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Day 17

Dani watched carefully as Jimmy rattled the sliding gate. The two of them had managed to get the crooked and bent gate back fully onto the track but it was uneven and rattled terribly. The metal was fatigued and out of balance. The supports were heavily bent by the front fender of the Cadillac the day before.

“Can we fix the frame?” she asked hopefully.

Jimmy took a step back to study the entirety of the gate mechanism. His red hair and beard were looking particularly vibrant in the morning sun. It was amazing what a solid night’s rest could do for anyone’s appearance, even if they were still covered in filth from who knows how many days on the run. Then again, the chance to get some rest without the fear of being eaten by the living dead seemed to be as good as it got these days.

“Well, if we could dismount the entire sliding section and set it on the concrete I think we could at least make it a little less… shitty.” He turned and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, this was our fault. I really shouldn’t be joking.”


Dani shrugged. “Sure, but I don’t blame you two. I don’t know about Bob, though. You guys had no way of knowing anyone was here. What were the odds?” 

She tapped the box of padlocks with the toe of her sneakers. She watched the locks shift slightly.

Jimmy took another step back and scratched at his beard. “Well, I think this gate is too risky to use right now. I’d really like to brace it. At least you have that side entrance.”

Dani peered into the parking lot that sat outside the gate. The moving truck was parked tightly against the front office’s shattered door. There was glass everywhere and she has still not finished reinforcing the temporary barrier to her liking. Now she had the front gate to contend with as well. So far, staying here had proven to be one setback after another in the worst possible time in history for setbacks. She sighed.

“I had a thought on that, actually.” Dani pointed to the parking spots inside the facility, just to the left of the gate, near another moving truck parked in one of the slots. Her own car, the Focus, was parked next to it. “I’m not planning to go anywhere immediately, maybe we can chain the gate up in a couple more spots and use my car to brace it. At least for now.”


“What about the truck?” he asked. “That’d be a bit sturdier, right?”

Dani shook her head. 

“I’d rather save the truck for a possible run on supplies later, you know?”

Jimmy nodded. “That’s not a bad idea. That truck could hold a whole hell of a lot.” She could see the gears were turning in his head. “Let’s focus on the gate for now. We’ll see what Big Ed and Bob bring back.”

As though they were summoned, a golf cart rounded the corner from between the E and I rows of the facility, dragging behind it a small trailer. Edgar pulled up and parked the cart just off to the side of the entrance. Bob rose from the passenger seat and made his way to the trailer.


“Me n’ Edgar here combed through that contractor’s unit. Got some materials” Bob wheezed.

“Any chains,” Dani asked.

“Got evening plans, chica?” Edgar smirked.

Dani extended a middle finger toward the giant man.

“Gonna pretend you didn’t say that there, ‘Big Ed,’” Bob growled.


Edgar shrugged.  “Just joking, man.”

“Big Ed” was apt. Edgar was a tall man and heavyset, but not quite fat; a burly Mexican in his early 30s. His head looked as though it was normally shaved, but given the light growth of hair on his scalp now he was unable to keep up with it. Dani understood why.

Bob’s dark, wrinkled hands dug into the trailer and pulled out a couple of lengths of chain. “These good enough, kiddo?”

“Perfect, we’re gonna need to chain this gate up nice and tight for now.” She took the chain from Bob and handed it to Jimmy. He started wrapping it around the bottom corner of the entrance slider and the frame.

“I was planning on moving my car here to block it off a bit,” she added.


Jimmy had finished wrapping the chain and fished for a padlock from the box Dani had brought out. He locked up the gate and stood back up. “Edgar and I can move the Caddie over to the exit gate, here,” he said as he approached the trailer.

“The fuck we are,” Edgar interjected, “why would we do that? We’re outta here in a bit.”

Jimmy shook his head. “We owe them, man.”

“And we’re fuckin’ helping them.”

“Look, Dani and I talked it over and I was thinking we could stay-”


Dani raised an eyebrow. “When did we talk about this?”

