THE DEVOURED HEART

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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THE DEVOURED HEART

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        It was nearly midnight as I hiked up the trail into Coyote Hills.

        It was going to be October 16th, my mother’s birthday had she still been alive.

        During my climb I stepped aside for only one traveler, a whirring night-bicyclist, her bright light beaming as if she were a falling star descending past me.

        A fog had begun to engulf the lower Coyote Hills.

        The fog luminescent in the moonlight, the peaks of the higher hills still visible darkly, the stars sparking above, I arrived at the crest of the trail where the great Weeping Willow tree spread.

        The great Weeping Willow was often a campsite for homeless people but I never saw the same person there twice. Or ever again. This night there was no one; only the debris of previous habitation.

        I stood beneath the great…

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A TASTE FOR LIFE

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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A TASTE FOR LIFE

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        Trotty Wilde rides her bicycle (named) Kardashian up and down the slopes of the Coyote Hills trails at night. In these wee hours, Trotty enjoys being the only bicyclist, illuminating her own path with that 400-lumen LED headlight.

        Trotty swoops out of the trail head and onto the public street that circumvents Coyote Hills. She pedals furiously up the incline in a triumphant finale to her workout, focusing only ahead, savoring the deep muscle burn, the rapidly chilling sweat, and the bicyclist’s endorphin high.

        Suddenly a large dark automobile, without headlights, comes up from behind Trotty and side-swipes her. Trotty is flung away sideways onto the sidewalk, bouncing off of her helmeted head and rolling like a rag doll.

        Trotty can feel as she impacts and tumbles but the sensation is not yet pain, only knowledge of what pain must come.

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THE FOGDOGS

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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THE FOGDOGS

        Emileeannalee was an impish muundog. She flitted in the forest freely at night.

        This Halloween night brought ground fog and with it fear, for the fogdogs may follow. Fogdogs hunted the muundogs mercilessly. Fogdogs appeared in the fog as an enticing glow drawing muundogs, like a flame draws a moth, away from Truuluuv the moon.

        What fogdogs did with captured muundogs, no muundog had returned to tell.

        Halloween night in the forest was a festival of many colored lights as fairies, imps, gnomes, pixies, muundogs, and even trolls sparkled.

        Emileeannalee sat upon a branch doing her best to enjoy the festival. Emileeannalee would glance apprehensively at the ground fog below. Truuluuv the moon caressed her and seduced her to remain.

        Then Emileeannalee saw below in the slowly dancing ground fog the glow of her two dear muundog friends Bethesaadzsaad and Dilaanaad.

       …

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FALL OF THE SPARROW

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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FALL OF THE SPARROW

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        I had a great idea for Halloween night.

        It was going to be a beautiful clear night, not really spooky, but there was going to be a total eclipse of the full moon to set the festive Halloween mood. The “blue moon” this October would turn into a “blood moon”.

        I was going to fly my new Carlson Aircraft SparrowUltra-LTA around all night, cloaking the Sparrow with gossamer fabric to make it look like a bat.

        The new Sparrow Ultra- LTA was designed as a low-altitude personal conveyance. You could fly it to work but you couldn’t shop with it, not yet anyway (because of the added weight and all). It was more like… sky surfing.

        The Sparrow resembled a hang-glider. The big wing and the suspended mini-fuselage below were made of ultra-thin neoplastic containing the Helium-Honeycomb technology. The…

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TEMPEST

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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TEMPEST

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        Patricia was such a cute little girl.

        Patricia’s father had killed her mother and then he had killed himself. A neighbor rescued her.

        Patricia had no family remaining who would or could take her in. She became a ward of the state.

        My wife Domenica and I took Patricia in as a foster child. We needed the money.

        I felt so sorry for Patricia. She was so sweet after all she had been through. I could only imagine the therapy she would need in later life.

        My little half-breed Pitt Bull named Napoleon seemed charmed by Patricia but when Patricia played with her imaginary friend, Napoleon would bark. And whenever Napoleon barked, Domenica would say, “Get rid of that dog!”

        I asked Patricia, “What is your friend’s name?” And she answered so sweetly and matter-of-factly, “Tempest.”

        I said, “What a…

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DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE WITCH AND THE WEREWOLF?

