Penny For Your Thoughts

wpid-wp-1406034526802.jpegHer name doesn’t matter, his name doesn’t matter but as for  his Wife…

Oh her name matters very much and I’ll tell you why.

Her name was Penny-  and she was indeed the lucky Penny, the bad Penny, the one cent people give along with their opinions so you won’t punch them in the throat when they give it.

He met the former Penny Dyen in a bookstore.

She was flipping through a book and chuckling to herself and that’s what he was taken with.

That deep rich laugh.

She looked up from her  and he looked down into her dark brown eyes.

He introduced himself and she closed the book and gave him her name and two months later he gave her his last name.

It was on their first wedding anniversary he asked if she remembered the title  of the book was that she had been enjoying so much.

The one that made made her laugh and drew him towards her.

” Oh. Yeah. Sure I remember, it was a hoot.”

He waited for her to answer because she had started to laugh again.

He couldn’t help but to smile.

” It was The Exorcist. The Devil in that book reminded me of someone I knew once.”

His mouth dropped open. ” You knew someone like…”

” Oh don’t worry Sweetheart. He wasn’t as cute as you and is totally out of my life now.”

He was never scared of Penny.

He felt like the person after they skydive for the first time, or fight off a  shark or find themselves in the eye of a tornado.  That’s what he felt like  with Penny in his life

Penny  never slept, he never saw her actually eat food and the neighborhood cats, dogs and small children all sounded someone was cutting their heads off when they saw her walk by.

But he would be the first to tell you after awhile he felt like a visitor in the world Penny came from- he never quite got a handle on the way she seemed to always know things before they happened or how she seemed to just appear for a second and was gone like a puff of smoke.

So every once and awhile He went back to his  old world where people didn’t stare into mirrors for hours at a time talking backwards at their reflections because as Penny explained that was the only way the words would come out right on the other side.

His problem started when he brought someone into the world he shared with Penny.

She was an old flame- very old and when  Penny found out how old she was Penny laughed and said, ” Sweet Baby Jesus, if you wanted a bag of moldy bones to love, we got plenty of those in the back yard. I could have dug some up for you. I’d be glad to, it’s getting crowded back there.”

Beyond that Penny didn’t seem to concern herself with His ‘Moldering Cadaver’ ( as Penny called her )

But the Moldering Cadaver cared very much about Penny.

She called Penny and Penny agreed to meet her at the Park down the street from Penny’s house.

Their conversation was actually very brief.

She wore rings on all of her fingers, her hair was cut like Penny’s and she was wearing nose bleedingly high platform shoes.

Penny looked down into Her eyes and was not surprised to see the Sanity draining from them as they spoke.

Penny was not surprised because she had that effect on people.

The part where She pulled out the gun and fired it right between Penny’s eyes.

That was new.

Poor Penny, the neighbors said with some relief.

To be shot in cold blood like that and how morbid- that old Park was actually part of an old cemetery and whoever had shot her in the head had also bashed her face in with a piece of broken tombstone.

That was a shame, people said with honesty. Penny had actually been a beautiful woman in life.

He married Her after a year.

Of course the sanity did not magically find it’s way back into Her head sadly enough.

She now  drank too much, smoked too much and wrote far too much poetry about passion and regaining one’s youth again and made Him listen to it.

He would sometimes wish during those readings that Penny was there laughing into her books about Demonic Possession or history books about the Black Death ( good times baby she would say as she wiped the tears from her eyes ) and torture.

He missed Penny, but it was probably a stretch that she would take him back- being that he married the woman who killed her.

One night, he was sitting on his front porch smoking one of the Cuban Cigars that Penny had stashed in the library upstairs.

She loved to smoke cigars and the habit had rubbed off on him.

So on that biting cold November evening He was wishing Penny was there to smoke with him when Penny walked up the steps.

Her face was beautiful again, the bullet hole was gone.

He stood up, took her into his arms and he said

” Penny, I’m so sorry. I … “

Penny took the cigar from his fingers and kissed him. Her eyes burned bright and she ran her fingers through his hair. ” You always have been a little Devil my love-“

Penny  turned him loose  turned  and opened the door to their house.

Then Penny squared her shoulders, popped the cigar into the corner of  her mouth and called Her name- actually Penny  howled Her name  like a demon escaping from Hell is probably a better way to describe it.

And  Penny said as she walked into the house-

” But as we both know, I’ve always been a bigger one.”

Today’s Special


Five a Day

You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

This took me awhile to figure out. But when I did I went straight for my bathroom mirror and kissed my reflection.



I would take:

J sometimes referred to in some circles as G

( old , tough and  probably gristly but  it’s soaked in wine so I’m sure it’s  good for broth making )


( definitely good for roasting )


( a little of this goes a long way )


( Oh, why not)

and of course


( no taste at all- for garnish only  )

So is this me being clever?

Do I intend to take as many food stuffs with those letters with me to the nowhere place that I’m going to be sent to?



All I can say is, I’m well schooled in human anatomy, corpses hold no fear for me I’m one hell of a cook and I’ll eat like a queen till help arrives.

You know.

Help for me.

Not them.

For them it would be too late.

 tofu turkey

Vampire Soul

A few months ago I was sent a link from my Vampire aficionado friend to a facebook page about a Vampire movie.  He had all sorts of questions about the film like it’s story line and production. Why ask me about a Vampire story I asked – the only vampire stories I really get into are folklore and those vampires don’t have an awful lot to do with their modern counterparts.

“Well, because they’re shooting it near your hometown,”  was the short answer.

So I went over to the page and not only discovered a vampire movie was going to shot right in the county I live in-fans were already interacting with the characters via Facebook– they were sending in artwork  inspired by the movie or just adding pictures to the wall that went along with the storyline.

What do you know, I thought about this story in process…it’s alive.

Property of V. S. Films LLC

I learned from the VS website Vampire Soul is a comedy/horror film about Vampires “who have walked among the living undiscovered until one woman’s desire to be a mother leads to another family’s revenge.”

I loved it- these women aren’t computer game inspired female characters- I get it, the entire drive to have a family, to protect your family, the lengths we go to when it’s threatened? That’s a human story. Of course if you throw in vampires and one of the vampires can do this to another character when she gets mad?

That’s a story with bite- lots and lots of bite.

Property of V. S. Films LLC

All kidding aside-

Vampire Soul is a local production, it’s using local talent, and not only will it bring jobs to our state- on a local level it can open the door for other productions and allow other talents to be seen and heard. As a writer who has lived in Snohomish County for almost my entire life I know we have a large pool of creative people and how great would it be if they could live and create in the community that in one form or another inspired their work?

I think that’s great and it’s an effort I am very happy to support.

Vampire Soul is asking for contributions- and if you make one you can get some sweet perks- and why would you do that? Even for a sweet perk? Because it’s a project with heart.  Here’s a note from Jessica Soss; CEO and Producer of V. S. Films LLC on the Team website:

“Vampire Soul: Hidden in Plain Sight” is a comedy horror that will be dedicated to Katie Gillette. She was a young girl who has touched the lives of many people, including my own, with her selflessness and willingness to help young actors achieve their goals. As she lay dying of Cystic Fibrosis, she asked her Mother, Christy Gillette, to open “Performers House” to help continue her work. Performers House is a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to helping actors, of all walks of life, gain the skills and contacts needed to work in the film industry. VISIT TEAM PAGE HERE

So go on, invite the Vampire in…it’s not like it will hurt or anything.

Property of V. S. Films LLC

:::Vampire Soul Links:::

Vampire Soul Website


Vampire Soul On Facebook




::: Very Cool Update:::

Producer Larry Estes is “running the show” for Jessica’s film. Larry Estes was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Entertainment Business by both Entertainment Weekly and Premiere Magazines. In November of that year, he was the subject of a profile in the New York Times Sunday Business section entitled “Hollywood’s Quiet Godfather of the Offbeat Film.”

Kelsev and George

Kevin Rosseel
Photo By: Kevin Rosseel

Years and years ago something very bad happened in a little house on a corner of a street called Litman Avenue South.

The house was just a house- built mostly of wood because back in the day Seattle was a logging town- and the glass windows weren’t the sort of windows that opened which meant the little white house with the wide doors and very big basement always smelled like flowers, even after everyone was gone and the house was full of dust because the little house on Litman Street was a Funeral Home.

It had never been used for anything else, two men  Conry Kelsev and Semple George built the house themselves and when they were finished they opened for business almost a week later and two weeks after that Semple George and his new wife the former Herma Dawn Bishop moved in.

