Senza Fine

Photo By: Ostephy

Photo By: Ostephy

ONCE upon a time

a little old lady who smoked too much and drank too much and swore too much  met  the Devil on the path that led into the deep dark woods behind her house.

It was just before sunset when she saw the Devil, who did indeed have horns and eyes like a wolf’s and a head of long black hair that smelled faintly of tomatoes leaning against a Maple tree covered with flaming red and orange fall leaves.

Her name was Enid Oddworte and the Devil didn’t tell her its name but the Devil fancied Enid. She felt it in her dry aged bones. So it didn’t matter to Enid what its name was.

All she cared about was that in all of the world  the Devil wanted her kiss.

But everyday the Little Old Lady said no.

“Why would you want a kiss from me?” she asked in her wine  soaked voice as she took a long hard drag off of her cigarette. Then she  blew a thin line of smoke over her shoulder and tossed her thin dark hair out of her watery dark eyes and smiled.

It was not an honest smile.

The Devil shrugged and it’s tail twitched from side to side, just like a cat’s. ” I don’t know Enid. I just know what I want. And what I want is a kiss from you. I would give up Hell, I would give up trying to get back into Heaven I’d do anything for a kiss from you.

Enid, who was usually a little drunk on her nightly strolls would walk away leaving the Devil with nothing more the  the scent of unfiltered cigarette smoke and expensive perfume.

And it’s heart-because the Devil did have one. Sort of. Would ache just a little at the sight of her carefully picking her way back to her house in her platform shoes.

Then one day Enid said yes.

Yes she wanted a kiss from the Devil.

So she kissed the Devil’s slightly warm lips and the heavy scent of her cigarette smoke filled the woods behind her house and the smell of tomatoes and dark wet earth chased it.

Then the Devil put it’s hands on Enid’s shoulders and it pushed her back.

It’s Wolfish orange eyes blazed and she could see herself in them, burning.

Enid looked up at the Devil and whispered, ” I’d give it all up for you, if you asked.”

The Devil asked. ” What would you give up for me Enid?”

” My soul, my heart my life. I want this moment with you to last forever…”

” Mio ” the Devil said. ” My name is Mio Andira. And you Enid are my true love. I can deny you nothing. Nothing. If you want this moment to last forever. It shall. For you my love.”

And because The Devil- whose name is Mio Andira, was good to its word -Enid’s moment with her one true love on the trail that led into the deep dark wood has lasted forever.

You can see it for yourself- every day just after sunset- you can see Enid unable to leave the trail- unable to go back to her house or forward into the deep dark woods.

She is rooted to that spot, the very same spot where Mio Andira declared its love to Enid.

But she is not alone.

 She has two things with her…because indeed Mio loved her-  she has his kiss that still burns just a little on her lips and the endless scream- the one that started when her true love promised her forever

and gave it to her.

things that are wrong

These are things that are not right.

And that’s why they are oh so very perfect.

amm

Clowns.

They are never a good thing.

Too many teeth you know.

Things in jars.

I marvel at the mind that thought to shove something in a jar and put it on a shelf.

It’s so….hands on…

Open Graves

because they leave one with the urge to put something into them-

don’t they?

Don’t Look Up, Whatever You Do

 

” Whatever you do Hendry Coin, don’t look up. I mean it. ” his Father told him when he was a boy. ” If for any reason, any reason at all you have to cut through the woods behind the house don’t look up into those trees.”

“Cause the Witch will get me right?” Hendry said.

” If you’re lucky she will only get you to cut her down and  then she will only chop you up and cook you in the big iron pot she keeps just for that reason in her kitchen. The problem Hendry is if you see her first. You will start screaming and you will keep screaming until every star in the heavens burns out.”

” That’s sounds like a long time Dad”

” It certainly is  Hendry.”

 

The problem with the trees behind the Coin House is that they used to hang people from them. And the thing of it is, the people they used to hang were accused of witchcraft and out there in the town of Stonecrop, unlike in other towns were innocent people were hung or burned at the stake for witchcraft the people out in Stonecrop were witches.

That’s right.

They weren’t wise old crones, they were the type of people who would cut deals with the Devil and in most cases they won.

And in the cases were they did not they would end up hanging from a tree behind the Coin’s house where they would swing from their ropes until one of the other witches got a hankering  for some  Witches bread and decided to save the trip to the town cemetery and head over to the woods to get the spice that gave their bread that something extra the witches enjoyed so much.

So Hendry, who was a good kid and did as he was told not because he was afraid of ending up in a cast iron pot slowly simmering over a fire  but because Hendry adored his Dad never would have never done anything to disappoint him. That was the reason he never had a bit of trouble back there in the Woods.

Over the years he saw weird things and heard strange sounds but nothing bad ever happened to Hendry or his kids ( he grew up to have seven of them ) or his Grandchildren ( 10 of those ).

One year Hendry decided to cut through the Woods to get to the new road that led into town when for the first time ever he found himself in a bad spot.

Hendry was walking along when he heard a creaking sound and then a little popping sound and somebody said ” hello there ” in a dusty sounding voice.

 Hendry turned around but he did not look up- however there was no looking away from what in front of his face.

There were feet hanging in front of his face, and the feet were encased in worn black leather boots and were tied together at the ankles with heavy white twine.

He reached out and grabbed the feet to stop them from swaying and turning which was creeping him out because there was no wind, no breeze in the woods.

There never was.

So Hendry was standing there holding the black leather covered feet in his hands when he heard a voice, a woman’s voice from above his head say:

” Cut me down Hendry Coin and I’ll make you a meal you will never forget. Well. One that I will never forgot anyway. I am so hungry Hendry. Cut me down. Cut me down and anything, your darkest wish your brightest hope I can give that to you. A pound of flesh Hendry, that’s all we’re talking about here. That is all it would cost you. I’m quite handy with a needle Hendry. I could even put together a little something for you to slip into once you’ve paid that nominal feel. The rewards Hendry- think about it.”

Hendry told the witch, ” You know, in all these years of walking- and to be perfectly honest in my younger days I would run through these woods- I never had any problems. I figured I never had any problems with the tree witches because I always did what my Dad told me. “

“Is that right Mr. Coin? And what did he tell you?”

” Don’t look up, whatever you do.”

” And why did he tell you that Hendry?”

” Dad said that if I saw the witch first something really bad, something worse than death would happen to me.”

” That is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said in these Woods Hendry. And let me tell you. Some very strange things have been said in these woods…but that is hands down the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to a hanging witch. Honestly old man, do you really believe there is anything worse than death? Because let me tell you. And I am speaking strictly from experience here, there is nothing worse than death.”

” I suppose you’re right. My Dad was a good guy, a very kind and practical man but he wasn’t what you would call overly educated.”

” Well. There you are.”

” Yes. Here I am and there you are and what the heck is that above you head?”

