Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Visitor From Far Away

Abbey Project
Completed on 6-27-06

The science of alchemy is the science of the conversion of things into other species”
Dominicus Gundissalinus, scholastic philosopher.
(flourished ca. 1150)

Riversleigh Manor has been left in darkness and behind the Black House in the Gardner’s Shed Mr. Undercroft, The Undertaker from the town of Faraway is packing a bag.

His pale blue face is smiling and his hair is combed back and his suit has been cleaned and ironed and on his work table among the dusty jars and rusted pruning shears and dirt encrusted garden trowels are shiny sharp tools with curved hooks, thin razor sharp edges, jagged edges and bone handles. As he packs he takes inventory of the clean tools with his long skeletal fingers, not his eyes and when he’s done he carefully folds the tools up in a white linen cloth decorated in blue ink.

Then he places the bundle into his black leather case and snaps it shut.

“Leaving us Undercroft” a voice says from the window, “leaving us?”

Undercroft doesn’t look up because he knows there is nothing to see. Instead he looks down and says to the rotted floorboards “not for long, don’t worry I’ll be back.”

“What a shame. We do hate you Undercroft.”

“Likewise” Erasmus Undercroft snaps as he pulls the bag off of the table “likewise to be sure.”

As he leaves the little shed behind the Black House the darkness follows him.

It always does.

Erasmus watches Riversleigh disappear; she’s hidden herself behind an orchard that has been pretending to be green and alive.

No more pretending now.

He can see the windows crack, the marble fountain in the Courtyard crumble and the curtains turn to dust on their rods. Doors are slamming shut and rusted tumblers are falling into place and locking themselves.

Erasmus can hear the floorboards settle and spilt, he can hear support beams crackle and snap and struggle to hold themselves together. He can feel the Riversleigh’s foundation buckle and crumble and turn to dust under the house.

After its done Mr. Undercroft places his hat on his head, and smiles at the dead house and waves a little before he turns and walks into the hills.

It could have been days, or weeks or years or minutes before Mr. Undercroft arrived at the Abbey. On that first night the Black Monks of Fallen passed him on the road up to the gates and he nodded a greeting and they laughed back and one called out, “Good luck to you Undercroft “

Erasmus startled at the sound of his own name. He wasn’t use to being seen…felt but not seen and he frowned a little and started to think…

Mr. Undercroft found his place in the Abbey, he’s in the Catacombs.

In the miles and miles of tunnels, among the bones and crypts and walls that whisper he was whistling and humming and unpacking his bag and when the door behind him swung open “Kamahra!” a voice calls into the darkness, “before we loose you down there why don’t you take the time now to come upstairs and say hello and have something to eat. You must be after famished your long trip.”

Mr. Undercroft doesn’t answer, there’s only the darkness and the sound of his unpacking, then he remembers to say in the dead woman’s voice “ Starving” Mr. Undercroft says as we puts on the dead woman’s face “I’m Starving”.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Completed on April 16, 2006

Back along on Deception Road is a little farmhouse that no one lives in.

After the house was built and then put up for sale the orchard out back died, the little vegetable garden died and all of the pumpkins and squashes and tomatoes rotted right on their vines.

Even the flowers in the window boxes shriveled up and turned to dust within a day or so after they were set out and all the little farmhouse could do was slam its doors open and shut and make the clock in its kitchen strike twelve over and over again.

The man who built the farmhouse, Travis Janosik, use to stand out at the road and wonder what the hell was going on in there, why was it that nothing could live near that place without giving up the ghost.

There was nothing about Travis that would make you say, ‘you know that killer house? The one on Deception Road? It was built by Travis Janosik” and the person you would be talking to wouldn’t reply, “ Well of course it was a strange house. Look who built it.”

No, the house turned bad all by itself and this bothered no one more then Travis. What bothered him more than that though happened when the house was two years old.

That’s when someone actually bought it and moved in.

The ‘someones’ who bought the farmhouse were the Korbar Family.

Travis use to drive out to Deception Road and park across the way from the Farmhouse and watch it. He’d see Darius Korbar working the vegetable garden or see him sitting on the porch with one of the many children he and Mrs. Korbar had and they acted like any other family living in those hills.

Unless of course you really watched them the way Darius did.

At first he had no interest in the Korbar family. His interest was in that house and what it was up to now. It didn’t have to settle for killing plants and the odd field animal that got to close to its walls. Now it had the Korbar children who scuttled around the property in their ill-fitting clothes.

At least that’s how it looked but then Travis realized it wasn’t the clothes that didn’t fit right, it was the bodies inside the clothes that weren’t right.

The children’s heads were to large for their small bodies and their hands and feet didn’t seem to be the same size and when they talked Travis felt the hair rising up on his arms and the back of his neck and that’s when he’d cut his daily vigil off.

