Blessed by Eddie House
Fairy lights glittered from where they were half hidden in the foliage, creating a warm glow in the dusk. The honeysuckle scent of the air floated through on a cooling breeze, playing with tendrils of hair and lifting the lace tablecloths at the edges. People swarmed around the edges of the garden, mosquito buzzing with light-hearted conversation. Everybody was dressed in elegance; tuxedos with pocket squares and fine silks of dresses, like butterfly wings wrapped around bodies. Sweets lingered on tongues, coating breath, and red liquid flowed freely from crystal fountains. An orchestra played soft music, the lilting notes vibrating over the party, creating a relaxing ambiance as background noise for the partygoers.
A woman stepped forward, her skirts circling and settling. Pulling her shawl closer around narrow shoulders, she adjusted the microphone set centred in the middle of the festivities and leaned into it. At this motion, a young girl’s eyes widened and the sharp smell of fear mingled with the flowery atmosphere. She noticed herself sweating through the thin fabric of her white dress and adjusted a hand to pick at the embroidered roses sewn onto the skirt. The tulle underneath crackled uncomfortably against her bare legs as she shifted from foot to foot.
At the microphone, the woman cleared her throat. With this sound, the girl flinched, her heart pounding.
Her terror was palpable; several of the guests cast blank faces towards her in interest as tensions increased.
“On this day, we are blessed.”
The woman’s strong voice carried over the sounds of the music playing and the party quietened, allowing her to be heard.
“On this day, we are blessed.” The crowd echoed in unison, causing the girl to shiver.
It was about to begin.
Earlier that day, the girl lay curled on a stone floor, limbs stiff and unused. A rat scurried past, inches away from her face but she did not move. A clanging noise rang out through the cell as someone turned a key and the metal gate fencing her into the corner was removed.
“It is time.”
At this, the girl finally lifted her head. Her eyes, previously cold and resigned, now filled with panic.
Lifting her by the shackles chained to her wrists, the guard hefted her to her feet, half dragging her on numb legs.
Emerging from the dark room, the girl screwed her face up in response to the new colours and light. As her eyes adjusted, she took in the intricate wall carvings, lit up by chandeliers embedded into ceilings so high they made her head spin. Whilst they led her through the hallway, dread settled in- an uncomfortable nausea coupled with the lack of food which caused her to sway on the spot. The guard noticed and tugged harshly at the restraints.
As the pair entered another spectacular room, the guard unlocked the cuffs, allowing the girl a modicum of freedom. It was not well received. With her now unrestricted hands, the girl moved to attack but her chill stiffened arms were not quick enough for the guard, who responded by slapping her face without emotion.
“You will behave.”
Resigned to her fate, the girl sat on the pulled-out stool in the centre of the room and awaited what would become of her. Almost instantly, several women appeared from the doorway and settled themselves around the girl. She let her façade drop and a low keening noise emitted from her throat as tears formed in the corners of her eyes. One woman tilted her face towards her, using a delicate hand to gently, carefully wipe the tears away with a tissue.
“Don’t cry pet. It will all be over soon.”
Her voice caused ice to drip down the girl’s spine, leeching any warmth the room provided.
They held a glass of water out to her which she took, composing herself. After sipping it, she lifted her chin to stare defiantly at the wall ahead, focusing on the beautiful artwork there. The women set to work, skilfully applying makeup to hide the damage that two weeks in the jail cell had caused.
As one of them painted rose coloured eyeshadow onto her eyelids, she broke her silence.
“What will become of me?”
To her credit, her voice did not falter despite the fear she felt.
The women continued their work without hesitation. Only one responded at all, biting her lip but not ceasing in applying strands of glitter to the flower crown she was weaving with nimble fingers.
Another of the servants crossed the carpeted floor to a huge wardrobe in the corner, removing from it a dress of white silk. It was undoubtably stunning- off the shoulders with layers of pale pink peeking through the white making up the skirt and covered with sparkling hand embroidered flowers- but the knowledge of what it symbolised filled the young girl with dread. As they laced her into the bodice, she snaked a hand towards a pair of sharp nail scissors left unattended. The tiny scraping noise they made as they lifted off the table top seemed to resonate through the room. The woman who had bitten her lip when questioned quietly lay a hand over the girls and removed the weapon deftly.
“It is not worth it.” She whispered. “It would never work.”