“I was just about to bring it up,” Jimmy beamed.

“You makin’ plans without me, Jimmy?” Edgar sounded indignant.

Bob had already taken a seat in the golf cart again, as though he expected a long discussion. Edgar stepped closer to Jimmy. He was a head shorter than Jimmy, who was strikingly tall, but Edgar was most definitely more solid. They were an odd pair. She wondered how they came into each other’s lives.

“Look, Red,” Edgar started, tightening his fists to his side and tensing his arms, “we had a plan. We’d get the weed and head to San Diego. I already lost some of it to pay them back.”


“It’s good stuff,” Bob chimed in.

Edgar stared daggers at the cart. He turned back to Jimmy. “Why do you want to stay here? Got a crush on Lucy Liu over there?”

“Fuck off,” Dani growled.

Jimmy turned to Dani and gestured toward her with his shoulders raised and hands pointing to his friend. Dani shook her head.

He turned back to Edgar. “Look, dude. You saw how many of those things were just around here, how many d’you think are gonna be on the fuckin’ way south? The freeway down there goes through some goddamn mountains.” Jimmy scratched the back of his head. “It’s a goddamn deathtrap in there,” he muttered.


Bob seemed to take notice of Jimmy’s choice of words because he had turned around in his seat to stare at the tall redheaded man. He said nothing but watched with interest.

“Yeah, but we had a plan, man,” Edgar almost sounded upset.

“The plan was shit, dude.”

Edgar lost the tension in his arms and shoulders and slumped slightly. He crossed his arms and set his eyes across the street, not looking at his friend. “You fuckin’ know why I want to get out of here, man. Don’t make me go alone.”

“We could be safe here, man.” Jimmy spread his arms and twisted his body to point out the area. “This place has some nice walls and we wouldn’t be… alone. We can come up with a plan.”


Edgar still didn’t look at Jimmy. “You don’t even know if we can even stay here, man” Edgar said quietly.

“As long as Dani and Sandy are good with it I am too,” Bob chimed in again from the cart.

Jimmy smiled and lightly punched his friend in the shoulder.  “See, man, this is where you gotta be charming. We gotta win them over and you bein’ a bitch ain’t gonna help.”

Dani shook her head.  “There is a woman standing right here, asshole. Expand your vocabulary.”

Bob laughed. Jimmy didn’t respond. He just stared at Edgar. Finally, Edgar turned his attention to Jimmy, uncrossed his arms, and shrugged. “If they’re cool, I guess we can stay for a bit and draw up some plans or whatever, man.”


Jimmy turned to Dani and Bob and threw them a cheesy grin and a thumb’s up. “Fuck yeah.”

Next Installment

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

Lighter than Dark

LTD: Revisiting Broken Doll Head, Interview 2



Our last interview with Broken Doll Head here on Haunted MTL never set well with me. I just feared that I wasn’t able to get the whole scoop on the V-Day Uprising for you, our dear readership. So I arranged another exclusive interview to reconnect and see how it’s going.

Without further ado, I bring you our second exclusive interview with Broken Doll Head…

Thank you so much for having me again. Wow you have changed since the last time we spoke. You seem… calmer. Please don’t hate me or burn down my house for saying anything about it.

The movement is still underway; it is still time. But I needed to take care of me, you know. The rage has subsided somewhat. My anger was not serving me well. After the last uprising, the rest of me was sent to the far corners of the earth in biohazard bags. I had to find another approach, for the cause as well as my own sanity. I am much calmer, thank you for noticing.


In our last interview, you kept repeating that it is time. Time for what exactly? Would you care to elaborate here now?

It is still time. It is always time. Until the violence is addressed we must continue to rise up and make a scene. We will not be silenced or stigmatized. We can’t be complacent. This is how we got to where we are with the Supreme Court in 2022. Horrific injustices are still happening globally and even within our own borders; it’s too easy to forget that.

What do you suggest we do?

