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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.

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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.

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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.

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David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Weigel

    December 18, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    I used to have a penguin like this…

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Original Creations

More Nail Polish Paintings by Jennifer Weigel

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Well, seems I’m at it again, with more nail polish paintings into found thrift store art. Why so many flowers this time…? Well a friend sent them and I just couldn’t help myself. They are so perfect for creepy fairy paintings. And for those of you who think fairies aren’t scary, you haven’t read much about the fey now have you?

More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel
More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel

Top left: Blue Fairy, originally painted by M Wadorf

Top right: Pegasus, originally painted by Edie Babb

Bottom left: Unicorn, originally painted by R Lovelace (After I painted this I realized I missed the opportunity to do a troll with a bridge and so I hope to do another along those lines in the future.)

Bottom middle: Fairy, originally painted by SD Janz

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Bottom right: Dragon, original signed FZ, very sparkly with black-light sensitive eyes

And the most horrific of the bunch this time is this mermaid, who started as a weird bucket painting by Helen Miller… So, what’s in the bucket, Helen? Body parts? Fish? Plants not yet in bloom? I envisioned a trapped mermaid waiting to ensnare some unsuspecting land-goer, because no one would expect to find a mermaid there…

Mermaid in bucket, original by Helen Miller
Is this mermaid trapped in need of help or just trying to lure you close?

So I broke down and redid the unicorn to a troll. Apparently the troll was hungry… Anyway, here is the result. I am happier with it now.

Troll with toll bridge, original by R Lovelace
Hungry troll wants bridge tolls after eating innocent unicorn.

You can find more of my Revisitations art on Haunted MTL here, including links to even more nail polish paintings…

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

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Original Creations

Bloody Mary or More Doll Costuming by Jennifer Weigel

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So I came upon a Liv doll with no wig and decided to make her a mourning ensemble. The result was so reminiscent of this Bloody Mary music video based on the Lady Gaga song, by Ruben Samuel Cortez for his film school final (not the Wednesday TikTok remix, though that is also fun) that I simply had to share.

Costumed Liv doll to Bloody Mary by Jennifer Weigel
Costumed Liv doll to Bloody Mary by Jennifer Weigel

The outfit is made up of really fancy thick black lace leftover from a skirt I decorated for a party and an old translucent black handkerchief. It really reminds me of the table dancers in the music video but black instead of white (though it also alludes to some of the other outfits too, and Wednesday’s dress from the TikTok remake).

Close up of Bloody Mary doll's face
Close up of Bloody Mary doll’s face

I love the detail on the eyes on these Liv dolls, which are embedded and not painted on.

Closer still...
Closer still…

The Liv dolls’ eyes are just so lifelike. I think this is what attracts me to the Rainbow High dolls too, and why I had to turn the Makeover Failfix 2Dreami into Lady Amalthea of The Last Unicorn…

Failfix 2Dreami as Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn (not scary but one of my all time fave movies and I love how this doll turned out so I'm posting her here anyway)
Failfix 2Dreami as Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn (not scary but one of my all time fave movies and I love how this doll turned out so I’m posting her here anyway)

If you want to check out more of my altered dolls, I have posted several to Haunted MTL here:

Fashion Zombies

Heartbreak Hotel

Mummy Dearest

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Catharsis

Fairy Wands

She Wolf

Queen of Everything

More Altered Dolls

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Krampus

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

Oh and here’s a bonus photo of the skirt that I got the lace for originally, titled Kiss My A$$.

Portrait of the artist, dressed for a Blue Jeans and Bling party
Portrait of the artist, dressed for a Blue Jeans and Bling party

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Giants Among Spiders

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So, as you may have noticed, we have a special fondness for spiders here on Nightmarish Nature.  Well, they are kind of the spokes-critters for horrifying animalia, perhaps because they are so freakishly different from us.  Or maybe it’s because I find them a little disconcerting for all that I try to take the “you mind your business, I’ll mind mine” approach, at least if they stay outdoors. Or just because I really like to draw spiders for all that I prefer not to find them sharing my home (though I’ll gladly take spiders over other bugs or mice or larger critters who didn’t get an invite).

Anyway, this segment is devoted to the largest Giants Among Spiders, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about already.  And the top place is contested based upon body mass or leg length.  Most of these are tarantulas, which globally take top place among the large arachnids.

Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
I’m hungry… I bet you are…

Goliath Birdeater Tarantula

The Goliath Birdeater Tarantula of South America is the biggest brute of spiderdom, weighing in at over 6 ounces.  They build funnel burrows and are known to eat birds (although rarely), mice, lizards, frogs, and snakes, but largely any big insects including other species of spiders.  They have urticating barbed hairs that they fling at would-be attackers as an irritant to escape.  And people even eat them after they singe the bristles off. Here’s a National Geographic video showing this spider in action, in case you wanted to see a giant spider take out a mouse.

Giant Huntsman Spider drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Creepy crawly at it’s worst…

Giant Huntsman Spider

And with the longest legs, we have the Giant Huntsman Spider of Laos, with a leg-span of 12 inches.  Their legs have twisted joints and they move in a crab-like manner, which furthers their impressive appearance. ‘Cause they’ve got legs, and know how to use ’em.  They prefer to live in underbrush and cave entrances.  These are like the big relatives of their Australian cousins, which we’ve all seen online and developed a healthy aversion to.

Everything's cuter when it's fuzzy, right? tarantula drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Everything’s cuter when it’s fuzzy, right?

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater & Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantulas

Next we have two more South American species: the Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater, which boasts one-inch fangs, and the Brazilian Giant Tawny Red, believed to be the longest-lived spider with a lifespan of up to thirty years.   Both are in the tarantula family and have urticating hairs, a word you probably never read much before today unless you are in the hobby.  So apparently South America is not the best travel destination for you if you struggle with arachnophobia, though I suspect you’d figured that out already.  (I wouldn’t recommend Australia or Southeast Asia either.)

Face Size Tarantula drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Face-Size, sorry no Face or Face Hugger for scale

Face Size Tarantula

And finally the Face Size Tarantula, which has a very terror-inducing name reminiscent of the Face Huggers of Alien-glory.  Anyway, these spiders have an 8-inch leg-span and live in India and Sri Lanka.  They look kind of like big hairy wolf spiders with stripey legs, sometimes with pink and daffodil coloring.

If you enjoyed this eight-legged segment of Nightmarish Nature on Giants Among Spiders and their larger than life kin, please check out past segments:

Vampires Among Us

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Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

Terrifying Tardigrades

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Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

Zombie Snails

Horrifying Humans

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