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What happens when a man tries to save the world and gets some help from an attractive visitor? McCurry happens, of course! In this must read tale, we bring you some adult horror stomp romp that will make you sell your very soul… -Jim

McCurry Saves the World

An academic to his core, Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry was a man of concrete, straight forward facts and data and had little patience for anything not supported by its fair share of both. His devotion to this led him down a path of science, and science yielded results for his life. Though he started out in the classroom, Dr. McCurry’s patience for students was minimal, at best, and his passion for research steered him in other directions.

Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry was now in the business of saving the world.

He’d achieve this seemingly impossible dream the same way he’d achieved everything else in his life. Through careful assessment of quantitative data and results, McCurry would hypothesize in as logical and unbiased a way as was objectively possible (though, he admitted, he would never truly be able to account for his own personal biasness), and then he would test said hypothesis again and again, taking different factors and possibilities into account each time, to eventually reach a final conclusion.


To eventually save the world.

Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry had no desire to be labeled a hero, had no desire to be labeled anything whatsoever. His determination to save the world was, in truth, a selfish one, a desire rooted in McCurry’s own hubris. So strong was McCurry’s faith in the power of science that he’d resolved to use it to scale the most insurmountable mountain he could find.

Dr. McCurry wanted to save the world for the same reason that some men want to climb tall mountains, simply to show that it can be done.

In truth, Dr. McCurry had little time for the people his work would be benefitting. He lived alone in a home he barely saw and regarded merely as a place to sleep and little else.

Outside of lab assistants that he spoke briefly to and made no effort to learn the names of, he worked alone. This did not bother Richard McCurry; this was, in fact, what he wanted, what he preferred. Richard regarded mankind’s desire to socialize, to seek out affection, and to fall in love as an inherent, almost irresistible flaw – a flaw that he, himself, had become almost entirely immune to. Dr. McCurry detested obstacles that got in the way of progress, that stopped a man from realizing his true potential.


Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry wanted to save the world because saving the world suited his idea of living up to his true potential. He did not want to save the world out of any deep-rooted love, respect, or regard for his fellow man. Mankind’s continued survival on the planet Earth was an unwanted side effect of his work succeeding.

He sighed. It was late. The assistants had gone home hours ago. No one was making any overtime. There was no reason to still be there.

And yet, it was closer than ever. So close he could taste it. The work was nearing its end, he’d known that at the beginning of the month. But with just a little more effort, he could well see the results he’d been looking for……..

But not tonight, McCurry thought.

He rubbed his eyes and thought about reading over his notes briefly before deciding against it. He was tired. He was getting excited…which meant he was getting emotional and careless. Yes, the end was in sight. But no need to rush it. After all, the work would be there tomorrow. The world would be there tomorrow.


McCurry shut down the computers in the lab one by one and hung his lab coat on his chair. It would be good to get home. To eat. To rest. He’d have some soup and ta-

Something caught his attention before he could finish the thought. Something strange. A smell.


But not a bitter aroma, a sweet one. Like what you’d get with an expensive cigar.

He turned, but the lab was empty. Of course the lab was empty. What’s more, there was no smoke at all.


Still, though, he smelled it. He knew he did.

McCurry’s thoughts raced. Phantom smells could mean a lot of things. He could be getting ready to have a seizure or a stroke. It could be a brain tumor. He’d need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cartwright tomorrow, get an MRI. It wouldn’t be convenient, but it was all that could explain it. Because he was absolutely damned if it didn’t smell like someone had been smoking a cigar in the lab. Not like one had just been lit up, either. Like they’d been in there smoking it for hours. And that was impossible. Because he was the only one in there.

“It’s certainly not a brain tumor, Mr. McCurry.” A voice. Female.

He looked up.

And there she was. Impossible in every way. Impossibly beautiful, and impossibly present. A woman, brunette, looking like she’d just stepped out of a magazine or even off a movie screen, not that Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry had time for movies or for magazines, mind you. But there she was, all the same. Wearing a red dress with heels to match. Smoking a cigar.