He felt the feet push down as the witch looked up and Hendry couldn’t help but smile a little when the screaming started.

Miss Bexley’s Books

 

Photo By: xololounge

 

You’ve found her in the basement of long closed Bexley Books after spending an hour or so of exploring the store that used to be a funeral home.

She is sitting at a time worn wooden table, arms crossed, dusty pile of  books stacked in a neat pile in front of her. There is almost no light in the dark room but there are a lot of shadows and they are creeping around the woman and the table like a dog begging it’s  human for a treat.

You could take a seat at this table and ask this woman what she is doing here.

But look at her and ask  yourself, would that be okay? Is she safe?

Her face is pleasant, the corners of her mouth are turned up just a little, just enough to make it look like she is smiling.  Her dark hair is pulled back in a pony tail. Her nails are not polished but they are neatly trimmed. She is wearing a lavender sweatshirt decorated  all over with little silver hearts.

So why not, she looks harmless enough, except for the fact that she is sitting in the dark with a pile of dusty books about  in front of her.

Oh. I guess I forgot to mention that.

Yes, the books are anatomy books and the one on the bottom of the stack is about cake decorating. That spine on that book is pink.

So let’s take a seat and ask …

” Oh. I’m waiting for a delivery. Yeah. Just sitting here passing the time and catching up on some reading.  I know from the looks of it,  this place would probably send Martha Stewart into one of those seizures that they would have thought were demonic possession back during the Middle Ages or in parts of rural America but really, I love to drop by when I can .”

” Oh go on, pull up a chair and sit down,  so you must be familiar with the neighborhood. No? Well, this place used to be a little bookstore and the books they sold here were all about death. That’s right. Death.They had books about embalming and head hunting and mummies and local unsolved murders.”

” Scoot that chair back up and don’t look at me like that.”

” The shop shut down a few years ago, but the books were left behind. They were just sitting on the shelves. Anybody could have walked in and taken them, I mean they were just defenseless books and how could they stop from being taken.”

” But some of the books were stolen and wouldn’t you know it with a day of that all of these strange murders started to pop up around town. And you look hip, so I guess I don’t need to go into how some of those murders followed the plot lines of those weird books. Yep. You know who really got miffed about that? The funeral directors. When bodies start to turn up embalmed and prepared for burial in perfect text book fashion they were not a happy bunch.”

” No. Miss Bexley isn’t around anymore, but if you go to the next room you’ll find shelves still stocked as if she were. These books know how to take care of themselves. “

“No I’m not worried about the books or being here. I placed an order- a special order and being that I was a friend,  Miss Bexley never did mind me taking those deliveries here. How did I become friends with Miss Bexley you ask?”

” Actually. One of these books was based on my life. Oh no. Not these books. It’s upstairs at the checkout counter. It was one of her personal favorites.”

“What is my book about?”

” Cannibalism. The one you have tucked away in your jacket pocket. And don’t bother. Sit down. The door is locked. All of them are. For now.”

How My Light Is Spent

     

 

  

Inspired By The  SFC Prompt    

” Milton And The Muse “    

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

The problem was nobody ever asked.    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” Oh  Bonnie. That’s just awful.”    

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

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

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

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

” That is amazing.” Bonnie sighed.    

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

” Oh. Did you have a parasite too?”    

” No, I’m Delarious Mandusa.”    

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

” He was my Granfather.”    

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

” You guys are the coolest human beings ever.”    

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

And Bonnie laughed.    

 

    

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

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

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

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

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

 ” Blah blah blah.” Bonnie said.     

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

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

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

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

” Yeah. Well. That  entire deal was a train wreck just waiting to happen.”  Bonnie said   

Like good friends the boys agreed.    

   

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

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

And in case you’re curious.   

Yes she did write about it and she dedicated the story to    

Del And Quash.   

 

a.m.m.

 

Take The Last Exit…

Last Exit takes a ride through the graveyards, interviews death merchants, visits some looney tombs and relates tales of what dying in NJ is all about. There are some great epitaphs, unusual interments, ghosts, famous deathstyles, forgotten cemeteries, bodies that show up in unusual places…and of course great stories of vandals, vermin and graverobbers—all here for your enjoyment.

 

 

 

Order Your Copy

 HERE

MAILING STARTS ON JANUARY 4, 2010 on this limited edition (i.e. it’s going to be a LATE holiday gift, which is somewhat fitting. Late. Get it?).

My Favorie Part Of The Turkey ( is the skin )

I asked my Sister  if she wanted me to give her a hand this around the kitchen this

Thanksgiving.

 

She said no.

Strange.

Who couldn’t  use an extra set of hands when  making a big meal.

So I called her again and said I would love to bake some cookies…how did that sound?

Great she says.

Wonderful I tell her.

I just love to make Gingerbread Cookies I reminded her.

She asked me if I wouldn’t mind making them with heads this time.

I always make them with heads I laughed.

Attaching the gingerbread heads to the gingerbread bodies would be a nice touch she says-and  it would be something new for me, wouldn’t that be nice she asked.

Sure, I think I could really ENJOY baking boring cookies.

So this morning I sent my Sister an e-mail.

I asked if I was still banned from carving the Turkey.

Damn straight, was her speedy reply.

Brother.

I tell one silly story about a dissection class I  took while carving the Christmas Turkey and I get forced to use plastic SPOONS for the rest of my freaking life at family holiday meals.

Some people have NO sense of humor.

NONE.

Well.

There must be something I could bring to dinner I said to my sister in a phone call this evening

 that would not make

 the people in our family think about things without a pulse and smelling like formaldehyde.

 Not a chance says my Sister says after a very long pause.

Well.

I don’t know what your Thanksgiving will be like this year, but apparently

I

will be dining with a bunch of weirdos.

 

 What can I say

besides

I hope your

Thanksgiving is as interesting and fun

as mine.

 

 

She Had No Face

threegirls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Doe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well.

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

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

It was shut.

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

I looked around the room.

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

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

It was stuck.

The knob wouldn’t even turn.

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

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

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

I wonder if they ever did.

Jane Doe

 

RESOURCES:

Tomb Of A Female Stranger

The Stranger

The Story Of The Female Stranger

The Ghost Of The Female Stranger

HAUNTED HOTELS:

Top Ten Haunted Hotels of The United States

Haunted Hotels, Inns and Castles

Washington State Ghost Towns

At The Fork In The Road

 

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

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

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

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

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

The Fork In The Road

 

morguefile.com

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

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

Anyway, back to my story:

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

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

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

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

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

Good I thought to myself.

That spawn comment was mean.

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

” No.”

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

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

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

” God.”

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

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

” The Fork In The Road.”

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

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

” Yes. It is.”

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

” I think so.”

” Pump or Pay?” I ask

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

The Fork In The Road.

coke-sign

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

…Nurse…

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

morguefile.com

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

TODAY’S SPECIAL:

YOU!

