Hello From the Other Side…

(No, not the Adele song. Sorry. Not my style~~~)

Instead, recently, I went on a trip Through the Looking Glass and just had to send a postcard. Despite the times, the Red & White Queendoms have yet to make the switch to the pony express. This may because of the knightly employment all horses in these lands already seem to have….

Anyway, these circumstances left me only the option of snail mail. So, I made do.At the edge of where these two Queendoms meet, is a third territory. Something about Hearts and Wonder, or whatever. I was warned to mind to mind my neck if I decided to venture past the border, be careful not to stick it out too far. Keep my head down and all that. I think it was just a ruse to get me to buy a scarf or a hat from one of the area’s boutiques. The hatter honestly sounded mad.

Setting my misgivings aside, I did snag a scarf or two….perhaps a hat…that hatter was oddly charming…..oh! and this postcard. Hope it finds you well!

 
greetingsfromtheotherside

fromtheothersideotherside

(Alice,

You weren’t kidding when you said this place was all topsy-turvey! It’s taken twice as long to get as far as I want to go. Two steps forward to get one step back and all that jazz. The food leaves little to be desired too… Will write you again if I ever get where I’m going!

With Love,

Kelli)

****

Both sides of this postcard were crafted in Photoshop with my limited, high school knowledge of the program to guide me. Some cropping was done here and there. The perspective warped. Image flipped, like a reflection (*nudge, nudge*). Then, a mask or several playing around with the contrast. Some layers, too. Slap on some text. Distort it or reflect (*nudge*) it. And, voila!

I did have some issues with making a stamp and the other postage. Didn’t have the patience, mainly, to make something more authentic looking. So, I did what I always do, and got creative. Hope that doesn’t take anything away from the work.

Also, know Cheshire doesn’t appear in Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. But, I thought the Cheshire cat grin was a cool, aesthetic decision. Sue me. Cheshire is a fave fictional character. (A bit below Dr. Lecter though. You can check that piece dedicated to that preference here.)

Anyway, as it did Alice, I hope all of this finds you well. And, puts, perhaps, a smile or the trace of one like Cheshire’s on you face ^.^


Tagged: alice in wonderland, lewis carroll, magicpostcards, netnarr, Networked Narratives, photoshop, through the looking glass

Living Dead Girl II

Part I

Nights are always the worst. The loudest. Screams do not the sweetest of lullabies make. With time, though, I’ve found the most incessant sounds can become lulling. A buzzing hum, attracted to a torch burning low. Zzzz…. Zzzz…. The occasional sizzle of an Icarus acolyte.

Nana slept with a citronella candle on her night table, her ever-cracked window an invitation for all kinds of pests. Even in winter, the window remained a sliver shy of its sill. Wind wailed like a whistle through it. Nana whistled along as she lit her candle. As she lowered the match for me to blow out.

They don’t mean to keep us up, Nana said, tucking me in to bed. They’re just lost and scared. You’d cry too. You will. Trust me, ThanaIt’s better if you’ve got a light on when the tears come.

On a little hackneyed table in the back room, a citronella candle rests. Dust chokes the wick.

Silence c r e e p s as the sun rises…. well, at the very least, screaming settles into negligible staccato as the living world awakes.

Two beady, black eyes meet mine first thing. A blink. An inquisitive crook of its head, perhaps curious at meeting a pair of eyes darker than its own, and the bird takes off. Too small to be a crow. Perhaps a rook? Or, a magpie? Corvids have called these cemetery grounds home for almost as long as my ancestors have. Lately, the birds have been leaving gifts. Shiny, polished things. Buttons and charms. Detritus of life.

This morning, I find only an smooth, inky feather.

A big stretch dislodges the quilt I don’t recall tucking around my shoulders last night. It’s the silvery one with the threads like comet trails. Must’ve sparkled in the moonlight. I’m surprised the birds didn’t tear it apart.