The smoke circled above her head like a cloud. She smiled at him.

“Men like you. Oh what you must be thinking,” she said with a chuckle.

McCurry couldn’t help it. He chuckled back. This must be it, he figured. “I’m dying,” he said with a laugh.

She drew back, gave an exaggerated gasp. “Oh! Well I certainly hope not! Not for awhile, at least. Not when you’ve got such……such wondrous work to do.”

“I know it’s a shame,” he said monotonously, bringing his hands to his head, wondering desperately if he’d be able to feel the lump that was so obviously growing on his brain. “But this is what happens when you’re dying, one way or the other. I’d ask you to call me an ambulance, but I don’t expect illusions have the power.”


“Oh if it’s an ambulance you want, Mr. McCurry, it’s an ambulance you’ll have,” she said in a slightly mocking but slightly seductive tone that McCurry wasn’t sure how to read.

“Though, somehow I doubt that’s what you really want. Particularly when I can assure you that you’re most certainly not dying.”

McCurry turned his back and bit his tongue, determined not to engage with a delusion, particularly a delusion that seemed to be mocking him.

“Now is that any way to treat someone who’s here to help you, Mr. McCurry?” she asked in the same maddening tone.

“The only thing that can help me now is medical science,” Richard McCurry curtly replied. “You, madam, are a symptom. A side effect of a larger issue,” unconsciously switching to lecture mode, Dr. McCurry turned around to face his visitor. “A larger issue that, sadly my attractive friend, lies squarely within me.” He sighed. “Given that I’m not frothing about on the floor, I suppose the safest bet is brain tumor; though, it surely must be an advanced one given this level of hallucination.”


She blinked. “Attractive? Richard, really, I hardly thought you’d notice.”

He turned around again. No sense engaging with this. I’ve got to get to an emergency room, he thought. Yes. An emergency room. But it surely wasn’t safe to drive to one. Not in his present condition.

“Richard, if it’s an ambulance and doctors you want, you need only say the word. I’m more than happy to oblige.”

He turned around. “That settles it,” he stated plainly. “You can’t be real. You can’t have known what I was thinking about.”

“Unless I could read your mind, of course.”


He laughed, more heartily than he meant to. Longer than he meant to. He forced himself to stop. He was coming unraveled, and that was no good. Disease, even terminal disease, could be combated. Plunging headfirst into madness was hardly the answer.

She sighed, took a long drag of her cigar, and dropped it on the laboratory floor.

“Hey what’re you doing!” McCurry exclaimed, in spite of himself. A lit cigar was a fire hazard.

She laughed as McCurry scrambled towards the cigar.

“You can pick it up,” she said plainly. “Hold it in your hands. Take a puff off it if you want, Richard. It’s real. Just as real as me, and just as real as our business tonight.”


Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry verified his visitor’s words as she said them. The cigar was as real as anything else in the lab. He was holding it in his hand. He could feel the heat from lit end. She was right. If he were so inclined, he could have smoked it himself.

“Just what the hell is this?” He asked out loud, to himself more so than his guest.

But she answered anyway.

“It’s an opportunity, Richard. A chance to achieve that potential that you seem to possess so much of. That’s all.”

“What do you mean?”


“What I said, of course. I’m here to discuss an opportunity.”

“You’re here? But where’d you come from? And who are you?”

She laughed, but this time, it was different. It was deeper, throatier than her earlier chuckles. Like there was something beneath the attractive brunette in the red dress and matching heels standing in front Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry on this late evening in the lab.

The laugh caused McCurry to shudder.

Then, it was over, and she was speaking in her same half mocking half flirty tone. “I’m sorry. It’s just that usually those are the first two questions I get asked, but I’ve been here for a good ten minutes now, and we’re just getting into the hows and whys. Why bother? Let’s get to business, Richard. Let’s get to your work.”


Suddenly, McCurry felt offended. Who was this woman, and who did she think she was?

What could some floozy in a red dress possibly know about his work?

