Saturday, December 09, 2006


by Anita Marie Moscoso

Last Summer Mata Dark and her family took a vacation.

Mata was almost 20 at the time and during her entire twenty years of life none of the Dark Family had set foot off of the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State. They had never traveled further then 40 miles away from their hometown of Leaning Birches.

It's because Mata's Father was a workaholic and he had this thing about being replaced. He was terrified of losing his job.

" Lord Derby, do you really believe there's a line of people waiting for to do your job? " Mata's mom Rue screamed at the top of her lungs while waving around a bunch of travel pamphlets in her hand. Mom had wanted a vacation in the worst way and she felt like if she didn’t get this trip she wouldn’t have the energy to fight for another.

Derby's eyes crossed a little like they always do when he thinks to hard and finally he said, " I'm sure there's a few people who would love to do my job. And do you know what Rue? They're probably a lot younger and smarter and quicker then me. Don't ask me to take a chance on losing the only thing I've ever been good at in my life."

Rue who's eyes never crossed when she thought to hard lowered her voice and said " Derby you are the hardest working man in town and you've earned a vacation. Promise me you'll think about it."

Derby who adored his wife and family as much as he adored his job gave in about a week after that argument. He came home one night from work and out of nowhere asked Rue would she mind if they took a road trip? He had a route and a destination picked out. He even had a leather folder that read “ USA TOURS” full of flyers, confirmation forms and event tickets.

The travel agent he had worked with in town had even got them t-shirts to wear.

Mata's Mom looked through the folder and then she unfolded one of the T-Shirts and held it up. " You've got to be kidding. " was all she could think to say.

The shirt read:

" UFO PALOOZA 2006 "

Derby smiled and shook his head. " Pack up, we leave at Dawn "

Mata's brother 15-year-old brother Wilton not only wore the t-shirt the morning they left he went out to Joker's Galore the night before and bought a set of " Deeply Boppers" to wear on his head too.

The " Deely Boppers " were silver antenna with gold balls at the top that were the size of marbles. When you turned your head something in them shifted and made a crackling sound.

Mata took one long hard look at her brother, walked out the front door and then jumped on her motorcycle and rode at break neck speed into town and bought herself a set too.

Mata and her brother Wilton had agreed with each other sometime during that very long drive that if Mom said the words, ' UFO's? Are you kidding me Derby UFO's? Our one and only vacation as a family is to celebrate something that doesn't exist?" one more time they were both going to jump out of the car and take their chances on the New Mexico Desert, the New Mexico Sun and until they decided it sounded like fun the mutants that were suppose to have been created by the first Atomic Test back in 1945.

" Hey Mom " Wilton asked, " do you think there really are Radioactive Mutants out here? "

" Well I haven't seen any but that doesn't mean they don't I right Derby? "

Derby reached over and patted her shoulder and said, " That's the Spirit Querida "

The little town was almost full of people dressed up like aliens, there were also a lot of people not dressed like aliens and they all seemed to know a lot about space travel and where you could get " Saucer Burgers ", " Milkway Meals " and everyone wanted to know if you were able to get reservations to stay at the " Station 51 Hotel "

Most of the Dark Family were secretly pleased they were staying at the " Place to Be " for the Festival but they kept it to themselves because of the look on Rue's face.

Rue's face was this mask; she looked like someone had attached strings to her eyebrows and yanked them straight up.

She had speechless since they arrived in town, which was actually a relief.

Finally she opened her mouth, breathed and said " God in Heaven " and then she went back to the hotel and ordered a blood red steak and drank Strawberry Margaritas until she couldn't focus her eyes.

After that she went back out and joined her family.

Derby talked Rue into joining a UFO Watcher's Group and by the time they got back from spending an evening learning to plot their own star charts and joined in on a few debates about the Roswell Incident and watched a video of a genuine Alien Autopsy it was obvious Rue was having a good time.

At least her eyebrows had gone back to their normal spot on her forehead and she had quit saying " God in Heaven " everytime someone walked by.

So it really turned out to be a good trip and on their last night Rue and Derby went out with some new friends to make arrangements to get together for next year’s festival and Mata and Wilton went shopping.

Mata and Wilton decided to go and pick up some souvenirs for their friends back home and they spent a lot of time talking to Mr. Fanshaw who ran the little Museum just around the street from the hotel.

They talked about their Mom and their Dad and their home back in Washington. Small town stuff but Mr Fanshaw was a good audience and he asked lots of good questions.

Mr Fanshaw, Mata and Wilton were pleased to discover knew all about Aliens and he also knew at least an hours worth of top drawer ghost stories and as he packed up Mata and Wilton's purchases he asked, " so tell me about your Mom, in the end she had a good time? Is she a believer now do you think? "

" Doubt it, " Wilton said "she doesn't have much going in the way of imagination."

" Sorry to hear that...its a curse of the Modern Age " Mr Fanshaw said sadly. Then he asked, "and what does she do for a living? "

" Homemaker, " Mata told him " she use to be a Phlebotomist. That's how she met our Dad. See the offices she worked at used to get busted into and vandalized all of the time. One night she got attacked and our Dad actually saved her from being killed. They've been together ever since"

" And what does your Dad do? " Mr Fanshaw asked.

" He's a Vampire Hunter " Wilton said from behind a stack of packages and then he and Mata thanked Mr Fanshaw for all of his time and as the two young people left the Museum he heard Mata say " hey Wilton we should talk to Dad about The Triangle for our next trip..."

Monday, November 06, 2006

belated Happy Birthday, Anita Marie

I found this giant spider's web and in it wove a hundred birthday wishes for you. I hope you had a wonderful day
with love from Traveller

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday

Make Kinross take you out on the town to celebrate. It's a full moon so it should be interesting!

Have a Great One!


Happy Birthday Anita Marie

Bereavement is hard,
but I couldn't forget to
send you a card,
Happy Birthday, Anita Marie.

copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Happy Birthday Anita Marie

Birthday Anita Marie

I would have baked a cake Anita Marie
But really darling
It is so much more fun
to have Enchanteur dress up
in her very best web.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Cry-An Owl Creek Exclusive!


Bernadine was kind enough to make a trip to my Owl Creek Bridge ( ) in order to share some stories about making her Supernatural Thriller Based on the Legend of La Llorona.

