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HADDONFIELD, IL — The nation’s horror villains called an emergency meeting this week to discuss the frightening state of current events in the country. The Society for Terrifying Assault and Battery, or STAB, last met in March, when they gathered to prepare for the COVID-19 epidemic. “We can’t believe how chaotic things have become in such a short time,” said STAB leader Michael Myers. “I thought it was important to get together to process everyone’s emotions.”

Some members of STAB assembled in Haddonfield, Myers’ hometown, while others attended virtually via Zoom call. “I told everyone they had to wear a mask if we met in person,” Myers explained. “Of course, some of us wear masks all the time.”

Everybody hurts — even villains

The group opened with a session in which they shared the ways the recent events had affected them. “This pandemic has been brutal,” said member Jason Voorhies. “The entire time I’ve been afraid to go outside. It made me develop empathy for my victims, though. I feel really guilty about all the killing, but my therapist tells me I need to work on self-acceptance. Oh, and also my recreational hockey league got canceled, which really sucked.”

Voorhies was followed by a STAB member known as The Leprechaun, who shared his feelings of shame. “I threw a St. Patrick’s Day party in March,” he said, his brogue breaking down into a sob. “It was a super-spreading event. Hundreds of people got sick, and some even died! I’ve never killed anyone before without a pot of gold involved.”

The Leprechaun’s ill-fated St. Patrick’s Day gathering.

Members of STAB also expressed horror at the recent events of police brutality that inspired protests throughout the nation. “We definitely support Black Lives Matter. We may be monsters, but we’re not monsters,” Myers said. “In fact, Candyman is headed out to Minnesota right now. He says he has some business to take care of.” When asked if Candyman was responsible for the recent outbreak of “murder hornets,” Myers said that Candyman denies all hornet-related allegations.

Candyman is not responsible for the “murder hornet” outbreak.

Myers concluded the meeting by offering support to the assembled villains. “Right now, we ask all STAB members to reach out to one another — while practicing social distancing, of course — to talk about their feelings,” he said. “Ghostface is in charge of our support hotline. He’s always on his phone.”

Kristin Cleaves writes horror and dark fiction. Her work has been published by Quill and Crow Publishing House, Ghost Orchid Press, Black Telephone Magazine, and more.

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Lighter than Dark

LTD Tripped Out Motivational Posters

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Tripped out… in case you just couldn’t get enough of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the return of the infinite bagel with EVERYTHING on it…

Tripped Out motivational poster
Tripped Out motivational poster

Artwork description: kaleidoscopic image of pink hairy horror (This is actually a fink fuzzy frond plant not unlike a Cockscomb but with longer thinner flowering feelers rather than the fuller protuberances you see on a full-bodied Cockscomb plant. I have no idea what it was, but it was very odd so I had to snap a photo.)

Image text reads: Mixing Magic Mushrooms & Peyote Just remember: once you open that Pandora’s box, you’re never going to get the pink hairy tarantulas back in it…

Tripped Out seeing eye god sunflower
Tripped Out seeing eye god sunflower

Artwork description: kaleidoscopic sunflower backlit by the sun with text and rainbow eye overlay

Image text reads: Eye See You Eye See All (in circle text so you can start and end reading wherever). In an ideal context this would be printed in the bottom of your tea mug or on a record that can slowly spin.

For more crazy tripped out fun, check out Weird Al’s post on Craig’s List

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

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Lighter than Dark

LTD Happy New Year Baby!

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In keeping with the tradition of celebrating the first New Year Baby, the firstborn of the year, we are excited to announce the birth of Baybee Draconia Werewoof. Draconia was birthed at precisely midnight January 1, 2023 during a demonic ritual. We are still uncertain whether or not her mother survived the event. But, like any demonspawn, Draconia is already well on her way to ruling the world with an iron-clawed fist.

Baybee Draconia Feywild Werewoof in her celebratory faerie frolicking unicorns in the woods ensemble
New Year Baby Baybee Draconia Werewoof in her celebratory faerie frolicking unicorns in the woods ensemble

New Year Baby Draconia opened her eyes immediately and ripped apart the fancy 2023 sash she was christened with upon her arrival. She was already walking, teething, and mauling her nursery mates about an hour after her birth. After setting off two minor explosions and a small fire, she is starting to show a propensity for the Dark Magicks. Her experiences are limited so her mind control and delusional tendencies are still fledgling, but are sure to really take off as she takes in more of the world.

New Year Baby Baybee Draconia Feywild Werewoof beginning to show telepahtic connectivity
New Year Baby Baybee Draconia Werewoof beginning to show telepathic connectivity

New Year Baby Draconia is expected to start schooling this year within her cultist circle. As her skills and following develop, she will begin to pave the way for the Spawn of Satan, Harbinger of the Apocolypse, so Draconia is the New Year Baby to keep an eye on.

New Year Baby Baybee Draconia Feywild Werewoof readying to pounce and rip the photographer’s face off
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

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Lighter than Dark

LTD: The Horrors of Jell-O

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Jell-O is horrifying, and not just because of all that has been revealed about its longtime spokesperson Bill Cosby. In its dark past, it has called forth Eldritch horrors beyond human comprehension from the depths of the furthest points of the universe.

But Jell-O itself is harmless you say, besides which it is yummy. And it’s fun to make glowing Jell-O shots and zombie brains & other body parts with my silicone Halloween molds. Just think about all of The Joys of Jell-O, you assert. As both a horror fan and culinary inclusionist, I can tell you’re not convinced…

Some seemingly safe Jell-O variants involving fruit, though the pie crust and pink fruit basket mold simply must come into question from a culinary appeal standpoint.
Some seemingly safe Jell-O variants involving fruit, though the pie crust and pink fruit basket mold simply must come into question from a culinary appeal standpoint.

Now I’m not talking about the fruit salad Jell-O concoctions that have graced every Midwest potluck for nearly a century. No, I’m referring to the 1940s Jell-O terrors involving shredded vegetables, pureed hot dogs, fish, shrimp, and other substances that many of us dare not speak of today, for fear we may slowly lose our sanity by simply mentioning them.

Some more iffy Jell-O salads involving thinly sliced and pureed vegetables and other substances.

Still don’t believe me? Well, let’s check out some of the most incriminating evidence, shall we?

Some seafood and hot dog based Jell-O concoctions, designed to draw Cthulu & other dark Eldritch horrors to our world.
Some seafood and hot dog based Jell-O concoctions, designed to draw Cthulu & other dark Eldritch horrors to our world.

What in all of Hell’s half acre are these monstrocities? They look like something straight out of Hades concessions? Why would anyone in their right mind do that to perfectly good seafood? And what’s with the hot dog cultists, or worse yet – pureed hot dogs? Remember – if the dog won’t eat it, maybe it actually isn’t food. And the cat is repelled as if she saw a ghost, then perhaps she really did…

To call forth a demigod or other deity of any sort, one does best to craft something in its image, and these culinary masterpieces did exactly that. Imagine all of the Lovecraftian horrors they sought to unleash upon the unsuspecting world. What Eldritch terrors are drawn to the smell and taste of aspic? We must do everything in our power to thwart this great evil.

My copper fish mold collection, as shown hanging on my outside covered porch.
My copper fish mold collection, as shown hanging on my outside covered porch.

In response, I have chosen to collect copper fish molds. These kitchen adornments’ sole function was to craft these horrific things, that is their nefarious purpose. No one makes fruit salad Jell-O in the shape of a dead salmon, now do they? Of course not! Give it some thought, and join me in being a part of the solution.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

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