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"He had, all his life, been so much a part of Florida by blood and by birthright, and now Florida had absorbed him, now he had become, terrifyingly, transcendently, the real Florida himself."

Shapes, neither human nor animal, lurked in the trees, tombstones shifted seamlessly into forest, clawed hands and hooved feet pushing and erupting from the ground, rotting, skeletal, with a vibrating earthquake beneath it, a long muted bellow like wind rattling through branches.
—from "Forests of the Noonday Sun," depicting something that happens more often than you might think.
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What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse is a Short Story collection by Christopher Veidt that takes place in the same universe as The Dogs novels, culled together from erotic and often fetish-heavy stories that he had posted on SoFurry from 2014-2016. Its title is a conscious and loving homage to its famous source.

Similar to, but even more so than, The Dogs, the stories in What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse maintain as its central theme the idea that mankind, divorced from nature in the modern world, occasionally glimpses a strange hidden world which myth, legend, ghost story, and conspiracy only hint at. What happens when someone encounters this second world varies, but often end with them becoming a part of it...as a new, beastly being. The stories are almost always heavily erotic in nature, with a strong emphasis on teratophilia in the sense of being attracted to actual mythical monsters. Many of the monsters are taken directly from Mountain Folklore and elements of Appalachian or Southern imagery.

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All of the stories are interconnected, and serve to form a bigger picture of the universe that The Dogs takes place in, although sometimes the connections are not readily apparent and only become explicit on the second or third reading.

Although a print version has been in the works since like 2014 or something, most of the stories can be read on Veidt's Tumblr, with links below.

(It should go without saying that, this being in the The Dogs universe and outright stated to be "erotic horror," the majority of these stories are extremely Not Safe for Work.)

  • Bloom, which fully fleshes out the life and times of the character Aaron Cooley, previously only given an offhand reference as Cody's childhood best friend in The Dogs: Not Exactly Night. On the hunt for a legendary deer in rural Florida, Aaron gets far more than he bargained for in a strange forest where elder peach trees grow.
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  • Forests of the Noonday Sun, which moves the action to Appalachian North Carolina, follows the search by an intrepid cryptid and ghost hunter named James McCall, determined to find what's the source of strange and disturbing rumors about a campsite in the Nantahala National Forest (the Native American word for which gives the title). But he doesn't find it...it finds him.
  • Rat Prince, a story in three parts, starring another acquaintance of Cody's in Tampa, Cameron Oliver. Chased, stalked, and bitten by a horrible unseen smelly monster in a nature reserve, Cameron makes it home with his life, if a nasty bite wound. But then things get bad — really, really bad.
  • Hecho En Florida is about a cable repairman called out to an obscure part of rural Florida in the I-4 Corridor. He thinks the house he's been assigned to is abandoned — until he spots some cigars of unusual quality, and decides to have a smoke...
  • Anaphylaxis gives the strange — as it turns out, very strange — facts surrounding the last days of beloved University of Florida professor Dr. Martin Perry.
  • How Shadows Taste tells the story of Daniel Hodges, a lonely farmboy from a broken home in Franklin County, Virginia, who is taken in by a neighbor, Roland Scruggs. Their relationship quickly turns sexual as well as paternal and, against all odds, thoroughly positive. Not long before the story begins, Scruggs goes missing, and is declared legally dead. But one night walking home by a cemetery, Daniel notices a strange figure lurking in the darkness...
  • Sic Itur Ad Astra, which is constructed differently than the rest of the stories, narrates the tragic aftermath of the death of a beloved astronaut named Tom Ryan, and how the man in charge of his mission, Irving Collins, blames himself for the catastrophic failure that took place. The story openly asks questions about the nature and appropriateness of public grief and national tragedy, as well as the role of newsmedia in addressing both.
  • Rayon Noose, like "Sic Itur Ad Astra," is a more restrained and literary story about one particularly unlucky night in the life of Billy Bishop, a washed-up cell phone salesman in Roanoke, Virginia who is deluding himself that he hasn't wasted enough of his life already.
  • Nervous Boys has the audience meet John Thomas Anderson, a charming, handsome recent college grad with a terrible secret: he loves teen boys. He meets who he thinks is the guy of his dreams through the swim team he's coaching in Pulaski County, Virginia, named Caleb Jones. But something is wrong with Caleb...something very wrong. This is Veidt's own spin on the Tailypo story.
