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The Professor by Casper Rose

On a mild day in late March, Professor Cavanaugh sat on his padded rolling chair organising the various objects which coated his desk. He scooped up a collection of assorted paperclips and pads of sticky notes and encouraged them into a basket held at an angle at the edge of his desk before tucking it lengthways into the drawer. The Professor always worked better with a clean desk, and there was work to be done today. After he was done, the Professor would need to take the spare data collations back to the lab, and then make it back upstairs for his eleven-thirty class.

As he was walking, the Professor noticed a strange feeling on the roof of his mouth, almost as if he had grazed it on a sharp piece of food; he had no idea. He was still running his tongue along the roof of his mouth as a student stopped him in the hall.

“Professor Cavanaugh?”, she was older for a second year, maybe in her mid-twenties, and if the Professor were to be honest with himself, he had no idea of her name. She continued, “Sorry sir, I was just wondering if we had class next week, seeing as the other group won’t have their lesson on Friday.”

Right, the Professor would need to put a notice up soon, “No, I’ll make sure to let everyone know by this Thursday.” He chewed on the inside of his cheek, feeling the irritation move backwards in his mouth.


“Thank you!” she seemed to have started walking away before she was even finished talking.

Distracted, the Professor kept along his way, still chewing on the inside of his cheek. The feeling had moved again, farther back and behind his back teeth. He could not decide if it itched or not, but now that he had begun paying attention to it, it seemed to bother him even more.

Later, the Professor was back at his desk, reading through a syllabus change for the following year. He had forgotten about the feeling in his mouth while he was teaching but, at that moment, it crept back into the inside of his upper lip. Why? He began digging his tongue into his lip, pushing the feeling around. Had he eaten something?

Minutes went by before the feeling settled once more, but only for the briefest of moments. Irritated, Professor Cavanaugh pushed the syllabus away, taking the back hall to the janitorial bathroom downstairs. He leaned over the sink, avoiding the patches of water littered over the basin, turning his head back and forth with his mouth open. In that moment, he thought of himself like a clown whose mouth waited open for a ping pong ball at a carnival. Despite the amusing thought, Cavanaugh saw nothing in his mouth. He took his thumbs unceremoniously shoved them under his upper lip to expose the pink flesh that was, unfortunately, no more pink than normal.

Sighing, Professor Cavanaugh ran his finger along the inside of his upper lip again, feeling for something, anything. In the most irritated patch of his mouth for that time, the Professor felt several tiny raised bumps, but perhaps his mouth was covered in them, if he really felt it. He checked his watch, four o’clock, almost time for him to go home. He must remember to post that notice.  


The Professor stared at himself in the mirror once more, this time at home. He had been home and showered, feeling better having washed off the heat of the day. He still felt hot. The feeling in his mouth had evolved to tingling, and sometimes even – at the most unexpected times – a burning. The bathroom door was open, and the Professor had already confided in her, or perhaps complained, about the feeling. She had half-jokingly told him he had ‘one of those worms’ that get under your skin and crawl around.

“Don’t be silly, Bianca.” Professor Cavanaugh had teased her for her hypochondria, “besides, worms slither, not crawl.”, but the thought played on him. He did not sleep well that night.

The feeling came and went over the next few days, appearing spontaneously to bother the Professor and, with just as much spontaneity, disappeared. Sometimes, it would disappear for hours at a time, and sometimes, it bothered him for as long. Blessedly, the Professor found that if he did his best not to disrupt it, the feeling would settle. Still, it bothered him, and with persistence.

On another of his staring matches with the feeling in his mouth, he scratched at the area in hopes of opening the protrusions and willing them to spill their irritating contents. It stung, and he bled slightly, coating his mouth in a metallic taste, but he was sure he saw a flash of white under the broken skin. This appearance would not be strange, if it had not disappeared a moment later. Professor Cavanaugh felt sick, had he just seen something move inside his mouth? Inside the inside of his mouth?

Weary of the irritation, the Professor pulled open the second drawer with once hand, one hand still pressed into his bottom lip, holding it away from the rest of his mouth. He rummaged for a moment before finding the sharp end of the metal utensil for which he had been looking. Prying his lip away further from his teeth, he dug the tweezers into the wound he had made a few moments before, attempting to grab the thing he had seen. It was gone. Dejected, the Professor set the tweezers on the basin and waited for the thing to return to the front of his mouth.


The next morning, a Saturday, Professor Cavanaugh had his upper lip pinched between his thumb and forefinger and pressed against the side of his nose. Bianca was out that morning, her yoga class. He was pricking and prodding the invisible tingling with the tweezers, breaking the skin and sinking the sharp ends of the tweezers into the wound to pull the thing out. Drool seeped out of the open corner of his mouth and Professor Cavanaugh leaned further over the basin to catch it in the sink.

