How Does My Garden Grow?

by anita marie moscoso


I recently answered a comment about what it takes to write a Supernatural Story and this in part was my answer. I also thought it would be fun to ‘show my work’ and explain a little of how I go about writing stories for Owl Creek.


I’d have to say  anyone who’s ever been in a situation where your heart raced and you felt scared or angry or alone can write a ‘ camp fire ‘ ghost story.

Of course I can’t tell you HOW to write- but here are a few things you should keep in mind when you take this genre on:

The  Supernatural ( and I mean all aspects of it ) are based firmly in psychology. If you leave that element out you get the typical blood and guts horror stuff.

Now, that not scary, it’s just gross.

The next thing to keep in mind is that the best ghost stories or supernatural stories always, always, always deal with one small grain of reality and you can’t loose sight of that- once you do you’re going to make your readers feel ’safe’ and you’ll lose them.

They won’t experience your story at all because you’ve removed them from it.

As a writer WHY on Earth would you do that?

Like in Not Quite Alice the little boys who start the fire on the Ferris Wheel are just two normal little kids. The Circus people are actually from the ” Twilight Zone” but guess who turns out to be the Monsters in the end?

That’s right, the human characters.

And because the boys are two kids who could be living right next door to you  right now…that’s much more scary then any Circus Folk  working in a Sideshow.

I got the idea for IOU from a story I read on -line about how people don’t really like to share seats on a bus or train and the little things they do to make sure people WON’T sit next to them.

I was fascinated by that because I see it all the time.

Back to IOU, this guy works in Heaven and Lives in Hell- his Boss is God and the Devil is his Landlord and the train is a demon but they’re not what your unnerved by.

You’re unerved by the guy who shoves two souls into oblivion so that he won’t have to live next door to them in Hades.

All of that is subtext really and I didn’t dwell on it- what gets you is the guy shoving the people off the train with his bare hands- nothing supernatural there. But you can relate because a lot of us poor souls have been hurt at the hands of another at one point in our lives.

And THAT is scary.

So if you feel inclined to tell you’re own Scary Story just remember there are no rules with this genre, just ‘keep it real’ as the kids say and you’re story will go a very long way- Into the Eternal Night-

Good Luck


thanks to Jan2 and Edith for the inspiration!



by anita marie moscoso

inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt



Buckbee Parsall took the late train home because he was never really in a hurry to get back Danuta- which is the town he called home nowadays.

He’d fiddle around at his desk, he’d empty the trash for the janitor and sometimes he’d even help the boss reconcile invoices that weren’t even from his department.

Buckbee would do anything to keep himself from having to catch that train.

” What’s the matter Buckbee? ” his Boss would ask ” Things a little rough at the old homestead?”

” It’s Hell boss ” Buckbee would say and his Boss would pat him on the shoulder and he would smile a real smile of understanding and instead of saying a bunch of meaningless drivel he’d just say to lock up when he left.

Every single day of his life ended just like that.

Last Friday Buckbee manged to make the last train (much to his disappointment).

Then like always he took his seat and started to prepare himself for home.

They didn’t use wood and nails and cement and paint when they built Buckbee Parsall’s home – Buckbee’s little house of doom built on Down Turn Drive was constructed from whining and crying and self-pity and hatred and just about every Vice known to man.

If there was something you could do wrong in this life Buckbee’s did it first and best.

At least he was good at something- being rotten and filled with self-loathing to the core didn’t happen over night. Buckbee knew that sort of task requires skill and commitment from an individual.

So after Buckbee took inventory of his life he jumped in and started  swimming in a Sea of Despair right there on dry land. That’s  when Carew Orchard and Rucker Mead took the seats right in front of him.

The woman was Carew and right away she starts talking about how easy it was to convince her Mother- who seemed to have problems remembering who she was from hour to hour- to sign a bunch of blank checks.

” She owes me ” Carew snapped to her companion ” I’m just sorry she won’t remember it was me that robbed her blind at the end of her stupid life.

My Mother had the same hairstyle for over 30 years and she collected ashtrays. That’s it…that was my mother. She didn’t care how much that weird stuff affected me ”

Rucker told Carew ” That’s like my wife- that woman never appreciated me. I slaved at that Firm for over 40 years to get the house and the cars and the vacations…and it wasn’t like I didn’t share that with her. So she finds out I have a little life for myself on the side and she falls to pieces and throws herself off a bridge.

 Do you know what happens after she pulls that stunt? I get hate mail from people because when they tried to talk her off the rail they shut the highway down and people were stuck in their cars for hours. She couldn’t just stay home and do herself in like a normal person. But that was my darling wife- selfish to the core. ”

Buckbee just about got sick at the sound of those two Olympic Class Whiners when he heard Carew ask Rucker, ” So how far is it to Danuta? ”

And then Buckbee did get sick and they stopped the train.


