Olden Days

There are writing prompts for teachers designed to help students focus on their schoolwork during the month of Halloween. I read that students are so  distracted by candy and costumes that they check out and it’s hard to hold their attention in class.

I can believe that.

When I was a kid me and my friends started planning for Halloween sometime towards the end of September and by Halloween we were out of our minds withe excitement and that was BEFORE we downed all that sugar.

But I wonder- do kids really get that excited over Halloween anymore?

I know that for a while  going to the Malls and trick or treating was a big deal – but it was THE MALL. People sent their kids into stores to trick or treat cashiers. I know that some of my friends who worked at the Malls when this started thought it was fun.  I thought it was sad. I thought it was the end of Halloween.

When me and my friends went out on Halloween night it was cold and it was really very dark because the neighborhoods I lived in were packed with evergreen trees and not  packed with a lot of street lights.

I remembered that the  leaves seemed to die and fall Halloween morning and I remember how satisfying it was when they would crunch under your feet as you raced along the sidewalk and across streets to houses with pumpkins that had been carved without the help of stencils and pumpkin carving tools that look like surgical instruments except for they are orange and made out of plastic and those things are small and …and they’re made out of PLASTIC for goodness sakes.

Anything made to carve and cut a Halloween decoration  needs  to be made of well sharpened stainless steel because nothing beats getting to use  THE BIG KNIFE  to carve a Halloween pumpkin – especially if you’re a kid and your Dad let’s you hold the knife as he guides it through the pumpkin’s flesh and all on your own he let’s you scoop out the insides with your Mom’s favorite soup ladle.

Me and my friends  agonized over days trying to decide what we wanted be for Halloween

 When I was really little the costumes were old school- we had those plastic masks that came in boxes with a matching plastic costume- I always wanted to be a dog or a princess…bet you didn’t see that coming did you?

One year I was Casper The Friendly Ghost my Aunt Sharon helped me pick it out. I’m pretty sure I only got it because she loved Casper and I wanted to make her happy. However-I was mortified the entire night.

Even the nifty Trick or Treat Bag she made for me didn’t  help me feel better about the sad situation I found myself in.

 Ghosts as far as I was concerned were not friendly. I figured if a real ghost saw me it would die- again-laughing  when it saw me.  The next year I refused the Witch costume when my Mom pointed it out at the store  because I thought witches were real too and what would happen if I got mistaken for one?

I could get burned at the stake or hung and not only would I be dead I wouldn’t get to eat my candy.

However one year I did give in and let myself get put into a  Vampire costume because I was sure they weren’t real. Plus it was a boy’s costume and I liked that because I got to wear my boots with my costume.

Do kids go through that Drama anymore?

I mean, how thrilling is t to go to the Mall and trick or treat the lady who sells cheese and sausage gift baskets? The cashier at the shoe store or the guy at the camping gear store? And don’t get me started on Green Halloween and Healthy Halloween snacks and Harvest Festivals where you can’t dress up like the Devil but you can dress up like a clown or a scarecrow.

I wouldn’t trust the person who made that one up, I’ll say that outright. That is a weird call.

But I wonder.

Just before Halloween, on their way home from school,  do kids still point houses that could be haunted? Gardens where someone could be hiding dead bodies that are being turned into Zombies and was that sound you heard the night before spaceships from Uranus ( yeah, well- we weren’t always serious when we discussed monsters ).

Or do they talk ( on cell phones ) about computer games where you know for sure you can find haunted houses or Zombies or Space Aliens.

So I wonder- do kids really get  distracted from their schoolwork  by Halloween?

I hope so.

I really do.

One Night

One night

I set out on a trip all by myself.

I didn’t have a map or a ticket I didn’t know where I was going.

But I went alone.

And I was alone.

For a very long time.

Towards the end of the trip I heard someone walking towards me-

and then I heard someone breathing

just around the corner from where I was walking

all alone.

And then I stopped.

” Someone there? “

I asked.

No one answered.

” Hey!  Is someone there? ” I called a little louder.

The breathing stopped and the footsteps came towards me-

from around the corner and I closed my eyes tight and put one foot in front of the other and then I flew towards the breathing and the footsteps and the voices that cried out:

” What the hell was that? ” came the voice from behind me and then below me as I took to the darkness above ” What the Hell was that! “

and not a knife in sight….

:::It’s about Pumpkins Today:::

I wrote this story a few years ago- the characters were based on me and my Grandma Ginger and goes a long way to show where I developed my idea of ‘funny’ –  it’s  also one of my personal favorites:

::::A Pumpkin Carvers Story:::


” How did you get so good at carving pumpkins? “

” Practice.” Enid told her Granddaughter as she delicately put the tip of her butcher’s knife against the side pumpkin’s blank face. ” Lots and lots of practice.”

She pushed the knife into he pumpkin’s flesh and as she broke the skin she told Aubrey, ” I love that smell.”

” That pumpkin smell?”

Enid looked over the pumpkin and said, ” That what?”

” That pumpkin smell.”

Enid shrugged and then pulled the knife up and dropped it down into the pumpkin in one clean motion after another.

Instead of answering her Aubrey, Enid hummed.

When she was finished she put her knife down and wrapped her fingers around the pumpkins stem. She took a breath, closed her eyes and smiled as lifted and  heard the pop and rip as the top of the pumpkin’s skull came away in her hand.

Enid opened her eyes and sighed and then  she answered her Granddaughter. ” No. I don’t mean that smell. I mean that other smell.”

” I can’t smell anything except for Pumpkin.”

” Really?” Enid said, ” You can’t smell that?”

Enid set the top of the pumpkin’s head down and she reached for a large wooden spoon and plunged into the pumpkin and began to scrape it out.

” Go ahead. Take a sniff. You really can’t smell that?”

Aubrey leaned over the pumpkin and sniffed.

” What is it? What should I be able to smell?”

As Enid  stood up she picked the knife up off the table and said  to the back of her Granddaughter’s neck:

” Why. The Fear of course.”

I made this e-card at Spookathon.Com

This was a fun site and I’d say give it a whirl because it was easy to navigate and in the end the picture I created was the Bee’s Knees.

PS. To  save the picture I had to go all the way through and create the card- and if you want there are other options for your artwork, like creating games and puzzles.

Photo: extremepumpkins.com

I hope you enjoyed the treat today…now on to the next part.



The Grave Tale Of Vedda Felonwood

When I was a teenager, and that was a very long time ago,  I started my life long  work in a Funeral Home.

I washed and polished the hearses, sometimes I helped the Funeral Directors with smalls tasks like answering the phones or running errands and sometimes I helped in the embalming room too. And once a week I cleaned the toys out of   ( or as we called it around The Home- and never in front of the families – Babyland ) and I stored them in neatly labeled boxes in the basement in of the three rooms that combined were bigger then the Home that sat on top of it.

We call that room The Toy Room, for obvious reason.

The Toy Room is lined with the cherry wood shelves  where the boxes of toys collected from Babyland rest  on shelves that are regularly polished to a glassy shine by  yours truly. The stucco walls and ceiling are painted light blue and the worn tile floor used to be pink.

In a room next to The Toy Room, is a room we call 1105- I don’t know why we call it that, but that’s the room where we keep unclaimed cremains- those too are kept in neatly labeled boxes.

Now and then it’s necessary to replace the boxes holding the Urns as they age and fall apart so that when you walk into 1105- whose stucco walls are a dignified cream color and whose shelves are made of the same wood we store the toys from Babyland- everything in there looks almost new.

There’s a memorial book  for the Unclaimed on a lectern outside the door of 1105 that I keep dust free . The pages are blank and never have been written in and the pen is always replaced when the ink in the old pen dries up.

During the holidays I put fresh flowers in a small vase on the lectern with the Memorial Book and the pen. Forget Me Nots. That’ what sits there next to the blank book in the darkned basement.

Those two rooms are the only rooms I don’t go into unless I absolutely have too but that self-imposed rule does not apply to the third room which is crematorium that Mr. Challoner runs with a smooth quiet efficiency.

Once and awhile I drop in when Mr. Challoner is working to see if he needed help.

Sometimes I helped him move – and like the rest of the staff at The Home he always refers to those who have passed by their names- those who have passed from one place to another and he never let me run the board or handle the cremains as they were moved into their urns or boxes.

I do remember the first time he let me do one of those two tasks

” Miss Felonwood” he said and he always called the staff  by their surnames- ” I could use your help, if you don’t mind”

I was at his side in a flash, of course,  and he gave  me a  series of small tasks- handing him a small screwdriver to close the urns, making sure his work area was spotless before he worked on the next set of cremains.

One day he looked down ( Mr Challoner was a very tall man- six-foot five or so I’d say) and said in his formal way ” It appears you’ve taken too much sun.”

I touched my nose, which was slightly red. ” I probably got a sunburn. I spent too much time out there today.”

” You should be careful Miss Felonwood. As you know, those burns can leave scars.”

” I know. But. Well. It was so nice outside …. I’ll, I’ll be more careful next time.”

Mr. Challoner looked like he was going to say something but he stopped himself and motioned me towards the Control Panel. ” If you don’t mind Miss Felonwood.”

Of course I didn’t mind.

Mr. Challoner was my friend, after all.

I was walking up the stairs from the basement one night, when I heard one of the three doors from downstairs open and then close.

Mr. Challoner’s door was new- it whispered open and closed. The other two doors had aged locks and old hinges and they complained when you woke them up to work. One of those two doors was complaining louder than usual and when I heard it close I felt a cool breeze wrap itself around my shoulders and settle there.

The weight of that cold stopped me on the dark stairway and as much as I wanted to turn around and see what was standing there behind me I didn’t.  I also didn’t scream, which is something I really wanted to do.

” Excuse me.” an old man’s voice asked me. ” Do you know the way out of here?”

I couldn’t move- I’d only been that scared one other time in my life and it wasn’t as bad as how I felt on those stairs because it had been over so quickly.

” I’ve been here for so- sometimes it feels like minutes and other times it feels like years- I don’t understand that. Do you.”

I opened my mouth to answer and it took a few tries before I heard myself say, ” No.”

” I was in the hospital and then I was here. I’ve forgotten my name. I try and try to remember it but I can’t. Why can’t I remember my own name?”

I thought about all those boxes with the names printed neatly on cards sitting in that cream colored room on their polished shelves- forgotten and shut away in a basement and I said to the cool weight ” I don’t think you’re supposed to do that anymore.”

“Please Miss.. please… Do you know the way out of here …”

” Vedda, my name is Vedda  Felonwood ” I said knowing how lucky I was to know my own name, to have a home and friends and a job and a place to belong instead of a cherry wood shelf that smelled faintly of lemons. ” I do know the way out of here. But I’ve never gone there… “

I turned around and looked into the sad face of not an old man, but a sort of young man who had aged downstairs in an eternal night ” I got hurt a long time ago- I lifted the hair away from my neck and showed my companion my ruined neck- I looked into his face and parted my lips so he could see my teeth- my horrible pointed and unnaturally white teeth ” I woke up here a long,long time ago and if I stay here. I don’t change, I don’t get- ” I looked for the right words.

” Hungry.”

And then I thought I knew what I should do.

I ran- no I flew past the man and down the stairs to 1105 and I took the pen out of the penholder and I opened the guest book and I wrote my name down inside of it on the very first line.

I heard the footsteps moving up the stairs. I heard the door at the top of the stairs open and before it closed I heard the man call down to me, ” Have a good evening Miss Felonwood, “

” You too- ” I replied from the darkness

” Cadwell. My name is  Calvin  Cadwell.”

What A Treat

When I was little we lived next door to a very nice lady who was fond of baking and handing out cookies. Gingerbread, star shaped,heart shaped , house shaped frosted and dusted- they were all delicious and all of them were on little plates scattered here and there on table tops throughout her old fashioned and softly lit  living room.