The other women pretended not to notice and busied themselves putting the final touches into the girl’s appearance. The last step completed as the flower crown was placed upon her dark hair.
The party was already in full swing when she exited through the glass patio doors. Outwardly, she kept her head held high. Inwardly, her mind screamed for help.
The festivities continued throughout the night. She went ignored, attracting little attention.
Only one person paid her any notice. A woman, elegant in her black shawl, approached. A long-nailed hand cupped the girl’s chin, tilting her face this way and that.
The girl responded only with a dead stare.
“Now, now. You know I can’t see that evil look.”
The woman tipped her head to the side. The fairy lights caught her, illuminating the hollowed cheeks, and lack of any features upon her pale face. Aside from that mouth.
Black lips framed a wide hole of saliva dripping fangs. A split tongue emerged and disappeared back into the black hole in her face almost instantly as she licked her lips in eagerness of what the evening was to hold.
The woman leaned in, flicking her tongue out again to touch the girl’s cheek.
A throat clearing interrupted the woman. She turned to where the noise had emitted from, where another woman stood at the microphone.
“On this day, we are blessed.” came the voices, laced with anticipation.
The girl shut her eyes. Better to not see what was coming.
Eddie House is a 22 year old genderqueer manic pixie daydream. In their free time, they love to write, especially poetry and short stories. Their aim is for other queer young people to read their work and be inspired. You can find more of their work at http://eddielhouse.tumblr.com, or in Anatolios Magazine
LTD Tripped Out Motivational Posters
Tripped out… in case you just couldn’t get enough of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the return of the infinite bagel with EVERYTHING on it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic image of pink hairy horror (This is actually a fink fuzzy frond plant not unlike a Cockscomb but with longer thinner flowering feelers rather than the fuller protuberances you see on a full-bodied Cockscomb plant. I have no idea what it was, but it was very odd so I had to snap a photo.)
Image text reads: Mixing Magic Mushrooms & Peyote Just remember: once you open that Pandora’s box, you’re never going to get the pink hairy tarantulas back in it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic sunflower backlit by the sun with text and rainbow eye overlay
Image text reads: Eye See You Eye See All (in circle text so you can start and end reading wherever). In an ideal context this would be printed in the bottom of your tea mug or on a record that can slowly spin.
For more crazy tripped out fun, check out Weird Al’s post on Craig’s List…
The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel
I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods. Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent. They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning. Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.
My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves. She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late. Her baby had already long since been stolen away. She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak. She locked herself in her room. Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness. Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection. We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation. It has kept us all alive.
But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here. I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister. But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths. To ensure that it doesn’t happen again. My family will never act. I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets. It happens time and again. We are all expendable. They never do anything.
So here I am, in the Elven wood. Alone. As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me. They probably already have. Again, it is for our own protection. I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves. Everything is so structured, so regimented. Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes. We are all so afraid.
I lay in wait. It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears. The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space. They appear where and when they wish. But this time, I will go through first. I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction. We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms. Hopefully that will be enough time.
The trees shift and morph. Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground. There is a stillness that I cannot fully express. My breath hangs heavy in the silent air. There is no sound, no smell, no taste. It is time. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming. There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.
As soon as the portal opens, I dash through. But something isn’t right. No one came through from the other side. Or did they? I cannot tell. I am alone, in limbo between states of existence. The world spins around me. I can feel the drift. Is this what death feels like? Cold unbroken silence? I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe this is all according to plan. But who was orchestrating the exchange? My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between. My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought. I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange. I never really got past step one.
A voice greets me from the trees. It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.
“I’ve been expecting you.”
The world slowly comes into focus. Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace. My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling. She cradles the baby in her arms.
“You made it. You escaped,” she sings.
“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical. I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth. Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus. Is this an illusion? My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself. She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be. Filled with love and laughter. Light dances about her, and she shimmers.
“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies. “You have been living among them your whole life. I had done so as well until the baby was stolen. My heart broke; I had to follow after. That was when I learned the Truth.”
“Why do you think we are so sheltered? Why are we forbidden to do anything? They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued. “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be. We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”
I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way. It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her. There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint. She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right. I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.
The Village has fallen away to the woods. There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home. The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion. Nothing makes sense anymore. I am unsure whether I am coming or going. Two paths lay open before me. Which shall I take?
Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel
I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.
And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.
I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.
Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.