Sleepy Sundays: Bloodletting

Bloodletting ©️2019 Snapping Turtle Arts | cardcastlesinthesky.com

While most of you wait until October to see some of my horror-inspired designs, I remind you that horror is where my love for art and design began.

With a string of vivid dreams and nightmares lately, it’s no surprise I took a break from my tradition of spring floral sets to work on a horror piece.

My personal life has my career feeling like bloodletting lately. My love for art has not left me, however, the strain of having to design on a schedule has been a nightmare. Art has been a cathartic release, even if the scheduling causes me pain.

Financial stresses make operation a lot more difficult as well. As always, we will see what the cards hold.

Have a relaxing Sunday

31 Nightmares 2018: The 30th

Those of you that were here for last year’s #31Nightmares are in for something special today. Not only do we have another returning guest, but he’s bringing a Part II of his story from last year.

You may have guessed by now I’m talking about author, Bill Friday.

Anyone giving us the puzzled look right now, get familiar:

31Nightmares 2017: The 30th • A Ghost Story (Part I)


A Second Ghost Story

By: Bill Friday

The angle of the sun was wrong.

Every year around this time, he thought it.  To his closest friends, he even said it.  The last person he ever said it to was her.

But she wasn’t here anymore, so there was no one left he cared enough about to say it to.

By the calendar, it was October the 31st.

Nobody looked at calendars anymore.  Life moved at a slower pace than calendars now.  You wore warm clothes when the weather was cold, and less than that when it got warm.  Life was simpler without calendars.  Like life was simpler without cellphones.  Sure, it took time to adjust, as the people died and there weren’t enough left alive to bury all the bodies.  Still, people made the adjustment.  The people who were left adjusted to almost everything.

He adjusted.

He never thought he would miss people.  And by people, he meant all of humanity.  And by all of humanity, he meant his friends.  And by his friends, he meant everyone who died.

You can never have enough friends, he thought, sometimes.  He didn’t always believe that.  Actually, he believed the opposite.  She believed that.  But that kind of thinking got ruined for him a couple of years before friends became obsolete.  A couple of years before the world went the way of friends.

Right before the world died.

Walking didn’t bother him anymore.  He used to drive everywhere.  He never took public transportation; never had Uber on his phone.  The last car he had was a gas guzzler, and he wouldn’t drive that very far for fear it was going to break down on the side of the freeway and cost him more to repair than the Blue Book value was worth.  He lived a lot of his old life in fear of things beyond his control.  Now that everything was beyond his control, he had little left to be afraid of.  This wasn’t a comic book where the dead got back on their feet to live a zombie version of the Keto Diet.  And for some reason, mosquitoes didn’t carry whatever killed everybody from corpse to corpse.  Time and desiccation did what disbanded municipal services could not.  The world was a swift-rotting string of roadside corpses, a lot like abandoned gas guzzlers from a time long ago.  Plants grew food, wild, for his risk-reward eating pleasure.  If he recognized it, he ate it.  If not, well, maybe he’d be another corpse for the roadside.  His call, because there was hardly anyone to be the boss of him anymore.

And none of them he would call friends.

J.

“Why do we keep having

conversations that end

in the word ‘vulva’?”

 

R.

“Why do I keep getting

offers from companies

online that pay me cash

to try their ‘vulva care’

products?”

 

J.

“Gah!  Vulva AGAIN!”

 

B.

“If men can have

beard oil, women can

have vulva cream.”

 

J.

“Stahhhhp with the

V word!”

 

B.

“I think you’re too

sensitive for this subject.”

 

C.

“Well, it is a

sensitive area.”

 

B.

“That’s because J is

sensitive about not

being able to grow a beard.”

 

J.

“And sensitive about

having to read the word

VULVA in every text.”

 

B.

“Let’s talk baseball.”

 

J.

“I’m done with vulvas.”

 

B.“You shouldn’t talk

like that.  Maybe the

vulva of your dreams

is right around the

next corner.”

 

J.

“I’m muting the

conversation now.”

 

C.

“This is a group text,

not Insta.”

 

R.

“Yeah, you’re stuck

with us.”

 

J.

“Yeah, stuck like

the plague.”

 

C.

“What does that even

mean?  ‘Stuck like

the plague?’”

 

M.

“Hey!  I just got these

texts.  When was this

conversation?”

 

B.

“Three days ago.”

 

M.

“Oh, now it’s a discussion

about time travel?”

 

J.

“How do you know this

conversation happened

three days ago?”

 

B.

“Ask any of us.”

 

C.

“Ask any of us what day

this is?”

 

B.

“Or was?”

 

R.

“I just ordered vulva

cream.”

 

J.

“GAHHHH!”

 

B.

“What do we want?

TIME TRAVEL! When do

we want it…? 

It’s IRRELEVANT!”

 

The crash of the intruder was loud enough to separate the lone man him from his dream.

It was dark.  He only slept in the dark now.  Daylight gave him no cover from the random wanderers who wouldn’t care that he didn’t have anyone to mark the hours that he closed his eyes and, in broken recollections, remembered the life that was.

It was dark.  A thin line of orange in his eyes told him where the sun was rising, and where the boot of the unwelcome visitor kicking in his front door made of wooden pallets came from.  Then there was pain in the sound of a crack in his ribs, and a thud in the side of his head.  His breath left his lungs, and he saw the sunrise no more.