I leave my feathery gift on the sill for now. The quilts need folding and the salt on the floor, sweeping. Me, feeding.

Mornings are quiet affairs, interrupted only by chirps here and there, accompanied always by a warm mug of herbal tea. Jasmine, today. The only sizzle that unsettles the air is the one that lets me know my omelette is ready to be flipped. Nana made the best omelettes, from eggs Ol’ Sid brought fresh from the farm twice a week.

Now Sid stares in my window twice a week, hollowed gaze like two, bulbous black eggs.

I eat around the burnt edges of my omelette. Mentally add a carton of eggs to the list. When breakfast is done, I clear the counter. Place my plate in the sink. Leave the pan I made my omelette in on the burner. I’ll have another for dinner. Sid keeps his distance when I do.

My fragrant tea comes with me back into the main room. Past a small white table with two matching chairs and a flower to boot. Past mattresses–junkyard and estate sale finds– for walls. A neat stack of quilts. A less neat stack of tomes. Then, another stack beside a tall bookshelf. An open window. To the mirror by the door. A black shroud hides most of its surface from view. Beneath it, a low shelf, its crevices crowded with more books. Many with Greek titles. Some German, Italian. One in Chinese. All about the dead. Well… all about bringing them back.

I set my mug beside a cluster of half-melted candles and reach for the shroud. Tip-toes are taken to. The stool is by the bookshelf, tucked in between the two haphazard stacks on the floor. Late night reading. It’s why I lost track of the clock. Can’t see it, here, beneath the mirror, from behind a crooked tower of crooked magic.

The silky shroud slips through my fingers. A hollowed gaze, oozing a deep red, meets mine. In the mirrored glass, I watch shadows, grey in this early hour, quickly solidify into form. Torso. Legs. Arms. Neck. Head. Smile. A dainty hand–holding a decidedly less dainty cleaver–raises in a wave.

“Good morning, Mary.” I say, as the rest of Mary’s ensemble appears–a hazy shift splattered in shades of crimson and stocking to match.

“Is it?” Mary inquires, drifting nearer. A cloying, coppery scent overpowers the heady smell of jasmine. Tea, is also added to the list for later. Preferably something strong. Killer, even.

“As good as any.”

Now, Mary smiles a big smile, a slash of white across her grey face. Without eyes to meet, both corners of her grin seem to end in knife points. Incisions where dimples should sit.

I fiddle with my hair. Finally meet my own dark eyes in mirrored glass. Take stock of the darker blood vessels weighing them down.

“Sleep well, Thana?” Mary appears at my side, twirling her cleaver the way I twirl my hair. Both gleam silver.

“You should know.” I shake my head. Ignore my gaze. Pull my hair back, slipping the black band ’round my wrist around it. A ponytail will do.

Mary laughs from her ruddy belly and I step back from the mirror. A hand without a cleaver but with red caked under its chewed-down fingernails reaches for me before I get far. I whirl on it. They shouldn’t touch. Nana’s voice in my ears. Mary knows my rules. The rules, Nana corrects in my head.

Mary–”

“Your feather.” She cuts me off. Hesitantly, not taking my eyes from the ones Mary lacks, I run my fingers through my tail of hair. Towards the end, brush something thin and silky. My gift.

Not turning my back on Mary again, I walk to the window, still wide open. Sill empty. A faint breeze unsettles the curtains. Fog creeps across the lawn outside, nearly the same shade as the stones embedded halfway in green. Nearly the same grey as Mary. A deeper hue flutters across. Then another. Crows for sure. A raven, maybe.

Deep in the fog, on the cusp of where green almost vanishes entirely, devoured, a dark form. Unmoving. A living shadow. Not a bird. Reaper. The long staff of a scythe juts from the form, its bladed head only a vague impression from this distance. But I know it’s there. Have heard the swish of it, echoing across night. Off stone.

