RSVP

antique6401.jpg

Valaria Aberdeen’s house stands alone on Brier Road and it stands alone because no one will go near it.

There were other houses up there too, but they’re gone now and all that’s left of them are their foundations. In some lots you might window frames and screens stacked in sloppy piles and here and there are wooden chairs and mailboxes.

And then there’s Valaria’s House.

There is no furniture in Valaria ‘s House but there is a mirror at the end of a hall where the doors rusted off of their hinges years and years ago.

The mirrors face is so clear that you might think you were looking out of an open window, in fact if your were standing in front of it right now I’ll bet you’d even put your hand out and touch the glass just to make sure that it wasn’t an open window.

The funny thing is-that’s exactly what the mirror is.

That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

antique6401.jpg

Every Halloween the Aberdeen Family hosted a Halloween Party.

Everyone wore costumes, everyone bobbed for apples, everyone somehow ended up in the attic to tell ghost stories and then everyone would stumble down Brier Road to their houses by moonlight leaving a trail of candy wrappers behind them.

Valaria Aberdeen loved to host her parties and at the last one she wasn’t her usual energetic self. She didn’t even dress up in one of her elaborate rental costumes-she wasn’t a lady pirate or a lady vampire or a sorceress or a belly dancer.

That year, she wore a black dress and a set of acrylic ‘fangs’ on her teeth and painted her nails black. She had smeared pale blue makeup on her face and penciled dark circles under her eyes.

She just shrugged when Mitchell asked about her costume and said to her husband who was dressed as a mummy  ” I’m just not really into it this year, so I guess I’m just going to be a boring witch” then she slammed her felt witch’s hat onto her head with the little ghosts sewn around the brim and then she stomped down the hallway to the kitchen.

Mitchell tried to cheer Valaria up; he helped her finish the decorating and he told her little jokes and reminded her of the fun from their past parties and then the door bell rang. 

As the guests started to arrive Valaria seemed to blend into the background and she would hardly talk to anyone. It wasn’t easy to avoid over 50 people in a room but Valaria found a way to do it and that’s exactly what she did for hours.

Sometime during the evening  Mitchell looked up and saw Valaria fussing at the table with the food and punch. She looked up and saw him and waved and then she went out to the kitchen.

At about Midnight she came bouncing out of the kitchen with a little wicker basket full of cookies shaped like pumpkins and cats and she was handing them out and laughing…not that thin laugh she had been using all evening but a heart felt laugh and when she saw him she held her basket up and said,” guess what Mitchell I’m into it after all…I’m feeling like my old self again”

” That’s great dear! ” he called out to her over his cup of hot cider.

Valaria winked at him and kept handing out her cookies.She joined him a few minutes later and he put his hand out and asked for one of her cookies.

Valaria looked stunned and hurt. ” Why would I give you one of those Mitchell? “

Mitchell said to her, ” Because you love me…”

Valaria rolled her eyes so far up all he could see were the whites of her eyes. God, he really hated it when she did that. ” It’s because I love you that you don’t get one Mitchell.”

From over Valaria ‘s left shoulder Mitchell could see Missy Jenson from next door start to do a weird little dance and then she started to spin around and around and as she did he could that she was crying and that her tears were red.

In a few seconds everyone in the room were  ‘dancing’ and they were shrieking and tearing at their throats. ” What have you done Valaria? ” Mitchell screamed, ” What in God’s name have you done?”

Mitchell watched his wife dance around the room and as she swung her empty basket from side to side he could hear her say,  ” Guess what I am? Guess what I am? Guess what I am?”

He chased her down the hall and when he caught up to her she was looking into the mirror her Grandmother had given them as a wedding present.

It was a large ceiling to floor mirror encased in a heavy silver frame and until that moment Mitchell never wondered  how  they had ever gotten that thing through their door.

Valaria was wiping  her face and when she turned around he could see she had taken off most of the thick blue makeup and the black eyeliner pencil from around her eyes.

Now her face  was dark, dark red and her lips were  black and then she pulled the hat off of her head with a flourish and he saw…

he saw Valaria Aberdeen.

Her pointed forked tongue snaked out from between her lips and she was feathering the hair away from the horns that she now had on her forehead.

” I told you I was feeling like my old self again.  Happy Halloween Mitchell” she said with a wink and then she turned and stepped into the mirror.

After that night people started to  move away from Brier Road.

Within days  the houses the next block over were abandoned and then the houses on the block over from that were abandoned  next and after awhile no one lived in that little town at all.

But if you’re feeling brave you can actually go up to Valaria Aberdeen’s House and you can walk in and go down the hall and look into that mirror…and if you stare into it and say, ” I know what you are Valaria Aberdeen…” three times…

She’ll give you a cookie 

mlf-skeleton-pd-05-kj0022.jpg

 

Nightfall From Faraway

this is a story from my crypt.

I bring it out when the weather gets bad.

enjoy! 

rethelfiddle2.jpg 

In my hometown, which is a place called Faraway, a man named Mr. Nightfall stands under a pear tree full of light green poisonous fruit and waits for the Sun to set.

Mr. Nightfall is my neighbor and our streets, like all the other streets in Faraway are lined with deadly fruit trees and deadly gardens. All these dark shady places are kept and tended by people with pale faces and empty eyes and here in our town Faraway no one is Sane and no one really lives because no one is really alive in Faraway.

When Mr. Nightfall comes from Faraway sometimes he brings storms and in that wildness all you’ll see, all you’ll hear is Mr. Nightfall.

When Mr. Nightfall crosses your path and he settles over your town you’ll know he’s there because your skin will start to feel to tight and you won’t be able to pull air into your lungs.

Everything will seem… Faraway.

That’ when you’ll know Mr. Nightfall is close enough to put out his cold, dark hand and lay it over your shoulder.

Once I followed Mr. Nightfall to a city with stores and cars and a coffee stand where the woman who served me wore a picture on her chest of a creature with stars in her hair.

 I asked if the creature in the picture was from  the Well of Angra Lei and the Woman squeezed the cup of coffee so tight at the sound of my voice that the top popped off and the scalding hot coffee filled her eyes and mouth and she didn’t cry out.

Not even a little.

The woman had turned to stone, her face was frozen into a mask and her eyes had rolled up into her head and I could hear her someplace deep inside screaming and screaming and screaming and she will never stop.

They never do when they are taken Faraway.

Mr. Nightfall didn’ come back for me, he never turns back but he did call out to me and I followed him through the town and the entire time he cursed and spat and hissed like one of the cats that’ not really a cat from back home in Faraway and he said, “They know I’m coming.”

“Of course they know you’re coming Mr. Nightfall, don’t they always?”

“No, not like this they haven’t known me like this for centuries I don’t like this Miss Praecox. No I don’t like it at all.”