  • The Decaying Mall is an adaptation of a Creepypasta Veidt originally wrote under a different pseudonym in 2008, removing the No Communities Were Harmed to move the location from a generic dead American mall to Crossroads Mall in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Ursa Minor is the sad tale of Taylour Godwinson, a star high school wrestler who, through the trauma of being raised by his immensely powerful lawyer uncle has blocked what little of his upbringing he can remember. But when he starts to put the pieces together, it rapidly turns tragic — and brutal.
  • Upriver takes us back to a gilded age of boating and debauchery amongst the rich and privileged of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, which turns out to serve as a hub of background characters in the universe that The Dogs is set in. The main character, Mike Fischer, on a dare from a coked-out moron who turns out to be Caleb's dad (from "Nervous Boys"), decides to go up the Roanoke River to find a lucky spot to fish in...and finds something else entirely. Although devoid of any eroticism or outright horror, the story abounds in creepiness, aided by how unsatisfying Veidt has kept the fate of its protagonist.
  • To Your Grave, which stars the grandfather of James McCall from "Forests of the Noonday Sun," named Jimmy and then Jim as he grows older. Taking place during the The Great Depression, it is an adaptation of an oft-repeated bit of North Carolina witchlore: something Jim saw as a boy traumatized him so badly not even the horrors he would see serving in World War II could compete...

What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: Although previously anonymous and like any dead mall in America, the version of "The Decaying Mall" included in this collection is explicitly Roanoke, Virginia's Crossroads Mall, which had been a notorious abandoned eyesore for years.
  • All Myths Are True: If there's some instance of rumor, superstition, or legend in this world, it's taken as fact (if esoteric and very easily hidden or mistaken fact) in the universe of the book.
    • Veidt used real reports of the "White Things" of West Virginia and linked them with the legend of Prince Madoc and The Voyage of St. Brendan, as well as "the Moon-Eyed People," and the Azgen to create the Dogfolk tribe that Wolkee and the firstborn male of every generation of Lynch men belongs to.
    • "Upriver" is a dramatization and fictionalization of the many real urban legends about the factual Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: A few stories end this way, usually mixed in with extra pain and horror.
  • Appalachia: About half the stories take place here, with copious descriptions of how beautiful and majestic the mountains are...and what kind of slavering creatures those same mountains are hiding.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: Most of the time that Veidt describes a full moon, it's on days where there wasn't one, as the stories take place on specific dates. As per usual with anything involving a full moon, both Rule of Cool and Rule of Drama are in effect.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Kind of the point, although much more than The Dogs there are at least better justifications for the kind of gross stuff that happens to people all the time.
  • Ate His Gun: Mr. Jones, the father of Caleb from "Nervous Boys," is said to have done this in "Upriver," referencing the events of "Nervous Boys" as a future event. He does so after Caleb goes missing and is never seen again.
  • Badass Grandpa: Aaron's grandfather from "Bloom" was a master storyteller and huntsman.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Most of the characters presented here start out as this, before getting better and accepting or even liking and loving their new forms. Occasionally, they don't — with horrific results.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Played with and ultimately subverted in every instance. The creatures may look monstrous or (in the case of the frugivorous deer in "Bloom") even just like your average animal, but they possess near or equal intelligence to humans.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Although some of the opening Epigraphs are in other languages, the biggest is probably "Sic Itur Ad Astra" ("thus one journeys to the stars," which doubles as Literary Allusion Title as it is from the Aeneid).
  • Body Horror: Just about every story in the collection features this to some degree.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Played absolutely literally in "How Shadows Taste."
  • Broken Masquerade: If it does get broken, it's not for long.
  • Cat People: Played with in "Nervous Boys" given that the Tailypo is long theorized to have been a feline creature.
  • The Catfish: Done horrifyingly and completely straight in "Upriver."
  • Cool Old Guy: As mentioned above, Aaron's grandfather from "Bloom" seems to fit this as well.
    • Scruggs from "How Shadows Taste," although your mileage seriously can vary on that one.
  • Crossover:
    • As it takes place in the same universe and continuity as The Dogs novels, many characters from those books appear here. Bligh and Cody actually cameo in a few.