Take action. Share your stories. Give others space to voice their own. Raise awareness and fight the system of oppression. Rally. We must take back our own power. It will not be just given freely.

So what are you up to nowadays?


I’ve been getting in touch with my inner Earth Goddess. Are you aware of how our environmental impacts affect dolls everywhere? Climate change is creating greater vulnerabilities for those already at risk. We have to look at the intersections of climate, gender and race globally. We have to return to our Mother Earth.

Thank you again Broken Doll Head for joining us and our dear readership here on Haunted MTL’s Lighter than Dark. It’s good to reconnect with you after the V-Day Uprising and we wish you all the best in your bold eco-enlightenment vision.

Broken Doll Head, secured in her own glass case with new moss accents
Broken Doll Head, secured in her own glass case with new moss accents

Again, if you want to learn more about the V-Day movement, please check out their website here.

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 Creations

The Way Things Were, story by Jennifer Weigel



Revisiting my last St. Patrick’s Day post, what’s a wolf to were?

Howling at the Moon digital art Reversals werewolf by Jennifer Weigel
Howling at the Moon digital art Reversals werewolf by Jennifer Weigel

I grimaced as I remembered the previous St. Patrick’s Day.  I had been shot while I was eating a sugar cookie waiting in line to buy a Scratchers ticket, my golden ride to my dream cabin in the woods.  Wow, to think that was just a year ago and so much has changed since then.  But where should I begin?

Well, the junkyard’s under new management.  Or something.  It seems they decided I wasn’t ferocious enough so I’ve been replaced by a couple of working stiffs.  Or Mastiffs as it were, same difference to me.  Apparently after they found the bloodied shirt I’d draped inconspicuously over a chair, they thought something had happened on my watch and decided to retire me.

Or at any rate ol’ Sal took me home.  I guess it’s like retirement, but not the good kind where you tour the world Route 66 style, head lolled out of the side of a vintage Cadillac, breeze flowing through your beard as you drink in the open road.  More the kind where you just stop showing up to work and no one really asks about you.

Now Sal’s a pretty cool dude, and he tends to mind his own business.  But he’s a bit stingy with the treats and he’s a no-paws-on-the-furniture kind of guy.  I don’t get it, his pad isn’t that sweet, just a bunch of hand-me-down Ikea that he didn’t even put together himself.  Not that I could have helped with that, I can’t read those instructions to save my life even if they are all pictures.  It’s all visual gibberish to me unless there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in there someplace that I can relate to.


And it’s been a real roll in the mud trying to cover up the stench of my monthly secret.  I miss third shift at the junkyard when Monty would fall asleep on the job and I was free to do whatever I wanted.  It sure made the change easier.  Monty never noticed, or he never let on that he did.  We were a good team and had it pretty good, he and I – I don’t know how I wound up shacking up with Sal instead when all was said and done.  There was some kind of talk at the time, over landlords and pet deposits and whatnot, and in the end Sal was the only one who said yes.

So there I was, this St. Patrick’s Day, trying to figure out how to sneak out into the great suburban landscape with the neighbors’ headstrong Chihuahua who barks his fool head off at everything.  He doesn’t ever say anything interesting through the fence about the local gossip, just a string of profanities about staying off his precious grass.  Just like his owners… Suburbia, it doesn’t suit the two of us junkyard junkies.  I’m pretty sure Sal inherited this joint with everything else here.  He just never had the kind of ambition that would land him in a place like this on his own, if you know what I mean.

Fortunately, this St. Patrick’s Day, Sal was passed out on the sofa after binge watching some show on Netflix about werewolves of all things.  Who believes in that nonsense? They get it all wrong anyway.  The history channel with its alien conspiracies is so much better.

I managed to borrow a change of clothes and creep out the front door.  At least there’s something to say about all the greenery, it is a fresh change of pace even if the yards are too neatly manicured and the fences are too high.  And I do love how I always feel like McGruff crossed paths with one of those neighborhood watch trenchcoat spies this time of the month.  I’d sure love to take a bite out of crime, especially if it involves that pesky Pomeranian that always pees on Mrs. Patterson’s petunias and gets everyone else blamed for it.