One day I was over there for my almost daily cookie fix when she noticed me admiring one of her clocks ( this one had a blank face with hands that looked like tree branches ) that sat was sitting next to a plate of almond cookies when she told me out of the clear blue sky , that her husband had been an executioner.

I almost didn’t hear that- because when I wasn’t trying to decide which cookie to try next, I was distracted by those clocks.

Because Mrs. Fenton didn’t have just one or two clocks in her house.

Mrs. Fenton’s house was filled with clocks- big clocks. Little clocks. Hundreds of clocks. Some of the clocks looked like angels or ladies in fancy dress and they had clocks in their stomachs. I’ll be honest- I didn’t get that sort of design back then and I don’t get it now.

What  I did get was that all of the clocks were stopped, roughly at  few minutes after midnight and my neighbor explained that her husband used to buy a clock for each of the criminals he executed and he stopped them at the declared time of death.

I thought that was a neat idea- but I was a kid and at the time I thought shrunken heads were a neat idea too.

My favorite clock was a Grandfather clock – but this clock was stopped at 3:oo .

I assumed that clock wasn’t one of the execution clocks- but I was curious and asked.

” Oh that one. ” She said with a little laugh.

I took a cookie off the cookie table packed with small porcelain cats and waited to find out what the challenge was.

” Miss Clay was called the Greenlake Devil Woman. She killed the people she rented rooms to and after she killed them she chopped them up and fed them to her next batch of boarders.”

I was mid-bite into a cookie and I tried to picture that. I could see an old-fashioned kitchen and a lady in an old-fashioned frilly apron whistling just like a bird as she chopped and stirred and seasoned things in ceramic bowls and boiling pots.

With that happy image in mind I kept chewing.

” Well. Mr. Fenton did his job- and this one involved electricity- and they called Miss Clay’s  time of death and Mr. Fenton was thinking about clocks and the County workers took her to the morgue and a few hours later she was back at her house in her kitchen working like a thing possessed. Mr Fenton and the police and a Priest or two showed up and there she was- a terrible beauty with flour dust in her hair and a smile on her blue yet very kissable lips- Mr Fenton said later. “

” Wow. So she came back from the dead and went home and cooked dinner?”

” No dear.” Mrs Fenton said looking at me curiously. ” Whatever gave you that idea?  She came back from the dead and baked cookies.”

She Was Not Alive

There were three of them in the car that Halloween Night when Mundy Selkirk turned up on Latona Road.

She was walking into town and they were driving out of town and had they not turned around and picked her up the Henshaw’s Party would not have been short a Pirate, a French Maid and a Zombie for the first part of their party. But the fact is they did turn around because they saw Mundy Selkirk  in a Mourning Dress and carrying a the knife she killed her family with over 100 years ago right there in Burnstone out at the Selkirk farmhouse.

” That is the best Mundy Selkirk costume I have ever seen ” the French Maid ( Lee Bressler ) screamed at the top of her lungs ” turn around now!”

The Pirate ( David Lindall ) said ” no ” but he did turn around because the Zombie ( Lister ) was his older brother and  he was agreeing with Lee. So at that point he knew that nobody in the car was listening to him.

They pulled up along side Mundy Selkirk, but she was not as pale and ghostly looking as the ten or so other Mundy Selkirk’s they’d already run into on their way to the Henshaw’s. This Mundy was a little dusty and sweaty looking, she looked annoyed when they signaled for her to stop.

” What?” she shouted at them

” That is the best Mundy Selkirk costume ever.”  Lee said enthusiastically. ” Where did you get it from?”

Mundy stopped and glared into the car. ” My Mother made it for me.”

” Your Mother is cool.” Lister told her.

Mundy seemed to consider what she had just heard Lister say. ” I suppose so.”

” Look, we can give you a ride into town if you want. It’s not a big deal. “

” Well. It would save me some time. I have to get back into town, I don’t want to be late.”

Mundy got into the back seat with Lister and as she slid into the car she handed Lister her knife. ” Watch yourself it’s sharp.” She told him.

” You’re taking a real knife to a party?”

” Well. Yes. ” She said slowly.

The ride into town was short but on that short ride they learned that this Mundy Selkirk liked to read poetry, she played the piano and she had a rose garden.

” So what is your interest in Mundy Selkirk?” David asked from the front seat. ” Most people who are into Mundy Selkirk are into the goth thing and it sounds like you’re into the, I don’t know flower thing.”

” The Goth thing?” Mundy asked

” Yeah, you know, they’re into vampires and…”

“Vampires?” Mundy echoed.

” Well. Some of them think they’re real and-“

” There are people out there who believe in Vampires and ress up like, M-“

” Yep. And they are into the Vampire thing in a very big way.”

” Mundy Selkirk was not a Vampire.”

” Who knows? ” Lee said with a laugh.  ” They said all of her victims had been drained of their blood. “

” You don’t think that the fact she cut their throats had something to do with that, do you?” Mundy Selkirk asked.

” Well, what happened to it then? All of that blood…”

” Took a very long time to clean up, but it was days before anyone knew something had happened at the House. Mundy had all the time in the world to do what she had to do.”

Mundy tapped the back of David’s headrest with her knife. ” You can let me out here. I’m going to the Bitterman’s House. Honestly. Mundy Selkirk a vampire.”

” So what do you think happened to the real Mundy Selkirk? ” Lee asked Mundy.

” They found her in the woods. ” Mundy told her.

” Well. Yes. But what do you think killed her?”

” She was not alive. ” Mundy said, ” and she hadn’t been for a very long time- that’s all I know.”

David watched Mundy walk up to the Bitterman’s B&B, they hosted a Halloween Party there for the guests every Halloween. The Bitterman party had nothing to do with Mundy Selkirk, Bitterman’s back in the day had been a Funeral Parlor.

As Mundy made her way up the walk, swinging her knife from side to side Lister could see the heavy white thread running up the back of Mundy Selkirk’s dress- that was a weird touch Lister thought.

That’s what they did in funeral homes he had learned a few years ago at the Bitterman’s Halloween Party a few years ago-  some funeral directors cut the clothes in the back to fit them on to the corpses and then they sewed them up the back with heavy thread. 

They weren’t tailors so Lister imagined it looked just like the back of Mundy Selkirk’s dress- the stitches were loose and the fabric was bunched up in places up and down her spine.

Just then she turned and waved as they pulled away from the curb, she was waving goodbye with her knife.

And she was smiling.


October Skeletons


What would you do about  Halloween if your name was October Skeletons?

Would you celebrate Halloween? Hide from Halloween? Would you spend each day of the year leading up to Halloween cursing your Mortician Father and Science Teacher Mother for not only keeping that weird name but naming you October to boot?

Well. October did none of those things because October Skeletons was a very practical man.

He worked as a baker and read history books and only bought things when they were on sale.

The only jokes October knew were the ones that were printed on paper place mats at one of three diners he ate at when he did eat out. And I should probably mention that he really liked those jokes and told them in such a way that people actually laughed at them.

So just before Halloween October’s friends at the Bakery started to ask him what his plans for Halloween were, and he told them like he told them every year. ” I just don’t have the heart to celebrate Halloween. My Parents were big on it, they were married on Halloween you know, my Mom would throw these big parties for Halloween and people would dress up and play games. It was grand. She was grand. Both of them were exceptional people and once they passed on well…but like I said. I just don’t have the heart to do anything for it.”

This year, October’s friends at the Bakery insisted that this year he was going to Lissie Kade’s Halloween party with the rest of them. He was going to dress up and eat food that had been shaped into body parts and hand out candy at the door to trick or treaters.

They told him that there were going to be no if and or buts or stories about missing his parents or stories or how empty his life was without his Grandparents who had traveled in sideshows and worked as Magicians and how he couldn’t really have fun the way he used to without  his mortician Aunt and grave digging uncles,


as October always said-

he just didn’t have the heart to.

” Oh come on October, they sound like they were great. ” they said to him as they got ready to start the days baking ” but they’d want you to have fun. Right?”

” Of course they would. But I counted on them for that and now…”

Ramsey Mathis is October’s best friend and this time he walked up to his friend, grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him hard, ” You are going to go to this party, you are going to have fun and nobody wants to hear that you…”

” I told you, ” October said as he pulled his friend’s hand from his shoulder and put it on the center of his chest. ” I  do not have the heart for it.”

Devlin Marsh’s Wife

” Why does Devlin Marsh’s wife  hang pictures of dead people on her walls?”

There are pictures of people in laying in coffins or sitting in chairs and they are surrounded by flowers and mourners and in one a dead girl,  her eyes flat and dull stares at you from forever.

I think Devilin’s wife is  named LaVerne, but I could be wrong.

I have never asked and most people don’t want to know about Devlin Marsh’s wife who came into the world on a night where a storm tore through her home town and the lighting strikes almost burned the hospital she was born in to the ground and after Devlin’s wife grew up most people wished it had.

Devlin Marsh’s wife, whose name could be LaVerne has pictures of old people and young people dressed for the grave hanging from the walls in her hallways and sewing room, in her sitting room and there is even one hanging in her pantry in a heavy silver frame where the dead man in the faded picture  looks all day at the food Devlin and (I think her name is) LaVerne will eat for their meals.

Devlin’s wife is good with a knife and she is a fine and patient cook- so Devlin has said  about his wife.

If I could ask- I think her name is LaVerne- one question I think I would ask about the one place in her house that does not have pictures of dead people hanging from a single wall.

It’s on  closet door in a spare room.

And it is nailed shut.

From the inside.

So I have heard.

Target Goes ” Mean Girls ” On Trick Or Treaters Homemade H’ween Costumes

I ran across this story about an ad that Target is running.

In it they are saying that unless you buy your kid a costume ( from them ) you are telling the entire world that  you are cheap and that you are pefectly willing to ruin your child’s Halloween and their entire childhood because of your cheapness.

What the heck?

When I was a kid this was how we went about costume shopping.

My parents made a big deal out of taking us to K-Mart to buy one of those plastic masks with the matching plastic costume, we’d chose out a treat bag and buy a pumpking on our way home with our loot. After that we’d spend the next few days trying our costumes on and if we were good we’d get to wear them for dinner until bed time.

On Halloween Day me and my friend- first it was Bonnie and then later Darrin- would spend the entire collecting rolls of toilet paper and eggs.

In  case you’re curious we’d go to our neighbors and say that we were out and our Moms had sent us over to borrow some. Today my husband says to me, ‘so basically you were defacing their property with their own toilet paper and eggs.

” Yeah” I told him.

“That’s evil he says.”

” We were just being practical. ” I said in defense of my childhood self. ” If we took the stuff from our own houses our Moms always noticed and we’d get busted.

Busted means that they would send our Dads Trick or Treating with us.


 We’d spend an hour or so running from block to block hiding our stash and then we’d have to race home, put together the costumes we were actually going to wear, find a place to stash those and then we’d go home and change into our K-Mart Costumes to wear for pictures ( and BTW yes I DID love those- ) We would trick or treat a few houses in those and then… and then….

We would change into whatever we wanted.

Sometimes that change involved swapping costumes parts, adding to our costumes or making something at the last minute out of paper bags and clothes that we found in our Grandparents closets. We probably looked like a mess, but who cares? We didn’t then and all I remember now is the fantastic times we had.

I believe that on Halloween of all nights you dance with them that brought you- have some fun, but I would advise chose who brings you with care and humor.


Here’s what people on YouTube are saying about the Target Ad

Mocking kids/parents who have the creativity and drive to make their own costumes. Way to go, Target. You should be real proud of this one.

