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Story Critique / Rules for My AirBnB
« on: 02:05 PM, 11/25/22 »
A/N: I wrote this based on a prompt Slimebeast gave in a Fearfic episode for a subversion of a rules pasta.

Hello [if <Family> =/= 0: <Billing Last Name> Family; else <Billing First Name> <Billing Last Name>]!
I hope you had a good <Travel Type> from <Billing Address>! While I do not want to put a damper on your day, there are some rules here at the Abbe’ for anyone staying and your cooperation is appreciated.
  • You may or may not find a locked door somewhere on the first floor; that leads to the basement. You aren’t allowed down there anyway, it’s where I keep my personal possessions while renting out the house, so just leave it alone.
  • You may hear creaks, screams, scratching, whispers, rattles, and/or moans coming from the walls, that is just the house resettling.
  • If you see an old man staring at you unblinkingly from the sidewalk, don’t worry, that’s just Carl from the half-way house a few streets over. Lost both his eyes in the war but still makes a mean gumbo.
  • If you find a set of stairs leading up into the darkness, feel free to go up. The attic is probably a bit dusty due to me misplacing the stairs, but it has a great view of the neighborhood!
  • If a dark green 2003 Toyota Camry is in the driveway of the house across the street, please remove any hearing aids; I am not responsible for any ear or hearing damage caused by a failure to follow this rule.
  • You can use literally any food you find in the kitchen. Some of it is mine, some of it is from previous tenants, and some of it is just there. It’s all perfectly safe, though please check expiration dates.
    • On a related note, if you are a fan of full-bodied red wines with metallic aftertastes, please drink the bottle in the panty. Non-vegetarian wine was a great joke gift when I first got it, but it's been over a year and it is just taking up space.
  • I’d appreciate it is you refrained from sexual activity in the house; if you do engage in such acts, please thoroughly clean all nearby surfaces, furnitutre, sheets, etc.
  • If you see a suspicious person following you with a camera, don’t be afraid to say hi. That’s George from across the street. He’s some kind of vlogger who never stops filming.
  • If you see an old man staring at you unblinkingly from the sidewalk, don’t worry, that’s just Carl from the half-way house at the end of the block. Lost both his eyes in the war but still makes a mean gumbo.
  • If you are awoken by banging or scratching at your bedroom door or window in the middle of the night, just try to go back to sleep. You can also yell for it to stop, but that isn’t guaranteed to work.
  • Between 12:34am and 1:26am, there is a man in a black robe and a leather mask who stands ominously on the corner of 5th and Markshaven (you’ll see him if you look out the dining room window). Go over to him and get some of the best soft serve you will ever have. There is a customer loyalty card pinned to the noticeboard by the front door and I had better see some new stamps on it by the time you leave.
  • The bathroom floor is very slippery, please use the bathmats to minimize tripping hazards.
  • Due to annoyingly persistent telemarketing, do not answer any phone between the hours of 10pm and 3am,. I personally recommend turning off all phones between said times. This warning is [if <Family> =/= 0 && <# of Tenants> > 2: <# of Tenants> “times”; else “twice”] as important for families staying here.
    • If you wake up in the morning and find evidence of long-term cohabitation with an unknown person or persons; please first check if $50,000 or more was anonymously transferred to your bank account at around the time of 12am - 4am. If such a transfer has been made, leave any additional items in the closet across from the laundry room so I can drop them off at Goodwill; otherwise, please call the police about a possible home invasion.
  • If you think you see a menacing humanoid shape standing outside a window, feel free to close the blinds.
  • The house across the street tends to catch fire once every few months. Call the fire department if you want, but there is no need to panic.
  • If you see an old man staring at you unblinkingly from the sidewalk, don’t worry, that’s just Carl from the half-way house next door. Lost both his eyes in the war but still makes a mean gumbo.
  • If any faucets start running on their own, please turn them off as soon as possible. If blood is coming out of the faucet instead of water, please clean up any splatters.
    • If you did not actually read the rental agreement before signing, then I am sad to inform you that you are already held liable for any water damage from flooded sinks, tubs, showers, toilets, and any other water fixture as well as any stains that may occur due to failure to properly clean them.
  • There are some coyotes living in the ravine just past the backyard. If you see one, please do not approach. Jimmy from a few houses down has been feeding them his leftovers and they will bite if you get too close.
  • I have several electronic picture frames, so please do not panic if you see that a picture has changed or moved places. The same goes for the paintings.
    • If any of the portraits change places, please return them to their original position.
    • If you find any close up pictures of you sleeping, that is likely just the security cameras malfunctioning again.
  • Any suspicious figures loitering outside wearing hooded clothing and/or a mask are to be politely reminded that this is private property and informed that this is 83 Markshaven Drive, they are always looking for 82 across the street.
  • If you see an old man staring at you unblinkingly from the sidewalk, don’t worry, that’s just Carl, your roommate. Lost both his eyes in the war but still makes a mean gumbo.
  • I have a cat, his name is FrogFrog. He is very shy and likes to stay in the basement; however he will occasionally scratch up a door, tear up furniture or clothes, or leave dead doves nailed to the front door. When he gets nervous, irritable, or bored, he tends to loudly screech and howl directly into the ventilation system.
    • Don’t worry about feeding FrogFrog. In fact, don’t even try to feed FrogFrog, he has plenty of food in the basement and he is never going to trust you. He may steal your food while you are not looking.
    • If you find a cat in the house, check for a collar or call animal control, because that is not FrogFrog.
  • When you leave, please dispose of any perishables you have brought with you, purchased, or created in the appropriate composting bins.
  • If you see a faceless man in a business suit and no face, just ignore him. He won’t cause you any direct trouble and is too persistent to keep off the property.
    If the driveway across the street is empty, let him know and he will be gone literally before you know it.
  • I have someone who comes in to clean and sanitize the house after each tenant, but that is no excuse for leaving any messes.
  • Yes, there is a great horned owl nest right outside the master bedroom window; no, they don’t care if you are trying to sleep.
   I know it seems like there are a lot of rules, but they are there primarily for your safety and comfort, as well as thoe of future tenants. Enjoy your stay!

