Monday, November 30, 2009

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is not your average prison flick. Whether or not you’ve read Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, you’re sure to enjoy this poignant drama.

Almost a study in the effects of incarceration, this movie has it all. Brilliant acting by Tim Robbins as Main Character Andy Defresne, a young man wrongly accused of killing his wife and her golf-pro lover. Ditto applies to Morgan Freeman as Red – the man who can get anything.

James Whittemore plays the tough old librarian inmate Brooke; his role touches upon man’s dependency on the penal system. Add a corrupt warden, maniacal guards, and homosexual thugs and watch this movie span generations symbolized by pin-ups of Rita Hayworth and Raquel Welch.

Keep an eye on the pin-ups. They play an important part as Andy learns the best ways to survive his life of hell known as the Shawshank Prison. If you’re a King fan, or even if you’re not – watch this movie.

The Shawshank Redemption: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Friday, November 27, 2009

#fridayflash: Remedy

Lottie’s flawless white hands smoothed silky folds of pink satin undergarments as she placed them into her squat old brown suitcase. A cool spring breeze drew her to the open window where moonbeams shimmered softly through sheer lace curtains. A brisk knock on the door and Lottie jumped back from the window, her beautiful sky blue eyes darting anxiously around the soft pink haven she’d cocooned herself into for the past five years.

“Go away,” she whispered.
Instead, as Lottie knew would happen, the door swung inward and Frieda bustled into the dainty pink and white bedroom.
Frieda, buxom and shapely in her blue satin nightdress and reeking of the remedy, stopped short and stared down into the hastily packed old satchel on Lottie’s pink bedspread.
“What’s this? You’re not still seriously thinking of leaving, are you Lottie Dear?”
“I’m not thinking of it. I’m doing it,” Lottie said flipping back her long blonde hair and snapping the latches closed on her worn old suitcase.

“You know what will happen to you without the remedy,” Frieda said, reposing into a pink satin armchair, like a queen on her throne. She clutched an ornate silver flask in her lovely, perfectly manicured hands.

“I don’t care, I’m leaving and I’m leaving for good this time,” Lottie said, her pretty face puckering into a frown as she backed toward the open door. “What we’re doing is wrong.”
“What’s wrong with wanting to look our best? What’s wrong with bringing a little pleasure to some lonely men? We have to make a living, don’t we? What’s wrong with that?” Frieda uncorked the slender silver flask increasing the pleasant lemony, jasmine scent of the remedy. “Are you leaving without tonight’s treatment? It’s almost midnight, you’ll revert soon.”
“We’re not beautiful, Frieda. It’s wrong to deceive these men. It’s wrong to take their money. This remedy you created is wicked—it’s addicting and evil. The remedy—it’s changed you—made your face and your body beautiful, but it’s poisoned your soul. It’s made you cold, calculating, and greedy. I often wonder, is any of my sweet sister really still in there?”

Lottie smoothed the folds of her old gray cotton dress with warty, liver-spotted hands. Her face began to sag on one side, her top lip splitting into a hideous fixed grin as words became harder to formulate. Tears sparkled in sky blue eyes. Beautiful eyes now receding into lumps of bone and wrinkled flesh which sprouted haphazardly across Lottie’s ravaged skull.
“Cuh wid me,” Lottie begged.
Frieda laughed.
Lottie shrugged her bent shoulders, grasped the handle of the old suitcase with a twisted talon, and limped out into the fragrant spring night.
“You’ll be back,” Frieda shouted from the window of Lottie’s old room. “You always come back.”


Note: I’ve discovered, through a little blog research, a movement called “#fridayflash.” It’s to post flash fiction (stories under 1,000 words )on our blogs each Friday: the stories are then rounded up into a collector site to give fiction writers some exposure. At least to each other.

It’s sort of an excuse to get us off our butts and doing something that we all aspire to do – write.

I think it will be lots of fun. Remedy is my first “#fridayflash” piece.

Flash Fiction: Airdog

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dragon Chronicles II

In a recent post, I promised a new prediction quatrain per week in the spirit of Nostradamus. Below is my most recent Dragon Chronicle:

II. Trades and commerce bulge and swell
The paper trail leads into Hell
A lifelong wafer fits the need
This new knowledge quells the greed


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Subtle Sorcery

Dear Weezel,
This is a little scary because I think my Grandmother is a witch.
Whenever I spend time at her house, I have nightmares and I see strange things. She lives deep in the woods with lots of bizarre plants in and around her house.

She grows huge ugly plants and I’ve seen her out in her yard whispering to the plants.
She dries a lot of the weird plants and often I see her cooking bunches of smelly plants in a metal pot on top of her wood stove. Sometimes when she’s stirring her concoctions, her eyes are closed and her lips are moving like she’s in a trance or something.