Wow, this is a great message for people during a recession! Go buy the crappy printed on plastic crap for twenty bucks instead, really Target?! Or I could sew something awesome (a Jedi and a fairy princess this year) that will be totally unique and durable, instead of cheap, disposable, and just like every other kid.

Why spend time with your kid making something together for Halloween, when you can just go to Target and spend $19 for a memory that will last, oh say, two days?
Way to go, Target! Spending time with those little rugrats is overrated, anyway.

And meanwhile on Reddit, there’s a popular thread called “Target Makes Moms and Kids Feel Like Sh*t for Having Homemade Costumes,” where this comment basically sums up the tone:

The idea of it being a bad thing to make your own costume is ridiculous. Making costumes is a great way for parents to bond with their children and create happy memories.

A Jezebel commenter writes:

Unless Target is treating me to free drinks and an evening of Chuck Norris jokes, I think I’ll stick to homemade, thanks.

Annals of Amoral Advertising, Part One: Target Despises Homemade Halloween Costumes

Sweet Screams

“A woman is sitting alone in a house. She knows she is alone in the whole world; every other living thing is dead. The doorbell rings.”

Thomas Bailey Aldrich  circa 1870:

“He sat alone in the dark, afraid. Someone put matches in his hand.”

A Ghost Story- Author Unknown


Walk Into My Parlor
– by Mary Howitt

“Will you walk into my parlor?”
said the spider to the fly;
“Tis the prettiest little parlor that you ever did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”
“Oh no, no!” said the little fly,
“to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair
can never come down again.”

Indiya’s Uncle


Indiya Olencia was sitting in a hospital room, with her Uncle on the last day of his life.

She was sitting on a chair next to the window watching the snow fall and he was watching something on TV.

” Indy, did I ever tell you about the two old ladies out in the hall?”

” What hall? This one?”

” No, the one on the ship, that cruise I took when I was in my early twenties. They were in that hall.”

” Nope. I don’t think so”

” Well, It was the strangest conversation I’d ever heard- and it haunts me to this day.”

Indy wasn’t sure how she should feel about a dieing man telling her a story that was haunting him to his grave, still she told him- ” what did you hear?”

” We were having this costume party- it was Halloween and for a few days up to the night people were talking about their costumes. Some brought them on board and others were putting them together there on the ship.

I had my cabin door open when I hear this one lady say, ” You know what I’d like to be for Halloween?”

Then I hear this other lady say, ” I have no idea. “

” Alive. Alive would be nice.”

All Indiya could think to say to that was, ” yeah?”

” That’s what I heard. I was curious how you dress up to look alive so I go to my door and open it and look down the hall and it’s empty. Empty as a tomb. I figured they must have gone into one of the other cabins. I’ll be honest with you Indy, I’ve spent my entire life saying that’s what they did.”

Indiya’s Uncle who was about to fall asleep in the next few minutes and would be dead shortly after that looked at her.

One of his eyes was halfway closed, the other was wide opened- she looked directly into the opened one and she nodded. ” Then she looked out the window and watched the snow falling, heavier now and she figured that she would spend the rest of her life telling herself the same thing.

Once Upon A Nightmare

” Once I had a nightmare ” my friend Domino told me ” about this witch who tried to break into my house “

” Okay, ” I tell Domino thinking this sounds like a good story to kill that long bus ride home from Seattle ” so how did it go? “

“Well, in my dream I heard my dog crying and in my dream I woke up and went and looked out my bedroom window. “

” And your dog was…”

” Hanging from a tree. “

” Like Hell you say. “

” It’s true, so I tried to run down my hallway to help get her out of the tree but the floor was gone and all I saw where the floor should have been was this dark pit filled with people with snake’s eyes and they were talking to me in a language I couldn’t understand.”

” I really hate it when that happens…” Domino looks at me a little strangely and I say ” you know… in my dreams.”

” Well sure.  So anyway I go back to my bedroom and crawl out my window and then I fall into my rose bushes. “

I turned that image over in my mind a few times..

Domino isn’t into breaking a sweat for any reason- she wouldn’t run wouldn’t run from Lizzie Borden  swinging an ax to save her own  life so I couldn’t begin to imagine her crawling out of a window.

I smiled and encouraged she went on.

” When I get outside there’s this woman standing by Tippy and she’s got her back turned towards me. As much as I want to help Tippy I don’t want her, whoever she is, to turn around.”

” No. ” I tell Domino. ” You certainly do not want that.  It’s a psychology thing…”

” Yeah well, she doesn’t turn around. She just reached up and grabs Tippy by her neck and yanks down. “

” Damn. ” I say ” So what did you do?”

” I run back to my front door and just as I run through it, the door slams shut and I throw myself against it…and I can feel the knob turning in my hand and just before it opens I lock it.”

” Good for you. “

” It didn’t matter, because the door swung open and pushed me back and then the Witch came in with Tippy. She was dragging Tippy by the rope and then Tippy opened her eyes and- she wasn’t Tippy anymore.”

” What was she? “

” Dead.” Domino says sadly. ” And I started to cry and scream for Tippy not to leave me and then I woke up.”

” Look, it was only a dream right? I mean Tippy isn’t really dead and the Witch didn’t get you.”

Domino looks at me and I look at her and Domino asks me if I think she’ll have that awful nightmare again.

 ” Domino”  I say as I  pull a rope from out of my pocket ” you’re not awake yet.”

Anna’s Mirrors

There is legend

about a girl named


who was not sane-

and one day her family sent her away to be cured

at a hospital

on a road

out in the middle of nowhere.

There were bars on all of the windows.


The Doctors

who were not sane

locked her in a room full of mirrors

and the things that lived in Anna’s Brain

the things that drove her insane

went to live in the mirrors

where it was dark and quite and they didn’t have to listen to

Poor Anna’s Brain scream and scream and scream anymore.


One day

for no reason at all

the people died and the hospital died

and so did the things that hid under the beds

and in the closets.


Now Anna’s Mirrors hang from walls

in houses and libraries and shops and hotels


some are hanging in buildings with rats in the walls.


 If by an unlucky

turn of fate

you find

one of the cool dark mirrors that hung in poor Anna’s room

in the hospital where the Doctors were not sane

and you press your ear to the glass

you can  hear


moving around in there

and that something

that was  never sane

used to live inside of

Poor Anna’s Brain

Bancho Church Has A Grave Thought

Bancho Church is a horror writer- at least that’s what he gets paid to do and that’s what he says he does for a living and on good days he’ll say to himself, ” I am a horror writer ” and mentally he gives himself a big kiss.

But when Bancho has days where he spends most of his time watching video clips on his computer and chatting on-line with his friends he doesn’t feel like a writer. On those days he wishes he had stuck with his original line of work- he used to be the top salesman for a company that sold pathology equipment.

When he had down days at Waxons he’d clock out and go to the bar around the corner and drink beer and eat peanuts until he had either picked his spirits up or drowned them in a  sea of Dark Ale.

Now when he had down days with his writing he goes outside and does yard work.

So that is where Bancho was the day he saw the old lady waiting at the bus stop across the street from where he lives.

She was wearing a bright red coat to protect herself from the chilly fall air and she was wearing a hat decorated with birds and fruit to cover her almost shoulder length gray hair to- well- as near as Bancho could figure it out- she wore that for fun.

Bancho waved and the old lady slowly raised her arm waved back and then Bancho turned away from the street and started to rake leaves.

There were millions of them.

Millions and millions he was thinking over and over again because he wasn’t thinking about anything useful- like maybe the book he was working on- when he reached down to scoop up the pile of leaves at his feet to put them into the yard waste bin.

They crumbled almost to dust in his hands.

He dropped them into the open bin and started to rake up another pile- and as he did the dark wet leaves curled a little on the edges and started to break apart.

He kicked at the pile with his foot and looked up.

The old lady in the red coat raised her arm again to wave and this time when she waved she wiggled her fingers too.

He waved back.

Bancho moved the little pile of leaves around with his foot and some of them broke apart and the ones that didn’t almost did.

Bancho felt a cool  blast of air make stroll by and he heard it make its way up into the tree’s  branches around him and leaves- some red others gold and lots of still green leaves fell into yards and the street for as far as Bancho could see.

And he knew that if he were to walk to each and every one of those leaves and picked them up in small bunches in his hand or step on them they would crumbled to dust.

The old lady in the red coat with the birds on her hat shrugged.

” Well. ” Bancho thought to himself ” The leaves are dieing. That’s what they do in the fall. They fall from the trees and they die because-“

Bancho ground a fresh green leaf to a fine powder  and he said out loud ” they get old.”

Bancho looked up and across the street and the Old Lady was now hatless.  Her hat was now on her left hand and she was twirling it on one finger.

And then from down the street Bancho could hear the bus coming towards them.

It crawled to a stop and Bancho could see the Old Lady make her way to the back of the bus and she wasn’t moving like an old woman.

She bounced down the aisle  and he could see her swing into a seat and he saw her, as the bus slid away waving to him- at least he thought it was her- he saw the red coat and she was actually waving her hat at him- but the woman he saw had long dark hair.

It couldn’t have been her, he thought as he reached for his rake.

What had he just seen, he asked himself A Vampire who feeds off of leaves to make herself young?

Bancho laughed at himself  as he pulled his rake along the ground and when the sharp pain shot up from the middle of his back and he was forced, for a few minutes to support himself against his rake he tried to  keep on laughing.

But he could not.

To Grandfather’s House We Go

Over the river and thru the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Lydia Maria Child

Petty Morrell asked his wife, on Halloween Night, the same exact question that he has asked her for the last 30 years on Halloween Night.

” Marginata, why do we do the same exact thing for Thanksgiving? Why can’t we for once do something different.?”

Marginata answered Petty’s question the same way she has answered it for the last 30 years.

She ignored Petty.

“We bring the same food- as wonderful as you pumpkin pie is, you’ve done it to death and we sit at the same table and we hear the same stories about your Grandfather- who you never knew because he died in that accident at the Circus before you were  born. I mean, Mar- please a little variety. Can we wear funny hats or bring pizza or hey, here is an idea let’s not go.”

Marginata closed her eyes- for all of his going on and on about getting stuck in a mind numbing routine Marginata thought that Petty would find something new to add to the conversation.

So just as Marginata was about to give her standard reply they both heard voices and then a knock at the door. Marginata grabbed a silver bowl full of mini chocolate bars and little bags of candy corn and she said, ” I like the funny hats idea Petty. That was a funny line the first time you used it and almost 30 years later it still makes me laugh”

” You’re not laughing.” Petty pointed out.

” I am on the inside.” Marginata told him as she opened the door to two mini-sized devils, one medium-sized space alien and in a stroller made up to look like a basket with a baby dressed up like a stalk of celery sitting in the middle of it.

She handed out the candy. closed the door and turned to Petty and then- surprise!  He had something new to say:

” You would think that a man who born with a tail and a full set of teeth would have produced a family with people who were at least open to new ideas.”

Marginata shrugged, ” lots of us in the family were born with tails and teeth Petty. Even me.”

” So why do we have to sit at a table and pretend to be like everyone else?” Petty asked.

“Well. It’s fun.”

” You think acting normal is fun?”

” No, I guess not. It’s more funny than anything else. After all my sister Ella  found five bodies buried in her shed. Only somebody in my family would end up buying a house that was once owned by a spree killer who buried the bodies in a tool shed with no tools in it.  Normal is sort of neat idea in our book”

” Your Uncle Beltrane certainly thought so.”

” My Uncle Beltrane thought someone cut his hand off while he was sleeping and replaced it with his neighbor’s hand. Uncle was weird yet practical on…well, the other hand.”

” Maybe so, but I’ll bet he’s glad for that weird old Insanity Defense being there when he went to get his hand back.”

