Vampire Soul

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

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

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

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

Property of V. S. Films LLC

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

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

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

Property of V. S. Films LLC

All kidding aside-

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

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

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

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

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

Property of V. S. Films LLC

:::Vampire Soul Links:::

Vampire Soul Website

HERE

Vampire Soul On Facebook

HERE

TEAM VAMPIRE SOUL

HERE

::: Very Cool Update:::

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

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?).

The Return Of The Georgetown Morgue and Jake

UPDATE

FOR HALLOWEEN

2010

If you live in Washington State you have the choice of visiting a great  Haunted House hosted by a local radio Station and  in addition to that choice  ( you lucky Devils ) you can also opt to go on  Ghost Tour and learn about Seattle’s real life haunted past.

Its back and brought to you by KUBE radio.

Its

the

” The Legendary Georgetown Morgue.”

Visit the site

HERE

The KUBE 93 Haunted House is going to scare you senseless this year at the creepy, insanely authentic location at the former Georgetown Morgue south of downtown Seattle.

 

 

 

HalloweentTree

And if you want to add to your Halloween Fun then consider taking

The Haunted Seattle Tour

I happen to love a good story and I love the ones with that taste of reality in it. Unlike the Haunted Houses, which are fun and you should do at least one in your life time, tours like the one Jake will take you on will leave  the ‘what if’ door in your mind’s eye wide open.

And do you know what walks into doors that are left wide open?

Anything that wants too.

For me that’s scary

(from the website)

death01

                                Jake, a local ghost enthusiast, takes you on a van tour visiting haunts like:

The Elegant Hotel
The Mortuary
The Market
Gambling Den
Poor Farm
The Voice
The Castle
Old Burial Ground
The Basketball Player
Haunted Theater
Notorious Rooming House

Seattle Ghost Tour Link HERE 

 

Jake Your Seattle Ghost Tour Guide

Jake Your Seattle Ghost Tour Guide

 So there you are.

From Me To You,

 Halloween Treats to savor.

May I suggest enjoying them to the

very

last….

 

blood01

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?

 

October 1st, 2008

It’s October first and in case you forgot…Halloween is coming!

So here are some links to Haunted Places…a few jokes, and if you like the clip art click the pictures and you’ll go directly to the sites, more info on other Halloween Clip Art sites at the bottom of this post

Enjoy!

a.m.

Find Real Haunted Houses

In the U.S. HERE

Find Haunted Houses In the U.K

HERE

Haunted Australia

 HERE

Haunted Places In New Zealand

HERE

Okay.

It’s Joke Time.

I got these from the kids in my family…

I happen to love them.

The jokes I mean

Not the kids.

Oh come on, I’m just kidding.

What did Dr. Frankenstein get when he put a goldfish brain in the body of his dog?
I don’t know, but it is great at chasing submarines.

 

Why wasn’t there any food left after the monster party?’
Cos everyone was a goblin

Why did the vampire’s lunch give him heartburn?
It was a stake sandwich.

Dracula decided he need a dog, which breed did he choose?
A blood hound.

What would you call the ghost of a door-to-door salesman?
A dead ringer.

What do skeletons always order at a restaurant?
Spare ribs!

Who was the most famous French skeleton?
Napoleon bone-apart

Who won the skeleton beauty contest?
No body

If you like the clip art, just click the picture and you’ll go to the site where I found them, they’re from all over the Net, so have fun!

But if you’d like to see where I found most of the links go to this PAGE and HERE

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.

Intermission

 

Back in the early 70’s I used to watch Cliff Hangers before I left for school in the morning.

I used to watch Flash Gordon

and a few others, but Flash was my favorite.

So.

In the spirit of those Cliff Hangers I invite you to visit Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge and

follow the adventures of

Milo and Jingle Hungerford.

There are no Spaceships or people in capes… or exotic looking women who rule the universe

but that can change.

Stay Tuned for More

a.m.

A long time ago a young man named Milo Hungerford asked a woman named Jingle to marry him at the Rainbow Beach Drive-In during intermission.

Jingle  said yes just as an army of little popcorn boxes went dancing across the screen  and a soft drink cup wearing a top hat stood on a box of Honey Bits  and invited you to visit all of his friends at the snack bar soon.

” I want to be with you forever. ” Milo told Jingle with tears in his eyes.

Then Milo took Jingle’s hand and put a ring on her finger that he had made for her himself.

Jingle held the ring up to the light from the movie screen and then she held it to her cheek and then  Jingle took Milo’s chin in her hand lifted it up and she said- as she sank her teeth into his neck-

” I am so glad to hear you say  that Milo. “

The Beginning

by a.m. moscoso

 

The Dansing Tree

tree_200.jpg

Sometimes on  my way to Whopperville ( that’s what I say when I’m working on a story…I’m heading out to Whopperville ) I’ve run across some true stories that haunt me-  they give me nightmares or creep me out for days.

At the moment I’m working on a story about a Hanging Tree and in my research I found out that the slang name for these trees were ” Dancing Trees “

I’ll let that visual sort of sink in there.

At first blush some of my friends with more refined literary tastes thought I was making a poetic gesture when I floated the first draft for this story out to them.

You can stop laughing now.

The image that came to my mind about Dancing Trees came to me one night and woke me from a dead sleep.

And there was nothing poetic about it.

I saw a group of people sitting under a large shady tree on a hot day  having a picnic. They were dressed in their best summer clothes and as they laughed softly and admired the beauty around them I knew they are blissfully ignorant to the fact that

…many years ago someone danced…

for their lives

right above t their heads

And when I looked up I could see…

they still were.

 

I found this article at BBC

It’s about a Hang Man’s Tree

That’s located in…

  Kings Mills, Wrexham Wales

Let The Danse Begin…

tree_200.jpg

Hang Man’s tree

Last updated: 31 December 2007

Bernie Griffiths shares her experiences and spooky encounters at a local beauty spot known as ‘Biniki’ at Kings Mills, Wrexham, and the Hang Man’s tree.

 There is a mill by the river but to get to the really spooky part you have to walk under a bridge. It belongs to the National Trust. Anyway, by the bridge in Biniki there is a tree where events have occurred for centuries.

We normally go there during the summer months and sit on the side by what is called Hang Man’s tree for obvious reasons. There has always been a presence there and I can sense paranormal activity quite easily. That’s why everyone comes with me.

This one night though it got very scary indeed, so much so I told everybody to get up and make for the road. My niece, myself and my husband got across the bridge in time but as we turned to scream for the others they had been blocked off with what can only be described as a distorted shape of mist. It was just floating there and when they moved, it moved.

We screamed for them to run but it followed. They ran through the river but it didn’t cross. As we ran nearly a mile to get out of there it was on the other side of the river along side of us every inch of the way back to the mill where it stayed in the woods. Quite an experience.

I spoke to someone many weeks after that and I asked them when they were younger did they ever experience anything there. They described the same shape even though I had not mentioned it. We have been back there and it has happened a few more times at the same time around about 2.25am.

We have only ever managed to stay there once through the night. This is only one area that has activity. Coming back from there another night we couldn’t stay because it was getting a bit uneasy there. We started to walk back though and got out safe and sound.

However as we passed through the gates on the opposite side of the old mill me and my brother saw a man walking straight at us, we moved apart so he could pass between us. We said ‘hello’ to him but he ignored us.

Anyway we turned to make sure my husband was OK because he was straggling behind. As we turned the man just walked straight through him. I looked at my brother and he looked at me. My husband was oblivious to it all and said he saw no-one there. All I can say is there are many discssions about Biniki but you have to be there at the right time and the spirits seem to love being there when I am. 

King’s Mill Wrexham, Wales

LINK

LINK

News From A Distant Bridge

Iowa county board gives initial OK for ghost hunters to investigate asylum built in 1855

Iowa county board gives initial OK for ghost hunters to investigate asylum built in 1855

By Associated Press

 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – County officials have given their informal OK for ghost hunters to check out a one-time insane asylum to see if any spirits are lurking about.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors took the initial action on the request from the Johnson County Historical Society, which gives tours of the 153-year-old building.

Brandon Cochran, museum operations assistant for the historical society, said there have never been reports of ghosts or bizarre happenings at the building and that bringing in a paranormal team is “kind of taking the pre-emptive approach.

He wants an Iowa-based paranormal investigative team to come in for one night. Cochran said he hopes they don’t find any paranormal activity and the investigation can put to rest any speculation.

A four-person Carroll Area Paranormal Team will use thermal imaging equipment and voice recording systems, Cochran said.

A date for an investigation wasn’t set and an agreement will have to be drafted releasing the county of any liability before the supervisors formally approve the request, Cochran said.

The remaining wing was built in 1855 and housed mentally ill patients who were deemed insane. It was a self-sufficient 160-acre site with residents growing corn, potatoes, wheat, hay and tobacco.

The building is now called Chatham Oaks, and houses people with physical and mental disabilities. Chatham Oaks officials said there wouldn’t be a problem with the paranormal team coming in as long as it didn’t disturb residents, said county facilities director Dave Kempf.

The Ghost Lady

vie3schooldjpettitt1.jpg

My favorite part of Christmas wasn’t the presents or the food or even the free Sideshow that my family and friends provided that I in turn have shamelessy used in my writing years later

My family and friends are in ALL of my stories.

Anyway.

The best part was when we’d turn off most of the house lights, light some candles sit around the lit Christmas Tree and do the only thing you could do after a hard day of eating and drinking and making Merry.

We’d tell stories.

Everyone had a chance to tell a story- no matter how old or young – you got a chance to have the floor and tell stories like that one about that time when….

My Grandfather Saw The Ghost Lady

One of my Grandfathers was a dark haired Englishman and the other was a dark haired Filipino man and they both shared a similar experience.

They both saw the same woman at the same time- and they were living on opposite sides of the world.

So, in your minds eye picture my English Grandfather driving his 1940 Ford Coupe- his dark hair slicked back and wearing a snazzy suit- down the unlit rural streets of a town just outside of Seattle.

It’s a cold night because it’s Christmas Eve and it had started to snow a little that afternoon and the roads were icy and dangerous but that was fine with the dashing handsome man with my laugh that would one day become my Grandfather because he’s a good driver and he has no intention of not showing up at his family’s house in time for Christmas Dinner.