Conry met Herma Dawn for the first time in the kitchen of the Home where she was making a pie. She had a streak of flour across her forehead and she was whistling which was something Conry couldn’t say he ever heard a lot of women doing- mostly they sang he thought.

” So it doesn’t bother her, ” Conry asked Semple as they left the kitchen for the basement ” having those bodies downstairs and such. “

” Not a bit ” Semple said with a smile ” she says she really feels at home here.”

And it was right then, at that very second Conry knew something bad was starting to happen in that house.

Conry and Semple had been friends all of their lives, and the only time they were apart was for the six years Semple had moved to the Midwest to take over the family business, which was a funeral home home in Iowa.

By the time Semple came back, Conry- who was a carpenter by trade had decided to spend the summers out in Iowa making caskets was already doing more work in the Funeral Parlors around town- decided it wasn’t such a bad line of work and readily agreed to open a Home right there in Seattle.

However, work was work and Conry knew for a fact that he would never be able to live in the place he worked, especially if dead bodies were involved.

So when Conry was done for the day, he went home two miles away and if for any reason he had to go down into the basement of the house on Litman Street after dark he was quick about it because he was sure that after dark the dead and the living had no business being around each other.

Conry turned out to be right.

The true story about the infamous Kelsev And George Funeral Home, and the story that led to a group of people who wanted to turn an old buidling into a dance club with a gothic theme ( what could be more perfect then a Goth Club in a real Morgue? ) strays from the Reality Street to Fiction Ave- starts right here.

One night Conry got called out to the O’Hara’s place on the bluffs, Mrs O’Hara had lost her second child as she did the her two others to burns from a fire that her children had been in over the weekend.

The last child to die was the youngest and Conry carried the little girl, who’s hair had been burned away ( she had always kept it braided he remembered and someone had tied a silk bow around her skinless forehead ) wrapped in a blanket carefully against his chest down to the basement and he nearly dropped her when he pushed the door open and heard voices coming from below.

He called himself a fool when he realized he recognized the voice as Herma Lee’s and he guessed as he made his way down the steps she was talking to Semple.

Only the voice that answered Herma Lee’s wasn’t Semple’s voice it- was a child’s voice and by the time Conry got into the basement he realized that there were two children down there with Herma Lee.

The children down there with Herma Dawn were Darlene and Violet- Darlene and Violet were Herma Dawn’s and Semple’s children.

” Will it take long?” Violet was asking her Mother as Conry stared into the blackness that was fighting for space in the well lit room.

” No. It’s almost done .”

And then Conry let himself look and there was Herma Dawn with a streak of flour across her forhead and a knife in her hand and on the embalming table, head to foot were two small bodies.

And on a small table next to her was a pie.

Herma Dawn was making a pie

And  her daughters were helping her.


Conry guessed he had to do something.

The first thing he did was to walk up the stairs and out to the hearse where carefully laid the little girl across the front seat. After, he closed and locked the door and then he went out to the shed and found an axe and then he went down into the basement.

When he was finished he waited for Semple, he never did find out where it was Semple had been all night because he didn’t show up until after sunrise.

But there was dirt under Semple’s finger nails- which Conry saw as he swung his axe down and Semple threw his hands up…and Conry also saw it was in Semple’s hair and teeth too.


When he was done Conry couldn’t bring himself to bury the George Family in a graveyard, he wasn’t sure he would burn in hell for what he did to them but he was sure there would be a price to pay for putting them anywhere near a dead body.

So Conry took all four of them- piece by piece to the new building that was going up across the street- some people said it was going to be a hotel one day-and he buried them in the basement.

And he wondered if that would hold them.

He doubted it.

In all of the years he knew Herma Dawn he was sure of one thing-he had never seen her outside of the house- her or the girls.

He figured no matter how long it took, they would find their way back to it.

And they would keep finding a way to make pies.

That’s probably why he went home, to his house and hung himself in his attic.


So Conry Kelsev left behind a mystery, nobody ever figured out what he did to the bodies, the legend that the Club Owners built their Halloween House and future business on says Conry burned the George Family alive in the Funeral Home’s Crematorium but anyone with common sense realized the home didn’t have a crematorium, still it was a morbid story and that was the one that gets repeated the most.

However, the locals who fancied themselves as Detectives of sorts guessed that he  buried the family in a cemeteries that Semple and Conry had access too, or more then likely somewhere on the grounds of the Funeral Home itself.

And then because Kelsev and George was not the sort of story you want floating around while you are trying to get funds for Urban Renewal Projects all the theories went away until the Morgan Group decided to open the club up in the Kelsev and George Funeral Home.

The problem the Morgan Group had was this: they had a good story to build on, but when Jeff and his brother Val went out to look at the Kelsev and George Funeral Home ( it was still there and still empty ) they were disappointed.

” Damn, it looks like a house a regular old house- are those flower boxes under the windows? Damn it to hell…”

Jeff was pointing to something across the street.

There were tears of joy in his eyes.

He  was pointing to a sign, it was partially covered by Ivy and the paint was blistered and peeling

but none the less the sign said this building, with the fancy lentil work above the windows, the crumbling gargoyles peering down from the roof and the rusted iron bars running up and down over all of the windows and doors was for sale.

And the name of the building was still visible above the doorway.

It was the Dennison Hotel.

The Dennison did well for awhile and then it closed down and during the 1960’s it’s lobby was turned into a series of offices, it’s upper floors went the same way and eventually it was turned into a meat packing plant.

I kid you not.


So the Morgans opened their club by hosting a haunted house there, which they called the Kelsev and George Morgue.

Soon after they bought the house across the street to use as offices and while he was out on the road Val called and said he had moved into the old house, that he was going to start refinishing it and that he aslo had a surprise.

The surprise answered the door and it had a streak of flour across her forhead and she said as reached out for him, ” Jeff, it’s so good to meet you at last.”

” And you are? ” He asked.

” Well, when I worked for your club they used to call me Chef but now days they just call me Val’s wife.”

” My name is Herma Dawn.”


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

Nightmare In The Northwest!


This was a comment left for a post I wrote called, ” Did You Check Under The Bed ” ….

It was a story about one of my favorite TV shows ( Nightmare Theatre ) –

Nightmare Theatre only aired the most awesome horror movies ever made.

What can I say?

 I was thrilled to see this comment and to see that someone is telling the story about one of the greatest shows to ever air –

go ahead….

take a look and then visit


anita marie 


I found your blog while doing my monthly search for all things Nightmare Theatre online, and as usual I enjoyed the reminisces of people who remember the show with as much fondness as I do. I was born in 1968, and watched it religiously from when I was three to when it went off the air in the late 1970s. (As cheesy as many of the films seem now, I’ll take them over 98% of the dreck on the market today.)

 Poe was a favorite of mine as well. (The House on Haunted Hill was the bomb, and his performances in Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations were absolutely unbeatable.) I was also a big fan of the Hammer fare, with Curse of the Werewolf and Brides of Dracula (both regulars on Nightmare Theatre’s sometimes repetitive schedule). One of my favorite memories, though, was the showing of The Mole People followed by Invasion of the Saucer Men, a double-bill which I repeat for nobody’s pleasure but my own about once a year. God bless VHS and DVD technology.

The program was such an influence on me that I am now a professional writer focusing on–you guessed it–all things horror, from award-winning fiction to film history and criticism. Since there has been very little written up about KIRO-TV’s late night show and it’s star, Joe “The Count” Towey, I decided a few years ago to start a fan site devoted to both, which–in light of web host problems over much of 2007–I had to rebuild this last month. (Just in time for Halloween! Forget Christmas; we Nightmare Theatre addicts know what the best holiday of the year is.) Anywho, if you are interested in revisiting a bit more of your childhood, check out my site (Nightmare Theatre NW) at

I have a page devoted to nothing but reminisces like yours, and you’ll probably get a kick out of reading the television schedules for the Friday nights you found yourself–like me–glued to the tube.

It’s nice to see that others are trying to keep this small piece of Northwest history alive. Keep up the great work!

Scott Aaron Stine

P.S. The Scary Mary clip is absolutely hilarious! It’s amazing what a little bit of creative editing can achieve. (Now if modern filmmakers were at least half as clever, some of the more recent horror fare might by as “scary” as they claim.)


Tomorrow, Saturday, November 3, WNJ’s own Joanne Austin and Ryan Doan will be signing their book Weird Hauntings: True Tales of Ghostly Places, at the Barnes & Noble store in Howell from 2 to 4 PM. The store is located on the northbound side of Route 9.