« on: 09:58 AM, 05/23/20 »
I’m sitting in my bathroom, staring at the tip of the knife I plan to stab myself with. Don’t get confused, this is not a suicide attempt. No, this is something much crazier.

I need to remove my left eye.

I don’t really know what happened to make me reach this point or why exactly I have come to this conclusion, all I know is that everything will be fixed once I get rid of my left eye. I’m pretty confident that I’ll survive and that it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the things I enjoy, so it’s not that much of a loss anyways.

The knife is an assisted-opening pocket knife I got for my birthday last year. Out of all my small, if treasured, collection of knives, this is the one I wanted to use the least for this. It’s just validating my parents’ fears, confirming to them that it was indeed a mistake to let me start my collection to begin with, but it is the only one I have that is thin enough, long enough, and sharp enough to do this.

I can hear my Mom doing the laundry in the next room and there is a part of me that wants to call out to her, ask to be rescued from this state I am in, but I am too stubborn. My left eye has to go. Of course, this stubbornness is working against me in that endeavor, as my self-preservation instinct is fighting particularly hard to keep the knife away from my eye.

My eye has to remain open for this. I considered closing it, but no, it needs to be open; the knife needs to go directly into the eye, not pass through the lid. Because of this, and the chance that I will either blink or reflexively close it, I can’t force the blade too quickly (assuming I can even let myself do so).

This whole time, I feel like I should be crying, having a panic attack, feeling something. Instead, all that I have is a dead calm, matched only by the absolute certainty that I need to get rid of my eye. And I feel like I should feel something about that dissonance, but there is nothing.

Taking a few sheets of toilet paper, I try to hold it over my eye, taught enough that it can create some sort of resistance. This way, I don’t see the blade coming and I can trick myself into overcoming that self-preservative instinct; I’m just forcing the blade through a thin barrier that just so happens to be close enough to my eye that stabbing through it will also stab into my eye. But I can’t get it to work, instead leaving me to awkwardly fumble as I try to position it, let alone stretch it, with my right hand.

It just creates more problems. I want to keep my fingers, the eye is the only thing that is to be removed, and being unable to see the blade leaves me with my exceedingly poor proprioception to try to position it so that I can stab into my eye rather than the surrounding flesh. I start switching between my paper barrier idea and just stabbing straight into the eye. Neither works.

After 30 minutes, I give up. I can’t bring myself to do it, yet another addition to the mountain of failures. I close the knife, leave the bathroom, and call for my Mom. With a tone of defeat, I explain what happened, what I had failed to do.

