Hidden from the safe roads and safe streets and quiet parks and green forests and the sunlight is my hometown...its called Faraway and no one comes here on purpose.
Maybe it's because everything here is covered with dust...the people, houses buildings trees and plants. I guess it could be because no one speaks loudly here, no one is awake here. Faraway is the place where nightmares live and once you've been to Faraway you can never really belong anywhere else again.
So what do we do here, Faraway from the rest of the world?
When the sunsets we like to go out to the Middle of the Desert where the Wells of Angra Lei are and we drop stones down into them and listen to them fall and fall and fall and sometimes we swear you can hear them hit the bottom...but of course that's not true.
These Wells have never held water and they are out here, away from anything alive for a reason.
The air that comes up from the Wells of Angra are so poisonous one whiff could melt your heart in your chest and your poor eyes would run like rivers down your cheeks. Nothing has ever come up from those wells except for Death...and why should that surprise you?
It has to come from somewhere...Death you see comes from Faraway.
My Mother use to visit the Wells during the daylight, she would lean over the sides and whisper things down into the Wells and sometimes she would laugh and sometimes she would curse but she did it by daylight.
She was also very, very insane.
She was you see, from Faraway and nothing here is familiar or safe. Nothing Faraway is what you think it is.
Living in Faraway will change you.
Being from Faraway will damn you.
Like it did to my Mother…and what it did to me.
And what it will do to you, if you’re not careful of Faraway.
FARAWAY AT MIDNIGHT
There is a woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping and Death visits her from Faraway at Midnight.
Death finds her in her Garden, her long dead garden tending to weeds and thorns and sticker bushes and poisonous plants and as she harvests and picks and adds each deadly plant to her basket woven from human hair Death shudders and hides in the Shadows and is grateful the Woman can’t see him.
All the same she knows Death is there and when she senses it, she reaches into her basket and lifts one of the plants to her lips and pushes it into her mouth. She chews and swallows and screeches into the darkness, “ Where are you? Why isn’t these working…someone tell me why this isn’t working! “
Death would squeeze it’s eyes shut if it had eyes, so instead it raises it’s pale cold hand to it’s empty eye sockets and covers it’s face the best it can. It’s fingers press against it’s mouth and it does this to keep from calling out, from screaming because the Woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping is a corpse and a shell and once long ago she murdered a man.
He was the Husband of a Woman who came from a place called Sawajinn, a place that Time and Death and Life avoided at all costs, because a visit there would cost the traveler everything.
The former resident of Sawajinn cursed the woman over her husband’s poisoned body and her curse was simple and horrible.
The Weeping Woman would never die; she would never meet her own Death.
Instead she was cursed to meet her victim’s Death.
His Death comes from Faraway every night at Midnight and watches her from the upper branches of a dead twisted oak tree. Of course his Death can’t take her, it only visits her and then it leaves her at each sunrise.
Before it leaves Death shows her something it carries in its left hand.
It shows her a small bottle of white powder and it holds it up and the Woman sees it. She knows what it is, the little bottle once belonged to her, after all.
She puts her hands out and calls, “ Please, please give it to me, take me with you. I can’t live like this anymore! “
Death can see her in the half light and it can see the maggots and flies tangled in her hair, crawling from the corners of her eyes. It can smell her flesh rotting on her bones and it can hear the skin on her legs and back splitting apart.
I’m not your death. But I’ll visit you, I’ll never stop visiting you.”
“ I can’t” it sighs.
And as the Sunlight works it’s way into the shadows cast by deadly sweet blossoms and fragrant green leaves dripping with deadly venom Death leaves for Faraway and the woman who is voiceless from wailing and wasted from weeping begins her wait for Death to visit at Midnight.
NIGHTFALL FROM FARAWAY
In my hometown, which is a place called Faraway, a man named Mr. Nightfall stands under a pear tree full of light green poisonous fruit and waits for the Sun to set.
