Jar Party Sunday poetry What's In A Name? Edward Gorey Challenge The Sinister Summer Stories Contest and so much more ..

My name is Marjorie Merle and on the right is my ever faithful companion Tex. I am Keeper Of The Stories and I will tell you where I found them. My story begins one night when I started up the stairs to the attic to retrieve some candles during the storm; my knees were knocking together, my fingers quivered. Dusty beams of light from the cloud-swept moon leaked into the attic, landing on sheets of paper with spidery writing - but it wasn't just writing; drawings and photographs littered the floor as well. There were stories of old days, of the future, of the times in between and each had with it a drawing relaying every dreadful and delicious detail into my mind. I drank in the stories greedily with an unquenchable thirst. Now I am sharing them with you, dear reader. Enjoy and remember, don't get lost. You don't want to end up underneath the Juniper Tree. Underneath The Juniper Tree was created after the departure of the beloved Crow Toes Quarterly Magazine in order to fill the gap in our lives. Underneath The Juniper Tree is a non-profit online magazine that supports new and budding artists and writers. We aim to promote the most creatively fantastical and darkly neurotic literature that has been much loved over the centuries and will be loved for centuries to come. If you'd like to contact us, please email us at junipertreelit@gntail.colD ''A{y mother she killed me, A{y father he ate me, A{y sister, little Marlinchen, Gathered together all my bones, Tied them in a silken handkerchiif, Laid them beneath thejuniper-tree, Kywit~ kywitt, what a beautiful bird am II" An excerpt from The Juniper Tree, part of the SurLaLune Fairy tale Pages by Heidi Anne Heiner

Gobbling up words - tha t:' s why I was born ... crea ted... devised, perhaps? My origins are an anonymity even to myself. I live in a mysterious attic filled with wondrous words, floating around the dust the way that invisible notes of a piano float through a concert hall. Marjorie was revealed to me one day when I saw a tiny toe pass through the darkness. I scrambled to slurp up all of the letters and numbers, punctuation marks and blank spaces I could before the owner of this delicious looking toe took them away from me. I opened my mouth and inhaled. Like a phenomenal whirlwind, words and parts of words came dancing into my mouth. And it wasn't until I finished with the words and started nibbling on that delicious (albeit curious) toe, that Marjorie noticed me. I am Tex. I am The Keeper Of The Attic. creature and I prefer

I am an eerie little to stay that way.

I will eat parts of you even if I love you. I will gnaw on parts of you if I am perturbed. Please do not take offense. As some would ask, "Were you raised in a barn?" Well, no. I was raised in an attic with nothing but alphabet letters and old feline skeletons to keep me company. Do not feel sorry for me. For I am Tex. And I am The Keeper Of The Attic.

I hear a symphony when I read words. I see a painting when I watch the alphabet letters dance with the dust bunnies in front of my eyes. If you must use my beloved make them count. letters on that white regurgitated wood, please

For each letter has a tale to tell, a life to live.

fable ofturiosities
Page 1 PageS Page 11 Page 16 Page 19 Page 21 Page 24 Page 25 Page 27 Page 30 Page 36 Page 40 Page 44 Page 48 Page 51
Maisie CherootAnd The Night Mare Basil McCreecher The Boiler Caroline Waszek Carnival Ruth Schiffmann Jar Therapy Rosemary Youngblood The Jar Danyelle Leafy Darkling Artemis Grey I Have 3 Angels Daniel Knauf The Spider and theJar T. A. Tilley Lost Mind Caroline Waszek A Night at the River Jeremy Glenn Horn-Swaggled Sandie Lee The Fireworks Monster Jayne Moraski Pneuma Nix Artemis Grey The Initial Murder: The ABC Death Series Jenn Chushcoff Z isfor Zillah Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Page 52 Page 55 Page 59 Page 60 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72
The Misplaced Heirs Christopher Lincoln The Great Game of Go Seek Elizabeth Beck The Case of the Missing Bloomers C. Thagg A Muti'!Y of Mugs Caitlin Thomson In Between Katharine Wright The Things I Saw B.J. Lee Freaked Faces Elizabeth Rose Green is the New Black M. W Shiganty Eaper Jiti1eper Elizabeth Rose Stanton Crush M. Stagi Lost in the Trees Jonathan Arras Stove Qyeen M. Stagi Marjorie and the Missing Rabbit p. O'Reily Coming up in The July Issue

Maisie Cheroot, with the nimbus of hair Was not more than six when she met the Night Mare. She waffled, half asleep, and half almost awake When the Night Mare slipped into her room to partake Of her fears. Like a housecat, it crept to her side, But a housecat eight feet tall, six long and four wide. It let out a bleat, like a long-legged sheep When it saw that young Maisie was not quite asleep. That bleat pulled her back from the edge of a dream And she saw the Night Mare and she muffled a scream 'What are you?' Maisie asked. 'A Night Mare, if you please. Now shut down your brain, I am starved to my knees.' 'You eat brains? With your knees?' Maisie's confusion fizzed. (She had almost been sleeping. You know how that is.) 'I eat fears,' said the Mare, 'you're my semi-accomplice Because I prefer fears when they're largely unconscious. Your dreams glide on straight and I knock them askew And then nibble in holes to let spiders come through.' 'Spiders?' asked Maisie. 'Or bullies, or bees Or your mum, with the knowledge of who lost those keys.' 'But that's heartless,' said Maisie, 'to give me bad dreams.' The Night Mare explained, 'It's not all what it seems. The dreams make you frightened, the fear floats my way And I chew on that fear like a pony chews hay. Now close your sweet eyes, and think sleep-making thoughts I will sit here and tie them in frightening knots.' But the Night Mare had done it's work too soon and well Maisie was one unsleepy mademoiselle. For hours the Mare gave out hungerous sighs While Maisie pulled her covers up to her eyes


And gave herself orders to keep those eyes open But her lids slid defiantly down in slow-motion. And before she could help it she frolicked with daisies In meadows where hippos grew fat, blue, and lazy And small winged fish skimmed along the sky-stream Til the Night Mare nibbled a hole in her dream And the fish turned malevolent eyes as they passed And Maisie tried to run, her feet stuck to the grass And the grass turned to fire and the sky rained hot tears And the Night Mare dined with relish on poor Maisie's fears. In the morning, the Night Mare was gone from her bed But Maisie's nerves hung by a tenuous thread. The next night she sat with a potful of coffee Determined to keep her young eyelids from dropping The night after that she ran circles in bed. To keep her blood flowing, she stood on her head. But the night after that, with a sigh and a fold She slept (she was only six young years old). That night in her dreams Maisie's hair caught on fire And her best friend Susannah finked her for a liar And also she was left alone in field And also the scrape on her knee never healed And also she had a new knee on her arm And everywhere rang out a horrid alarm. She awoke with a shudder that chilled her bones deep But night after night, six-year-olds must sleep. So night after night, Maisie C met her fears But with rearranged faces, or long, drooping ears Til she thrummed with frustration from her toes to hair And one night she vowed she would stop the Night Mare.


