's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Perils of Complimenting Australians

Submitted by Dandelion Steph

Depending on who you asked, it was either very, very late, or very, very early.

But for her, it was just a normal time in Perth: 6:00 PM on a Saturday, a great time to catch up on fanfic.

Something caught her eye: an update from her friend, known only as “Silverweed”. She clicked on it.

“Why You Should Read: “A Daydream After Christmas.”

She was intrigued: that was her Nightmare Before Christmas fanfic. She decided to read it.

“I first learned about "A Daydream After Christmas" from a mention on Dillpickle's blog.” Hey, she thought, that's me! “From the first sentence, I was intrigued. The prose drew me in like a excellent fantasy novel...”

She blushed.

“The sentences flowed so well. It was artistry.”

She blushed harder, her ears turning pink.

“But prose is not all it has going for it: the characterization is also excellent....”

Her neck, too, grew hot.

“She took Jack in a creative new direction that still meshed with his character...”

She realized, dimly, she was blushing harder than she had ever blushed before. But, still, she kept reading.

“Sally's characterization doesn't fall into the same pitfalls as I've seen in other works; Dillpickle deftly avoids those traps...”

Her cheeks felt a little swollen. They were warm, as well, but too warm, and wet, like she was sweating in a particularly hot and muggy summer. But it was neither tears not sweat that slowly dripped down her face. Yet, she couldn't stop reading.

“Dillpickle used the full potential of the setting's minor characters. I also think the original characters added a lot to the story....”

Her face was swollen, swelling more and more, even as liquid increased from a drip to a trickle to a steady stream. She kept reading.

“The story is tightly plotted; one can tell it was carefully planned, and not too complex nor too simple.”

Her eyes went red as her skin swelled, as it poured past her brow.

“Dillpickle's work has changed my life for the better, not only from the sheer quality and care put into the work, but also because it has led to us being great friends.”

Her clothes, her chair, the floor beneath her was soaked with the blood from her bright red face. The page stayed up, the like button remained un-clicked. She could read no more.


At a reasonable hour in the United States, someone sent a message.

“I figure you're awake now." the message from Silverweed said. “Guess what I wrote while you were sleeping?”

“A review!”