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Stand for Standing Rock

Oh Great Spirit of our ancestors

We come before You and Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun

With the offering of love, prayer and sacred tobacco

And with the smouldering of sage and sweet grass that Mother Earth provides

With peace in our hearts and desperation in our souls

We ask that you judge not the men who prosecute, defame and attack us

We ask not that you bring your wrath down upon those who wish to do us harm

We ask only that you reach into their hearts and offer them the blessings you give us

Peace for others and true understanding and respect of Mother Earth

We ask that you help them to see beyond their politics, lust for power and avarice

So that they might understand the consequences of their actions

We ask that you take what you must from us to make Mother Earth strong enough

To defeat Her enemies, to survive this great threat to all creatures who live within Her bosom

Allow them to hear the sweet song of the wind and feel the true blessings of what lays beneath them

We ask for all who stand against oppression and annihilation to show your support

Come be with us to make history , for if we do not stand, history may no longer be written

We are the people of the Earth. You are the people of the Earth.

Fight with us. Pray with us. Stand with us at Standing Rock

standing-rock

 

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December 15, 2016 · 4:42 pm

LA CUCARATCHA (Not for weak stomached or easily offended)

Eunice Haversham loved to hate. She loved to hate people; she loved to hate politicians. She loved to hate big business, internet media, rock and roll music and screaming little children. She hated animals, hospitals, healthy food and infomercials. Eunice hated so many things that it is easier to explain what she actually liked. She liked daytime talk shows, greasy takeout food, (the more grease the better), powdered donuts, the kind that got all over everything when you ate them, and historical romances by Harlequin. She liked to spit and swear at the boy that delivered her groceries and listen to Neil Diamond records. Oh yeah, the Jazz Singer did it for her every time, she had all his albums and wouldn’t even consider buying those new-age cassette tapes or Compact Discs, which she also hated, Neil only sounded right on vinyl.

Back to the things that Eunice love to hate, the one thing she loved to hate most of all was Cockroaches. Those hard backed, multi-legged insects that were attracted to the food and dirt people left around their homes and gardens. Pesky little beasts that have been around for thousands of years and thrived on humanity’s lack of conscience to clean up after themselves. Oh yes, Eunice loved to hate cockroaches, or rather she loved killing the little beasts, which was why she kept dozens of cans of RAID on hand for just such an occasion. She never bothered with an exterminator, they were expensive and troublesome, and she preferred her own way of terminating the creepy little bastards.

There were black and red cans or RAID all over the house. Two in the kitchen, one by the sink and one in the pantry, three in the living room by her chair, one on the window sill by the front door. Three cans remained in her bedroom, one on either of her little night table and one more in the closet. She only had one can of RAID in the bathroom; it was small and didn’t require much. Whenever she’d see one of the annoying home invaders she’d grab one of the cans, scream ‘RAID, just like in the commercials, and release a steady stream of liquid onto the poor unsuspecting roach. Then she’d drop to her knees or lean in close as it squirmed and writhed and eventually ended up on its back with its useless, miserable legs pointed towards the ceiling.

Eunice had asked someone a long time ago, when she’d first heard about RAID, how exactly did it kill the bugs? She learned that cockroaches, and most other insects, don’t have gastric tract. When this poison sprays them, it builds up the gas in their little bodies and without a way to expel the gas, their insides pop and they die. That is what Eunice listens for, that little pop that tells her they have exploded inside, almost like a cork from a wine bottle, only such softer. Eunice looks forward to that subtle popping sound whenever she sprays one of the bastard roaches.

Eunice lived in a lower west side area of the city, a place that used to be quiet and peaceful, where people knew their neighbors and kids played in the streets together without concern. These days, her neighborhood has turned into a cesspool of welfare recipients and gang violence. Sirens squeal at any time of the day or night, rotten little youngsters let loose by irresponsible parents at all hours, playing their foul music and breaking windows on the uninhabited apartments, and drug dealers seemed to linger in every doorway.

Eunice used to like her neighborhood, but then the Blacks and the Mexicans moved in, the Muslims and the Chinese, all of them moving into her nice clean neighborhood, bringing their filth and violence with them and living off her government. Hell, most of them didn’t speak or understand a word of English, but that certainly didn’t prevent them from collecting that check every week.

Well, Eunice was just one woman, she didn’t have a say in the way the President was running the country, or the fact that he was running it into the ground. She was content to remain in her own little space and to hell with the rest of the world. She survived on her late husband’s military pension, awarded to her when he died in the war and her measly retirement pension from where she worked as a doctor’s secretary for almost forty years. She could have moved to a nicer neighborhood, but this was the house she and Bobby bought, right after he enlisted, and she refused to leave it.

She’d never had the inkling to remarry, she liked having her space and she could do without the sex, even with Bobby it was more chore than pleasure; her duty as his wife, but she loved Bobby, loved him with all her heart. Her father hadn’t approved of Bobby’s radical views, but Eunice loved him all that much more, because he clashed with her uptight minister father.

“RAID!” she screamed, as she spotted a cockroach crawling next to her chair. She giggled gleefully as it tried to outrun the death spray, but seconds later stopped, twitched a few times, and then went feet up. *pop. “Gotcha ya little bastard.”

She set the can of Raid back on the dinner tray and grabbed a doughnut from the package next to it. She’d make dinner soon, but she wanted to watch Jerry Springer first. He always had such trash on, and she enjoyed watching people make idiots of themselves.

After Jerry Springer Eunice washing the a few dishes and set them in the strainer. She also hated dishes, but eventually she had to do them or there was nothing clean to eat off of. A cockroach skittered across the counter next to the sink. Eunice grabbed her can and drowned it in a pool of pesticide.

“RAID!” she cackled and watched it squirm before going legs up. pop.

She smirked, grabbed a piece of paper towel, and covered the beast with it, pulling it off the counter and tossing it in the trash. She wiped at the leftover spray with another paper towel, then grabbed a fork from the strainer and retrieved her microwave dinner. Wandering into the living room, she settled before the television and switched on Maury Povich to see what little sluts were on today trying to discover who the father of their baby was. Stupid whores, if they weren’t opening their legs for everyone on the block they would know who the father was, instead they spent their day on their backs and collecting childcare from the government. Eunice felt blessed that she and Bobby had wanted no children; she would have drowned the whining, blubbering things at birth. Who wants something that constantly gushes from either end?

