Page 1

wordmonger Double Double Toil and Trouble how one sim has brought Shakespeare to life

Second Life’s Best Spooky Stories, Haunted Haiku, and Possessed Poetry + Where to go to get your socks scared off this Halloween

+ Book Island’s

growth explosIon

poetry micro-fiction short stories authors Second Life’S Premier LiterarLy magazine

october 2011


calendar sunday book island, 1pm SLt: Join Sandor zabelin for our open mic in the Sky in the Scottish Panorama. bring your own writings (fiction, non-fiction, poetry...) or the writings of one of your favorite authors. you can read on Voice chat *or* one of our regulars can read for you. and, we sure won't kick you out if all you want to do is listen :-) book island, 3pm SLt is a Poetic Happy Hour with bonchance Longfall. come to the Writer's block cafe and hear bonchance read his evocative poetry; then, take part in discussions about the images and meanings :-) often, bonchance extends his Happy Hour a bit and that's when he invites other poets in attendance to read and receive insights from the other attendees! book island, 7pm SLt is Sandor zabelin's event, "global Peace, How can it Happen?" We'll be discussing issues raised in his book, "notes from an alien", but you don't have to read the book to join in :-) We'll be discussing many global issues and possible resolutions. everyone gets a free book :-) monday cookie, 3pm SLt: Sounds of Poems where two performers read poems from the audience passed on notecards. tuesday book island, 4pm SLt, Happy Hour at the Writer's block cafe: Hakeber Haber returns for her biweekly reading of her collection of shorts, "the Life and times of car Johnson", insanity never tasted so hilarious! [ car Johnson one of Hakeber's characters, will read his own stories :-) ] ( She'll also be treating us to her horror writing :-) wednesday book island, 11am SLt is eppie Shoreman's ever-popular, informal & informative Writer's chat Support group. readers and artists are especially welcome! We never know what we'll be talking about and even the seemingly random chatter is interesting :-) book island, 1pm SLt Happy Hour with morgue mcmillan. She will be reading her poetry (plus, other of her works) as well as helping us dig deep into the images and meanings of her art. this will be a new way to experience poetry--not critique or analysis, but understanding... cookie, 2pm SLt Writers' circle open mic for poetry, fiction and nonfiction on the Written Word Waterstage. thursday book island, 1pm SLt is Sandor zabelin's event, "global Peace, How can it Happen?" We'll be discussing issues raised in his book, "notes from an alien", but you don't have to read the book to join in :-) We'll be discussing many global issues and possible resolutions. everyone gets a free book :-) book island, 4pm SLt: another Happy Hour at the Writer's block cafe with Hakeber's continued reading of hilarious shorts about car Johnson and excerpts from her horror classics.. saturday book island, 11am SLt: reader's chat. you can talk about the books, short stories, or poetry you've read recently (or long ago) -- even the books you didn't like :-) this is a casual, welcoming group and we'd love to hear what yoU are, or were, reading!"

october 2011 | 2


contents 12 16 20 26

features

f

Book Island’s Literary Explosion

Taking a look back at how it started and looking forward to where it will go next

Haunted Happenings

The best places to go to get your socks scared off this Halloween

Fair is Foul, Foul is Fair

Exploring the perverted, possessed world of Macbeth

From the Marketplace

Goodies to help you show off your “Poe-etics”

d

2 4

calendar editor’s note

departments

Poetically Speaking 6 7 7 7 8 9 10 11

on a Pale Horse by bonchance Longfall fascinating... by Jg Weller Haunted Haiku by ray Salemi a Wild Storm by evangeline catherine totentanz by estelle Slootmaker black rose immortal by izzy Upsilon Happy Hour by robin Lark rocker by robin Lark

Short Stuff 13 15 18 25 25

3 | Wordmonger

twenty-Seven cents of Luck by tLee (Whozits) chrysalis by Joan arling nursing a grudge by genny flemming Horror Part i by relish resident Lifeless by Katfancy Kiergarten


editor’s note

Finding Inspiration I am constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of the human (and not so human) imagination. Especially writers’ imaginations. This time of year offers an extraordinary opportunity to branch out and get really creative. Horror stories, ghost stories, monsters in the closet or under the bed, haunted forests, and goblins lurk in the back of our minds just waiting to be shaped, created, written, and told.

But I think that this is true at any time of year. While inspiration may not be brightly orange, dripping blood, or grinning snaggle-toothedly in our faces, there are people, situations, events, and images that we encounter everyday that can, when filtered through an active imagination, become brilliant stories.

So, whether you are participating in CoPoWriMo, NaNoWriMo, or just winging it maverick style - try and find inspiration in the little things around you. I promise there is a muse standing within 10 feet of you - you just have to find it :)

Cas y

october 2011 | 4


Wordmonger magazine execUtiVe editory Cassy Lark

online issue can be found at: issuu.com/wordmonger Wordmonger Website: wordmonger.me Wordmonger blog: wordmonger.me/blog Wordmonger in-World: @ book island (94, 125, 36) to stay on top of the latest Second Life literary authors, events, and news join our inworld group: Wordmonger magazine ************************************** Press releases and ad inquiries to: casslylrk7@gmail.com inworld inquiries can be sent on a notecard to: cassyLark resident

5 | Wordmonger


poetically speaking On a Pale Horse

BONCHANCE LONGFALL

I had a dream or revelation... That I would rather not had at all, of a terrible apparition... That made my skin crawl.

Such a fearsome sight... From which I felt my strength begin to pall, For the first time that night... Seeing a horse that stood o'er 25 hands tall.

A terrible beast that was pale from the withers to the lips, The rider did not spur the beast with sound or with a whip. Perhaps a horse once proud, but now sickly and diseased, terrifying is the dark figure who rides this corpse of a steed. He rides to you on an ash pale horse, riding straight backed no joy, no remorse! He never slows... On a steady course, Unseen by most they go... An irresistible force!

Where, in a dull white sun's exhausted light, or the bright full moon of a darkened night. No sound from this approach, not even the sound of breath, behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death!

He sat atop this dreaded beast, and in his grasp a sceptre shone, I knew without knowing, this sight was for only the intended one. Knowing that if I stood seeing this visage come to me then, that once I looked upon his face I would be looking at my end. I knew there would be no bargains and no deals would be made, the relentless movement to the sought until he swung his blade!

In their wake that this pair takes follows Hades ever grim, for he has his well of souls to fill and so Hades follows them.

october 2011 | 6


Fascinating... J.G. WELLER

On sacred grounds you came to me, In sanctuary, torture me. In the depths you plague me so, Causing tossing to and fro.

You grind and claw and tear away. On hallowed grounds you swear to stay. Dear hellish phrase, you’ll see your day, And with your life, that debt you’ll pay. Story, poem, chronicle? Your one true place, you wait to tell… Epic, fable, fairy tale? I’ll have my way, I swear you’ll fail!

Haunted Haiku RAY SALEMI

Dozing in the night Sleep pulls her arm towards the floor The bed monster's snack

A Wild Storm

EVANGELINE CATHERINE

brewing in the mind of a young girl hurt and broken grey clouds of thought and raindrop shaped tears blood red lightening and silent screams of thunder dying to find her sunlight the last blade of lightening cuts through the last gust of wind die in her throat it’s over her storm silenced she’s cut her way to peace

7 | Wordmonger


Totentanz

ESTELLE SLOOTMAKER we dancing Death at the end of the world. no not a slow dance— a go go go dance.

frenetic and senseless.

a bought and sold dance.

over the counter and under the table.

Wheeled and dealt, bullshitted, targeted, marketed

by prescription and by-line;

(bi-partisan timelines track profits, build skylines.)

we dancing Death at the end of the world. no not a dull dance

a full dance, a so full that

we can’t stop dance.

apoplectic and tenseless.

a forgetting the past dance, disregarding the future. ‘til Earth striking back takes back, the night—

all of its glorious darkness—

puts out the light, electric, human.

Skip to my Lou.

Skip to my Lou, my darling.

october 2011 | 8


poetically speaking cont...

Black Rose Immortal IZZY UPSILON

She whispers in your ear And now it’s time to go Through shadows and darkness To a place only she does know

Lips of midnight, icy stare Frozen skin and slicing touch Leading you away, she doesn’t care As Death’s dance entices Under the weeping moon Our flesh seems to entwine And I know my end is soon But her spell is cast

My death masque fits so tight My time of need, my darkest hour I’m left with no will to fight Sinking as I go into murky depths I don’t struggle for air As deeper down I go Into the underworlds’ lair Leaving mortal tears behind

Cold to the touch, feeling no more My watery grave is her court Chained to her throne, my soul she tore Forever to serve, my Black Rose immortal.

