Very little exists in the way of legends concerning the beings known as Candy Pop and Candy Cane. The oldest, and best recorded legend is from the fourteen hundreds File #1 which recounts the first known encounter of these two strange entities.
They were said to be gifts from the queen of Ireland to her children, one of them allegedly named Alexa, though this is, of course, unconfirmed. It is worth noting that the two jesters come out of toy boxes, much like Laughing Jack and Laughing Jill. We will address other similarities later in this article.
Candy Cane (the female) is described as having magenta colored eyes that glowed in the shadows. Her hair is described as light blue, and restrained in pigtails, with golden spiked bells attached throughout the locks. She is described as wearing a black skirt with pink dots, and a black and pink also, and is said to have worn a pink neck strap. She is referred to as the sister of Candy Pop.
Candy Pop has neon blue hair, pulled back into three pigtails, and adorned with gold rings. As neon blue did not exist in the fifteenth century, this description is believed to prove corruption of the legend. Candy Pop's clothing is described as a skin tight tunic, with a purple long sleeved garment worn underneath. More bells are said to hang from his waist, possibly from a belt. His pants are described as 'billowy.' Both twins are said to have bells on their shoes. Both have long tongues and pointed ears. Candy Pop is said to be deformed in a way that would make intercourse extremely painful for the receiver.
The twins are known to speak in unison, and when asked who they were, described themselves as
"Joined in a spiral cord. Connected forever and eternally and eternally and forever connected. Our fates entwined."
“We were one, now two. Twins or two halves, or is it the same; the same is it, one of two or not. Memories of old echo of an older time.”
Their personalities are whimsical and silly, but with a hint of mania and desperation. How much of their personality is put upon, and how much genuine is unknowable based on the available source material.
In the original legend CP & CC seem to be bound to their respective boxes at first, and convince the young prince to free them. This is a common enough theme in Faustian legends, cautionary tales against dealing with unknown powers. Once freed of their constraints, CP & CC become murderous, killing the entire royal family.
In a more modern legend, File #2 Candy Pop comes to a girl named Alexa, near death from a car wreck, and proceeds to psychologically torment her. His physical description is not noted, but interestingly he is referred to as "coquettish." This legend curiously omits Candy Cane, but it has been suggested CC and CP split up to pursue they're individual interests which we will cover in the next legend. It is worth noting that Candy Pop does not speak in this legend until near the end.
Also noteworthy is Candy Pop trying to give a purple balloon to the girl. Purple has long been associated with royalty. Whether this is coincidence or cannot be affirmed from this account.
Another researcher chronicled here [file lost] that CC & CP not only enjoy killing children, but also have a penchant for child molestation and rape. CP & CC are also know to cannibalize the dead afterward. This is a marked difference from Laughing Jack, and Laughing Jill, who are only known for murder.The legend says sometimes CC and CP lure children away with the song played on the music box, as recorded in the first legend. This could tie to the Pied Piper legend.
Candy Pop has a large mallet. Legend says it can shatter stone, and shake the ground. These powers are unconfirmed.
Candy Cane is said to have necrotic touch. This power is also unconfirmed.
Interesting to note is CP and CC share most of Laughing Jack, and Laughing Jill's powers, the main difference being CP and CC can become mist, and Jack/Jill can stretch their arms. With the similar jester motif, and all the aforementioned escaping from boxes makes one wonder if they aren't the same, or similar types of creatures.
Furthermore, another legend says that Candy Pop and Candy Cane were gifts from the angels, like Laughing Jack, and in one legend, Laughing Jill, but they "were corrupted by the evil of mankind." It is even theorized they are fallen angels.
Related entity: April Fools
In my researching I found a reference to a being called April Fools. This is almost a non-legend, as I can find almost nothing about this being. Only that it is a female supernatural entity, and it has some connection to Candy Pop. What she is, and why she is called April Fools is unknown at this time.
'Malice.' This is not clear. Perhaps it means she manipulates peoples emotions, perhaps driving people to kill each other.
This story (Jeff the Killer vs Laughing Jack round 1) involves Jeff passing out drunk, having a weird dream, and waking up to meet laughing Jack. It's an extremely weak encounter. Laughing Jack says that he has seen Jeff's murderous activities that day (I guess Jeff kills someone everyday in this story) and he's mad about it. Not that it's explained why. This could have been a territorial thing, but instead it just has Jeff stabbing Jack repeatedly, and dropping a one liner. The end.