“You don’t know the first thing about my work,” he said plainly and confidently, more confidently than he’d expected. But it was, after all, his work being discussed. And no one knew more about the topic than Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry.

“I know you want it to work,” she said plainly and unblinkingly.

He stopped.


This wasn’t right.

Hallucinations didn’t argue with you.

And why did this feel less like an argument and more like a negotiation?

“Well that’s obvious,” he said flatly. “Who does anything without the expectation of success?”

“That’s true,” She said as she stood up and walked towards him. “But who else is as focused on the results as you? Who else inspects every detail to ensure success at every level like you, Richard Franklin McCurry?”


He blinked. She was right. There was no one else. There was no one else who poured over the details like he did, who paid as much attention to the data as he did. No one else seemed to realize that the data was sacred. The data was law. But Richard did. He always had, and it had always been his greatest strength.

That was how he was ever tasked with saving the world. Because he was the man most capable of making it happen.

“I can make it happen,” she said plain, matter of factly. As if making it happen was the easiest task to accomplish on Earth.

He laughed. He couldn’t help it.

“I’ll bet you can,” he managed between chuckles.


She frowned and turned around. After a brief glance over her shoulder, she returned to her original seat and looked at him plainly, silently, and unblinking….unaffected by his offensive lack of faith.

He stopped laughing. Cleared his throat, straightened his collar, and did what he could to regain his composure. Something about the expression on her face made him stop, made him considered that, just for a moment, maybe what she was saying was genuine, that this woman in the red dress with heels to match could somehow, some way help him save the world.

“Supposing that’s true,” Richard McCurry observed, slipping comfortably back into lecture mode. “Supposing that you possess some way of deciphering the existing Mathematical data, data that would vex a Chemical Engineer working on her second PhD I’ll plainly add, supposing that you, some vixen with a cigar who has inexplicably managed to walk into this highly secured laboratory undetected, are remotely capable of understanding where I am right now, the progress I’ve made thus far….and that you may somehow be able to take that understanding and apply some untapped knowledge, a perspective I have not considered despite the fact that I’ve been working at this for nearly three solid years of my life….”

“Richard, Richard…my, my…” It was her turn to laugh. “What an exceedingly long sentence that was. Is it your ego driven appreciation for your own intelligence or your exceeding willingness to stamp all over your perception of mine that drives such a reaction? I do wonder.”

She turned her back on him, and Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry found himself appreciating the gesture. His visitor, whoever she was, was certainly a well built woman.


“I wonder,” she continued, her voice taking on a sterner tone. “If it’s because I’ve chosen to come to you tonight as a woman,” she paused, and cast a brief, but alluring, glance over her shoulder that was purposely picturesque to the point of absurdity. “Perhaps that was a miscalculation on my behalf, an overreliance on tried and true tactics without the proper respect for the more modern place and time.” Her voice took on a deeper, throatier, quality with each syllable. It no longer seemed to belong to the brunette in the red dress and matching heels at all.

She briskly turned back around and walked towards Richard, her heels clapping rhythmically on the floor with each step.

She stopped, just inches away from him.

“Perhaps another form would have suited you better, one that you would have respected more instantly,” she continued in a sandpapery, guttural voice that didn’t seem to match the woman standing in front of McCurry. “Our business is most paramount, after all, as we are discussing matters of life and death, are we not Mr. McCurry?”

“D—D—Doctor McCurry…” he stammered without thinking.


She laughed, a pleasant one that immediately seemed to belong to the beautiful woman standing in front of him, the shapely brunette in the red dress and matching heels who was inexplicably in his laboratory with a keen interest in the success of his work.

“Oh Richard,” she sighed as she brought her hands to his face and gently touched his cheeks. “As I was saying, I just want to help you make it work.”

“I know you do.” He felt like a man in a dream. And why not? Surely this was some sort of dream. For what other reason would a beautiful woman be standing in front of him with no other interest than the success of his work?

“And do you believe that I can?” She asked with a smile.

“I do,” he said flatly, hardly believing the words coming out of his mouth. Who was this woman? How was she supposed to be able to help him?


