Wednesday, July 19, 2006

THE ADVENTURES OF THE AMAZING BENANDANTI


The Amazing Benandanti performs at the Chamber of Horrors Sideshow at a Marina in a town called Duwamish Bay.


The Sideshow has been in the same building for over 50 years and its star attraction has performed there since the first day the doors opened.


Over the years other performers have aged and died, moved on or disappeared.


All except for the Amazing Benandanti.


It was SUPPOSED to be sideshow secret along the Marina; the original Amazing Benandanti had a look- a-like daughter who in time took over the act. Of course, she's billed as an Immortal who learned her magic secrets from the Egyptians or Druids, or sometimes she was supposed to have been a student who studied Magic under Merlin himself.


The Amazing Benandanti is a Death Defying Escape Artist...tie her in chains, put her in a tank of water and watch as she escapes from a watery grave; she also performs a routine she calls " Chasing the Rabbit” which involves an Electric Chair once used in the most infamous now abandoned Prison in the state of Washington: Maplewood.


The Chair is her favorite part of her entire act because as she will tell you, there's no such thing as going over the top when you're suppose to be getting electrocuted. It appeals to her sense of theatrics, which are after all in the true spirit of the Sideshow.


Her eyes roll, her body convulses, blood trickles from her eyes and ears, wisps of smoke make their way from her slightly parted lips and then her blood red eyes change back to dark brown, she turns her wrists, the straps snap off and she stands and then takes a deep bow.


Among her other acts are the Escape from the Gallows and the Revenge of the Condemned.


Some nights as a treat for her self as much as for her audience The Amazing Benandanti summons ghosts, demons and other strange creatures that are part animal, part human. They are vaporous images but solid enough to touch.

That part of the act is always somewhat unpredictable and because of that The Amazing Benandanti doesn't like to perform it very often because one night a creature that was part horse and part crocodile nearly took her head off.


She will tell the crowd, as she prepares to open the doorway to not talk to the apparitions. They will ask you a question and if you answer...she won't be able to guarantee what happens next nor will she be able to guarantee your safety.


Sometimes because it's a simple pleasure and she enjoys it The Amazing Benandanti sits out front and performs little slight of hand tricks for people walking along the Boardwalk before her first show of the evening. She gives lessons and patiently explains how to make coins disappear and reappear again. There are magic scarves and dancing rope tricks that she can teach you to perform. She keeps all of these props in a well-worn, heavily snickered travel trunk.


Reach in, pull out a prop and the Amazing Benandanti will teach you magic too.


The Amazing Benandanti, like all good Sideshow performers does have her secrets. One is she's never in over 50 years surrendered her billing to anyone. Her ego would never allow that. There has only ever been one Amazing Benandanti, which is more then enough as anyone who knows her will be glad to tell you.


The second is The Amazing Benandanti isn't really a Magician.


Kincross Benandanti is a Werewolf, but like a lot of us she has her talents too. And one of those talents involves seeing into the next world.


That's how she came to see the riders camped on the railroad tracks. Not by, but on the tracks themselves. They were phantoms of course but that didn't mean they couldn't cause damage. The grass and shrubs along the tracks were starting to die and the air started to smell a bit stale and old.


Not that anyone noticed, these tracks ran below street level and were not exactly the type of place you paid attention too even when you did look down. The tracks were littered with trash and pigeons and crows roost wherever they can land. It wasn't pleasant to look at and the smell coming up to the sidewalk above was foul.


For nearly a week Kincross had been watching the three of them as they appeared at each sunset. Earlier in the evening they were almost transparent and as people above walked by they reached to the back of their necks or pulled their jackets a little closer to their bodies. Some of the people even stopped suddenly and turned around, like they expected to see someone following them.


By the time the moon raised the Riders were as real and solid looking as nightmare creatures made flesh can get.


One evening, as she stood on the bridge that looked down onto the tracks she watched the three riders come to life with more speed then they had on previous days and she wondered, what exactly were they?


She was puzzled and wondered how to satisfy her curiosity about these things. In the end she took her years of predatory experience, considered several options she learned in thousands of years of war experience, reached down, picked up a bottle and threw it at the head of the tallest figure.


It made contact with a thud that made Kincross wince and she said with genuine feeling “that has got to hurt”


Then the tall one looked up at her, directly into her eyes and hissed, it opened its mouth wide and thick yellow green mucus oozed out from the corners of its thin-scarred lips.


It was drooling.


That's when she ran.


Kincross was so distracted by what she had seen that earlier that evening she managed to make herself look like an amateur at her 10:00 show.

When her executioner pulled the lever on the trap door of the gallows and the very real hangman's noose tightened and yanked up just behind her ear, the language she used as she was snapped back up was not good. “


Hey,” she said to loudly " you’re suppose to nod before you do that so I can make myself ready…”


Her friend Clara the Alligator woman said, from under her executioner’s hood, “Mouth Danti!”


“Well, I'm sorry Clara “she croaked the rope is pulling my shirt up for Pete’s sake and something is tearing in my neck.”


“It’s supposed to be breaking your neck stupid!” Clara said starting to loose her temper “for Pete's sake shut your mouth and start choking!”


So before the act fell apart The Amazing Benandanti kicked, choked and struggled for air...she was giving a very good impersonation of not only a dieing woman, but a woman in agony, much to the delight of her audience.


She went rigid, and then limp and the rope creaked and sounded as loud as gunshots as she swayed back and forth from the end of the noose.


Then as if she were in slow motion on film, the dead woman twitched, kicked and seemed to slither up back up through the trap door. It looked like an invisible hand was pulling her; rope and all back up towards the scaffold's arm. Then while she seemed to be hanging in midair facing the audience her eyes snapped open.

And flamed red, red as coals in a fire.

“Ladies and Gentleman " cried Jesse the Cyclops from the side of the stage " the death defying Amazing Benandanti!”


Kincross lowered back onto the scaffold and worked the rope away from her neck and took her bow and when the curtains snapped shut on the stage Jesse gave her thumbs up.

“Good work ladies, I really liked the part when you vomited those entire four letter words when you're suppose to be dieing at the end of the rope Danti. Are you going to make that a permanent part of your death scene?' "


“Hey it's that touch of reality that makes the act”


“Sure, sure.” Jesse the real life Cyclops said, “Like this place has anything to do with reality.


That's the way it was at the Chamber of Horrors, which was part of a permanent Sideshow act down the street from the Guzman Curio Shoppe.


Reality was only a theory here on the Marina.


