Kophis takes a day off to do some shopping, but every time they use magic they get more mall-bimboified. Explicit.
One of the most useful bits of magic Kophis knew was their ‘unremarkability’ spell. An androgynous fox in a loincloth-dress and ancient silver jewelry wandering around a mall circa 2005 would normally be worthy of note—but one flick of their fingers, and mortals’ eyes glazed over and anything out of the ordinary from the last few minutes would slip out of their minds.
“So I can say whatever I want right now,” Kophis explained, oblivious to the quiet desperation on the face of the cashier who was trying to check them out. “For instance, I came here on a magic island. I parked it in the food court and disguised it as a smoothie stand.”
“Wow,” the cashier said. “Are you—”
“I brought it here because it’s been running low on chaos magic, so I’m letting it charge up. You’re supposed to use ley lines for that, not malls, but malls generate so much raw chaos magic that it cuts the charging time from a few weeks to a few hours.”
The woman behind the counter nodded, hoping they would get tired of talking soon. “Nice. Do—”
Kophis continued onward, enjoying the opportunity to brag consequence-free. “It’s because of all the capitalism crammed into one building. And using chaos magic inside of mall is like trying to light a match in a room full of propane. Mall are just that messed up. Of course, it’s no problem for an expert tarassomancer like myself. So, since I’ve got time to spare, I’m doing some shopping.”
Fixing Kophis with an annoyed glare, the cashier finally just asked, “Cash or credit?”
Kophis said, “Credit,” and made a show of snapping their fingers to summon a credit card out of thin air. The swirl of their own magic around their hand sent ripples through the flow of ambient chaos-magic energy that permeated the mall. As those ripples rolled over Kophis, it felt as if they’d had seltzer water poured over their brain. For a few moments they just swayed in place, slack-jawed and staring into space.
The cashier snatched the credit card out of Kophis’s hand, swiped it through the register, and then briskly shoved the sheets and matching pillowcases into the bag and pushed it across the counter. “If you’re such a cool wizard, how come you don’t have a ‘summon bedsheets’ spell?”
Kophis, the quick-tongued trickster, was at a loss for words. Their snout wrinkled and their ears folded back as they struggled to think of a scathing repartee. “It’s…look, summoned objects have different rules. Say I wanted to make a sheet ghost costume. I couldn’t summon sheets and enchant them…” Damn it. Now that they’d said it out loud, it sounded kind of silly. They’d have to scratch the sheet-ghost scheme and come up with something else.
All the cashier said was, “Cool,” but it was so thick with sarcasm it felt like a slap across the cheek.
“Whatever, mortal,” Kophis grumbled. They grabbed their bag and flicked an unremarkability spell at her on their way out, then nearly stumbled into the door as the mall’s chaos magic reverberated around them.
Unfortunately, there was no such thing as an unembarrassability spell.
26 March, 2023
Miffed by some hard-to-impress Minoans, Kophis takes matters into their own hands and turns theirself into a divine bull. Explicit.
Kophis sat on a hill that hadn’t been there yesterday with their chin propped against their hand and a scowl on their snout. Down below the chalky limestone outcropping where they sat, the settlement of Tira glimmered with firelight. The breeze that rolled in off the wine-dark sea carried the scent of food freshly cooked for the sake of some festival or another. It was all Linear A to Kophis; one festival was just as good as any other for their usual scam: show up claiming to be a deity, score some free festival food in the form of ‘offerings’, and spend the night transforming humans consequence-free.
Usually humans were easy to impress. Make a flashy entrance, show off with a spell or two, and they’d be tripping over their own sandals trying to ply Kophis’s favor with offerings. Sometimes just having the head of a fox did the trick. But the people of this backwater island clearly didn’t know a god when they saw one. Or when they saw a trickster pretending to be a god. Either way. One of them had even asked if they were a jackal, of all things.
With a dismissive snort Kophis rose from their seat and trudged back up the hill to the sanctuary at its peak, which, like the hill itself, also hadn’t been there yesterday. The ‘hill’ was less of a hill and more of a mobile island that could blend in with its surroundings wherever it was placed. Though it wasn’t exactly an island, and it wasn’t entirely not a hill either.
In any event, they could easily have picked their island-hill up, sanctuary and all, and moved it somewhere more receptive to their deception. But that wasn’t the point any more. The people of Tira had scoffed at their entrance, refused to believe their claims of godhood, and worst of all, they had called Kophis ‘petty’.
