The Strange Tale of Waldgrave Jaborandi

 

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inspired by a true story

They found the last body on Mourning Ridge just before sundown

The Sheriff was there and so was her deputy and Borgia Sainbury the Chief Undertaker of Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home was there too. Borgia looked up at the Sheriff and said “ that makes 46”.

The headless corpse had been tied to the ornate iron gate that separated Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home from the rest of the world. It was a messy set of human remains and it was starting to attract flies that the women flicked away from their faces when one of the pests settled to close to their eyes.

In the back seat of the Sheriff’s Jeep a set of dark red eyes glared at them and a voice called to them in a long dead language that they all understood, “ It wasn’t me! Do you hear me? It was him it was Abendroth Danvers! He’s back! Listen to me I’m innocent!”

They all laughed as the sunset because no matter how you looked at it that was a pretty funny comment to be coming from a Demon.

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After he was booked and then convicted by the Sheriff and the Merchants Association of Duwamish Bay the Sheriff began as she had for years and years to prepare for the execution of her inmate.

“ Do you have to do that in front of me? “

The Sheriff looked up and said, “ as a matter of fact I do Danvers. You know the rules. You’ve lived here long enough”

“ I’m not Danvers, I’m Waldgrave, Waldgrave Jaborandi. I’ve told you. I’m not Danvers. Not now anyway”. Waldgrave sounded so scared that Sarah almost dropped the metal sling and the rope in her hands.

When she saw it was just Waldgrave she went back to work.

“ Look Waldgrave. Answer me this… are those Danver’s hands? Danver’s teeth?  Well are they?”

“ Yes they are.”

“ Good then we understand each other. Those hands killed 46 people in the past four months and those teeth well, those teeth acted in the crimes too. That’s all I care about. You were in possession of those so you are responsible. Sorry.” Of course she didn’t sound sorry. It wasn’t a Warden or a Sheriff’s job to feel sorry.

“ Listen to me, Danvers is coming back.  I couldn’t stop him.”

“ Oh, and I’m sure you tried very hard to do that.”

“ Yes I did Sheriff. I don’t care what you think of me but that’s the truth. I like it here. I don’t want to leave. I wouldn’t have done anything to endanger myself or my home here.”

Then Waldgrave saw what the Sheriff had in her hands and he looked up and whispered, “ my neck…you’re going to break my neck.”

Then he turned away from her and slid to the floor cradling his head in his hands “ I can’t believe this. Its not right”

“ Listen Waldgrave…46. Four – Six, 17 were from Duwamish Bay. That wasn’t right either.”

“ 98.” He said .

“ What?”

“98” Waldgrave told her, “ You forgot to check Lake Undercroft. It’s 98”

And so it was.

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The next night Sheriff Guzman and her Deputy prepared Waldgrave for his execution.

When they were done tattooing his face and after they had cut off his left hand  Sarah and her Deputy  drove him out to Lost Harbor Road and to the oak tree they kept out there for nights just like this one.

Next to Waldgrave on the seat was coiled piece of rope, a burlap bag dotted with small red stains and of course the ax.

Waldgrave looked out of his window so that he didn’t have to look at what was on the seat next to him. He watched the Harbor Gorge fill with unnaturally blue moonlight and he knew the air outside the car was turning fetid and humid. It always did on execution nights.

He asked “ You know what will happen if you break my neck before you execute me. “

“ That’s the idea.”

“ But I didn’t commit those murders, Danvers did. The very most I’m guilty of is demonic possession and that wouldn’t even get me life in Sawajinn. You could even have my sentence commuted to Fallen. Why are you doing this? “

The Sheriff slammed the brakes on and before the vehicle was at a full stop she was outside of the Jeep and throwing open the back door. She reached in for Waldgrave and pulled him out and threw him up against the car hard enough to shatter the bulletproof window.

 “ Do you honestly want me to believe that a demon clever enough, strong enough to hide in the same body for over 100 years was powerless to stop a mortal, a flesh and blood mortal from killing 98 people? Its bull and you know it Waldgrave.”