Marginata said slowly. ” The woods truly are full of crazy people.”

” Your brother would know all about that. “

” He never said the woods were full of crazy people- he said the trees were crazy. Sometimes I wonder if you ever really listen to what people are saying or if you just react to what they say.

There was another knock at the door and the little group of forest animals, Pirates and Werewolves remebered to  thank Petty for the gummy candy eyeballs after he shut the door.

” You need to embrace the weirdness that is your family, your history Mar. I mean, I fell in love with that too you know.”

Marginata smiled a real warm smile at her husband and hugged the bowl to her chest. Then went back into the kitchen to fill the bowl with more candy.

Petty said, as he heard Marginata opening plastic bags ” Look, just try one new thing this year-anything you want. Big, little, doesn’t matter. Just shake things up a little.”

Marginata called  back ” Well, ” she thought out loud ” I suppose I could try  baking something  new. That might be fun.”

Petty groaned silently and rolled his eyes up into his head and called back ” sure, that’s the spirit.”

Marginata’s bowl of candy was overflowing and she said happily as she walked out into the living room,” I’m thinking apple.”

” Oh yeah?” Petty said encouragingly.

Spiced apple.” Marginata said.

” Now there’s a thought.”

” You don’t love it?”

” I like the idea Mar…really.”

” But you don’t love it.”

” I could.”

” Yeah. Well. Let me think-” this time the bell door bell chimed and Marginata walked towards the door with her bowl of candy she was saying something to herself about spiced apples and rum raisins  and then she sighed.

Petty heard that and regretted bringing up the idea at all.

Despite the fact Marginata’s Mother who as a child was suspected of starting a fire that burned down the Leaning Birches Prison back in the 50’s and may have caused the deaths of over 200 inmates- Marginata was and would always be a sweatshirt wearing suburban housewife.

” I don’t know Mar- your family does love those pumpkin pies of yours, especially when you whip up the whip cream with the nutmeg. It’s a nice touch.”

” I make it with fresh cream straight from my cousin Beezer’s dairy farm “

” Is his daughter still in jail?”

” Yeah.”

” Sorry to hear that. I still don’t know what made that girl think she would not get into trouble for sneaking into the County Morgue and-“

” Kids.” Marginata said as she opened the door.

Petty heard the chorus of  Dracula’s and witches and clowns  sing out ” trick or treat” but he didn’t hear Marginata ooh-and ahh over the costumes or offer to let them choose their own treats from the bowl.

He turned and the door was wide open and Marginata wasn’t looking outside- she was facing into the house. The bowl of candy was in her hands and she was smiling.

” Petty, ” she whirled around and faced the Trick or Treaters ” I have a great idea for a pie.”


 photo by: wintersixfour


Happy Halloween

” Did you see this? ” Marlene asked her friend Beset Lee as she handed her the morning newspaper.

Beset Lee, who was a Witch and her friend Marlene who was also a Witch were chosing out their Halloween costumes from a trunk in Beset Lee’s  attic.

Every year they liked to dress up like something candy related. Don’t ask me why, I’m just telling this story.

” I don’t like to concern myself with current events on Holidays.” Beset Lee said waving the paper away.

” I know, it puts you in a bad mood, ” Marlene told her friend ” that’s why I waited until now to show you this.” Marlene smooshed the paper in Beset’s face. ” Read it. I really, really think you should.”

” I can’t breathe.” Beset Lee said from behind the newspaper.

” Oh sorry. But read it. Please. Now. It’s just awful what they are saying.”

Beset Lee took the paper from Marlene and warned her: ” If this kills my buzz I am going to cast an evil spell on you and it will involve spiders”

Beset Lee set the paper down after she read the story and said, ” I think that this year I want to be a that candy bar with the pirates on the wrapper. That way I can carry around a sword.”

“I  hate to tell you this Beset Lee but they’re not Pirates. They’re musketeers. Now what are we going to do about this story?”

” Why should we do anything? It’s wrong. The Press, they can’t get anything right, can they? Where is that silver tunic?” Beset Lee went back to work digging through the trunk.

” That’s not the point. Hey, why don’t we ever dress up as anything other than food?” Marlene asked.

” So what’s the point. And food is fun. Especially candy.”

” The point is, people will know we are up to something.” Marlene said.

” Marlene, we are Witches we are always up to something- especially on Halloween. Everybody with a brain knows that. For Pete’s sake, even the ones who don’t have a brain knows that.”

” When you are right, you are really right Beset Lee. I still think that story is just awful.  I’d go as far as to call it disgraceful. As if we would curse candy.”

” Besides it’s a stupid plan all around. ” Marlene continued as she started to feel better about their situation.  “As if everyone eats candy on Halloween. Besides that we love candy we must eat a mountain of it ourselves on Halloween. What if we got the goody bags mixed up?”

” Exactly.”

Beset Lee  found the silver tunic at bottom of the trunk of and  she said as she pulled it out with a flourish, ” That’s why every year we use my plan to curse toothpaste for Halloween .”

smiling pumpking

She Had No Face


 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.


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



Tomb Of A Female Stranger

The Stranger

The Story Of The Female Stranger

The Ghost Of The Female Stranger


Top Ten Haunted Hotels of The United States

Haunted Hotels, Inns and Castles

Washington State Ghost Towns

Did You Hear The Story About The Cemetery Engineers?


Ogilby Nisbet and Dunny Vipont work at Leaning Birches Cemetery where they dig graves.

They don’t dig graves with shovels, like they used to do in the old days- Ogilby and Dunny use back hoes. And in addition to the new world equipment in an old world job now days Ogilby and Dunny are have titles.

Instead of being called, ” Grave Diggers- they are refered to on their job applications as  ‘Cemetery Engineers’.

Though, if you ask them, they still call themselves Grave Diggers.

Ogilby and Dunny are two very practical guys.

One afternoon Ogilby and Dunny were watching a funeral procession making its way to the children’s section.

The Children’s Area, unfortunately tagged with the nickname ” Baby Land ” years ago by the locals  was decorated with brightly colored pin wheels and stuffed animals and plastic toys looked from a distance- providing you ignored the gravemarkers- more like a playground then a graveyard.

” Hey Dunny, did you hear about Mira Bane?”

They watched the hearse stop and then the Funeral Director lined up the pall bearers and they carried a little white coffin to the grave Dunny had dug early that morning.

” Nope.”

” Shop talks says  she’s coming back.”

Dunny mumbled, ” Damn.”

” Indeed Dunny. Damn indeed”

” I truly hate that woman Ogilby.”

Dunny shrugged, ” Don’t we all.”

” You know, ” Ogilby said as they watched family of the dead child bow their heads ” I thought the last time was really the last time. I mean, she hates us, we hate her, the only person who half way can stand her is Danny Clay” Ogilby said referring to the receptionist at the Funeral Home ” and that’s only because Danny’s family for the most part are patients at Endalen and Danny  will trust anyone with the keys to her house who  is not on anti-psychotic medication.”


“Well. Inmates. My point is, why does she keep coming back?”

” Whoops. Heads up. It looks like they’re winding it up down there. ” Dunny said. ” I don’t know why she keeps coming back. Hey. Who cares why she keeps coming back. We know how to take care of that particular situation. After all. We have the tools and the know how.”

” Yeah. Aren’t we the lucky ones.” Ogilby mumbled.

” I think so.”

” We are truly the low dogs in the pack. ” Ogilby said to Dunny.

” No we’re not. We are Cemetery Engineers.”

” Shut the hell up Dunny.”

” Come on. we have a job to do.”

Dunny and Ogilby walked back to the maintenance building and instead of walking around to the back where the heavy machinery was parked and discreetly hidden from view by greenery growing behind and in front of a nine foot tall cyclone fence,they walked through the side door and into the room where the gardening and maintenance tools were kept.

Dunny choose a shovel and Ogilby took a pick axe and they walked along the side road to the old Cemetery- which according to the little brass direction side at the curve in the road was called “Remembrance Hills “

” The thing of it is Ogilby, if you do a job right the first time, you  shouldn’t have to do it a second time…”

” Or a tenth.”

” Yeah well. “

” This just makes us look bad Dunny.”

Dunny didn’t say anything he just sighed and when they got to the leaning birch tree they saw the ruined lawn and the knocked over headstone and they both said ” cripes. ” at the same time.

Every time Mira Bane came back the grave under the birch tree ended up looking like this and it was Dunny and Ogilby’s job to fix it- they had to get the maker repaired, they had to put down new sod and then they had to do it quickly and quietly and they had to be ready to drop what they were doing and blend into the scenery when someone walked or drove by, which happened a lot because tourists loved this part of the cemetery.

So that also meant they had to work clean, which was not easy when you were dealing with dirt.

” I hate Mira Bane. ” Dunny and Ogilby said at the same time.

Then they watched the dirt shift and then they saw a pale white hand, tinged with purple and missing its thumb nail work  its way up at them from the dark dusty earth under their feet and Ogilby said with a pained expression on his face and in his voice  as he raised the pick axe over his head” so why does she keep coming back?”


A Ghost Story


Oakley Elgin works in a haunted bakery.

The Bakery is on the corner of Washington Street and when Oakley first started to work at the Haunted Bakery an employee named George told him about the ghost of a woman who stands in front of the display case where the cookies are displayed and asks if the train will be on time today.

” You’re kidding right?” Oakley asked.

George shook his head. ” I wish I were. I’ve never seen anything sadder then that Ghost Lady, waiting on that train.”

” So what train is she talking about?” Oakley asked. Oakley was new in town and as far as he could tell there weren’t any trains running through it now so guessed the ghost lady and her train were form a long time ago.

George, unlike most people who seemed to enjoy telling a good ghost story looked around to make sure the bakery was empty and then he told Oakley, ” she’s talking about the 377.”

Oakley could see something very wrong had happened to the 377.

” Yeah? So what happened to it?”

George was looking like he regretted bringing the story up. But it had to be done. The Train Lady had scared away customers and employees for years now. She was easier for to deal with if you were prepared.

” If you go out to Devilbit Lake you can still see the tracks . If you know where to look you can still see Bridge, well the place where the Bridge used to be.”

” So what happened? Did it jump the tracks and end up in the Lake or something like that?”

” Well. No. See, this was the Morton Mill Station Train Station and the 377 used to come through at around eleven. And one day it never showed up.”

Oakley waited for George to continue and George looked towards the door  wishing the entire time that someone would walk in and he could get out of Train Story Duty. ” The train left Everett on time, it went through Terrace Lake at it’s usual time and just before it got to Devilbit Lake it disappeared.”

” Just like that?” Okaley asked.

” People saw her Oakley, they saw her round the bend not even a quarter mile from the lake, they even heard her and she just never came around that corner. She never made it to the Bridge at Devilbit.”

” She just disappeared into thin air.”

Oakley wasn’t sure what to make of the story he had just heard.

” So what’s up with the Ghost Lady?”

” Well, to understand her, you have to understand something else.”

” And that is…”

“George leaned against the cookie case and said, ” The 377 was first train around here to disappear on route to Devilbit Lake. After the 377 dissapeared there were six-“

” Six trains disappeared into thin air?” Oakley asked ” Are you kidding me?”

George said ” Not six. Sixteen. The 377 was the first of sixteen trains to disappear near Devilbit . The first of sixteen trains to never arrive here in Duwamish Bay.”

” Seriously?”

George nodded.

” How many…I mean, how many people-“

” Hundreds Oakley. Hundreds.”

” That is messed up George. What happened next?”

” Well, people took it into their heads that something was happening to the trains when they got near the Devilbit Lake Bridge  so people came in from Waremount and Appleton and burned the bridge down and then they tore up the tracks.”