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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THE WITCH AND THE WEREWOLF

         Snolly Goster was a twelve-year old witch.  Snolly Goster was out on this Halloween night walking her pet barking spider named Bumdinger.  Snolly Goster held Bumdinger on a leash of gossamer thread.

        Snolly Goster could mingle this night, without a spell, among all the happy young mortal trick-or-treaters and their parent escorts.  This was Snolly Goster’s favorite night.  It was every witch’s birthday.

        Snolly Goster watched the orange Halloween Moon moving behind small dark clouds first as a crescent, then as a cat, then as a face, then as a number 3.  Then the Halloween Moon peeked over the small dark clouds with orange rays like a sunburst.

        Snolly Goster heard from behind herself, “Snolly!  Hey, Snolly.”

        It was Lob Lolly, her werewolf friend. It was very unusual for a witch and a werewolf to be friends but they were…

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THE PANTRY

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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THE PANTRY

 

Oh, God, my head.  Bitch, this is your worst hangover ever!

Where am I?

Jesus, what is my name?!

Oh, yeah, “Leanna”.  How stupid.

God, fuck me.  I’ve never been that drunk before.

Shit, was I given a date-rape drug!?

Come on, bitch, open your eyes.

Ow!

They are open!

I’m blind!!

Stand up, bitch!

Oh, God, I’m blind!  I’m blind!!

Help!  Help me!  Somebody!

Oh, thank God.  Who are you?  I can’t see anything.

Don’t shush me!  I’m fucking blind!  Help me.  Who are you?

How many of you are there?  Can you see?

What?!  What the fuck is this!?  Who are you!?  Who did this!?  Where are we!?

How can you not fucking know!?

Help!!  Help!!

Don’t touch me!  Help!!  Who are you!?  Tell me or I’ll scream even louder!!

Oh, God, oh, God!

I don’t believe you.

How can you not know?

I was…

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PATRICK BUTCHER’S HAUNTED THEATER

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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PATRICK BUTCHER’S HAUNTED THEATER

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        Patrick Butcher had been a child star on “an American television sitcom depicting the home life of a family of benign monsters”. He had played the precocious kid vampire named Ruddy.

        He was now physically a middle-aged adult sitting on a couch, leaning over the coffee table, and talking with his new agent, Konrad Phillips of Rad Productions.

        Patrick exclaimed, “We tied Bowling For Soup in the television ratings!”

        Konrad Phillips nodded sympathetically to Patrick, saying, “Yes, yes, that was an amazing decade. But now you are making some decent money again with the ‘nostalgia’ appearances that I am arranging. And our CD (What Ever Happened To Ruddy?) gets decent airplay during Halloween. But, Patrick, you need to diversify so that you can hold-on to the money this time.”

        Patrick removed the rolled-up hundred-dollar bill from his…

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HIDING OF THE FACE

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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HIDING OF THE FACE

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        Trick or treat!

        Can you Trick or Treat on a web cam?

        Yes.

        Yes, I am Avri Kyrka.

        No, I am not too old for Halloween.

        And no, I am surely not too young to offer you the treat of Salvation.

        I am not supposed to be a witch; I am a Vengeful Angel, do you see?  You know already that as a child I could recite entire passages of Scripture.  I was baptized in the Spirit when I was nine.  The preacher submerged me and there were three distant peels of thunder.  The stream turned dark red.

        Emma Anderson, you heard me speak in Tulsa.  You came to me after my sermon “Jesus Was Adopted”.  Jesus came up from the water, Heaven was opened, and He saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a…

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ÉUPHORANASIA

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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ÉUPHORANASIA

        I open my eyes and I am pressed warmly against her soft skin. She still sleeps. Her sweet breath is a gentle tide across my mouth. I don’t want to get up; I never do when she is with me. And we have been together since our marriage five years ago. Gloria and I were so young but I wanted her like I want my next breath. I do still. My love for her used to be terrifying when I imagined the possibility of not possessing her completely forever. And now, now we have a little daughter who looks like her and my love for our little girl is, is, is… excruciating. I never thought it was possible to love something, someone else as much as my Gloria. Is this much… really possible? Sometimes I think it is all the happiness that I can possibly bear.

        Forgive…

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