She lay, feigning sleep, with her breath soft and slow Til she heard the Night Mare on the carpet below She sat up with a jolt and the Night Mare reared back. Maisie straightened her spine and prepared for attack. She stared the Mare down. 'You can't have my dreams. I'll turn the light on. Call a grown-up. I'll scream. You can only sit here by my bed if I let you. You sneak up at night so the wide world won't get you. You feed on my fears, but you've fears of your own. You're scared of the daytime, or people who've grown. Or even young people who won't let you harm Them. Like me!' Maisie sat back and folded her arms. The Night Mare, somewhat dazed, collected its wits. 'Now Maisie,' the Mare said, 'there's no need for fits. The dreams do not hurt you, the dreams aren't real. They're just barely solid enough for my meal. Surely it's selfish to keep for yourself What can't do you good, but could feed someone else.' 'That's true for some things,' Maisie said, 'but not these. My dreams are my own to do with as I please. My fears are for me to crush under my heel. Not for you to harvest for your midnight meal. You need to leave now.' She pointed a finger Imperiously towards the window. 'Do not linger.' The Mare bristled angrily from ear to ear. 'I'm losing my patience with you, Maisie dear. Go to sleep!' 'I will not!' 'Be afraid!' 'Not tonight! Not tomorrow! Not ever! Stop eating my fright!' Maisie stood strong, and she did not relent And the Night Mare knew that it was beaten, and went.


by Caroline Waszek


Aex scanned the busy cafeteria for his friend. "Have you seenJustin lately?" Alex asked Noah. The nauseating smell of a thousand different lunches hung heavy in the air. Alex couldn't wait to get out. "Nah, last time I saw him was a couple of days ago, emptying a trash can full of garbage on the new kid. He's probably just skipping class again," Noah answered. Alex stomach turned as he watched Noah gulp down the last bite of a ham and ketchup sandwich. Noah's hair was almost as red as the ketchup that dripped down the sides of his mouth. He scrunched up the wrapper and tossed it towards the waste can. It bounced off the rim and landed on the ground. "Ha, you missed, but you'd better pick that up. Don't let old man Jones see you leave your garbage on the floor." Alex glanced around for signs of the caretaker. "He hides in corners and watches us." "I'm not afraid of that old man. What's he going to do, mop me to death?" Noah pretended to hobble around, bent over a mop. "Forget him. He's got nothing else to do but nag any kid whose fingerprints smudge his windows or shoes scuff the floor." "Still, don't you think you should pick it up?" Alex eyed the wrapper as they walked by. "Knock yourself out, man," said Noah. "I'm not doing it. I even put a big gooey purple gob of gum with goobers till dripping from under the chair for him to pick off. You can go get that too if you want. Like I said, I'm not afraid of him. He and lunch lady Lou can eat my garbage." They left the cafeteria and made their way down the hall towards their classes. They didn't notice a wrinkled gray hand appear from behind the trashcan and snatch Noah's garbage. They paused in front of the caretakers boiler room and Noah asked, "You know what I heard goes on in here?" Alex glanced around the hall then leaned closer and whispered, "I heard that


old caretaker Jones takes kids in there and makes them into slaves. They have to do his work like shoveling coal into the big old boiler to heat the school, and clean chalkboard erasers, and empty garbage into huge bags that he then lugs out to the receptacle in the yard. Some kids get so over worked that they never even make it back to school, ever." "That's not what I heard. Besides, they don't use coal any more, dummy. My brother's best friend's, sister's ex-boyfriend told me that kids go missing from here all the time. It's been going on forever. Kids years ago made up a saying: 'Leaveyour garbage on thefloor and surelyyou'll be dead. Jones takesyour bones and grinds them up To bake his special bread. Jones will useyour locks if hair to sweep the hallway floor. Andfromyourjlesh he'll make a soup he'll eatforever more.' He and lunch lady Lou have a deal worked out between them. What do you think is in the mystery meat soup every week? That's why I don't eat it." Was Noah for real? Alex never knew when to believe him. Noah went on. "See these scratches in the paint? They're from kids trying to claw their way out, desperate to get away from the old man." Noah said, placed his ear on the door. His eyes grew wide and he waved Alex over. "Come here. You can hear them begging and screaming." Alex looked at Noah then leaned closer.Just as he expected to hear voices, Noah pushed Alex's head into the metal door. The bang echoed down the hall and Noah ran and hid behind a row of lockers. Alex stood there. Everyone stared. "Whatcha do that for?" Alex rubbed his head, catching up with his friend. "What if Jones came out?" "I can't believe you fell for that." Noah was barely able to talk through his laughter.


Alex ignored Noah and headed for his class. "Come on Alex, don't be such a baby. If it makes you feel better I'll let you bang my head into the door after school." "Deal," Alex said, not turning around as he entered his science class. "I'll see you after school." "Not if I see you first," said Noah standing in the doorway of his math class. From behind the door, another set of eyes watched him. The afternoon dragged on and Alex tried to focus on his science lesson. He looked out the window and noticed Mr. Jones stuffing a big trash bag into the large garbage receptacle at the edge of the schoolyard. He struggled to lift the huge black bag. Thick, red liquid leaked out of one corner and Alex leaned as close to the window as he could, to get a better look. The caretaker stopped and looked at Alex from across the yard, his black eyes piercing Alex's blue ones. Alex rubbed his neck and shifted in his chair. "Alex, do you know the answer?" his science teacher called out. "Urn, what was the question?" Alex said, leafing through his notebook, pretending to find the answer. "That's what I thought. Now, if you wouldn't mind watching what we are doing here rather than the birds." A chorus of giggles followed, but for once he didn't care. His eyes shifted back to the window, but the caretaker was gone. The bell rang and Alex jammed his things into his bag and ran out, wringing his hands in anticipation of the pleasure he was going to get rattling his friends head off the door. Alex saw the steel door to the boiler room open and he hid behind a group of girls. The caretaker poked his head out, quickly scanned the hall then went back inside, slamming the door behind him. Just his luck. With old man Jones inside there was no way he was going to get his revenge. Alex leaned up against the wall across from the boiler room and waited for Noah. Soon the hallway overflowed with kids, but no sign of Noah. He was always the first one out of class. Alex studied the big metal door in front of him. Could those scratches really be left from kids clawing at the door?


Slowly, Alex stepped forward, trying not to make a sound and traced his fingers along the scratches. His finger fit perfectly into the four lines. It was probably just a coincidence. He leaned closer and thought he heard muffied voices through the metal door. He closed his eyes and listened harder. Could it be screams and cries that he was hearing? Was that a saw he heard too? The boiler clanged and banged to life drowning out the other sounds. He lifted his head from the door as if it had become burning hot. It was probably voices from the schoolyard he was hearing, and someone working outside, that had to be it. Bodies dwindled in the hallway and soon only a few teachers milled about. Noah's math teacher came out into the hall and Alex ran up to her. "Mrs. Petty, have you seen Noah?" "He wasn't in class today and we had a test. Do you know where he was?" The teacher leaned closer to Alex interrogating him. "Urn, I don't know. Thanks." Alex bolted out of the school. Noah must have been afraid of getting his head banged into the door Alex thought. But who was he kidding? That wasn't like Noah. Alex rushed to their usual meeting place under the big oak tree in the park, but Noah wasn't there. He went to Noah's house. No answer. He went home and phoned him, and still no answer. The next day there was no sign of Noah in any of his classes, or the next day, or the day after that. No one had seen him. No one had heard from him. Alex walked down the hall and came face to face with Justin. "Where have you been? We looked all over for you last week." "I was visiting my grandfather. He was sick wand the whole family went to cheer him up." "Oh," said Alex. "That makes sense why we couldn't find you. You don't want to know where we thought you went. And now I can't find Noah. Have you seen him around?" "Nope," Justin said as he entered his classroom. Alex continued to his science class. Halfway down the hall he noticed Mr. Jones sweeping the floor with a new broom. Its bristles were red and soft and flowed


along the floor, not like the usual school issued broom with stiff black bristles. He rushed into class but couldn't concentrate on one word the teacher spoke. He had to find out for sure. He rushed to the caretaker's boiler room. The door was open just a crack. Mr. Jones was smiling at lunch lady Lou. She had brought him an old dented pot filled with soup. The aroma of the hot loaf of bread she had baked for him wafted into the hallway. Alex thought it had an odd smell. Between that and the sickening smell of boiled meat that filled Alex's, it made him wretch. He had to leave if he didn't want to greet his lunch all over the hallway floor. What would old Jones say about that? He didn't want to know As he raced past the caretaker's room he thought he heard a chant from inside. 'Leave your garbage on thefloor and you'll be surelY dead. /'ll takeyour bones and grind them up to bake my special bread. /' II useyour red locks if hair to sweep the hallway floor. And from your flesh /' II make more soup. You'll bother me no more.'


