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Boils and ghouls, gather in, because I will be intermittently narrating this roadtrip when I am not driving, napping or reading (expect very little from me, kiddies).
Matty and I planned to leave at 5 a.m. (absolutely medieval). Here we are, an hour later, departing this earth on this journey an hour late. Ah, well. A Hilton’s life for me.
Watch for updates, my festering follower(s)! (Namely, Catty Patty.)

Update, 6:12 a.m.
Yes, we have already listened to (and sang our hearts out to) “Total Eclipse of the Heart (Fart).”
That was, like, first thing.

Update, 9:37 a.m.
I had a very, very brief nap. Thirty minutes or so. It sucked.
I can’t find a Chick-fil-a so I can get a friggin chicken biscuit and we’re in Dexter, Mo. So yeah, I’m feeling stabby.

Update, 12:45 p.m.
Driving. Hate Kentucky. Ordered an egg and cheese biscuit at Hardee’s this morning. Got an egg and no cheese biscuit.
Non-stop rain.
Stopped at Flying J in Fort Campbell. Dreadful.
Have noticed husband will do anything to not study.
Saw a soggy, nasty cardboard box blowing along the road, getting repeatedly run over. Reminded me of Patty.
It’s going to rain for the full 14 hours, isn’t it?

Update, 4:27 p.m.
I just finished my second painfully short nap of the day. I woke up in time to endure…wait for it…Chattanooga.
On the bright side, the rain stopped, and I can see all the lovely colors in the trees – orange for jack-o-lanterns, yellow for bile, green for a sinus infection and burnt red for that time I ran over a chupacabra.

Update, 9:19 p.m.
This will be my last transmission, as I will either fail to survive this trip or destroy Google Maps out of sheer desperation.
Coming up on Dexter, Ga. The world wants us to feel all stabby.
Dear reader (Patty), I hope you’re not too terribly pleased that I’m going to be late for my haunted tour tonight. I will remedy my misery by consuming a lot of discount Halloween candy tomorrow.
Until Sunday,
I remain(s),
Long-trip Leona


sleep cycle 10.28.13

While driving and listening to “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker (thanks, Jess), I suddenly had a vision of what the world might have looked like in prehistoric times, when giant snails roamed the earth.*
I pictured them as wide as two lanes of highway. Matt asked me (because of course I described this to him) if people could ride them, like in “The Neverending Story.” I said yes, but they would not be goofy looking like the one in “The Neverending Story.” They would be serious, real snails.
This led to a discussion about where snail shells come from.
“Are snails born with shells?” I asked him. “Or is it like a hermit crab kind of thing and they have to find one?”
“I think they’re born with them,” he said.
“But when do they start developing their shells? Maybe, if I were a snail, there would just be a bunch of empty shells floating around in my ute (yep, I call it that), waiting for fetal snails to find them.”
Matt pointed to his fingernails, which is a difficult thing to do if you point with both hands (he doesn’t, but still).
“You’re born with fingernails,” he said.
“It’s your typical chicken-and-the-egg question,” I said, ignoring his logic.
I wondered whether hermit crabs were born with soft shells and had to find bigger ones as they grew.
“If they’re not born with them,” Matt said, referring to the snails again, “do they inhabit the shells of dead snails? ”
“Probably so,” I said. “Maybe for snails, shells are like Social Security numbers, and they reassign them after they die.”

*“The Age of Miracles” has nothing to do with giant, prehistoric snails.

I am really looking forward to American Horror Story.

I also kinda miss True Blood.

I began this story about two years ago but never finished it, so I figured, “I haven’t posted anything since January. What the hey.” Here ya go.

We weren’t exactly born with the knowledge of our destiny inside us. No, we weren’t like the hero of some tale who is convinced of the fire inside him and, while he may not know the specifics, he knows his general purpose.
Not until we came together did we see it. We were going to save the world.

Matt had a crossbow, but he kept it in the storage closet in his loft, behind the large trash can he still had from his old place but had never gotten rid of. He had some extra chairs in there, too, so I never knew about it until after we got married and we moved in together.
I found it in a box in the garage while I was looking for one of my Buddha heads.
I wandered back into the house with it.
“Maaaaaatt…” I called.
He appeared around the corner from the stairwell, busy putting together his extra-long twin bed in one of the spare bedrooms, the bed of his former life as a single man.
“What is this?” I asked while holding up the crossbow. I already knew what it was, but I wondered why he had it.
“Oh,” he said, smiling. “It’s one of my thrift store finds.”
He had several of those, including a puke-green corduroy couch that sagged like an old crone in the middle and weighed as much as my Honda Civic.
“And why did you think you would ever need this?”
“Thrift store treasures are not always about need,” he answered (rather cryptically, I might add).