George looked relived, he was nearing the end of his story. ” So right after the 377 was lost this woman started to show up at the station asking after it and years after they shut the station down and it was turned into a diner she still showed up asking for the 377 and she does it now.”

” So is this Ghost Lady waiting for someone on the train? Was she supposed to be on it? Did she have something to do with the trains disapearing? Because I’m willing to bet that train is in the Lake-probably its on top of 15 other trains at the bottom of the Lake.”

” There’s no Trains down there. One of those Ghost Hunting shows sent cameras down there- even one of those History shows did the same thing. Nobody found any trains. But last year they found this car and what was left of this Mortician who owned it at the bottom of the Lake. For years people thought he had run off with this singer from Bronson Park. Let me tell you, that was a let down. I used to love that story-.”

Oakley leaned his back against the Cookie Case and looked up at the menu on the wall. ” So who was she?”

” No idea. The thing of it is. A few months ago she started to show up at the airport up in Lister… and she’s asking for the 377 there too.”

” I don’t like the sound of that.”

” Nobody does.”

” That’s a weird story George. I sure wish I could figure out what the Ghost Lady wants. I would really like to know where all of those missing trains are.”

” You could try and ask her Oakley.”

Oakley laughed. ” Sure I could. Have you ever asked her about the 377 George?”

” Lots of times. But she doesn’t answer questions Oakley, she asks them . It wouldn’t hurt though-you could ask her.”

” I might. “

” No really Oakley, you could ask her.” George was pointing over Oakley’s left shoulder. ” Go ahead.”

Photographer Unknown

At The Fork In The Road


As a rule if you have to explain a story you probably have a problem with it-like it’s not ready to be told yet.

However, I’m going to explain this one for a very good reason.

I wrote it as part of a project at the Soul Food Cafe.  Recently  I was reading through the older work that I’ve done there and I came across this story- and liked it. I liked the way the characters played off of each other and I liked the feel of the Diner in the middle of nowhere.

To wrap this up,  this story is my very own version of Frankenstein’s Monster and being that Halloween is coming I thought I would  done some edits to try to help it stand on its own. There were about three ‘chapters’ before this one and almost as many after it, so if you feel as if you’ve walked in on the middle of a conversation, you are right.

So in the Spirit of that, please come along with me to

The Fork In The Road



I am traveling through a place called The Valley of The Bones in a bright red jeep with my friend who was stitched together from body parts stolen ( it’s not like they give them away you know ) from a cemetery by his parents and until very recently was hiding in a house owned by a crazy man who killed his wife and in the end had a famous poem written about them by a famous writer with a drug problem.

What will appeal to the public now days is getting to be very predictable.

Anyway, back to my story:

As you can see I guess my friend’s parents  really wanted a kid.

I’ve always really wanted a dog but look- unlike some people I have limits for what I would do to get one.

My name is Sunny Longyear and friend’s name is:

” Milo.  After all of these years I  still can’t believe your parents named you Milo.” I make sure to snort and laugh extra loud- even though this stopped being funny about 600 miles ago.

” And I can’t believe you had parents. With you I see some sort of spawning scenario.” Milo is shading his eyes- I guess the light is hurting them.

Good I thought to myself.

That spawn comment was mean.

” Hey. That’s funny. You want to hear something funnier then that?” I ask as I reach into my under the driver’s seat where I store important stuff like breath mints and lip gloss and my Pez Dispensers.

” No.”

” Well, this is not a magical journey-” I say as I pull my favorite sunglasses from under the seat and toss them on Milo’s lap. ” This Jeep is not magic. We are getting low on gas.”

” I know something funnier then that.” Milo tells me.   Didn’t hear what those people were saying when you told them where we were going? Oh no wait. You couldn’t have. You were- oh how did you put it- you were resting your eyes on the bar. … Let me refresh your memory, they told you to not drive through the Valley of the Bones, they told you to stay out of it, they told you it was a stupid, stupid idea. So what did you do first thing this morning?”

” I bought this  jeep and stocked up on Pez and Water. But I forgot to find a Valley Of The Bones map. My bad.”

” God.”

“As a rule Milo, I think it’s a dumb idea to buy a car on the fly. But what I really like about this vehicle, no matter what it’s faults will be down the road is this-  it  doesn’t talk.” I point out to Milo then I turn on the radio. ” It does that instead. Pretty neat- don’t you think?

” What am I doing here?” Milo looks like he’s about to jump out of the Jeep and take his chances with the a giant scab of land called The Valley of The Bones when we go up and over a hill and there right in the middle of the road- is a Diner called.

” The Fork In The Road.”

There are gas pumps out front, an old fashioned Soda  Pop Machine with motor that was working extra hard because of the heat and a tin sign that was being pushed back and forth in a breeze of wind that was not there.

” Well. This is convenient.” I say to Milo.

” Yes. It is.”

” We should probably just keep going.” I say.

” I think so.”

” Pump or Pay?” I ask

Milo reaches over and I hand him some cash and then he goes, all alone  to

The Fork In The Road.


After what seemed like hours ( you stand there and pump gas in over 100 degrees, I promise you that minutes will indeed turn into hours and hours in a matter of seconds ) the Jeep’s tank was full, I wanted to leave and I could see Milo through a dusty window talking to a woman in a yellow and white dress with a cap on her head, and I’m not thinking waitress when I see her- I’m thinking


and on the heels of that thought I start to see keys…keys and locks and doors that only lock and open from the outside and then I run straight into the diner before I can change my mind.


 Milo is looking at the Woman and the woman is looking at him and the Diner is cool and dark. There is only one table and two chairs in the entire diner and the menu on the wall behind the cash register says:



Welcome To The Fork In The Road

breakfast served all day long

Brother I think to myself  as I read the sign -would you like some crackers  with that CHEESE?

” Hey Milo, did you pay up? We have to go…”

The Waitress ( Nurse, it’s a Nurse  but I won’t let that thought live in my head for to long ) says to me while looking at Milo ” You’re friend was asking me if we had a map. Of course what you need in a place like The Bones is a guide.”

” Really.” I practically shout at Milo’s back hoping that will make him turn around.

” This one, ” she says to me ” stinks of the grave and one doesn’t have to look very deep to see how flawed it is.”

“It- he has his moments.” I say as I try to figure out why she thinks Milo is a guide.

” He’ll do in a pinch…but…”

” Time to hit the asphalt Milo, let’s get a move on- ” I grab Milo’s arm and pull him away from The Waitress ( Nurse ) and when I look at him I can see his glasses are off and…

” You took his eye! You sick piece of work, give it back!”

The Waitress pulls a lace hanky from a pocket in the front of her apron and she dabs the corners of her mouth with it and then she delicately folds it and puts it back.

If she burps, I’m going to pull her heart out of her chest with my bare hands I think.

Instead of burping she says:

” Leave it here.  Leave it here and I will guarantee your safety anywhere in this Valley- even beyond it. I can do that. Let’s sweeten the deal- being as you were kind enough to make a delivery to my establishment- I think that is in order. Let’s say  I’ll even find  something more proper to guide you.  What do you say?”

” I say that the day I need help from a nasty  grave robbing  Ghoul  that’s the day I go back to my house in the suburbs, paint it pink, get married and get a dog named Spot. That’s what I say.

Milo. Door. NOW.”

I reach down and grab my sunglasses off of the floor and as I do I catch a familiar scent coming up from the floor.

I know that smell, I used to smell it everyday for over 20 years at work at the Funeral Home.

 I know that smell.

It’s embalming fluid.


The Fork In The Road


the diner that serves breakfast from dusk to Dawn

 reeks of it.


Milo and I are standing next to the Jeep I have named Tomo and he’s saying we need to just get in drive and I tell him, ” I know how to get rid of that thing. ” I say as I point to the diner.

The Waitress is in the Window looking at us and by the time the sunsets she will be on the in front of the window and by the time night falls on The Bones she will be out on the road doing what Ghouls have always done.

” She took your eye and ate it Milo.”

“Well, technically it wasn’t my eye to begin with.”

You know- Milo does have a point.

” Look. Just tell me. Why do you want me to let it live. Just answer me that. That Ghoul  is one nasty piece of work and if this place were to burn to the ground with her the world would not miss either one of them.  In fact, it might just be a better place for it.”

Milo gets into the Jeep and takes the sunglasses off and as he wipes the dust off of them with the tail of his shirt he says, ” I don’t think either one of us are in a position to say who lives or dies in this world. I think we should leave that to the people who actually live in it.”

He looks right at me and I look into Milo’s empty eye socket and I agree.

I climb up into the jeep and turn the key.

And then we drive away.



Merton Ware Had An Idea


“I had an idea once, ” Merton Ware told the empty house across from his front yard across the street “that you were haunted”

The house waited patiently for Merton to continue.

” I used to think I saw people walking around the yard late at night, I thought I saw people looking out of  your windows. Of course that isn’t possible because you’ve been abandoned since the day Mrs.Miller fed that poisoned dinner to her family.”

Merton crossed the street to the House and the House shut its upstairs window, slowly.

” I suppose I was just seeing things.”

If the House could have, it would have backed away from Merton Ware.

” Mrs. Miller, now if there was ever a candidate for a ghost that bedevils anyone-living or dead, it was Mrs. Miller.”

The House agreed with Merton.

Nobody knew Mrs. Miller like the House had.

It had watched Mrs. Miller go from being an espresso drinking, track suit wearing Soccer Mom to a woman who had spent days planning a meal and then hours preparing a meal to kill her family with.

In between her meal planning Mrs. Miller had pushed a woman off a bridge while she was out on one of her morning jogs and on another day burned down an empty house in the next town over- the fire had spread and burned down an entire apartment complex.

They never did find all of the bodies.

Mrs. Miller was honestly surprised at how easy it had been for her to do those terrible things.

They house knew this because Mrs. Miller had sat in her kitchen and talked about her crimes into her cup of morning juice. When she was done talking she had gotten up, went into her bathroom and got ready for one of her very busy non- cold blooded killing days.

” I guess what I need to do is face the simple fact, you are not haunted, are you? No ghosts are dragging their chains through your halls, nothing is hiding in the basement, nothing is plotting in the attic no monsters under the beds or in the closets- am I right?”

Darn straight, thought the house to itself as it idly opened and closed its kitchen cabinet doors.

Merton said firmly, ” You are not a haunted house.”  and then he turned and strode back to  his house and shut his door firmly shut behind him.

The house popped it’s floorboards a little and said to itself as it watched Merton walking around his living room, a pale vaporous figure in the late afternoon half light

” Well. You might be wrong about that  Merton Ware.”


Photo By:keyseeker  

Photo By: keyseeker


Body Talk

  Indiana Medical History Museum

“You couldn’t have wished for more in body” Sydney Poor was telling the other ghost about his corpse as they sat out in the corridor waiting for their autopsies to be finished.

The other ghost was a woman named Tamara and she told Sydney, “ Well I could have. I would have asked to be taller and blond and impervious to speeding cars. So do you know what…” she  shook her head “ sorry, what’s your name again?”

“ Sydney.”

“ Sydney. Sydney I could have asked for more. In fact, this time I’m going in with a laundry list of things I want this time around.”

“ I’m not sure you can not do that.”

“I don’t care what you’re supposed to do. Do you know why? Because not only did I get hit by a car, it rammed me into another car and it nearly cut me in half. I didn’t die right away. Also the woman who hit me drove off and I’m willing to bet you dollars to donuts that someone driving an expensive car like hers will ever find herself in a court room explaining her actions of October 3oth 2009. So as you can imagine I’m feeling a bit wronged here.”

“ She might.”

“ She might what Sydney?”

 “ Get caught.”

Tamara rolled her eyes up and slouched down in her seat.

