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“The Body In The Middle” by Meera Dandekar

On a gloomy night, Alice woke up in a dark room, placed neatly in a chair, as if she had dozed off to sleep while working. The chair creeped as she lifted herself up and shuddered at the sound of the thundering storm outside. The ceiling was out of reach, like in a Victorian house. She looked around and observed that the only window in the entire room was on the roof. She kept looking around the room. There was an operating table, placed right in the middle, with something on it, covered with a white sheet. She walked away from the thing.

The lightning outside occasionally illuminated the room with bright white light. She walked alongside the walls, trying to find a switch for the lights that hung lowly from the roof. Her hand fell on the doorknob instead. She tried to twist it but it didn’t budge. It rattled loudly in the silent room. She finally gave up and walked around to see if she could find anything useful to break the door down. She tried to stay calm about her situation. She knew that if she panicked now, she’d never find a way out. The rain was hitting on the window so harshly that Alice thought it might break the window at some point. She tried to recall how she had gotten here but nothing came back to her.

She wanted to get out before her curiosity ate her. She desperately wanted to lift the sheet to see what was underneath it. The walls were made up of stones that were cemented in place, which cooled down the temperature in the room. It was almost freezing. Alice tried to warm herself up.

As she walked around the room, she felt around a handle and flicked it on. She thought that it could be a switch but no lights came on. She refused to give up as she felt the big machine that stood behind it. It looked like some sort of a generator with an air compressor at its side. When the lightning struck, she could see the numerous dials on the machine, all pointing to zero. She flipped all the switches on.

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She walked to the other side of the room, looking at the massive cupboards, the metal knobs felt colder than its wooden body. She timed her search to the thundering so she could see what she was touching. She glared at the painting that hung above her head, the name reading “Dr. Frankenstein.” She stepped back to look at it. The lightning struck again and she saw the face of the madman. The electricity wizzed but Alice did not hear it. She was distracted by the painting.

She had heard about the cases that followed in the footsteps of Frankenstein, but this was a shrine. She had heard about the murders that had taken place in different parts of the town. Usually, some body parts were missing like, only a hand or a leg and in one case, the head. It seemed like that person was gathering all the parts. She looked back at the table with the body.

She needed to find the key. She looked for it in the cupboards and drawers but no trace. Someone had locked it from the outside and taken the key with them. She huffed air as she gave up.

Suddenly, the Thing on the table moved which grabbed her attention. She could feel her heart racing against her chest. It was alive. She ran towards the door and banged and on it. There was no one to listen to her. She was doing exactly what she wasn’t going to—- panicking.

She looked intently at the body to see if there was another movement. It didn’t move. She sighed in relief. She must’ve imagined it or it could’ve been a dead reflex. She was getting more and more curious now. She wanted to lift the sheet to see underneath it. She did.

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The sheet stayed near the abdomen, revealing a half naked body. The stitches felt fresh. It was too difficult to see properly so she waited for the lightning to strike. The thunder shuddered louder this time and caused the generator to jump to a start. Alice jumped back in surprise. Her back was touching the far end of the wall, horrified to see that the body was sitting up straight. She could hear the slow grunts it was making. The lightning gave enough light to reveal a sewed up face. Its eyes were now open but it didn’t move, it just sat upright.

Alice tried to slide her way towards the door. She did it slowly so It wouldn’t notice her in the room. It kept looking at nowhere in particular when she reached the door. She tried to turn it slowly. Lightning illuminated her but It didn’t take notice. She thought that It might be brain dead. Then she saw it, the key. It was around Its neck.

Emotions rushed into her as she tried to formulate a plan. She started to step towards It. She was almost behind it when the thunder lit up the generator and It grunted to life, again. It was still sitting there but now had a sense of life in it. She stared at it in horror when It noticed someone in the room and it turned its head around to face her. Its body did not move a bit.

She could feel the sweat trickling down her face but stayed steady. She thought she could blend into the background and it wouldn’t take notice, but It did. It started to put its legs down from the table, one at a time and lifted itself up to stand. It wobbled as it started to walk towards Alice. Alice started scramming to the farthest point. She slid between the two cupboards, placed remotely close to each other, just enough to fit her. It took a long time to walk towards her and stuck its hand between the cupboards to grab her. She squeezed herself into the wall. It was leaning closer, its head trying to fit into the space. She saw the key dangling around its neck.

She tried to find the courage to rip it off. She took a book that she found lying and threw it in the other direction. Something toppled over which grabbed Its attention. It wasn’t looking at her anymore and she took her chance. As she ripped it off, it grunted in pain. The force had created the stitches to loosen and it was starting to bleed. It started taking careful steps to back away but fell when it couldn’t control its balance.

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This was it. This was her open window and she needed to take it. She ran towards the door and the door clicked open, but wasn’t her who turned it.

A man stepped into the view. The thunder striked and illuminated his face. A scar on his eyebrow gave him a deadly look. She tried to back away but she realised that It was right behind her. The man locked the door behind him.

“All right, now that you’re awake, I’m going to need your organs.” His face grew into an evil smile as he started walking towards her with his sharpest knife.

