From Faraway

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” Follow me ” she whispers from Faraway

where the night is forever

and awake is dream she used to have

a very long time ago.

” Follow you? ” he calls down to her from Faraway

where the night is forever

and all but a handful of stars have burned out

from his sky

a very long time ago.

Follow Me, Follow Me, Follow Me

her voice echoes from Faraway

where awake is a dream and the night is forever and all but a few stars still burn in the sky.

From The Diary Of

Bancho Church

June 20th 1911- October 31st 1992

True Love Never Dies

It is said that true love never dies.

HOWEVER.

If you bury it, it will rot in the ground just like anything organic will.

skeleton

Archaeologists with the University of Leicester uncovered remains of two skeletons holding hands believed to have been resting that way for at least 700 years…

And here ends today’s Lesson In Life And Death

from

Anita’s Bridge.

How My Light Is Spent

 

Delarious Mandusa and Quash Mowers  work in a Funeral Home and they had great stories ( that they made up ) for how it was they came to be Grave Diggers that had nothing to do with reality but they were great stories.

The problem was nobody ever asked.

Delarious guessed that people assumed he dug graves for a living because of his name and Quash guesses that the fact he had born with a parasitic twin attatched to the top of his head ( his parents had named it Lawton ) that was removed a few months after they were born- was his reason for working at the Cemetery.

But those weren’t the reasons- and the story about finding graves with their names and dates of  birth as the dates of death on the hundred year old headstones wasn’t even remotely close to the truth.

The Grave Diggers with the colorful lives and equally colorful names became grave diggers because of a girl named Harley  Sandeen.

Years ago, when Delarious and Quash were kids they lived next door to each other and one day a little girl with big brown eyes and tangled brown hair moved into the   Bronson  House across the street.

Her name was  Harley Sandeen and she collected bugs, comic books and bubble gum.

She chewed it out of eyeshot of her Mother who wouldn’t allow Harley to chew gum because Harley’s mother said that the gum would wear Harley’s teeth down to stumps and then where would she be in life?

” I guess I’d be living somewhere with stumpy teeth and a tree full of chewed up bubblegum.”

Akela looked down at her daughter and said, ” Harley, why on earth would you stick your chewed up gum on a tree?”

” That’s how I get bugs for my collection.”

” Oh  Harley. That’s just awful.”

” I know, but look at it this way Mom, if anyone ever decides to collect bug’s legs they’re not going to care if I have a mouth full of stumpy teeth. They’re just going to be glad I was a bubblegum chewer.”

So Harley continued to chew bubble gum, which when she snapped it between her teeth was as loud as gunshot and she also bought comic  books once a week at the 52nd Street Best Mart which is where Delarious and Quash met Harley.

” The world is full of comic books and they’ve only got six titles here- can you belive that? And look only one scary one ” she said to them as they stood behind her waiting for their turn at the spinner rack.

” We don’t collect those- we collect the Archie Comics. My friend had a parasite twin attached to the top of his head, show her Quash. ” Quash took off his hat so that Harley could see the top of his head which was flat and angled to the left.

” That is amazing.” Harley sighed.

” Yeah. We got plenty real weird in our life. “

” Oh. Did you have a parasite too?”

” No, I’m Delarious Mandusa.”

Harley’s mouth fell open and her gum fell out and stuck to the front of her t-shirt. ” You got named after the guy who found the Flying Dutchman?”

” He was my Granfather.”

Harley pulled the gum off her shirt and popped it back into her mouth.

” You guys are the coolest human beings ever.”

” You’re a pretty cool human too, ” Quash who was falling in love with Harley right then and there in front of the comic book rack said.

And Harley laughed.

So Harley and Quash and Delarious grew up together and goofed off together and on the day Harley’s family sent her away to go to school in ” the old Country ” they made one last trip to the empty building where they first became friends.

The comic book rack was still there and Harley told them, ” you just wait. One of these days you’re gonna see one of these things full of books and comics by Harley Sandeen.”

” What? I thought you were going away to learn the family  business.” Quash said.

” Yeah. Then I’m going to write about it. I figure I better get something out of being sent out to the middle of nowhere to learn how to find dead people. Geeze. Like that’s hard. “

” I thought your Mom said that wasn’t the hard part- she said the hard part was killing them.”