9 | Wordmonger


Happy Hour ROBIN LARK

I step…not knowing what tomorrow brings The past tormenting me like a splinter

Festering in flesh each step a reminder Each day waking enthusiastically Only to crash into mediocrity

Passion non existent in the Zombie like cycle

Death would at least have an end to the repetition

But death caters to none and is cruel in its choice

Spirits call forth to numb the day

Yet share no wisdom of what was seen

Smell of rotting wounds surround the hour Each bringing stories of the days horror I look and see the fear on faces Familiar to the day prior

I ponder who calls this hour happy As the cycle prepares anew

october 2011 | 10


Rocker

ROBIN LARK

Rocking ever more, eve same as the morn

The same dress every day tattered and torn

Brittle hands gripping the arms leaving marks of despair A comfort felt slightly from that rocking chair

To and fro, every moment closer to the reaper

Misguiding they have been to each who would seek her

Eyes nearly blind glazed with the wisdom from years dragged by

The room filled each day, nothing spoken just sighs Yet a story never told that haunts the soul each day Words never said, there is nothing to say

Each wrinkle stained with lies of the past

Never knowing peace for it would not last Rocking , never moving from the torment

Waking some nights from the shivers it sent

Every hair grayed from the constant thought

Wishing for closure that could not be bought

The pain of age fleeting to the vision that is remembered That fateful night in a snowy December

Each creak of the rocker closer to peace

Rocking each day wishing the pain would ease Death consuming all whom she consoled For this is a story that never will be told

11 | Wordmonger


A Literary Explosion Chronicling Book Island’s growth and success, and charting it’s future. Selina Greene owns Book Island. She first came to SL in early 2007 with the hope of promoting her RL business and she got a mainland plot, but no one came. Figuring that a group of likeminded organizations and individuals could attract more traffic than she could alone, she created the Book Publishing Village on the mainland. When a book fair that she hosted turned out to be a massive success, gaining RL press attention and many visitors, she decided to buy a sim in May 2007 to provide a place to make a permanent exhibit for authors, publishers, and all things book related. Book Island was born.

In the early days Book Island was much smaller. Cartland Court didn't even exist. When things began to expand, a second sim, Publishing Island, was added. However, larger is not necessarily better. The expanded layout lacked focus, so the decision was made to scale back to one sim, but with more shops.

Things are kept running smoothly by a few staff members – family, as Selina calls them. They are integral to the success of Book Island. Arton Tripsa is the manager of the island. Her and Selina have been friends since 2007 and speak nearly every day, and not just about island-related matters. Sandor Zabelin is the events manager on the island and is well known for his compassion and integrity. In addition to the management team, there is an army of invaluable helpers who make the community what it is. Of this group Selina says, “I am truly grateful to each and every one of them for all their hard work for this community.”

The latest addition to Book Island will be the new Library. Selina is excited about the library because it offers the opportunity to showcase the best of writing in SL in one place. Additionally, this building will become another venue for meetings and events on the island. Selina hopes, too, that people will come and leave their avatars writing while they write in RL, which she believes to be oddly inspiring and motivating for those who do it.

Book Island will be celebrating its 5th anniversary in May 2012 and I the hopes are to have some exciting events to mark the date. Selina hopes that the future builds on the island’s current success with more engaging events, wonderful writers and readers coming together from all over the world to support each other and make connections and a vibrant village for visitors to visit and enjoy. She welcomes input from people with ideas on how the anniversary can be celebrated next year.

october 2011 | 12


short stuff

Twenty-Seven Cents of Luck TLEE (WHOZITS)

The icy wind blew Floyd Kaetin through the door of the McMonigle Trading Post, dusting powdery snow across the floorboards and ruffling the feathers of the brace of wild turkeys he carried over his shoulder. He shoved the door closed against the cold and stamped snow off his boots. The big, slightly smoky room was dark after the outside glare. George McMonigle looked up from shelving canned fruit. "Mornin', Floyd. Mite nippy out there today." "That it is, George. Some might even go as far as to call it brisk." Kaetin made his way across the comfortably crowded store to lay the birds on the counter. "Can you make use of these?" "Sure can," McMonigle said, moving over to inspect the birds. "With Christmas so close, folks over to the Army post will give us good money for them." He turned and called toward the back of the store, "Hey, Nancy! Floyd brought in a bunch of turkeys!" The heavy blanket that served as a door between the main store and the storage area twitched aside and a short, matronly Nez Perce woman stepped through. Dark braids emerged from her headscarf and flowed over the shoulders of her beaded deerskin dress. She clutched a box that was almost as large as she was. Her Nez Perce name translated roughly to Two Bears Running, but George never could quite get his mouth wrapped around those words. They'd settled on Nancy. "Hey, Floyd." She plopped the box onto the counter next to the birds. "That sheepskin coat you order outta Olympia come on the freight a few days back. Still don't know why you want it. That greatcoat perfectly good." "It will be kind of like losing an old friend." Floyd lifted his arm, displaying a fraying cuff. "Me and this coat went through the War of the Rebellion together. Served as pillow and blanket many a time -- couple times, I even considered using it as a tent." "One of these days, you're gonna have to tell us about that," George said. "We was out here during the fracas. Not much of it got this far." Floyd shook his head. "That ain't likely to happen. There's not much about that time I care to remember. Far as I'm concerned, the best thing the Army ever did for me was to haul me out here to the Territories before they cut me loose." "I don't much care what happened in no white man's war," Nancy said. "Still say that coat don't look so bad to me." He shucked it and handed it to her with a flourish. "Then, it is yours to do with as you like, Ma'am." Nancy held it up and eyed it critically. "I fix it . . . little bita deerskin here an' there . . . you might need it again." George laughed. "That's Nancy. Can't throw nothin' away, but what she snags it and makes it good as new." Nancy beamed. "Better." As Nancy spread the coat out on the counter to examine the seams, George turned back to the turkeys. "Fine birds. Best game I've had come into the place in weeks. I won't even talk about the furs -- or the lack." "I hear you. Took me two days to find these turkeys. Saw traces of a few deer and found an old, busted beaver lodge downstream a piece, but I didn't actually see anything." George pulled out the ledger, recorded the turkeys, then ran his finger down the entries. "Been real slim since that gully washer blew through middle of October." "I'm thinking of trying a little farther north tomorrow. Higher ground. Maybe what got washed out in our neck of the woods moved up there." "Worth a try, anyway, but be careful, that's rough terrain. That's the way Louis Nicolet was headed when he disappeared last month." Kaetin frowned. "That is worrisome. Nicolet might have been a horse's rear, but he was one of the best voyageurs in these parts." Nancy nodded thoughtfully. "That's a bad place. The People call it the Place of the Light That Calls." "Why'd they call it that?" Floyd asked. "Dunno," she said with a shrug. "It's an old name. Flathead call it that, too. People jus' don' go there." Floyd frowned, then snapped the binding string off the package. "Best to be prepared then. Let's get a look at this coat. Catalog said it was extra heavy with the fleece left on as a liner. That'll likely be needed with the hard cold we get here." The coat was everything the ad promised. With the box lid off, the sheepskin spilled over the pasteboard edges, the exterior leather shone golden brown in the flickering lamplight and trimmed fleece poked through at the seams like shaggy piping. "Now, that's worth the twenty dollars!" He lifted the heavy garment out of the box and gave it a shake. As it unfolded, three objects clattered to the floor. Coins. A worn quarter and two large copper cent pieces. "Would you look at that!" George leaned over the counter. "Heads up, too. You just got yourself two cents worth of luck, Floyd." Floyd scooped the coins up. Fresh from the cold room, they felt like ice against his palm. "Them coins are lucky?" Nancy asked. "Pennies are, anyway," George said. "See a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck . . . or somethin' like that." "Some folks say pins, some folks say pennies. Me? I'll take pennies over pins any day." Kaetin grinned and closed his fist over the coins. "Way I see it, a quarter is twenty-five pennies. This here is twenty-seven cents of luck." "Then you gonna need the right thing to keep them in so the magic doesn't run out," Nancy said. With a decided nod, she turned and hurried back through the curtains. Floyd shot a puzzled look at George, who simply shrugged. Among her many skills, Nancy was an honored shaman to her people and one of the few healers in their neck of the woods. Neither man understood shamanism, but neither would argue with what worked, either. Moments later, she re-emerged holding a small, white pouch. "Made this when you brung that doe in last summer. It's been waitin' to be used." The bag was beautifully worked with a geometric pattern picked out in beads and quillwork on the front. Kaetin recognized the decoration as the Nez Perce symbol for the sun. A mussel shell button held the flap closed and the soft fringes along the bottom edge terminated in tiny conical shells. Beads also decorated the long, sturdy thong meant to go around the wearer's neck. Nancy held the bag open and thrust it toward Kaetin. "Put them in. You must do it yourself. No one else should touch them. They're your magic." Bemused, Floyd dropped the coins in and Nancy deftly tucked the tiny button through the loop. She stood on tiptoe to drop the thong over his head and patted it against his chest with satisfaction. "There. The sun and your lucky coins will protect you."

13 | Wordmonger

continued on page 14


Twenty-Seven Cents of Luck continued from page 13 Kaetin examined it. "That's mighty fine work, Nancy. I'm not sure how I can thank you for it." She beamed. "How about a haunch of venison from the game you bring down with all this luck?" He laughed. "You got it!"

Lead-colored clouds hung oppressively low and the daylight filtering through painted the landscape with a faint blue sheen. Not for the first time, Kaetin wondered if he should just head home. Two days out and, if anything, he'd seen less game up here than he had back home. The weather was holding, though, still only cold and windy. No, he needed to push on. Anything he could bring back would help to feed their little community when the weather really turned hard and snow filled the pass. The bay horse shifted beneath him. Kaetin leaned forward to pat its neck. "I know, Jasper, you're anxious to get moving. Can't say I blame you. It ain't getting no warmer us stopping here." He glanced at the sky again and found himself fingering where the medicine bag rested against his chest. Laughing at himself, he said, "We could use a bit of sun right about now, but looks like all we'll get is more snow. To hell with it, Jasper. North it is." He wheeled the bay toward a break in the trees and headed deeper into the woods.