What really convinced me, however, happened last weekend. On Friday night I had a wicked bad nightmare where a shadowy figure chased me through Grandma’s garden of strange bushy plants; the plants reached for me with their slick rubbery leaves . . . I woke up then to find Grandma perched beside me on the bed, her face scrunched into a dried apple of concern above her narrow shoulders. I’ve been suffering nightmares for as long as I can remember, but that one grossed me out and I think Grandma knew it. I think she saw something in my eyes.

The next day, she gave me a little cloth cushion about the size of a bar of soap, and instructed me to keep it under my pillow at night and my nightmares would disappear. The little pillow smelled funny: kind of like mint and cabbage, almost a little sickening. It also crackled and puffed a bit when I squeezed it, but I placed it under my pillow like a good granddaughter.

AND my nightmares are gone. I sleep so well, I’m afraid I won’t be able to wake up on my own. I have the little pillow at home in my room with me now. I’m afraid to close my eyes without it. I guard that little pillow like my life depended on it; running home from school each day to make sure it’s still where I left it.

What’s wrong with me? Is my Grandmother a witch? Is she putting evil spells on me?
--Carrie H.

Dear Carrie,
Nature provides us with a magical pantry. Since ancient times plants and herbs have been used to improve our lives. Energy harnessed secretly by knowing practitioners can create a powerful balance – can guide fate with a blend of whispered mystery carried down through the ages. I call this subtle sorcery.

You are right to guard the pillow, it’s your natural instinct stepping in to protect you. The pillow was made for you and to work it needs to be near you: keep it safe. Your grandmother believes that she is helping you. It sounds like you believe it to. Set your fears aside and enjoy another good night’s sleep.


Friday, November 20, 2009

The King’s Magic

It all started during the Night Shift.

In 1977, in a small Massachusetts library, a bored housewife picked up a volume of short stories by an almost unheard of author. Thus, The Magic griped me in it’s fist before I finished my first King edition.

I became so spellbound by the words and workings of Stephen King; I guzzled everything on the library shelves bearing his name. Once I’d absorbed works already in print, new books and stories just didn’t happen fast enough. Have you ever harassed librarians and bookstore clerks? Tormented them as thoroughly as Pennywise plagued seven children in one of my personal favorites? It wasn’t a pretty picture.

The article in Time magazine first appeared in 1986. What a big mistake. Not only did the article feature a picture of his house, it printed his address. Needless to say, it took me no time at all to locate the big mansion in Bangor, then about four hours away. I burned rubber, making that four-hour trip in Maximum Overdrive – just content to Stand before the big black gates and gaze with Shining wonder at the Dark Tower of the most talented author of my time.

Soon I found a job and settled in the Bangor area to begin my phase of worship. I sent fan letters; I begged for an autographed photo. I even shot many pictures of the King mansion from every conceivable angle. I hate to admit it, but one Halloween in the late 80’s; I followed a group of pre-school trick-or-treaters right up to the doorstep and stood mere inches from the King Himself as he doled out treats to the youngsters. I was his number one fan . . .

Until I peeked into the mirror and spied Annie Wilkes peeking back. With the writing of Misery, I glimpsed Mr. King saying something important to his fans.
“Back off.”
I’ve changed my behavior considerably since Annie Wilkes swung her ax. I no longer haunt the neighborhood of West Broadway in Bangor. The King’s Magic is still with me but in a different way; I create my own magic.

My house in Maine is small, dark, and hidden: it lies quietly on the outskirts of Bangor. As I blaze ahead to where every fiction writer has gone before, I can now look back on those days of idolatry with fresh eyes. My Dark Half has always been here: waiting for the ax to fall.


Note from the author: The King’s Magic first appeared in the September 1994 edition of SKIN (Stephen King Informational Network), a newsletter published for Stephen King fans. All first time article contributors had to answer this important question: “What does Stephen King’s writing mean to you?”

SK Tidbit: Stephen King’s The Graveyard Shift was filmed in the town where I currently live. The film was shot at a small woolen mill where my son worked. My son, a high school student at the time, is actually in the movie for a split-second. Each day, during the filming, he would fascinate me with stories of how the movie was made. At the end of shooting, the crew gave him a Graveyard Shift tee shirt for his on-the-set assistance in the making of the movie.

Stephen King's Graveyard Shift

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Puppet Masters

I like an old horror movie from time to time. This Golden Oldie, circa 1994, from Hollywood Pictures recently aired on Cinemax. Directed by Jeffery Dashnaw, The Puppet Masters still holds enough punch to keep the interest of horror and science fiction fans alike. The special effects are a tad weak by today’s standards, but the story line is well thought out.

In the small, sleepy, town of Ambrose, Iowa – a UFO crashes to earth witnessed by three average teenaged boys. They don’t remain average for long nor does anything else in this cool thriller.