Welcome To The Fork In The Road

breakfast served all day long

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

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

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

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

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

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

” He’ll do in a pinch…but…”

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

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

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

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

Instead of burping she says:

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

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

Milo. Door. NOW.”

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

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

 I know that smell.

It’s embalming fluid.

And

The Fork In The Road

Diner-

the diner that serves breakfast from dusk to Dawn

 reeks of it.

12

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

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

” She took your eye and ate it Milo.”

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

You know- Milo does have a point.

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

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

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

I climb up into the jeep and turn the key.

And then we drive away.

 

morguefile.com

Bentley The Bone Picker

 

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 bones

It happened an hour after Bentley cancelled the work order.

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

She lived for about an hour after the accident.

 bones

Bentley went to Suzy’s funeral.

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

It said:

Bye For Now

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

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

 bones

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

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

“That did NOT just happen.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The doors weren’t trying to hurt him.

Suzy was.

bones

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

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

Bentley stood there for a minute looking at her.

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

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

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

bones

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

Where there was a door, there was Suzy.

She was everywhere.

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

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

“ Yes they did.” Bentley told her.

“ Couldn’t have.”

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

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

“ Nothing is wrong with the elevator Suzy.”

“ If you say so.”

Bentley lifted the gate and stepped onto the elevator.

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

” ‘kay.” she told Bentley.

He waved.

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

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

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

Suzy put her ear to the gate and smiled.

This time there was no argument from Bentley.

None at all.

Photo: A. M. Moscoso

Photo: A. M. Moscoso

It Does Not Get Much Better Then This

 

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O'Boyle

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O'Boyle

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

Here it is:

Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote this circa 1870:

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

The doorbell rings.”

Awesome

Bravo Thomas, Bravo!

Thomas Aldrich

Is There Something There?

Something In The Hall

 

I have a notebook- a real with paper in it- where I keep stories that I find in the newspapers or magazines.I also like to write things in there like names of people and places that I find interesting .

This notebook is a to do list for my brain.

And

sometimes these odds and ends work their way into a story

and sometimes I just like to look and laugh.

I know it’s weird…but if you read my stuff can you honestly say you are surprised?

So, without further ado

Here’s a page from it- it includes a story I found today….

dancing bones

Need a hand? Man digging yard startled by specimen hand

By Associated Press

Story Published: Sep 18, 2009

NORTH EAST, Md. (AP) – A severed human hand has been unearthed from the yard of a Maryland home, but police say this is no whodunit.

Investigators believe it’s a decades-old medical school specimen left by a former resident.

Still, it was an odd discovery for the electrician who dug it up in the northeastern part of the state. It was muddy, but only the fingertips showed signs of decay.

Maryland State Police Trooper First Class Dave Feltman says the hand found Tuesday appeared to be surgically removed.

The son of a previous owner of the house tells police it was a souvenir he took home as a student at the University of Maryland’s medical school more than 50 years ago.

Police said they believe his account, but sent it to the state medical examiner as part of routine procedure.

 
This guy stole a hand from a lab? I would have gone for a brain or a heart…but a hand? Weird choice…
 

 dancing bones

Suicidal Planet

By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

Story Published: Aug 27, 2009 at 8:44 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (AP) – Astronomers have found what appears to be a gigantic suicidal planet.

The odd, fiery planet is so close to its star and so large that it is triggering tremendous plasma tides on the star. Those powerful tides are in turn warping the planet’s zippy less-than-a-day orbit around its star.

The result: an ever-closer tango of death, with the planet eventually spiraling into the star.

It’s a slow death. The planet WASP-18b has maybe a million years to live, said planet discoverer Coel Hellier, a professor of astrophysics at the Keele University in England. Hellier’s report on the suicidal planet is in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

“It’s causing its own destruction by creating these tides,” Hellier said.

The star is called WASP-18 and the planet is WASP-18b because of the Wide Angle Search for Planets team that found them.

The planet circles a star that is in the constellation Phoenix and is about 325 light-years away from Earth, which means it is in our galactic neighborhood. A light-year is about 5.8 trillion miles.

The planet is 1.9 million miles from its star, 1/50th of the distance between Earth and the sun, our star. And because of that the temperature is about 3,800 degrees.

Its size – 10 times bigger than Jupiter – and its proximity to its star make it likely to die, Hellier said.

Think of how the distant moon pulls Earth’s oceans to form twice-daily tides. The effect the odd planet has on its star is thousands of times stronger, Hellier said. The star’s tidal bulge of plasma may extend hundreds of miles, he said.

Like most planets outside our solar system, this planet was not seen directly by a telescope. Astronomers found it by seeing dips in light from the star every time the planet came between the star and Earth.

So far astronomers have found more than 370 planets outside the solar system. This one is “yet another weird one in the exoplanet menagerie,” said planet specialist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

It’s so unusual to find a suicidal planet that University of Maryland astronomer Douglas Hamilton questioned whether there was another explanation. While it is likely that this is a suicidal planet, Hamilton said it is also possible that some basic physics calculations that all astronomers rely on could be dead wrong.

The answer will become apparent in less than a decade if the planet seems to be further in a death spiral, he said.

 
 Suicidal planets? Awesome idea. Why not killer planets? Insane Planets? Cannibal planets?
  

Story Updated: Aug 17, 2009 at 2:32 PM PDT

dancing bones

Mukilteo councilwoman earns dubious Internet award

By Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) – Mukilteo Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson earned a mention on the Cracked.com political satire site on a list of Six Places You Should Never Twitter From.

Showing up at No. 2 is Gregerson under the headline, “From an illegal city council meeting (in a bar).”

She made a post from Ivar’s Restaurant following the June 16 Mukilteo City Council meeting. She called it a “debriefing” after a majority of city council members showed up, creating a quorum.

Gregerson told The Everett Herald the experience taught her to create separate personal and council Twitter accounts and to be more careful about what she posts.

 
Yeah. Good FYI. If you’re going to Twitter about illegal council meetings in bars- do it on a PRIVATE Twitter account. It’s these sublte little twists that are good in story structures. They are FUNNY.
  
dancing bones
  
So, how will I use these little gems in stories?
Should  I use these little gems in stories?
I think I might…
 
 
a.m.
  

Wink

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

 It’s some sort of law of nature.

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

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

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

It was empty.

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

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

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

“That cannot be so. “ I told him.

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

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

“That’s very specific.”

“I suppose it is.”

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

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

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

Winking Man asked me, “least favorite sound? “

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

“Oh no. “

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

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

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

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

 He looks very pleased with himself.

I smile.

He smiles back.

“So what do you think?”

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

“Indeed. “

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

“No, I cannot say I do.”

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

Lonelee and Faraway

 

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

 

Her name is Lonelee Darrow and the man walking next to her is called Faraway  Braine.