by Ruth Schiff mann

RuthSchifftnann. com


h.e thrill of the carnival only comes to town once a year. Under the haze of slow-moving storm clouds I wait in line inching towards the ticket booth. Two boys behind me push forward but I stand my ground, firmly planting my feet in the dirt. Up ahead, a mother tightens her grasp on her squirming daughter's hand. I sweep my hair up into a ponytail, a momentary relief from the heat. I'm glad that I've outgrown a parent's hold and have no future family fantasies of my own. The line moves in a slow shuffie while a curious murmur from one of the tents catches my attention. My eyes dart from the woman doling out tickets to the voices behind the big top. I consider stepping out of line for a peek, but the crowd behind me is still growing and I think better of it. The ticket lady argues with someone ahead of me while I look for shadows, movement or anything that might hint at what's going on behind the canvas to my left. Progress is slow until finally, I step up and place my order. "Twenty tickets," I say, and push a crumpled Jefferson through the Plexiglas cutout. She slides me a sheet of red tickets ten long and two wide. I fold them accordion style and push them into my front jean pocket. The flashing lights and roaring rock music from the midway tempt me, but I can't take my eyes off the peppermint-stick-striped tent. There are no lights, no vendors waving me over, but it's precisely those things that make it irresistible. Nearing, I distinguish no words, only voices, the first deep and stern and in response a delicate reply. The tent flap pulses with the breath of the humid summer night and I stop short. I can feel them inside, the energy of their argument like a current. "Where is your conscience?" the man snarls. "Conscience? What about my freedom? I've put in my time." "Consider your choice carefully. A poor decision will haunt your freedom." "Let go of me." Her voice is like shattered glass. Automatically, I push the heavy canvas aside and step forward into the darkness. The air inside is hot and thick and I choke on my first breath. Their eyes turn to me and the man releases his grip on the pretty-voiced woman. His eyes widen as he looks at me, then back to her. "What have you done?"


She shakes her head, slowly at first and then with more meaning. "I haven't done anything." "You've done it already. My God, Francine, she's so young!" "I haven't." She's frantic. "I swear I've never seen her before," she pants. I open my mouth to speak but my voice won't come. The woman takes a step towards me nervously twisting one of the huge rings on her fingers. She stirs up dust with her step. I feel the grit of it against my skin. "Tell him. Tell him I've never seen you before." My throat is on fire but my voice fails. I shake my head and look from her eyes to his. My instinct is to bolt but her look keeps me there until there's a thud against the big top. And another. And another. Shrieks from outside break the force of her gaze. I look out at the rain pounding against the parched soil. The fairgoers who've waited for hours dart from their places in line to take shelter from the pelting downpour. As they scurry and clamor for cover I run into the torrent glad for the chance to break away. The cold rain cools my fiery skin. I turn my face up and let it wash over me. I am my own again. I look back towards the tent only once and shake away what's left of the spell it held over me. The rides have shut down but vendors are still selling food from their awningcovered carts. I eat a thick spicy sausage from a stick and wash it down with icecold lemonade, paying nine tickets. The game booths are empty except for a few stragglers with umbrellas and me, dripping wet. I spend four tickets aiming darts at balloons and three more pitching balls at stacked soda bottles. Before calling it a night I stop at a bright yellow cart and order a cotton candy. Three tickets.
In the maze of vendors and tents somehow I wind up back at the candy-cane-

striped canvas. "Two tickets," the gatekeeper says. But he's got it wrong. I don't want to go in. I hear the husky-voiced man at the mic. "Watch the beautiful Francine hypnotize the most reluctant among you with the twist of a ring and an innocent look. This will be her last performance, providing there's one among you who's willing to take her place." A nervous chuckle runs through the crowd. "That's unlikely," a pear-shaped


man mumbles to his wife as he sucks the mustard from the last bite of pretzel. "How about you, Dear Lady?" The smooth talker holds his hand out to a crumpled old woman who refuses his invitation with a wave. As the man looks the crowd over, I reach deep into my pocket and pull out my one last ticket. I turn to leave, close my eyes and breathe a relieved sigh, but when I open them, a soggy red ticket lays in the dirt beneath my feet. And an irresistible impulse charges my grasp as I reach down for it. 'just in time," the gatekeeper says stepping aside. As I enter, Francine takes the stage. Her hair is pinned up on top of her head and her face caked with makeup. Huge mirrored earrings dangle from stretched lobes. The glint in Francine's eyes draws my steps and I unwillingly make my way forward through the crowd. My breath catches deep in my chest. "You," she says, and I feel her steal a piece of me with each breath she draws, until I know why I've come. The nearer I get, the clearer I see my future in her eyes. As I climb onto the stage Francine reaches for my hand and slips the huge ring from her finger onto my own. When she looks up, I catch sight of the figure reflected in her earrings; the last glimpse of myself before the carnival takes my soul.




Jar T,hefapy
Winner of the Jar Party Challenge
by Rosemary Youngblood


rosemary youngblood. blog!pot. com
. , Ii. .i~



"What's in your jar, Cedric?" Tam asked a boy who sat across from him at the far end of the tea table. Tam, founder of Tam's House for Fairy tale Orphans, held a quill in one hand and wrote on a paper pad with the other, often stopping to brush away leaves that fell from the trees of the forest. The current treatment Tam had assigned his patients was something he called 'jar therapy." After giving each of the orphans ajar, he explained that a magical spell inside each one would engender a memory of the holder's lost parents. One by one, he asked them what they saw in their jars. Each one answered with something like "Sand my mommy took me to see the ocean once; we made a sand castle," or "a ballerina my mom and dad took me to the ballet ... right before the fire," or "twenty silver coins," from a young vampire whose dad pretended to be the tooth fairy one night, because the real one wouldn't come to a vampire house. The boy whom Tam addressed was the only one who had not touched his jar. It seemed as if he was in another place entirely; he wore a floppy hat with more patches than material and had been spending the length of jar therapy fiddling with something thin and shiny, and tugging at loose threads on his wooljacket. "Cedric?" The little boy raised his head. Beneath the brim of his hat were two patches of skin stretched over his eye sockets and stitched to his cheekbones. "Can you show us your jar?" The boy dropped what he had been holding onto the table and reached for the jar in front of him filled with something he guessed must be colourful. He gave it a shake; a happy, rattling sound rang in his ears. He smiled. "Buttons." "Buttons?" Tam repeated .. "And why do buttons make you happy?" "My mom used to bring home a blind dolly for me every night; and my dad would bring me ajar of buttons so we could give them new eyes." "And do they make you feel closer to your parents?" The boy twisted the jar open, reached inside to grasp two buttons, and placed

them on his swollen purple eyelids; what he saw made his smile widen. "I can see them," he said. "Do you feel peace now?" Tam inquired enthusiastically. ''A sense of closure?" The boy's smile relaxed a little. "Not yet," he said. "There's still something else 1 have to do." He slid out of his chair and before making his way back out of the forest, retrieved from the table what he had been fiddling in his hands - a little sewing needle and thread.