The aliens, who seem to be a cross between a stingray and a cicada, quickly flatten across backs and attach themselves to spinal cords. Hidden beneath bulky clothing, they control the minds of town residents. From their concealed positions, they branch out quickly making it all the way to the White House. Candidates needn’t worry, however, the president is miraculously spared when Donald Sutherland (the main Dr. Goodguy) realizes that his son (Eric Thal) is infected.

Julie Warner does a superb job as the beautiful scientist with a degree in alien life forms. The twists and turns of this movie make it an enjoyable two hours of solid entertainment. It is extremely difficult, as the movie progresses, for the watcher to distinguish the puppets from the uninfected. I would recommend this movie to all fans of horror and science fiction, provided you realize the special effects are from the region of 1994.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Was Nostradamus Yesterday’s Blogger?

In a recent airing of Nostradamus Decoded on the Discovery Channel, experts speculated that the Frenchman’s quatrains (circa 1560) appeared on the market of the day because they suspected Nostradamus wanted to write something people would read – much like today’s blogger.

I was fascinated by the assumption that Nostradamus, one of the most quoted writers of his time, may have simply wanted to write fiction that sold.

His predictions (quatrains), popular with French common folk and royalty alike, streamed doomsday historical clues to his public via early printing presses and small volumes sold in markets and apothecaries.

Unlike today’s blogging crowd, Nostradamus dealt with a public who could have literally served his head on a platter if they didn’t like what he had to say, or if they thought he leaned toward the supernatural or practiced witchcraft. Some believe this is why his written words appeared shrouded in anagrams and necessitate decoding by civilizations past and present.

In society today, writers may be shunned and verbally flogged for their beliefs and convictions, but blogging and the Internet give anonymity. This is a unique opportunity for the common people not readily available in bygone times. We have the freedom to marvel over whatever suits us and to place these written words on our blogs for the entire world to see. If Nostradamus were alive today, I predict that his rhythmic blog would be one of the most popular and largely viewed on the WWW.

So . . . how can I make my blog as popular as a perceived Nostradamus blog? Maybe some really cool and bloody predictions about Anti-Christ number four? How about another elaborate end of the world prediction?

I think not.

Written below is my first quatrain. It serves as my initial prediction for the future. My quatrains are written in English, of course, so they may not have quite the same ring to them as those of Nostradamus. Maybe you will know what I am predicting, and maybe you won’t.

Dragon Chronicles
I. An ancient Scribe came to pass
Scholars join through the looking glass
Voices hush across the land
Witness the miracle of the twisted hand


Nostradamus 2012

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Essence (3 -- conclusion)

I worry that she’ll hurt herself wandering aimlessly through the dark shadowy house. I fear she may walk out into the night and never come back, lost forever in her gloomy trance. She could wander the dark streets for eternity, like a lost vampire.
I’m afraid to speak to her. I’m afraid that she’ll mistake me for the “man”; the one who wants to steal her children. The one she seems destined to evade.
Would the beautiful essence ever harm me?
Her voice is an echo from a deep cave. Her eyes are jade marbles in a pale face. Her words -- a meaningless jumble in the night.
Sometimes I’m so afraid.
I wish the woman didn’t look so much like me.
Maybe tomorrow I will speak to her.
Tomorrow, or the next warm summer night, I’ll dredge up the courage to walk quickly over to the essence of the woman, take hold of her smooth white pointing arm, look deeply into those rich green glazed eyes and speak to her.
If I speak quickly and calmly . . . it should work.
I’ll simply say, “please wake up, Mom, you’re sleepwalking again and it scares me.”
No, I shouldn’t. Dad says it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker.
Do you think he knows?
Do you think he’s seen her?


Note from the author: Although The Essence is a work of fiction it is based on an actual summer night experience of mine. Probably around my eleventh or twelfth year – once again the outcast sister because of my over active imagination, and my love for all things horrible and horrifying – the only one of us willing to stay up late and watch the newest movie on “Chiller Theater.” You remember it, don’t you? Its logo sported a hand with 6 fingers waving up out of a cemetery plot -- usually aired black and white horror features after the late night news on Saturdays during the early sixties.

At this point in my life, I’d already become an avid reader and enjoyed first name casualness with our small town librarians. I also dwelled in my “Nancy Drew” phase, which meant that everything happening in my life became somehow mysterious . . .

Through out my childhood our mother walked and talked in her sleep. She is an avid somnambulist (sleepwalker). A sleepwalker meant new mystery for me and my mother became the subject.
Any stranger stumbling into her in this state would not know she was (gasp) the walking sleeper – a live zombie – if there is such a thing. It amazed me how she had such an active nightlife and never remembered any of it the next day. I’d quizzed her many times. To try and wake her during a sleeping episode meant far worse as we‘d suffer her sharp tongued (if somewhat garbled and senseless) wrath right then and there. Either way all would be forgotten the next morning and this simply became a spooky way of life for my family.