“ It’s the truth Sarah!” He tried to pull his face away from Sarah’s teeth.

“ They’re mortal Sarah, they’re not stupid and they’re much stronger then any of us give them credit for. You’re executing me because you’re afraid. You all are. Because if one psychotic human could best me that means all of you…all of us aren’t as safe as we’d like to think we are here in Duwamish Bay. Killing me won’t change that. “

Then the Sheriff reached through the open door, grabbed the ax and swung it down over Waldgrave’s chest.

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It was Waldgrave and Waldgrave alone who finished the ride to Fallen Penitentiary that foggy night.

Danver’s Heart was wrapped in Sarah’s jacket and rode next to Waldgrave.

When Sarah looked into her rearview mirror the face that looked back at her from the back seat wasn’t a twisted demonic face, it didn’t have horns or red skin or a forked tongue.

Waldgrave Jaborandi looked middle aged and ordinary and he had very straight white teeth. Of course his eyes were blood red and when he talked the air seemed to chill slightly but in Duwamish Bay it wasn’t polite to point things like that out.

So Sarah didn’t.

“I’ve decided Sawajinn isn’t appropriate for you in this case” Sarah heard Waldgrave catch his breath and she could hear him saying something, or was he crying? It was hard to tell. She’d never heard a Demon make a sound like that before.

“ It’s 500 years in Fallen Waldgrave and that’s firm. You’ve been convicted of the Crime of Demonic Possession.  I took off 100 as time served.”

“ Thank you Sheriff, thank you.” Waldgrave told her.

As they drove up to the darkened barred windows of Fallen Sarah told Waldgrave, “ I’m sending Danver’s heart to Sawajinn, it’s the most I can do for you and it’s the best I can do for his victims. I mean he’s going to rot in a prison designed for, well, the kind of people that live in Duwamish Bay. You couldn’t pay me enough to watch what’s going to happen to him there. Still it’s 98 dead, but if you wouldn’t have been there…who knows how much worse it could have been.”

Then Sarah asked and you could hear that she probably already knew what Waldgrave was going to say “answer me this Waldgrave, was Danvers human?”

“ I’m sure of it.”

Shadows gathered around the Jeep and then the Wardens rose up out of the darkness.Sarah kept her hands on the steering wheel and tried very hard to keep looking straight ahead.

One of the Wardens opened the Jeep door and the other reached in and motioned for Waldgrave to step out. ” You know Sheriff, I am afraid. ”

Sarah  was looking far away into the darkness and she thought of that dark human heart that shouldn’t exist being taken to the dark Prison at the end of the world and she said, “ we all are Waldgrave, we all are.”

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HEART OF THE GRAVAMINA

 

by anita marie moscoso

Inspired by

the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt:

Anchors and Harbors

Gravamina: The part of a charge or an accusation that weighs most substantially against the accused.
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Starving and near madness I am at the end of my life and I’m sailing to the End of The World on a ship called Gravamina, and she’s perfect for this Journey because she knows Death.

She is herself as dead as the Black Waters I sail across, as dead as the Crew that still haunt her decks and tend to her needs. She is as Dead as the Corpses that lie in the Catacombs I stole her compass from a week ago.

“ Finding the Gravamina won’t be as hard for you as it is for others. You’ll need the Heart of The Gravamina to find the Caravanserai,” the Hanged Man’s Skull whispered to me from his shelf in my library. “ But tell me, why do you want to join the Caravanserai?”

I walked to the shelf and turned the sectioned skull towards me and looked into his empty eyes and said, “ Because I’m tired of you, I’m tired of this house and I’m very tired of pretending to be something I’m not.”

“ You trail Death behind as if it were a train on a woman’s gown Azi Dahaka. When the Caravanserai become wise to you…they’ll destroy you and then you’ll join me here on this shelf and we’ll have nothing for company except each other’s Sins.

I took the Hanged Man’s Skull from the shelf and wrapped it carefully in linen decorated with a language no living person has ever spoken. “ You wish,” I told it. Then with the Skull, and nothing else in my possession I went into the world to find the Heart of The Gravamina.

