Monday, April 17, 2006
The Dead Man was wrapped in plastic and resting on the lower shelf of a C.U in a Funeral Home exactly four miles from where he once lived and exactly a half a block from where he died.
" So this is the guy that bought it outside the cemetery, I mean, is that a smack down or what?" the Dead Man heard. " Like, to DIE right outside a Funeral Home." The plastic was pulled back from his face and the Mortician, a young woman with vines and flowers tattooed around her neck, hidden while she worked with a high neck collars shook her head. " Dude, normally I don't pass judgment on the dead or how you got that way.... but that has got to be a major burn."
Her name was Alissa and she liked to listen to music as she worked. Loud music, especially at night when she had to work alone. The caretaker who had seen her drive up and knew he was about to be treated to hours of something called The Ramones asked her why she had to have the stereo up so loud and she said, " You know, we really shouldn't be here at night. You ever get that feeling?"
The Caretaker nodded because he understood it all right; he didn't like having a night shift around. He wished that the Morticians quit slacking off or doing whatever it was during the day that managed to put them behind schedule.
What he really hated though was that they called these night shifts " Embalming Parties" and when more then two of them were at these "embalming parties" they ordered Pizza from 4 different places and took bets on which delivery would actually show up.
Morbid little psychos.
" So, anyway, wouldn't want to over hear something I shouldn't."
The Caretaker agreed, "No you wouldn't" and he smiled and Alissa thought that The Caretaker (Tony) was one of the rare human beings who were lucky enought to be exactly where he should be in this life.
Alissa spent hours rebuilding the Dead Man’s face. At least only one side was damaged and she could use the other side as a guide. When she was finished she pulled the skin back up and over and looked at him for a very long time.
Then she started over.
Alissa was cleaning the Dead Man up when she heard someone walking up behind her, felt someone look over her shoulder and they were close enough that Alissa could feel their chest press against her shoulder.
“ You do wonderful work” the voice that was neither male nor female said but one thing she was sure of it was cold.
Alissa shook her head and wouldn’t allow herself to turn around because if she did that she’d end up running and leaving the Dead Man alone with that cold voice and she couldn’t.
Until they put him into the casket he was her responsibility.
After awhile Alissa heard rustling behind her, and she knew that whatever was back there had just sat down on the little green chair they kept in the room and they had slid it forwards towards the embalming table.
“I do enjoy watching you all work. After all with the flick of a scalpel and the plunge of a needle you try, and the word is try to not only hide my art, but also deny I even exist. Young lady, we’re speaking artist to artist here. How would you like it if I reached out and did the same…”
Alissa turned her head away and she felt a hand push at her waist to move her aside and she knew it was reaching towards the Dead Man, to the stitches on the right side of his neck. She pushed back and ignored the voice.
She even managed to smile.
The she placed her hand on the Dead Man’s shoulder and she told him, “ Here we go Sir.”
Alissa gently slid The Dead Man off the embalming table and onto the cot and she was about to wheel him out of the Embalming room when she saw the radio through the doorway next to the lockers in the Prep room. It was sitting on an orange plastic chair, like always only this time the cord was neatly coiled and resting on top of the stereo.
She had forgot to plug it in.
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 7:38 PM
Back along on Deception Road is a little farmhouse that no one lives in.
After the house was built and then put up for sale the orchard out back died, the little vegetable garden died and all of the pumpkins and squashes and tomatoes rotted right on their vines.
Even the flowers in the window boxes shriveled up and turned to dust within a day or so after they were set out and all the little farmhouse could do was slam its doors open and shut and make the clock in its kitchen strike twelve over and over again.
The man who built the farmhouse, Travis Janosik, use to stand out at the road and wonder what the hell was going on in there, why was it that nothing could live near that place without giving up the ghost.
There was nothing about Travis that would make you say, ‘you know that killer house? The one on Deception Road? It was built by Travis Janosik” and the person you would be talking to wouldn’t reply, “ Well of course it was a strange house. Look who built it.”
No, the house turned bad all by itself and this bothered no one more then Travis. What bothered him more than that though happened when the house was two years old.
That’s when someone actually bought it and moved in.
The ‘someones’ who bought the farmhouse were the Korbar Family.
Travis use to drive out to Deception Road and park across the way from the Farmhouse and watch it. He’d see Darius Korbar working the vegetable garden or see him sitting on the porch with one of the many children he and Mrs. Korbar had and they acted like any other family living in those hills.
Unless of course you really watched them the way Travis did.
At first he had no interest in the Korbar family. His interest was in that house and what it was up to now. It didn’t have to settle for killing plants and the odd field animal that got to close to its walls. Now it had the Korbar children who scuttled around the property in their ill-fitting clothes.