And somewhere in the Canefields on the big Island of  Hawaii my other Grandfather- a dark handsome man with jet black hair and my eyes- is driving  something called a Willy’s Jeep- through the dark fields towards his home along the bluff of the Waipio Valley where his family is waiting for him to bring home the treats for their Christmas Party.

And as they almost reach their homes they each see standing on the side of the road- a woman.

Her hair is white and her eyes are green .

She’s wearing a black dress and her hair is pulled back and she’s wearing rings on all of her fingers.

Each of them pulls up to the side of the road and asks the woman if she needs help.

” No” she tells them. ” I just need a ride.”

” To where ” they ask.

 She leans in and whispers, ” Why, I want to go to wherever it is you’re going.”

Both of them don’t like her- they don’t like the way her hand rests on the hoods of their car, they don’t like the way she sounds, they don’t like the way she seems very sure she’s going to get what she wants.

” You can’t come with me. ” they tell her.

The Woman slams her palm down and the Car and the Jeep tilt a little to the left and she says, ” I go where I want- do you hear me? And what I want is for you to let me in!”

Both of my Grandfathers start to pull away and that’s when they look down and see that the hem of the woman’s dress is floating a little above the ground- where her feet should be.

But weren’t.

When they looked backup into her face she was smiling.

” I travel these roads but I don’t walk them.”

Did she tell you how she traveled them? I asked over 30 years later.

Neither man answered me.

Their story always ended with them driving off and the Ghost Lady being pulled back into the trees at the side of the road or the canfields by the shadows.

I think she did answer and in the end when they died I think they won- whatever that Ghost Lady said, whatever curse or threat she made- got left on those roads years ago.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if they had let her in, would I be here to tell you this story?

I could answer it if you like…or you could leave it here on the side of the road.

The choice is yours.

Happy Holidays

from

amm

WNJ BRAIN FOOD

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

 

NOW HERE’S A TASTE….READ THIS BOOK…IN THE DARK…I DARE YOU

amm

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

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

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

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

The Scariest Thing

“Anita, you write stories about ghosts and the living dead…you worked in a funeral home so tell me…what’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen? “

To be honest, I’ve seen lots of strange things but I’ve never seen anything that ever scared me. So I’ll laugh, joke and blow the question off.

Ask me the right question though and you’ll get a different answer- you’ll get THE answer

and here it is:

To let you know right off- I’ve never SEEN anything that frightened me but once I felt something that did.

I was working alone in a basement and for once I had the radio off and it was quiet, just still and calm. It was a nice feeling, sort of a ‘sitting by the lake at sunset’ feeling.

I was reaching for something up high on a shelf when I felt something tug at the bottom of my plaid work shirt- I always wear oversized plaid shirts when I’m down there because the dust is so bad it wrecks my clothes. I thought I’d caught my shirttail on something so I reached back and pulled it down.

Then I walked to the next shelf and just as I reached up I felt that tug again and I stood there with my arm halfway up in the air when I felt the same tug- up higher this time- under my shoulder blade.

 I knew I wasn’t alone.

And I knew if I turned around there would be nobody standing there.

Now, when I’m in trouble, or stressed out I give myself these pep talks and it’s always my Grandfather’s voice I hear.Only this time it was my Great Grandmother I heard- and let me tell you she was ‘snap your spine if you made her angry’ type of a woman.

 Comfort was not a word that springs to mind when I think of Nan.

” Don’t you dare turn around ” I was hearing, ” You keep those eyes forward and don’t turn around.”

Then I felt something tug at the end of my braid and I bit my lips really hard and tried to not yell. But I didn’t turn around and as I walked away from the shelf I didn’t look back.

If you can imagine it- worse then that tug on my shirt was that feeling that something was just behind me. Whatever it was wouldn’t go away and it followed me up the basement stairs.

When I got to the top steps and crossed over the threshold I turned around and pulled the door closed. And then I opened it again reached in and snapped the light off.

 This time I kicked the door shut.

That’s it; those five minutes are the one thing that scared me. You can make what you like of those minutes- after all I still wonder about them myself.

I’d advise you to not consider them when you’re alone though, I don’t.

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A Midnight Dreary

 

I not only write ghost stories

I’ve lived some.

enjoy 

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About 10 years ago my husband and our three kids moved back to Mountlake Terrace. When we moved to Terrace we moved into a brand new Apartment Complex, I think there had been less then a half dozen renters in the place.

So it was new and spiffy and energy efficient.

About two weeks after we moved in I was in my bathroom brushing my teeth before bed.

It had been raining and thundering all evening, so when I started to see flashes of lighting it wasn’t exactly a surprise.

Anyway, I was looking into my bathroom mirror- I saw myself, I saw my bedroom window over my shoulder and then I saw blinding white light in the mirror and then my teeth slammed together and there was this deafening roar and all I could think was, ” I’m in trouble. ”

I wasn’t in trouble- but the tree outside my bedroom window was.

 The next day we found out it had been hit by lightning and you could see the scorch mark down one side and two of its limbs were blasted off and another was left dangling.

The kids played and tugged at the damaged tree limb until it came off. I remember them dragging it around for a while and the maintenance man broke it up and threw it away.

It was shortly after that  when the ghosts came.

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My youngest son is a social animal.

At the age of  7 and after only a few weeks of living in our new place he knew everyone. By that I mean he knew names and who lived where and what they did and their pets names and millions of other little details.

Don’t ask me how he did it.

Then he changed.

It was a gradual change-  my son started to sleep a lot during the day,  he started getting dark circles under his eyes and when he started hiding his favorite toys around the living room I thought that maybe the move had affected him after all.

One day I was pulling his collection of Ninja Turtles from out of my bookcase (he had hidden them behind the books) when he went walking by with his skateboard under his arm and said he wanted to take a nap.

It was about 2:00 in the afternoon and enough was enough.

I asked why he was so tired and he said, ” this little boy comes into my room at night and plays with my toys and he’s keeping me awake.”

” Is that why you’re hiding your toys? ”

” Yeah. ”

 Is it working? ” I said trying to play along.

My son shrugged and went into his room and took his nap.

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It was a little while after the toys in the bookshelf incident when my Sister came over for a visit.

My kids had insisted on a pet hamster because not only did their Mom have a cat she had pet rats and the boys decided pets shouldn’t be something only Moms got to have.

They named  their new pet Scooter.

My Sister and I were alone in the apartment- the kids, my husband and her husband were all out buying pizza.

We were in the kid’s room playing with Scooter.

We put him into one of those little balls hamsters  can run around in and I remember my cat was sitting in the doorway and I was going to push the ball with the hamster in it towards him.

My cat had been raised with my rats and he had this thing were he wouldn’t go for rats or hamsters and my Sister didn’t believe it.

So we both look up to where Wolfgang had been sitting when this little boy ran right passed the bedroom door and down the hall towards my bedroom.

” Who’s that? ” my Sister asked.

” Probably a neighbor kid. They walk in all the time. ”

I went to get the kid when my cat sort of slinked around the corner and he looked up at me and growled.

I don’t mean that cat growl- it was big and deep and his ears flattened against his head.

I went to push him out of the way with my foot and he reached forward and grabbed my ankle with his teeth. Then he started to  jerk backwards with these little snaps to his neck and the entire time he’s doing this he’s looking up at me and growling.

Then he sort of turned without letting go and tried to pull me back into my kid’s room.

My sister was yelling, I was screaming  because my cat was holding onto my ankle and the blood was starting to run and no matter what we did or how loud we yelled he wouldn’t let go.

Then his ears went back up; he let go of  my ankle and he walked out into the living room.

” There’s no one in the apartment except us…is there? ” my Sister asked.

I remember I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know.

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I’ll leave you with this final ghost story-

Out of a dead sleep I woke up at exactly 1:45 in the morning and standing beside my bed was my Grandfather.

I was really glad to see him- it had been about 14 years since he had died. He’d missed my Wedding and my High school Graduation and a million other great things.

Now I was going to get the chance to tell him all about it and I remember trying to wake up more so that I could get my husband to wake up and meet my Grandpa.

I was surprised- but not that my Grandfather was there but that he looked so young.

He looked like he did in his late 30’s- I’d only seen pictures of him in those days and I wasn’t sure why he looked like that and not like the man I’d known.

But that was okay- all that mattered was that he was here now.

This went on for a week- I’d wake up at the same time and there he was standing by me looking happy and relaxed and pleased to see me.

At the end of the week my Grandfather’s sister passed away.

I was heartbroken- she was a great lady and she use to tell this great story about performing in a childrens choir ‘back in the day’ for Prisoners in an honest to goodness Prison.

They were singing for genuine convicted killers and robbers.

I use to ask a million questions about what it was like inside of a Prison and she was happy to tell me.

Plus she could whistle through her teeth.

She had a great life if you ask me.

Anyway, I never asked what time she died- I was sure I already knew.

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So there are my stories- are they true?

Did they really happen?

Did they?

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Did You See That?

Just doing my part to spread the Halloween fun…

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

enjoy

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

 visit

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at

The Hungry Ghost

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

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

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

down your spine just as the lights go off…

read Max’s Ghost Story

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

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

FOUR MORE DAYS! FOUR MORE DAYS!

NOW GO FORTH AND HALLOWEEN….

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Nothing But The Night

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It was only five doors down to her own house; a three minute walk on a well lit street on a quiet cold night last October.

But that didn’t matter because Damiana Dergmuse knew she was in trouble the minute that door shut behind her and she heard the tumblers in the lock grind together. 

With that sound that half block turned into miles and she was going to have to walk it all alone.

” There’s nothing to be afraid of, ” she told herself out loud. ” There’s nothing out here now that isn’t out here when the lights are on. “

Then she took a deep breath and it froze in her chest and she was about to run back into the house she had just come out of because that rah-rah speech she had just given herself wasn’t going to work.

In fact she was about to have a nervous breakdown right there on the street and how would that look?

It was settled she was turning back.

Before she turned around she told herself one more time…she could do this.

It was only five doors down and she’d be there in seconds, minutes if she could just put one foot in front of the other and move.

Then each of those steps would add up until she would be through her own front door and she would find herself in the safety of her own room and the cinnamon smell that always filled her house during the winter months.

Wouldn’t that be better then sitting in front of a neighbor’s fireplace, in a neighbor’s chair, petting a neighbor’s cat in a neighbor’s house?