She set her dinner on the TV tray and pried off the plastic top, cursing when the escaping steam burned her fingers and knocked her fork to the floor. Bending to retrieve it was an effort, Eunice was not a small woman, she stood 5’9 and weighted in at 240, so of course trying to reach her pudgy hand beneath the flimsy metal dinner tray, while her ample bosom was pressed against it, was probably pushing her luck. Sure enough, the table flipped and her dinner went all over the floor.

She heaved herself out of the chair, knelt to scrape up the mess, and within seconds cockroaches approached from all angles, eager to be fed. Eunice grabbed her RAID and sprayed them, startled that so many approached at once, must be four…no six of the buggers. Pop. Pop. Pop. One crawling up her dress! Pop. Two more were trying to hide beneath the recliner. Pop. Pop. Eunice gripped the recliner and struggled to her feet, huffing and puffing, both from the effort and the fright that the roaches had given her. She obviously had an infestation. Maybe she should call an exterminator…No, she’d take care of the little bastards herself, she was sure there couldn’t be that many more, not after she killed an entire squad of them.

Moving back to the kitchen and dropping what was left of her dinner in the trash, she washed her hands in the sink. Her heart was ramming against her ribs, but she soon began to calm down, just as her doorbell rang. She glanced at the calendar and noticed that today was Friday, the day she had her regular order of groceries delivered. Good, she needed a pick me up. She opened the door to the young man who stood outside, frowning when she saw that he was black.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Adam, Mrs. Haversham. I’m delivering you’re groceries.”

Eunice’s eyes narrowed, her face creasing in an ugly scowl. “You’re not my regular boy-I don’t want no Blackie bringing me my groceries, How do I know you didn’t spit or piss in them? How do I know you didn’t drop ’em on the ground and put your dirty shit-colored hands on them? I know all about you people, how you sacrifice live chickens for your black magic, you cast a spell on my things, boy?”

Adam stared at her, shocked. “I…I brought them straight from the store, Ma’am, I ain’t touched nothin’ inside.”

Eunice grabbed the box. “Get the hell out of here then.”

“Ma’am…you haven’t paid…”

Eunice cackled and slammed the door. “Figure it out yourself. I ain’t given’ you any money to go spending on drugs, Blackie.”

“Mean old bitch!” the boy called, slamming his fist against the closed door, before storming off.

“Tell it to someone who cares, sonny,” Eunice smiled as she put her groceries away. She could imagine the story he would have to come up with of why he didn’t have her payment, stuttering and stammering about what happened. The manager will fire his as for lying, shouldn’t have hired him anyway; can’t trust their kind.

She pulled out an old box of cereal to make room for the new, and the box tipped over on the counter. Immediately the counter top swarmed with roaches. Screaming she grabbed her cans of Raid and sprayed at the roaches with vengeance, not stopping until a large puddle of insecticide and dead bugs lay on her counter.

“Je-zus!” She grabbed the trashcan, some paper towels and started wiping them into the trash. “Where are you bastards coming from?”

Once finished ridding herself of the bodies of dead roaches, she grabbed up her phone to call an exterminator. They wouldn’t be out until Monday, but she made an appointment with them anyway. Needing to settle her nerves, she grabbed a glass from the counter and poured a glass of juice. She made a face at the first taste, thinking that the juice had gone off, but it was from the new groceries so it couldn’t be. She checked the expiration date, still a week to go.

She poured the rest of the juice out. Dirty bastard probably did piss in it. Sweating now, she returned to the living room and flopped back in her chair. She’d find a sitcom or something to watch to calm her nerves, then she’d be fine. Picking up the remote she started to flip through the channels when she felt the first gastric urge to belch, which she did long and loud. Then a startling wet sounding fart expelled itself from her body and she almost laughed at the length of it.

“Good God!” she cackled. “That was a good one!” she slapped her knee, then realized there was more to come. A second and a third, each sounding worse than the original, and when the cramping in her stomach grew steadily worse, she hurried for the bathroom.

Running inside she hiked up her lounge dress and dropped her drawers just as the first wave of diarrhea hit. Oh God! Her stomach was on fire! That bastard kid had put something in the juice! She’d been poisoned, she was sure of it! She groaned and moaned as her bowels emptied and yet she felt no relief.

She was sweating more now, and the belching had started again. Her heart felt like it was going to punch right through her chest and her whole body started to itch like crazy. Finally, the diarrhea eased and she reached for the sink to heave herself off the toilet. She had to get to the phone and call for an ambulance, she needed a hospital and once they found out she was poisoned she’d sue that kid and his family enough that they’d still be paying her for generations to come!

Groaning from exhaustion and pain she eased herself up, took two steps and was hit by cramps so severe that she doubled over. She hit the tile floor of her bathroom hard and felt the excruciating snap of her hip as she fell.

“No,” she moaned. “Oh God it hurts!”

She tried to crawl towards the bathroom door, if she could just get to the phone…if she could just call for help. Another cramp hit and a wave of shame flowed over her, almost as painful as the break in her hip, as she felt her bowels release again, this time onto her pristine clean bathroom floor.

“Help me!” Tears of fear and frustration fell down her cheeks. She had no family, no friends, had alienated all of her neighbors. She could die here because no one would think to check on her. “Someone help me!”

Out of the corner of her eye she saw something skitter towards her. “Go away!” she cried slapping at the floor as a single roach stopped just out of reach and seemed to stare at her. “Get out of here!” another roach appeared, then a third, all lined up by the first, as if waiting for a command. “Get out of my house!”

Eunice grappled for the sink, lifted herself half way off the floor and managed to grab the can of Raid that sat on the corner. “Go away!” She sprayed the mist at them, watched the skitter off, then another horrific cramp hit her so badly that she felt bile rise in her throat.

She tried to belch, tried to fart, she didn’t even care if she shit on the floor now she just had to relieve this intense pressure but nothing worked. She cried and moaned and screamed as the pain increased until she felt like her stomach was going to explode. Her head lolled sideways, her hand still gripping the can of Raid and her blurry vision managed to make out the small warning label on the back.