At least that’s how it looked but then Travis realized it wasn’t the clothes that didn’t fit right, it was the bodies inside the clothes that weren’t right.
The children’s heads were to large for their small bodies and their hands and feet didn’t seem to be the same size and when they talked Travis felt the hair rising up on his arms and the back of his neck and that’s when he’d cut his daily vigil off.
Once Travis saw Mrs. Korbar come down the front steps with a tall glass in her hand and make her way to the garden to where Mr Korbar was working. She handed him the glass and he kissed her cheek and then she made her way back up the steps and Travis watched her but didn’t notice that as she climbed the steps her head was tilted slightly backwards and her back was straight as a pole and she never bent her knees.
It was like she was gliding up the steps and not walking up them at all.
Towards the end of the summer the gardens were dead and rotten and Mr Korbar was out there working it like it as if it were alive and thriving. The ground was water logged and moldy with green slime. The vegtables were rotting and decayed and you could actually smell it when the wind shifted.
On top of the fact that Travis was watching a man harvest from a garden full of rotten vegetables he was also sure that some of that smell was coming from Mr Korbar too.
Travis promised himself after that visit he wouldn’t go near the Farmhouse on Deception Road. Something was wrong with it, something was wrong with the people living inside of it and Travis was certain if he didn’t stop going over there something would be wrong with him too.
Of course, it was too late because that something had already happened to Travis and he found himself standing at the end of the drive leading right up to the Farmhouse the next day.
He was in plain view and Mrs. Korbar must have seen him from one of her windows because he wasn't there for long before she came down the steps and met him with a basket of rotting carrots and maggot filled tomatoes on her arm.
“ We never got the chance to thank you for building this wonderful house Mr Janosik. Its perfect and we love it so.”
Travis was looking into the basket of dead and decaying vegetables and he said, “ How could you love it so? Nothing can live inside of that thing…”
And Mrs. Korbar said, “ Well, Mr Janosik nothing does…”
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 7:10 PM
I introduced Lesser Thornapple here in the Land of Standing Stones and I thought some of you might be interested in learning how he got there. So here’s his story and it actually starts at...
On the Doctor's desk in the village of Ninebones Cross is the skull of a hanged man whose name was Lesser Thornapple.
Lesser was hung in 1864 for three murders and for a few that the people in the town of Bronson were pretty sure he did but couldn't prove and for the ones they were sure he would commit in the future.
So Lesser went to the Gallows and they hung him as the sun came up, which is the custom in the town of Bronson and no one there expected this was the last they'd hear of Lesser Thornapple and they were right.
100 Years Later
The night that Doctor Stavesacre and her assistant took Lesser from his grave it was raining and she was in one of her moods that Lesser would soon call her ‘bad hair days’.
Only two things truly annoyed Azi Stavesacre.
One of those things was not getting her way. The other was anything that kept her from getting her way. Tonight both things were nipping at her heels and she wasn’t angry, she wasn’t furious she was mad.
Truly and strictly by definition: Mad.
As in insane.
“ How many of these things have we opened tonight Henbane?”
Henbane looked over his shoulder and let out a sob and said, “ a lot Azi, an awful lot.”
“ And this is the best we could do?" she asked as she pointed into the last grave.
“ Its all we can do Azi, the rest of the graves were empty.”
Azi Stavesacre, Dr Azi Stavesacre the type of Doctor you went to if you had a silver bullet lodged in you somewhere or a stake in your heart or you were burned or had been maimed and were about to die…yet again was not a patient woman.
In fact she wasn’t a woman at all.
But lets get on with Lesser’s story, shall we?
Azi jumped down into the open grave and then she leaned over Lesser and carefully
pulled the shroud back from his upper body. “ Geeze Henbane, they didn’t even bother to cut the noose off. Look it’s still there.”
Henbane looked down to where Azi was pointing and shook his head.” Now that’s just not dignified.”
Azi straddled Lesser’s chest and pressed her knees against his shoulders.“ People are pathetic Henbane. There’s no two ways about it.”
Then she cut off Lesser’s head.
Lesser remembered Azi taking him to a little place in a town called Duwamish Bay and carefully handing him over to a small dark woman with short black hair. The woman’s name was Ignancia and he saw at once that Azi’s little rough edges and her general
unpleasant personality seemed to smooth out at least temporarily as the two women talked.
Ignancia who was the owner of the Shop, which was full of curious items including a mummy and a three-headed cat in a jar, lifted him carefully up to the light and nodded. “Sure, we can clean him up I think he’ll do just fine for you Azi.”