Once Travis saw Mrs. Korbar come down the front steps with a tall glass in her hand and make her way to the garden to where Mr Korbar was working. She handed him the glass and he kissed her cheek and then she made her way back up the steps and Travis watched her but didn’t notice that as she climbed the steps her head was tilted slightly backwards and her back was straight as a pole and she never bent her knees.

It was like she was gliding up the steps and not walking up them at all.

Towards the end of the summer the gardens were dead and rotten and Mr Korbar was out there working it like it as if it were alive and thriving. The ground was water logged and moldy with green slime. The vegtables were rotting and decayed and you could actually smell it when the wind shifted.

On top of the fact that Travis was watching a man harvest from a garden full of rotten vegetables he was also sure that some of that smell was coming from Mr Korbar too.

Travis promised himself after that visit he wouldn’t go near the Farmhouse on Deception Road. Something was wrong with it, something was wrong with the people living inside of it and Travis was certain if he didn’t stop going over there something would be wrong with him too.

Of course, it was too late because that something had already happened to Travis and he found himself standing at the end of the drive leading right up to the Farmhouse the next day.

He was standing at the end of the driveway this time, in plain view and pretty soon Mrs. Korbar came down the steps and met him down there with a basket of rotting carrots and maggot filled tomatoes.

“ We never got the chance to thank you for building this wonderful house Mr Janosik. Its perfect and we love it so.”

Travis was looking into the basket of dead and decaying vegetables and he said, “ How could you love it so? Nothing can live inside of that thing…”

And Mrs. Korbar said, “ Well, Mr Janosik nothing does…”

What The Dead Man Heard

For some reason this excercise was hard for me to do. Guess it hit a little to close to home...
Completed on April 16,2006

The Dead Man was wrapped in plastic and resting on the lower shelf of a C.U in a Funeral Home exactly four miles from where he once lived and exactly a half a block from where he died.

" So this is the guy that bought it outside the cemetery, I mean, is that a smack down or what?" the Dead Man heard. " Like, to DIE right outside a Funeral Home." The plastic was pulled back from his face and the Mortician, a young woman with vines and flowers tattooed around her neck, hidden while she worked with a high neck collars shook her head. " Dude, normally I don't pass judgment on the dead or how you got that way.... but that has got to be a major burn."

Her name was Alissa and she liked to listen to music as she worked. Loud music, especially at night when she had to work alone. The caretaker who had seen her drive up and knew he was about to be treated to hours of something called The Ramones asked her why she had to have the stereo up so loud and she said, " You know, we really shouldn't be here at night. You ever get that feeling?"

The Caretaker nodded because he understood it all right; he didn't like having a night shift around. He wished that the Morticians quit slacking off or doing whatever it was during the day that managed to put them behind schedule.

What he really hated though was that they called these night shifts " Embalming Parties" and when more then three of them worked the Night Shift they ordered Pizza from 4 different places and took bets on which delivery would actually show up.

Morbid little psychos.

" So, anyway, wouldn't want to over hear something I shouldn't."

The Caretaker agreed, "No you wouldn't" and he smiled and Alissa thought that The Caretaker (Tony) was one of the rare human beings who were lucky enought to be exactly where he should be in this life.

Alissa spent hours rebuilding the Dead Man’s face. At least only one side was damaged and she could use the other side as a guide. When she was finished she pulled the skin back up and over and looked at him for a very long time.

Then she started over.

Alissa was cleaning the Dead Man up when she heard someone walking up behind her, felt someone look over her shoulder and they were close enough that Alissa could feel their chest press against her shoulder.

“ You do wonderful work” the voice that was neither male nor female said but one thing she was sure of it was cold.

Alissa shook her head and wouldn’t allow herself to turn around because if she did that she’d end up running and leaving the Dead Man alone with that cold voice and she couldn’t.

Until they put him into the casket he was her responsibility.


Then she heard rustling behind her, and she knew that whatever was back there had just sat down on the little green chair they kept in the room and they had slid it forwards towards the embalming table.

“I do enjoy watching you all work. After all with the flick of a scalpel and the plunge of a needle you try, and the word is try to not only hide my art, but also deny I even exist. Young lady, we’re speaking artist to artist here. How would you like it if I reached out and did the same…”

Alissa turned her head away and she felt a hand push at her waist to move her aside and she knew it was reaching towards the Dead Man, to the stitches on the right side of his neck. She pushed back and ignored the voice.

She even managed to smile.

The she placed her hand on the Dead Man’s shoulder and she told him, “ Here we go Sir.”

Alissa gently slid The Dead Man off the embalming table and onto the cot and she was about to wheel him out of the Embalming room when she saw the radio through the doorway next to the lockers in the Prep room. It was sitting on an orange plastic chair, like always only this time the cord was neatly coiled and resting on top of the stereo.

