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Welcome to the third story of the Spring Horror Collection for 2022, where Haunted MTL’s writers craft original tales of terror that’ll grow on you. Check with us all week for new stories.

For more original stories, check out Haunted MTL’s Original Creations.


My favorite jacket, a jean jacket I bought years ago that I have since decorated with patches and pins and printed fabric, is the first thing to catch my eye when I slide open my closet door. The weather is warming up and I haven’t worn it in months, but I love to touch it, explore all the different pieces of art sewn onto the lapels and pockets. It reminds me of the rainy overcast days on which I wore the jacket.

One of those days in particular was in April last year, when I went hiking with my friend Jackie.  The trail was difficult, the kind littered with rocks and soaking mud puddles. It was actually a rather horrible day to go hiking, but Jackie insisted and I’d been needing to get some fresh air after a few weeks of being a recluse.

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The worst part about hiking in these specific mountains is not the steep, slim, rocky trail, nor the ankle-deep mud, but the snakes that pop up out of their little holes in the mountain sides. They’re essentially harmless, meaning they’ll bite but their venom isn’t poisonous to humans. Nevertheless, they’re sneaky enough to catch you off guard when they jump out at you from their little hiding spots.

About an hour into the hike, it started to rain and the path became so slippery and muddy that we had to take baby steps. I took a knife out of my pocket and held onto it, just in case.

“Jackie,” I said after half a mile. My voice echoed across the mountains. “This is ridiculous. Can we please look for cover or just go back?”

“But we’re so close to the top.”

“This is dangerous! We need to do something.”

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Jackie sighed and nodded her head. “Fine, let’s find cover.”

But it turned out that looking for cover became just as difficult as climbing up the mountain. On one side was a massive hill, and on the other side was a steep slope that ended in an abyss of trees.

There was nowhere for us to go.

“I don’t care anymore,” I said. “I’m heading back whether you come with me or not. I’m sorry Jackie, but it’s just not worth it.”

I started inching my way back down. I could feel Jackie stare daggers into my back, as she does when she’s pissed off. But after I took a few more steps I heard her let out a large huff and follow me down. I kept digging my knife in the hill and watched the mud crumble down.

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Suddenly a snake flew in front of me and I couldn’t stop myself from screaming and jolting back in shock. Everything happened so fast that, until it was too late, I didn’t realize how close Jackie was behind me. She rear-ended me, which caused her to fall. I whipped around to see her laying on the ground, her head on a rock, blood pooling her face, my knife piercing through her eye.

I screamed her name, tried to see if she could breathe, but there was nothing. She was gone, and I didn’t know what to do. It would be impossible to carry her back. I should’ve run down the mountain and called for help as soon as I had service again. But another part of me was angry. None of this would have happened if she had listened to me earlier and we just went home as soon as it started raining. And why was she so close behind me anyway? You need to give people you’re behind a little space no matter where you are, especially on a mountain as steep as this.

I shoved down the idea that this wasn’t Jackie’s fault, that her wanting to try hiking a little further didn’t mean she deserved to die, that we both should have been more conscious about the snakes, that it wasn’t her fault that nature acted against our expectations. I had to shove all that down, and still, to this day, I swallow those thoughts. Otherwise how would I be able to live with the fact that, out of sheer hatred and anger, I pushed Jackie’s dead bleeding body down the steep mountain and into the abyss of pine trees? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I realized my anger had, once and for all, gotten the best of me.

After I pushed her, I watched her roll. Her body slammed into trees, hit rocks, she just kept going and going. I walked down the mountain, grateful for the emptiness of the trail and that no one seemed to want to try hiking on this obscure mountain in this terrible weather.

When I reached the end, I called 911. I cried that I left my friend after she refused to go back home with me. I told them I didn’t want to risk my life and I needed to do what was best for me. The dispatcher was very calm and collected, proving their experience with tough situations. They didn’t find her that day, and the search and rescue team told me to go home because there wasn’t anything more for me to do.

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When they finally found her body two weeks later, it was rotting and molded, moss-ridden and covered in ants. I was never suspected of foul play, not that I ever thought I would be. Jackie was my best friend, one of my only friends. I wish I had a better reason for doing what I did. I’m sure she would have wished I had a better reason, too.

CourtCourt is a writer, horror enthusiast, and may or may not be your favorite human-eating houseplant.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. J.M. Faulkner

    March 23, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    Nice prose and character work

  2. Jennifer Weigel

    March 28, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Those pesky snakes always get the best of us, especially the ones that lurk within our minds later… Love the focus on the jacket and the dark reminiscence.

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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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