Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Another sleepless night.

July13

I’m tired but can’t get to sleep.

I hate having insomnia.

I did, however, seize this chance to write a new Secret Chicago piece, so check it out.

I’m also working on an essay for a contest. It’s 1500 words, completing the thought “I never thought I’d…”

My first thought was “I never thought I’d utter the words “Don’t eat that, it’s no longer food!” ” and then talk about being a parent of a toddler. Then I thought that might be too trite and not inspiring enough, so I’m going to write about how I never thought I’d enjoy math but I had a (female) teacher who didn’t assume I couldn’t do math because I have a vagina, and who encouraged me to tutor other students in Geometry, and now I’m an adult and am tutoring other adult women in basic math so they can get their GEDs, go to college, improve their lives, etc and for the first time in their lives they feel that they CAN do math, they CAN understand it, they CAN use it… that they are smart and can get math things done even though they are lady-types and lady-types suck at math. Math is beautiful and elegant and I wish teachers had SHOWED ME that as a kid.

I might write the “no longer food” essay anyway and post it online someplace.

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036 Black Cat

December17

There’s a small elementary school not far from Balmoral Race Track, in the distant South Suburbs of Chicago, not far from Indiana. Near that school was an abandoned church, which was torn down in the late 1990s after a series of disturbing events.

During the late 1980s and very early 1990s, locals were very disturbed to find cats nailed to the door of the church on what seemed to be random dates. Concerned parents set themselves up in deer blinds to try and catch the perpetrator or perpetrators, however no one was ever caught in the act. Further, nobody in the vicinity ever reported their pets going missing, leading some to deduce that the perpetrators were either using barn cats or feral cats (tricky animals to catch), or else importing cats from miles away.

Parents and teachers admonished local children about witchcraft and satanism, warned them to stay away from grave yards and strangers, and chalked the proceedings up as an unsolved mystery.

One bright autumn morning in 1991, two teens walking through the woods found a wallet. Opening it, they found no ID or credit cards, but they did find money and condom still in its wrapper. One of the pair took out the money and then pocketed the wallet, resolving to turn it in to the cops after their walk– a walk that was interrupted by them tripping over what turned out to be the nude, half-eaten corpse of a young man. Most of his face was gone, as were his hands, making indentifcation difficult. The forensic examiner determined that the majority of bite marks on him were feline in nature, but was unable to determine cause of death. No more cats were found nailed to the church door, and it stood abandoned until it began listing to one side, under the effects of winter and neglect.

It took a while to resolve ownership of the building, but it was condemned and torn down. The small cemetery attached to it remains, and continues to be a local hang out for teens escaping parental supervision.

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035 Organ

December15

The stretch of houses on St. Louis between Lawrence and the River is primarily brick two and three flats. One of these, a dark red brick two flat with the front porch converted to an enclosed sun room, and blown roses leaning limply against the iron fence, is frequently host to odd music. Passers by notice this music at random hours of the day and early evening, rarely at night. It sounds like a polka played one and a half times normal speed, on an organ. Nobody in the neighborhood plays the organ, and although pedestrians and neighbors pinpoint the music’s location consistently as being this particular house, those within the house claim never to hear it while indoors.

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Secret Chicago/Fiction updates

December15

I’m cutting back Secret Chicago updates to twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I just couldn’t maintain an every day schedule… the ideas clogged up in my brain arteries. The habit of writing at least 100 words every day was a good one, though, and one that I need to continue.

Does anyone have suggestions for short story publications, especially horror, that I can submit actual short stories to? I’ve been doing research on my own, but do you have a favorite magazine or webzine that you read or submit to? If so, please comment with links/info.

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034 Zebra Mussels

December4

In 1988, a Russian vessel mistakenly emptied its bilge into Lake St. Claire. The living contents of that bilge water migrated through the great lakes, some of it ending up in Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Every few summers since then, residents of Chicago notice that the water, which comes from the Lake, tastes odd. Some describe it as “greenish” tasting, or “almost grassy.” The City issues bulletins and news casters make announcements. The water is safe to drink, the water is perfectly fine. There is simply an overgrowth of zebra mussels, which affects the water’s taste but nothing more.

While zebra mussels are an invasive species that have fundamentally changed the nature of the lake, and while they do have life cycles that rise and fall, it is not the zebra mussels that change the taste of the water.

