[Void] Cycle 2020

1. Deva

Rife with unfamiliar symbolism and otherworldly figures, vivid dreams spread like a psychic outbreak. A few canny souls warned against the tricksters behind the phenomenon, but too many were already enthralled. As new acolytes whispered prayers and piled offerings on makeshift altars, the spirits smiled to themselves and remarked, “Modern humans do love a reboot.”

2. Rodomontade

Anthony’s classmates boasted incessantly about how they’d all spent the night in the old Ambrose mansion as a rite of passage. He figured they were only razzing the new kid and entered the dilapidated structure without a qualm. He never told anyone what eldritch horrors he saw inside, even after his release from the asylum.

3. Concern

I hope this email finds you well.
I hope this email finds you unworried, unbitten, uninfected and whole.
I hope this email finds you before they manage to break down all the barriers, before they break down your door.
I hope this email finds you before the grid fails.
I hope this email finds you

4. Nostalgia

Thomas sighed and ruefully shook his head as he thought about how simple it had all seemed when he was a kid hiding under his blankets while sneak-reading the Necronomicon by flashlight. Nothing about those halcyon days had prepared him for the reality of the recalcitrant demon he’d finally trapped in his newly-made magickal circle.

5. Influencer

A stream of never-ending likes flowed in for her smoldering ring light thirst traps and #OOTD selfies, where Hedley showed off freebies from her sponsors in all the newest styles, but her Instagram pics never showed the unseen thing standing just behind her, who forever whispered in her ear.

6. Jeremiad

Steven had spent months beseeching any handy deity to stop his roommate’s constant complaints, but he was shocked when he awoke one October morning to find his prayers answered. The wall of plants that dominated their sunny apartment had sacrificed both fronds and leaves, stuffing his sleeping companion’s vitriolic mouth full, forever silencing his grievances.

7. Apotropaic

When the handyman preparing the abandoned home for sale sanded down a messily finished beige wall, he discovered that the entire bedroom had once been slathered in haint paint, from floor to ceiling.“Well, that explains what happened to the family,” he muttered to himself in disgust. “They covered up the only thing keeping them safe.”

8. Schadenfreude

Though well-known for his boorish behavior, Mr. Smith’s cruelties became more overt. He went from mocking office assistants to physically attacking tardy FedEx drivers. His family intervened when they found him spouting blasphemies and threatening his wife, but by the time the exorcism began, most agreed that possession couldn’t have happened to a better monster.

9. Cusp

Technocrats burbled with joy at the advancements in clean energy coming from Dr. Albion’s think tank at Miskatonic University. A new era beckoned, climate change would be solved, and humankind could finally conquer space. Certain regrettable side effects were concealed at first, but spreading madness cannot be hidden indefinitely. Man plans, and Elder Gods cackle.

10. Zabra

When the Linden ghost ship, long thought a maritime yarn, was sighted after an absence of 50 years, old-timers warned: “Bolt the doors tightly. Leave rum out to distract them, and keep your daughters out of sight.” But disbelieving villagers learned too late that even dead sailors have certain appetites when embarking on shore leave.

11. Fungible

Dana noticed only inconsequential things at first, like Finn’s newfound taste for chocolate and the tidier way they folded their undershirts. Then Finn abruptly switched jobs and began to behave in increasingly peculiar ways. Dana suspected that Finn had been replaced with a doppelganger, but she never said a word. She vastly preferred the impersonator.

12. Meniscus

Pierre watched with loathing as the crescent moon swelled each month. Nothing changed in this endless cycle, except his increasing frailty. A knee injury acquired while evading a hunter back in ’93, the swelling in his joints that remained even when transformed – it was almost enough to make him wish for a silver bullet.

13. [Void] 2020

A deluge of missing persons reports dominated the news cycle as experienced hikers began to disappear from national forests. No bodies were ever found, though neatly folded clothing or personal possessions were sometimes discovered in previously searched areas. The hungry darkness from which the hikers would never emerge remained unseen, as it permitted no witnesses.