A loud and sharp Knock Knock KNOCK, is the sound that woke Rick up this particular morning. Thinking it must be important and not wanting the knocking to wake up his wife before 5am, he rushed out of bed. She had a big day after all, she was flying out to visit family for a few days. Stumbling as fast as his tired legs would take him, he grumbled to himself about the rude awakening. In his freshly awoken state, Rick didn’t notice that there weren’t any following knocks since the first before he reached the door, which he swung open only to find.. nobody… Only a box, wrapped in plain brown paper, placed neatly on his doorstep.

Back inside the house, Rick looked the box over one more time before opening it, hoping to find some clue as to who sent it. He tore off the paper finding a plain brown cardboard box and a note. A note that only says:

“Another package will be arriving like the first, in 15 minutes. Be sure to carefully read and follow the instructions.”

And that’s it, no other instructions. Curiosity peaked, Rick cut past the tape and opened the box and gasped. A Kilt! Someone sent him a kilt, but not just any kilt, this is HIS kilt! Well, HIS tartan anyways. The Tartan that he and Cheri designed for their podcast! Exactly their tartan! It was perfect! He had been wanting to have someone make him a kilt with their tartan but hadn’t found anyone for the job yet. Questions raced in his mind as he basked in the purple perfection that laid before him. Who?? How?? His wife? No, she couldn’t have kept that secret. Cheri? No, she was still really annoyed with him about all that Alaska stuff he’d been teasing her about. It didn’t matter, it was perfect, as if he had commissioned it himself. But, there was no way that the size and length could be right too. He had to find out. Hurriedly he put the kilt on, and was shocked at how well it fit. Whoever sent this even got his length right! It was all so unbelievable.

It was at that time that there came another, Knock Knock KNOCK, at his front door. This time Rick ran to the front door and threw it open just as the last knock ended, but again, nobody was there. Just another, slightly smaller package, wrapped in the same brown paper. He picked up the package and looked around again, “Who is leaving these? Oh who cares, I wonder what’s in this box?”, Rick thought to himself before rushing back inside. Tearing the paper off this one, he almost forgot to look for the “important instructions” talked about in the last note, but there it was, just like the last. But this time, with more information.

The kilt you have received is magical
Inside this box you’ll find its match
A sporran with magic of its own
Together, a greater power they will Hatch

The perfection you see will multiply
Your stresses will become light
All your endeavours will be blessed
But upset this balance and feel the Bite

For these two magics are from the gods
And work together in harmony
Introduce a third magic to reveal the curse
Which will have forever left its dormancy 

Rick chuckles at the absurdity of the “instructions” unnecessarily presented in a poorly written poem and tossed it in the trash. Excitedly, he opened the box but is quickly disappointed in just how plain this “magical” sporran is. It was made with plain black leather, without any toolings, or adornments. In fact, the only thing that made this sporran stand out at all was the sides of it were not leather like the rest, but instead were made with the same purple tartan as the kilt, which was kind of a cool feature. It certainly made it obvious that these two were indeed a match. Even though Rick had sporrans that he liked much more than this one, he figured it was only right to wear this one, at least for now.

Putting it on, Rick was shocked at how he immediately felt different.. no … not different… he felt… better! All the aches and pains he had accumulated throughout the years seemed to melt away! Maybe there was some magic to these afterall.

Before he could think about that further, his wife came around the corner and gasped. Thinking that she was upset that he bought Another kilt, Rick scrambled to try to explain that this one was an unsolicited gift that showed up quite mysteriously. But he didn’t need to, because apparently “Kiltagra” is a real thing, and his wife immediately seemed to find him… irresistible.

Two hours later, Rick gave her a kiss goodbye and she drove away to the airport.

———

The rest of the day was, for a lack of a better word, amazing. It was a cool October day, perfect weather for a kilt and a sweater. The remodelers working on the downstairs of his house made a lot of progress, getting way ahead of schedule, and were able to save a ton on the costs when an old friend of Rick’s called out of the blue wanting to offer some left over building materials he had laying around.  He even had two new clients call him, begging him to do murals for them, and were quite generous in their offered payments.