Strange name or no name- it doesn’t really matter because what matters here is that Lonelee and the man named Faraway are walking down towards the Water Front  to a  store that sells Salt Water Taffy and little bars of clear soap with Scorpions inside – they sell postcards too.

” I don’t think this is a very good idea ” he tells her.

” Well. I do. “

” There must be an easier way for you to make a few dollars Lonelee.”

She stops and jabs her finger into his chest. ” Yeah. Well, it won’t be your few dollars. And those are the sweetest bills in the entire Universe right now.”

He picks up his pace and pulls ahead of her. ” You are one bad tempered woman Lonelee.”

” I told you not to push me Faraway. I’m betting you this won’t work and you have to argue. That’s all you ever do. Whine and argue. You just can’t admit when you are wrong.”

” Ha. I knew I was wrong the minute I said hello to you.”

” Bite me.”

They are still arguing when they get to the Shop on the Pier with the Scorpions in embedded in the bars of soap and Jars of Salt Water Taffy. They quiet down just a little as they pass by the racks of postcards and then they start to raise their voices again when they get to the back of the store where there  is a woman in a glass case.

In her plaster hand are a bunch of yellow cards.

” Ask her. “

” Fine ” Faraway says. ” Fine. I’ll do it.”

” Go ahead. “

” Okay.”

” Anytime Faraway.”

” Are Ghosts for real?” He asks the woman in the glass case.

” Feed her some silver Faraway.”

Faraway reaches into his pocket and pulls out some change. He drops it into the coin slot and right after he does he and Lonelee can hear gears begin to grind  and then there’s a click and the Woman In The Glass Case moves her hand towards them and drops a little yellow card on the table in front of her.

They look down and read:

You Will Have Good Luck In The Winter

Oooh she’s good Faraway.”

” I’m telling you, yesterday I asked her the same question and she answered it.”

” She told you that ghosts are for real.”

” Yes she did. “

Lonelee holds her hand out and Faraway gives her some coins.

” Okay. I’ve got a question. “

The Woman waits patiently in her case and Lonelee asks before she gives over her change, ” Are there ghosts here right now?”

Your Confidence Will Lead You On

” We came all the way down here for this?  Are you kidding me? I hope that at least the Taffy is good because you’re buying and you’re buying a lot of it. “

Lonelee is walking up the aisle towards the candy shelves and she yells over her shoulder. ” Let’s go Faraway. “

Faraway buys the Taffy and after he does Lonelee sweeps the bag up off the counter. ” I told you. Ghosts are not for real. Fortune Tellers aren’t for real either and the ones in glass cases  are for sure not real. You shouldn’t have bet me Faraway. I always win. You should know that by now.”

She  goes to the door and pushes it open and lets Faraway walks out first and Lonelee follows him.

 As  they make their way back up the street Lonlee is looking up into the bright blue sky and shading her eyes from the sun and then she asks  Faraway  impatienly, ” Do you remember where it was we left the ship?”

 

Mad Love

A Macabre Tale of Love

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O’Boyle

Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they  were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.

 When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act, she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable. When she went to tell Edna the news she said, “Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of another patient, I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness. The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you
saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.”

Edna replied, “He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?”

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O’Boyle

Monsters, Maybe

Photo A.M. Moscoso 

 Photo By:  A.M. Moscoso

So I walk by this wall and I look up and there is this door and two windows

that don’t go anywhere.

The building behind them is gone.

The stairs are gone.

The door is at least 20 feet up off of the ground.

And the door is chained shut.

I am sure that there are stranger things in the world then this.

But not that many.

Mark Of The Penny Snatchers

“Mark Of The Penny Snatchers”

is

dedicated to my husband

Luis

December 25, 2008

and to his friends

from

the

Class of 68

Dubuque, Iowa

who inspired this tale.

dfmead
Photo By:dfmead

” So you finally get to go on vacation, ” Chesa Appleway’s friend said to her at lunch. ” I can’t believe it. You on vacation. So. Where are you guys going?”

” To Seattle. ” Chesa said into her plate of Chilli-Fries.

” Well. That sounds nice ” Vicky said wondering why Chesa looked like she was going to Seattle for a funeral as opposed to Seattle which was at least six  States  away from work. ” Is it for a special occasion or …” Vicky snuck another look at the expression on Chesa’s face and thought- God, it has to be bad. but maybe it wasn’t so she asked, “I know you’re going to see that volcano- Mount Helen, right?”

” Mount Helen…geeze Vic is that all  you ever think about? It’s called Mount Saint Helens and we won’t be doing anything fun like walking up and down the side of a live volcano on this trip.”

” Oh no. ” Vicky could have pinched herself for being so dumb, of course it was for a Funeral or something like that- Chesa and Norbert never took vacations – Chesa and Norbert owned the biggest, the most well known Coffin making company in the United States. Those two were always working and if they weren’t working they were thinking about working.

” So why the trip? ” Vicky asked quietly, gently.

” It’s Norbert’s 40 year High-school Reunion.”

Both women looked at each other for a minute and then burst into tears.

” Oh God. I’m sorry Chesa. ” Vicky gave her friend’s sagging shoulders a hug. ” I am so sorry.”

 

Later, Chesa had to admit that the four days in Seattle weren’t her worst days, maybe not the best but they were far from being the worst.

Most of Norbert’s classmates enjoyed telling her stories about the Norbert they used to know and in turn they seemed happy to hear Chesa’s stories which more or less confirmed that Norbert  was indeed still Norbert.

Norbert still liked to read History books for fun, he still sang in a rock band on the weekends and he still drove to slow on the freeways- which meant he still got pulled over a lot because nothing looks more suspicious to a Cop then a sports car going to slow on a practically empty road.

And the one thing you could count on was that the roads Norbert drove on were going to empty because Norbert hated to drive in heavy traffic.

” Good old Norbert ” they said separately and together ” he’s still the same good old Norbert. “

So it was the night of dinner / dance down at waterfront when Chesa, Norbert and some of his friends stopped into a tourist shop that featured a Mummy, a collection of shrunken heads and a machine that flattened pennies that Chesa really did learn something new about Norbert- something that she never thought he would do.

Norbert was a member of a secret club.

 Chesa learned about the Club just after she and Norbert and some of his friends were all looking at the Shrunken Heads collection together. Chesa moved down to take a look at a two headed calf  and when she turned around a few minutes later she saw Norbert, Mark, Sean, Tony and Darren standing there in front of the Penny Flattening  Machine looking slightly embarrassed and a little guilty.

Norbert said, ” well if we had used this thing it would have saved us a lot of trouble.”

” What do you mean? ” Chesa asked.

” I mean, ” Norbert held his right hand up ” I could have been a Piano player AND a singer.

” What do pennies have to do with you not having the tops of two of your fingers?”