” Blah blah blah.” Harley said.

” But you don’t have a choice- right? I mean, you’re family hasn’t ever done anything except for-” Delarious mimicked  putting a stake to his heart with one hand and with the other pretended to pound it in with a mallet.

Harley pulled a green square of bubblegum out of her pocket and tossed it into her mouth. ” Yeah. But I think there’s more to life then chasing around pale people with pointy teeth and bad breath. It ain’t like the movies guys. Those things are so dumb that they still haven’t figured out that if they don’t want to be found they need to quit putting their real names on their tombstones. You know what’s worse? I’ve got to go to the other side of the world and get a college degree to learn about them.

Geeze, all my family has to so is rent me some movies and buy me a stack of comic books- they’d save themselves a ton of money and they’d save themselves the embarrassment of the sucky novel I’m going to write about them based on the Santa’s Village Incident.”

” The Mountlake Mall will probably never get another guy to do the Santa thing at Christmas and forget getting anyone to dress up like elves in this town again.”

” Yeah. Well. That  entire deal was a train wreck just waiting to happen.”  Harley  said  and like the good friends the boys were they agreed.

It was about four years after Harley’s second book was turned into a movie that Quash and Del decided to chase after their own dream- and that dream involved the smell of fresh cut grass and heavy machinery.

So instead of chasing after ghosts, or going out of your way to make sure that the world never found out that the parasitic twin that was removed from your head was alive and screaming in silence in a jar in a museum basement and that it was still growing – Harley’s friends took her advice.

And in case you’re curious.

Yes she did write about their story and their friendship and she dedicated the story to

Del And Quash.

See You Soon

Green Lake, Seattle WA 1907

from my writer’s journal 

When I as a kid we lived about a block west of Green Lake, in Seattle WA.

I grew up on a lot of stories about Green Lake- and given my family’s love of  Macabre Tales I never heard about the Picnic grounds at the lake which I believe were put in sometime before the 1900’s or the vision people had of creating a beautiful place where people could go and have beautiful thoughts about nature, life and themselves.

What I heard about were the dead people in the Lake.

I was left with the impression, as a child, that they drowned and that they never left Green Lake.

Here’s the story I heard:

Back during the 1920’s maybe the 1930’s,  people kept drowning in Green Lake-

they weren’t out there swimming alone, they would be out there swimming with a friend or in a group and all of the sudden one person would start thrashing around and screaming and then they went under and they stayed under….

sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours sometimes for days.

And then shortly after the bodies were recovered people would see the Floaters walking towards the lake.

Or back into the Lake.

Once the Lake got them, they couldn’t leave – they had to go back.

I am only mentioning this story because when I write my stories I usually mention a Lake or a body of water and the image I have in my mind’s eye is that of Green Lake.

The Green Lake that killed people and keeps their ghosts like trophies.

That story got to me over 40 years ago.

And like I said- once the Lake gets you, you have to go back.

a.m.

 

Reflection Of My Love

sleeping

” What are you looking at Jingle? ”  Milo Hungerford asked his wife.

Jingle was standing in front of their bathroom mirror with her hairbrush in her hand and she turned slowly towards him and said, ” I don’t know. “

He came up behind her and stared into glass and shook his head.

” That’s not right Jingle. “

She put her hand to her face and looked into the mirror again and when she turned back towards Milo she started to cry. ” Milo what’s happening to me? “

Milo  pulled Jingle to his chest and turned her away from the looking glass.

” Is it still there Milo? “

Milo held Jingle tighter and said, ” yes. “

” The one in the foyer- let’s try that one too. “

” Jingle- it won’t…” he started to say and then when he saw the look on her face he nodded. “okay, we’ll try that one too.”

Milo held his wife’s hand and they walked down the dark halls to the entrance to their home and together they looked into the mirror there and Jingle burst into tears and grabbed her face.

” Oh Milo- oh Milo what’s happening to me? ” she cried.