Weird Hauntings 
“Did you hear something?” “Is someone there?” “Did you ever get that feeling you were being watched?” Sometimes, fellow readers, there are no answers to these questions. At least no answers that make sense in our real, tangible, predictable world. Because there is another world out there – one that’s full of weird hauntings.And who better to bring otherworldly nightmares to you than Weird NJ’s own Joanne Austin, who has compiled the eeriest, strangest, most hair-raising, and true (as far as we mortals can tell) stories of ghosts that haunt our neighborhoods, battlefields, restaurants, roads, hotels, schools, and.….homes. All the dead are beautifully illustrated and brought back to life by long time Weird NJ artist Ryan Doan (

Whether it’s the specters that traverse Zombie Road, the Nob Hill Ghost, the spirits of weary soldiers at Antietam, or the antics of little Sarah who invisibly moves objects in an Ohio inn, you are about to encounter specters who will startle you, sometimes make you smile, and, more often than not, scare the living daylights out of you.

Weird hauntings are everywhere. And, good people that we are, we even include their addresses.

Sleeping with the lights on tonight? Don’t forget to check under the bed.

Did You See That?

Just doing my part to spread the Halloween fun…

so here are some treats to get you in the Halloween Spirit



For some Devilish Delights ( and I DO MEAN Devilish Delights)




The Hungry Ghost

He says it’s all about Pies, but for real Tony loves that spooky stuff so check him out at Tales at Twilight

I AM NOT WORTHY I AM NOT WORTHY visit my heroes Mark and Mark at Weird New Jersey –they so rule.

And to get that little chill- you know the one that runs up and

down your spine just as the lights go off…

read Max’s Ghost Story

Want to see something really strange? Then vist the West Midland Ghost Club in the U.K. ….

or you could stay local like me and hang ( ha ) with the crew from A.P.A.R.T






What Would The CSI Guys Say?

Lizzie Borden- she was a woman- she was a killer -and she got away with two of the most hands on brutal killings in American History.

To refresh your memory, Lizzie lived in a state where  ( in 1692 anyway )  you could just accuse a woman of being a witch and have her executed…just like that.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in 1892 women ( including Lizzie ) didn’t even have the right to vote-

that didn’t happen until 1920.

Anway- I think she did it but to this day Lizzie has her supporters and they say she’s innocent.

One of the arguments in her defense- which I think underscores the fact that Lizzie was found innocent because of her sex- was based on the time lines established for the killings.

Lizzie’s  Stepmother was supposed to have been killed an hour or so before her Father.

The theory is that it was very unlikely that  someone ( like a WOMAN ) who inflicted that kind of damage on a  person with an AX could have left a dead mutilated body upstairs and gone on with her day  and then come back later and did the same to someone else.

Have you ever seen the pictures of Andrew Borden?

Whoever did that was good and angry, they had worked themselves up into a mindless rage and that kind of rage can happen in the blink of an eye or it can build up…


over an hour or so.


Link Photos From: The Chancery House

And visit: Lizzie Borden Virtual Museum and Library

Whispered Tale From Under The Bridge


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

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

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

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

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

No one knows where.

But he’s out there.

He IS real.

How do I know?

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

By chance?

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


Lorne Perth Makes A Deal


Linder Pace looked up at his friend and said, ” I have to say Lorne, you beat me but good on this one.”

Lorne shrugged from the other side of the dark heavy desk in his office and said, ” Why thank you Linder. Funny thing is back in the old days I’d have sold my Soul to the Devil just to hear you say those words.”

Linder didn’t doubt that.

Lorne Perth hated Linder- not disliked, not despised, but hated Linder Pace more then he valued his own life.

His own Soul even.

In the 50 years he had known Lorne, Linder had stolen Lorne’s wife Sadie, and when he grew tired of Sadie he divorced her and then married Lorne’s favorite daughter Bedelia. Now Linder and Lorne’s daughter were living in the house that Lorne’s Mother had been born in.

The same house his ex-wife hung herself in when she found out who the next Mrs. Linder Pace was going to be.

Linder signed the deed to Lorne’s family home and shrugged, ” well, bets a bet. It’s all yours. Again. When will you be moving back in? ”

Lorne took the deed and the heavy silver pen from Lorne and then set both things to his left. ” I’m not, I’m having demolished on Sunday.”

” Sunday, how’d you managed that? ”

Lorne shrugged picked up the pen and twirled it around his fingers.

” Come one now, Dad” Linder chuckled ” go on tell me. When did you learn to shoot pool like that? Hell Lorne, I didn’t even know you could play.”

” Can’t, but you do and I know you can’t walk away from a game Linder. You never could.”

” Yeah huh, but you didn’t answer my question Lorne, you shot pool like a demon and you didn’t just win. You whipped me. So what’d you do Lorne…sell your Soul to the Devil to win?”

” Oh- I’ll be honest with you…”

” Of course. ” Linder said under his breath. 

 “I tried to do that when you took Sadie from me. Old Scratch though, wouldn’t have touched my Soul for all the Souls in the world.”

” And why is that Lorne? ” Linder said as he worked his jaw from left to right.”

” She told me it wasn’t like the books or plays…she’s only interested in truly corrupt Souls and mine- well, Linder she almost struck me dead for wasting her time.”

Linder figured Lorne was drunk…only Lorne didn’t drink, and he didn’t smoke. Maybe, Linder thought the idea he was about to make Lorne a Grandfather pushed the guy over the edge.

Maybe Lorne was doing a lot of things now that he would never have considered doing before Linder thought to himself.

” So anyway I thought and thought -what horrible thing could I offer Old Scratch in exchange for one good game of Pool. It had to be something so dark, something so corrupt she’d be able to shut down shop for a week or two and take that Cruise to Alaska she’s always wanted to go on.”

Lorne sat back and picked the deed up from the table and fanned himself with it. ” How’s Bedelia ” Lorne asked about his daughter with a smile.

” You did not.”

Lorne dropped the deed and banged his head on the edge of the table as he reached down to the ground to pick it up. ” You would think something like that Linder.”

” So what’d you do Lorne, what did you give Old Scratch for one good game of Pool.”

Lorne shrugged, held the piece of paper up with Linder’s signature on it in dark black ink and said, ” Guess.”


One Night Under The Bridge…


When I sit down and get ready to write a story here at the Bridge this scene from the movie Barton Fink comes to mind.


Take a look around…
You’re just a tourist with a typewriter,
Barton.  I live here.  Don’t you understand
that . . .

That scene pops into my head when I start to write a story because as a writer who sits by a campfire under a Bridge between the worlds and tells stories to strangers who happen to be passing by I can identify with Barton (the visitor) being raged at by Charlie, the man inhabiting a world that other people can only catch a glimpse of.

A world that they haven’t been invited into.

I started to go back to that scene in ‘Barton Fink’  several times a day ( what can I say, I write a lot) and I began to wonder –What was it REALLY like down there?

So I asked Regan Vacknitz to stop by and tell me what it’s like to reside, to be an invited guest to end of The Bridge.  I asked Regan because she’s the best guide in town-

Regan, you see, is a real life Paranormal Investigator.

 So let’s make some room for her round the campfire tonight. She has  an interesting story to tell:

My husband, David aka Vinnie, and I started this group roughly two
years ago. However, we have been doing investigations for about four years. Our very first investigation was Thornewood Castle. Thornewood is m known for being the creepy mansion in Stephen King’s “Rose Red.”

Since then A.P.A.R.T  has really taken off.

We have investigated known places like Bair Restaurant in Steilacoom, Old Western State Ruins in Steilacoom, as well as a plethora of private residences and historical societies.

 It was through the investigations at the Historical Societies that
really got us thinking about our direction.

A lot of paranormal groups just want to investigate the larger known locations. We do, don’t get us wrong, but we also like the smaller unknowns as well.

 We love working with the historical societies, because they keep us going. Our support of them keeps them going. We really assist each other.On the private residency side, we discovered that we are the only team, so far, that actually has a follow up “Post investigation family welfare check” form that we use.

We have found through experiences with other teams, that those teams usually do the investigations and turn over the findings in a report form.If you have a family that is calling you for help, usually you’re their resort to ending  their fear and chaos.

It seems a bit one sided if you go in, investigate, turn over findings and never contact them again. Who benefits? Only the paranormal teams do.

We have essentially taken on the role of Sociologist and community service providers. Our team prides itself on the follow up we do. We have shared our form with other teams, who have said, “Wow this is really a great idea!”

On the community service side, we have recently adopted a stretch of
highway for litter control. The stretch is about 1.75 miles, and along
side a cemetery. Can’t beat that!! You can find us on Highway 99, next
to Gethsemane Catholic Cemetery near Fife, WA.

We are also in the process of trying to adopt an older cemetery for documentation and photography, as well as beautification.