Jesse really was a Cyclops, all 7 feet and one eye in the center of his forehead of him. He was a friend of Kincross' from the very, very old days. He had been living in Olympic Peninsula in Washington State for several years when Kincross found him...and offered him work.


He wasn't sure exactly who set up the Sideshow, but it was a good place to be if you wanted to hide in the open. This was a relief from hiding in the shadows. Ask anyone who’s tried it. It’s enough to make you crazy.


So mixed among the fakes was Jesse, Wintra and Summer the Conjoined twins who's real talent was seeing into the past, but for the Sideshow they performed Victorian parlor music on violins and other stringed instruments, and Clara the Alligator Woman. There was nothing supernatural about Clara's skin condition, but at east she had a job and could walk around in the open.


Among the medical curiosities displayed in glass cases, the human oddities and artwork a woman with scaly skin was hardly noticeable. This is why she worked so many acts. She in her 45 years went from living in a mental institution to being a stage performer. Clara had always wanted to be an actress and as far as she was concerned, her mission had been well accomplished.


Now we come to The Amazing Benandanti.

Kincross was a faker of sorts; nothing she did was magic...exactly.


In fact she couldn't tell you if she was human or monster; she couldn't tell you how old she is. She came from the Mountains, but she's not sure which ones. None that are standing now, that she's sure of.


Then in one evening in less then 10 minutes her life changed...at last.


Kincross was watching the Sunset yet again and the sight of it going through the same old routine almost cost her sanity when she was captured and forced into a place where all she could do was sleep and dream.


It was a relief really.


After she was rescued from the Catacombs by the Franciscan Monks who discovered her sleeping beneath their Abbey where she had been imprisoned by a rogue witch and her vampire companion she promised herself more then a new life. She promised herself to become something else altogether.


That's why she ran away and joined the circus, that's why she almost ignored the Riders at the Railroad Tracks.


But old habits die-hard and that's why she threw the bottle...


Only these Riders, as she was about to learn were about to create some changes of their own.


When the Moon was full three days later on Halloween Kincross was going to find that out exactly what it was they were about to change.


The last week of October is a very big thing on the Marina.


The Guzman's Curio Shoppe displays its newest finds at Halloween, it's a tradition.

Their stock, things like shrunken heads, exotic plants and mummified remains of all sorts are spiffed up and their cases draped in orange and black crepe paper streamers. Akela, Ignancia’ s Guzman's sister, could not only be counted on to bring back treasures and curiosities like the Mummy of the Egyptian Priestess that made the entire Marina famous, she could tell the best stories and could entertain people for hours in the Soda Fountain in the front of the Curio Shoppe.


That included the performers from the Chamber of Horrors.


Wintra and Summer, Zymo the Missing link, and sometimes Jesse would sit among the tourists and locals and listen to Akela tell stories about a city made up of immortals who's souls died leaving their corpses to wander their city in a dream state for all eternity, a town called Leaning Birches where Death itself lives, an Insane Asylum haunted by a demon doctor and her husband, who as Akela tells the story was still haunt the Sixth floor of the abandoned Hospital that still stands in the town of Resolution just outside of Lawton. Akela also tells stories about Headhunters and witch doctors, curses and hexes.


Akela’ s stories are much more then simple scary stories and they are always more fact then fiction and she leaves no doubt about that as she spins one tale after another.


She also tells stories about Werewolves when she's sure Kincross isn't around because she can't get halfway through them before she hears a gravelly sounding voice go into hysterical fits of laughter and say, " Kade, you are SO funny! Come one, tell us a good one. You’re holding out on us, you know you are. “


A few doors down the restaurants; souvenir shops and art galleries display pumpkins, offer free candy and some host costume parties. The Arima's Amusement park, famous for its hand carved exotic carousel horses, mermaids and other fantasy animals are polished, the normal carousel music is replaced by recordings of funeral music and the electric lights are replaced by lanterns giving the friendly animals of the carousel a darker look.


Their eyes seem to follow you as you walk by and their wooden muscles seem to ripple under the half cast light.


The vendors selling treats along the Marina replace their usual fare with candy corn, orange cotton candy, as well black cat, bat and pumpkin shaped cookies and confections like black and orange popcorn balls. The soda pop is replaced by Devil's Blood, Nightmare Ambrosia and of course, Witch's Brew. There is an endless supply of caramel apples coated in not only in caramel but marshmallow, exotic chocolates and then all of this is rolled in nuts or candies in the shapes bats and ghosts.


But something was happening in those few days up to Halloween; there was an unfriendly bite to the night air, the fog that rolled up from the Duwamish Bay wasn't a fine mist, it was heavy and smothering and seemed to extinguish anything unfortunate enough to end up in its grasp.



On these evenings as you walk down the boardwalk or along the brick and cobblestone sidewalks and streets your footsteps seemed to echo too loud and for too long. No matter how fast you walked it seemed to take forever to get from one short block to the next.


One night, after the Sideshow had closed for the evening Clara and Kincross decided to walk down the boardwalk to the Curio Shoppe to visit with their friend Ignancia. Her sister Akela was in town and both women were anxious to hear some of Akela’ s new stories...before she took to relaxing with her wine and thin cigars that had been soaked in rum and began to change the stories to more fiction then fact.


This left the listeners with a pale imitation of what really happened.


Akela’ s stories were best told by candlelight and tea and before her mask of bravado hid whatever she may have been really feeling at the time her adventures were happening.


Halfway down the street it was Clara who asked Kincross, “Did you hear that?”


Of course Kincross had heard it.


Heavy footsteps in almost perfect timing with their own. "

No. “She lied.

Clara stopped and demanded, “You did too hear that!”


Kincross grabbed Clara's hand and started walking “of course I did and there’s more than one back there...so keep walking and shut up. I'm trying to think."


“What abo..." Clara felt something press against her chest and shove and she was pushed over a rail and into the black night waters of the Duwamish Bay


When Clara broke the surface of the icy waters she could hear the a terrible storm.


The winds howled, there was thunder and lightning and mixed in with that were the sounds of voices lost in the middle of the storm. Then she saw a terrible figure standing on the rail above her, it held out its arms and it howled against the night sky. Then it turned its misshapen head towards her and pushed away from the rail and then it was coming down towards her.


The force of the figure hitting the water pushed her back and then under the water. A heavy clawed hand grabbed her by the back of her jacket and lifted her dead weight straight out of the water and swung around like a rag doll.


After it had turned her around she was peering down into a pair of blood red eyes and jagged teeth so white they gleamed blue. The face was a shadowed by a heavy brow bone, and in the fog shrouded night down here in the water it was hard to tell if it was a human face or an animal’s face but you knew it didn't belong in this world.