“ I wonder how long this really takes.” She mumbled.

“ Well. Until they’re finished I suppose.” Sydney said.

“ So what happened to you?” Tamara asked Sydney.

“ Well. I’m a little embarrassed to say…”

Tamara straightened up in her chair and leaned over to Sydney and said “ Go on, your  secret is safe with me. Dead men tell no tales you know.”

“ But you’re a woman.”

“ Oh come on. Tell me.”

“ My neighbors -this man and woman. Well. They thought….that I was…well …”

“ A what?” Tamara said suspiciously as she leaned away from Sydney.

“ They thought I was a Vampire.”

Tamara’s mouth fell opened.

“ They snuck into my house, dragged me down into my basement and drove a stake through my heart. Then they stuffed my mouth full of garlic and cut my head off.”

“ Oh wow Sydney. Oh wow.”

Sydney’s face was turning bright red.

“ Oh wow. That was a freaking weird death.”

“ Yes” Sydney agreed “ yes it was.”

“Still.  What a way to go.”

“ I’ll say. But Tamara a vampire? How could anyone mistake me for a vampire?”

Tamara shrugged. “ I don’t know Sydney. People are funny things if you ask me.”

Tamara hopped out of her chair and went to the doors and waited. When they whispered open she told Sydney. “ Sydney. Come take a look. They’re right in the middle of  working on you. You have to see this- a woman is pulling the garlic out of your mouth with her fingers. I must say, that doesn’t seem very hygienic to me.”

“ That’s my dead body you’re cracking wise over you know.”

Tamara snorted and then she focused on what was going on in the autopsy room.

“ Sydney get over here, I’m stuck to the inside of the body bag.” Tamara laughed.

“ You’ve got a very odd sense of humor Tamara.”

He got up and when he got to the door Tamara grabbed his arm and dragged him into the autopsy room.

“ I really hate these places Tamara.”

“ Don’t we all.” Tamara said as she dragged Sydney up to the table her body was laying on.

“My word you are mess.” Sydney said.

“ Yeah.” Tamara said with a tinge of pride in her voice.

“ I mean it. A mess. You look like you melted. Wait. What’s that on your head… are those scars?”

“ Bullet wounds.”

“ You’ve been shot?

“ Yep. Good thing for me the people who did that were lousy shots otherwise you’d be sitting here all by your lonesome.”

“ And what about those marks on your hands?”

“ Knife wounds.”

And before he could ask she said, “ I caught on fire  a couple of times.”

“ You’ve led a very interesting life Tamara.”

She didn’t answer.

“ So. How long until …”

Tamara didn’t answer. She was trying not to laugh and failed.

“They thought you were a vampire.” Tamara grabbed her stomach as she doubled over laughing. “ What city were you living in? Stupidville? “

“ And that woman who hit you and drove off what town did she come from? “ Sydney asked

“ Very funny Sydney. The woman who hit me  was a cold hearted wretch.  I got in her way and smoosh here I am. I was no more then a dog to her. “

“ Well. At least you weren’t mistaken for a vampire in your final moments…speaking of- how much longer do you suppose.”

“ It’s a full moon tonight, this is going to go pretty fast. So tell me do we keep the old models  or snag ourselves some new ones?” she asked pointing to the room where the bodies were wrapped in plastic and neatly stacked on shelves.

“ Well. I can tell you this much. I never want to be mistaken for a vampire again.”

“ Oh come on Syd, I’m sure there are a lot of vampires who have been mistaken for Werewolves before and I’m willing to bet they aren’t as bent out of shape about it as you are.”

Sydney looked over to the autopsy tables and then through the doorway.

“ Once we take possession, they’ll be fine- on the other hand- you know we could get some new digs. What do you think?” Tamara asked.

 “ As far as bodies go, like I said before, was a good one. It used to belong to a writer. His name was Bancho Church”

“ Hey. I read his stuff. He was cool. I didn’t know he, you know moved on.”

“ Yes, well he did.” Sydney looked down and cleared his throat. “ Sort of.”

Tamara watched her body being washed and then it was bagged and someone took it to the backroom.

“ Cheer up Sydney, it’s Halloween, there’s a full moon and the night is young.”

Sydney’s body went through next and Tamara followed it “ Come one Syd, if we shake a leg I’ll bet we could get a little Trick or Treating in.”

“ You don’t…” he said.

“ Yeah. I shift and knock on doors. I swear last year I scored about five pounds of candy and got my picture taken about a thousand times. Imagine that, people  have a picture of real …

“ Mental  case.” Sydney interrupted her “ Okay after what we’ve been through we could use some fun. It’s a date let’s go.”

Tamara  said “ Yeah. It’s a date. Happy Halloween Syd.  And just so you know, I’ve ruined lives  of those who stood between me and Choco-Bursts.”

Sydney waited for Tamara to laugh and when she did not, he did it for her.

And she let him.


glow pumpkin

Pirates- Its What To Be For Halloween

 There are Zombie Pirates


and Keith Richard Pirates ( thank you for that Johnny Depp )


and of course

Pirate Wenches

Pirate Wench

But there is only one

Ching Shih.

Ching Shih was the most awesome Pirate ever: Ching Shih and her fleet were known to rob markets, towns and villages from Macao to Canton.

She was unstoppable- so the Chinese Government offered her ‘amnsesty’ and she retired.

In the end she got to keep her loot, her freedom and she died at the age of 69 which is something like 100 in Pirate Years.

Ching Shih-

My First Choice


 what to be





for some

fun pirate stuff-

A Fun Pirate Song:


And last but not least

some fun

Pirate Clipart Sites:


pirate 3


I should mention: I grew up in and around Seattle, so there is no WAY I could not mention the

Seattle  Seafair Pirates.

They are awesome they are Sprit of Seattle and I forgive them for the time they took my little sister at a Seafair Parade in the early 1970’s


Seattle Seafair Pirates

Pirate Kings Of The Pacific Northwest since 1949


My Favorite Pirate Flag

My Favorite Pirate Flag

Where Have You Been Hubert Mead?

This little story was based on a writing prompt called:

Where Have You Been

You were supposed to include the words Yellow, Iris, Quote and Joke in your story-

 I came up with a little something about a Spree Killer and Brain Eating Aliens…


 halloween garland

Where have you been Hubert Mead?

The plants in your window boxes are all dead, there are newspapers turning to gray piles of mush on your porch and the yellow curtains that your cleaning lady hung in your kitchen last winter stuck to the panes of glass during the last rain storm we had and they’ve dried there.

That was months and months ago.

Where have you been Hubert Mead?

Have you heard about Iris Franks? You must have. Everyone with a TV set or a computer on the face of the Earth has heard about Iris Franks from down the street.

She thought Aliens from outer space were infesting- that was the exact quote that the news people keep repeating-  “Aliens are infesting- people’s brains.”

She decided to take them out herself-being that nobody else was doing anything to solve this problem.

She used chemicals to do it.

Nobody knows about that particular detail except for us here in the neighborhood.

The reason the Police aren’t giving details to the press because they don’t know what kinds of chemicals she used. No one can figure it out, it’s something new. Iris can’t even cook, let alone invent a new chemical that no one has ever seen before.

Don’t look at me like that Hubert Mead, I’m not joking. Iris Franks killed fifteen people with something that eats bone, leaves the skin intact and smells like cinnamon.

There’s all this speculation if she’s going to go for the Insanity Defense, but I don’t think so. Brenda Paine saw her at the jail and Brenda says Iris is the same Iris that she’s always been. She just believes that Aliens are nesting in people’s brains now. Except for that one thing Iris is just as sane as you or me.

Let me be honest with you  Hubert Mead.

I really do not want  to have conversations about  Aliens from outer space infesting brains or women who cook up bone eating acids in their bathtubs. Do you know what other topic I’d like t avoid?

I’d like to avoid having to share with anyone that you disappeared the day after Iris took her first victim out and that you showed up right after she was safely locked away from her bathtub full of bone eating acid that  she used to get to those Brain eating aliens.

And it can stay that way, providing of course nothing starts to crawl around in my head- besides,  if anything were to do that it would be in for a very nasty surprise, yes indeed a very nasty surprise.

Don’t look so shifty eyed Hubert Mead.

We’ve been neighbors for a very long time; do you really think I’m the type of person to not pay attention to what is happening on her own street let alone in her own little corner of the galaxy?

Where have you been Hubert Mead?


Bentley The Bone Picker


Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Bentley Fremont always had a bone to pick with somebody, somewhere. He was always arguing, he just couldn’t help himself.

One year a co-worker of Bentley’s kept saying that the freight elevator was making a strange sound when it stopped on the third floor- she also insisted that the safety gates on each floor looked like they were hanging funny. Maybe they should get it looked at she told Bentley.

There was no real reason to not get it looked at. The company they worked for had a service contract with a company whose only job was to work on the freight elevator. Bentley told her, even though he could see exactly what she was talking about from a couple of dozen feet away from the elevator doors that she was right.

So Bentley opened his mouth and what came out was, “I’ve worked here for twenty years,”

“Good for you Bentley, but the gates look crooked and when the car stops-“

“It’s not doing anything new Suzy.” Bentley told her “I would have noticed.”

“Maybe it’s because you’ve been looking at it for 20 years that you have not noticed anything new. Maybe it’s worked its way sideways over time.  Who cares? Let’s just get it looked at.”

He winked at her and shook his head. “Nothing is wrong with it Suzy.”

A few days later when Suzy- who refused to use the elevator to ride on- was loading some boxes onto the car and as Bentley was walking on his way to his work station Suzy told him she had called the company to come in and take a look at the elevator. She was tired of just stacking things in the elevator and then walking up after it to unload it.

Bentley laughed at her shook his head and went up to the next floor.

He made sure he was alone in the hallway and then he pulled out his cellphone and called Moore’s Elevator Service and cancelled the service call request.


It happened an hour after Bentley cancelled the work order.

Suzy was unloading the elevator when the gate broke away from it’s track and came down on the top of Suzy’s head. She bit off part of her tongue and the teeth that did not break apart in her mouth were knocked out of her head.

She lived for about an hour after the accident.


Bentley went to Suzy’s funeral.

Her coffin was pink and it was trimmed in silver, her headstone was pink granite and it was not marked with her name.

It said:

Bye For Now

“ That’s weird.” Someone said at Bentley’s shoulder as they stood at Suzy’s graveside and watched the coffin being lowered into the ground.

And Bentley said, because he could not help but to argue with anything anyone said “No it’s not.”


It was right after the funeral when Bentley was getting into his car that he had his first door problem.

He had just gotten into his car and was about to pull the door closed when it slammed shut- it slammed hard enough to shake his car. He grabbed his steering wheel and said:

“That did NOT just happen.”

Harder to argue against but still there was the the problem he had with the door at the bank.

He walked through it and it slammed shut- which is something that those automatic doors never do- they might get stuck open or closed but they don’t rattle and then slam shut. The door at Bentley’s bank did and he wasn’t all the way through when it happened.

It’s a good thing those doors were made from safety glass the paramedics said as they were checking on Bentley.

 “Actually, “Bentley said “ I think I was far enough over the threshold, that’ why it wasn’t worse.”

It was like that for Bentley for the next two weeks- doors would slam shut on his face, or just after he walked through the doorway. His car door was the worst. He had bruises on his shoulder and his hip from that door.

“ You’re having the worst luck with doors Bentley.” His neighbor said the day after he got a black eye from one of the kitchen doors which had swung open all by itself.

“ Oh, I don’t  think so.” Bentley said.

“ Uh-huh his neighbor said “ whatever Bentley. But if anyone asked me I’d say doors don’t like you very much right now.”

If you knew Bentley and  heard him argue against the killer door theory that everyone else had at the moment, you’d think Bentley was arguing because that’s we Bentley did.