My knives are taken from me, in fact, over time, everything sharp disappears from my room. While I know it is an effort to protect me, to keep me from trying this again in another breakdown, it feels like a punishment. A punishment for my failure, for not being able to follow through, for still having my left eye.

Story Critique / How To Test A Ritual
« on: 09:14 PM, 04/21/20 »
There is something relaxing about driving for three hours on a perfectly straight and empty road, listening to the same 50 second song on repeat, in the middle of a starless night. At least I’m pretty sure it was a straight and empty road; my only illumination was the dome light. Regardless, I poured myself another cup of coffee from the travel box, careful not to smudge the phone number scrawled on the side of the cup, not once breaking from singing along to that beautiful and eternal musical loop. I pointedly ignored the vacant stares of the faces pressed against my window.

The music stopped when the timer went off on my phone, seconds before the car radio turned on again. A long moan came through the speakers. I carefully listened. From what best I could tell, it was louder on the right side. I secured the lid of my cup the best I could and screwed the cap back onto the coffee box while fastening its seatbelt. The moment the moan ended; I made the sharpest possible right turn; as in literally slamming the steering wheel as far to the right that I could. I kept turning for the next three minutes, keeping an eye on the clock rather than the road. Exactly 3 minutes and 16 seconds into the continuous turn, I turned off the car, put the brake pedal to the metal, and simultaneously engaged the emergency brake and shifted the transmission to park. It was a heinous sound and more heinous shift of inertia.

I finished off my coffee and poured another while I sat in the eventually motionless car, trying to catch the breath my locked-up seat belt had stolen from me. After a few minutes, I dug around the mess strewn across the floor of the far, eventually finding the monstrous carton of cigarettes. I rolled down my window as I fished out the lighter from my pocket. I grabbed my phone and set another timer, 97 seconds.

I took a deep breath of the last fresh air I would get for the next two minutes before placing a cigarette in my mouth. I flicked on the lighter with one hand, finger hovering over the start button. One more deep breath. As soon as I started the timer, I lit the cigarette and immediately tossed it out the window. I scrambled to grab another cigarette, lighting it, and throwing it out the window. I repeated this as many times as I could until I heard the alarm on my phone go off. I froze in place and started counting.

Thirty seconds of utter silence passed. I let the breath I had been holding. I poured myself a shot of coffee, downing it before taking a few deep breaths. I grabbed my coffee cup and the box, kicking open the driver’s side door. I almost stepped out before remembering to grab my phone from its holder and sliding it into my pocket. Then, with cup and coffee in hand, I set out.

Looking around, I confirmed that I was, in fact, surrounded by complete darkness beyond the meager glow of the dome light. I fiddled with the pedometer around my neck, checking its backlight function and resetting the depressingly low number of steps it already had logged. Orienting myself so that my back was flat against the side of the car, I began forward.

I walked for 255 paces before turning 45 degrees to the right and continued for 130 paces. 90 degree left turn, another 105 paces, 270 degrees left again, 130 more paces. I made the next turn as quickly as I could without getting too motion sick, doing a 728 clockwise spin before going another 105 paces. I stopped, poured myself another cup of coffee, downing it in one long pull. Two steps to the left, 105 paces again; three to the right, another 105; one to the left, and a final 130.

I sat down and gave my tired legs a rest. I averted my eyes as I pulled out my phone and unlocked it, what faint light I could see from it hurt my eyes. By touch and sound alone, I set a timer for ten minutes before placing it back in my pocket. I did some stretches as I waited, drank a carefully rationed cup of coffee, and counted in finger binary as I waited. It seemed like an eternity before my phone vibrated in my pocket. I stood up and reached for the doorknob.

The unseen door swung open silently on rusty hinges and even the imperceptibly dim light of the hallway hurt my eyes. Still, nonetheless, I stepped forward, squinting heavily as my eyes slowly adjusted to the very gradually increasing light. The hallways seemed to stretch on forever and I had to take several breaks to coax my increasingly protesting legs into carrying me further. At the very end of the hallway, a figure wearing a hooded black robe stood next to a door. They looked at me with a hidden face, awaiting my answer.

“Lyda,” I told the shape. It nodded silently and reached up, opening a trap door in the ceiling and releasing a set of ancient mahogany stairs. I ascended into a small circular room, in the middle of which stood a mirror. Turning away, I walked backwards until I was flat up against the surface of the mirror.