I hope that you enjoy her story and that you are as inspired by her determination to see her creative dreams realized as I am.


I first heard of La Llorona when I was a kid growing up in a small town in New Mexico. Ever since I can remember, we were told stories of a woman who drowned her kids in the river—basically to get revenge from her lover who had betrayed her. But after drowning them, she realized what she had done and let out a horrifying, heart-wrenching cry. From that moment she was condemned to roam the rivers forever, crying and searching for her children.

As kids, our parents always told us that La Llorona would take us away if we went by the river to play alone, or if we misbehaved. On top of being completely scared stiff that La Llorona was going to get me, the whole idea that a mother would kill her own child absolutely terrified me.

When I decided to make a movie, there was no question in my mind that it had to be about La Llorona. On the one hand, I definitely wanted to do something focused on my culture. And from a more personal perspective, having grown up in a very superstitious environment (a combination of old Spanish beliefs dating back to the time of the Inquisition mixed with Native American beliefs), making a movie about La Llorona was a way for me to conquer my some of my fears/demons, with La Llorona being a big one.

Like most of the more than 28 million people in the U.S. who grew up with stories of La Llorona, I originally thought that this ghost was from my small town. After learning that she’s basically everywhere and has been a strong force in the Latino world for five centuries, I set off on a search for her across the U.S. and Latin America. I dug up historical material on her dating back hundreds of years, interviewed people who believe they’ve seen or heard her, and collected stories, artwork, poems and songs about her from all over the continent. You can see some of my research on my website I also went on to explore “Lloronas in other cultures,” and found several similar legends from all over the world like the Greek Medea, the Jewish Lilith and the Irish Banshee. In the end, it took me 5 years to get to a place where I felt as though I knew La Llorona well enough to write a script that would truly capture her essence. Then it was writing, rewriting, finding money, shooting, finding more money, post-production, distribution…what seemed like endless work.

Since it’s Halloween, I want to mention a few creepy experiences that I had while making The Cry—moments where I definitely felt La Llorona’s presence.

The first creepy experience happened one day when I was shooting in Spanish Harlem. Some santeros (traditional saint makers) from New Mexico had carved a wood statue of Death in the form of a woman (Dona Sebastiana). It was quite difficult to transport the santo to New York because it was a large, life-size carving and very fragile. In any case, the day my best friend, Horacio, and I were unloading Death from the vehicle, a freak accident happened where I was hit in the head—just a hair above my right eye—

with something flying through the air. It felt as though a brick had hit me, and I almost lost my eye. I remember grabbing my head and seeing blood pouring into my hand. Horacio ran and caught me just as the world started spinning and I was falling to the ground. The experience totally freaked me out not only because it happened when we were moving Death, but also because in The Cry the way that I physically show La Llorona’s curse on people is through their bleeding eyes. A few months later when I was doing post-production on The Cry, one morning my project manager suddenly had some bloody tears coming out of her eyes. She never did find out why that happened.

Another creepy experience happened when I was shooting some of my flashback scenes in New Mexico. Basically, I had spent several days looking for the perfect river location to shoot La Llorona drowning her kid, and found it months before we shot there. The place had a strange, haunting feel to it that made it perfect for The Cry. What was creepy about this was that a few weeks before we shot there, my sister, Rita, who still lives in NM called me to tell me that a woman named Bernadine—my name, which is pretty uncommon—had gone to the same location and drowned her two kids and herself. When I heard this my stomach fell to the floor. As I was shooting my scene I remember looking out over the river and feeling La Llorona’s presence more than ever.

The last creepy experience that I want to mention happened when I was in the final stage of post-production. In The Cry, I am the voice and cries of La Llorona. It took me quite some time to figure out what La Llorona would say, and this is something that I wrote only after digging deep into my knowledge and “relationship” with her. On the day I was in the studio recording La Llorona’s voice, something very strange happened. All of a sudden, something moved through me, taking control of my body and my voice. It felt as though for that slice of time, I was outside of me, hearing someone else’s voice come out of my body. It was a haunting, yet amazingly experience. The sound team that was recording in the control room was frozen stiff with how scary my voice sounded. You’ll get a taste of it yourself when you see The Cry, and you can read about more creepy experiences on my blog

Making The Cry is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. (Details included in my next horror film.) But despite all the unbelievable struggles, if given the choice, I’d do it all again. The film helped me learn so much about myself—my culture, my power as a woman, how to face and fight my fears—not to mention how to make a film. Though I have to say that perhaps the most important thing I learned by making The Cry is that nothing is more fulfilling, empowering and magical than pouring your heart and soul into a dream and making it come true.

As per La Llorona, we’ve been together for many years now, and I know her well—perhaps better than anyone else on the face of the earth. And although I no longer fear her, I am now more certain of one thing than I ever was before: There’s nothing worse than a mother who murders her child…and La Llorona is real.

I hope you enjoyed Bernadine's article.

Please visit Bernadine's Sites and check out her wonderful work:


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Inviation To The Danse

Feeling Brave?

Visit Anita's Owl Creek Bridge to learn the Strange History of
the Soul Food Cafe's Chamber of Horrors at:

Thursday, October 19, 2006


by Anita Marie Moscoso

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.

Only the best for her little victims.

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 stuck to what looked like a fish's skeleton.

The 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 'sleeping puppy' in the basket with the red bow tied to the handle and Violet had dragged it out to the living room stuck it in front of the Christmas Tree bright and early on Christmas morning and said, " 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.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


On Friday 25th Aug 2006
My neighbour & friend Angela & I went out to town for an
8pm start to our City Town Hall
A beautiful heritage listed building
It was the opening night of the Victorian Writers Fesival
It was a cold windy night ,we were rugged up well as we climbed onto the tram

Awards night were in 3 sections
Non Fiction
Entries totalled over 400
from all countries in the world.
The majority were not happy stories

One caught my eye ,
the winner of the Poetry Prize
Jennifer Maiden -her book- "Friendly Fire"
She told of her love of Prometheus
the mythical figure who stole from the Gods
to give to humanity
She was intrigued by his assertion against the Gods on
behalf of humanity
He stole fire from them to give to mankind
to keep it alive

She writes a lot about war does Jennifer
Titles like " The Problem of Evil"
about the ethics of the war in Vietnam
" Friendly Fire" is dedicated to the children of Iraq

Jennifer works in torture and trauma rehabilitation
and says......
"Toward the end of my life I just want to write poems".
Her education goes on as she studies humanity
She has a degree in English,Geography and Economics.

