Has The Cat Got Your Tongue?

by anita marie moscoso 

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Flies

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Daisy Cutting was not normal- her parents knew it, her brothers and sisters knew it and her dog knew it too.

That’s why Tarzan lived under the porch instead of above it and if they could have the rest of Daisy Cutting’s family would have followed Tarzan under the porch too- but there wasn’t enough room for all of them.

So the rest of the family was forced to deal with their world with Daisy in it in their own way. The Cutting Family learned to be invisible- which was easy when all anyone really noticed was Daisy.

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On the day her parents found out they were expecting a baby their house burned down, on the day Daisy was born the sky above the hospital turned black.

Not from thunderclouds- from birds.

The noise they made was deafening and the smell was bad and then while they were in  mid-flight they died  and fell with soft wet thuds for miles around.

Mrs Cutting saw the rain of dead birds from her hospital window and she  raised her baby to her lips and whispered into Daisy’s ear, “what have you done Daisy? ”

Of course Daisy couldn’t answer because she wasn’t even an hour old but she did laugh and that’s when Mrs. Cutting saw Daisy already had teeth.

” Well, ” Mrs. Cutting said ” at least you don’t have horns too.”

Then Daisy laughed some more.

The funny thing about Daisy is that she never really laughed again after that day- she just smiled.

A lot.

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Daisy Cutting had a normal life- she had her own room, she had her own toys and she got two full grown black cats from her family on her 12th birthday.

Her cats, Potato and Chips didn’t hide under the porch when they saw her. Everyone including Daisy figured they hung around just to see what sort of odd thing she would come up with next but that was in the nature of cats and the Cutting Family understood that.

That’s why they got them for her.

So at least now Daisy had a couple of friends- which is what her family wanted. Daisy, if they had asked, would have told them she busy for a social life because Daisy was always busy working on her collections.

-like her Bug Collection.

Daisy had a  Bug Zoo in her bedroom.

Her bugs were in jars and plastic containers and in front of each little cage was a card with their proper scientific names and dietary habits.

Daisy also collected yo-yos that she displayed on her bookshelf and under her bed was Daisy’s Grave Collection- it wasn’t as organized as her bug zoo or her yo-yo collection.

Daisy collected those little candy boxes- the ones that 6 different pieces of chocolate come in. She’d buy a box or two a month, toss the pieces to Tarzan under the porch ( he buried them ) and then she’d take the empty boxes to her bedroom.

What Daisy liked about the boxes were the little pictures of smiling cherubs on the lids.

 It worked for what Daisy put in them.

At least once a month Daisy took the bus to Morning Ridge Cemetery in Duwamish Bay and she’d go from grave to grave snapping petals and leaves from the Grave Flowers.

She always did it in a way that didn’t disturb the arrangements- then she’d take the flowers home, dry them and put them in the little boxes.

Each box was numbered- Daisy had a map of the cemetery in her desk and when she got home she took the numbers and not the names from the Cemetery Map and copied them onto the inside lid of the boxes.

Daisy’s room was full of her collections.

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One Summer Mrs Cutting was in her kitchen reading the paper and drinking some juice when she looked down into her glass and saw two  flies drowning in her lemonade

She took a deep breath because she was about to yell for Daisy- and how fair was that? There were two black blowflies in her juice and the first words out of Mrs. Cutting’s mouth weren’t going to be “yuck”.

She was about to scream, ” Daisy!”

Instead she took the glass outside and threw the entire mess into the garbage can.

The next day Mrs Cutting found four blowflies in the refrigerator, two in the toilet and instead of yelling ” Daisy” she went to the store and bought some No Pest Traps.

It didn’t work.

It got worse.

Much worse.

By the third day there was family meeting in the Cutting home that didn’t include Daisy or her cats but did include Tarzan the Dog.

The result of that meeting was Mrs Cutting was sent up to Daisy’s room to see if the newest members of the Cutting Family had something  to do with Daisy’s Collections.