This time the people in this little town by the sea knew Mr. Nightfall was coming.

There were candles in windows and there wasn’t a soul on the street. They were locked behind doors and the curtains where drawn and they knew they were very aware Nightfall was coming.

As Mr. Nightfall crossed the city I stopped here and there and looked in windows and when I could I found people and I touched them, carefully, quietly with my left hand and I told them my name and their minds stopped liked old clocks.

I could hear it loud as thunder as gears and cogs and wheels that turn their minds
ground to a halt and I could hear what they took with them to Faraway.

My name.

” Enjoying your visit Miss Praecox?”

” I always do Mr. Nightfall.”

He reached out to pat me on the head and thought better of it, ” Just like you’re Mother, we were a team in our day to. We worked well together.

The Praecox have always done their best work with Nightfall.”

” So what’s happened here Mr. Nightfall, where is everyone?”

He held a newspaper up and showed it to me. I couldn’t read it of course and he ran a cold dark finger under the headline and read it to me.

” Hurricane Force Winds expected to Strike Seattle, Power Outages State Wide, locals ready for Nightfall and freezing temperatures.

 They were ready for me this time. Lord I hate the press”

” Killjoys” I said with feeling.

” Well, there’s always tomorrow, isn’t there Miss Demetia Praecox?”

I agreed because everyone knows Nightfall comes from Faraway and sometimes it brings madness with it.

aniskull1-272.gif

read more adventures from Faraway

HERE

Grave Thoughts

rethelbell.jpg 

Cebu Alacantara buries people for a living.

He digs the graves and puts in the liners, he lowers the coffins into the ground  and then he covers the graves and he does it quietly, quickly before the next family shows up for services and of course before the sunsets.

It’s at sunset that Leaning Birches Funeral Home and Cemetery closes for the day and opens for the rest of the night and the Staff goes home and Cebu, who is always the last one out,  locks everything up.

Cebu has been at the Cemetery for over 30 years now, and it was on his first day back in November that he and a Mortician were outside the gates waiting for their rides home.

Kousso Eyebright was new to the funeral home too and Cebu liked her right away. He had heard from the other three Morticians that Kousso was good with the families, handy with a needle and on her first case had rebuilt a dead woman’s face with a sculpture’s hand and a surgeon’s skill.

To be honest, that didn’t mean a thing to Cebu but he also heard that Kousso knew some wicked jokes and he was hoping to hear a few of them for himself.

Instead Kousso asked, just like you’d ask for the time of day or in the same tone of voice you’d use to order a hamburger and fries, ” So Cebu, tell me, what’s the best part of your job?”

” I dig graves Kousso, I don’t think there’s a good part to that. ”

” Oh sure there is, you just haven’t figured it out yet. I mean, none of us come to a place like this without being invited you know.”

” And your point is? ”

” Well, if you were invited and you showed up there must have been something that called to you…some little signal that you tossed out that said ‘ hey, I could really enjoy burying dead people for a living. I could show up in the heat and the cold and shovel dirt all day long’. And that’s to say nothing of the fact I’m the last person with the corpse before it’s planted.”

” Now, I had to embalm a guy today that I could swear had brown eyes, but when I put the eyecaps on they were green. Now that was creepy enough, no way would I wanted want to be with him…alone outside here when he goes into the ground.”

” Kousso? ”

” Yes? ”

” You’re weird, do you know that? ”

Kousso shrugged and said,” as a matter of fact I do.”

Then Cebu thought about it a little more and he asked Kousso, ” So you think we’re called to do this work, is that right?”

” You bet I do.”

” Who do you think is making the call Kousso?”

Kousso didn’t answer; she was looking across the street.

There was a lot there and in the middle of it was an empty building that over the years housed a hardware store, a pharmacy and until a few months before had been a flower shop.

The Cemetery Grounds Keepers had taken to going over there to cut the grass and keep the place looking halfway decent because they didn’t want an eyesore in their otherwise nice and quiet neighborhood.

But today there was someone out in front of the building.

A cat.

It was a small black cat that reminded them both of an owl.

The cat’s head was large and round and it’s body was plump and compact and it’s eyes were a deep dark orange.

And it was looking right at them.

” You don’t come to a place like this, you don’t just show up. I mean think about it. No one comes to a place like this without being called in…do they?”

” None of us ” Cebu agreed.

The little round cat uncurled it’s tail and stood up and stretched and then it started to walk towards them.

It crossed the street in the slow easy stride all cats have and when it got to where Cebu and Kousso were standing it sat back down in front of them, curled it’s tail back around it’s body and looked up at them expectantly.

Kousso, the woman born to be a Mortician said down to the cat, ” We close at sunset.”

The cat looked up at her and blinked and Cebu who knew this was no joke stayed quiet…but only because he was afraid of what he might do if he opened his mouth.

The Cat could have easily gone under the fence but it didn’t. It looked up at Kousso and twitched it’s whiskers at her.

Kousso reached into her purse and took out her keys, She unlocked the gate and pushed it opened and the cat walked through.

” Take your time, I’ll wait. ” Kousso said in her Funeral Directors voice.

” We both will. ” Cebu said.

And they did.

mlf-skeleton-pd-05-kj0022.jpg

Employee Of The Year

hearse1.gif

Binnie Cardea worked  for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman.

Well, that’s not exactly true, she lived for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman, she existed  for Bannatyne and Hayman, she would have been nothing and I mean nada but another little fish in the big overcrowded fish pond of life where all the little fishes looked the same if it hadn’t been for Bannatyne and Hayman.

Each weekday morning Binnie Cardea’ s alarm clock would go off at 5:00 and she really did jump out of bed –just like the people in the commercials that advertise how grand life is if you buy the right mattress to sleep on.

Then she  would snap her alarm clock off with a happy tap and sing as she started her shower.

She would hum as she washed her hair and she even whistled as she dressed.

Then she  would collect her work tools from the sideboard in her hallway and…I kid you not – she would practically skip to her car.

One day Binnie got to work at 6:30am sharp, her tool kit clenched in her happy relaxed hand when she saw everyone, and that included the office staff, the salespeople and even the clean up crews standing around the workshop.

They were standing around with worried lines creasing their foreheads, no one was smiling or making for the box of doughnuts on the ‘treat bench’ that held their coffee machine and cups and the little ice color underneath where they kept their juices and pops and bottled water.

“ What’s up? “ Binnie asked with a song in her heart and a smile on her face to no one in particular.

“ The Morana’s are opening a plant up in Edgewater.” She heard a voice say from across the workshop and her heart really did freeze up in her chest- right along with the smile on her face.

“ Oh,” Binnie said and everyone turned to face her “ oh is that what they think they’re going to do?”

That’s what the Morana’s did…a company like the Morana’s did to small companies like B&H what the locusts do to crops and the cold virus does to anything with a respiratory system.