Darren looked around and said almost in a whisper, ” we were part of a secret Society called  ‘The Penny Snatchers’ “

” You lost your fingers stealing pennies Norbert ? Good. That was stupid. If you were going to steal money you should have at least gone for nickles. Maybe even…dimes.”

” No- ” Sean took her by her elbow and leaned down and whispered into her ear, ” we used to go down to the tracks on King Street and put pennies under the trains wheels while the trains were parked and right after they flattened them we’d snatch them off the tracks before the next set of wheels came along.”

” That.Is.The. Dumbest. Thing. That. Anyone.Has. Ever. Done.”

” Yeah. Well, we were kids. We were eight years old when we started  The Club. We cared more about that then being in the Boy Scouts even” Darren said as he started to go through the change in his pocket.

” Why on Earth did you do that?”

”  For the dare” Norbert said defensively “and we collected flattened pennies. Those things were valuable.”

 Invaluable ” The Penny Snatchers said all at once.

And then they heartily agreed at the tops of their  lungs with each other and just in time remembered to lower their voices. Fifty years may have gone by since the first official meeting of the Penny Snatchers, but from the looks on their faces it could have been two hours ago.

Chesa rolled her eyes upwards at the comments that followed about bravery it took to be a Penny Snatcher and the cool comics and candy you could trade your flattened pennies for. And as Chesa looked down and considered what to say to that she noticed that Norbert wasn’t the only one of the Penny Snatchers with missing fingers.

She looked up almost in shock.

” Whose stupid idea was this penny snatching thing? “

Mark raised his hand and smiled. “Guilty.”

Norbert and the other guys – who had indeed bought some flattened pennies from the Machine started to walk towards the front of the store.

Chesa and Mark were left standing alone by the Penny Flattening Machine and a shelf full of soaps set with scorpions and leeches- plastic ones Chesa guessed.

” For real, this was all about collecting flattened pennies?” Chesa demanded.

 Mark held his hands up in mock self defense and Chesa saw he still had all of  his fingers still attached to his hand ” I wasn’t there to collect pennies.”

 

matildaben

Photo By:matildaben

Typical Trixie

 

art-e-zine.co.uk

Photo:art-e-zine.co.uk

Trixie was always late-

 

her family thought she had a mental deficiency because not only was she always late she never learned to tell time very well from clocks with faces. Even when those were replaced by digital clocks it still didn’t make a difference because Trixie still found herself chasing after buses or coughing up dust from the trains as they sped by without her to a place she was probably supposed to be an hour or two before.

 

Trixie always burned the food she cooked, her clothes were always damp or ruined when she took them out of her dryer and she studied the Piano faithfully for years and practiced but it didn’t matter because no matter how hard she worked her timing was always off.

 

“Oh Trixie “they would say “typical Trixie, you have to pay more attention to the time.”

 

“Why should I? “She would say “It looks to me like it already has enough people paying attention to it. I doubt it even misses me…for a minute” and then she would fall over laughing.

 

And then one day after a week that involved yet another late date with her fiance’ Barney, Trixie made her way to her sister’s house.

 Her sister Evie was in her sewing room unpacking a beautiful dress from a box. As she held it up she told Trixie, “ I was going to wear this myself, you know, it was supposed to be for my wedding…but being that I’m not going to be getting married anytime soon, it’s for you Trixie.”

 

“Wow Evie, it’s … are you sure you want to do that?”

 

“All I can say Trixie, is that you better not mess this up and show up late. How would that look? “

 

Trixie shrugged and said, “Well, it sure freak the guests out, that’s for sure.”

 

During that entire week Trixie stayed as close to her family’s home as possible and as the food and flowers started to arrive her Mother arranged for places for the long distance guests to stay over.

 

Trixie didn’t dare step foot away from the house, she stayed as close to home and her sister as possible.

 

“All you have to do is show up on time Trixie- everyone else will do all of the work. I can’t believe this is happening to you first. I always thought it would be me. I’m older after all.”

 

“Yeah, well, no offense but I feel the same way Evie. But when it happens you sort of have to go with it, you know?”

 

Evie just busied herself with the final touches on the back of the dress and she told Trixie, “You can have the veil to…”

 

“I hate those things. “

 

“I know veils aren’t your thing, but for this one time…”

 

Trixie touched her cheek and said, “Okay, it’s only going to be this one time. I guess I can handle it.”

 

And then on the big day, just as the guests were starting to arrive at the church and her fiancé was standing nervously in the Vestibule with her Father who kept walking into the vases full of flowers Trixie who had kept her promise to not put herself in a position to be late and had stayed close to home looked up from her Mother’s kitchen table and saw what the clock and said.

 

“ Oh No.”

 

So Trixie ran the four blocks to the Church and she breezed by her guests who were about to be seated.

 

 Trixie found her Sister sitting up front- and when the Organist saw her she nearly fell off of her stool when she saw Trixie.

 

Evie’s  arms were folded across her chest and her jaw was clenched so tight that she had to put her fingers to the side of her face to pop them apart.

 “ I’m sorry.”

 

  “Late for your own funeral…Typical!”

 

Evie turned and saw that Trixie was still wearing the clothes, torn and ruined and bloodied from four days ago when the Cab Trixie had taken to meet her fiance for dinner ran that red light and Trixie had been thrown from the car, head first, into a telephone pole.

 

“ Typical Trixie.” Evie said “ When will you learn to pay more attention to the time?”

Windows

Photo by bledpub

Photo by bledpub

Deveal Pelham’s house is the oldest, strangest house in a little town nobody goes too and that nobody has come from for many years.

If you were to come across Deavel’s house on a drive one evening,  you might wonder if white house  with the peeling paint and the yellowed lace curtains in some of the windows and torn blinds in the others was lived in. If you saw the rusted wind chimes hanging on the porch just left of the leaf filled wicker chair you’d guess it had been abandoned for a very long time.

But as you drove on by- you might slow down a little- then you would probably see that the mailbox was new and the house address was legible and the red flag was up and in the orange box just under the mailbox you would probably see that day’s newspaper.

And the feeling that you would get from these little images that would tell you the house is alive- that someone was actually living in it- would be the same feeling as finding a pulse in an embalmed corpse.

And as you drive away from the house  you might notice that in two of the windows on the top floor were turning red, just the faintest shade of red

and you would know that glow was coming from the inside of the house.

Don’t worry if you felt like a fool, if days later that house was turning up in your dreams and maybe you started to notice other houses like it eventually the feeling  and the dreams will pass.

It wasn’t like that for the people who lived In Cedar Valley.

At first the people who lived in Cedar Valley just took it for granted that every town had an odd duck swimming in it’s pond and it just happened that in their case that duck was Deveal.

