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.


The Barmaid and the Barbarian

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.”


Going Up

For two office workers, an elevator ride becomes a growing, swelling, sloshing experience as they're turned into a big goofy toon wolf and gator. Mature.

On one side of the elevator stood Andrew. On his way back from a late lunch, he hadn't expected to run into anyone he knew. Okay, 'knew' was a bit of a stretch, since he didn't even know her name, but he knew she worked in Legal up on the fifty-second floor, that he was intimidated by how good she looked in a pantsuit, and that he wouldn't be able to say a word to her without stumbling over his own tongue.

On the other side of the elevator was Breana. She'd just gotten out of a meeting with one of their clients. She couldn't help feeling a little jealous of Andrew, who didn't have to haul out a stuffy suit jacket or wear heels every time he had to meet someone new. She didn't know his name either, but she recognized him from the couple of times she'd been down to Finance on the forty-third floor. They'd never had the chance to talk before.

"So," she said, breaking the silence as they waited for the doors to close. "You like Dopey Ditties?"

Andrew was caught completely off guard. "Um, what?"

"You have a, uh, B.B. Wolf mug on your desk." Great idea, she thought, kicking off a conversation with old cartoons. Not weird at all. "I always liked Al A. Gator."

"Oh. He's pretty cool," Andrew said, for lack of anything better to say.

The doors swung shut on the lobby and, mercifully giving Breana an excuse to go quiet again, the elevator chimed, "Going up."

The two of them were about to get know each other real well.


Birthday Blaze

A certain someone gets sucked into one of those dragon platformer games. No, not that one. Mature.

As the black of the screen stretches into a swirling void and you're pulled flailing through the frame of the TV, you can't help but wonder whether the note that said, "Here's that dragon game I thought you'd really get into," was supposed to be a pun.

At first it feels like being hurled forward, then like falling into the formless dark. With no more force than if you rolled off the edge of a couch, you land on a polished stone floor. A spotlight falls across you, lighting up an area a little wider than the span of your arms. You look up, but the light's not coming from anywhere. It's just there.

Ugh. Always this sort of thing on your birthday. You sit up, then get to your feet. Maybe the screen's still somewhere in the dark up above you. If you can get up to it, maybe you can climb back out.

But before you take two steps, a broad black pane blurts open in front of you, blocking your way. Letters appear inside of it, in time with a warbling sound that's not quite like a voice.

Uh, yeah, no thanks. You're not bothering with this; you need to find a way out. As you turn to the side, you're confronted by a text box with a blinking cursor. You turn around, but it whirls about to keep itself in front of you. You reach out to push it away, but it's solid, like a floating wall. When you touch it, the first blank spot switches to an A.

You sigh. Maybe it'll let you go if you play along. By tapping on the text box you start spelling out, letter-by-letter, B-L-A...but before you can follow that with C, the cursor leaps two spaces forward, spelling out 'BLAZE' instead.


Shifting

A new werewolf and her boyfriend are ready for her first change. They weren't expecting her to change into a male werewolf, though. Explicit.

June sat on the floor of the living room in nothing but her underwear, with all the furniture pushed up against the walls. Sean hovered nearby, reading over Your First Full Moon, the pamphlet from the doctor's office, for what had to be the fiftieth time.

While the bite had healed weeks ago, today she'd woken up with two strings of red marks curled around her left wrist. Cortisone cream only helped so much, so she'd put on a long-sleeved shirt and tried her best not to scratch, but they'd itched all day long. Now that the mark was bare, it was hard to keep her fingers off of it. Every so often, it twinged beneath her skin like a flexing muscle.

"You sure you don't want anything else to eat?" Sean asked, looking up from the pamphlet.

They'd read the whole thing together: sitting on their bed, her arm freshly bandaged and tucked against her chest, her cheek against his fur, leaning on him like a big, Sean-shaped comfort pillow. The cuddling was one of the upsides of having a collie for a boyfriend.

June leaned back on the floor. "At this point, I'm less worried about going hunting and more worried about throwing up on the carpet." Then she added, "I'm full, but thanks." All day she'd had more bark and more bite in her than usual. She wasn't sure how much of that was anxiety and frustration, and how much was the feral feeling stirring beneath her skin.


Squash and Stretch

Kotep doesn't let getting turned into a big dumb cartoon jackal get in the way of turning their friend into a big dumb cartoon wolf. Mature.

Surprise is an important part of being a jackal trickster god. Why just visit a friend when you can pop down to his apartment unannounced, fill it with magical traps ready to be sprung, and wait for him to stumble in and kick off the fun? The only problem was he didn't have the courtesy to show up on schedule. I'd been waiting for him for twenty minutes now, tipped back in his chair with my feet up on his table. I was bored of debating what to turn him into (maybe a cow, hadn't done that in a while) and had resorted to fiddling with my armbands by the time I decided to get up and get a drink. All this sitting around in the mortal realm was making me thirsty.

I slipped into the kitchen with my ears perked and swiveled toward the door, just in case he barged in while I wasn't looking. I didn't even have to hunt for a glass; a water bottle sat invitingly out on the counter. Nice of him to leave a drink out for me, especially since he had no clue I was coming. I tipped my snout up and downed the whole thing, then left it by the sink and headed back to my post at the table.

Something lingered in my mouth, like that syrupy feeling after drinking cheap soda. I ran my tongue along the roof of my palate and gulped. The feeling didn't go away; it was thick and gooey and clung to my teeth. I lapped along the backs of my fangs and swallowed again. I didn't want to be sloshing over my words whenever that friend of mine decided to show up.

No sooner had I gulped all that slick, viscous fluid down than my mouth began to fill up again. It clung to my tongue, making it feel blunt and slippery and too large for my mouth. My tongue squashed up against my own incisors, struggling to stay squeezed inside my jaw, curling and twisting and folding up against itself. At first I clenched my teeth and furrowed my brow, but soon the growing pressure was too much and I relented. My tongue flopped free and hung from the side of my muzzle, fat and round and inflated, pinkish-red with a glossy shine. A heavy bead of drool rolled from the tip like sticky sugar glaze.