They invaded, they ate they destroyed and there was nothing you could do to stop them.

Here in the States, there’s really only one very big, very successful company like Morana and their line of products was impressive and their delivery system was unsurpassed which counted for a lot when your product line were coffins.

hearse1.gif

Binnie went through her workday on that somber Tuesday without as much as a smile or cheery hello to anyone. Her dark cloudy expression was frightening, especially when she started to talk about those darn Morana’s and their “ production line o’ death” and she waved around her sharp little carpenter’s tools to emphasize her points.

Then sometime after lunch she had an idea, a brilliant one, an inspired one and when she punched the clock at the end of her shift she was whistling again and no one asked her what was with sudden change of heart.

It seemed like a good idea not to.

hearse1.gif

The thing about Morana was that they were one of those 24 hour plants, someone was always going on or off shift and they were always in a hurry to go and very, very slow to arrive.

It only took a few days for Binnie to figure out what needed to be done, who was who and how to complete the task at hand.

After all , she hadn’t been made Employee Of The Year, Winner of the ” Coffin Design of the Year ”  Award as well as Employee Of The Month AND  Carpenter Of The Year because no one else competed.

Binnie Cardea was a company woman and a team player extraordinaire.

But she was also very, very self-motivated.

hearse1.gif

One month after Morana opened it’s doors something happened that had never happened in the 50 years they’d been in business. They got backlogged.

Boy, did that cost them.

Do you know what happens when a funeral can’t happen on time because the Coffin didn’t show up? You don’t want to know because it involves the court systems and lawyers and judges and that my dear reader is to horrifying for me to go into.

It started out as a mystery and it stayed a mystery, Morana’s workforce clocked in and their co-workers would swear up and down they’d see them at their workstations. They just never clocked out.

It made for some morbid new stories: factory workers disappear into think air at Coffin making company.

It didn’t take long before “ The Production Line O’ Death Company” folded in Edgewater and that black eye forced them down all over the Country.

After all who would want to work for a company that ate its employees alive?

No one ever figured out what happened.

But of course someone knew exactly what happened and how.

SOMEONE always does.

In this case long after this someone had retired  she owned exactly half of B&H…but Binnie’s story doesn’t end there.

hearse1.gif

Almost a week after she passed away at the ripe old age of 92 a construction company worker found all those people from the Edgewater plant in the basement of a little brick building not even two streets away from the big empty ultra modern building once owned by the Morana Corporation.

The Angerona Building has this stone elephant on its roof and it was built in 1899. It was used as a print shop, a restaurant, a gym and even a as a Church.

Then a family called Cardea bought it back in the 1970’s and rented it out for warehouse space.

But really what was interesting about the Angerona Building…what was interesting about all of the buildings on that block as a matter of fact were the series of tunnels that ran under the streets that once upon a time bootleggers used to move their inventory.

They could move from the train tracks and docks without ever once stepping foot above ground. The air wasn’t great, but it was dry and quiet and naturally sound proof.

Now, the ‘bootleggers doors’ weren’t really doors. Just holes in the walls that the bootleggers punched out themselves with sledge hammers to make their travels and deliveries more efficient.

There were bootleggers doors everywhere down along the waterfront in Edgewater, including five that were covered not by concrete but by plywood and plaster when the building that they led into was torn down. The name of the building is gone forever but the building that was built over its foundation is interesting…it’s called the Morana Building.

But this story ends at 333 3rd Ave West in the Angerona Building.

In its basements are 50…count them 5-0 wooden boxes lining an unlit tunnel that goes nowhere. Each one is nailed shut and each one holds an awful secret and each one bares the mark

PROUDLY HANDCRAFTED BY BANNATYNE AND HAYMAN           

11102969.jpg            

Devilbit Lake

 

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Alphabet Writing Prompt:

 “B is for the Blade of Grass”

green_lake_dock_sm.jpg

Baneberry Troublefield use to live out on Down Turn Road back when Down Turn was the only road going though Feverfew County. Now days you know that Feverfew is this historical place and people come from all over the world to see Devilbit Lake because it happens to be the deepest lake that exists anywhere in the world.

Devilbit Lake is bottomless and cold and shines green no matter what color the sky above it and it shines brighter by moonlight.

I’ve heard that Scientists think it’s some weird kind of algae that makes the Lake glow like that, but as much as I respect science I’d have to say in this case it’s a bunch of hooey and they WISH it was algae. If it were true then that would mean that Baneberry Troublefield was wrong and that would restore order to anybody’s universe after hearing Baneberry tell his story.

Baneberry was about 10 when his family moved out to Feverfew, his Father was a Doctor and his Mom was a nurse and they both worked at the Feverfew Sanatorium. They treated patients with these incurable diseases like TB and Leprosy back up there in the hills because that little town wasn’t even on the map and no one seemed to be in a hurry to tell the rest of the world it was there.

Feverfew Sanatorium wasn’t a bad place you know. It was just sad and lonely and packed from the basement to the attic where the Chapel was with people who never expected to leave its walls alive and most of them didn’t.

The Patients at Feverfew spent their days in beds or in little rooms with dark hardwood floors and windows that were never opened. But all of those windows looked out on the Lake because it was suppose to help remind the patients that the world was still out there.

Most of them asked, after a while for the curtains to be drawn because they didn’t want to see the Lake anymore. One of them told Baneberry’s Mom “ Nurse Troublefield, it’s that Lake. It feels like it’s watching me. And that awful man who sits on that rock…” they’d shudder and say, “Please shut the curtains”

After awhile Nurse Troublefield hardly ever opened them anymore.

No one asked why.

One day when the ward was empty and being made ready for the next group of unfortunates to be brought up (by train in those days) she found herself idly staring out the window when she noticed the lake was perfectly still. There wasn’t a wave or a ripple or as much as a cat’s paw making it’s way across the bright green water. She reached up for the cord to pull the curtain closed and the perfectly still green lake…

Waited.

That was it, Devilbit Lake was waiting Nurse Troublefield decided, to see who would move first. Only the lake was a body of water so how could it be waiting? She knew it was true, the Lake was waiting, who would move first?

The air around her got warmer and she could feel the sweat start to run down the back of her neck, she could feel it under her arms and her mouth was dry, dry and dusty. She wanted to itch her nose in the worst way but she refused to move and just as she was about to turn away the lake shifted just a little and she reached up and pulled the cord so hard the rod came down on her head.
After that day it was War.
 

green_lake_dock_sm.jpg

Nurse Troublefield made it her business to chart the Lake just like she would one of her Patients. She saw Nurse Martinez who was standing with her back to the window and talking to one of the Patients look over her shoulder several times in just a few minutes before she walked away from the window.