    • Tiny bits of the Cthulhu Mythos also appear, most notably in "Anaphylaxis."
  • Crown of Horns: A very unusual totally literal example in "Bloom."
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Several. This a seriously haunted universe full of weird, weird stuff that only gets glanced at.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cameron's father in "Rat Prince" left him and his mom some years before. But it becomes clear what happened to him at the very, very end.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Offhandedly mentioned by the kind forest ranger to James in "Forests of the Noonday Sun," and really a piece of advice that many of the other characters should have followed.
  • Doting Parent: Both of Taylour's parents from "Ursa Minor" adored him, which makes memories of them, for Taylour, extremely painful.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Played satisfyingly straight at the climax of "Ursa Minor," when the newly transformed Taylour at last gets his revenge.
  • Exotic Equipment: It's easier just to say it's every creature, every time.
  • Evil Uncle: Taylour's uncle, Larry, from "Ursa Minor," despite being an extremely wealthy and powerful lawyer who many want to run for Congress, is described as "a devil, a walking piece of human shit." The way he treats his nephew, he lives up to this description.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Drake Le Carde, an entomologist at the University of Florida and rival of Dr. Perry from "Anaphylaxis." His appearance is meant to give him an early cameo before he interviews Andrew Lightfoot for graduate school in the third Dogs novel, Hand In Heart, but he was originally supposed to have been given a much more complicated backstory with bug-based transformation shenanigans before the stories planned for him were ultimately shelved. In the Dogs canon he simply serves to approve Andrew's application at the University of Florida before, like many other characters, disappearing without a trace — the whole thing can be viewed as an Aborted Arc.
  • The Fog of Ages: Tooth is so old and has been living in Tampa Bay for so many centuries he doesn't remember his own name. As detailed below, it's Maximilian.
  • Forced Sleep: A common occurrence, usually a prelude to a character about to shed his humanity.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Most of the characters that populate these stories reach this point with some degree of contentment. Most of them.
  • Generation Xerox: A common theme, which is very often true in the regions where these stories take place:
    • We find out in "To Your Grave" that the shiftlessness, wanderlust, and rebelliousness that characterize the McCall clan — what ends up dooming James in "Forests of the Noonday Sun" — is very old indeed.
    • As stated, Aaron in "Bloom" seems to have a great deal of his grandfather in him to an almost preternatural degree.
    • Taylour favors both sides of his family so strongly that this is given as the reason that Taylour's uncle, Larry, in "Ursa Minor," treats him the way he does: for whatever reason he violently detested his brother, Taylour's father, and is subtly implied to have had him killed.
  • Genre-Busting: There are shades of serious Lit Fic, Bizarro Fiction, Myth Punk, Erotic Literature, Horror, and Romance in this collection, making it, like The Dogs, very hard to pin down.
  • Ghibli Hills: Lovingly described in several stories, particularly when the setting is anywhere in Appalachia.
  • Great Offscreen War: It's insistently implied, yet never outright stated, that the state of endangerment of North America's monsters is because of a kind of forgotten conflict that the European settlers fought with them, wiping many of them out.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Veidt's most definite stock-in-trade, this collection is positively bursting with creatures like this.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Invoked only in the folkloric aspects, as Veidt specifically wanted to avoid the Unfortunate Implications that come with this trope. If anything, the so-called hillbillies are portrayed as far more honest, trustworthy, and nice then their non-rural counterparts.
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: Eph from "To Your Grave" is said to have "sold decent shine made from corn and cane, just enough to get by."
  • Homosexual Reproduction: Most if not all of the hidden beastly societies in this collection function this way.
  • Horned Humanoid: The ultimate fates of Aaron in "Bloom" and James in "Forests of the Noonday Sun."
  • Horror Hunger: One of the most nauseating symptoms of Cameron's metamorphosis in "Rat Prince." If you're under the impression it won't be that bad...you're wrong.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Is heavily implied to have happened in two stories — Caleb in "Nervous Boys" and Taylour in "Ursa Minor" — but the exact details are left uncomfortably vague.
    • It is hinted that Larry, Taylour's uncle, in "Ursa Minor" knew far more than he let on about his nephew's ancestry, but instead deliberately covered things up.
    • Similarly, it seems that at least a few people who lived and worked around Caleb's high school in "Nervous Boys" knew something strange had gone on, but that it never got past rumors.
