even I do not know how I operate.”

“So that whole section that was nothing but the word ‘AHHHH!’ for almost three thousand letters? That had a purpose, did it?” Autumn asked, tilting her head with a look o’ deep petulance.

“It looked cool,” Lance said as he gave a rueful glance to the side.

“That doesn’t make it useful,” Autumn said. “Common rule among writers: even if it’s wonderful, if it’s not useful, kill your babies.”

“Okay,” Edgar said as he lifted baseball bat and started bashing a baby on a table that miraculously appeared next to him this very minute. He continued to bash it till ’twas nothing but a bloody mess, splattering its heart juice all over him.

Autumn threw her arms out in utter shock. “Edgar! What the hell are you doing? That’s utterly inconsistent with your characterization!”

She heard tittering to her side and turned toward it to see Lance covering his great grin as he scribbled on his sheets o’ paper.

Autumn snatched the pencil from Lance’s grasp. “Gimme that!” Then she scribbled on the sheet herself.

Edgar put his hands on his head and said, “Golly, that sure wasn’t nice o’ me to do. I’m sorry, baby.” Then he lightly kissed where he thought its head probably used to be and patted it gently.

Autumn swiped the sheets from Lance’s table. “Now this is going to stop this instance.”

Lance crossed his arms. “Oh, truly? And why do you think that?”

Autumn gripped the sheet by its top with both hands, each on either side as if ready to rip it in half. “’Cause I’m going to destroy this paper.”

Lance put his heads up on his head. “You can’t do that!”

“Why not?”

“You’ll destroy us all!”

Autumn shrugged. “Only for this story.”

“But… but that’s a stupid way to end a story,” Lance blubbered. “You can’t ruin my one story! That’s unfair!

“And why am I being depicted so unflattering in my own story!” Lance whined like a blubbering crybaby. “Hey!”

Autumn was writing on the sheet.

“Gimme that!” Lance shouted as he grabbed an end o’ the sheet. But Autumn still held onto the other end and they both tugged on it as if it were a tug-o-war match.

“Stop, you monsters!”

Everyone paused. A silence entered, so heavy the ground squeaked at every step. They slowly swiveled their heads in the direction o’ the noise and saw the black ink monster, its cane hanging in a limp tentacle, its pink eye staring at them all with consternation.

“Can’t you all just get ’long?” it asked.

Autumn’s brows narrowed. “Weren’t you trying to eat us?”

But the ink monster shook its head.

“I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen. I wanted to invite you to this exquisite restaurant called the Chez Beret. I told you, I’m the guest o’ honor, so they let me bring whoever I want and… well…” the ink monster bent its visage, its eye curving downward. “I don’t have many friends… I was wondering—you know, if you’re not too busy—if you wanted to maybe go…”

Autumn and Edgar exchanged glances—no, not literally; God, don’t you understand figurative language at all?

“’Course I do,” God replied.

Autumn scratched her head. “We don’t have to pay for anything, do we?”

“’Course not. It’s all paid for us,” the ink monster said.

Autumn turned to Edgar and shrugged. “No loss for us.”

Edgar’s expression was less calm. “You sure this isn’t a trick?”

“I can prove to you it isn’t. See here.”

The ink monster held up a laptop in Firefox, its screen covered in peach with black text on top.

“See, it says right there: ’It wasn’t a trick.’”

Autumn leaned in, her eyes squinting to see the text better.

It wasn’t a trick.

With that settled, they all hopped on Edgar’s triceratops and ventured back to the city.

But there was no city, and they never made it to civilization, so Autumn, Lance, the triceratops, and the ink monster starved to death, while Edgar died o’ tropic cancer.