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Billy placed the red plate of sparking sugar crystal covered cookies at Santa’s feet.  The aroma of freshly baked cinnamon and cloves almost covered up the smell of fresh blood.  

“I promise I’ve been good this year, Santa.” Billy said, almost like it mattered.  Santa had missed his house last year.  Billy was sure it was just a misunderstanding he didn’t get his hammer and tacks, or the whip that cracks like he’d asked for.  It couldn’t have been because of the dead squirrel he’d snuck into the girl’s lunchbox at school. That had been a funny joke.  She’d made such a fuss about it even though it was already dead.  

He’d made absolutely sure that Santa would have to let him explain what a good boy he’d been this year.  The tripwire he’d strung in front of the Christmas tree had worked like a charm, Santa hadn’t seen it at all. He’d fallen headfirst on the hearth stones by the fire and knocked himself out cold.  Silly old elf.  Now he was laying in a growing pool of blood that Billy kept using Santa’s red hat to wipe up.  Santa would be okay, he was magic after all.  

Honestly, Billy hadn’t even been all that bad this year.  He could only think of one time he’d gotten scolded. When he had put weed killer in Freddy McCooly’s water bottle at soccer practice and then laughed when he drank it.  It wasn’t his fault Freddy’s head looked just like a fuzzy yellow dandelion.  Really, he’d been doing him a favor.  Besides, Freddy was going to be fine.  Mostly.  

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Okay, and last week too, if he was being truthful, which he was because that’s what good little boys were. Of course, one knew about this one so it didn’t really count, but he was prepared to admit it if Santa brought it up. The head of baby Jesus in the church’s large outdoor nativity scene had been replaced with a dead possum head he’d found on his way to school.  Seeing batty old Ms. Conner from across the street taken away in an ambulance when she’d found it the next day before going to Mass had been especially satisfying. He’d always hated her dumb, fat garden gnomes he keep tripping over when he went to pee on her rose bushes. It wasn’t like he was the one that gave her a bad heart though, so Santa could surely forgive him those minor things when he woke up.

That’s when Billy noticed the blow poke, the long metal tube with the barbed hook on the end that Daddy used to stir and blow on the fire.  Santa had landed right on top of it.  Billy picked up the end of the blow poke and yanked on it.  It was stuck fast underneath Santa’s enormous belly.  

He yanked again, this time even harder.  There was a distinct ripping sound of cloth and flesh tearing as Billy fell backwards and landed on this butt in an undignified huff, the bloody blow poke clutched tightly in his hand.  Everything looked okay for a second, then the side of Santa exploded, a flood of squishy red and pink meats leaked out.  Billy scurried back out of the way but still got some on his favorite reindeer slippers.  

“Eww. Gross, Santa,” Billy exclaimed, and kicked Santa’s body with his now blood-covered slippered foot.  

None of this was going the way Billy planned.  Maybe if he just put everything back where it was supposed to go.  The long gooey intestine was slippery in his hands and the cut in the side of Santa they had come out of didn’t want to fit them back in.  Billy finally got frustrated enough he threw them in the fireplace instead.  They cracked and popped cheerily, smelling a little of the sausage his mother made in the mornings and poop.

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Santa looked a bit deflated now. He let out a low painful groan as Billy poked him in the face with the bloody end of the blowpoke. He couldn’t be hurt too bad if he was still making noise.  If anything, Billy could stuff him with some of the red tinsel from the tree as a replacement, and, he giggled, maybe a bowl of strawberry jelly from the fridge.  

Billy had worn himself out with all that yanking and mopping.  He sat down cross legged in front of the plate of cookies he’d brought Santa earlier and reached for one with a bloody hand.  Santa would forgive him for eating one of his cookies.  Santa would forgive him for a lot of things.  Billy wouldn’t let him go until he did. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Weigel

    December 21, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Snips and snails and puppy dogs tails… with a side of murder…

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Zombie Snails

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This time on Nightmarish Nature, we will look into zombie snails, because we were having so much with the Whore Snails recently. So this is a lot like the Freaky Fungus except that this time it’s a parasitic worm that is the cause of the horror… Leucochloridium paradoxum, the green-banded broodsac worm, forces snails to be a part of its nefarious plans to take over the world (well, really more just continue on keeping on in its strange and bizarre life cycle).

