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The window creaked as I closed it and I immediately thought of the last horror movie I’d watched, though it had been years before. Still unused to living alone, I shook off my chilled paranoia and turned to close another. The storm was coming in fast, and my spacious old house had a lot of windows.

Once done, I strolled to the living room, grabbed a tattered paperback I’d read about a dozen times, and headed to my room upstairs. As the thunder rolled closer, it resembled faint growls. The wind added a high-pitched whine and I couldn’t help but shiver. I had always loved stormy weather, but the last year had been tough. The medicine helped, but my feelings of irrational anxiety, fear, and the occasional hallucination took their toll. I almost wished for the safe hospital room with the quietly sympathetic nurses who were always on hand for comforting words to reassure me that I was OK. Here, I was on my own, independently vulnerable. Mixed emotions rolled through me as I tried to focus on the story in my lap. The heroine was so unlike me– strong, self-assured, and with no diagnosis of mental illness to hold her back from her full potential.  I felt like I could be her if only I could quell my inner demons. She could have done it for me, if she were real. The storm grew closer and more powerful snarls of thunder shook my empty house. The hostility of the weather felt personal, almost. As though it knew I could only withstand so much; like the dainty flowering trees outside I quivered and tried to stay mentally upright. 

I got up and paced the halls, worrying. I was starting to see dark patches in my peripheral vision again, the kind that generally warned of an upcoming hallucination. When I looked directly at the dark shifting blotches, they moved just out of sight again. I felt my skin crawl and it seemed like if I could just turn around quick enough, I would see a monster behind me, but I knew that was nonsense. It was a blend of an illness that I had sought treatment for and an overactive imagination in a house that was way too spacious for one person. Lightening flashed brightly, and I welcomed it in spite of its noisy partner. Light was always my friend. Every light and lamp in my home burned 24/7. It was critical that I not be in the dark. I might be safe from physical danger, but the emotional assault would be inevitable and devastating. 

My wanderings took me through the rarely used kitchen, through the abandoned family-sized dining room, and into the library. It’s funny how even the rich can suffer so greatly. I hadn’t always had money, and I hadn’t always been sick. It almost seemed that to obtain one I had to accept the other. Not a good trade in my book.  Still restless and fearful, I turned to head back to my bedroom and I saw it- just barely, but it was there and it seemed so real. Knowing it wasn’t, I ignored the evil eyes and bared fangs. These types of things are always bouncing around in my head, waiting to jump out like a mischievous child yelling “Boo!” only they weren’t children and they were very scary. The growls that I had taken for thunder now seemed to come from him. His eyes flashed yellow at me, reminding me of the lightening I had welcomed so naively. I turned my back on him, willing him away, trying to get ahold of myself before I wound up in the fetal position in full melt down mode. I tried to think of someone I could call, but I really was alone in the world. 911 operators don’t get paid enough to talk me down when I get like this. Feeling hunted, I walked down the hallway. I could feel him follow me, though there was, of course, nothing there. Hot breath caressed my bare legs as he panted in his excitement. I stopped and closed my eyes as tightly as I could. I would have to take my next dose early. I couldn’t make it without it. I turned in his direction because I had to in order to get to my pills. Impressed with my bravery, I felt a little more like the heroine in my story. Maybe I could face this after all. I took a few steps and then tripped over something. Something hairy yelped in surprise and sank his teeth into my arm. Pulled down by his massive weight I was astonished that for once I was in my right mind. My monster was real.

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Laura Austin lives in rural Kentucky with her husband and two children. She has been previously published by The Haberdasher and Better Than Starbucks magazine. She writes poetry, short fiction, children’s’ books, and song lyrics.

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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Original Creations

Krampus and Jennifer Weigel wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day

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Krampus got a little confused and decided to celebrate Krampusnacht for St. Valentine instead of St. Nicholas. So Happy Valentine’s Day, as it were. No real surprise there, the whipping can go either way…

Here’s a before image of a doll like this one started as, one of those Christmas caroler figures.

Working Boy caroler figure - Before the makeover
Working Boy caroler figure – Before the makeover

And here are some after images to burn into your brain through your retinas.

Krampus’ eyes and horns are black light sensitive. The pin is a hand beaded piece that I lucked into at thrift and was perfect for this, nice and gaudy. Because even Krampus says you gotta have bling – it is Valentine’s Day after all.

Caroler turned Krampus - detail of cape
Detail of cape

And here’s a detail shot of the cape so you can see the chubby cheeky angels. Just like on all those Italian ceilings, these angels love to look down upon you in bed not sleeping, just like they would do. Such pervs. Perfect for creepy Christmas and Valentine’s Day alike…

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

Fashion Zombies

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Heartbreak Hotel

Mummy Dearest

Catharsis

Fairy Wands

She Wolf

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Queen of Everything

More Altered Dolls

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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