Of course it would be better to be in her own home so Damiana started to walk and as she passed the first house she heard a thump, thump and then a drag and a hiss and she realized that was the sound of her own heart stopping and starting in her own chest.

” Stupid woman ” she told herself.

She put her hand to her heart and felt to make sure that it was still beating and when she felt it pound against her hand she started to walk again.

And almost hidden under the sounds of her own foot steps and rapid breathing she heard something sliding across the pavement behind her.

What she heard was a dragging sound, metal against concrete and as much as she wanted to stop and turn around to find out what could be making such an awful sound she couldn’t because now she was three doors down from her own home and in the horizon she could see a thin line of orange in the skyline.

Damiana was sure of one thing, that’s not the last thing she wanted to see on this Earth, so she walked a little faster and as she did the sky filled with crows, hundreds of them and they were flying east.

The sun was coming up, and the thin line in the horizon got a little wider and Damiana could hardly breath and behind her the dragging sound got a little louder and a little heavier and she was determined that sound wouldn’t be the last thing she would hear in this life so she picked up her feet and ran.

The scraping sound got louder and she heard a whoosh and she flew up her stairs and to her door and she pushed it open and without turning around slammed it behind herself.

It was morning and the sun was coming through the windows and outside she could hear birds singing and with that sound ringing in her ears she ran faster up the stairs to the top floor of her house.

” Made it!” she cried with relief, ” I’ve made it!”

Then she laid down on her bed and she said as slammed the coffin lid shut over her head, ” There’s nothing out there to be afraid of…not now anyway.”

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Welcome To Bocksbohne

written for the Soul Food Cafe

Halloween of 2006

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Have you ever been on a road trip, and ended up driving down those dirt roads that lead into the dead empty towns with boarded up fast food places with names like “ Chicken Basket “ or “ Hank’s Hamburger Haven “ and have you noticed  there’s always a gas station with those funny tin signs advertising a brand of cigarettes or beer that no one’s seen on a shelf in over 50 years?

No doubt on these trips you’ve seen the houses too, the odd gray houses sitting up off the road.

You’ve probably even seen curtains hanging in the windows and you weren’t  sure but you think you may have seen someone looking back out at you as you drove by.  Maybe you’ve even seen one of those old time drug stores with the Soda Fountain in the back but you know, you wouldn’t stop there on a bet to check it out because you’ll tell yourself you don’t have the time…you’ve got somewhere to get to.

There, you’ll reassure yourself that sounds good. But that little voice, it’s  the real reason you don’t stop because it’s screaming at you, “ don’t you dare stop! Hey are you listening to me? I don’t care if you run out of gas! You will not stop in this town because if you do you’re going to have to get out and push. Don’t you even think about stopping here, is that clear?”

Then when you hit the other end of “ Main Street” (which will only take about three minutes) and you’re back on that long empty dirt road that some joker of a map maker called “ interstate 101 or Highway 19” you’ll have forgotten you were afraid. 

After a few more minutes that empty little town that scared you half to death will be long behind you and it’ll be like you were never there at all. 

That’s what the town of Bocksbohne is like; once you leave it you’ll never be sure you were really there.

One summer Audley Frame was driving to Seattle and somewhere along Amorita Pass high in the Olympic Mountains she passed through a town called Turnsole (clearly marked on her map) and after a few miles she was on a dirt highway that lead straight into Bocksbohne.

That’s what the white sign with the peeling black letters read. Welcome to Bocksbohne 

It wasn’t suppose to be there according to the map, it had no reason to be there out in the middle of nowhere but it was there all the same and before she knew it Audley Frame was speeding passed a drive in theatre with a rusted swing set and a fallen over carousel under a weather-beaten movie screen. Across the street from the drive in was Chieko’s Drugstore and further up from that was little brick building with a sign in its window.

She slammed on her brakes and was snapped back in her seat by her seatbelt and she hardly noticed the pain because all she saw was the sign. It was a simple sign, the background was flat black and the letters were neon orange and the sign simply said: 

Help Wanted. 

The window was caked with dust and grime and right there in the center of the window screaming in brand new orange neon letters was the word: 

HELP. 

Not HELP WANTED

Now it just said  HELP.

Audley’ s foot came off the brake and she let her car roll forward and she turned to watch the window as her car tried to pull itself away from building.

Now the sign read   “ HELP WANTED INQUIRE WITHIN “.

The letters were blood red and the ink was so fresh it had smudged a little on the filthy glass window.

“ Red Ink” she heard herself say, “ it’s red ink.”

Then her foot found the gas pedal and Audley’ s car roared passed buildings and houses with broken windows and doors that were falling off of their hinges. She ignored the rusty children’s toys abandoned on the sidewalks and she hit a few curbs and before she knew it she was out the other end of Bocksbohne and when she looked into her rearview mirror she saw her dark brown hair had turned white. 

She put her hand to the mirror and turned it down, she had no intentions of using it until Bocksbohne was behind her. 

Far behind her.

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The True Story of Hanley Parsons

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after several inquires about a short story published by the Soul Food Cafe  our staff writers have provided this follow up article and requested it be printed here:

 

In A.M Moscoso’s Soul Food Cafe short story  ” Under the Steps ” an elderly woman named  Mrs. Hanley Parsons is portrayed as a retired Executioner living out her final days on a quiet suburban street in Greenlake, Washington- shunned by her family and friendless except for her young neighbor.

The story is supposed to be a fictionalized account of their Moscoso’s and Parson’s real life friendship. In her story  Moscoso credits Parsons with influencing her as a writer. For those who know Anita it’s widely assumed Parsons also influenced her decsion to become a Funeral Director as well.

In our research the Soul Food Cafe found three documents  bearing the name of a Mrs. Hanley Parsons who lived in Greenlake, Washington. 

One is a newspaper story published in 1983 about the ” Pioneer Families of Snohomish County ” that  shows that Hanley (formally Gravesend) Parsons was born on November 5th, 1864 and that she died on her birth date 1964.  Another is a Wedding Certificate dated from 1904 and the third was a title for propery located in the town of Fallen, Washington.

The former  Miss Hanley Gravesend, came from a family carpenters by trade. They sidelined as Coffin Makers and supplied most of the funeral homes in this area. To those familiar with the Snohomish County area you probably know that Gravesend Fine Home Furnishings is considered in the larger King and Snohomish County areas to be one of the ‘upscale’ stores of it’s kind.

However the Gravesends of present day Snohomish County are very insistent that no connections exist between them and the present day  Parsons.

Pressed Mr Barrow Gravesend said, ” Well, I’ll tell you, I ‘ve never met Anita but for the most part she knew some things about Hanley that she couldn’t have known- like those cookies that Hanley made and the ‘cat basket’ as she called it. Now that just made my blood run cold to see that turn up again. Oh and you’d never have know it, but Hanley was a gifted teacher. In fact that’s what she was younger days for a short period and several of her students went on to be doctors and scientists and the like.”

And what really became of the real life Mrs. Hanley Parsons?

” The truth of it is, no one knows.  Some people say it her heart gave out one morning when she was working in her garden and that her family buried her in her yard. Some people who made it through that fire in Union Landing would swear she died out on the Marina and there’s even this Doctor who says went senile and died in a nursing home that he worked at in Edmonds.

…and other people say, the ones who have been to the Executions in this state that have taken place since Hanley retired, that you should take a good look at the Executioners eyes.

They say you’ll see long dark lashes- just like the kind a woman would have.”

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Fatal Lane

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In the town of Bury, Washington there is a street named Fatal Lane.

The Planning Department in Bury changed it’s name to the less obvious name of 51st Ave West because there were always accidents or underage drinking or people in gray and black robes drawing pentagrams and runes on the trees and then someone did something to Mrs. Machin’s cat Darwin that snapped  Bury’s last nerve.

Darwin came home one Halloween with a pentagram shaved onto the top of his head and Mrs. Machin took Darwin, her shotgun and about a dozen angry pet lovers to the next City Council meeting and she spoke for about 15 minutes on those ” Looney Tunes ” from Seattle coming out to Bury to look for ghosts.

At that point she launched into a long and colorful speech about the lack of mental health care in our health care system and how that would be responsible for ending the world, as we know it.

Then Adeen launched into a speech about going Green.

It’s not like the Council could stop her from talking because she’d called ahead and had herself put on the agenda. And nobody in Bury was going to try and pull that gun out of her hands because it was loaded.

As a matter of fact it was always loaded

Everyone in Bury knew you could end up with a backside full of shot for no other reason then Adeen was trigger happy and she had a very bad temper. Even a few ‘ Looney Tunes’ from Seattle learned that fact the hardway.

To placate Mrs. Machin, because at one point instead of waving Darwin around she waved the gun around and blew a hole in the ceiling a motion to recommend the street of Fatal Lane be renamed 51st Ave West was made and passed by the City Council.

” And what purpose will that serve? ” Mrs. Machin asked with gun firmly in hand.

” Well Adeen, it’s not likely that those Ghost Hunter TV shows are going to want to waste air time talking about 51st Ave West and it’s high traffic fatality rate are they?” asked one Councilman.

One of the Councilwomen said from under the table, ” they’ll end up sounding like a traffic report on the five o’clock news Adeen. It’s that darned name that makes it sound Supernatural. Fatal Lane. Who was the Mental Defective that gave it that name anyway?”

” It was your Grandfather Marisol. And get up off the floor would you?” the Mayor said as he rubbed his forehead.

” Look Adeen, we’ll Fatal  turn it into a one way one lane street. Nobody will be able to park out there and you know how ticket happy…. I mean diligent our Officers are about traffic enforcement. It’s a start, all right? ”

Adeen Machin stared up at the hole in the ceiling and then she spit some plaster out of her mouth. ” Fine, but if Darwin or anyone else’s pet gets abused again 51st Ave goes back to being Fatal Lane…. do we have an agreement?”

Somebody from in back of the room made a motion to Adeen’s proposal.

And it passed.

51st Ave W turned up on Maps and Fatal Lane disappeared and then stories new stories about a lost road in the town of Bury that spirits used to travel to the next world turned up.

That same year Darwin came home, two days before Halloween with a goat’s head drawn onto his side with White Out.

On Halloween Mrs. Machin and her friends went out to Fatal Lane and waited for ” those loonies ” to show up.

Mrs. Machin was the first to step out onto the road and when the robed figures saw the all five foot nothing of Mrs. Machin they tried, to their credit, not to laugh.

