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Applesauce for Life by Kristen Seikaly

Susie began to pull her teeth out as soon as they grew in. One by one, her pearly whites would emerge from her gums and one by one, she would yank them out. No one ever saw her do it, but if they had, they would have grimaced reflexively. Susie pulled out her teeth in the most gruesome ways imaginable.
            The first time, she simply yanked it out with her pudgy little fingers. It hadn’t required strength so much as brute force. After the second one, this method grew dull, so Susie found a pair of her father’s pliers and tugged and tugged until the third came out. When she released it from the pliers, it turned to dust in her hands, crushed by the force. She smiled her toothless smile as the dust scattered in the wind.
            Her favorite method of removal became the tug on the door. She heard a mother suggest it to her young son, a son older than Susie whose teeth were ready to come out. The boy wailed at the prospect. Surely his mother must be joking? Susie did not think the mother was joking. She thought the mother was a genius. So when tooth number nine came in, Susie waited as long as she could for that little sucker to grow. Then, she tied one end of a string to the pebble of a tooth and skipped to the door handle to tie on the other end. Stepping away from the door, she slammed it as hard as she could with a broom to make sure the distance was just right. She could not stop smiling at all the blood and gore.
            Susie’s parents, after a bit of time, grew concerned about the absence of their daughter’s teeth. Surely she should have grown some by now? They took her to a pediatric dentist, a specialist they never knew existed and asked what was wrong while clasping their sweaty hands to Susie’s dry ones. He took an x-ray and could not fathom what he saw.
            “It looks as if those teeth did appear because they’re not in her gums anymore,” he said while scratching his chin. “See the adult teeth in there? And see how some baby teeth have yet to come up?” Susie’s parents nodded at the news, while Susie’s eyes widened. She’d get a whole new set of teeth? What a delight!
            That night, her mother tried to comfort her daughter who did not seem distraught enough at the news.
            “Your teeth will come,” she said, not at all convinced. “And when they do, the Tooth Fairy will come and bring you money!”
            Susie had no interest in money. So, as far as her parents could tell, her teeth never came, and they brought her back to the pediatric dentist once more.
            “That’s odd,” he said, scanning the fresh set of x-rays. “See how there had been baby teeth here before? They’re gone now!” He pointed to the old x-ray, then the new, while the parents sat and puzzled with him. Susie licked her gums, then smiled. The pediatric dentist glanced over.
            “May I have a moment to speak with Susie alone?”
            This made Susie’s parent’s uncomfortable, yet everything about the situation made them uncomfortable. So, they left the room. The pediatric dentist sat in his chair and stared down at Susie while she laid on the patient chair.
            “Susie,” he said, “do you know where your teeth went?”
            She smiled her gummy smiled once more and pulled out a baggie she kept hidden in her pocket at all times. Inside were seventeen lumpy, bloodied pearls of teeth, one for each she had pulled (minus the one that had turned to dust). Some were too small to have fully formed. The pediatric doctor had never seen anything like it in his thirty years of practice.
            “But Susie… why? What have you done?”
            Susie shrugged her shoulders.
            “Haven’t you ever wanted to control your own body?”
            The pediatric dentist had nothing to say to that. He sent Susie home, telling her parents he would think over her case a little bit more.
            That night, the pediatric dentist stared in the mirror, lips sealed, until finally, he bore his own teeth to himself. Each one immaculate and cared for, he had never once considered doing to himself what he had done to others. His teeth were fine, he thought. Or were they?
            He clasped one of his dental tools in his hand. Meant for a child, it felt small for the first time. Then, he brought it to one of his teeth and pulled. Blood gushed everywhere as he examined what had been a perfectly healthy tooth. He smiled.
            “Ah!” he cried. “I understand now, little Susie.”

THE END

Kristen Seikaly is a Michigan native who lives on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Thrice Fiction, Story Seed Vault, Lost Balloon, and Flash Fiction Magazine. Her piece “Planetary Disappointment” was longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50.

Kristen Seikaly, author

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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