Mrs Cutting took a deep breath and before she knocked she her her daughter-sounding flustered and a little angry- which was something Daisy never did. Daisy never got rattled- so Instead of knocking she put her ear to the door.

” Hey you guys…give those back this minute…I’ve got you …let go of that Potato! Chips you’re next hand it over….come out from under there you two- I mean it.

You guys are in so much trouble”

Mrs. Cutting looked back down the hall and almost called for somebody- anybody to go with her into Daisy’s room.

But this was her daughter- and Mrs Cutting wasn’t about to forget that. To be honest, Daisy wasn’t the type of person you could forget even if you wanted to.

So Mrs Cutting took a deep breath and knocked on Daisy’s door.

From inside of the room came a meow, a couple of hisses and a lot of growling and then she heard a door slam.

Daisy called, ” come on in Mom.”

Daisy’s room didn’t have a few flies buzzing around the way they were in the rest of the house.

There were hundreds of them and when one landed on Daisy’s face and crawled around and flew off without Daisy flinching even once or trying to brush it away Mrs Cutting lost her temper.

” Flies Daisy? You’re collecting flies now? That’s…that’s… Daisy that’s not interesting, that’s just stupid. What were you thinking? Look at your room…look at the rest of the house. Young lady you are in so much trouble!”

Daisy was standing next to her closet door and from the inside Potato and Chips had started to shove their paws out from under the door and were trying to pull it open.

” Let them out Daisy…and answer me, what were you thinking?”

Daisy bit her lip and shrugged.

” What were you thinking Daisy? Answer me or did your cats get your tongue?

” No Mommy, ” Daisy said ” they don’t have my tongue…”

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It’s All In The Cards

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Story Prompt

Tarot Narrative

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Idell Galina tells fortunes and casts spells from her little store on Eastlake Road.

Of Course Idell can’t really see into the the future and she can’t really cast spells but she can tell a good story and she’s got a very winning smile and looks good in velvet so none of that really mattered until the night Denae Colquite came in and asked for a Reading.

On that night what Idell could or could not do mattered very much.

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Denae Colquite took a seat on the little wooden chair Idell offered her and she kept her purse in her lap. She even kept her jacket on, refusing to take it off when Idell asked for it. ” I know this is all- um, subjective. But I’m at a loss Miss-”

” Madam Galina ” Idell extended a long hand over the crystal ball that sat on the table between them.

Denae looked down at Idell’s left  hand and then she looked back up and said,  ” Miss Galina. ”

Idell shrugged pulled her hand back and slumped a little into her chair with her arms crossed over her chest and the air sucked out of her lungs. ” What exactly can I help you with …”

” Denae my name is Denae Colquite and I’ll get right down to it Idell- I need to know if one can escape their fate.”

Idell felt her Sea Legs come back, and she said ” Our fates are…”

” Yes, yes, yes, written on the sands or wind or something like that but Miss Galina the upshot is my fate is about to ruin my life and I’d like to escape that. So, can you help me or not.”

It wasn’t a question and it wasn’t a demand but Denae expected an answer all the same.

And it was obvious she wanted it now.

So Idell reached over to the counter to her left for a candlestick and she placed it next to the crystal ball and struck a match. Then she looked down into the reflection cast  by the small yellow flame and as she did Denae put her forehead on the table’s rounded edge and started to bang it up and down.

 ” Yes or no Madame Galina can you change a fate that’s been cast. Do you really need to look into the future to answer that question? Because if you’re that unsure of your present I don’t see how you can help me with the future.”

Without raising her head from the table Denae reached into her handbag pulled out a small box of playing cards and dropped it on the table.

” Here, it’s all in here. My Grandmother did a reading for me 10 years ago when I got married. It’s all there, in those cards. I need to know if I can escape it.”

Idell smirked a little and wiped it off her face as Denae looked up. ” Our futures, our destiny are constantly being rewritten, I see images, impression of things that could be. That’s what I can offer you in the way of help and guidance.”