Kaetin had been seeing boulders dotting the landscape for a while. They looked new-fallen with moss-clean faces and stark white scarring. As he traveled higher, their numbers increased and large chunks of jagged slate poked up through the snow crust. He dismounted and brushed snow away for a better look. "Looks like George's gully washer hit up here, too." He straightened and followed the line of debris. "Might as well head that way to see what happened, Jasper. Not like we've found anything the way we've been traveling." Turning the sheepskin collar up and seating his hat more firmly, he took the horse's lead and carefully picked his way up the slope. The trail of debris led him to a place where a cliff face had sheared away and carried part of the mountain with it, opening a long-closed passage. Trees along the slide path leaned at crazy angles, both completely and almost uprooted by piles of rubble tumbled against the trunks. Small scrubby bushes and grasses poked up through the white. Nature was healing the wound. In a couple years, it would be hard to tell it happened. Floyd led the big bay into the sheltered path. It was still tricky footing, but both welcomed the protection from the stinging, wind-blown snow. On the far side, the path opened out into another section of woods where undisturbed snow lay heavy on the ground and the air was much calmer. It was a beautiful sight, but at the same time disheartening. "Damn me if it don't look as sparse up this way as it was back there. C'mon, Jasper. We might as well push on for a bit. We come a long way for a lot of nothing." A few yards beyond the pass, Jasper suddenly got skittish. There was nothing that Floyd could see, but that didn't mean much. Probably a mountain lion, he thought. No game for him also meant no food for them and they tended to get a bit testy when they got hungry. Quietly, he eased the rifle out of the scabbard and edged toward the thicket the horse was rolling his eyes at. Kaetin couldn't see anything behind the scrub but a larger mound of snow. Moving the undergrowth aside released a dump of snow from the overburdened pines. Floyd jumped back, managing to avoid most of the fall. As he stood spluttering and brushing powdery flakes from his shoulders, something dark against the white caught his eye. It was a saddle horn. Digging deeper revealed the rest of the saddle, then the bags, then the ravaged remains of a horse. Kaetin silently regarded the familiar punchwork on the worn saddle, then said, "Guess we know what happened to Nicolet's horse." He spent a little more time searching the area, but found no sign of Nicolet, himself. "Well," he said, settling Nicolet's saddlebags on Jasper. "At least we can get these back to the post. If he don't come for them himself, maybe the fur folks can ship them back to his kin in France." As they traveled, the woods became denser. The ground cover was pristine as a new fall. He was just considering turning back when the trees abruptly ended at a clearing. Kaetin paused just inside the trees and stared. He'd never seen anything quite like it. The cleared area looked to be perfectly circular and everything just stopped at the edge of it -- even the snow. A rounded hill rose in the center; small stones were scattered around the sides and there was a big pile of larger ones at the top. It looked deliberate and would have taken someone a lot of time and effort. Even more curious were the bodies of deer and other animals lying on the rocky ground. For a while, Kaetin stood motionless, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Then a glint of light, like the play of sun on metal, caught his eye. He looked for the source. Nothing. It seemed to have come from the mound, near the cairn at the top. Deciding to look closer, he took Jasper's lead and stepped forward. The big bay took a larger step back. "Now what's got you spooked, you four-legged lump of stubborn? Dead horse I could understand, but you've seen plenty of dead deer before." He tugged again on the lead. The big horse ducked his head and shied farther back. Exasperated, Kaetin looped the reins over a stunted-looking tree and snatched the rifle. "Have it your way, damn you. I'm going to go have a look with or without you." He wheeled back toward the hill and froze. The tug of war with the bay had taken them around the edge of the clearing. From his new angle he could see a man's leg and boot protruding from a tumble of stones about half-way up. "Is that what's spooking you?" It felt odd as he stepped across the line where the snow ended and the barren ground began. It was like pushing through a curtain. Felt warmer, too -- although not necessarily comfortable. He wondered if it was some kind of hot spring. He'd seen similar when his mounted company passed through the Wyoming Territory. Rifle at the ready, he edged around the rocks and found Louis Nicolet slumped against the stones. He was just as dead as the deer on the other side of the hill and looked like a layer of dust had settled over him. Nicolet's coat was nowhere to be seen and his shredded shirt revealed a large blackened patch covering most of his chest that was like no wound Floyd had seen before. "That don't look like a bullet hole. Don't even look like a proper burn." Baffled, Kaetin knelt beside the body and moved the tattered shirt aside for a better look. At his touch, Louis Nicolet dissolved into dust, bones crumbling, as if he were years dead rather than weeks. Kaetin took a startled step backward onto loose gravel that sent him pitching headlong down the slope, hat and rifle flying in different directions. He bumped painfully down the hillside and came to a hard stop against a rock near the edge of the clearing. A short distance to his right, the rifle skittered into the carcass of a buck which fell into dust just like Nicolet. Floyd unfolded painfully. As he did, he saw the flicker again. No doubt about it this time. Just above the topmost stone there was a brief glint as from sun on metal. Only problem was, there was neither sun nor metal. Looked like Jasper had a point -- again. This was definitely a place to leave alone. One of these days, he'd learn to pay attention. continued on page 22

october 2011 | 14


Chrysalis

JOAN ARLING The air was still, deadly quiet over the plain. The sun’s light took on an eerie hue as silvery ice particles filtered it in the upper layers of the atmosphere.Slowly the winds that had brought them descended from the stratosphere, sharply decreasing the temperature of the warm humidity that had until then rested high above the ground, and when the water condensed, towering clouds appeared, only to be torn apart by blasts that would have caused a rerouting of air traffic, had the occurrence lasted long enough to be noticed by control. The storm winds came down further, making ragged clouds race through the lower levels of the atmosphere, but still the leaves on the single tree standing in the middle of nowhere hung motionless. Then suddenly the aerial phenomenon was over, the clouds dispersed, the ice dissolved, and the air returned to the quiet state of before. The leaves on the solitary tree hung in the sunshine as if nothing had happened. The time had not yet come.

Robert O’Hara wanted to light another cigarette, but thought better of it. Smoking was, of course, forbidden in here, and he would not have left the bleak, small room for anything. He resumed his paces, six from the door he was denied passing through to the window looking out over the windswept clinic park, six back from the window to the door he was denied... “God, I can’t stand this!” The other occupant of the small room turned to him, “You know, wearing away the carpet won’t make it happen any faster. Your first?” Robert winced at the words, at the same time thankful for the distraction. “Yes. Pretty obvious, isn’t it?” “Quite so.” “The damn... excuse me, the nurse wouldn’t let me in.” The sound of steps announced the nurse approaching. As she opened the door, the draught created by the leaky windows and the new opening increasedthe howling of the wind. She looked at Robert, and smiled, “It’s a girl, 48 centimetres, 2800 grams. Both she and her mother are well. If you’d like...?”

Her name was shortened to ‘Tara’ before she even learned to walk. She acquired speech reasonably fast, but early on she omitted the middle syllable of ‘Tamara’, and before long her parents adopted the short version. Her Mum and her Dad watched her first steps as proudly as parents have done since the beginning of history. However, Tara virtually skipped learning to walk, and opted for learning to run, instead. Run as fast as her skills would permit. If it took her longer than others to stay upright, it was only because she was always, literally, a step ahead of herself. “Little Whirlwind”, her father would say, with a smug smile on his face. That nickname was apt. Her parents soon took to placing moveable objects out of Tara’s reach, as Tara seemed to find nothing wrong with things falling from a variety of surfaces, or travelling beautiful trajectories from her tiny hands to a wall or the floor, whichever came first. By the age of two, the throwing of objects had stopped, but she still had little regard of things standing in her way, or of vases, dishes, or other breakables having the bad fortune of being located near the edge of the table. Her father chalked it up to the mindless energy of the young, but her mother did not not take it as lightly, and she consulted a psychologist. “She should go out more, you know, play with her friends. The presence of other children will make her adapt, and I’m not talking about peer pressure or anything. It is absolutely normal for children to conform with the group.” “Well. . . that is part of the problem. She does not, how can I put it, engage with other kids. Her friends are, so to speak, ‘invisible’. When we ask her, she only says that she cannot pronounce their names.” “That is quite a common phenomenon. A lot of children have imaginary friends, often elves, or fairies. It is probably a protection mechanism against the adult world, where most everything has to be accounted for. But it is rarely a matter for concern, only if it lasts well beyond the age of six or so.” “Look, Doctor, the other day she came running to tell me that she had seen the winds in the fields. The thing is, she spoke of them like they mere persons. When we went by a closed gate, she became very agitated, complaining about her not being able to pass that gate when all her ‘sisters’ could — she was obviously still talking about the ‘winds’. Do you really think there is nothing to worry about?” “Well. . . that is certainly interesting. But yes, I’d put it down to a very fertile imagination. Look at it as an early manifestation of creativity. Once channelled, she may well use the gift for creating works of art — don’t put her on too short a leash.” More assuaged than convinced, Violet O’Hara decided to watch her daughter’s behaviour rather than intervene. When Tara entered school she became less outspoken about her ‘friends’ (or sisters, as she still occasionally referred to them), and she behaved much more normally, judged by common sense standards. However. . . “Tara, it’s time for school! Are you coming down?” “Where are you? Why are you not here with us?” Tara blinked her eyes. Never before had this. . . voice. . . been so intense. Awe-inspiring rather than intimidating, it seemed to draw nearer. “Tara!” “On my way, Mummy!” “Tara! How many times do I have to tell you to close doors after you?” She turned and looked completely innocent. “But Mum, it’s not fair to keep the winds out!” “Look here, we’ve had to replace panes five times already. Do you think it is OK for your beloved winds to break them again and again?” Tara looked thoughtful. “If you didn’t replace them, they could not be broken again. The winds don’t care for barriers.” Her mother rolled her eyes, she’d been there too many times for her liking. Still, once more would probably not hurt. “Windows keep off cold and rain. That is, as long as they’re not broken! Would you rather have us freeze when the weather is bad?” “Me, I’d just lie in bed under my warm cover. Then the cold couldn’t get at me.” Tara was at a loss why her mother would ask questions that stupid, but she thought it wiser to keep her opinions to herself.

