Notes on “The Famine King”

mythic_delirium_3_3_cover_web

I have a new horror story in Mythic Delirium 3.3, “The Famine King.” You can read it online heeeere: Mythic Delirium 3.3, February Featured Story. It’s about wendigo movies, psychosis, hunger, and the cannibal world we live in. Although the story is among my most personal and complex, this blog post will not comment on its meaning(s) or try to direct reader interpretation. However, I’d like to discuss (briefly) the main character, Irene. During the story, she has a psychotic episode, and guess what! She’s not the bad guy! That’s no spoiler, by the way: it’s something that should go without saying. Unfortunately, the horror genre is not known for realistic or sympathetic portrayals of mental illness. Cough. It’s time for a change!

Final fun fact: alternate universe versions of Irene and Az (protagonists in “The Famine King”) appeared in the first story I sold, “To Sleep.” It’s a creepy flash about troubled dreams and small-town hatred. It’s inspired by the worst place I ever lived, a little town called Castleton, Vermont. Ask me about Castleton sometime. I dare you. The story is still in the Fiction 365 archives, but you can also read a copy on my blog: To Sleep

c1dmep0xgae8viu

The Famine King: art by Lee Wagner. For more of Lee’s work, visit Twitter (@archwags) or Instagram (archwags)

The ghosts under my feet

Good news, everybody! I ESCAPED TEXAS!

Better news: my new house is haunted! Especially the basement! Dim the lights, and you can see the spindly ghosts emerge. Happy October, Darlings.

lights_on_off

Lights on (left) and lights dimmed (right). Boo.

A Ghost Story (in three tweets)

Hello friends! As a scary person, I often share my paranormal experiences online. Here’s the latest, originally posted on twitter:

Once, with Ouija board and planchette, I asked the ghosts, “What is it like?” They said to me, “We’ll show you. Turn off the lights.” So …

I waited in silence. Minutes passed. One, five, ten. Thirty. “Nothing,” I said. “I don’t hear anything. I don’t see anything.”

The planchette slid across the board. “Exactly,” spelled the ghosts. And they never spoke to me again. Goodnight, Twitter.

True story. Aren’t they all? 😉

 

Haunted Teapot: Why I Haven’t Written a Blog Post Lately

Wowie! It’s been a long time since my last blog post. There’s a good reason for that. A couple months ago, a friend of my great uncle sent me a teapot. It had a cryptic note in it, so I assumed that it was cursed, because people are weirdly enigmatic around cursed artifacts. Anyway, I barely know the guy (heck, I barely know my great uncle!), and I had every reason to mistrust the teapot, but I ignored common sense and used it to brew tea anyway. That was probably a bad idea, because the teapot’s whistle sounded like a tormented scream, which bothered my neighbors. After a few pots of jasmine green, I started having spooky visions. Instead of telling literally anybody that I needed help (spooky visions are never healthy, ok?), I just allowed the teapot to torment me, read the cryptic message again and again and again, and drank more tea. Continue reading

A Haunting From The Past :D

Spooky alert! I was Skyping with my mom tonight, when this happened:

Mom
‎11‎:‎48‎ ‎PM
So, today I got a weird email from the person who now owns our Tex home (note – we lived in this house for 3 years when I was a teen)…. she & her husband wanted to know if we ever experienced anything strange at the home because her 6 yr old apparently has.‏

me
‎11‎:‎49‎ ‎PM
What kind of weird things?

Mom
‎11‎:‎50‎ ‎PM
Oooooooo, oooooooo‏
She did not explain.‏ She just introduced herself then asked if we had.‏

We have a mystery, Watson! I hope the new family didn’t pull up the living room floorboards, because my brother and I hid secret notes under them. Nothing scary, though. I think? It’s hard to remember. Would Teen Little Badger put spooky notes under the floorboards? Oh dear …

A Night at the Haunted Menger Hotel

For a blog called “Little Badger Diary,” this place lacks autobiographical posts. That oversight changes today!

San Antonio has a decent share of legendary ghosts and haunted buildings. To celebrate the year’s end, my father and I took a late-night tour (Sisters Grimm Dinner and Ghost Tour) of haunted historical San Antonio. Wearing a black dress with petticoats, our charming guide led us from the Alamo to a prison-turned-Holiday Inn. The whole experience took four hours, including dinner, and was well worth the fee. Here are some highlights of the night, captured by my dad’s Kodak EasyShare C330 (2005)! I modded the camera with a SpectralFind lens. The SpectralFind lens is a must-have for any ghost/cryptid hunter, since it amplifies the preternatural waves that are emitted by spirits and Bigfoot eyes.


Corridor

Sallie White, a regular ghost at the Menger, often walks through this hall. A former chambermaid, she sometimes enters rooms at night and cleans, to the horror of sleeping guests. I hope she followed me home, because my house is messy. Continue reading

Nkásht íí

My Lipan Apache ghost story appeared in Strange Horizons this week. I’m incredibly honored! If you like fantasy and science fiction, check out Strange Horizons. It’s a weekly zine that’s accessible online and in podcast form. I started reading SH as a teenage Little Badger, and its fiction, reviews, and poetry have expanded my imagination and introduced me to many wonderful writers over the years. Continue reading

The Colors Birds See

I found the red-winged blackbird behind a pickup truck in the apartment parking lot. One wing bent and bleeding, she crowed defiantly as I approached. Blackbird stared me down with dark, round eyes, her feathered breast heaving, her mouth cracked open. It was summer in Texas, and the air near the concrete ground shimmered. I ran inside and returned with a towel and shoebox. Five minutes later, we left the parking lot in my Monte Carlo from the nineties, heading to the wildlife rehabilitation center thirty miles away. I hoped that somebody there could rescue Blackbird or, at the very least, provide a calm death. The working veterinarian gave me papers to sign, release forms that gave the center permission to treat Blackbird, as if she became mine when I interfered with nature’s plans. Continue reading

Mimi and Her Ouija Board

When I lived in Vermont as a tween, my family rented the Hope House in picturesque Castleton. It was built 165 years ago by a local legend well-known for his landscapes. The property is now owned by Castleton State College, and perhaps that’s a good thing …

The Hope House, Courtesy of Castleton State College.

Hope House, courtesy of Castleton State College

 

Inspired by rumors that students of the Victorian-era medical college robbed graves, my brother and I liked to pretend that dead doctors still scoured the town for body parts.

We had a babysitter named Mimi who only came really late at night (as tweens, we were perfectly safe during the day!). A thirty-something, rather lovely woman with hair to her waist, a pretty pierced nose, and intensely blue eyes, she behaved more like a big sister than an authority figure, and we loved her. One night, we told Mimi about our macabre games and begged her to summon ghosts with us. Together, we drew an Ouija board on red construction paper with a Sharpie marker. Then, we dimmed the lights and stacked our hands on a polished stone over the makeshift board.

“Come spirits, come spirits!” Mimi said. “Speak to us!” Suddenly, the stone moved quickly, as if possessed. It spelled:

 

C
L
E
A
N

 

Y
O
U
R

 

R
O
O
M

 

Mimi was a joker. She’s still playing a joke on us, actually, with my parents’ cooperation. They say we never had a babysitter, even late at night.