She watched Dr Grayford staring out the window for the longest time and when he turned around his pupils were so large that his eyes almost looked black and his skin was pale.

“ I thought I saw a man down there, sitting on the rock” Dr Grayford said “ but he wasn’t really there. I mean, “ he looked back out the window and back at Nurse Troublefield and then he walked out of the ward.

Dr Grayford rode the Corpse Train that night to the next town of Sherry and never came back to work again. Nurse Troublefield heard later that he left medicine all together and took over his family’s dairy farm.

It didn’t take long for Nurse Troublefield to fill almost 400 pages in her logbook with notes concerning the affect the Lake had on the staff and the patients at Feverfew. She spent all day going over them and then she decided it was time a closer examination.

Nurse Troublefield went down to the Lake itself and stood as close as she dared to it’s edge. The water was dark green at the edges and the further out towards the center it was lighter.

It was very quiet and pretty and she started to feel silly. After all, she’d let herself get worked up over water. It’s not like it had teeth or claws or could rob you at gunpoint. It was just still, quiet water.

That’s when she saw the man at the edge of the Lake for the first time. He was sunning himself on a rock and fishing. His hat was pulled down over his forehead and she thought he was whistling but then she realized the sound she was hearing wasn’t coming from him…it was coming from the Lake.

It hummed and echoed in on itself and the thick green water turned slowly in the center and the little spirals reached out and then were pulled back down again.

The man noticed Nurse Troublefield and stared back at her and sat there as still and as unreadable as the Lake.

Nurse Valaria Troublefield was use to that look, that emptiness, it was a death’s mask and it didn’t throw her off balance for a second. “It’s a lovely day to fish, isn’t it? “ She said.

The man said nothing in reply but he didn’t look away either.

“ You’re not here to catch fish though, are you?”

The man lifted his head and she could see his burned peeling lips and the dust and grime around his cheeks and mouth. He smiled and turned back towards the water.

“ My Patients at the Sanatorium up on the hill, they think the Lake is watching them, that it wants them. Some of the staff has seen things that have made them run away from their jobs and homes without a second thought.”

“ I think those are the smart ones. They’re the ones who got away. Aren’t they?”

The pole fell not with a splash into the water but with a small hollow click, and as the man stood up his movements were more spider like then human.

He turned to the Nurse and said to her, “ Come on in, the Water’s fine.”

Then he walked off the rock and was pulled down into the water and Nurse Troublefield thought of Quicksand as the water closed over the man’s head.

There wasn’t as much as a bubble, a ripple or a sound from the Lake but if it could have the Nurse was sure it would have been laughing. Worse yet, she really believed him…she really believed the water was fine and she almost followed him in.

Almost.

green_lake_dock_sm.jpg

As the days and weeks wore on it wasn’t just the people at the Sanatorium that began to notice the Lake. Stories about the Fisherman started and he began to not only show up at the Lake’s edge he started to show up on the Feverfew Loop Highway.

People would stop to ask the old man if he needed help and he would lean into the car and tell them, “ Come on in, the Water’s fine. “ and then he would straighten up and somewhere on the car would be a watery handprint that would be visible for days no matter what you did to wipe it away.

The rest of the people he talked too just disappeared and all they ever found of them were their cars or bikes or shoes somewhere near the lake.

So the question most people ask Baneberry Troublefield is, who is the Old Man and what is his connection to the Lake? Did he die there? Is he a ghost?

Baneberry has his own theory and I’ll take his word for it.

“ That old man, he’s a Bimini Twist” He’ll tell you.

“ A what?” You’ll ask.

That’s a non-slip double line fisherman have to use when they go for game like big billfish. Anyway that’s what he is. He’s an honest to goodness Bimini Twist; I don’t think he’s the bait. That’s what the Lake is. That Lake, it gets your attention. But the old man…he’s what brings you in.”

“ So who’s out there fishing Baneberry?” you’ll probably laugh.

Baneberry will laugh back at you and say, “ Why don’t you go out and see for yourself, I’ve heard the Water is Fine.”

That will stop you from laughing and trust me, it will stop you from pulling your car to the side of the road to offer help to little old men with fishing poles in their hands.

I hope.

1992122.jpg

Under The Steps

haunted-house-1.jpg

you can find inspiration in the strangest places 

When I was a kid our next door neighbor was a nice old lady named Mrs. Hanley Parsons.

She lived all alone in a house full of old fashioned furniture that looked brand new and she always wore black dresses and around her neck she worse a string of pearls and her wristwatch didn’t have numbers on it.

In fact none of the clocks in Mrs. Hanley Parson’s House had numbers on them.

Once I asked Mrs. Parsons about her faceless clocks and she said, ” Time and I had a parting of ways years ago, but I like clocks, I like the sounds they make. Do you understand what I mean?”

I nodded and said ” No.”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and she offered me a plate of cookies (almond) and I took one. ” I make them myself. In the old days I used to do a lot of baking and cooking. I stopped though.”

” Why’d you stop? ”

” Oh, I fell into a career. And in those days women didn’t have jobs outside the home let alone careers. So I lost my husband and my children and even my family. With no one to make a home for, my domestic skills…” she seemed to be looking for the right word on the ceiling ” suffered.”

” Just because you got a job? ” I asked in disbelief.

” A career ” Mrs.Parsons told me. ” A job is something you do for a living. A career is something you become.”

” Did you like what you used to do? ”

” Very much so.”

” Do you miss it? ” I asked.

Mrs. Parsons nodded and said, ” It gave me purpose.”

I liked Mrs. Parsons, she taught me how to read when I was only five years old and by the time I started Kindergarten I was reading at the first grade level. By the first grade I was reading two years up.

All because of Mrs. Parsons.

Mrs. Parsons also taught me how start pumpkin plants in Dixie cups and how to prune Roses.

But no matter what we were doing, or how well I learned her lessons she would always get a little sad when she talked about the old days and her career.

When I was about 8 years old my parents told me we were moving away from Seattle and I went next door to tell Mrs. Parsons.

” Well, ” she said, ” that’s very sad news. I’m going to miss you. You’re very good company.”

” Mrs. Parsons ” I asked, ” do you think you could teach me your career? That way I could remember you always.”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and she said, ” I’ll make you a deal, I’ll teach you part of my job and you decide in the end if it’s something you like doing.”

So Mrs. Parsons told me to go down to her basement and look under the steps and to bring up the little wicker basket. I carried the basket upstairs to the kitchen where Mrs. Parsons was dusting her fresh baked almond cookies with powdered sugar.

I put the basket on the table and she reached in and slowly removed the contents and sat them on the table in front of us. ” So, where to start.” she said to herself.

 I looked up at her and shrugged and said. ” At once upon a time?”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and that’s how it started.

I learned about Mrs. Parsons career every day for about a week, and then one day I went to Mrs. Parson’s house and a man answered the door.

