Category Archives: Eerie

Time Machine Clouds

Time Machine Clouds.
Photo by Pixabay on

She’s scared of me I can tell.

Not that I’ll do some horrible damage.

But that I’ll just mess up my own heart and mind with memories that aren’t even mine.

Because I’m a train with several wings.

And the stops we make are to all sorts of different places at the same time.

The steam stack release like time machine clouds… Puffing.

The whistle long and guttural and hopeful.

People pattering about on the platforms in clothes appropriate for the various times.

But I have no idea where to get off or if I even can.

I’m somehow glued to the seat like in a dream.

All I can do is look out the window and scream.

But then I settle into the movement, a verdant massage.

Like somewhere in Italy, the sky is hot, the clouds are sweating, the blue is melting.

My guts are wallowing in upended nerves, I need to catch my breath for just a moment.

The conductor walks by and hands me a package wrapped in yellow.

He tells me not to open it until I get to my final destination.

“In case it’s a bomb,” he bends and whispers. He straightens up and reaches into his pocket and pulls something out. “Peanuts?” he asks.

“If only there were an ocean,” I answer. “I’m afraid of choking.”

He takes offense, snaps his heels together and walks off. I can hear his voice in the narrow distance trail off. “Peanuts…”

I look out the window to remind myself I’m on a train and not an airplane, but then that’s where I am wrong. The meadows of white clouds below my feet correct my thinking, my dreaming, my pure reality.

I look down into my lap and I am still holding the package wrapped in yellow. I don’t care what he said, and I open it anyways. The sound of ripping paper wrestles some others from sleep. Some moan and groan and look around. There’s a small box beneath the paper. I hold it to my ear, and I can hear something skittering about and breathing.

I open the box and a yellow canary flies out. It flutters all about the cabin. It bumps into people’s heads, chirps, and claws. Other passengers are flailing their arms and hands and teeth. One man tried to swallow it. Another man was screaming and tried to open the emergency exit door. Because of a bird? A canary? What a fool, I thought. And yet another man had to punch him in the face to knock him out and tame his irrational outburst.

Then the turbulence came as we were descending into… Denver, I suppose. The Rocky Mountains can be a bit rocky. The toasted landscape below is topped with a tab of buttered pollution. It grossly melts. The skyscrapers poke through it all.

I get that weird feeling in my stomach as we quickly come down, the ground is rushing by, the wheels hit and there’s that momentary rough nudge. The voice of the pilot comes on over the sound system. Most of the time, you can never understand a damn word they say. But this time it was clear. “Nailed it!” she said. The other passengers laughed and cheered. Had we been in some sort of danger? I wondered to myself. I guess it didn’t matter anymore.

Inside the terminal of Denver International, I was the only one remaining at the luggage carousel. I watched it go around and around and around. There were no more bags. They finally shut it down. A man came along. His head was down, and he was sweeping the floor. Then all the lights went out and it was very quiet. I ignited the flashlight on my cell phone and began to walk. My footsteps fell heavy and loud on the tiled floor. I was always the last one to depart.


Tecumah (End)

For Tecumah. A creepy doll face.

I drove over to Tecumah’s earthen home to see if I could score some devil’s lettuce off him, but he wasn’t there. I tooled around Taos for a bit, got some lunch at a restaurant made from a huge clay pot, went to a bookstore that was like a barn, and then paid homage to D.H. Lawrence’s ashes in the hills.

After that, I picked up two big bottles of wicked agave tequila and then headed back over to Javlin’s place for the party. I was a bit nervous, as I usually am when about to meet new people and took a few big schlucks of the mad drink I had bought before going to the door of the now shuttered gallery.

I knocked and Javlin came bounding forth out of the shadows like a creepy criminal. He was wearing a dress and he had put his hair in pigtails and had white, powdery makeup all over his face.

“Thom! Thom!” he exclaimed. “You have arrived, and I couldn’t be happier! Please, come in.” And he twirled around like a dancer high on life.

I stepped inside, dazed, and confused. It seemed quiet and void of people. “So, where’s the party?” I asked.

“Upstairs Thom. Everyone is upstairs and we’ve been waiting for you! This is so exciting!”

I followed Javlin up the narrow staircase, having to look at his pale, stubbly legs jutting out from the bottom of the dress as we ascended.

