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This is the Part Two premiere of the Haunted MTL Original The Dead Life. The need for supplies weighs heavy on Dani Kim this week. Re-read the previous installment here.

This is a serialized novel of post-apocalyptic zombie survival. Learn more about the story and setting at the series hub and take advantage of a complete list of installments.

The Dead Life section break for story about need for supplies

Day 25

It had been more than a week of relative calm for the residents of the U-Stor-It. At least, by Dani’s count. The group had kept a tight watch from the roof directly on the corner of Lyon and Acacia, careful of ghoul movements. Beyond small clusters, the streets had been relatively silent.

The drug store raid had been a success and the supplies had helped ease their minds. Another run, this time to the dollar mart a couple of days prior, had born a decent supply of canned goods. Best of all, the trip went on without a hitch. So much so that Dani and Edgar had even managed to fill some bags with supplies they couldn’t carry back then and hid them out of sight for a future supply run.

Dani sat in her trailer, enjoying the reprieve of privacy. In the time she’d been here with the others, there were several swaps and trades regarding the on-site RVs. With the arrival of Mary and her daughter, Alica, Dani had given them the larger one she had been staying in, opting for an old airstream. Dani wasn’t much for comforts these days. A door and a mattress were about as much as she needed.

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Her trailer was tucked just in front of one of the indoor storage areas, which was little more than a concrete structure with several small, closet-sized units. This was where the residents had kept the supplies, and Dani held the key and the watch. The decision to lock them away was not popular, but everyone accepted it.

By most, anyway. Sandy Gunderson had voiced her concerns over the lock for the past two days. Everyone knew Sandy had snuck a bag of goods while unloading the last supply run, but everyone kept silent. The less she had to complain about and the more time she spent in the apartment above the rental office, the better.

Dani stepped outside of her trailer. The airstream was planted firmly against the concrete wall along the eastern half of the lot. She had mounted a pop-up canopy over the entrance and braced it with a chest of drawers, a cabinet, and a bucket of nails. Some lawn furniture and a ratty roll of astroturf turned it into a rudimentary room. It wasn’t much to look at, but the shade was nice.

From her “porch,” she could see Mary and Alicia’s trailer, a couple of dozen feet ahead, parked much like her trailer against the wall. Alicia Edwards was sitting on the RV’s roof, reading a book. She saw Dani and waived to her, and Dani responded in kind. She liked the kid. Mary was out of sight, most likely inside. The broken leg from the drug store was a mess. They had done as much for her as possible. Dani would check in later.

Directly across from them was one of the clusters of units sat the shitty brown Cadillac of Jimmy DeWitt and Edgar Rosas. They had opted to claim eight units for their own needs. This was in addition to one of the smaller indoor areas between the cluster that housed six 12 smaller closets.

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Dani made her way toward Jimmy’s cluster but was caught off guard by how quickly Alicia had climbed down from the RV. The kid was agile.

“Ms. Kim, I saw a big crowd of those things in the neighborhood behind us.”

“How big of a crowd?”

“It was tough to count them all, but I saw at least ten on the street, between the houses. Not counting the ones in the windows. It’s so weird seeing them up in those rooms like that.”

“Good eye. I am glad you’re keeping an eye on this side of the place. I know Bob appreciates the help.”

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“Oh, speaking of Mr. Clark, could you take this book back to him? I’m done with it, and I don’t want to get too far away from my mom right now.”

Dani took the book from Alicia. She flipped it over in her hands and noticed it was a torn and stained copy of Dracula.

“I liked it, but the vampire felt a bit too… well, real. You know?”

Dani nodded. “Will you be borrowing a new one from him later?”

“Could you pick for me?”

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Dani smiled. “Sure, I’ll pick up a repair manual.”

“Hah.”

The two stood in silence. The sounds of birds and insects brought a sense of calm. The February mornings were cold, but Emmet was a town in a desert in many respects, no matter how many orange groves had been there 80 years ago.

“Alicia. How is your mom?”

“Her leg is still pretty fucked up.”

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Dani’s eyes widened at the statement. Alicia shrugged.

“I’m 15.”

Dani laughed. “I know. I know. Sorry. I was just thinking about how my parents would have flipped had I dropped the ‘f-word’ on them.”

“You can’t even say it now, Ms. Kim.”

“Fuck off, smartass.”

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The Dead Life section break for story about need for supplies

Did you enjoy this installment of the story? How do you think the system they opt for regarding supplies will work out for them? Let us know what you think and what supplies would be your zombie apocalypse necessity.

The Dead Life is a Haunted MTL original fiction series.

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Original Series

AI Journey: Little Red Riding Hood, Part 2

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Continuing our AI journey from last time exploring Little Red Riding Hood herself as the Big Bad Wolf… All of these are based upon the AI generated art and prompts using NightCafe and then created as posters in Canva.