Continuity: I'm considering this just a drunken dream.
Battle stats: None to speak of. Jeff defeats Jack through the power of one liners, and knife-y stab powers.
"There is only room for one of us."-- Laughing Jack
And now lets swing the other way entirely. (Laughing Jack vs Jeff the killer round 2) This story opens with Jeff killing someone, which is his whole character. Jack on the other hand has found a new kid to befriend before killing. I will say this story offers some character descriptions at least, for those less familiar with Creepy Pasta's favorite son, and the ever popular psychotic clown... thing.
Convenience abounds when Jeff takes to killing in the same city as Jack. And more specifically, the same house. Which Jack takes exception to, having staked out this family for his own sadistic pleasures.
Jeff doesn't even get a hit in as Jack teleports behind him, and slammed him into a wall, then squeezed Jeff's wrist till it cracked. Then to add insult to injury he tossed Jeff out a window. No introductions are made as Jeff's reputation seems to have preceded him. Jeff isn't surprised at all by Jack's supernatural abilities, but that is believable if this is canon with Jeff vs Slender Man
It's strange that the police seem to have heard about Jack. If anyone had survived an encounter with Jack, I doubt the police would believe it anyway.
Round 2 of this fight has Jeff circling the neighborhood, and just so happening to find the house of Timmy's grandmother, and sees Jack through one of the windows. Jack did his thing of making kids love him with free candy, before killing Annie in a brutal manner. But he doesn't get to kill Timmy because Jeff has beat him to it.
This time Jeff stabs Jack with a knife toss, but gets tele-pawned again. Jack throws him across the room, then knocks him to the ground, first dislocating Jeff's shoulder, then ripped the arm loose altogether. At this point it stops being a fight and becomes a joke as Jack beats Jeff with his own severed arm.
It should be noted that Jeff's supposed pain resistance is absent from the story.
Continuity: This could canon, but only if it is the last Jeff story ever, since I don't believe he can regenerate an arm.
Battle stats: Jack displays speedy reflexes, and superhuman strength. Though his originality in kills were unimaginative, except for filling Jeff's corpse with butterscotch candies.
“You have no idea clown, how long its been since I had a real fight. This is going to be fun!"-- Jeff the killer.
But the fight isn't over yet sports fans. (Jeff the killer vs Laughing Jack round 3) In an unnamed small town, that is also apparently Jeff's home town, Laughing Jack has come to play his violent games. This is lucky since Jeff is in the mood to rumble, and is thinking about his past fights with Jane, and Slender, and the Rake.
They engage in some incredibly weak smack talking, and by weak I mean bad. Jeff takes a stab at Jack, who teleported behind Jeff, then swung a baseball bat at him. Jeff ducks and stabs Jack in the hip, and this time it works. Jack seems surprised at this, but he shouldn't be as he has never been an immaterial being. Jack taunts Jeff, then knocks him out with the bat.
Jeff awakes in an abandoned amusement park, complete with decrepit park attractions, an old circus tent, and of course the dismembered bodies of Jack's past victims. Jack brings the dead children to life to attack Jeff, but most of the zombie children just wander about aimlessly. So maybe not the best power Jack has ever exhibited.
Jeff uses a severed zombie head to knock Jack from the trapeze. Stunned from hitting the ground, Jeff kicks him in the stomach hard enough to make him cough blood. Jeff stabs Jack again, but this time it has no effect. Jack swings his bat again, but Jeff snatches it away and smacks Jack in the head again. But as he goes for the killing slash, Jack teleports away with one last taunt.
Jeff passes out again, and wakes up in the ally again, vowing revenge.
Continuity: This may be canon with Jeff the killer vs Pinkie Pie, but not with the mainstream Creepy Pasta U.
Battle stats: Jack shows more vulnerability then other fights, but compensated with the ability to teleport his opponent, and raise revenant children.
"Wow, this will be more fun than I thought!"-- Laughing Jack.