“Here we are then!” And Javlin spread his arms wide and had a huge grin on his face.

“Is this some kind of joke?” I thought to myself as I looked about the apartment above the gallery where he lived. There was a round table set in the middle and around the table were five chairs. Two of the chairs were empty, but in the other chairs sat three dolls, all with cracked, odd faces and dressed in torn doll clothing.

“What the hell is this?” I asked Javlin in all seriousness.

His smile suddenly drooped. “It’s a tea party, Thom, and you’re the guest of honor. Don’t you like it?”

“It’s weird, man.”

“Nonsense! Let me introduce you to everyone.”

He grabbed me by the arm and took me around the table to show off each doll.

“Okay, this little guy is Javlicious, this sweetie pie is Javlene and this adorable one is Javsie… Well come on Thom, don’t be rude. Say hello.”

I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t believe it. “Hello,” I embarrassingly muttered.

“Well,” Javlin began, prancing about the table, “Now that everyone knows each other, let’s sit down and have some tea and talk about shit. Oh, and I made some cookies… Now, now Javlene, don’t hog all the cookies!”

I looked at the dolls. They made absolutely no effort to move, to speak… To be alive.

“You can sit here, Thom,” Javlin said, and he pulled out a small chair from the table.

“That’s a small chair. I’m afraid I might break it.”

“It may be a small chair, but it’s mighty powerful,” and then he yelled “Yee Ha!” as loud as he could.

“I think you need a doctor, Javlin,” I told him. “I think you’re mentally ill.”

“What are you talking about, Thom? I’m just trying to have a little fun. Why do you always have to be such a stick in the mud? Don’t be a party pooper. No one enjoys the company of a party pooper.”

“It’s just… You have to admit, this is all pretty bizarre, even for you. I mean, the dress, the hair, the dolls… They’re so creepy.”

He looked at me as if he wanted to kill me. “You apologize, Thom! Apologize right now!”

“No. This is stupid. I’m leaving.”

I turned to walk away and that’s when Javlin’s big hand came down on my shoulder and he shoved me into one of the small chairs. “You’re being quite rude, Thom, and I don’t like it! Now apologize to my friends so that we can get on with the evening!”

I looked around at the bizarre, lifeless dolls. Javlin was breathing heavy and twirling his hair with his club-like fingers. He glared at me with crazy, swirling eyes. “Apologize!”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry everyone. I sincerely apologize.”

“Excellent,” Javlin said. “Now we can get on with the festivities.”

Javlin sat down and then reached for the big, plastic tea pot in the middle of the table. He gingerly poured pretend tea into everyone’s cup.

I looked down into my empty teacup. “There’s nothing in here,” I said.

Javlin slammed his big fist on the table, and everything shook. “Damn it, Thom! Haven’t you ever attended a tea party? You have to use your imagination.”

I watched as Javlin lifted his teacup, extended his pinky finger, and sipped at the pretend tea. “Ouch,” he squealed and then giggled. “That’s hot shit.”

I looked over at the dolls and they remained immobile and lifeless in their seats.

“They’re not drinking theirs,” I said to Javlin. “Why do I have to drink mine?”

“Jesus, Thom, quit being such a tool… And yes, they are drinking their tea and eating the cookies.”

“I brought some good tequila, Javlin. You were always fond of a good tequila glow. Can’t we drink that?”

“No, Thom, they’re minors, they can’t drink alcohol. God, are you dumb.”

“Well, they don’t have to drink it, we can just drink it. It will be like old times,” I tried to convince him.

“I refuse to be a bad influence in front of my friends, Thom, but if you want to be all drunk and weird, go ahead I guess.”

I retrieved one of the bottles from my saddlebag and began to drink it down like it was a jug of water.

Javlin looked at me, appalled, as I filled my wishing well of emotions. “You keep drinking like that Thom and you’re going to die.”

“And if you keep playing with dolls, they’re going to lock you up,” I said back to him.

Javlin cupped his ear in the direction of the doll named Javlene. “What’s that? Yes, he is being quite an asshole.”

I set the bottle down on the tea party table. “I’m sorry, Javlin, but I just can’t do this anymore. I think I’m going to leave.”