We are very into the community that provides us with an avenue to
pursue our macabre, bizarre, and unique hobbies. 

 I’d like to thank Regan for sharing her story. I hope you’ll drop by A.P.A.R.T and check out their site- here. Following ( in part ) is their mission statement as well as their contact information.


We are A.P.A.R.T. of Washington

A.P.A.R.T. stands for Auburn Paranormal Activities Research Team.

We are a non charging, professional, light hearted but serious, fun loving team. We try to prove things scientifically, before ever declaring anything possibly haunted. We are honest if we do not get any viable evidence. We do not, NOR WILL WE EVER, CHARGE for our evidence, investigations, etc. We do, however, accept donations.

Look for us on the web at HERE
or email us at

News About Santisteven’s The Cry


La Llorona (the crying woman) has terrified Hispanics across the United States and Latin America for over five hundred years.

Now here is your chance to meet her-


In the mean time you can visit Bernadine’s very sleek new website for the movie by clicking here and you can read a very wonderful article she wrote about making The Cry for Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge here .

And you can get a very sweet taste of the film here .

Just remember as you go through these links and watch the trailer-

 La Llorona is real-

Bernadine Santisteven



Midnight Conversation at Riversleigh Manor

From my Soul Food Cafe Prompt Archives 



There’s something buried in the Gardener’s Shed and why would someone bury something that wasn’t dead yet?

The thing in the shed isn’t buried very deep, so if you were to crawl over the dead fall in front of the door and were able to push your way through he matted cobwebs and you didn’t mind the smell of rotting leaves and small unburied creatures you’d find  there under the window a slightly raised mound of earth.

Were you to look at the raised mound long enough and the light somehow managed to find it’s way through the little panes of glass covered with dust and dirt you’d think someone was lying there on their side with one arm cradling their cheek and the other laying comfortably on their side.

Wouldn’t you?

If you brought a flashlight and the beam was bright you might think you could see something wrong with the entire left side of the sleeping figure’s face. You might think that maybe that the face was gone, smashed in by something like that shovel in the corner.

Isn’t that right?

They might wonder what you were doing back there in a rotting shed behind the Manor House in the dead of Night, they might see you take the shovel and try to smooth and pound that little raised mound of Earth flat.

That’s what they’d see wouldn’t they?

So I must ask you again, why would you bury something that is not dead yet?

Go ahead you can tell me.

Just keep your hands were I can see them.


Devil’s Luck


by anita marie moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Story Prompt

T is For Transformative

Did you ever have one of those days when everything went wrong?

Maybe you knew it was going to be bad when your alarm went off  20 minutes too early and to make it worse it was one of those nights where you woke up every half hour and when you got out of bed you knew, you could feel it was going to get much worse.

Veta Trella had a night like that.

After she got out of bed she went  to take a shower and as she stepped into her tub she slipped but was lucky enough to break her fall with her knees.

That  was okay because Veta wasn’t the kind of person anyone paid attention to so if she had to limp and shuffle no one was going to notice.

That was the only lucky break Veta had for the rest of the day.

When Veta dried her hair she was distracted by the sizzling sound the wires made everytime she turned her wrist and just before her hair was completely dry some blue sparks flew out of the wall and all of the lights in Veta’s house went out and stayed out.

She guessed all of those black scorch marks all over her walls by the electrical outlets she saw on the way to her basement to check her fuse box was not a good sign.

When Veta  finally made it out thedoor she looked down in time to see her that not only were her shoes not tied, they were different colors and just as she turned to go back into her house the door swung shut and she knew that not only was the door locked she had never taken her keys out of the candy bowl she kept them in.

But none of that mattered for very long because as she took  a step she tripped on her laces and went face first into the door.

It was only a matter of seconds- not minutes before her nose started to swell and she could feel her lips start to go numb. She poked at her face and sighed and then Veta walked around to her back yard.

She walked slowly up the steps to her back porch and when she reached down to pick up a little clay flowerpot to break the little glass window in center of the porch door she felt her fingernail peel back and then it came off with a sting.

She held her hand up, looked at raw  finger tip and sighed.

Veta made it through her kitchen safe enough but when she got to the living room she scared her cat Blitzer right off of the couch he knew wasn’t suppose to be on.

Veta didn’t have the heart or energy to yell at him because she shouldn’t have had to break into her own house and put herself in the position to scare her black cat into running straight across her path.

In fact, he was so startled by her that he jumped straight up onto the mantle piece above the fireplace and sent Veta’s antique mirror crashing to the floor where it didn’t just break.

It smashed into millions of little shards and a cloud of dust and glass wafted up and into Veta’s face- Veta’s bruised and swollen face that was now in the process of working it’s way into a full fledged allergy attack.

” Oh, why the Hell not ” Veta said and then she sneezed and her nose started to bleed- all over her brand new white blouse.

When Veta made it to her bus- well it wasn’t her usual bus because she missed her regular bus- she almost tripped over a woman who had suddenly stopped to pick something up off of the ground and that sent Veta and her things flying  in about four different directions.

Veta sort of shuffled and cringed all the way to the back of the bus and when she sat down it was on something wet and sticky and she closed her eyes and when she opened them she looked up and then down and then from her left to her right and then slowly behind her. When she was done she slouched down and held her belongings to her chest and tried to make herself breathe.

 She thought if she concentrated on doing just that she wouldn’t start screaming.

Then the woman Veta had tripped over took the seat right in front of her and she was jabbering and laughing and chatting away to the very good-looking man next to her.

” Can you believe it? ” she sang, ” first I find a hundred dollar bill right there on the curb on the very morning I’m thinking I’m going to for sure  miss my bus and then…” she leaned towards her seat mate and nudged him with her shoulder ” you ask me out and look! “

 She was holding her phone up and the man read the text message and he congratulated the woman on her promotion and then he moved a little closer to her and put his arm over the back of her seat.

” I mean, I don’t know where all of this is coming from.  I’ve never had luck like this before!”

” My Grandma would have said you have the luck of the Devil ” he told the woman happily.

And then Veta reached over she tapped them each on the shoulder.

When they turned around they were looking straight into Veta’s bright yellow eyes which were ringed with bruises and they saw the little white horns she normally hid under her blow dried hair and then her forked tongue shot from under her broken nose and swollen lips and she hissed ” your Grandma is liar.”


Mr. Gooseberry’s Shed

by Anita Marie Moscoso 

Insprired by the Soul Food Alphabet Prompt

“N” is for Nigredo


Just above the railroad tracks that lead into the town of Mount Prefontaine is a Gardener’s Shed.

The windows are caked with dried mud and pine needles and above the door of the Gardener’s Shed, which is not locked, is a sign that reads,

” Mr. Gooseberry’s  Gardening Shed. “

That’s all the warning you’ll get to stay away.


Arnella Day, Julia Barnwell and Cynthia Stevens all rode the commuter train that ran through Mount Prefontaine.

They’d sit in the passenger car and drink their flavored Lattes and oh and ahhh over each other’s shoes and laugh way to loud at each other’s jokes and of course they’d try to comment on the passing scenery so that it would at least appear they cared about what went on outside of their world.

Then one day Cynthia pointed out the little green and white Shed that was built on the stone outcrop above the tracks.

She pointed the shed out because it occurred to her that you could only say so much about trees and shoes and makeup and tell stories about the bottomless lake that the train crossed over before people just tuned you out all together just so that they didn’t have to hear another one of your dull stories.

If there was anything Cynthia really hated it was being ignored

So instead of talking about the Devilbit Lake she decided to say something about the little shed and when she opened her mouth and spoke she was as surprised as anyone else at what came out.

What she said was, ” I wonder if there are any dead bodies buried in there? ” Cynthia looked up and around and then she realized those words really did come out of her mouth and she took a long drink of coffee to keep herself from saying anything more.

” I guess ” Arnella said, ” You can’t really find any live ones buried there right? “

Julia felt like she was standing next to herself and watching as that someone who looked like her and sounded like her said, ” I guess there’s only one way to find out- I guess we should come back and see for ourselves. “

So they did.

The three of them met at the Prefontaine Park and Ride early the next Saturday morning and they were all dressed in the newest word in day hike gear from Lady Olympus Sportswear at the Bellmark Mall and each one of them had little backpacks that had those special pockets for your cell phones.

Arnella brought the camera and some granola snacks and little bottles of water, which was good because all the other two remembered to bring their makeup and sunscreen.

That’s how their day started- it was bright and sunny and all was right with the world. They chatted about shoes, about what were on TV the night before and how ugly the new guy in the accounting department was.