15 | Wordmonger

continued on page 24


Haunted Happenings... Second Life’s best spooky spots

the 7th circle of Hell no Halloween is complete until you've been thrown into Sidhe's Seventh circle of Hell and Haunted maze! roam this creepy area of twisted, demented spooks, including a huge maze, haunted house and mall. boo! secondlife://tiffanyluv/144/164/3501

arcane delights a dark, strange fusion of art and landscape surrounds a spooky castle filled with even more for the mind to contemplate. residents can come hang out, dance, meet new people — or pick up a gun and fight the zombie horde that lurks outside the castle walls. Photographs and art provide links to other fantastic sims all around Second Life. everyone is welcome — especially newcomers! secondlife://maspalomas/113/133/27

Haunted Places tour & Hunt discover many of the hottest haunted spots in SL with the top Haunted Places tour & Hunt. you'll find breathtaking scenery, imaginative displays, interaction with the spirits, shopping and a hunt at each location. the frights run rom oct. 1 through oct. 30. secondlife://fairchang%20brisas/170/56/22

october 2011 | 16


Haunted House @ Hobo Park Hop aboard one of vehicles and enter this dark ride of terror. you'll travel through three floors of fright-filled fun in this haunted house at Hobo Park. secondlife://cali%20isles/117/195/23

island of fear Haunted mansion Spooky surprises await at the island of fear's four-story haunted mansion. secondlife://island%20of%20fame/14/145/21

London city dungeons and festival London city has recreated the popular tourist attraction "the London dungeons" for the Halloween season. Join the spooky fun for a month of concerts and live music every weekend in october. enjoy exhibitions from the scariest attractions in London. secondlife://London%20city/85/106/23

17 | Wordmonger


Nursing a Grudge GINNY FLEMING

Jolene was exhausted. She'd brought the new baby home from the hospital a mere two weeks prior, and he'd not yet slept through three hours straight. The first week hadn't been so bad. Michael, her husband, wisely scheduled a vacation to begin the night of little Tim's birth, and he'd graciously taken the middle of the night feedings that first week home. He gave the baby a bottle of pumped breast milk to tide him over until the early morning, at which time a bedraggled Jolene would drag herself from the warm bed and nod off again, sitting up at the breakfast table, with the suckling baby attached to her body like a tiny voracious parasite. But even on the mornings of the first week, Michael was clueless. "Jolene, you look like someone on a forced death march," he joked, "didn't you get any sleep last night? Heck, me and the Tim-Man did a two o'clock and a four-thirty boogie last night, and I still managed to get a few hours beauty sleep." Upon hearing these words of pseudo-sympathy, Jolene remembered very much wanting to throw her orange juice at the man she'd just nine months before swore to love and cherish until death do them part. And now, over seven days later, she still seethed at the memory of Michael's clueless clucking. On the second Monday morning following the baby's birth, she stood at the picture window in the living room and watched her big, strong, rested husband pull out of the driveway and make his escape, back to his job in the big city. She glanced down at Timmy. He'd detached himself from his morning manna and dozed with the sleep of the sated, his tiny mouth in a bow, tasteful memories causing him to continue sucking in his slumber. "Tim... if he only knew..." she whispered to her son, while carrying him to his crib, hoping for an hour— at least, enough time to grab a shower and cup of decaf. As she placed the sleeping baby on his back (hoping to prevent SIDS), she smiled. Surely, this will pass, she thought, surely things will get better... But, what about the dreams? These last words came to her thoughts unbidden, unwelcome guests in the early morning sunlight. Don't you think you should tell Michael about the dreams? "Yeah, right," she whispered aloud, "like he'd understand. It must be a man-thing, being able to operate with little or no sleep. Or perhaps, it's just a Michael-thing. Either way, if I told him about the dreams, he'd bust a gut laughing." She closed the door on her sleeping son. "No— Michael doesn't need to know." She wrapped her mind around the fleeting thought of keeping the matter of the dreams to herself, and turned into the hallway, intent upon reaching her goal of a (still) early morning shower, when out of the corner of her eye, something moved. Darkness. A shadow. A wisp. Nothing more. She giggled (her first impulse— she always giggled when frightened, had giggled when fearful ever since she was a little girl— until the tears would join the hysterical laughter). The giggles died down and she rubbed her eyes. "Wasted days and wasted nights," she murmured. Reaching for the easy answer, Jolene hoped a shower would wash away the troubled night. Turning on the hot water, she stepped gratefully into the warm sprinkles. For the first few moments, she stood stock still, allowing the water to hit her face and run in hot rivulets down her weary, still slightly bloated body. Finally, she roused herself and picked up the terry washcloth from the tub rack. Soon, a satisfying lather joined the hot water cascading down from the shower head, and Jolene felt herself relaxing. Suddenly she startled, hearing/feeling something move in the north corner of the bathroom, and for one insane second, she wondered if Michael had doubled back and returned home. Perhaps for one more coffee-kiss? Right. Coffee-kisses are on hold for the time being. Peering around the steam-fogged shower curtain, Jolene scanned the bathroom, knowing with a certainty she was totally alone in the showerhumid room. She giggled. "You're crazier than a three dog night..." with another chuckle, she returned to the luxury of her soapy shower. "A few more nights of no sleep and I'll be seeing Elvis wearing my Victoria's Secret... Well, if I can't wear it, at least the King should get the benefits of my Wonder Bra... the Wonder is, I Wonder when I'll be able to squeeze back into it." She chuckled again, this time, not really so amused. She knew Wonder-Bras were not the heavy concern troubling her mind. She also knew if she only reached a little farther, she might actually remember the exact words she'd been hearing in the fevered and frantic dreams that passed for sleep. A small fuzzy memory told her there'd been someone or something whispering about... the baby. What was it saying about the baby? She didn't remember. She didn't want to remember. "I'm just tired." She stated this hollow judgment to the steamy room, as she stepped dripping from the shower. Wrapping herself in the jumbosized fluffy towel, and turbaning her wet hair in a smaller matching towel, she left the bathroom. Battling the urge to return to bed, she dressed in yellow sweats and pulled a comb through her shoulder length dark hair. “Step it up, Jo!" she berated herself, glancing at the dust ruffle trailing around the bottom of the queen-sized bed (Why did she feel such a black dread looking at the cheery ruffle with the delicate lavender-sprig decorated white fabric? No... Not the ruffle... It was—), "Step it up, Woman!" she growled with a false harshness designed to drag her attention from the dreaded dust ruffle. "Timmy won't sleep long, and I want my coffee! Jeez, I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to decaf coffee." She managed two sips of the non-zippy brown brew when the pre-10 A.M. morning stillness was split by the baby's bleating shrieks. "The master calls," she sighed. Returning to the nursery, Jolene marveled at the tiny enraged warrior, his open mouth quivering in his lung-filled canopy of indignant fury. "My, my," she soothed, checking his diaper, "such a little man to raise such a big fuss." After a swift clean up, during which Timmy tracked his Mommy with his eyes (though Jolene knew, or thought she did, her new-born wasn't really focusing just yet), she lifted him from his Pooh-decorated crib and automatically raised her shirt for her ravenous son. Her nipples were a little sore, but the feeding eased the ache in her swollen breasts, and she smiled with the relief of Timmy's insistent nursing. With her left hand, she picked up the remote and queued the CD player and the soothing sound of Enya flowed from the speakers in the corner of the living room. She relaxed into an antique rocker, its padded seat and back a comfort to her sleep-deprived achy body. Minutes into the nursing, Jolene drifted off. "...and the baby is mine...." these words spoken into the fuzzy mixture of Enya combined with a sticky dream caused her to jerk awake, separating Timmy from his grasp on her right breast. His raging showed his anger at his Mother's apparent disregard for his welfare and Jolene quickly reinserted Timmy's world back into his toothless maw. "Jeez-Louise, Tim-Tim!" she breathed, "Don't have a cow, Man!" She ended this witty remark with a cascade of giggles and repeated, "Yeah, don't have a cow. That's my job." She wished she could continue the laughter long enough to actually feel happy, but the words that woke her sat like a lead