I came home on the tram in a sad,depressed way and with a hopeless
feeling of the iminent death of the world as I have known it.
Of the wars and killing of not only children
but the air and the water we breath and drink to survive
She says of the children ,they will be rigid and traumatised forever..

Thank you for sharing my night out at the Writers Festival.
Lois (Muse of the Sea) 26.8.06.

Friday, August 25, 2006


When Morgan Gamble was 12 he pushed a classmate over a railing when she was trying to collect leaves on a class field trip for a project. The Project was a little booklet of local native plants and the little girl- Ona Crocata, fell to her death to the rocks below the bluffs.

In the spirit of true American Justice the police talked to Darren Marks, the bad kid who lit fire crackers in the bathrooms and smoked his dad’s cigarettes during recess behind the gym, they talked to Crystal Barker who’s Father was in jail and they talked to the Simon Ledbetter, one of the Park Maintenance staff who spent his weekends at Peace Rallies at the University in Feverfew.

The Police were about to resort to using a Ouija Board if need be to talk to a few of the executed criminals who took their last breath up at the Prison in Fallen (the next town over) because that made more sense then to even think about questioning Morgan Gamble, who was not only seen walking up the path to the cliff tops with Ona, people actually saw him running down the path after Ona hit the rocks below.

Morgan Gamble played baseball and was a Boy Scout and his older brother was a first year Med Student and his high school age sister a cheerleader. His Mom’s name was Betsy and his Dad was named Skip and they had two cars and one of the biggest, newest houses built in the newest and best new town of Ransomville.

Why on Earth would you spend time talking to a boy like Morgan who came from a family like the Gambles about the Murder of a little girl with perpetually tangled hair and socks that didn’t match and clothes that her Mother bought at the Neighbors In Need Charity Shops?

In the end a lot of people thought that, so Ona Crocata’s death was ruled a suicide.

After all, it was decided what else could it have been?

The stars that filled the sky lined up for Morgan Gamble: he got to grow up and get married and have a wife and a home of his own while Ona Crocata, wrapped in a simple white sheet and dressed (the dress had actually been carefully draped and pinned around the little girls smashed and ruined body) in her Mother’s best Easter dress turned to dust and bone in her simple pine casket at the Leaning Birches Cemetery in Larkspear.

Despite the fact the Sun and the Heavens smiled down on Morgan his eyes were closed to all of it. He didn’t see it; you don’t need to have open eyes to look into yourself 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Ona Crocata eyes were always opened.

And they were always looking out.

Morgan’s wife was named Ginny and the only difference between Ginny and his Mother were their voices. Betsy Gamble talked high and fast and Ginny Leonard-Gamble talked high and ultra fast so listening to the two of them at the same time was sort of like listening to a table saw running none stop for hours on end.

Morgan didn’t care as long as that high pitched whine wasn’t heading in his direction.

Only last Monday not only did that high pitched intolerable whine head his way it ran down his throat and he almost choked on it. The Whine was magnified a hundred times over and the sound levels could only be compared to standing next to a jet when it takes off.

God, what was that noise?

Then he remembered- Monday night was The Book of The Month Club night.

On book club night Ginny and her friends sat around in their living room and talked about plot lines and drank some wine, they talked about character motivation and then they drank more wine by the time they got around to talking about what the book meant they were all blasted which was good because the only thing worse then listening his wife’s book club talk was listening to them talk sober.

At least this way they were sort of amusing.

It made up for the screaming headache Morgan got when they were around.

Morgan managed to make it from their indoor garage with minimum pain when two little words drifted up from the living room to the entrance way as he closed the living room door.

“Dog Girl”

His face turned red and he looked up and around to make sure he wasn’t the one who had said those words out loud.

Then he heard it again only much louder this time, “Dog Girl”

He followed those two words into his living room and smiled his best toothpaste ad type smile to his wife and her friends and said, “You all sound like Junior High school girls…what’s this Dog Girl talk?”

“It’s our book of the month “Ginny tried to say “it’s a ghost story.”

“About a Dog Girl? What is that some kind of New Age Hippy Chick in search of her inner animal or something?”

They all laughed like they were suppose to and Morgan preened like he was suppose to and then Mr. Good Humor Man left the room, “No really, what kind of story is it?”

Ginny saw her husband’s face turn to a cold hard mask right in front of her friends for Pete’s Sake, how could he? So she tried to focus her eyes and get serious so she could get him out of the room.

“ It’s about this little girl who was murdered, when she comes back as a ghost she doesn’t know she’s dead and when she figures it out she kills her murderer.”

“Really.” Morgan held his hand out for the book. “Why is it called Dog Girl” was she ugly or something?

Ginny shook her head and the motion almost made her get sick. “No, that’s what he called her before he shoved her over the railing…Dog Girl.”

Morgan looked at the book and on the cover was a Walnut Tree growing over the edge of a cliff. “ No one could’ve known that, what it felt like to put his hand against the small of her back and feel that little push… no one except for Dog Girl and …”

“Morgan!” Ginny shirked as Morgan quoted the book “you’ve done it, you actually read a book!”

“How does she kill him?”

“He starts to see her everywhere, at the Park, playing with his children, in the Mall. She becomes as real to him as anybody and it makes him crazy.”

“Sees her?” he asked

One of Ginny’s friends chimed in, “He sees her everywhere. So he goes out to the Cemetery to find her grave and dig her up and it’s gone. Dog Girl is gone and so are her grave and tombstone and all.”

“ So, “ a high pitched voice grated against Morgan’s brittle nerves “ he goes out to his garage closes the windows and puts rags under the doors and such and starts his car and dies from carbon monoxide poisoning.”

“And just when he thinks he’s finally free of Dog Girl he sees her through the exhaust just outside of the driver’s window and he knows just as he dies it’s only the beginning. Dog Girl is never going to leave him…ever.”

Morgan nodded and for the first time in years, maybe for the first time in his life he looked outside of himself and all he saw was Ona “Dog Girl “Crocata.

He decided it would be best if he got use to it now because he had the feeling that was all he would be looking at for a very long time.

