Beware the Red Cape – The Beginning 

“Jezzibelle! Jezzibelle! Where are you?”  Mama calls out.  

She washes her hands with lye soap as she looks out the open window.  Mama is nervous about sending the girl off alone.  She is of age now, but so easily swayed from her chores.  Mama knows the family trait to do the easy gains runs deep in her.  But Mama’s love can cure all ills.  Her Mama told her the way to be.  It’s that figure Jezzibelle is developing she is more concerned with. 

Her own Mama has not responded to the traditional cures.  Leaches have proved ineffective to her maladies.  Herbal wraps have made her skin glow in the palest of white, lacking the rudiness of life.  Charcoal chunks have pasted through her without taking the problem with them.

Mama shuffles through bottles of homemade wine.  Dandelion wine, it’s pale yellow color and gentle flavor would be prefect for a picnic.  Today it’s a message to get well.  A smoked chunk of beef rests inside a burlap sack.  Two half pieces of bread complete the basket.  A single sage smudge stick wrapped inside kept out and bugs.

“Where is that girl?  I shouldn’t trust her.  My Mama isn’t getting better since Jezzibelle has taken over the role of care taker.  I hope Jezzibelle isn’t a burden to her.  Mama loves her so.  The red cape of velvet came from her grandmother.  It gave her a certain glow of vibrant womanhood at the young age.  And I remember being that age….The day Derrick came to the farm…I could careless he was so much older.  There are men waiting to get a hold of her.  Her uncles tell me how much she would fetch us.  Maybe the men know best.  It’s a lot of money.  She will need someone to keep her well.”  Mama reflects on the regrets of life and what future her daughter will be strattled with.

“Mama, what is it.  I was playing with Mindy’s dog.  He’s so cute.  I wish we could have that dog.  He keeps the ghastly beasts from the forest at bay.  Please, could we get one! I really think it would be best.  They haven’t lost a single chicken in months. And I would…” Jezzibelle tries to plead her case.

“Enough child!  You know what I need from you.  Take that basket to grandmother!  She hasn’t been by.  She still bed ridden.  You must take care of her for me.  I packed it well.  It’s early.  The field and woods will be cool.  Make haste child.  If it gets too warm the animals will smell the food.  They will stalk you, and steal the food.  Those ugly old wolves might hunt you too.  Take your cape!  Grandmother will only recognize you in it.  Her vision was really poor last week.”  Mama is nervous and shaking.  “Don’t you snoop around her corners!  She will hear you!  She doesn’t like snoops.  You may get her home one day.”

“Mama, I love grandmother.  Will she be ok?  I fear she’ll die.  I’ll never have her long enough. I want her to know my babies.  I don’t want to live there without her.” Jezzibelle kicks at her feet and tries to avoid her mother’s gaze.  

“Stay on the path!  Don’t stop to talk to anyone!  There are strangers who might want this food or try to take you away.  A pretty girl like you needs to be careful around strangers.” Mama warns her.

“You worry too much, Mama.  I’ll be fine.  I have seen a few people in my trips.  They know me now.  They will help me.”  Jezzibelle puts her hand on Mama’s arm.

Mama looks at her with a mix of unsure feelings and hope. Her heart lends itself to worrying about one thing at a time.  


Can You Spot all the Sea Monsters in this 16th-Century Map? | Atlas Obscura

Hmm, if I lived in Scandinavia would I load the North Sea with monsters to scare away others?

Don’t Talk to Strangers 

This is part of a challenge, I have taken the liberty to alter the wording.  

Moral Mondays: “Never Talk to Strangers” – Moral Mondays
“Oh my God! Are you alright?!”  Natalie screams out.

Her foot comes down on a leg.  A hidden leg of a person that should have been run over when the car was parked.

“I am fine.  You could have killed me.”  The torn clothes cover a body.  The voice is weak older woman.  ” You give me a hand getting up, won’t you sweetie?!”  

Natalie reaches down with a hand and arm under her shoulder.  The feeling is electric.

The women is a sack.  The sack reveals a beauty growing taller than herself.  The dark eyes glow.

“Didn’t anyone tell you, don’t talk to strangers!”  The witch smiles down at the feeble old Natalie.  

Sliding into the heels, the witch walks down the street. 