Only when the five foot nothing Mrs. Machin held Darwin up they did laugh and the rest of Mrs. Machin’s friends came from the shadows the laughter…. died.

” So tell me, educate me please ” Adeen said in a low roar ” why you lot insist on coming up here and tormenting us for every damned Halloween.”

” This road is a path to the next world, it’s cursed, and that’s why people disappear from here- never to be seen again.”

Adeen practically choked ” Are you out of your minds?” This road doesn’t go into the next world; this road leads straight to the back door of Fallen Prison. That’s why they call it Fatal Lane you numbskulls. This is the road the Prison uses to transport the condemned on.”

 No it’s not, ” said a young woman who forgot to speak through clenched teeth thus returning her voice to its naturally shrill state. ” Fallen is shut down, there aren’t any executions going on out there.”

Adeen raised her shotgun to her shoulder. ” Guess again…okay people let’s go.”

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In Defense of Insanity

from the continuing adventures of

Insanity Jones

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When my Grandmother would write Insanity Jones, her cat, would sit on her shoulder and ” Inspire Her “.

Most of us hated it when she said told that story to the press because Insanity only inspired one thing in our family and that was loathing.

When he walked through a room the lights would flicker the air would turn cold and if  Insanity  looked up at you your first reaction would be to cry.

To be honest, it’s hard to love something that holds you in such low regard. I’m talking about our Grandmother, not the cat.

Or whatever it was.

As I started to tell you our Grandmother was a famous writer in her day and presently if you’ve ever been a student of literature you’ve probably stood in line somewhere buying a copy of ” Cliff’s Notes ” to one of her books.

In case you’re not familiar with them, my Grandmother’s books looked simple they sounded simple but they were far from being considered light reading.

Over the years there was lots of speculation about what inspired her to create her characters and what they really meant and of course she was famous for her ‘unique perspective’ about human nature and relationships.

People took this discussion very seriously.

There are College Classes dedicated to studying the works of Estrella Derrick. I’ve even heard that there are Estrella Derrick Societies and all they do is sit around and talk about the ‘true meaning’ of Grandmother’s stories and they even talk about how her life played a role in her writing.

I wonder then how these diligent students would feel if they were to find out that the reason for ‘unique perspective on human nature and relationships’ was coming from a cat.

It would explain a lot.

But it’s true- every book, every play every lecture ever written by Estrella Derrick- were all authored by a cat. When I started to put that idea to the rest of the family they said I was crazier then Insanity, but I was right all along.

I’ll prove it to you.

Our Grandmother threw Halloween Parties twice a year- one for the holiday itself and the other for her birthday which was actually in December.

Coming in from the outside you’d be impressed- Grandmother was an avid collector of skeletal remains- human skeletal remains and she even had two mummies- one from Egypt and the other from South America.

So along with the bones she had body parts in jars and lots of candles and lots of photographs of people all over her house.

Those photographs weren’t of us (of course). They were all dead people in coffins so I guess that looking back on it now it’s a relief that we weren’t in any of those pictures.

So anyway, Grandmother’s house was dark and moody and on the surface you’d think she went all out to welcome her guests.

In reality, all she really did was to bring in a cleaning staff to dust and polish and she brought  caterers in to do the food and  the serving because domestic things had never been Grandmother’s ‘thing’. I mean her house always looked like Halloween anyway so it wasn’t a lot of work on her part.

But it certainly was on everybody else’s.

Just last Halloween it became pretty obvious that Grandmother and Insanity Jones were getting along in years. They both slept a lot and they both seemed too quiet and when they walked that Pirate Swagger they both had was gone.

I figured this conversation had to happen now because time was obviously working against us. So that evening I waited for Grandmother to go into her study and when I heard her chair slide up to her desk I went in without knocking.

She was reaching down for Insanity and she carefully put him up on her shoulder. When she saw me standing there and realized I had seen her lift Insanity up they both looked like the cat that had eaten the Canary.

Or the Eagle as it was in their case- neither one of those two ever did anything small.

” He’s the writer here, isn’t he? ”

” Excuse me? ” my Grandmother snapped- and I do mean snapped I could hear her teeth click together and no- she did not where false ones.

” Don’t be an idiot, he can’t write, for Pete’s sake Akela he can’t even read.”

” So that line about him being your inspiration…”

” That is true. Insanity if very inspiring, or haven’t you noticed that yet?”

“So he didn’t tell you what to write.”

” He most certainly did not…the idea”

I guess I should have known better, my Grandmother who loved herself way more then anybody else ever did simply because she thought no one else could do that as well as she could was not exactly a candidate for the role of being a Ghost Writer.

” So a cat didn’t write your books…” I said as my face turned hot.

Suddenly I could see how foolish I must have looked to everyone I’d been talking to. On top of that my dear Grandmother would probably find a way to work my idea into one of her stories and now the rest of the world would know how crazy I was.

I figured on my way home tonight I’d take that Bridge, the badly lit one home and the next day they’d find me…

My Grandmother turned around in her chair and looked up at me with the perpetual smile that she always seemed to have on her face, even when she was angry. Then she turned around and went back to her writing and she said with that smile in her voice:

” I never said that Akela.”

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RSVP

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Valaria Aberdeen’s house stands alone on Brier Road and it stands alone because no one will go near it.

There were other houses up there too, but they’re gone now and all that’s left of them are their foundations. In some lots you might window frames and screens stacked in sloppy piles and here and there are wooden chairs and mailboxes.

And then there’s Valaria’s House.

There is no furniture in Valaria ‘s House but there is a mirror at the end of a hall where the doors rusted off of their hinges years and years ago.

The mirrors face is so clear that you might think you were looking out of an open window, in fact if your were standing in front of it right now I’ll bet you’d even put your hand out and touch the glass just to make sure that it wasn’t an open window.

The funny thing is-that’s exactly what the mirror is.

That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

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Every Halloween the Aberdeen Family hosted a Halloween Party.

Everyone wore costumes, everyone bobbed for apples, everyone somehow ended up in the attic to tell ghost stories and then everyone would stumble down Brier Road to their houses by moonlight leaving a trail of candy wrappers behind them.

Valaria Aberdeen loved to host her parties and at the last one she wasn’t her usual energetic self. She didn’t even dress up in one of her elaborate rental costumes-she wasn’t a lady pirate or a lady vampire or a sorceress or a belly dancer.

That year, she wore a black dress and a set of acrylic ‘fangs’ on her teeth and painted her nails black. She had smeared pale blue makeup on her face and penciled dark circles under her eyes.

She just shrugged when Mitchell asked about her costume and said to her husband who was dressed as a mummy  ” I’m just not really into it this year, so I guess I’m just going to be a boring witch” then she slammed her felt witch’s hat onto her head with the little ghosts sewn around the brim and then she stomped down the hallway to the kitchen.

Mitchell tried to cheer Valaria up; he helped her finish the decorating and he told her little jokes and reminded her of the fun from their past parties and then the door bell rang. 

As the guests started to arrive Valaria seemed to blend into the background and she would hardly talk to anyone. It wasn’t easy to avoid over 50 people in a room but Valaria found a way to do it and that’s exactly what she did for hours.

Sometime during the evening  Mitchell looked up and saw Valaria fussing at the table with the food and punch. She looked up and saw him and waved and then she went out to the kitchen.

At about Midnight she came bouncing out of the kitchen with a little wicker basket full of cookies shaped like pumpkins and cats and she was handing them out and laughing…not that thin laugh she had been using all evening but a heart felt laugh and when she saw him she held her basket up and said,” guess what Mitchell I’m into it after all…I’m feeling like my old self again”

” That’s great dear! ” he called out to her over his cup of hot cider.

Valaria winked at him and kept handing out her cookies.She joined him a few minutes later and he put his hand out and asked for one of her cookies.

Valaria looked stunned and hurt. ” Why would I give you one of those Mitchell? “

Mitchell said to her, ” Because you love me…”

Valaria rolled her eyes so far up all he could see were the whites of her eyes. God, he really hated it when she did that. ” It’s because I love you that you don’t get one Mitchell.”

From over Valaria ‘s left shoulder Mitchell could see Missy Jenson from next door start to do a weird little dance and then she started to spin around and around and as she did he could that she was crying and that her tears were red.

In a few seconds everyone in the room were  ‘dancing’ and they were shrieking and tearing at their throats. ” What have you done Valaria? ” Mitchell screamed, ” What in God’s name have you done?”

Mitchell watched his wife dance around the room and as she swung her empty basket from side to side he could hear her say,  ” Guess what I am? Guess what I am? Guess what I am?”

He chased her down the hall and when he caught up to her she was looking into the mirror her Grandmother had given them as a wedding present.

It was a large ceiling to floor mirror encased in a heavy silver frame and until that moment Mitchell never wondered  how  they had ever gotten that thing through their door.

Valaria was wiping  her face and when she turned around he could see she had taken off most of the thick blue makeup and the black eyeliner pencil from around her eyes.

Now her face  was dark, dark red and her lips were  black and then she pulled the hat off of her head with a flourish and he saw…

he saw Valaria Aberdeen.

Her pointed forked tongue snaked out from between her lips and she was feathering the hair away from the horns that she now had on her forehead.

” I told you I was feeling like my old self again.  Happy Halloween Mitchell” she said with a wink and then she turned and stepped into the mirror.

After that night people started to  move away from Brier Road.

Within days  the houses the next block over were abandoned and then the houses on the block over from that were abandoned  next and after awhile no one lived in that little town at all.

But if you’re feeling brave you can actually go up to Valaria Aberdeen’s House and you can walk in and go down the hall and look into that mirror…and if you stare into it and say, ” I know what you are Valaria Aberdeen…” three times…

She’ll give you a cookie 

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Grave Thoughts

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Cebu Alacantara buries people for a living.

He digs the graves and puts in the liners, he lowers the coffins into the ground  and then he covers the graves and he does it quietly, quickly before the next family shows up for services and of course before the sunsets.

It’s at sunset that Leaning Birches Funeral Home and Cemetery closes for the day and opens for the rest of the night and the Staff goes home and Cebu, who is always the last one out,  locks everything up.

Cebu has been at the Cemetery for over 30 years now, and it was on his first day back in November that he and a Mortician were outside the gates waiting for their rides home.