Milo looked into the mirror and there in the glass he saw his wife holding her hairbrush, her dark hair framing her face- all alone except for the darkness that was their home and he turned her gently towards him and said,

” I don’t know how it happened Jingle…but I think you’re alive. “

It Caught My Eye

 

When I first found this picture on the  Vintage Resources site I grabbed it because at a glance it looked perfect to illustrate a story I’d just finished.

Once I put the story and clip together though I noticed something strange on the left hand side of the picture that I hadn’t noticed when I’d first pulled it down from the Clip Art site.

There was a faded image of a child leaning against the railing and that child seemed to be present in a way that the more visible children weren’t.

I could think of at least three reasons for that image to be there and two of them made me glad I wasn’t in the house alone- so with all the lights in my work area on I put the picture up all alone at my Owl Creek Bridge with a caption that read ‘Almost There’.

Later I found out that child wasn’t a ghost- not in the way you’d define ghost-  but at the time this picture was taken the ‘ Almost There’ child was indeed dead.

While researching the subject of Post Mortem photography for questions I had received about something I’d written, I learned that this sort of photograph was created as a memorial to people who had passed on.

This is the way it was done:

The family would pose for a picture and then an image of the deceased was superimposed onto the new photograph.

That’s what was done with this photograph…that’s why it was created- it’s a memorial to a dead child.

Like I said, there were two reasons I could think of for that image to be there and when they first creeped into my head I was glad I wasn’t in the house alone.

I wish that were true right now.

amm

She Had No Face

threegirls

 A few years ago my friend and I went on a ghost tour of Seattle.

One of the stories has stayed with me, not because it was creepy or scary.

It has stayed with me because it is such a tragic event.

In the story a woman checks into a nice hotel, with no luggage and no wedding ring- in those days I guess nice women didn’t visit nice hotels with no luggage. She told the Clerk that her luggage was on its way, would he please let her into her room so she could get some rest?

She had been traveling for so long, so the story goes.

A few hours later the woman’s luggage did show up and when they took it up to her they found her dead on her bed.

The room was undisturbed, nothing out-of-place. It looked like she had walked in, laid down on the bed and died.

Of course she just didn’t just die- she had committed suicide and she had used cyanide to do it.

Nobody was ever able to trace where the cyanide could have come from, her luggage gave no clues to her identity. There were no personal effects in them. She had, it appeared, taken great care to establish a new identity and she was so good at it that  over 50 years later it’s the only ID she is known by:

Jane Doe.

Jane Doe came back to haunt me, in her subtle way when I was watching a show about ghosts and came across a story from the 1800’s  about a husband and wife who arrived on a mysterious ship. The woman was ill when she arrived and her condition worsened as the days went on.

When she died her husband swore the people around them to secrecy. He asked that they never reveal their identities and they never did.

And the only story I can offer here is from my own travels.

One Summer I left work early and decided to take a side trip.

I wanted to poke around in one of those abandoned buildings I had seen while driving to an out of the way Doctor’s Office to get a Death certificate signed.

It was a little hotel- I think at one time it had been painted white with blue trim which I suppose was supposed to give it a seaside resort feel, but this hotel was inland and the closest body of water was a lake about 40 miles away.

Well.

I pulled in, got out and went to the room I had parked in front of. That way I figured, if I had to leave quicly my car would be right there. Not that I expected any trouble of course.

The door wasn’t locked. In fact, the door almost fell in when I turned the knob and went in. The only furniture in that room was a little nightstand sitting where a bed used to be. To the right of the night stand was a bathroom door.

It was shut.

I went over, put my hand on the knob when I looked down on the table and there was a pink rat tail comb, a tube of lipstick and a handful of bobby pins. They were covered with dirt and mold and looked like they had been here for a very long time.

I looked around the room.

There was nothing in that room but dirt and that little table and what was on top of it.

Without thinking I turned the knob…and it wasn’t locked.

It was stuck.

The knob wouldn’t even turn.

” I’m sorry, ” I called out ” I think I’m in the wrong room.”

I backed away from the door and as I did I thought I smelled perfume.

I think what unsettles me about these stories is not that these women were nameless, its as if they had no faces.

I wonder if they ever did.

Jane Doe

 

RESOURCES:

Tomb Of A Female Stranger

The Stranger

The Story Of The Female Stranger

The Ghost Of The Female Stranger

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