(Jeff The Killer vs Laughing Jack round 4) Another story that starts with Jeff tired out from a hard day of serial killing. He falls asleep and finds himself in a creepy dream carnival. This is similar to the scene from the last story, which raises interesting questions. Jack seems to know Jeff, but if he's in Jeff's mind, then I suppose this isn't so strange. Jack says he's coming for Jeff, but before he can deal a death blow Jeff wakes up.
Jeff gets up and goes for a walk, and slaughters a family with ease. But as he goes to kill the last kid, he finds they have been killed and disemboweled. Jeff returns to the shed he is staying in, and struggles to stay awake, having surmised that Jack is a sleep-killer now. Jack manipulates reality to make chains appear and tie up Jeff to the couch, but instead of killing Jeff he makes weak villain taunts. Just as he is about to disappear Jeff breaks free and grabs Jack, and is taken to the creepy dream carnival.
Jack teleports behind Jeff, and kicks him to the ground. Jeff manages to find a crowbar, and uses it to wipe the smile off Jack's face. Jack teleports again, slashing at Jeff's back with his claws. Jeff slammed his elbow back into Jack's face, but Jack slashed Jeff's face with his claws, then drives a knee into Jeff's face. Finally, after some taunting, he kills Jeff by stabbing his claws into Jeff's stomach.
Continuity: This one is actually plausible. Yes, Jeff dies from his wounds (apparently) but the story does end with the rumor of Jeff returning to killing. Whether it really is Jeff, or a copycat killer is unknown. But slashers do have a history of returning from the dead.
Battle stats:Once again Jack uses teleportation to his advantage, and he is shown to be dangerous with just his claws. Jeff is shown to be capable with improvised melee weapons.
"Whens the bullsh*t going to end?" --Jeff the killer
(Laughing Jack vs Jeff the killer round 5 audio log only.) Once again Jeff is tired after a long day of murder and mayhem, and has fallen asleep in his childhood home. And he dreams of a creepy decrepit carnival, of course. Interestingly enough, Jeff hears Jack singing the song of the music box, from Candy Pop and Candy Cane. Though of course Jeff doesn't know this. But it does suggest a connection to Candy Pop & Candy Cane, if you accept it as canon to Laughing Jack.
Jeff, who has become a child in the dream, sees dozens of mutilated, dead children littering the carnival grounds. Jack raises this army of zombie children to attack Jeff, who gets mauled, but wakes up before they can kill him.
Shaken by this dream, Jeff sees Jack in the mirror, standing behind him, then smashes the mirror. Going to to find some unaware victims to kill, he begins to see children in the distance, stalking him. Becoming more and more unhinged, Jeff finds one child blocking his path, only to discover it's just a doll.
Upon leaving town Jeff feels the need to lay down, and think about these bizarre events. Perhaps he nods off, because soon he hears the carnival music again, and realizes he is back in the creepy carnival. Jeff and Jack square off, with some very nice banter, before Jack disappears.
He reappears, and the fight really begins. Jack gets a cheap kick to Jeff's chin, before running into the fun house for some fun and games. Jack appears in every mirror, and taunts Jeff.
Jeff smashes mirror after mirror, but to no avail. Jack suddenly leaps from a mirror and stabs his claws into Jeff's stomach. Before he can make the killing blow, and perhaps surprised at Jeff's ability to react at all, Jeff stabs Jack in the back of his shoulder. Perhaps even more surprised at being hurt and bleeding, Jack is knocked to the floor, and Jeff fall on the crazed clown, stabbing Jack again and again in the chest. With one final twist Jack dies, and turns to black smoke, and the carnival disappears.
Continuity: This is the only one of the lot I would consider canon. There are some odd things stated in the dialogue, but overall the fight is fairly even, and according to the original chronicler, Jack fled the fight, rather then dying. So this could very well be canon with the respective Jeff the killer, and Laughing Jack myths.
Battle stats: Jack uses misdirection to get a few blows in, and uses psychological terror to well effect. Jack also has apparent dream invasion powers, or mid-level reality warping. Jeff displays high level pain tolerance, and speed attacks.