Kousso Eyebright was new to the funeral home too and Cebu liked her right away. He had heard from the other three Morticians that Kousso was good with the families, handy with a needle and on her first case had rebuilt a dead woman’s face with a sculpture’s hand and a surgeon’s skill.

To be honest, that didn’t mean a thing to Cebu but he also heard that Kousso knew some wicked jokes and he was hoping to hear a few of them for himself.

Instead Kousso asked, just like you’d ask for the time of day or in the same tone of voice you’d use to order a hamburger and fries, ” So Cebu, tell me, what’s the best part of your job?”

” I dig graves Kousso, I don’t think there’s a good part to that. ”

” Oh sure there is, you just haven’t figured it out yet. I mean, none of us come to a place like this without being invited you know.”

” And your point is? ”

” Well, if you were invited and you showed up there must have been something that called to you…some little signal that you tossed out that said ‘ hey, I could really enjoy burying dead people for a living. I could show up in the heat and the cold and shovel dirt all day long’. And that’s to say nothing of the fact I’m the last person with the corpse before it’s planted.”

” Now, I had to embalm a guy today that I could swear had brown eyes, but when I put the eyecaps on they were green. Now that was creepy enough, no way would I wanted want to be with him…alone outside here when he goes into the ground.”

” Kousso? ”

” Yes? ”

” You’re weird, do you know that? ”

Kousso shrugged and said,” as a matter of fact I do.”

Then Cebu thought about it a little more and he asked Kousso, ” So you think we’re called to do this work, is that right?”

” You bet I do.”

” Who do you think is making the call Kousso?”

Kousso didn’t answer; she was looking across the street.

There was a lot there and in the middle of it was an empty building that over the years housed a hardware store, a pharmacy and until a few months before had been a flower shop.

The Cemetery Grounds Keepers had taken to going over there to cut the grass and keep the place looking halfway decent because they didn’t want an eyesore in their otherwise nice and quiet neighborhood.

But today there was someone out in front of the building.

A cat.

It was a small black cat that reminded them both of an owl.

The cat’s head was large and round and it’s body was plump and compact and it’s eyes were a deep dark orange.

And it was looking right at them.

” You don’t come to a place like this, you don’t just show up. I mean think about it. No one comes to a place like this without being called in…do they?”

” None of us ” Cebu agreed.

The little round cat uncurled it’s tail and stood up and stretched and then it started to walk towards them.

It crossed the street in the slow easy stride all cats have and when it got to where Cebu and Kousso were standing it sat back down in front of them, curled it’s tail back around it’s body and looked up at them expectantly.

Kousso, the woman born to be a Mortician said down to the cat, ” We close at sunset.”

The cat looked up at her and blinked and Cebu who knew this was no joke stayed quiet…but only because he was afraid of what he might do if he opened his mouth.

The Cat could have easily gone under the fence but it didn’t. It looked up at Kousso and twitched it’s whiskers at her.

Kousso reached into her purse and took out her keys, She unlocked the gate and pushed it opened and the cat walked through.

” Take your time, I’ll wait. ” Kousso said in her Funeral Directors voice.

” We both will. ” Cebu said.

And they did.

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Employee Of The Year

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Binnie Cardea worked  for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman.

Well, that’s not exactly true, she lived for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman, she existed  for Bannatyne and Hayman, she would have been nothing and I mean nada but another little fish in the big overcrowded fish pond of life where all the little fishes looked the same if it hadn’t been for Bannatyne and Hayman.

Each weekday morning Binnie Cardea’ s alarm clock would go off at 5:00 and she really did jump out of bed –just like the people in the commercials that advertise how grand life is if you buy the right mattress to sleep on.

Then she  would snap her alarm clock off with a happy tap and sing as she started her shower.

She would hum as she washed her hair and she even whistled as she dressed.

Then she  would collect her work tools from the sideboard in her hallway and…I kid you not – she would practically skip to her car.

One day Binnie got to work at 6:30am sharp, her tool kit clenched in her happy relaxed hand when she saw everyone, and that included the office staff, the salespeople and even the clean up crews standing around the workshop.

They were standing around with worried lines creasing their foreheads, no one was smiling or making for the box of doughnuts on the ‘treat bench’ that held their coffee machine and cups and the little ice color underneath where they kept their juices and pops and bottled water.

“ What’s up? “ Binnie asked with a song in her heart and a smile on her face to no one in particular.

“ The Morana’s are opening a plant up in Edgewater.” She heard a voice say from across the workshop and her heart really did freeze up in her chest- right along with the smile on her face.

“ Oh,” Binnie said and everyone turned to face her “ oh is that what they think they’re going to do?”

That’s what the Morana’s did…a company like the Morana’s did to small companies like B&H what the locusts do to crops and the cold virus does to anything with a respiratory system.

They invaded, they ate they destroyed and there was nothing you could do to stop them.

Here in the States, there’s really only one very big, very successful company like Morana and their line of products was impressive and their delivery system was unsurpassed which counted for a lot when your product line were coffins.

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Binnie went through her workday on that somber Tuesday without as much as a smile or cheery hello to anyone. Her dark cloudy expression was frightening, especially when she started to talk about those darn Morana’s and their “ production line o’ death” and she waved around her sharp little carpenter’s tools to emphasize her points.

Then sometime after lunch she had an idea, a brilliant one, an inspired one and when she punched the clock at the end of her shift she was whistling again and no one asked her what was with sudden change of heart.

It seemed like a good idea not to.

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The thing about Morana was that they were one of those 24 hour plants, someone was always going on or off shift and they were always in a hurry to go and very, very slow to arrive.

It only took a few days for Binnie to figure out what needed to be done, who was who and how to complete the task at hand.

After all , she hadn’t been made Employee Of The Year, Winner of the ” Coffin Design of the Year ”  Award as well as Employee Of The Month AND  Carpenter Of The Year because no one else competed.

Binnie Cardea was a company woman and a team player extraordinaire.

But she was also very, very self-motivated.

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One month after Morana opened it’s doors something happened that had never happened in the 50 years they’d been in business. They got backlogged.

Boy, did that cost them.

Do you know what happens when a funeral can’t happen on time because the Coffin didn’t show up? You don’t want to know because it involves the court systems and lawyers and judges and that my dear reader is to horrifying for me to go into.

It started out as a mystery and it stayed a mystery, Morana’s workforce clocked in and their co-workers would swear up and down they’d see them at their workstations. They just never clocked out.

It made for some morbid new stories: factory workers disappear into think air at Coffin making company.

It didn’t take long before “ The Production Line O’ Death Company” folded in Edgewater and that black eye forced them down all over the Country.

After all who would want to work for a company that ate its employees alive?

No one ever figured out what happened.

But of course someone knew exactly what happened and how.

SOMEONE always does.

In this case long after this someone had retired  she owned exactly half of B&H…but Binnie’s story doesn’t end there.

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Almost a week after she passed away at the ripe old age of 92 a construction company worker found all those people from the Edgewater plant in the basement of a little brick building not even two streets away from the big empty ultra modern building once owned by the Morana Corporation.

The Angerona Building has this stone elephant on its roof and it was built in 1899. It was used as a print shop, a restaurant, a gym and even a as a Church.

Then a family called Cardea bought it back in the 1970’s and rented it out for warehouse space.

But really what was interesting about the Angerona Building…what was interesting about all of the buildings on that block as a matter of fact were the series of tunnels that ran under the streets that once upon a time bootleggers used to move their inventory.

They could move from the train tracks and docks without ever once stepping foot above ground. The air wasn’t great, but it was dry and quiet and naturally sound proof.

Now, the ‘bootleggers doors’ weren’t really doors. Just holes in the walls that the bootleggers punched out themselves with sledge hammers to make their travels and deliveries more efficient.

There were bootleggers doors everywhere down along the waterfront in Edgewater, including five that were covered not by concrete but by plywood and plaster when the building that they led into was torn down. The name of the building is gone forever but the building that was built over its foundation is interesting…it’s called the Morana Building.

But this story ends at 333 3rd Ave West in the Angerona Building.

In its basements are 50…count them 5-0 wooden boxes lining an unlit tunnel that goes nowhere. Each one is nailed shut and each one holds an awful secret and each one bares the mark

PROUDLY HANDCRAFTED BY BANNATYNE AND HAYMAN           

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Devilbit Lake

 

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Alphabet Writing Prompt:

 “B is for the Blade of Grass”

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Baneberry Troublefield use to live out on Down Turn Road back when Down Turn was the only road going though Feverfew County. Now days you know that Feverfew is this historical place and people come from all over the world to see Devilbit Lake because it happens to be the deepest lake that exists anywhere in the world.

Devilbit Lake is bottomless and cold and shines green no matter what color the sky above it and it shines brighter by moonlight.

I’ve heard that Scientists think it’s some weird kind of algae that makes the Lake glow like that, but as much as I respect science I’d have to say in this case it’s a bunch of hooey and they WISH it was algae. If it were true then that would mean that Baneberry Troublefield was wrong and that would restore order to anybody’s universe after hearing Baneberry tell his story.

Baneberry was about 10 when his family moved out to Feverfew, his Father was a Doctor and his Mom was a nurse and they both worked at the Feverfew Sanatorium. They treated patients with these incurable diseases like TB and Leprosy back up there in the hills because that little town wasn’t even on the map and no one seemed to be in a hurry to tell the rest of the world it was there.

Feverfew Sanatorium wasn’t a bad place you know. It was just sad and lonely and packed from the basement to the attic where the Chapel was with people who never expected to leave its walls alive and most of them didn’t.

The Patients at Feverfew spent their days in beds or in little rooms with dark hardwood floors and windows that were never opened. But all of those windows looked out on the Lake because it was suppose to help remind the patients that the world was still out there.

Most of them asked, after a while for the curtains to be drawn because they didn’t want to see the Lake anymore. One of them told Baneberry’s Mom “ Nurse Troublefield, it’s that Lake. It feels like it’s watching me. And that awful man who sits on that rock…” they’d shudder and say, “Please shut the curtains”

After awhile Nurse Troublefield hardly ever opened them anymore.

No one asked why.

One day when the ward was empty and being made ready for the next group of unfortunates to be brought up (by train in those days) she found herself idly staring out the window when she noticed the lake was perfectly still. There wasn’t a wave or a ripple or as much as a cat’s paw making it’s way across the bright green water. She reached up for the cord to pull the curtain closed and the perfectly still green lake…

Waited.