WARNING: Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. Avoid breathing spray mist Provide adequate ventilation of area to be treated. Cover or remove exposed food, dishes, or utensils and food handling equipment. Keep out of reach of children.

Flashes of all the times she had sprayed the insect killer, aroudn her living room, her kitchen, within range of her dishes, food. She’d never opened a window because she felt the air outside was too polluted. She never washed her hands after each spray, she’d been too busy enjoying their miserable little deaths.

“Oh God! Oh God!” Realization dawned, it had not been the grocery boy that had poisoned her, she had done this to herself by her own damned stupidity.

She threw the can across the floor, horrified, watched it hit the wall, spin and then come to a slow halt. Another pain hit her, this one ten times worse than the others and again no matter what she did she couldn’t seem to expel the pressure. She watched as the roaches started to appear again in the corner of her eye, across the room, and she swore she could hear their legs clicking behind her as well.

Roaches have no gastric track so they can’t expel the gas that builds up, eventually their bodies just explode.

But she wasn’t a roach! That couldn’t happen to her! She was a Human, damn it! She was Human! Terror caused her attempt a panicked crawl towards the door. She’d be okay if she got to a hospital. She’d be okay! She wasn’t a cockroach! She wasn’t a pest that fed off others, that was hated by everyone. She was Human, she mattered! She was Human!

She screamed as the roaches started to crawl up her legs and across her arms. Screamed louder as they seemed to swarm at the doorway that was still out of her reach, as if preventing escape.

“I matter! I matter!” she cried as they swarmed her, and the pressure inside of her grew. Frantic she rolled onto her back flinging a good many of the bastard roaches off of her, but the movement caused the pressure inside her gut to increase again. She cried out and curled her knees and arms inward as if to protect herself, as the roaches descended upon her.

“No! Nononononon…” POP!

That was how they found Eunice Haversham three weeks later, laying on her back in a dirty bathroom, her legs and feet in the air and a look of horror on her face.

 

cockroach-612098

 

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October 30, 2016 · 11:59 pm

PLANES, TRAINS AND ANCIENT ASSASINS

BOOK ONE OF THE DODGE & RUNN SERIES

R.J. Runn has a special gift for finding things. She works alone and likes it that way, so when a British aristocrat asks her to find the legendary Sword Of Mars, she doesn’t expect to be saddled with his grandson, who never seems to stop talking! Her patience and skills are tested as fate and ancient assassins conspire to keep her from her goal. Can she find the sword and get herself and her new companion back home or will she sacrifice the nobleman to the assassins just to finally have some peace and quiet?

MAIN CHARACTERS:

R.J. Runn is an aboriginal woman who lost her only remaining family when she was fifteen to a suspicious death. She lives alone, eats alone, travels alone and she works when she wants to and with whom she wants to. There is no room in her life for relationships because she has learned that those who get close to her tend to either betray her or die. With such a grievous past, it’s no wonder that she also prefers to work alone.  R.J. hides her unique tri- coloured eyes behind dark glasses, for she has learned that they make others uncomfortable, and those glasses also help her keep her distance from anyone who choses to get too close.

R.J. has a special gift for finding things. She’s used her special ability to help people find items that were lost days, weeks, and in some cases, centuries ago.  It is not a super power, however, and she does need some details in order to be directed to the area with the item was lost. So when she finds herself taking a case to find an ancient sword once owned by Attila the Hun she expects it to take a little more time than a lost wedding ring or the neighbor’s cat. No one could predict that she would end up crashing into a mountain, chased by ninjas and even trapped in a cage with a live, angry tiger! This hunt has turned out to be far more dangerous than she had expected and not only does she need to scramble constantly to save her own skin, she also has to make sure that the British Aristocrat who insisted on coming with her also makes it home in one piece!

Rory Dodge is the grandson of a British Lord and has lived a privileged and often secluded life.  He is an outgoing, well mannered young man, and his passion for his ancestors allowed him to peruse several degrees in history and ancient civilizations, he also speaks several languages. Having lost his parents when he was very young, he was raised by his grandfather, Lord Ashley, who raised him a proper young nobleman to be his heir. Rory understands the responsibilities of his grandfather’s title, however he also craves a departure from his restrictive upbringing and constant schooling. He craves excitement and adventure, and he believes he has found an avenue to explore such things when he meets the beautiful relic hunter his grandfather has hired to find the Sword of Mars. R.J. Runn is confident, deliberate and mistrustful of others. She seems unimpressed by titles or wealth and has the most extraordinary eyes he has ever seen. R.J. is unlike any woman he has ever met and Rory is immediately fascinated by her.

So when his grandfather convinces her to work for them, Rory is added to the deal as her companion. R.J. is not happy and Rory can’t blame her, however they have their own secrets to keep and goals to make and so eventually he persuades her to take him along, despite her warnings that it could be dangerous. He is sure that the adventure for the sword will be fun and exciting, but instead it turns into a life and death struggle for both of them. Now he must prove to R.J. and himself that taking him along wasn’t a mistake, and keep them both alive long enough to finish their quest.

Lord Thomas Ashley is a British Lord who raised his grandson from a young age after his daughter and son-in-law are killed. He is a Spaniard who married into English nobility, so he knows better than to judge a book by it’s cover. As a member of an ancient society to find and preserve powerful artifacts, he has his reservations about the female relic hunter that was recommended to them to help find the Sword of Mars. She is a bold, brutally direct and amusingly crass woman with no sense of fashion who gives the impression that she could easily storm the castle walls as walk through them. She is not his ideal, but they are running out of time and options and so when she demonstrates her fascinating ability for finding things, he agrees to take her on for their quest. He does not know if he can trust her, however, and so he sends his grandson Rory along with her to keep tight reign on the precious clues they had uncovered. Had he known he was placing his grandson’s life in such extreme jeopardy he would certainly have rethought his decision, but now they are out there, R.J and Rory and all he can do is pray that they find the sword and make it back to England alive.

