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Welcome to the sixth and final story in the Spring Horror Collection for 2022, where Haunted MTL’s writers craft original tales of terror with the fresh scent of grass. Enjoyed Sawn Asunder and want more? Stave off your Hay Fever, slip between the corn rows and leaf through the five previous amazing stories!

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

“Sawn Asunder”

In a piddling village scoffed at by pedlars and highwaymen alike, a cockerel shrilled alarm at first light, awaking Dalibor from a restless sleep. The shuttered window stood ajar, breathing cool air, and the sawmill’s thatched roof opposite whistled with birdsong. Smoke puffed from the chimney, so Mr. Tesařík was already about business.

Yawning, Dalibor rolled onto his shoulder and discovered himself fastened knuckle-to-knuckle, every digit, with his twin brother Ludvík.


He batted his eyelids, washed the sleep smudging his vision, but couldn’t unsee the listless hands coupled there on the blanket.

And he could imagine nothing worse than being bound to Ludvík, who picked on smaller boys and hurled stones at scampering dogs; Ludvík who dangled little Gita Pecková over the village well, threatening to drop her into the abyss and bring the bucket down on her head, until Dalibor and Gita had cried themselves crimson.

He made a fist, as though to reel back and punch his brother–the attached palm leapt to his and clapped. At the sound, Ludvík’s eyelids whipped wide open.

A scream rose in Dalibor’s throat–they really were joined at the first knuckle, near the fingernail, like five arrows splitting as many dowels, skin encroaching like lichen on bark–and a matching terror reflected in his brother’s eyes.

Ludvík threw out his free hand and snagged Dalibor’s lip. “Get off me!”


Downstairs, Grandma Irma sprinkled more grain in the quern stone, her forehead moist despite the morning cool. Her turning arm bulged under her sleeve, dense as a rock. In another hour she’d have flour, and the boys, having slept through the daily grind, could celebrate their twelfth birthday by kneading dough and baking bread.

A bang on the ceiling. One of the twins screamed…

By the time Irma waddled upstairs and untangled them, the damage had been done. The twins had kicked, scratched and clawed themselves bloody with their free limbs. The bed was upturned, furniture broken, and enough feathers littered the floorboards from their pillows that she actually looked for a plucked goose. Panting, she stood over the boys, who lay exhausted, ugly and inseparable. A trickle of blood dribbled down her chin, the price of intervention.

“The devil taken you, boys?” She swooned, faint suddenly. “If your mother could see you… What sin? W-wh… What wicked sins of the flesh?”

It had been some fifty years since her heart had been disturbed into beating so fast. Her brother had tied two cats together by the tail, sacked them, and slung them under her sleeping blanket while she drowsed. The wailing cats, the cackling of her tormentor, sent her flying from the house. She wept behind the drinking well, raking the hair from her scalp until her mother swept her off the grass.


“Are you cursed?” Irma wiped the blood from her chin. “God’s punished you!”

The adults were whispering among themselves, but Dalibor didn’t have to strain to hear them. Their state of agitation didn’t permit them to speak below an emphatic hiss.

“Could be another month before the physician visits.” Mr. Tesařík tipped his cap and rushed his fingers through his fringe.

“If he visits,” said the seamstress, Ms. Irglová. She was the quietest of the three, and Dalibor didn’t like her tone, like he and his brother were already a lost cause.

“Then what do we do?” Irma blubbered. “Pray? I’ve prayed all morning, and now the boys are joint up to the wrist. Praying, I could hear the skin growing, like cloth tearing–where will it stop? At the elbow? Shoulder?”


“Mrs. Fibichová… Irma, if I may–” He glanced at the boys, then stepped closer to their grandmother. Ms. Irglová leaned in, and this time the talking was quiet but no less animated.

“I don’t like it,” Dalibor said.

Ludvík grinned. Grinned! “Afraid I’ll be the dominant hand?”

“How can you jape at a time like this? Don’t you see what they’re going to do to us?”

To the left of where they were seated lay a wooden bed of sorts. A small building stood at the foot of it, housing a series of cogs in different diameters; one the width of a stallion. The village stream sloshed behind the building. At the head of the bed, among the great beams and levers, menaced the vertical, serrated saw Mr. Tesařík used for cutting lumber.