Deveal would drive into town and buy groceries that he would carelessly toss into the back of his rusted truck and he would sometimes stop into the post office/drugstore for ‘No Pest Strips” that he would carefully place on his dashboard for the drive home and sometimes he would even buy a hamburger.

Which he did not eat.

And

Deveal would always say hello and in turn, even though they did not want to, his neighbors had to say hello back.

But the oddest thing about Deveal was his house.

It was only about two years older then the rest of the houses in town and it looked like most of the houses in town and it even had those fancy lace curtains that were in style and hanging from all of the houses in town.

But it always looked older, and it aged faster and the grass and trees all around his house turned brown and stayed that way.

And sometimes the windows on the top floor turned red, just the faintest shade of red and in those days, before the street lights went in and Cedar Valley got built up, you could see that faint red glow for miles.

Pretty soon Deveal’s house was mentioned by almost everyone in Cedar Valley at least once a day, everyone had something to say about it- it was used as a reference point when they gave driving directions, it came up when topics of conversations involved rot or decay or crazy people who made things out of human skin and hair.

One day, Skip Keyes said to his friend Alby Bench ” You know it seems like we never get away from Deveal’s house, it’s always here- right here in the middle of town. It’s like the damn thing is always watching us. It feels like we never get away from it. Why do you suppose that is?”

And before Alby could answer Deveal walked by and as he did Alby and Skip did what they always did in Cedar Valley when their Odd Duck swam by

 they turned to say hello to Deveal.

And Deveal stopped and with the faintest of red glowing from his eyes he said hello back.

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.

:::from

THE HAUNTED RESTAURANT OF MORRISTOWN

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.

 

A Lesson Learned In The Twilight Zone

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

” Will The Real  Martian Please Stand Up”

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

 

In Memory Of A Pracitical Man

maltbycem02.jpg

Mattie Greaves sat across from Mr. Sawyer Day, the owner of a small and all but forgotten funeral home in Seattle, Washington and together they were quietly discussing  a suitable coffin for Mattie’s husband Tabor.

” My husband is a practical man ” Mattie told Mr. Day ” and he wouldn’t like anything with those fancy gold handles and he certainly wouldn’t approve of things like this ” Mattie was pointing at a catalog opened to a  glossy page of coffins painted blue and gold and even black with ducks and eagles flying around their edges.

” I understand ” Mr. Day said ” and I have several models for you to consider that are more traditional. I’m sure we can find one here that your husband would approve of. “

Mr. Day is almost 65 and he had taken over Morning Ridge Funeral Home from his Mother’s family right after he had turned 30. He had started working there right after he turned 16 so that means that for over 50 years Mr. Sawyer Day had heard and seen it all.

So when Mattie Greaves asked if the traditional model she was looking at came with a comfortable pillow Mr. Day didn’t even look up. ” From what I understand it does, however in the past some of our families have brought in their own blankets and pillows. “

” My husband is very fond of candy as well. ” Mattie whispered. ” Now his doctor told  him he needs to give up sweets but you know, he’s along in years and he’s been through so much. I ask you Mr. Day how could I take away his salt water taffy?”

” My Mother was the same way, she was fond of her Cuban Cigars. Not only did she refuse to give them up we could never figure out how she got her hands on them to begin with. In the end, we just let it go.”

” So of course I can…”

” Of course you can Mrs. Greaves, whatever you think would have made your husband happy.”

After going through a few more books Mattie decided on a solid oak model with bronze handles and a lovely cream colored liner. She passed on the flowers.

” He’s allergic ” she told Mr. Day.

Mr. Day and Mattie went through numbers and she was about to pull out her check book when Mr. Day said, ” We’re almost finished Mrs. Greaves all we have to do is discuss your choice of a grave liners..

Mattie dropped her checkbook on the table and looked at Mr. Day for almost two minutes before her face turned a little red and tears welled up in her eyes., ” Oh my, that sounds so final.”

” Mrs. Greaves, I’m very sorry.  I don’t mean to rush you. If you need more time to go over…”

” No Mr Day…you’ve been very kind and patient with me. It’s my fault. I’m the one who has been doing the rushing. I should have explained…my husband just needs a coffin until the one he normally uses arrives from back home.”

memento2.jpg

Once Upon A Nightmare

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

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

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

” And your dog was…”

” Hanging from a tree. “

” Like Hell you say. “

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

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

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

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

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

I smiled and encouraged she went on.

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

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

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

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

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

” Good for you. “

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

” What was she? “

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

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

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

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

Legend Of The Georgetown Morgue

UPDATE:

FOR INFORMATION ON THE 2012GEORGETOWN MORGUE

:::click on the picture below:::

Today I read an article that debunks the story about The Georgetown Morgue.

 I don’t do the haunted house tour thing ( you know, after you’ve worked in a Funeral Home and had to visit real morgues and years later all you can remember is the taste of McDonald’s French fries because you were consistently assigned removals in the afternoons- just before lunch)- Morgues don’t exactly scare me-

 the thought of them now just makes me hungry.

For French Fries.

The super-sized serving.

Anyway.

I thought the setup for the Georgetown Morgue was a fun idea, a very neat story and the building the “morgue” is staged in is way over the top and looks the part.

Most funeral homes, let’s face it, were supposed to blend because they were either near churches or in neighborhoods and people actually lived in them.

However subtle- some of them are they are weird if you know what to look for the weirdness- take a look at the garage doors and back doors which are wider then normal to accommodate you know, things which require a lot room to move through, and though the writer of the above mentioned article does toss in the small smoke stacks at the Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home and how unscary they are but he fails to mention the actual creepy thing is the mirror mounted on the roof and tilted upwards towards the smoke stack.

The Funeral Directors use this mirror to make sure the smoke doesn’t turn dark during the cremation process…see CREEPY.

You just need to know where to look to find it.

However- there’s always an however isn’t there?

 On a visit Dubque Iowa, I saw this amazing funeral home called Behr’s- which looks scary by any measure.

So what do I think about the ‘debunking’ of the Georgetown Morgue?

Well.

I’d say the writer who did this didn’t prove anything other then the only story he could come up with was the deconstructing of another writer’s work.

Creating a world and a story and legend for you to follow isn’t easy, placing it in terms that invite readers to want actually walk ( or drive ) to  that door is actual work, bringing a building and people who never existed to life, takes effort, writing a vindictive little hit pieces to ruin the moment for people who wanted to visit the “Georgetown Morgue” ?

Geeze- now that’s just mean spirited.

So visit the setup site for the Georgetown Morgue, it’s actually well done- I thought the way they wove bits of Seattle’s real history into the ‘legend’ was pretty clever – the earthquakes, the hint of the Wa Mee Massacre, the death of a famous local musician wrapped in media hype- made it possible for present day for local residents to ‘relate’ to this building and to the story.

So no- I wouldn’t visit the haunted house- I couldn’t even be bribed with French Fries…however…if someone were to tell me more stories about the Georgetown Morgue– they would have my undivided attention.

