The tooth that had started Rennie’s collection had been found in the woods; she had heard it singing and, when she got close enough, it had called out to her by name. “That was the start,” Rennie told her mother, who only listened. “Now I’ve got hundreds in jars everywhere and they’re like old friends – chattering away, making jokes, giving advice, and being comforting.” “So?” her mother said quietly. “What are we thinking here?” “Well,” Rennie replied with great tenderness, “I know everyone was hoping I’d be a dentist, but I think … deep down … I’m a tooth fairy.” There was a tiny, awkward silence and then her mother spoke again. “You know that your father and I will support you and love you no matter what you decide.”
The Frankensteins sat silently while the financial planner reviewed their statements. “So … uh … there’s a lot of spend on eBay; let’s talk about that,” the planner said, closing the folio and looking up. Both clients shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They didn’t think they could make someone understand their need to buy pieces and parts of things – odds and ends that could be repurposed or reformed into something new. “We don’t really understand it ourselves,” Frankenstein concluded.
“So …,” the reporter began haltingly. “Did I know Clark Kent was Superman?” Lois Lane asked, smirking. She was dressed in crisp linen for summer and her white hair was up in an elegant chignon. The reporter nodded. “C’mon!” Lois chided. “How stupid do people think I am?” She laughed and refreshed their iced teas. “Look, the same guy who wore a blue unitard with red accents and a cape to fight crime thought the ultimate day costume would be normal clothes and a pair of glasses? And I’M the dumb one?” They both smiled. “Yes, officially, I knew all along,” she continued. “Everyone has a thing and, when you love someone, you let them have their thing, you know?”
The demon asked the same question to everyone (“What does your heart most desire?”) promising to deliver exactly that … for a price. “Beauty,” answered the one who felt hers had faded. “Power,” replied the one who secretly felt weak and insecure. “Money,” stated one who could never get enough. “Love,” said one unexpectedly. “What?” the demon asked, assuming it had heard incorrectly. “All you need is love; love is all you need,” said the homeless man with a big smile, proud of himself for getting by in spite of the obstacles. “Hippie,” the demon spat glumly, irritated and sore (for the word burned it).
“I’m sarcastic even in my dreams,” Roger told the therapist with a laugh. “Give me an example,” she asked, intrigued. “Well, I have this recurring dream where Death appears next to me at the gym, points to his hourglass, and keeps yelling at me to drop and give him twenty,” he said, shaking his head. “So I reach into my shorts, pull out twenty bucks, and tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out!” “You said that’s a recurring dream?” the therapist asked. “Yeah, but it changes.” “In what way?” “Well, like, this time, with the twenty bucks, he just took my money and looked at me. Stared at me, more like. It creeped me out.” Roger shifted in his chair. “So,” the therapist said after a few seconds, “how does that make you feel?” No longer laughing, Roger took a deep breath. “Like the only place I’m running is out of time.”
Name these researchers and their area of specialty or accomplishment.
Tansy’s answer: “Operatives posing as the townsfolk of Arkham; from left to right, top row to bottom: Meg Showalter (researcher in place at the Miskatonic Library), Laurelbeth Hughes (on mutant watch at the City Concern), Tonky Wills (documenting folktales as a barmaid), Elba Freeman (evaluating catch weights at the Harbor Office – reported missing), Prolla Ransu (additional Library assignment; language expert recording changes to sentence integrity), Robert Timms-Talbot (shoe shine boy; ciphers and sigils), Catherine Schurrup (registered nurse and hematology sampler – reported missing), Winifred Cordell (registered nurse assigned to the Arkham Asylum, craniologist – reportedly committed and now missing), Euble Henry Addison (sociology researcher in place at the Historical Society; ordered to explore sexual mores and mating behavior – deceased).
(Post your own answers and read the genius of others on the Tansy Undercrypt Facebook page.)
Jacob returned to the kitchen where his parents were huddled in a corner. “He says he’s Elijah,” Jacob said softly. Mr Schmetzer whistled low. “Well,” he said, “we did set a place for him.” Mrs Schmetzer peeked through the doorway into the dining room at the radiant being. “I cannot WAIT to tell Helen,” she whispered to herself. “But wait now,” Jacob said, looking puzzled. “How do we actually know that it’s Elijah? Are there, like, identification questions or a code or something?” Mr Schmetzer looked over his wife’s shoulder at their unexpected guest. The devil could assume a pleasing shape; was this a pleasing shape? He had absolutely no idea of what to do. “Shit,” Mr Schmetzer said, forgetting himself.
The zombies were coming; what was about to start as a trickle of one slow mover at a time would no doubt pick up speed. They looked at each other. The backyard was particularly vulnerable, with its sliding glass doors and minimal landscaping, but they did not despair; there were ways to use the pool to their advantage. It was almost time to form the lines; a rush of excitement moved through them. The plants were ready.
“No fair,” Roy said, sulking in the family room. He’d captured the frog down by the lake and made an awesome apartment for it out of an old aquarium in the garage. “That thing ruled,” he grunted, punching the arm of the sofa. Roy regretted the day he’d made the bet with his sister (which she predictably lost), and made her kiss the frog. That kiss had broken some kind of spell; his pet had turned into a handsome prince; they were in love and going to be married. “Gross,” Roy said, thinking about all of the kissing that went on now in front of everyone. He liked Prince What’s-His Face-better as a frog. “Totally not fair,” Roy muttered, wondering if anyone bothered turning people into Hermit Crabs.
Some pressed themselves against the glass to see; others fled from the windows and pulled their children away with them. The little pink tricycle moved through town, the chimes of its bell ringing out on every street, turning in avenues, moving quickly and then slowly in front of the houses. “I wonder who it’s looking for,” Patty whispered to her mother, fascinated but afraid. She didn’t answer, preferring instead to pray for the soul of the absent rider (and ask that all calamity pass them by).
(For Linda, who requested an update to the legend of the riderless horse.)