“You can’t leave,” the three dolls said in unison. “The party is just starting. We’re going to have lots of fun.”

I tried to shake the bad mojo out of my head. “What? Did they just talk?”

“Of course, they talked. They’ve been talking to you all night, Thom,” Javlin said to me. “And I must say, you’ve been very rude to them, constantly ignoring them like you have.”

“Let’s kill him,” the doll named Javlicious said. “I’ll kill him myself… With my trusty little brick here.”

“Yes, let’s kill him,” the two other devotchka dolls chimed in. “You should have believed in us. You lack true faith.”

And then they all started chanting together — “Kill him, kill him, throw him out a window.”

And the dolls got out of their seats and started coming toward me, and that’s when I upended the table and went for the stairs, but Javlin stuck out his big foot and tripped me and I went tumbling down.

And then it was the three dolls on top of me pounding away real horrorshow on my body and bones. Small, but powerful tolchocks that I could just not defend. I tried grabbing one by the throat and tossing her aside, but she bit into me hard, and my red blood began to flow.

“Javlin! For God’s sake, please help me!” That’s what I yelled out to him, but he just stood there grinning and chuckling with his mussed pigtails all jutting out to the side and his sloppy face all happily evil and glad that I was being legitimately raped by three porcelain dolls with cracked flesh, and they just kept beating on me and beating on me until I just couldn’t take it anymore and all went dark and then to bright light and then suddenly somewhere else.

Tecumah sat in the passenger seat of my red Ford Probe as I gunned the engine.

“Now remember,” he said. “You have to jump out or you’ll go with it… And then, you’ll be finished too.”

And he made the motion of sliding his finger across his throat to indicate death.

“All right, all right. Let’s do this,” I said.

We lurched forward along the dirt roadway toward the edge of the cliff overlooking the beautiful valley. I stomped on the accelerator.

“Slow down! Slow down!” Tecumah yelled. “You don’t need to go that fast!”

But I ignored him, and then it was Tecumah bailing out the passenger side. I watched him in the rear-view mirror as he tumbled away in the dust and dollops of high desert brush, getting ever further and further away.

And then it was the lip of the cliff and like floating off to Heaven for me, my guts all wobbly and feeling funny as I went over the edge, up for a fraction of a second, and then quickly down, down, down, and I was no longer afraid of dying or anything for that matter. Everything was done. I made as much peace with the world as I could and that’s all I could do. I could do no more. I was tired of trying to gnaw through the bone of Idiotland. I was tired, and I needed a long rest.

And then there was a heavy crash and then fire and then burning, and bright light like royal sun forever.


You can read the previous parts of this story HERE and HERE, or visit

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The Mannequins of Ethereal Wisdom (Pt. 2)

The face of a female mannequin in seen in a storage room of mannequins.

The next morning, Liam shuffled into the kitchen to make himself a toasted bagel slathered with blueberry cream cheese along with a glass of orange juice. Uncle Grover was already sitting at the table in his white T-shirt sipping his coffee, eating scrambled eggs, and munching on pieces of half-burnt toast.

“Morning,” Uncle Grover sleepily grunted.

“Morning,” Liam said, and as he prepared to drop his bagel halves into the toaster, he paused, looked down into the openings and sighed with distress.

“Do you ever clean this thing out!?” Liam snapped at his uncle.

“What the hell are you yapping at me for!?” Uncle Grover snapped back.

“The crumbs in the toaster. They accumulate at the bottom and on the sides and over time this accumulation of crumbs can ignite and burn this entire place down!” Liam unplugged the toaster, picked it up and angrily shook it upside down over his uncle’s head. “And you have to clean it out sometimes just like this!” Liam yelled.

“What the hell is wrong with you boy!? Uncle Grover yelped as he jumped up, shaking the toaster crumbs off himself like a dog shakes off water. “I’m about ready to sock you one good, right in the face.” Uncle Grover curled his fists and took a fighting stance.

Liam ignored him, went to the living room window, yanked it open and tossed the toaster. He poked his head out the window and looked down at the toaster resting in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Winter sunbeams reflected off the toaster and back up at him like a magic rainbow. He pulled his head inside and sighed. He turned to look at Uncle Grover. “I’m sorry. I lost my head there.”