Mr. Nightfall is my neighbor and our streets, like all the other streets in Faraway are lined with deadly fruit trees and deadly gardens. All these dark shady places are kept and tended by people with pale faces and empty eyes and here in our town Faraway no one is Sane and no one really lives because no one is really alive.
When Mr. Nightfall comes from Faraway sometimes he brings storms and in that wildness all you'll see, all you'll hear is Mr. Nightfall. You'll know he's coming and worst of all you won't be able to stop him.
When Mr. Nightfall crosses your path and he settles over your town you'll know he's there because your skin will start to feel to tight and you won't be able to pull air into your lungs.
Everything will seem...very Faraway.
That' when you'll know Mr. Nightfall is close enough to put out his cold, dark hand and lay it over your shoulder.
Once I followed Mr. Nightfall to a city with stores and cars and a coffee stand where the woman who served me wore a picture on her chest of a creature with stars in her hair. I asked if the creature in the picture was from the Well of Angra Lei and the Woman squeezed the cup of coffee so tight at the sound of my voice that the top popped off and the scalding hot coffee filled her eyes and mouth and she didn't cry out. Not even a little
The woman had turned to stone, her face was frozen into a mask and her eyes had rolled up into her head and I could hear her someplace deep inside screaming and screaming and screaming and she will never stop.
They never do when they are taken Faraway.
Mr. Nightfall didn' come back for me, he never turns back but he did call out to me and I followed him through the town and the entire time he cursed and spat and hissed like one of the cats that' not really a cat from back home in Faraway and he said, "They know I'm coming."
"Of course they know you're coming Mr. Nightfall, don’t they always?"
"No, not like this they haven't known me like this for centuries I don't like this Miss Praecox. No I don't like it at all."
This time the people in this little town by the sea knew Mr. Nightfall was coming. There were candles in windows and there wasn't a soul on the street. They were locked behind doors and the curtains where drawn and they knew they were very aware Nightfall was coming.
As Mr. Nightfall crossed the city I stopped here and there and looked in windows and when I could I found people and I touched them, carefully, quietly with my left hand and I told them my name and their minds stopped liked old clocks.
I could hear it loud as thunder as gears and cogs and wheels that turn their minds
ground to a halt and I could hear what they took with them to Faraway.
" Enjoying your visit Miss Praecox?"
" I always do Mr. Nightfall."
He reached out to pat me on the head and thought better of it, " Just like you're Mother, we were a team in our day to. We worked well together.
The Praecox have always done their best work with Nightfall."
" So what's happened here Mr. Nightfall, where is everyone?"
He held a newspaper up and showed it to me. I couldn't read it of course and he ran a cold dark finger under the headline and read it to me.
" Hurricane Force Winds Strike Seattle, Power Outages State Wide, locals ready for Nightfall and freezing temperatures. They were ready for me this time. Lord I hate the press"
" Killjoys" I said with feeling.
" Well, there's always tomorrow, isn't there Miss Demetia Praecox?"
I agreed because everyone knows Nightfall comes from Faraway and sometimes it brings madness with it and it always will.
a strange chapter from the strange history of Riversleigh Manor
Mr. Eramus Undercroft tends the cemetery in a place called Faraway.
He’s the Chief Gravedigger, the Lead Mortician and sometimes the Sole Mourner and Mr Undercroft smiles no matter what his duties are on any given day.
This is Mr Undercroft's Home and he always welcomes visitors.
So go ahead and take a walk down that little white gravel path that runs like an artery choked with blood through this dark place in Faraway and you will come to a chapel with no windows that sits in the back of Mr Undercroft’s Cemetery.
It's hidden among the nightshade and Wolfsbane and bright white flowers that smell faintly of smoke and no matter the time of day it's always Nightfall here.
After you've made your way this far go ahead and enter the vestibule and you might see a dark blue casket with bright silver handles sitting all alone in the center of the Windowless Chapel.