After leaving the house, the day only got better. Somehow he managed to avoid all traffic and everywhere he went, people wanted to know about his purple kilt and all swore they would subscribe to his podcast right away. Three women even tried to give him their phone numbers, which Rick politely refused of course. And after having the best meal of his life at a local restaurant, he discovered that someone had already paid his bill for him. After all this, he had just enough time left to grab some beer, at a new liquor store that he’d been wanting to visit, on his way home to meet Cheri for their weekly podcast recording.

———

Rick had been home about 15 minutes when Cheri walked in. It was well after dark now and she had a long day at the office and was tired and really just wanted to go home, curl up in bed with a comforter, an over abundance of pillows, a bottle of scotch and watch Captain Reynolds outsmart the Alliance for the billionth time. Needless to say, she was really hoping they could record this episode quickly.

However, all of those concerns vanished when she walked upstairs and found Rick wearing THEIR tartan! Stunned, with her mouth agape, Cheri silently asked, “HOW?? WHEN?? WHERE??” As if reading her mind, Rick began to answer and tell the story about how someone had just sent it to him, omitting all the strange and mysterious parts as well as anything to do with magic and curses. It wasn’t that he didn’t think she would believe him, just that after having such a wonderful day, Rick completely forgot.

Hardly believing the luck Rick seemed to have sometime, and being a bit jealous as well, Cheri went back to business and they sat down and started recording.

———

“Hey there, Welcome to the Life in a Kilt Podcast! It’s time to kilt up and grab a beer.” Rick began. “I’m Rick”

“And I’m Cheri. ‘Kilt up and grab a beer’, I like that new tag line, did you just come up with that?” Cheri responded

“Actually the first part of that is what I said at the beginning of our very first episode. We put all that effort into coming up with a great tagline and I didn’t even realize we already had the perfect one – until a loyal listener pointed it out recently and added, ‘and grab a beer’ would be a good addition to it”

After the rest of the normal introductions Cheri was eager to get things going, ”So Rick, you got the beer this week, what are we drinking?”

“Well, it’s a new one that was recently delivered to that new liquor store down the street. It’s called ‘Scotty’s Kilt Lifter’ and its logo is what really caught my eye.”

“Oh my god, is that?!” Cheri gasped.

“It’s not, but it sure does look an awful lot like Scotty Wallace doesn’t it? I examined the crap out of it with the guy that runs the store.”

They poured their beer and gave it a taste, and immediately they both knew that this beer would be the first to surpass their rating scale and earn a 6 Kilt Pins. Almost as good as a Kilted Quartet.

“Where did you get this beer again?” Cheri asked.

“It actually has a really interesting name that I wanted to share. It’s named after the owner that sold me this beer. Let’s see, what was it?”

Suddenly annoyed again, “Would it be printed on the receipt?” Cheri suggested.

“Ah yes, here it is. Jubal Early’s Spirits! Really nice guy too”

After nearly choking on her recently swallowed beer and giggling, Cheri asked, “Jubal Early?”

“That’s what it says”

“Was he a lion?” she giggles again while Rick looks on confused. “Did he have a ‘Mighty Roar’?” she continues between giggles.

“Umm.. he has a very deep voice.. “, Rick offers still confused but enjoying seeing Cheri so tickled.

After a bit more laughter, they are finally able to continue on with the podcast. Rick talked all about his special gift, thanking whoever it was that sent it, and all about his good fortune throughout the day. It went on and on and on, and Cheri was starting to get annoyed again.

“I think we have some listener love questions don’t we?” Cheri asked, trying to get things moving again, “I remembered to bring the Ancient Magic Love Bone”

“Oh you found it, excellent! I’ve been wanting to.. ” Rick started, but Cheri didn’t hear him at all, because as soon as she removed the bone from her purse, she could have sworn that out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rick’s kilt shimmer for just a split second. She was about to say something, but instead checked the alcohol content of the beer and after reading “12%”, and seeing that Rick didn’t seem to notice the shimmer at all, she shrugged it off and went on with the show.

“You ready with that Love Bone Magic? “, Rick asked.

“Oh, umm, yeah. Let’s hear it.” Cheri responded, still a little flustered.

“Ok, well this question comes from Jason in Washington State. Jason writes, ‘I was in a relationship recently and I really thought things were going somewhere but she broke it off when her mom had some major medical issues come up. Her mom is doing better now and I was wondering if I should try to pick things up with her again or move on?’ Good question Jason, lets see what the Love Bone has to say.”