fhe Jar
by Danyelle Leafty danyellelecifty. com


Thump. Thump. What is it I hold in my hands, you ask? Come closer and I will tell you. Thump. Thump. It looks like a strange, precious fruit, does it not? A ruby glittering in the dark. A ripe pomegranate full of a thousand seeds. A dream trapped in a net. A destiny caught in a jar. Thump. Thump. Do you see how it pulses with brillig life? Toes on a precipice hanging over a long drop. Knights seek for it. wThump. Thump. Quiet, my child. Can you hear it? An echo of greatness. A song of wealth untold. A promise whispered in darkness filled with sharp swords and bright eyes. Thump. Thump. But they are fools, my child. For they see the gold, but miss the real treasure. It is not a precious gem in the jar, but wisdom. Ages and ages of words turned to flesh. Flesh that breathes. Silent. Waiting. Thump. Thump. They scale my fortress in search of it. They brave my fire, because they cannot find it. I decorate my lair with their bones. Princes. Kings. Heroes. Wizards. All too blinded by shining rocks, butter-bright metal, to see the way to real treasure. But they tell a good tale. Thump. Thump. They will tell you that dragons love nothing more than a golden coin. A sparkling gemstone. A giant horde too heavy to carry into the sky. As if a creature with wings would ever tie their heart to the ground. Thump. Thump. In stories, my child, you will find that they project themselves into creatures they don't know or comprehend. They do it not to understand the creature, but to hold a mirror to their own hearts. Thump. Thump. They take their greed and dress it in scales and fire. They give it wings and an insatiable appetite. And then they give it a name: Dragon. Thump. Thump. But you and I know better. For you are still young enough to see. Time has not yet obscured your vision. Which is why I entrust this jar to you. Keep it safe. Hold it close. Don't forget. Thump. Thump. They will tell you wealth lies in the earth. They will try to tie you to the ground. Clip your wings. Tame your fire. Make you forget the feel of the wind against your face. Thump. Thump. But this is why they fail to find the greatest treasure of them all. For who would think to look in the hands of a child? Into the heart and mind of one untouched by time. Undulled by lies. Untamed by convention. Thump. Thump. Remember, my child, what it is like to see. How it feels to touch. That bittersweet tang of freedom nestled on your tongue. The sound of truth. The scent of sky. Thump. Thump. Hold tight to it, my child. They will not think to look for it here. Thump. Thump.


by Artemis Gray grey places. blogspot. com


It's an oldjar, the kind that has bubbles inside the glass. It sits on the mantle now. I found it in the deepest corner of my great grandma Dixon's cellar when I was little. Probably it was there because no one wanted to brave the crawlies and widowman spiders to explore that far back. I've always been fearless, though. It's stout, without any seams. And the dark bubbled glass looked like it possessed a permanent shadow. At first, it seemed to be empty, but whenever I gazed into it the air inside swirled like little teardrops pressed against the sides. Meemaw Dixon had told me creepy stories about Umbrage Hollow. She'd said the superstitious mountain folk gathered foxfire to keep away the dark hours, and stag moss to ward off strangers at night. Some of them caught moonbeams in jars and turned them loose in the house of a sick person to banish disease. All the other kids thought it was hogwash, but I knew they were just as scared of the dark as the mountain folk they made fun o£ When I pried the cork in the top of the jar loose it crumbled sending the smell of frosted leaves to my nose. Prickles of ice shivered up my spine. Wispy darkness, resembling a tiny dragon, swirled out of the jar. Its shadow wings fluttered over oily twilight scales and its eyes were so black they vanquished all the light that they absorbed. I took the empty jar with me when I left the cellar and the darkling that I had released curled beneath my hair to hide from the sunlight. It loves me because I set it free and because I'm not afraid of it. I love it because someone has to love the things that everyone else is scared of, especially the dark things. When evening settles, the darkling rides the night wind, looking for stray nightmares, or shadows that leach from under closet doors and lurk beneath rickety beds. It thrives on fear, laps up terror like it's some sort of delicate chocolate and drinks from pools of dread to slake its thirst. Sometimes it grows so large that it fills the yard when it comes home, and scorches the treetops with its Stygian wings, its black hole eyes obliterating the stars.


I venture into the gloaming hours of predawn, holding that bubbled-glass jar and the darkling twines around me, shrinking once more and sighing happily against the warmth of my skin. Its inky talons scrape over my collarbone and its slender tenebrous snout leaves a kiss like black frost on my cheek as it slithers into the jar. Dawn breaks and I go inside, shielding my pet from the light that everyone else loves so much. They forget that there are always shadows, always things waiting for the dark to return.


J Angels

by Daniel Knauf

I have 3 angels in my jar. The directions say

to let them out

as their wings are they don't flyaway.

enough. I sure do hope


and the Jar
by T.A. Tilley facebook. com/SpookCentral

"Welcome. Well come in." Said the Spider to the Fly, only the Fly was not the least bit interested in what the Spider had to say. The main reason being that it was too busy trying to prevent itself from flying into the Spider's web. The Fly came close to falling into her deadly trap but with some swift flying and topnotch maneuvers, the Fly was able to escape. The Spider was disappointed to say the least but that didn't dampen her sprits completely. She made her home in the attic of an old mansion down the street from the local elementary school. Unlike normal attics, this particular one was quite special. What made it so special you may ask? Quite simple: it was the only mansion in the city with an attic that has a seven-legged Spider. That and the special contents of a unique jar among the cluttered junk that made its home in that attic. As for the Spider, she always had seven legs for as long as she could remember, or so she thought. She knew that all other spiders have eight legs. After all she had hundreds of brothers and sisters. Growing up having only seven legs was never a problem. The Spider took a moment to cheer up after losing yet another meal. She then proceeded to go for a walk. Normally she would go North or East but today she decided to go South across the attic. Upon arriving at a large jar that stood beside a wooden wall she could not help but wonder what was inside, "Could it be delicious flies, or perhaps tasty crickets?" The jar was covered in a thick layer of dust so thick that the Spider could not see what was hiding inside. She tried to wipe it clean but her thin legs made it next to impossible. In her frustration she came up with a brilliant idea; she was positively gleeful at the thought of being so clever. The Spider crawled up the wooden wall, scurried along the ceiling then dropped down on top of the jar's lid. The lid was old, rusted and full of small holes. Near the top of the lid was a tiny, clear spot. What the Spider saw inside the jar was a bit of a shock. So much so, that she let out a big shriek and if you were a seven-legged Spider you would let out a scream too. At the very bottom of the jar - covered in a pile of dust and mold was a single Spider leg. To Be Continued.


by Caroline Waszek

My mother always says to me, "Have you lost your mind?" I almost always scream back, "No!" Or something else unkind. But just the other day last week, it did seem all so clear, as I ran quickly home from school, a lump fell from my ear. At first I thought it must be wax, But then I looked up close. The clump was grey and spongy And really felt quite gross. I shook my head then once again, out fell more grey matter. I shoved the clump into my shorts. My teeth began to chatter. Then I felt an itch and twinge, A tickle in my throat. I began to hack and cough, My head began to float. Up the stairs and to my room, I spun round like a globe. I spewed up something round and soft. Was that my frontal lobe? The other lobes, they came next, upchucked with gooey glop. Could this be that brain of mine hidden in that slop?

