Connect with us

Published

on

The soil in my backyard was a sandy mix of gravel and dirt barely capable of supporting so-called civilized life.  Sure, it was great for growing weeds and poison ivy and random baby oak trees that sprouted from the neglected acorns the squirrels had forgotten in their winter fervor to stash food wherever they could bury it.  But I was trying to grow carrots.

It was an annual tradition.

Miraculously, I always managed to get the seeds to sprout, fan out leaves, and form into long winding gnarled up tendrils that fingered through the ground.  But they would grow together at odd angles as if they were offering poorly plotted directions on how to navigate the New York City subway system to a foreign tourist who spoke only intermittent English at best.  By the end of the season, no matter how much I tried to thin them, they were a muddy tangled mess of roots.

Nonetheless, I would harvest these so-called carrots and make a point of cleaning, peeling, and cutting them up into small misshapen discs to add to some soup, stew or shepherd’s pie where they could hopefully blur into the background without vying for the center spotlight of the dish.  These weren’t the sorts of carrots any cook with any sense would want to draw that much attention to, and regardless of what I did to try to improve upon their lackluster flavor or hard-yet-still-spongy texture, the resulting food was always barely palatable, proving that the labor of love does not make all things better.

kaleidoscopic image of gnarled tangled carrots, clearly carrots

Even the wildlife avoided them.

Despite the abundance of rabbits and squirrels that frequented my devoid-of-dogs backyard, everything that passed through and even many of the returning critters that lingered awhile left the carrot patch alone.  In fact, nothing touched them all season long every year, and my husband cringed at the eventual harvest that meant more cleaning, peeling, cutting and dicing than the impending outcome warranted.  Perhaps even more distasteful was the eventual outcome itself of having to sit together and politely smile while trying to choke down the unpalatable bitter pale orange tubers as they disgraced yet another bowl of curried lentils or lamb stew.

So, imagine my surprise to discover that my carrot patch had been raided just as it was reaching its peak stage of undergrowth, right before the harvest.  The thief or thieves had come during the dark cover of the new moon, as the mantle of night was as black as it could possibly be.  The carrot patch was a muddled up mess of upturned roots, crushed and gnawed upon pale orange tendrils, and scattered gravel and sandy soil flung about.  Trampled broken leaves littered the ground in disarray and muddy prints snaked through the surrounding soil.

The carrots were ransacked.

My husband surveyed the scene and placed a hand on my shoulder to console me, squeezing gently to show his support.  His relief at his improved situation could be felt through his touch, palpable just below his calm and collected exterior.  He had been spared from the impending harvest and he could scarcely contain his excitement for all that he tried to appear outwardly supportive.  But I could see right through it.  I burrowed into his shoulder anyway, furious and hurt.

What dared come in the middle of the night to ravage my carrot patch?  It had left some areas a little more intact, and something told me it would be back.  So I staged  a sentry.  Poised and staring out my back window from the kitchen, I fixated on the scene and waited.  Surely the motion sensor light would come on as the thief approached.  I was ready shovel in hand, to make a complete fool of myself dashing out the back door to surprise the unsuspecting carrot thief.

kaleidoscopic image of gnarled tangled carrots, becoming fleshier

I was unprepared for what I found.

I was nodding off dozing when the flash of the motion sensor light caught my eye and I jolted upright.  I stared out the window, straining to make out a shadowy form in the carrot patch.  At first glance, it appeared to be a rabbit.  But it was strangely bulky and moved in a haphazard manner, jerking from side to side.  It was also somewhat larger than a normal rabbit, and there was something… unsettling… about it.  Whatever it was, I couldn’t place it.  I leapt to my feet and darted out the back door anyway, arms flailing in the conditioned response I’d been working up all evening.

“Shoo…  Go AWAY!” I shouted as I approached the creature.  It just stood there, motionless.  As I got closer, I became more aware of how it glistened in the light of the motion sensor, it had an almost ethereal or otherworldly presence and seemed to be bathed in an aura of hollow bluish light.  But otherwise, it was as black as the night itself and I couldn’t make out any characteristics of real significance.  The form seemed to both emanate and absorb light simultaneously.  It continued to just stand there, surrounded by a scattering of soil, gravel, grit and what remained of the would-be carrots.

As I neared six feet of the creature, it turned to face me.

I was filled with an unexpected sense of unease as I approached.  Something was unnervingly not right.  It still more or less resembled the outward shape of a rabbit, but I couldn’t get a good read on it.  Every time I tried to focus on the creature, I felt woozy as if I were looking into a deep abyss leading into the depths of the universe.  Within the silhouette, there was nothing, no sense of where an eye or nose or whisker might be.  It was just a void.  It almost seemed as if it were not wholly there at all, like it was both there and someplace else at the same time or as if it were a spot on a mirror, one of those blemishes to the surface that you cannot seem to wipe away from either side of the glass.

Suddenly the creature emitted the most soul-curdling sound I’ve ever heard.  Rabbits can make the most terrifying shrill screams when they feel threatened, but this was no ordinary rabbit screech.  It was deep and throaty and bellowed forth with the resonance of something unholy unleashed.  My mind reeled as it resonated within my bones and filled me with dread.  As the sound washed over me, the creature flickered from within, more pale blue light electrifying deep darkness, and then vanished right before my eyes.  My mind stopped racing and went completely silent as I lost my footing and fell to my knees, quivering.

kaleidoscopic image of gnarled tangled carrots, an abstraction of seeming nude fleshiness

I must have blacked out momentarily.