“You sure as hell did,” Uncle Grover replied, feeling hurt.

“I suppose we’ll have to get a new toaster,” Liam said, as he went to sit down at the table.

“Yeah, I guess so. Sorry I was a bit lazy about all the crumbs.”

“It’s okay. Life is tough.”

“It sure as hell is.”

“Hey uncle, did you notice it snowed again last night.”

“Yes, I noticed that.”

“You know, I think I’ll take a drive out to the country today to enjoy the white vastness of it all,” Liam said, half smiling.

“That sounds like a good idea. I think you need that.” Uncle Grover agreed. “That is, if you can find it.”

“Right. But despite urban spawl spreading and sucking up the goodness of the world, I will find it.”

“Say, why don’t you take the mannequins with you,” Uncle Grover suggested. “They need to get out occasionally. I’m sure they would love a nice car ride in the country.”

“I don’t think so uncle. I don’t think they like me too much… Except for the redheaded one.”

Liam looked over at the waxy nakedness sitting in the passenger seat as he drove out of the city.

“I suppose we could have put some clothes on you,” Liam jokingly said to the redheaded mannequin with big, black eyelashes and a missing ear.

No response. She just stared out the window, motionless.

“They call you… Mystic, right? I understand you have Indian blood in you… Oh, sorry, Native American.”

Again, she made no response, and so Liam just focused on the winding, snowy road ahead of him and drove on. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it, cranking down the window a bit to let the smoke out. He stuffed an old Radiohead CD into the dash.

“Sorry, I’m a bit behind in the times,” Liam confessed. “But if you ask me, music today is just awful. What kind of music do you like?”

Mystic did not react to his question.

Liam kept driving for what seemed like forever until he came to an isolated place out of the city where he could pull off near a seemingly endless field of snow running out toward the edge of a forest frosted with white. Except for a few old, abandoned barns the place was quite void of anything. The wind lightly howled outside the car and little flurries of white crystals leapt up into the air and slid across the windshield like frozen ballerinas on ice.

He shut off the car’s engine. Except for the wind, there was an eerie silence.

He looked over at Mystic, still awkwardly staring out the window, and wondered what it would be like if he put his hand on her leg. He looked around to make sure there were no people around. There was nobody. Not way out there. He pulled the glove on his right hand off with his teeth and reached out to her.  He put his hand on her left leg, right above the knee and held it there for a moment or two. She was cold. The skin was not real. She remained motionless, empty. Afraid?

After a few minutes, Liam grew frustrated at her lack of response.

“Typical,” he said out loud. “You women are all the same,” and Liam quickly withdrew his hand from her waxy thigh. “All right then, I’m going for a walk. I guess you can stay here in the car. I wouldn’t want you to get colder than you already are!”

Liam put his glove back on and got out of the car. He angrily slammed the door. The sun was halfway shining, but it was still cold. He put up the hood on his coat and stepped over a smashed stone fence and walked into the wide field and toward the trees in the distance. The world all around him was whitewashed and frozen in time. The stillness and quiet worked on his brain.

Liam was used to the fast pace and being busy entertaining his audience with his envious cooking skills and being out there in front of the camera with his white apron and his big Chef Boyardee hat and swapping witty banter with special guests and doing things like snapping crisp, fresh garden green beans like little necks.

And he remembered how he had seemingly been so bubbly and concise and full of spice. Now, he just breathed out into cold emptiness. He sparked up another fag and looked back at the car, a ways away now, and he could see Mystic’s shadowy frame still sitting there stone-cold still. He coughed and then kept walking.

Liam tired at the edge of the forest and decided to lie down in the snow. He stretched his large frame out in the powder and then began moving his legs and arms to make a snow angel. He looked up at the sky and wondered about a lot of things.

What now? Where to? Will I ever find someone real? Will I ever be real again? he thought to himself.

Liam could not grasp a solid answer and resigned to the fact that life is fluid and that he will go on regardless of what is left behind and how it was left behind. He sat up and began talking to himself. “Nothing is forever. Time stands still for no one. Except for the dead, perhaps…Or mannequins.”

And he got up and brushed the snow from his body. He decided the forest could wait for another day and he started walking back across the field toward the place he had parked.