A fiery burning in my nose, made me sneeze and drip. My medulla oblongata, then dangled from my lip. I wiped my face all free from muck and plopped down on the floor. That's when I heard a creepy sound, a scratching at my door. My dog came in and sniffed around, "Hey that's not for you!" I stuffed my brains into a jar, Then hid it far from view. And now I search all day and night, Feeling like I'm blind. I tell my mom the sorry truth, "Yes, I've lost my mind!"



Summer Story Contest
theforest lives

In the black bottom if every lake, in thefurthest shadow something that will haunt you forever


night," said Sam.

Gramp was asleep in front of the television downstairs. "It's a perfect

I gave him a puzzled look. "What are you talking about?" "Ghost," replied Sam. "It's a perfect night to hunt a ghost." I put down my book and replied, "Are you kidding me?" It was nearly midnight and storm clouds were looming. "Remember, Uncle Mike used to tell us there's a ghost near the river." I knew what he was getting at. "Those were just stories to scare us." Sam ignored me. "I've read all about ghost hunting," he said. "Paranormal apparitions can attach themselves to places like the river. All of those can't just be made up. This is the summer we find the ghost." "We can't go to the river, Gramp said the water's too high," I said in a firm VOIce. "I'm going anyway," Sam defiantly replied. "If you were brave and not a chicken, you would too." The rain started and Sam quietly made his way outside. I watched him go. Maybe he was right. Maybe I am a chicken. I didn't do anything for a while. I told myself he would get scared and give up before he got anywhere near the river. Anyway, what was I supposed to do? I waited for a long time. Finally, I slipped on my navy hoodie, grabbed a flashlight, and went after him. Walked through the rain into the night, the cold air nearly cut me in half From the seams of my boots, I could feel icy water seeping in, soaking into my socks. The rain was getting heavy and the storm swept in fast. When I got far enough away from the house, I started calling out for Sam. He didn't answer. Lightning flashed in the sky, and the crack of thunder that followed nearly made me jump out of my skin. I closed my eyes for second and took a deep breath. I had to keep walking. Like all little brothers, Sam knew it all-or so he thought. Most days, I just tuned him

out. He never stopped talking. Tonight though, he had gone too far. He wasn't just talking. I opened my eyes again and gazed through a wall of falling water. I still didn't see Sam. I told myself he wouldn't go down to the river. I was wrong. I couldn't stop my hand from shaking as I flipped on the flashlight. The ghost didn't really scare me-it wasn't real, I kept telling myself The river being over-full and Sam alone near it in the storm did. I had never liked that river. I told Sam that being anywhere near the river was a bad idea. Near the river, my stomach dropped. It was fuller than I had ever seen. Trembling, I called out again, "Sam?" Thunder growled long and low in the sky.The storm was here. Minute by minute, the wind grew stronger and everything seemed to get colder. Rain stung like sparks from the sky.I know Sam. He doesn't give up easy. I had to get Sam found and back to the house soon. But, what if I couldn't find him? What if I couldn't even get back to the house myself? No, I couldn't think like that. He would be okay. He had to be okay. We would be back in the house and fine. Trudging down toward the edge of the water, my feet kept getting stuck in the mud. More then anything, I was moving slow because I was afraid. The more I thought about what I was doing, the harder it was to keep moving. The river looked like a black dragon. It crawled around thick trees and along sudden dropping banks slick with mud. It was deadly and evil. And somewhere, it held Sam. I desperately scanned everywhere with my small light. I whispered, "Sam," then screamed out, "let's go home!" My cry faded into a whisper again, "we're going to be in a lot of trouble, you know." I pulled my hoodie tighter. Countless raindrops riffied down like pieces of shattered glass. Then, in an instant, I couldn't see.

The flashlight went out. I thumped it hard, over and over. No luck. Panic uncontrollably gripped me; I couldn't escape it now. All I had now was the faint light of the moon that fought through the ominous clouds. Then, behind me, there was a whisper. "Over here." I spun around, but saw no one. Was it Sam or was it my imagination? I couldn't be sure. "This isn't funny, Sam!" There was a rustling from the bushes on my right. I froze. I needed my light! Could any living thing be out in this storm? A flash of lightning struck, and for a second, I could see. Near the bush was a massive human shape that was easily over six feet tall. I wasn't Sam. Even in the momentary yellow glow of the lightning, it was black. Unbroken black, like a shadow, but somehow fleshed out and solid. I took two sudden steps back and stumbled into the mud. The sky went dark again. It wasn't real. A shadow, that's all. But when my eyes adjusted to the sudden change in light, it was still there. I could make out its dim outline. Then another whisper, "Run." Without hesitation, I sprang up and sprinted away. My heart thundered. I got away from the river but I didn't go toward the house. I couldn't, not with Sam still out here. I tried to duck behind some trees. Slipped in the mud, I went face first onto the ice ground. "You imagined it. It's not real," I yelled, getting back up. My fear got the best of me, that's all. I had to find my brother. A strange, cold feeling hit me just as I started walking again. Something was watching me. I wasn't alone. My heart raced and I couldn't make my body move. The ground started smoking. Dark vapor rose inches from my face. In a moment it took shape. It was the shadow figure again. This time I could see its eyes. Like two black pearls, smooth and round, they cut through me. They were cold, and evil. Clearly, it said, "Not here." For a second, everything seemed to stop. My heart, the rain, the wind were still. Terror overtook me. I had to get away! Franticly trying to back up, my foot slid out from under me. Tumbling, I slid forward and through figure with no resistance. It dissipated into the rain. "You can't have him!" I yelled as I ran from it. Why had I gotten so far from


Cramp's farm? What was I doing!? Sam. I had to get Sam away from the river. Fighting fear, I went toward the water agam. The hills were sharper and the timbers thicker here. The riverbank looked like an open jaw, steep and slick, and jutting with limestone teeth. The river channel rushed wildly by. Countless fallen tree limbs rode this stretch of rapids into cold shadows to never be seen again. A wrong step could prove lethal. If I continued in this direction, I could be lost, or worse. I wanted to turn around. Sam was back at the house, maybe. Sure, he went back already, and I should too. I tried to convince myself, but I knew better. Sam wouldn't go back-he's too stubborn. He has to be out here, and I have to rescue him. But how could I with this ghost, or whatever it was, hunting me? No. It wasn't real. It couldn't be; my imagination had just gotten away from me. I wouldn't let it be real. Moving down the river, I tried to fight off my thoughts, but I couldn't. It's eyes wouldn't go out of my mind. Every shadowed place in the trees felt like it held the black figure. No matter how hard I tried to tell myself it wasn't real, I knew I was wrong. It was here. I could feel it. Close by, but where? Instinctively, I grabbed a fallen tree limb to defend myself The raging wind that had ripped the limb down was pushing me closer and closer to the edge of the bank. I saw it. The shadow figure stood this time on the opposite bank of the river. It was real. Like a mist, it rolled toward the water--toward me. My hand clinched tight on the limb; I had no idea what to do with it, but I was ready. This had to stop. I had to stop it. I had to get Sam back! The shadow figure kept moving. Down the bank and to the river it came. Hard as it was, I stood my ground; Sam was still out here somewhere. Slowly the figure came out, walking on the water. Dead center over the roaring water it stopped. "I'm not afraid of you," I screamed, "you're not real!"


