Rated PG: Contains tentacles, and a whole lotta candy
Something Wicked This Way Plumbs
by Vylar Kaftan
It happened last year. I’d come into the office early, because I was on deadline–and a month behind on bills. To make things worse, my girlfriend had the flu, and I’d promised to be there by 5 to take her boys trick-or-treating. So here I was in the men’s restroom, at 7:30 on Halloween morning. I shook out a few drops, zipped my pants, and went to the sink. It’s one of those two-faucet deals with handles on each side and a wide central spigot. I turned the cold water tap.
Candy streamed out of the faucet like the entrails of a slaughtered piñata. The sink filled with Skittles, candy corn, and jellybeans. They rattled against each other as they spilled over the basin’s edge. Startled, I turned the faucet off.
I hoped someone was playing a Halloween prank, because the alternative was disturbing. Or maybe I wasn’t awake yet. I glanced at the mirror. In dreams you’ve always got weird things about your face, like snakes crawling from your eyeballs. But I looked normal. A bit scruffy, and my sleepy eyes were bloodshot. Neither of these were a problem for a freelance writer–in some circles, they might count as street cred. I looked at the sink. Still candy.
I went to my office for a paper bag.
About the Author
Vylar Kaftan writes speculative fiction of all genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and slipstream. She won a 2013 Nebula Award for her novella “The Weight of the Sunrise”, as well as a 2013 Sidewise Award for Short-Form Alternate History. She was also nominated for a 2010 Nebula Award for her short story “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno.”
Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and Clarkesworld. Her work has been reprinted in Horror: The Best of the Year, honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and shortlisted for the WSFA Small Press Award.
A graduate of Clarion West, she’s volunteered for that group as well as the Little Owls mentoring program for young writers. She’s a member of SFWA, Codex, Broad Universe, and the Carl Brandon Society. In 2011, she founded FOGcon, a new literary-themed science fiction and fantasy convention in the San Francisco Bay Area. She blogs at VylanKaftan.com.
She lives with her husband Shannon in northern California. Her hobbies include modern-day temple dancing and preparing for a major earthquake. Her favorite color is all of them. She prefers the term “differently sane.”
About the Narrator
Elie Hirschman is a self-described “former aspiring voice actor” who has worked with Darker Projects and Dream Realm Productions and is also involved in Cool Fool Productions, turning bad audio scripts into intentionally bad comedy gold. He’s currently still active in all EA podcasts (including Cast of Wonders) and also appearing semi-regularly in the Nosleep Podcast. He doodles constantly but doesn’t draw enough and moved from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern Hemisphere against his will and better judgment (but has never been in the Southern Hemisphere).
Elie was born in New York City and raised just outside of it. He started down the voiceover path in 2004, with formal voiceover and marketing training by Creative Voice Development Group. His professional voice work ranges from children’s educational material to real estate advice website audio, with a scientific article and a guided tour of a Polish salt mine thrown in for good measure. In his free time, Elie enjoys cartooning, listening to old-time radio drama, and referring to himself in the third person. By this time next year, he will also have mastered speaking in future perfect tense.