THE 477

We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea

-The Garden of Prosperine
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Clover Boonan takes the bus to work, she's taken the same bus..the 477 for the passed ten years. Before that it was called the "S-4" but it was the same route and much like the town of Larkspear it hadn't changed much in a very long time.

She tries to sit somewhere in the middle and she listens to tapes she recorded herself; they don’t follow any musical style or artist. They’re just sounds and voices and phrases that the Mortician likes to fill her head with before she turns the key to the Prep Room at the Funeral Home she’s worked at for over 20 years and disappears from the world of the living into the home of the dead.

When she was about 12 Clover wanted to be a writer, she wanted to write about demons and ghosts and cemeteries and the living dead. She wanted to dress in black and never smile and she wanted to live in one of those old Victorian style Mansions on Basam Hill.

Then one summer, after she turned 18 her Mother’s friend offered her a job at the Leaning Birches Cemetery in Larkspear.

Had Clover thought it was cool in those days to smile she would have.

Instead she looked up from her book (must’ve been something by Anne Rice…of course) and she shrugged, “Sure.” Was all she’d said from under her heavy black shadowed eyelids. “ I think I’d fit in there.”

That of course turned out to be so far from the truth it was a joke.

The Morticians Clover worked for were two brothers that inherited the Funeral Home from their Father.

Hunter and Calvin liked to sing Elvis and Frank Sinatra Songs while they worked, they attended every single Science Fiction Convention to come to town and they always dressed up as the bad guys from a show called “ Doctor Who”

“ You know Clover, “ Hunter suggested one day “ you’re looking a little pale around the gills. Why don’t you go out and walk through the Memorial Park? All that sun, all that white marble. That’s put some color on you really fast.” “ No thanks” Clover said from the supply cabinet where she was taking inventory.

“ Hey Clover” Calvin said with no room for debate “ why don’t you go out to the Memorial Park and do some maintenance? Rake up the leaves, clean up the dead flowers. That sort of thing. In fact, you should probably hop to it before you loose the Sun.”

Then Calvin opened a package on his desk and pulled out a little toy space ship that hoped you would live long and prosper when you pushed a little button on its underside.

He held the toy up to his brother, “ Score.” He said with awe.

Score. “ Hunter echoed back with reverence.

Clover was odd and pale and wore too much black but in the end it was got hard to be around Hunter and Calvin Larkspear and not end with some color in your life.

It took a few years but Clover made it all the way through Mortuary College, she attended Comic Book Conventions and she even got it into her head that she might start writing some day.Mysteries were her thing now and the only horror books she read anymore were true crime novels.

Over the years she couldn't read or watch a horror movie with out laughing out loud, so she have them up ages ago.

But when she put her headphones on and took that bus ride to work it was music she thought about. She loved the way the notes went together and the stories the songs told and she loved the voices, those lively colorful voices that wanted to tell you their secrets.This was the world she was in the day the lady in the gray linen shirt dress got on the bus.

The woman dropped some change into the fare box and carefully made her way down the aisle as the bus pulled away from the stop. As she walked towards Clover Boonan, something about the dress yanked out of her day dream of rock stardom and to the little black belt that circled the woman’s dress.

It looked like one that Clover use to own.

The edges of the belt were finished off with purple thread and because of that the belt had been considered flawed and she had bought it for less then dollar.And the dress…that dress looked like one of four shirt dresses her Mother had donated to the Funeral Home last winter. They had a closet full of donated clothes that they dressed Jane and John Does in. Jane and John Doe were people the County brought to Leaning Birches, which had some years back devoted at least 20 acres of the Cemetery to the surrounding cities less then fortunate citizens to be buried.
Calvin and Hunter had started the “ Closet” because the idea of burying people in sheets and plastic bothered them. “ I’ve buried Gold Fish with more dignity then this, “ Hunter had mumbled one day as he prepared John Doe 21704 for his casket.

The next day the brothers brought in some clothes and the closet grew from there.

Clover decided it was nothing, the belt and the dress weren’t unique. But the thought raced around her head all the same, “ no they’re not unique but those things are yours Clover. You know it…that’s your Mother’s dress.

The woman took a seat across the aisle from Clover and she smoothed her dress out before she sat down and Clover just knew the woman was going to look over at her and smile.

She snapped her eyes forwards and tried to concentrate on her tape where a man was growling into her ears that he could do dirty deeds for cheap.

Clover could smell the faint sweet odor of Jasmine, her Mother’s perfume. The thing of it was Clover’s Mom has worn that scent for so long she can’t smell it on herself anymore and she has a tendency to wear too much of it now.

So all of her Mother’s clothes, no matter how many times you wash or dry clean them the always smell like Jasmine Delights by Lucia.

Lots of ladies that age wore that scent, Clover told herself, lots of women that age wore that style of dress and lots of them had that hair style too. Clover did hair and makeup at the Funeral Home and of all the things she had to do that was the task that worried her the most.

“ It’s cinchy Clover,” Hunter explained on the afternoon she had finally run out of excuses for not doing hair “ it’s a pretty basic style just take the small barrel curling iron and make three curls on the top, two on each side and brush it out.”

It was called it the Granny Brush Out and even though it turned out it was an easy do Clover usually had to cheat and use bobby pins to hold the waves above the ears to hold the hair up.

Clover’s eyes shifted to her right, and of course right above the woman’s ear were two crossed bobby pins with a tiny bit of cream colored thread to hold them in place.

As the bus slowed down and pulled over to the next stop Clover hoped the woman would do what most of them did when someone got on the bus, the seated passengers looked out the window. And the Grey Lady was no exception. She turned her head too as the next passenger started towards the back of the bus and when she did Clover’s eye went to the woman collar bone.

Just under her white linen collar it was there, just like clover knew it would be because she was the one who put it there.

The little line of puckered skin held together with string.

Clover had made that incision herself and she had gently reached inside of this woman and found the artery .

And then Clover embalmed her.

She was sure of it as the woman turned and looked at Clover and smiled and when she did Clover decided she knew this woman.

Clover after all had shaped the woman’s mouth into a small smile with her own hands and she had brushed her hair and put blush on her cheeks and colored her pale lips with a soft shade of red.