“Now, now we have to play nice, we don’t want anyone getting hurt now do we?”-- Laughing Jack
This story (Jeff the killer vs Laughing Jack round 6) starts out very straight forward with Jeff wandering around around some unnamed town bordering on some woodlands. Hearing strange music coming from the woods he decides to investigate, and finds an old, abandoned amusement park. (Naturally)
They exchange some bad smack talk, and Jack lures Jeff into the fun house. Once again Jeff stabs Jack in the shoulder, but in this story it has no effect. And eerily, once again Jack drives his claws into Jeff's stomach, only this time he rips out Jeff's entrails, and Jeff dies with no fanfare.
Continuity: This story bares similar elements to other stories, but canon is doubted. Probably just a retell of round 5.
Battle stats: Jack is invulnerable.
Things to take from these battles/common elements--
Jack teleports about for sneak attacks.
Jack has either dream powers or low level reality warping power.
Jack often seem to occupy old Amusement parks/carnivals/circus tents. These may exist in the real world, or in a dream world.
Jack seems to have the power to re-animate past victims.
In none of these battles did Jack use shape shifting, but relied mostly on his claws for melee attacks.
Jeff has fast reflexes, allowing him to get a few unexpected hits in.
Some pain resistance.
Jeff shows some ability with different melee weapons.
I think Jack would beat Jeff in the real world or dream world, two out of three times.
“Well, let’s see how much fun we can have before you die.”-- Laughing Jack
In this fight (Slenderman vs. Laughing Jack - Spinpasta Wi) Laughing Jack's box appears in a school, in a town that Slender Man has basically killed off. It's not really explained why Jack's box would reappear, or why he would be in it to start with.
There's not much in the way of dialogue, as Slender does not speak, and Jack's comments are less then stellar.
Slender Man also thinks Jack's smack talk is weak sauce and knocks through a wall, but it doesn't seem to hurt him much.
Slender Man does a Jack move and teleports behind Jack, but Jack spins around and shanks Slender with a rusted knife. Slender Man makes a strategic retreat to lure Jack into the woods. To Slender's home turf if you will.
What happens next is easily the best beat down in any cp vs cp fight yet. Slender slams Jack into the ground, and a few trees, repeatedly. Then he tosses Jack into the air, and slams him into the ground.
But before Slender can beat Jack into jelly, he cut Slender's tentacle with his trusty rusty knife. Jack decides he's tired of taking it, and deals some damage of his own with razor playing cards.
Slender drives a dozen tentacles into Jack's body, but Jack catches him somehow, and forcibly knocks him away. I assume its some sort of telekinetic power.
Jack uses the power of evil bandages to incapacitate Slender, then shreds him with more razor cards. Slender escapes somehow, and Jack decides its time to go, except Slender is pissed now, and appears before Jack no matter where he turns.
Slender wraps his tentacles around Jack and squeezes him to death, which causes Jack to revert to his colorful form for some reason. Or else Jack faked his death, since his eyes open after Slender leaves.
Continuity: Nothing about this specifically breaks established canon, so this could be canon with either characters myth.
Battles stats: Slender Man displays above average strength, shape shifting, and teleporting.
Jack displays some invulnerability, fast reflexes, the ability to use throwing weapons with extreme accuracy, and bandage control power.
Out of universe, Laughing Jill was created as the female counter-part to Laughing Jack, created after the fact, though in- universe Laughing Jill came into existence, or rather, came to our world/reality several years prior to Laughing Jack, according to one legend being an imaginary friend assigned to an ancestor of Isaac, the boy whom Laughing Jack was assigned to be friends with.
Laughing Jill is not accepted as canon by the main Creepy Pasta universe, so for this reason she should be considered an expanded universe (EU) character.
According to the first legend (Laughing Jill Origin file 1) Laughing Jill was created by a six year old girl named Mary. This is notable as Laughing Jack described himself as a cosmic being, whereas Laughing Jill seems to have been created by a little girl’s imagination. According to this legend anyway, around eighty years prior to the events of the origin of Laughing Jack, during the Victorian period.
The legend is a bit quiet as to how precisely Mary is related to Isaac, but given the timeline, she would have to have been his grandmother. Unfortunately she never had children, and so her being the ancestor of Isaac simply doesn’t add up. According to this legend Mary was committed to an insane asylum where she died at a young age.