The trinkets I had once collected came to Matt’s attention when my dad dropped off a box he had found in the garage.
“I thought you might want these,” Dad said, handing over a box labeled “Antiques” while we stood in the parking lot behind my office building.
When I got home, I asked Matt to bring it in, as it was somewhat heavy.
“What’s in here?” he wanted to know.
I opened it and showed him the items I had collected for several years during what I referred to as my death metal phase.
I had scoured eBay for some rare finds and had often forked over a considerable sum for an object of my desire. I accumulated silver knives, bronze throwing stars, horned “brass” knuckles that were actually silver, daggers dulled by misuse, ancient-looking shears and a lot more.
These items were certainly antiques in that I was not their first owner and each had a story to tell. More than a certificate of authenticity, I appreciated the story behind a piece.
For instance, I had an ornately etched silver knife in a leather sheath that had reportedly been used in a fatal fight between two gypsies.
The eBay description of the horned silver knuckles read: “We found these in my grandmother’s things after she passed. Nobody in our family knows why she had them. Perhaps they, like my grandmother, have a mysterious past.”
I was delighted to acquire a part of a mystery.

We barely escaped our first brush with our intertwined destiny, Matt and I.
After a particularly long and mind-numbing Tuesday, I fell into bed in a stupor. Matt hadn’t been too far behind me, as he was asleep next to me when the cat went galloping across my head and woke me up a little after 9 p.m. I hissed at the cat to knock it off when I noticed a shadow over the window.
That’s odd, I thought. There’s not even a tree there.
It could have been a bird, I guessed, but it was rather large. Maybe one of the street lights had gone out.
I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t get the image of that shadow out of my mind. It had looked like it had a head and shoulders, like a person. But that was just my overwrought brain, I thought.
I opened my eyes again and peered at it. The shadow was utterly still. It was certainly not a bird. Well, I’m already awake, I thought, so I got out of bed to look out the window. As soon as I began to move, the shadow moved, too. I stopped in my tracks.
“Matt,” I said in a loud whisper. No response. I slowly sat back on the bed, never taking my eyes off the shadow.
“Matt!” I said more loudly.
“Is everything OK?” he asked sleepily.
“There’s something at the window!” I said.
He started to get up.
“Don’t move!” I said. “It knows we’re here!”
“It?” he asked.
That’s when the glass shattered. I scrambled backward to Matt’s side of the bed while he stood. Whatever had been behind the window seemed to be moving into the room. Grabbing whatever I could get my hands on, I began throwing pillows at the dark shape, but it was large and moving in our direction. Was I crazy or could I hear ragged breathing? Someone was breaking into our home.
I didn’t want to die at the hands of this intruder.
Apparently, neither did Matt, because he threw an item he was able to find in the dark — the silver dagger. He told me later that he had been examining it and brought it upstairs to put away in the closet but, after seeing I was asleep, didn’t want to disturb me and left it in its sheath on his nightstand. He remembered it was there, groped for it in the dark and unsheathed it. Then he threw it at the figure.
What I believed was a person released a terrifying groan, haggard and deep. I continued to back away from it, eventually falling on the floor next to the bed. The intruder flailed and made horrible noises.
A light went on in the bedroom — Matt had run to the light switch — but my mind remained dark. I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing.
The intruder could have been mistaken for homeless. He was dressed in tattered, dirty rags, and clumps of dirt clung to him. Sunk squarely in his chest was the silver dagger.
I clapped my hands over my mouth and moaned. Did we just kill a homeless person?
He had sunk to his knees on the carpet, and finally my eyes registered something else that seemed terribly off. He leered at me with dark yellow eyes and his mouth sagged open with what looked like dried blood trailing the corners along his lips.
He made a sudden lunge at me. I screamed and Matt pulled me back towards him. The intruder fell face-first on the floor and was still.

Though our first instincts had been to call 911, the intruder’s body had disintegrated into thin air. A crackling sound like static electricity building up preceded it. Then, as we watched, dark flakes floated from his skin into the air, slowly at first, but then more quickly. Finally, all that was left were the clothes.
“What is he? A frickin’ vampire or something?” I screamed hysterically.