Eventually, the Professor had worked the entirety of the ends of the tweezers under the skin in his mouth. The pain became searing, and more blood came the deeper he went. Desperate, he kept digging. Finally, his efforts paid off as he squeezed the tweezing ends together underneath his skin and pulled them out, slowly, pulling some of his mouth with them but not wanting to let go of his prize.

When it was out, Professor Cavanaugh stared at the tweezer ends, his hand still clamped firmly on the handle of the small instrument, lest the creature caught in the end managed to squirm free. It was white, tiny, just barely taking up the space at the end of the closed tweezers, and it was moving.

Not seconds later, the Professor felt the tingling return, now damp compared to the stinging in his upper lip. There must be more than one parasite in his mouth. Thoughts crept in of a whole colony of worms living in his body, thousands of them. His skin began to crawl. In the mirror, he could see that the right side of his mouth was swollen, and his teeth were stained red like he would see in the movies.

Professor Cavanaugh was overcome; he had to get rid of this feeling in his mouth. He dumped the tweezer in the sink and ran the water over them to be sure that the thing was gone and pried open his mouth again. The feeling had moved again, and the Professor was forced to make a new incision in his cheek. Using the tweezers once more, he began digging.


Soon, he had found the creature, pale and exposed due to the broken skin inside his cheek. The pain was worse than it had been in his lip, but the Professor was determined to get it out. He had a hold of the worm and was twisting the tweezers inside the wound in an attempt to free it from his mouth, his eyes watering. Suddenly, it came free, sending shockwaves through the entire left side of his face, through his neck. He felt dizzy.

The blackness faded away as Professor Cavanaugh came to. He felt as if a great tiredness had come over him, and a great heaviness too. He lifted his hand to his face – which had already begun to throb – only to find that his arm had stopped about half a foot above the bed. The Professor looked down at the restraints around his wrists. Not yet fully conscious, words floated to him from the other side of a curtain pulled shut.

“Mrs Cavanaugh, I am afraid he will have to be admitted.”

He recognised Bianca’s voice, “I have no idea what happened, all that blood…”

“We’ve stopped the bleeding. He’s on some pretty heavy sedatives.”



Again, the Professor blinked, awake, more awake this time. He could no longer hear his wife. He wanted to scream, what was going on? Adjusting his eyes to the light, he realised the whiteness of the room. Again, words seemed to drift toward him, this time from a farther place. It came to him in pieces.

“His chart says…dose. …was already awake…”

A different voice, “…tweezers. I don’t…said the levator anguli…lost some function of his jaw…”

It all returned to him, the worms. The pain. Drowsily, he listened.  


“…tore his tendon right…couldn’t imagine…”

a young Australian author who picked up writing as a hobby and fell in love. Enjoys profound writing that strives for an emotional response from the reader most of all.

Casper Rose, author.

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Original Series

Into the Deep Woods 1, an October AI journey with Jennifer Weigel



I am embarking on an AI journey using NightCafe to illustrate this graphic story based on a dream I had awhile back. I am also using Canva, so here’s to learning more online systems of image dissemination and propagandizing…

I will include some of the original AI generated images with each piece along with a bit of the dream that inspired it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Into the Deep Woods Part 1, AI art journey through Canva with Jennifer Weigel

Artwork description: Overall layout: Lightning strike through the corner into obscure clouds and map-like graphic in gray tones sets the mood for Into the Deep Woods.

Part 1, Art: AI generated image of a girl with reddish hair dressed in a robe of some sort and holding a staff. A similar girl in soldier garb fades behind her. Edited in PhotoShop.

Part 1, Text: 1.) Two sisters entered the woods, one a soldier and the other a witch. Only one lived. 2.) The young witch had picked up a bit of magic as she and her sister fled into the deep woods to seek the old witch… They were tired and alone, this was their one and only chance… 3.) The war raged on all around as the Nazis drew closer…

AI art of soldier sister
AI art of soldier sister

Prompt (Horror): Portrait of soldier girl sister

AI art of witch sister
AI art of witch sister

Prompt (Horror): Portrait of witch girl sister (Evolved from soldier girl)

AI art of soldier sister, version 2
AI art of soldier sister, version 2

Prompt (Horror): Soldier girl sister hit by lightning (Evolved from soldier girl)

As mentioned this series is based on a dream that I had awhile back. The two girls first enter the woods to escape the Nazis. In my dream there were initially more soldiers with them who perish due to the war or hazards in the woods. It wasn’t unlike Pan’s Labyrinth but on a much smaller and more intimate scale.

