Monthly Archives: September 2014

LOST & FOUND

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LOST & FOUND

4:50 p.m. I just woke-up, and my foot is missing. I’ve looked in the most obvious place, of course, but it’s just not there. Darlene’ll be here at 5:00. Shit.

4:53 p.m. My hand’s missing now; it disappeared somewhere between the bathroom and the bedroom. It’s usually hard to miss those things. I have to stay calm. There’s bound to be a reasonable explanation. WHERE’S MY DAMN HAND??? Calm. Yeah, calm. Have to stay calm . . . calm–

4:59 p.m. This is not a dream. Right now, I’m crawling on the freaking floor looking for my legs. I know they just didn’t get up and walk away. Jesus, I must be going nuts. The doorbell? No, nobody’s there. It’s only the dog down the street barking. I hate that hairy little son of a bitch. One more minute. I just have one more minute … until … 5:00.

Maybe she’ll be late. No, that’s her. Always miss prim and proper. Always getting things her way. She’ll be on time. Never early. Never late. On time. Like clockwork. You can tell when it’s her because she always taps on the damn door with that cutesy little knock. Knocking out some tune. She’s a real Ice Queen, that Darlene. She thinks everything’s about her. But it’s about me. It’s always been about me.

Ice Queen. Wait. Yeah, that’s right. I put everything in the basement because the pantry’s too full. That girl last night, she was a real keeper. I had to keep every piece of her. It’s all about me. She’s mine to keep. Her legs. Her hands. I’m much more of a leg man. Hands do make the best keepsakes–they use up less freezer space. Yes. I remember now. Everything is tucked away safe and sound. Just the way I like it.

There’s the knock.

5:01 p.m. Hi, Darlene.

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A Special Moment

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I was sharing a real moment with my five-year-old this afternoon. He curled up on my lap and hugged me. It was wonderful. Usually, during these moments, most kids will say, “I love you, Mom” or something like that. Instead, my kid whispers in my ear, “Momma, the darkness is coming.”

All we needed was the horror music.

LOVE AND HATE

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Love and Hate

 

Love doesn’t rhyme with fate;

She doesn’t pine away in pigtails,

In her little pink room, dissecting daisies.

 

And she doesn’t write poetry;

She doesn’t sop up syrupy words,

With blank squares of paper.

 

Love’s the one waiting in the alley,

With the brass knuckles.

A GRAVE MATTER

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A GRAVE MATTER

My uncle always preferred the thought of cremation. You know, an urn full of fake flowers on a shelf or scattering his ashes over the ocean. A quiet kind of farewell–graceful and dignified without taking up a bunch of space. He didn’t want to be buried, but they didn’t listen. The funeral was really nice, though. There were lots of flowers–daffodils, roses, lilies. My mother had grown them herself. We don’t have much space in the house because of all of Mother’s flowers. Then again, she says they make things look nice.

But my uncle didn’t really like flowers, living ones at least.

They feed off of dead things, my uncle always said. I thought that was mushrooms or that white fungus that grows on old bark. Either way, my parents didn’t listen. They wanted something nice.

If they wanted the snow to go away, things had to be done right. Sometimes you have to go back to the old ways to make Spring come back.

Oh, and there was music, too, at my uncle’s funeral. The kind he used to always listen to. Maybe he can still hear it. The coffin is pretty thick, though.

Still, my uncle didn’t want to be buried.

Before they bury me, I hope they kill me first.

APPALACHIAN MONSTERS: WAMPUS CATS

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There are stories of wampus cats in Floyd, VA, where they are large black panthers. These mythical creatures supposedly stalk children and animals as they prowl through forests and farmlands.

According to Cherokee legends, the “Ewah”, a similar creature, is a woman that wanted to eavesdrop on men, hearing their sacred legends. As a punishment, the pelt that she wore to disguise herself then grew into her skin, transforming her. Another story has a woman wearing such pelts seeking revenge for her warrior husband that was driven insane by looking into the eyes of a great beast that haunted the woods.

Ever hear of a “catty-wampus”? I grew up with that word. It always meant that something wasn’t right. Some say that a wampus cat is a play off of that word. It’s a beast that isn’t human and isn’t cat, but something inbetween.

In Lott’s Mountain, these creatures roam the hillside. You can follow them if you want, as they wind past old, haunted buildings. But beware … find a wampus cat in the middle of the night and you never know the dark places they will lead you.

YOR: THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE

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Every barbarian needs he’s own personal theme song! My b-movie sickness is getting worse.

Movie in a sentence or less: … because he’s the man!