Buckbee could tell Carew and Rucker didn’t want to really be the ones to help him from one car to the next, but the Conductor was a friend of Buckbee’s and it was such a small favor to do for a guy whose life was a living Hell.

The Conductor collared Carew and Rucker and asked them to help Buckbee to his seat. They looked up into that pale slack face and couldn’t really say no.

So they each took an arm and started to walk Buckbee to the next car.

When they were between cars Buckbee grabbed his mouth and through his slightly parted fingers he hissed, ” I’m going to be sick again…”

As Carew and Rucker jumped back Buckbee slid the side door open and he shoved them both out onto the tracks.

The tracks that ran over bottomless pits  instead of  Earth and tracks that went through lakes of fire instead of tunnels.

Then Buckbee went to his seat and from his briefcase he pulled out a blank invoice that read

Heaven and Hades Inc.

And on one of the lines Buckbee Parsall wrote:

IOU 2. 


And Today’s Special Is

by Anita Marie Moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt:

Lunch Box Spy

I used this exercise to work on a character sketch for a Werewolf Story I’m working on. I love any activity that focuses on dialog and this exercise can be used in to do exactly that. Of course you could follow the directions or you could play with it like I did.
So here’s my Lunch Box Interview with Al Dente

Over the lips
passed the tongue
watch out stomach
here it comes.

-Lunch Time Prayer uttered by Students all over the world


Tell me about your lunches.
“They talk too much. ‘ Don’t eat me…eeekkk, help’ Stuff like that. Same old same old day after day. Its not exactly stimulating conversation.”

What can you tell me about the lunches you eat?
” After awhile they all taste like chicken.”

What do you remember about your school lunches?
” Oh, the good old days. Back then I use to love the hunt. Chase ’em down and chow them down. Now the arthritis is setting in. Plus, there’s nothing sadder then a Werewolf with bad eyes trying to catch its lunch. Especially when you trip and your lunch laughs…”

Were there any family jokes about what you liked to eat?

“I went through the alphabet…like all my lunch’s names had to start with the letter ” A”. After awhile my family started to call me Alphabetti Humanetti. Anyway, the villagers got wise to me and started to number their kids instead of naming them. I almost starved to death”

Who made your lunch?
“Uh…are you kidding? What did you skip biology class? Like you really don’t you know where babies come from?”

Were you ever able to buy a lunch?
“This Ogre named Calvin use to sell lunches. He was a nice guy. But the lunches were caged and they tasted funny. Real gamy. They must’ve been bottom feeders.”

What did they stock in the school canteen?

“Most of the time it was Damsels in Distress and Dragon Slaying Knights. By the end of the week they’d stew whatever was left over. It was BORING.”

Did you ever slip across the street with your mates to the fish and chip shop?
“Yes, of course we did! And after we ate the cooks and patrons we use to dump the fish back into the Bay.”

Did any one in your class have a better lunch than you? What did they have? Were you ever able to swap with them?
“I use to swap Werewolf Hunters for Vampire Hunters with my friend Carl. The Vampire Hunters were my favorite cause they’d try this Kung Fu fighting stuff on me.It was so funny. Sort of like dinner theatre. But the best part were these bow and arrow things some of them carried around. I’d use the arrows for a little something I invented called Hunter Kabobs.
Hunters on a Stick. Gosh I loved those…especially with catsup.

Where did you eat your lunch? Who ate their lunch with you? Did you eat alone?
“Werewolves are social animals you know and we don’t like to eat alone. So I ate my friends and family. Oh no wait…I mean I eat WITH my friends and family”

What do you have for lunch now? Do you still own a lunchbox? Do you make your lunch or buy it?
“I skip lunch now and I eat healthier then I use to. I’ve gone back to my old ways and the Village I live in now has very clean living livestock. And yes I do have a lunchbox. It’s that big box behind you with the little gold handles. Very good, it’s a coffin. Thank you for noticing.”

Who makes the best lunches

“Those Villagers down the road…. they’re really into physical fitness and they really work on things like running. Wow and let me tell you they can do that darn fast.I mean, no matter how big or small young or old you should see those little legs work!”

Do you eat the same thing every day?
“Of course I do…nature of the beast you know.”

Is there a lunch that still haunts you?
“They all do my friend…they all do.”

What is the worst lunch you have ever eaten?


What is your favorite place to buy lunch?


“Noses and Toeses On The Pier”

Would you buy from a school canteen?


“Sure I would, especially if they serve Students on Rye.”