Hungry birds want nummins
Hungry birds want nummins

This Is What We Get for Eating Poop

The worm, which spends much of its life as a parasite in birds’ digestive systems, is part of a weird cycle that includes both birds and snails, though the snail end is much creepier. It starts when a snail ingests worm eggs in bird droppings. These eggs hatch into worm larvae that eventually turn the poor hosts into zombie snails! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Snails make questionable food choices, but I guess this comes from being where they are on the ecosystem clean up crew...
Snails make questionable food choices, but I guess this comes from being where they are on the ecosystem clean up crew…

The worm larvae work their way up into the snails’ brains and take over, hijacking them on suicide missions to continue their own life cycle. These worm larvae eventually grow large and worm their way into the poor snail’s eye stalks, pulsing and throbbing therein to resemble maggots or other tasty treats.

Zombie Snails
Zombie Snails

Mind-Control

The worms use the zombie snails to get into their bird hosts by mind-controlling them into climbing out of the shady undergrowth where they will be easily spotted by bird predators which will feed on them, ingesting the eye stalks and continuing the worm’s life cycle as it gets into the bird’s digestive tract. The huge, bulging eye stalks are irresistible to birds looking to snatch maggots and other delicious delicacies. Eventually, after the worms are well ensconced in its bird hosts, the bird poops out more worm eggs for unsuspecting snails to ingest, completing the cycle.

Birds love their grubs and maggots and other nummins, even if they are just zombie snails.
Birds love their grubs and maggots and other nummins, even if they are just zombie snails.

You can watch this in action on Nat Geo Wild: World’s Deadliest here, if you dare. Warning, it’s a little gross but not near so much as some of the other topics we’ve covered. If you enjoyed this slimy segment of Nightmarish Nature, please check out past segments:

Vampires Among Us

Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

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Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

Terrifying Tardigrades

Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

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Original Creations

Snails a Whorl Whirl Whore World…

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So a friend and I made some artsy snails awhile back. Essentially this was in response to her granddaughter proclaiming that her favorite animals are whorl snails. My friend heard “whore snails” and was a bit perturbed that the child would use such a word so nonchalantly, whether or not she knew what it meant. But then again toddler-speak is like that sometimes… Anyway, it stuck.

So we made some whore snails, all glammed up and ready to go. We started with these flat metal snails and then painted and decorated them, to whore them up a bit. I figured this would be apropos after my recent Valentine’s Day posts and that the end results were horrifying enough to appear here.

My friend's whore whorl snail
My friend’s whore whorl snail

This is my friend’s creation. I especially like the David Bowie star and cherry bling to match her cherry red lipstick. The purple shell is a great color on her too. I think my friend went back and decorated her shell more after the fact, but I didn’t see the snail after those changes.

My whore snail
My whore snail

And here’s my whore snail. She’s a bit more of an ice queen with her deceptively lovey-dovey eyes and mouth full of poison darts, like the underwater snails do. I believe I called her a Hoar Whore Whorl Snail as when the discussion first came up I heard “hoar” and thought of hoarfrost. Hence the ice queen take…

And another friend joined us via Zoom just to visit and have fun making art together.

Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom
Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom

This little Zoomed in snail is kinda cute, like she’s out on the beach in her bikini… Mixed media on paper.

So if that wasn’t disturbing enough, check out my inappropriate Shrinky Dinks posted here before, or maybe this Eye Candy Peeps Easter basket, both taking some innocuous thing(s) turning into something… else…

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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. Her friends will remain anonymous for now…

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Original Creations

Have a Dystopian Girls on Film Valentine’s Day

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So it’s finally actually Valentine’s Day, and thus marks the final segment of our dysfunctional dystopian romance. So far, we’ve survived both Gen X and Krampusnacht, what else could possibly be in store? Girls on Film…

Valentine's Day card Girls on Film
Girls on Film Valentine’s Day card from Jennifer Weigel

Image description: Video camera umbrella shower succubus stares through the lens at the viewer, surrounded by eerie Cthulhoid horror embellishments with text.

Text reads: Happy Valentine’s Day; lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling; give me shudders in a whisper; take me up ’til I’m shooting a star; (she’s more than a lady)

OK so this Valentine’s Day dystopia ends in a Duran Duran video, because of course it does. If the video doesn’t load properly, you can find it by following this link. Girls on Film.

Duran Duran official video

Here’s the camera eye succubus all by itself, for your viewing pleasure. Actually this is the original original image from an Unselfie performance art piece in the shower before I decided to forego the umbrella. Girls on Film.

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Unselfie performance art video still
Video still

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.

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.

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