Now it was personal. The thought that they might overreact to some minor slight was preposterous. They’d show the people of Tira how un-’petty’ they were—and they had just the tool to do it, too.
5 July, 2022
A hiker stumbles into a fantasy world and is transformed into a dryad deertaur version of herself. Explicit.
Skyler hadn’t planned on wandering into a fantasy world. She’d gone hiking up in the mountains plenty of times before and had never once slipped between worlds. She’d even hiked this very trail a couple months ago and had stayed well on Earth the entire time. Today that would change.
At the moment, she was still hoofing it up the side of a steep rise, which she remembered from last time because climbing it had made her break into a sweat last time, too. Just a little further and she’d come out on top of the ridge, with a great view of the reservoir that the trail encircled, framed by the foothills and distant peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Once she was there, she could find somewhere to sit for a minute and rest her legs, maybe have one of the granola bars she’d stuck in her bag on the way out. Already she could see more light coming in through the trees; she was coming up on it now.
But when she left the shade of the ponderosa pines, she found she was not standing atop a small, rocky outcropping. There were no familiar peaks poking above the tops of the trees, no reservoir, no scruffy alpine trees and scrub—not a single thing she recognized.
Instead, a lush meadow studded with flowers stretched out before her, nestled in the belly of a valley so thick with verdant foliage that it looked almost primeval. The towering peaks around her bore thick skirts of mist that shrouded their sharp purple cliffs, and slender waterfalls like silver strings that lost themselves in the clouds. Her gaze floated up into the sky above, where the ghost of a crescent moon hung, four times bigger than it should have been and bearing a broad ring around its equator.
Her eyes made several circuits of the album-cover-worthy view before Skyler found the words to say, under her breath, “What the hell.”
2 February, 2021
A young man turns into a witch vixen and must defend Halloween against all manner of magical mayhem! Mature.
This story is a standalone sequel to a previous Halloween story, The Party!
For months now, the fox had lingered in Mitch’s mind. He couldn’t say where she’d come from, or why she stuck around so stubbornly, only that in a burst of inspiration last November, he’d scribbled her in his sketchbook: a fox witch, with long curly hair and a pair of glasses perched on her snout. Every couple of weeks since, in between the work he was doing for class, he’d find himself drawing her again, and again, and again.
So as the days crept closer to Halloween, he wasn’t surprised that she was on his mind more often. It was the persistence that worried him just a little—she was always there in the back of his head. Even when he blanked out his thoughts, he could still trace her silhouette in his mind: narrow snout, tall ears, big, floppy hat. For the past few days she’d been impossible to get rid of.
Now it was late in the afternoon, on the thirty-first of October. Mitch sat at his desk in his room, doodling the designs he’d thought up for the fox witch’s spell book earlier that day in class. (He still hadn’t named her; nothing he found felt ‘right’.) The chime of a text message went off, but it took him several seconds to pull his mind out of tomes and grimoires.
A text from Chris was waiting for him:
‘Still coming to the party? maybe well remember this one lmao’
‘yeah, I am’, he sent back.
‘Sick! dont be late or well leave without you lol’
Mitch sat up and stretched both his back and his fingers. He could probably use a break from fox stuff anyway. Flipping his sketchbook closed, he got up and started getting his things together to head out—after taking a peek out the window.
Outside, the sun came in gold and heavy against the autumn leaves and stretched the shadows out like long strokes across the pavement. He lingered at the window for a moment, appreciating the bustle and color of everyone heading out to whatever Halloween get-together they had planned, whether in full costume or just tucked into a light jacket. Maybe he’d even see some of them at the party Chris was driving him to.
Speaking of which, he needed to get going or he’d miss his ride. Unlike last year, where he’d just thrown together a fox costume last-minute, he’d had time to prepare. And since the fox ears and tail now gave him a weird, queasy feeling when he saw them in his closet, he’d bought a cheap pirate outfit. Nothing fancy, just a hat made of folded felt, an eye patch, and a plastic sword to stick through one of the belt loops on his pants.
Just as he’d finished adjusting the eye patch and was reaching for his glasses, everything went dark with a loud whoosh, like a howling wind. This was not ‘a storm rolling in’ dark, nor ‘who turned out the lights?’ dark, nor even ‘accidentally put on two eye patches instead of one’ dark. He had been enveloped in the complete darkness of night. Not even the stars that filled the sky above him offered any illumination.
