Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Stories!

Since today is Halloween, my very favorite holiday, here are some scary stories I wrote for DWChitown's Mary Shelley Story-Telling Party the other week. Warning: neither story is particularly subtle. If you don't like blatant, gory description, these may not be the stories for you. 

The Dreaded Ghost Disease

Once my body was haunted. Not possessed--haunted. Ghosts are the worst kind of disease. They move around, and consequently they are difficult to catch. Even harder to expel. 

My ghost started in my hair. It constantly frizzed up, and random strands stood on end. Pieces of it flew around wildly, even when I was nowhere near a breeze. I tried to wash the ghost out in the shower. I scrubbed the shampoo into my scalp over and over again. I set my blow dryer on the hottest heat. I scraped through the mane with a sharp teasing comb. My hair became brittle and broken. When I ran my hand through it, whole clumps fell out. Perfect strangers insisted that I start using conditioner. I tried to explain that it was all for the best, that it was important to nip my otherworldly infestation in the bud before it spread. But all they saw was a hideous mop of hair, not a haunting. 

Then the pesky ghost migrated to my skin. Sometimes it felt like there were clammy fingertips sliding up my thighs, or over my shoulder, or under my chin. The bumps began after that. It was too cold outside for bugs to bite, but I broke out in itchy hives all the same. My doctor said it was eczema, but I knew better. I tried scratching and picking at them first; it didn’t help. My skin was so irritated that I couldn’t sleep. I kept rubbing my legs against the sheets, wishing they were made of a coarser fabric. I bled and I scarred, but it wasn’t enough. I needed something more abrasive, so I swapped my lotion for nail polish remover. Eventually this new daily regimen started taking the skin right off. That’s when my mother sent me to the hospital.

The night before I left, she asked: “Doesn’t it sting, honey?”  I told her I didn’t mind the stinging if it made my uninvited guest go away. She began to cry and muttered something about how the doctors would help. I suggested that a psychic would be more useful than a psychiatrist. She just cried some more.

Once I was all settled in the stark hospital ward, the ghost settled into my digestive system. It set my stomach churning like boiling water; it made me feel like worms were coiled at the bottom of my throat. I spat spiteful abuses at the nurses filled with words I didn’t know I knew. Of course, I didn’t know them. The ghost did. The ghastly intruder made me bite down on my pills and taste the bitter powder inside them before licking my tongue clean on the dirty mattress. I got so fed up with it all that I began to stick my fingers in my mouth. First one, then two, as far back as they would go, hoping that I would vomit up my unwanted tenant. The doctors didn’t like that one bit. They started giving me shots that made me fall asleep, which I guess I didn’t mind so much, since it made the ghost sleep, too. 

But it was still there when I woke up, and I hated it. And I hated my mother for not believing me, and I hated the doctors for doing nothing to stop it. So one night I stole some Drano from the janitor’s closet. Even as I died, I felt that wretched ghost pacing the slowing chambers of my heart. 

Justification Lullaby 

I’ll tell the truth
I have been sleeping with the lights on
Ever since I left you
--D.M. Stith, “Pity Dance

The thing I remember most is your eyes when I tucked you in. They were harder to close then I thought they’d be—one kept sliding open slowly, as if someone had tried to glue the lids together with an old, expired adhesive. It was like you were peeking to see if I was still there. 

I wasn’t there for long. The forest floor was already a bed of dry brown leaves. They curled and cracked when I quickly swept them over your body. They got stuck in your hair and your sweater. You slept beneath them for weeks until somebody found you. I hope they were comfortable. I swear I do.

I loved you, you know. But I’m sure you understand why I had to leave; there were too many uncomfortable silences, disapproving glances, meals in front of the television. You went to church too often. It just wasn’t pretty anymore. It didn’t smell good. My mouth began to feel sticky whenever I was with you, like there was too much sugar on my teeth.

I suppose I must still love you. That’s why I feel the need to explain all this to you, night after night. It’s like a prayer. It helps me sleep. 

Yay scary stories! If you want to hear another scary story, download this one by Neil Gaiman FOR FREE. Plus, every time a copy of the story is downloaded, Audible donates $1 to charity. That's right. Getting freaked out for a good cause. Can't beat that. 