october 2011 | 18


sinker on her mind. "...and the baby is mine...." A cold chill ran down her back and she shuddered. "A sugar drop," she muttered, turning to the once again sleeping baby. "Better grab some cheese and soda crackers or your mommy will be sprawled out on the floor. And we wouldn't want that, would we, Timmy-Boy?" She carried the feeding/sleeping infant into the kitchen, retrieved the cheese from the refrigerator and the crackers from the pantry in a one-handed ballet. "A little snack on the run. Right, Tim?" She munched crackers while standing at the kitchen counter. Suddenly, she caught a wisp of something out of the corner of her eye, bringing her attention to the large stone crock that doubled as a waste container. The shadow had settled at the bottom left of the beige-glazed antique and disappeared into the wall. "Strange..." Jolene muttered aloud, "I don't remember reading in my pregnancy prep-books about one's eyesight being affected by pregnancy." She returned her attention to her still uneaten cheese. "Sleep. More sleep," she declared between bites, "that's the answer." Michael returned home two hours after darkness settled over the subdivision to find Jolene sprawled across the bed, her nursing bra open, Timmy by her side, growing fretful, his tiny arms and legs wildly bicycling, unable to get a purchase on his (seemingly) constant meal. Lifting his squirming son from the bed, Michael shook his head in disdain, glaring down at his sleeping wife. "Jolene!" he spoke harshly, while using his free hand to roughly shake the snoring woman, the drool trailing down her open mouth pooling on the whiteness of the pillowcase. "Jolene, wake up!" he demanded. "What do you think you're doing?" She didn't easily come up from sleep. Waking was like climbing from a cold, dark hole, its sides slick with sleep sweat. "...don't take the baby... not the baby..." she mumbled. "Of course I'm taking the baby," Michael growled. "It's a wonder you didn't roll over on `im." He stalked from the room and headed for the nursery, leaving Jolene stunned, rubbing her eyes. "What?" she croaked, finding her voice among the dust bunnies of her mind. She called to his back: "What are you talking about? Michael? What's going on?" It seemed she weighed a ton as she pulled her sweaty-numb body from the warmth of the rumpled bed, padding on bare feet into the nursery, following after her husband and son. "Will you please tell me what's wrong?" Michael paused beside the crib, Timmy still held to his chest, his large hand cradling the baby's head, "What's wrong?" he repeated her words adding a hiss to his voice. "I'll tell you what's wrong! I come home after a long day's work to find my wife passed out cold on the bed, my little boy helpless beside her! Jo, I'm the one who should be asking what's wrong! What's wrong with you? Is there something wrong with you?" Jolene giggled. I must be scared, she thought. "No... Michael. No," she shook her head and reached out to take Timmy from him. "Nothing's wrong. I'm just tired. Needed a nap. That's all." Her outstretched arms were met with apathy. It seemed he held the baby tighter, if that were possible. "Give him to me," she whispered. "No." He spoke flatly, leaving no room for discussion. "You're tired. Go back to bed. I'll take care of my son." Michael turned his back to Jolene and placed Timmy into his crib, cooing at the infant and checking his diaper with a brave finger. Jolene shook her head and mumbled, "Have it your way, Burger King. Won't do any good to go back to bed. Can't sleep— " "Seemed you were doing a good job of it," Michael interrupted her, "sawing `em off pretty damn good, if you ask me." He fastened the tape on the side of the Mickey Mouse decorated plastic diaper. "Is Mommy boozin' it up while Daddy's at work, Tim-Man? Is Mommy a boozer?" he whiddled at the baby. "Well, is she? Fess up, Tim-Man. You know I'll find the empties, don't ya— " "Shut up, Michael," she growled, "that's no way to talk to the baby." Michael grinned. "You know I'm just kidding, don't ya, Jo? Sweetheart— Just go back to bed. I'll give Tim a bottle." "Told you I can't sleep." She threw up her hands, showing her defeat in the ‘Give Me The Baby' battle. "I'll go fix supper. You're probably hungry—" "Don't bother," Michael interrupted her and lifted the baby from his crib. "I grabbed something on the way home." He cradled the infant in his muscular arms and carried him toward the kitchen to warm a pre-pumped bottle. "Who is she?" Jolene demanded at his kitchen-bound back. This time it was Michael who giggled. "Are you crazy?" he asked. "Can't a guy stop for a bite with a few friends on the way home without getting accused of adultery?" "Sure." She grabbed the bottle from the refrigerator, slamming the door just a little bit too hard. “Sure. A guy can stop off with a few friends. If the few friends number more than one." "I'm gonna ask you one more time," he snapped. "Are you crazy?" She likewise slammed the microwave door too hard. "You're gonna ask me that one too many times, Michael. Tell me. Do you ask her that?" He stared at her with a vacant expression. When he finally spoke, it was with an inflection she'd never heard him use before. "For your information," he said quietly. "She is one of my partners. We're working on a very important project and my taking time off for you has put us behind." "For me? For me?!? I thought you took off to see your son brought into this world!" She didn't intend to practically scream the words with such venom. "You know what I mean." She shook her head at him, handing him the warmed bottle. "Yeah... I think I do." Wiping her damp hands on a dishtowel, she turned quickly and added over her shoulder, "Goin' back to bed. Looks like you've got things in hand in here." The night seemed two nights long. She lay beside her sleeping husband eyes wide open, staring through the darkness at the ceiling. Michael's even breathing testified to the fact he was deeply asleep. "Creep," she whispered at his back. "You'll get yours, Bud. Some day, you'll get yours. Just wait til you get so tired you see things.... And hear things. Then I'll be the one asking: Are you crazy? Well, Michael? Well? Are—" Her ranting whispers were abruptly interrupted by a not so subtle rustling under the bed. "Are we having fun yet?" asked the dark thing that slithered from under the lavender sprigged dust ruffle. "Man! I'm gettin' tired of waitin' for you to fall asleep. Ain't it a bitch when you try and try and it just doesn't come? Kinda like ole' Michael, there, when he's had a few brews too many. I'm sorry," it apologized (though Jolene doubted its sincerity). "I shouldn't have brought up Michael's... short-comings, so to speak. He's never that way with her." Jolene giggled; a high pitched giggle that she tried to hold in, even to the point of holding her mouth with both hands, but to no avail. Tiny snip-

19 | Wordmonger

continued on page 28


feature

fair is foul... foul is fair... There aren’t many characters in literature creepier than the Macbeths – and that is an understatement. Macbeth, motivated by his wife’s perversions and the witches who come to possess his speech, becomes a serial killer in his quest for ultimate power. Paranormal activity abounds on the battlegrounds and copses of a windswept heathland, as they do within the confines of Macbeth’s castle. A collaboration by Angela Thomas, Kate Richards and Kerreen Ely-Harper has brought the grisly scenes this Shakespeare masterpiece to life on Foul Whisperings Strange Matters, Macbeth (45, 54, 54). The island is divided into four key spaces: the arrival grove, Macbeth’s head, the “what if ?” copse and the teaching studios. In general, the island has a feeling of being windswept heathland. In addition to being windswept, the heath has areas where fog is thick and “dirty”, to resonate with the foul imagery from the play. The Arrival Grove is the entry to the island. You land on the heath, possibly on a small rise, inside a circular shaped grove of fragmented ruins, which form a series of ‘door ways’ leading away from it. On arrival, visitors enter immediately into the heathland, the wind is blowing, the grass is nodding and there is a strong feeling of the locale. Low mist surrounds the grove and is found across the heath in several places. Three of the ruin pieces have icons on them which are teleports to the other key spaces of the island. Puzzle icon: teleports you to the "What If ?" space Crown icon: teleports you to the top of the Head space Theatre masks icon: teleports you to the base point of the three studio spaces, all which are located in the sky. At the base point is a sundial with TPs to studio 1, 2 and 3.

t the arrival grove, visitors pick up their avatar kit – Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Witch. They are also met by a greeter which provides some basic information, a welcome, and a user attachment which is essential for use inside the Head. Lines of text from the play will be spoken and emitted into the grove, in order to immediately immerse visitors in the richness, beauty and wonder of the text. Words from these lines will be also be emitted as written text that might float up and around the heath.