“He’s a hanged man Ignancia.”
“ The condemned work harder, you know that Azi.”
“ But they buried him with the noose still around his neck.”
“ You don’t say.”
“ I just did,”
Ignancia lifted Lesser up to her face and her dark eyes looked down into his dead ones and she said; “ now that’s very curious. When he comes around see if you can get him to tell you why.”
Lesser sat on the Doctor’s desk for over 10 years before he said one word and when he did Azi told him to shut up, she was working. He saw that yet another Were creature had been skewered with yet another silver arrow and the Werecat the Doctor was treating had already clawed Dr Stavesacre down the side of her face and had chewed off two of her fingers.
It was a good thing Azi couldn’t bleed Lesser thought or the examination room would be full of those Vampires who were out in the waiting room suffering from Garlic Poisoning.
So after ten years of saying nothing Lesser finally made a sound, and that sound sent Azi to her desk, dragging the were-cat by its neck with her.
She opened her desk drawer and dropped Lesser into it.
“ Bite me.” She snapped
And from the drawer Lesser tried to do just that.
Ignancia came by a few weeks later with her sister to invite Azi to tea. It was a tradition. They pretended to drink tea and act like ladies and when they were done they were usually drunk and Azi’s hazel eyes would turn to their natural shade of yellow and they would all pretend like they had the flu for the next few days.
“So, how is Mr Thornapple working out for you?”
Ignancia’ s sister Akela asked who was Thornapple and Azi said, “ The ungrateful dead man I rescued from an eternity of solitary confinement.”
“ Oh, you cut off some poor bastard’s head so that you could turn him into your own private guard dog.”
“Rescue.” Akela didn’t chuckle or snicker. When she laughed she really put effort into it “ you kill me Azi, you really do.”
“ Well, he’s not working. That’s the problem. Lazy dog just sits on my desk and does he warn me that danger is near? Hell no. Let me make that clear to you ladies HELL NO. I had a Werecat go crazy when I tried to pull some silver out of it’s chest and look” Azi held up her hand, “ it doesn’t hurt when you loose them but it sure as heck does when they grow back. Then I had to deal with all those little beasts at the same time.
“ What they do?”
“ The Benandanti kids rubbed garlic all over the Hellebore’s shrouds and the Hellebore’s dropped Wolfsbane into the Benandanti’ s well.”
“ Kid stuff…”
“ Yes well, I had to deal with a bunch of rowdy teenage vampires and werewolves tearing my reception area apart as well as have an insane Werecat try to eat my arm
and does Thornapple say anything before Armageddon rides into my office?
No. Unless you count laughing as a word.”
“ He laughed?”
“ Loudly, very, very, very loudly.”
Ignancia lowered her voice, “ what did you do to him?”
“ Nothing…nothing. He’s in my desk drawer. Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t touch him. Really!”
Ignancia leaned back and nodded, “ I don’t believe you.”
It's a fool who doesn't know their own friends and Ignancia Guzman was nobody's fool.
Azi was wrapped in a soft warm alcohol woven blanket when she stumbled into her office and pulled open her desk drawer. She reached in for Lesser and then dropped him down onto her desk from at least two feet up in the air and when he landed his teeth snapped together and then it was Azi’s turn to laugh.
“ I’m supposed to apologize.” She slurred imperiously.
Lesser’s black empty eye sockets seemed to be paying attention so she went on. “ It was wrong of me to dump you in the drawer, it was wrong of me to not even ask you your name. I’m sorry, okay?”
“ You robbed my grave.”
“ Oh, hell, there are worse things you can do the rob a grave like I don’t know, let me think…. oh yes here’s one Murder. That’s pretty darn bad too, isn’t it Lesser.”
Azi dropped herself into her chair and scooted it up to her desk. She reached for Lesser and when they were nose to, well, eye to eye he said, “ I never killed anybody Azi. I was innocent.”
He saw Azi sober up and felt her grip tighten around him. “ What?”
“ I was innocent. I never killed anyone Azi, but I know who did those awful things
and I never told the truth. I couldn’t.”
“ Damn it. That’s why you were down there still, you condemned yourself.”
“ I don’t know anything about that.”
“ Look, why’d they leave the rope around your neck. Do you know?”
“ The Hangman knew I was innocent. But he didn’t want me to be. So he left the noose on.”
Azi shook her head, “ People just mystify me Lesser, they really do.”
“ When do you plan on asking me about the graves Azi, all of those empty graves. You haven’t mentioned them once.”
“ I’m asking you now then, what happened to those graves. Why were they all empty?”
“ A friend of yours moved to Mourning Ridge, did you know?”
“ What friend?”