That was it, Devilbit Lake was waiting Nurse Troublefield decided, to see who would move first. Only the lake was a body of water so how could it be waiting? She knew it was true, the Lake was waiting, who would move first?

The air around her got warmer and she could feel the sweat start to run down the back of her neck, she could feel it under her arms and her mouth was dry, dry and dusty. She wanted to itch her nose in the worst way but she refused to move and just as she was about to turn away the lake shifted just a little and she reached up and pulled the cord so hard the rod came down on her head.
After that day it was War.
 

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Nurse Troublefield made it her business to chart the Lake just like she would one of her Patients. She saw Nurse Martinez who was standing with her back to the window and talking to one of the Patients look over her shoulder several times in just a few minutes before she walked away from the window.

She watched Dr Grayford staring out the window for the longest time and when he turned around his pupils were so large that his eyes almost looked black and his skin was pale.

“ I thought I saw a man down there, sitting on the rock” Dr Grayford said “ but he wasn’t really there. I mean, “ he looked back out the window and back at Nurse Troublefield and then he walked out of the ward.

Dr Grayford rode the Corpse Train that night to the next town of Sherry and never came back to work again. Nurse Troublefield heard later that he left medicine all together and took over his family’s dairy farm.

It didn’t take long for Nurse Troublefield to fill almost 400 pages in her logbook with notes concerning the affect the Lake had on the staff and the patients at Feverfew. She spent all day going over them and then she decided it was time a closer examination.

Nurse Troublefield went down to the Lake itself and stood as close as she dared to it’s edge. The water was dark green at the edges and the further out towards the center it was lighter.

It was very quiet and pretty and she started to feel silly. After all, she’d let herself get worked up over water. It’s not like it had teeth or claws or could rob you at gunpoint. It was just still, quiet water.

That’s when she saw the man at the edge of the Lake for the first time. He was sunning himself on a rock and fishing. His hat was pulled down over his forehead and she thought he was whistling but then she realized the sound she was hearing wasn’t coming from him…it was coming from the Lake.

It hummed and echoed in on itself and the thick green water turned slowly in the center and the little spirals reached out and then were pulled back down again.

The man noticed Nurse Troublefield and stared back at her and sat there as still and as unreadable as the Lake.

Nurse Valaria Troublefield was use to that look, that emptiness, it was a death’s mask and it didn’t throw her off balance for a second. “It’s a lovely day to fish, isn’t it? “ She said.

The man said nothing in reply but he didn’t look away either.

“ You’re not here to catch fish though, are you?”

The man lifted his head and she could see his burned peeling lips and the dust and grime around his cheeks and mouth. He smiled and turned back towards the water.

“ My Patients at the Sanatorium up on the hill, they think the Lake is watching them, that it wants them. Some of the staff has seen things that have made them run away from their jobs and homes without a second thought.”

“ I think those are the smart ones. They’re the ones who got away. Aren’t they?”

The pole fell not with a splash into the water but with a small hollow click, and as the man stood up his movements were more spider like then human.

He turned to the Nurse and said to her, “ Come on in, the Water’s fine.”

Then he walked off the rock and was pulled down into the water and Nurse Troublefield thought of Quicksand as the water closed over the man’s head.

There wasn’t as much as a bubble, a ripple or a sound from the Lake but if it could have the Nurse was sure it would have been laughing. Worse yet, she really believed him…she really believed the water was fine and she almost followed him in.

Almost.

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As the days and weeks wore on it wasn’t just the people at the Sanatorium that began to notice the Lake. Stories about the Fisherman started and he began to not only show up at the Lake’s edge he started to show up on the Feverfew Loop Highway.

People would stop to ask the old man if he needed help and he would lean into the car and tell them, “ Come on in, the Water’s fine. “ and then he would straighten up and somewhere on the car would be a watery handprint that would be visible for days no matter what you did to wipe it away.

The rest of the people he talked too just disappeared and all they ever found of them were their cars or bikes or shoes somewhere near the lake.

So the question most people ask Baneberry Troublefield is, who is the Old Man and what is his connection to the Lake? Did he die there? Is he a ghost?

Baneberry has his own theory and I’ll take his word for it.

“ That old man, he’s a Bimini Twist” He’ll tell you.

“ A what?” You’ll ask.

That’s a non-slip double line fisherman have to use when they go for game like big billfish. Anyway that’s what he is. He’s an honest to goodness Bimini Twist; I don’t think he’s the bait. That’s what the Lake is. That Lake, it gets your attention. But the old man…he’s what brings you in.”

“ So who’s out there fishing Baneberry?” you’ll probably laugh.

Baneberry will laugh back at you and say, “ Why don’t you go out and see for yourself, I’ve heard the Water is Fine.”

That will stop you from laughing and trust me, it will stop you from pulling your car to the side of the road to offer help to little old men with fishing poles in their hands.

I hope.

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Under The Steps

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you can find inspiration in the strangest places 

When I was a kid our next door neighbor was a nice old lady named Mrs. Hanley Parsons.

She lived all alone in a house full of old fashioned furniture that looked brand new and she always wore black dresses and around her neck she worse a string of pearls and her wristwatch didn’t have numbers on it.

In fact none of the clocks in Mrs. Hanley Parson’s House had numbers on them.

Once I asked Mrs. Parsons about her faceless clocks and she said, ” Time and I had a parting of ways years ago, but I like clocks, I like the sounds they make. Do you understand what I mean?”

I nodded and said ” No.”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and she offered me a plate of cookies (almond) and I took one. ” I make them myself. In the old days I used to do a lot of baking and cooking. I stopped though.”

” Why’d you stop? ”

” Oh, I fell into a career. And in those days women didn’t have jobs outside the home let alone careers. So I lost my husband and my children and even my family. With no one to make a home for, my domestic skills…” she seemed to be looking for the right word on the ceiling ” suffered.”

” Just because you got a job? ” I asked in disbelief.

” A career ” Mrs.Parsons told me. ” A job is something you do for a living. A career is something you become.”

” Did you like what you used to do? ”

” Very much so.”

” Do you miss it? ” I asked.

Mrs. Parsons nodded and said, ” It gave me purpose.”

I liked Mrs. Parsons, she taught me how to read when I was only five years old and by the time I started Kindergarten I was reading at the first grade level. By the first grade I was reading two years up.

All because of Mrs. Parsons.

Mrs. Parsons also taught me how start pumpkin plants in Dixie cups and how to prune Roses.

But no matter what we were doing, or how well I learned her lessons she would always get a little sad when she talked about the old days and her career.

When I was about 8 years old my parents told me we were moving away from Seattle and I went next door to tell Mrs. Parsons.

” Well, ” she said, ” that’s very sad news. I’m going to miss you. You’re very good company.”

” Mrs. Parsons ” I asked, ” do you think you could teach me your career? That way I could remember you always.”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and she said, ” I’ll make you a deal, I’ll teach you part of my job and you decide in the end if it’s something you like doing.”

So Mrs. Parsons told me to go down to her basement and look under the steps and to bring up the little wicker basket. I carried the basket upstairs to the kitchen where Mrs. Parsons was dusting her fresh baked almond cookies with powdered sugar.

I put the basket on the table and she reached in and slowly removed the contents and sat them on the table in front of us. ” So, where to start.” she said to herself.

 I looked up at her and shrugged and said. ” At once upon a time?”

Mrs. Parsons laughed and that’s how it started.

I learned about Mrs. Parsons career every day for about a week, and then one day I went to Mrs. Parson’s house and a man answered the door.

He was Mrs. Parson’s son and he told me she had died.

Just as I was about to turn away he reached down and handed me the little wicker basket and said, ” I suppose this is yours.”

I nodded and kept my hands behind my back.

Mrs. Parson’s Son looked a little nervous and he sat the basket down and slid it towards me with his foot and when he stepped back I reached down and picked it up.

I didn’t say thank you and looking back on it, I don’t think he expected me too.

So now at the age of 42, I still have that wicker basket (my cat uses it for a bed) and on the top shelf of my book case pushed against the wall is a fully functional hangman’s noose.

It’s all that left of Mrs. Parson’s career.

Unless you count this story of course.

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Burnstone

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One of my favorite places to visit here in Washington State is the Tymbal Cemetery and Funeral Home in the city of Burnstone.

Tymbal is a pauper’s cemetery from the old days so it’s not great shakes. No fancy monuments, no fancy gates but there are trees and they’re covered with ivy which is nice because the trees have been dead for years and they don’t put leaves out anymore.
 
The sad thing is everyone forgot the Cemetery was there and for awhile the City of Burnstone Streets Department used Tymbal as a storage place for their work trucks and they used the Funeral home as office space until someone realized all those garbage trucks and lawn mowers and a bunch of other maintenance tools were leaking oil all over unmarked graves.
 
So before you could say ‘ desecration ‘ the City decided to build a new maintenance facility for the Street Works Department and without as much as a backwards glance they left the graveyard to choke on weeds and nettles and blackberry bushes.
 
Looking back, it was sort of odd the way the weeds came back so fast.
 
Anyway.
 
About a month after the big move a young woman named Tamus Bloodroot slammed her car into one of the dead trees near the cemetery entrance and she never left.
 
They found her car, they found the door open and they found a large pool of blood about three feet away from the crash sight.
 
But they never found Tamus.

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The day after they found her car stories about an injured woman, who was identified as Tamus, asking for help at the side of the road started up. Some people said they actually stopped for her and picked her up and talked to her and she always said the same thing, “ can you help me now. “When they turned to reassure her that’s what they’re doing she’d be gone.
 
You can imagine Tamus Bloodroot’s family was pretty upset that they’re daughter had become an urban legend and people were suppose to be talking to her ghost.

” I doubt ” her Father had screamed into the face of a reporter doing Halloween stories for the evening news one year, ” that if my daughter could come back from the grave she’d spend all of her time asking drunken teenagers for rides to the hospital.”

That was true, in life Tamus wasn’t the sort of person who asked for anything, she’d tell you exactly what she wanted and if you didn’t come across…heaven help you. The girl had a temper and the holes in her bedroom walls and her trail of broken relationships were solid proof of that.

Life went on after that… even Tamus Bloodroot went on, people never stopped seeing her and they all knew she was out there asking for help.

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Bryony Middleton and his family live out on Cemetery Road. He’s lived out there his entire life and he knows that stretch of road so well he could drive it with his eyes closed.