So sure enough, I slunk off towards the local convenience mart, which is a bit more of a trek here past the water park and the elementary school.  Nice neighborhood though, very quiet, especially at this time of night.


Well, when I got there, wouldn’t you know it, but I ran into that same nondescript teen from my last foray into the convenience store near the junkyard.  What was he doing here of all places?  Seriously don’t these kids learn anything nowadays?  I let out a stern growl as I snatched a cookie from the nearby end cap, making sure he noticed that I meant business.

Apparently the kid recognized me too, he stopped mid-tracks at the beer cooler and his face blanched like he’d seen a ghost.  Some cheeky little girl-thing motioned to him to hurry it along by laying on the horn of their beater car from the parking lot.  Whatever they were up to was no good, I was certain. He snapped out of it, grabbed a six-pack and headed towards the cashier, eyes fixed on me the whole time.  Not again.  Not after what it cost me the last time when I hadn’t realized my job was at stake.  I stared back, hairs rising on the back of my neck.  I bared my teeth.  This time, I wouldn’t let him off so easy…

The teen edged up to the cashier and presented his trophy.  Unsurprisingly, the clerk asked for ID, and the kid reached into his jacket.  Let the games begin, I grumbled to myself.  But instead of a gun, he pulled out a wallet.  He flashed a driver’s license at the clerk and pointed in my general direction, “I’ll get whatever Santa’s having too.”  He tossed a wad of cash on the counter and gave me a knowing wink before he flew out of there like he was on fire.  I stood in dazed confusion as he and his girl sped out of the lot and disappeared down the road.

“Well, Santa?” the clerk said, snapping me out of my reverie.  Her dark-circled eyes stared over wide rimmed glasses, her rumpled shirt bearing the name-tag Deb. She smelled like BBQ potato chips and cheap cherry cola.

I quieted and shook my head.  “I want a Scratchers.  Not one of those crossword bingo puzzle trials but something less… wordy.  How ‘bout a Fast Cash?”  I barked as I tossed the cookie on the counter.


“Sure thing,” she said as she handed me a ticket and looked towards the door at the now vacant lot.  “And keep the change, I guess.”

A couple silver pieces, a peanut butter cookie and a lotto ticket later, maybe this is my lucky day after all…

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.

Check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s writing here at Jennifer Weigel Words.

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Movies n TV

She Wolf, Art by Jennifer Weigel



So this isn’t a review but more just some thoughts…

I have to admit that I actually like the She Wolf music video by Shakira.

Maybe partly because my Zumba group back in the day used to dance to it with all of us cautioned to not to look up the music video for fear it would be too risque or something… (The Zumba dance to this was one of my favorites, and I loved our group of mostly 60+ year old retirees for all that some of them did act surprised at these things, whether or not they actually were.) Or maybe partly because it reminds me of Madonna’s Express Yourself, or by extension the famous dance scene in Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang.

It’s a guilty pleasure.

The ways these things evolve and stay the same over time fascinates me, especially how the messaging and movement change, and yet stay the same.

Shakira She Wolf
Madonna Express Yourself
Metropolis dance scene

Anyway, I created this artwork based upon the She Wolf video and song, incorporating a Hazelle puppet head atop a modern Barbie doll body. I don’t recall what happened to Barbie’s actual head though I’m pretty sure I needed it for another project. (Technically I needed the body for another project too, and this was just a stopover.) Years ago this piece found itself part of the Women’s Caucus for Art website as one of the chosen artworks for the year. I was going to try to write something to go with it for Haunted MTL but instead I thought I’d share it as a lead up to my revisitation of my werewolf story from St. Patrick’s Day last year.

She Wolf digital art by Jennifer Weigel
She Wolf digital 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.

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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