K Roman

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9/10/2022 9:59pm

Sprite Zero and I walked back home from Warlock Mountain in the moonlight.

"I think we need some of that pop," Sprite Zero said.

"Pop? You mean the soda?"

"Soda doesn't have any taste. Like soda water. But pop is sweet."

"You don't know what that soda tastes like."

"Well it must be sweet if that demon monster wants it so bad."

"Yeah. Well, you're right about that. There must be something pretty special about that soda. If we knew what it was, that would help us make sense of what's going on."

"Ok soda POP, then, alright?" Sprite Zero asked.

"I think we need some of that soda pop," I said.

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8/29/2022 10:43pm

The smugglers gathered in a circle around the trailer and began a mournful chant.

"I thought you said they WEREN'T wizards?" Sprite Zero asked.

"Well, you don't have be a wizard to do spells."

"Yes you do. I think that's the very definition of a wizard. A guy who does spells."

"Well, I mean, they're primarily smugglers. They just do spells on the side. It's all about the enchanted moonlit soda. Take a look."

The cases of bottled moonlit soda started to shiver and clink, then rise slowly into the air, rotating gently in the moonlight.

For a moment, everyone was quiet.

Suddenly there was a great shriek, and just above the floating pallets of soda something tore a great big hole in the air. Something with hideous spindly black claws, covered in stubble like spider legs, tips sharp enough to rip open a hole in reality. And through that hole, a maddening infinity of shrieks and darkness.

We covered our ears, and it was hard to see clearly, but then a huge a maw of claws reached out through the hole, snatched the pallets of soda pop, and slammed the hole in reality shut behind it.

There was a big thunderclap, then everything was still again.

Crickets chirped in the moonlight.

"I dunno," Sprite Zero said. "Sure seems like wizards to me."

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8/20/2022 11:54pm

"If they're smugglers, why would they be hauling their enchanted loot to the top of Warlock Mountain?" Sprite Zero asked.

She had a point. It seemed like kind of a dead-end place to haul a trailer full of soda.

"I'm not sure," I answered. "Maybe there's a helicopter?"

But I had to admit that something wasn't adding up.

Wyrd or not, that path the smugglers took up Warlock Mountain was bumpy. They used an old pickup truck to haul a trailer, and the bottles clanked and tinkled in their cases as the trailer bumped up and down in the dirt road ruts. The going was slow, and a gaggle of smugglers followed on foot in their black robes, hollering useless criticism at the driver who was taking it about as slow as he could.

Sprite Zero and I kept our distance, lurking in the sage. The full moon lit things up with an eerie white light, and the summit of Warlock Mountain was just ahead.

It really was more of a hill than a mountain.

"Thirsty?" Sprite Zero asked.

"No thanks," I said.

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8/15/2022 11:03pm

"Crank it, boys, crank it!"

Sprite Zero and I had snuck into the abandoned Pepsi bottling plant. The acolytes were gathered around the central core of the factory, while others struggled with a winch to pull a massive load up toward the wide, open skylight.


"They're moonlighting it," Sprite Zero said. "They're charging it with the moonlight."

The smugglers were hoisting pallets of some kind of bottled liquid up to catch the moonlight from the full moon through the skylight.

A bolt of lightning burst through the air, striking the load in the winch.

The Sir Pops-a-lot logo glowed from the factory floor. That was the name of the soda company that was here before they got bought out by Pepsi.

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8/9/2022 11:32pm

Most Psyhigh students are from out of town. Sometimes really far out of town. But I live in town and grew up in town. Got kicked out of every school in town, which is why I ended up at Psyhigh. On account of my "curious nature."

I live with my mom and she works nights, so I've always had a lot of time to myself. Most of it spent riding my bike around town, so I know every block and all the alleys and secret paths in between.

Some of those paths are what they call "wyrd," in that they can get you where you're going in a fraction of the time. Or tyme. Or you can get so knotted and lost it takes a whole night just to find your way back. Back before mom gets home.

These smugglers knew the wyrd paths. Sprite Zero just moved here, so she didn't know about them.

"Don't you have wyrd paths back where you come from?"

"I don't remember any paths at all," Sprite Zero says.

This particular wyrd path the smugglers took was pretty bendy, but I kept Sprite Zero from getting lost or sick.

The path led to the abandoned Pepsi bottling plant in the old part of town by the railroad tracks. The smugglers were set up inside it -- the lights were on, and they were making a racket.

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8/2/2022 10:39pm

The smugglers came in tonight for more Black Goat. The Handymart was still out of Black Goat because they bought them all the last time they were here and the distributor hadn't come back yet. So they argued for awhile about what to buy instead and they bought a dozen Mountain Dews.

This time I followed them out of the Handymart. Sprite Zero called out to old Handy in the back that she was taking a break and came with me.

The smugglers are easy to follow because of their black robes. And even though they look around suspiciously all the time, those hoods must really hinder their vision.

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7/31/2022 10:00pm

Continuing the stakeout at the Handymart. The so-called "wizards" have not visited for a few days. The clerk says they are in their secret lair under the mountain, performing bizarre rituals with the pets they've kidnapped from the neighborhood. I know that's hogwash, and more likely they're just off on a smuggling run.

In the meantime, the clerk is nice and lets me read all the comics on the rack without buying any. Her name tag says Sprite Zero she/her.

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7/18/2022 1:24pm

I saw the smugglers at the Handymart. They were buying up all the Black Goat energy drink.

They were wearing their robes but I could tell they were the smugglers and not wizards, because why would wizards buy energy drinks? Even if it was Black Goat?

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7/7/2022 11:45pm

There are smugglers on Warlock Mountain. I know. I have seen them.

They aren't "wizards." This I will prove.

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