Undead Shoal


Vampire mackerel were the most awkward of supernatural fish: barely able to fly, they would take hours to travel to land in search of prey.

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As they flailed their tiny fins, bobbing inches above the surf, vampire mackerel hunters would simply pick them off with wooden darts.

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Only the fact they travelled in bloodthirsty shoals enabled enough vampire mackerel to get ashore where they would descend on weasels and mice.

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Anything bigger than a weasel could punch a vampire mackerel out of the sky, and even the weasels had to be caught unawares in case of biteback.

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Vampire mackerels’ most convenient sources of blood, pinnipeds and cetaceans, heard them coming due to subaquatic lisping thru their fangs.

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Narwhal Van Helsing dedicated his life to hunting down Count Mackerula, but he would hide in the heart of his Undead Shoal and could not be found.

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As the sun descends below the nautical horizon, there is a green flash which reveals that Count Mackerula is nothing but rune-covered bones.

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The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 16: Good Dog Patented Nose Brain Grafts


Doc Moreau has been working on a nose/brain graft that will enable us and/or dogs to smell bad ideas.

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‘Dogs with human brains or humans with dog’s noses?’ he said at a recent press conference. ‘I don’t know, it could go either way.’

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In a rare move, Doc Moreau will run two advertising campaigns simultaneously, and see which gets the biggest take-up from people or dogs.

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‘Do you ever dither?’

‘Er…’

‘Have you ever havered?’

‘Um…’

‘Try Doc Moreau’s Good Dog Nose Grafts: everything’s coming up nosethinks!’

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‘My dog has nose idea.’

‘How does it think?’

‘Terrible!’

‘Get Doc Moreau’s Patented Canine Brain Grafts today: wake up and smell the cerebella!’

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So far dogs have been slow to grasp the advantages of Doc Moreau’s Patented Canine Brain Grafts so the Doc is throwing in a free opposable thumb!

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‘A big problem at the moment is the dogs bury the thumbs, so I give them an IQ booster jab and we talk, Doc to dog. Then they form militia…’

The Thirteen Fridays

It was the 13th Friday in a row and victims were sick of the hockey masquerades-slash-slashfests, the sheer badluckcliffs and the slipping on black catskins.

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Letters of protest sent to the Ministry of Time were purloined. Phonecalls were made but the handsets turned into lobsters and snipped off ears.

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The Ministry finally announced that the run of Fridays was caused by sunsprat shoals, and victims should increase their Sprat Factor to 13.

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Victims pointed out anything over Sprat Factor 11 caused your face to melt and your eyes to migrate to the top of your head like flatfish.

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The Ministry of Masks undertook to issue their famous face wax, which replaces victims’ original faces with those of historical figures.

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However, due to the ectospasmodic effect of a sunsprat megashoal the size of Mercury, the wax took on the features of famous murder victims.

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When Saturday finally arrived, the airports were full of exhausted serial killers heading out to abduct a few day’s R&R on Murder Island.

Fear Feller’s Master-Stroke

A new study discovers that people who think they’re arachnophobic are actually afraid of disembodied hands with lots of eyes in the knuckles.

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New studies conclude that all claustrophobics remember being placed in a coffin while still alive in their immediately previous life.

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A new study shows that people who believe they are afraid of snakes are actually troubled by the thought of elongated severed zombie penises.

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New tests have established that agoraphobics are genetically immune to gravity, and could potentially fly off into space at any moment.

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A new study proves that fear of heights signals a rare disorder called Magnetic Dropsy, in which you are drawn at a cellular level to the abyss.

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New studies fairly sure that ailurophobes have been experimentally chewed by their own cats while in a post-public house ‘napping’ posture.

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A new study establishes that fear itself is more afraid of the fear of fear itself than the fear of fear itself is afraid of fear itself.

The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 15: Ringo and the Dormobeetle 

Doc Moreau would like to announce that, after reaching an agreement with Ringo, plans for his new Dormobeetle are finally going ahead!

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Imagine: a giant black Beetle you can sleep in as it crawls around in the dark, lulled to golden slumbers by the music of The Beatles!

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Doc Moreau reassures us that Ringo definitely agreed to all this after an extended drinking session saying, ‘I’ll get the lads on side.’

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This agreement (and the extended drinking session) either proceeded or followed his failed attempt to attach Ringo’s head to a brontosaurus.

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Doc Moreau says, ‘Give me a day or two for the precise legally binding memories to come back to me. In the meantime, prime the giant beetles!’