I hope you enjoyed The Essence.


The Essence is © 1994

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Essence (2)

As I opened my mouth to speak, her large round lustrous eyes jerked to my face – like she read my thoughts. Gooseflesh pebbled my arms. My mouth sagged soundlessly open as she lifted one pale and ghostly arm and pointed a finger directly at me. Her mouth yawned into a wide wavering cavern – I thought she would scream.
She vanished; dissipated like fog at daybreak.
With shaking hands I switched off the television, I paused briefly at my parent’s bedroom door. In the glare from the streetlights I saw two blanket covered humps. I heard gentle breathing and gained courage from the comforting sound. I pulled in a few shaky breaths of my own and struggled to shake off the fear that had enveloped me in its rigid clutches. Calmer, I tread softly upstairs to my own bedroom.
My three sisters, gently snoring cocoons, lay tucked away for the night in their own little rooms next to mine. I envied their oblivion. As I huddled wide-awake in my bed watching the streetlight beams dancing over my blanketed knees, I once again tried to unravel the mystery of the walking essence.
Am I the only one who sees her?
Am I the only one who hears her?
Sometimes, late at night, upstairs in my room, her whispers waken me. Disturbing cries echo mysteriously through our old house. Strange haunting pleas like, “where are my children?” Or “Please help me. The man! The man! He’s taking my children.”
“Can’t you see him,” she would moan. “He’s right over there.”
I would lie awake for hours on these nights . . . Listening and mulling those troubling words over in my mind. Too afraid to investigate. Too afraid to budge from the comforting warmth of my bed. I’m only a kid! Only a kid . . .

Continued in my next post

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Essence (1)

I’ve promised more fiction so follow along with me now into the shadowed mystery of my written words. Join me in a disturbing little tale of eeriness that I call:

The Essence

I crouched quietly in the darkest corner of the room, knowing she would appear. It was summertime. Warm dry breezes wafted the curtains gently. Neighborhood noises barked an occasional protest to the night. Ghostly shadows of an old black and white horror movie danced across silvery-white walls. Movie sounds, mere whispers, hovered scarcely within earshot. The buttery aroma of popcorn lingered like incense in our comfortable old living room.
As my chin bobbed gently against my chest, the apparition loomed out of the shadows. My breath whooshed out with a soft hiss. She didn’t glance in my direction.
The angelic vision glided by me with apparent purpose.
I’ve seen her before.
I’ve always marveled at her beauty. Long dark hair fell like midnight waves across her shoulders. Raven curls swirled softly around her cherub’s face. Large green doll-like eyes stared straight ahead. Her long white nightgown billowed behind her as her bare feet whispered over the carpet.
I watched with curious wonder as she floated from room to room. She stopped occasionally to pick up a knick-knack or bright object, and ran her fingers over its contours, as if blind, before gently replacing the object. She always returned the items to different locations -- not where she’d found them. Sporadically her pale lips opened and closed and she whispered uncertainly. The words were sometimes garbled and had no meaning. At times they were perfectly clear but out of context.
Fear prickled my neck like a mohair sweater when the woman walked. I’ve thought about speaking to her. I’m curious about why she haunts my house on quiet summer nights. I wonder about her strange whisperings and even stranger wanderings.

Continued in my next post

More Creepy Fiction

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mafia Wars

If you haven’t heard of this fast paced, highly addictive, and a tad violent gangsta game that’s taking some of our social networks by storm, let me clue you in. My daughter and her friends play this game – requests for untraceable cell phones, sting grenades, blueprints, and silver cuff links now dominate my live feed.

It seems that on a dark screen set in 1920s New York, you arrive from Europe hoping to attain the American dream. Your dream can come in many forms, but you decide to follow the quickest, easiest, and deadliest route to achievement and fame. To do this you must work for one of New York’s Mafia Families, where you can soar up the ranks. Do you have the guts to become "The Don"? Can you survive as a mogul, a maniac, or a fearless gangster?

Your task is to stay alive as long as possible. You do this by taking out aggressive enemy gangsters who attack you from all directions. You can pick up many additional elements and allies for some fierce game-play. A perfect game for those of you looking for fast and furious yet straightforward action!

Buy weapons, ice enemies, mug, rob, steal, beat up and take out rival gangsters. I attempted to play the game to determine the attraction and to research this article. Unfortunately I simply didn’t have the patience or the desire to stick with it.

It's no joke that the Mafia Wars game can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. Unfortunately for me the weaker players tend to get “taken care of.” So watch out punks.

As far as I can determine there are no legal cheats in Mafia Wars, aside from odd glitches that intermittently happen and freeze the hell out of your game when they do. Attack increases the damage you do during fights. Defense reduces the damage done to you in fights. Health determines how well you survive fights. Energy is your ability to do jobs, and Stamina allows you to fight more often.