The thing of it is- this time Bentley wasn’t arguing just for the sake of arguing .

The doors weren’t trying to hurt him.

Suzy was.


Suzy was there the day of the funeral-standing next to his car in the dress her family had buried her in.

“ I’ve come back to get my revenge on you Bentley. I think I might just kill you. I’m thinking I’m going to like doing that an awful lot.”

Bentley stood there for a minute looking at her.

“ This is for real Bentley. I haven’t even gone to my grave yet. That’s how bad I want to get even with you.”

“ This is not for real.” Bentley told Suzy.

Suzy rolled her dead eyes up into her head and she said to herself, “ Jeeze.”


So Suzy had been there for each door attack- but Bentley wouldn’t admit to himself that a ghost was trying to kill him and the Ghost’s weapon of choice were doors.

Where there was a door, there was Suzy.

She was everywhere.

Finally Suzy showed up at work , she wasn’t wearing her funeral dress. She was wearing the black t-shirt and her beat up jeans and black converse shoes with the little yellow hearts on them that she had died in. She was drinking pop from red plastic cup and Bentley could even hear the ice crackling inside of it.

“ I’ve been here all morning Bentley and do you know what? There’s still something wrong with that elevator. It’s making the same sound that I heard  just before the gate crashed on my head. I don’t think they fixed it.”

“ Yes they did.” Bentley told her.

“ Couldn’t have.”

“ They fixed the gate.” Bentley told Suzy’s ghost.

“ But Bentley I said there was something wrong with the elevator. That’s why the gate was busted.  I think something was wrong with the car. You know that.”

“ Nothing is wrong with the elevator Suzy.”

“ If you say so.”

Bentley lifted the gate and stepped onto the elevator.

“ The elevator is working just fine Suzy, so why don’t you crawl into your grave and make the worms happy.”

” ‘kay.” she told Bentley.

He waved.

She waved back and as the elevator car went up Suzy’s ghost said, ” come on come on….”

The car clanked and hummed up to the third floor and just before the brakes caught hold Suzy saw the safety gates in front of her shake and then she hear something snap from above and the freight elevator car with a very surprised looking Bentley flashed by her.

” See you Bentley!” she called down the elevator shaft.

Suzy put her ear to the gate and smiled.

This time there was no argument from Bentley.

None at all.

Photo: A. M. Moscoso

Photo: A. M. Moscoso

Lost and Found

He had a scar on the back of his hand, it was “u” shaped and bone white and it itched whenever he sneezed. Bram Listerfield , who sneezed when he was scared, or angry or laughed  was always scratching the “ U” shaped scar on the back of his hand, he did it so often that he didn’t even realize he was doing it anymore.

And then one day he was at the Magnolia Mall trying to return  a radio that had only worked for about five minutes and cost him fifty dollars.

“ Look, “ he told the salesman “ I could have made a long distance phone call to a Country overseas  and talked for 5 minutes and it would have cost me less. Give me a break here, this thing was expensive.”

“ Well… you don’t have a receipt but give me a second. Let me see what I can do.”

The salesman took off and Bram was left at the counter  fretting over his lost money and the thought of getting another lemon of a radio in exchange when he looked down and expected to see his left hand working the scar on the back of his right hand.

His left hand was on the counter, and his right hand was next to it.

He picked his hand up and looked at the scar- it was bone white and the little red patch that his scratching caused wasn’t there.


Bram turned his hand over, looked at his palm and turned it back over and looked at the scar and that’s when he noticed it for the first time- his fingers- they looked a little longer and thinner than the ones on his left hand.

He thought about this for a minute and wondered if maybe his left hand was swollen- he held his hands up side by side and shrugged. Maybe it was an old age thing he thought.

Then the salesman came out from the back room with a smile on his face and Bram figured he was going to get his money back forgot all about the hand thing until a week later.

There was a storm that night- one of those ongoing thunder and lightning storms that don’t happen very often in Seattle- storms in Seattle roll in and then break apart but this time it went on for hours and Bram who hated lightning storms ever since he had been electrocuted at work many years ago was stressed and ready for this act of nature to clear up realized his scar- which should have been surrounded by a welt from all the scratching Bram assumed he had been doing since the first crackle of lighting was

Bone white and the flesh around it a nice healthy pink.

Bram went into his bathroom, flicked the light switch on and held his hand up  and looked at it- just as he thought- there was something different about his hand.

The fingers on his right hand were longer, the nails neatly trimmed and the flesh on his hand was tanned.

He held his left hand up, his pale worn out hand and smiled at it- that was a hand that had built model airplanes in his youth  and had been worked harder when his right arm had been broken when he was sixteen.

He looked at his right hand and he knew for sure- no he was positive- that  pampered , coddled right hand with the Florida tan on it- and no “ U “ shaped bone what scar

That was not his hand.

So he wondered, as he flexed it and watched as the imposter hand responded to the message from Bram’s brain just a tad bit too slow – where was his own hand?

Now there’s a question not to many people have found themselves asking Bram thought to himself.

 dancing skeletons

Bram tried to not do anything to draw attention to his right ( Ha!) hand.

He was afraid people would begin to notice, that they may ask questions, worse what if they thought he was some kind of freak? Because not only was this hand not his but one morning Bram woke up to find his left eye had been taken.

It was the same color, but it looked brighter than his right, younger maybe.

He sat on hard on the edge of his bathtub and screamed into his left hand because he wouldn’t put the right one anywhere near his body if he could help it. When he was finished he brushed his teeth, got dressed and went out to look for missing hand and his eye.

 dancing skeletons

It took a month but he found his hand  on a man at the train station.

Bram, who never liked the idea of trains or train stations for no real reason,  thought on the day he was reunited with his hand that it would be a great idea to walk through the one down the street from where he caught his bus home.

He was halfway across the lobby when he saw the man, sitting on a bench and hanging at his side was Bram’s hand.

Bram didn’t know what to say.

He walked up to the man, cleared his throat and said “ I think you have something of mine.”

The man looked up at Bram and then he looked at Bram’s right arm and his eyes traveled down to Bram’s hand. “Well. That was easy…this time.”

 dancing skeletons

The two men sat side by side on a bench in the middle of the Prefontaine Station and watched commuters and travelers running and walking to and from their gates. Some were smiling others were frowning and some of them wore dull flat blank expressions on their faces.

“ So what do you mean…it was easy this time?” Bram asked Jed- Jed being the man who now had Bram’s hand attached to his wrist.

“ About a month ago I was shaving and I noticed my ear- it was sitting wrong on the side of my head. It was bigger to. It took me a few days to figure it out. And then I got it, it wasn’t my ear. “ Jed touched his left ear. “ I mean, it was a shock you know? I’ve heard of people getting their kidney’s stolen and the like. But who the heck steals an ear and replaces it with another one ? Aliens? Psycho Doctors? Who? Can you answer me that?”

Bram shook his head.

“ So the short version is this- I was at a ball game and I’m going to my car when I see this guy, and he’s got my ear stuck to his head like it was no big thing. I mean, he didn’t look like he woke up one morning and found his ear missing. Come on, it freaked you out when you noticed your hand was gone, didn’t it?”

“ I’ll say.”

“ Well, I follow the guy to his house and the next day I come back as he’s leaving for work and I try to talk to him. He was in complete denial of course. I figure the shock was too much for him. I couldn’t reason with him. I couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. So I took matters into my own hands. If you get what I’m saying.”

“ I think I do.” Bram said.

“ Hey. It was my ear. MINE.”

Bram nodded. “ I’d say you handled it pretty good Jed. “

They both looked at each other and then they started to laugh.

 dancing skeletons

It had been one of those home improvement accidents Bram and Jed told the Police and the Doctors, sure it looked weird- both of them getting their hands cut off on that table saw in Jed’s basement like that. But they had both watched the same show about making bookshelves and it had looked so easy.

They were sticking to Ikea Furniture  from now on they promised.

 dancing skeletons

So Bram figured he could live with that imposter eye in his head after going through all the physical therapy and the endless questions about the saw and Jed and the both of them cutting their hands off but then one morning as he was walking out to his car he stepped out of his shoe.

He looked down at the foot in his black sock, he went back and stepped into his shoe and then he got into his car and instead of driving to work he drove straight to the hardware store.


Wax Teeth


” Do you have Wax Teeth? ” the old man asked the cashier at the Halloween Megamart.

” Excuse me?” she asked as she touched her fingers to her lips.

That was the problem with working in a Halloween store- you had to dress up every single day and sometimes you forgot about the devil’s horns on your head or the pirate patch over your eye.

” Wax teeth, the ones that look like Vampire teeth. I’ve been instructed not to buy the was Ghoul teeth or the Ogre teeth, but specifically the Wax Vampire Teeth- the edible ones.”

” The edible ones. “

” Yes, the edible ones- mind you,  not the bubblegum ones, not the peppermint flavored ones but the Wax ones that you can chew into a wax ball the size of Barbie Doll’s head.”

” We don’t have those, I mean I think we sold them a long time ago. But now you can mold your own fangs and re-use them…like false teeth.”

” False fangs?” the Old Man said to himself.

” And then we have the hard candy fangs and glow in the dark teeth…”

” but not the wax ones…”

” Nope, we don’t have anything that will leave you with a mouth full of something the size of a doll’s head.”

” Well. I can’t say I’m disappointed to hear that. So let me see…” he opened his jacket and took a list from out of his front pocket ” what else I’m supposed to ask about. Oh here we go. Do you have Witch’s Costumes?”

” Sir, we have nothing but Witch’s costumes. ” she pointed to the wall behind her and the old man leaned forward and started to read the labels on the packages.

” Kissy Witch, Glamor Witch, Sassy Witch…my goodness. Are all of the costumes cut low…you know in the front?”

” Pretty much.”

” I see I see I see. Heavens. Well let’s hope we have a little more luck with with this one.”

He took a deep breath,  looked up from his list and winced. ” Werewolf  masks? “

” I think you’re in luck. On that wall in the back of the store we have Pirate Werewolves, London Werewolf, Psycho Werewolf and I think we still  have some Werewolf Wench masks- that one is popular with women. It comes with the Werewolf Wench costume.”

” You don’t say.”

” It looks great with boots or heels.”

” Well. I guess that’s the fashion now days-Sassy Witches and  Pirate Werewolves and the like.”

” Yep. It’s been that way for a while.”

” So if one wants to fit in during the festivities that’s the way to go.”

” Yeah.”

The old man shrugged. ” Well. That is the idea. Let have two sets of Vampire teeth-the ones you can make yourself and the glow in dark ones, let’s go with the Sassy Witch, The London Werewolf and if you have anything that could help me look like a Mad Scientist I think this could work.”

The cashier neatly stacked the costumes on the counter between them decorated with bats and palm sized walking brains. After she did that she went over to the accessories wall and started to pull little packages off the pegs and as she did that she mentioned different Halloween Parties that were opened to the public. They were family events she mentioned guessing that’s who he was buying all this stuff for.

She saw the Old Man writing something down in a little notebook with an actual pencil and she told him she had flyers and would put them into the bags. That way he could take his time chosing which ones to go.

 She bagged each costume seperately and when she was finished Old Man that there were no refunds on the costumes.

” You’ve been very helpful, ” he told her as he took his packages.

” Well you’re welcome and have a Happy Halloween.”

” Yes, well…here’s to hoping.”

He walked out of the store, down the street and turned the corner and waiting for him  at a bus stop was a tall thin man, a woman with long black hair and sitting on a bright green bench was another man with mismatched eyes-one was icy blue and the other was dark brown.

” How did you do?” the woman asked.

” I think this should do it. I think these will work. “

He handed them each a bag with dancing pumpkins on the front.