“Danti!” Clara cried in relief “you’re alright!”


When they got to the Curio Shoppe Akela handed Clara a towel and a flask of something. When she put it to her lips to take a drink the alcohol seemed to disappear as it hit the space between her mouth and the flask's opening.


The fumes wafted up and burned Clara's eyes.

“What is this?” Clara asked raising the flask a second time but careful not to have her eyes open this time as she drank...or inhaled. "

Who knows, but it'll get you drunk fast. "


“Amen to that “Clara said and tossed the flask to Kincross.


Ignancia plucked the flask from Kincross' fingers and threw it back to her sister, “We need them sober, and we need to know what it was they saw.”


“Grave Robbers” Kincross said yanking the flask back and taking a long hard swig " three of them...nasty brutes too. I tried to finish one off. He must've just eaten. " She took another long swallow and snapped " this isn't working.”


Ignancia went to her cabinet and pushed at the latticework along the top. After she pushed in and pulled a drawer came of the center of the scrollwork. Without looking in she reached in and pulled out a small blue bottle and that smelled faintly of curry powder. “Here, sniff it.”


Kincross shrugged and did as she was told.


Then she ran out the door and the sounds of her getting sick into the Bay were brutal. When she came back in she said through clenched teeth and narrowed watering eyes “gee thanks."


“You have to kill those germs; you don't know what those things have been getting into.” Ignancia told her.


“I do, I could smell it and taste it I'm afraid. And we have a problem, a big one."


Akela laughed. “It looks like Ghouls have infested our Cemetery and are probably robbing them for food. And it can’t be good news for you or Jess because technically you count as the.... not of this world too, so you're on the menu and anybody else who has...how can I say it; were born of exotic heritage...like the Twins and I don't know, what could be a bigger problem then that? "


“It’s what they ate for their last meal.”


“Which was “Akela said through a line cloud of blue cigar smoke.


“Vampire”


So the night before Halloween Kincross, Akela, and Clara went out to Leaning Birch Cemetery to meet newest residents of Lawton Ridge.


Leaning Birch Cemetery is a well-known place on the entire West Coast; it's famous because of its size and somewhat notorious history. Leaning Birch had started out as a graveyard for suicides, the executed and the poor. Babies who only lived for a few hours or days are here as well as the deformed and defectives.


This is where the forgotten were laid to rest.


It's a maze of graves, marble and stone mausoleums and crypts dug directly into the hillside.


The Cemetery was built in the forest and in time it had become a city and more then once hikers and the curious had gone up there and been lost for days. Some where never found.


These three women were very familiar with this place and getting lost here wasn't something that concerned them.


“Why do we have to come out here at night, " Clara was whispering to herself, " why not during the day when there are people around and you can see where you're going if you have to run."


“Because last shows at our last show is at 10:00... You know that.” Kincross looked over at Akela and rolled her eyes heavenwards. Sometimes it was all too apparent to Kincross that Clara had been in an institution. At times when Clara started talking out of her head like this it was all to painfully clear that being locked up in that asylum had damaged her, poor thing.


They came to the first section of the Cemetery just as the Moon came up.

Akela waived the Lantern from one grave to the next, “what do you think?” she asked Kincross.


“This Graveyard is dead. “She grabbed the lantern from Akela. She walked briskly past new headstones, old weather worn headstones, past mausoleums then up the brick path to the Oak Tree Columbarium. And you could tell from the tilt of her head she was trying to catch sounds and was finding nothing.

“What do you mean its dead? “Clara asked, “It’s a graveyard.”


Kincross was over the top of the hill and Akela was running to catch up with her " Akela, what did she mean?” Clara had a horrible feeling in her middle and her head was starting to pound because Danti was scared and that was something in twenty years Clara had never seen her friend affected by.


Fear.


The graves near the Columbarium, where the cremains were housed was the oldest part of the Cemetery. Here in the center of the Cemetery were the oldest graves, the most ornate mausoleums and statues of angles, children, lambs, benches and hooded figures. All of them hand crafted and after all this time they had not cracked, or been worn away by the elements.


A barrier surrounded this part of the cemetery; you could feel it when you came here.

This place was the heart of the cemetery.


“There’s nothing here..." Kincross had dropped the lantern and it rolled down the brick path towards Akela. “There’s nothing here

Akela saw Kincross stop under a giant twisted tree. Only one side of it seemed to have grown and the other looked stunted. From a distance it looked as if it were reaching over to the ground beneath it.


Kincross called out, “come here, but not to close. You have to see this. "


Clara and Akela came up to the tree where Kincross was and on the ground was a dying Vampire. Its face was a twisted mass of cuts; its head was split open from the bridge of its nose to the back of its skull.


Kincross knew that unlike her self this creature could feel pain and she also knew that something intended for the Vampire to suffer.


“Here to finish me off Benandanti?” it asked through its ruined mouth “execution right? Will you break my neck and trap my putrid soul in my eyes forever? Or will you leave me here to suffer until the..."


“The expression is, until the cows come home.” Kincross shook her head “we didn't know you were here. We had no idea. "


“It would have stayed that way Benandanti, you may not believe that, but it's true. You can only stand Death for so long, understand?


“Kincross nodded, “I do.”


Akela shone the light into the vampires face. Under normal circumstances the Vampire is no oil painting. By nature their faces are ruddy and red and a little bloated. They're eyes are milky white and their hair dull and dry. It's their teeth that look good, they have sets of them, and like sharks and they're so sharp they can go through bone.

Those teeth shine so white they glow.


The Vampires don't spread their sickness or curse like you hear in the stories. They're regular people who die and for some reason that no one knows...they come back as this.


When they do the Benandanti come.


Akela was surprised to learn, after seeing more then one fight that these creatures knew each other by name. They understood each other’s language...knew each other’s histories. There was a balance between them and if Akela had to live to be 500 she intended to understand it one day.

“Who did this, which destroyed this place? "


“I forgot your family used to guard the Cemetery in Kincross...for centuries. I can see why you're fond of this place. It's quite beautiful. "


“Yes, yes, tell me who did this.”


“You saw the Ghouls, right?”


“Yes, by the tracks.”


“That’s where the gate is, that's why you saw them there. But they're not Ghouls anymore. They're not robbing the graves for food, like before. They're not hunting the living dead for sport or trophies even. They've been changed, something has happened to them. "


“What?”


“They’re turning human.


“Kincross motioned Akela and Clara back and leaned forward.” I can help you; maybe I can fix this...what's happened. I studied in the House of the Dead. I know what to do.