One of the best ways to make money in Mafia Wars is to do jobs and help your family with their jobs. Invest in property for a steady stream of income. Get into fights and target players on the hit list. There's no better enjoyment than stockpiling money while icing a gangster rival.

Choose your character depending on what you want to accomplish in the game. Moguls level up the slowest, but they make money quickly. Maniacs recover energy quickly and are better equipped for doing jobs. The fearless types recover health quickly, which gives them an advantage in fighting. Once you select your character type you cannot change it later in the game.

Play every day and you will get a bonus of three Godfather points every day that you sign in. When you level up, you will get one godfather point. You also have a chance of getting looted items while doing jobs that say “Chance to Loot” with the loot bag in the job description. Looted items can be really lame or really cool. Obviously, you want all the really cool loot. So keep doing your job and don't be lazy, punk!

If you enjoy a little gore-spattered violence and you have plenty of time to waste – this game is for you!
Call me iced and bloody in the sticks --Weezel

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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Haunting of Molly Hartley

The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008):
The movie begins in a sinister forest where we get our first glimpse of Molly’s probable future. The film pans forward to Molly (played by Haley Bennett) making a fresh start at a new school after her mother’s psychotic episode – we will continue to see more of this episode through bits and pieces of Molly’s visions and flashbacks. Molly promptly befriends a Christian zealot slightly nerdy girl and of course hunk senior Joseph (Chase Crawford). She soon learns that everyone is not who they seem to be. It appears that once Molly turns eighteen, she’ll be liable for a supernatural bargain made long ago by her crazy mother and weak father – a bargain that she’ll not be allowed to escape.

I found this movie to be a reasonably adequate psychological thriller. Being a natural skeptic as well as an inquisitive and dark thinking individual, I found this flick to have a subtle symbolism that many films steer away from because your average movie viewer doesn’t have the attention span to figure it out. This movie had a few slow spots and was a bit forgettable, but still enjoyable. I would watch it once and then let it go.

Haunting of Molly Hartley

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Dear Weezel,
I find carnival people very disturbing. They seem to all have small hands and feet and smell like cabbage. Is it just my imagination or do carnies all have loose skin, floppy ears, rubbery features and fields of liver spots on their small twisted hands and stunted arms? Clowns are even more unsettling -- over emphasized smiles on grim faces; the peculiar costumes and brainless humor. Even as a child I could not loosen up enough to laugh at them or enjoy them . . .

Many years ago, as a youngster, I was taught to avoid carnival people because they steal kids, as I got older I heard that they steal dogs and cats as well. My father said real carnies are gypsies and they steal about anything that isn’t nailed down, including animals and kids. I think the older generations – grandparents -- used fear to keep their kids away from carnies. In the fifties I used to watch carnies set up and tear down at street fairs until my mother had a fit, she said they would steal me and eat me.

Do you think my family’s attitudes gave me this fear of carnies? I can’t even watch television shows about clowns and carnies without breaking into a cold sweat.
--Lonny C.

Dear Lonny,
Apparently you are not alone in your unique fear. I found a public group on Face book called “Afraid of Carnies.” The group (from 2007) has about twenty-eight members and a weird looking clown for a logo. I wondered for a moment, if they were really serious, and after reading their posts it looks about fifty-fifty. As for me, I think I’ve probably watched a horror flick or two located in a carnival funhouse and of course I love the creepy darkness of it all.
What shot into my mind when I read your email was a really cool movie I saw on HBO in the 80’s – Carny with Jodie Foster & Gary Busey. To me it’s one of the few films I’ve seen that depicts the Carny atmosphere from the 50's and 60's that you spoke of. Behind the Merry-Go-Round and candied apples hunkered games of chance, displays of human oddities, and sexual expositions. Gary Busey (Frankie) played a dunk tank clown who specialized in provoking marks to throw baseballs at him. The movie only brushed on the gaudy and ominous inside world that shadows a Carny's publicly exposed spaces. Jody Foster’s (Donna) life on the midway took her too close to the freaks and lowlifes that populated that Carny world.
If you, like me, enjoy being afraid then this is the movie for you! If you’re really prone to shivers at the sight of carnies, perhaps you should avoid this film. Whatever your choice, thanks for sharing your fear with us . . . what a delightfully chilly glimpse of an often-overlooked sideshow fear.


