Hug your kids, ’cause you just never know, Karen Dunlop reminds us in the Onion:
As a parent, worrying is second nature. You’re constantly afraid that something could go wrong. Your child could get sick, or get in an accident, or even just not fit in at school. Sure, there’s joy and pride and fulfillment, but there’s also an unavoidable stream of dread. And all of these worries of course pale in comparison to every parent’s worst nightmare: losing your child to Gorchul, the Dark Sorcerer of Time. …
Sure, you can line your doorstep with quartz and sprinkle nectar over your child’s bed, as the Glimmer Tome instructs us. You can even bury as many balls of your children’s hair and teeth as you want, or construct an enchanted cairn over each child’s bed with the aid of an uncorrupted thaumaturge. But the reality is, even if you cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s, at the end of the day, you can only do so much to keep your child truly safe because Gorchul is all around us, at every moment, ready to feed off the life force of your child’s soul, enslave him in the shadow world, or, even worse, slip into the empty husk of his body and pose as a demonic imposter of your beloved son or daughter.
In which case, there’s only one option, and it’s a messy one.
At first you think, oh, thank God — my child is safe! But then you realize it’s just Gorchul. And then you have to murder the shell that Gorchul is inhabiting. You have to slit your child’s throat from ear to ear and bleed him out in the bathtub while incanting the aegis rime.
Be very afraid.
P.S. I can’t show a picture of Gorchul (everyone knows that brings a lifetime of bad luck), so I decided to instead illustrate this post with the much cuddlier Krampus, Europe’s old-timey holiday devil, who emerges every year on December 6. That’s today. Lock your doors. You’re welcome.