I took a moment, weighed the box of coffee in my hand and poured myself a final cup, a slight frown forming on my face as I realized that I had misjudged how much was left. I checked the side of the cup, making sure that the now faded number was still legible. I downed my coffee and, with my left hand, tossed the cup over my right shoulder.

Without turning to face it, I carefully sidestepped around the mirror.  From there, I only needed to take a single step to reach the massive stone gates, intricate reliefs of unthinkable things carved with impossible detail into the dark rock. I set the box down beside me as I looked at what seemed to more be a wall infinitely tall and wide.

With a silent apology to my legs, I stomped three times with my right foot and brought up my hands to the left of my head to clap. Then I stomped three times with my left foot, clapping to the right of my head. I cannot even begin to guess how many times I repeated this until the unfeeling gates took pity and slowly ground open with an earth shaking noise. I grabbed my box of coffee before trudging forward.

Within the cavernous room, dimly lit by a single light from above, was a giant crow. It lay on the ground, covered in a robe made of human faces sewn together. With eyes of endless and unspeakable void, it watched dispassionately as I approached.

It took all the effort, nerve, and strength I had left to even try to stand tall before the beast so ancient and powerful. I called out to it, “Are you Ga’UTH’La, Speaker of the Nine Seas?”

As my words echoed forth into that eternity, the bird slowly nodded its head with a sense of tired wisdom. With a knowing and infinite gaze, it begged the silent question that it had so many times before.

“Okay, great. Thanks,” I gave it a tired nod instead and made towards the exit before stopping, “You wouldn’t care for some coffee, would you? I think I have about a cup left in here.” I lifted the cardboard box to indicate what I was talking about.

I was met with a withering gaze and, after a literally immeasurable amount of time, I was given the same slow nod as before. I set down the box carefully, gave a polite smile, and slowly forced myself to walk the long distance to the invisibly glowing threshold.

I got back in my car, made an illegal u-turn, and, after about a mile, pulled back through the intersection where two pairs of identical chain restaurants stood across from each other. I parked in front of the East side one, in the space directly across from where I had parked at the beginning of my journey. I dragged myself into the coffee shop and made for the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, I was sitting at a table by the window, phone in one hand and an irresponsibly large travel mug of espresso in the other. I sent my boss an email, the ritual worked and was fit for publication. I spent the rest of my evening contemplating just how much of my remaining budget could be spent on coffee.

Author's Note: This is supposed to be serious and 'helpful' advice written in response to a NoSleep-style  story, something along the lines of 'I Found A Chucacabra On My Farm and Now I Wish I Hadn't' All grammatical and spelling mistakes are intentional, even the ones that aren't.

Answer From: ShotgunBillyBob
It sounds like you have a problem with some Mange Hounds, least that’s what we call’em around here (yeah, their closer to coyotes , but we still call them Hounds.) We get them every few years ourselves here in Alabama. Their related to the Mexican caprivore sanguine, but they aren’t actually chuca’s. Don’t worry too much, they seem way scarier than they arctually are.

Best way you can tell when they’e around when mangles sheep and cows start cropping up. I’m not sure if the things enjoy mutilating animals or if they just really go all out when theyre hunting, but yeah, vomiting is an entirely normal reaction the first few times you find what remains of their meal. Depending on the size of the pack, they can feed from once every week to annihilating a herd in a couple of days.

You can deal with’em pretty easily if you know what your doin. They’re a canny sort, but they ain’t smart. They don’t usually attack people and they have shit for eyesight, so a mannequin in some unwashed clothes and a flashlight can scareem off for a bit. Floodlights and sudden loud noises also work. Only works if you catch them early enough that they decide that you’re herd ain’t worth the trouble, otherwise they get all stubborn and aggressive. Actually clearing them out can be a bit of a hassle; they are fast and learn quick, but they obviously aren’t bulletproof and, if you don’t mind the racket, can be easily baited with an easy meal, like a dying calf or the like. Dens are a bit more difficult, best was is to smoke them out with a Molotov or two, maybe a flamethrower if you got one, and then open fire with three to eight friends.

Now, I don’t know much beyond the practicals, but Montana is a bit further north than most sightings, so this was probably a one-off encounter. You grazed it and that should be all it needs ti avoid your property. No sense driving yourself all paranoid over it or in searching for its den. If it comes back, just shoot it again, and this time don’t miss.