“The Vampire shook its head.” Just do what you do Benandanti, just...no execution. Do you swear? "


Kincross nodded. “I’ll...put you to rest, when we're done.”


Kincross drew her fist back and slammed it between the vampire's eyes. Because its face was so damaged already the skull almost split in two and from the center of the forehead where the soul lives a mist leak out, it crept from the corner of its eyes and felt its way to the ground and was gone.

“Shovel” Kincross said without looking up “get me a shovel.


“The sun was just starting to rise when they got home to the Marina. Clara put her hand on Kincross’s arm and Akela thumped her a few times on the back. “You did alright Kincross”


“What do you suppose he meant, the Ghouls are turning human?” Kincross demanded.


“I don't know but I bet it ain't for love. And the cemetery, are you sure it's dead? "


“All those ghosts, the things that live there...they've gone. Where could they go Akela? Do you know what happens to spirits that wander forever? They go nuts. No offense Clara. "


“None taken”


“Something scared the dead from their graves and drove them out of the only place on Earth they're safe. They're risking their sanity. They are willing to risk oblivion because of what? Ghouls who are turning human? What the hell happens when a ghoul becomes human? "


Akela was the one who noticed the trees that lined the hill above the Marina. The smile she always seemed to have on her face and the light from her deep brown eyes dimmed.


Every green thing up on the hill was dead or dieing. There wasn't a bird in the sky, and the air smelled stale and old even though there was a constant breeze coming off the Bay. It was like walking into a long closed room in an abandoned house.


The Sun was shining bright; it was going to be a beautiful autumn morning.


Only to the three women standing on the Pier, it felt like the darkest hours after Midnight.

THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF THE AMAZING BENANDANTI

Kincross and Clara The Alligator Woman were out on the Pier last Saturday before their 7:00pm show at the Chamber of Horrors performing slight of hand tricks.


Kincross was dressed in a simple black dress and over her shoulders she wore her black cape with the purple lining and on top of her head at a slight angle was her top hat and she was also wearing her favorite rainbow colored sunglasses.


Clara was wearing her favorite yellow dress and her Alligator markings seemed to shimmer and glow light green under the light gauze fabric.


“Did you hear about the Malloy Sisters?” Clara whispered, “Do you know what they're doing now?”


Kincross shrugged, “Eating their young?”

“I’m serious..."


“Well, so am I “Kincross said.


Kincross’ hand gracefully swept up into the air and from her fingertips a dove appeared and perched on two of her fingers." Those Malloy’s are one seriously ill family." Kincross held her hand open, palm up and the dove was gone.


She twirled her hand in a circle, opened it and the dove was back.


“If you can't get this thing to stop pecking my hand I'm turning this thing into a chicken nugget.” Kincross whispered so that the little girl watching them couldn't hear.


When the girl walked away Clara said quickly “they’ve been taking people up to the Bridge Islands.” Then she ducked her head and winced.


Kincross snapped her head forward and the novelty glasses slid down her nose. “They are NOT.”


Clara nodded and with a snap of her wrist covered the dove with a red scarf and then Kincross threw it up into the air and the dove was gone. “I think we should tell Sarah.”


Kincross pocketed the scarf and hissed ‘ouch’ between her teeth. “Sheriff was very clear to us; we have to take care of our own." It looked as if she were flicking dust from her left shoulder but when Clara saw that small gesture Kincross almost looked ashamed.


Almost.


“But."


“No buts about it Clara, if Sarah has to bring the law we could all wind up in psycho wards or in jars somewhere in a medical lab. You want that? "


Clara shook her head, " Danti, the people the Sisters are taking aren't, you know from here. They're...they're people Danti. "


“I’ll go talk to them.”


“Danti..."


Kincross crossed her heart and held her hand up, “talk, just talk I promise on my Mother's grave..."


“Very Funny,”


“Okay, I promise all I'll do is talk. You can come and keep me honest"


The Alligator Woman shook her head, “I won't go near those creatures, but I'll tell you where you'll find them..."


The Malloy Sisters were exactly where Clara said they would be. They were having Tea like respectable ladies at the Glass Gardens Tea House on Weller Street. They were sitting very dignified and refined towards the back of the room by a salt-water fish tank filled with Seahorses.


When Kincross saw them she grimaced. The Malloy Sisters didn't smell like the Sea, they smelled like the grave.


“Ah” said one with red hair, “the Amazing Benandanti, Magician Extraordinaire and Werewolf Less Ordinary. Tell us, dog to master do you ever have the urge to chase cars or buses? “She asked daintily.


“No, but I do still have, on occasion, the urge to roast Sea Witches over an open pit and feed their lying carcasses to the gulls.” Kincross replied in the same mocking tone.


“We don't lie, Benandanti. It's just like the sign at the Pier says we simply provide a service, Sunset Boat Rides to the Islands. We own boats now, we sail them; that’s what we do for a living…”


“For a living. Now that’s funny.” Kincross chuckled.


“We’ve...become modern.” the bald headed sister with tattoos ringing her head said through clenched teeth. “We don't practice the old ways anymore.”


" Well, see to it that you don't become unmodern otherwise I'll have no choice but to bury you so deep the maggots will never find your bones.”


“Don’t threaten us Benandanti, it's not good for your health to threaten us. “Said the Red Headed Sister.


Kincross leaned across the table and opened her hand. In her outstretched palm was a book of matches with a dragon on the cover. “Don’t mess with me ladies, I've cooked your kind faster then you can say, what's that smell...I'm warning you whether you like it or not. I don't like the idea YOU are going up to the Islands and I don't like the idea YOU aren't taking money for your ahem, good deeds. And I have every intention of finding out why you've become such civic minded ladies...all of the sudden. "


“Just reuniting loved ones and doing good works...” the Tattooed Sister laughed.


“Yes Benandanti, more then anyone you should believe in redemption. You know it's possible; you strive for it every minute of your pathetic wasted life.” The youngest sister with long white hair said just above a whisper.


Kincross sat back and spread a napkin across her lap; she poured herself some tea and then raised the cup to her lips and drank. Then she helped herself to an almond cookie and popped it into her mouth.


“You know, I don't like you being anywhere near the Bridges and I don't trust you being so close to the dearly departed. So if I find out you're going onto those Islands yourselves, if I hear about " accidents " involving tourists being lost at Sea if I see one Shade...just one down here in Duwamish with your names on their lips I will find you ladies and after mere second in my hands I will have you wishing you'd never made it out of Croatan. Got it? "


“We’re never going back there,” hissed the Youngest Malloy Sister “nothing can make us go back there.”


