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.