She had forgot to plug it in.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Treasures from The Land of Standing Stones



I've made a few things since coming to the land of Standing Stones...want to see?

I've made a Medicine Bag-

His name is Calabar Felonway and I made him with my own two hands, right here in the Land of Standing Stones. See that hill behind us with the weird tree growing at it's base?

What do the travelers call it?

Oh yes, the Screaming Tree.

That's were I met, made (whatever) Calabar Felonway.
One of these days I'll get around to Calabar's story and what I've hidden in him. But that's for another time. Right now it's between me and Calabar.

This is my Surrender Box-

His name is Lesser Thornapple.

Lesser sits on my work desk and during Christmas people decorate him with tinsel and during Halloween they drop candy into him and the rest of the time people poke at his empty eye sockets with their pencils and pens and I'm glad his jaw is missing or there would be a few less pen and pencils and fingers in the world.

I tell Lesser all my secrets... like where my stories really come from and I tell him about my nightmares and about the things that really scare me...that's probably why Lesser Thornapple isn't normal anymore. I know I haven't been the same since I started to talk to Lesser...yes, I've changed a lot.

So those are the treasures I've made since I came to the Land of Standing Stones. And I thought I wasn't the artistic type!

Anita Marie

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Excercise: Crime Baron's Table
Completed 9-05

I've posted this again for two reasons.

First of all it shows you that evil characters aren't just seductive evil beautiful people. They come in all shapes and sizes...and some aren't people at all.
Plus this killer also inspired a character I created for the Faraway Tree Activity at the Cafe.

His name was Mr Nightfall and he is truly evil.

So here it is...my killer.

Watch your back.

Up on Mount Rainier here in Washington State is a glacier that is a cemetery.

There are 65 bodies in that Cemetery that are accounted for; we know they're up there we just can't bring them down because they've fallen into crevasses and have become entombed in the ice.

(Mount Rainier Glacier)

Rainier since they began recording the deaths in 1909 claims lives every single year.
Some of the dead can be recovered.

The Mountain keeps the rest.

I've grown up in the Shadow of Rainier and it has grown larger in my mind every single year.

It haunts me now.

When I look at it I think, if it was a human you'd see it on the evening news; it'd be like that guy next door, that ordinary man who wears glasses and drives a fuel efficient car and mows his lawn and rakes the leaves and does all those other things that says, " Hey, don't worry about me, I'm just Mr. Normal...see? So don't worry about me...look the other way "

And you do and it turns out he's a serial killer and has bodies buried in his yard,
his basement and has left a trail of them up and down the highway he drives every day to work.

That's what Mount Rainier is like, it takes a great picture you trust it enough to let your loved ones to go up there for fun and short visits.

Why it's just a beautiful place.

Then one day you run across its history...its OTHER history like I did and you find bodies.

Lots of them.

There are over 300 recorded deaths since the Mountain became a park a century ago.

That's the key, recorded.

The thing is killers keep killing until you catch them and once you do it turns out the damage was worse than anyone could have imagined.

Mount Rainier hasn't been caught.

And I’m sure we haven’t seen the worst of what it can do.

It’s a volcano and no, it’s not dead.

It’s very much alive.

Friday, March 03, 2006


WRITING EXCERCISE: Through A Tourists Eyes
Completed March 2, 2006
images collected from the internet

These are four little reasons I love Seattle and maybe in here is one reason why you might want to visit it someday...that is if this doesn't scare you off.

Reason I love Seattle #1

In the old days when the tide came in all the toilets would explode. That's why the bathrooms were built high up off the foundations.

Reason I love Seattle #2

This is our Trolley Car. I loved this thing because when it passed over the street
(Which is my warehouse ceiling) it would make the ground shake, cement bits would fall from the walls and the mortar holding the bricks together would poof out just like little puffs of smoke.

The part I enjoyed was when people would scream, 'what is that an earthquake?' and I'd say something like 'no, don't be silly it's just really big rats in the walls'.

Also, I put this here because this baby was made in...


Australia...don't ask me, how it got here. My guess is someone in our transportation system got drunk and won it in a card game.

No, I'm NOT kidding.

Reason I love Seattle #3
This is the building I work in...well, under. This photo was taken in the 1940's and by this time the building was a little over 30 years old. I only mention it because my Great Grandmother was convinced it was haunted. She use to tell us that the only thing more haunted then that building was the ground they built it on.

Whatever made her believe that happened around the time this picture was taken.

That's no lie.

Reason I love Seattle #4
We consider this art in Seattle

Enough said for now, but this is my own private Tour of Seattle and I'd love to have you come along again soon.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

And Today's Special Is...