Jill is described much like Jack, having rainbow ensemble, but is otherwise left undescribed physically. Her demeanor is recorded as happy, silly, and colorful. Much like in the story of Laughing Jack, Jill’s physical appearance faded in color in the absence of Mary, and disappeared completely with her demise, leaving her completely monochrome, like Laughing Jack.
According to this legend, Laughing Jill was driven insane at the death of her young friend, and went on to slaughter the doctor whom had overseen Mary, and Mary’s parents for locking their daughter away.
However, if Jill has low level reality imagination powers like Jack, then it is not inconceivable she could create a chainsaw-like implement. The legend concludes with Jill still killing people, but without good motivations provided, and she allegedly met Laughing Jack, but this is highly suspect, and ultimately irrelevant.
Here is another legend of Laughing Jill’s origin. (Laughing Jill origin file 2). This legend takes place in Glasgow, Scotland in the Victorian era, but does not specify the year. Again, it tells of a little girl named Mary. Her age isn’t specified when she meets Jill, but based on the legend we can assume she was at least eight.
In this legend she is the daughter of a wealthy family, her father an entrepreneur, and inventor. Mary is once again shown to be an unhappy little girl, and friendless.
According to this legend, a ‘guardian angel’ took pity on Mary, and left Laughing Jill’s box on her bed, on Christmas morning. Much like how Laughing Jack came to Isaac. So it’s theoretical that it was the same angel who created/sent Jack to our world.
Laughing Jill is described as appearing to be in her mid-teens (probably about sixteen). Her hair is described as waist length, and brown, in direct contrast that most images of rainbow Laughing Jill, which portray her with red hair. Her clothing is described as being a rainbow of panels, which I translate as patches of color. Her dress is said to come to her ankle, than to stop short of her knees. It is possible her dress length adjusted to match Mary’s secret fashion desires.
Then again, it could be the account meant to say Laughing Jill wore tights under a dress skirt, which some drawings portray her wearing. It is also said she wore knee high boots, which may also have reflected Mary’s inner desires to dress her own way.
She is described as having a ‘colorful cone nose.’ This lines up with conventional images. Her eyes are at first green, than called bright pink. This may be the result of corruption of the legend do to retellings, or minor shape shifting by Jill for unknown reasons.
She seems to be able to float weightlessly, and has the ability to create handfuls of candy at will, same as Laughing Jack. Jill claims to come from a place where she (and others) can do whatever they want, suggesting she and Jack came from somewhere, as opposed to being created to be an imaginary friend.
Like in the legend of Laughing Jack, Jill and Mary have years of fun, eventually leading to Mary being taken to a convent to be ‘cured.’ Unlike in the LJ legend, Jill apparently had begun to fade in color before Jill was taken from her, and always wore an ‘evil grin.’ Suggesting she was changing in response to Mary’s rebellious nature. As in the legend of Laughing Jack, Jill loses her coloring, and parts of her cheerful personality as time away from Mary wore on. Unlike Jack, Jill has no issue with interacting physically with Mary’s parents, at one pointing attacking Mary’s dad, albeit less than violently.
After one year Mary returns to her home, and Jill has become completely monochrome, her hair hangs unevenly now, and her dress is in tatters. She appears visibly to the whole family, with ill results. Mary’s mother shoots Mary dead, believing Jill to be a demon, and the death of Mary the only way to be rid of her.
Sometime later Jill kills the two nuns that took Mary away, hanging and gutting them. Jill uses Mary’s dad’s latest invention, a proto-type chainsaw, to murder Mary’s mom and dad. The legend ends by saying Jill’s legend has ‘been replaced by another’ possibly referring to the other Laughing Jill legends, or maybe even the Laughing Jack legend itself. This legend does not suggest Mary was any relation to Isaac.
This legend (Laughing Jill origin file 3) takes place considerably later than some, and being the first to occur after Laughing Jack’s origin story, starting in 1925. So perhaps Mary is the descendant of Isaac, rather than the other way around.
In this legend Mary is six year old, and of course the child of an overbearing parent. Unique to this telling, Mary’s mother is a single parent, and thus leading reasoning to her over-protection of Mary. Also unique to this legend is the lack of Mary discovering Jill’s box, or indeed, an explanation for the origin of Jill’s presence. She is just an imaginary friend of Mary, hearkening back to the first legend in this article.
