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I was in a convenience mart when it began, standing at a pastry case looking at the donuts, trying to decide whether I wanted a cake doughnut with sprinkles or a glazed doughnut with chocolate icing.  What I really wanted was a maple-glazed with bacon, but that was apparently too much of a culinary delicacy to ask of a simple gas station convenience mart such as this.

The fluorescent lights flickered in that static greenish way that they do when the ballast is going off.  Nothing unusual.  Then the loudspeaker hummed and crackled as if someone breathed too close to a microphone somewhere in the back and amplified a bit of spittle or a fleck of dust.  The sound jarred me from pondering the doughnut case, and I looked up at a speaker in the ceiling.

It quieted briefly before it buzzed again.

Still, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  Just a regular convenience mart with its typical display of overpriced donuts, shipped in too early in the morning and having sat there for half the day until they were now well-past stale…  The loudspeaker continued to hum and crackle intermittently.

I finally decided on the cake doughnut with sprinkles, poured a cup of coffee the consistency of motor oil into a to-go Styrofoam cup, snapped a lid on it (literally and figuratively), and checked out at the counter.  The lights flickered again.  The woman behind the register, who looked as though she hadn’t slept in years, mumbled “have-a-nice-day” as I paid with my Master chip card and left.  At least, I think that’s what she said.  The words fell out of her mouth like too many marbles all at once, slurred together. 

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They didn’t make sense.

The sky was overcast. I made my way to my car.  The buzzing hum and crackle followed me.  “ There outside must a speaker be too,” I muttered to myself.  My voice echoed in my head, but talking Yodaesque gibberish with the words disordered and falling out of place and time.

The car was where I left it, second from the right facing the front of the convenience mart, aimed at the building from which the droning hum emanated.  I didn’t remember parking there but then again I didn’t remember parking…  Mine was the only car in the lot so there weren’t any other choices to be made or directions to pursue.   Thank goodness.  I felt a faint flicker of light dance through my periphery, but it was too fast to focus on.  Must be a storm coming in…

I shook it off, unlocked the car with the beep-boop key fob, and got in.  I sat down in the driver’s seat, placed my coffee in the middle cup-holder, and shut the door behind me.  I opened the bag and looked at the doughnut.  Blast it, I had thought I’d gotten one with sprinkles.  But wait – there were sprinkles.  They flickered at me as if coming into and out of being.  They were too difficult to focus on, white, yellow and orange, too similar to the cake color of the doughnut.  They became more white-noise static, further drowning out my ability to focus. 

I could no longer see the doughnut for the sprinkles.

The car radio buzzed at me with the same crackly hum of the loudspeaker.  But the car wasn’t on.  That’s when it hit me.  The… car… wasn’t… on…  A faint flicker lit up the edge of my vision again, and the din of the static grew louder and closer.  The car… still… wasn’t on…  The doughnut-sprinkles flickered at me like points of light on a TV screen un-tuned to snow.

I tossed the bag with the doughnut in the passenger seat.  I wasn’t in the mood to sit and eat it.  Not now.  Something was very wrong.  The hairs on the backs of my arms prickled as they rose.  But why?  I opened the door as if to go back in, but changed my mind.  What was I going to look for there?  The confusion and uncertainty wouldn’t be any clearer.  It wasn’t as if buying a chocolate iced doughnut would change anything.  Or would it?  That didn’t make any sense. 

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None of it made any sense.

I sat still and looked out over the dashboard at the building.  The static grew louder.  Everything was snow now.  The doughnut-sprinkles, the bag, the passenger seat, the coffee, the dashboard, the car, the convenience mart…  Even my own hand was flickering as I extended it out in front of me.  The buzzing crackling hum had taken the shape of light as well as sound, and it was everywhere.

My surroundings seemed to flatten as they grew more and more disjointed, the flicker setting in like an old movie reel zoetrope.  It was as if everything I saw was just a painting or a photograph, a stage prop and not a true-to-life experience.  The scenery around me rippled like a plastic tarp over a swimming pool or a clear carnival bag bulging with water needed to sustain the goldfish within it, with me being the goldfish.