Other Cool DVDs

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Secret Eyes (9-conclusion)

I wish I’d never gone over there.
Determined to talk to True after I hadn’t see him around for a few days, I wanted to draw him out. To go exploring like we’d done in the old days before we’d ventured into that accursed old farmhouse. I figured that he was just holed up working on that painting of his. The painting, which seemed to have become the center of his existence.
Nobody answered my knock that day, which is usual in Maine, folks tend to knock once then walk right on in. I’d been entering the Mister’s house like that since I was in the second grade so it took me a moment to realize that something was wrong.
The Mister’s car was parked in the driveway and the door cracked open, but nobody was home. Breakfast dishes still on the table.
Just like . . .
No! My mind screamed. Don’t think about that farmhouse!
Tendrils of fear snaked through me as I cautiously approached True’s room.
In the center of his typically messy boy’s bedroom stood an old wooden easel. The painting perched on that easel sent my mind careening toward the edges of insanity. Inhaling sharply, I grappled for a better hold of my senses -- pulling them in before they totally slipped away.
The painting wore muted earth tones of olives, golds, and browns. It held many of the features of the farmhouse painting of horror, but contained a few subtle differences. In True’s painting, I was frozen atop Pancake Rock with my skinny arms outstretched to the boiling tan sky. Hidden in the fingers of my hands – just barely visible if you unfocused your eyes slightly – were two tiny sets of eyes.
The horror doesn’t stop there!
Down in the bottom corner, the one reserved for the artist’s signature, dwelled two sad yellow eyes.


Author’s Note: Secret Eyes first appeared in the Magazine: The TearSheet in 1993. A special thanks goes out to all of you devoted readers who stuck around to see how the story would end. I hope you were not disappointed. Comments, critiques, and musings are always welcome. I will try to respond to as many as I can.
In the meantime . . . let’s glide down the silky cobwebs of imagination. Don’t look back; forge ahead with me into the mysteries of the unknown. Don’t fear the darkness, welcome its comforting shadows . . . and follow me into the vastness of tomorrow.

Secret Eyes is © 1993

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Secret Eyes (8)

As I stared at that painting, granted I had a deepening fear at work on my senses, I swore those eyes all glared into the depths of my soul. Reaching and prodding with increasing urgency, looking and wanting . . . Needing and pressing . . .
I tore myself away from that peculiar artwork and bolted like a frightened cartoon mouse. True raced along right behind me, for once, but he whooped and laughed like a chimpanzee. True chortled and snickered behind me, but I didn’t stop pedaling until my bike shot into my front yard with the force of a major leaguer sliding into home plate. Breathlessly I turned to face my still cackling friend True.
“Bernie, you sure were a sight.” He gasped between big huffing breaths of air. “I thought you’d spray your jeans when you saw those eyes.”
“Something was wrong back there, didn’t you feel it?”
“Naw, it was just a painting, Man, just a really good painting.” True stopped laughing and looked thoughtful for a moment. “I’m gonna do a painting like that someday. A really great painting. One that grabs at you like that one did. I know I can do it. Didn’t you just love it?”
“N-no . . . No, Man. I didn’t see nothing great about that picture. It was wrong somehow. Can’t put my finger on just what was wrong with it. It was evil-like. Scared me shitless.”
True shrugged, we didn’t talk about the painting again that day. I wanted to forget I ever saw it, but its burden will remain with me forever. To this day I have never been able to shake those eyes off of me. It’s like the eyes became a part of me that day, I may never be able to cast them out of my mind.
The eyes haunted me, but not like they haunted True. He became obsessed about recreating that painting and he went about it in his old True style. He no longer asked questions about the abandoned houses or their occupants. It was as though he somehow already knew the answers. Now he asked questions about paint, and colors, and canvases.
Hester and John Mister’s house stands empty and forgotten now. People around here don’t talk about it. It’s almost like they don’t even see it. Likely, they don’t know what happened and they don’t want to know. I wish I didn’t know.

Continued in the next post

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Secret Eyes (7)

As the rain thrummed on, I moved to stand by the front door. I wanted out. The sheer balefulness of the place disturbed me. My hives were hatching hives of their own and I kept glancing swiftly from side to side as if there were moving things on the edges of my field of vision. “True, could this place be haunted?” My voice had a shrill, tinny ring to it.
True looked at me, his big yellow eyes shining with excitement, “I suppose it could be. Might ‘splain why folks left it in such a hurry.”
I watched True carefully crunch his way through the rat turds to the dusty stone fireplace. Above the hearth was a painting that looked like it didn’t belong there. It took me a moment to realize what first gave me that impression, but then I noticed the cobwebs stopped short before reaching it. Apparently the spiders in this house had no eye for art. True clambered up on the hearth to get a better look, I was starting to shiver now inside my damp flannel shirt.
“Bernie,” he shouted, “Man, come and look at this.”
“No. I want to go home now. This place gives me the creeps. Come on, let’s get out of here.” My voice wavered to a scratchy whisper -- the longer we remained inside that house; the more hives erupted on my body. Only now I was too scared to scratch. I felt as though I needed to stay alert. Like there was something dangerous crouching unseen in the dusty corners of this old house – just outside my line of sight. Lurking . . . waiting . . .
“Man have you ever seen anything like this before? It’s the most amazing painting I’ve ever seen. It took me a while . . . but . . . well, com’ere and see for yourself.”
“What is it?” Eyes darting in all directions, I reluctantly scrambled up beside him. “What’s so special about it? Just a picture of Pancake Rock. You drew one yerself. I don’t see what yer so all fired worked up about . . . “
That’s when I saw them.
The painting, at first looked like an average work of art done in muted earthy tones of olives, golds, and browns, but when I looked just right . . . unfocused my eyes just a little bit . . . I saw them.
Hundreds of eyes were painted in with such skillfulness that to the average looker they melted into the scene with a watchful repugnance that made my skin crawl, hives or no hives.