Denae dropped her head back onto the table and mumbled, ” Well, damn. It’s starting to look like there is no way around this. No way at all. I mean the one person who can really pull this gig off was like a thousand percent right. You know, she was the real thing.I’ve been to hundreds of you people for the past ten years and all you guys have been less then…er talented then she was. Everyone said Grand was one in a million. I guess that was just the simple truth. She was one in a million.”

Denae got up and sighed ” How much.”

” An offering of 20.00 is appreciated.”

Denae got up and and put her jacket on. Then she opened her purse and dropped the offering on the table.

” Oh your…” Idell picked the box up.

” Cards- you can keep them I don’t need them anymore. I know what they say. They’ve been saying the same thing for 10 years now.”

And then as Denae walked towards the door the little flap on the bottom of the box slid open and the cards spilled out onto the table and the floor at Idell’s feet.

Idell reached down and picked up one of the cards. She could see they were ordinary playing cards with something written in spidery red script across their faces.

She held the card up to the light and she could see written in old fashioned script, ” My Granddaughter is going to kill you, run Miss Galina ”

Idell looked up in time to see Denae throw the deadbolt on the door. ” Don’t bother,  I told you…it’s all in the cards.”

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The Grave Tale of Bancho Church

 

from

the continuing adventures of

Sunny Longyear

by anita marie moscoso

a

Soul Food Cafe Project

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Bancho Church died back in 1954 when his car slammed into a tree out on Poplar Road in a town called Kilburne.

For over 50 years some people wondered what that terrible last hour was like for Bancho- and you’re about to find out.

Some people have all the luck. 

Bancho spent the last hour of his life wondering if he was going to be burned alive in the wreckage of his car. And as awful as it sounds that wasn’t the worst thing Bancho went through that night.

The worst part of it all- worse then the steering wheel burying itself in his chest, worse then the broken legs and dislocated shoulder, worse then the fact he could feel his ruined eye running down his cheek…worse then all of that was the awful fact that Bancho could see with his one good eye, just on the other side of the road-he saw someone watching him die.

And they were smiling.

That’s how Bancho Church’s story ends…and everyone else’s story begins.

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Sunny Longyear use to be a grave digger- she wasn’t the kind of Grave Digger you see in the old black and white horror films from the old days.

She used a backhoe to open the grave, she ran the machinery to lower the coffin into the ground and then she closed the grave and the entire time she worked she could take hits from her candy Pez Gun.

And even though she was a woman running a huge piece of heavy machinery and eating candy from a dispenser that had a frog’s head no one really ever saw her at work.

So on that day when everything in Sunny’s life changed, the day she looked down into the face of a small dark woman with eyes so black they looked like empty sockets in a snow white skull, she didn’t answer the woman’s greeting and she certainly didn’t realize the woman had asked her a question because she was listening to music on her cassette player.

The woman motioned for her to pull her headphones off and Sunny did.

” I said, hello ” the Dark Woman said, ” My name is Livia Cotard and you are-”

” Uh- Sunny, Sunny Longyear. ”

Sunny felt like she needed to fill up the space around herself with words and as she started to talk she had the unpleasant feeling that emptiness was being caused by the woman on the ground below her.

” I’m sorry, I’m not use to people- ” here Sunny searched for the right words and all she could think to say was, ” I’m not use to having people notice me.”

Livia Cotard’s smile was as bright as an exploding star ” that’s magnificent. Yes…that will do. So, my next question is- does Death bother you? ”

Sunny straightened up in her seat, pulled her Pez Gun from the front pocket of her work shirt and snapped the Frog’s head back. A little rectangle piece of cherry flavored candy shot into her mouth and she crunched it slowly.” You’re kidding right? ”

Livia Cotard motioned from Sunny to lean forward and she handed her a business card. ” I need for you to find a someone for me…”

” Miss Cotard…”

” Livia ”

” Livia, I don’t work with living people. I work with dead people. I bury dead people.” Sunny said hoping that she was making herself clear.