The man on the bench looked into his bag and looked up. ” London Werewolf.” he said

” It was either that or something called Psycho Werewolf. It came with a knife. Please, please don’t ask me why Marley.”

The thin man reached into his bag and took out the glow in the dark teeth and he asked, ” this is what Vampires wear now days?”

” I got expert advice in the matter Lorne.”

” Sassy Witch.” the woman said.

” I know Hester.”

” Sassy. Witch.” she said with her eyes closed.

” I know.” The old man said sorrowfully.

” Well.” said London Werewolf ” I’m willing to give it a try.

Lorne opened his mouth and his glow in the dark teeth smiled at them.

” Sassy. Witch.” Hester said again.

” Look. I’m a Mad Scientist. How amusing is that?” he asked the three of them as he reached into his bag and pulled out a little jar full of eyes bobbing in red liquid.

” Well. As long as we fit in that’s all that matters. ” Sassy mumbled darkly. “For one stupid night. I hate candy corn. Do you guys know that?”

The Mad Scientist ignored the dark cloud that was forming around Sassy’s head.

Marley pulled the Werewolf mask out of the bag and held it up and sighed. ” It’s a little obvious, isn’t it? I mean put this on and they can see you coming from a mile away.”

” What difference does it make Marley?” Hester asked ” We were bad at this the first time around. In fact at the end of the day we ended up becoming laughing stocks. Look at this stuff, will you? I mean really look at it.”

Hester grabbed Lorne’s bag turned it upside down and a black cape and pair of blue spectacles fell out and landed on the green bench. She put her hands on her hips and looked at her friends. ” Go on. Say something.”

” We were losers” Lorne sighed.

” Keep it coming guys.”

Marley shrugged, ” We never got into a fight we could win.”

Hester tapped the side of her nose and pointed at Marley”s crestfallen face.

” Stop this Hester.”

Hester looked at the old man and said one word. ” Benji.”

” Not Benjamin, but just…Benji.” she sneered.

” You are cruel Hester.” Marley said.

” No Marley. I am a Witch. And may I remind you, if it weren’t for me none of us would be here right now.”

The three of them looked at her and she shrugged.

” Let me refresh your memories which may be a little foggy. In case the three of you have forgotten we weren’t very good at doing the things we were supposed to do. In fact, I’d go as far as to say we were absolute failures in our given fields. I mean if I hear ‘ hung from your neck until you are dead’ one more time I am seriously going to lose what is left of my last nerve.”

” I got staked to the ground…” Lorne whispered ” my best friend thought he was doing me a favor by releasing my soul.”

” Shot.” Marley sadly said more to himself then anyone else ” by my own Father.”

” Burned in my lab…” Benji shook his head ” It wasn’t the greatest work but it was all I had after losing my family- they died during the Plague you know. I worked for years to bring them back…but like you said Hester. We were failures in our given fields.”

Hester looked at her friends and realized she had done what the experts had been trying to do for centuries. She with just a few words had killed what was left of her friends great though somewhat dark Spirits.

” Yeah well, it was bad. Like you’ve been saying for almost a month now Benji it’s only for one night. I mean one night where we can actually enjoy being who we are”

Hester looked down at the ground below her feet and kept them there.

” You would actually go along with this. ” Lorne asked her.

” Well.” she mumbled in reply. ” For one  night.. I guess it wouldn’t kill me.”

Marley  held the mask up to his own face and said with a little lift in his voice, ” London Werewolf.”

” Psycho Wolf…don’t forget. There’s such a thing as a  Pyscho Werewolf now.” Lorne said with admiration.

” Well  hey now. ” Marley said ” Look at this” he said tapping the coffin-shaped box in Lorne’s hand that held the fang making kit. “Wow. People make fangs on purpose now. Back in the old days having a set of those in your mouth could get your head chopped off”

” I suppose after all we’ve been through ” Benji said ” we’ve earned one night of fun .”

” I suppose- but these costumes Benji.” Hester argued.

“But Hes. London Werewolf..”

” You’re from Girvin Marley.”

” Yeah.” Lorne said, ” Yeah that’s true but this stuff is….”

” Freaking awesome.” Marely roared as he pulled the mask onto his head. ” I’m doing it. I am going for it. Hester you can either be yourself or you can be a little more and have some fun doing it. Come on. It’s just for one night. Let’s do it.”

” Be ourselves for one night.” she let the words swirl around her for a moment and she looked at her friends and told them, ” Okay I’m in. And who knows? “

They looked at her and she was relieved to see their eyes starting to burn a little brighter as the Sun started to fade and the stars started to shine,

 ” If we can blend in for one night, we may consider blending back into all of the others.”








It Does Not Get Much Better Then This


Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O'Boyle

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O'Boyle

This very, very short story has given me nightmares and inspired me to write a few of them down and turn them into stories.

Here it is:

Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote this circa 1870:

“A woman is sitting alone in a house. She knows she is alone in the whole world; every other living thing is dead.

The doorbell rings.”


Bravo Thomas, Bravo!

Thomas Aldrich


He winked at me from his table for one at The Fisherman’s Shack- The Shack is my favorite place to eat lunch or to buy a cold drink on those hot days when my bus is late.

 It’s some sort of law of nature.

 When it’s very hot or very cold your bus will always be over crowded and late.

 Anyway, I could have ignored the wink- it wasn’t one of those ‘hey baby’ winks and it wasn’t one of those winks really good looking people mindlessly hand out to ugly people – I don’t know why they do it exactly, it’s for practice I suppose. However, I must admit it’s pretty funny though when they do that to a blind person.

 So, I looked over my shoulder and to the next table and realized- yeah- this guy was winking at me, and along with the wink he was pointing out the window to the cross walk.

It was empty.

Thanks a lot Winking Guy, I thought to myself,  for trashing one entire second of my life.

I dug a piece of ice out of my drink and started to chase it around my table top with a straw and tried to remember how long it took to melt the last time I did this when I heard a little tap coming from Winking Man’s table and he winked at me again and this time he said,

“This will be much more fun to watch then the Ice Cube Death Race your running over there.”

“That cannot be so. “ I told him.

“Trust me on this- come on now- here I’ll prove it, what’s your least favorite color in the entire world? I mean if you could do away with one color what would it be?”

“Gold, it’s a kind of braggy color don’t you think? It just gets slapped onto the side of something and old whatever was there before has been improved a thousand times over- just for being gold colored. I hate that.”

“That’s very specific.”

“I suppose it is.”

I look down and my little ice racer is no more.

Darn- not only did I forget to time it- I liked that little chunk of ice, it had been shaped like a little cat’s head.

I was mourning the loss of the little cube when Winking Man cleared his throat, I looked up and he was looking at me and winking and from over his shoulder right there in the intersection I saw two gold cars at the stop light.

Winking Man asked me, “least favorite sound? “

The two gold cars are sitting there and I tell Winking Man, “One year I carved this amazing jack-o-lantern for Halloween. It took me hours. I even put little flashing lights in its eyes and mouth and I used chicken bones in spots where it looked like the pumpkin’s face had been peeled away. It was the best work I’d ever done. Well, later that evening I was handing candy out when I saw my pumpkin was gone and from the street I hear this sound…”

“Oh no. “

“Oh yes. I’ve hated that sound ever since. But do you know what I hate more? People who smash pumpkins for fun.”

Winking Man takes a little packet of sugar from the chrome holder on his table for one and he shakes from side to side and says, “That truly is a character flaw.”

And then the light turns green and as it does a truck- a big orange truck runs his red light and the two gold cars were gone in a haze of black and blue smoke and flames.

Winking Man tears open his little packet of sugar opens up his mouth and tosses the sparkling crystals in.

 He looks very pleased with himself.

I smile.

He smiles back.

“So what do you think?”

“That beats Ice Cube Races alright.” I admit.

“Indeed. “

“But do you know what is better then pulling silly tricks like that? “ I said pointing to the wreck in the middle of the street.

“No, I cannot say I do.”

I get up and go to Winking Man’s table and whisper in his ear “Putting rat poison into sugar packets.”

When Monsters Kill

…he will be taken from the jail at three o’clock in the afternoon

he will be hanged by the neck until dead

and it is further  considered   by the court

that after the execution is done

your body will be delivered to Doctor J.W. Canfield, a surgeon

for dissection

and may God have Mercy on your soul

That was the price

Antoine LeBlanc

paid for the murders of Judge Samuel Sayres and his family

However, legend says that after Le Blanc was pronounced dead he wasn’t even close to completing his sentence:::

After the execution, Dr. Canfield of Morristown took the body, and with the help of the esteemed Dr. Joseph Henry of Princeton University, passed electrical current through it to see if it could be resurrected. Although they were able to make the limbs contract, the eyes roll, and the mouth grin, the corpse stayed lifeless.



By: L’Aura Muller

So who was the monster and who was the beast and why did a Judge find it necessary to kill a man twice?

Just a little thought for you to turn over in your head on Halloween.

From Weird N.J.


You Rock Barbara Jo

I don’t know who Barbara Jo is, but she has created the most awesome cake ever.

It’s Called A Zombie Cake.

I admire her work on so many levels…the first being, it’s obvious this cake takes a lot of work, my Dad was an excellent Chef and he admired what it took to bake so when it comes to sugar and patience- I am humbled.

Second of all, I truly hate Zombies, not because they scare me but as a horror fan they offend me.

If you are a character in a horror movie and you get chased down and killed by a creature who is rotting from the inside out-

or the outside in

 and the monster’s brains are turning to water in their skulls and they can still figure out how to trap their victims you SO deserve to die

and in turn

I deserve to lose whatever money I paid to watch it happen.

So I guess that’s why I like the idea of turning a zombie into a cake and carving it up with a kitchen utensil….

a sharp one.

By the by:

Barbara Jo also created these:

They’re eyeballs made from maraschino cherries-

which were soaked in rum.

I think that’s hilarious.

Not only do they ( you have to read THIS to find out why Barbara is a THEY ) bake truly gruesome cakes they do movie reviews for shows like ” The Werewolf Vs The Vampire Women ” and “Wizard of Gore”

Barbara Jo just made my Halloween a little sweeter…hope they do the same for you

So let’s go visit Barbara Jo…I’ll drive and please

don’t mind my friend in the backseat…

he’s dieing to meet you

A Lesson Learned In The Twilight Zone

For me- as a writer- this closing scene from an Twilight Zone Episode titled

” Will The Real  Martian Please Stand Up”

taught me to not only look under the bed or into the closet to find the monster so that I could write about it

it taught me to get under the bed or into the closet and THINK like one.


During a snowstorm, two state troopers are investigating a crash and are led to believe that it was a UFO. They follow footprints leading from the crash site to a diner, where a group of passengers from a bus to Boston are waiting for word that a bridge up ahead is safe to cross. Though the only patrons of the roadside eatery are bus passengers, there is one more diner than there were people on the bus. There is mutual suspicion among the stranded travelers, as the passengers each try to guess which among them is the alien. When they get permission to go across the bridge, however, they all leave.

Shortly, the businessman played by John Hoyt returns to the diner and tells the cook that the bridge collapsed and the bus and police car fell in killing all aboard the bus and the policemen. As the cook wonders how the businessman survived, he also notes that his clothes are not even wet. Soon the businessman unveils his third arm and stirs his coffee with his third hand, telling the cook that he is a Martian, and revealing that Mars plans to start a colony on Earth. Laughing, the cook tells him that he’s too late, and by taking off his paper hat and revealing his third eye, reveals that he is from Venus, which has already started a colony, and that the Martian invasion force has been intercepted.

Episode no. Season 2
Episode 64
Written by Rod Serling
Directed by Montgomery Pittman