#3. Laos: Phaya Naga
It's easy to feel a little down in the morning, as you slump over your wilting shitflakes and ruminate on the day of savage tedium that lies ahead. However, such existential misery can be allayed simply by saying to oneself, "No matter how dull, desperate and lonely my life has become, I nevertheless live in a world where fish can launch fireballs."
On certain stretches of the Mekong River, an evening walker can behold a magical sight. At around 8pm during the full moon of October, hundreds of egg-sized balls of red flame rise from the water like a myriad misdirected Hadoukens, floating up towards the stars, where they quietly disappear. Locals claim that these fireballs are caused by an eel called the Phaya Naga, specimens of which have allegedly been found.
According to legend, the fireballs are an offering of thanks to Buddha, which seems a little ill-advised, even if you are a deity, your first reaction to being pelted with fireballs is probably not going to be, "You're welcome."
In 2003, reporters from a Thai television station claimed that the fireballs were simply tracer bullets, fired as part of the Buddhist celebrations. The Laotian government responded by arresting the reporters.
How Do We Kill It?
Our experience with creatures like this says that they move in a predictable pattern, and will have one vulnerable spot that is usually glowing red. Each successful strike at that spot should get it to drop power-ups and three strikes should finish it.
If however the phaya naga in fact just an armed, unruly crowd, it's probably better just to go with the flow. Aim your gun at the sky and join them in trying to shoot down Buddha.
#2. Philippines: Tikbalang
Otherwise known as "The Reason Furries Still Dare To Dream" the Tikbalang is a tall, hairy humanoid with the head of a horse and legs so long that they stretch above its head when it sits down. Like the Manananggal, it makes its home in the deep forests of the Philippines, where it tries its best to convince everyone that detachable torsos are for retards. Tikbalangs are said to be transformations of aborted fetuses that have been sent back to Earth from limbo, which is nice.
Folklore differs on the Tikbalang's character. To some, he is simply a trickster, enticing his victims into the forest to taunt and slap them mercilessly, then vanishing and leaving them to make their own way home. In other words, a total prick.
Others give him a much more demonic aspect, claiming that he is a red-eyed hellbeast who hoof-stomps the poor victim while smoking a huge cigar. All agree that he can perfectly mimic the appearance of friends and loved ones, and that his transformation is heralded by the strong smell of tobacco. And that he's a prick.
The Tikbalang distracts its pursuers by farting Lucky Charms.
The only thing that makes us think this isn't an invention of the furries is the total pictorial absence of female Tikbalangs with disturbingly huge breasts.
How Do We Kill It?
It may not be necessary, since it is possible to avoid the Tikbalang's attention by turning one's clothes inside out. It is probably best not to probe too deeply into the logic behind this. We are, after all, talking about a cigar-smoking horse monster whose favorite pastime is slapping people.
#1. Europe: Rat King
This is the historical version of the Transformers. Thanks to the wondrous adhesive power of excrement, several rats become joined at the tail, combining to form one writhing mass of filth and squeaks that spins through town like a horrendous plague-tipped cartwheel.
In Medieval times, seeing a rat king was taken as a bad omen, which was a bit of a no-brainer, really. You don't have to be Nostradamus to think, "Hmm, I am currently looking at a huge ball of shit-covered rats slathering a path straight towards my face. I predict that bad things will soon happen."
There are actual specimens of these in museums. The first recorded sighting of a rat king was in 1596. Sightings became rarer in the 1800s, after black rats were supplanted in Europe by their brown cousins, whose tails are presumably too slick with baby tears and the blood of puppies to entwine properly.
A man dances gaily with a stick, unaware of the squeaking terror that stalks him!
How Do We Kill It?
Since rats trapped in this way would eventually die of starvation or dismember themselves in an effort to escape their knot of filth, the best thing to do is just lock your doors and wait inside for the next month or so.
In fact, survival of the rats in such a situation would be so tenuous that most scientists believe the rat king specimens in the museums to be hoaxes, though none of them deny the existence of the one that is RIGHT BEHIND YOU, OH SHIT!
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