Subject: I Looked At A Painting Online And Now I Think I’m Cursed [Answered, Topic Closed]

Originally Posted By: Over65Lemons


Answer From: Danielle_Grousthous

So, from your kind of vague description it sounds like you’re describing St. Julius And His Eightfold Laments. It’s an obscure piece from the mid-1700’s (exact date unknown, believed to be somtime between 50 and 75) but features the same kind of brushstrokes and color you describe. Just some small details to help confirm, the woman looking up the street is whering a white bonnet, holding a grey satchel in one hand, all the buildings to the right are shops with illegible signs, and the whole thing is tilted about twenty degrees to the right? If those match what you saw then I have some good news and some bad news.

Good news is that you aren’t crazy, reports of their being some shadowy figure at the end of the street date back to as early as 1791. Other things people have reported about St. Julius And His Eightfold Laments include all the windows filled with hands, there faces being hidden in the cobblestone, smoke being visible in the sky, and way more. I’d bet good money that if you dug through that Twitter thread a bit more, you’d find probably a dozen different arguments about what is and is not in the painting.

The bad news is that you aren’t crazy, there have been at least five different ‘incidents’ involving people experiencing hallucinations, lost time, and severe mood swings after seeing one of the painting’s variations. Two or three of those were later vonfirmed to be genuine mental illness, but two were never fully explained. I don’t really know if this shadowy woman you are describing is some kind of spirit or just a hallucinations, there is just precedent for seeing her IRL after seeing her in the painting. So, you’re probably cursed.

I’m just a humble occulrt enthusiast, so I can’t really say how to break there curse. Typically with this stuff its supposedly solved by spreading it around or destroying it, but St. Julius And His Eightfold Lament hasn’t been physically seen since 1924, since it disappeared from the Isabella Gardner, and the last known photograph was lost in a house fire in 1978. Not entirely sure whether I should be surprised that it has found its way onto the internet or not, especially after La Mort D'un Ami reappeared on Redddit last year. If I were to hazard my best guess at a solution, I’d suggest looking for any prayers to St. Julius; the title is completely non-indicative of contents, so maybe it is a clue or something.

Story Critique / The East Coat of Hollywood
« on: 10:25 PM, 11/ 2/18 »
As you walk along the East Coast of Hollywood, you find yourself wondering what you are doing. It is not that you do not know what you are doing, you are looking for a dog, but you are not entirely sure for what it is for you to look for a dog. You are not seeking any dog in particular, but you know the dog you are looking for is somewhere along the point where Hollywood ends and the sea begins.

The empty street is a wasteland, a lifeless stretch of land. The humidity in the air is ponderous, making each breath just slightly harder. You consider taking a different road, but you are on a path and a path is meant to be followed. Besides, what harm is a couple hours more spent in search of a dog? You’ve already walked so many miles that a few more cannot hurt.

You pass a storefront, half-flooded with dry paint beginning to flake away in the harshly arid air. Behind the broken glass you see creatures, furry things with four legs that bark at you as you pass, tails happy wagging at your presence. For a brief moment, you almost believe that you have found what you are looking for, but these creatures are not a dog. For one, there are several of them and a dog is a singular item. No, these are just false copies of what you seek.

In the horizon, you see the sun begin to set, slowly sinking beneath the asphalt. A cool dusk breeze blows in, you can smell the salt water in the air. You wonder how long you have been walking this street. Perhaps the sun had already risen when you started or perhaps you simply remember the light of dawn.

Your legs feel heavy, but not tired. You have been walking for a very long time and a very great distance. How long you do not know, but you have been following the same unevenly straight and unerringly flat road this whole time. To your left, empty husks that were once buildings line the sidewalk, occasionally interrupted by side-streets you consider but never take. To your right, the water, stretching on seemingly forever and without end. Despite how long you have walked, you have yet to find a single repeated landmark, nothing to orient yourself beyond the knowledge of that the city is West and the water is East. All you know is that it is not yet tomorrow and that you are looking for a dog where Hollywood meets the sea.

And so you continue to walk along the East Coast of Hollywood, looking for a dog you will never find. And though you may wonder what it is you are doing, you will never question why.

Author's Note: I honestly have no idea if this is horror or not, please let me know and/or delete this thread if it is not.