The bone began it’s familiar hum and glow and Cheri closed her eyes and was about to speak the wisdom imparted to her from it when she heard a sharp cry of pain come from Rick. She popped open her eyes and beyond the glowing from the bone she could see Rick holding his side, right along the waistline of his kilt, and had a pained and very confused look on his face. Cheri was about to ask him what was wrong when he cried out again, this time grabbing with his other hand across his stomach. Now Cheri was really getting concerned. She went to shut off the recorder and call 911, but before she could hit the button, Rick cried out even louder, nearly knocking their table over as he fell out of his chair. Rick was now doubled over in pain, reaching desperately at different spots around him, all along the waistline of his kilt. Cheri was now yelling at Rick, pleading with him to tell her whats going on. Rick didn’t hear a word though. His mind was solely focused on this horrific, stabbing pain. It felt as if four inch needles were being stuck into him all around his waist. Ten, twenty, then hundreds, maybe thousands of needles shooting into him one by one, burning as they took root inside him.

Cheri, seeing that the pain was focused around the kilt, frantically tried to undo the buckles to get it off of him, but the buckles were.. Gone! She tried getting a grip along the waistline to pull it off somehow, but there was no separation between the kilt and Rick. It was as if they had somehow blended together! And the shimmer that she thought she saw before was back. No, not a shimmer, she realized, the very surface of the kilt was… Moving! “What the fuck is going on?!” she screamed.

This time, Rick was able to hear her, to hear her question. “What the fuck was going on?!” He echoed inside his head. His mind began to race as the burning pain was now spreading throughout his body. “The CURSE!!” his memory screamed inside his head. Then he screamed aloud, “The CURSE! THE CURSE!” over and over. Barely keeping his feet, he looked up pleadingly at Cheri and could see the horror he was feeling reflected in her face. Although, now she wasn’t screaming…

Cheri saw something more. And it paralyzed her. It wasn’t just the unbelievable pain wracking every part of her best friend’s body that horrified her now. It wasn’t just that his skin was darkening and the pitch of his screaming began to lower. It wasn’t just that the kilt was falling apart as the millions of tiny purple and black spiders that made up the tartan began to crawl away.. It wasn’t even that the once plain black sporran had sprouted fangs and eight hideous eyes along the opening, as well as eight purple and black legs from the “tartan spiders” along its side and was now steadily crawling up Rick’s body, making its way to his face. No, the worst part was seeing Rick’s body contort in ways that shouldn’t be possible. His arms and legs elongated, twice their normal length. She watched helplessly as Rick’s hands began to split, starting between his middle and ring fingers. Through his hands at first, then through his forearms, all the way up to his shoulders. And the same was happening to his legs. Suddenly, Rick now had eight limbs, not four. The sporran spider had made its way to Rick’s face and had latched on, engulfing his entire head. Rick’s screams turned into muffled groans, then finally into a sort of chattering hiss sound. Like one that you would expect from a bug, only much much louder.

Cheri wanted to run now, more than she had ever wanted to run before. She screamed inside her mind, commanding her body to react. It was no good. She realized that she was not just unable to move, but that she had forgotten how. Forgot how to blink, how to breathe. Memories of childhood hallucinations flashed briefly in her mind, but this was no hallucination this time.

A single tear rolled down her cheek as she watched in perfect horror, this massive spider that was once her best friend, a man she used to love, creeped closer.

———

The next day, when the remodelers showed up to Rick’s house to begin the day’s work, they found the front door laying in the yard. They found streaks of bloody hand prints through the house, coming from upstairs. Which is also where they found hundreds of strange looking tiny spiders.

By the time the cops arrived, there was no sign of the spiders anymore, but they did find drag marks leading from the house, to a large tree about 250 feet away. And up in that tree is where they found the body of a blue haired woman, shriveled up and devoid of blood, suspended by a massive amount of spider webbing.

Rick was never seen or heard from again, but reports of an enormous arachnid dotted the country, steadily making its way northwest, to the forests of Alaska.

— © 2017 Grizzly
From Life In A Kilt Podcast‘s “Kilt Of Horrors 2017”

Kilt Of Horrors 2017

by Life In A Kilt Podcast