” Miss Longyear, I know what it is you do for a living, I asked if Death bothers you and you said no. Therefore you are the perfect person for the job I’m offering you. ”

Sunny who didn’t realize that not only was her life about to change and the world she use to know was about to end  laughed and asked, ” and what job is that? ”

” I need for you to find a friend- and it’s very likely that I’ll need for you to kill someone.”

Sunny spit what was left of her Pez out of her mouth and said, ” Are you freaking crazy? ”

” Oh…Miss Longyear don’t worry, the person I’ll need for you to dispatch is already dead- this isn’t like murder or anything like that. ”

” Oh, ha, ha, ” Sunny choked and she reached over to start the engine on the backhoe back up ” that’s a relief. I thought you were asking me to break the law or something wild like that…”

” No Miss Longyear, I’m not asking you to break the law. I’m asking you to help me find someone very important to me. I’m asking you to do whatever it takes to accomplish that. ”

Livia reached up again and handed Sunny a dust jacket from a book.” Gone To Croatan ” was splashed across the cover in red ink and there was a picture of a Woman with no eyes under the title.

” The man who wrote this died under horrible circumstances, but before he died all of his books disappeared. All that’s left is this, and of course the manuscripts. I bound those myself and they’re quite- ” Livia said with an unpleasant smile ” capable of taking care of themselves”.

“I’d like them found and returned to me. ”

Sunny turned the dust jacket over and looked down into the face of BanchoChurch.

‘Master Of The Macabre’ was written in the same red letters under his picture as the ones on the front of the cover and Sunny tried not to laugh.

 She had the feeling that she could have lit herself on fire and the Livia wouldn’t have batted an eye…but she didn’t think that Livia Cotard would sit still while she laughed at the picture of the late Bancho Church.

Sunny saw that Bancho didn’t look like the ” Master of The Macabre “

The face that Sunny saw looked like it should have been in a photograph of a teenager sitting at a Soda Fountain sharing a malted milkshake with a girl in a poodle skirt

” Looks like a kid. ”

” He was…once” Livia told her.

Sunny starred down into that darkness that was seemed to cover Livia Cotard’s face like a veil and she was glad for it. Whatever was under that darkness was best left just out of sight.

Sunny could feel that in her bones.

” There’s a train that leaves from behind Peebles Bookstore in Seattle- at the Prefontaine Station. Be on it Miss Longyear. ”

Then Livia pulled herself up straight and said as if she had been rehersing what she was about to say next for hours upon countless hours “Please.”

” That’s the train station where the fire was…” Sunny said

.” Yes.”

” Eighty years ago.”

Livia shrugged. ” Unless train stations in Seattle burst into flames on a regular basis- then we’re talking about the same one.”

” It’s off line now…I mean, there hasn’t been a train on it for years. ”

” That’s a relief. It would be another nasty mess if the train from Duwamish Bay comes through and there’s something on the tracks.”

” I see your point.” Sunny agreed.

” Then we can expect you Miss Longyear. ”

Sunny didn’t answer her because she really didn’t need to.

” I’m glad we’re already understanding each other Miss Longyear.”  Livia turned and walked deep into the cemetery and Sunny finished digging the grave.

That night Sunny Longyear left for Duwamish Bay

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Return to Owl Creek Bridge

and be there when Sunny Longyear

Meets Nightfall

from

Faraway

Join The Soul Food Cafe’s Writers Group

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The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, and The Digital Atelier is just one niche within Lemuria.

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager Heather Blakey  at

heatherblakey at dailywriting dot net

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Was Sunny Longyear Dead Wrong?

by anita marie moscoso

inspired by

the

Riversleigh Project

a

Soul Food Cafe Production

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Peebles Bookstore has cats in their window. 

Real cats, the kind of cats that meow and shed fur and sharpen their claws on your furniture.

They’re also the type of cats that spend all day waiting in the window for that one person to come into their store that will have an allergy attack requiring medication just so they can be ready to climb into their laps and watch them wheeze.

Those kinds of cats.

The owners of Peebles ( and the property of The Cats in The Window ) are fond of Swing Music and from the time the Bookstore opens until it closes the stereo is always on.