Continued in the next post

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Secret Eyes (6)

The house windows held enough grime to make peering through them quite a chore. Before I could rub myself a clean spot, True was turning the front door knob. I pretty much stuck to his heels from then on. The house smelled bad, rotten and decaying like punky old wood you’d find in the forest. Inside it also reeked, but a different stench, more like urine and old wine.
The interior of the house was not what I’d expected. Instead of emptiness and desolation, it was completely furnished with old-fashioned flowery furniture. It looked as though the folks who’d lived there had gone out to tend the farm one day and never came back. Dirty dishes still littered the kitchen table. Old food on them would have long ago been devoured by rats, mice, and insects. Mouse droppings littered the floors and open surfaces. Our shoes crunched over the debris as we walked about. Cobwebs shrouded the rooms with an eerie filtered light.
“Bernie, look, it’s like I said before – what happened to the people who lived here?”
I could only shrug. Who knew?
“Something must have happened, they’ve been gone for a very long time. Should we check the other rooms in case they just up and died here?”
I nodded and we carefully creaked our way through the old farmhouse looking for clues to its abandonment. I breathed a calmer sigh when no bodies or skeletons turned up. All of the bedrooms were empty with neatly made beds – moth-eaten and grimy now – but in their day they had probably been neat. Old homemade quilts and braided rag rugs gave me an inkling of the way homes may have looked about twenty to thirty years ago. The room reminded me of old photos that my mother had, photos of my grandmother’s house when she had been a girl.

Continued in the next post

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Secret Eyes (5)

Traveling atop the huge expanse of granite was a little like exploring another planet, maybe even the moon. Small water filled craters sprouted spindly moss-like growth and pale green lichen made a soft carpet of irregular patches across the cratered rock. From the top, we looked down on Notch Road and saw the center of town with little ant-like people scurrying about. On the opposite side, huge fir trees fanned out and over Mineral Peak, like a green blanket. On the east side sprawled wide expanses of old cow pasture with uneven tufts of vegetation, ancient cow pies, and broken fencing.
I wish, to this day, I’d never turned west. Of course west of Pancake Rock squatted the old abandoned farmhouse that belonged to the old abandoned cow pasture. Even from way up there I noted its deserted state of disrepair. True saw it too and pulled out his sketchpad. Hives materialized across my arms as I watched his pencil fly smoothly over the contours of that old farmhouse.
I sometimes speculate that if it hadn’t rained that day, I could have talked True out of investigating that place.
In fact, when rain pelted our bare arms with increasing ferocity and True said we’d just go inside to find a dry corner until the rain let up, I didn’t even argue. I scratched at my itchy wet arms, grabbed my bike and followed him inside the barn.
Broken warnings echoed from just behind my ears. Bad floors . . . Strange things . . . Danger . . .
We leaned our bikes against a rusty old tractor that hunkered inside of the weathered barn, and then raced through the rain onto the house porch. It creaked like an old lady’s rocker.

Continued in the next post

Bags department

Friday, November 6, 2009

Secret Eyes (4)

No one gave us any lucid reason for the many deserted buildings in West Ellis. All we got were ramblings about the general unsoundness of the structures.
Round about this time, True was getting so exasperated by the evasive answers we received, he decided that we should just go in those houses and get some information on our own. Hives bubbled on my arms at the prospect.
After reaching his decision, True didn’t talk about the empty houses for a day or two. I hoped he’d forgotten about the plan or maybe had been talking big for my benefit. Should have known him better.
One Saturday, we planned to bike up Notch Road to Pancake Rock. John Mister told True how to find the rock and he wanted to sketch it for his ever-growing collection of small town drawings. The rocky ledge was supposed to be round, flat and resting on an outcrop of smaller rocks like a stack of pancakes. John Mister’d said we could climb to the top and see a good bit of West Ellis from up there.
Sure enough we found the strange rock formation in an old cow pasture at the top of Notch Road. I wandered around it looking for a way up as True sketched. Circling the huge rock, I noticed a stunted birch growing up and over the backside of the rock. It made perfect handholds for easy climbing. In five minutes I was on the top shouting down at True. Later, when he showed me his sketch, I noticed that he had penciled me in on the top of the giant flat rock. Both of my thin arms stretched toward the glowering sky.