The Gray Lady was a dead Lady and she was riding the bus with all of the other morning commuters like she belonged there. She fussed a little more with her dress and her hair and then she reached up and pulled the yellow cord and the bus slid to a stop.

She got up and before she could pass Clover, Clover reached out and touched her hand, still bearing traces of the power she had dusted on to give the woman’s hand’s some color. “ Where are you going? “ was all Clover could think to ask.

The Gray Lady looked down at Clover and smiled and she leaned towards Clover a little and said, “ I’m just visiting dear, just like everybody else.”

“ Just Visiting. “

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Inspired By The Soulfood Alphabet Project:

“ D” Is For Descent Into The Underworld

Tory Devenish was eight years old when his Father married Cascara Pomeroy. Sixteen years later, to the day, Tory Devenish would be sitting in a pale green room eating his last meal and sitting across from him in a chair that was bolted to the floor was Cascara. She didn’t say a word. She just looked at the clock, turned her face back to Tory and smirked.

“It should be you at the end of that rope Cascara not me…it should be you.”

Cascara laughed until tears ran down her face but she didn’t make a sound.

Tory use to enjoy it when Cascara came to the house to visit. Tory would wait for his father to leave the room and then he’d whisper “I hate you Cascara” and then he’d stick out his tongue.

Sometimes he’d even try to spit at her but Cascara would look down at him and smile that dark empty smile and she never said a word.

“I told Cascara I hate her,” Tory would tell his Mother on one of her infrequent visits.

“You did?” Mara Beth asked, her eyes wide and sparkling and with a wider and even brighter smile.

“Yeah, then I did this…” Tory stuck his tongue out and shook his hips from side to side and Mara Beth laughed and swept Tory up in her arms. “You’re a silly boy Tory Devenish.”

Tory looked into his Mother’s face and that’s when the thought came to him for the very fist time. “I think Cascara is a Wicked Old Witch.”

“She’s an ugly old witch!” Mara Beth laughed in agreement.

Tory’s heart warmed and burst and his Mother’s smile flared and burned bright and golden and consumed him until there was nothing left of him at all.

It was after that visit that Tory really let Cascara have it. Cascara’s dog disappeared, her herb garden died over night and the dry soil smelled like liquid laundry detergent long after the dead plants were cleared away and Tory would mouth the word “Witch” when his Father’s back was turned and he’d screech it out at Cascara when he wasn’t home.

“Are you accusing me of being a Witch?” Cascara asked him once and Tory stuck tongue out and sang over and over again, “Cascara is a Witch, Cascara is an ugly Witch.” Cascara never got mad and she never yelled. She looked at him with her slightly crossed dark eyes and smiled at him with all of her teeth and she laughed. She laughed and laughed and she never seemed to take a breath.

Years passed and Tory went from being spiteful little boy to spiteful teenager and one day he turned into a spiteful young man with a nose ring and jet black hair with blue and gold stripes above his ears.

“You know Tory, “Cascara said on that last afternoon he would be a free man “since you came into my life I can’t remember the Sun. Isn’t that funny? It’s like I’ve been locked in a dark room since my Wedding Day.” Cascara seemed to be talking more to herself then to Tory “since I married your Father you have buried me alive in your bile and spite. Why, I’d go as far as to say you’ve killed me with your poisonous nature. I’ll bet there isn’t a court in the land that wouldn’t find you guilty of my murder.” “Now there’s a thought.”

“What?” he snorted.

“You at the end of a rope, twitching away with a hood on your head. Wow, it would almost and I mean almost makeup for the years of Hell you brought into my life.”

“You’re sick,” he said.

Cascara went to the phone and he saw her hit the speakerphone button.

A flat impersonal voice asked for the nature of the emergency and Cascara screamed, “It’s my Stepson…oh my God! He’s got a kni-“Cascara jabbed the off button and walked out of the sunroom and into the kitchen.

Tory could see her lean over the sink and when she came back into the sunroom he saw the knife in her hand.

“ Put that down you crazy old bi-“he started to say.

“You said it yourself Tory, I’m a Witch, and I’m an evil old witch. Who’d have thought that a vapid little worm like you would have noticed or cared about anything outside of himself.” “I’ll be damned.” She said with genuine surprise. “No, “she said “I take that back…you’ll be damned Tory Devenish.

Then his Stepmother pulled the knife across her neck and as the blade whispered against her flesh Cascara was looking at something behind Tory and she winked at it.

Tory spun around to see what it was that her dead eyes where taking in and he saw what she saw. It was her plastic cat clock with the tail that was supposed to move from side to side.

It was 8:25pm.

The Police collected dozens and dozens of statement that seemed to tie Tory to Cascara’s murder. After all, he had spent the past 16 years telling anyone who’d listen he wished Cascara was dead. “ He was preoccupied with Cascara,” a neighbor said “ he couldn’t stop talking about her and how much he hated her guts and he wouldn’t shut up about her being a witch.”

There was a trial and his Father died from a heart attack right before the verdict was read. Tory hadn’t his seen or spoken to his Father since the night he was arrested for Cascara’s murder. He hadn’t seen his Mother either, he hadn’t for years.

So in the end all he really had was Cascara.

Tory is waiting in the pale green room with the stainless steel table bolted to the floor and he’s eating his last meal (cheese pizza and Buffalo wings) and sitting across from him is Cascara Pomeroy.

It’s 11:30pm and the executioner is at the door Tory stands up as the door swings open and Cascara leaps to her feet and she looks back at the clock and smirks. Tory watches the clock flip back minute by minute until it reads 8:25.

Tory looks down into his plate and back up at Cascara and she starts to laugh her dark silent laugh and it descends and echoes forever into an eternal night.

Cacciatore Luna

Such a lovely, golden hunter's moon tonight - here's a little story to go with it.

"Eloise, how good of you to come - yes, just drop your coat there, it’ll be fine.

What a lovely dress. It looks like a designer label. Paul bought it for you, didn’t he? No, don’t worry about it, I know his taste. I have a wardrobe full of dresses he chose for me.

Would you like a drink? How about a Martini? Paul’s favorite - but I’m sure you must know all his little ways by now.

Yes, this is a lovely room, isn’t it? I did all the decorating. I chose everything. Paul just signed the checks. There used to be a most charming lamp over there, but it got broken. We bought it on a trip to Italy. A wonderful little shop in Florence.

