The zombie apocalypse can take many many forms, some of which are more or less terrifying than others depending on your perspective…
Kayenne had never seen so many of them in one place at one time. She had heard tale of whole cities being overrun in a matter of days, but not here in Cape Girardeau. Surely they were too far on the outskirts. She’d only caught a glimpse of her first sighting less than a day prior, and that was from a lone straggler way off in the distance. But the rumors were true; it did spread quickly, and now she was surrounded.
One shuffled along to her right, sporting the standard greased-back black hair and sideburns, wearing dark sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt. To her left were two more, dressed to the hilt in their studded white jumpsuits, their red rimmed, weary looking eyes scanning their surroundings. And behind her was yet another, lavishly attired in velvet finery with smoky eyes and full, pouty lips drawn in a smirk of a smile. There were several more off in the distance, awash in their bold-printed shirts and black coifs. And they were closing in.
No one had realized they were zombies at first. They didn’t seem to bother anyone; they weren’t frothing at the mouth or ripping people’s heads open on the hunt for brains. Mostly they just shuffled around, mumbling, “It’s now or never” at pretty much everyone and everything. Every once in awhile, one would wander along strumming a guitar or a ukulele, but most of them just sang and danced.
In fact, when they initially appeared, they hadn’t seemed particularly unusual. Especially since the phenomenon had started on January 8 in Memphis. That was his birthday after all, and the whole town still celebrated. So for all that anyone could tell, it was just another convention that went a little wild. Thus, no one concerned themselves with the growing mobs until it was too late and the zombie apocalypse was well underway.
But after the party crashed and everyone went home, they were still everywhere. Their numbers rapidly increased and, before long, they had spread beyond the Tennessee city. It had taken over the state of origin in no time and had quickly engulfed much of the Southern United States. And now it was spreading north into Kayenne’s hometown, all the way into Missouri and beyond.
Kayenne knew not to get too close. These zombies weren’t inherently deadly like in all of the horror stories – they didn’t openly attack people. Mostly they just flash mobbed unaware bystanders, gesticulating and wildly dancing in the streets with gyrating pelvises swaying to and fro. But they were nonetheless very dangerous, for they were laden with an airborne pathogen that would turn even the most defiant hater of Rock ‘n Roll music into yet another impersonator in their midst in a matter of seconds.
It was an impulsive illness for which there was no cure, and it was spreading across the country at an alarming rate. After the stores selling wigs and Hawaiian shirts were overrun and had long run out of stock, newbies continued to craft creative ways to fashion themselves in his image. They used whatever they could find, even smoothing dark colored mud into their hair to complete the look.
Kayenne pulled her hoodie in tighter around her face and raised her bandana so that her eyes scarcely peeked out over the top. She began to hustle and was readying to break into an all out run, but the group around her edged in closer. They were within arm’s reach now. One of them began to sway and chant “I’m all shook up” and another chimed in. Before long, the growing entourage had all followed suit.
Back in the day, Kayenne might have enjoyed such a show and found the antics of the scene to be entertaining, but no longer. Now it was terrifying. And she was completely boxed in. She knew she needed to get away, to flee to a safer distance, but she couldn’t break free. As the panic set in, her mind kept reeling, returning to Spider Murphy on the tenor saxophone and Little Joe on the slide trombone.
Suddenly, Kayenne burst out, “I sure would be delighted with your company… Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me.” The myriad of Elvis impersonators surrounding her joined in to seal the deal, welcoming a new member of the zombie apocalypse into their midst. Kayenne stripped off her hoodie and tied her bandana loosely around her neck like an ascot as she waved to her comrades chanting “Thank you… Thank you very much.”
For more Elvis sightings here on Haunted MTL, check out my musical mayhem from February 2021. Video also available on Haunted MTL YouTube here. And if you really need more alternative zombie apocalypse craziness, you can check out my long-form summer story from 2021.
And if you want to complete the look as I have, you can order your very own wig on Amazon. Just remember, if you buy anything from the link provided we get some $ so as always, the Dark Lord says shop away…
The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel
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 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?
Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel
I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.
And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.
I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.
Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.
Wax Museum Living Dead Girls with Jennifer Weigel
Revisiting my costume modeling work, like my previous witch and skeleton sitting, I participated in a Living Wax Museum as part of No Craft Left Behind at Monika House over Halloween this past year. The premise is that participating performers each choose a historical figure, living or dead, and portray them. Anyone attending the event then asks questions to deduce who the living wax figures are. It’s a lot of fun, and also educational.
Here are some images of my outfit and props. Since I was a silent film actress, I decided to create intertitle signs to flash at audience members rather than talking, kind of like reading the snippets of conversation between scenes in actual silent films. See if you can guess who I am.
The intertitle signs from the Living Wax Museum read:
I was a silent film & stage actress.
I was 30 years old when I became famous.
I appeared in more than 40 films between 1917 & 1926.
I was known as the 1st “Vamp” for my femme fatale roles & am cited as the 1st sex symbol of the film era.
Magazines called me “The Arch-Torpedo of Domesticity”, “The Queen of Vampires”, “The Wickedest Woman in the World” & more.
My best known roles included Salome, The Vampire in A Fool There Was & Cleopatra.
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Jewish parents Bernard Goodman, a Polish tailor, and his wife, Pauline Louise Francoise of Switzerland.
I moved to New York City in 1908 & debuted in The Devil on Broadway.
I was falsely hyped as born in the Sahara in Egypt “under the shadow of the Sphinx & the Pyramids” & I dabbled in the occult.
I was known for my kohl-outlined eyes & revealing costumes before the 1930s Hays Code for decency.
I was rumored to have trained with Sarah Bernhardt, received over 1,000 marriage proposals & had a sandwich in my honor.
Most of the films in which I appear were destroyed in the 1937 Fox vault fire.
I married director Charles Brabin in 1921 & retired from acting in 1926.
I died in April 1955 and am buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Ca.
I was named for the daughter of US Vice-President Aaron Burr, Theodosia.
My film name is an anagram of “Arab death”.
Gaming3 years ago
Parasite Eve II • Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell
Gaming3 years ago
Luigi’s Mansion • Who you gonna call?
Gaming3 years ago
Resident Evil 2 (2019) • MR X GON’ GIVE IT TO YA
Gaming3 years ago
Slender: The Eight Pages • An exercise in futility
Gaming3 years ago
Bloodborne • Transfusing elements of action and horror
Movies n TV3 years ago
Review: Ashwin Saravanan’s “Game Over” is अद्भुत
Gaming3 years ago
Resident Evil 3 (2020) • Nemesis Doesn’t Get the Stars He Was After
Breaking News3 weeks ago
Coming to Shudder and AMC+ for January 2023