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Day 14

Danielle Kim immediately took several steps from the gate and raised her crowbar into a batter’s stance. She whipped around, scanning the area for the undead. Her breathing grew rapid as she counted them off.

One. Two. Three. Four.

There was one across the street behind her, approaching from the back parking lot of a strip mall. To her left was a pair; one stumbled toward her on the grass and the other was strapped into a car, the seat belt restraining it. The last of them approached from her right, stumbling through a chainlink fence that was partially demolished, meant to seal off a vacant lot. There were at least three that were going to move in on her position from the inside of the complex as well, she had spied them earlier. She had to be fast.

She sprinted across the street toward the ghoul that was furthest out, giving herself a little room from the others in the vicinity. The bastard seemed familiar, but she put that aside and moved a running charge with the crowbar trailing behind her. She took an upward swing within range of the ghoul. The crowbar connected to a fleshy grey chin, knocking it onto his back. Fat, rotten fleshed jiggled and open sores split open. Blood spilled out around the corpse and rot splashed over Danielle’s sneakers and jeans.


Bile wrenched up her throat and she stumbled away, coughing, sick from the smell of the writhing body of the fat, rotten man who was struggling to rise from under his collected weight. Dani turned to see the other two mobile creatures were beginning to move toward her, moaning. It was as though they had only just recognized that she had changed locations.

These things were slow, only having crossed most of the street. She could use that.

She turned back to the fat one and raised her crowbar above her head and she took a few steps towards it. Her momentum carried from her feet to the tip of the crowbar as the forked end wedged itself deep into the eye socket. After a shuddering twitch, the corpse stopped moving. She removed the crowbar with a sickening squelch and turned her attention back to the two ghouls. Shards of bone dislodged from the impact ripped away from the shattered socket.

She marched toward the ghoul toward her right, the one that had worked its way through the fence. What clothes remained on it had been torn on the fence and most of its shirt dangled listlessly off a twig-like right wrist. She opted to repeat her earlier strategy. She hit him in the chest, caving the ribs in and sending him spinning to the ground. Dani took a deep breath and placed the full weight of her foot on the corpse and swung the hooked end of the crowbar into the gnashing head. She struck it three times before it stopped moving.

She stepped over the corpse and turned around to see the last shambler had gained on her surprisingly quickly. She stepped backward, carefully, in order to give herself some breathing room.


She went into a batter’s stance and waited. The creature nearly stumbled over the corpse of its undead compatriot, finally simply stepping on it, sinking into a rotting stomach cavity. When the monster was close enough she took another swing, instantly crushing the skull of what was once a wisp of a woman.

Danielle walked slowly toward the car that had the trapped creature and pulled a screwdriver from her belt loop. She stood a few feet back as the creature gnashed its broken teeth and reached out with gore-caked, shredded hands. Watching the movements carefully, she found an opportunity. She grabbed at matted hair and held the head as still as she could. She nearly retched as she felt loose skin shift on the skull.

Within a moment, the creature stopped moving and hung silent with a screwdriver wedged deep into an eye socket.

Danielle turned back to the gate and hooked her crowbar on the edge. The first of the undead in the complex had rounded the corner and stumbled slowly toward her direction. They were a couple of hundred feet away. No need to panic. She took a deep breath and tried pulling the gate forward, but again, the gate was stuck.

She studied to the gate, looking it up and down, and noticed that the upper wheel was not in the groove. She lifted and pushed it into place and began to laugh as the gate slid along the track rattling slightly. Systematically… that’s how she needed to approach this new world.


Dani flicked some wet gore from her crowbar as she walked back to her car and sat back in the driver’s seat. The engine turned over with little fuss and she drove out.

She stopped the focus and pulled over just outside of the gates to the Oakwood Apartments. Leaving the engine running, Danielle walked over to the ghoul that had the screwdriver still jammed into the eye socket. Crouching, she braced herself on the car and pulled the screwdriver out with a sickeningly wet pop. She flicked away the gore, something she was beginning to feel was instinctual at this point, and walked back to her car. She tossed the screwdriver onto the passenger floorboard and shut the door.

Everything was going as planned. Everything would be okay.

She drove off, taking a last look at her the complex as the only survivor of Oakwood Apartments.

Next Installment

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


David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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Original Creations

More Nail Polish Paintings by Jennifer Weigel



Well, seems I’m at it again, with more nail polish paintings into found thrift store art. Why so many flowers this time…? Well a friend sent them and I just couldn’t help myself. They are so perfect for creepy fairy paintings. And for those of you who think fairies aren’t scary, you haven’t read much about the fey now have you?

More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel
More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel

Top left: Blue Fairy, originally painted by M Wadorf

Top right: Pegasus, originally painted by Edie Babb

Bottom left: Unicorn, originally painted by R Lovelace (After I painted this I realized I missed the opportunity to do a troll with a bridge and so I hope to do another along those lines in the future.)

Bottom middle: Fairy, originally painted by SD Janz


Bottom right: Dragon, original signed FZ, very sparkly with black-light sensitive eyes

And the most horrific of the bunch this time is this mermaid, who started as a weird bucket painting by Helen Miller… So, what’s in the bucket, Helen? Body parts? Fish? Plants not yet in bloom? I envisioned a trapped mermaid waiting to ensnare some unsuspecting land-goer, because no one would expect to find a mermaid there…

Mermaid in bucket, original by Helen Miller
Is this mermaid trapped in need of help or just trying to lure you close?