What do you mean, you’re embarrassed? We’re adult women, aren’t we? Just because Paul is my husband, and your lover, there’s no need to be embarrassed.

Oh yes, I knew about you. Bless your heart, dear, I knew about all of them.

Just a moment, I have to check on dinner. Do stay for dinner. Doesn’t it smell wonderful? It’s Italian - Cacciatore.

What was that, Eloise? What do I mean by ``all of them"? Oh but, surely, you didn’t think you were the only one, did you?

There’ve been so many other women. It started on our honeymoon, he was supposed to have stayed out all night on the crap tables, and it turned out he’d been with some cigarette girl.
What did I do about it? Oh, I cried and threw things, and he swore he would never be unfaithful again. And that’s how it was, every time - I’d find out, I’d cry and throw things, and he would promise faithfully never to do it again.

Did I do that when I found about you? Yes, I did - in the last few years I had calmed down about it, you know, but this time he said he was leaving me. He never said that before. You must have had quite an effect on him, Eloise.

Would you help me set the table? Just put those napkins out for me, there’s a dear. Yes, it’s just the two of us.

Nonsense, dear, there’s nothing wrong with us having a nice meal together like civilized people. There’s so much to talk about, isn’t there? It’s very important for me to get to know you. After all, Paul fell in love with you. I don’t think he was ever in love before, even with me.

My, you’re so thin. Do you eat properly? I’ll give you an extra helping of cacciatore. Nonsense, that’s not too much. Paul likes women with a bit of meat on their bones, or so he always told me.
That’s the way, tuck in. It’s a pity we never had children, you know, I’m sure I would have made a good mother, I love to cook.

Oh - you and Paul plan to have children, do you? How nice. Eat up, there’s a dear girl. I’ll give you the recipe if you like. This is Paul's favorite dish. Cacciatore means hunter, you know - I suppose it was originally made with game, like rabbit or deer.

Paul never wanted children with me. He always told me he would make a poor father. That’s so typical of a man, isn’t it? They never know what they want.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cry. I can’t help it. I keep thinking of all those wasted years - and the lamp. I didn’t mean to break that lovely lamp. I shouldn’t have hit him with it, but it can’t be helped now.

Never mind, eat up. That’s what I always loved most about Paul, in spite of his faults.

He’s so tender. "

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Nature Gift For Anita Marie

copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Friday, August 04, 2006


By Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired By "B is for the Blade of Grass"

at the Soul Food Cafe:

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.

To be precise Devilbit Lake is bottomless and cold and shines green no matter what color the sky above it is and it still shines at night. The last Space Shuttle that went up took pictures of it and in the picture you can see the oval shaped lake staring back up at you as green and bright as a cat’s eye in the dark.

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. 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…


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.

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 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.


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.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


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.

Friday, July 28, 2006


The Grave of Calisaya Stoneroot is lost back up in the hills of White Ash Mountain here in Washington State and not a year goes by a story doesn't show up on the evening news or the front page of a local newspaper with the headline:

" Remains of Hikers Found "

And somewhere in the story you will find that these Hikers weren't going to White Ash to admire the scenery. They’re out there looking for the grave of the infamous Witch of White Ash Mountain.

I know this story by heart and here’s how it goes…

Rocella Coffin was the law in White Ash back in 1964, she was short and dark and bad tempered, as most of the Sheriffs in the Duwamish Bay area are. To be specific none of the Sheriffs in Ballast County are known for their sense of humor but at times they do laugh and some joke and some smile all except for Sheriff Coffin.

Sheriff Coffin held her spot as the Ballast County" least likely to be amused by anything law enforcement official " with a grip so tight it’s unlikely anyone would ever be able to pry the title from her hand.

That title, however, became Coffin’s for all eternity when Avery Bowen showed up the day after the execution of Calisaya Stoneroot.

Avery pulled into the Sheriff's station and forgot to stop his truck. It only stopped because the Sheriff’s car (her own car, not her patrol car) was in the way. Avery wasn't hurt but he was bleeding and he was sort of running around in circles and no matter how loud she yelled he wouldn’t stop.

Sheriff Coffin didn't even read him his rights.

She just pulled her gun and shot him right between the eyes, right there in the parking lot in front of the Sheriff’s Station. When she was done Rocella stood over Avery's body and said down at his pale white face, " I told you to settle down, now start over. "

Avery looked up at her and said, " she's back Sheriff, and I saw her walking up the road not even an hour ago. Calisaya Stoneroot is back."

Rocella dragged Avery into her office and pulled a pair of tweezers from her desk drawer. She took a look at Avery's wound and dropped them back in and he saw she had a crochet hook in her hand. " Sit still " she told him.

Avery obeyed and he felt Rocella pull some of his skin away from his wound with her fingers and then with one smooth move the hook was in and out and in her hand was a small piece of mashed gray metal.

" Tell me what you saw, and I suggest you don't fool around with me because the next thing I'm pulling out are the silver bullets. Got it? "

Avery tried very hard to focus his eyes and he nodded, " I saw her down on Middleditch Road, walking kind of slow and funny and …”

If Avery hadn’t been so distracted by picking at the bullet wound in his forehead he would have found it a little amusing that Calisaya had been hung just the day before on November 5, 1964 at dawn for Witchcraft.

You read that right. Not 1664, 1564, 1264.


1964: That was the year Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in Prison and China detonated it's first atomic bomb and US Surgeon General Luther Terry affirmed that cigarette smoking caused cancer.

You read that right, it was 1964, and back in the hills of White Ash Mountain a woman died laughing with a noose around her neck and she was buried with that terrible wide grin on her face and her mouth was stuffed with garlic and her eyes had been sewn shut.

Not that anyone in the town thought it would do them any good; they'd figure Calisaya would be back before dawn.

They were right.

The towns’ people of White Ash had for the past 20 years tried everything to rid themselves of Calisaya Stoneroot.

First they tried bringing in that Priest from Seattle.

The Sheriff from Duwamish Bay and two of her friends that worked the Sideshow came to watch Father Thomas bless the Cemetery the Witch and her Demons were living in and Sheriff Coffin thought it might actually work; the Witch and the demons rode out of the Cemetery Gates like the Devil himself was chasing them.