So as the three women made their way up the trail none of them really noticed how quiet it was all around them. There wasn’t a sound, not a bug, not a bird, you couldn’t even hear the cars drive by from the road that ran right in front of the  trailhead. 


It only took them 20 minutes to reach the hill and when they got up there they looked down at the tracks their train passed over every single day and they stood there and wondered if Devilbit Lake was really bottomless and then they turned around and read the sign above the door that said

” Mr. Gooseberry’s Gardening Shed “

Arnella slowed down and then she nearly stopped walking and she asked her friends, ” Why do you suppose there’s a gardener’s shed up here? I mean, look around there isn’t a house to have a garden for- so what’s the deal with a Gardener’s Shed?”

Julia and Cynthia stopped at the door and turned back as Arnella kicked at the ground. ” See, it’s all rock.  You can’t plant anything up here.”

The three of them still didn’t notice the silence, or the cold that was creeping out from under the Shed’s door and they only paused for a moment before Julia reached out and pushed the door open.

The smell that rushed out the door wasn’t bitter and dusty and old, it didn’t smell like earth or fertilizer.

All three of the women thought they could smell wet leaves and somewhere in there they picked up the faint scent of rubbing alcohol and antiseptics.

They could have turned back and headed down the trail and after a short drive they could have been at The Floral Hills Mall drinking iced coffees.

But they didn’t.

They went in.

The Shed was both humid and cold and everything on the shelves and leaning against the wall was covered with a dark mold that looked spongy and soft.

Arnella went in first and she started looking at the little jars on the shelves that lined the east wall and at the ones that were arranged neatly on the workbench- she couldn’t tell what kinds of plants and powders were inside dusty containers but she understood what the little symbols drawn in ink on the labels meant.

” These are all poisons…what the Hell kind of Garden Shed is this? ” She thought she was saying out loud ” there’s enough poison here to kill an entire city.”

Cynthia was looking at the shovels hat were leaning in the corner of the shed and she was thinking, ” I wonder how it would feel to actually dig a grave. “

And Julia who was standing next to Cynthia wanted more then anything to reach for the pickaxe that was leaning against the shovel. She could actually feel how right it would be if she picked that axe up and swung.

Arnella felt the shed get smaller and the air became more acrid and her skin started to crawl all over her muscles and bones and she left her camera, her backpack and her friends in that shed.

They found her around the back of the shed leaning over a ruined fence vomiting onto the hard rocky ground.

” Why did we come up here? ” Arnella asked her friends ” we don’t do hikes, we don’t camp the closest we get to nature is the flower kiosks at the Mall. So why are we here? “

” It just seemed like the right thing to do today, ” Julia said.

” Whatever, I’m going back in to get my stuff and then I’m leaving. “

Arnella went back into the shed and as she crossed the threshold she could see in her mind’s eye Julia and Cynthia wanting and planning the trip to this shed. She could see the way enjoyed their little stroll up here and she thought she could hear them out there laughing right next to the place she had just vomited.

” They really hate me. ” she said into the cold acrid darkness and the darkness seemed to agree and the air seemed to warm just a little.

She went to the workbench and picked up her camera and put it inside of her backpack and when she turned around…The shovel and the pickaxe were gone.  And then the image of her friends laughing at her  as she got sick turned to another image of them digging a hole just before the trail head.

Arnella was sure one thing.

She wasn’t going to be standing there with them, she wasn’t going to be digging or snickering- in fact she was sure she wasn’t even going to be doing any breathing.

” Damn them…” she hissed into the warming darkness, ” damn them both to Hell…”

Arnella went back to the work bench, unzipped her backpack and when she was done she opened the shed door with a bang and called out ” let’s go…”

Then as she slammed the door after herself the moldy dust fell away from the window by the shelf  full of glass jars…and there in the new light, leaning against the shelf was a shovel and a pickaxe and a smooth clear round spot on the workbench where a jar used to be.


Mrs. Gavet’s Son


by Anita Marie Moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Chocolate Box Writing Prompt

An Imaginary Friend

Gianna Guzman never met Mrs. Gavets son- none of the kids who lived on 51st Pl SW Street over the past 25 years ever did

Kids like Gianna didn’t know that Mrs Gavet’s son was two days away from getting his drivers license and his first girlfriend and that he was going to get a new stereo for his birthday because two days before all this neat stuff happened to Mrs Gavet’s son-

he disappeared.

None of those kids would remember seeing  Mrs Gavet and her Mother driving away from 51st a year later just after dinner time. Mrs Gavet was wearing black and her Mother was wearing a hat with fake fruit on the brim.

And none of those kids were there, just before Easter, when Mrs Gavet’s  family from Oregon showed up and cleared out her house and how everyone on the street remembered how the family wore black and how tired they looked and how slowly they moved – even the young ones- as they moved boxes from the house to the moving truck.

Right after they left a sign went up selling the house-  and it read ‘ for commercial zoning ‘.

Then a few days after the ‘sold’ sign went up a wrecking crew came by  and Mrs Gavet’s house was torn down and an apartment complex called ” Gavet’s  Place ” went up in the lot where a light blue house with cherry trees in the front yard and a duck pond in the back yard used to be..

It really did happen that quickly.


Mrs Gavet’s disappearance was always tied to her Son’s- and it was assumed by everyone in the telling of Mrs Gavet’s story ( which was told mostly at Halloween ) that the police were probably about to arrest her when she and her mother drove off that afternoon.

So this dark story about a Mother who killed her son two days before his birthday because he yelled at her about the color of frosting on his birthday cake circulated around Chaplin Harbor for years and years until they put a new bridge up over Old Creek Road.

And down there in that rock filled gully, which was choked with dead trees and nettles they found Mrs Gavet’s Car with Mrs Gavet and her Mother and parts of them still buckled into their seats.

From what I understand they even spent some time digging around down there thinking maybe they’d find Mrs Gavet’s son.

But they didn’t find him-

not in that Gully anyway.


Mrs. Gavet’s son was suppose to be out on Old Creek Road, trying to flag people down to give him a ride home- ” It’s my birthday ” he was supposed to say to the people who stopped for him.

Then Mrs Gavet’s son would get into the back of the car and you’d drive for a little while and then you’d heard coughing coming from the backseat.

When you’d turn around there would be Mrs Gavet’s son with a knife in his chest and blood flowing from his eyes and ears and nose and he’d say, ” please get me home, it’s my birthday.”

Lots of people believed that story and why shouldn’t they?

It’s a good one and it’s a great story to tell around a campfire or when you’re driving passed a cemetery in the middle of the night and you want to make yourself and your friends laugh so that you don’t have to think about all those bodies turning to dust in their graves.

Stories are safe, even the scary ones as long as you can tell yourself they’re just stories.What happened to Mrs Gavet’s son I’m sorry to say isn’t one of those safe stories.


Two days before his birthday Mrs Gavet’s son cut through the Chaplin Harbor Junior High-school so that he could get home before his Mom did. he knew she was getting him a stereo for his birthday and he knew it was in her closet and he knew she hadn’t wrapped it yet.

Plus it was a tradition- she bought the presents and then he peeked. And then he pretended to be really, really surprised. It was a dumb game but Mrs Gavet was one of those people who never smiled or laughed without a reason and her Son took a lot of satisfaction in knowing her could get her to do both things when he wanted to.

Mrs Gavet’s son was part way across the field when he saw Donna Gamble and Cheryl Headwall tearing out of the school parking lot in Donna’s beat up silver car with the little pink feet stickers in the rear window.

Then he saw the car speed up and drive right into Mrs Green’s brand new car parked at the edge of the lot.

He was close enough now to see into the car and Donna and Cheryl weren’t hurt they were angry- Donna jumped out of the car and was shaking something from a baggie onto the grass and Cheryl was screeching about how Donna didn’t even have a license and that they had just hit a teacher’s car then they both saw Mrs Gavet’s Son standing there looking right at them.

” Hey can you come here a minute? ” Cheryl cried ” Okay? I think I’m hurt…”

So Mrs Gavet’s Son went to the passenger side of the car and looked in and Cheryl said, ” we can’t get into anymore trouble man, you know?”

Actually Mrs Gavet’s son had no idea and then Cheryl looked over his shoulder and Mrs. Gavet’s son turned around and straight into the knife in Donna Gamble’s hand.


It was that sad, and that stupid and that tragic- Mrs Gavet’s son died slowly in the back of a car that reeked like perfume and beer and vomit because two girls didn’t want to get into trouble for hitting a teacher’s parked car.

The two girls took his body and jammed it behind a huge rock that little kids liked to use as a Pirate Ship at this park that’s behind- of all places- the Chaplin Cove Police and Fire Department out there on 51st.