“It’s for their own good,” Mr. Tesařík said, a lump in his throat. “D’you have your needle ready?”

Dalibor shut his eyes while the carpenter spoke. The seamstress said nothing, but Dalibor imagined a tremulous nod.

Ludvík pulled the joined arms. “No, you can’t do this to us.” A scrape on the ground ahead. “Come near me grandmother and I’ll bite you.”

The women grabbed Dalibor, and Mr. Tesařík seized a kicking, teeth gnashing, foaming at the lips Ludvík.

“We’ll be sawn asunder. Fight, Dailbor–we’ll bleed out.”


They tied the boys either side of the saw bed, the joined arms stretched across it, and Dalibor could but shiver.

Mr. Tesařík pulled a lever, bang. Behind the building, the water wheel started to life, and the saw began a languid bob.

“I’ll kill you,” Ludvík shrieked. “Send you all to hell!”

Irma glanced at the carpenter doubtfully. “Are you sure about this?”

The saw lurched.


The cockerel crowed at first light, and Dalibor awoke from a restless sleep. His grandmother snoozed in an armchair beside the bed, a bubble blowing from her lips. Last thing he remembered, he had fainted away, blood everywhere. Wailing.

But now he had two, fully-formed hands on his lap. Was it all a nightmare? He fancied he had heard the skin growing in his sleep–the tearing his grandmother described. Whatever, now he only wanted to embrace her.

But he couldn’t move, nor could he speak.

Nana? Nana!

And then his fingers twitched, unprompted. His jaw hinged open below bulging, incredulous eyes. He heard a mean, weaselly little voice inside that turned his blood ice cold.


“Hey, Dalibor? Are you in there?”

A picture of a water powered sawmill in Spain.
A Spanish water powered sawmill.

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  1. Jennifer Weigel

    March 28, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Interesting and eerie take on reabsorption. Love the backwoods setting and family history , kind of makes you wonder if this sort of thing has happened before and again…

    • J.M. Faulkner

      March 31, 2022 at 4:39 am

      Thank you. I enjoyed writing in this setting

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Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Cannibalism



Let’s return to explore more Nightmarish Nature, shall we? This segment focuses on cannibalism, as we generally find it icky / taboo and because it’s more common than you might think. There are many different reasons that different creatures engage in cannibalistic practices. Energy waste doesn’t last long in nature; gaps are filled as things evolve to utilize whatever resources are available to meet their own needs. C’est la vie (light up another cigarette). In any case, the challenge to the cannibal lies in determining kinship and not accidentally erasing their own line or progeny, thus decreasing their likelihood for survival over generations. Oh, and in avoiding those pesky prion diseases…

Resource Driven Cannibalism

Monkey cannibalism, staring at you, smiling wide and thinking about Brains...
Drawing of monkey cannibalism, thinking about Brains…

Resource driven cannibalism can occur when competition for resources is high. This may be due to scarcity, with individuals taking to eating each other to avoid themselves starving to death (with those consumed either still alive and killed to this end, or eaten after death of other causes). Or it may be outside of the cannibal’s control, considering the spread of Mad Cow Disease from feeding beef meal harboring the prion disease (and parts from other mammals like sheep) to growing cattle to save money, ’cause it’s not like the cows were allowed to order whatever they wanted. Or it may be due to direct conflicts with other groups of the same species, either due to competition for resources, mating rights and/or territory. These behaviors have been noted in mostly male chimpanzees raiding other groups, which have even been documented as all out wars against other males in neighboring bands, campaigning to eradicate all outside of their ranks.

Social Demonstration

African Wild Dog cannibalism, tongue lolling out
Drawing of African Wild Dog

Thinking about chimpanzees, males are also documented to gang up on alpha males seen as too controlling or sadistic, with groups of younger males attacking and rendering the alpha male to pieces, often consuming his flesh and blood in the process. This can upend established hierarchies to replace them with new structures, for example with a new male taking on the role of leader. But cannibalism can also be used to reinforce existing hierarchies, as seen in African Wild Dogs wherein the dominant pair will kill off any offspring that other dogs may have birthed so that the pack will focus on raising only the alpha pair’s pups, thusly reestablishing and enforcing social structure while ensuring the best survival chances for the pups raised by channeling all resources to the one brood.