  • Hybrid Power: Another common theme, as those that get transformed find themselves superior to both the animal they resemble and the human they once were.
  • Interspecies Romance: Happens all the time, which is usually (but not always) the key trigger for transformation and mutation.
    • Whoever Jones (who appears first in "Upriver") married resulted in Caleb who undergoes a second puberty and becomes a real-life Tailypo from folklore, and the marriage of Taylour's parents created a similar hybrid of human and bear, which remained dormant until Taylour goes on his literal Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • In the Blood: Several characters have a direct, if hidden and insidious, connection with what they eventually turn into.
    • Caleb, in "Nervous Boys" undergoes a second puberty to become a Tailypo-monster thanks to his unknown mother's DNA. Or curse. Or something.
    • Near ditto for Taylour in "Ursa Minor."
    • It is heavily implied that Scruggs had something latent that caused him to act and then transform the way he ultimately did.
    • More sentimentally, the families of Jimmy from "To Your Grave," his grandson James from "Forests of the Noonday Sun" and Aaron from "Bloom" seem to guide these characters' actions and attitudes toward life more than a little subconsciously, perhaps indicating that Lamarck Was Right.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Averted in the case of Caleb from "Nervous Boys." Zig-Zagged with Taylour from "Ursa Minor."
  • Little Bit Beastly: Very few of the transformed people go full animal, but rather, a kind of satyr-like blend of man and beast, usually described as ethereally beautiful or magnetically sexual.
  • Lover and Beloved: A rather twisted version of this occurs in "How Shadows Taste."
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The very, very last line of "Rat Prince." Cameron's dad long ago turned into a hideous rat-human hybrid and escaped to live in a dense nature preserve, which is how he was able to recognize, chase, and infect his son, Cameron, so that they could live together as rat-men.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Discussed in "Bloom."
  • The Marvelous Deer: Invoked and explored in "Bloom." The slaying of what Aaron (and Cody, as a child) knew to be the King of the Deer becomes a pivotal moment in the story.
    • "Forests of the Noonday Sun" starts out this way, but it becomes very clear the creatures aren't actually deer or elk, but rather something...approaching mankind.
  • The Masquerade: As with The Dogs novels, the existence of the monsters, beasts, and strange phenomena are, usually (and luckily) only briefly and winkingly glanced at by normal humans. It's outright stated that, for fear of humans, or because of the complete arrogance of the scientific establishment, or because certain groups have determined it is in the public's best interest, most of these creatures and general weirdness are easily hidden from, and unthought of by, average people.
  • May–December Romance: Scruggs and Daniel from "How Shadows Taste."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A repeated theme. Most of the transformations and eerie events seem to have no explanation, but careful examination of the stories makes it clear that they have definitive biological triggers. But other stories leave the impression that there is something far stranger and more inexplicable going on, too. Neither suggestion is ever favored.
  • Meaningful Name: Mike Fischer from "Upriver." It's even lampshaded:
    "His surname became a punchline to an obscenely long joke."
  • Mr. Seahorse: Many of the creatures in this universe breed this way. Usually this discovery is met with abject disgust and horror by the person it's happening to.
  • Mountain Folklore: The stories taking place in Virginia and West Virginia are strongly influenced by this, obviously. "Nervous Boys," as mentioned, is the author's own take on Tailypo, a classic Appalachian monster.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Played for drama and fear in several instances.
  • Never Found the Body: Many of the victims, so to speak, have their fates totally unexplained to their peers and the world at large. The audience knows better, of course.
  • Noisy Nature: Characters that find themselves immersed in wilderness or otherwise rural settings will experience this.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Every short story has a title which is only sort-of indicative of what happens in it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Veidt seems to adore this trope.
    • The most prominent example is, in "Rat Prince," we never see what is stalking Cameron until the very, very end of the tale...and even then, we only get hints. It knows his name, and it chases him, which is scary enough, but even worse, we only really get to know what it smells like...
    • What kind of plant did Dr. Perry import from Pakistan in "Anaphylaxis" anyway? What could have possibly made him so sick? And is it really possible he's not really dead?
    • It's never really explained who (or what) Caleb's mother was in "Nervous Boys." We get fleeting glimpses that she could have been a witch, but that doesn't explain...anything, really.