But then there was something coming toward him. He shielded his eyes from the halfway sun to try to see what it was. It was approaching fast.

“Oh my God,” he said aloud to no one. “It’s my car!”

And it was his car, and it was being driven ferociously by the redheaded mannequin with big, black eyelashes and a missing ear. She was gunning straight for him.

Liam started to run in the other direction, back toward the trees, but he was too slow, the car was getting closer, closer, closer.

And then Liam was hit. He felt the bones in his back snap and crack as he flew up and through the air. His life flashed before him all dreamy and crazy and hazy. He saw all the millions of people he knew. He saw all the things he did and all the places he went. And he thought that maybe it wasn’t all so bad after all as he spun like a lazy top over the wintry world, and then down he went with a thump, right into the snow angel shape he not so long ago had carved there, but now somewhat twisted, somewhat broken; the snow slowly turning crimson.

“That’s one fine looking toaster,” Uncle Grover said to Mystic as she stood near the stove, cooking eggs while naked.

“Yes, it is a nice toaster,” she said, glancing over her shoulder at him.

The two other mannequins shook their heads in agreement as they sat at the table with Uncle Grover sipping orange juice and waiting for the eggs to finish cooking.

“Yes, a fine toaster indeed,” Uncle Grover nervously said, and then he took a sip of orange juice himself. “Careful now dear, that stove is hot. I wouldn’t want you to get burned.”

She turned to him and smiled for his kindness.

“So,” Uncle Grover began. “You know we can’t tell anybody about what happened. I don’t need no police poking around here. And if they do, I’ll just act like he got fired and decided to leave town. You know, went somewhere else for a fresh start.”

The mannequins all nodded in agreement.

Then Uncle Grover cleared his throat and looked around.

“So,” he began again. “I don’t want to be morbid, but I expect it’s my right to know being kin and all. You never did tell me what you did with the body.”

The three mannequins looked at each other and smiled.

“We decided to keep him with us forever. Do you want to see?”

Uncle Grover choked. “What the hell do you mean?”

“Come on,” they said in unison, and they led him to the special room beyond the red door.

“Please, sit down,” Mystic said to him once they were inside.

Uncle Grover took a seat on the wooden chair with the ornate pillow and looked at the stage. The mannequins had disappeared behind the curtain and soon the room filled with the familiar scent of funeral incense and then there were floating clouds of white mist and gloomy orange and green lights and the gentle rhythmic tapping sounds of a gong.

Uncle Grover jumped at the sound of a loud bang. Then the red curtain moved to the side, and he struggled to see through the mist and lights.

“What the hell is going on?” Uncle Grover demanded to know, his head nearly spinning off his neck.

Two of the mannequins emerged and bowed to him. Mystic followed, but she was wheeling something in front of her, like a wheelchair or something like it and something was in it, some form covered in a white cloth.

“What the hell is that?” Uncle Grover said, squinting.

Mystic stepped forward and smiled down at him. She turned and quickly snatched the white cloth off from whatever was underneath.

“Oh my god!” Uncle Grover screamed. “What did you do to him!? Liam!”

One of the other mannequins banged on a golden gong three times.

“He’s one of us now,” Mystic grinned. And she proudly looked over Liam, who now himself was a mannequin, who now himself would live in the special room beyond the red door forever.

Uncle Grover struggled to get up. He walked closer to the stage to get a glimpse of his lifeless yet life-like nephew.

“Oh my God,” he said as his eyes went all over Liam. “It looks just like him. How can this be?”

“Don’t you know we are all just mannequins in a fake, plastic world,” Mystic said to him.

Uncle Grover tugged on his face.

“I don’t like this. He should have a proper burial after all. We were wrong to cover this up.”

“I’m sorry Uncle Grover,” Mystic said. “It’s too late. Nothing can be done about it now.”

Uncle Grover panicked at her tone, and he tried to make for the door to get out.

“You can’t leave,” Mystic called out to him. “Now that you know, you can never leave.”

Uncle Grover tugged on the doorknob as hard as he could, but it would not open.

“Let me out of here!” he demanded.

But he never did get out. He never did leave the room and he stayed there with them for many, many, many years, upright and standing still beside Liam, a crooked smile on his startled face.


In case you missed it, you can read the first part of this story HERE.