“Well then,” She exclaimed as she made her way back to the lab chair she’d been sitting in when McCurry first saw her. With a wink, she produced another cigar, seemingly out of thin air, and, with a flame that appeared on the tip of her well manicured index finger, lit it.

Richard blinked.

Surely he hadn’t seen that. “Oh God,” he mumbled.

She laughed, genuinely amused. “Oh Dr. McCurry, you don’t mean to tell me you believe in him, do you? When you find it so impossible to believe in me, even when I’m standing right in front of you?”

“I…that is I mean to say that it…It…” Doctor Richard Franklin McCurry had rarely, in fact never, in his career found himself at such a loss for words. And yet, in the presence of present company, he could hardly string together a sentence.


He cleared his throat in an effort to regain his composure.

“It’s just an expression,” he said with a renewed sense of confidence that, if pressed, McCurry wouldn’t have been quite able to explain. Though he did not fully believe the situation that he seemed to be finding himself in on this evening, a part of him reasoned that the best course of action would be to see the situation through until the end. To that end, he added: “If you mean to help me with my work, then let’s get on with it. I’d like to see my bed sometime this evening.”

She clapped her hands together, and McCurry briefly observed her perfectly manicured nails painted a deeper shade of red than her dress and matching heels.

He wondered, fleetingly, if her toenails were painted to match.

“Wonderful,” she declared. Something about the look in her eyes, something about the smile on her face, something about her entire demeanor seemed to suggest that she knew McCurry was taking moments to admire the shade of her nails or the cut of her figure. “With the offer already on the table, Dr. McCurry, the only remaining aspect of our deal to discuss would be the price.”


“Our deal?” That word shook McCurry out of the fog of lust that was slowly but surely beginning to envelope him. “Is that what this is, a deal?”

“An understanding,” she assured him.

He chuckled. Such a strange choice of words. “Lady,” he declared in a voice that his colleagues over the years would’ve been hard pressed to recognize. Gone was the air of formality that seemed to drip off of every word. “There’s not a damned thing about any of this that I understand at all.”

With no immediate reply, his words hung in the air for moments that, to Richard Franklin McCurry, felt like a thousand eternities. The two regarded one another, sized one another up, each of them contemplating the next, crucial, step towards the evening’s inevitable conclusion.

After agonizing seconds, she sighed.


“I’m wasting my time.” She declared plainly.

“No!” He exclaimed, hardly believing the word as it left his mouth. A part of him suddenly felt very certain that, should this opportunity walk out his lab door, it would not present itself again for a very long time, if ever.

Opportunity was nothing to scoff at. Not when the world is at stake.

She turned with a smile, the same smile that haunted so many of the waking dreams of Richard Franklin McCurry over the years, the same smile that, until tonight, was nothing more than a lost and distant fantasy to him.

She walked towards him purposefully, confidently, in a way that Richard couldn’t help but appreciate, her red dress flowing, a perfectly tanned leg peeking out of a slit that, until now, Richard hadn’t taken time to appreciate the length of.


Her red high heeled shoes clacked rhythmically on the lab floor.

“Let’s get to it, then,” she said.

“Yes,” Dr. McCurry agreed, finally allowing a lecherous smile to appear on his face.


It was over.


She was gone.

The deal was done. The price was paid.

Dr. McCurry had done it. After years of research, years of hard work, hours upon hours of tireless data analysis, tests and post tests, careful, painstaking, evaluation of data and results.

The world was saved. Humanity would thrive for centuries upon centuries. Its first significant conquest since nature was at hand.

His eyes watered. His nostrils screamed in agony. He had always been particularly sensitive to smoke.


For a moment, he wondered if he had used enough gasoline. But only for a moment. Fire, particularly one that has been sufficiently fed, rarely allows for much more than moments.

His back burned. He wondered fleetingly if it was because of the scratches or the flames.

It has to be the flames, he told himself. She was never here. She couldn’t have been.