The Marquis of Canterbury (Edward Allen George Hughes) is the oldest living Marquis at the age of 103 and the grandfather of Lord Ashley’s deceased wife. He is an opinionated, antiquated, bigoted man who values honor and prestige over all else.  He does not like this Runn girl one bit! Not one bit! They need a real antiquities hunter, a strong, tough, intelligent man to find the Sword of Mars, not this Amazonian squaw! His grandson refuses to see reason and accepts this person’s help, gives her private, confidential details of their quest and then just expects her to actually find the sword? The Marquis is sure that she will drink away her fee, as her kind tends to do, and then claim the sword cannot be found. Of course, she did find his daughter’s necklace, which has been lost for over a decade, but that was pure dumb luck. He had allowed his emotions to be swayed by that…that woman, and now she was off in the middle of nowhere with the last remaining heir to the house of Hughes! How could this have happened?

 

To purchase this book on Amazon, please click on the links below.

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- Canadian Print Edition

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- Canadian Kindle Edition

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- US Kindle Edition

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- US Print Edition

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- UK Kindle Edition

Planes, Trains and Ancient Assassins- UK Print Edition

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October 24, 2016 · 4:03 am

Train To Nowhere

Leslie Daniels headed for the far side of the deserted subway platform, her rubber soled waitress shoes squeaking on the polished tiles as she walked. It had been a long day and she wanted nothing more than to get home, put her aching feet up and watch Letterman before falling into her bed with her cat Ruffles. She might even take a bath, if she could scrounge up the energy, but worried that she might fall asleep in the tub.

A movement in the corner of her eye caught a reflection in one of the glass-encased advertisements that thanked people for riding the subway. She suspected it was someone moving on the opposite platform, but when she glanced around she that she was the only person waiting for the train on either side. It must have been a bird flying by, yes that was probably it, or a loose piece of newspaper.

As she headed down toward the end of the platform she passed another advertisement, this one with a new movie poster, and again there was a figure reflected in the glass. Startled, she spun around, but found no one there. She was alone on the platform. She shook her head at her own paranoia and continued on past one of the tall columns, only to feel a feather softness touch the back of her neck.

Spinning around for a third time she called out, thinking someone was playing a trick on her. “Hello? Is anyone there?” Silence.

She put her hand to the back of he neck, trying to wipe away the feeling that had frightened her. Her arms broke out in goose flesh and a sudden chill crawled up her spine. She turned and continued on toward the end of the platform, her mouth suddenly so dry that she couldn’t form enough moisture to spit.

She slowed as she approached another of the encased advertisements, then slowly stepped before it and peered into the glass. The florescent lights of the subway reflected back and there was nothing else there but the poster. Berating herself for being foolish, she continued toward the end of the platform, but her steps quickened. She stopped finally and trying to ignore all the scenarios that her over active imagination was conjuring up pulled her compact from her purse to powder her nose. Not that Ruffles would mind if she had a shinny nose, but it would keep her mind occupied. She picked up the circular sponge and glanced in the mirror, dropping the compact when a shadowed face appeared next to hers.

Swinging around she saw that she was still alone. “Hello? Is anyone there?” She was not in the mood for games and there was really no where someone could hide in here. “If someone is there please come out!” The only response was her own words echoing back at her.

A gust of wind blew a newspaper across the floor and Leslie flinched from it, nervously. Her heart beat had increased and she was starting to sweat. She looked desperately down the tunnel, praying for the train to come, but the tunnel was dark and silent.

“There’s no one here,” she told herself, firmly. “You’re just being stupid. You’re alone and the train will be here any minute.”

At that, she heard the sound of the train and a dim glow appeared in the tunnel. Her heart rate started to slow, her fear easing. She pulled her coat higher on her shoulders as the vibration from the train set a ringing in her ears and the platform started to tremble beneath her. She bent to retrieve her compact and started to smile as she straightened, then saw the deformed face in the cracks of her mirror.

The high pitched squealing of the train break drowned out her scream as pair of hands pushed her from behind.

 

subway

 

 

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October 23, 2016 · 11:15 pm

Tree House

I remember the first day I saw that gnarled old Tree; it seems ages ago now. I must have passed the house where The Tree stood a dozen or so times, but as with many things, one gets busy and life interferes with the ability to notice simple things.

On this one particular day The Tree finally caught my eye and I stopped for a closer look. It wasn’t a small tree, hardly one someone would miss, but easily taken for granted in a city where everything is rush, rush, rush. It is somewhat expected to see the odd Tree on a lawn in the smaller neighborhoods, as it lets people pretend they are not entirely surrounded by concrete and noise. Nature in the city is regulated to the cooing of pigeons on the sidewalk and dead leaves blowing past the gutters.

The house that sat behind The Tree was not overly remarkable, an older 2 story home, painted a faded shade of teal, that had been obviously subjected to the elements over the years. The only real character to the house was that the top floor window, which extended out and over the lower portion of the house in a curved cylinder shape, was as wide as the lower portion of the house. Shutters hung to either side of the windows on both floors, painted a dark, taupe, but they were not movable shutters just accents for the windows as many older homes used to have. This house did not appear to have been lived in for a great many years.

The base of The Tree was directly in front of the house, perhaps the contractors had built the house over a seedling and it sprouted from beneath in retaliation, and the base was the size of the tires on a Greyhound bus, round and stout like an old fashioned rain barrel.  A trunk of chocolate coloured, solid wood rose just a couple of feet off the ground before twisting upward and away from the house at such an alarming angle that it was a miracle the Tree had not fallen over. It almost appeared as if The Tree was trying to escape the presence of the house. There were no leaves on The Tree, no birds or squirrels hanging in it’s branches, it was devoid of any form of life, except that the wood was a rich brown and obviously very much alive.

The form of The Tree intrigued me, and as a storyteller inspired me as well. I began imagining what The Tree might be running from, what it could be afraid of. Was there some sinister presence in the house, like the story of Amityville, or was The Tree the true evil, reaching out for new souls to capture little children to eat, like the one in Poltergeist?

The Tree

 

Now you’re probably thinking that I have simply seen to many horror movies and read to many Stephen King stories, but this tree would make anyone wonder, if they took enough time to really notice it. Every day and evening when I passed The Tree I was compelled to stare at it with wonder and I honestly believed that the thing was growing bolder, that it’s arms reached further away from the house and closer to the street, closer to me.