“ Delphine Heller. She’s back Azi and I’m pretty sure she was tearing that cemetery apart because she was looking for…”
Azi’s eyes didn’t flare or shine or glow deep orange and then yellow.
That one word echoed lonely and hallow in the dark office and Lesser was surprised because if he had to name a truly shunned creature it wouldn't be Azi Stavesacre. Still from the way that one word sounded he wondered if she felt the same way he did when he realized he was about to be hung for the murders his own son committed and then blamed him for.
Lesser Thornapple knew what if felt like to be abandoned. To be cast out so far you could never come back no matter how hard you tried.
He wouldn’t wish that feeling on anybody…or anything.
Lesser watched the face of the Witch Doctor and what surprised him was what he said next. “ Put me in the window Azi, I have work to do.”
And that Dear Readers is The beginning of my tale.
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 10:29 AM
Friday, April 07, 2006
Datura Manzanillo walks alone and she started walking alone back in 1964.
That was the year she murdered her husband because she got tired of him.
She was tired of his jokes and the sound of his voice and the way he buttered his toast.
That was the worst; the careful way he sliced that thin shaving of butter from the cube and the careful way he smoothed it over the bread, which was of course a certain shade of gold.
Nothing else would do.
God she couldn’t stand it, he’d actually concentrate over those slices of bread the same way a heart surgeon would over an open chest. No, that’s going to far. The heart surgeon probably didn’t put that much effort or concentration into his work the Stewart did.
So one morning after listening to him blah, blah, blah-she didn’t actually remember what he said because she’d learned to shut off the minute he opened his mouth years ago she saw him start his toast.
“ God, no “ she said “ please not the toast, sweet Lord not the toast. I can’t take it anymore.”
But Stewart, who was actually a nice person if you asked anybody else and really had no idea that a monster had been sleeping next to him for over 20 years thought she was teasing and he actually laughed. She remembered him asking her if she wanted some too and when she said yes and he turned away from her to reach for more bread Datura Manzanillo came up behind Stewart with a knife and she said, “ I wasn’t kidding Stewart.”
And when Stewart turned around he saw how serious she was.
There was a trial and Datura remembered the way the Jury tittered when the story about the toast came up. It didn’t matter though, it was a cheap laugh and in the end they sentenced her to death.
If she had just stabbed Stewart to death they may have spared her life. But she’d cut and hacked and at some point nearly took off his head. The jurors didn’t laugh when they heard that. One looked positively green and the rest looked at her with pure unadulterated disgust.
The jury only had a glimpse of the real Datura when they heard the details of her crime, poor Stewart saw her for what she was in all of her glory and if anyone thought a rope around her neck would end anyone having to suffer through that again they were woefully mistaken.
Datura remembered her execution and she remembered when they cut her down from the hangman’s noose. “ Don’t let her fall, “ someone had said, “ if you drop her you get to clean up the mess “
She remembered that no one came to her funeral and she remembered the way the Undertaker had looked into her flat dead eyes and said, “I sure wouldn’t want to be you right now. “
" No, you wouldn't want to be me " she wanted to say back, but instead she smiled her dead woman's smile and then they buried her.
She thought at least she’d go to Hell or something…but where did she end up? Right outside the cemetery they buried her in. She wondered if she would see Stewart and she guessed not. They wouldn’t bury him in the same place they buried her now would they?
Datura Manzanillo spent years and years walking that short walk in front of the cemetery and she didn’t mind, though she did wonder why she was here and not anywhere else.
Then one day it all changed
She’d hung around for years, in all of that time she couldn’t actually see anyone but she could feel them…living people passing around her and by her and one day a woman actually stopped and turned around and she really saw Datura and Datura finally saw someone else.
After that first time it happened more and more often.
Datura eventually learned that only certain people with a certain little secret festering away at their brains and soul would see her. Those people popped out of thin air and she’d come up behind them and snicker into their ear, “ I know what you’re thinking, you silly goose and we can make it happen. Come on, let’s take a walk.”
It was difficult to say how time passed after Datura first talked to newfound friends and when it was she’d see them again. When she finally did see them they’d be leaving the cemetery and getting into these old fashioned paddy wagons being pulled by these gigantic black horses.
As they’d pass her they’d spit or swear and more often then not she’d hear, “ thanks for the advice you bitch!”
Datura would shrug and laugh and she’d start to do what she will be doing forever; she’s walking in front of that cemetery gate. So here’s a little useful advice; if you’re out walking one night and you're devoutly praying for someone close to you to drop dead and a little voice says,“ I know what you’re thinking, you silly goose and we can make it happen. Come on, let’s take a walk.”