Lines of text include: • Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air • Unsex me here, make thick my blood • O horror, horror, horror! • By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

The largest build is a giant head, the head of Macbeth. The head is elevated on a cliff - the back of the cliff will have a dramatic, rocky shoreline, raging seas, and stormy weather. The head is literally a head lying on its side, as if fallen there from a beheading. It is distorted and its surface area broken, from the fall as it was. It is a metaphor for the visitors’ exploration of Macbeth’s motivations, his consciousness and his unconscious. The head has an organic feel to it, it is covered with rocky extrusions, plant life – it’s a ruin in effect where visitors can scramble and explore the nooks and crannies, the weird animals living there and take in the weird visual perspective. The head is lying on its side as: a) it symbolizes the beheading of Macbeth; b) it symbolizes the rise and fall of enlightenment and consciousness. The back of the head faces the worst weather – hence it is damp, mossy and has small rivulets running down it. It’s in the shadows, and has a creepy feel – steps cut into the rear of the head are vertiginous, wonky and peter out from time to time, only to reappear at another point. There may be scaffolding or some supports of a kind at the back here. Rivulets run down the cliff – one begins with clear water that turns bloody as it descends the cliff face. The rocky shoreline, dramatic craggy basalt-like extrusions that have a menacing feel to them are especially important for the back of the head. They would attract damp cold winds and crashing seas. Inside there is high contrast between the dark corners and recesses of the heads’ interior, and the shafts of light coming through apertures in the head, piercing the gloom, refracting off dust motes and mist. Through apertures in the head we can glimpse vistas of the island – special luminous and distant views that contrast with the claustrophobic interior and are at odds with our experience outside. This is where space seems non-Cartesian. Inside the Head there are three linked scenes, spelling out his symbolic journey. They are The Throne Room representing Macbeth’s EGO and his delusions of grandeur; The Chamber of Blood being the heart of darkness, his immersion in the paranormal and deep chaos, and The Maze (his confusion and the struggle between analysis, intellect, the visceral and desire). These spaces are discrete yet linked – the ‘walls’ of each are semi transparent, so that visitors can dimly perceive what’s going on around them. So, if you are Shakespeare fan, or if you are just looking for a place a little more foul than fair to explore, the Virtual Macbeth sim should be on your short list. from http://virtualmacbeth.wikispaces.com

october 2011 | 20


21 | Wordmonger


Twenty-Seven Cents of Luck continued from page 14 He took a step backward, expecting the familiar crunch of snow. What he got instead was a sudden stop as if he'd backed into a wall. But -there was no wall. Kaetin pivoted, shoving against the invisible barrier. No good. He still saw nothing, but it felt like he was pushing against something solid. Behind him, there was a sound like fat dropped onto a hot griddle. Slowly, Floyd turned toward it. Light oozed from every chink in the rock pile. Shafts of color rose into the air as if a chunk of the Northern Lights had been ripped out and dropped onto the barren pile of dirt. Back in the trees, Jasper whinnied in terror. Kaetin stared, fascinated. A long way off, on the other side of his mind, something primal waved and tried to get noticed. The light danced and flowed, at once beautiful and terrifying. After a moment it moved out over the bare soil of the mound and wavered. Hovering as if uncertain. As if searching. With a shock, Kaetin knew that whatever this thing was, it was indeed searching. It reminded him of a spider waiting until it was sure where the prey that had disturbed the web silk was. Finally heeding the primal part of his brain, he stepped quietly away from the edge of the circle. Instinctively, his hand fell to his revolver. Reassured to find it still in the holster, he thumbed the guard off and waited. The dancing light lazily circled the central cairn. The shifting color and the motion, tugged at him. He took an involuntary step forward, then shook himself and forced his eyes away. The Light That Calls. Well, now he knew why the Indians called it that. If he survived, he'd have to let Nancy know. Just at the edge of his vision, his rifle lay half-buried in the dust that was once a magnificent buck. He chanced a slow step toward it. Then another. A third put it almost in reach, but the fourth loosened a shower of pebbles that bounced down and into the barrier. Heart leaping, he checked the hovering light. It hadn't moved, but Kaetin was certain it knew where he was now. Slowly, it drifted down until it touched the ground. It heaved, flowed and contracted into a pillar, then coalesced into a human form surrounded by a blinding glow. Kaetin lifted a arm to shield his eyes and the light winked out, leaving Louis Nicolet in its place. Stunned, Kaetin darted a glance to where he'd found Nicolet's corpse. The slightly mounded dust there shifted in a breeze he couldn't feel. The new Nicolet's coat tails blew in the same unfelt breeze. It lifted its head and smiled. There was nothing human in the eyes that met and locked onto Kaetin's. Floyd tried to scream, to dive aside, but he couldn't move. His brain and body felt utterly disconnected, as in a nightmare. The thing that wasn't Louis moved silently forward, still smiling. As it neared, Floyd felt the dust stir around him and a prickly feeling moved across his skin. It reached out toward Kaetin's chest. Floyd clamped his eyes shut and steeled himself for whatever was about to happen. Closing his eyes had an unexpected result. As soon as he broke the inhuman gaze, control over his own limbs flowed back. Without wasting a moment, he twisted and threw himself toward the rifle. It wasn't a moment too soon. As he fell, the thing's outstretched hand caught his sleeve. He felt the touch on his skin like a whisper of bitter cold. He hit the ground, rolled and came up. Damn! He'd overshot the rifle. On the upside, his movement had been so unexpected, the fake Nicolet seemed uncertain what had happened. Kaetin dodged back farther. At least he still had his pistol. He had no idea if it would help against whatever this was, but he was not adverse to experimentation if the need arose. He became aware of an odd sensation along his arm. Looking down, he saw the reason. Where the thing had touched it, the sheepskin sleeve was darkening. Aging before his eyes. It suddenly crumbled away leaving blackened edges. The hairs on his exposed flesh looked singed. Swearing between ragged breaths, he looked up and found the damnable creature turning toward him. He slid his gaze off the face and concentrated on Nicolet's silver belt buckle--one of the real Louis' prized possessions. Ignoring legs that threatened to fold, he dodged to the far side of the clearing. "Good move, Floyd," he muttered. "You put distance between yourself and the Bogeyman. Now what? A critter can only run the fence line so long before it gets tired out." The thing knew where he was, anyway, so why not simply trace the fence? Splaying both hands against the unseen barrier, he moved along pressing and probing for something -- anything that felt different. On the other side of the clearing, the creature paced him; watching, but making no move of its own. He wondered briefly if none of the thing's other prey had tried to fight back before. That thought was banished from his mind by a rush of excitement as his fingers encountered a place in the wall that gave under his touch. Maybe there was a gate after all. He pressed harder, but though it gave slightly to pressure, it didn't completely give. Tracing the area showed it was a narrow spot that reached from the ground to as far up as he could stretch. He scuffed along the ground and discovered there were actually more stones along the perimeter. A stone ring sunk into the soil. Time had covered it with a layer of dust on his side and soil and leaf litter on the other. In the spot where he stood, there was also a heap of broken shale and tumbled stones. Brushing away the concealing dust revealed a large crack in one of the stones. The same stone that was in line with the weak place. A noise behind jerked him to his feet. The thing was moving now. Not real fast, but it was closing. There was nothing else for it. He hauled back and kicked hard at the broken stone. The shock of the impact telegraphed all the way to to his teeth. A flash of green knocked him sprawling several feet from the barrier. Answering sparks and flashes flowed along, following the stones, briefly turning the barrier into a ring of whirling emerald. The Nicolet-thing recoiled and darted farther into the circle. Abruptly, Kaetin realized that the creature was a prisoner in the clearing just as much as he was. The thought stopped him in his tracks. Looking again at the cracked stone, he wondered if the same storm that dislodged the rocks that had blocked the pass, also washed this from further up the mountain, cracking the stone and weakening the wall. He heaved himself to his feet and dusted his hands. He didn't know squat about magic, but he'd lay odds that's what this was all about. Had to be. Nothing else made sense -- if magic made sense. He kind of wished Nancy was there. She'd probably know what was going on and would know what to do. Kaetin was just scared witless. Still, he took a resolute step back from the weakened barrier. Freedom for him, would also mean freedom for that thing and Kaetin had no doubt that would be a very bad idea. He turned his attention back to the creature. The green shimmer along the stones was fading and he figured it would be back to looking for him before long. There wasn't any place to hide on the blasted knob, so he might as well confront it. Who knew? He might get lucky and win. Yeah. He never won at poker, either. Squaring his shoulders, he called out, "What the hell are you anyway?"