“Oh ladies, I will personally take you back to Croatan myself...you know I can.”


“They’re just sunset trips to the Bridges Benandanti; we sail at Dusk and bring you back by Moonlight. That's all we do" the Red Headed Sister said slowly and she stared hard into Kincross’ face as each word sunk in.


Kincross chose another cookie tossed it back into her mouth and then raised the teacup to her lips again and bit a chunk from the side of the small cup. Steaming hot tea ran down her arm and pooled at her elbow onto the tabletop.

She chewed and ground the heavy glass with her mouth open and the Malloy Sisters saw her teeth, her long sharp teeth pulverizing the cookie and glass to dust and then she spat it all out on the floor at the Sea Witches feet.


“You’re liars ladies, that's what you do. I guess it can't be helped it's in your nature. As for me? I'll grind your bones to make my bread...hell I want to because that’s what is in my nature. That can't be helped either. Remember that next time you go on a Moonlight Cruise up to the Bridges and you start feeling nostalgia for the old days. Keep it clean ladies...I'm warning you. "


The Sisters flat dark eyes stayed flat and expressionless, which was good because that was the Malloy Sisters version of keeping their mouths shut.


They were listening to every single word.


Kincross wiped the corners of her mouth with her napkin and when she looked up her blood red eyes were glowing in the semi-darkness of the tea room." Ladies, I wish you smooth sailing. "


The Malloy Sisters watched Kincross leave the Tea Room; they also ignored the nasty gesture she made at them through the windows as she walked by.


One sister reached out and pulled her hands back across the heavy oak table as she stood up. When she lifted her hands there were deep gashes in the wood.


Then together they left the Tea Room and seemed to drift like shadows in the gathering fog to the Pier.

© anita moscoso

Circling/Arriving In Duwamish


To arrive and to bring,
the first blossom of spring,
when the southern hemisphere is
just through mid winter,
is astonishing.
To arrive and find the lodgings
so welcoming,
to pay respect to the
forgotten ones.
Pieces found along the way,
collected to form
one again, are laid gently
on the quiet earth.



copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I LONG TO RETURN TO DUWAMISH BAY

I like Anita Marie long to return
to that place where I feel at home
It is many months since I last visited!
I have this longing today ..why today ?
Perhaps it is that I am seeking
solace,answers,nourishment
Where will it come from I ask myself ?

Will it be from those I meet
those who travel the Soul Food way
Or perhaps my ancestor spirits
who wander in the streets at night
I feel sad that some of those
who cross my path are not of my liking
They are rude,critical,call me a dreamer

Have I seen the last of those I would call
social in their beliefs?
I hope not for if this is so
then I will be bereft.
I want those of my Father and Mothers time
Those who would hold out their hand
invite you in for a meal
Not ask for payment or praise

I will rug up well against the cold
at night when I arrive at Duwamish Bay
I know where to find that steed I travlled on
perhaps even the young handsome man who asked me to sit
behind him on the saddle so long ago
as we galloped up the hill toward the town
coming to a halt outside the inn
There I can meet those who crossed my path before
and again share a meal of hot hearty stew

I will feel refreshed if I can be as one with those
who are of " My Kind"
Those who share a feeling of the world as I do
Those who would want it to be as it was
Or am I being just a dreamer as some have said?
No I will not listen to them
I know that I can learn more from my ancestors
my friends my chosen travelling companions
It is by feeling that I go by
Soul feelings,good feelings

I am on my way
I am just waiting for the right moment
IT IS HERE ! I AM OUT THE FRONT DOOR
Bag packed this morning ,just ready for a quick departure
See you soon Ania Marie and old friends one and all.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 18.7.06

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Invitation



Have you ever been to a place called Duwamish Bay? I've come by Ship and Ferry, on foot and horseback. I go back over and over again because of these words. I hope they inspire you as they have inspired me


From Chief Seattle’s Speech:

The young men, the mothers, and girls, the little children who once lived and were happy here, still love these lonely places. And at evening the forests are dark with the presence of the dead. When the last red man has vanished from this earth, and his memory is only a story among the whites, these shores will still swarm with the invisible dead of my people. And when you children's children think they are alone in the fields, the forests, the shops, the highways, or the quiet of the woods, they will not be alone. There is no place in this country where a man can be alone. At night when the streets of your towns and cities are quiet, and you think they are empty, they will throng with the returning spirits that once thronged them, and that still love these places.

The white man will never be alone.


So let him be just and deal kindly with my people.

The dead have power too.


Duwamish Bay Calls to me now...will you join me? It maybe the journey of a life time...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I liked the shark

“Jaws”

A few nights ago I was wading through my own unending mountain of E-mails, spread over 5 screen names on AOL, Yahoo, and MSN; for ‘background noise’ I had the telly on, with an old film that is a perennial favourite. We went to see “Jaws” when it was a new release, the whole famn damily. Not only Mum, and my two brothers, we also took Grandma DuBay (my great-grandmother) to see it as well.

Grandma DuBay had what Mum refers to as a ‘dime-store’ personality. If she was taken to one of the best restaurants in town, and be taken to see the film that sweeps the Oscars and she would complain mightily for the entire ordeal. However, if you took her to the Coney Island Hot Dog drive-through greasy spoon and thence to the Drve-In to see the triple-feature Horror Film Fest, she would talk about that for weeks!!

So, we knew that Grandma DuBay would enjoy “Jaws: immensely. We stood in line for nearly two hours, until the next showing, because the one we went there for was sold out. All of the other people in line kept glaring at us, thinking that we were monsters for bringing such a sweet little granny to “Jaws”.

Now, Granmda was only 4’11, and weighed maybe 90 pounds while wearing dripping wet clothes; she was wearing one of those 2-piece polyester pant sets that can be mail ordered (and if you order now we’ll give you our patented ‘Battery-Operated Sweater Shaver ABSOLUTELY FREE) from those little pamphlet-esque catalogues one looks at, rolls their eyes and promptly heave them into the nearest dustbin.

At, last!! We got out of the sun and into the cool dimness of the theatre, and charged to the snack bar. Mum bought everyone giant cold sodas and two family sized buckets of popcorn with extra butter.

The four of us shared the one bucket of popcorn and Grandma tucked into the other bucket. Of course, all five of us were glued to the screen; “Jaws” was, after all, a groundbreaking film in its day. People stopped glaring at us as the watched Grandma thoroughly enjoy herself, with the popcorn, root beer, and the shark.