Camera Lucida – Sign

Beginning of Sugar Sand Festival
Remember When?
Andrew Jackson's home
Guitars outside the Grand Ole Opry
Self explanatory. 😉

What Lies Inside – Schwartzberg Castle

Sie wurden gewarnt! (you were warned)

The sign clear on message didn’t register.   The castle shown it’s frame.   Large sandstone walls turn dark the ground.    It’s former windows frame blue skies on the other side.  The forest clearing didn’t seem to allow light to cast shadows from the walls.

Eli leans against a wrought iron fence surrounding their destination.  “Hey, I see a door! Let’s get in before someone find us here.”

Henry has been standing back. Staring at the walls.   There’s a feeling here.   It’s almost as if it wants to say something to them. “You know it says ‘ you were warned’.  You got the guys to go in!”

An arch dark as twilight formed a ten foot tall door. The six foot width fastened with cross bars. Twin metal bars project outward. They produce an audible clunk noise. The door doesn’t budge. After a couple tries, both push against the chunk of wood. It creaks and groans. An inch, then two. Another push yields a foot, no more.

The other side is a hollow building. Dark floors and ceiling wedge between walls. A world filled with furnishings looks trapped in time. Over twenty meters away, the far corner walls are gone. Not toppled, just gone.
The small opening in the door allows passage in. The light stays mostly outside.

“Henry, do you hear it? It’s like a whisper.”

“Man, you are in coolest place ever. Are you scared?” Henry hides his own nerves better. He hears but can’t tell what it is.

They stare at each other. A low sound slides with a chair across the room. A cool breeze points out the chair. The air is stale. Movement stops before it’s seen. But the sound send to keep moving through the room. Voices lost in whispers echo.

“Its getting dark. You staying in here, Eli? I’m waiting to see what comes out at night.” Henry smiles his words hang in the air.

“Me and my shadow aren’t going anywhere.” Eli points at a dark spot besude him. Irregular black patch rests at his feet. There is no light to cast it. It wasn’t noticed at first.

“Eek! Let’s hide in the sleeping bags! Really, man. It’s just an old castle.”

In silence, two bags are laid out. They stare out into space. No human voices to be heard. Whispers never really leave the air.

In a second, it’s dark. Wind enters from the door. Dust spins veils above them.

Henry wakes up to see Eli. Standing on the table. He is reaching toward the ceiling. “No! No! Noooo!” His eyes see a friend fall of table, but not falling. The image burns through his mind. Screams turn to muttering bits of words not known.

The struggle to gain control takes forever. When the fog clears. Two college friends square at each other. They know what they saw. It was the other hung by a noose.

The whispers clear up in their ears. “You were warned, Sie wurden gewarnt” Over and over.

Part 1 below

Tale Weaver #25 – Wicked Witch Visits


The warm morning air hangs over suburbia.   The sun beats down with a hammer of fire.   From behind me a shadow grows to my right.

My mind says ‘oh dear God now what? Its the crazy widow again’.  Out loud I throw out a “hello, how are you today?” I don’t look up just getting mail ready for the next box.

“Eeehhh hee hee.  Mr Mailman, I’ve been looking for you.  My dear, I have a deal.” Amanda Gilch like voice carries through my skull rather then my ears.

“Nice hat,  Mrs Wilson.  I thought for a second…” my voice stopped cold mid turn.

“You know me, don’t you?!  I have a deal for you.  I do love making wishes happen.  Make a wish, a curse, anything to anyone.  I’ll grant you once.  But there’s a price!” Her fingers are waving back and further.   They are so incredibly long.   Her face is a green blur.   I know it but I can’t stop looking at bony, lumpy finger.

“My boss.   Outside like me, all November in the rain, eight hours a day!” I hiss.  No thought required.   The price not a factor in my hypnotic state.

“Oooh my!  You really most love her. You’ll pay too!   Every minute she feels the November rain, so do you my sweetie.   Eeehhh hee heee!!  Your misery is my pleasure! ”

I stare at her barely blinking.   “What do you think I do all day lady?!  Her name is Darla.   Your cousin Darla.   She can’t melt either!   Every day she feels what I feel.   That’s our deal!”

My head spins.   The haze of hypnosis fades.

“You must touch her tho cast your spell, Mr Mailman.”  She lifts off the ground , no flying monkeys in sight.

Part of a challenge from Mindless Misery Menagerie which supplied prompt and theme.