If you are feeling overly confident go inside the Chapel itself and look down into the the casket and laying there in his finest, blackest funeral wear is a tall thin man who’s pale thin hands are crossed over his narrow airless chest.
That man is Mr. Eramus Undercroft.
Let me prepare you; he will be smiling and his eyes are shut but you know he can see you all the same.
Once long ago before Mr. Eramus Undercroft came to Faraway he lived in a town called Riversleigh.
He tended the gardens at Riversleigh Manor until the day the Servants all disappeared and upon discovering “ something horrible in the Shed” the Riversleigh
Family was scared enough to leave their home in the darkness and by foot to the next town which was twenty miles away.
The only living thing they found was Mr Undercroft standing alone in his Gardener’s Shed smiling.
The headlines of the town’s newspaper declared:
" Where are the Servants of Riversleigh? "
The mysterious question has been answered by
Grisly Find in the Gardner's Shed...
“ What did you do to them Mr. Undercroft?” the Law had asked, “ What did you do to all 35 of those poor Souls?”
Mr. Undercroft opened his hand and dropped something onto the table and smiled his cadaverous smile and said, “ Why I sent them Faraway.”
On the table were teeth, 7 teeth and from then on for a very long time Riversleigh Manor was called “The House of the Seven Teeth” and no one locked the doors of Riversleigh
Because nobody would go near the house that went on living after everyone in it had died.
Eventually Mr. Undercroft went Faraway too, but before he left he stayed for a short time in a place called the Prefontaine Asylum for the Criminally Insane in a town called Ravenswood.
When the staff there disappeared and the Patients were found wandering the treacherous hillsides it was quickly noticed that all two hundred of them were all missing their left eye the people of Ravenswood decided it would be best to not go looking for Mr. Eramus Undercroft.
They hoped and hoped he was Faraway…and he was.
That was long ago and now in the shade and fog shrouded village of Faraway Mr. Eramus Undercroft drives a black hearse that is so dark it’s invisible when the sunsets and the sun always sets when it knows Mr. Undercroft is out. He digs graves and feasts on the poisonous fruits that grow in Faraway and when it rains the little droplets of water hiss against his skin.
Mr. Undercroft’s best friend is a man called Mr. Nightfall and when he’s lonely he calls on Miss Praecox and they picnic in the ruined Cemetery Mr. Undercroft calls home.
Across the street from the Cemetery is a little house painted light blue.
It looks empty and should be empty but of course it’s not.
It's the home Mr.Anthropophagite and Mr. Undercroft has admired Mr.Anthropophagite for a very long time. He just wishes that his pale friend wouldn't do his own special brand of gardening at the Cemetery.
When the Wardens of Sawajinn come to Faraway in search of Mr.Anthropophagite who lives there inside the Blue House of Shadows it’s Mr. Undercroft who sends them away with little cloth bags full of presents from Mr. Undercrofts days at Prefontaine.
Nowadays Mr. Eramus Undercroft rides out in his dark black hearse at Midnight and he looks for things to take Faraway.
When he brings them back he turns them loose in Faraway and sometimes he buries them and sometimes he feasts on them and the juices turn his teeth black and make his eyes
Water and the tears eat away at his face like acid.
Mr Eramus Undercroft is the Chief Gravedigger and Funeral Director in Faraway and he buries the things best forgotten, the things you hope are Faraway.
Only sometimes for fun and it amuses him every single time Mr Eramus Undercroft brings them back from Faraway.
When his passengers leave his car and swarm and ruin and corrupt everything in their paths you will hear in every storm, fire, war, and plague ridden town he visits...one sound above all the rest.
It’s screaming you'll hear, and if you listen close you will find it’s not many voices its always one voice and it is not screaming it's laughing.
That’s the sound of Mr Eramus Undercroft from Faraway.
The Wicked Midnight Garden
by Heather Blakey