Gianna Guzman was one of those little kids- she was out at that rock every single day playing Pirate Ship.

Gianna was famous in the neighborhood for setting up the best games for Pirates- no one could come up with the monsters and villans and demons to fight like she could.

Pretty soon the kids that were coming to play Pirates were showing up to hear Gianna’s stories and sometimes a few adults would hang around and wonder where this kid was coming up with her wild stories that always seemed to end right here at this rock and in this park.

She’d start in a cave or graveyard or out on a battlefield with knights and and devil dogs and sooner or later all those characters would end up  standing right next to you and then…

Gianna grew up she took a job in a Funeral Home and as she worked she’d tell her Pirate stories to the dead.

She probably could have writtent them down and made a ton of money off of them but that just seemed wrong to Gianna- those stories never really felt like her own so she never sold them.

To be more specific,  she did sell a couple of her stories but she never cashed the checks.

As each one came through she held it up and sort of enjoyed the moment and then the words ” grave robbing ” came from nowhere and she put them in a drawer and never looked at them again.


Last winter Gianna was out at the Police Station – her friend Archer Ward had just been assigned there and just before they said goodbye Archer said, ” Hey Gianna, want to take a look at your old Pirate Ship?”

Gianna was wearing her work clothes and she almost took a pass and then she said, ” Yes I do.”

They walked out to Gianna’s Pirate Ship and of course- as it did in most conversations the story about Mrs Gavet’s Son came up and then before long there was Gianna’s Ship- covered with graffitti and surrounded by coke cans and squashed cigarettes.

Gianna put her black folder and purse on top of the rock and gave it a little pat, ” it’s still pretty great ” she said and she almost didn’t hear what Archer said next because suddenly Gianna was watching a man with a knife following a girl down a street and…

” Hey Gianna…” Archer was laughing ” Earth to Gianna…”

Gianna took her hand away from the rock and said, ” Hmmm? ”

” I said are you going to …”

Then Gianna watched in slow motion as her purse and folder slid off the rock and back towards the fence.

Archer went to reach for her things but Gianna waved him back, ” Don’t worry about it Archer I got it.”

Gianna went to the other side of her ship, leaned over and got her purse first. Then she reached for her folder and after she lifted it up she saw, tangled in weeds and grass the smooth white skullcap of Mrs Gavet’s Son.


Like I said, Mrs Gavet’s son isn’t out on Old Creek Road, and he doesn’t haunt the apartments that stand on the lot where his house used to be. He’s not out on the road asking for rides home so that he doesn’t miss his birthday party.

I think Mrs Gavet’s Son is in a place where people don’t get knives stuck in their chest for stupid reasons, I think Mrs Gavet’s Son is in a place where ghosts and monsters and every nightmare you’ve ever thought was just a story is real. I think Mrs Gavet’s Son found someone a few days after his birthday who could hear him talk about all of the things he sees now.

But I’m just a writer and it’s my job to think about things like this and wonder…and if you don’t mind I have to leave now

I think Mrs Gavet’s Son just took a seat and I have work to do…



Has The Cat Got Your Tongue?

by anita marie moscoso 

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Flies


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

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

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


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

Not from thunderclouds- from birds.

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

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

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

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

Then Daisy laughed some more.

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

A lot.


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

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

That’s why they got them for her.

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

-like her Bug Collection.

Daisy had a  Bug Zoo in her bedroom.

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

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

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

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

 It worked for what Daisy put in them.

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

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

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

Daisy’s room was full of her collections.


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

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

She was about to scream, ” Daisy!”

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

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

It didn’t work.

It got worse.

Much worse.

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

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

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

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

You guys are in so much trouble”

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

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

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

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

Daisy called, ” come on in Mom.”

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

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

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

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

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

Daisy bit her lip and shrugged.

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

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


It’s All In The Cards

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Story Prompt

Tarot Narrative


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it was obvious she wanted it now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Denae got up and sighed ” How much.”

” An offering of 20.00 is appreciated.”

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

” Oh your…” Idell picked the box up.

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

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

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

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

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


Tell Me About Azalee

by anita marie moscoso

inspired by the Soul Food Cafe story prompt

Fractured Fairy Stories



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

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

You can count on it.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

And it was.

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

It was as loud as a gunshot.

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

And then she smiled.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

And then Carmelia will tell you,

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

Tilly Playfair Gets Ahead

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Lonely Ones


Tilly Playfair’s Grandmother ( who lived with the Tilly and her parents ) belonged to a Senior Citizens Activity Group that use to meet every Tuesday and Thursday.

At least once a month they’d  take a three day trip to the Ocean ( during the Spring and Summer ) or to one of the ” Art Colonies ” up north passed Seattle ( during the Winter ).

Everyone in Lydia Playfair’s Senior Group had some sort of talent they’ve developed after they joined the group. They say things like, ” isn’t it a shame I didn’t have the time to do this when I was younger ” or ” I just didn’t have experience to do this kind of work before…”

After hearing that for years Tilly Playfair knew she was luckier then most people because she found her true talent when she was only 13 years old…it sort of put her head and shoulders above the rest of us.


It was August, it was about eight in the morning and it was already 70 degrees and climbing. Most people in the Playfair’s neighborhood were getting ready for another scorcher and they were already getting short tempered just thinking about the heat… but not Tilly.

Extreme weather didn’t bother Tilly.

Only on that Tuesday morning she did mind because Tuesday was garbage day and it was her turn to drag the trash cans to the curb.

Those three cans were heavy and everything inside of them had been ‘cooking’ over the weekend and boy did they smell.

They didn’t stink, or simply offend the nose.

Do you want to know how bad it was?

Tilly’s eyes started watering the minute she came around the corner of the house…that’s how bad it was.

With grim determination Tilly grabbed one can by it’s handle and took it to the curb. However, by the time she had come back for the third can she was cursing God and her family and every single jerk who had ever generated trash anywhere in the world.

She was so caught up in her own drama at that moment that the can tilted and juice…this brown runny water sloshed up and over the rim and onto her hand.

” My hand!” she screamed ” my hand! ” This was the hand she used to eat with and pick her nose and pet her cat and now it was covered in trash can ooze.

Tilly let go of the can and it innocently righted itself…it was just as safe and sound as ever. It would never know  the agony Tilly was feeling at that moment.

And that wasn’t right…it was unfair and unjust and Tilly decided to do something about it.

She stepped back, pulled her left shoulder forward and then she with over 7 years of soccer experience under her belt she drew her right  foot back and kicked the can over.


Tilly left the fallen beast on it’s side and she pushed most of the trash back into the can with a snow shovel. Then with the shovel still in the can she pushed the can upright and turned to pick up the lid.

It was gone of course.

She was about to scream…not yell but scream when she saw it under the Holly tree at the side of the yard. She went over to the tree got down on all fours and had just reached under the tree when she felt something roll and hit her hand.

Curious  she grabbed the lid and tossed it towards the curb and then she parted the lower branches and looked in.

And looking back up at her was a face with no nose.

The face didn’t have lips or ears and at first it looked like the eyes were gone but they had simply sunk back and had collapsed into the sockets.

Tilly guessed she should have hollered or fainted or run for help. If she had flown into hysterics no one would have blamed her. It was sort of like a get out of jail free card.

Only this card said, ” have the screaming willies as loud as you want ”

Instead Tilly reached out and with one finger she poked at the head and watched it roll a little from left to right.

Right then, as the severed head rolled from side to side, she named it Ernie. The she got up dusted herself off  and went into her house to start the day.


For the next couple of weeks Tilly stopped by the Holly tree to visit Ernie. On some days Ernie looked about the same and then all of the sudden he just sort of came apart.

Then September rolled along and it started to rain so Tilly went and found an empty paint can and a pair of gardening gloves in her garage.

She went back out to where Ernie was and she popped him into the can and with a few taps along the rim with a rock she closed him up in his new home and she took him into her house.

For awhile she kept him under her bed, then she put him into the lowest and tallest drawer in her vanity and on some days she even took him outside and put him under the Holly tree-

for old times sake.

Then one day Tilly came home from School and was surprised to find her Grandmother at home and not out with her Seniors Group doing ” art”

Instead her Grandmother and another little old lady were doing some ” Spring Cleaning” as a surprise for Tilly’s Mom.

She was going to be surprised alright considering it was October Tilly said and both the old ladies laughed at Tilly’s joke and invited her to run along unless she wanted to ‘help’.

Of course Tilly said she had homework and then on her way to her room an awful thought came to Tilly. She ran up the stairs to her bedroom, she dove towards her bed she reached under it and…

Ernie was gone.