Don’t turn around and for heavens don’t stop and listen, Datura Manzanillo walks alone and she’s always looking for a little company.
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 9:28 PM
Behind the building called the school house, under the hanging tree is the Unquiet Grave of Iris Winterbark. She was supposed to have been the teacher in that little schoolhouse and the twisted rotted oak tree out back is where she was suppose to have dispatched her more unruly students by hanging…either that or she was suppose to have hung them by their heals and burned them alive.
This particular story came from a town called Deuil right here in the Olympics of Washington State…and morbid story about a demonic school teacher aside the real mystery is why, in what was considered a good sized town, there was there only one grave and no cemetery.
When Deuil was founded there were 30 families living there- and it was exactly 30 families that were to disappear from there one day.
No one could tell what day that was, or what year or if it happened slowly or all at once because nobody in the surrounding towns really had much to do with the residents of Deuil .
For the most part they were shunned because most shocking of all to the somewhat narrow of mind and narrow of spirit of their neighbors was that some of the men and women of Deuil had taken Indians and other dark skinned people as their husbands and wives.
And worst of all, no request had ever come from the Town of Deuil for a Minister to come out and visit them.
It’s very famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, and most of the stories you’ll probably come across aren’t true, but the one about Iris Winterbark is.
Iris Winterbark showed up to teach school in April, she was small and thin and nobody liked her. It wasn’t because she was strict and she kept the razor strop on her desk that she could snatch up with lighting speed that you’d never think a woman her age was capable of, no it was because of something no one could put there finger on because it wasn’t easy to notice but it preyed on your mind like a starving wolf all the same.
Iris Winterbark never seemed to take a breath and she never blinked.
She would spend her teaching days looking out at her few dozen students with disgust because they were filthy little creatures that smelled like they never bathed and she would hiss out history lessons and math lessons and spelling lessons and geography lessons.
The rest of the time her gaze and face was as slack and expressionless as a corpse’s face.
That is until some unfortunate student made a mistake. Then those flat blue eyes would suddenly spark to life and her face would crack into a smile and bang!
The strop would be in her hand and some poor slow pupil would be bleeding and Iris Winterbark would be at her desk again prim and still as a marble statue in a cemetery.
Now every class has its odd student out and in this class it was a boy named Petty Morel.
Petty had a hard time studying because he’d been sick for most of that spring and when he got well he wasn’t the same.
He’d glare at his classmates and he’d glare at his parents and he’d glare right back at Miss Winterbark hardest of all. After failing an arithmetic lesson and after writing the correct answer 500 times on the blackboard and after Miss Winterbark had administered the strop Petty stood at the front of the class and dripped blood all over the shiny wood floor and said, “ you’re just an evil old witch.”
And Miss Winterbark had said, “ There are no such things as witches Petty, but I’m very real and I would be very careful of what you said if I were you.”
“ Then you’re not a witch? “ Petty had asked as a wide beautiful smile crossed his face.
“ I most certainly am not.”
“ I’m glad to hear that Miss Winterbark, I really am.”
None of his classmates were paying attention to anything Petty and Miss Winterbark were saying. They were too busy watching the blood pool at Petty’s feet.
The next day Petty Morel walked up to Miss Winterbark’s desk after class and he asked her, “ is it true you hang people out behind the school house and they come back to life when you want them too.”
“ No it isn’t.”
“ Do you bury people alive?”
“ I most certainly do not!”
Petty almost looked disappointed, then he sighed.
Petty stood in front of Miss Winterbark’ s desk with his hands folded behind his back and was about to say something more when Miss Winterbark slammed her hand on her desk and made Petty jump about six inches off the ground. “ I have never a group of such dull slow witted children as I have in this town. And look at those nails and your hair…. dirt and leaves in your hair. My goodness, what do you children do, sleep outside with the rest of the animals?”
“ I don’t sleep outside in the open, my Parents would never let me do that Miss Winterbark. Its not safe you know.”
Then Petty watched the sun sink behind the window and he said with his sharp pointed white teeth “I’m so glad you’re not a witch Miss Winterbark, I really am. “
Petty wasn't really worried about how angry his Mother was , he could deal with her being angry. It wasn't the same this time because his Mother was furious and she shook his arm so hard it made his teeth rattle. “ Who on earth is going to clean up this mess Petty Morel? “
“ I am mother, “ he said. He around the blood spattered walls and what was left of Miss Winterbark on her desk and what was left of her under the window and over by the door and he sobbed, “This is the biggest mess I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s going to take me all night to clean up!”
“ Well, being that you already ate all I can do is deny you dessert and playtime with your friends. This is very serious Petty, do you know how hard it is to get a teacher to come out to places like this?”