He was Mrs. Parson’s son and he told me she had died.

Just as I was about to turn away he reached down and handed me the little wicker basket and said, ” I suppose this is yours.”

I nodded and kept my hands behind my back.

Mrs. Parson’s Son looked a little nervous and he sat the basket down and slid it towards me with his foot and when he stepped back I reached down and picked it up.

I didn’t say thank you and looking back on it, I don’t think he expected me too.

So now at the age of 42, I still have that wicker basket (my cat uses it for a bed) and on the top shelf of my book case pushed against the wall is a fully functional hangman’s noose.

It’s all that left of Mrs. Parson’s career.

Unless you count this story of course.

amm

Burnstone

handprints.jpg 

One of my favorite places to visit here in Washington State is the Tymbal Cemetery and Funeral Home in the city of Burnstone.

Tymbal is a pauper’s cemetery from the old days so it’s not great shakes. No fancy monuments, no fancy gates but there are trees and they’re covered with ivy which is nice because the trees have been dead for years and they don’t put leaves out anymore.
 
The sad thing is everyone forgot the Cemetery was there and for awhile the City of Burnstone Streets Department used Tymbal as a storage place for their work trucks and they used the Funeral home as office space until someone realized all those garbage trucks and lawn mowers and a bunch of other maintenance tools were leaking oil all over unmarked graves.
 
So before you could say ‘ desecration ‘ the City decided to build a new maintenance facility for the Street Works Department and without as much as a backwards glance they left the graveyard to choke on weeds and nettles and blackberry bushes.
 
Looking back, it was sort of odd the way the weeds came back so fast.
 
Anyway.
 
About a month after the big move a young woman named Tamus Bloodroot slammed her car into one of the dead trees near the cemetery entrance and she never left.
 
They found her car, they found the door open and they found a large pool of blood about three feet away from the crash sight.
 
But they never found Tamus.

handprints.jpg

The day after they found her car stories about an injured woman, who was identified as Tamus, asking for help at the side of the road started up. Some people said they actually stopped for her and picked her up and talked to her and she always said the same thing, “ can you help me now. “When they turned to reassure her that’s what they’re doing she’d be gone.
 
You can imagine Tamus Bloodroot’s family was pretty upset that they’re daughter had become an urban legend and people were suppose to be talking to her ghost.

” I doubt ” her Father had screamed into the face of a reporter doing Halloween stories for the evening news one year, ” that if my daughter could come back from the grave she’d spend all of her time asking drunken teenagers for rides to the hospital.”

That was true, in life Tamus wasn’t the sort of person who asked for anything, she’d tell you exactly what she wanted and if you didn’t come across…heaven help you. The girl had a temper and the holes in her bedroom walls and her trail of broken relationships were solid proof of that.

Life went on after that… even Tamus Bloodroot went on, people never stopped seeing her and they all knew she was out there asking for help.

handprints.jpg 

Bryony Middleton and his family live out on Cemetery Road. He’s lived out there his entire life and he knows that stretch of road so well he could drive it with his eyes closed.

That’s something he did almost every Saturday night after and evening on the town with his friends. He’s sort of famous around here for that, you might not know Bryony’s name or anything about him but you’ve heard of the ‘ guy who drives passed the cemetery in his sleep on Saturdays’.
 
Anyway it was one of his 10 or was it 12 kids that said to him after finding him and his truck at the end of their driveway one morning ” if you’re going to drive when you’re sleeping Daddy, at least wear your seat belt.”
 
Not to be mean, and Bryony loved his 10-12 children a lot even if he forgot their names and didn’t know exactly how many of them there were, but on more then one occasion Bryony was heard to say, ” Geeze, my kids, you know they’re okay as far as rug rats go but they sure aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, if you get my meaning.”
 
But this time Bryony’s kids were right and on that winter evening out on Tymbal Cemetery Road his kids were the sharpest tools to be found in any shed anywhere on the planet.
 
The roads were iced over when Bryony left the ” Corner Tavern ” only he didn’t notice. I mean he was sliding and tripping a lot…but you know he’d chalked that up to the liquid refreshments he’d indulged in for the past four hours.
 
So Bryony got into his truck and tried to buckle himself in, but he couldn’t make the lock work so he put the belt on and tied it closed and then he took a roll of duct tape and somehow managed to tape himself to his seat.

I’m not kidding I wish I were. Like I said, Bryony loved his kids and he’d do any for them even if they only had a handful of brain cells between them.
 
Then he turned the key in the ignition (he always left it in because it was pretty hard for him to fit that key into that little hole after a long evening out) and he took a sloppy left and turned out onto the unlit road, marked as Old Burnstone Highway but known unofficially as Cemetery Road by the locals.
 
He was halfway home and nearly asleep when he came to Tymbal Cemetery and saw the Funeral Home with the tape on it’s cracked windows.  Bryony mistook it for his house and in a panic he jerked the steering wheel and sent his truck into the ditch that surrounded the cemetery.
 
Like I said, Tymbal’s is a Pauper’s Graveyard and there are no frills about it. The people out there were forgotten in life and they were forgotten in death too.

So the residents of Tymbal’s have numbers, not names and they have pine boxes made at the Prison in Fallen not fancy caskets with brass handles. And there is no fence surrounding the cemetery just a ditch cut into a “V” shape and it’s lined with jagged sharp rocks that were once the face of an old Mansion that burned to the ground about 100 years ago.
 
The Old Mansion was wasn’t a good place and it’s owners were sort of an embarrassment to the City so after the fire Burnstone hauled off a mountain of debris and they decided to put it to good use.

Anything they could salvage went into the construction of The Tymbal Funeral Home and Cemetery.
 
The ” fence” is what Bryony hit that night. His truck went into the ditch head on and then it flipped and rolled and finally stopped almost in the middle of the graveyard.
 
Taped and tied to his seat Bryony was bruised and beaten and good thing he was sitting upright because if he’d been in any other position he’d probably have choked on his own vomit, of which he apparently lost a lot of that night.
 
When he was done he considered his options.
 
He could cut himself loose but more then likely he’d end up stabbing himself to death because at the moment one of his eyes was swollen shut and the other, well you know Bryony should probably be wearing glasses but he doesn’t.

Plus the crash had done nothing to sober him up he wasn’t sure he could find the business end of the knife if he wanted to.
 
” Poor Daddy, ” he could actually see one of his many children saying to his unborn grandchildren ” he survived the worse car accident ever and he ended up stabbing himself to death trying to cut himself loose from his car seat. No, he wasn’t trapped. Somehow he taped himself to his seat. No I can’t explain it. I loved my Dad but he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed if you get my meaning.”
 
So Bryony figured all he could do was sit there and more likely then not someone would see him from the road in the morning. Resigned to a long cold smelly night he was about to try to catch some sleep when he saw the woman standing next to his car.