    • The big, empty, eponymous "Decaying Mall" — and what lurks there on Saturday nights...
  • Only in Florida: Three stories, "Rat Prince," "Bloom," and "Hecho En Florida" (obviously) take place in the state, and every case it is portrayed as a surreal Hellscape of Gothic strangeness.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: A good many of the creatures in these stories are meant to be a Parallel Universe explanation for actual cryptids and unexplained, conspiratorial, folkloric, or mythic things in this world.
    • The deer-like creatures in "Forests of the Noonday Sun," despite heavily implied to being actual cryptids, were Veidt's own invention...one hopes.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Boy are they ever.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They always start out as humans before taking to the sea. Oh, and they have really gross, pseudo-ichythological sex organs.
  • Painful Transformation: A constant staple, some more painful than others.
  • Parental Substitute: Discussed in how Scruggs and Daniel's relationship played out over the latter's teenage years...despite that same relationship's undercurrent.
  • Plant Person: One possible interpretation at the conclusion of "Anaphylaxis" regarding the fate of Dr. Perry. It's left disturbingly unclear.
  • Porn with Plot: Just about the entire point.
  • Rat Man: Although there is some inference that witchcraft is involved — specifically the kinds of stuff that involve drinking the blood of cats, this is what Cameron turns into in "Rat Prince." Oh, and his dad too.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Among others, the giant catfish from "Upriver" was apparently alive before the Europeans arrived, making it (in 1987, when the story takes place) many centuries old.
    • Tooth is repeatedly hinted as being the same Maximilian from "Her Judges Are Evening Wolves" from Before Time After which would make him just about four hundred years old.
  • Reference Overdosed: Like The Dogs, you have to really be up on your history and geography to get a lot of the allusions and asides.
  • Resist the Beast: Cameron in "Rat Prince" goes through a serious psychotic breakdown as he realizes that the monster that chased and bit him has infected him with something degenerative and disgusting.
    • Similarly, John Thomas takes to drinking extremely heavily as he slowly realizes that having repeated sex with a changing Caleb might be changing him, too.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: Played straight in several stories. The idea is that the hidden species of forgotten folklore in North America are dying out, and new recruits are desperately needed and welcome.
  • Sadist Show: People suffer, often completely unduly and with horrifying cruelty, as they are absorbed back into the true, hidden nature of the world. It should be noted that for most, they get better. But for some...
    • This even applies to people who, like Dr. Irving Collins in "Sic Itur Ad Astra," just happen to have things go terribly wrong for them for no real reason.
  • Sanity Slippage: A common sign of impending disaster for several characters. Cameron, in "Rat Prince," has a pretty spectacular example, as mentioned elsewhere.
  • Shark Man: Tooth.
  • Skepticism Failure: Several characters who are flat-out stated to be atheists and materialists quickly find out to their horror just what kind of situation they're in.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Usually happens too quickly (or mind-erasingly) to occur, and usually subverted pretty hard anyway, but it does happen once or twice.
  • Tainted Veins: Happens to Dr. Perry during his illness during "Anaphylaxis."
    • On a far squickier level, it also happens to Daniel in "How Shadows Taste" except on his genitals.
  • This Was His True Form: What happens to Caleb in "Nervous Boys."
    • Implied to be what was wrong with Scruggs toward the end of his human life, eventually leading to his own transformation.
  • Totally Not a Werewolf: When James, in "Forests of the Noonday Sun" shakes Bligh's hand and sees him smile, his initial reaction is of shuddering horror. When he tries to consider what happened, he can't decide if Bligh's teeth were closer to a wolf...or a dog.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Cameron in "Rat Prince" begins ruminating on how he's pretty pathetic and a nobody, just like his deadbeat dad. It becomes horrifyingly literal a little later.
  • Uneven Hybrid: The creatures that populate this collection are never evenly split between man and animal.
  • Unusual Ears: A hallmark of the newly transformed.
  • Viral Transformation: How the transformations almost always take place.
  • Was Once a Man: The inevitable result of all the man-to-beast transformations that take place.
  • Wild Wilderness: Both an omnipresent setting as well as theme.
  • You Sexy Beast: Again, something Veidt seems to treasure writing about. Really the whole collection could be considered an ode to teratophilia.

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