She went to her closet and looked on the top shelf, she pulled open her vanity drawers and she even opened the top ones that were way to small for Ernie.

Then she fainted.

When Tilly tried to stand  she was so light headed she almost fainted again. All  she could do was stand there doubled up and she trying  to force herself to breathe normal when her Grandmother tapped on the door.

Tilly tried to say ” Come in ” but all she could do was wheeze.

The door swung in and there was her Grandmother looking grim and angry with the paint can in her hands. ” Next time you want one of these young lady…get your own.”

So Tilly decided to do just that.

In the end she was  famous for it.










The Gobbler Sawtooth

The “BED OF PROCRUSTES” or “PROCRUSTEAN BED” has become proverbial for arbitrarily – and perhaps ruthlessly – forcing someone or something to fit into an unnatural scheme or pattern.


Penny Ramsey grew up on a story about a body that was buried under the Oak Tree in her front yard. There was nothing remarkable about the tree; it was big and twisted and lost it’s leaves at about the same time every year.

One Spring when Penny was 12 had carved her name and her boyfriend’s name into one of the Gobbler Sawtooth’ s upper branches

Then when she was 16 she fell out of it trying to scrape their names off.

Given that was the most exciting thing that had happened anywhere near the Gobbler Sawtooth in years it was probably best that Penny did all she could to keep the story about the body under the tree alive.


The Body Under The Tree

Kyle Greene was the city of Camargo’s ‘ Landscape Guy’. The way it worked was if you could afford to pay someone other then a high school guy to mow your lawn and rake your leaves you called Kyle Greene and he’d do it.

He’d show up in his Ford pickup truck with the gun rack in the rear window and he’d fire up his lawn mower and zip it around your yard and have the entire job done in half the time of his younger counterparts.

Then if you could talk him into it he’d probably fix those leaky faucets and cracked windows and replace your window screens too.

Kyle wasn’t an overly ambitious worker and on top of the gasoline smell and cut grass smell you could catch a whiff of whatever it was that made Kyle’s eyes turn red.

Most people thought he was a loser.

But what you thought didn’t mean that Kyle didn’t take a certain amount of pride in his work-because he did. He understood the yards and the people who lived in the houses he worked on from time to time better then he understood himself.

So years ago when he was younger and he accidentally ran his mower into Mrs. Bronson’s Gobbler Sawtooth Kyle was more then embarrassed.

He was furious.

No way should he have hit that tree, he was going just the right speed and was sailing around the corner of the house just like always when all of the sudden that tree was right there in the middle of the path instead of next to it.

He killed the mower and jumped off and the next thing he knows Mrs. Bronson- all one million and a half years old of her is charging down the front steps and she’s yelling- not shrieking or sounding old lady like but bellowing – ” Good God Kyle Greene, what the Hell is the matter with you?”

” I’m sorry Mrs. Bronson…look, the tree is fine. It’s not even marked. Go ahead and take a look “

Mrs. Bronson inspected the tree and when she stood back up she told Kyle ” This isn’t just any tree you know. My sister is buried under it. “

Then she checked the tree one more time and went back into her house and Kyle stood there under the tree for a very long time before he got back to work.


It took a few more years but Kyle finally got Mrs. Bronson to talk about her sister whose name was Lacy Grayford.

Lacy smoked and drank and stole and ran away from home at least a half dozen times before she was 13. If something was missing or dead or injured Lacy Grayford was the reason why- it’s not an exaggeration it was the truth.

Then the summer Lacy turned 17, little Amanda Pearce was found floating face down in the duck pond at Veterans Park.

The police went to the Grayford home and after they left both Officers recalled seeing Lacy leaning against the Oak Tree in the side yard talking to her father as they drove off.

They were the last two people to see Lacy Grayford alive.

Mrs. Bronson, who was known as Isabel Grayford in those days, woke up the next morning to find the ground under the Oak Tree- or the Gobbler Sawtooth (as her Mother called it) turned up and her father was sitting on the back steps with the shovel laying to his left.

His head was in his lap and the knife he used to take his own life was at his feet.

Isabel grew up and old in her family’s home and she passed away while walking down the same steps her Father had died on all those years ago.



That’s the house Penny Ramsey grew up in- and she’d sit under the Gobbler Sawtooth and tell stories about Lacy the Psycho and Mrs. Bronson who insisted there was a body buried in her yard. She’d insist- much to the secret delight of most people- at places like Church Functions and Weddings and Baby Showers and Christmas Parties.

Amused yes…who wouldn’t be? Keep in mind though that Mrs. Bronson left this Earth with a worse reputation then her sister Lacy

Penny didn’t see it that way.

Penny Ramsey understood why Mrs. Bronson told those stories when she did.

 If she hadn’t had Lacy and Isabel to talk about Penny would have been an average teenager with average looks who watched too much TV, wore the wrong clothes and listened to the wrong music and she would have never had much to say for herself.

But in the small town of Camargo Penny was the girl who had a body buried in her yard and weird as it was- that made her somebody.


It was just before the 4th of July that Penny decided to look for Lacy Grayford.

She was tired of the stories and she was bored of the same old type of attention. So Penny decided to be more then the girl who had a body buried in her yard. She decided to be the cool chick that found the skeleton of Lacy Grayford in her yard.

Penny stood there for a minute and tried to decide where to start digging. She looked up at the house and from where she was standing she could see the windows and the walkway.

She guessed Mr Grayford probably wanted a little privacy for what he needed to do all those years ago- and in a way so did Penny so she walked around the tree and she started to dig.

And she dug and dug and after awhile she went from feeling sore to feeling stupid.

Penny Ramsey was pretty sure she wasn’t going to find a body, and she was also very sure that when word got around that she had dug a six foot deep hole in her yard to find the bones of a murderer she was going to fill the slot of town Looney so completely that they’d set the Looney Standard by Penny Ramsey.

With a pile of dirt Penny went from being somebody to being something else all together and she gripped her shovel and she started to sweat.

That’s how Amanda Tully from school found Penny in the yard that day.

Penny was sweating and pale and shaking and Amanda couldn’t tell if Penny was crying or laughing but that sound she was making was just wrong- she sounded like a cat with something caught in it’s throat.

” Penny…look at this mess, what are you doing? Are you crazy? “

Penny looked up from her shovel and down into the hole under the Gobbler Sawtooth and she shrugged before she swung at Amanda, ” It looks that way.”


Eye Of The Beholder

by Anita Marie Moscoso




best fiction post


Abney Hawkweed taught music for 25 years in the Caswell School District and those were the best years of her life.

Not that she liked teaching; in fact Abney didn’t even like kids.

But the hours were good, she got the Summers off and at the end of the day not many people go out of their way to pay attention to plain looking women with wire rimmed glasses who know how to play the violin and trumpet and the saxophone.

Which suited Miss Abney Hawkweed just fine.

In the old days, after school was over and Abney was on her way home she used to roll the windows of her fuel-efficient little car down and she use to turn the radio off just so she could hear the honking horns and screeching tires. Sometimes she even got an earful and eyeful of some road raging driver screaming their lungs out and waving their fingers around in nasty gestures.

Sometimes, just for the fun of it Abney would go out of her way just so that she could drive by the Great Mall of Felton Hills.

She just loved to watch people dodge buses and trucks and cars and then no matter how many cars were behind her honking their horns she’d drive slow just so she could see the same people sprint, jog or run across the parking lots with baby strollers and shopping carts- all so that they could get into the shops and the food court and consume anything they could lay their hands on.

It all seemed so trivial and innocent and final.

 There was no mystery to life in the suburbs.

You worked, you shopped, you watched TV and then you got to die.

Some people, Abney thought, don’t know how good they have it and that’s a fact.


Abney’s day job paid the rent; what she did at night was who Abney Hawkweed was. She could always find another day job, but there was only one Abney and when the Sunset came she couldn’t be anything else.

So just after dinner she would gather her tools into a little black leather medical bag- the one she inherited from her Grandfather and she turned the little gold clasps counter clockwise to lock it.

Then for luck, just like Grandpa taught her, she would touch the little brass plate that said, ” Post Mortem Case ” three times.

The luck thing was important because she usually needed it.


Like with most family businesses you could either take up the reigns and do the family proud or you could skate by and make them wish they could at least say you were adopted or ‘from the other side of the family’.

The worst you could be neither, the worst thing you could be is mediocre.

And know it.

Abney figured she could get the job done-  and that  phrase pretty much summed up Abney’s job performance. She wasn’t as glamorous and thin and blond as her cousin Inez and she wasn’t as smart or athletic as her Father Dr Setwell Hawkweed had been.

They were impressive figures at work and well respected.