After all, this is what we do during Halloween- we spin yarns, tell tales and for one night not only do we get to face the monsters-

we get to face them down.

It’s all part of the fun.

So.

Try.

A few of you, more then others…

to have a

Happy Halloween.

Kube93FM Haunted House

The Georgetown Morgue: Gruesome true story or fabrication?

 

Secret From Under The Bridge

photo by captain oddsocks

photo by captain oddsocks

I have a secret.

I love pumpkins…year round, not just for Halloween.

But that is not my secret.

Let me explain.

I collect pumpkin knick knacks and pictures of pumpkins and I cross stitch them on all sorts of things  and I always have stickers with pumpkins on them and I slap them on anything that isn’t moving.

And if it is I’ll slap one on anyway.

Most people think I like pumpkins because I love Halloween.

In part that’s true.

The truth of the matter is- I like pumpkins because they look like severed heads-

 and when you carve faces on them.

Well.

a.m.

The E-Mail Soul Eater

 

Yesterday me and my best friend Amihan were shopping at the Mall for hats ( I love those old lady styled hats with fruit and birds on the brim…the one I was wearing that day had little cats dancing around the edges ) when she asked me if I had heard the story about the E-Mail Soul eater and I was very sorry to have to say I had not heard that one.

” Well,” Amihan ” tells me- “the E-Mail Soul Eater is this demon who sits in this Library and sends out this picture and if you don’t pass her picture around she’ll come out of your computer and kill you.”

” Yeah but why…”

” She doesn’t have a Soul, so she eats them to stay alive.”

” Oh she does, does she?”

Amihan opens up her purse and takes out a couple of pieces of paper and I see that one is a copy of the e-mail and the other is the picture and I say to her:

” You have got to be kidding me.”

” No, it’s true. I mean I think it is.”

“Listen Amihan- Demons are old world. They do things the old fashioned way, that’s in their nature -they are hands on and in your face. Please Amihan, e-mails?”

” What the Hell kind of stupid story is that? ” I ask and then I took the picture from Amihan and folded it up in a neat little square and I put it in my back pocket.

 ” I know, I know, I took the e-mail and the picture and if I don’t pass it along the E-Mail Soul Eater will come and get me. Well I hope she does. “

Amihan is near tears and she says, ” Why did you do that? “

” Hey Amihan, don’t worry about it. “

Amihan does look worried so I shrug and say as I pull my hat down over the little horns on my forehead ” Don’t worry about her, Soul Eater, Soul Thief, whatever- all I know is I don’t need the competition.”

:::to read about the real “E-Mail Soul Eater” go HERE:::

Her Eyes Are Wrong

The picture is in a gold frame and

and it is hanging in a basement in a little room with a coal shoot door that won’t stay nailed shut where I used to play as a child.

One year I pulled the picture down, turned it over and saw written on the back in dark red ink:

“Her eyes are wrong- and it’s to late to change them now “

I turned the picture so that it faced the wall.

But the words scared me more then the photograph itself

so I turned it back around

and I never looked into the eyes in that picture again.

But it didn’t matter.

Because those eyes, those wrong eyes, saw me.

I know it.

And I know that they still do.

a.m.

Out On Birch Road

I have never been afraid of going off road and exploring

empty houses

and empty buildings.

I’ve gone into places with just a flashlight

and when I carried one I would leave my phone in the car.

The only thing I was afraid of was getting bugs in my hair.

I really hated it when that happened.

Well.

One day I found this empty house

and I had a great time poking around in there

and for some reason I sat there

on a dusty dirty floor

in what used to be the living room

and I thought:

Anything could have happened here…

anything.

Someone could have proposed marriage right on this spot

or somebody could have stood right here and been told that

their Mother had died or that their son was joining  the Army

or their daughter was pregnant or there had been a terrible accident…all of that could have happened right here in this small space I was occupying in this house nobody had lived in for years.

These thoughts were about the familiar safe things in life- which was funny considering where they had come to me.

But when I left, as I walked down the walkway to the path that would take me to my car I saw a shovel leaning against a doorway that led down into a root cellar.

I became painfully aware of the fact that the Sun would be setting soon.

I ran all the way to my car.

3:43 at 5th And Cherry Street

Gemi Ranney catches her bus at 3:43 on the Corner of 5thand Cherry Street Mondaythrough Friday.

You could set your watch by Gemi.

She shows up at her stop at exactly 3:38 and five minutes her bus, the 408 shows arrives and then Gemi gets on and she’s home a half and hour later.

Nothing surprising ever happens to Gemi on that short walk she takes to her bus stop after work.

She sees the same people withthe same expressions on their faces- sometimes they smile and sometimes they don’t and sometimes they say hello- but one day Gemi noticed  it truly was always the same.

Gemi started to wonder how they could do that- how they could smile the same, sound the same when they said hello and even wave the same way to the same people they passed on the street every single day.

Gemi couldn’t stick to any sort of routine, she never wore her hair the same way, she never signed her name the same way, she never made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the same way and she only ever used three ingredients when she did that. 

So one day, because she was early, Gemi took a another route that was a little longer and as she walked towards 5th she ended up walking behind one man she always saw at the Cherry Street bus stop.

He always said ” hey there you ” with a little wink and a click of his tongue against his teeth.

As she walked by she said hello and he turned his head and looked down at her and as he did Gemi saw a little bug run from his ear into his nose.

” I think something… ” Gemi pointed to the side of his head and as she did he said,

” Hey there you ” with a little wink and a click of his tongue the way he always did but this time he said something different.

This time he said, ” Mrs Grayford did this to me. ” and then he took his same place at the bus stop and he pulled a newspaper out of his backpack and Gemi had the feeling it was the same paper he looked at every single day as he waited on the corner of 5th and Cherry.

After the bug in the nose incident Gemi started to walk different roads to her bus stop and every once and awhile she would see some of the people from her stop going through their usual routines.

But now Gemi started to see not only the sameness in what they did every single day she noticed that they were wearing the same clothes and carrying the same books and sometimes from the smell she was sure they were carrying the same lunches and coffee cups too.

And sometimes they would stop and say to her, with dust in their hair and dust in their slightly frosty looking non-blinking eyes and the occasional  bug running across their foreheads or out of their mouths, a little desperately before their eyes frosted over again

” Mrs Grayford did this to me.”

Eventually, of course, Gemi did begin to wonder who Mrs. Grayford was. And when she thought about it too much she realized that doing that probably wasn’t a very good idea until that day at her office.

Gemi worked in an office supply store that sold pens and pencils and old fashioned things like erasers and they even sold business cards that were printed on a printing press and not a laser jet printer.

Gemi’s job was back in the warehouse and sometimes she had to work up in the office processing paperwork- which she didn’t mind because it was a break in the routine that was her work day.