So I broke down and redid the unicorn to a troll. Apparently the troll was hungry… Anyway, here is the result. I am happier with it now.

Troll with toll bridge, original by R Lovelace
Hungry troll wants bridge tolls after eating innocent unicorn.

You can find more of my Revisitations art on Haunted MTL here, including links to even more nail polish paintings…

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

Bloody Mary or More Doll Costuming by Jennifer Weigel



So I came upon a Liv doll with no wig and decided to make her a mourning ensemble. The result was so reminiscent of this Bloody Mary music video based on the Lady Gaga song, by Ruben Samuel Cortez for his film school final (not the Wednesday TikTok remix, though that is also fun) that I simply had to share.

Costumed Liv doll to Bloody Mary by Jennifer Weigel
Costumed Liv doll to Bloody Mary by Jennifer Weigel

The outfit is made up of really fancy thick black lace leftover from a skirt I decorated for a party and an old translucent black handkerchief. It really reminds me of the table dancers in the music video but black instead of white (though it also alludes to some of the other outfits too, and Wednesday’s dress from the TikTok remake).

Close up of Bloody Mary doll's face
Close up of Bloody Mary doll’s face

I love the detail on the eyes on these Liv dolls, which are embedded and not painted on.

Closer still...
Closer still…

The Liv dolls’ eyes are just so lifelike. I think this is what attracts me to the Rainbow High dolls too, and why I had to turn the Makeover Failfix 2Dreami into Lady Amalthea of The Last Unicorn…

Failfix 2Dreami as Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn (not scary but one of my all time fave movies and I love how this doll turned out so I'm posting her here anyway)
Failfix 2Dreami as Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn (not scary but one of my all time fave movies and I love how this doll turned out so I’m posting her here anyway)

If you want to check out more of my altered dolls, I have posted several to Haunted MTL here:

Fashion Zombies

Heartbreak Hotel

Mummy Dearest



Fairy Wands

She Wolf

Queen of Everything

More Altered Dolls



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.

Oh and here’s a bonus photo of the skirt that I got the lace for originally, titled Kiss My A$$.

Portrait of the artist, dressed for a Blue Jeans and Bling party
Portrait of the artist, dressed for a Blue Jeans and Bling party

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Giants Among Spiders



So, as you may have noticed, we have a special fondness for spiders here on Nightmarish Nature.  Well, they are kind of the spokes-critters for horrifying animalia, perhaps because they are so freakishly different from us.  Or maybe it’s because I find them a little disconcerting for all that I try to take the “you mind your business, I’ll mind mine” approach, at least if they stay outdoors. Or just because I really like to draw spiders for all that I prefer not to find them sharing my home (though I’ll gladly take spiders over other bugs or mice or larger critters who didn’t get an invite).

Anyway, this segment is devoted to the largest Giants Among Spiders, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about already.  And the top place is contested based upon body mass or leg length.  Most of these are tarantulas, which globally take top place among the large arachnids.

Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
I’m hungry… I bet you are…

Goliath Birdeater Tarantula

The Goliath Birdeater Tarantula of South America is the biggest brute of spiderdom, weighing in at over 6 ounces.  They build funnel burrows and are known to eat birds (although rarely), mice, lizards, frogs, and snakes, but largely any big insects including other species of spiders.  They have urticating barbed hairs that they fling at would-be attackers as an irritant to escape.  And people even eat them after they singe the bristles off. Here’s a National Geographic video showing this spider in action, in case you wanted to see a giant spider take out a mouse.

Giant Huntsman Spider drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Creepy crawly at it’s worst…

Giant Huntsman Spider

And with the longest legs, we have the Giant Huntsman Spider of Laos, with a leg-span of 12 inches.  Their legs have twisted joints and they move in a crab-like manner, which furthers their impressive appearance. ‘Cause they’ve got legs, and know how to use ’em.  They prefer to live in underbrush and cave entrances.  These are like the big relatives of their Australian cousins, which we’ve all seen online and developed a healthy aversion to.

Everything's cuter when it's fuzzy, right? tarantula drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Everything’s cuter when it’s fuzzy, right?

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater & Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantulas

Next we have two more South American species: the Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater, which boasts one-inch fangs, and the Brazilian Giant Tawny Red, believed to be the longest-lived spider with a lifespan of up to thirty years.   Both are in the tarantula family and have urticating hairs, a word you probably never read much before today unless you are in the hobby.  So apparently South America is not the best travel destination for you if you struggle with arachnophobia, though I suspect you’d figured that out already.  (I wouldn’t recommend Australia or Southeast Asia either.)

Face Size Tarantula drawing by Jennifer Weigel
Face-Size, sorry no Face or Face Hugger for scale

Face Size Tarantula

And finally the Face Size Tarantula, which has a very terror-inducing name reminiscent of the Face Huggers of Alien-glory.  Anyway, these spiders have an 8-inch leg-span and live in India and Sri Lanka.  They look kind of like big hairy wolf spiders with stripey legs, sometimes with pink and daffodil coloring.

If you enjoyed this eight-legged segment of Nightmarish Nature on Giants Among Spiders and their larger than life kin, please check out past segments:

Vampires Among Us


Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps


Terrifying Tardigrades


Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

Zombie Snails

Horrifying Humans

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