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To manufacture the Dormobeetle, Doc Moreau has to deploy the radioactive substance ‘Kafkanium’, extracted from the excreta of wild Kafkas.

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Wild Kafkas are notoriously shy and difficult authors to track and trap, and even then can be extraordinarily retentive of their excreta.

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‘The last one didn’t do a crap for seven years,’ Doc Moreau reminisces, ‘then finally he says, “You have captured me for no reason,” and poops.’

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The excreta is dry and firm to the touch. It has no detectable odour and resembles a thick biscuit. Sometimes it has ‘Ecto’ embossed on top.

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Hundreds of distillations containing Kafkanium can be extracted from a single ‘Ecto-Biscuit’, triggering the growth cycle of the beetles.

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‘Sometimes, before I start pimping up the beetle with speakers,’ Doc Moreau confesses, ‘I have me a little nibble of that Ecto-Biscuit!’

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It’s not clear what effects the ingestion of Kafkanium may have on the human body. But delusional states and random chitin growth are likely.

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What Doc Moreau dismisses as ‘pimp surgery’ is actually a complex procedure creating a luxury sleeping cavity in the giant beetle’s abdomen.

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‘This is gonna be better than that time we put bathyscapes in cows!’ enthuses Doc Moreau. ‘Tomorrow never knows how many we’re gonna shift!’

The Darkmonger


‘First, agitate the darkness. Then insert head.’

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‘Remain perfectly still till darkness dissipates. (Up to ten hours.)’

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‘Note that particles of darkness (called “darkles”) may become attached to household objects such as keys, making them difficult to find.’

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The first thing a Darkmonger learns is that darkness is not the absence of light, but the presence of these darkling particles, or darkles.

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Chimeric quantum theory teaches us that ‘darkling particles’ are the only particles that aren’t there when you are looking directly at them.

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When constructing a Darkbox, then, the Darkmonger literally has to work behind his or her own back.

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More, if you intend to see a darkle, this displaces it, so the Darkmonger’s left hand must not know what the right is doing, and vice versa.

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In order to develop the abilities of Darkmongers, they are apprenticed at an early age to a Luckmeister, who assesses their sensitivities.

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For instance, the Luckmeister will play a hand of Chimeric Slap with the youth, using a pack from which a dog has licked off all the luck.

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If the would-be Darkmonger has not detected the lack after the thirteenth slap, then they are sent home: you must be lucky to handle the darkles.

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They’re then shut in a cupboard which has merely been painted dark, so is lacking in darkles. If they can sense this, there’s one final test.

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They are sent onto the Darkling Plain to find a hatbox. There isn’t one. A true Darkmonger will return with their own hat full of darkles.

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Every Darkbox is actually a hatbox with a hapbox inside it, and every darkling particle has two sub-particles called Happy and Hapless.

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People think a Luckmeister can give them good or bad luck: but what they teach is it’s all luck, just pointed in different directions.

Living On The Sun

Of course, when we lived on the Sun, the great problem was shoes. You needed the correct leather to walk on the surface and it was expensive.
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You could burn through ten or eleven pairs of shoes an hour, just walking to the shoe shop and back. The shoe shop owner was the Sun’s richest man.

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Apart from the darkmonger, that is. Darkness was a very valuable commodity on the Sun, and they sold it in hatboxes.

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You had to put your whole head in the darkbox, and, lo! it was night. Of course, the darkness would leak out, which is why space is dark.

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They said the shoe shop owner had a whole dark room, and he kept a bed in it, and would just go and lie down whenever he wanted it to be night.

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People ask: was it very hot living on the Sun? But of course, if that’s where you live, you just jump in the suncream canal and swim!

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The best thing was there was no time. They kept trying to import ‘sunproof’ watches, but they would just melt right off your wrist.

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When we moved to Earth the other children called us ‘Krinkle Kids’ because of the skin corrugations, but backed off when we breathed ‘fire’.

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They didn’t know we had hot breath lungs for outdoors and cold breath ones for indoors! It was sad when we finally coughed the hot lungs up.

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What did we miss most? The good old Grilled House where you could just slap a steak on the wall or fry an egg on the floor…

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I remember when the Sun Librarian wasn’t looking you could throw books out the window and they would instantly vapourise. I feel guilty now.

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In the instant that a book vapourised, every letter would turn to gold and be indelibly marked on my memory – I never read so intensely again.

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My favourite thing was Sunspotspotting: no-one knew where the next one would appear, but every eleven years we’d throw forks into them for luck.

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The intense magnetic field which had generated the sunspot would cause all our forks to form a single giant fork, hovering.