I noticed it faintly at first.

There was a crack or a fold in the space-time continuum…  No, it was a small gash…  It seemed to almost float in the midst of my vision.  It followed wherever I turned.  I was trapped underneath and within the tent of my reality, watching it bulge and flicker above and around me as the tear grew wider, threatening to burst and spill everything through me.  My heart fluttered but I was frozen to the spot, unable to move.

The tarp of my consciousness ripped open in a sweeping encompassing motion and gave way completely.  My surroundings pulsed into themselves before they swelled and broke loose.  The convenience store, the car, the dashboard… all flew past me like a million star-points of light and shadow and flowed away.  I was enveloped in light.  A quiet solace engulfed me as I was bathed in the bright white curtain, feeling cold and warm at the same time, distant and wholly present.

Slowly, fuzzy shapes emerged from the light.

Murmured talking began to take form around me, as well as a rhythmic beeping coming into focus.  “It’s going to be okay,” one of the softly silhouetted shapes spoke as it grew clearer and formed itself into a doctor in a white lab coat.  “You had a minor stroke and have been in a coma for a few days.  You’re going to pull through.”

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I looked around.  The room was sterile and white with a sickly blue-green-gray partition preventing me from seeing the other side.  A series of plastic looking machines with all sorts of knobs, buttons, and switches beeped and lit up beside me.  The doctor held one of those hand flashlights towards me to look into my eyes.  She spoke but seemed very far away.

As the light flashed in my eyes, a buzzing hum began to emerge, quietly at first.  The rhythmic beeping of the machines receded and gave way to the static drone.  It grew louder and louder as I became attuned to the constant flicker of fluorescent lights.  The humming sound grew, emanating from everywhere and burying itself behind my eyes to pulse through my being.  The fluorescence soon began to engulf everything and the room flickered to steady snow. 

Everything went fuzzy again, lost to the flickering fluorescent din.

Doughnut with sprinkles and tentacles around bloodshot eye peering through the hole

A crackling loudspeaker jars me out of my reverie, amplifying dust, or spittle.

I look up at the speaker above me, standing in front of a convenience mart doughnut case.  An underwhelming array of stale mid-day donuts scattered on trays calls for my consideration… do I want a cake doughnut with sprinkles or a glazed doughnut with chocolate icing?

A doughnut display at an askew angle looking up at the ceiling illuminated with unnatural fluorescent light
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at: https://www.jenniferweigelart.com/ https://www.jenniferweigelprojects.com/ https://jenniferweigelwords.wordpress.com/

Original Creations

Zombie Christ – Second Coming Art by Jennifer Weigel

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So I probably should have taken a before picture, but I found a faux wood stained plaster Jesus statue and turned it into Zombie Christ. Because it’s the second second coming. Or something. It’s kind of an offshoot of my nail polish paintings reappropriating thrift store art

Anyway without further ado, I present…

Zombie Christ remake statue by Jennifer Weigel
Zombie Christ remake statue by Jennifer Weigel

I was a little concerned that I made him too green at first, but I’m happy with the finished result. This statue just looked so anguished. It’s eyes had been closed but I like them better open and even painted them with blacklight reactive nail polish so they will stand out even more and be interactive in other ways to add creepy factor.

Another view of sculpture
Another view of sculpture
From the top...
And taking it from the top…

Sadly I don’t have a blacklight anymore or I’d share a picture that way too. Oh well. I’ll leave you with a fun detail shot instead.

Zombie Christ detail with eyes
Zombie Christ detail with eyes

Next time I may make him more gray than green though. We shall see…

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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Original Creations

Jennifer Weigel Art Collection Highlights Part 3

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So it’s been awhile since we’ve looked at some of the things I have gathered, so I thought I’d bring back my art collection for another round… Here are the first and second highlights in case you missed earlier explorations.