When I regained my composure enough to glance up, there was no sign of the rabbit-creature.  The motion sensor light had gone off and it was completely dark except for some glowing orange forms that I hadn’t noticed before.  The carrots!  What was left of the pale, unappetizing tendrils also had an otherworldly quality about them, emitting a subdued pale orange glow like several nearly faded glow sticks found discarded the morning after a rave.

I never saw the rabbit-creature or its kin again, and I have since stopped trying to grow carrots.  Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s the soil, but the idea of gardening just hasn’t had the same appeal, and I was never all that good at it anyways.

interdimensional rabbit coming into clarity, eyes glowing green through the darkness
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at: https://www.jenniferweigelart.com/ https://www.jenniferweigelprojects.com/ https://jenniferweigelwords.wordpress.com/

Original Creations

Some Bewitching Line Drawing by Jennifer Weigel

Published

on

This month we are going to explore more fun marker art from Jennifer Weigel, starting with black and white line drawing. Jennifer is getting ready for her big Life Is Brilliant solo show in March and has snuck in a few spookier themes, so she wanted to share them with you here.

Witch Way line drawing
Witch Way

The magic is strong in this Witch Way line drawing with its fun witchy head-topper, complete with striped hat band and star dangle. No self-respecting wizard’s ensemble would be complete without it.

Kitty Witch line drawing
Kitty Witch

And now the adorable Kitty Witch will don the Witch Way hat and cast a spell of cuteness on you. You gotta wonder just how the hat stays on but best not to question these things. We all know it’s magic…

Not Today Satan line drawing
Not Today Satan

The devil is in the details in this Not Today Satan line drawing, and boy is he pissed!

She Devil line drawing
She Devil

This She Devil is just plain goofy. Maybe she’s coyly playing innocent; it’s not a look most devils can pull off, seeing as how innocence really isn’t their schtick…

Hang in There Spider line drawing
Hang in There Spider

This little spider came down to your tuffet to remind you to Hang in There. She is very well-intentioned and is only looking out for you. I guess maybe she’s not so little though, she is an Argiope after all

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.

Continue Reading

Lighter than Dark

LTD Tripped Out Motivational Posters

Published

on

Tripped out… in case you just couldn’t get enough of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the return of the infinite bagel with EVERYTHING on it…

Tripped Out motivational poster
Tripped Out motivational poster

Artwork description: kaleidoscopic image of pink hairy horror (This is actually a fink fuzzy frond plant not unlike a Cockscomb but with longer thinner flowering feelers rather than the fuller protuberances you see on a full-bodied Cockscomb plant. I have no idea what it was, but it was very odd so I had to snap a photo.)

Image text reads: Mixing Magic Mushrooms & Peyote Just remember: once you open that Pandora’s box, you’re never going to get the pink hairy tarantulas back in it…

Tripped Out seeing eye god sunflower
Tripped Out seeing eye god sunflower

Artwork description: kaleidoscopic sunflower backlit by the sun with text and rainbow eye overlay

Image text reads: Eye See You Eye See All (in circle text so you can start and end reading wherever). In an ideal context this would be printed in the bottom of your tea mug or on a record that can slowly spin.

For more crazy tripped out fun, check out Weird Al’s post on Craig’s List

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Continue Reading

Original Creations

The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel

Published

on

An Elven portal in the woods, emerging from stone and forest floor.
An Elven portal in the woods, emerging from stone and forest floor.

I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods.  Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent.  They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning.  Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.

My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves.  She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late.  Her baby had already long since been stolen away.  She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak.  She locked herself in her room.  Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness.  Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection.  We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation.  It has kept us all alive.

But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here.  I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister.  But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths.  To ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  My family will never act.  I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets.  It happens time and again.  We are all expendable.  They never do anything.

So here I am, in the Elven wood.  Alone.  As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me.  They probably already have.  Again, it is for our own protection.  I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves.  Everything is so structured, so regimented.  Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes.  We are all so afraid.

I lay in wait.  It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears.  The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space.  They appear where and when they wish.  But this time, I will go through first.  I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction.  We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms.  Hopefully that will be enough time.

The trees shift and morph.  Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground.  There is a stillness that I cannot fully express.  My breath hangs heavy in the silent air.  There is no sound, no smell, no taste.  It is time.  The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming.  There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.

As soon as the portal opens, I dash through.  But something isn’t right.  No one came through from the other side.  Or did they?  I cannot tell.  I am alone, in limbo between states of existence.  The world spins around me.  I can feel the drift.  Is this what death feels like?  Cold unbroken silence?  I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.

I can feel The Elves eyes upon me everywhere.  In the leaves, in the trees themselves.
I can feel The Elves eyes upon me everywhere. In the leaves, in the trees themselves.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Maybe this is all according to plan.  But who was orchestrating the exchange?  My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between.  My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought.  I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange.  I never really got past step one.

A voice greets me from the trees.  It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.

“I’ve been expecting you.”

The world slowly comes into focus.  Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace.  My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling.  She cradles the baby in her arms.

“You made it.  You escaped,” she sings.

“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical.  I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth.  Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus.  Is this an illusion?  My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself.  She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be.  Filled with love and laughter.  Light dances about her, and she shimmers.

“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies.  “You have been living among them your whole life.  I had done so as well until the baby was stolen.  My heart broke; I had to follow after.  That was when I learned the Truth.”

“Why do you think we are so sheltered?  Why are we forbidden to do anything?  They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued.  “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be.  We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”

I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way.  It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her.  There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint.  She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right.  I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.

The Village has fallen away to the woods.  There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home.  The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  I am unsure whether I am coming or going.  Two paths lay open before me.  Which shall I take?

The Elves portal remains but the path is unclear.
The Elves portal remains but the path is unclear.

The trees are full of Elven magicks… 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.

Continue Reading

Trending