It had been awhile between having the dream and creating this story to share with you. And I quickly learned that the term “Nazi” is prohibited by the AI art generator interface. So there are some changes that have been made, but hopefully you can still follow along. The time and place are not as relevant to the overall anyway.

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Cannibalism



Let’s return to explore more Nightmarish Nature, shall we? This segment focuses on cannibalism, as we generally find it icky / taboo and because it’s more common than you might think. There are many different reasons that different creatures engage in cannibalistic practices. Energy waste doesn’t last long in nature; gaps are filled as things evolve to utilize whatever resources are available to meet their own needs. C’est la vie (light up another cigarette). In any case, the challenge to the cannibal lies in determining kinship and not accidentally erasing their own line or progeny, thus decreasing their likelihood for survival over generations. Oh, and in avoiding those pesky prion diseases…

Resource Driven Cannibalism

Monkey cannibalism, staring at you, smiling wide and thinking about Brains...
Drawing of monkey cannibalism, thinking about Brains…

Resource driven cannibalism can occur when competition for resources is high. This may be due to scarcity, with individuals taking to eating each other to avoid themselves starving to death (with those consumed either still alive and killed to this end, or eaten after death of other causes). Or it may be outside of the cannibal’s control, considering the spread of Mad Cow Disease from feeding beef meal harboring the prion disease (and parts from other mammals like sheep) to growing cattle to save money, ’cause it’s not like the cows were allowed to order whatever they wanted. Or it may be due to direct conflicts with other groups of the same species, either due to competition for resources, mating rights and/or territory. These behaviors have been noted in mostly male chimpanzees raiding other groups, which have even been documented as all out wars against other males in neighboring bands, campaigning to eradicate all outside of their ranks.

Social Demonstration

African Wild Dog cannibalism, tongue lolling out
Drawing of African Wild Dog

Thinking about chimpanzees, males are also documented to gang up on alpha males seen as too controlling or sadistic, with groups of younger males attacking and rendering the alpha male to pieces, often consuming his flesh and blood in the process. This can upend established hierarchies to replace them with new structures, for example with a new male taking on the role of leader. But cannibalism can also be used to reinforce existing hierarchies, as seen in African Wild Dogs wherein the dominant pair will kill off any offspring that other dogs may have birthed so that the pack will focus on raising only the alpha pair’s pups, thusly reestablishing and enforcing social structure while ensuring the best survival chances for the pups raised by channeling all resources to the one brood.

Infanticide & Filial Cannibalism

Tom Cat calling out "Here kitty..."
Drawing of Tom Cat calling out “Here kitty…”

Like African Wild Dogs, other parents may also eat their offspring, or better yet their rivals’ offspring. Stillborn or unhealthy offspring may be consumed, or just any that they can get their hands on at birth. (Again with the young male chimpanzees…) Some creatures enter into cycles wherein smaller individuals are more vulnerable to predation by larger ones both within and outside of ones own species, as is seen among many fishes with eggs and smaller fishes playing an important role as prey to larger ones. Other creatures may engage in these practices to reduce competition (for themselves and/or their offspring) and/or increase opportunities to mate. Male cats are notorious for killing kittens that are not their own in order to bring females into heat again sooner, potentially increasing the likelihood of mating with said females themselves while decreasing future competition. Win-win! Female cats must take great care to hide their kittens in order to protect them from males as much as other predators, and can have kittens by different fathers within the same litter in order to increase their kittens’ overall survival as a group with father cats more willing to accept kittens when their own kin are present.

Sexual Cannibalism

Cannibalism in spiders: 'cause spiders eating just about anything is terrifying, and they eat just about anything
Drawing of spider yelling “More spiders”

Mantids and spiders are especially known for sexual cannibalism, with larger females consuming males during copulation, but this is not always linked to vast size differences and does not appear in every species. Females who engage in this practice may have healthier eggs in larger clutches, thus increasing the survival likelihood of more of their offspring. Sometimes the risk to the male suitor of being mistaken for another species by an aggressive would-be mate is high, and various rituals have developed within certain species to help avoid such mistakes and entice the female to mate. Male spiders are known engage in elaborate dances, movements, tapping and silk spinning rituals to avoid being eaten pre-copulation or at all. It’s a hell of a lot more involved than a good pick up line and a well-timed drink, as you can see here.

Peacock Spider mating ritual

If the above video doesn’t load, you can find it on PBS YouTube here.

Thank you for joining us for another exciting episode of Nightmarish Nature. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out these previous segments:

Vampires Among Us


Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

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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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