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033 CTA

December3

It is somewhat surprising, perhaps, that despite the large number of deaths due to accident, murder, and suicide, that the CTA trains are not thickly haunted. Some theorize that the electrified third rail keeps spirits at bay, the live electricity having the same effect running water is said to have on supernatural entities.

Buses, however, are a different matter.

Henry Collins had the night route for the 92 Foster bus. It was a nice night, clear and calm, and ridership was low. He was heading westbound when he pulled over for someone waiting at Pulaski. The passenger boarded the bus, a girl “about 11 or 12 years old,” wearing a red pea coat, dark grey pleated skirt and knee socks, black shoes, and no hat. She laughed and dashed down the aisle, ignoring his “fare, miss.” and taking a seat at the back of the bus. Mr. Collins, a large man, stood up and went down the aisle after her. She startled visibly as he approached her, and to his utter amazement, vanished.

Although he kept his eyes open, Mr. Collins never saw his ghostly rider again on the Foster route.

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032 Knock

December2

The unseen preys most heavily on those who are alone: those who are alone for the night, and those who spend their lives alone. Prey animals are most vulnerable when separated from the rest of the herd, after all.

When alone, one might barely hear a soft knock at the door. The sound is so faint that one will pause and listen again. It is odd, how so faint a sound can carry through whatever else one is doing. The knock will come again, weak, slightly louder. There may be a compulsion to check the door, to check the lock, to check the chain. There may be a compulsion to open the door and see what brushes against it.

Do not open the door.

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031 Dogs and Cats

December1

It is not common, on dark lonely nights, to see the family dog rise suddenly and advance towards an otherwise innocuous spot, hackles raised and growling. Perhaps it is a closet door, a closed door on an empty bedroom, a spot on the wall, the dining room. It is of the utmost importance to pay attention to these occurrences, and to act. Invite a priest into the home to cleanse and bless it. Keep the home well lit. Do not stay there alone, but invite loved ones to spend time with you.

Conversely, a cat acting the same way can safely be ignored.

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y halo thr

November30

I missed some Secret Chicago posts, so I went and posted a lump of them. I was going to backdate them and pretend that nothing had happened, but then I got lazy. Hurrr.

I’m going to try and work on a buffer so this doesn’t happen again. I considered easing back on daily posts for Secret Chicago, but then decided that I need the exercise and the discipline so I’m going to try and keep doing it.

In other news, we’re still unpacking (but finally have a kitchen that looks like a kitchen), we have a baby who thinks sleep is for loser assholes tyvm, and the cookies I made for Thanksgiving were a super huge hit.

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030 Laurel

November30

In late November of 1941, Myrna Mitchell finished feeding her 8 month old son, Laurel, breakfast. She left him in his high chair with an arrowroot teething biscuit and a spoon “to keep him occupied” while she went into the kitchen to wash up from breakfast. Halfway through her last load, she heard a small sound. She turned the water off, and heard Larry laughing and jabbering to himself. She went back to her dish washing, wiped down the counters, and swept the floor.

When she returned to the dining room, she found a gnawed-on, still damp teething biscuit on the floor next to the high chair. His bib had been removed and placed on the seat of the high chair. The child was gone.

Myrna called the police, who found all the windows closed and the front and back doors both locked. No one in the neighborhood had seen any strangers in the area at the time of the abduction. No ransom note was forthcoming.

One sensationalist newspaper reported that a strange foot print was found beneath one of the dining room windows, and that it was shaped like a goat hoof. It’s true that a foot print was found, and casts were made of it. The police report denotes it as a shoe print, although the cast has been lost.

In December of 1941, one month after Larry’s disappearance, Myrna thought she heard a child’s voice over the speaking tube leading up from the lobby of the two flat she and her husband lived in. She ran downstairs, finding no child. The spoon Larry had been playing with was neatly laid on the bottom step, however; shining gently. Snow had fallen a few hours previously and not yet been cleared away. There were no foot prints.

In January of 1942, again on the anniversary of the child’s disappearance, Myrna discovered the shoes and romper he had been wearing stuffed into the mailbox.

In February, on that fateful date, Myrna discovered a small white envelope slipped in the morning newspaper. It contained a lock of Larry’s hair.

In March, near what would have been his first birthday, Myrna received a package in the mail; it was wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and had no return address. Herbert Mitchell, her husband, reports that she went very pale upon receiving it and rushed out of the house. She was later found dead in an alley. The package was never recovered; neither was Larry’s body.

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