Finally, on one cold evening in December, as I walked home through layers of gently falling snow that covered the sidewalk, cars, and fences that I passed, I noticed that the The Tree remained untouched by winter’s hand. There was a thin layer of snow on the ground beneath, some on the house behind, but no snow on The Tree itself.

This was simply too much to ignore and I was compelled to investigate such a phenomenon. I had finished my shift at midnight and it was now almost one in the morning. There was no one on the streets of my quiet neighborhood, no cars, no people, and not even a stray cat. Having no audience to remind me that technically I was trespassing, I stepped forward onto the front lawn of the house. There were no lights in the windows, nor had there ever been in all the time I had passed by at night, which was why I assumed it was vacant.

My boots left small footprints in the snow as I approached The Tree and part of me, mostly stirred by my imagination, told me to get the hell out of there before The Tree came alive or some zombie came running out of the house after me. However, the logical part of me, who dismissed such happenings, could not contain her curiosity.

Two more steps closer and I was at the base of the Tree, looking up through the branches, which offered a decidedly macabre appearance. Reaching out with a gloved hand I touched The Tree, not knowing what to expect, but certain something would happen, and when nothing did I pulled back. The Tree didn’t come alive, a hand didn’t appear to pull me inside, and I wasn’t shocked into oblivion or turned into a toad, it was just a tree.

Somewhat disappointed I stepped back to glance around The Tree to the house. It didn’t look specifically ominous this close up either. Shaking my head at my own morbid stupidity I turned back toward the street, only then realizing how incredibly quiet it was.

When I say this, you must understand that while it is late at night, in the city there would still be noise. The sounds of all night streetcars on the roads, someone shouting from three streets over, usually teenagers out past curfew, and sirens in the distance can almost always be heard along with the humming of streetlights and neon signs. Instead, there was only a deafening silence with only the sound my own heartbeat to keep me company.

A feeling of unease settled over me and as I moved one foot forward back onto the curb. I glanced down and saw that the lawn, dusted with a thin layer of snow, remained beneath my boots. I took another few steps, able to see the sidewalk ahead, yet unable to reach it. Like an old Jimmy Cagney musical, the ground seemed to roll backwards with each step I took, giving the illusion of walking without actually going anywhere. Another step, and another, I was almost running, and still I could not reach the sidewalk, until I took a giant leap and was propelled backwards into the Tree.

Stunned and frightened I lay there in the snow, staring at the houses across the street, a small convenience store just up the road with cars parked in front of it. This didn’t make any sense! What had I gotten into? I could see everything just as before, but I couldn’t get off the damn lawn. Horrified, I watched as a car drove up the street in front of me, moving without any sound. There was no crunching of tires on pavement, no hum of the engine as it drove past, only absolute silence like a movie without the soundtrack.

I scrambled to my feet and walked around to the other side of the lawn and the same thing happened, movement without movement, walking without getting anywhere. I began to shout, hoping someone would hear me, maybe call the police, come to their doors to check out the noise, but the neighborhood remained silent as a tomb.

Desperate, I scooped up enough snow to form a ball and threw it, watching it land, soundlessly on the street. Then, I made the mistake of reaching my hand out, half expecting to feel an invisible barrier of some kind, like the one mimes often pretend to feel with their hands, but my fingers slipped through and I felt only air. I took my glove off, no, not air, I felt nothing, absolutely nothing and it felt horribly wrong. Even air feels like something, when it touches bare skin, when you wave your hand back and forth there is a slight change in temperature, a breeze, warm or cold, yet here there was nothing. I shivered, but not from the cold, and pulled my glove back on.

There was no sound, no feeling, and it was then I realized that my breath no longer fogged the air. When I tried again to move forward I felt a painful discomfort and I realized that my feet had fallen asleep. The prickling sensation ascended to my legs and intensified by the time it reached my torso, like a swarm of spiders had worked their way inside my clothes and embedded themselves beneath my skin.

I slapped at my chest and legs, ripped open my jacket expecting to see the insidious creatures, and found nothing. I spun around during my struggles, facing The Tree and the sensation stopped. That couldn’t have been just my imagination; my skin still felt like it was crawling, just not as strong. I stared at The Tree, it remained immobile and indifferent, but my chest was heaving like I had just run a marathon.

Still scratching at my chest and arms, I turned to look at the house. I could see no way around to the back due to a privacy fence, so my only choice was to go through it and hope there was an exit to the road behind. There had to be a back door, a house always had a front and a back door, didn’t it? Right, so that was what I would do. I’d go through the house to the back, shouldn’t be too bad.

Now, you are probably thinking isn’t it lovely how well I am adapting to the situation, aside from my spastic fit a few moments ago, but you have to understand… I HAVE read an enormous amount of Stephen King and so my sense of normality is somewhat different from others and I tend to adapt easier to the bizarre. I mean really, I suppose I could start screaming for help, okay technically I did try that, but I’m not yet crying hysterically, or praying because all is lost… that would only do for an hour or so and I would still be stuck now wouldn’t I?

So, over to the house I went, not really afraid mind you, just extremely cautious. After all, I had no idea what I would find in that house, but in it I must go. I couldn’t sit out here all night. Stepping onto the porch my foot immediately went through one of the boards and I twisted my ankle, which of course, was a wonderful start to my adventure. It hurt like a sonofabitch, but I was able to pull it out and continue.

I knocked on the door and received no answer, I think I would have been more surprised if there had been a response. The door was locked, and so I limped around the porch to the side of the house, hoping to gain access to the rear and put this Twilight Zone episode behind me. Oddly enough the porch only led into an outside wall of the house, with one door; also locked.

There was a smell here, to this day I can’t describe it and I have never discovered anything like it since, but it was strange enough that I proceeded with additional caution. A small window on the side, the top, level with the doorframe beside it, was slightly ajar by about an inch or so. It was too high up for me to reach but there was an old kitchen chair on the porch, rusted and with no backing, that I was able to climb on to boost myself up. Sliding my hand between the sill and the window I lifted it the rest of the way up, waited a moment to see if an alarm would sound or three-headed dog would take off my hand, and then I climbed inside.

