's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Terror at the Great Red Spire

Submitted by Ellen "Space Lizard" Edwards (email)

Jaklosta 5-B, 8900R

Maybe you are right, Nabaliosta. My spines are already sagging. The molting will come next, I am certain of it. Me, a old man - can you imagine it? I know I have fought it many times. The other day, I tried to go on a run on my back down the Volitan Way, like a young man. My hands could only support me a few blocks.

Perhaps it's for the best that I'm growing old. Another young fool tried to enter the Newfound Sea while the waters were churning. Can you picture it? They make it a challenge to lay a hand in the water without being pulled in. Well, this fellow wasn't one of the lucky ones. At least he'll make the newcomers strong...if cursed, should you believe the old superstitions.

I will never understand them. You know, one of the younger women at the shop - Ircandus, I think her name is - used to be a Cerulean. One of those tourists who accidentally triggered the hueshift. I know they say you can't tell, but she never uses her third arms. A true Scarlet never would forget. Though I know you'll say I should adjust with the times!

Until next time,



Jaklosta 5-E, 8900R

You will never believe who I saw today - Phenacoluta! Back from her long tour of the Outer Chromasts so soon. I met her on Volitan Way. She told me of the Magentids, and even sailing the Hueless Sea. Meeting with her again tomorrow under the Great Red Spire to hear more.

Until next time,



Jaklosta 5-Q, 8900R

My apologies for not writing back sooner. Me and Phenacoluta witnessed the most revolting sight under the Great Red Spire, and we are still trying to understand it.

For out of the base of the tower walked a wretched creature we couldn't understand. It had scaleless pink skin like a sailrunner, but was upright like us; and yet it lacked any spines, bar those on the top of its head, which were few, and of a hueless shade, and had just two eyes and two hands - both on his torso, and none along his back - and did not crawl like any creature of dignified kinship to us, but instead had two downward flippers that terminated in uncurving points.

It moved slowly forward, falling and catching itself as it went. The summer crowd parted to make way for him, and many among them turned away their eyes. Some tossed up their stomach in revulsion. I felt mine pushing upwards as well, but I held firm.

Its eyes turned, for whatever reason, towards my companion, and it is here that I took note of Phenacoluta's reaction. She was not sickened or terrified, but was shaking in some way I had never before seen. The space around her wide eyes were streaked with the tiny trails of blood that mark not terror, but sadness.

The wretched creature reached out towards her, and despite its horrible face, it spoke in language not unlike ours, even if we couldn't understand a word. "Maureen?", it said. "Maureen?"

Phenacoluta, for reasons I cannot fathom, reached out towards it with her upper torso-arms and looked into its eyes. Her membranes flicked, and she replied. "Harold?"

Someone in the crowd couldn't take it. His back-hands fully extended in rage, he rushed the creature, and jabbed it in its neck with his sheathed barbs. The beast's skin cracked and bulged like any creature's does, and within seconds it was dead, babbling yet more nonsense: "Seen...again...happy...happy..."

Phenacoluta disappeared into the crowd soon after. That young man was, for some reason, arrested for his act of mercy. We were all questioned, first by the guards and later by the newsmen, but eventually allowed to go free.

And yet every night, when I sleep, I see that face. It is revolting, yes, but still, there is some strange draw to it, a impossible-to-place allure. When I close my eyes, I see it again, and many others, more revolting and unusual yet. Yet when my eyes open, I can no longer see them. Perhaps I should see an alienist. Perhaps my old age has finally taken hold, eh, Nabaliosta?

I did find Phenacoluta again the other day. She was waiting by the Newfound Sea, watching as the water began to churn once more. The last of the young fool from before was eagerly taken beneath the waves, and she stayed still, watching as the shapes began to form. Who shall know why she watches, after all she has seen? Who could know?

Until next time,