As in other legends, time passes like this (three years) and like in other legends, Mary’s parent is worried about her mental health. Unlike other legends, this time her mother takes her to a doctor instead of leaping to an extreme method of curing her daughter. Three years later, Mary, now 12, is still seeing Laughing Jill, and now comes the expected trip to a mental institution, where Mary is kept for three months.
This time there is no chronicling of Jill losing her color, or personality. And once again comes the recurring part of the legend, with Mary being killed suddenly by an adult, authority figure. This seems to be the most common connecting factor in the legends.
An unspecified number of weeks later Mary’s mother finds one of the doctors hanging, and disemboweled. This bares a frightening similarity to the end of the first legend recorded here, complete with Mary’s mother being cut in half by a chainsaw. Though in this legend there is no father to kill afterward. The legend concludes with Jill’s killing ‘being done’ suggesting she did not continue her murder spree after the events. This paints her as an agent of revenge, as opposed to a psychotic killer.
This legend does not describe Laughing Jill's physicality at all.
Perhaps the most interesting legend (The Story of Laughing Jill) does not feature a girl named Mary. In this legend Jill is a high school girl with a dead brother named Jack. Her appearance is never rainbow colored, but distinctly Gothic. In this legend Jill kills all her classmates with poison candy.
All the legends (except the last) feature a girl names Mary, though age and nationality varies, as does her time period. In all the legends she is the child of overbearing parents. An unhappy and possibly neglected child.
In all the legends she dies young, when an authoritative adult figure seemingly snaps, and kills the always harmless, and helpless Mary.
In all the legends Laughing Jill becomes a killer, and her weapon of choice seems to be a chainsaw, regardless of the time period she is supposed to live during.
Based off the legends, it is impossible for her to be the ancestor of Issac, as she never lives to have children. Though some distant relation is not impossible. Her origin varies, though in one it was suggested she existed in another world before becoming Mary's friend. If this is so, then assignment by angel, or otherworldly being seems more likely then being birthed by a lonely child's need for companionship.
Preferred environment: Unknown.
Species: Unidentified supernatural being.
Candy generating. (Possibly infinite)
Possible shape shifting.
Above average strength.
Possible minor reality bending, AKA toonforce.
Killing M.O. Hanging/disemboweling. Order is not clear. Possibly uses chainsaw for this.
The ocean. Such an incredible natural feature of this wonderful planet! Did you know that the great white shark will lose tens of thousands of teeth throughout his lifetime? I've collected them ever since I was a kid. Haha, I even used to practice making my own "shark bite" patterns into chunks of meat just to see if I could mimic the damage of a real shark attack. It's a lot harder than you'd think! Great whites can produce well over 3,000 pounds of pressure in a single bite. That's much more than a human could ever hope to produce!
See I've been studying sharks for a very long time. What's the most interesting fun fact I know about sharks? Easy! It's the simple fact that we actually know practically NOTHING about them. They're such mysterious creatures! But one thing we DO know about sharks, is that people fear them. People love to blame them for all the terrifying incidents that happen at the beach.
And that makes my real hobby so much easier.
"The pier" by lotmoon
My late wife and I met on the beach. She was beautiful, passionate and imaginative. She took me to see the seals on the pier, that’s where we has our first kiss. I never looked back. Within months we married, by our first anniversary we had a son.
Looking back, it is clear to me that she was mentally ill. She had no family; she was not close to any of her friends. I was her whole life, and I was all right with that. By our second anniversary she was already fairly far-gone. She’d spend all day by the sea, sitting on the pier were we had our first kiss.
One night, when I’d had to drag her home she started screaming that she wanted to go back to her family. When I had calmed her down she looked be straight in the eyes and told me that she was really a seal. A magical seal who had taken a human form to marry me.
The Anti-psychotics didn’t really work. They made her sleep all day and when she begged me to let her stop taking them I agreed.
She killed herself three weeks later. She was found floating near the pier. I’d like to say that I mourned her, but I didn’t. She was very ill and this was what she felt she had to do in order to “go home”. But why did she have to take our son with her?
"Across the Irish sea" by DoublyWretched
I asked him. He said no.
Three years ago, a lifetime ago, we lived in England. We were both American, but his job had transferred him, paid for our visas and our move. We were supposed to be there for five years-- a lifetime, back then.