She was facing away from him and the way she was standing was wrong.  Her shoulders were twisted and one of her arms seemed to be hanging a little lower then the other. At first Bryony thought she was tilting her head to the side like she was listening for something, but then he realized her head wasn’t tilted it was flatter, much flatter then the other side of her head.
 
All Bryony could think to say was, ” heck of a night, ain’t it? ”
 
” Can you help me now? ” she said to no one ” can you help me now?”
 
She started to turn and Bryony knew, he just knew that the front of that woman was going to look worse then the back and he didn’t want to see that.
 
So Bryony did all he could think of to do. He turned the key, gave his battered truck some gas and there is a Heaven because it screamed (more then likely it was Bryony doing the screaming) to life and Bryony drove it blindly through the cemetery and towards the road…and the fence.
 
Only he never hit the fence, he never even made it out of the cemetery because before he hit the ditch he hit a tree and when he did the world around him exploded.
 
It was three of Bryony’s kids that found their dad and his truck the next morning. No, he wasn’t dead; Bryony is made out of tougher stuff then that. Plus, I’m sure that with his dietary habits of fried food and alcohol he’s pretty much preserved himself alive.
 
Which was good because Bryony had a story that people from all over the county wanted him to tell over and over again.
 
First of all the woman in the Graveyard, Bryony figured, wasn’t saying ” Can you help me now ” she was saying ” Can you help me down ” and he figured that out because on the night Tamus Bloodroot hit the Tymbal  ‘fence’ she wasn’t duct taped to her seat the way Bryony was so she smashed through her windshield and was thrown up and out of her car…
 
And straight up into a tree covered with Ivy.

handprints.jpg

That’s the story of Tamus Bloodroot and that’s how it ends…with parts of her raining down onto the hood of Bryony Middleton’s truck.

The story about Old Burnstone Highway hasn’t ended. Earlier this year it earned this label as the most dangerous stretch road in the entire state of Washington.

It’s not a main highway and you can’t find it from any major roads but over 300 people have died along it this year alone. I mean, people from Arizona and Texas visitors from other countries in rental cars have met their end out there and if they don’t die in the wreck they can’t explain why they were there…at dark.

The ones that survive the road never say though that they were lost.

And they never say they won’t be going back there again.

Never.

Floaters

300px-elliott_bay.jpg 

elliot bay, 1907

I work up the street from Elliot Bay in Seattle, Washington.

It’s a pretty historic body of water and lots of important historic things have happened there.

One of my favorite historic things is when a Boeing 307 ditched into Elliot Bay back in 2002. It was flying from Seattle to Everett and it ran out of gas

Yes, really.

I mean they go up and like 3 minutes later they’re on empty and ditching in Elliot Bay and I’d have given anything to have over heard the conversation in the cockpit when that happened.

SOMEBODY forgot to check the fuel levels.

Anyway.

To add to the weirdness that you can only find in Seattle and the waters around her is the story about the Floaters.

It’s sort of embarrassing- we have this great waterfront and a lot of people will fly from the other side of the world to visit Pier 69 and these Cruise ships dock here and all these tourists will be taking pictures or eating caramel apples or eating at one of the restaurants or waiting for a tour bus and they’ll look down into the Bay and see…

A dead body in the water.

Floaters.

This time it was different.

Take a look: 

Ferry rider spots body in Seattle's Elliott Bay

Ferry rider spots body in Seattle’s Elliott Bay

Story Published: Aug 8, 2007 at 11:48 AM PDT

Story Updated: Aug 8, 2007 at 9:59 PM PDT

By Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) – A ferry rider spotted a body floating in Seattle’s Elliott Bay on Wednesday.

Fire department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said the department, police and the Coast Guard were notified about the body about 7:30 a.m. north of Harbor Island.

A fire department boat picked up the man’s body and turned it over to the King County medical examiner’s office.

It Started Here….

skeleton.gif 

Here are some links to Story Starters that inspired me

to write the stories you can find here at Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge

FYI

They weren’t ‘strange’ until I got my hands on them…

 trust me…anybody can use them

so

!HAVE FUN!

Story Starters

Ceremony Of The Mirror

Descansos

The Deserted Farmhouse

Walk Inside A Painting

Not Quite Alice

The Lonely Ones

Soul Food Cafe Home Page

Soliloquy At Anita’s Bridge

 

In this story are doorways to some Macabre Tales

by a Macabre

Writer.

Enoy

and

have

Happy Halloween

haunted_mansion_ani_ss_screensaver_215.gif

Last Year

after it rained

an old retaining wall

Under Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge gave way

and 

Fir Trees and Hemlocks and Cedars

and chunks of thin white clay

slid down into onto Old Creek Road.

 

An Old Cemetery called Mourning Ridge

gave up some of it’s occupants

and the broken and ruined coffins littered the road

like confetti.

 

Mr Butcherbroom and his wife were the first to come down

to look at the damage.

 

Mrs Butherbroom looked up at the Bridge and cursed

Mr Butherbroom swore

Mrs Butherbroom asked

 the darkness

that always seems to hang around Anita’s Bridge like fog

“ Do you think it’s still here? ”

 

Mr Butherbroom took his wife’s arm and they walked

away

and

from under Anita’s Bridge

The Creek gurgled and turned

and

it sounded

like

laughter.

mlf-skeleton-pd-05-kj0022.jpg

 

Commencement Bay

junesunset.jpg  

 

I woke up to this news story.

A set of skeletal human remains in a diving suit was found in Commencement Bay in Tacoma Washington.

The body was recovered at 200 feet and a quote from the story says,”It could have been here for years, up to 9 months,” said Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “

 All the same the Diver- hidden by the dark waters of The Bay- came up to the surface and it’s a haunting story.

Isn’t it?

Body of diver found in Commencement Bay

YouNewsTV YouNewsTV™

By KOMO Staff

Watch the story

Investigators are trying to identify the skeletal remains of a diver, recovered Monday in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. An off duty firefighter discovered it while diving in some pretty deep waters.

The water is deep enough to make for a challenging search. From the shore, there’s a slow decline, then at about 55 feet, there’s a sharp drop-off.

At this point, most divers only go about 130 feet deep. But there are more extreme divers who use special equipment and go deeper. The body was found at 200 feet.

“It could have been here for years, up to 9 months,” said Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “We have identified a couple of different divers that have gone missing from down here over the years that have gone missing over the years that we have not recovered.”

Crews had to use a sonar camera to locate the body, and a remote control robot to dive the distance, and pull the body up to the surface.

At this point, it’s up to the medical examiner to answer the mystery of the diver’s identity, and how long the body has been underwater.

The Cane Field Cats

698.jpg

When I was a little girl we lived across the street from the Canefields in Honokaa, Hawaii.