Hours later, we were both sitting in the kitchen, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Though I hadn’t even believed my own word for the creature at first, I couldn’t understand what I’d seen otherwise.
Matt and I had debated about whether to call 911.
“And tell them what? That a man broke in, you threw a dagger at him and then he disintegrated?!?” I asked.
“We have to call somebody!” he had said.
We didn’t know what to do, but we spent many long hours considering it.

To be continued … ? To be continued? Yes. To be continued.

Sept. 2
I took Chevy and Astrid to my parents’ house. I left for a while, and when I came back, my dad said "There’s been an accident. One of the kittens is dead."
"Which one?" I whispered.
I broke into a soundless, tearless scream, a silent sob full of devastation and anguish.
And there was Astrid, except she didn’t look like Astrid. She looked like their orange brother, who I shall now call the Grim.
I awoke, thinking this had been real. Then I reached out and found Chevy on the other pillow. I petted her and was relieved.
Sept. 4
At the earliest moment I could remember in an epic utopia/nightmare, I was floating along in a cloud with some friends.
We were talking. It was pleasant. But it was time to land. I found myself shot out of the cloud, hurtling feet first toward the earth.
Apprehensive about landing too hard, I watched a speedometer that appeared at the right side of my vision, like in a video game.
I landed in a wooded area. Whereas it had been a bright, beautiful day in the cloud and while falling through the sky, now it was darkest night, and I was alone.
Something evil lurked nearby, I knew. I could not see it, but when looking up at the star-filled sky, I could monitor its location in the stars.
As it grew nearer to me, I fled to a cabin.
From the windows, and now it was dusk, I watched activity in another cabin across the way.
The cats appeared. Though afraid of opening the door, I did so to call them inside.
In came four cats – Chevy and Astrid, as small kittens, and two other cats. I knew one of these I had adopted before Chevy, but I could not remember its name, and I felt very guilty for that.
I continued to watch the other cabin, where I was certain unspeakable evil was about to take place.
Though Buffy Summers, as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was suddenly present, that other evil summoned her spirit to another plane.
She fell unconscious to the ground, while our friends (also suddenly present) and I watched events unfold as if projected on a screen in front of us.
His name was the Butcher, and he had always stalked Buffy and her family.
We saw how Buffy’s parents met – in a disco in the 70s. Though Buffy is white, they were inexplicably black. We saw the Butcher’s gang come for Buffy’s father – killing him in a disco – for her mother and finally, for Buffy herself in a supermarket.
The reason the Butcher sought Buffy, he showed us, was because he was looking for her face. When he saw her father’s face and then her mother’s face, he put pictures of a half of each together and it looked like Buffy’s face.
This odd picture hung over Buffy as the Butcher set to work. She was unconscious and only a head and shoulders attached to electrodes. Her eyes were sewn shut.
Buffy’s friends – the Scoobies – and I rallied together to try to save her.
Willow flew to the Butcher’s cabin while Cordelia showed the Butcher that she had power of attorney over Buffy and therefore was the only person authorized to make medical decisions regarding Buffy and her organs.
When the Scoobies finally arrived, the Butcher had removed most of Buffy’s parts and had them laying out on a towel.
The Butcher’s girlfriend entered, as did her lover. The Butcher ordered his monkeys to attack the cheating girlfriend. Xander stepped in to try to save her, but Willow pointed out that he needed to rescue Buffy, as the monkeys were also trying to eat her parts.
"Save her before nothing is left but fries!" Willow said.
The thought of monkeys eating Buffy’s innards – and the concept that some of her innards might be French fries – was finally the disgusting catalyst for awaking me.
I realized there never had been another cat, which is why I couldn’t remember its name, and I felt much better. I found Chevy and gave her a hug.

When you find a glob of leftover soap on the edge of your coffee cup, your first thought is "It’s some sophisticated poison."

Jessica’s desperately funny life, as viewed through her only two datebook entries last week: Wednesday, May 19: Joe the ‘Plumer’ (What does he do, make plumes?) Saturday, May 22: Make potato salad for church

"Sarah, we think you might enjoy…
"’Kontroll’ – In the dismal world of the Budapest subway system, ticket inspector Bulcsú (Sándor Csányi) and his crew cope with everything from freeloaders to a hooded killer, while reaffirming their ability to survive each day by engaging in competitions with other crews. First-time director Nimród Antal helms this Hungarian box office smash hit and winner of the Prix de la Jeunes award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival."
I turned on my TV this morning, and the station it was tuned to – the last station to have been viewed – was ESPN. This is too eerie. We all know I do not watch anything having to do with sports. I must have a ghost that is obsessed with SportsCenter.