Anyone who has seen “Jaws” probably remembers the theme for the next shark attack, that iconic, “Dah-dumm… dah-dumm… dah-dumm…”

Every time that music would start to play Grandmas eyes would light up and she would double the pace of her popcorn nibbling. It was as much fun watching Grandma as it was seeing the film for the first time.

Anywhoo… we decided later that Grandma was the only one there rooting for the shark.

That memory lies in a clean, well-lit corner of my mind, and no matter how many times we relive it; it still has the power to transport back to the innocence of early adolescence, between the ‘Cold War’ and “Terror Alert”.

By the by… the next day we went to Sherwood Forest Lake. Unbeknownst to us they had stocked the lake with game fish earlier that year. I sat on the dock, which sort of crouched over the water, with a span of probably 6 feet between it and the shoreline. As I waggled my feet in the water, the game fish came to see what was happening.

One intrepid fish proved braver than the rest and attempted to nibble my great to… I screamed, shot straight into the air and hit the dock running, I think I broke all previous running broad jump records getting to the shore. I didn’t stop running until I was across the road and clinging to the Rental Horses’ corral across the street from the lake.

Once we discovered that it was game fish that were used to being fed by hand, my brothers and I fed them nearly a whole bag of potato crisp crumbles. We were lying on our bellies on the dock, with our heads leaning over the side as we tossed the bits of potato crisps on the surface and watched the fish suck them from the top with a crisp sucking sound.

We are our Mother’s children, that was when we had 2 dogs, 12 cats, two tanks of tropical fish, a baby pheasant with a broken wing and a snake named Harry because he hadn’t any….

Benediction




Benediction
01-03-2006
©Gwen M. Myers


This life will leave you weary
Spattered in filth and alone.
Trying hard to hold on to
Something to call your own.

Wondering what is your failure
Something you’d left unfinished.
Questioning every little action
Given up on what you wished.

And into this internal darkness
Shines a soft and steady light.
That by its simple presence
Begins to set things arght.

A voice you may never hear
Yet you understand every word.
A low, sweet song of reason
That still awakens you hard.

You relearn long-forgotten trust
And open your shuttered heart.
Discovering that trust isn’t misplaced
Believing you can make a new start.

You begin to search for the source
From whence comes your voice.
What source the gentle wisdom
That helps you change your choice.

Stopping by a mirror you glimpse
The source and receiver of this gift.
‘Twas your own soul speaking
Now you will never be adrift.

Then the voice commands you
To seek those whose spirits speak.
And you find you are drawn to them
And with lovely words they speak.

Within the embrace of spirits
Lies our immortal bliss.
That sweet benediction
Never again will you miss.

What name do we call this
The sweet communion?
What label can we give it,
When through it we begin again?

It is called simply, a friend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I AM OF THE SEA

In reply to Shiloh's photograph
In reply to Gwen's Poem "Neptune's Steeds"
I offer my feelings and thoughts
*********************
For those who gaze out to sea
and wish again for spawning and swimming
And then think of whence we came
Of course it calls us who believe
those with restless spirit

The longing to be where we belong
That part of us which craves a home
A home not of material belongings
But...one where we can rest and feel free
Perhaps it is our need to be sustained
We must be heard ,for no other place
makes us feel as free

The moon that shines upon the sea
Is the moon that shines for me and thee
As Gwen waits for it to rise
I see it here in my homeland
And will think of her
With feet in the soft sand
about to climb on board
that steed to carry herto those
she feels akin to be

Hurry hurry Gwen to your dream underwater
For those places unchartered are disappearing
As those of greed will make them dark
and deprive them of the creatures we have
known of long ago and whence we came
Mother of Pearl,rare fish,Minki whales
the list is long
The greed longer and ongoing at a fast pace.

One day as Winnie Cross once said
"When we are there we will rest
And be free
It is home ,it is home
Where we long to be"...............


Lois (Muse of the Sea) 23/2/06

Shiloh shared her pic below with me and a poem began to percolate.

At last!!! Inspiration to write! So here is the picture and what it inspired.



Neptune’s Steeds



My life will never be the same.
‘Twas my own fault as well
For I gazed of my free will
Upon the full moon rising
With a restless tide.

It was there that I was caught.
Mesmerised and claimed
By the Moon and Stars
Glistening so close to
The sea-strand and me.

Waves foamed their way ashore.
Coming with every inch closer
To my feet as they sunk
Into the darkened sands
Packed by salt water.

At first I was unbelieving of them.
They were creatures of myth
Legends that had nearly been lost.
Could such a thing remain unseen,
Unknown through all explorations?

It was on one such wave they came.
Their voices rang like conch-shells,
Manes fading, swirling into the foam,
They pranced within the waves
For now free of harness and chariot.

Every scale on their tail-halves a-glisten.
Their eyes the shade of wave-troughs,
And horns that were of mother of pearl.
They seemed to me to be inviting me,
“Come, come closer, ride us, if you dare.”

A deep breath and still frisson-rack’d,
I clambered onto a smooth, cool back.
My awed, whispered thought was this,
“I could lose myself in these eyes.”
As we were away to the depths.

I was escorted to the Halls of Neptune.
There was I gifted with this curse.
Every Full Moon I must return here
And keep a date with destiny
Learning Magics long-forgotten.

Apprenticed to Neptune am I.
To know the ways of wave and tide.
Ride the wild water steeds,
Visit the ocean’s darkest places,
Places that have never been charted.

Betweens the Days of Calling
I am forever torn in two.
The human me still remaining
Cries for the safety of the sand,
While her heart longs for the sea.

© 2006 Gwen M. Myers

Monday, January 23, 2006

Eventide In Duwamish Bay


This was one of the first stories I wrote for the Soul Food Cafe and I'm partial to this tale for several reasons: but like The Amazing Benandanti and Gone To Croatan you'll see the beginning shades of Duwamish Bay.

Well, good evening to you and welcome! Come in, come in. Yes, that fog did come in fast tonight didn't it? Sometimes it just creeps up the bluff from the beach below and other times it moves as fast as a freight train, doesn't it?

As you can see I've added some things here at the Cafe, officially I'm a Curio Shop now and I'll be open each night at Eventide. That's twilight to you I guess.

So what shall it be tonight? A ghost story? Maybe a twisted tale of revenge or longing or greed? What? My story. Why not? It's a good one, if I don't say so myself.

Have a seat...I have to talk to the Management about those doors... they won't stay open and they're forever slamming themselves closed. Anyway, this is my story and why I'm here today...