Besides having the perks you get for growing up in a tropical paradise I lived in  place where I was taught to recognize and name Spirits and Ghosts, I learned how to protect myself from demons and curses and I also learned how to grow my own food, take care of trauma injuries and I leaarned how to tell a story.

Ghost Stories.

So tonight, out here on Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge I thought I’d share some stories about my childhood home- the only problem I had was where to start.

And I finally decided on

The Cane Field Cats.

Every morning my after my Grandmother would get my Aunts and Uncles set off to work and the older kids set off to school she and I would get ready for the Canfield Cats.

Every morning we would feed the cats a mixture of fresh fish and shrimp and rice.

My Grandmother would turn the mixture over and over with her hands and then she’d put the food in pie pans and I would take it out to the little place under the coconut tree my Grandfather made special for the cats.

I’d put the pans down and run back to the lowest step and my Grandmother would stand on the top step and she’d call the cats down and as they’d all walk towards us they used to look up at me and meow.

” Tell them hello” my Grandmother would say.

I would say hello and then I’d look back up at her and she said, ” Don’t let anybody touch them Anita”

That wasn’t hard- nobody wanted to touch my Cane Field Cats, they wouldn’t lean over to pet them or talk to them the way I did.

My older cousins would look grim when they saw the Cats and my Aunts and Uncles and my Mom would just look at me and they’d say, ” they’re not pets you know.”

As time went on the cats spent more and more time with me- they’d take off for the Fields at night but during the day they’d follow me around.

They would sit next to me when I was playing outside, or they’d crawl under my bed at nap time and when I’d go out on the porch to practice my singing they’d sun themselves on the steps and watch.

My cousins used to call the cats ” Anita’s Shadow “.

Here’ the funny thing about ” Anita’s Shadow “-

My dad was a shutterbug- he loved to take pictures and I was a very unwilling model ( I was about four at the time ) and the only way he could get pictures of me was to sneak up and take them when I wasn’t looking.

So you would think that in at least one of those pictures- in a corner or off to the side or under my feet or sitting next to me or near me ( because they were Always there ) would be at least one picture of those Cane Field Cats.

There are no pictures of those cats- and when I asked about it years later my Dad got that same grim look on his face that everyone had when they saw those cats around the yard and he said  ” ask your Mother ”

Thinking my Mom knew where I could find a picture I went and asked her about the Cane Field Cats and she pulled out an album, turned a page to pictures of me and she said, ” they’re there Anita…they’re in every single picture.”

” There are no cats in those pictures Mom.” I said without looking down.

” That’s the problem Anita, you’re looking for Cats.”

One of these days I’ll look at those pictures again-

Maybe.

eyes1-2.gif

Violet Delaflote Was Here

another tale from Anita’s Crypt

vie1321_220x350.jpg

Violet didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world; it was what happened after it was all over that would keep Violet awake at nights.

She’d would be laying there in the dark picturing a dead and lifeless world with a small yellow sun rising in front of a blood red moon while all around her room on tables and in the windows and on their own special tables were dead and dieing plants in overpriced planters.

There were no starter plants with tiny little roots floating around in plastic fast food drinking cups in this room. Violet figured it was the least she could do for some poor plant that was bound to die once she got her hands on it.

However, what she did to plants was nothing compared to what she did to those colorful fish you kept in wine glasses with the half marbles scattered at the bottom glass.

Violet had come in from work one day and found all that was left of her fish were blue and red scales and brown goo sloshing around in the inside of the little glasses.

It was on that day she saw those little corpses floating in the cloudy water she decided it would probably be better if she avoided the live animal route all together.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know any better.

There was the puppy got when she was eight. 

Santa had brought the puppy in the basket with the red bow tied to the handle and left it by Violet’s bed.

Violet had dragged  the cold ‘sleeping puppy’ out to the living room stuck it in front of the Christmas Tree bright and early on Christmas morning and said to her parents, ” It coughed all night, I don’t think it feels well. Can we exchange it? “

There was the kitten four years later that started to bleed from it’s ears and not to soon after that the baby brother that turned from pink to dark red right in front of Violet’s eyes.

Then she grew up and moved out and started with the plants.

It was like having a bad tooth…your tongue just wants to go to it and poke around. That’s the way Violet was with plants; she just kept buying them or planting seeds and they just kept dieing on her.

And Violet kept watching.

So it’s not really a shock that she couldn’t sleep at nights.

And then it got be too much.

One evening Violet’s dieing and decomposing plants couldn’t keep her mind off of the little things that nibbled away at her mind during the day so she reached for her TV remote control and when she pushed the ‘on’ button the little black and silver box hummed in her hand and she knew the battery was dead.

She reached over and turned her bedroom light on and then she popped the back panel off of the remote.

Along with plant murder she had rotten luck with batteries too. She had guessed that if she bought batteries from someplace other than ” Dollar Bonanza” (where all the stock was a dollar or less) they might last a bit longer.

She reached into her nightstand drawer for some new batteries when she saw that the battery in the remote control had split at the seam and the acid had started to ooze out and then before it ran off the side of the battery it had hardened and turned to dust.

She dropped the remote on the floor and reached for the little ivy plant that was dieing in the planter shaped liked an elephant. She touched one of the leaves and felt it turn to power between her fingers.

Now that was a new one.

Violet reached over and turned off her lamp but she didn’t sleep.

It wasn’t soon after that she stopped sleeping all together.

So instead of sleeping Violet did a lot of thinking; she thought about her dead and dieing plants, her puppy and kitten and little brother. She thought about the way no one ever sat next to her on the bus.

Even if her seat was the last open seat and they had to stand.

She remembered the way her own Mother would wipe her hand against her hip after helping Violet brush her hair and the way her Father would hold his hands out to stop Violet from rushing into his arms the way all little kids do.

It was strange, those little gestures that people used to keep Violet away. They were the same gestures Violet saw when someone had a coughing or sneezing fit and the person standing next to them would turn their head or pull in a long deep breath and try not to exhale until they were safely away.

That’s exactly the way people acted when they got to close to Violet.

One morning Violet brushed her teeth and combed her hair and put on a bright yellow t-shirt. Yellow was her favorite color and today she wanted to do something nice for herself.

She walked down to the Lake and watched birds fall from the sky and bees drop from flowers. The trees put up more of a fight. She could hear them creak and groan and she could hear the leaves whither and then curl and crumble right on the braches.

When she got to the lake she put her hand into the water and she watched it thicken and could smell it go bad and then the fish all rose to the surface and tried to jump to land and before they were airborne for more then a second they fell dead back into the water.

Violet got up and walked to a little hill and when she got to the top she sat on a bench and she could see the route she had walked because it was a dead route now and unless you were looking you probably wouldn’t notice the narrow trail of death; but Violet did.