Its right arm came up and pointed directly toward me. A sudden flash of lightning, and I could see. Ten feet down the bank where I stood lay Sam. Throwing out all fear, I scaled down the bank to him. The storm, the river, the ghost, it was all gone from me now. All that matter was Sam. I wouldn't let anything stop me. Shaking him I yelled, "Sam! You okay, Sam?!" His head rolled side to side and pulled his eyes open. "I saw it ... the ghost," he mumbled. Throwing his arm over my shoulder, I helped him up the bank. A small tape recorder fell from his hand. "I was ghost hunting ... " I picked up the recorder and shoved it in my hoodie pocket. When we came to the next morning, we were back at the house. Most of the night was still a blur. I remembered feelings. Being cold, and wet. Being scared, then, for a moment, not being scared. I remembered bits and pieces of carrying Sam back to the house that night, but not much before that. I still hadn't recalled seeing ... it. We had some scrapes and bruises. Sam's head had a good knot on it from falling down the bank. But, besides being stiff and sore, we were fine. Sam dug through my hoodie. "What are you doing now?" I demanded. "The batteries are dead." He held the tape recorder. Little by little, the night came back to me. Sam put in a fresh set of batteries. We listened to about twenty minutes of thunder, wind, and rain echo from the tape. Then, my voice came over it screammg. "Sam! You okay, Sam?!" The memories now rushed in and pieced together something from a nightmare. The river. A shadow. Eyes! More came back. I started to shake, but, when I looked over at Sam, I grew calm. I realized what I had done. And I was calm. I had saved him. We listened. A few more seconds of the storm were on the tape. Then, just before the recording ended, a strange, out of place, voice dropped in. "Take him home."


by Sandie Lee

Imagination-Cafe: com

FFFWHAAAAAAAAA ...SQWEEK ..FFFFFWAAAHHHH "There it is again," whispered Jake. Tim, his best friend, looked pale. "Wha ..what do you think it is?" Jake shrugged. "I don't know, but I heard it the other day too. It was around this time, right before it got dark." They were sitting in their private clubhouse. It was in the woods so a strange noise was reason to be nervous. Brreeooooowahhh Jake's eyes widened. "That sounded close." "It was," Tim whispered back. "It's my stomach. I had hotdogs and beans for supper." Jake punched him in the arm. "You're so gross." "Hey, that hurt." SQWEWHAAAAAAAA Jake punched him again. "That wasn't me!" WHAAAAAAAA ... WHAAAAAAAAAA Jake jumped, flinging open the cardboard door. "Hey! Wait for me!" Tim yelled. They ran like crazy until they both made it home. The next day at recess the boys sat talking. Jake was eating an apple. Tim was stuffing marshmallows into his mouth. "Wan fome?" Tim said, offering the bag. A small girl with short, black hair interrupted them. "I'll have one," she said. She held out a delicate hand. "What do you want, Allie?" Jake asked. "We're talking important stuff." Tim was surprised. "We are?" Jake stared at him with one eyebrow raised. "Oh yea h h t...Important stu ff." . . . Allie smirked. "What? Clubhouse business?" "How do you know about that?" Tim blurted. "Who cares. It's smelly, broken down and probably has rats." "There's no rats," Tim argued. 'Just weird noises." Jake shook his head. "What? It's not like she'd ever go out there," Tim said, smugly. He popped the last marshmallow into his mouth. Allie curled her hands into tight little fists, and then pressed them into her hips. "I'm not afraid, if that's what you mean." Jake tossed his apple core into the trash. "Fine. Then meet us here at six, and don't be late."


Six o'clock came and the boys were waiting. Allie strolled up shortly after. "You're late," Jake said. "Who cares," she answered. "I'm here, so what's the big mystery?" "It's in there," he said, pointing towards the murky woods. "If you're still up to it." Allie didn't look scared at all, even if she was. "Let's go." They started along the path leading to the clubhouse. The sun was just starting to set. WAAAAAH "What was that?" Allie asked from behind Tim. "It's probably bean boy," Jake said. He was leading the way. "It's not me," Tim shot back. SQWERK. ..SQWEEEK .. WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH Jake stopped so suddenly that Tim banged into him. "Maybe it's a ghost," whispered Tim. "Ghosts say 000000000," Allie corrected. "Be quiet," Jake warned. Everyone was still. "Well, are we just going to stand here?" Allie finally asked. The boys looked at each other, not moving. "Fine I'll go," she said. Jake didn't want to look like he was afraid. "We'll all go," he said and shoved Tim to the front of the line. Tim protested. "I'm not going first. It's probably brain-sucking aliens." "There's no such thing as aliens," Allie said, matter-of-fact. "Besides, why would they want to suck your brain?" Tim ignored her jab. "The guy on TV was brain sucked. I saw him." SQWERK. .. WHHAAAAAAA ... WHHAAAA The weird noise made them all jump. The path came to an end as the sound grew louder. "It's coming from the field," Allie whispered. They crouched down behind a huge boulder. Jake was the first to peer out. "It looks like some kind of freaky snake that's swallowed a pole." Now Allie peeked. "Look behind it! There's somebody there!" Tim finally wiggled around so he could see too. "I think he's trying to kill it," he gasped. "He's got his hands around its throat." Suddenly, with a burst of bravery that surprised everyone,Jake rushed towards the boy and his attacker. "YAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH," he screamed, arms flailing. Shocked at the sudden outburst, the boy threw the thing down. "Wh ...wh ..who are you? Wh ...wh ...what's going on," he stammered. "Is it dead?" Jake asked, out of breath.

"Is what dead?" the boy asked back. "That...that ..thing," Jake answered. He gave it a little kick. That's when he realized it wasn't a monster. It was made of wood. The boy was puzzled. "This is my Alphorn." He bent over and lifted it up by the thinner end. "My mother sends me out here to practice." Jake flopped onto the ground. "What a relief," he sighed. "Not for me," said the boy. "I have to learn to play it. In Switzerland, where my dad's from, it's a traditional musical instrument." Just then Tim and Allie joined them. Jake introduced him to his friends. The boys name was Steven. They stood chatting when suddenly Jake heard a familiar noise.

"Did you hear that?" Jake whispered. "Yeah's the horn," Tim answered. "How can it be? Steven's not playing it."

This time nobody was trying to be brave and they all took off running. From a thorny bush, not far away, a pair of mischievous eyes studied them. It watched as they disappeared down the path. "Sqweek whaaaa," it said, quietly. Then it was gone.


"Hurry up, Michael," I said, as I checked my watch again. I thought he was dragging his sloth feet to torment me. We only had 26 minutes to get to the fireworks show. We piled into the old station wagon as the sun began to set. "Dad always drives so slowly." "Relax please,jessica," Mom said. I took a deep breath, which was supposed to calm me down, but never seemed to work. At 8:47, City Park came into view. Dad parallel parked and turned off the car. The sky changed from the purple of dusk to a strange greenish-gray. I tapped my fingers on the window. The strong breeze died and it went quiet-too quiet. Something was wrong. At 8:53, sirens blared. Cars streamed down the narrow gravel drive, blocking our exit. Dad and Mom looked around the cornfields for a long time. The car began to rock. A long, slow moan swept across the field. "What's happening?" "We can't wait for the traffic to move. We need to get inside, now," Mom said. We scrambled out of the car, and ran toward a farm. Mom held my hand, and I even grabbed Michael's hand, as we tromped through the wet corn. It scraped my arms and face like tiny paper cuts. I winced and lowered my head to escape the stinging stalks. The wind howled and the sky let loose the rain. Dad yelled, but I could barely hear him. Was his shoe stuck in the mud? I slowed to look back. Where was Dad? "Hold on, we're almost there," Mom said. A farmer waved wildly at the end of the cornrows. "We have a storm cellar behind the barn. There are lots of folks in there, but you can squeeze in," he said. I yelled, "Where is Dad? I'm not going in without Dad." Mom didn't say a word. Tears welled in her eyes, and I knew not to argue. Mom pulled me toward the cellar. We padded down stone steps, into a place that smelled like old potatoes. One