The Hanged Man’s Skull told me on our long journey to the Catacombs about the Heart of The Gravamina and why it is entombed and the rest of the Gravamina rots in a Grotto below the City.

Then Hanged Man started his story not with ” once upon a time” He Started his story with “the Heart of The Gravamina doesn’t beat like a drum.

The Heart of the Gravamina screams.”

“All Ships are alive, you know that Azi Dahaka and the Gravamina was alive too…maybe more so then any of her Sisters

Once long ago something dark and wicked boarded The Gravamina and killed her crew.

Now, it was assumed it was the Plague, but of course it wasn’t…it was a Demon and it drained the blood and life from every living thing on board the Gravamina and with no crew the Gravamina drifted and dreamed.

And then she went mad.

Like most Insane things the Gravamina was very good at pretending to be normal and after she was repaired and sold and even re-named she sailed and reacted to her world, as any Ship should

But then she started killing things.

She took the lives of her crew, the fish that swam around her as she sailed the Seas and when she was bored she made the food and water and wine go bad that had been stored below her decks.

Then one day a young sailor whose mother was a Witch and whose father was a Demon from the Mountains boarded the Gravamina and she tried to kill him to…for sport.

But he knew what to do and he tore her Compass from her chest and he took it to the Catacombs and he buried it.

He buried it alive.

So the Heart of the Gravamina Screams in anger and rage and the rest of her dreams and rots and then one day a woman named Azi Dahaka went down into those tombs and brought it back out.

Azi Dahaka put the Compass back into her chest and the Gravamina’ s Sails captured a long dead gust of wind and her Crew came from the darkness and now they are all sailing to a port where this is dancing and music and art and poetry.

And Souls.

Lots of them. And Azi Dahaka is very, very hungry.”                                                                                         

IN A WICKED MIDNIGHT GARDEN

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by “The Faraway Project”

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There is a woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping and Death visits her from Faraway at Midnight.

Death finds her in her long dead garden tending to weeds and thorns and sticker bushes and poisonous plants and as she harvests and picks and adds each deadly plant to her basket woven from human hair Death shudders and hides in the Shadows and is grateful the Woman can’t see him.

All the same she knows Death is there and when she senses it, she reaches into her basket and lifts one of the plants to her lips and pushes it into her mouth.

 She chews and swallows and screeches into the darkness, “ Where are you? Why aren’t these working…someone tell me why this isn’t working! “

 Death would squeeze it’s eyes shut if it had eyes, so instead it raises it’s pale cold hand to it’s empty eye sockets and covers it’s face the best it can.

It’s fingers press against it’s mouth and it does this to keep from calling out, from screaming because the Woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping is a corpse and a shell and once long ago she murdered a man.

He was the husband of a woman who came from a place called Sawajinn, and a very long time ago the former resident of Sawajinn cursed the woman who is voiceless from wailing woman over her husband’s poisoned body.

The Weeping Woman would never die; she would never meet her own Death.

The Weeping Woman was cursed to meet her victim’s Death.

 His Death comes from Faraway every night at Midnight and watches her from the upper branches of a dead twisted oak tree. Of course his Death can’t take her, it only visits her and then it leaves her at each sunrise. Before it leaves Death shows her something it carries in its left hand.

It shows her a small bottle of white powder and it holds it up and the Woman sees it. She knows what it is, the little bottle once belonged to her, after all.

She puts her hands out and calls, “ Please, please give it to me, take me with you. I can’t live like this anymore! “

Death can see her in the half light and it can see the maggots and flies tangled in her hair, crawling from the corners of her eyes. It can smell her flesh rotting on her bones and it can hear the skin on her legs and back splitting apart.

I’m not your death. But I’ll visit you, I’ll never stop visiting you.”

“ I can’t.”

And as the Sunlight works it’s way into the shadows cast by deadly sweet blossoms and fragrant green leaves dripping with deadly venom Death leaves for Faraway and the woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping begins her wait for Death to visit at Midnight.