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“Dust To Dust”(A POC Reimagining of Lovecraft’s The Colour Out Of Space) by Tain Leonard-Peck

            A chill wind blew through the night. Tusculana shivered, despite herself– her entire life had been spent in the Siberian cold, but for some inscrutable reason, this night amongst all others tore into her bones, the cold soaking into her as water into flour. It was rare to walk at night, but the circumstances of the day made it necessary: the Red Army hunted in the forests, searching for ‘anti-revolutionaries’– code for anyone who opposed their tyranny. The anarchists and the White Russians did what they could to protect the people from them, but the Leninists were legion.

            It was pleasant enough, at least, the unnatural cold aside. Wandering the taiga like this felt pure, right. As it should. The Yakut had called Siberia home long before the Rus had even crossed the Urals, and they would call it home long after other nations had crumbled. She squinted in the darkness, trying to drink in every bit of ambient light. A shape resolved itself in the distance– a log cabin, small, high windows reflecting a hint of starlight. No fire within, no smoke from the chimney…it would be a safe enough refuge for the night. Any luck, and no snow would blow in Tusculana’s sleep.

            The sun rose. The harsh light tore at Tusculana’s eyes– and then, a skull-crushing boom rattled her ears. She bolted away, staring out the window as the false sunlight waned to a mere pale glow. Her ears rang. This needed investigation; it could be an artillery attack, and a wildfire could be ripping its way towards her right now…

            Despite the urgency of her situation, Tusculana could not help a certain sluggishness as she rose to her feet. Wiping sleep from her eyes, she took a knee, slowly untying and retying her bootlaces, ensuring they’d be good and tight for her expedition.

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            She pushed through the door. An unforgettable scene greeted her. A sea of trees, knocked over like children’s toys, smoking and smoldering in the now ruined earth. Ash and dust and fog blanketed the landscape, not fully obscuring sight, but veiling just enough to leave a constant sense of unease curling up the spine. And in the distance, far off, was the glow. Pale, grey, cold, like the light of dawn…yet, the moon still shone high in the sky, no where near close to setting– hours before it even reached its zenith and began its cool descent. Tusculana felt that same shiver come over her, a primordial response to something that was out of place. Something that should not be there.

            Onward. The chill grew, accompanied by an unpleasantly sweet, cloying scent– another bit of evidence that something was amiss. The fog, though, began to clear, like a shroud was being lifted off the world, or a bandage off a wound, revealing the carnage beneath. The pale glow grew in strength, and the entire ruined forest was cast in its baleful light– the usual blacks and whites of night-vision replaced with shades of luminescent grey. Tusculana rubbed at her eyes. It felt like something was crawling on them– but, such an odd sensation was more likely than not just an overreaction, or maybe a response to the dust kicked up by whatever had caused all this destruction. Tusculana tried to quiet her imagination and focus on what was in front of her.

            An edge came into view. Not the horizon. A crater, torn into the earth. The grey glow grew stronger, inexorably, as she approached the crater rim– curiosity dragging her on. A cacophony of questions swirled through her head, even as her eyes started to ache. Closer to the point of impact, the trees had begun to crumble– not just knocked down, but disintegrating, breaking down into fine dust. Everything was seeming to dissolve, the trees, the rocks , the snow even the air itself. Beneath her feet, all was fading into grey. Every footfall was muffled as Tusculana’s boots sank into the dust– grey, like everything else there. It glowed. It all glowed. Tusculana had been thinking of the eerie shade as grey, but that wasn’t the right word. Pale fit better, but that alone could not properly describe the colour invading her eyes, the colour sinking its tendrils into the forest. The crater’s edge was right there. Tusculana cast a glance down, to the dust. She couldn’t tell where the mass ended and her legs began. The pale light shone through her retinas like spears, a throbbing pain, echoing through her skull. Her legs were gone, now. She stumbled, falling into the dust face first– bitter and sour and hot on her tongue. The edge was there. She reached out a hand to grasp it. Her flesh was grey, now. Crumbling. With one great pull, she dragged herself over the edge.

            Tusculana was gone. All that remained was oddly coloured dust.

This author has not provided a photo.

Tain Leonard-Peck writes plays, poetry, and fiction, paints and composes music. He’s a competitive sailor, skier, and fencer. He currently lives on a family farm on Martha’s Vineyard, but he’s lived all over the world as well. He knows how to construct his own laminar flow hood, knit his own blankets, and haggle for flowers on five continents. He thinks the world is a place of wonders, and he loves traveling to see more of it. He has lived in caves, dived with sharks, and not been defenestrated by a temperamental donkey named William Shakespeare. He is frequently bitten by geese.

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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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