Later Sheriff Coffin realized Sheriff Blitzer and her friends snorting and snickering and stupid comments were probably what really drove Demons and the Witch away.

Four days later Stoneroot was back.

Another year they even tried to burn Calisaya at the stake and Blitzer and a woman with bad skin actually brought Snow Puffed Marshmallows and skewers and handed them to Rocella and her Deputy with the advice, “ you might as well get something out of this cause that won’t work either.”

Calisaya, over the years, went from tormenting farm animals and turning the water in the wells to blood and making the crops and the fruit trees go bad (which turned out to be a favorite of hers) and casting curses and playing petty tricks on the Towns People to grave robbing.

That was the last straw as far as Ballast County was concerned.

They sent word down that White Ash cut out the theatrical executions and do something about Stoneroot or they (Duwamish Bay, Fallen, Ninebones Cross and Abandon) were going to do something about them.

The Valleys and Mountains if Ballast County were full of barren dead places where it could reach over 90 degrees in the summer and it didn't matter because it was so cold you'd get frostbite if you weren't covered up.

The ground in these barren places are full of a fine heavy dust that’s almost impossible to wash from your clothes and if you aren’t careful it’ll work it's way into your skin and cause a nasty infection that acts like leprosy.

That dust is all that’s was left of the people and the places that Ballast County 'did something about' when things got out of hand.

Sheriff Coffin had no intention of letting the town of White Ash become another open grave.

No matter what it took.

Even if it meant going to Duwamish Bay itself.

The Duwamish Bay Curiosity Shop is famous for a lot of things: it's genuine Egyptian Mummy, it's collection of shrunken heads, it's electric chair (you could sit in it and get your picture taken) it's " funeral tools from across the ages” and it's jars.

People drove from all over the state to look at " The jars" which where kept behind a door riddled with bullet holes.
Inside of those jars are things like the three headed cat, an alligator with human face, tumors and eyes and brains and limbs and hearts and medical experiments gone bad.
Most infamous of all in this collectoin is the 'devil baby”.
The Devil Baby not only had horns and a tail but an eye in the center of it's forehead and sometimes that eye opened and sometimes it was shut and no matter where you stood in the store you knew it was watching you.

The Shop was also famous for it's Soda Fountain but on that day Sheriff Coffin wasn't in the mood for a Strawberry Phosphate. She looked over the menu tacked to the wall and next to it on pressed tin sign was a sign that read


“ Want to take a guess?” Ignancia asked

“ No. “

“ Go on, take a guess…I got all day and from what I hear you don’t.”

“ The Baby…”

“ Nope, you’re wrong. Everybody wants that baby to be fake. That’s how come we don’t have to cough up the free ice cream. It’s that baby bless it’s dark little heart. Nobody wants that baby to be real.”

It was true; Rocella felt her chest tighten when Ignancia told her about the baby. “ Look Mrs. Guzman, I need to get rid of a nasty tempered Witch who’s developed some weird culinary habits. Can you help us?”

Ignancia looked up at the ceiling like she was reading something up there and Rocella had to fight the urge to do the same.

Finally Ignancia said, “ Oh, this is going to be good, come on follow me, we have to go into the Workshop”

Rocella followed Ignancia behind the Counter and they went back into her Workshop and as the door clicked shut behind them it occurred to Rocella the door had been there a minute ago.

As Rocella drove back up to White Ash she went over the instruction again, “ You can’t write these down you know. You have to memorize this so don’t blow it. “

“ You know why Calisaya is bothering you all up in White Ash and not us down here in Duwamish?” Ignancia asked

“ I don’t know she likes the View?”

“ Don’t be stupid, it’s because you’re all old world up there. All that garlic and chanting and potions. She’s a modern woman and none of that is going to work on her. You have to think, how do you trap and kill a modern witch? “

Rocella shook her head, “ Come on Mrs. Guzman, the Sun is going to set soon and the Auditors will be heading up soon. “

Ignancia handed Rocella three sheets of what she thought were paper. But as the Sheriff took each one from Ignancia’ s hand she saw what they were, she could feel what they were and worse they were still warm. “ I don’t want to know “ Rocella said.

“ Don’t be such a baby. Now listen. You go to that tree by your courthouse. You go up on a ladder this has to be at least 7 feet up and you nail this first…”

“ Spells? I thought you said the old world…”

“ It’s not what you think. This is strictly modern and legal. Don’t look at me like that … it is. See, this is a Summons for her to appear, the minute this goes up no matter what she has to come forward. This is a warrant for her execution you nail this up second. This time I think you’ll find your rope will do it’s job and so will fire. I’d go with the rope it’s so dry out right now you wouldn’t want to start a forest fire, would you? Now, this little puppy is the dealmaker. This is her death certificate. You just sign here and there and here “ Ignancia said as she flipped the heavy pages up one by one and I think you’ll find yourself short a citizen before morning.

But if this comes down, if someone is dumb enough to pull the nail out and this paperwork is disturbed. Well, it won’t be good for White Ash. Won’t be so hot for me either.”

“ Fine, you got a pen or something cause I have to be going…Oh let me guess” Rocella said as she sat down hard on a wooden barstool and tilted her head to the side. “ Don’t get any of it on the Uniform. I just had it cleaned.”

Ignancia pulled a scalpel from a little black bag and as she found Sheriff Coffin’s artery and nicked it open she asked, “ so Rocella, how’s the family?”

So did it work? You’re probably wondering.

Well, White Ash is on the Map, and you can go there if you want and see for yourself.

It’s small and old fashion and the Sheriff is bad tempered and has this funny scar on the side of her neck that bleeds at the wrong time (birthday parties, funerals when she’s in Court and swearing and using profanity isn’t something you don’t want to do at the tops of your lungs)

As for Calisaya Stoneroot, you know there isn’t a Halloween that’s gone by for the past 40 odd years since her execution that a bunch of weirdos from Seattle and as far away as Bellingham don’t descend by the hundreds on poor little White Ash looking for the grave of the Witch of White Ash.

Was she real?

If proof is all you want all you have to do is go to the tree besides the court house and look up and there on one of the branches is an old frayed piece of rope still gray and covered with moss and further up still are three pieces of something that looks like parchment nailed firmly to the tree’s trunk.

Just make sure you leave White Ash before the sunsets.

And before the residents of White Ash start thinking about dinner.