Okay, I should mention here that whenever you climb through an open window, unlike in the movies, you should not expect a soft landing, nor are most people double jointed that they can start headfirst and land on their feet inside. I pulled myself through headfirst and that was pretty much how I landed, my scull and right shoulder bouncing off what I assumed was a kitchen counter.

Contusions aside, once I was through the window it was like falling into an open grave. The air was stale and rot with mildew, and an odd smell lingered in a darkness that was as black as the deepest pits of hell should be. Everything was so very still. It felt like a giant lump was starting to form on my forehead as I grabbed the counter and slowly rose to my feet. My shoulder and ankle ached, but now that I was inside I could only go forward. The street lamps outside could not permeate this dark, thick gloom and had I realized it would be so incredibly pitch black I might have considered other options.

Feeling my way around, wishing for the first time that I smoked because then I would have a lighter or matches, it appeared that the walls seemed devoid of pictures or ornaments. This must be what it was like to be blind, or dead, I suppose, but I didn’t really want to make that assumption right now. Groping my way across the wall, I was startled when I fell through a swinging door that led outside the kitchen into a narrow hallway. To the right a hint of silver light streaming through the panels of the front door and one of the smaller windows cast an eerie gloom over the bulky, white draped furniture of the living area. The walls remained in shadow, the light reflecting away from them as The Tree twisted away from the house. To my left was darkness and directly ahead was a staircase leading up, probably to that funky overhanging room in the front.

Well, since I was looking for a way out, the stairs would have been an asinine choice. Did you ever notice though that when the women in horror movies or slasher flicks are being chased by killers or zombies, they always run upstairs to get away from them? What are they going to do, jump out a window on the second floor, break their leg and wait for the killer to pick them off? Like I said, asinine. But that’s what makes for a good movie I suppose. If the characters had any real sense, they wouldn’t have been in that predicament in the first place and of course…if they were Texans, they could have shot old Jason or the screamer guy with the 357 Magnum they carried in their purse, for just such an occasion.

Sorry, I tend to crack jokes when I get to this part, I guess because what comes next isn’t really very funny at all. In reality, the fact that I can tell you about it without screaming is really quite surprising.

I moved closer to the wall, using my hand as a guide and wandered into the darkness. I came to what I thought was a door and pushed it open, a cold breeze greeted me. I assumed that this would be the way out. I could see the glow of moonlight up ahead and moved towards it, my boots a distracting clomp, clomp across the floor. I picked up speed as the light brightened through another open doorway and I was sure that I could smell fresh air.

Stepping through the door, I expected to see dark, open sky so was puzzled when to find myself in a child’s room instead. Well, wasn’t this a kick in the teeth? Who would put a child’s bedroom at the back of the house? Of course, I was taking for granted that I was at the rear of the home, stumbling around in the dark can play havoc on your sense of direction. Still, there was light coming from inside the room and I looked around to find the source.

Illumination from the street lamp outside streamed through the second floor window that I had seen from the street earlier, but how was that possible? It hadn’t felt like I had been walking upward and I had specifically avoided the stairs, so how could I have gotten into this second story room? I crossed the threshold and felt a hot flush crawl up my skin, followed immediately by a thousand raised bumps across my cold skin. I moved to the window and could see front lawn The Tree reaching away from the house.

Perplexed, I went back through the door, into the darkness and again felt my way across. The walls felt odd beneath my hands, not completely solid. I could have taken off my gloves to get a better understanding of it, but something inside me advised against this. The floor remained level, it did not appear to be rising or descending, or even curving.

On I went, through the darkness and the cold, searching for an exit, unable to believe that the house was so big, it looked so much smaller from outside. My head ached like a jackhammer was racing across the center of my skull and my ankle seemed to be getting worse with each step I took.

dark

I heard noises in the darkness, whispers, and sounds that I truly believed was either the wind or a product of my own over active imagination. They were so soft, you see, more like traces of whispers, and I had to question if they were even there. Like when you see something out of the corner of your eye, you turn and it is gone; the minute I stopped or cocked an ear to listen the noise stopped. And the smell, it was much stronger and I still have nothing to compare it to. It was like a mixture of seaweed, bleach, mud, propane and something…something else entirely. I had my scarf over my mouth and nose to try and filter it, to keep me from gagging.

After what seemed like forever I could see a light and moved closer, I realized that it was again the doorway to the upstairs room. This was getting silly, for all the walking that I was doing there had to be other doors than the one that led to this stupid room. I had not even seen the stairs again and could no longer find the window I had climbed through or the front door. I have never been particularly bothered by the dark but I was starting to be. The only light came from this room and it seemed that every path through the house led here. That wasn’t possible of course, but the fact that I was trapped in this house with the runaway tree was not exactly something for reality TV either.

On my third trip around, I’d had enough of the dark, the phantom whispers, and the smell and decided to try to open the window of the second story bedroom. Once outside again, I would at least have light and fresh air and maybe I could find another way around the house.  Ignoring that weird, flushed shiver and a moment or two of nausea as I stepped into the room, I was startled to see the light of dawn steaming through the window.  How long had I been wandering around in this Godforsaken thing?

I was starting to get really scared as I pulled my gloves off and ran my hands over the window frame, searching for locks or switches that would release it. There was nothing. No locks, no hooks, and the windows themselves appeared to be painted shut. No, on closer inspection, I could feel tiny rounded edges of metal…the window was nailed shut. To keep people out or to keep something else in, I wondered. That smell was filtering into this room and I started to gag again on the awful stench. I watched someone jog past the house and banged on the window to gain his attention, but he ran past without even glancing up.

I hit the glass and screamed as loud as I could, but the guy kept on going. I told myself that he had a Walkman on and couldn’t hear me; I needed the lie to keep myself sane. Then when two ladies walked past in the opposite direction, and they didn’t hear me either, I resigned myself to the fact that the room was probably soundproofed and I didn’t have the time to wonder why.

Turning around, I searched the room for something I could use to break the window, no longer caring that I was on private property. I just about jumped out of my skin when something skittered across my boot, but when I looked down I could see nothing. The complete silence of the room was broken by whispers in the dark, strange moaning and whimpering. Was someone playing a trick on me? No, who would have known that I would come in here?