Continued in the next post

Creepy Books

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Secret Eyes (3)

One thing that amazed True most, as we peddled over little used dirt roads looking for new areas to explore, was the amount of abandoned homes we found. In the years since I’d met True, we’d never seen a home become abandoned. The houses we saw seemed to have been already vacant for years. I remember at least a half dozen scattered though out our town. True just couldn’t fathom why they were there at all. Questions, more questions.
“What do you think happened here, Man? Did the people just up and move out? Was it maybe a family that went bankrupt and couldn’t afford the payments? Maybe they were old folks who both died at the same time. Why hasn’t someone come around to take care of the house? Somebody, somewhere must know something. Wonder if there are dead bodies still inside? Maybe there are skeletons or old valuable coins . . .” On and on went the questions until I started scratching at my hives some more and wondering if True would simply bust with frustration about those poor deserted places.
I had no answers. Any adults we talked to about the deserted houses couldn’t be bothered to really tell us anything useful. True used to sit and draw the houses on a sketchpad he always carried with him. He’d show the drawings around town and ask the same questions he’d pumped me with. Seemed nobody could tell us what became of the people that belonged in those homes.
“Thar treacherous places pigeonholed wit termites and bad floors. You younguns stay out o’ thar.” Or . . . “Dangerous spots, strange things been known to happen round them ole deserted properties. Strange things indeed. You boys stay outa there! Don’t go messin around in them shoddy places now, hear?”

Continued in the next post

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Secret Eyes (2)

He didn’t share these theories with the Misters anymore after he’d once heard Hester murmur to John, “more like she was a little slut, got herself knocked up one day.”
I think Hester's words really hurt True. Tears had welled in his big yellow eyes when he told me about it. He’d always liked the Misters, said they were pretty decent as foster parents go, treated him like a regular kid instead of a farm hand. As far as I know True didn’t hold that remark against Hester, he just didn’t ask her so many questions afterwards. Course, by then he had me for a friend and I could listen to True talk all day. I think that’s why we hit it off so well. True’s a talker with big ideas; I’m a listener with hives.
True had come to Maine as an inquisitive seven-year-old. Together we spent the remainder of our childhood exploring the wonders of small town living. Everything was such a huge deal when I looked at it through True’s eyes. To True, everything about the country was exciting. He absorbed the hills and valleys of West Ellis as though he were studying for a test or something. And questions, the questions True could come up with always floored me. I’d lived in West Ellis my whole boring life and never questioned anything about it. The town was just there. That had always been enough for me until True came along with his never-ending curiosity.

Continued in the next post

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Secret Eyes (1)

True Boyer and I were friends the minute we both plunked our butts on Mrs. Randal’s dunce bench together in the second grade.
Not that we’re stupid or anything; True had this annoying habit of questioning adult logic that Mrs. Randal didn’t care much for and I happened to back him up that day, which I’ve been doing ever since. True had a knack for asking questions that drove adults crazy.
I once heard his foster mother, Mrs. Mister, say; “the boy was born with a question mark in his mouth.”
This came after True grilled her on why she had married John Mister if it meant going through life called either Mrs. Mister, or Hester Mister. How he managed to ask those questions with a perfectly straight face, I’ll never know. Mrs. Mister had haughtily suggested that a boy named True shouldn’t be throwing stones at glass houses, or something like that. True had smiled, and shrugged, and given me one of those yellow-eyed looks that said, “you see, Bernie, adults don’t know everything.”
True always maintained that his missing parents had named him “True” because they expected him to get to the bottom of things. All he really knew about them was that they’d abandoned him in a church when he was two days old. True used to speculate that they had been famous artists dying of AIDS who had tried to leave him a message with his unique name.

Continued in the next post

Poster Art Page


Monday, November 2, 2009

Star 77

Marion T. writes:
Dear Weezel,
It was about 11:00 PM and my friend’s daughter Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren’s parents have always told her never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until she gets to a gas station, convenience store, etc.
Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, promptly called *77 on her cell and proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars in her area and there weren’t. He told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.
Ten minutes later four cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and wrestled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes as well.
How scary is that?

Dear Marion,
I never knew about the *77 direct link to State Trooper information, but heed my advise -- especially women alone in cars on dark, deserted highways -- you should probably never pull over for unmarked cars in an unpopulated area. Police should respect your right to keep going to a safer place. This story sent a shiver down my spine. We all believe in and trust the police . . . this is why unsavory characters like to use these tactics to lure in unsuspecting victims. Marion, keep your fingernails sharp, keep a dagger in your boot, a huge hatpin in your scarf, and a vial of pepper spray in your pocket. A little fear of the unknown wouldn’t hurt either. Thanks for the story & stay safe. --W

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