When I was a girl, my grandfather owned a Curio Shop down at the Duwamish Bay Marina. You've probably heard of it. He had a genuine Egyptian Mummy, an electric chair and an old time embalming machine that's over six feet tall.

My favorite things were the shrunken heads he billed as genuine fake shrunken heads. He didn't feel like explaining where his sister in law got them. I'd sure be glad to tell you. She got them from her bush pilot days.

I always thought it was cool that I had the only grandmother on the block whose sister flew airplanes and could land them anywhere the ground was level. But it wasn't so cool when I found out exactly what she was flying. Mostly booze, some drugs, guns. Stuff you couldn't very well send through the mail.

One day she started flying around these little Islands in the Pacific. She never sent post cards from these trips. But she always brought back the coolest presents and once she brought back this little chest full of shrunken heads. Some were obviously very old and the hair on those little heads where jet-black. She had just come back from the Central Asia as well as the Pacific, so that wasn't surprising.

Then I saw some with red, blonde and light brown hair. Some even had traces of beards and mustaches. The looked almost brand new and smelled sort of funny. Like Lemons.

She saw me lift one and hold it up to the light and she said somewhat darkly, " See what happens when someone warns you to keep your head or else? "

I dangled the little head around, "or else " I whispered back.

My Grandfather, Cypriano, came into the room then and looked over our shoulders to see what Auntie had brought back. He was starting to expand his curio shop to what it is now and Auntie could be counted on to bring back some very interesting treasures. He looked down into the chest and pulled out about eight of the heads. Then he gently plucked the one from my fingers and dropped it into the chest. "

Bury it you fool, " he told her and then he left the room muttering to himself about being glad stupidity wasn't catchy, or hereditary.

" Auntie, " I asked " do you know how to make shrunken heads now? "

" You bet honey bunny. "

" Is it hard? " "

Nah, once you can stop the body from running around its super easy. "

******************************

So the Curio Shop grew, mostly the patrons in those early days were the people who lived around China Town. Then with the new Marina families started coming in from the suburbs on the weekends for a taste of life by shore. With that my Grandfather's shop grew from a dark old boathouse to a bigger darkened boat house with lots and lots of weird treasures lining the walls, dangling from the ceiling and set out on tables.

Then my Grandather expanded the ice cream shop out front. That use to be my favorite place because it was your traditional 1950's malt shop with a juke box and wonder of wonders, we owned it. He loved rock and roll and those funny songs from the 20's. So it was a nice place to eat and talk and make plans. Then you could walk through this little doorway (the frame itself as well as the door was once used in a court house where an infamous serial killer was held and he was suppose to have been shot trying to escape through this very door, you could still see the bullet holes) and there was the Curio Shop wrapped in shadows and filleted sunlight waiting to be explored.

It was exciting at the Marina in those early days because there were all sorts of fun places opening almost every day. There was even an amusement park owned by the Arima family that had a famous carousel with horses and mermaids and other fanciful creatures to ride. Each one was unique, each was original and Mrs. Arima and her brothers handcrafted them all. That's where I spent my childhood, and then the Mummy of the Priestess came to us.

That's really when things changed for everyone at the Marina.

*********************************

Auntie Akela drove up late one night, it was almost Midnight and she smelled very pleasant. Sort of a mix of Lavender and those thin Cuban cigars that she used to like to smoke. Plus, she smelled of gin.

"You've got to see what I've got Pualani, " she slurred as my Mother opened the door " it'll put hair on your chest."

I guess it's because my Mother had no desire to see hair on her chest that she called over her shoulder " Papa, it's for you. " She invited my Auntie in and discreetly guided her to a chair in the hall. " Where have you been Auntie? Everyone's been looking for you. "

"Oh? " she looked startled and a bit scared. " Look in the truck bed Cypriano."

"It's okay, it's the good every bodies, you know? " my Mother said before my Auntie could make for the back door.

Then my Grandfather came through the door with a body; at least I could see the outline of a body under a thin red shroud edged with gold embroidery.

Auntie Akela got up and pushed her thick black hair back behind her ears. She straightened her shirt and tucked it into blue jeans. Then she went to my grandfather and motioned for him to put the figure in his arms down on the couch. She pulled the shroud back from the face and motioned me forward.

"This is a Priestess and she was buried in the Temple of Bast. You can see where she was stabbed...it's a horrible wound in her back. Then they sewed her mouth so she couldn't talk in the next world shut and they tried to take her heart. They did these things to her when she was alive. See the cuts on her hands? She tried to fight them off. But the city she lived in is gone, the people are gone and all that is left of them is she. But look at her Sarah. She's still the most beautiful woman in the world. They couldn't take that from her."

It was very clear the Priestess had respect from my Auntie that she hardly, if ever gave to the living.

"How did you get her?" I asked in a whisper.

" Won her in a card game," Auntie Akela slurred in my ear" she told me too."

"That's how the Priestess of Bast came to Duwamish Bay and found her place at the Marina.

**********************************

The Priestess soon replaced the Soda Fountain as my favorite part of the shop.

She had a very nice place in a glass case made of teak from a tree my grandfather cut down himself in the Philippines. He told me that a horrible demon had taken refuge in the tree and in order to get rid of it he cut the tree down to force the demon out. That's how he got the bite marks on his hand and back and that's how my Grandmother lost her eye.

The teak had remained in his garage until the Priestess came to us. It was a symbol of bravery to my Grandfather and he wanted to give at least that much to the Priestess.

My Grandfather even put a guest book by the Priestess where you could read signatures and messages from people who came from among the States and Canada, the Orient, Europe, Transylvania (my favorite) and just about every exotic place you could imagine. The guest book was back there so the Priestess would know that people were paying her respect thousands of years after her death. My family gave her that because after she came to us the Shop wasn't just successful; it had become a major tourist stop. The only one owned by a Filipino family, the only one that always seemed to be opened. No matter what time of the year or time of the day.

****************************

This part of my story about the Curiosity Shop is always the hardest part to tell. It is hard because it is the part where I have to explain how my family lost the Shop. It is about the day many of our friends and the people who had come to the Marina, with nothing more on their minds then looking forward to riding the Arima's Carousel or a trip to the Guzman's Ice Cream Shop to see the Mummy, never went home again.

The Fire at the Marina was supposed to have been started by a cigarette in a trashcan. That's how the legend went anyway. It burned down everything on the Marina that day.

It was just me and my Mom at the Shop the evening the fire broke out. I was stationed by the Priestess explaining the pros and cons of various candy bars, telling her the newest stories circulating about Auntie Akela (something about an angry wife with an ax) when all of the sudden the window behind us flooded with bright orange light. Then I heard my Mom scream my name from the parking lot at the side of the building. There was a terrible crash and the front of the building caved in and was replaced by a wall of flames.