In my frantic search for something to break the window with, I knocked over a small lamp and was surprised when it blinked on as it crashed to the floor. That was when I saw why the walls had felt so strange, they were covered in what looked like human flesh, many of it still covered in dry blood and hair, insects and God knew what else, stripped flat and stretched like wallpaper across the room.

My hand covered my mouth to keep the bile rising from my gut and spewing across the floor. Terrified, I backed up into the window. Click, click, clickity- click, the sound of someone typing, or perhaps nails tapping furiously on a desk, came from below and when something crunched beneath my foot I glanced down and saw millions of creeping, crawling insects. My eyes clamped shut. This isn’t happening; it’s all my imagination. All of this stuff wasn’t in here before; I’m just getting psyched out.

I dropped my hand and opened my eyes, prepared to see the room as it really was, dark, dull and quiet, but I was horribly disappointed. The lamp flickered out and a bluish glow descended upon the room reminiscent of the morgue scenes you might see in movies, with the overhead fluorescents flickering disturbingly. The light prevented my eyesight from adjusting properly and cast frightening shadows in the darker corners of the room.

I did not want to see what would come next and spinning around I slammed my hands against the window glass, demanding to be let out. Again and again I pounded on the glass until my hands began to bleed from the force of my fear.

Suddenly I could hear a strange scraping, like the tearing sounds of skin ripping from the walls. I froze in horror as the sound of shuffling crossed the room along with the crunching of insects underfoot as something moved closer. A single tear escaped my right eye and still I refused to turn away from the window towards the noise, terrified of what I would see. The smell was putrid, the whispers were now voices, groaning, crying in agony, and the shuffling, the crunching, the flickering of that damned blue light.

I covered my ears, wanting to block out the sounds, wanting to wake up from this nightmare. “You’re not real! None of this is real! Leave me alone, I don’t believe in you!”

I was so intent on my mantra of disbelief, so panicked, that it took me awhile to realize my hands and face were wet and when I looked at them, I saw that they were covered in blood, blood that was running down the window pane as if the house itself was crying for the lost souls hidden in it’s walls.

Something touched my shoulder and I screamed. The horrific blue light; that dead light that I hated, suddenly went out and pitched me into darkness. Seeing the horrors of that room was terrifying, not seeing them was even worse. I could still hear them, still smell them and now I was blind to them.

bleeding-wall

I felt the insects crawling up my legs, dropping into my boots, scraping the bare skin of my calf. Hands that did not feel like hands at all, touching me, tearing at my clothes, pulling at my hair, caressing my face, whispering their death curses and promising suffering beyond my imagination. I wanted to move, get to the door, better the darkness out there where the walls didn’t breathe and there were no sounds of ripping flesh and masticating insects.

Scratching at the window drew my attention as I battled with the creatures in the darkness, and spinning around I saw that The Tree had twisted its upper branches towards the house.

I pounded at the glass and I knew, or perhaps I was just desperate enough to believe, that somehow it was trying to help me. “I’m here! Let me out! Help me, please!”

The branches slammed against the window, the sound echoing in the room, as my hands beat on the glass from the inside. Suddenly, all movement and sounds ceased and a curtain of silence dropped over the room.  A flickering red glow was reflected in the glass, between my crimson hands, firelight catching on the lower frame of the door and steadily climbing up the walls caused me to turn and face whatever new horror was rising. The only sound now was The Tree outside, scratching vigorously at the window as it would in a fearsome storm.

The floor beneath me began to move again, like the Moonwalk attraction at a carnival, soft, mobile, squishy.  A vortex opened, where the door used to be, and through the black pit a face moved forward bathed in fire and razor sharp fangs, the gurgling sound of blood being fed through an enormous mouth. Sharp talon like hands reached forward and I knew that they were meant to peal the skin from my bones and feast on my brains, as it had the others

The house wanted to devour me and this wasn’t a dream. I glanced at the walls, wondering how many people had met their end here, how many people had joined Jeffery Dahlmer’s interior decorator. I didn’t want to be its next victim, I refused to be, even as I felt the talons crawling up my legs, tearing through my denim jeans and gouging bloody trails through the delicate flesh of my legs

I slammed myself against the window matching the ferocious efforts of The Tree outside as it thrashed against the glass. Finally, the window gave away and I dove outside onto the closest branch. A roar unlike anything I have every heard, or ever care to hear again, filled with such hatred that the hairs on my arms stood up, released from the room as the talons made another grab for me.

The Tree was twisting again, moving back towards the street, and I climbed as fast as my tired, battered body would carry me. I grabbed onto one of the higher branches, tried to keep from falling as it rose higher and swung away from the demon house. My hand paused against the smooth wood, yes smooth, like a baby’s bottom and not like a tree at all; which was usually weathered and crusted and embedding splinters into your flesh. I realized there were faces in The Tree, faces and forms and all of them were crying for release, their features warped in agony and despair.

I saw my own frightened face emerging beneath my hand and wondered if I had not made the wisest choice in choosing The Tree for my savior. I began to see myself being eaten like the child in Poltergeist and cursed at my own stupidity. Escaping one horror for another, skinned by demons or eaten by a Tree, what a freaking choice to have!

The branches continued moving, groaning and creaking until it was back in its former position. The limb that I clung to hovered directly over the street, well past the invisible barrier I could not penetrate earlier. The branches lowered, moaning and shuddering with the effort, until I could tumble from its grasp onto the sidewalk without hurting myself further.

I shivered as the cold air slapped the warmth from my cheeks and the freezing snow melted through the seat of my pants, penetrating the layers and chilling me to the bone. A car passed by, exhaled a trail of smoke from its exhaust that immediately filled my lungs. I began to cough, the sound almost drowned out by a street screeching into the subway station several blocks away.  My breath! My breath was making soft misty frost clouds and the sounds of the city surrounded me.  I had never felt so alive! I had never come so close to death!

I looked up at the Tree, which was now back in its former position, untouched by the falling snow and devoid of wildlife, once again still and silent. Carefully, I managed to pull myself together and rise to my feet and wondering if I had imagined the whole thing, but it was daylight, the city was coming alive and there was dried blood on my hands.