Where was he? What had just happened? And how were there stars in his room? He lifted his eye patch, for all the good that did, and shouted, “Hey!”
Acid green light flickered underneath him: trails of light, tracing a seven-pointed star around his feet, inscribed within a larger circle. As the last lines met, the light erupted around him and a great gust from underneath him blew his hair back and ruffled his clothes.
29 October, 2020
In the middle of her shift, a barmaid turns into a handsome wolf barbarian. Oh no! Explicit.
Rosemary never spilled a drop of ale if she could help it. She knew the tables of The Red Hart so well she could weave between them with her eyes closed, and had a hand so steady that she could have been an archer or a craftsman, if either had been acceptable jobs for a young woman. So the full flagon she had upended over the wolf-kin’s head was entirely on purpose.
“Oh, I’m sorry, milord,” she said, to make it clear she wasn’t sorry at all.
She tugged a gray cloth from her belt and tossed it over the wolf’s snout, then turned sharply and walked away, leaving him to mop the ale out of his dripping fur and braided beard.
She heard the other wolves cackling and growling in delight: “Haw, that maid’s got steel between her legs!” “More steel than Wulfric’s got, that’s sure.” “You bend over and lift your tail like that for all the humans, or just the pretty ones?”
Rosemary’s cheeks were tinged pink. In the back of her mind, she wondered if she might have been mistaken, whether she really had felt those claws digging into her chest, trying to sneak a handful while she was bent over the table. She knew enough not to listen to that voice, though.
As she stepped behind the bar, she set down the flagon rather loudly and said, “Molly.”
The other barmaid lifted her cheek from her hand and turned to look at her with a curious but blank expression, as if she had no clue what Rosemary might want with her.
“Stop making doe eyes at the beast-kin,” Rosemary said. “There’s other tables to serve.”
Molly sighed. “Isn’t it exciting though? A whole pack of barbarians, right here in our tavern.”
“If by barbarians you mean Northerners and by exciting you mean a lot of work, then yes,” Rosemary said. She fetched a couple of mugs from behind the counter, and set them pointedly next to Molly’s arm. “The table by the fireplace has been asking about their mead.”
The mugs clinked together as Molly picked them up, then leaned in close and lowered her voice. “What if one of them wants to take me back to his room and fuck me like an animal? And then he carries me off to his longhouse to dress me in furs and make me his bride...”
Rosemary said, “Well, until that happens you’re still on your shift, so get to it.”
16 September, 2020
A bag of sour gummy worms brightens up a dreary day inside by turning you into a cartoonishly big candy dragon. Mature.
You're sprawled on the sofa In the living room, staring up at the white noise of the ceiling. You haven't bothered to unpause the 'lo-fi beach vibes' video you had playing on the TV. Past the sliding glass door, the rain comes down like radio static. Nothing to do outside, nothing left to do inside. Your phone doesn’t have anything better to offer, so you sling it over the edge of the couch and let it fall to the carpet. Then you look down, grab the big bag of sour gummy worms you bought, and haul it over. Might as well, right? You peel it open, grab a couple, and toss one into your mouth.
Mango-pineapple. The taste hits harder than you expect. You take a moment to savor it as it saturates your tongue. It's been a while since you last had sour candy, but you don't remember it being quite so engrossing. The next worm you try is some kind of purple flavor, and while it's just as delicious in its own way, it doesn’t captivate your senses like the mango-pineapple did.
While you eat your handful of worms, the grass outside your apartment gets swallowed by rising water. Inside, the bookshelves creep taller and taller along the walls. The coffee table lists to one side; two of its feet sink a half-inch into the carpet.
You pop the last sour gummy worm into your mouth. The pineapple tartness and cloying mango sweetness are a perfect fit. Your eyes drift shut and a smile falls across your face. How long has it been since you just enjoyed some candy?
Your hand dips back into the bag and lifts out another handful. You pinch the gummy worms between your teeth and pull them from your fingers two at a time. Your thick tongue slips out to slurp the gummy worms between your glossy pinkish lips. A bead of drool rolls down your pudgy cheek. You brush it away with your shoulder.
Okay, yes, you know you're eating more than you should. You know you should stop after this handful. But this is the first time that you've felt nice in weeks. This is a splash of color among all that gray. You can't give that up because you're worried about a little too much candy.