Story Critique / Spooky Walk Volunteer Feedback Report
« on: 10:20 PM, 11/ 2/18 »
Inspired by a recent experience volunteering at the neighborhood park's costume parade..

Spooky Walk Volunteer Feedback Report
Name: Amber Samuels
Position: First fork in path, next to giant DO NOT ENTER sign
Role: Directing traffic to lower path of fork
Costume: Black morphsuit, hooded robe
Observations & Suggestions:
-   The first rock that divides the path is a major tripping hazard. We had three to four major incidents that blocked foot traffic, mainly parents stopping in the middle of the path to tend to their crying toddler. Mostly scrapes and bruises, but one kid had a nasty cut on their head. Maybe we should move the “Do not enter” sign up to by the rock?
-   The “Keep Right” sign was poorly positioned and lacked sufficient lighting, not enough people saw it and apparently got confused by the idea of a DO NOT ENTER sign meaning that they should take the other path.
-   Next year, post someone who can talk to guard the path or at least give me a partner. None of the people I had to direct understood sign language.
-   A lot of people seemed to take the DO NOT ENTER sign and/or my presence as a challenge. Mostly teens and pre-teens. I even had to chase a few down who made a run for it. Not really sure how to fix that.
-   There was a group of kids, probably middle-schoolers, who were walking through the woods along the hill and kept harassing me. Whole group made it past me, apparently they caused trouble in other places as well. I know that there isn’t much we can do about people going off the path, but they were an absolute pain to deal with.
-   Next year, can we have some sort of meeting ahead of time where everyone meets everyone else and learns their costumes? I was only able to recognize a handful of the people we had walking with the crowd and it would be nice to know who I could rely on for help.
-   Speaking of volunteers, there were two who were a bit problematic. The first was the guy in the hoodie and hockey mask. While I appreciate his assistance in dealing with troublemakers, he was pretty rough with them; he even used his flashlight-taser-club-thing on two of them. Second was the guy in the gas mask with the fedora and trenchcoat, had some long wooden cane with a thick knot at the end; he would always stop to just stare or leer at me and made me very uncomfortable. At one point he even broke off from the crowd to awkwardly stand VERY close to me and hit anyone else who got close. So, if you could track those two down, let them know that child abuse and sexual harassment aren’t cool.
-   Talk to whoever had those bodies floating in the pond. The blood was a nice effect but the pond is a closed ecosystem and I’m not entirely sure what kind of chemicals they were releasing.
-   I heard that they started serving the donuts and cider immediately at the gate this year. That probably explains number of empty cups that littered the path. Maybe contact the Menotomy Children’s Center and see if they’re willing to host the cider and donuts like they used to?
-   Why did we even block off the upper path? It’s wider and even has that space off to the side where someone could have set something up. Given the volume of foot traffic we had, it’s a miracle no one got pushed into the water along the lower path.
-   Concerning that fake hanging in the tree next to the second bench before the fork, it definitely scared a lot of people but it may have been a bit much. Actually, can we get some kind of official statement on just how “spooky” we are supposed to be? We have the ‘surgeon’ who pulls random organs, lunchmeats, bratwurst, and kittens from a ‘live patient’ just down the path from the ‘dead body’ limply hanging from a noose. It’s kind of tonally incongruous and probably sends mixed messages to parents.
-   Not enough people had flashlights and those little paper bags with candles in them barely illuminate themselves. I didn’t see anything too bad happen as a result, but we still need better illumination.

How to Summon a Fish

As you are likely well aware, it is very difficult, even more dangerous, and frequently forbidden or otherwise illegal to summon a fish. This instructional pamphlet is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. The publishers of this pamphlet are legally required to state that they do not encourage anyone reading this to attempt the ritual detailed within.

Before attempting any form of ritual involving fish, it is highly advisable to be well prepared, both in case of emergency and because some of the required materials are incredibly difficult to acquire mid-ritual. While this ritual can, and probably should, be done alone, it is advisable to have a friend, acquaintance, or hired hand present to assist with certain tasks and watch for signs of danger. Please read the full instructions before attempting the ritual.