That’s the Peebles Bookstore Sunny Longyear went into 15 minutes to close last December.

Milton was stacking books on the counter for mail orders and his wife Avis was feeding the Cats when the bell above the door jingled. It surprised them both because the bell was tilted up and neither one of them had gotten around to fixing it.

At any rate, the bell tinkled and they felt a chill creep go around and over the counter and when they looked up Sunny was at the door.

She asked if they had a moment and when they said yes of course they did. Then Sunny looked over her shoulder and then from her right to left and she when she looked back at them she seemed puzzled.

” Sorry, ” she said, ” I wasn’t sure you could hear me.”

She walked by the Cats who took no notice of her and when she got up to the counter she looked at the clock and said, ” I’m sorry, I have to make this fast. I have a train to catch. I’m looking for books by an author called Bancho Church. Have you ever heard of him? “

Avis was the collectables expert at Peebles and she told Sunny, ” his graphic novels are impossible to find – in fact nobody has seen one since the 1950’s. ”

Sunny looked puzzled and then she spoke slowly and leaned forward. ” Graphic Novel. ”

” That’s code for ‘expensive comic book ” Milton said from his growing stack of books.

” I don’t understand, ” Sunny said ” I’m looking for books by Bancho Church. Not- uh…”” Graphic Novels. ”

Sunny looked around the store and said, ” this was the place, the print shop, I came to the right place I know I did. ”

” Of course you did Miss…. ” Milton started to say.

” Sunny, Sunny Longyear ” Sunny told him.

Avis told Sunny, ” Actually Bancho‘s- ” here Avis chose her words carefully because the customer is always right even when they’re dead wrong ” novels were  banned  by the Government back in the 1950’s.”

” You mean Graphic Novels ” Milton chimed in.

” Shut up Milt. Anyway Sunny, stories like Bancho‘s were seen as a threat to the moral fiber of  our youth.. Really though, in those times anything that led people to think outside of the box was considered subversive. So in the end Bancho‘s stories were collected and destroyed. You could be called Un-American for even owning a Bancho Church  book.

” See they made it law that couldn’t write about Werewolves, Ghouls, Vampires or Zombies. So that was the end of Bancho Church. “

Sunny looked up at Avis and  her dark eyes looked empty and sad, ” Yes it was…but the books- I’ve been hired to track them down and…”

” I’m sorry Miss, I’d really like to help you but…”

Sunny looked up at the clock and she said, I have to catch my train. Please, a start, a name, a place anything…my clients are very anxious to locate these works.”

Instead of turning to the door to leave Sunny started to squint again and she shook her head, ” I have to go…” she walked quickly towards the back of the shop. ” my train is there. ”

Then Sunny walked away from the counter and Avis saw her turn a corner and she called out thinking the woman must have terrible vision because she didn’t look or sound dumb enough to not be able to find a door that was right behind her  

” Miss the door is this way- ”

No answer and it was cold.

Without saying anything Avis and Milton both guessed Sunny had left through the Emergency Exit…she must have.

Avis looked at Milt and she shook her head. ” You go look.”

When Milton got to the back of the store he saw that the door was closed and the alarm it triggered when it was opened was quiet so the woman with bad eyes didn’t leave the store this way.

He checked the rows and then he went back to the Emergency Door.

He pushed it opened and it started to beep and he wondered as he looked out onto the remains of the Prefontaine Train Station- shut down and abandoned by the main line since the 1920’s-  if Sunny Longyear caught her train after all…

and what he would tell her when she came back.

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Come back  to

 Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge 

 and follow the continuing

adventures

 of

Sunny Longyear

in

The Grave Tale

of

Bancho Church

Tell Me About Azalee

by anita marie moscoso

inspired by the Soul Food Cafe story prompt

Fractured Fairy Stories

 

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When visitors go up to Picnic Point they wait for the Children, the Elderly or people with delicate sensibilities to walk away and then they’ll turn to someone like Carmelia Colven and say,  ” Tell me about Azalee Scarett. “

Then that person- in this instance it’s Carmelia- will make sure it’s just the two of you and then she’ll tell you all about Azalee. She won’t hold anything back- by the time she’s done you’ll feel like you know Azalee.