That was it for Violet, this was all she would ever do-she would infect anything unlucky enough to get to close to her and then it would die.

Violet looked at the trail she had walked and saw the dead trees and plants she had passed could see the trees and grass and plants further away start to turn brown and curl and she could smell them turn to dust.

Violet Delaflote was spreading.

Violet walked to the lookout spot next to the Lake she had infected (there was no other way for her to think of it) and she figured she could just walk out and keep walking until the water covered her head.

She couldn’t swim, she had never learned how…not after watching her swimming instructor drown all those years ago. ” She had some kind of Virus, ” her Dad told her ” and when she dove into the water she got sick and couldn’t breathe and she drowned.”

Violet passed the picnic table and walked into the water and she was surprised at how easy this was turning out to be…but what was the alternative?

She was a serial plant killer and she lived alone.

That was Violet’s life.

She kept walking and by the time the water was up to her chest she realized what she was doing…she spun around went under and fought her way back to shore.

When she turned around and looked back at the lake…she covered her face with her hands and screamed until her throat felt raw.

Then she ran.

She ran and ran until she came to the Shopping Mall and she collapsed on a bench outside of the food court.

People were eating and laughing and scowling and living…and when it came down to it Violet decided she wanted to live too. She wanted to eat soft pretzels and drink strawberry lemonade and she wanted to shop and be rude to salespeople…just like everybody else.

That was what Violet wanted, she covered her face with her hands and she cried for the life she would never have.

When it came right down to it Violet decided she might only be a germ that had somehow disguised itself as a short woman with okay skin and dry hair but she still wanted to live just like anyone else.

She knew though she couldn’t do that like everyone else and Violet knew that was alright.

So she took her hand away from her mouth and nose….

And she sneezed.

Whispered Tale From Under The Bridge

devilselbow.jpg

When I was a kid my Mom told me this story about a failed exorcism.

The thing of it is nobody knew it failed for about 40 years. The story was that a young man had been taken over by a demon and a priest was supposed to have driven the demon out.

When the man died 40 years later, he was supposed to have confessed to a Priest on his deathbed that he (the demon) had never left.

I found out later that more then a few people suspected this all along.

After he died they buried him just outside of the Cemetery.

No one knows where.

But he’s out there.

He IS real.

How do I know?

How do you think I found my way to my own Owl Creek Bridge?

By chance?

It’s okay I don’t believe that either.

 amg

The Tacky Ticker

by anita marie moscoso

Just a little something from my Crypt

bioclock.jpg

Alstona Kamacho’s clock is an Doomsday clock- that’s what she told everyone at her office. She also told them on the first day she brought it in that if the clock stops the world will end.

So for the past 20 years everyone she works with goes out of their way to make sure  Alstona’s  Tacky Ticker doesn’t wind down. 

At first it was fun to find a way to make it first to avocado green clock with the pink feet and the silver mushroom bells sitting sideways against face so that you could be the one turn the little silver key  and save the entire world

Then it got to be serious.

When Alstona’ s six co-workers heard the little gears slowing down and just before second hand made this pop sound when it skipped past the glow in the dark five they’d already be pushing and shoving, tripping towards Alstona’s desk.

One year Barnell Bloss fractured right arm when he tried- and failed to clear Fales Digby’s desk to get to Alstona’ s Armageddon clock.

Of course he didn’t clear Fales’ desk because Fales was sitting at it and when Barnell raced by it was more the Fales could stand.

He’d reached up and slammed Barnell down and Fales had been the one to save the world that day.

In any other office on the face of the Earth that stunt would probably have ended in some sort of legal action.

But Lonsdale and Mead’s wasn’t  like anyplace on the face of the Earth- there wasn’t anyplace else on the face of the Earth that had an Armageddon clock sitting on an employee’s desk.

bioclock.jpg

Delia Wing was a Courier from All City Express, she had won the Lonsdale and Mead stop in a lunch time card game at All City.

 But that was nothing new- drivers at All City had been known to pay each other cold hard cash just for one trip because everyone in the city of Mayweed knew the L & M staff were a bunch of whack jobs.

What can you say? Nothing broke up the day like getting the chance to see a bunch of desk jockeys beat the snot out of each other to get to this cheap and nasty windup clock first. 

As you’ve probably guessed by now Mayweed was short on entertainment venues.

bioclock.jpg

Delia’ first trip into L & M was on a Friday and there they were- all seven of them sitting at their desks, working on the phones and doing data entry and the entire time they all had at least one eye on the Receptionist’s Desk.

At least that one eye looked alive and alert because the faces they were housed in were pale and all of the worker’s hands were twitching and shaking.

Delia decided right then and there she didn’t want to go back to L & M- all of those people looked like they already had one foot in the grave and she was afraid whatever they had might be something you could catch.

But first Delia had a job to do.

She went over to the receptionist’s desk where the clock was sitting and cleared her throat, ” Package for you. “

Alstona looked up and reached for small box a in Delia’s hand.

” So that’s the clock. ” Delia said.

” That’s the clock. “

” So, if you’re sitting there how come they….” Delia pointed to the rows of desks behind Alstona ” race to wind it up?  Why don’t you do it yourself?”

Someone said from the back of the office, ” because she doesn’t care anymore…she wants the world to end.”

From a little closer to where Delia and Alstona were another voice said, ” she’s nuts “

And everyone agreed.

bioclock.jpg

Delia never actually saw the L & M people racing to the clock but on some days she thought they looked more nervous and pale then on other days and she figured that must have been at about the time the clock was probably starting to wind down.

Then one day, even though she had nothing to drop off and no one had called in a pickup Delia went into the Office.

” Nothing to pick up? ” she asked Alstona.

” No. ” the Receptionist said.

Delia didn’t want to leave and she didn’t want to be there but for several nights Delia would wake up to the sound of ticking and she’d have to bite down hard on her lip to keep from screaming out loud.

So she decided to get this over with.

” It’s a joke…right? ” Delia asked.

” It certainly is ” a woman who sat directly behind Alstona said. She had heavy dark circles under her eyes and her blouse was inside out. ” It’s the funniest joke anyone could have ever come up with and I’m sick to death of it.”

Then a man said, ” I say we let it go…we just let go.”

Alstona turned around and she said, ” didn’t I say it would come to this?”

The six staffers nodded and Alstona looked up at Delia and nodded, ” it’s a joke and I’m going to end it. “

Then Alstona reached over picked up the clock and smashed it against her desk over and over until her hands were cut and bleeding and the clock was mashed flat.

” It’s over, right? ” Delia asked. ” The joke is over. “

Alstona said quiet as a Cemetery at Midnight, ” it certainly is.”

Outside a dark cloud crossed in front of the Sun then the ground shook just a little…

And that was

The End

reaper1-5.gif