What are your Halloween plans? I'm going to see Die Antwoord. Things are going to get interesting... 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Experiment

Seen waiting for the Orange Line to Midway at about 12:30 p.m., October 29th, 2012 

It’s hard when your god no longer wants you. I just wasn’t good enough. He tried for several months to improve me, but his calculations were always off. I was too lopsided, too ugly. The small head he picked out for me didn’t quite fit on the thick neck, no matter how he sewed it. The dull pink scars running from my ear to my weak chin tell the story of his failure. Of my failure. His rejection stings right down to the staples that hold my heart together.

I hear there’s a god that never rejects you, the Christian god. That’s where I’m headed now—to find this god. I know he might not take me; he didn’t make me, and I’m not even sure I have a soul to save. My creator never mentioned giving me one. All I can do is hope that this god will take pity on me and give me something to live for. 

I don't think I've ever written an Orange Line story before. I was meeting my dad downtown for lunch, and I saw this fellow while I was waiting for the Pink Line. I almost wanted to delete the second paragraph entirely. What do you think?

This weekend was lots of fun. Here's a picture of me and my best friend Meg at Beauty Bar (I'm a sugar skull, and she's Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer):

I know--we are way too cute for our own good.

On a more serious note, I hope everyone on the east coast is doing alright in the wake of Sandy. Here's a link to the American Red Cross if anyone wants to donate money to disaster relief.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Seen waiting for the Red Line to 95th at about 8:30 a.m. 

I lost my feet because of a train. Not this train, obviously. It happened when I was fourteen. A freight line ran right through the backyard of Sammy Brown’s house. Did you ever play that game where you put a penny on the rails and wait for a train to flatten it? Me and Sammy did that all the time. Not much else for us to do. We both had mean, worthless daddies, so we stayed outside as much as we could.

Anyway, one day I was down on the tracks, laying down my pennies—and a quarter, I remember. I wanted to see if it worked the same on a quarter. Sammy thought I was crazy, seeing as a quarter could buy a lot in those days. I could see the train in the distance as I placed the coins on the rail, so I knew I had to hurry. But when I got up and tried to run back up the hill, I fell flat on my face. Both my shoelaces were caught in the wooden ties. Both of them. Would you believe it? I scrambled to pull myself free. Sammy grabbed my arms and tugged with all his might. (Which wasn’t much. He was always a small kid.) It was too late, though. Somehow I knew it’d be too late. Even when I was struggling to get away, I knew I wouldn’t. The train ran over my legs, right above the ankle. I couldn’t even feel it at first.

But I can feel it now. Every time I hear the rumble of a train or see those merciless lights in the distance, the ghosts of my feet tingle and twitch. It hurts every time, like they’re getting cut off again. I think my bones are haunted. 

Sorry for the lack of story yesterday. I was taking the GRE--I'm so happy it's over! I think I did well enough, especially considering I had a bad headache. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks.

You know what I'm excited about? HALLOWEEKEND! Tonight: costumed swing dancing party. Tomorrow: Another 90's Party at Beauty Bar--Scream Edition. Sunday: Bittersweet Drive at the Tonic Room. If you're not doing anything Sunday night, the Tonic Room is the place to be. So many folk artists, so much joy! Whatever you end up doing this weekend, I hope it's a spooky one. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Seen at the Fullerton Station Dunkin’ Donuts at about 8:45 a.m. 

“YOUR ORDER NUMBER IS 666,” flashed the cash register screen. 


The cashier gave Luco a half smile and handed him his receipt. Did he detect a certain amount of doubt in her arched eyebrows? A terrified tension in the muscles of her neck? Dammit. She knows. 

She could see it in the bulging of his thick forehead, where his horns were hidden. She could see it in his skin, tinged the color of dried blood. Luco always thought it was funny how humans believed he’d hurt anyone and everyone. They should know that there’s a system to this, that calculations must be made, that he doesn’t punish on a whim. After all, they wrote him into existence in their holy texts. All Luco’s power was derived from those who made him and feared him.

Maybe he’d give her a little scare, just for fun. As the girl handed him his coffee, Luco dug his fingernails into her wrist and whispered: “I swear, if this has real sugar instead of Splenda, there will be hell to pay.” 

So many scary-creature-related stories this week! Ghosts, and werewolves, and demons, oh my. Halloween must be on the brain. I'm just afraid I won't have enough scary stories to give you next week! At least I can post the ones from the Mary Shelley party. Besides, I had to write this one--the cash register really did say that the number for the guy in front of me was 666. It was too perfect to resist.

I am taking the GRE tomorrow. Nervous nervous nervous. Wish me luck!