You can count on it.

Azalee’ s story starts on the day Mrs. Whimmer went to get her mail

Right beside her mailbox laying on its side was a little black shoe and Mrs. Whimmer wondered  ‘why on earth was there a little black shoe just sitting there without a child’s foot inside of it?’

It went without saying, Mrs. Whimmer thought, that one needed the other to function properly.

Then a few feet away from the shoe she saw something else and she thought over and over again; why on earth would there be a child’s arm and hand just lying there in the road instead of being attached to a child?

One couldn’t function properly without the other Mrs. Whimmer’ s brain screamed at her.

Poor Mrs. Whimmer, her brain never did stop screaming.

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Carmelia will take another look around and then she’ll lean a little closer and whisper-

So on the very same day they find the Greene kids scattered over a mile of road who should be standing there at the end of the road but Azalee.

She was leaning against a tree and picking her teeth with a tooth pick.

When she saw the Sheriff and the rest of the- well I guess you could call them a Search Party- she pointed to something in the middle of the road and she said ‘ I’m not sure, but that looks like a shin bone to me.’

And it was.

One of the men from the Search Party swears that when he reached over to pick up the little bone he heard a growl- and he was willing to swear on the life of his children that growl he heard came from Azalee.

 

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As the weeks wore on it wasn’t just parts of the Greene children they found on the road in front of Azalee’ s house- they found the rib cage of a bear, the hind quarter of a cow, fish with their heads torn off and upon occasion small brittle bones stained by the soil they had rested in undisturbed for who knows how many years.

Then after month and month of finding dead things scattered along Burbeck Road some people in town started to feel like maybe they should have a talk with Azalee.

Maybe, a few people thought she’d seen or heard something.

The only reason no one had spoken to Azalee up to that point was simple. No one could believe that a woman could have anything to do with a cow being torn apart and scattered around like confetti. Yes, even though it looked like most of those parts were littering the ground straight up to Azalee’ s door.

So it was just before Christmas when the snows came and the roads iced over and four empty graves were found at the Abernethy county cemetery that moved the County Law Enforcement figured a conversation with Miss Scarett was in order.

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Even though plenty of people had seen Azalee in town and walking along the road to her home there were no tracks around her house or going up to her door. That’s what the Sheriff and his Deputy noticed when they went to Azalee Scarett ‘s house bright and early on a Tuesday morning. 

I guess you could say it was quiet as a grave out there.

They were about to knock on the door when they heard a cracking sound and then a pop and then the Deputy looked down to where his arm use to be and then he sank down to his knees and all you could hear was the dieing man’s final breath.

It was as loud as a gunshot.

When the Sheriff turned around Azalee was standing there with her hand covered in blood and the Deputy’s arm at her feet and then she smiled and said, ” Hell of a morning, isn’t it Sheriff. “

And then she smiled.

 It didn’t matter to the Sheriff that he was younger and taller and stronger then Azalee- never mind that he had a gun too.

He didn’t have Azalee’ s teeth- so he ran.

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It’s sort of a town scandal- how all these people let an old woman murder at least a dozen people- 4 were children. Not to mention what was going on in that Cemetery and those animals.

So one morning there was a fire, right here at Picnic Point.

No one knows how it started but they do know that hanging from a downed tree was a burned up piece of rope and in the ashes were buttons from a woman’s dress.

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The way the town ended this thing was to demolish Azalee’ s house-, which by the way was dusty and empty except for a few things they found in the kitchen.

Oh, and the place where the fire was? They turned it into a park and called it Picnic Point.

Which is pretty twisted when you consider what Azalee was suppose to be doing to her victims.

” And what was that…exactly ” you’ll ask Carmelia with a wince.

And then Carmelia will tell you,

 Fee fi fo fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman:
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!