Little Red Riding Hood as a wolf, Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023
Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023

How very… Phantom of the Opera predatory… this is definitely not what I had in mind. Maybe something more cutesy?

Little Red Riding Hood woman with wolf head instead of her own, Anime V2 style, Aug. 1, 2023
Anime V2 style, Aug. 1, 2023

Ugh. Maybe not.

Wolf face peering out of red hooded cape, Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023
Sinister style, Aug. 1, 2023

Wow, that seems like such a cop out, cropping off the head so you don’t have to depict it. And I don’t want to lose the Little Red Riding Hood reference completely.

Wolf in sheep's clothing as Little Red Riding Hood, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

So no surprise there, I knew that was too many references to work.

And we continued to devolve, join us again next week for the final installment to see how this ended… And again, if you want to catch the last AI art journey, you can find it on Haunted MTL here.  To see more such devolutions into AI generated art, check out the Will the Real Jennifer Weigel Please Stand Up? blog.

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Original Series

AI Journey: Little Red Riding Hood, Part 1

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And as promised in Big Bad Poetry, we shall embark on our next AI journey, this time looking at Little Red Riding Hood. I had wanted to depict her as the Big Bad Wolf one and the same, although maybe not so big nor bad. But it just wasn’t happening quite as planned. All of these are based upon the AI generated art and prompts using NightCafe and then created as posters in Canva.

Little Red Riding Hood beautiful woman with red cape hiding her wolf face.  Sinister style, July 29, 2023
Sinister style, July 29, 2023

So I actually like this even better than my original vision, it is playful and even a bit serene (especially given the Sinister style). The wolf is just being a wolf. It’s quite lovely, really. But it wasn’t what I had in mind, so I revisited the idea later to see if I could get that result…

Little Red Riding Hood with wolf face, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

Well, that’s not quite right…

Wolf face Little Red Riding Hood, Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023
Artistic Portrait style, Aug. 1, 2023

Yeah more of the same…

What part of wolf face don't you understand?, Hyperreal style, Aug. 1, 2023
Hyperreal style, Aug. 1, 2023

And as you can see this is starting to devolve quickly. Join us again next week to see how this continued to develop… And if you want to catch the last AI art journey, you can find it on Haunted MTL here. To see more such devolutions into AI generated art, check out the Will the Real Jennifer Weigel Please Stand Up? blog.

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Original Creations

Big Bad poetry by Jennifer Weigel

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So considering my recent revival of a wolfwere and his Lucky Days and Nightmarish Nature’s hostile humanity, it seems we are due for a visit from Little Red Riding Hood, or perhaps even Big Bad himself… Here’s a poem on the subject by Jennifer Weigel.


Over the river and through the wood
flashed the fleet-footed Red Riding Hood
on her way to her “grandmother’s” house.

When running past, who should she see
but just one of the little pigs three
cowering like but a tiny mouse.

“But my dear piggy, what do you fear?”
Red Riding Hood asked as she slunk near,
teeth hidden under a sheepish smile.

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The nervous small pig looked up in fright
and decided that Red was alright,
missing the subtle clues by a mile.

“The Big Bad Wolf, that horrible beast
upon the other wee pigs did feast!”
the last little pig said with a squeal.

Red Riding Hood laughed with a great growl
and threw back her heavy long-robed cowl,
in a vast terrifying reveal.

For she was really the wolf Big Bad
hidden beneath the cape that he had
stolen from Red Riding Hood at point.

“And now I’ve caught you too my pretty
and surely t’wouldn’t be a pity
if I gobbled you up in this joint.”

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T’was then the wee pig leapt to his feet
And cried, “Big Bad Wolf, I shall defeat,
for I am no ordinary swine!”

The little pig also wore sheep’s clothes
spun in spells every woodland witch knows;
Old Granny herself was quite divine.

“Now give me back my granddaughter’s cape,
before I grab you by your ruffed nape
and send you pig-squealing down the road…”

The wolf dropped the cape and ran, that cur,
but Granny was swifter and hexed his fur
and the wolf she turned into a toad.

Thus the moral of this story goes,
when in the woods, no one really knows
what sheepish sheep’s clothing is a ruse
that big bad wolves and old witches use.

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So this is actually an intro to my next AI art journey with NightCafe which developed from me not getting the results I wanted (Little Red Riding Hood herself as a wolf). Here’s a preview with Eric’s versions as he is much more literal in his prompting than I am, but where’s the fun in that? 😉

Prompts (from left to right) in Dark Fantasy style, executed Aug. 1, 2023:

Bipedal wolf in Red Riding Hood’s cloak

Bipedal wolf in Red Riding Hood’s cloak close up portrait

Bipedal wolf in red cloak close up portrait

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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