“ I don’t know why we have to go to school at all, I don’t see why it matters anymore.”
“ Listen to me Petty Morel, we maybe living out in the middle of nowhere in these godforsaken mountains, but our family has been well educated since we left our home in Transylvania and I see no reason now why that should stop. Do you understand me?”
Then she handed him a shovel, gave him a good solid whack on his backside and she sent Petty out back to dig the only grave they ever really needed in the little town called Deuil.
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 3:16 PM
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
It was snowing on the night Olibanum Franks disappeared from his cottage on the cliffs and Olibanum who thought electricity was an uncontrollable monster just waiting to strike him down lived alone in that house by lamplight.
On that awful night there must have been some sort of accident with one of those lamps or maybe a candle because that little cottage on the cliffs burned down and from the valley below the burning trees looked just like the candles that Olibanum used to read by when the Sun went down.
All they could do in the little village of Ninebones Cross was to watch and hope the fire didn’t spread down the hillside and take them the way it must have taken poor Olibanum up there on the cliffs.
Four days later it was safe enough to go up to Olibanum’ s cottage and they didn’t find a trace of their friend; not a bone or a button or even the melted remains of the little silver rings he wore on his left hand.
So with nothing to bury the Villagers wondered what kind of funeral should they hold for their friend and in the end they didn’t have a funeral because none of them really believed Olibanum was dead.
He was just gone.
Of course Olibanum wasn’t really gone, but he knew if he didn’t get away from the crazy woman sitting in front of the computer soon he would be.
Olibanum remembered the fire and he remembered the roof caving in on his head and he even remembered the smell of his own flesh beginning to burn.
And then there was a bright light and he was lying on his back and looking up into the very unwell face of Tamara Osterick and when she smiled he knew he was in trouble.
Lots and lots of trouble.
At first Olibanum wouldn’t say a word, he went to the window and looked out into the strange world that this strange woman had brought him into. She lived in a tall building and the people and cars below were the size of children’s toys. But looking out into this awful world was much better then looking into the face of that awful monster that brought him here.
He didn’t want her to talk to him; he didn’t want her to look him. Because when she did she got into his head and that was somewhere he wanted to keep her out of as long as he could.
So as long as Olibanum’ s eyes were opened and he was looking around the woman at the computer wrote and the screen filled with words and images and she ignored him.
She didn’t care that she was stealing from him…that she had stolen him from Kamala. She just wanted the words; no matter what she had to do she wanted the words for her own.
He was nothing except for letters and words and punctuation marks to Tamara Osterick and that was how she treated him.
It was only when he sat down and closed his eyes that she seemed to take notice of him. “ You’re not helping either one of us by refusing to cooperate Ollie.” She stopped typing and looked up at him and then she shuddered.
“ Geeze, the first thing we’re going to change is that hair cut. Really, is that the best Kamala could come up with at the end of her long and prolific writing career? A crazy man who cuts his own hair and lives on a cliff and gets blamed for murders being committed by vampires?
“ I’m not crazy. “
“ Dude, you’re crazy she wrote you that way.”
“ No, she didn’t.”
Tamara laughed “ look at me, I’m arguing with a character a dead woman made up. Is that a riot or what Ollie?”
And all Olibanum could do was back up against the wall and try not to panic. But it was hard too because that woman was about to murder him and there was nothing to stop her from doing it.
All he could think to say was “ Don’t call me Ollie.”
But of course Tamara wasn’t listening.
She was too busy stealing…and losing her mind.
Olibanum couldn’t know it but his world was gone; Ninebones Cross, his burned out cottage and all his friends. Gone and the woman sitting across from him was the reason why.
There was no way for him to know, but he did and the quiet gentle man that lived on cliff in a small cottage and read by candlelight felt it…and then he began to change.
He watched the screen fill up with words and words and more words and as they appeared Olibanum could feel himself becoming less. He could see his reflection in the mirror over Tamara’s couch and his hair was changing. It was lighter and longer and his eyes were dark green now. He held his hand up and saw that all of the silver rings Kamala had given him in her first book were gone. She’d written it into the story just for Olibanum because he had suffered so much in that story. As she ended the story she thought the gift of those little rings was the least she could do for him.
He remembered the sound of her fighting with someone she thought of as EDITOR over what was called a “throw away scene.”
He’d heard her yell, “ No, its staying in there. I know it doesn’t make sense! But if you take it out I take a walk and I take those four books you want with me!”
And in the end the rings stayed and Olibanum had something in that forest of words that Kamala grew over 30 years of writing just for him.