The brave new world that would have doubtlessly resulted from his work went up in flames as Richard Franklin McCurry, Dr. McCurry to his colleagues, closed his eyes and accepted, begrudgingly that the universe contained forces that he could never hope to explain nor understand.

Nelson Sims is a part-time author and full time English Instructor at a community college in Selma, Alabama, where he lives with his wife, two dogs, and two cats. When he’s not teaching classes, walking the dogs, and playing manservant to the cats, he tries his best to write compelling fiction in between reading comic books from the 80s and 90s.

Nelson Sims, author


Original Creations

Revisitations: The Devil Went Down to Georgia



So I’ve been working on more painting into found art (as seen here before) and I thought I’d share a newer one, based on the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels. But first let’s make like my She Wolf post enjoy a couple variations of the song, shall we?

Charlie Daniels Band, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Live

First we have Charlie Daniels, the writer of the song which was inspired by the beautiful poem by Stephen Vincent Benet titled The Mountain Whipporwill. You can read the poem on Your Daily Poem here.

primus, devil went down to georgia, animated

Then we have to watch my favorite version, the animated music video by Primus. I know there are claymation-haters out there who find the effect bit too “uncanny valley” but how can you not just love those chickens?

Anyway, without further ado, here is my painting, incorporated into a found still life, original signed L. Harady.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady
The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady

Here The Devil is defeated, crushed along the lower edge of the artwork beneath the fiddle and lamenting his loss. The bow jabs into his sneering nose as if to add insult to injury, but his eyes still glow, alight with the prospect of coming back for another round. (They actually do glow, I have acquired some blacklight reactive nail polish to use in these pieces now.) I suppose I may go to Hell for this portrayal (or for defiling yet another painting) but alas, such is the price of art sometimes. I guess I’ll add it to the list…

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

Cravings Part 2, story by Jennifer Weigel



If you missed the beginning of this pregnancy horror story by Jennifer Weigel, you can catch Part 1 here.

Jayden’s stomach turned.  Who or what was this creature standing before him, and what had it done with his wife?  Claire proceeded to eat more than half of the jar of eggs in a fury of consumption; Jayden finally retreated to the office alone unable to watch any more.  He heard a sloshing sound as she finished the jar and proceeded to drink the brine before retreating to the bedroom and crashing into their bed, presumably to pass out.  Again.  Later that night, he crept in to find her sleeping, clammy and sweaty, nervously twitching.  Her body made the most abnormal guttural sounds as her internal systems groaned and sputtered.  It was definitely getting worse.  Jayden resolved to call Dr. Randolph the following morning; this had gone on for far too long already.

The next day, Claire awoke with a start from another bad dream that she couldn’t remember.  Crying uncontrollably, she clutched her swollen belly, still ripe with child, and hurriedly exclaimed, “Blood sausage!  I must have blood sausage!”

Jayden woke from his curled-up safe haven beside her and muttered, “Wha…  What is that?  I’ve never even heard of such a thing.”

“Go!” she snapped.  “I’m starving.  Go now!  Return with blood sausage.”


Jayden staggered over to the dresser, threw on some clothes, shuffled into his waiting shoes, and gathered himself to duck out the door in the well-practiced gesture he’d become so accustomed to.  “I’ll stop on my way home from work, I guess,” he mused, making his own plans.  Claire seemed to settle down a little as she woke further, but it was little consolation.

“Thank you Sweetcheeks,” she said.  “You’re the best.”  She blew him a kiss.

While at work, Jayden managed to secure an appointment with Dr. Beth Randolph, Claire’s primary physician since before he had known her, for later that day.  He took off early and rushed home to gather his unwilling wife.  She was going in, whether she liked it or not.