That’s something he did almost every Saturday night after and evening on the town with his friends. He’s sort of famous around here for that, you might not know Bryony’s name or anything about him but you’ve heard of the ‘ guy who drives passed the cemetery in his sleep on Saturdays’.
 
Anyway it was one of his 10 or was it 12 kids that said to him after finding him and his truck at the end of their driveway one morning ” if you’re going to drive when you’re sleeping Daddy, at least wear your seat belt.”
 
Not to be mean, and Bryony loved his 10-12 children a lot even if he forgot their names and didn’t know exactly how many of them there were, but on more then one occasion Bryony was heard to say, ” Geeze, my kids, you know they’re okay as far as rug rats go but they sure aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, if you get my meaning.”
 
But this time Bryony’s kids were right and on that winter evening out on Tymbal Cemetery Road his kids were the sharpest tools to be found in any shed anywhere on the planet.
 
The roads were iced over when Bryony left the ” Corner Tavern ” only he didn’t notice. I mean he was sliding and tripping a lot…but you know he’d chalked that up to the liquid refreshments he’d indulged in for the past four hours.
 
So Bryony got into his truck and tried to buckle himself in, but he couldn’t make the lock work so he put the belt on and tied it closed and then he took a roll of duct tape and somehow managed to tape himself to his seat.

I’m not kidding I wish I were. Like I said, Bryony loved his kids and he’d do any for them even if they only had a handful of brain cells between them.
 
Then he turned the key in the ignition (he always left it in because it was pretty hard for him to fit that key into that little hole after a long evening out) and he took a sloppy left and turned out onto the unlit road, marked as Old Burnstone Highway but known unofficially as Cemetery Road by the locals.
 
He was halfway home and nearly asleep when he came to Tymbal Cemetery and saw the Funeral Home with the tape on it’s cracked windows.  Bryony mistook it for his house and in a panic he jerked the steering wheel and sent his truck into the ditch that surrounded the cemetery.
 
Like I said, Tymbal’s is a Pauper’s Graveyard and there are no frills about it. The people out there were forgotten in life and they were forgotten in death too.

So the residents of Tymbal’s have numbers, not names and they have pine boxes made at the Prison in Fallen not fancy caskets with brass handles. And there is no fence surrounding the cemetery just a ditch cut into a “V” shape and it’s lined with jagged sharp rocks that were once the face of an old Mansion that burned to the ground about 100 years ago.
 
The Old Mansion was wasn’t a good place and it’s owners were sort of an embarrassment to the City so after the fire Burnstone hauled off a mountain of debris and they decided to put it to good use.

Anything they could salvage went into the construction of The Tymbal Funeral Home and Cemetery.
 
The ” fence” is what Bryony hit that night. His truck went into the ditch head on and then it flipped and rolled and finally stopped almost in the middle of the graveyard.
 
Taped and tied to his seat Bryony was bruised and beaten and good thing he was sitting upright because if he’d been in any other position he’d probably have choked on his own vomit, of which he apparently lost a lot of that night.
 
When he was done he considered his options.
 
He could cut himself loose but more then likely he’d end up stabbing himself to death because at the moment one of his eyes was swollen shut and the other, well you know Bryony should probably be wearing glasses but he doesn’t.

Plus the crash had done nothing to sober him up he wasn’t sure he could find the business end of the knife if he wanted to.
 
” Poor Daddy, ” he could actually see one of his many children saying to his unborn grandchildren ” he survived the worse car accident ever and he ended up stabbing himself to death trying to cut himself loose from his car seat. No, he wasn’t trapped. Somehow he taped himself to his seat. No I can’t explain it. I loved my Dad but he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed if you get my meaning.”
 
So Bryony figured all he could do was sit there and more likely then not someone would see him from the road in the morning. Resigned to a long cold smelly night he was about to try to catch some sleep when he saw the woman standing next to his car.

She was facing away from him and the way she was standing was wrong.  Her shoulders were twisted and one of her arms seemed to be hanging a little lower then the other. At first Bryony thought she was tilting her head to the side like she was listening for something, but then he realized her head wasn’t tilted it was flatter, much flatter then the other side of her head.
 
All Bryony could think to say was, ” heck of a night, ain’t it? ”
 
” Can you help me now? ” she said to no one ” can you help me now?”
 
She started to turn and Bryony knew, he just knew that the front of that woman was going to look worse then the back and he didn’t want to see that.
 
So Bryony did all he could think of to do. He turned the key, gave his battered truck some gas and there is a Heaven because it screamed (more then likely it was Bryony doing the screaming) to life and Bryony drove it blindly through the cemetery and towards the road…and the fence.
 
Only he never hit the fence, he never even made it out of the cemetery because before he hit the ditch he hit a tree and when he did the world around him exploded.
 
It was three of Bryony’s kids that found their dad and his truck the next morning. No, he wasn’t dead; Bryony is made out of tougher stuff then that. Plus, I’m sure that with his dietary habits of fried food and alcohol he’s pretty much preserved himself alive.
 
Which was good because Bryony had a story that people from all over the county wanted him to tell over and over again.
 
First of all the woman in the Graveyard, Bryony figured, wasn’t saying ” Can you help me now ” she was saying ” Can you help me down ” and he figured that out because on the night Tamus Bloodroot hit the Tymbal  ‘fence’ she wasn’t duct taped to her seat the way Bryony was so she smashed through her windshield and was thrown up and out of her car…
 
And straight up into a tree covered with Ivy.

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That’s the story of Tamus Bloodroot and that’s how it ends…with parts of her raining down onto the hood of Bryony Middleton’s truck.

The story about Old Burnstone Highway hasn’t ended. Earlier this year it earned this label as the most dangerous stretch road in the entire state of Washington.

It’s not a main highway and you can’t find it from any major roads but over 300 people have died along it this year alone. I mean, people from Arizona and Texas visitors from other countries in rental cars have met their end out there and if they don’t die in the wreck they can’t explain why they were there…at dark.

The ones that survive the road never say though that they were lost.

And they never say they won’t be going back there again.

Never.

Soliloquy At Anita’s Bridge

 

In this story are doorways to some Macabre Tales

by a Macabre

Writer.

Enoy

and

have

Happy Halloween

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Last Year

after it rained

an old retaining wall

Under Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge gave way

and 

Fir Trees and Hemlocks and Cedars

and chunks of thin white clay

slid down into onto Old Creek Road.

 

An Old Cemetery called Mourning Ridge

gave up some of it’s occupants

and the broken and ruined coffins littered the road

like confetti.

 

Mr Butcherbroom and his wife were the first to come down

to look at the damage.

 

Mrs Butherbroom looked up at the Bridge and cursed

Mr Butherbroom swore

Mrs Butherbroom asked

 the darkness

that always seems to hang around Anita’s Bridge like fog

“ Do you think it’s still here? ”

 

Mr Butherbroom took his wife’s arm and they walked

away

and

from under Anita’s Bridge

The Creek gurgled and turned

and

it sounded

like

laughter.

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The Cane Field Cats

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When I was a little girl we lived across the street from the Canefields in Honokaa, Hawaii.

Besides having the perks you get for growing up in a tropical paradise I lived in  place where I was taught to recognize and name Spirits and Ghosts, I learned how to protect myself from demons and curses and I also learned how to grow my own food, take care of trauma injuries and I leaarned how to tell a story.

Ghost Stories.

So tonight, out here on Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge I thought I’d share some stories about my childhood home- the only problem I had was where to start.

And I finally decided on

The Cane Field Cats.

Every morning my after my Grandmother would get my Aunts and Uncles set off to work and the older kids set off to school she and I would get ready for the Canfield Cats.

Every morning we would feed the cats a mixture of fresh fish and shrimp and rice.

My Grandmother would turn the mixture over and over with her hands and then she’d put the food in pie pans and I would take it out to the little place under the coconut tree my Grandfather made special for the cats.

I’d put the pans down and run back to the lowest step and my Grandmother would stand on the top step and she’d call the cats down and as they’d all walk towards us they used to look up at me and meow.

” Tell them hello” my Grandmother would say.

I would say hello and then I’d look back up at her and she said, ” Don’t let anybody touch them Anita”

That wasn’t hard- nobody wanted to touch my Cane Field Cats, they wouldn’t lean over to pet them or talk to them the way I did.

My older cousins would look grim when they saw the Cats and my Aunts and Uncles and my Mom would just look at me and they’d say, ” they’re not pets you know.”

As time went on the cats spent more and more time with me- they’d take off for the Fields at night but during the day they’d follow me around.

They would sit next to me when I was playing outside, or they’d crawl under my bed at nap time and when I’d go out on the porch to practice my singing they’d sun themselves on the steps and watch.

My cousins used to call the cats ” Anita’s Shadow “.

Here’ the funny thing about ” Anita’s Shadow “-

My dad was a shutterbug- he loved to take pictures and I was a very unwilling model ( I was about four at the time ) and the only way he could get pictures of me was to sneak up and take them when I wasn’t looking.

So you would think that in at least one of those pictures- in a corner or off to the side or under my feet or sitting next to me or near me ( because they were Always there ) would be at least one picture of those Cane Field Cats.

There are no pictures of those cats- and when I asked about it years later my Dad got that same grim look on his face that everyone had when they saw those cats around the yard and he said  ” ask your Mother ”

Thinking my Mom knew where I could find a picture I went and asked her about the Cane Field Cats and she pulled out an album, turned a page to pictures of me and she said, ” they’re there Anita…they’re in every single picture.”

” There are no cats in those pictures Mom.” I said without looking down.

” That’s the problem Anita, you’re looking for Cats.”

One of these days I’ll look at those pictures again-

Maybe.

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Violet Delaflote Was Here

another tale from Anita’s Crypt

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Violet didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world; it was what happened after it was all over that would keep Violet awake at nights.

She’d would be laying there in the dark picturing a dead and lifeless world with a small yellow sun rising in front of a blood red moon while all around her room on tables and in the windows and on their own special tables were dead and dieing plants in overpriced planters.

There were no starter plants with tiny little roots floating around in plastic fast food drinking cups in this room. Violet figured it was the least she could do for some poor plant that was bound to die once she got her hands on it.

However, what she did to plants was nothing compared to what she did to those colorful fish you kept in wine glasses with the half marbles scattered at the bottom glass.

Violet had come in from work one day and found all that was left of her fish were blue and red scales and brown goo sloshing around in the inside of the little glasses.