 

C.

“You really ought to

get that looked at.”

R.

“I see Urgent Care

enough, thanks.”

C.

“Seriously, people die

from less.”

R.

“Is anybody hungry…

and local?”

B.

“I could eat… local.”

C.

“Anybody else?”

R.

“Pupusas?!?”

B.

“Pupusas again?  You’re

not the boss of me!”

R.

“Somebody should be.”

J.

“That word always makes

me think I’m in somebody

else’s head.”

C.

“In who else’s head

would you hear the

word ‘pupusa’?”

R.

“I would hear the word

‘pupusa’ in Mama’s head.”

J.

“That’s because she

raised you.”

B.

“With her voice in

your head.”

J.

“Now your voice is in

MY head.”

R.

“Are you saying that

I raised you?”

C.

“I have a date.”

M.

“Bring your date to

pupusas!”

J.

“Remember the last time C

brought a date to pupusas?”

B.

“He was weak.  If the

group text could scare

him…”

R.

“We weren’t scary at all.”

J.

“But he WAS scared.”

B.

“And weak.”

C.

“Hey!  That’s my date

you’re talking about!”

J.

“WAS your date.”

R.

“Now we’re your date.”

J.

“All of us?  I’m her

date?  You’re her date?”

M.

“We’ve been one big

date since the beginning.”

J.

“Who decided that?”

R.

“There needs to be an

emoji for GROUP DATE.”

 

There’s no such thing as ghosts, he regularly told himself.  If there were, she would still be speaking to him.  She’d be telling him he had to get up now, whether he liked it or not.  On some days, he liked that hers was the only voice he remembered.  On this day, his body felt as broken as his soul, and he just wanted to lie there with his eyes closed, waiting for the end to come.  But the end was more fickle than he told himself she had ever been.

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“Who’s asking?”

R.

“Don’t be crazy.”

B.

“Yeah, hallucinating a

text message with a

dead girl crazy.”

R.

“Well?”

B.

“Well what, dead girl?

 

R.

“Are you up?”

B.

“You were never this persistent when you were alive.”

R.

“Get up!”

B.

“You’re not the boss of me.”

R.

“You can’t let the ghost

find you like this.”

B.

“There’s no such thing

as ghosts.”

R.

“Oh, yeah?  I said

GET UP!”

 

The pain in three broken ribs woke him from concussion sleep.  The sun was up and not helping the throb behind his eyes.  A brief look around told him that the wooden pallets he had made shelter from were gone, along with his gear.  No pack, no food, no booze, and definitely no water.  Whenever it was that he got mule-kicked to sleep, it could’ve been days by now, didn’t matter anymore, it was all gone.

He laid his head back down and wished himself never to wake up again.

There was a ghost.

He knew he was a ghost because, after a lifetime of seeing no need at all for god or the church, he lived behind a church, on the edge of a graveyard – how ironic on so many levels, being a ghost because… graveyard, and an atheist ghost because… church – but they let him stay as the church folk looked right through him like the rest of the dying did.  And they allowed him to eat left-overs from the shiny dumpster next to the boarded-up back door.  He even slept behind it when the wind blew extra cold some nights, and his overflowing morning newspapers couldn’t seem to keep the wind out of his ghost-self bones. 

Like on this night.

Because this is what ghosts do.

But in a world where everyone is dead, do the ghosts even matter?

R.

“He’s on his way. 

Be ready for him. 

He knows my name,

because we talked.”

B.

“Is there anyone you

won’t talk to?

R.

“Very funny.”

B.

“I guess some things

never change.”

R.

“You have.”

B.

“How would you know? 

You’re dead.”

R.

“That was rude.  And wrong. 

The living don’t really

die, you know?”

B.

“Says the dead girl.”

R.

“Just be ready.  I’ll

be around when you need me.”

B.

“Just like always.”

R.

“Just don’t follow anyone

else into the dark.”

 

He opened his eyes.

 

© Copyright 2018 William s. Friday


This has been

Day 30

of

 

31 Nightmares 2018: The 29th

“Her bitterness. It envelopes me if I let it. Where did she come from? She wasn’t always there. So many questions.

I’m curious about her. Though, not too curious. She seems to feed off of that.

There is one thing. A clue, perhaps.

Maybe it will explain this whole thing. Though, I don’t yet know what it means.

She left a note for me on the mirror. The words on the paper were burned in.

It read:

“You are me and I am you.”

I could never be her. Right? RIGHT?

I don’t know what it all MEANS!”

– Daydreams


This has been

Day 29

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 28th

There’s been a tear through our world again. I’m not sure what it means this time. She left a stench on my soul. I feel her near lately now more than ever. Though we’ve binded her for now. I wonder why she’s near. I wonder if she’ll return. We’ll just have to wait and see.
– Daydreams


This has been

Day 28

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 26th

We’ve had to make some changes to our slots due to cancellations and actors passing. With that said, we’ve added some fresh new content to our roster.

Featured here on CardCastles once before,

I’d like to reintroduce you to SunBunz.

I really enjoy her commentary at times. In this particular series SunBunz is playing Little Nightmares, a horror/adventure game and that’s what landed her here.

I’ve yet to play this game myself but I hear it’s right up my alley.

And, for your viewing pleasure here is Part 2:


This has been

Day 26

of