Sunday, August 26, 2012


Annie whispered that she wanted to go see. She wanted to sublimate her head up through the skylight and watch the gruesome feast. But Tomas wouldn't let her. So she sat on the edge of the large claw-foot tub muttering curses.

They could hear the ripping flesh. He smacked his lips (thin as they were). This night-ghoul had no manners. But he was smart. He knew the territory. Shadows bathed the black, pitch rooftops..... a small oasis of understated, Georgian splendor, set down amidst  the tiny mews  just to the east of Washington Square. 

Edith, who had crawled up  to be with them by this time, whispered - I can see him. I can see him in my mind.... a tight black suit..... a narrow jacket buttoned high, topped with old, yellowed linen. And ,oh, how thin he is.... like a scarecrow, or a marionette, or a skeleton bathed with skin...... Then she shuddered. His eyes were dark as coal. His nose like Michael Jackson's..... And no, I'm not trying to be funny. That's just the way it is. But the teeth were tiny, darkened points, like old ivory, or fossils from a long dead shark.

And the body just lay there. Edith could see the ribs gnawed clean and bright. The cheeks were gone, revealing a naked, pelvic girdle. She looked young, the arms so smooth and white. One wrist bore a bracelet.  Sarah cried for she could see it too. They all could to a point. 

Tomas began to quietly intone the Kaddish prayer for the dead. and even Annie grew still. Conrad mumbled - Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

Now I cannot tell for sure who did it. Magic is a funny thing. No soul truly controls it. They just tap in and say 'may I?' But someone called the birds. Sleek, black crows, more like ravens, actually. And they silently condensed out of the darkness, flapping down to dine upon the scraps. 

The ghoul made a rasping sound as he tried to bat them away, but they went for the eyes. They always do. And even animated corpses shun pain. So he mumbled dry, dead curses, as he scurried away to watch from a distance. Shhh, listen. I think he's crying. But a sharp, hard cut from the obsidian beak of the raven king made him stop. And he lifted a knobby hand, attempting to smooth the tattered, piece of greasy  scalp back in place. Then he soundlessly arced up toward the stars, coming down to rest by a large, stone planter near the corner. They don't call him Johnny Jump Up for nothing. 

Tomas immediately sublimated through the skylight, just in time to see the creature vault to the fourth floor balcony of a condominium fronting the square. Then he scrambled up to the penthouse and vanished. 

The others soon joined him, sprinkling the tragic victim with drops of their own blood, to bring on the cold, blue flame. It helped her disappear. 

And the ravens rose up with the ashes.

While down in the sitting room, just off the kitchen, Papa shared jokes with a ghost.


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