It was on that day she saw those little corpses floating in the cloudy water she decided it would probably be better if she avoided the live animal route all together.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know any better.

There was the puppy got when she was eight. 

Santa had brought the puppy in the basket with the red bow tied to the handle and left it by Violet’s bed.

Violet had dragged  the cold ‘sleeping puppy’ out to the living room stuck it in front of the Christmas Tree bright and early on Christmas morning and said to her parents, ” It coughed all night, I don’t think it feels well. Can we exchange it? “

There was the kitten four years later that started to bleed from it’s ears and not to soon after that the baby brother that turned from pink to dark red right in front of Violet’s eyes.

Then she grew up and moved out and started with the plants.

It was like having a bad tooth…your tongue just wants to go to it and poke around. That’s the way Violet was with plants; she just kept buying them or planting seeds and they just kept dieing on her.

And Violet kept watching.

So it’s not really a shock that she couldn’t sleep at nights.

And then it got be too much.

One evening Violet’s dieing and decomposing plants couldn’t keep her mind off of the little things that nibbled away at her mind during the day so she reached for her TV remote control and when she pushed the ‘on’ button the little black and silver box hummed in her hand and she knew the battery was dead.

She reached over and turned her bedroom light on and then she popped the back panel off of the remote.

Along with plant murder she had rotten luck with batteries too. She had guessed that if she bought batteries from someplace other than ” Dollar Bonanza” (where all the stock was a dollar or less) they might last a bit longer.

She reached into her nightstand drawer for some new batteries when she saw that the battery in the remote control had split at the seam and the acid had started to ooze out and then before it ran off the side of the battery it had hardened and turned to dust.

She dropped the remote on the floor and reached for the little ivy plant that was dieing in the planter shaped liked an elephant. She touched one of the leaves and felt it turn to power between her fingers.

Now that was a new one.

Violet reached over and turned off her lamp but she didn’t sleep.

It wasn’t soon after that she stopped sleeping all together.

So instead of sleeping Violet did a lot of thinking; she thought about her dead and dieing plants, her puppy and kitten and little brother. She thought about the way no one ever sat next to her on the bus.

Even if her seat was the last open seat and they had to stand.

She remembered the way her own Mother would wipe her hand against her hip after helping Violet brush her hair and the way her Father would hold his hands out to stop Violet from rushing into his arms the way all little kids do.

It was strange, those little gestures that people used to keep Violet away. They were the same gestures Violet saw when someone had a coughing or sneezing fit and the person standing next to them would turn their head or pull in a long deep breath and try not to exhale until they were safely away.

That’s exactly the way people acted when they got to close to Violet.

One morning Violet brushed her teeth and combed her hair and put on a bright yellow t-shirt. Yellow was her favorite color and today she wanted to do something nice for herself.

She walked down to the Lake and watched birds fall from the sky and bees drop from flowers. The trees put up more of a fight. She could hear them creak and groan and she could hear the leaves whither and then curl and crumble right on the braches.

When she got to the lake she put her hand into the water and she watched it thicken and could smell it go bad and then the fish all rose to the surface and tried to jump to land and before they were airborne for more then a second they fell dead back into the water.

Violet got up and walked to a little hill and when she got to the top she sat on a bench and she could see the route she had walked because it was a dead route now and unless you were looking you probably wouldn’t notice the narrow trail of death; but Violet did.

That was it for Violet, this was all she would ever do-she would infect anything unlucky enough to get to close to her and then it would die.

Violet looked at the trail she had walked and saw the dead trees and plants she had passed could see the trees and grass and plants further away start to turn brown and curl and she could smell them turn to dust.

Violet Delaflote was spreading.

Violet walked to the lookout spot next to the Lake she had infected (there was no other way for her to think of it) and she figured she could just walk out and keep walking until the water covered her head.

She couldn’t swim, she had never learned how…not after watching her swimming instructor drown all those years ago. ” She had some kind of Virus, ” her Dad told her ” and when she dove into the water she got sick and couldn’t breathe and she drowned.”

Violet passed the picnic table and walked into the water and she was surprised at how easy this was turning out to be…but what was the alternative?

She was a serial plant killer and she lived alone.

That was Violet’s life.

She kept walking and by the time the water was up to her chest she realized what she was doing…she spun around went under and fought her way back to shore.

When she turned around and looked back at the lake…she covered her face with her hands and screamed until her throat felt raw.

Then she ran.

She ran and ran until she came to the Shopping Mall and she collapsed on a bench outside of the food court.

People were eating and laughing and scowling and living…and when it came down to it Violet decided she wanted to live too. She wanted to eat soft pretzels and drink strawberry lemonade and she wanted to shop and be rude to salespeople…just like everybody else.

That was what Violet wanted, she covered her face with her hands and she cried for the life she would never have.

When it came right down to it Violet decided she might only be a germ that had somehow disguised itself as a short woman with okay skin and dry hair but she still wanted to live just like anyone else.

She knew though she couldn’t do that like everyone else and Violet knew that was alright.

So she took her hand away from her mouth and nose….

And she sneezed.

Whispered Tale From Under The Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

No one knows where.

But he’s out there.

He IS real.

How do I know?

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

By chance?

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

 amg

The Tacky Ticker

by anita marie moscoso

Just a little something from my Crypt

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Alstona Kamacho’s clock is an Doomsday clock- that’s what she told everyone at her office. She also told them on the first day she brought it in that if the clock stops the world will end.

So for the past 20 years everyone she works with goes out of their way to make sure  Alstona’s  Tacky Ticker doesn’t wind down. 

At first it was fun to find a way to make it first to avocado green clock with the pink feet and the silver mushroom bells sitting sideways against face so that you could be the one turn the little silver key  and save the entire world

Then it got to be serious.

When Alstona’ s six co-workers heard the little gears slowing down and just before second hand made this pop sound when it skipped past the glow in the dark five they’d already be pushing and shoving, tripping towards Alstona’s desk.

One year Barnell Bloss fractured right arm when he tried- and failed to clear Fales Digby’s desk to get to Alstona’ s Armageddon clock.

Of course he didn’t clear Fales’ desk because Fales was sitting at it and when Barnell raced by it was more the Fales could stand.

He’d reached up and slammed Barnell down and Fales had been the one to save the world that day.

In any other office on the face of the Earth that stunt would probably have ended in some sort of legal action.

But Lonsdale and Mead’s wasn’t  like anyplace on the face of the Earth- there wasn’t anyplace else on the face of the Earth that had an Armageddon clock sitting on an employee’s desk.

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Delia Wing was a Courier from All City Express, she had won the Lonsdale and Mead stop in a lunch time card game at All City.

 But that was nothing new- drivers at All City had been known to pay each other cold hard cash just for one trip because everyone in the city of Mayweed knew the L & M staff were a bunch of whack jobs.

What can you say? Nothing broke up the day like getting the chance to see a bunch of desk jockeys beat the snot out of each other to get to this cheap and nasty windup clock first. 

As you’ve probably guessed by now Mayweed was short on entertainment venues.

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Delia’ first trip into L & M was on a Friday and there they were- all seven of them sitting at their desks, working on the phones and doing data entry and the entire time they all had at least one eye on the Receptionist’s Desk.

At least that one eye looked alive and alert because the faces they were housed in were pale and all of the worker’s hands were twitching and shaking.

Delia decided right then and there she didn’t want to go back to L & M- all of those people looked like they already had one foot in the grave and she was afraid whatever they had might be something you could catch.

But first Delia had a job to do.

She went over to the receptionist’s desk where the clock was sitting and cleared her throat, ” Package for you. “

Alstona looked up and reached for small box a in Delia’s hand.

” So that’s the clock. ” Delia said.

” That’s the clock. “

” So, if you’re sitting there how come they….” Delia pointed to the rows of desks behind Alstona ” race to wind it up?  Why don’t you do it yourself?”

Someone said from the back of the office, ” because she doesn’t care anymore…she wants the world to end.”

From a little closer to where Delia and Alstona were another voice said, ” she’s nuts “

And everyone agreed.

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Delia never actually saw the L & M people racing to the clock but on some days she thought they looked more nervous and pale then on other days and she figured that must have been at about the time the clock was probably starting to wind down.

Then one day, even though she had nothing to drop off and no one had called in a pickup Delia went into the Office.

” Nothing to pick up? ” she asked Alstona.

” No. ” the Receptionist said.

Delia didn’t want to leave and she didn’t want to be there but for several nights Delia would wake up to the sound of ticking and she’d have to bite down hard on her lip to keep from screaming out loud.

So she decided to get this over with.

” It’s a joke…right? ” Delia asked.

” It certainly is ” a woman who sat directly behind Alstona said. She had heavy dark circles under her eyes and her blouse was inside out. ” It’s the funniest joke anyone could have ever come up with and I’m sick to death of it.”

Then a man said, ” I say we let it go…we just let go.”

Alstona turned around and she said, ” didn’t I say it would come to this?”

The six staffers nodded and Alstona looked up at Delia and nodded, ” it’s a joke and I’m going to end it. “

Then Alstona reached over picked up the clock and smashed it against her desk over and over until her hands were cut and bleeding and the clock was mashed flat.

” It’s over, right? ” Delia asked. ” The joke is over. “

Alstona said quiet as a Cemetery at Midnight, ” it certainly is.”

Outside a dark cloud crossed in front of the Sun then the ground shook just a little…

And that was

The End

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Below The Bridge

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What would bring you out to Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge so late at night?

How strange, you sat in your car and waited for the the sunset.

You waited for hours.

Which makes me wonder

What did you come looking for here in the darkness under Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge?

Evidence of Misdeeds? Dark Secrets? Murder? Mayhem?

The Devil?

Me?

How interesting… how puzzling…how amusing.

Under the Bridge is bad enough by daylight- in the evening it’s Hell on Earth.

Sometimes I go down there for stories and it’s days before I can sleep through the night again.

Days.

So I think I’ll wait for you in your car, where it’s dry and warm and dark.

When you get back we’ll chat.

It’ll be a scream.

amm

Lorne Perth Makes A Deal

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

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

Linder didn’t doubt that.

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

His own Soul even.

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

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

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

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

” Sunday, how’d you managed that? ”

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

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

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

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

” Oh- I’ll be honest with you…”

” Of course. ” Linder said under his breath. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” You did not.”

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

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

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

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