He opened the front door and peered inside.  The house was dark and quiet, as he’d come to expect.  He crept in and stole upstairs to the bedroom to rouse Claire from sleep.  He’d tell her where they were going once he got her in the car, no sense in making this even more difficult than it already was.  Unsurprisingly, there she was, a shadowy form hunched over in the bed, her back to him with the covers pulled up over her eyes.  He peeled away the comforter and blanket to reveal a tangled mess of white knitted yarn; Claire was nowhere to be found.  He looked around, trying to focus on the darkness of the bedroom that enveloped him.  That unsettling feeling had returned, like he’d had at Maresh’s shop, sinking into his gut.  Claire was here idling, watching, waiting; he could sense her presence sizing him up as if she could read his mind and was on to his plan.  But why was her company so disconcerting?  This was still their house, their home, their lives intertwined…  Jayden felt his trust ebb, spine tingling sensing danger.

“Hey there Sweetcheeks,” Claire’s voice echoed from the darkness of the closet.  “Do you have something for me?”  She emerged into the room, her eyes wide, frothing slightly at the edges of her mouth.  Tiny bubbles of drool burst forth from her quivering lips and trickled down onto her chin.


“I couldn’t find any… blood sausage… whatever that is,” Jayden lied through his teeth.  He hadn’t even gone to the store.  Claire should never have expected him back at this hour; apparently she didn’t even know what time it was.  But that seemingly wasn’t a concern.  She wasn’t herself.  Something about her fragile frame, the way she rocked from side to side, reminded him of that crazy old witch doctor Maresh.  He finally managed to connect the two; it was as though she were possessed.  It was imperative that she saw Dr. Beth Randolph as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to sever ties to that crazy old hag and hopefully start to snap out of it.  He simply had to get her to that appointment.

“No blood sausage!”  Claire shouted, becoming more and more agitated.  “No… blood… sausage!”  Her breathing became less regular and her body shivered all over as she hulked towards him.  “I am sooo hungry!”

She lunged towards him, stumbling into his arms and collapsing towards his feet laughing maniacally.  Jayden reached for her instinctively, to lower her to the ground gently, and felt something sticky and warm envelop his hand.  Feeling lightheaded, he glanced down as he fell to the floor beside her.  Protruding from his gut was a long silver thread, no something pointedly metal and hard, oozing thick oil sludge all around.  Not oil, blood.  His blood.  Claire continued laughing, her lightning-fast fingers quickly and methodically ripping their way into his tattered shirt and worming around within his wounded frame to pull forth bits of viscera, which she wrung in her hands and smeared up and down her arms and torso.  As Jayden passed out, she mouthed each of her fingers in turn, sucking the precious liquid off of them one at a time, before she began to feast on his entrails.

Claire’s belly was finally full.  The baby developing within squirmed and settled, as if finally satiated.  She swiped a stray bit of flesh from her bosom, licked it off of her fingertips, and heaved a sigh of relief.  Miracle Madame Maresh Meliasma was right; she just needed to get to the root of her cravings.

Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas art by Jennifer Weigel
Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas art by Jennifer Weigel

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

Cravings, a Pregnancy Horror Story by Jennifer Weigel



Here is Part 1 of Cravings, a pregnancy horror story considering darker cravings and changes in contrast to the glow that comes with the all-too-often toxic-positivity focus of carrying a child.

“Honey, I’m home,” Jayden’s voice echoed through the house like a bad 50s sitcom rerun for all that he didn’t watch those kinds of shows.  The callout seemed equally rehearsed and hopeful but harbored a hint of fear in the way his voice cracked that didn’t bespeak Mayberry or the like.  He waited for his wife Claire to greet him at the door.  The house was still and cold with all of the heavy drapes drawn and no lights on anywhere.  He glanced towards the dark bedroom where she must be napping, like the day before and the day before that, for weeks and months on end now.

Honestly, Claire hadn’t been the same since she’d finally conceived, following that witch doctor Miracle Madame Maresh Meliasma’s advice after years and years of trying to get pregnant.  Now Claire was lethargic and succumbed to migraines, nightmares & morning sickness that kept her bedridden much of the time, screaming bloody murder because of her headaches if anyone so much as flicked on the lights.  And she had barely even gotten into the second trimester.  Jayden had read that it was supposed to get better but there didn’t seem to be any improvement; if anything she seemed to be getting worse.  He tried to get her to see her doctor about it but she snubbed the idea.  “After everything they put us through, all those years of fertility treatments, the invasive procedures, the bills…  No way.  To Hell with modern medicine,” Claire had retorted.