Infanticide & Filial Cannibalism

Tom Cat calling out "Here kitty..."
Drawing of Tom Cat calling out “Here kitty…”

Like African Wild Dogs, other parents may also eat their offspring, or better yet their rivals’ offspring. Stillborn or unhealthy offspring may be consumed, or just any that they can get their hands on at birth. (Again with the young male chimpanzees…) Some creatures enter into cycles wherein smaller individuals are more vulnerable to predation by larger ones both within and outside of ones own species, as is seen among many fishes with eggs and smaller fishes playing an important role as prey to larger ones. Other creatures may engage in these practices to reduce competition (for themselves and/or their offspring) and/or increase opportunities to mate. Male cats are notorious for killing kittens that are not their own in order to bring females into heat again sooner, potentially increasing the likelihood of mating with said females themselves while decreasing future competition. Win-win! Female cats must take great care to hide their kittens in order to protect them from males as much as other predators, and can have kittens by different fathers within the same litter in order to increase their kittens’ overall survival as a group with father cats more willing to accept kittens when their own kin are present.

Sexual Cannibalism

Cannibalism in spiders: 'cause spiders eating just about anything is terrifying, and they eat just about anything
Drawing of spider yelling “More spiders”

Mantids and spiders are especially known for sexual cannibalism, with larger females consuming males during copulation, but this is not always linked to vast size differences and does not appear in every species. Females who engage in this practice may have healthier eggs in larger clutches, thus increasing the survival likelihood of more of their offspring. Sometimes the risk to the male suitor of being mistaken for another species by an aggressive would-be mate is high, and various rituals have developed within certain species to help avoid such mistakes and entice the female to mate. Male spiders are known engage in elaborate dances, movements, tapping and silk spinning rituals to avoid being eaten pre-copulation or at all. It’s a hell of a lot more involved than a good pick up line and a well-timed drink, as you can see here.

Peacock Spider mating ritual

If the above video doesn’t load, you can find it on PBS YouTube here.

Thank you for joining us for another exciting episode of Nightmarish Nature. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out these previous segments:

Vampires Among Us


Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

Worrisome Wasps

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Original Creations

Revisitations: The Devil Went Down to Georgia



So I’ve been working on more painting into found art (as seen here before) and I thought I’d share a newer one, based on the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels. But first let’s make like my She Wolf post enjoy a couple variations of the song, shall we?

Charlie Daniels Band, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Live

First we have Charlie Daniels, the writer of the song which was inspired by the beautiful poem by Stephen Vincent Benet titled The Mountain Whipporwill. You can read the poem on Your Daily Poem here.

primus, devil went down to georgia, animated

Then we have to watch my favorite version, the animated music video by Primus. I know there are claymation-haters out there who find the effect bit too “uncanny valley” but how can you not just love those chickens?

Anyway, without further ado, here is my painting, incorporated into a found still life, original signed L. Harady.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady
The Devil Went Down to Georgia Revisitation art by Jennifer Weigel, nail polish on found thrift store painting by L. Harady

Here The Devil is defeated, crushed along the lower edge of the artwork beneath the fiddle and lamenting his loss. The bow jabs into his sneering nose as if to add insult to injury, but his eyes still glow, alight with the prospect of coming back for another round. (They actually do glow, I have acquired some blacklight reactive nail polish to use in these pieces now.) I suppose I may go to Hell for this portrayal (or for defiling yet another painting) but alas, such is the price of art sometimes. I guess I’ll add it to the list…

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

Cravings Part 2, story by Jennifer Weigel



If you missed the beginning of this pregnancy horror story by Jennifer Weigel, you can catch Part 1 here.

Jayden’s stomach turned.  Who or what was this creature standing before him, and what had it done with his wife?  Claire proceeded to eat more than half of the jar of eggs in a fury of consumption; Jayden finally retreated to the office alone unable to watch any more.  He heard a sloshing sound as she finished the jar and proceeded to drink the brine before retreating to the bedroom and crashing into their bed, presumably to pass out.  Again.  Later that night, he crept in to find her sleeping, clammy and sweaty, nervously twitching.  Her body made the most abnormal guttural sounds as her internal systems groaned and sputtered.  It was definitely getting worse.  Jayden resolved to call Dr. Randolph the following morning; this had gone on for far too long already.