october 2011 | 22


The thing tilted Nicolet's head as if puzzled. It moved toward him with a drifting gait. "A shaman I know says folks up north hold that the Northern Lights are spirits of ancestors," Kaetin said, maintaining distance. "That what you are? You a ghost or something?" It stopped and stood still. Floyd altered his path toward the pile of big stones that crowned the hill. The thing still didn't move, but Floyd was pretty sure he had its undivided attention. As he drew closer, he saw pictures carved into the rocks. He'd seen similar things pecked into rocks along the river near the farm he grew up on back in Pennsylvania. These particular images bore a strong resemblance to the symbols Nancy used in her ceremonies. He looked up from the glyphs and was startled to see the ghost just on the opposite side of the cairn. He avoided looking into its eyes and moved back, this time being careful the ground was solid before he stepped down. He might not be the brightest lamp in the chandelier, but Floyd Kaetin learned from his mistakes. "Well, whoever you were, I know you aren't Louis Nicolet--" Without sound or warning, the thing lunged. Instinctively, Kaetin pulled his revolver and fired into its middle. The image of Louis Nicolet wavered as the bullets passed through, revealing just for an instant, a twisted and blackened skeletal form before the illusion flowed back. It happened so fast it left Floyd wondering if he'd actually seen it. "Now, that was downright unfriendly." It took everything Kaetin had to keep the fear from his voice and hold the revolver steady. It probably made no difference; he'd lay money the thing could taste his terror, but it helped him stay focused. They were keeping pace, now. Moving in measured steps around the perimeter of the clearing as if in parody of a dance. Floyd kept his weapon leveled and the ghost followed with hands extended, fingers splayed. About the same time the thought crossed Kaetin's mind that this was getting them nowhere, it must have also occurred to the ghost. Abruptly, Louis Nicolet was gone and the black and twisted creature stood in his place, looking like a hellish cross between a human and a spider. Empty holes gaped where eyes should be and a whip-like tongue flicked in and out of the cavernous mouth. The sight made Kaetin recoil in horror. The creature leapt forward, digging a claw-like hand into the breast of Floyd's coat. Sheepskin and the shirt beneath fell away in a shower of dust. Then the ghost screamed. It wasn't so much a sound as a violent force that cut to the center of Kaetin's soul. He dropped to all fours gasping, head buzzing like he'd been poleaxed. Glancing in the direction of the ghost, he found that instead of the monstrous human-spider the hunk of Northern Lights was back. It was again directly over the cairn, color and light swirling and flashing like a lightning storm. Made no sense at all. He moaned and put a hand to his ringing head. His fingers tangled in the leather strap swinging from his neck. The medicine bag. Now it made sense. Standing slowly, he lifted the medicine bag over his head and carefully wrapped the thong around his fist. He made an experimental snap toward the thing. It shied back. "Don't like this, huh?" he said, swinging the pouch freely. "Wonder if it's the coins, the symbols or Nancy's hocus-pocus?" He snapped it again. The swirling lights dodged farther that time. "Don't much care, really. Long as you don't like it." Kaetin pressed forward, snapping the medicine bag like a whip, herding the thing until it backed into the invisible barrier. At the touch, the wall flashed green. The creature reacted violently, its shape elongating and flattening. Insane colors swirled. It again compressed into a column. Then it took on the form of a deer, then an eagle, then shapes appeared and shifted so rapidly, one seemed to melt into the next. The sight was dizzying. Finally, the melting forms slowed and a young Indian woman in an elaborately beaded dress crouched in the dust. Floyd stopped swinging the pouch. "You killed them all, didn't you?" he said. "Every single creature I just saw. You killed them and took everything that made them what they were." The maiden dropped to her knees and opened hands in supplication. Floyd watched in stunned amazement. He wondered if he was seeing a reenactment of this woman's last act in life. Did she die begging this horror to spare her? How many others had begged the same way? The medicine bag strap, tight against his straining fist, cut into his flesh. At last he said, "Mercy. You want mercy." The creature looked up. There may have been hope on the face. "I don't goddamn think so," said Kaetin and swung the amulet with all his strength.

Kaetin awoke to something warm and soft nudging him in the ribs. He opened his eyes to a close view of Jasper's long face. A branch from the stunted tree was tangled in the reins. Seeing him stir, the bay nickered and shook his mane. Pushing the velvety muzzle away, Floyd remained sprawled on the rocky hillside until the world stopped spinning. About that same time, he realized he was cold. Snow. Levering himself to his elbows, he looked around. The cairn was gone. Chunks of it lay scattered over the clearing, quickly and silently vanishing under a dusting of white. "Ain't that just the way my life goes?" Floyd said, pulling himself to his feet against Jasper's warm solidity. "Have to blow the hell out of a beautiful girl and wake up being horse-kissed." A few minutes and a fresh, unshredded flannel shirt later, Kaetin secured rifle, pistol and hat. He shrugged into the remains of his new coat, took Jasper's reins and trudged in the direction of home. "Dammit. Hope Nancy's managed some magic with that greatcoat. Looks like I am gonna need it again."

~End~ 23 | Wordmonger


Chrysalis continued from page 15 “Well, just close doors behind you, will you? Now come, school’s waiting!” She closed the door behind her carefully, thankful that Tara was occupied with skipping in the direction of the car.

All the classroom windows were open on that quiet summer day. As usual, the attention the pupils paid their teacher left something to be desired, they would much rather have been playing outside. Tara had her gaze fixed on the horizon, when she noticed a movement outside. Disregarding the admonishing looks from Mrs Mayberry, she went to a window and looked at the single tree whose branches moved despite the still air. She waved, and suddenly a gust filled the room, picking up papers from the desks and scattering them all about. Tara let out a yell of joy, and clapped her hands in rapture while her mind was filled with wild laughter, and shouts of “There you are!” and “My, you’re a funny one.” And amidst the chaos, that was only aggravated by girls and teacher trying to get a hold on the swirling papers, Tara stood without moving,filled with emotions she had no words for. Dear Mrs and Mr O’Hara,

As her teacher, I write on behalf of Tamara. I must admit that I am quite concerned about her behaviour. She is obviously a very intelligent child, as all the tests certify, yet she often seems to be disconnected from reality. It is not that all unusual for girls to have ’invisible friends’, or act in other ways that tend to disquiet adults, but in my experience Tara should be past that stage by now. Tamara has some very firm conceptions that seemingly cannot be shaken in the face of facts. Above all, she believes that wind is not a natural phenomenon, but that ‘the winds’ are persons with distinct personalities. She listens to them, maintaining that they tell her stories, even calling her to become one of them. When in such a phase, she is unable to follow the lessons, and is virtually unapproachable by both me and her classmates. I do sincerely hope that this is just a passing stage in her development, but I am uneasy enough about her current state that I want to most respectfully suggest you take her to a psychologist to gain more insight. Just to be on the safe side. Yours sincerely, Helen Mayberry.

The weather forecast had been anything but encouraging. A tempest was coming up, and everybody was urged to stay inside, close doors and windows, and bolt the blinds, if available. Clouds began to tower until they looked virtually black from below. The wind picked up and soon reached storm velocity, without showing signs of relenting. And then it began to rain. The torrents from the sky, that had the earth swamped in minutes, were soon joined by hail. Pieces of ice as thick as a thumb were driven almost horizontally against the wall, producing a sound like a mad drummer in the midst of his life’s solo. Suddenly there was a crash as the window of Tara’s room was hurled open, breaking the panes. Her parents ran upstairs, flung open the door to her room, and were transfixed by the sight that met their eyes: Tara stood in front of the broken window, her clothes drenched, and she was bleeding from several cuts caused by the flying shards. She had her eyes closed and her arms open, and she seemed oblivious to the presence of the adults. “Come! Come with us!” “How? And where?” “Come fly with us, fast, free!” “I can’t. Not yet!” Within minutes, the wind settled, the sky cleared, and the afternoon sun heated the wetness into clouds of vapour while there was still hail lying all around. Tara opened her eyes and turned around, “Hi Mum, Dad! My friends came to see me, but they’re gone already...” She looked at the glass lying on the ground. “Oh. Don’t be mad at them, please? They were so excited to see where I live.” “I don’t expect to ever understand this, but can we be at least clear on that point? ‘Friends’, ‘Sisters’, or what?” Tara looked at her mother without comprehension. “What’s the difference?” “TARA! Come down! AT ONCE!” Tara stood on the roof of the stable, a little uncertain of her footing, but her gaze steadily fixed on the horizon. When her mother’s voice registered, she looked down the considerable distance, and wondered what the intensity was about. “But Mummy, I can look so far from up here. And I believe I can fly!” “NOOO!” But Tara was already running, her little arms stretched out in imitation of the birds’ wings she had seen the wind carry. Reaching the edge, she jumped, and hit the ground with a thud that made her mother’s heart stop. She awoke in a white room that made her uneasy, and looked about her, even though the movement made her feel disoriented. “Mum?” “Oh, Little One. . . You’re back, thank God!” Violet O’Hara almost levitated from the seat she had been occupying all of the day, and most of the night before, and hurried over to the bed. “I’ve been so worried. . . Are you in pain? Can I get you anything, like French fries, or something? I’m certain I would have to smuggle it past the nurses, but. . . ” Her voice faltered. “No, Mummy, I feel alright. A little dizzy, perhaps. My arms and my legs hurt, though.” Her face took on a forlorn expression. “I was so certain I could do it.” “Fly? Oh, my precious! Flying is what birds do. Please never ever try to do this again! I almost died when I had to pick you up.”

october 2011 | 24


“But I will learn, Mum.” She yawned. “I’m so tired”, and with that she fell asleep.

She wondered what the therapist would want to hear from her. Her only wish was to go where the winds went, and her only problem was that she couldn’t. Yet, she thought. She doubted that the therapist would be able to do anything about that. “What they tell me? They talk about the refreshing feeling of rising very high, where they get cooled down and thinned out at the same time. About how they drink in the vapours out over the sea, and how different that tastes compared to those from a lake. How the sun sometimes heats them up so much that they just have to run in order to spend the energy. Sometimes they meet to dance together, and when they are many, they love to form interlocking spirals. When they’re really into a fling, lots of tiny things fly around like they wanted to participate. They laugh a lot about that.” The therapist blanched at the innocent description of a – what, hurricane, cyclone? She was no meteorologist, but she’d seen the satellite pictures in the news. “And when they tell you their stories, how do you feel about it?” “It makes me happy for them, and at the same time I am sad that I cannot go with them. I belong with them, and they know it. That’s why they come see me time and again. They are waiting for me to get ready.”