light bulb shone on a crowd of people huddled together. The only place left was right near the entry. Michael shut the door. There were large spaces between the old door boards, and I could still see outside. Lightning lit the barn from time to time. A wall of black clouds hung so low they almost touched the earth. Something was hiding behind those clouds .. .1 could feel it watching and waiting. 9: 14 pm. The second hand on my watch seemed stuck. I tried not to stare at the watch, but the 'deep breaths' thing wasn't working and I was starting to feel trapped. I closed my eyes tight. 9:22 pm. Dad trudged into the cellar holding a toddler covered in mud, the boy's mother followed behind. The woman was crying and limping. Dad had been helping another family. My heart pounded with pride, then fear rushed through me as I examined Dad's pale face. He looked sick to his stomach. What had he seen out there? 9:39 pm. I remembered the clean tissue in my pocket and handed it to the toddler's mother. She wiped her eyes. "Isn't it funny to wipe a few tears from our eyes when we are soaked from the rain?" I asked her. She just tilted her head sideways. 9:46 pm. Michael and I took a deep breath at the same time. He gave me a goofy grin-Mom's constant reminder to "just take a deep breath" must have been on his mind too. 9:54 pm. I looked across the sky where the fireworks should have been. Instead, I saw a giant purple-gray monster swirling outside. I wanted to look away, but a strange awe gripped my body. When the monster saw me, it roared louder than a freight train. The hairs on my neck and arms stood on end, but still I could not move. The monster grabbed a tree branch the size of our car, and hurled it at the barn. Invisible arms rattled the old door, testing the lock. Lightning streaked the green sky and lit every purple cloud for miles. Then, just when I thought it was going to break down the door, the tornado jumped away from the cellar and left us alone. The storm finally slowed, like an exhausted madman. 10:19 pm. A soft rain began to fall. Michael put his hand on my shoulder. A deep calm started in my toes and worked its way up to my head. Thunder, lightning and grotesque colors ... I had witnessed Nature's own fireworks show and lived.

What's In


Teeth and toes and things like those, that's what's in a name


Winner of the What's In A Name challenge By Artemis Grey grey places. blogspot. com

On the way to the park the whippoorwill announced that there was a new boy. Eidolon found him lurking by the seesaw. The right side of his face and body was charred black. She gagged, even though the whippoorwill had warned her about that too. It hopped on her shoulder. The whippoorwills loved finding souls. They'd brought her dozens already. Eidolon waved at the burnt boy who looked strangely out of place in his antiquated clothes. "It's okay. I can see you and hear you." She told him when she got close. The un-burnt side of his face glowed and the side of his mouth curled sweetly. His one eye gleamed like the Ceylon sapphire in Ms. Snood's fancy ring. "You're not afraid?" The boy's voice was a musical bird song. "No." Eidolon shrugged. "I sort of watch over people like you." "My name is Victor." His mouth turned in its weird half-smile again. "My name's Eidolon." She almost smiled back, but then didn't. Some kids had seen her talking to seemingly no one. They came over and formed a circle around her, leering. "Pneuma Nix should be beat with sticks!" One of the boys chanted. "Pneuma Nix who can't be fixed!" Eidolon hunched her shoulders, her red curls falling over her face. "Pneuma Nix, you just don't mix. Pneuma Nix," He stopped when Victor reached out and wrapped his burnt hand around the boy's wrist. "Ow! My face!" He yelped. His right cheek had turned an angry red. "Freak!" He turned and ran away. The other kids followed him. Victor looked at Eidolon, his half-mouth smiling again. "Why did he call you that?"


"Peter Pruss thinks he's so smart, using big words." Eidolon glowered. "The scaredy-cat couldjust say soul reject. It means the same thing." "Eidolon means specter or phantom, you know." Victor told her. "My tudor taught me that word. He believed words have power. That sometimes names belong to people before they're even born, and no matter how odd, they make sense in their own way." "Maybe he's right." Eidolon agreed. "I've been so lonely with only the whippoorwills to talk to all these years." His jeweled blue eye glittered forlornly. "Well you can stay with us now, Victor." She smoothed the unmelted side of his sable hair and took his burnt hand in hers, pulling him along. "Everyone's waiting to meet you." "Everyone?" He asked. "Other souls, silly." She led him into the woods. "The whippoorwills bring me the lost ones. I'm friends with all of them." "You're friends with dead people?" Victor's fingers tightened around hers and his half-mouth bowed into a winsome smile. "Of course! They're nicer than most of the live ones." Eidolon returned his smile and winked. "We take care of each other. That's what friends do, isn't it?" "Yes." He nodded, watching as the whippoorwill flew from her shoulder. "That's what friends do."

The Edward


"It's well we cannot hear the screams we make in otherpeople's dreams. "


The Initial Murder: The ath Series
Winner of the Edward Gorey challenge Jenn Chushcoff

he couldn't spell his favorite words like, "Grum" and ''Arsine.'' His sister, Glory, was also missing. He searched Dearborne Manor's galleries, foyers, and Oriental rugs. Neither blocks nor girl could be found. It's got to be Glory, thought Edgar. "Uncle Tristan!" His voice echoed through the dim halls. No one answered. He dashed outside to the balcony. The formal gardens and grounds below stretched underneath a thin, misty shroud. Gardener Lichen had crafted a mysterious landscape.

Sorne of Edgar's alphabet blocks had vanished. With letters like A, G, and T gone,

Edgar spotted his uncle's top hat bobbing over a distant hedge and he skipped down the marble steps in pursuit. Fog slithered between topiaries shaped into fighting mythological beasts and stone sculptures twisted into awkward poses. It was as if Edgar had stumbled into an eerie game of Touch Freeze. Thankfully, the bodies were draped with swags of moss in all the right places. A clearing appeared and he saw his uncle teetering on the lip of a fountain. Water splashed his polished shoes. "Uncle!" said Edgar. "Get down!" Uncle Tristan jumped to the damp earth. "I was composing a limerick." He cleared his throat: 'There once was a lady from Rome who traveled to find her true home. She arrived at a lake and discovered too late she wasn't of flesh, but of stone.' "That's dreadful," said Edgar. "Yes, indeed." Uncle Tristan rung water from the hem of his fur coat. "Glory's missing. Will you help me find her?" Edgar knew he'd have better


luck asking for help to find his sister than his blocks. Adults seemed to care more about children then toys. "Of course, dear boy!" Uncle Tristan patted Edgar on the head. They crossed the grounds, wading through the fog's breath, leaving tiny whirlpools behind. Muddy footprints led up the manor's steps. ''Ah!'' declared Uncle Tristan. "I think we're on to something." They followed the prints to the library and opened the door. Aunt Abigail lay expired on her divan, her forehead dented with the shiny pink impression of the letter 'w,.'. Glory stood at her side holding the "T." "I promise, Uncle," Glory pleaded. "I found her like this." "You are banished from this house, child. Banished!" Uncle Tristan pointed to the door. Edgar smiled, happy to have found his blocks. He lined them up on the mudspattered rug. One was still missing. Tucked away in a forgotten corner of the manor's grounds, gardener Lichen placed the "E" on her mantle. She slipped off her muddy Wellies and sunk back in her chair for a rest. Patience was key to acquiring Dearborne Manor. She caught sight of several children peaking through her window. "Old Lichen is mumbling again!" said the smallest. They laughed and went back to playing Stick Poke. "There's five little spies that caught my deed," rasped Lichen. "That's five more blocks I'm going to need."