The next day, Claire awoke with a start from another bad dream that she couldn’t remember.  Crying uncontrollably, she clutched her swollen belly, still ripe with child, and hurriedly exclaimed, “Blood sausage!  I must have blood sausage!”

Jayden woke from his curled-up safe haven beside her and muttered, “Wha…  What is that?  I’ve never even heard of such a thing.”

“Go!” she snapped.  “I’m starving.  Go now!  Return with blood sausage.”


Jayden staggered over to the dresser, threw on some clothes, shuffled into his waiting shoes, and gathered himself to duck out the door in the well-practiced gesture he’d become so accustomed to.  “I’ll stop on my way home from work, I guess,” he mused, making his own plans.  Claire seemed to settle down a little as she woke further, but it was little consolation.

“Thank you Sweetcheeks,” she said.  “You’re the best.”  She blew him a kiss.

While at work, Jayden managed to secure an appointment with Dr. Beth Randolph, Claire’s primary physician since before he had known her, for later that day.  He took off early and rushed home to gather his unwilling wife.  She was going in, whether she liked it or not.

He opened the front door and peered inside.  The house was dark and quiet, as he’d come to expect.  He crept in and stole upstairs to the bedroom to rouse Claire from sleep.  He’d tell her where they were going once he got her in the car, no sense in making this even more difficult than it already was.  Unsurprisingly, there she was, a shadowy form hunched over in the bed, her back to him with the covers pulled up over her eyes.  He peeled away the comforter and blanket to reveal a tangled mess of white knitted yarn; Claire was nowhere to be found.  He looked around, trying to focus on the darkness of the bedroom that enveloped him.  That unsettling feeling had returned, like he’d had at Maresh’s shop, sinking into his gut.  Claire was here idling, watching, waiting; he could sense her presence sizing him up as if she could read his mind and was on to his plan.  But why was her company so disconcerting?  This was still their house, their home, their lives intertwined…  Jayden felt his trust ebb, spine tingling sensing danger.

“Hey there Sweetcheeks,” Claire’s voice echoed from the darkness of the closet.  “Do you have something for me?”  She emerged into the room, her eyes wide, frothing slightly at the edges of her mouth.  Tiny bubbles of drool burst forth from her quivering lips and trickled down onto her chin.


“I couldn’t find any… blood sausage… whatever that is,” Jayden lied through his teeth.  He hadn’t even gone to the store.  Claire should never have expected him back at this hour; apparently she didn’t even know what time it was.  But that seemingly wasn’t a concern.  She wasn’t herself.  Something about her fragile frame, the way she rocked from side to side, reminded him of that crazy old witch doctor Maresh.  He finally managed to connect the two; it was as though she were possessed.  It was imperative that she saw Dr. Beth Randolph as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to sever ties to that crazy old hag and hopefully start to snap out of it.  He simply had to get her to that appointment.

“No blood sausage!”  Claire shouted, becoming more and more agitated.  “No… blood… sausage!”  Her breathing became less regular and her body shivered all over as she hulked towards him.  “I am sooo hungry!”

She lunged towards him, stumbling into his arms and collapsing towards his feet laughing maniacally.  Jayden reached for her instinctively, to lower her to the ground gently, and felt something sticky and warm envelop his hand.  Feeling lightheaded, he glanced down as he fell to the floor beside her.  Protruding from his gut was a long silver thread, no something pointedly metal and hard, oozing thick oil sludge all around.  Not oil, blood.  His blood.  Claire continued laughing, her lightning-fast fingers quickly and methodically ripping their way into his tattered shirt and worming around within his wounded frame to pull forth bits of viscera, which she wrung in her hands and smeared up and down her arms and torso.  As Jayden passed out, she mouthed each of her fingers in turn, sucking the precious liquid off of them one at a time, before she began to feast on his entrails.

Claire’s belly was finally full.  The baby developing within squirmed and settled, as if finally satiated.  She swiped a stray bit of flesh from her bosom, licked it off of her fingertips, and heaved a sigh of relief.  Miracle Madame Maresh Meliasma was right; she just needed to get to the root of her cravings.

Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas art by Jennifer Weigel
Pregnancy 4, doll hands canvas 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.

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