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Day 14

Dani placed a finger to her lips and pulled her hand away from Sandy’s mouth.

“Sandy, I need you to help me here.” She turned to look out the door, in the direction of the rest of the facility. “Can you go to the fence at the end of the units there, and make a lot of noise? We can pull them away.”

Sandy looked shaken. “But what if they climb over?”

“They can’t climb. They’re not smart enough for that, have you seen them walk and stumble around?”


Sandy nodded. Dani pulled a screwdriver from the hip loop of her jeans and handed it to her. 

“Take this just in case. A quick jab to the eye socket should work, especially if they are tangled in the fencing.”

Sandy held the screwdriver in her palms, noticing the sticky, dry bloodstain on it. She wiped her hand that touched the metal tip on the edge of the counter.

Dani turned her attention back to Bob who was still on the ground exhausted from his tussle with the ghoul. She began to edge toward the door to grab him but turned her gaze back to Sandy.

“Aim for the eyes.”


She dashed out the door.

Bob was getting far too old for this shit.

He laid there on the warm concrete in the evening sun. It would have been a beautiful sunset, for sure, but he was far too concerned with his heart pounding its way out of his ribcage.

Beside him lay the corpse of what used to be a human. The stench was horrific, but not unfamiliar. He’d found himself in close proximity to the corpses of actual people back in Vietnam. Presumably good people, when he thought back to it in his bitter, painful dreams.

The smell of death was nothing new for Bob Aaron Clark.

He lay there panting, staring up toward the darkening sky, when Danielle Kim jogged up and stood over him.


“Bob, get up, let me help you.”

He grunted as he rose onto his ass, holding out his hand. From there, she was deceptively strong in helping him to his feet.

“What’s wrong, baby girl?” he coughed.

She began to pull him toward the building but glanced back behind her. Her eyes showed fear. Familiar fear. The sound of clanging metal filled the air.

He turned his head as he stumbled towards the door noticing two of the undead bastards only a dozen feet away.


Back inside the door, Dani grabbed the bloody letter opener from Bob’s hand. Before he could protest she said, “Grab your gun.”

He cursed his old age as he jogged up the stairs to the apartment to find his gun. He should have carried it with him in the first place.

He was getting too goddamn old.

Her forties had slowed her down tremendously and Sandy Gunderson was not having it. She jogged just past the fence, seeing the young girl, Danielle, help Bob up from the ground. Behind them were two approaching monsters.

Sandy jammed the tip of the screwdriver between the spokes of the fence and let the metal of the tool collide with each and every metal bar. The sound of clanging was loud and sure enough, it seemed to draw the monsters in her direction.

Her stomach grumbled from the stress. The kid had put her in danger.


Dani stood just out of sight from the shattered glass door and watched as Sandy did her part. Sandy rapidly ran out of fencing and vanished behind one of the first storage units that made up the northern wall. Things were silent for a moment and Dani shifted uncomfortably in her position as the ghouls began to search for signs of the living. They did not immediately turn toward the doorway, which was of a little comfort.

Then Dani heard the banging and rattling from further away down the property. It sounded as though Sandy were kicking at the doors. Soon she was yelling.

“Here! Here!”

Each “here” was punctuated by the rattle of the sliding doors. Dani ducked behind the doorframe again as the ghouls began to turn. One let out a raspy moan. The ghoul’s stiff body shuddered and accelerated toward the source of the sound, the second ghoul stumbling after moments later.

They rounded the outer corner, following the sounds. Dani watched them go out of sight just as Bob wheezed his way down the stairs, his shotgun in hand.

The plan made Bob nervous, especially because Danielle was the one who would need to park the moving truck. He intended to protest but Danielle pointed out that he had the gun. He’d have her back.

He accepted that. 


He started the generator just as she turned the ignition on the moving truck. The gate clanked open, making a tremendous amount of noise, and Bob drew his firearm, waiting for the return of the rotten bastards.

The moving truck bounced as it rolled over the gate track. He watched, almost helplessly as Dani drove the truck into the street and made a sloppy three-point turn.

She should have just backed it in.

He watched Danielle back into the lot and caught her grim expression and she gunned the gas just enough to get the truck onto the curb in front of the building. For a moment his breath was caught up in his throat as it looked like the truck might tip over, but it did not. With the truck safely in proximity, Bob turned his attention to the corner where the rotters had disappeared. Sure enough, the sounds of the gate and truck had lured them back. The two stumbled from around the corner as Dani continued to reverse the truck.

“Danielle, hurry the fuck up!”


The stumbling gaits of the ghouls were slow and Bob took steady aim with the shotgun. It was no good from this distance, but he felt relieved to have the weapon.

At least until the gate began to close.

Sandy could not believe that Bob had left the gate wide open and she quickly set about closing it like it should have been. Danielle would have no problem going in through the shattered glass door anyway.