Now Olibanum didn’t have his cottage on a cliff, he was being moved to an apartment and his hair was blond and neatly trimmed and he murdered women for fun. That’s what he picked up as the Monster re- wrote and butchered away at Olibanum’ s life.
Tamara’s thoughts weren’t as clear as Kamala’ s. They were dark and twisted and Olibanum didn’t like them rolling around in his head. But the more she wrote the more clearly he could hear and see them.
They were making him crazy.
“ Will you answer just one question for me?” Olibanum asked, “ What happened to Kamala?”
Tamara stopped typing and Olibanum saw her shoulders shake and he thought she was crying.
“ Freak accident, she was electrocuted “ Tamara choked “ her radio fell into her tub and fried her up like calamari.” And then Tamara laughed so hard she vomited all over her desk.
But she didn’t seem to care.
She just kept laughing.
So Olibanum’ s friends were dead and he was pretty sure his world was gone and pretty soon he would be gone too. Rewritten by this horrible woman and her dark thoughts.
And then he got an idea, he was inspired and he realized it was probably Tamara’s idea so it wouldn’t be like murder at all.
It was more like suicide.
With that squared up and neatly justified in what was left of his eroding brain Olibanum asked Tamara “could you open the glass doors Tamara? I’d like to feel the night air before…you know. I change. Just one last time. Please. I’d open the door myself, but I might… I don’t know... break.”
Olibanum held up his hand and Tamara could see both his hands were missing fingers and his left wrist had no flesh on it at all.
Then Tamara looked up into Olibanum’ s changing face and she felt sorry for him. Until she was done writing he was going to look like a poorly made rag doll and that of course he might stay that way if she never finished her story.
She opened the door and went into the kitchen to get some supplies to clean up the mess on her desk. When she came back out into the living room Olibanum was gone.
Tamara raced out onto the patio and looked down over the railing and then her feet left the ground and she was over the railing and as the ground rushed up to meet her Tamara's last thought was ‘ the world is melting”
The Villagers of Ninebones Cross found Olibanum wandering next to the remains of his burned out home. His face was scared and one of his eyes was gone but he was back and that was all that mattered.
“ Where did you go Olibanum? What happened to you?” they all asked.
And Olibanum said,
“It was snowing on the night I disappeared from my cottage on the cliffs and because I thought electricity was an uncontrollable monster just waiting to strike me down I live in alone in that house by lamplight…”
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 12:39 PM
Saturday, April 01, 2006
In the Land of Standing Stones is a place called Mourning Ridge and when I was last there I learned the Strange Tale of Waldgrave Dahaka-enjoy!
They found the last body on Mourning Ridge just before sundown
The Sheriff was there and so was her deputy and Borgia Sainbury the Chief Undertaker of Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home was there too. Borgia looked up at the Sheriff and said “ that makes 46”.
The headless corpse had been tied to the ornate iron gate that separated Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home from the rest of the world. It was a messy set of human remains and it was starting to attract flies that the women flicked away from their faces when one of the pests settled to close to their eyes.
In the back seat of the Sheriff’s Jeep a set of dark red eyes glared at them and a voice called to them in a long dead language that they all understood, “ It wasn’t me! Do you hear me? It was him it was Abendroth Danvers! He’s back! Listen to me I’m innocent!”
They all laughed as the sunset because no matter how you looked at it that was a pretty funny comment to be coming from a Demon.
After he was booked and then convicted by the Sheriff and the Merchants Association of Duwamish Bay the Sheriff began as she had for years and years to prepare for the execution of her inmate.
“ Do you have to do that in front of me? “
The Sheriff looked up and said, “ as a matter of fact I do Danvers. You know the rules. You’ve lived here long enough”
“ I’m not Danvers, I’m Waldgrave, Waldgrave Dahaka. I’ve told you. I’m not Danvers. Not now anyway” and Waldgrave suddenly sounded so scared that Sarah almost dropped the metal sling and the rope in her hands.
When she saw it was just Waldgrave she went back to work.
“ Look Waldgrave. Answer me this… are those Danver's hands? Danver’s teeth? Well are they?”
“ Yes they are.”
“ Good then we understand each other. Those hands killed 46 people in the past four months and those teeth well, those teeth acted in the crimes too. That’s all I care about. You were in possession of those so you are responsible. Sorry.” Of course she didn’t sound sorry. It wasn’t a Warden or a Sheriff’s job to feel sorry.
“ Listen to me, Danvers is coming back. I couldn’t stop him.”
“ Oh, and I’m sure you tried very hard to do that.”
“ Yes I did Sheriff. I don’t care what you think of me but that’s the truth. I like it here. I don’t want to leave. I wouldn’t have done anything to endanger myself or my home here.”