So now here they were, readying themselves for their first child.  Maresh had foreseen that Claire would birth a healthy baby boy, and with all of the card readings, spiritual advice and herbal concoctions, Claire had fallen right in line, hanging onto the witch doctor’s every word.  Jayden was still frustrated she wouldn’t consult with her normal doctor, but she instead visited with Maresh every day through Instachat online for about an hour and even invited the creepy old woman into their home once a week on Thursday mornings to supply fresh herbs, massage her aching joints and swelling tummy, and call forth healing realigning energies with elaborate candlelit rituals.  Claire could focus on only one thing: anticipating the pending home birth and natural delivery of their firstborn child, still several months away.


Jayden wished his wife had never set foot in that weird alternative new age spiritual center, something about it had just seemed off.  It wasn’t the crystals or candles or psychic energy books that seemed to line every surface; he wasn’t into any of that mysticism crap but it seemed pretty innocuous.  He recalled small figures made of sticks, straw and mud, and giant Mason jars boasting exotic herbal remedies, and the lingering scent of something sickly sweet decaying, all of which was genuinely unsettling, but it wasn’t really that either.  There was something decidedly sinister about the place that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, more caught up in the air surrounding and within the space itself.  It settled into his gut like that feeling you get when you know you’re being watched by some unseen far away presence or when you meet someone you know deep down has ill intentions.  And Maresh herself was just as disturbing; she only ever addressed Claire and had not uttered a single word to Jayden in the entire time.  In fact, she acted as if she looked right through him without even seeing him.

As days turned into weeks into months, Claire became more withdrawn and more obsessed about the baby.  She never left the house, locking herself away in the gloomy stagnant nest and occupying herself with the remedies, rites and rituals that Maresh suggested.  Oh, and knitting.  Jayden hadn’t realized that Claire knitted since he had never seen her do so before, but her hands were a frenzy of motion, whipping silver needles back and forth and pulling soft white yarn between them like a growing umbilical cord tethering her to the circumstance at hand like some sort of strange pregnancy lifeline.  The so-called blanket she was producing grew larger and larger every day.

Jayden snapped out of his reverie to see his wife eyeing him from the hallway.  She studied him up and down slowly, staring longingly at his body.  She inadvertently bit her lower lip in anticipation, teeth striking flesh to cut forth a small droplet of blood.  Her tongue eagerly danced across her pursed mouth and lapped it up before withdrawing again. 

“Aw, what’d you bring me this time, Sweetcheeks?”  Claire smirked; eyes alight with flame like a cat readying to pounce

She had been ravenous throughout the pregnancy so far, and her cravings kept getting stranger and more bizarre as time passed.  The other day, Jayden had fetched boiled shrimp, and she had devoured over 2 pounds of the mud-bugs in less than an hour’s time, shell, tail and all, their little legs matted together like thick wet whiskers.  Today she had requested pickled eggs, the kind that they import from Europe or Dutch-country Pennsylvania in those big almost gallon-sized jars, stained pink with beet juice vinegar.  Jayden procured the giant jar of eggs from the paper bag in his arms.  Claire lunged at him and grabbed up the prize, prying the lid off in one fell swoop.  She reached in, pulled out a pink rubber-looking egg still dripping with brine, and shoved it in her mouth whole.  She hadn’t even bothered to chew it before she grabbed another to meet the same fate.  And another.

Still artwork, church window assemblage by Jennifer Weigel, reflecting on pro-choice versus pro-life politics in Kansas USA 2022 after the overturn of Roe v. Wade "Your body is still a battleground"
Still artwork by Jennifer Weigel, reflecting on pro-choice versus pro-life politics in Kansas USA 2022 after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, “Your body is still a battleground”

I hope you have enjoyed the first part of this story. Part 2 will air next time here on Haunted MTL. In the meantime, feel free to follow your cravings and order up some midnight munchies, or listen to this lullabye.

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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