MONSTER PERSONALITY QUIZ

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What monster from the novel Lott’s Mountain are you? Are you the loyal will ‘o’ the wisp? A pishacha trickster? Or something totally different?

Check it out to find out what monster you are.

http://uquiz.com/iYgDE

 

I’m still hoping that I’ll have Lott’s Mountain out by this Halloween.  Wish me luck.

A SONG FOR MISS CLINE

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Today feels like a short story day …

A SONG FOR MISS CLINE

Uncle Ephraim has this weird habit of digging up the bushes in front of the M. Lauder Bank. Dead people can be crazy like that
sometimes. Hell, everybody’s a little crazy I guess.

I keep hoping that someone’s like me. You know, not dead. But I think whatever got Momma and Ephraim got to the town, too.

Miss Cline is dead, but she thinks it’s always Valentine’s Day. Every day, she gathers up all the valentines she’d made herself and
then sets them out again. Like clockwork, after the last one’s on the mantle, she pets her cats. They died some time back, locked in
the house, but she don’t notice. She just strokes their bony backs, rubbing the fur bald. There’s not much left to her face now, but she
don’t notice that either.

I feel bad for them cats. And her.

Other dead ones, like Hugh Crafter, ain’t that different from what they were when they’d been alive. Hugh still cleans all the time.
When she was alive, Momma would always say that it was pointless for him to clean his shack of a house. She’d say, “Bathing a
dead dog still gives you a dead dog. He might smell nice for a few minutes, but he’s still dead.”

I keep our house clean. But the smell’s still there. I guess Momma was right.

The snow’s setting in. If I don’t get out tonight, I won’t. The world’s a mean place is what Ephraim used to say when he
was alive. Real soon, I think it’s gonna get a whole lot meaner.

More of them dead ones are in front of the house.

Watching me like I watch Miss Cline. Except their eyes are a whole lot meaner. The ones that got eyes, anyway.

Ephraim’s on the porch. I can hear his boots creaking against the loose floorboards, making a long whine kind of sound. Momma’s
in the back bedroom. She hadn’t made a noise for a few days now. I don’t go into her room no more. I don’t want to see what’s left.

When Ephraim and Momma took sick, I stayed with them.

Back when she was alive she always said I’d never leave her. Said there was no reason to leave. Family was family. And you
cain’t never trust no one like family.

Miss Cline’s got music on tonight on some kind of wind-up record player. I haven’t seen nothing like that in a long time. It’s a soft
kind of music, like a love song.

I’ll wait for you forever … and I’ll never let you go. You’ll always be mine … Always … Always … And I’ll take care of
you, just know …

And I can hear Ephraim on the porch. He’s scratching at the door like a hungry dog wanting in for supper and I can hear him whisper real soft, like he’s singing to the music.

… And I’ll take care of you …

Food’s gone. No heat. No power. But that ain’t the storm. Hadn’t had power for a long time. Up here we lose power a lot. But the city … there’s always the city.

I make myself go out the back door.

The snow keeps sliding softly down and I feel it all over me, little bits of cold digging into my eyes. As the wind spirals by, the
snowflakes swirl like ants swarming on a dead thing. It’s hard to see. Everything’s all grey. No colors. It’s easy to get turned around in the dark. In the snow. I could go back home. Go through the motions. Pretend.

But that look in their eyes … and the smell … I’m not like them. And they’re starting to get that.

I kind of want to break something. Just so I can hear some noise. Hear something to remind me I’m not dead. That I’m not them.

And then I do hear something in the woods. I hope it’s just wolves. I hope I didn’t wait too long. But I promised Momma I’d take care of her.

… Always … Always …

Behind me, the boot prints I made are being filled up with fresh snow. I bet Miss Cline is still listening to her song.

Always … Always …

I just keep going, trying not to look back.

And I’ll take care of you …

If I make it a little farther, I should be able to see lights from the city. I want to see those lights. If I cain’t … No, if their power’s out, then there’ll be fires. There’ll be something, little lights like fireflies stuck out in the grey. I almost start laughing. Used to catch them things when I was real little. As a kid, I felt bad when I put them in a jar and woke up the next morning and they was all dead.

I’m crawling up the hill now, slipping and sliding every which way. Gonna go as fast as I can. But I’m gonna see them lights. I’m gonna see them. Momma used to take me up here when I was real small. Then I look.

Lights.

I’m laughing like an idiot until I feel a hand on my shoulder that’s colder than the snow.

And I think of Miss Cline and her cats.

… until the world ends …

Got a feeling that Momma ain’t been in her room for awhile. Maybe she just wanted to see the lights, too. Then I hear a voice, real
soft like the snow.

“… and I’ll never let you go …” Momma says.

… Always … Always …