Art Collection highlights

From left to right: M Pena Windstone Editions bat-winged flap cat, bone mask by Terry and Susan Wright, wood cat in skull by labcreature, real hair art by myself, pencil drawing of Barbarois Elder for Vampire Hunter D anime cel

Art Collection highlights

From left to right: Barbarois Elder for Vampire Hunter D anime cel, Turn Me Royal portrait of my father and stepmother as Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, painted horse skull

Art Collection highlights

Left to right: Overgrowth by Ellie Bradley, heart by TenderFlesh, praying devil girl by Torman’s Treasures

Vintage plastic Jack O LAntern

And a vintage plastic 2-foot Jack O Lantern I got at a yard sale and have kept on display on his very own stool in the living room since. So happy.

Anyway, there are some more highlights from my art collection, as it is always growing and evolving. I have lucked into several of these pieces at antique and thrift stores or acquired them from the artists or more. And yes, I still have Da Ting the taxidermy shih-tzu from the first of these posts.

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.

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Assassin Fashion

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I thought about featuring some sort of Father Nature bit for Father’s Day, but having already explored Perilous Parenting I decided to focus on more creepy insects instead. Because we love creepy insects here at Haunted MTL. Thus, I present Assassin Fashion, featuring the Assassin Bug…

Assassin Bug drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Assassin Bug

Fashion Plates

Now I don’t know about you, but my first thought after snagging my prey and slurping out their dissolved innards is that I totally want to wear the dried up husk of their now lifeless body. Like that necklace made of nothing but shrunken heads. That is some first-rate fashion right there, and no one would dare to say otherwise lest they want to become a part of the dead-flesh coat… And this is exactly what the Assassin Bug does. Like a spider, it stabs its unsuspecting prey, turns it into a giant protein shake inside of its insectoid shell-glass, sips it out, and then attaches the corpse’s carapace to its ever growing collection atop its back.

Aside from being totally badass, these nightmarish embellishments serve a number of additional functions. They help the Assassin Bug blend in among its prey, masking its own odor and helping it to appear as a mass of insects that belong in or near the nest (especially among those more social networking creepy crawlies like ants and termites). In fact, it may even draw the attention of those clean up crews seeking to bury their dead, luring them in to become part of the body snatched horde. And the horrifying additions also act as a sort of armor and potential decoy for other predators like lizards and birds, who can end up with a mouth full of dead bug bodies rather than a bite of juicy Assassin Bug.

Wearing the Latest Trend in Dead Ant Bodies, drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Wearing the Latest Trend in Dead Ant Bodies

Kissing Sucks

And Assassin Bugs don’t just carry around one or two dead bodies, they may totally pile them up, as well as use other insects’ and plants’ secretions to their own advantage. Here’s a cool video from Deep Look that shows a partnership some Assassin Bugs have with Tarweed, keeping moth caterpillars from eating all of its flowers so that it can itself reproduce and spread.

Fortunately humans are too big to be susceptible… Or are we? There are also parasitic Assassin Bugs known as Kissing Bugs or Vampire Bugs that feed on mammal’s blood at night; they even act as a vector for other parasites that can cause disease years after feeding, which are associated with Chagas disease and are transmitted to mammalian hosts when the Assassin Bug poops while feeding and the host animal smears the poop into the bite when itching it.

pencil drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Pencil Drawing by Jennifer Weigel

So here’s a pencil drawing I did of a dead bug I found (I had a whole series of these back in the day). I hadn’t at the time known what it was, but it turns out to be an Assassin Bug. I wonder what its fashion sense was like…

So remember, if you want to be at the forefront of creepy horrific fashion, just look to the Assassin Bug for inspiration. If you’ve enjoyed this segment of Nightmarish Nature, feel free to check out some previous here:

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Vampires Among Us

Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

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Terrifying Tardigrades

Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

Zombie Snails

Horrifying Humans

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Giants Among Spiders

Flesh in Flowers

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