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Spanish Mission by K.B. Spangler


Overview: K.B. Spangler lives in North Carolina with her husband and two completely awful dogs. They live in the decaying house of a dead poet. She is the author and artist of the webcomic, "A Girl and Her Fed," and author of novels and short stories. All projects include themes of privacy, politics, technology, civil liberties, the human experience, and how the lines between these blur like the dickens.


Spanish Mission by K.B. Spangler Book Chapter One


Fucking chupacabras.

All right, I know. I know, all right? I’m working on the swearing. The dead nun was pretty insistent about that. Besides, I’m past due to drop it as a filthy habit: nobody in the history of modern medicine has been wheeled into the ER and wanted to hear their doctor shout, “God-damn, son, I bet I could fit a beer can in that bullet wound!” And yes, yes, you’re right, there’s no such thing as a chupacabra. However, as I’ve just learned there are such things as ghosts who can take the form of a chupacabra, and since there are currently forty of these jerks chasing me across the Sonoran Desert, I think I’m going to double down.

Motherfucking chupacabras.

While I’m at it? The ghost of Thomas Paine is an asshole, too.

Put a pin in the chupacabras. We’ll get to the chupacabras, but it takes a few days to go from when my buddy Mare learned about ghosts to the undead cryptid murder brigade.

We begin, as so many things have, with Thomas Paine.

(That asshole.)

A couple of days ago, Thomas Paine—yes, that Thomas Paine, American legend and Founding Father—appeared in Mare’s kitchen. He did this in spite of the fact that the Founding Fathers had promised to avoid my husband’s coworkers. Swore up and down they’d leave them alone. But no, that bloody Englishman decided he knew better. So? He decided to introduce himself to his great-great-great-etcetera niece.

Mare was certainly not expecting to meet her dead great-etcetera uncle in her own home. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but Mare got enough of the basics from Paine to learn that the dead still walk the earth, and that her boss, Patrick Mulcahy, knows all about it.

My part in this story began when I got home from a long day of exams and a longer evening with the usual meet-and-greets with doctors and my fellow med students. I found a note from my husband, the aforementioned Patrick Mulcahy, on the counter next to a bowl of dry cereal:


Emergency. Might be LBF-related. I’ll call if you’re needed.


I grumbled about our Little Blue Friends, ate the cereal, and went to bed with my phone on the pillow. I don’t remember anything between that and when my husband shook me by the shoulder.

“Hope?” he whispered. “Hey, sweetie, get up. You’re needed.”

“Medical?” I mumbled. A medical emergency would—

“Ghosts,” he said.

I rolled over, threw off the covers, and spend the rest of the journey to the living room trying to remember how to walk. Feet were involved, that was obvious, but there was an order to them which eluded me. When I finally got downstairs, I found Mare wearing a path through the cherrywood floor from pacing (figuratively), and clutching the koala to her chest (literally).

If you don’t know about the koala, I’ll get to him later. The short-short version is: he’s very smart, very talkative (again, literally), and happens to think Mare is the bee’s knees (again, figuratively).

Also? If you want to tap out now because of the talking koala, nobody’ll blame you. He is by no means the weirdest monster in my life. See: horde of chupacabras. And there was that minotaur last year, but he’s dead now. Deader.


Chaos—this is chaos.

Deep breath.

Forget the chupacabras. The chupacabras will have to wait their turn.

Lemme start over.


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