A lifetime. It was supposed to be a lifetime.
We were supposed to be a lifetime.
The ferry across the Irish Sea departs from Holyhead. It's a pretty town. We stood overlooking the water. We were young. I'm not sure whether we were in love anymore. When I remember it, I like to imagine we were.
Her name was Alice. We'd met her at a pub. It's different over there-- women don't stand with men, men don't stand alone with a group of women, unless they're looking for something. Unless they're looking for something specific. I didn't know that. I smoked and he didn't. I met Tony, and Tim, and Tom, outside. He met Alice, and he started working late.
In Holyhead, overlooking the Irish Sea, I asked him. And he said no.
I like to think we were in love. I like to pretend he was in love.
But maybe not with me.
It's only fifteen minutes between the time the train arrives, and the time the ferry leaves. But Wales is chilly in the spring. And the Irish Sea is vast, and choppy, and very cold.
Three years can be a lifetime. So can fifteen minutes.
I miss him.
"Welcome to the club" by DoublyWretched
Soft skin, soft voice, soft smile. Sharp laugh. And damn, could the girl hold her liquor. But I was on vacation. Good times, right?
And oh, the times got good when the bar closed. Stumbling to my room, reeling into walls, breathing each other's breath. Her staggering backward, my fingers twisted in her hair. Then me pushed along, her hands guiding rivers of sweat down my chest. The moon hung heavy over the steaming sea. I couldn't tell who was leading who. It mattered even less when we reached my room. Her gasps were seawater and mango; my shudders were jungle-dark.
It might have been any grey London morning when I woke. Fog in my head, shards in my lungs. No aspirin. No girl. What the hell had we been drinking?
Have you heard the urban legend of AIDS Mary? It's a tale of ecstasy and vengeance. The man swept away by passion, the girl pliant and open and honeyed. He wakes alone and groggy. And on the mirror, scrawled in lipstick: "Welcome to the AIDS Club". It's nonsense, of course. It's never happened.
But this was New Guinea. With a history of colonialism. Of poor nutrition, of protein deficiency. Which led to a history of mortuary cannibalism.
Which led to the memory of a sharp laugh as I stood, still drunk, staring into my bathroom mirror.
What had we been drinking? A memory of salt, of metal, of her lips...
Ever heard of prions?
Welcome to the Kuru Club.
"Oarfish" by GotMyQuilWeaveDid
It doesn't make sense, the biologist thought, rewrapping the lengthy beast in a tarp. It makes no sense at all.
She hefted the bundle of squishy organs and shimmery scales into the walk-in cooler, and browsed the shelf, selecting the next subject. Laid out and unwrapped, it's long tail flopped over the edge of the tabletop, and she had to consciously step over it as she circled like a carrion bird. She hadn't even made the first incision, and she could already predict the results.
Atop her examination surface was a perfectly healthy, perfectly dead, oarfish.
When she had received the call, she almost dismissed it as a hoax. The species was elusive, adults only surfacing when sick, and unable to stay in their home deep below the waves. The male on her table, however, had been healthy when he had swam headlong into the net trawling the surface.
So had the several dozens of his species that joined him in that one net.
By seven, her cooler was full, and the specimens had to be sent to other locations for storage. All in all, by the last count, the numbers of healthy animals surfacing and beaching were breaching four digits.
Adult oarfish were a solitary creature, yet thousands were willingly coming up from the depths to die in the hot summer air. It made no sense.
She started to make an incision, when the music on the radio cut abruptly to a news report. She turned the dial, and caught only a hint of a warning, before a deafening roar from the otherwise curiously silent beach drowned it out.
Oh. They wanted to escape.
"Salt" by the_itch
"It's salty," little Tommy said, cupping some of the water in the palm of his hand.
"Of course it is son," I chuckled. "You know the ocean's salty."
"Too salty!" He exclaimed, and flung the offending liquid onto the sand. I came over and knelt down, leaving my paperback on the beach chair.
"Daddy! Ouchie! It burns!" I could see tears forming in his eyes.
"It's okay, son." I took his little hand and felt the wetness of the ocean water on my fingers. It was warm, and tingled. The tingling increased and the warmth turned to a heat. He was right, it did burn...