Then Waldgrave saw what the Sheriff had in her hands and he looked up and whispered, “ my neck…you’re going to break my neck.” He could barely whisper the words. Then he turned away from her and slid to the floor cradling his head in his hands “ I can’t believe this. Its not right”
“ Listen Waldgrave…46. Four – Six, 17 were from Duwamish Bay. That wasn’t right either.”
“ 98.” He said dully.
“98” Waldgrave told her, “ You forgot to check Lake Undercroft. It’s 98”
And so it was.
The next night Sheriff Guzman and her Deputy prepared Waldgrave for his execution.
When they were done tattooing his face and after they had cut off his left hand Sarah and her Deputy drove him out to Lost Harbor Road and to the oak tree they kept out there for nights just like this one.
Next to Waldgrave on the seat, and it was Waldgrave in the Jeep that night because Danvers was unusually quiet, was the rope and sling, a burlap bag dotted with small red stains and a small stone box and of course the ax.
Waldgrave looked out of his window so that he didn’t have to look at what was on the seat next to him. He watched the Harbor Gorge fill with unnaturally blue moonlight and he knew the air outside the car was turning fetid and humid. It always did on execution nights. He asked “ My neck, you know what will happen if you break my neck before you execute me. “
“ That’s the idea.”
“ But I didn’t commit those murders, Danvers did. The very most I’m guilty of is demonic possession and that wouldn’t even get me life in Sawajinn. You could even have my sentence commuted to Fallen. Why are you doing this? “
The Sheriff slammed the brakes on and before the vehicle was at a full stop she was outside of the Jeep and throwing open the back door. She reached in for Waldgrave and pulled him out and threw him up against the car hard enough to shatter the bulletproof window. “ Do you honestly want me to believe that a demon clever enough, strong enough to hide in the same body for over 100 years was powerless to stop a mortal, a flesh and blood mortal from killing 98 people? Its bull and you know it Waldgrave.”
“ It’s the truth Sarah. It’s the truth!” He tried to pull his face away from Sarah’s teeth and when he did his neck came close to Sarah’s mouth. He almost saved her the trouble of execution when that happened because his heart nearly exploded in his chest.
“ They’re mortal Sarah, they’re not stupid and they’re much stronger then any of us give them credit for. You’re executing me because you’re afraid. You all are. Because if one psychotic human could best me that means all of you…all of us aren’t as safe as we’d like to think we are here in Duwamish Bay. Killing me won’t change that. “
Then the Sheriff reached through the open door, grabbed the ax and swung it down.
It was Waldgrave and Waldgrave alone who finished the ride to Fallen Penitentiary that foggy night.
When Sarah looked into her rearview mirror the face that looked back at her from the back seat wasn’t a twisted demonic face, it didn’t have horns or red skin or a forked tongue.
Waldgrave Dahaka looked middle aged and ordinary and he had very straight white teeth. Of course his eyes were blood red and when he talked the air seemed to chill slightly but in Duwamish Bay it wasn’t polite to point things like that out.
So Sarah didn’t.
“I’ve decided Sawajinn isn’t appropriate for you in this case” Sarah heard Waldgrave catch his breath and she could hear him saying something, or was he crying? It was hard to tell. She’d never heard a Demon make a sound like that before.
“ It’s 500 years in Fallen Waldgrave and that’s firm. You’ve been convicted of the Crime of Demonic Possession. I took off 100 as time served.”
“ Thank you Sheriff, thank you.” Waldgrave told her.
As they drove up to the darkened barred windows of Fallen and the dark figures of the Wardens walked towards the car Sarah told Waldgrave, “ I’m sending Danver’s heart to Sawajinn, it’s the most I can do for you and it’s the best I can do for his victims. I mean he’s going to rot in a prison designed for, well, the kind of people that live in Duwamish Bay. You couldn’t pay me enough to watch what’s going to happen to him there. Still it’s 98 dead, but if you wouldn’t have been there…who knows how much worse it could have been.”
Then Sarah asked and you could hear that she probably already knew what Waldgrave was going to say “answer me this Waldgrave, was Danvers human?”
“ I’m sure of it.”
Sarah grimaced and Waldgrave wasn’t sure if she was reacting to the Wardens or what he said.
Waldgrave leaned back and nodded. “ I’m afraid” the Demon told the Sheriff as the Wardens came for him.
Sarah was looking far away into the darkness and she thought of that dark human heart that shouldn’t exist being taken to the dark Prison at the end of the world and she said, “ we all are Waldgrave, we all are.”
Posted by Anita Marie Moscoso at 3:33 PM