Into the Weald

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.”


Mitch and the Fox Witch

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.


Friday

A latex outfit grows out of some guy's body as his apartment changes around him. Mature.

One Friday, entirely by accident, George found he had kicked up the corner of the rug of reality.

Before then, it had been the sort of day that left him desperate for the weekend. A late shift at work bled into the bus ride home into the rain washing down as he walked to his apartment building. Cold and damp, George started climbing the stairs to his floor. As soon as he got in, he was going to peel off his clothes, dunk himself in the shower, and then crawl into bed until tomorrow afternoon.

When he stepped onto his floor, he spotted a woman leaned back against the wall opposite his front door. What caught his eye wasn't her posture or the way she was casually checking her phone or her unfamiliar face, but the fact that from her diamond- studded collar down to the tips of her toes, every inch of her was wrapped up in a pink latex catsuit. Her lips and her hair were so brightly pink they could have been made of candy. Next to all that, her plain black jacket looked out of place.

She didn't look up as George walked to his front door. Still, he knew she'd noticed him and was politely pretending to ignore him. He pulled his keys from his pocket. He could feel her attention boring into his back, but if he looked and she wasn't staring at him, he'd be the weird one. Something about him was interesting, but he didn't want to be interesting. He wanted to be warm, and dry, and asleep.

With the door swung shut behind him, standing in his kitchen-slash-living room, he felt comfortable again. What was someone dressed like that doing hanging around here? A neighbor he hadn't seen before, maybe, or someone's girlfriend. It was enough of an answer to put his mind to rest.