The night the snowstorm hit was the fifth day that ten-year-old William Feldson had been tortured by a sinister yard decoration. Outside was the blow mold Santa again, currently facing out into the street. The Santa hadn’t moved yet, beyond finding its way in the view of the window, but it was only midnight and every previous night would find the Santa outside his bedroom window. It was only a matter of time.
William wondered who had put the Santa back out in his view. He thought that it was his brother Gary’s doing, but there was no evidence that was the case. Every night, no matter where the blow mold Santa was placed, the blobby, sun-damaged plastic shell would creep its way to William’s window when he wasn’t looking. Every night.
He shuddered and shut his eyes, hoping to get to sleep. Perhaps he could sleep through the inevitably sinister events. Within minutes he drifted.
He woke up again at 2 AM. The clock ticked its continuous tock and William turned his bleary eyes to the window. Sure enough, between flurries of snow, a glimpse of the blow mold Santa could be seen, and the unmistakable, distorted face was turned toward the window, gazing inside.
William had enough of the plastic monster.
He threw on his boots and pulled his thick snow jacket over his pajamaed shoulders. He marched out to the mudroom and grabbed the flashlight from the cabinet under the window seat. He unlocked the door and stepped out into the cold, his flashlight darting wildly in the night. He strode to the Santa and found it had changed its position again, this time toward the front door, where he had come out. Enraged, William was determined to be rid of it entirely, even if that meant throwing away his dead Grandma’s favorite decoration.
He paused and stared at the Santa when he was about a yard away from it. Nothing about it seemed odd beyond the strange, distorted face. Stepping closer, though, that’s when William understood the expression; under the massive, ballooned jowls was a smile, and the heavy-lidded eyes were set to a scowl. The Santa, so inscrutable for days, was grinning wickedly.
William threw a punch at the fat, ugly face, eager to topple the mold. He was shocked to find that his blow didn’t land, instead, his hand was sucked up into the mouth of the plastic Santa, which had begun pulling him in, eagerly.
William screamed, but a gust of howling wind masked his cries. The neighborhood slept soundly.
The police had yet to find William. It had been three days. Any signs of where he went that night had been obscured by the fresh snow the night of and the day after. Beth had been crying since. To lose her mother was one thing, but for their youngest child to go missing was quite another. Bill Sr. had been advised by the police to stay at the house, in case his son came home. Against his impulse, Bill had done so, but this was the last day of that nonsense. He’d be out tomorrow, all day and night if he had to. He’d already taken a few walks in the neighborhood, keeping an eye out for his son. For now, he would spend his afternoon doing something productive. He was putting away decorations.
Bill Sr. approached the Santa blow mold. He never really understood why Margaret had kept the ugly thing around, but it was something that had belonged to her and Beth decided to keep it. He bent down to pick it up, but it was far heavier than he had expected. He stooped down, closer, bending at the knees. He wrapped his arms around it, lifting it with a sudden jerk. He nearly toppled over at the weight of it as the plastic beard rested against his face.
That’s when he smelled the faint scent of rot coming from the Santa Claus.
LTD Tripped Out Motivational Posters
Tripped out… in case you just couldn’t get enough of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the return of the infinite bagel with EVERYTHING on it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic image of pink hairy horror (This is actually a fink fuzzy frond plant not unlike a Cockscomb but with longer thinner flowering feelers rather than the fuller protuberances you see on a full-bodied Cockscomb plant. I have no idea what it was, but it was very odd so I had to snap a photo.)
Image text reads: Mixing Magic Mushrooms & Peyote Just remember: once you open that Pandora’s box, you’re never going to get the pink hairy tarantulas back in it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic sunflower backlit by the sun with text and rainbow eye overlay
Image text reads: Eye See You Eye See All (in circle text so you can start and end reading wherever). In an ideal context this would be printed in the bottom of your tea mug or on a record that can slowly spin.
For more crazy tripped out fun, check out Weird Al’s post on Craig’s List…
The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel
I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods. Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent. They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning. Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.
My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves. She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late. Her baby had already long since been stolen away. She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak. She locked herself in her room. Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness. Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection. We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation. It has kept us all alive.
But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here. I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister. But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths. To ensure that it doesn’t happen again. My family will never act. I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets. It happens time and again. We are all expendable. They never do anything.
So here I am, in the Elven wood. Alone. As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me. They probably already have. Again, it is for our own protection. I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves. Everything is so structured, so regimented. Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes. We are all so afraid.
I lay in wait. It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears. The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space. They appear where and when they wish. But this time, I will go through first. I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction. We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms. Hopefully that will be enough time.
The trees shift and morph. Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground. There is a stillness that I cannot fully express. My breath hangs heavy in the silent air. There is no sound, no smell, no taste. It is time. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming. There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.
As soon as the portal opens, I dash through. But something isn’t right. No one came through from the other side. Or did they? I cannot tell. I am alone, in limbo between states of existence. The world spins around me. I can feel the drift. Is this what death feels like? Cold unbroken silence? I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe this is all according to plan. But who was orchestrating the exchange? My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between. My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought. I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange. I never really got past step one.
A voice greets me from the trees. It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.
“I’ve been expecting you.”
The world slowly comes into focus. Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace. My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling. She cradles the baby in her arms.
“You made it. You escaped,” she sings.
“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical. I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth. Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus. Is this an illusion? My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself. She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be. Filled with love and laughter. Light dances about her, and she shimmers.
“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies. “You have been living among them your whole life. I had done so as well until the baby was stolen. My heart broke; I had to follow after. That was when I learned the Truth.”
“Why do you think we are so sheltered? Why are we forbidden to do anything? They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued. “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be. We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”
I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way. It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her. There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint. She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right. I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.
The Village has fallen away to the woods. There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home. The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion. Nothing makes sense anymore. I am unsure whether I am coming or going. Two paths lay open before me. Which shall I take?
Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel
I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.
And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.
I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.
Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.