So true to her nature after about 15 minutes of filing and initialing of order forms Gemi switched screens on her computer and typed in Mrs. Grayford and she put in Dearden, Washington.

She learned one thing, there was only one person named Grayford who lived in Dearden and exactly three months ago she opened a Funeral Home just 4 blocks up from Cherry Street.

” Well that’s just creepy. ” Gemi said to Rochelle who worked in Accounts Receivable- and Gemi only started talking because Rochelle was into her numbers and paperwork and wasn’t going to pay attention to anything you said unless it involved an invoice.

So as a rule, Rochelle didn’t talk to anyone at the office, and that especially included the human tumbleweed that was Gemi Ranney.

Now the beauty of this situation for Gemi was that she could say out loud this idea that was giving her nightmares. And the thought was crazy sounding but the person who was about to hear it wasn’t going to be listening to a word she said, let alone care what she had to say.

This brief and short conversation with Rochelle was Gemi’s way of dragging a vampire out into the sunlight and killng it. 

” You know what Rochelle? I think that someone is making Zombies at that new Funeral Home up the street…mindless Zombies that do the same thing over and over again until they fall apart. I’m hoping that I never run into the person that asked for this to be done. I’d rather stab myself in my own ear with a pencil then to be anywhere near a person like that.

 That’s what I think.”

Rochelle didn’t look up at Gemi just like Gemi new she wouldn’t and Rochelle continued to fill in numbers and mark pages that needed to have the date hand written into one box and  her initials written into another and then she started all over again on another form and then Rochelle slid something across her desk towards Gemi and Gemi saw what it was.

It was a pencil.

And then from her ink and paper filled hell Rochelle said said to Gemi

” Mrs Grayford did this for me. ” 

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

This is the very story that made me decide to become a Writer.

I was about 10 when I heard it for the first time.

It was years later that I actually saw the film.

It was fitting then, that the first time I saw it on TV was on the Twilight Zone.

What follows next, before the video posted here, is the Closing Narration from the Twilight Zone, but really, it was the Opening Narration for me.

a.m.m.

An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge—in two forms, as it was dreamed, and as it was lived and died. This is the stuff of fantasy, the thread of imagination…the ingredients of the Twilight Zone

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge – part 1

 

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge – part 2

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge – part 3

 

 

 

The Elevator Ghost

A few days ago someone sent this to me-

it’s one of those Urban Legend stories about a ghost

that shows up on a security camera.

It made me think because

I have an elevator ghost story.

We have an old freight elevator at work

and the repair men who run the inspections- and its always a different inspection team from year to year- tell the same story about a building just two streets over from where I work.

This is a story ( it’s just a story I’m sure ) about a woman who was murdered on a service elevator that wasn’t used very often (she was moving boxes from her apartment to the basement ) over a holiday weekend and her corpse rode that elevator for three days.

Her remains were discovered after the long weekend was over when someone in the building complained about the service elevator running up and down all night long without stopping.

Nobody could get the elevator to stop and apparently the people in the building had a hard time finding a service crew to come in because of the holiday weekend.

So everyone had to listen to those gears and that motor humming and hissing and running up and down on that last night.

 Finally the repair crew made it in and when they finally got the elevator  stopped they were able to open the doors there she was.

Her neck was broken and her eyes and mouth had been sewn shut.

That was done, I learned before her neck had been snapped.

The elevator always had problems after that and no matter what they did they couldn’t fix it, so eventually the elevator was taken out and the shaft was turned into a staircase.

And sometimes, the people in the building say you can hear clicks and hums all night long coming from the stairwell.

So this story may just be an Urban Legend, like this video.

But the fact is as a writer I know that stories, all stories, were inspired by something or somebody

that was alive and real

That is,

until one day….

Nan’s Picture

I should have been writing last night.

Instead I spent a lot of time staring at a picture that  I have hanging on  on my wall.

It’s a print of some fruit (grapes, bananas, plums) in a fancy fruit bowl, but when you look carefully at  you can see that the bowl is actually a hand and the stem under it is an arm.

It’s a subtle drawing with soft lines and it’s full of colors and shadows and all of it works together to hide that macabre message  ( as I think of it )

in plain sight.

Less then subtle in the foreground, where it’s not hiding at all, is something that looks like rose peals scattered on the beige colored linen table cloth below the bowl.

My Great Grandmother- we never called her Granny Or Grandma or Gran- she wasn’t into having her age addressed – we called her Nan- bought that print back in the 1920’s and nobody knows where it came from- it just showed up above her sideboard one day- so the story goes.

Over the years it seemed some of us realized what that was a picture of but no one ever pointed it out- it was sort of like a test- if you saw what was in the picture and told someone who already knew, you were in the club.

That’s what it felt like anyway.

Nan passed away when I was about 6 years old and when I moved out of my Mom’ and Dad’s just before I turned 19 my Mom gave me my Great Grandmother’s sideboard and the picture above it.

I thought it made my new place perfect- and when I invited my friends over I set my house warming buffet on top of it and watched to see who would notice or see what was in the picture.

It was about an hour into the party when I was standing next to the buffet talking to my cousin when I heard someone laugh and then yell, ” Hey Anita…think fast “…

and then this soccer ball buzzed right by my ear and smashed right into my Great Grandmother’s print.

The frame splintered and the glass cut the 60 plus year old print to ribbons and in less then a minute there wasn’t  enough left of the picture to hang on the wall.

I looked across the room to my friend

and

the first words out of my mouth were “What have you done? “

He cleaned up the remains of the picture and I watched him take the ruined frame and print out to the trash.

But instead of walking all the way down the path to the parking lot where the dumpster was I saw him walk to the flower beds and bury it- and when he came back upstairs he told me, ” that was one weird picture you know. “

He said some more- only I wasn’t  listening because I was thinking to myself the entire time he was talking  to me, ” It’s a good thing Nan is dead- because she’d kill you for that.”

My friend died a week later, he ran his car into the back of a parked truck- he was going over 80 miles an hour when he hit it. 

It happned just down the hill from my Parent’s house.

” He was racing another car ” one of the Police Officers told my Mom. ” One of the witnesses thinks the other driver was a woman. “

What my Mom said will stay with me forever.

She said, ” I wouldn’t count on that.”

So how is it I was looking at that picture last night ?

Was it the same one from my childhood?

Of course it was.

Ten years ago we bought this house from my Mom and Dad and after they moved out she asked my husband to go up into the attic and pull down some furniture that she had room in her new place for after all.

He was up there for just a few minutes when I heard him call down to me, ” Hey, this would look great above your sideboard “

I remember walking to the trapdoor and reaching up and he handed me down the print and I took it, without looking at it and hung it above the sideboard…

where it is right now.

And to this day some people notice it for what it is and other people never do.

Just like this story.