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Z isfor Zillah by Elizabeth Rose Stanton



The Misplaced
By Chrisopher Lincoln



When Master Bartleby disappeared, the household staff came under immediate suspicion for having misplaced the boy; although Prudence was not sure why. "It weren't me," said Mrs. Spooner, the senior cook. "Nor us," various sous-cooks and scullery maids earnestly proclaimed. "Whacher think, we boiled him away into soup?" These were Mrs. Spooner's final words as the local constabulary hauled her away. After the briefest of judicial proceedings-her soup, upon close inspection, had been judged particularly glutinous-she danced an untimely gallows jig. Prudence did not believe a word of this: Mrs. Spooner's soup always tended toward viscous. Often, Prudence graded it like motor oil. But her father would not listen. "Go play with your dolls," he said. "And whatever you do, don't get misplaced like your brother." Prudence was now the sole remaining heir of the Chillingsworth Estate, but she didn't believe that either. Mostly because of the whispering moans she heard each night under parlor's Zanjan rug. Bartleby, had always been one for crying in the dark. And as the midnight crying hadn't ceased, Prudence supposed her younger brother was still there. Why Mr. Chillingsworth wasn't aware of this, is hard to say. Whether it was bereavement or imbecility, Prudence did not know-although imbecility was fairly rampant amongst Chillingsworth cousins. Prudence's theory was this: Bartleby had crawled under the carpet then through to another place. As outlandish as this sounded, her story checked out. She had simply asked the disembodied voice of Bartleby one night after his moaning started in earnest. The second bit of evidence came when Prudence discovered Constance, her nannie. In fairness, she only discovered half of Constance. The other half, she


theorized, had made it through and left the remainder behind. Prudence further theorized that the entrance must be child-sized with sharp and snappish edges as Constance had not fit en masse. She called the evidence exhibit 'w,.' as she laid a block on the half-Constance's lap. Once again, her father did not believe her and sent her off to play with her dolls. Prudence refused to take this slight lying down. To prove her point, she crawled under the carpet then through to the other place. Sadly, this was not Bartleby's other place. His was dark and wooly, whereas hers was entirely transparent. Prudence found herself in the estate's front window, where she lived as a reflection for many years, growing old and decrepit as the house itself While this was a ghastly situation indeed, she wasn't entirely lonely. Sometimes she would receive visitors-the top half of Constance for one, and also the neighborhood children who peered into the old house. None of the children ever saw her, though. Prudence was a shade disappointed by this; thinking no doubt these were Chillingsworth cousins.


The Great Game


By Elizabeth Beck momentotempus. blogspot. com

Benjamin Crumpet not only inherited his father's dark looks, but also his penchant for obsessive gaming. Oh the fun he and his father had, until a wild marsh boar ran down Mr. Crumpet, tragically ending his life. Naturally Benjamin thought that if he began an Ultimate Game, hiding long enough and earnestly enough, his father would come find him. He hid here and there, in grandfather clocks, and under rugs and stairs. Though Mother and Nanny searched for months, they only found his voice, giggling and boasting of his most excellent game, "the always heard but never seen boy." Meanwhile across the county, a blonde darling by the unfortunate name of Louise Rookershack attended her mother, who had caught the dreaded pinkish purples. Her father tried to comfort her but when her mother succumbed to the exotic disease, Louise spoke no more. She pushed consolers away and ran quick as she could in the opposite direction. It became a game to her, "the always seen but never heard girl." The following spring, the widow Crumpet and widower Rookershack met at a park concert. Against expectations they fell in love. Both were reasonably attractive, reasonably wealthy and had reasonably mad children. They married that September and the Rookershacks moved into Crumpet Manor. Benjamin finally understood that his father was never coming to find him. Perhaps he had even forgotten the art of being found. Louise continued her game of pushing and running. For that was what it was, a mean game, but still a game. After a particularly nasty shove for Nanny, Louise ran to Benjamin's playroom. She wept and cared not a whit for her wrinkled dress and puffy face. That is, until she heard a small voice from inside an iron toy box by the window. ''Ahem. Excuse me?" Louise said nothing, but thought she saw a dark eye behind the rusty keyhole. "Have you thought of playing other games besides tag?" The metal lid creaked open and revealed a boyish head covered in cobwebs, followed by a dusty torso. Benjamin straightened his bowtie and smiled a crooked, gap-toothed smile.

Louise sniflled, ''Are there others? Games that is?" Benjamin smiled even wider, "Oh, so many more!" He stepped out of the box. "I think I'm done playing this one now. If you're through with yours, would you like to make a new one together?" Louise wiped her tears, nodded, and an everlasting friendship was born. Their parents couldn't have been happier as their daughter blossomed and son bloomed as "the sometimes seen and sometimes heard siblings". Soon, the village children heard of games invented at the manor and gleefully joined in. When Ben and Louise thought of wild marsh boars and the pinkish purples, Nanny would invite them to her cottage for a spot of tea, wonderful company for a case of woes. The other children would gather outside, eagerly awaiting the next great game.


and other weekly poetic sundry


............. a closet of clothes. ~_ ..has ... .... ,apetite gr ..'rows and rows Sheput on a.dress And I rntrsl confess It ale all her fingers and toes
Ill. _: I' ..

The Case if the Missing Bloomers by c. Thagg


's the March of Teacups, a Revolt of Silverw-are, a Strike of Steak Knives. The plates are hoycotting the remnants of rag for hetter scruhhing action. Qjrickl Grah your glasses hy the nose hefore they decide to join hy virtue of name alone.
A Mutiny of Mugs by Caitlin Thomson




brig ht red in the moonlight, the moths unlatched our screen door. We wer-e frig htened that they wo uld tickle us w ith their pale po-wdery w irrqs. We wer-e afraid to run outdoors bet-ween the trees' red teeth-we didn't kno-w w h ich -way to turn. Savage t-wigs or ghostly kisses, the sharpness of bark or the limpness of w iriq.
In Between by Katharine Wright

- ......trees turned e


The Things I Saw by

BJ. Lee I

f r,ea~ed




VP'Ofi rn~ 1C',leal1'w~lt'e ria,~e

The~ 3p~e3red ;" lr'N~ ,A"drna,deme' t~l"k- tOf.>

ha r,d tiC erase t~em'3i wa~ !

Freaked Faces by Elizabeth Rose Stanton


dog had so much hair ladies all thought it unfair So Priss took an axe To her poor poochie Jacks And now all the women must share
..,"-'"-' ...... ..lI.OUI.' S

Green is the New Black by M. W Shiganty


E:aper Weaper" Chimney S.weepeI, Had a wi£e and couldn't keep her .

.Had another" didn't ,~ove her Up the chimney he did sbove her;
Eaper Tteeper by Elizabeth Rose Stanton



Amphibious Artwork
Doodles to die for



Crush by M. Stagi I


Lost In The Trees by Jonathan Arras


There is not a word, though it sounds absurd, For a dog who loves to munch. I fear to inquire his innate desire And if I am next for lunch. by Don Juan Baret

Stove Qyeen by M. Stagi


Marjorie and the Missing Rabbit by P. O'Reily

Next month in

Music Challenge Alliteration Obliteration The Robots Need Love Too Contest What Do You Have In Your Pocketses? Mysteries of TheJuniper Tree and so much more Discover the not-so-true story behind Herr Vogel, the longlegged, maniacally mysterious bird whose adventures are sharper than the point of his beak.


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