Necromancers and Reapers came to an understanding–a compromise–long ago. Keeps us peaceful. The Underworld in check. Oft, we live close. Territories not shared but brushing each other. It’s good to have a Reaper on hand. In our line of work. ‘Case something won’t go south, as Nana would say.

This particular Reaper’s been a little too close for comfort, though. Almost pacing the boundary where our haunts meet these past few nights. Now lingering as day awakes.

I finger the feather in my hair again. So soft. Corvids have coarse coats. Like armor.

“Thana?” I look at Mary, dragging my hand from my hair. “The time.” She motions with her cleaver to the clock. I release a curse.

Quickly, I shut the window–deal with that later–and toe on my boots. Shrug on my jacket. Pat my pockets for my keys. Glance one last time at the mirror.

“I look good?”

“As good as always.” Mary chimes. Then, so does the clock. Again, I curse.

“Stay out of trouble.” I call over my shoulder as I open the door.

“If you do the same.” A breathy, almost-whisper.

Before I can pull the door shut, a gust from within does it for me. Then, brass tumblers click into place. I lower my key.

I will. I’ll try.

No time to linger, I hurry away from what looks like your typical, neglibile, cemetery grounds shed. Hurry away from the fog. Away from living shadows that have some reason to be pacing borders they usually overlook. Some reason to be leaving peace offerings for living dead girls.

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Decided to keep writing this. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tagged: Bot Prompts, netnarr, side project

A Feel Good Story…?

Who doesn’t squeal at the sight of cute, baby animals? Wait… The lambs are screaming? The baby sheep? Why? What could possibly…. Oh. Oh. 

silence-of-the-lambs-new-cover

Am I safe to assume that we’ve all read and/or seen this classic? With Anthony Hopkins? ClariceQuid pro quoIt puts the lotion on the skin. We all on the same page? Understand why this book cover is a little deceiving? Misleading? Toeing the not-so-thin line of outright lying?

Anyway…

I made this less-than-honest cover in Photoshop, using what little knowledge remains from some high school computer art and graphic design courses. Nothing really fancy was done. Just some cropping and resizing. Cutting and pasting. A mask here. A filter or several there. Mainly, I adjusted the contrast–to give it a kind of soft focus. Light and airy. Left a slight streak of red in the upper right-hand corner, though. A hint. There’s a very gentle touch of red on the lambs, as well. It’s kind of alchemy–the magic of subtlety. Things that can be gleaned by keen eyes. The story piecer-togethers.

Hope this gave you a chuckle. A snort. Maybe, an amused smile? I try. Don’t have to try too hard with the fun exercises though. Those tend to draw their own laughs ^.^


Tagged: altbookcover, books, netnarr, Networked Narratives, silence of the lambs

A Feel Good Story…?

Who doesn’t squeal at the sight of cute, baby animals? Wait… The lambs are screaming? The baby sheep? Why? What could possibly…. Oh. Oh. 

silence-of-the-lambs-new-cover

Am I safe to assume that we’ve all read and/or seen this classic? With Anthony Hopkins? ClariceQuid pro quoIt puts the lotion on the skin. We all on the same page? Understand why this book cover is a little deceiving? Misleading? Toeing the not-so-thin line of outright lying?

Anyway…

I made this less-than-honest cover in Photoshop, using what little knowledge remains from some high school computer art and graphic design courses. Nothing really fancy was done. Just some cropping and resizing. Cutting and pasting. A mask here. A filter or several there. Mainly, I adjusted the contrast–to give it a kind of soft focus. Light and airy. Left a slight streak of red in the upper right-hand corner, though. A hint. There’s a very gentle touch of red on the lambs, as well. It’s kind of alchemy–the magic of subtlety. Things that can be gleaned by keen eyes. The story piecer-togethers.

Hope this gave you a chuckle. A snort. Maybe, an amused smile? I try. Don’t have to try too hard with the fun exercises though. Those tend to draw their own laughs ^.^


Tagged: altbookcover, books, netnarr, Networked Narratives, silence of the lambs