The heat from the firewall in front of me singed my eyelashes and bangs right away. And I think my skin was beginning to blister when I heard the Priestess's glass case crack behind me. In fact, glass all over the shop was cracking and exploding. My little two headed calf disappeared behind running yellow flames that were racing along shelves and the rafters and the dangling shrunken heads burst into flames and looked exactly like little stars glowing along the ceiling.

Then the Priestess's case exploded behind me and before I was buried under a burning rafter, which had crashed at that point someone grabbed me by the hair on top of my head and snatched me back. It was a foreign voice I heard, it said my name and gentle, cool hands pulled me back and held me fast as the building burned and crashed around us. The voice was chanting something, part song, part incantation that I think was a prayer as the ceiling collapsed and the floor caved in and we both fell into the black water below the boathouse.

My Auntie Akela found the Princess and me across the street where the memorial plaque to the 800 people that died on the Marina that day is now. It's a pretty little park with chestnut trees and flowers and benches. There's even a little fishpond stocked with koi.

She found me, minus most of my hair sleeping under a tree. The Princess was leaning against the tree and somehow her ancient arms had unfolded and where now bent upwards, as if she had been carrying something. Her head was bowed and Auntie Akela saw that the dignity and even pride the ancient woman took to her tomb had been replaced with something else.

My Auntie found she couldn't face the Priestess, it seemed wrong to look her in the face at what was such a private moment.



*******************************

I woke up a week later and when I did my Grandmother asked me where I had been and I solemnly replied, " I was with the Priestess " and she nodded and left it at that. No one asked me about my Journey and it's not a story I'm ready to tell. Of all the stories here, the Priestess story haunts me the most.

My Grandfather rebuilt the Shop and my Auntie Akela once again took to the sky and went to the darkened jungles and secret alleyways that every town, no matter how normal and respectable it may look on the outside has. She brought back new treasures and new secrets and stories and in our new Shop we dutifully told each and displayed each and every one.

When my Grandfather died my Mother took over the Shop and you can go there to this day and buy your own shrunken heads, you can see pictures of a female pilot named Akela Guzman who was said to have fought a demon in hand to hand combat in the jungles of the Philippines and you can see her trophy from that adventure in a glass jar...a head of a man with horns and eyes like a snake. Some people swear you can see his eyes follow you as you cross the store.

But as a courtesy I can tell you the true story.

Auntie did take that head with her own two hands.

She got the head after my Grandmother somehow knew to be in an alley a few blocks away from the Marina one evening after the fire. Somehow she found the person responsible for all those deaths would be there, and that that no matter how loud he yelled no one would hear him.

The head was once attached to the body of a man named Lars Cranfield and he was a stranger. When they found his headless, un-robbed body with his ID still in his wallet no one came forward to claim him.

They ran his picture from the license and his last known address at the hotel for over a year in the papers and then his story faded away.

He's the man who never existed and you can hear stories about him around Terrace to this day. Apparently the money in his wallet, even the change in his pocket was minted with the same date. His ID was new and his wallet and clothes on his back and hanging in the closet of his hotel room were brand new. Most of the stuff still had sales tags on them.

"It's like he never existed until the day he was found in the Alley " the story goes.

My Grandmother, she was avenging the death of her friends and all of those people, when her sister took the head...it changed to what you can see now. She keeps it, she says, as a warning. It's near the main door on a pedestal, and you'd think it would be in a place where people couldn't touch it or tap on the glass. Only nobody does.

Ever.

And my Priestess, she's back in her case at the rear of the store. Educated people from all over the world visit her and have tried to learn her secrets. She is still quite beautiful and I like the way her head tilts down a little as if she's acknowledging you. Her hair, courtesy of my Grandmother and Mother is still bright and shinning because they put coconut oil in it at least once a month. They carefully dust her and keep the ornaments my Mother and Auntie Akela brought back from one of their rare trips together into Egypt where they discovered together the true identity of the Priestess polished and carefully arranged on her chest and arms.

When they came back they even put in a little indoor pond right near the Priestess and filled it with water lilies and other exotic water plants from places Auntie Akela traveled too. Some of those plants drive the botanist up the wall because they can't figure out where they came from. Or what they are.

Forensics experts who have studied the Princess, even x-rayed and done ultrasound's on her mummified remains can't explain why she's so well preserved. Being that she's held by human hands on a constant basis and is exposed to sea air 24 hours a day.

I still visit the Shop of course, but like my Aunt Akela I followed many strange and dark paths.

I've been to the Carpathian Mountains and I've seen the ruins of Pompeii and have heard the cries and whispers and pleas that some people mistake for the sounds of wind or echoes from the voices of tourists who visit this necropolis. I've seen the Pyramids and caves in South America where there is almost no air to breath, but there are the ruins of cities down there and I've learned those stories too. I've been stuck on roads in Africa and had to wait for a pride of lions to cross the road, I have seen dark places and light places and they all are here with me now.

And now I have my own little Shop here at the Cafe. I have my exotic books written in forgotten languages and the pictures in those books never look the same when you come back to them later. I have treasures that tell them stories. This is my own little Curio Shop and I'm glad you could visit.

Come back anytime and I'll be glad to tell you a story.

But it will have to be at Eventide.
© anita moscoso 2005

Thursday, January 19, 2006

HappyBelated New Year

My dears,
Please forgive me for my abscence. This time I have a frighteningly good reason.

On 6 January I got a tummy ache, just *boom* there it was. I was cursed with all the attendant misery of unhappy innards. I felt so bad I asked Mum to take me to the Emergency Room.

We arrived to discover that the ER was overflowing!!! After a 20-hour wait, I was finally seen, by which point the appendicitis (which had been silent at first) had degenerated to a ruptured appendix. I was wheeled off to emergency surgery, and had my insides joggled and cleaned and snipped at the same time.

For the next five days I was in an opiate fog, there was a morphine pump in place and I was regularly being scolded for not using it enough. I clearly remember the anaesthesiologist coming to check on me and saying, "You owe Dr. Anderson a very big thank you, he saved your life in there!"

If that wasn't quite enough to bring me up short, the fact that now, 12 days later I still am inpain and struggling to get around.

Through all of this I have been pondering, and what I ended up with is a deep and abiding sense of joy in everyday and simple things.

I am alive, well, and healing slowly. As I can sit for longer periods of time I wil get back in saddle and be an active part of Soul Food again.
Love, hugs and kisses,
Gwen