END

Meera Dandekar loves to explore the fictional worlds that show the magical realm of being. You can befriend her by offering her some coffee, she loves it. She wants to visit the scariest place in the world, Derry, Maine. She’s currently living in Mumbai, India.

The author has not provided a photo.

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Original Series

AI Journey: Little Red Riding Hood, Part 2

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Continuing our AI journey from last time exploring Little Red Riding Hood herself as the Big Bad Wolf… All of these are based upon the AI generated art and prompts using NightCafe and then created as posters in Canva.

Little Red Riding Hood as a wolf, Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023
Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023

How very… Phantom of the Opera predatory… this is definitely not what I had in mind. Maybe something more cutesy?

Little Red Riding Hood woman with wolf head instead of her own, Anime V2 style, Aug. 1, 2023
Anime V2 style, Aug. 1, 2023

Ugh. Maybe not.

Wolf face peering out of red hooded cape, Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023
Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023

Wow, that seems like such a cop out, cropping off the head so you don’t have to depict it. And I don’t want to lose the Little Red Riding Hood reference completely.

Wolf in sheep's clothing as Little Red Riding Hood, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

So no surprise there, I knew that was too many references to work.

And we continued to devolve, join us again next week for the final installment to see how this ended… And again, if you want to catch the last AI art journey, you can find it on Haunted MTL here.  To see more such devolutions into AI generated art, check out the Will the Real Jennifer Weigel Please Stand Up? blog.

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Original Series

AI Journey: Little Red Riding Hood, Part 1

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And as promised in Big Bad Poetry, we shall embark on our next AI journey, this time looking at Little Red Riding Hood. I had wanted to depict her as the Big Bad Wolf one and the same, although maybe not so big nor bad. But it just wasn’t happening quite as planned. All of these are based upon the AI generated art and prompts using NightCafe and then created as posters in Canva.

Little Red Riding Hood beautiful woman with red cape hiding her wolf face.  Sinister style, July 29, 2023
Sinister style, July 29, 2023

So I actually like this even better than my original vision, it is playful and even a bit serene (especially given the Sinister style). The wolf is just being a wolf. It’s quite lovely, really. But it wasn’t what I had in mind, so I revisited the idea later to see if I could get that result…

Little Red Riding Hood with wolf face, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

Well, that’s not quite right…

Wolf face Little Red Riding Hood, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

Yeah more of the same…

What part of wolf face don't you understand?, Hyperreal style, Aug. 1, 2023
Hyperreal style, Aug. 1, 2023

And as you can see this is starting to devolve quickly. Join us again next week to see how this continued to develop… And if you want to catch the last AI art journey, you can find it on Haunted MTL here. To see more such devolutions into AI generated art, check out the Will the Real Jennifer Weigel Please Stand Up? blog.

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Original Creations

Big Bad poetry by Jennifer Weigel

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So considering my recent revival of a wolfwere and his Lucky Days and Nightmarish Nature’s hostile humanity, it seems we are due for a visit from Little Red Riding Hood, or perhaps even Big Bad himself… Here’s a poem on the subject by Jennifer Weigel.


Over the river and through the wood
flashed the fleet-footed Red Riding Hood
on her way to her “grandmother’s” house.

When running past, who should she see
but just one of the little pigs three
cowering like but a tiny mouse.

“But my dear piggy, what do you fear?”
Red Riding Hood asked as she slunk near,
teeth hidden under a sheepish smile.

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The nervous small pig looked up in fright
and decided that Red was alright,
missing the subtle clues by a mile.

“The Big Bad Wolf, that horrible beast
upon the other wee pigs did feast!”
the last little pig said with a squeal.

Red Riding Hood laughed with a great growl
and threw back her heavy long-robed cowl,
in a vast terrifying reveal.

For she was really the wolf Big Bad
hidden beneath the cape that he had
stolen from Red Riding Hood at point.

“And now I’ve caught you too my pretty
and surely t’wouldn’t be a pity
if I gobbled you up in this joint.”

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T’was then the wee pig leapt to his feet
And cried, “Big Bad Wolf, I shall defeat,
for I am no ordinary swine!”

The little pig also wore sheep’s clothes
spun in spells every woodland witch knows;
Old Granny herself was quite divine.

“Now give me back my granddaughter’s cape,
before I grab you by your ruffed nape
and send you pig-squealing down the road…”

The wolf dropped the cape and ran, that cur,
but Granny was swifter and hexed his fur
and the wolf she turned into a toad.

Thus the moral of this story goes,
when in the woods, no one really knows
what sheepish sheep’s clothing is a ruse
that big bad wolves and old witches use.

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So this is actually an intro to my next AI art journey with NightCafe which developed from me not getting the results I wanted (Little Red Riding Hood herself as a wolf). Here’s a preview with Eric’s versions as he is much more literal in his prompting than I am, but where’s the fun in that? 😉

Prompts (from left to right) in Dark Fantasy style, executed Aug. 1, 2023:

Bipedal wolf in Red Riding Hood’s cloak

Bipedal wolf in Red Riding Hood’s cloak close up portrait

Bipedal wolf in red cloak close up portrait

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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