MARCH 1,2006

I used this exercise to work on a character sketch for a Werewolf Story I'm working on. I love any activity that focuses on dialog and this exercise can be used in to do exactly that. Of course you could follow the directions or you could play with it like I did.
So here's my Lunch Box Interview with Al Dente

Over the lips
passed the tongue
watch out stomach
here it comes.
-Lunch Time Prayer uttered by Students all over the world

Tell me about your lunches.
"They talk too much. ' Don't eat me...eeekkk, help' Stuff like that. Same old same old day after day. Its not exactly stimulating conversation."

What can you tell me about the lunches you eat?
" After awhile they all taste like chicken."

What do you remember about your school lunches?
" Oh, the good old days. Back then I use to love the hunt. Chase 'em down and chow them raw. Now the arthritis is setting in. Plus, there's nothing sadder then a Werewolf with bad eyes trying to catch its lunch. Especially when you trip and your lunch laughs..."

Were there any family jokes about what you liked to eat?

"I went through the alphabet...like all my lunch’s names had to start with the letter " A". After awhile my family started to call me Alphabetti Humanetti. Anyway, the villagers got wise to me and started to number their kids instead of naming them. I almost starved to death"

Who made your lunch?
"Uh...are you kidding? What did you skip biology class? Like you really don't you know where babies come from?"

Were you ever able to buy a lunch?
"This Ogre named Calvin use to sell lunches. He was a nice guy. But the lunches were caged and they tasted funny. Real gamy. They must've been bottom feeders."

What did they stock in the school canteen?

"Most of the time it was Damsels in Distress and Dragon Slaying Knights. By the end of the week they'd stew whatever was left over. It was BORING."

Did you ever slip across the street with your mates to the fish and chip shop?
"Yes, of course we did! And after we ate the cooks and patrons we use to dump the fish back into the Bay."

Did any one in your class have a better lunch than you? What did they have? Were you ever able to swap with them?
"I use to swap Werewolf Hunters for Vampire Hunters with my friend Carl. The Vampire Hunters were my favorite cause they'd try this Kung Fu fighting stuff on me.It was so funny. Sort of like dinner theatre. But the best part were these bow and arrow things some of them carried around. I'd use the arrows for a little something I invented called Hunter Kabobs.
Hunters on a Stick. Gosh I loved those...especially with catsup.

Where did you eat your lunch? Who ate their lunch with you? Did you eat alone?
"Werewolves are social animals you know and we don't like to eat alone. So I eat my friends and family. Oh no wait...I mean I eat WITH my friends and family"

What do you have for lunch now? Do you still own a lunchbox? Do you make your lunch or buy it?
"I skip lunch now and I eat healthier then I use to. I've gone back to my old ways and the Village I live in now has very clean living livestock. And yes I do have a lunchbox. It's that big box behind you with the little gold handles. Very good, it's a coffin. Thank you for noticing."

Who makes the best lunches
"Those Villagers down the road.... they’re really into physical fitness and they really work on things like running. Wow and let me tell you they can do that darn fast.I mean, no matter how big or small young or old you should see those little legs work!"

Do you eat the same thing every day?
"Of course I do...nature of the beast you know."

Is there a lunch that still haunts you?
"They all do my friend...they all do."

What is the worst lunch you have ever eaten?

What is your favorite place to buy lunch?

"Noses and Toeses On The Pier"

Would you buy from a school canteen?

"Sure I would, especially if they serve Students on Rye."


Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Tribute...

Darren McGavin, an American Actor passed away on February 18th. He worked in both television and film.

This is my tribute to the actor Darren McGavin who I saw for the first time in a made for TV movie called " The Night Stalker ".

The character McGavin played, a reporter named Carl Kolchak was a writer AND a hunter of Vampires, Ghosts and Demons. Carl Kolchak didn't look perfect, he didn't dress perfect and he spent a large part of the show being abused by his boss, co-workers...even these actors playing shop keepers and cab drivers got to score points off of Carl.

If you were a kid (and I was 10 at the time I saw the first Night Stalker episode) you could relate...

And if you were a kid who wanted to write AND Hunt Vampires, Ghosts and Demons, well my gosh this movie was a gift from the Heavens. It was like someone threw open the doors and said..." here it is Anita, this is going to be your life."

Writing...Monsters.... the two can be combined.

I'll be darned.

So that's what I did.

I was already attending the " Rod Serling Academy " in the " Twilight Zone ", so I was more then ready for Kolchak and what Kolchak The Night Stalker taught me was that you could think outside the box. Heroes didn't have to be like James Bond. They could be smart and funny and less then perfect.

They could be someone like you or me....

That has been an invalueable lesson to me as a writer.

Thank You Mr McGavin.