Tommy began to cry.
And then, from down the beach, I heard a scream.
"OH MY GOD!!!"
I stood and squinted through the bright sun reflecting off the sand. The scream was joined by others from all around me and I could feel the terror of everyone on the beach becoming one rising wave of panic.
I saw a young girl run in with the surf, screaming, her tanned skin melting over her bikini. A fat man in a speedo ran in the water and fell. When his arms came up they were bone to the elbow, with great flaps of dissolving skin hanging like cloth. A young man pulled his tiny daughter in by the arms, dragging behind her the stumps that had been her legs.
I watched them come in, running, thrashing, falling, all of their skin melting from their horrified faces and revealing the white bone beneath.
Tommy was crying. From high above, the sun beat down on the beautiful white sand of the beach.
"Taffy" by Queenofscots
"George, look--they found another girl, killed the same way as those others," Clara Potts showed her husband the headline. She popped another Goetze's Caramel Cream into her mouth, and continued reading, caramel-colored juice dripping down her chin.
"The victim was found bound with duct tape, on a bed in a motel room along the Boardwalk... nostrils and mouth were crammed full of salt-water taffy, to such a degree that cause of death was almost certainly slow suffocation...." Clara had finished the Caramel Creams, and reached for a box of kettle corn. George didn't think she'd even glanced at the ocean their entire beach vacation, and she must've packed on twenty pounds.
"Well, those girls probably asked for it, sashaying around in those skimpy bikinis...I'm glad I was raised to be modest.." Clara stuffed the rest of the kettle corn in her mouth. " Well, I'm going to bed--you coming along, Georgie?" She belched, and George shook his head.
"Soon. I might go stretch my legs a bit." He watched Clara waddle into the bedroom. Soon, snores were coming from behind the door, and he rose, went to the hall closet, and took a small bag out from under his golf clubs.
If not for their kids, he'd have left Clara years ago. Now, there was almost no point, and besides, he'd learned to cope with his miserable marriage. He checked the bag's contents: Duct tape, gloves, and two boxes of Dolle's Salt Water Taffy. He would see Clara's face on whatever young girl he grabbed tonight, just as he had on the others. He took the bag, and walked out into the night.
Keep out of the sun" by CQSteve
I was the fat kid that everyone made fun of at school. Oh I had friends, I even got invited to parties – but I was always the butt of jokes. Early on I was christened “Whale” by some comedian and the nickname stuck. It’s easier to laugh with them than rage against them and it’s also amazing how alone you can feel in a crowd. After graduation I bummed around from job to job, never anything that would lead to bigger and better things and I never found the courage to leave town; all those years of belittlement eroded my self-confidence. Eventually I borrowed money from my Dad to set up a summer job. I’m the big fat guy you see on the beach who offers tanning protection. You stand there and I spray you with a high grade tanning lotion. Come and see me at “Whales’ SPF Protection Plus” booth. I use only the best spray protection so you’ll tan but won’t burn .... unless of course we went to school together. For my old school friends I use a lotion from a mixture I created myself. You won’t get sunburn, but the toxins in my special mixture should be apparent by the time our reunion rolls around in another couple of years. Skin diseases and cancers should whittle out the numbers somewhat.
"The great phobia" by ai 1267
I've always hated the ocean, ever since I was little, as far back as I can remember. My parents always told me it was because I once almost drowned in my friend's pool when I was six, and that gave rise to this phobia. And sure, that cemented my distaste, but I recall a loathing and dread for that vast emptiness even before then.
As a result, I don't bathe in the ocean, or even in lakes. I dislike the feeling of that vast, hungry thing, almost sentient, trying to drag you down. No sir, showers and ice water for me. I never, ever, go to the beach.
Last week, they issued an earthquake warning across greater parts of the nation. I wasn't terribly worried... sometimes we'd feel the end of the tremors, but living so far away from a fault, we never got it bad.
Imagine my surprise when the lights suddenly dimmed outside in the middle of a sunny afternoon. As I stepped out onto my porch, and watched the massive wave approach across what used to be a neighbourhood, I realised I'd made a terrible mistake living in a coastal city.
Sometimes, the beach is where the home is. Sometimes... the sea comes to you.