·         45 to 60 wax candles, 2 inches in diameter and 5 inches tall or 2.54cm in diameter and 30.48cm tall (just remember, fish can tell whether or not you are using the metric system), preferably in red or chartreuse. The number required varies depending on exactly what fish you are summoning. It is recommend to keep an excess of candles, as you can never be too prepared when summoning fish.
·         Three to five large bags of sand, preferably taken from a beach or lakeside. The exact amount required varies based on which fish you intend on summoning, but you want enough to create thick, unbroken lines when you create your geometric summoning pattern. Most fish cannot cross sand, as they understand it to mark the floor and walls of their environment.
·         The cries of a dying animal, preferably avian or mammalian. While you could have a dying animal physically present during the ritual, it is easier to go out and make an audio recording. Ideally, you want at least 10 hours of audio, but 2 to 3 hours is usually enough. It is, however, vital that the recording has never been used for summoning a fish before, so it is best if you personally make the recording and keep it safe.
·         A vial full of an arsenic-mercury solution. The size and shape of the vial are irrelevant, it simply must be a vial and it must be full. It is highly recommended that the amount of arsenic in the solution is a non-fatal dosage for someone of your size, weight, and general health.

The ritual should be performed in a small room, just big enough to fit your geometric summoning pattern and yourself. Calculate the size and shape of your geometric summoning pattern as well as the required number of candles [see tables 3, 4, and 7a for imperial; tables 5,6, and 7b for metric], remember to check your local laws concerning the legality of angles exceeding 180 degrees. Draw the pattern with sand, starting with any interior lines and finishing with the outer perimeter; again, the lines should be thick and unbroken. Place your candles evenly spaced around the pattern, firmly anchored in the lines. Remove any and all light sources from the room besides the candles. If you have pre-recorded the cries of a dying animal, position the playback device behind you, with the speakers facing your back; if you are in the room with the animal, it should be close enough that you can smell its blood but far enough that it cannot bleed on you.

Step 1:
Using either wooden matches or a refillable cigarette lighter, light the candles starting with the one closest to you and then proceeding in a clockwise pattern. You must either remain completely silent or, if you are summoning a whitefish, count aloud in a language other than your first.

Step 2:
Sit or kneel before the pattern and close your eyes. Remember the candles and listen to their flickering.

Step 3:
When you feel that you have sufficiently contemplated the candles, start listening to the cries of a dying animal. You must hear the cries, but listen to the inevitable silence that they promise.
Optimally, they should start at a low volume and steadily increase until they are deafening and distorted. If you are not alone and are using a recording, simply have your partner manage the volume. If you are alone, set it to automatically increase over time. If the dying animal is in the room with you, force yourself to hear the cries at an increasing volume.

Step 4:
Focus on the name of the fish you wish to summon. Not the genus or species, but the individual name. It may be impossible to summon specific fish if its name is too common; for example, all bighead goby (Drombus globiceps) are named Jörge, but that name is not exclusive to that species of fish. It is currently impossible to summon fish with unpronounceable names.
Unfortunately, the best way to learn a specific fish’s name is to either summon another fish or get your hands on one of the rare directories written by madmen with too much time on their hands. Directories written by madmen with just enough or too little time list the names of gastropods or cephalopods respectively.

Step 5:
Say a name (any name) aloud and demand that the fish come to you. You will likely have to make the demand multiple times and may have to declare why it is your right to make demands of the fish.You may open your eyes after making your first demand.

Step 6:
At some point, a fish will have arrived when you were not paying attention to the geometric summoning pattern. They always arrive in the center of the pattern, but tend to push up themselves against the sand, searching for rifts in the barrier.

Now What?
Once you have summoned a fish, there are several things you can do. You can ask it to reveal its secrets or learn snippets of ancient wisdom. You can softly rub it against your cheek while whispering a wish in a language you do not understand; be warned, the fish will exploit any loopholes created from poor translation or improper pronunciation. Finally, you can just cook and eat the fish.

Emergency Situations:
In the event that you lose control of the ritual, immediately open and drink your arsenic-mercury solution. This will instantly end the ritual and banish any entities attempting to breach into and invade our reality. Fortunately, while you do not have much time to end the ritual once something goes wrong, it is blatantly obvious when something has gone wrong. Most fish are not subtle in their attempts to break through the fabric of reality, the only exception being the coelacanth. Never summon a coelacanth, the reward in no way outweighs the risk.

Publisher’s Note:
Once again, this pamphlet is for education and/or entertainment purposes only. It has been approved for distribution by the Bureau of Citizen Affairs and the Hazardous Information Agency. This guide is in no way an endorsement of the summoning of fish.

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