Friday, July 14, 2006

La Llorona Shaking It

copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

La Llorona

The Chamber of Horrors............

Hello? Is there anyone here? ............. Hello????

(creak, snap)

Hi. Whew! I'm glad it's only you. I was getting worried. Where is everyone?

Hello? Why aren't you saying anything?

What's that?

Get away from me with that. You could hurt someone.....

Get away!

I said Get away!!!!!

No, no, no.......



Anita Marie's Chamber of Horrors Challenge

( Fear by Goya )

Here are two places for you to visit:
What tales will they inspire? What poems or artwork will you bring back?
I wonder


When I was a young child growing up in El Paso, Texas, a dusty desert city right up along the Mexican border, I heard many different and fascinating legends, ghost stories, and superstitions. The area is very old and rich with folklore, and a very bloody history that lends itself to all kinds of interesting tales! I have many I can share with you, but this one is probably my favorite…

This is the story I heard as a child that scared me more than anything else could – the story of La Llorona. Just saying the name gives me chills to this day… La Llorona (pronounced LA YO-RO-NA) literally translates into “The Crier,” which is exactly what this spook is said to eternally do. Part sorrowful banshee, part angry spirit, part cursed creature, La Llorona is known to almost every Latin culture; the first story dates back to 1550! There seems to be different version according to region, but the stories are all centered around a woman who murdered her two small children hundreds of years ago. This is the version that is prevalent where I come from.....

La Llorona Is Real
In a town even smaller than mine in New Mexico, not too far from where I grew up, the younger brother of a friend was playing next to the Rio Grande river and ended up drowning. My friend's family swears to this day that it was La Llorona that killed him.

I realized that there's a lot of superstition in Northern New Mexico, but to people all over the U.S. and Latin America who I spoke to about La Llorona, the one thing almost all of them say to me is "she's real." After ten years of doing research on La Llorona all over the world and making my film, The Cry, now...more than ever...I know La Llorona's real.
Do you believe?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jump The Rope

Jump rope,
empty chamber
dust coat,
Wash hands
frenzy clean,
dive down deep.

copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beastie Victoriana Times at the Chamber

The night of a thousand years was
spent in a thousand rooms,
swirling and disappearing,
reappearing in another form,
thousands later.

Untethered, detached parts, pieces,
drab colours and strange species,
parts of bad news and tricks
of the mind.

Victorian horror,
cats in dresses, red cat's faces
with sad, bold temperaments,

Birds in flight, ragged
winged, as they were seen,
not as they were. Suspicion,
superstition, Hitchcock
discomfort in quiet rooms.

Take the chamber with its
webby decor,
sit in the creaky chair.
The door handle that comes
away in the hand, the lock
that binds the key.

Watch the film of fright,
as it rolls in the black and white
shadows --
of old stuffed seats and specimens,
and wicked stares.

The boiling insides,
the stiffened stays,
the memory of what was,
a child locked in a room,
and thousand years
ago, a thousand years on,

copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Excercise In Horror Challange

Over at the Lumerian Faraway Tree we are climbing up towards the Chinese New Year.

That's inspired another little Chambers Exercise In Horror Challenge and here it is:

In the Western World we are familiar with Were-Animals or people who can turn themselves into wolves or bears or cats. In China there is a belief that animals can take human form and here are a list of those talented creatures:

Were-rats (Now there's a thought!)
Plant Spirits
Animated Lifeless Matter.

I wonder what you'll come up with should you take this challange.
Share it here, use it for you own journal or blog...just have fun with it!

Anita Marie

Friday, January 20, 2006

It was a night to remember

It happened in the early hours
A week day morning
3.30 am to be exact
I had travelled far that day
I was exhausted and also hungry
But,I had an ache in my right knee
So to ease the pain I took a tablet
One containing parecetamol,
I kept a few in my purple backpack
Everyone needs a standby at some time
I had climbed the Faraway Tree
and on finding a small door just before the top
leading into a bunk bed style room I entered

I thought that climbing this tree
had added to the knee problem
So rest I did,and in no time was fast asleep.
I awoke somewhat startled
To find beside my bunk a black creature
It was trying to climb the wall
to the high window above the bunk.
It had left scratches on the wall
Its mouth was dripping with saliva
Its breathing was like that of a monster on fire
I reached out to touch it
a chain was around its neck
I thought it might have been a bear
that had escaped from the circus

It was dark,no lights in the Faraway Tree
So I was going on touch,imagination and fear
I said to myself "Lois take a deep breath"
I slowly climbed out of the bunk bed
putting my bare feet onto the cold floor.
Standing up I could still see this black creature
It wasn't as big as a bear ,its head was smaller
Its tail was not as bush as a bears' tail might be
But, it had a snout and a large pink tongue
Teeth white and very large,pink gums amd tongue

It was still trying to climb up the wall
Still panting,still oozing saliva ,its eyes wide open ,looking terrified.
I walked toward it quietly ,not wanting to come into its
vision suddenly
It was then that it made a turn as if to look at me in the eye
I stood trembling ,glued to the spot unable to move or speak
I had experienced this feeling only once before of utter fear
I thought back to that time when I caught a thief in the garden of my
home in the hills
Then he ran up the hill toward the road
with only the whites of his running shoes visible.

I calmed myself down ,it was then that the creature/animal
came down from trying to climb the wall
It was then I recognised who and what it was,
Jessie Dog had felt the loud thunder under her feet
and had become terrified ,without any hearing it must have been worse
She had climbed between my bed and the bedside table
a very small opening ,and was trying to get up onto my pillow.
She was trembling all over her poor wet body
I had not woken ,I had taken a pain pill and did not hear the thunder
I slept heavily ,dead to the world as they say
I woke from this deep sleep,got out of bed
lifted her heavy frame onto the bed
Snuggled her to me,held her tightly
Till she settled down
some hours later she was still shaking but by 5am the storm and thunder had passed and she slept soundly.
I didn't ...I never slept a wink and was up the next morning
much earlier than my usual rising time since retirement.

A dream...Yes partly,Truth yes much more of it
The moral of this story is to
listen to the weather report before retiring
So any unforseen nightmares can be avoided,and don't go climbing any trees before bedtime even in your wild fantasies

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 20.1.06


And in a short while I fell asleep