“Syndrome” by Eric Mathieu from Glitterwolf: Halloween (October, 2014). Edited by Matt Cresswell.

A black tail. Pointy ears. Claws. Where had I seen this before?

That’s what the main character of this story wonders during a sleepover at his boyfriend’s house, after he spies a strange creature during the night.

I don’t know where he’s seen that combination of things before, but I have been reading stories like this all year long and let me tell you, I thought I knew where this particular story was headed.

As it turns out, I was wrong.

Just what the heck is going on in this story is never really explained, but that was okay. I took it at face value and was completely creeped out by it, at a time of the year when that was precisely what I was after.