A hushed whisper, full of expectation, barely stirred the air. “Is this the time? We’ve waited for so long!” Tara got out of bed with the strange feeling that her body only followed her soul unwillingly, kind of lagging behind. She tried to ignore the slight disorientation, slowly navigating the stairs, then taking a careful aim at the door, making certain that she had a firm grip on the handle before opening it. Once she was out of the house, progressing became easier. She walked through grass wet with early morning dew, and sat down with her back against the tree, closed her eyes, and let the air caress her skin. “We’re here for you! Now’s the time, come, come join us!” It felt like drifting off into a slumber, and when she lost the connection, it was only like the slightest of tugs. She rushed straight up, dislodging some of the leaves on her way, and moved in dancing circles, which were soon matched by her sisters’. She dived down again, and circled the tree, against which the body of a girl leaned, apparently in a deep, dreamless sleep. “Do you think you’ll have any more need for this?” She swirled around the tree once more, trying to remember something that seemed to connect her to the still figure. Then, rejoicing in the welcome from her many sisters, Tara swung herself up, and joined them in their race towards the horizon, not looking back once.

~End~ Horror Part I

RELISH RESIDENT Blood dripped from its eyes, its head tilted to the left,its chin and cheeks seemed to melt in layers, its skin was painted white, its lips black, it was toothless with a long hairy tongue. It walked from room to room and we all curled into little balls of fear. It yelled, "I am real you can't comprehend me." Everything we ever believed died that night.

Lifeless

KATFANCY KIERGARTEN Karli awoke when she heard a loud bang. She tried to face her husband, but she couldn't move. When she tried again with no success, she began to scream his name, but the only response were his snores. Her silent screams went on and didn't stop until her bedroom door slowly opened. A dark cloaked figure entered the room and walked towards her. She pleaded for help while the figure lifted her up. As she was carried away, she saw her lifeless body still in bed. Karli screamed and the figure tucked her under it's cloak and exited the room.

25 | Wordmonger


how poe-etic

goodies from the marketplace that will help you show off your poe-etic style this Halloween.

Poe Portrait https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/ albion-edgar-allan-Poe-Portrait-inoval-frame/907077 asylum chair https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/asy lum-chair-ravenPoe-inspired-LiSPbazaar/2284488

What next fall Planters https://marketplace.secondlife.c om/p/what-next-fallPlanters/1490262

the raven book Stack https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/theraven-book-Stack-gothic-furniture/2185545

matching Poe t-shirts https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/dd-Poe-Skull-Shirtboxed/2022273

october 2011 | 26


27 | Wordmonger


Nursing a Grudge continued from page 19 pits of guilty frightened laughter escaped between her trembling fingers. Michael mumbled something from his sleep that sounded like: "...touch me there... no... not there..." "Creep," Jolene whispered at his back. The dark thing (that resembled Jolene's strange Uncle Myron with its sparse tuffs of hair-like fur sticking out over what passed for ears— She noted the resemblance and a new set of giggles erupted— a few from simple humor. Himself, Uncle Myron, bore a strong resemblance to Yoda, the wizened little creature from Star Wars) slithered farther out from under the bed and now crawled toward the open bedroom door. Turning back toward the woman who watched from the bed, her hands clasped to her betraying mouth, the creature smiled. Jolene's giggles died in her throat. "It's time," it said, "time for Timmy." "No," Jolene whispered. This time, it was the dark thing that giggled, but the woman didn't get the joke. It pointed an obscenely long finger toward the bed and ordered, "Follow me." She didn't want to. Every fiber of her body, and quite a few morsels of her inner being fought against the wishes of the dark thing beckoning her from the bedroom's doorway. But, within seconds she felt herself pulling the blanket back and rising from the bed. "Creep," she whispered at Michael's back as she followed the ‘Uncle Myron' thing to the nursery doorway. "No," Jolene whispered again. "Yes." said the dark thing. It pointed at the crib, visible in a shaft of moonlight through the open doorway. "Time for Timmy," it repeated, and giggled once more. "You can't make me." This time, the vile creature stopped in mid-slither/crawl and winked at her in the moonlight. “Ahhh... But I can!" it chortled, "I can make you do anything. I can make you pull the trigger on the gun you hold to your head. I can make you jump as you stand on the ledge high above the cold hard sidewalk below. I can make you—" "You can't make me hurt my baby." Jolene stated matter-of-factly. "Ahh! But I can!" it repeated, "I can, cause I'm what lives under your bed. You fear me. And right you should!" "I don't fear you," she lied, but a single giggle made its way over her cold lips. It chortled. "Everybody fears me. I'm darkness. I'm what goes bump. Watch what I can do!" It pointed at her and she felt her hands move unbidden. She skipped up to the side of the crib, feeling the muscles of her legs jerk with the child-like motion, but registering an alien detachment with her body. She watched her hands reach out for her sleeping baby, and wondered at the tiny weight she cradled to her breast. "No," she whispered, violently shaking her head at the thing leering up at her, its clawed hands gripping the bed-slats on the Pooh-decorated crib. "No...." "Yessss..." cooed the dark thing, "the baby is mine." "No! Don't make me do this thing! Please!" she pleaded, her hand shaking, inches from Timmy's pink bow-shaped mouth. "You want an out?" wheedled the darkness holding onto the cheerful crib, "I said— do you want an out?" Jolene trembled with the effort of keeping her hand from the child's face, "Yes!!" she hissed, "Please, God!" "Don't ‘Please-God' me," snickered the thing that lived under the bed. "Nothing in this vast universe will ‘Please-God' me... nothing, that is, except the breath of your first-born. But, there is an out."

Jolene felt bile rise in her throat as she croaked the words that she knew down deep in her heart would damn her immortal soul. "Tell me," she whispered. A single tear fell from her eye, but she managed not to giggle. "Tell me my out."

On the sixteenth day since giving birth to the most perfect baby in the whole wide world, Jolene awoke from her early morning slumber and glanced down at tiny Timmy, with the wispy blond hair (so like his handsome father), cradled in her arms, suckling in his sleep. Beside her in the bed, Michael lay with his back to her. Still. Dead to the world.

"Creep," Jolene whispered at his back.

~End~

october 2011 | 28


2011 SL Samhain Festival

Once more, the old year turns. The new world comes. Samhain is the end of the natural year and the birth of the new, a time to release the past and prepare for the future. Once again, we are celebrating this time with a month of live music, literary events, exhibits, vendors, freebie hunts, story telling and themed dances. The Samhain Festival in SL is a month-long celebrations created and sponsored by Fox Ravenheart and runs from October 3rd through October 31st.

This month long celebration begins Monday Oct 3rd with the weekly event called Duos. So named because they come in pairs of pairs. Two events back to back with each comprising two different performers or types of presentation. Elements of presentation would include, poetry, prose, storytelling, music, or art.

Oct 3rd 10am - Opening comments by Fox Ravenheart & Serene Bechir 11am - Poetry and prose by Morgue McMillan 5pm - Poetry and art by Serene Bechir 6pm - Stories and Music by DJ and master storyteller, Fox Ravenheart Oct 10th 5pm Freda Frostbite Poetry & Prose 6pm Phorkyad Acropolis Poetry & Music Oct 17th 5pm Hypatia Pickens Short Story & Poetry 6pm Derry McMahon Storytelling & Art Oct. 24th 6pm Caledonia Skytower & Sangreal Arnica Stories 7pm Leonardo Zimring - Poetry & Art Oct 31st 6pm Kaikilani Resident - Storytelling & Chanting 7pm Remembrance & Renewal Readings from the works of poets who have passed into the next life

On Weds we take a break in the middle of the week to gather together in a circle to share poetry. This is an open mic event with featured poet and host. Each host determines the exact format of their event but they will all have a featured poet who reads approximately 15 mins to 30 mins with the remainder of the time being open mic. Everyone is invited to share, works may be your own or the works of others but please give credit to the author. If you would like to hear a poem read but do not have a mic or do not wish to read aloud, please pass the poem to the host on note card and someone will read it for you.

Oct 5th 12pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Imarad Breen and featuring: Fred Ronzales 8pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Serene Bechir and featuring: Romie Vella Oct 12th 12pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Sabreman Carter and featuring: Serene Bechir 8pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: TalksWithMarie and featuring: ToryLynn Writer Oct 19th 12pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Gretabelle Moonwall and featuring: Klannex Northmead 8pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Kamille Kamala and featuring: Ryanwriter4 Oct 26th 12pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Klannex Northmead and featuring: CassyLark 8pm Poetry Circle, hosted by: Jael Constantine and featuring: Kamille Kamala

Duos crosses lines and joins the music line up on these special spoken word and music days. Story teller and DJ Fox Ravenheart presents : Stories of the Season and Music

Thurs. Oct 13th from 7:30 pm to 9pm Sun. Oct 21st from 3pm to 5pm

*** Monday Oct. 31st

1pm slt Last Call - a mixed media event 2pm slt Remembrance & Renewal (daytime session)

29 | Wordmonger


CoPoWriMo

get ready for It! october is CopowriMo this year - Comedy poetry writing Month. the aim is to write a comedy poem a day, from a couplet to full length spoof or anything in between. spread some happiness by copying this challenge at your favorite venues and on websites off sl too. you can also post your daily poems in the CopowriMo forum on http://www.writtenword.ning.com and don't forget to say lol to somebody at least once a day! Bring your poems to the written word writers Circle on wednesdays at 3pm slt, to sounds of poems at 3pm slt, and to your other favorite events. Make 'em laugh all over the place. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cookie/8/238/22 http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cookie/135/118/22 for more information, contact Jilly kidd (sl)


Wordmonger Magazine October 2011  

A publication focusing on the literary arts community in Second Life

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you