I looked away from The Tree, unable to see the faces anymore and unwilling to share anymore of its secrets. I crossed to the other side of the street, vowing to never go near it again, and when I reached home I wept.

I took a different road home after that day, unwilling to go back near that horrific house, although part of me always wondered about The Tree. Was it trapped on that sinister property, forever guarding that dark secret the house held, or would it one day escape, once it’s branches reached high enough an far enough? Or was The Tree part of the darkness, but for whatever reason decided to change course and rescue me?

After a while I stopped thinking about what happened to me in that house, and I moved on with my life. Then one afternoon, many years later, a friend was driving me home and he took that street that I had avoided for so long. I was compelled to look for The Tree and was startled to see that it was no longer there. The house had been sold, and the tree had been cut down. The house had been remodeled and sported a new paint job and a quaint little fence around the yard, and had a for sale sign in the front.

I asked my friend to stop and I stepped out into the warm summer evening. I was worried for the people who would but the house and what horror’s they might endure, without The Tree’s protection, but then, as I moved closer to the fence, I saw that a small seedling had sprouted from where The Tree once stood, and its tiny, fragile stems seemed to be reaching towards me. I smiled, returned to the car and wished The Tree good luck.

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October 17, 2016 · 10:05 pm

What Do You Believe In- God, Angels or Demons?

People tease me sometimes because of the things I believe in and so I thought I’d write a little something about what people, (myself included) believe.

Many people believe in God, Angels and Heaven and Hell and they are not teased about it.  Some are devout in their beliefs, praying every day and believing that no matter what tragedy befalls them, it is God’s will that such things happen and that they will be rewarded in the Kingdom of Heaven. They say they believe in the words of God, in the teachings of their faith and will disavow any suggestion that they feel otherwise.

I grew up as a Roman Catholic, but also had friends that were Jehovah Witness, Jewish and many other faiths. I don’t have a problem with anyone having faith in something higher, or leaving their lives and circumstances up to God. If that is what gets them through, helps them find Peace and Happiness, of course it should be accepted.  However, it makes no sense to me that people who claim to believe in God, or the scriptures or the prophets can act the way so many of them do. Those who use their faith as a way to hurt people and wage war and propagate the hatred of others through the words of their religion believe in only one thing. Themselves, and the fear and power they can create or gain by using the words of religion.

I believe in God, though not in the form that everyone else does.  I believe in the true word that we are all brothers and sisters and should treat each other accordingly, not through the words of Christ, but for the simple civility of Humanity. I don’t understand why people insist on treating others badly. I don’t ‘get’ the obsession with money and power and position and fame. I have no desire to rob someone of what they earned, or lie about someone to get a promotion over them. I have zero interest in being on a reality TV show or having my face or actions splashed all over You Tube with something that has gone ‘viral’.

As for Angels and Demons, I believe they do not reside in Heaven or some otherworldly plane, but instead live here among us.  The Angels are the people who show kindness and compassion to others. The men and women and sometimes even children who every day save lives by picking up the phone or some miraculously heroic act. They are the soldiers who despite all odds continue to fight for our freedom. They are the nurses who live their lives healing us and giving us their time, skill and energy.

Unfortunately, the Demons are here too, along with the Devils and the monsters and all the other evil things you can think of. Murderers, rapists, child molesters- is this who you think I’m speaking of? Well, they certainly can be categorized as monsters, but not Demons. The Demons are the rich and powerful people who live so far above us that we cannot even comprehend their existence, which is also shrouded in mysteries, lies and conspiracies.

The Demons who take our money under the pretense of guiding us to financial freedom. The Demons who lie to us about who they are so they can gain political power. The Demons who demand we pay them money for our old age, then when we reach retirement they say there is no money left, so we have to sell off all we own to live or just keep working until we die. The Demons who manipulate the stock exchange, the oil prices and the banks to devalue our money, or homes and our lives. You know some of them too, don’t you? You’ve seen the Demons plastered all over TV and on billboards, those who dare to show their faces, who pretend to be generous and giving and perfectly normal, but they’re not. We will never see behind their masks to the true form beneath.

Unfortunately, these kinds of Demons who hide in plain sight cannot be ousted by the Angel Gabriel or any other good entity, because we are not willing to see the truth. We are not willing to take a stand against the Demons because it is so much easier and convenient to just take it up the ass and let them control our lives. If they looked like the Demons we feared we would fight. If they acted the way we expect Demons to act, we would rise up. But they don’t and so we don’t. They lie and we accept their lies as truth. They’re pretty, they’re normal, and so we won’t bother them with our silly ideals.

It is only a matter of time before the place we call Earth becomes the Hell we are all so afraid of. But it’s okay, The Demons will still let you have your conveniences, and it will only cost you your soul.

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October 17, 2016 · 10:05 pm

Voices Of Our Sisters

Voices of Our Sisters

We Are Only Who We Are, What We Are

We Have Never Asked For More

  Than What Any Of You Would Ask

And still, We Rest Alone

Where Is The Justice?

Where Are Our Rights?

We Once Danced With Laughter

Wrapped In Colour Supported By Flame

Now There Is Only Darkness

Now There Is Only Cold

Why Don’t They Cry For Us

Why Have We Been Forgotten?

This Is Not What Should Have Been

We Had So Much To Say, So Much To Do

Why Was This Taken From Us

Why Does No One Care?

Why Have We Been Forsaken?

We Cannot Rest

Always Walking

Always Running

A Never Ending Journey To An Unknown Place

Searching For Light

Searching For Warmth

Crying For Justice

Until Then…

We Shall Just Keep Walking

Hundreds of  indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing across Canada since 1980 and remain, to this day, unsolved or open cases that the authorities have neglected to investigate.  In 2016 CBS launched an investigation of 34 of those cases, where police claim there has been no foul play. (for full details visit the CBC link below) Please- lend your voice to this cause by getting involved and forcing authorities and governments to stop treating these missing and murdered women as an invisible statistic.

http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/

https://nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Fact_Sheet_Missing_and_Murdered_Aboriginal_Women_and_Girls

missing_women_vigil-fred_chartrandthe_canadian_press_file_photo

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September 28, 2016 · 1:20 am