What was needed was to make sure none of these things could get inside.

Bob grabbed at the gate and shook it violently. He looked angry.

“Sandy, what the hell are you doin’?”


“Closing the gate. We can’t let those things inside.”

“What about Danielle?”

“She can go through the door. Squeeze behind the truck.”

Bob stared at her as he opened the gate again. Sandy took a few steps back, nervous about the gate. The plan seemed to be working, but a lack of a barrier was not ideal.

“Don’t open the gate, Bob. They might get in.”


“Fuck off, Sandy,” he muttered.

With the truck finally parked as flush to the building as she could manage, Dani lept out from the passenger side, keys in hand, and slammed the door shut. There were three ghouls now, one had arrived from a cluster toward the main drag of the town. She paused for a moment. They were very close. Their lolling gates seemed so non-threatening – almost absurd to watch.

“Get the hell over here!”

Dani looked at Bob, who had his shotgun at the ready, violently jerking his head back over his shoulder.

Dani got the hell over.

Back inside the shopfront, moments later, the trio stood, staring at the shattered door with a moving truck parked out front. Bob had already blown the heads off the three ghouls once the gate was shut. Dani had offered to get them with the screwdriver, but Bob insisted. Sandy said nothing. For now, the immediate threat was handled.

For the long term, though…


“What if they crawl under the truck?” Sandy asked, her voice a hoarse whisper.

Dani shook her head. She’d been watching the ghouls for a while since the first ones were wandering the town. They weren’t smart. Bob seemed to sniff and cast a pointed glance at Sandy, who shrunk under his brief gaze.

Bob was the first to speak. “They’re too dumb for that. I don’t think we need to worry about that. We need to worry about one wedging itself in from under.”

Dani ran her sweaty palms through her black hair. “Our best bet is to seal up the window and lock up the building for now, just in case,” she added.

Sandy grunted. Dani saw her about to raise a protest, but it seemed that she agreed.


“Well, I am going to pack a few essentials if I am giving up the apartment.”

Sandy vanished up the stairs. Bob was already approaching a small, unused display area where the moving supplies were stored for sale. Dani followed. After about twenty minutes they had managed to tape up the windows and the shattered glass door with cardboard boxes. They had double-layered the cardboard over the door. For good measure, they moved a desk from the office to a position in front of the doorway as well. It wasn’t a great barrier, but if no ghoul needed to poke around, they would be fine.

As far as they had guessed, if no noise came from behind the cardboard-covered door, the ghouls wouldn’t approach.

Seemingly content with the handiwork, Bob whistled and put a reaffirming hand on Dani’s shoulder. Sandy came downstairs with a pair of suitcases.

Bob scratched his chin. “We have a couple of RVs that were being stored here, I can open them up for you two. Sound good?”


Sandy shrugged. Dani nodded. Bob handed Dani the shop keys.

“I think you daddy left his gun in that safe in the office.”

Dani looked puzzled. “I thought he kept it in his unit?”

Sandy shrugged. “I have no idea. I assumed so, but yes, your father did have a safe in the office. I don’t know the combination.”

Sandy and Bob stepped out through the side door into the storage facility. Dani made her way to the office, opened the small closet, and knelt down to access the safe.


The combination was her birthday. Lucky.

She pulled out a small 9mm, unloaded. She tucked it into the waist of her pants. She grabbed the small box of bullets that had been locked in with the gun.

In less trying times that would have been a bad idea. She was thankful that her father had done something so foolish.

The RV seemed comfortable enough. The air was stale and there was a layer of dust, but it was generally clean.

Dani sat on the step, smoking. Bob was kind enough to give her a little something to take the edge off of the day. She wasn’t really much of a smoker but had dabbled here and there. It seemed now was the perfect time to take it up again.

The year 2000 had been an absolute clusterfuck so far. The Y2K thing? Total horseshit. The dead rising – who had even considered that?


She let out a cloud of smoke into the chilly night air. The sun was gone now and her eyes had gotten quite effective at adapting to the dark. The RV was parked near the southern edge of the property, in an open area, accompanied by the other trailers and the boats she saw earlier.

Over the fence, just past the old train tracks, there were some track homes. She stared at them, noticing movement in one of the windows in the dark. It was a tacky tan two-story with fake green slats built around the window.

She stared hard into the window doing her best to make out some sort of detail. After a while, the figure moved close enough to the window for her to see that it was long dead and walking. She took another puff and noticed the ghoul had stopped moving. Soon, thin, greasy hands began to slap the glass. The rattle was audible.

She stamped out her cigarette, took one last look at the window, and shut the RV door.

She threw herself onto a dusty bed and curled up into the fetal position. Soon the tears came and she buried her face into the pillow.


No noise.

Next Installment

Thank you for reading the sixth installment of the Haunted MTL original series, The Dead Life. Please share your thoughts about the story with us.

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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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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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