No doubt, Abney could dig up a coffin  pop it open and hammer a stake into the heart of a bloated red faced vampire before it could open it’s mouth and spit blood into her eyes-which is what they did when they were about to attack.

If they got you it was bad news because that mess could make you blind.

That’s how they brought you down.


The problem was it was just plain old Abney Hawkweed in some old decrepit church or over grown cemetery carrying on the family trade.

There was no sense of style about how Abney did her work so she did it quietly and efficiently as possible and then she’d go home feed her cat, listen to a little Mozart and then she’d turn in for what was left of the evening.

She did that for 25 years and she never complained.

She didn’t even complain when she had to go into a house on Halloween (of all nights) and take out a family of Vampires who had been sleeping in their basement and then  had taken to hanging from the rafters like water logged Piñatas-dripping blood and purge from their hardly working bowels onto the floor.

All Abney figured when she slipped in the gunk and broke her wrist was that they had done that on purpose.

It wasn’t like the books and comics and video games you know.

Abney learned the hard way that oxygen deprivation at death and then waking up to find you had been turned into a mosquito was enough to make anyone crazy.

Very Crazy.


On the day Abney retired- both from the Day Job and the Family Trade, her work friends had taken her out for lunch and given her some neat gifts and they had promised to keep in touch.

She doubted they would.

And of course they didn’t.

Her family same to celebrate her retirement and of course they promised to stay in touch too- and Abney figured they’d make good on that and of course they did.

Especially when they needed a night off.


As time went by Abney started to play the Violin again for the simple pleasure of it. She never got calls to lend a hand at this Graveyard or that Morgue because the Vampire Problem was a Problem Solved and Abney decided to take up the guitar.

It was at Inez’s birthday part last winter that Inez had told Abney, ” You know in the old days we could never have all gotten together like this. It’d have been too dangerous. I mean, a couple of nutty blood suckers and a can of gasoline and before you know it we’re crispy critters and people are dropping like flies from ‘ the plague’ again.”

” You had a lot to do with that Abney. Thank you.”

And Abney decided right then and there that she may not have been the sleekest of models to hit the showroom floor but she had made a difference all the same.

That was when Abney really felt it for the first time- her life; her simple quiet life was all she ever was.

And she missed it.


When Spring came Abney had decided to take up sketching. She was pretty awful at it, but she had nothing but time on her hands and if this didn’t work she could always try something else.

So one day she’s at her favorite park sketching her favorite tree when four teenagers went walking by.

Shoulder to shoulder they looked like a little black thundercloud rolling along on the cobble stone pathway.

Their faces were pale, their lips were black and they smelled like the perfume counter at the Bay Side Department store.

Abney watched them for a moment and then she called out, ” You there…are you  suppose to be Vampires? “

There was a chorus of snorts and chuckles and someone tried to growl ” suppose to be ” but his his voice cracked.

One of the little black clouds broke away from the rest and she tried to glide up towards the middle-aged woman with salt and pepper hair ” We’re Goth ” she said slowly with her jaw clenched tight and her black hair falling into her face.

” Is that a new type of Vampire?” Abney asked cheerfully.

” I guess you could say that.” the girl with the pointed white teeth said. Then she tried to stare the old woman down. ” Why do you want to know? “

Abney shrugged, ” just checking. “

And as the little black cloud drifted down the path Abney got up, reached for the black bag under her chair and touched the little brass plate three times.

Then she went to work.



Mrs Beenettle’s Garden

by anita marie moscoso

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Project

The Solitary Reaper


Outside the town of Dewhurst is a little Country Cottage House standing all by itself up off of a long dusty road. There’s  a rusty mailbox out front leaning over a ditch and a low stone fence that runs for miles  along the Cottage’s property line.

Within the borders of the stone fence the  small white cottage has potted plants on it’s porch and at each of it’s  lace covered windows  there are flower boxes full of purple and white and yellow Pansies.

That’s where Mrs. Beenettle lives.

People who drive by Mrs. Beenettle’ s House always comment on the old fashioned looking elderly lady with the straw hat and the basket of flowers on her arm.

” I wonder how old Mrs. Beenettle is, ” they’ll say ” she’s been out working on that garden of hers since I was a kid and that was over 20 years ago. ”

Then they forget all about her until the next time they drive by.

You see, Dewhurst is an up and coming town with streets full of houses called ” Mini-Mansions ” and roads with names like ” Glen ” this and ” View Ridge” that and the people who live in those developments aren’t the sort of people who slow down their cars or themselves for anything.

That includes sweet old ladies who tend Old English Cottage Gardens in the suburbs of Seattle.


Last spring, after years and years of waving to people somebody actually took the time to stop and drive up to Mrs. Beenettle’ s Cottage.

That somebody was named Betsy Ware.

Betsy Ware swears too much and drives to fast and when her kids moved out and left Betsy and her husband with an empty nest Betsy filled their old bedrooms with boxes full of their books and old furniture and outdated clothes and broken toys.

” If they want to move back in they’re going to have to haul all this crap away. ”

A fool is a woman who doesn’t know her own children and Betsy knew her kids would rather live in a dumpster then to be responsible for their own messes so they never did come back-not even for visits.

Betsy was either one step ahead of you or maybe a half a step behind. But she was never far off the mark. That’s what made Betsy such a hard person to mess with.

It was a gift she guessed.


One day Betsy just got it into her head to make the drive up to Mrs. Beenettle’s. She wasn’t sure where the idea came from; it just seemed like the right thing to do on that nice cool Spring morning.

She got out of her jeep wearing a faded black t-shirt and her hair tied back in a braid and Mrs. Beenettle came from the side of her house with her basket full of flowers.

Mrs. Beenettle smiled her roadside smile. ” Well Good Morning!” she said bright as a daisy.

Betsy stood there and smiled back and the thought came from nowhere and locked Betsy’s smile into place…” I have no idea why I’m here…no idea at all.”


Mrs. Beenettle was pleasant enough, she knew all about plants.

What she said was not exactly what you would read in The Lady Gardener’s Companion Books.

 ” Flowers are just cool and cunning as any gambler or card shark” Mrs. Beenettle said in her soft warm voice. ” They will wine and dine and seduce anything they have to in order to get what they want.”

” What is it they want Mrs. Beenettle ” Betsy asked because Betsy had the feeling this was going to be a whopper.

” Why, they want to take over dear- simple it truly is as simple as that. I mean, if you think about it the only thing that consumes and reproduces with such blind determination are humans. We’re a lot alike, plants and humans.”

And Betsy found she couldn’t really disagree with that.


They chatted about plants that ate bugs and flowers that smelled like cigarette smoke and Betsy asked, ” are there really such things as plants that eat people?”

Mrs. Beenettle laughed and so did Betsy and at that moment they both knew what the answer was-which only made them both laugh more.

The sun was starting to set and it was getting cooler when Mrs. Beenettle said, ” All kidding aside Betsy- if you’re interested in Man Eating plants this may tickle your funny bone-follow me.”

Behind Mrs. Beenettle’ s Cottage there was a grove of Hazel Nut trees. The trees had long thin spidery limbs and they were covered with moss and the bark on the trees was leather like and dark brown.

That surprised Betsy, she thought it would be more fitting if they were  bone white, but she was far to interested in what was growing beneath the little trees to wonder why the bark was the color it was.

Under each tree was a large flower.

The petals were black and purple and red and the flowers themselves were as large as the trees themselves.

And they smelled bad; they smelled very, very bad.

” Whoa ” Betsy said.

The sound of awe in Bety’s voice seemed to please Mrs. Beenettle a lot. In fact Mrs Beenettle smiled wider then ever and then  she put a Motherly arm around Betsy’s shoulders.

” I am curious about the smell Mrs. Beenettle.”

” These beauties are called Corpse Flowers Betsy. In order to thrive they attract blow-flies, and in order to attract Blow-Flies they have to give the flies what they desire which of course is the scent of death.”

” Is that all they attract Mrs. Beenettle?  The Blow- Flies?

Mrs. Beenettle held her arm out and Betsy took it. ” Plants always seem to find the perfect environment to survive in- they’re very cunning in that respect.”


Towards Sunset Betsy left Mrs. Beenettle’s Garden.

Tucked into the back of Bety’s Jeep was a flat box filled with tiny compartments. In each little square were tiny shoots that were coiled  and spiraled upwards and each little shoot was tinted black and red purple at their edges.

Next to the flat, wrapped in oiled paper were Betsy’s shotguns and in a little plastic envelope under the guns were tags from sweaters and jackets and shirts.

Like Mrs. Beenettle said, plants always seem to find the best enviorment to survive in- they’re very cunning in that respect.